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Small Businesses Not Upgrading Old PCs

Small businesses are risking their productivity by not updating computers before they become outdated, research has found. The survey of 600 IT managers in small firms by research organisation Vanson Bourne and published in the Mozy Technology-refresh pages found that 70 per cent failed to keep to the three-year “refresh cycle” for PCs as recommended by experts. The study also revealed that the average age of a computer in a small business is five years and two months. Most small firms have abandoned scheduled refresh cycles due to the economic climate. “The three-year refresh cycle is still something we would recommend — it’s the time over which a desktop PC will go from being average to being extremely slow.” said IT expert Craig Sharp, managing director of Abussi Ltd, adding... »

Client Retention a Big Worry for SMEs

Despite recent signs of economic growth and a reported upturn on the horizon, a staggering 63% of UK business owners continue to worry about losing clients. While struggling to cope with ongoing recessionary pressures, UK business owners are being forced to focus on client retention to ensure their firms stay afloat, according to new research from the leading business finance provider, Bibby Financial Services. The survey, designed to investigate the recessionary attitudes and behaviour of more than 300 business owners from a range of sectors across the UK also showed that, rather than chasing new revenue streams, half (50%) of UK firms are aiming to build better relationships with existing clients and almost two thirds (63%) are now scrutinising suppliers more carefully. More positively, ... »

NHS Plus Adviceline for Small Businesses goes National

A free ‘Health for Work’ Adviceline for small businesses, delivered by NHS Plus, has been extended nationally, following operation in seven locations across England since 7 December 2009. Small business employers can now directly access free and professional occupational health advice to help with individual employee health issues by calling 0800 0 77 88 44. Intervening early can help an employee with a health condition stay at work or return to work more quickly, so minimising the impact on the business. The effect that employee absenteeism and ill health has on profitability can often be overlooked in a small business, due to the daily demands of establishing and growing the business. The cost of unexpected absences among employees should not be underestimated. Working-age il... »

Coldest Winter in 31 Years Costs Small Businesses

Coldest Winter in 31 Years Costs Small Businesses

UK small businesses are facing combined losses of more than £7 billion following the coldest winter since 1979, research by Lloyds TSB Commercial has found. The survey of 1,000 small businesses found that 70% had their trade affected by the extreme weather conditions. The research also highlighted that 39% were directly affected (forced to close their premises or cut off by snow and ice), while 42% were indirectly affected (disrupted supplies and deliveries). Only 23% of firms remained unscathed, while seven per cent said the big freeze had actually helped their business. “Businesses have faced a double blow over the past six months,” said Lloyds TSB Commercial head of external affairs, Stephen Pegge. “They have had to grapple with the downturn in trade as a result ... »

Better Bookkeeping for Small Business

Watch this live webTV show for all you need to know about the benefits of good record keeping. Show date: Wednesday 17th March Show time: 9pm One in three small and medium sized businesses fail to take reasonable care when it comes to bookkeeping. This can cause problems for your business, but on the flip side, retaining a close eye on your paperwork can have big benefits for cash flow and profitability. Are you one of the 1.5m small or medium sized businesses whose poor record keeping is preventing your company from making the money it could be? Well, now there are shows on TV and here online to help you out. “The Business Inspector”, a new 4-part TV series launching on Five at 8pm on Wednesday 17th March, aims to remind small businesses of the importance of keeping good recor... »

The Future of Business report

Green Credentials are Top Priority for Firms

Businesses will need to respond to growing consumer concerns about the environment if they are to succeed in the next two decades, according a new report by HSBC. HSBC’s The Future of Business report, which forecasts major changes on the UK business landscape over the next 20 years, predicts that firms will have to show their corporate social responsibility (CSR) ethically and environmentally. “By law businesses are likely to have to demonstrate a level of sustainability, not just in terms of conserving energy but how ethical they are,” said the author of the report Martin Raymond. “Firms can gain credibility with customers by communicating to them what they are doing to be more sustainable,” he said. “Customers are increasingly demanding a high level of... »

Business Angels: How to make Profit from Risk

New research published today by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in collaboration with the BBAA (British Business Angels Association) reports for the first time that Business Angels stand to make a substantial profit from investing in start-ups, with an average Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 22% over four years, compared with 27% IRR in the US. Business Angels – investors who put personal money directly into young unquoted companies – are a significant source of early stage finance. But despite their increasing importance, little is known about their outcomes and returns in the UK. The report reviewed 1,080 investments. More than half were directed at very early stage, pre-revenue start-ups – the riskiest time of a company’s life. Th... »

Recession spawns new breed of Business owner

First we had the Super SME now it’s the Super Entrepreneur. Natural selection is not only confined to the theories of Darwin according to a new study which has unearthed a new breed of business owner, fit to survive the current recession and well into the future. The research*, from leading independent invoice financier Bibby Financial Services, revealed that these super entrepreneurs are evolving because of the downturn, with 79% of small and medium-sized firms making, or planning to make, positive steps in order to survive and face economic uncertainty head on. Cash is king when it comes to this new business breed with 69% of owners and managers claiming the recession has encouraged them to keep a closer eye on their finances. With seven in 10 firms experiencing a deterioration in ... »

Government should help small business not just big business

> Governments challenged to do as much for small businesses as they do for listed companies Governments need to invest as much effort in supporting small businesses as they have in supporting the large listed companies claims ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). In a report launched today (12th March), the global body for professional accountants also urges countries to share best practice on how best to support their small businesses as it is this sector which will be critical to economic recovery. Its policy paper Supporting Enterprise Globally says that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) around the world face similar obstacles, including limited resources, management capacity and lack of bargaining power compared with large companies. Despite the very different bu... »

Business Advice Webchat

There’s an ongoing and growing concensus that the government needs to do far more to help UK small business with everything from business grants for renewable energy to cutting red tape and reducing taxes. Luckily there are some great resources for business advice on the web and with so many entrepreneurs each year starting up in business these start-ups need a forum to consult for advice. For that very reason Mick Hegarty, small business expert at BT Business, is joining Webchats TV to help you get the most out of your business. Mick will be talking about the "dos and don’ts" of running your own business, be dispensing epxert advice about the best information and services to help small firms maximise productivity and minimise time-wasting so that you can get on with ... »