News

Our small business news section covers the latest reports, research, stories and updates on regulations that affect the UK’s small and medium enterprises.

Entrepreneurs Appointed To Department For Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy

Entrepreneurs Appointed To Department For Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy

The government has appointed four leading UK entrepreneurs to work as non-executive board members in the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS). Announced by business and energy secretary Greg Clark, Carolyn McCall, Kathryn Parsons, Stephen Carter and Stuart Quickenden will “provide oversight and challenge to the department in the development of policy and the management of resources.” With regards their current occupations, Dame Carolyn McCall is chief executive of easyjet, Kathryn Parsons is co-founder of DeCoded, Stephen A. Carter is group chief executive of Informa, while Stuart Quickenden is managing partner at Boston Consulting Group. Clark said: “These non-executive appointments to the board highlight the department’s commitment to strengthening our relations... »

Offline Businesses Could Generate £8.4bn A Year If They Go Digital

Offline Businesses Could Generate £8.4bn A Year If They Go Digital

UK small businesses that don’t have an online presence could generate £8.4bn a year for the UK economy if they went digital, according to a new report by eBay. The survey of 501 small enterprise owners revealed that 23% of all small firms have no means of selling their product or services online – despite the fact they could potentially receive increased revenue of around £20,000 if they did. It’s suggested more support is needed to help smaller enterprises embrace the opportunity that ecommerce presents. According to YouGov, 23% of small firms surveyed had no website, 40% no social media accounts and 72% had no online marketplace. Despite the obvious benefits of selling to customers all over the world, 57% of businesses without a website said they had no plans to change this in 2017, citi... »

Customer Service Suffers If Employees Don’t Feel Engaged

Customer Service Suffers If Employees Don’t Feel Engaged

UK small businesses are being warned that having unengaged workers can lead to problems with customer service, according to a report by Dragonfish. The survey of 1,200 employees revealed that 64% don’t believe the company they work for has a clear purpose, with the same number believing it solely exists to earn money. Trust appears to be another big issue for respondents, as just 40% have confidence in higher management with 58% of the belief their role has no bearing on the long term future of the business. It’s suggested a main consequence of such employee dis-engagement is decreased customer service, as just 32%of those surveyed see their colleagues ‘putting the customer first’ on a daily basis, while 33% believe their co-workers are good at understanding customer expectations. Richard ... »

“Making Tax Digital? Haven’t Heard of It!” Say 94% of Business Owners

“Making Tax Digital? Haven’t Heard of It!” Say 94% of Business Owners

94% of UK small business owners have no idea they’ll be able to pay and manage their taxes online in the coming years despite having problems with the current system, according to a report by 1Tap Receipts. The survey of self-employed workers revealed that an overwhelming majority have never heard of the government initiative Making Tax Digital, which plans to implement a fully digital tax system by 2020. The current system of self-declaration appears to be a significant burden for many small firm owners, as 45% of spend five hours or more completing their tax returns, while 22% spend over ten. Not surprisingly, 55% of those surveyed say they “don’t like” submitting their tax returns. Business owners are reminded that the tax self-assessment deadline of 31 January is vast approaching, with... »

47% of Business Owners Claim Their Bank Gave Them Bad Advice

47% of Business Owners Claim Their Bank Gave Them Bad Advice

47% of UK small business owners claim that advice they received from their bank had a negative impact on their enterprise, according to a report by Amicus Commercial Finance. The survey of 504 small business decision makers revealed that 16% admitted their firm is now in a worse position having accepted such recommendations – with 40% saying the service they’ve received in the past “isn’t good”. The relationship between small businesses and traditional lenders appears to be straining, with 30% of enterprise owners refusing to describe their bank as ‘helpful’, while 46% wouldn’t describe them as ‘flexible’ either. When quizzed about their biggest grievance with modern day banks, respondents cited having to deal with call centres as a means of customer service as the biggest – believing them... »

Foreign Shoppers Exploit Weak Pound By Spending Over £725m In UK Stores During December

Foreign Shoppers Exploit Weak Pound By Spending Over £725m In UK Stores During December

Foreign shoppers took advantage of the pound’s weak value by spending over £725m on the UK high street in December alone, according to research by Worldpay. Their study of foreign credit card transactions revealed that spending was up 22% or an extra £130m compared to Christmas 2015, with bargain-hunters from Hong Kong the biggest spenders followed by the US, United Arab Emirates and China. It’s suggested Britain’s decision to leave the EU in June was major factor in the increase in spend, with the pound dropping 8% against the dollar and 12% against the euro tempting ‘Brexit tourists’ to fly over from some good deals. This drop in value also presents an opportunity for exporters however, with oversea buyers now believing they’ll get more ‘bang for their buck’ if they buy UK goods. James F... »

Businesses Urged To Do More To Support Staff Financial Well-Being

Businesses Urged To Do More To Support Staff Financial Well-Being

UK business owners are being urged to make more efforts to support staff financially, as a report from CIPD and Close Brothers Asset Management has revealed the full extent of employee money woes. The survey of 1,817 British adults reports that 25% of respondents have a financial situation so bad that it affects their ability to work, with this figure rising to 31% among 18-24 year olds and 32% for those living in London. Surprisingly, such financial stress isn’t exclusive to low-income earners with 20% of employees earning between £45,000 and £59,999 admitting such anxiety has also impacted on their performance in work. When divided by gender, women are more likely than men to report money worries with 28% of females signalling they have such a problem, compared to just 23% of all males. ... »

Businesses Urged To Unlock Extra £473m In Interest

Businesses Urged To Unlock Extra £473m In Interest

UK small businesses are being urged to shop around for better banking deals and avail of an extra £473m worth of interest. A new study from Cambridge & Counties Bank has revealed that 30% of all business deposit accounts pay just 0.1% interest or less on balances of £25,000 – suggesting millions of small firms are getting a raw deal. Following the August rate cut by the Bank of England, the average rate available for such accounts has declined to 0.41%, 38% down from the start of the year – representing a missed opportunity for small businesses. UK small enterprises currently hold an estimated £69bn in deposit accounts, with business deposits up 3% from last year. Mike Kirsopp, chief executive officer at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “There is a significant spread of rates on th... »

35% of UK Entrepreneurs Lose Motivation to Run Their Business – At Least Once A Year

35% of UK Entrepreneurs Lose Motivation to Run Their Business – At Least Once A Year

35% of UK entrepreneurs lose the motivation to run their business at least once a year, according to a new report by Haines Watts. The survey of 514 UK business owners revealed that 53% said that financial worries was their biggest concern, and that their volume of work (43%) and responsibility to their staff (42%) was draining their passion for running an enterprise. An uneven work-life balance, experienced by 59% of respondents, also appears to be taking its toll on firm owners’ psychological wellbeing with 70% admitting they sometimes flirt with the idea of “doing something else.” Furthermore, business owners appear unable to leave their problems in the office as 38% say their relationship with their partner has suffered as a result of running their own company – with 30% saying t... »

Small Businesses Want To Change The Rules And Offer Workplace Pensions To Low-Earning Staff

Small Businesses Want To Change The Rules And Offer Workplace Pensions To Low-Earning Staff

A majority of UK small businesses would favour low-paid staff be included in the auto-enrolment process, and receive a workplace pension, according to a new report by YouGov. The survey of 398 small firms revealed that 51% would like to see the current salary cut-off point of £10,000 be lifted – while 60% believe all staff should be entitled to a workplace pension. 37% of respondents are currently paying above the minimum contribution of 1%, and it’s suggested that part-time workers, particularly women, would benefit the most if such a recommendation ever came to fruition. Over seven million workers have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension since the process started in 2012, with contributions from both employee and employer standing at a combined 2%, but set to rise to 8% ... »

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