DIFFICULT economic circumstances mean it is time for the tough to get going, according to St Neots chartered accountants Streets.

DIFFICULT economic circumstances mean it is time for the tough to get going, according to St Neots chartered accountants Streets, which traded in the town for 50 years as Whitmarsh Sterland.

In a phrase with slightly risky connotations, marketing partner James Pinchbeck says it is time for companies to "get back to basics".

With retrenchment clearly coming in the public sector, it will be up to commercial businesses to keep Britain's economy afloat, he implies.

"In a boom it is often easy for even a badly-managed or run business to survive and prosper," he said. "In the current trading environment and what looks to be the type of economic conditions we will have to operate in for at least a number of years it could be said that only well-run and well managed businesses will survive and prosper. In essence though, the characteristics of what makes a good business do not change with economic conditions."

He explained: "For an established business the challenges will undoubtedly include the need to become more enterprising and entrepreneurial, with the focus now being around opportunities to improve profitability through growth, whether through new markets, new products, new processes and even competitor acquisition.

"We may also see a greater focus on businesses looking more at sustainability and focusing on longevity as opposed to short term trading. As part of a robust economy, businesses that build strong balance sheets and sound financial management tend to fare better overall.

"As a result, and given the economic environment we are in today, businesses are likely to be looking to retain more of their profits, build up greater cash reserves and as result become less reliant on external sources of finance for everyday working capital, perhaps even to finance assets or other expansion plans.

"With the additional threat of tax hikes, the years ahead will be a challenge for us all but perhaps a return to some sound business, even good old family values, may help to ensure the success of your business or the business you work for."

INFORMATION: James Pinchbeck is on 0845 880 0320, e-mail info@streetsweb.co.uk or visit www.streetsweb.co.uk