SMEs in Germany, according to a German state owned bank KfW, generally have positive expectations for year 2014. For Northern EU, without a few exceptions, the 2014 is looking gloomy (Norden report). So much for staring at official crystal balls.
While economists in various institutions are giving their best for a reliable outlook, I will not even try to compete with them. My view in this blog is very close to the SME reality.
Regardless of the economic outlooks I would put my emphasis for European SMEs during the year 2014 on following issues:
- Leadership in SMEs
- Hiring and retaining good employees
- New customer acquisitions
- Channel building in Europe and world wide
- Strategic options like M&A
- Cross-Atlantic opportunities
- Eastern Europe
- Succession planning
- Process performance improvements across the value chain
While SMEs should be working hard on theses topics I would expect the Central Bank and banks generally to get the money rolling towards real economy.
85% of EU jobs continue to depend on the fitness of the SMEs. Putting together all kind of official lending programs are great, however in my experience they are way too slow to respond to SME needs. The banks must develop again an understanding of the needs of the real economy and take responsibility in their role in nurturing it.
Naturally the politicians must get out of their comfortable cabinets and finally stand up and fight for their voters.
During the year 2014 you will see more of my blogs touching these vital issues for European SMEs.