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.

Late Payments Causing Small Businesses To Miss Out On £250bn In Liquid Cashflow

Late Payments Causing Small Businesses To Miss Out On £250bn In Liquid Cashflow

UK small businesses are missing out on £250bn worth of liquid cashflow due to late payments, according to a new report by Siemens Financial Services. It’s revealed that an average small to medium-sized enterprise spends 130 hours a year chasing outstanding invoices and overdue payments, equating to a cost of £10.8bn per year. When this figure is combined with the average value of unpaid invoices, it equates to £250bn. Small firms appear to suffer from this ‘late payment epidemic’ disproportionately more than larger enterprises, and its suggested that this is because they tend to be positioned towards the end of the supply chain. Invoice Finance and Your Small Business Indeed, firms with an annual turnover of under £1m wait on average 72 days for invoices to be paid, compared to just 53-54 ... »

Employee Complaints Cause Businesses To Sweat Over Pension Regulations

Employee Complaints Cause Businesses To Sweat Over Pension Regulations

UK businesses are becoming increasingly worried their not fully compliant with pension regulations, as their HR departments are fielding more and more employee complaints on the matter. According to a report by Portus Consulting, 35% of UK businesses are now worried they’re falling afoul of the law and leaving themselves open to possible legal action. In the past two years, 19% of all UK employees have contacted their employer about pension scheme issues with 4% complaining about the performance of their savings. Regardless of some employee dissatisfaction, workers appear to be relatively satisfied on a whole with their pension set-up however, with 48% saying the service they’re provided with is effective and just 15% branding it “disappointing”. Steve Watson, Portus Consulting commercial ... »

Triggering Of Article 50 Won’t Stop Consumers Buying Premium Goods

Triggering Of Article 50 Won’t Stop Consumers Buying Premium Goods

The triggering of Article 50 next week is unlikely to deter consumers from buying premium brands over the next two years, a new report has revealed. A survey from the Centre for Retail Research and Rakuten Marketing, which interviewed 1,000 UK consumers, has discovered that although consumer prices are rising at an annual rate of more than 3% – few shoppers have any intention of changing their spending habits. Just 6% of respondents claim they’d flat out refuse to buy an item if faced with a price increase of 10%, with 62% saying they’d purchase their favourite premium brand regardless. A tipping point does exist, however, as a 15% price would cause 21% of shoppers to switch to a cheaper competitor. An important consideration for ecommerce businesses, 57% of online buyers are not pre... »

Flexible Working Could Be Damaging Your Employees’ Health

Flexible Working Could Be Damaging Your Employees’ Health

Small business employees could be doing serious long term damage to their health by taking advantage of flexible working, according to a report by Furniture123.co.uk. The survey of 1,004 UK workers revealed that while 41% choose to work at home at least one day a week – the vast majority don’t operate in an office-like setting. In fact, just 19% sit in an actual chair like they would during a normal day, suggesting they could be doing untold harm to their posture by not sitting correctly for long periods. While 34% of those who work from home claim to do their work at a desk within their home, 24% admit to carry out their role while lying on their couch. Millennial workers aged between 18 and 24 are the most likely not to work in an appropriate setup, with just 13% using an actual desk. Wh... »

‘Catch 22’ Situation Preventing Business Owners From Hiring Apprentices

‘Catch 22’ Situation Preventing Business Owners From Hiring Apprentices

UK small businesses owners are caught in a catch 22 situation when it comes to hiring young staff, as 40% say a lack of experience puts them off recruiting young applicants. According to a report by Direct Line for Business, businesses are hesitant to employ someone with little experience, while young jobseekers are finding it hard to gain such experience as businesses won’t hire them. Other reasons why small firms are reluctant to take on younger workers include a fear they will leave after a short period of time (24%) and that the cost of training them is prohibitive (21%). It appears this hesitation may somewhat influcned by previous experiences, as 16% of respondents try to avoid hiring anyone below 21 due to problems they encountered when they previously hired young staff. There is cu... »

These Are The 5 Ways Your Employees Can Become More Resilient

These Are The 5 Ways Your Employees Can Become More Resilient

Low-levels of resilience among UK employees are affecting small business growth, a new repot has revealed. According to a survey by AXA PPP healthcare, half of all UK employees admit that their inability to pick themselves up from bad situations affects their long-term performances. Over 66% of respondents want to change this however, as just 15% rated the UK population’s general level of resilience as high, compared with 42% who scored it as low. Motivation (56%), responding to change (51%) and workplace performance (50%) are the three things people think are most likely to be adversely affected by having low levels of resilience, though there are steps employers can take to help. AXA PPP’s five plan to boost resilience is: Work on your Emotional Intelligence: Be open and honest talking a... »

Consumers Buying British As Supermarkets Take On More Local Suppliers

Consumers Buying British As Supermarkets Take On More Local Suppliers

Small businesses who produce authentic British goods are seeing as surge in popularity as consumers are becoming more conscious of supporting local suppliers. According to the Buying British in 2017 report from GS1 UK, which surveyed its 31,000 members, the proportion of businesses with turnover of £500,000 or less rose from 58% to 78% in 2016, suggesting consumers are turning towards smaller businesses. When broken down by sector, the apparel industry reported the strongest growth with 21% of these fast-growing businesses coming from this industry, as British consumers become more socially-conscious about foreign sweatshops. Food and groceries was the second highest preforming sector, accounting for 12% of new GS1 members and 20% of its UK total. As sales of local craft beer continues to ... »

Consumer Spending Increases As Services Sector Sees Surge

Consumer Spending Increases As Services Sector Sees Surge

UK consumer spending rose by 1.5% in February, with shoppers’ appetite for the services sector a major driving factor – a new report by Visa has revealed. After hitting a five-month low in January (+0.4%), four out of the eight broad spending sectors reported an increase in growth – with recreation and culture (+3.3%), goods and services (+2.0%), and hotels, restaurants and bars (+1.2%) the best preforming. Expenditure through e-commerce channels also increased by +3.2%, while face-to-face spending dropped by -3.0%, highlighting the importance of businesses being online. Meeting Consumer Need for Speed: In-Store and Online Clothing and footwear was the worst-performing sector, with transport and communication also reporting lower spending in February. Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ir... »

Half of All Businesses Spend £1,000 A Month On Energy, As Workers Wish Employers Would Go Green

Half of All Businesses Spend £1,000 A Month On Energy, As Workers Wish Employers Would Go Green

49% of UK small business owners spend a £1,000 or more on energy every month, according to a report by Make it Cheaper. The survey into the eco-habits of entrepreneurs revealed that 31% say that their office doesn’t take any extra steps in making their business more environmentally friendly, while 18% don’t consider how energy efficient equipment is when they buy it. When employees were asked about their bosses commitment to the environment, its revealed that bosses may even be less green than they think, as 67% of small business employees say their bosses take no extra steps to ensure they consume less energy. On the occasions when businesses are proactive about the environment, the most popular measures taken are closing windows when the heating is on (47%), using energy saving light bul... »

Bigger Exporting Businesses ‘Concerned’ About Future – But Small Firms Report ‘Business As Usual’

Bigger Exporting Businesses ‘Concerned’ About Future – But Small Firms Report ‘Business As Usual’

Larger exporting businesses were more concerned post-Brexit than smaller domestic firms, a report by BDRC Continental has revealed. Its SME Finance Monitor, which surveyed over 100,000 UK small businesses, found that 70% of smaller enterprises said that nether political or economic uncertainty posed any barrier in Q4 2016 – suggesting many were unhinged by the EU referendum result. The reaction among larger businesses, with between 50-249 employees, was significantly different however – with 35% worried about the economic climate and 32% worried about the political one in the same quarter. Despite shrugging off any Brexit concerns, smaller respondents were less confident of expanding their operations over the next 12 months, as just 43% said they expected to grow – compared to 49% in 2013.... »

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