Posted on: 06 Jan, 15
Small businesses are planning growth in 2015 but many are unaware of the finance options available to them, research by the British Business Bank has revealed.
The research into more than 1,000 firms found that 46% are planning to expand their business over the next 12 months.
The main reasons for obtaining finance were:
There was a lack of awareness among businesses about sources of finance, despite 68% of firms saying they were confident about their ability to obtain funding. Although 85% knew about lease or hire purchase arrangements, the research found:
Keith Morgan, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said:
“It is clear from our research that there is increasing confidence among UK small businesses and an appetite for growth. The challenge now is to connect the emerging demand for finance with the new forms of funding that are becoming available.
“That is why the British Business Bank is working to encourage innovation, promote diversity and share information, to develop a more broadly based and accessible lending market for smaller businesses.”
Large companies could be forced to publish information about their payment practices, under government proposals designed to combat late payment.
The measures would oblige large businesses and companies listed on stock markets to:
Companies would face fines if they do not comply with the requirements.
Philip King, chief executive of the Institute of Credit Management, said:
“Small businesses need to make better informed decisions before entering into commercial relationships and this measure will be invaluable in helping them enter into such relationships with their eyes wide open.”
A separate survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 17% of FSB members have suffered from poor payment practices over the last 2 years.
The most disliked payment practices according to the FSB survey were:
John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said:
“…small businesses are fast approaching the breaking point. They are no longer prepared to put up with these sharp practices. Brands that think they can continue to squeeze their suppliers with impunity may get a nasty shock when what they are doing comes to the attention of their consumers.”
There is a high demand among employees for lexible working arrangements, research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research and Citrix has found.
The research, which surveyed almost 1,300 employees, showed that flexible working arrangements such as flexi-time or working remotely are popular with most employees:
Jacqueline de Rojas, of Citrix, said that offering flexible working would allow employers to, “reap the benefits of an even more productive, contented workforce”.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to work with employers to promote the benefits of flexible working:
Katja Hall, deputy director general of the CBI, said:
“A lot of companies offer flexible working but the onus should be on businesses to presume in favour, challenge outdated assumptions and give their employees more confidence to ask about the options.”
More than half of over-40s do not know whether they will be eligible for the government’s free pension guidance service, research by Partnership has found. Pension savers will have access to free and impartial guidance on how to benefit from the pension reforms that will be introduced in April 2015.
However, Partnership’s survey of more than 2,000 people over 40 found:
Andrew Megson, managing director of retirement at Partnership, said:
“There is a huge need for education around the new pension regime.
“Much of the discussion has focused on the new freedoms but ultimately these are not going to be properly taken up if people don’t fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the new system.”
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