small firms

National Minimum Wage

Small Firms Minimum Wage Rise

Almost a third of small firms are unaware that the national minimum wage (NMW) will increase on 1st October, according to a survey by Bibby Financial Services. The survey also revealed that one in three also don’t know what the minimum wage is for adults aged 22 and over, and one in four believe the rise will be much greater than it actually will be. From October 1st, employees on the minimum wage aged 22 and over should receive an increase of 21 pence to their hourly rate, taking it to £5.73 – but a quarter of firms wrongly believed it would go up 51p to £6.03. The confusion exists despite Government efforts to publicise the increase through posters, online advertising and radio adverts. Bibby global chief executive David Robertson said: “It’s worrying ... »

Government to Blame For Economic Downturn

Firms blame Government for Downturn

The overwhelming majority of SMEs feel the Government is to blame for the economic downturn, according to mutual association for lawyers and chartered accountants UK200 Group. The UK200 Group survey of 200 small businesses across the legal, retail and manufacturing sectors revealed that 90% felt that the Government was responsible for the economic downturn. A high number (85%) also blamed the banking industry, while 73% pointed the finger at the world economy and its contribution to the UK slowdown. UK200 Group president David Ingall said; “It is interesting to note that small firms are very clear about who they hold responsible for the current difficulties, although the media must take some responsibility for constantly headlining bad news,” The research also highlighted that ... »


Staff Loyalty Strong In Small Firms

Small–business owners are creating strong staff loyalty and practising effective staff retention, according to a Barclays survey Some 29 per cent of respondents to the Barclays Local Business survey employ somebody who has worked for them for at least ten years; with a further 32 per cent having an employee who has remained with the business for between five and nine years. Moreover, two–thirds of small businesses still employ their first ever recruit. The survey found these first recruits tend to have an attachment to their job, staying with the business for an average of 5.3 years. “Employees in smaller establishments are closer to their boss,” commented Mike Emmot, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). “T... »

SMEs Trading Abroad Warned to Guard Against Sterling Fluctuations

Small firms trading overseas should sign forward contracts with clients to protect themselves against the risk of the pound falling further in value, according to foreign exchange firm Moneycorp, writes Farah Jifri. Research from Moneycorp revealed that despite the value of the pound falling 14 per cent against the Euro over the eight months to the end of April this year, two-thirds of small firms that trade internationally did not use forward contracts in 2007. Forward contracts provide businesses with stability by allowing them to fix an exchange rate on the day that they become aware of their requirement for future settlement. This forward planning can prevent firms incurring losses due to exchange rate movement. “It is possible to save large sums of money through this sort of cur... »

Small Firms Offered Free Business-Management Software

Entrepreneurs can access free software to help them manage their day-to-day business operations, following a giveaway by software firm Mamut. According to Mamut, the ‘StartUp’ software provides small businesses with a complete set of planning and management tools. It includes a step-by-step guide to producing a business plan, the ability to set up a website with e-commerce capabilities, a customer and contact register, and electronic invoicing capabilities. The software also provides businesses with access to the Mamut StartUp website which contains advice on setting up and running a business, along with information on funding, accounting and IT. “Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy,” said Mamut UK managing director Alan Moody. &ld... »

Shell Step Offers Small Firms Helping Hand with Summer Staff

Shell Step Offers Small Firms Helping Hand with Summer Staff

Small firms in need of help to complete business projects have until 20 June to apply for the Shell Step summer placement programme. The annual programme provides participating small firms with an undergraduate to work with them for eight weeks, so they can get a key business project completed. There are no restrictions on the type of project employers can set students. Past projects have included launching websites, streamlining processes, setting up accounting systems and developing marketing plans. Shell Step agents help participating businesses to identify particular projects. Students are then assigned to suitable places depending on their skills. “Shell Step lets undergraduates cut their teeth in the world of work and also helps the businesses they work for,” said Shell U... »

BCS IT Industry Awards

Small Firms with Outstanding IT Skills Called on to Enter Awards

SMEs with exceptional IT skills have been called on to enter this year’s IT Industry awards run by the British Computer Society (BCS). The awards are open to businesses of all sizes, and recognise firms that have demonstrated examples of IT excellence, including project-based and individual achievements. There are 23 award categories this year, including IT consultancy of the year, green organisation of the year and small supplier of the year. “Our awards highlight the importance of technology within today’s business environment, where IT plays an integral role from the board room to customer communications,” said BCS chief executive David Clarke. “The awards generate a high level of media exposure in national, regional and trade publications, in print, broadc... »

Agency Worker Reforms will Stop Small Firms Hiring Temps

A Government plan to give temporary workers the same rights as permanent staff may stop small firms hiring temps, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. The proposals, endorsed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), would give agency staff equal employment rights after 12 weeks on the job. This means they would receive equal pay and holiday entitlements, as well as the right to regular work breaks. According to the Government, a reform of temporary worker rights is needed as temporary staff are often treated unjustly and need more legal protection. The FSB warned the reforms may make employers reluctant to hire temporary staff, thereby restricting their labour pool. “This is a disastrous deal for small businesses, which rely ... »

Small Firms Are Overlooking Money-Saving Energy Deals

Small businesses are failing to shop around for the best energy deals, despite a rise in prices, according to Electricity4Business. An Electricity4Business survey of 1,000 small firms found that energy bills are now the second biggest cost to small firms, behind staff wages, but ahead of rent. The survey also highlighted that one-fifth of small firms spend more than ten per cent of their annual turnover on energy bills. However, only one-fifth of small-business owners knew when their contract with their energy supplier was due for renewal, and more than half do not read the small print of the terms and conditions. “In the face of economic downturn, it is small firms that are under the most pressure to remain profitable, and controlling business costs such as electricity bills is an i... »

Health Support for Small Businesses

Small Business News – 2nd October 2007 The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)offers its members additional health support with the launch of its FSB Care service. From 1st October 2007 all full, joint, associate and retired members of the FSB will be automatically entitled to the the welfare benefits offered by FSB Care. FSB Care is for SME owners who need support with serious illness. The scheme will allocate a personal nurse adviser to provide practical information and emotional support for as long as it is needed. In addition they can arrange: Home visits by specialist nurses or A course of specialist therapy or A course of specialist counselling They can also arrange for access to specialist charities and self-help groups if necessary. By launching this health support scheme th... »

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