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Spotlight on the 2023/2024 CFA business plan

In his February CFJ article, Richard Catt provided a review of 2022 and what was achieved.
This month he looks forward to what the 2023/24 membership year has in store.

MANY commentators highlight the risks of talking ourselves into recessions, and I am conscious of this when making any predictions. But I think we all now realistically accept that we need to expect a downturn in 2023. Inflation is currently running at around 10% (CPI) and construction output is predicted to fall by 3.9% in 2023. Real wages are falling, and the likelihood is that interest rates will continue to rise, affecting consumer spending and investment in larger projects. House prices are predicted to fall by at least 10% in 2023 and this is also a well-used barometer of the wider economy.

CFA members get regular updates on all of this via the Construction Products Association and with the economy being somewhat volatile recently this is very valuable. It includes information on geographical and market trends, which sectors to concentrate on and which are in decline and therefore should be avoided.

I remain optimistic in the short term, as the flooring industry continues to be busy and anecdotally members are booking work well into 2023. ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ is not exactly the basis of a complete business plan, but as my introduction suggests, there is no reason to talk ourselves into recession. Finishing trades and flooring as a sector generally go into recession last, and we need to use that time wisely, while also ensuring that any downturn is as short as possible. Or that the impact is minimised at a business level.

Key areas of focus for CFA will therefore include a new website to ensure we provide members with the best possible exposure to the wider construction industry and ensuring that the CFA logo attracts work that is available. Using a contractor with the backing of a trade body is now often a tender requirement and so CFA members are best positioned to capitalise.

Skills and labour will remain a focus for CFA, and with a skills and labour gap that has grown from 16% in 2021 to 18% in 2022, the need to recruit new talent is still important. If we manage to shrink that gap in 2023, we will have done well. CFA members will get access to initiatives that put them at the forefront to access new recruits and ensure they remain competitive and well resourced.

2022 saw the busiest ever year for FITA and I am confident 2023 will be the same. CFA members get a 15% discount off all standard training courses and workshops, and this is another way that CFA members retain a competitive edge. In the background, we are working on ways to increase regional delivery of training and CFA members will be the first to learn about opportunities created. We of course support manufacturers and all commercial providers through our Training Guide and while that is released annually, CFA members get monthly updates on new opportunities in lots of different areas including training and funding.

Recruiting Richard Bromwell for our new membership manager role was an exciting development in 2022 and will reap rewards for CFA members who will benefit from his additional support in 2023. He is busy making sure that members gain quick and easy access to all the benefits they receive through membership – benefits such as the helplines for legal, employment and health and safety.
This also includes areas such as free credit checks and technical advice, as well as our free dispute resolution service. Ensuring unfair complaints are dealt with and you get paid is another area of focus for CFA and potentially very useful in 2023.

We’ve had a few difficult years and 2023 already has some challenges looming. Brexit creates an ongoing list of new regulations that we will unpick for members and ensure they only need to read the essentials. Then of course we will continue to offer events and the 2023 Autumn Ball is going to be another really good one, as we have booked Slaley Hall in Northumberland. This is a beautiful hotel and spa with an 18-hole golf course – because CFA members like to enjoy themselves while networking and doing some business!

The challenge for 2023 is to remain positive, position your business well, and work smarter not harder with the support of the CFA.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring Industry. If you would like further information about our Future Fitters project, or an application pack outlining the benefits of membership, please contact the CFA offices
0115 9411126

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