small business news

Update your Sickness Policies for “fit note” Reform

Businesses must update their sickness absence policies ready for the new “fit note” rules on 6 April, insurance firm Aviva has urged. Officially called the Statement of Fitness for Work, (547k PDF) the “fit note” will replace the traditional sick note. The note allows doctors to say whether a person is “unfit for work” or “may be fit for work” if certain conditions are met, such as different working hours or avoiding heavy lifting. However, it is up to employers themselves to decide whether to make the necessary adjustments for an employee to return safely, or sign them off sick. “Businesses need to include two new things in their policies,” said Aviva liability risk manager, Phil Grace. “Firstly, how they will manage the he... »

Quarter of UK Workers Call in Sick with Fake Excuses

Employers share the most unusual reasons employees used to explain an absence. A nationwide survey by jobs website CareerBuilder found 26% of UK workers pulled at least one sickie last year. Seven% called in sick when they were well three times or more with some resorting to a host of bizarre excuses to dodge work including being trapped under a collapsed bed, losing a glass eye and drinking “bad beer.” Of those who called in sick: 16% “just didn’t feel like going into work.” 13% had a job interview lined up. 12% wanted to catch up with housework or just to relax. 7% said they wanted to avoid a client or colleague. 6% to dodge the wrath of a boss. 6% called in because of bad weather or they had plans with friends or family. However, there was evidence that some employers are taking a tough... »

Search is on for UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2010

UK entrepreneurs are being urged to showcase their start-up talent by entering a top business award. The prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2010, launched by the British Chambers of Commerce and sponsored by Staples, rewards and recognises entrepreneurial success across the UK. Head of Marketing at Staples Yetunde Ige said: “Hard-working entrepreneurs are increasingly becoming more and more critical to the success of the UK economy. With the digital age upon us, there has never been more opportunity out there for motivated self-starters.” “We want to hear from people who have set up dynamic businesses by overcoming hurdles, finding innovative ways to navigate the current economic climate and above all, who are passionate about what they do.” Last year busine... »

The Big Kick Off to Wear Your Shirt Day 2010

The official launch of a new sporting campaign kicked off yesterday (Tuesday, March 30th), with football fans across the country being asked to ‘wear your shirt’ in aid of charity. Organised by the charity Free Kicks, Wear Your Shirt Day 2010 will take place on Friday 23 April. The campaign is encouraging businesses and individuals to show their team spirit and demonstrate the generosity of football fans by helping under-privileged children in the UK. To get involved all they have to do is wear their football shirts to work for the small price of £1. Patrick Smith, spokesperson for Wear Your Shirt Day said: “We’d love all businesses and football clubs to get involved in our campaign. We’re raising money to help kids in the UK– all people have to do... »

SMEs Advised to “Keep Finger on Pulse”

As the UK economy holds its head just above water, the AAT advises SMEs to keep their fingers on the pulse or risk going under. Despite recent reports that the UK has emerged from recession, British business has not surfaced unscathed. The AAT, the leading professional body for accounting staff, is urging SMEs to expect the unexpected and minimise every potential risk of business downfall. Although catastrophic events like the 2005 London bombings deeply affected enterprise, a massive 45% of small firms have admitted they still have no business continuity plan in place. With this in mind, it is no surprise that 80% of SMEs impacted by disaster either never re-open or close within 18 months. Loss of key staff, crime, fire, flood and IT breakdown are the most common threats to success, so it... »

SME Staff Admit False Expenses Claims

SME Staff Admit False Expenses Claims

Employers must monitor staff expenses claims more closely in the current economic environment – that’s the message from fuel card company FuelGenie, which found that one in 30 employees in small firms admitted to making false claims. FuelGenie spokeswoman, Sarah Keane, said that employers are failing to ensure that expenses claims are genuine, despite their finances being tight. “The fact that small employers are allowing any employees to falsely claim expenses is astounding, given the current economic situation. Small business owners need to clamp down on staff dishonesty. Their number one objective right now should be to control costs and conserve cash to prevent profits being further eroded.” “There are a number of measures employers can take – for ex... »

Britain’s Got Ambition

Virgin Media & Enterprise UK team up to unlock the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit As the country rides the recession wave, research from Virgin Media has found that a quarter (24%) of young Britons say their dream job would be to run their own business, but worries about having the right contacts or experience are stopping many from achieving their ambitions (23% say this is the biggest barrier). The new report analysed the inspirations and barriers facing 18-30 year olds in Britain today and identified a huge level of entrepreneurial aspiration amongst young people, even in the current financial climate. Today’s report marks the launch of Virgin Media Pioneers, a new initiative from Virgin Media and Enterprise UK, which brings together entrepreneurs and established business e... »

Win £5000 to Help Your Business Grow

Bibby Financial Services, the specialist factoring and invoice discounting provider, is offering a £5,000 cash prize as part of its efforts to support businesses across the UK. The prize draw, into which any small and medium sized business from across the UK can enter, is supported by an ongoing campaign to better understand the needs of businesses. Entrants are asked to complete six short questions concerning topics such as international trade, reviewing finance and business growth. Firms can apply for the draw through the Bibby Financial Services website: Bibby Financial Services’ UK CEO Edward Rimmer commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses across the UK to win a lump sum that can be used to fund business development, a ... »

Stressed Staff Work Extra Ten Days

Stressed-out British employees who refuse to turn off their mobile phone and stop checking emails outside work are putting in an extra ten days’ of work a year, research has found. A failure to switch off after hours and during weekends means that workers never get a break and are always “on call”, according to the survey of 1,000 office workers by Nectar Business, which looked at the impact of technology on employees. The research found that 15.5% of employees believed their working week had become one to two hours longer due to an increase volume of information coming through on email and phone. A fifth of those surveyed admitted to leaving their work phone on all weekend and of those who do manage to switch off, 22% owned up to checking work emails on Saturdays and Sun... »

The Business Inspector Pledges to help SMEs

The Business Inspector Pledges to help SMEs

Cashflow, marketing and record-keeping — these are just three of the topics that will be under scrutiny when Channel Five’s television reality series The Business Inspector starts on 10 March. The four-part series will feature founder of successful pallet distribution firm Pall-Ex, Hilary Devey, as she visits eight small firms that are struggling to survive or grow, and advises them on how to improve their businesses. “Britain’s brimming with creativity, but a terrifying number of businesses go bust every year and this shouldn’t be happening,” said Devey. “I am going to teach businesses how to improve their all-round business knowledge and direction, cashflow, marketing strategy and in some cases even their enthusiasm.” HM Revenue & Custo... »

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