Business confidence gap narrows
A fall in business confidence in fast-growing economies such as South Africa has reduced the gap with mature markets as efficiency becomes the key driver to remaining competitive without compromising on growth, finds latest Regus survey. Research reveals that globally firms will prioritize cost-cutting measures, from talent retention to flexible workspace, to gain maximum advantage from existing assets and expand fast and flexibly.
The latest Regus Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey of more than 20,000 senior executives across 95 countries found that while confidence levels have risen by five points to 109 in mature economies, there has been as drop of nine points to 117 in emerging countries. In S. Africa, business confidence has dropped from 121 points in April 2013 to 114, just above the global average of 113 points.
The report also indicated that S. African businesses, aware of reports of slow recovery, will focus on staff retention and flexible working over the next twelve months to optimise business processes and gain maximum advantage from existing assets without compromising on expansion plans.
Commenting on the research, Regus Area Director for SA, Kirsten Morgendaal says: “While mature economies are showing confidence gains as their economic outlook turns positive, the emerging world is slowing the pace of growth as businesses aim to become increasingly efficient to promote productivity. Our research also shows that utilising flexible workspaces can have a significant impact on the bottom line, encouraging sustainable growth.”
Other BCI findings include:
- Companies reporting revenue growth in S. Africa have slipped from 57% to 55% while those reporting profit growth have grown only modestly from 43% to 44%
- The top four efficiency outcomes for S. Africa are:
- Cost effective services providers (59%)
- Higher return on investment on marketing and advertising (50%)
- Improved staff retention (34%)
- Less fixed office space (33%)
The world’s leading CRM platform salesforce.com, relies on Regus business centres in half of its 26 locations worldwide. The company has seen phenomenal growth since it was founded in 1999 in San Francisco and has been ranked the World’s Most Innovative Company by Forbes Magazine for the Third Year in a Row. Larry Wolfert, Senior Director, global real estate, said: “Working with a single point of contact at Regus for our global workspace needs makes our global expansion manageable and efficient. We have also saved a lot of money avoiding the upfront capital expenditure associated with fitting out traditional office space.”
 Business Day, 31st May 2013, IMF sees ‘only gradual’ recovery for SA
 Forbes Magazine, August 2013, The World’s Most Innovative Companies