small and medium businesses

A Small Business Guide to Credit Control

A Small Business Guide to Credit Control

As a small company with limited resources, a late-paying customer can represent a cashflow nightmare. You need to have stringent controls in place if you plan to extend credit to customers; if you have a lax credit policy, it could spell the end of your business as unpaid invoices reduce your ready cash to zero. This article explains how to develop a proper credit control policy for your business. We cover how to check a customer’s credit and how to decide how much to lend them, then move on to everyday systems for credit control. You will also learn how to chase up debtors and late payers successfully, and how to deal with the often tricky scenarios posed by dealing with larger companies. How do I check a customer’s credit? Before extending credit to a new customer, it is important to che... »

Order Tracking Systems for Your Business

Order Tracking Systems for Your Business

If you are an e-commerce business or other firm that delivers goods to customers on a regular basis, or you order goods from suppliers regularly putting an order tracking system in place delivers instant tangible benefits. Not only will you be able to keep on top of your own orders from suppliers much more efficiently, customers appreciate knowing where their goods are and how long they will take to get there. This article provides an overview of order tracking; covering whether it is right for your business, the different systems available, and some useful contacts to get you started. What are some of the benefits of order tracking? An order tracking system is one that tracks goods from the moment the order is placed to when they are physically delivered to the destination location. Diffe... »

How to Manage Stress in the Workplace

How to Manage Stress in the Workplace

Erroneously considered by some to be part and parcel of modern life, workplace stress is no joke as a business owner; affecting employers and employees alike, stress can lead to poor productivity, bad decisions and a lowering of morale generally. Learning how to recognise and deal with stress and its causes can bring myriad benefits as an employer, so it is important to know how to recognise the tell-tale signs of stress, common causes of it and how to manage it effectively. How important is managing stress? Dealing with stress and its causes effectively is an absolutely crucial skill as an employer, as the consequences of ignoring it can be severe. A 2012 survey carried out by CIPD found that a quarter of employers in the UK said that stress was one of the top five causes of employee abse... »

UK Small Business Population Hits Record 5.4 Million

UK Small Business Population Hits Record 5.4 Million

The UK’s small business community has exploded according to the latest government statistics, which noted a record high 5.4 million private-sector firms this year – a 146,000 increase on 2014. And, according to the Business Population Estimates report, small and medium enterprises currently generate over £1 trillion turnover to the UK economy. In total small and medium businesses make up 99.3% of the entire UK business population, and the reported 146,000 growth – which is the net annual change, and accounts for start-ups and closures – indicates that more businesses launched this year than closed. The data also found that there has been a rise in medium-sized businesses (50 to 249 employees) and sole traders in 2015. There are now 1,000 more medium enterprises recorded at the start of 201... »

A Small Business Guide to Managing Your Creditors

A Small Business Guide to Managing Your Creditors

Your relationship with your creditors is a major determining factor in the overall health of your business – get it right, and they can be a valuable friend in times of need. Get it wrong, however, and dissatisfied creditors could spell the end for your business. If you always pay creditors on time, there is rarely a problem. However, late payment from customers, wastage, poor sales, and a million other potential incidents could see your cashflow suffer, and it is in these situations that a good relationship with creditors is crucial. In this article, we cover how to manage your creditors smartly. You will learn how to identify the most important creditors, and how to manage them with a clear, transparent payment policy. We then cover how to deal with specific creditors, including your ban... »

How to Purchase a Property Licence

How to Purchase a Property Licence

If your business is in search of premises that will be quick to occupy, a property license might be your best option as they are cheaper than leases, and allow you to move in more quickly and easily. They also offer you the flexibility to change your premises if you experience a rapid growth, or a change in your circumstances. This guide will help you understand the difference between a license and a lease, check the license agreement and anticipate potential difficulties. What is the difference between a license and a lease? There are a number of differences that a business owner should be aware of. One of the main ones is that licenses cover short periods; leases longer ones. Licenses are valid for up to two years, but leases may run for significantly longer. Other measures businesses sh... »

Social Media is a “Waste of Time” say Small Businesses

Social Media is a “Waste of Time” say Small Businesses

Small and medium enterprises have deemed social media marketing a ‘waste of time’ with over two thirds of business owners having seen no positive effect despite putting over one billion hours into campaigns on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. The research, conducted by Deal With The Media surveying 100 firms, revealed that only 30% of UK business owners believe social media is an effective marketing tool while 43% said they were ‘uncertain’ of its effect. Small business owners aged 25 to 34 years-old were found to be the most sceptical of the value of social media and were the most likely to ‘strongly disagree’ with it having an impact on business growth, while entrepreneurs aged 18 to 24 years-old were the most supportive of its worth. The ineffectiveness of soc... »

UK Small Businesses Owed £67bn Due to Late Payments

UK Small Businesses Owed £67bn Due to Late Payments

Britain’s small and medium businesses are owed a staggering £67.4bn in unpaid invoices, up by 8% from 2014’s £62.5bn figure and 34% from 2011’s £49.5bn, according to research by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). Additional research from the group revealed that businesses’ wait times had also increased, with small and medium firms reporting an average wait time of 72 days – 11 days longer than in 2009 at the peak of the recession. According to the ABFA’s study, which featured 180,000 businesses, companies in the manufacturing and construction industries are the most affected by late paying customers with an estimated £13.4bn and £7bn owed to businesses in each corresponding sector. The report noted that while late payment problems continue to cause issues for small firms, more com... »

Small Business Divided Over the UK Remaining in the EU

Small Business Divided Over the UK Remaining in the EU

A clear small business divide on Britain’s European Membership (EU) has been made evident in a recent study by the Federation of Small Business (FSB). When asked what their vote would be at present, 47% of small business owners said they would vote to stay in the EU, 41% said they would vote to leave, 11% said they were undecided and 1% said they wouldn’t vote or refused to give their opinion. Businesses in England were found to be the most in favour of a Brexit with 43% affirming that they wanted to leave the EU. While Scotland was the most in favour of staying in the EU at 60%, followed by Northern Ireland at 54% and Wales at 49%. Over half (55%) of the London-based companies surveyed said they supported Britain’s EU status opposed to the East Midlands, who were the least in favour at 49... »

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

It is a sad fact of business life that disputes between employees and employers are common. The majority of these disputes will play out at an employment tribunal. Even if you consider your relationship with your employees to be a harmonious one, and consider the likelihood of disputes to be low, it still pays to have a considered strategy for dealing with tribunals. Employment law is increasingly developing in favour of the needs of employees and with awards increasing, being unprepared for tribunals can see you losing out massively. A well-thought out plan will allow you to prepare and present the best possible defence of your actions, and prevent disgruntled employees from taking you to the cleaners. Here we cover the stages of the tribunal process, how to defend a case and prevent a di... »