Inflation is rising at its fastest rate in 40 years, and this has led to interest rates hitting their highest level in 13 years at 1.25 per cent – as of July 2022. It is widely understood that the increase in money supply during lockdown coupled with skyrocketing energy and fuel prices have been the main contributors to the current levels of inflation. Both of these factors have hurt business growth this year. Below, we explore how these factors affect businesses.
Interest rates refer to the amount a borrower is charged for borrowing a sum of money. When they rise, businesses will find it difficult. Consumers will have to pay more money on their debt in these situations, which usually leads to them having less disposable income. As a result, your business might find it harder to sell your products or services – especially if you deal in luxury goods. Naturally, if interest rates fall, businesses will discover that customers can spend more. The other issue with rising interest rates is that they make it harder for businesses to acquire loans, which in turn impacts how much they might invest in new ideas and projects. It’ll make any loan you take out more expensive and it’ll typically take longer to pay back, which in turn makes individuals and organisations think twice about their long-term outlook.
Inflation can also impact businesses negatively. It refers to the rise in the cost of goods: if inflation occurs slowly, it can be good for business as it encourages consumers to spend in the present. However, sharp inflation can hurt businesses. When inflation soars, the cost of living rises, and employees will ask for higher wages to help them afford essentials. As such, businesses will have to pay higher salaries. But it also affects supply chains too. Businesses will have to pay more for the raw goods needed to make their products or carry out their services. When all of these impacts are combined, businesses will find that they’re spending significantly more money each month.
What steps are businesses taking to cut costs?
When interest rates and inflation rise, businesses usually have to take steps to cut costs. For instance, if a business is interested in purchasing a fleet of vehicles, it’ll look through car lease deals rather than making outright purchases. However, if more dramatic cuts are needed, a business might make the unenviable decision to lay off some of its workforce. This decision can damage the reputation of a company and limit future growth as the business downscales. It’s a tough decision that’s usually made when other, less drastic, cuts have been made without success.
Rising interest rates can create a difficult financial period to navigate. Consumers will find it hard to make ends meet each month, while businesses will see their revenue fall. But by taking sensible steps to cut costs and find innovative ways to increase revenue, your business can survive and thrive in the future.