Business Blog


StartUp Loans: Why Raising the Age Limit is So Desperately Needed

The first small business news story of the day today is that Lord Young, David Cameron’s Enterprise Adviser, wants to raise the age limit on StartUp Loans. This is a great idea and I’ll explain why… »

Do SMEs Have an Unfulfilled Wish to Borrow?

Previously we have examined the behaviour of the one in three of SMEs that don’t use or want external finance – the ‘permanent non-borrower’. This time we look at the 7% (one in 15) of SMEs that wanted finance but got stopped on the journey – what we define as the ‘would-be seekers’ of finance. Data comes from the SME Finance Monitor, a large-scale research study established in 2011 to provide robust, reliable, and independent data on the issue – from the SME perspective. The next wave of the SME Finance Monitor is published in June 2013. »

Latest News from the SME Finance Monitor

The latest SME Finance Monitor report, based on interviews up to the end of December 2012, was published on the 7th of March. It’s not possible to do justice to the wealth of data it contains in the space available (, but here are some key headlines: The blurring of business and personal finance 54% of SMEs interviewed in Q4 have some personal element within their business finance. This is more common for those with 0 employees (59%), declining with size to 14% of those with 50-249 employees. “Personal” in this context includes using a personal bank account, having or applying for a facility in a personal name or, most commonly, an injection of personal funds. »

Not All SMEs Want to Borrow Money

Introducing the ‘Permanent non-borrowers’ (PNBs) Much has been made of the various initiatives for encouraging more lending to SMEs by banks to boost the UK economy. Adding weight to the debate is the SME Finance Monitor, a quarterly study set up to provide robust, reliable, and neutral data on the issue from the SME’s perspective. With six waves already published, and the seventh due out in early March, the Monitor provides a wealth of insight into this key issue, such as the fact that not all SMEs use, or want to use, external finance. »

Time to Stop Fiddling Expenses

The days when businesses could put their faith in employee honesty are fast fading. Years of political expenses scandals and perceived corruption in the banking sector have set a dangerous moral precedent, triggering dramatic changes in the culture surrounding corporate expenditure. But is society taking its moral lead from those at the top asks Sanjay Parekh, Managing Director at webexpenses? A quarter of employees reckon it is okay to fiddle work expenses – because they are underpaid and undervalued. »

How Can SMEs Fight Back Against Late Payments?

By Sue Hayes, Managing Director, Barclays Business banking Almost every small and medium sized business in the country will have experienced late payments from customers at some point in their life span, and 85% of SMEs admit they’ve experienced this problem in the last two years. But what is the best way to tackle this problem? For many business owners it can be very difficult to decide whether to take any action at all, and if they do so, what the best course of action is. »

Top Tips on Steps SMEs can take before Applying for Finance

Contrary to some perceptions, most applications for bank loans or overdrafts are successful, but there are certain types of application and applicant that are less likely to end the process with a facility. Data from the SME Finance Monitor provides pointers to steps SMEs can take before they apply for finance, to improve their chances of success… Since the SME Finance Monitor started in the Spring of 2011, SMEs have provided details of more than 5,000 applications for new or renewed loan or overdraft facilities. »

Why Bother With Budgets?

Here we go again, it’s year end and budgets time – why bother? John Sollars of reflects on his dislike of doing budgets and questions their value. If there is one job I really hate at this time of year it is doing my budgets for next year. I know that theoretically you need something to measure yourself against, some plan which you can show to important people when needed, but I have to ask occasionally – am I wasting significant amounts of time looking at spreadsheets which won’t actually benefit me? »

Bean Counters to Business Leaders?

Finance teams are still finding their bearings in the 21st Century business, as ever-changing technology, legislation and new approaches to outsourcing apply unrelenting pressure. But despite that, Michael Richards, Chairman at WebExpenses, argues that once Finance teams find their feet, the only direction they’re going, is up. »

Alternatives to High Street Banks

Philip George, the interim CEO of Shawbrook Bank shares his thoughts on the alternatives to high street banks… It’s no surprise that so many small businesses have lost faith in the banking sector.  With a constant flow of stories highlighting the failure of banks to lend to or support SMEs, it’s easy to see why. »

Page 2 of 212