Get Ready Now for the London 2012 Economic Boost

…or risk missing out!

Research shows widespread optimism amongst British businesses. But a third of companies are ignoring lessons of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games

Despite the tough economic outlook, almost three quarters (73%) of British businesses see an opportunity to prosper from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to new research published by BT.

However, lack of basic planning will see some organisations missing out on the economic boost, as nearly a third (29 per cent) haven’t made the most basic preparations for the period, such as plans to deal with the expected dip in staff attendance.

The BT study, which surveyed 1,200 small, medium and large enterprises nationwide as well as public sector organisations, found they had a positive outlook for the Games despite tough economic conditions.

The majority (68%) of business are expecting a peak in demand and nearly half (45%) anticipate a hike in sales, whilst a similar number (45%) expect new international business opportunities. A third (36%) predict these export or trade agreements will continue after the Games and almost a third (30%) are predicting a welcome boost to profits.

Whilst the predicted extra million visitors is a major business opportunity nearly every organisation (93 per cent) expects negative knock-on effects, with issues like supply chain disruption, higher hotel costs, staff attendance and productivity high amongst the concerns.

Such issues could be a real threat to hopes of a business boost, particularly given the results of previous BT research on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which found that roughly half (49%) of the companies in and around the Canadian city felt they could have done better from the event or missed out on opportunities.

Colin Hansen, the former British Columbia Minister responsible for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, said:

“British companies are right to be optimistic because the Olympics had a huge economic benefit in Vancouver and across Canada as a whole. But the scale of the event was much bigger than anybody expected and many companies just weren’t geared up for how big the opportunity would be.”

“Nobody in the UK should expect next summer to be business as usual, but with the right plans in place, such as flexible working, every business – large or small – can take advantage of the occasion and seize the long-term economic benefits.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, CEO London First, said:

“London 2012 will present many opportunities to boost economic recovery and a great deal of planning has gone into providing support for business of all sizes, as well as information on how to minimise disruption. There’s still some work to be done but I would urge businesses to talk to their suppliers and customers now so that they can be sure of being ready to make the most of this fantastic event.”

Jeff Kelly, CEO, BT Global Services, said:

“Despite the tough economic climate, we can tell from our own customers that London 2012 presents both challenges and opportunities for public and private sector organisations.  But success or failure depends on how ready they are. There’s still time to get plans in place, but with less than seven months to go, we do urge all organisations to begin preparations now or miss out on the economic benefits.”

The full results of the research, plus a short overview of key findings, can be downloaded here.

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