Norse CEO Justin Galliford highlights the benefits of “exporting” to the rest of the UK.

In my conversations with local business leaders, I am aware of an increasing enthusiasm for trading outside the county.

Norfolk has a plethora of highly talented entrepreneurs who have built successful markets within their immediate area/region. However, all sectors have been affected by the cost-of-living crisis, increasing materials cost, shortages in the local skills market and general slowing in consumer spending and business investment.

For some commercial organisations, the slowing in the economy has not affected their growth as badly as others, and an encouraging number, particularly in small to medium-sized businesses, have risen to the challenge by looking at markets further afield.

Those commercial operations have benefitted for having opened up wider and lucrative opportunities across a more diverse geographical customer base.

In times of buyer caution and risk aversion, the importance of widening horizons in search of new opportunities can ensure not just survival but potential growth.

Retaining skilled staff through the slow times is key to being in a position to take advantage of market recovery, so being innovative and confident in developing new business channels and outlets helps ensure future sustainability.

Over the last 25-plus years, Norse Group has developed local authority partnerships around the country, continuing to bring significant financial and employment benefits back to Norfolk. Indeed, over 90pc of growth in 2023 has come from outside the county.

With a percentage of these partnerships’ profits returning to Norse, and ultimately to the group’s owners, Norfolk County Council, these ventures outside our immediate location are benefitting not just local suppliers but also local residents.

Our subsidiaries are continuing to grow their business and winning exciting new contracts. As they expand, they place more demand on a range of support services including HR, payroll, purchasing and IT, which we provide from our Norfolk head office. This in turn leads to greater job opportunities and revenue for the county.

While it may seem daunting, I would encourage all local business not to be blinkered, and to actively embrace opportunities to trade outside their immediate environs.

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