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Late payments reach crisis point for small businesses

Running a business is difficult at the best of times and there are always challenges to overcome. One such recurring challenge that small business owners face is that of late payments and recent research reveals that the issue is reaching crisis point.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that more than 440,000 small firms could go out of business because of late payments and...

Companies are slashing sick pay for unvaccinated workers

IKEA has recently announced that it is slashing sick pay for unvaccinated staff who are forced to self-isolate due to being in close contact with someone with Covid-19. They will only be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 a week unless there are mitigating circumstances. This is a massive decrease compared to the average gross wage of £400 for shop floor workers.

A spokesperson for ...

Discovering yourself with a DISC assessment

Understanding what drives your actions and behaviours is key to personal growth and achieving your full potential. Yet it is surprising to know that most people strive to achieve personal and professional goals without this valuable insight. Personality tests are an ideal way of discovering this, so let’s find out more about one particular type of assessment.

DISC assessment is one o...

Improving your business for the year ahead

New year resolutions are great if they are adhered to but for whatever reason resolve for personal promises begins to wane for many before January is out and the vast majority have been cast aside by the time spring arrives. However, the results are different when it comes to business.

All business owners understand that they can’t afford to treat company goals and objectives with the sam...

Small business owners facing a challenging new year

With so many businesses struggling with debts as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and the furlough scheme having ended two months ago, only now are we beginning to see the devastating effects on small businesses.

Recent research reveals that a third of small businesses in the UK are planning on making redundancies over the next few months and this figure increases to four out of 10 ...

Bounce Back Loan fraud to cost taxpayers billions

Payments made from the government’s Covid emergency lending programme to fraudulent companies will cost taxpayers £4.9 billion. The funding was essential to safeguard millions of jobs and keep businesses afloat but in the rush to make the credit available it appears that fraud prevention measures were not implemented in time.

Concerns were raised before launch

The g...

The growth of the gig economy

The number of people working in the gig economy in England and Wales has almost trebled in five years according to research published by the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The TUC estimates there are 4.4 million gig-workers, which equates to 14.7% of the working age population, this is a significant increase from 5.8% in 2016.

What is the gig economy?

There is no ...

Portugal introduces legislation to protect homeworkers

Portugal has made it illegal for employers to contact staff by phone, text message, or email outside of their normal working hours. The ground breaking legislation titled ‘right to rest’ is aimed at improving work-life balance following an increase in the number of remote workers.

Attracting entrepreneurs to Portugal

Portugal's Minister of Labour and Social Security...

Big Boss may be watching you

Ever since the mass migration to homeworking there has been one big concern facing business owners and managers. Will the staff be as productive working from home (WFH) as they are in the office?

Trust is crucial

The word trust is often banded about as being a key component in developing long-term relationships between a business and its customers. Trust, however, i...

Companies are not promoting flexible working

Recent research reveals that three out of four job vacancies advertised in the UK don’t offer flexible working options. The annual survey conducted by Timewise, a flexible work consultancy firm, tracked more than five million ads for 17 key words or phrases, including job-share, home-working and part-time. Their findings from the survey showed that just 26% of job vacancy ads posted contained a...

Virtual networking isn’t going away

As life slowly returns to normal it is great to see fans flocking to sports stadia, shoppers returning to the high street and the hospitality industry welcoming back all manner of social gatherings.

On the business front, it is just as satisfying to see awards ceremonies filled with jovial attendees dressed to the nines, bustling trade shows and the return of physical networking even...

UK Businesses commit to tackling climate change

Business leaders in the UK have been focussing on Glasgow this week, or if they haven’t then they should have been. Scotland’s biggest city is hosting the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties, or COP 26 as it is more commonly known.

The global United Nations summit features world leaders, scientists and eminent guest speakers addressing the issues facing our planet, with t...

The Autumn Budget and what it means for businesses

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak was never going to be able to please everyone with his autumn budget and there were always going to be winners and losers, but let’s have a look at the key points for businesses from his budget statement.

The Chancellor confirmed that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) anticipates that the UK economy will grow by 6.5 per cent this year ...

Unequal spread of equity finance for businesses across the UK

The first annual Regions and Nations Tracker published by the British Business Bank has revealed alarming regional disparities in accessing equity finance and private debt in the UK.

Although more than 40% of businesses were accessing external finance in 2021, the lack of local investors in certain areas means that there are lost economic opportunities across the UKs regions and nations.

Plans to encourage young talent to stay in Wales

Wales is facing a crisis as young people desert the principality in search of more rewarding and successful careers elsewhere. The Welsh government is looking at plans to arrest the exodus because if it continues at its current rate there will be severe ramifications for the country’s economy. With the number of working-age citizens continuing to fall, the government is concerned that it will h...

Welsh Companies Increase Access to R&D Tax Credit Relief

What is the R&D Tax Credit Statistic Report?

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have released their latest Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits Statistics Report; sharing data for accounting periods ending during the 2019-20 tax year. The report, published each year, provides valuable information on the number of UK companies benefiting from the relief and the va...

Turning digital proves rewarding for small businesses

Research indicates that during the pandemic the majority of small businesses in the UK increased their social media presence and are now benefitting from their digital exploits. The past 18 months have had a devastating effect across all sectors and as physical operations ground to a halt business owners were faced with having to pivot in order to survive.

Results from a poll of 1,000 UK ...

The Kickstart Scheme has been extended

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced that the Kickstart Scheme has been extended until March 2022. The scheme gives employers funding for creating jobs for 16 – 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit. The Kickstart Scheme was launched in September 2020 and was allocated £2 billion in funding to provide 250,000 high-quality jobs for young people following the economi...

The self-employed could be facing a pension crisis

Being self-employed sounds attractive and there are several advantages when compared with working for someone else, such as greater flexibility with your working hours and not being answerable to anybody. However, there are also disadvantages, one of which is the fact that pension payments are solely down to you. There is no employer contributing to your pension pot, so in simple terms, if you ...

Farewell to the furlough scheme

The furlough scheme, which has safeguarded millions of jobs during the past 18 months, finally closed at the end of September. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as it was officially known, was launched in April 2020 when large parts of the UK economy were forced to close because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the scheme, the government contributed up to a maximum if £2,500 per month ...

One Simple (But Essential) Thing Leaders Can Do To Improve Employee Engagement

Your people are your company’s most important asset. Cheerful employees are likely to be more productive, but employee engagement is complex - where do you start?

Engaging your team is critical to business success. The holy grail is to have employees who are excited to come to work each day. To achieve this, they need to do what they do best, feel connected to their cowor...

Amazon is paying staff a bonus to be on time

Amazon is a company that divides opinion and is often in the news regarding staff welfare issues. This time though the news appears to be positive from the world’s leading online retailer. 

The American giant has started paying staff a £50 weekly bonus at some of its UK warehouses, which is very generous of them, but this isn’t performance related, it’s just for being punctual. Now c...

The Power of Video Content

Everywhere you look online you are inundated with content as businesses vie for your attention and hopefully your custom. Most of the time you just ignore all the noise but now and then there is a post that will catch your eye and it will probably be a video clip.

More and more small business owners are realising that video content is an effective way to connect with prospects and custome...

The importance of tone of voice for a startup

The importance of branding in the competitive world of business cannot be understated. It is what distinguishes a company from the rest. Branding covers a multitude of disciplines and purposes. Branding needs to be a true representation of a business, communicating how it wants to be perceived and why prospective clients should choose them over all the others in a saturated market.

The ro...

How to get funding for your startup: 7 key mistakes that most founders make

Getting the right kind of funding for your startup is a challenge. You have to find it, get approved, and then use it wisely. But there are many mistakes that too many founders make when they're trying to get their company off the ground. In this post we'll cover 7 key mistakes you should avoid so you can raise enough money for your startup without sacrificing any equity or valuable resources.

A Virtual Assistant is great for business

Running a business can be exciting, challenging and draining, both physically and mentally. There are so many things to remember and not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Thankfully business owners don’t need to carry on getting more and more stressed because there is help at hand. The solution is to outsource wherever possible, or to be more specific, hire the services of a ...

The importance of training for small business owners

Latest research indicates that 20% of startups will fail in the first year and 60% won’t succeed past year three, startling figures that would put many people off trying in the first place but business owners are brave at heart. A lack of financial management knowledge is often quoted as one of the main reasons why businesses fail and with that in mind it is essential that business owners equip...

Artificial Intelligence, clever thinking but embrace with caution

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having a greater influence on everyday life as more and more industries seek innovative solutions to a myriad of problems. You may not be aware that as you travel, work, dine, shop and participate in a host of other leisure activities, behind the scenes AI is hard at work.

But what exactly is AI? Well without getting too complicated, AI can be defined as th...

Is Amazon the new friend of small businesses?

Amazon is a company that divides opinion more than probably any other. This behemoth American corporation has grown at an astronomical rate since Jeff Bezos started selling books from his garage in 1995.

In its quest for global domination Amazon has consumed everything in its path and has been blamed for the closure of thousands of businesses worldwide. The majority of these hav...

It’s time to return to the office…

Following the announcement that people in England no longer have to work from home (WFH) from 19 July – and the rest of the UK will follow suit shortly - there will be tens of thousands of workers preparing to return to their offices for the first time in 18 months.

This is great news for business and the economy, although there is still some confusion about what this actually means, so h...

Why Customer Experience Should be Part of Every Marketing Strategy

A Guest Blog by Mel Evans, Customer Experience Expert

At a point where you need customers more than ever, it is critical that businesses now focus on their marketing and customer experience (CX) as a central platform to their business development.

At difficult times in business the first response is to make cuts: staff, overheads, stock, facilities, services, etc…it...

From Startup to Scale up

OK, so everything has gone according to plan, or even exceeded expectations and your startup has reached the stage where it has become too big and you need to take it to the next level. Give yourself a pat on the back because this is an impressive achievement and not all business owners reach the stage where their startup is ready to scale up.

The scale up phase of a business can be ...

5 steps to get the best from your business social media

A Guest Blog by Julie Plumb, Digital Marketing Expert.

How do you choose the right social media for your business?

Our advice is always not to try and spread yourself thinly across every single platform that you've ever heard of. Choos...

Should small businesses return to the office or continue working remotely?

Business owners are renowned for making tough decisions, it’s part and parcel of what they do. From hiring and firing to expansion and closure, if you don’t like making important decisions then don’t run a business. The latest decision facing business owners is one that they would never even have contemplated 18 months ago - should they continue running the business remotely or return to t...

Cloud Communications for the SME in 2021

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic and overnight the whole of the UK made the abrupt shift to working from home as businesses and organisations quickly executed Business Continuity Plans (or in some cases had to evolve on the fly).

With a restriction on travel and the near blanket closure of shared office spaces, we have all had to adapt, and work be...

The Power of Customer Insight

Long gone are the days when companies were satisfied in just selling products, regardless of who were buying them, let alone why. Then, as competition grew and customers had a greater choice of where to spend their money, businesses had to become more customer focussed. Customer service was seen as the panacea, as long as a business treated its customers well, or just better than its competitor...

5 reasons why legally protecting your brand is extremely important

Starting your business is super exciting. You just want to get going with the fun stuff…but often this means that the more ‘boring’ things can be left out. This frequently comes down to legal matters.

As uninteresting as it may seem, protecting your business from a legal perspective is INCREDIBLY important…this includes making sure your BRAND is protected. Whether it be your business name...

Patience truly is a virtue for thousands of small businesses owners

Tens of thousands of small business owners across the UK thought 2021 had got off to the best possible start when a ruling made by the Supreme Court in January found in their favour regarding insurance payments to cover losses caused by the first national lockdown.

The fact that business interruption insurance policies were going to pay out was welcome news during the most difficult econo...

Getting the most out of your virtual team

Working from home (WFH) was something many workers had never experienced prior to lockdown last March and was usually only a familiar practice among freelancers in specific sectors. Many business owners and directors approached remote working with trepidation, which was understandable because it was unchartered territory.

Now fast-forward 12 months and despite lockdown restrictions finall...

Government launches new scheme to help small businesses

Small business owners across the country were waiting with anticipation to hear whether the Chancellor would be the bearer of good news when he announced the budget, after all they had suffered more than most, and any support would be welcome.

Rishi Sunak has endured a challenging year as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and as the saying goes...”you can’t please all the people all of the tim...

Six reasons why a virtual company Christmas is a good idea

A Guest Blog by Caryl Thomas, HR Expert.

This time of year is usually filled with festivities. From Christmas parties to the legendary Secret Santa gift exchange, there is normally no shortage of reasons to get together with friends, family and co-workers during December.

But after a difficult year curtailing coronavirus, and with continued efforts to keep the risk ...

The Business Landscape of Wales this Autumn

A Guest Blog by Graham Morgan, a Business Expert.

There were 267,000 business enterprises in Wales in 2019 according to the Office of National Statistics and this was the highest number recorded over the period from 2003. The growth from 169,000 enterprises in 2003 has been consistent year on year. Small and medium sized businesses(SME’s) accounted for 62.4% of the estima...

Making sure your business is ready for the road ahead

A Guest blog by Graham Morgan, Business Expert.

Wales has recently exited its second nationwide lockdown of 2020. The Welsh Government’s decision to go for a short sharp ‘circuit break’ was based on increasing trends in Covid infection rates across all parts of the country. Certainly not as severe as the lockdown of March, April and May, given many businesses continued tr...

It’s the end of the Furlough Scheme – so what happens next?

It is that time of year when the clocks have just turned back, the nights are drawing in and children across the country start to feel a little bit frightened as Halloween fast approaches.

However, this year millions of adults are also filled with fear and it’s not down to the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween. No, this is fear of the unknown because the end of October marks the end of ...

What is a brand and why is branding important?

Everybody has a favourite brand, don’t they? I mean as I teenager, for some unknown reason, I loved Adidas, Pepsi and Wrangler! Not quite sure why because my friends went for Nike, Coke and Levi’s – maybe I just liked to be different.

When you are young and impressionable you don’t tend to look at the reasoning behind such decisions. However, when your are older and wiser and especially w...

Shareholder protection insurance explained

OK, let’s fast forward a few months and life is beginning to return to normal, or as close to normal as it was before the coronavirus pandemic. On a personal level, sales are shooting upwards as customers who have been starved of your products and services make up for lost time, margins are equally impressive, and your bottom line is looking healthier by the day. All in all, your business is ge...

Tax Relief for Business Property Owners

Money, or the lack of it, is a concern for businesses at any time but during the current economic environment it takes on even greater significance. Business owners are constantly looking at ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality or raise margins without losing customers, and even for businesses robust enough to survive the worst economic crisis on record, every pound counts.

So...

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme explained

Bounce back is a phrase that you will hopefully be hearing a lot more of during the coming months, whether it is in relation to the economy improving, businesses trading again or inspirational stories of survivors of Covid-19. But at the moment you are more likely to hear it in relation to funding because the Bounce Back Loan Scheme is the latest government initiative to help small businesses t...

Employers' liability insurance, who needs it and what does it cover?

There are so many things to remember when setting up a business and what with all the excitement and hullabaloo, there appears to be so little time to do them all. From writing a business plan and deciding on a business name to choosing a legal structure and finding suitable premises. Then there is the bank account to open, website to design, licenses to apply for, suppliers to source, contract...

R&D tax credits, what are they and how do you get them?

Can you imagine as a business owner being entitled to thousands of pounds and not even knowing? How frustrating would that be? Sounds too good to be true, does it? Well it is true and thousands of businesses across the UK are failing to take advantage by not making a Research and Development (R&D) tax credits claim.

In fact, recent research suggests that less than 20% of eligible SMEs...

How could a business consultant help your new business?

You may think that business consultants are only useful for larger, established companies, that have seen performance plateau or sales stagnate and require help to guide them in the right direction.

However, what you may not realise is that business consultants can be equally effective when working with new businesses. In fact, using the services of an experienced consultant as a new busi...

The improved Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

When the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was first launched last month, it was welcomed with open arms by businesses across the UK. However, it soon became apparent that the CBILS was not the panacea that businesses hoped it would be and it wasn’t long before the scheme started attracting criticism.

In response to this, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, r...

SME’s spending more on tech services

A recent report into the spending behaviour of more than 133,000 small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) in the UK over the past 10 years has just been published and makes interesting reading.

We’ll take a look at some of the pertinent points from the comprehensive report now. The global report actually covered a total of 250,000 SME’s across the UK, US, Canada, France and Australia wi...

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