small business news

Small Businesses Now Rely on Flexible Workers to Fill Skills Gap

Small Businesses Now Rely on Flexible Workers to Fill Skills Gap

The majority of the UK’s small businesses now depend on flexible workers, including freelancers, project and part-time staff, to counter the UK’s skills shortage. According to research by Indeed, which featured 250 small and medium businesses, small business owners are also hiring flexible staff to help scale their business and expand – 44% of those surveyed see freelancers as a route to scale-up. Business owners are using freelance staff in order to compete with larger firms for talent as 39% said that giving the staff the option to work flexibly had helped them to attract skilled talent. However, the number of firms using flexible staff did vary according to region, with only 25% of companies in London using freelance staff – a stark contrast to 93% of small firms in the North West – sug... »

Number of Overseas Investments by UK Businesses up 13%

Business confidence on the rise as more firms invest overseas with transactions doubling to £69.5bn in 2014 – the highest in seven years UK business overseas investment rose by 13% this year, with outbound deals up from 502 to 566, according to a new report. The research, released by global information company Experian, revealed the value of transactions has doubled in 2014, totalling £69.5bn compared to £33.9bn in 2013. The findings also highlighted what regions and industries conducted the greatest number of overseas investments as well as what type of deals were most popular. In regards to the busiest sectors, manufacturing lead the way with a total of £23bn worth of international deals; followed by professional, scientific and technical services (£13.3bn) and the information and commun... »

Family Main Source of Advice for 400,000 Small Businesses

Guidance on new legislation is top concern for small business owners yet many fail to seek expert advice A new survey has revealed that one in 10 small and mid-sized business owners rely on advice from family members as their first port of call, despite their top worries concerning guidance on new legislation, finance and HR. The survey, conducted by Sage One, revealed that new legislation – such as the Auto-Enrolment Act – is the biggest concern for businesses with 20% of respondents stating so. This was followed by advice on finance (14%) and HR (13%). The majority of businesses seem confident in their company’s marketing strategy – with only 9% naming it as a top worry. Though the research shows that some small and medium-sized firms are seeking advice from experts – 56% looking to acco... »

10 Ethical Practices that Garner Good PR

10 Ethical Practices that Garner Good PR

Ensure research and statistics are genuine and based on a viable and relevant sample The PR team for a high-profile beauty product received negative media attention when they issued a press release claiming to have worked with a team of Cambridge mathematicians to analyse which female celebrity had the sexiest walk. The story secured national media coverage but it later emerged that the survey had been carried out internally at the PR agency and the results had been pre-defined, causing significant embarrassment for all concerned. Secure approval of any third-party info from the person or company in question Related to the story above, the Professor quoted in the press release had not given his approval of the copy and later denounced it as factually incorrect and misleading, further discr... »

Customer Credit Checks Essential in Christmas Sales Rush

Small businesses need to ensure they credit check customers in the run up to Christmas or risk selling to individuals and firms which later prove unable to pay, a debt recovery firm has warned. Carole Hughes, Managing Director of debt recovery firm Daniels Silverman, said that as the Christmas season goes into full swing, and shoppers rush to beat the January VAT increase, many small businesses are neglecting credit checking procedures. “Small firms will pay the price later as customers default on payments for goods received in December. A sale is not a sale until paid in full. However, we see many small firms that, buoyed by the prospect of a sale, have failed to follow the fundamental credit checks to ensure they are dealing with a reputable company or individual, capable of fulfil... »

PAYE – The System Can No Longer be Trusted

Taxpayers should be given a sympathetic hearing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) must ensure it is able to deal with the inevitable flood of queries from tax payers who are concerned that they may have to pay up for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) mistakes, says the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). ACCA’s head of taxation Chas Roy-Chowdhury says: “HMRC’s recent announcement is worrying for many ordinary tax payers. While it is important we pay the right amount of tax at the right time, it is also important that our tax authority bills us correctly and keeps correct records.” “It is also important that HMRC is geared up to deal with this mistake. I am concerned that they will not have the number of staff available to deal with queries from those who don’t... »

SMEs don’t want to Recruit Graduates

Three out of ten small firms are planning to recruit in the next six months, but just five per cent of fresh faces are likely to be university leavers, research by business software firm Sage has found. In its monthly Omnibus survey of 1,500 small businesses, Sage found that confidence in the sector is expanding, with 40% of small businesses forecasting growth in the second half of 2010. But few firms are looking to new graduates to fill their human resources needs, preferring instead to go for people who already have work experience. “It’s understandable because there are an awful lot of very skilled people out of work due to the recession,” said Darren Simmons, managing director of Remarkable Recruitment. “It’s very much a client-driven market, in which firms have their pick of good cand... »

Enter the Shell Springboard Awards 2010

August is supposed to be the quietest month of the year so why not take advantage of the time and enter your SME in the Shell Springboard Awards? The deadline for the awards is 5pm on the 5th November 2010 so now may be a good time to enter before things get busy again. Submit your entry online at and you could win one of eight awards of £40,000 on offer this year. Shell Springboard are looking for UK-based small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) whose business idea or technology has to be: Commercially viable Innovative Carbon Saving   If this isn’t in your line of work but you do know of a small business or green entrepreneur that may be interested then let them know about the Shell Springboard Awards. If they win they could invite you along to the ce... »

New Rules to Cut Red Tape and Bureaucracy

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, today announced a comprehensive package of measures to support the Government’s drive to tackle unnecessary government interference and red tape. The measures will help transform the relationship between people and government by changing how regulations are drawn up, introduced and implemented. People are already being encouraged by the Government to nominate laws or regulations they want to see scrapped (see SMEs get the chance to question unpopular laws), and today’s announcement means that government interference in businesses and third sector organisations will have to meet much more rigorous tests before being introduced. From the 1st September, a ‘groundbreaking’ new One-in, One-out system will begin. When Ministers seek to introduce n... »

Outstanding Businesses called on to enter Queen’s Awards

Businesses which can demonstrate outstanding commercial success have the chance to boost their profile by entering the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Described as a “knighthood for business”, the awards are open to UK-based businesses which have at least two full-time employees or part-time equivalent, and can demonstrate commercial success in one of the three categories ? international trade, innovation and sustainable development. Businesses must have been running for at least two years to be eligible for the innovation or sustainable development categories, and at least three to enter the international trade category. Winners are entitled to display the Queen’s Award emblem on their stationery, advertising, marketing material and packaging for a period of five years. They wi... »

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