Shane Donnelly's Posts

How to Hire the Brightest Graduates for Your Business

How to Hire the Brightest Graduates for Your Business

With a high level of ambition and training in independent work and critical thinking, a graduate can give your business a bright, fresh approach recent university graduates are a good option for a business in any sector. This article will tell you: How to find the best graduates The benefits and risks of recruiting graduates How to train and keep graduates What are the considerations I should have in mind when deciding whether to employ a graduate? While employing a graduate will mostly be a positive experience there are certain pitfalls you need to be aware of. Advantages Their main benefits to a business are their drive and ambition – they’ll be keen to prove themselves and will probably work harder to do so. They’ll also develop a strong sense of loyalty, as it’ll most likely be their f... »

UK Small Businesses Lose Money for Failing to Adjust Clocks

UK Small Businesses Lose Money for Failing to Adjust Clocks

UK small businesses lost nearly £14,000 last week after failing to adjust their clocks to summer time, according to a new report out today by the Small Firms Index (SFI). A survey of 1,500 small businesses found that over a third (34%) reported at least one employee arriving for work an hour late, leading to a drop in productivity and output. 16% of business owners surveyed said they had missed important meetings while a further 3% admitted they had lost business as they were too late for international conference calls. The report comes just one day after it was revealed UK businesses are falling short on digital skills training and will no doubt serve as a further blow for enterprises trying to crack the international market. Ian Brass, managing director of SFI said: “While only a once of... »

How to Manage Subsidised Loans as a Small Business

How to Manage Subsidised Loans as a Small Business

Obtaining a loan as a small business is notoriously tricky as many don’t have the valuable assets needed to provide security for a bank. Subsidised loan schemes like the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme could provide just the lifeline you need to obtain finance when it is difficult to come by elsewhere. This guide includes: A guide to the subsidised and guaranteed loan schemes available in the UK Information about the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme How you can find a local or bank-supported loan guarantee scheme elsewhere Tips on how to boost your eligibility for a subsidised loan Where to go for further help and advice What is the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme and does my business qualify? The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme is delivered by the B... »

UK Businesses Falling Short on Digital Skills Training

UK Businesses Falling Short on Digital Skills Training

UK small businesses are ‘not doing enough’ to boost employee digital competence, according to a report by Barclays. The survey of both employees and employers found that small firms are only spending an average of £109 annually per employee on digital skills training – leaving themselves at risk of falling behind foreign competitors. Over a third (34%) of the businesses surveyed admitted they found it difficult to implement the right training to digitally up-skill staff, and 45% said they felt their older employees were slower to pick up the required skillsets than younger recruits. The report highlighted  fears that UK small enterprises will be left behind in the ‘digital revolution’ with 40% of small businesses having revealed that they rely on graduates and younger employees for t... »

23% of Small Businesses Find It ‘Almost Impossible’ to Cover All Areas of Marketing

23% of Small Businesses Find It ‘Almost Impossible’ to Cover All Areas of Marketing

Almost a quarter of all UK small business owners are struggling to cover all areas of their marketing, according to a report by PeoplePerHour. 41% of respondents to the survey admitted that they found difficulty in amending low Pay-per-click (PPC) rates, while 37% said recent changes to how Google ranks websites has meant that they are struggling with search engine optimisation (SEO). Social media marketing was singled out by 27% of small business owners as difficult, with 34% admitting that email marketing is ‘notoriously difficult’ due to the tendency for emails to be regarded as spam. 22% identified using telesales without irritating customers as an issue and 18% said they felt that their content marketing wasn’t good enough to encourage repeat custom. Some 64% also said that measuring ... »

Support for Brexit Growing Among UK Business Owners

Support for Brexit Growing Among UK Business Owners

Just 63% of UK small business owners wish to remain in the EU compared to 82% last year, suggesting support for a Brexit is growing – according to a report by the Business Growth Fund (BFG). The survey of 320 small enterprise owners found that 71% believe the UK’s EU membership gives British businesses invaluable access to European markets, while 59% said they were concerned that a potential Brexit would stifle business growth. If Britain does vote to leave the EU, 47% believe it will prompt multinational companies to relocate operations overseas with 71% believing that it will trigger another Scottish independence referendum. Reflecting frustration with the EU, more than two-thirds of respondents (69%) claim that Britain’s membership of the EU saddles British business with unnecessa... »

Number of Small Businesses Granted Government Loans at All-Time Low

Number of Small Businesses Granted Government Loans at All-Time Low

The number of small businesses being granted loans via the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme has fallen to an all-time low, according to a report by Boost Capital. Figures from the British Business Bank show that just 446 companies were granted a loan to a total value of £55.7m in the last quarter of 2015. This compares to 2,030 loans drawn between April and June 2009 – at its peak – at a value of £201.6m. Only 1, 835 small businesses received EFG-backed loans during the whole of 2015. The scheme, which sees the government act a guarantor to small and medium business loans, will be extended until at least 2018 following last week’s budget announcement. Alex Littner, managing director at Boost Capital, said: “The budget was positioned with small businesses at its ... »

Small Businesses Encouraged to Adopt More Employee Incentives

Small Businesses Encouraged to Adopt More Employee Incentives

UK small businesses are more likely to retain staff and keep them happy by offering practical employee incentives, according to reports by Direct365 and the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM). When asked what incentives they would prefer, 35% of small business employees said they wanted their employers to introduce flexible working, 27% opted for a company car, 14% said they would prefer gym membership, while 6% said they would like childcare vouchers. 61% of those surveyed said they did not believe they received enough perks in their current job. More alarmingly, the research found that, of 2,000 employees, 17% of those surveyed were even looking for new employment as they felt underappreciated in their current role. Phil Turner, head of digital at Direct365, said of the resea... »

70% of the North’s Small Firms Don’t Believe in ‘Northern Powerhouse’

70% of the North’s Small Firms Don’t Believe in ‘Northern Powerhouse’

70% of small businesses in the North don’t believe George Osborne will create a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, according to a report by MarketInvoice and Censuswide. The survey of over 1,000 small firms found that over half (56%) of small business owners believe that the government is not genuinely committed to increasing investment in the Northern region. When asked if the chancellor of the exchequer had done enough to support them, only 4% of business owners said he had. New initiatives for the ‘devolution revolution’ announced during the Budget 2016 included £60m dedicated to the development of the new High Speed 3 (HS3) rail link between Manchester and Leeds, £75m to develop plans for a new trans-Pennine road tunnel and £20m a year of new funding dedicated to schools in the Northern Powerhouse... »

UK Small Business Optimism at Lowest Level in Three Years

UK Small Business Optimism at Lowest Level in Three Years

UK small business confidence for January to March 2016 is at its lowest level since 2013, according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). A survey of small business owners, the report argued that the introduction of the national living wage (NLW), pensions auto-enrolment, and plans to introduce mandatory quarterly digital tax reporting, were contributing to the negative outlook. The uncertainty of the global economy and the UK’s position within the EU were also suggested as possible factors in the drop off in business optimism. Scottish and Northern Irish business owners were found to be the least confident in the UK, with the fall most noticeable in London and the East of England. In Wednesday’s Budget, George Osborne unveiled a number of tax breaks for small businesses... »

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