Another year starts to draw to a close and, from a business point of view, I think this area will look upon it as one that has been quietly positive.
And, after the past few years, that’s exactly what we have needed – a chance for our economy to grow steadily on the back of one of the most difficult periods our businesses and individuals have ever faced.
From a Chamber perspective, members have been in a confident mood throughout the year as our quarterly economic surveys have shown and that shows no sign of abating as we look ahead to 2015.
Those figures are being borne out in terms of the growing economy and the fall in unemployment but we are keen, as a Chamber, to guard against any complacency among decision makers.
The Government, the Bank of England and any other body which helps to set the conditions must continue to make sure that we have the best possible environment for businesses to grow and expand their workforce.
With an Autumn Statement coming up ahead of a general election next year, businesses will want to know that they will benefit rather than be penalised if they create jobs and wealth that can be invested back into public services through taxes.
So while the statistics at the time of writing are very positive, we would urge that whoever wins the election next May they look to create the most business friendly environment they possibly can.
As a business owner myself, I would also urge fellow companies in this area to make sure they are doing all they can to make the most of the opportunities that are out there for them.
Perhaps the Christmas period could be a chance to reflect on where you may be able to grow the business in the New Year and, indeed, if there is any help out there to do so.
All too often, we are so busy running our businesses that we don’t take the time to plan and think about the opportunities and options available.
To that end, I would definitely speak to the Chamber to tap into the help it can give.
If you are planning to export, the international trade team is second to none in helping companies find new markets.
Only recently, there was a positive story in this very newspaper about two companies based in Rugby that are exporting all over the world and both have been given help by the UKTI team at the Chamber.
But it’s not just exporting that can lead to growth – it’s important to cultivate local business leads too and, again, there is no better organisation to work with than the Chamber from that point of view.
So if your business does wind down at all in the lead up to and during Christmas, use that time for well-earned break but also take the time to think about how you can use your Chamber to help you grow your business next year.