THE careful identification of areas for investment will be key to growth opportunities for Borders businesses in the coming year.
That was the message from Graeme Steel, founder and managing director of Stow-based Borderways, when he addressed a Bank of Scotland event at Kelso Raecourse last month.
Established a decade ago, the company specialises in hard and soft landscaping projects across Scotland and the north east of England.
The business and its customer base have grown steadily and its clients include not only householders, but major commercial organisations such as Laing Rourke and Scottish Borders Council.
Mr Steel explained how, despite recessionary difficulties, he had managed his finance effectively by controlling spending in some areas of the business, while investing in worthwhile projects.
He said: “Although it was crucial to carefully monitor our expenditure, due to our increasing presence within the commercial sector, we decided to make a substantial investment in specialised commercial equipment.
“This cutting edge technology has proved to be extremely beneficial to us as a company, and has given us an edge over competing businesses in the area.
“Another area we invested in was marketing, and one particular venture was the restructuring of our website. The whole company was given a new, more professional ‘look’ from which we have already seen positive results.
“As a result of our growing reputation and our investment in specialised technology, over the next few years, we are looking to expand further in the commercial sector.”
The event was one of 200 which are taking place place as part of the Lloyds Banking Group’s 1012 SME charter, designed to encourage enterprise and access to finance to help small and medium-sized businesses.
It was hosted by Ian Collins, area director for Bank of Scotland in the east of Scotland, who discussed issues including international markets and employment regulation.
“Borderways is a great example of a company which, through careful and accurate allocation of resource, has managed to survive the recession and is now in a position to grow and develop as the economy looks to stabilize,” said Mr Collins.
“The fact that the firm is being assigned increasingly complex and technical commercial projects is testimony to the management team’s hard work and thorough business planning.”
Guests also heard from Donald MacRae, chief economist for Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland, who outlined how the bank sees the economic and financial landscape developing.
Other guest speakers included Keith Lawson from employment law and health and safety specialists Peninsula, who provided guidance on employment and HR regulation, while specialist advice regarding funding and insurance was available from a number of Bank of Scotland’s business partners.