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.

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.... »

Welsh Businesses ‘Look Towards The World’ As Government Hosts Export Summit

Welsh Businesses ‘Look Towards The World’ As Government Hosts Export Summit

The UK government has hosted an export summit to help small businesses in Wales export their products across the globe. The Wales Business Export Summit, which was held in Cardiff City Hall yesterday, saw more than 50 Welsh enterprises attend – with representatives from the Wales Office and the Department for International Trade hosting. Attendees received practical advice on applying for export grants, market intelligence and intellectual property (IP) among other things. 4,000 small businesses in Wales exported for the first time in 2015, with the value of Welsh exports hitting £11.6bn in 2015. Speaking on the challenges Brexit could have for Welsh businesses, Alun Cairns, secretary of state for Wales, said: “We recognised that this [Brexit] would provide some challenges for all We... »

A Bridge Too Tsar? Business Owners Skeptical Late Payments Minister Can Solve Cashflow Crisis

A Bridge Too Tsar? Business Owners Skeptical Late Payments Minister Can Solve Cashflow Crisis

UK business owners don’t believe the impending arrival of a late payment tsar will do anything to help ensure small firms and freelancers are paid on time, according to a report by FreeAgent. The survey revealed that just 2% of UK freelancers and micro-businesses believe the forthcoming commissioner will have any impact whatsoever, with 57% of respondents not even aware the position was due to be filled. The is currently a ‘cashflow crisis’ in the small enterprise space, with just 51% of all invoices paid on time in 2015. Initially announced in July 2015, by then business minister Anna Soubry, its envisioned the tsar will help tackle the payment “imbalance” between small and larger firms by providing advice and support on how to avoid and resolve disputes, offering access to mediation serv... »

More Diverse Workforce Could Generate £24bn For UK Economy

More Diverse Workforce Could Generate £24bn For UK Economy

The UK economy would receive a £24bn boost if workplaces were more diverse, a new report has found. The Baroness McGregor-Smith Review, published by Baroness McGregor-Smith CBE, has suggested that UK GDP would increase by 1.3% annually if black and minority (BME) workers were given the same opportunities as their white colleagues. Currently, BME employees are more likely to be in low-paid, low-skilled positions – despite the fact they are more likely to have a degree. Just 6% of BMEs currently reach senior management positions, and have a 12% lower employment rate than their white counterparts. In a bid to help increase equality and diversity in business, enterprises with more than 50 employees have been urged to: Publish a breakdown of their workforce by race and pay band Draw up five-yea... »

The Business Terms Entrepreneurs Don’t Understand

The Business Terms Entrepreneurs Don’t Understand

UK small enterprise owners are refusing to apply for business loans, because they’re too intimidated by financial jargon. A report by LDF has revealed that 48% of business owners opted against asking their bank for financial assistance, because they wouldn’t have understood certain terminology. Just 15% believe they’re familiar enough with banking terms to feel confident in negotiations, with this language barrier touted as a reason why there is a late payment epidemic worth £26bn among British businesses. Interestingly, older entrepreneurs seem more bullish than their younger counterparts – with 79% of over 55 year olds refusing to hold back on applying for loans due to this problem. The most misunderstood terms are: 1. CAPEX (33%) 2. ROCE (31.4%) 3. Ebitda (30.4%) 4. COGS (30%) 5. Arbitr... »

Digital Strategy To Provide Businesses With Free Training To Make UK World Leader

Digital Strategy To Provide Businesses With Free Training To Make UK World Leader

The UK government has today launched a ‘Digital Strategy’, which will see businesses provided with free digital skills training in order to make the UK a world leader in tech. Announced by secretary of state for culture, media and sport Karen Bradley, five international tech hubs will be created in emerging markets to develop partnerships between UK businesses and local tech firms. Among the business-focused initiatives include the creation of a ‘Business Connectivity Forum’ which will see local authorities and enterprises work together to improve broadband availability, a new competition to spark the development of new fintech products, and confirmation of the £1bn investment in 5G announced in the Autumn Statement. A ‘Digital Skills Partnership’ will see also see government and businesse... »

No 3 Minute Warning: Businesses Held Ransom By Online Hackers Who Can Attack In Seconds

No 3 Minute Warning: Businesses Held Ransom By Online Hackers Who Can Attack In Seconds

UK small businesses are being urged to protect themselves from ransomware, which can attack in seconds and cost victims thousands of pounds. Under the cyber-attack, online hackers can shut down a company’s website and encrypt its data before asking for large sums of money to release the information. According to a new study by Timico, 74% of all businesses held to ransom said the attack had an instant impact, with their data systems going from fully functional to essentially useless within seconds. 26% of those surveyed said their systems were paralysed within a few seconds, 21% reported under a minute, while a further 27% said the criminals took hold of their system within a few minutes. When it comes to the consequences of such attacks, businesses are losing more than just time – as they... »

Rural Businesses Receive Vouchers To Boost Broadband

Rural Businesses Receive Vouchers To Boost Broadband

Rural small businesses will receive up to £3,000 worth of broadband vouchers in a new government initiative aimed at increasing connectivity in smaller areas. Expected to be announced at the next budget on March 8 2017, its hoped the move will benefit tens of thousands of businesses who are currently subjected to poor internet access and slow online speeds. Similar to a previous scheme that ceased in October 2015, the vouchers will be used as an incentive for broadband providers to step up their offering in affected areas, and its hoped firms will group together to maximize spend. It’s envisioned the move will help the government reach its goal of providing internet speeds of 10mbps to every UK citizen, as a legal right, by 2020. Just last January, it was revealed that slow broadband was t... »

Calls For National Living Wage To Be Scrapped

Calls For National Living Wage To Be Scrapped

Calls have been made to scrap plans for the National Living Wage (NLW) as it’s suggested its implementation could lead to unemployment. A report from the Adam Smith Institute says that as businesses will need to fund the wage increases themselves, there’s a possibility they’ll hire fewer workers, automate certain processes, rise consumer prices or outsource their work abroad to make up the costs. If prices are increased, it’s argued that this will disproportionately affect the least well off in society as the cost of living will be increased. Around 5% of the UK workforce is currently paid the minimum wage, but this proportion is set to grow as the NLW rises from £7.50 in 2017 to £9.02 by 2020 Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute and co-author of the paper, said: “We ... »

You’re Hired: 96% of Businesses Report Apprentice Benefits

You’re Hired: 96% of Businesses Report Apprentice Benefits

96% of businesses say hiring an apprentice has brought at least one benefit to their business, according to research from the Department for Education (DfE). 202,000 new apprentices are expected to be taken on in the next 12 months, with current trainee-friendly businesses reporting a number of positive outcomes directly related to their fledgling worker. Apprenticeship Levy: What You Need to Know Over 75% of firms that employ novice workers report increased productivity thanks to product/service improvement, while more than 24,000 private enterprises say that hiring a beginner has actually helped them win business. National Apprentice Week runs from March 6-10 which helps raise awareness of the opportunities apprenticeships can offer school leavers, graduates and the unemployed. Mike Cher... »

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