29th May, 2015 No Comments
Following on from the election frenzy this month we have heard the Queen’s speech containing a record number of bills, outlining the incoming Conservative Government’s plans and priorities for the next 5 years. The 26 bill package was described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a “programme for working people” and the creation of full employment was at the heart of the plan. It does appear to contain several business-friendly policies, but a key question is ‘what does this really mean for the new and growing businesses that are the focus of the work of the Cavendish Consortium?’
Business reaction indicates that the Queen’s Speech was perceived as steady and relatively safe with no real surprises. Some of the businesses that I have spoken to are taking time out to get to grips with what it means, seeing this as the calm before the storm with much still to be debated, particularly around the in/out EU referendum. It is very positive to see the commitment to enterprise and jobs but there is a sense that we need to see the actions that follow on from the plans.
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce commenting on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill said:
“Simplifying life for small or growing businesses should be an objective shared across all political parties. There are many measures in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill that will receive support if they work in practice – including faster company registration, improvements to public sector payment, and measures to support business cash flow.”
The Government is committed to setting up a small business conciliation service to resolve business to business disputes, particularly over late payment which is a key issue for many small businesses. The cutting of ‘red tape’ and unnecessary bureaucracy is certainly welcomed by SMEs who are the lifeblood of our economy. New legislation is planned to help achieve full employment and we are committed to playing our part in realising this through starting and growing more businesses. It is to be hoped that emerging policies result in a practical, accessible ecosystem to encourage rather than inhibit new business growth.
Other areas of particular interest to small businesses are:
– No VAT, income tax or national insurance contribution rises in the next five years for those working over 30 hours per week on the national minimum wage
– An increase in the provision of free childcare by 2017
– EU referendum before the end of 2017
– An emphasis on the importance of building a Northern Powerhouse
– Delayed plans to scrap the Human Rights Act
– A continuation of the building of the High Speed 2 railway
As always the devil will be in the detail and in the practical roll out of the Government plans. I have been struck however by the general sense of optimism among businesses that I have spoken to. There is a sense of increased opportunity and a focus on building a strong future.
I’ll finish with a quote from John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses who said:
“The Small Business Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, reflects the growing recognition of the role small businesses have to play in driving forward the economy and the need to do all we can to support them in that effort.”
I echo his sentiment, we must all play our part in supporting that effort and in driving forward the Government’s aspiration to “cement the UK’s position in Europe as the best place to start and grow a business.”
Written by Carole White, CEO, TEDCO Business Support
1st May, 2015 No Comments
During the start-up process entrepreneurs have to overcome many factors to get their business up and running. However, one of the biggest, and most important challenges of starting a business happens once it is trading – attracting and retaining customers, and growing profit.
Marketing to attract customers sounds simple but this crucial factor, which often gets overlooked by more pressing problems, can make or break your business. If people don’t know about your business, how can they become customers? And if you don’t have any customers, then how is your business going to make money? And if it isn’t making money, how are you going to keep your business going? These issues are not unique to start-ups; existing businesses must have an adaptive marketing strategy too!
In order to enter the marketplace, and stay there successfully alongside the competition, SMEs have to get their name known – and for the right reasons. However, many SMEs overlook marketing and cut it from their budgets because they don’t feel it’s a necessity – but it is! Marketing is vital for attracting and keeping your customers. It is important to make sure you are positioning yourself in the right way and targeting the right companies in the right way.
Newer businesses have to work harder to grow within the market, being careful to not get bypassed by other well-known companies that already have a loyal customer base. Building a solid, positive, reputation is the key to this.
Top marketing tips for start-ups and young businesses:
– Get networking – it is a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs and potential customers but don’t be tempted to try to sell to everyone you meet. Concentrate on making friends and connections – sales will come later if you offer something that can help them.
– Online AND offline – the world is now dominated by the Internet but do not ignore other options. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and list all of the places that they are likely to look if they needed your service.
– Word of mouth should feature on the list. It is not just about who you know – who do they know?
– Social Media – join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. At very least these will allow you to add a link to your but if treated carefully, they can be incredibly powerful FREE marketing tools.
Contribution from Enterprise First