National Federation of Enterprise Agencies

Business TV has Little Relevance for Small Business

Most business television programmes hold little relevance for small firms ― that is the message from business groups as new series of Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice are set to be screened.  An eighth series of BBC2’s Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs pitch for funding, is due in the coming months, while the new Junior Apprentice, in which ten potential Lord Alan Sugar protégés aged 16-17 compete for a £25,000 career development fund, starts on BBC1 on Wednesday May 12. The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies’ chief executive, George Derbyshire, said that people turn on The Apprentice for the fireworks rather than the business lessons. “The ultra-competitive approach you see on The Apprentice is not always a good trick ... »

Small Firms Cant Afford a  Period of political horse-trading

Small Firms Cant Afford a Period of political horse-trading

Business groups have warned that the uncertainty of a hung parliament will jeopardise the ability of small firms to plan ahead, and stressed that they can’t afford a period of political horse-trading. With the election result remaining uncertain and no party winning enough seats to form an overall majority, the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BBC) director of policy, Dr Adam Marshall, said businesses are concerned how a hung parliament could affect the business environment. “The business community expects the parties to put political horse-trading to one side and put the UK economy at the heart of their thinking,” he said. “Strong leadership and consensus are required to deal with the serious threats still facing the economy.” Commenting on the Greek eco... »

Small Firms use Downturn to Create Opportunities

More than a quarter of small businesses are using the economic downturn to seize new business opportunities, according to the Tenon Forum. Their research has revealed that 29% of small businesses say they are benefiting from the downturn. Of these, 40% have taken clients from competitors, 13% have bought assets or stock at a competitive price, and 7% have acquired other businesses. According to Tenon director of recovery Martin Austin, small firms can also benefit from the downturn by recruiting staff from other businesses. “There are opportunities in every sector, but conversely the worst–hit sectors are the ones where there is perhaps the most opportunity, in terms of picking up contracts or buying competitors.” “Whether or not a business can take these opportunit... »

Baby to Business Man

Firstborn more likely to start Business

People starting their own business are more likely to have been born the first child in a family and have at least one sibling, according to research by Alliance & Leicester (A&L). The A&L survey of more than 800 small–business owners revealed that entrepreneurs’ childhood experiences can play an important part in the skills they develop. The research found 60% of business owners are the eldest child in their family (which may have given them the confidence needed to strike out on their own), while 85% have had the chance to develop leadership skills because they grew up with younger brothers or sisters. Steve Jennings, A&L director of business banking said: “The research shows that some types of people are more likely to take the leap into business than... »

Smes Expanding Dispite Credit Crunch

Resilient SMEs expanding despite Credit Crunch

More than half of small–business owners have no plans to curb their growth or avoid employing new staff because of the economic downturn, according to insurance firm Hiscox. The Hiscox survey of 350 UK business owners found 52 per cent were not planning to stop their plans to expand. Hiscox UK underwriting manager, John Heaney said; “At a time when big firms are announcing profit warnings, refinancing and job losses, small–business owners are bucking the trend,” said Hiscox UK underwriting manager, John Heaney. “It’s encouraging to see businesses remain positive in the downturn.” However, Heaney also cautioned against over–optimism in a difficult market. “There are pluses – it might be a good time to negotiate on property, for exa... »

Recession Arrow

SMEs Best-Equipped to Cope With Recession

Small businesses are better-equipped to survive recession than larger organisations, claims the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University. The centre’s director of research Professor Robert Blackburn said: “Small firms are generally much more flexible than large firms. They are more likely to be able to quickly reduce their costs and outflows, unlike the larger organisation which may have to undergo major structural adjustments to re-align its activities with a decline in market demand”. “The ability of SMEs to make temporary changes, such as reducing the pay of the owner–managers, makes them more able to adapt to adverse market conditions”, according to Blackburn. “Small firms are more resilient than some commentators would lead us to ... »

Start-ups undeterred by economic problems

The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) has stressed that new start-up figures prove entrepreneurs are undeterred by the state of the economy. According to the Barclays quarterly survey, there were 98,000 new start-up businesses in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 86,400 in the fourth quarter of 2007. The most popular industries for start-ups were business and financial services, construction and retail. “It’s encouraging to see the numbers of new businesses holding up in these worrying times, which is a tribute to the determination and persistence of the current generation of entrepreneurs,” said NFEA chief executive George Derbyshire. “No-one with a sound idea, a solid business plan and the right skills need be deterred b... »