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UK Business Confidence “at its Lowest”

UK Business Confidence “at its Lowest”

Small business confidence is at its lowest in over a year, according to the BDO’s latest Business Trends Report, as investment and output drops. Based on its ‘Optimism Index’ which predicts growth six months ahead, business confidence in the economy  is now only just above the average at 101.0 and, although higher at 103.3, sales orders for the next three months is also on a “downward trend” The rate of growth in employment is also dipping, Employment, coming in at 105.2 – the lowest level recorded by BDO since 2014. The report suggests that the drop in business confidence and investment will have a negative effect on the UK’s overall economic growth in 2016. Commenting on the findings, Peter Hemington, partner at BDO LLP, said: “Doubts about the world economy are making the UK’s business ... »

Late Payment Epidemic Continues For Small Businesses

Late Payment Epidemic Continues For Small Businesses

Small businesses continue to struggle with late payment problems, with research by Tungsten Network revealing that 12% of companies wait 90 days. Furthermore, many companies say their cashflow is stretched beyond its limit and they are missing out on new business as they cannot afford to take on any new clients until they get paid. The news comes despite a surge in government efforts to lessen the payment delay for small and medium businesses, which included the introduction of an advisory board, a new commissioner to deal with small business complaints, and strengthening the Prompt Payment Code. More recently, small business minister Anna Soubry announced plans to appoint a commissioner under the Enterprise Bill. The government’s overall intention is to get businesses to pay their supplie... »

Nearly Half of Small Business Owners Miss Christmas

Nearly Half of Small Business Owners Miss Christmas

Almost half (49%) of the UK’s small business owners worked on Christmas Day last year, according to Zurich’s latest SME Risk Index, with 32% working across email and another 18% actually going into the office. The research indicated the challenges of achieving work/life balance with a further 9% having admitted to missing their child’s naivety play and 13% having missed the Christmas party. Overall, business owners are missing out on important time off. 14% of entrepreneurs surveyed were still yet to take annual leave in 2015 while 18% had not had more than 10 days off in the year. Jason Eatock, head of small and medium business at Zurich, said: “It will come as no surprise to small and medium enterprises that despite commonly held views about the lifestyle benefits of working for yourself... »

Basic Budgeting for Your Small Business

Basic Budgeting for Your Small Business

When starting a business your head is often filled with grandiose dreams of becoming the new leader in your sector or changing the way the market works with your offering – it is unlikely that the prospect of drawing up a budget was what excited you about becoming an entrepreneur. But budgets are absolutely crucial in keeping control of your business and ensuring you have a realistic roadmap for success. This article will provide you with an introduction to creating a budget – we cover sales, costs and cash budgets, and how to convert these into a projected balance sheet. Finally, we examine what to do when your actual figures differ from predictions, and the steps you can take to address this. How do I draw up a sales budget? A sales budget essentially predicts how much you expect to sell... »

Asset-Based Funding to UK Businesses Hits Record High

Asset-Based Funding to UK Businesses Hits Record High

Asset-based lending to small and medium businesses in the UK and Ireland hit a record £20bn – up 4% from last year’s £19.3bn – according to a report by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). While the number of firms raising finance against assets such as inventory, property, and intellectual property has grown, invoice finance remains the most popular option; accounting for 80% of the total amount of asset-based investment secured. According to the ASFA’s report, this growth in asset-based finance comes from the increase in the number of firms borrowing against unpaid invoices, which frees up cashflow and involves less ongoing restrictions than lending against ‘traditional’ products. Overall, asset-based and invoice finance has experienced a year-on-year increase of approximately 4% ... »

Small Businesses Rely on Old Data and ‘Mental Maths’ to Make Financial Decisions

Small Businesses Rely on Old Data and ‘Mental Maths’ to Make Financial Decisions

Small businesses are putting themselves at risk with almost half (44%) having based investment decisions on quick, mental mathematics (31%) or gut instinct (13%), a new report from KPMG Small Business Accounting has warned. 25% of small firms were also found to have relied upon four month-old data to make important financial decisions, while an additional 25% admitted to not knowing how much they could safely afford to invest in their business. Some of the decisions being made by firms without proper financial analysis included investment in new staff, equipment and marketing campaigns. The research, which featured 1,000 small business owners, also revealed that only a third of companies forecast income. All of the respondents admitted that they did not use a professional financial adviser... »

One in Six UK Retailers have Switched to Become ‘Online-Only’ in the Last Year

One in Six UK Retailers have Switched to Become ‘Online-Only’ in the Last Year

A third (33%) of UK firms believe it’s more important to offer an online and delivery service than have a physical store presence, with a sixth of retailers opting to offer an online-only service in the last 12 months, research from Barclaycard reveals. In response to consumer demand, over a third of businesses (39%) have launched a new website in the last year while 37% have taken on more delivery staff, and 25% have introduced a new ordering and payments app. 23% of employers have also increased staff wages as a result of having to get them to work irregular hours; 22% have hired more freelance staff. The research indicated that businesses are reacting to consumer behaviour, reporting that customers expect orders to be delivered (32%) and appointments to be available (33%) quicker than t... »

Over Half of UK Small Businesses Set to Enter New Markets by 2017

Over Half of UK Small Businesses Set to Enter New Markets by 2017

More than half of UK small and medium businesses plan to enter new overseas markets by 2017, with 34% looking to export and a further 30% hoping to tap into new markets in the UK, research by Albion Ventures has found. Of the 34% of firms that plan to expand overseas, the report found that 19% expect to export to markets outside of the EU while 15% are planning to stick to a single market. Medium-sized firms appear to be more ambitious than small companies when it comes to growth – 77% expect to target new markets in the next two years compared to 53% of small companies. In regards to sectors, manufacturing firms led the way with 75% planning to enter new markets, followed by marketing and advertising at 68% and IT/ telecoms at 56%. Regionally, London-based firms are the most likely to ent... »

Autumn Statement 2015: The Key Issues Impacting Small Business

Autumn Statement 2015: The Key Issues Impacting Small Business

Today, the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne unveiled the 2015 Autumn Statement– outlining the conservative government’s latest plans for the UK economy over the coming months Prior to the announcement, entrepreneurs called for more regional business support, initiatives to solve the UK’s skills shortage, boost access to finance and abolish Stamp Duty, and while not all wishes were granted – some were. Here, we’ve pulled together the key factors from the statement that will influence small businesses… Reformed business rates and small business rate relief George Osborne announced that uniform business rates will be eliminated and local government will get to keep revenue from business rates by 2020. This, according to the chancellor, is in order to give councils “the tools to driv... »

16% of the UK run part-time businesses

16% of the UK run part-time businesses

Almost a fifth of people in the UK now run a part-time business with the average part-time entrepreneur earning £16,000 a year and 12% earning over £49,000, a global report by e-commerce group Selz has found. Indicating a growing rise in entrepreneurialism, an additional 24% of workers have said they plan to launch a part-time venture “soon” in order to “seek out greater personal fulfilment and financial freedom”. According to the research, entitled ‘The Side Business Phenomena’, the majority of part-time entrepreneurs work an average of 14.5 hours per week and juggle business with their day-to-day career While financial gain was the main motivator for launching a part-time enterprise – with 57% admitting so – wanting “to do something that I love” followed closely at 45% and was the ... »

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