small business news

Free Business Plan Review

Free Business Plan Review

A business plan review service launched by accounting firm UHY Hacker Young is offering free help to entrepreneurs in need of attracting business investment. The scheme, aimed at helping entrepreneurs who are struggling to access bank finance, or other investment, will provide pointers for improving business plans so that they are more likely to impress potential investors. The business plan review service allows entrepreneurs to submit their plans via email and receive detailed feedback within three days. The service is open to entrepreneurs with new business ideas and existing small firms. “Crucial to these new business ventures attracting investment is getting proper, structured feedback on their business plan as quickly as possible,” said UHY corporate finance partner, Laur... »

Franchises Robust in Recession

Franchises Robust in Recession

Franchise businesses stayed robust during the recession with the average franchise’s turnover increasing by three per cent in 2009, research from the British Franchise Association (BFA) has found. The BFA’s annual survey revealed that the sector did well overall last year despite the downturn, contributing £11.8 billion to the UK’s GDP ― an increase of £400 million on 2008. In addition, the total number of franchisors in the UK rose to 842 in 2009, up from 835 on the previous year. The poll also found that fewer franchises are currently trading at a loss compared to a decade ago. During the 1990s recession, only 70% of all franchise businesses were profitable, compared to 89% in 2009. “Franchised businesses have weathered the recessional storm extr... »

Politicians Find Hung Parliament Taxing

Politicians Find Hung Parliament Taxing

ACCA looks at how parties’ tax policies will end up post-election Launched to much fanfare over the past month, the parties’ carefully crafted manifesto and policy pledges now face being dropped or changed as politicians seek compromise in light of a hung parliament. With the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats most likely to do a deal, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) takes a look at the tax policies that may, or may not, make it. Conservative policies Policy Conservative position Liberal Democrat position Agreement? IHT – Raising the IHT threshold to £1m One of the early flagship tax policies of David Cameron’s Conservatives – very popular with the grassroots Attacked by Nick Clegg during the campaign as a tax cut for millionai... »

Small Businesses Attract High Flyers

Small Businesses Attract High Flyers

Small firms are finding it easier to attract high-flying job candidates, due to the number of successful employees made redundant from big businesses, research from telecoms business O2 has revealed. The Not So Little Britain report found that a quarter of all employees recruited by small businesses now come from larger companies, due to changes in the job market caused by the recession. The study also highlighted how small firms contribute to the economy, predicting that small firms will generate more than 200,000 jobs a year from 2010. According to O2, small businesses have already overtaken bigger organisations regarding job growth in certain industry sectors — they accounted for 82 % of job growth in the construction sector during the last economic cycle and 93% of new jobs in th... »

SMEs feel Unrepresented by Politicians

SMEs feel Unrepresented by Politicians

More than a third of small business owners feel their concerns are not taken seriously by any political party, new research has revealed. A survey of 255 business owners by Uswitch.com found 39% felt that small business issues were not being properly represented by the UK’s three main voting choices. The poll also revealed dissatisfaction with the current Government, with three quarters of respondents saying that it had not done enough to help them through the recession. A quarter remained undecided about which way they would vote on May 6. Uswitch.com small business expert, Jake Ridge, said it was “worrying” that firms felt their interests were being overlooked. “Small firms have been at the brunt of the recession and are now battling their way to recovery. Any sup... »

Conditions Never Tougher for Job Seekers

Conditions Never Tougher for Job Seekers

Job seekers are experiencing the toughest conditions for years according to recruiter Totaljobs, which says the number of people applying for each vacancy has reached a 20-month high. A survey by Totaljobs found that the number of jobs available in the first three months of 2010 fell by a quarter compared to the same three months last year. However, the number of job applications increased by a third in the same period. The findings echo the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, which found that the number of unemployed people rose by 43,000 to 2.5 million during the three months to February this year. This is the highest jobless total since 1994. Totaljobs director, John Salt, said that competition for work had never been so fierce. “For employers, this means greater c... »

Unnecessary Administration Wastes Billions

YouGov survey, commissioned by Adobe, reveals employees believe internal politics, duplication of effort and inefficient processes are plaguing UK business. A survey of 1,151 UK office workers (working in organisations with 50+ employees) paints the picture of an office environment rife with administrative inefficiencies. The survey, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Adobe, highlights how outdated processes, unnecessary duplication of effort, internal politics, and information gathered ‘for the sake of it’, are all contributing to workplace inefficiencies. Significantly, opinion on the burden of unnecessary administration and inefficient processes was similar from the most junior workers to the most senior. This suggests a general acceptance that time wasted on administra... »

Green Office Week

Green Office Week

Office-based small firms are being called on to take part in Green Office Week at the end of April and make their workplace more environmentally friendly. Sponsored by business stationery firm Avery, the week will run from 26 to 30 April, during which employers will be encouraged to think up practical ways for their staff to be more environmentally friendly in the workplace. Ideas to help businesses become greener include recycling all old IT and electrical products rather than storing them, setting up an eco-ideas scheme to reward staff who come up with energy saving techniques and placing plants around the office to reduce air pollution. By registering for free online, employers will be able to download a starter kit containing advice and ideas for the week, as well as swap ideas with ot... »

Scrapping Cheques will be Expensive, Warn Business Groups

Plans to scrap cheque payments could be expensive for small firms, business groups have warned, as business owners will be forced to buy chip and pin card machines as replacements. Last year, the UK Payments Council announced plans to abolish cheque guarantee cards by June 2011, and cheques are due to be completely phased out by October 2018. The changes mean businesses will be forced to consider alternative payment systems such as chip and pin. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that costs of such systems could be high. On average, chip and pin card readers cost around £30 a month to rent from banks, with additional charges per transaction. This means businesses could incur additional overheads of hundreds of pounds a year. “Getting rid of cheques and cheque g... »

Excessive Minimum Wage Rise Stops Firms Recruiting, warns BCC

Excessive Minimum Wage Rise Stops Firms Recruiting, warns BCC

Raising the national minimum wage by almost double last year’s increase will deter small firms from taking on new recruits, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned. A minimum wage increase of 2.2% from 1 October 2010 for low paid workers aged over 21 was announced in this year’s Budget. This will bring their hourly pay up from £5.80 to £5.93. Last year the national minimum wage increased by just seven pence from £5.73 to £5.80. Low paid workers aged between 18 and 20 will also see a rise, to £4.92 per hour, while 16 to 17 year-olds will be paid £3.64 per hour. The BCC’s director of policy and external affairs, Dr Adam Marshall, said the wage increase took some of the shine off a Budget that had small firms at its heart. &ldquo... »

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