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Changing Sales Trends and Profit Margins: Infographic
The news is often littered with information about high street sales trends and that’s what prompted us to take a look at why certain businesses flourish and others are less fortunate when times are tough. If your business is still trading, you may have weathered the storm, but if you are still operating at a loss or your profit margins could be a little healthier, it’s a good idea to understand where the market is at and what you can do to improve your situation.
The truth is that businesses should be looking for growth all the time, but there comes a time when you need to decide if investing will help your business continue growing. For example, a small shop can provide a good income for two people, but staying open later or opening earlier will often mean you need more staff.
Helping young and small businesses at the Entrepreneurs' Summit
We were interested to hear that Investec and Real Business held an Entrepreneurs’ Summit in London on 7 June. And it was great to discover that Andrew Mullinger, co-founder of a growing peer-to-peer lending company, spoke about the alternatives to business loans and how passionate he is about entrepreneurship in the UK economy.
In the past, people tended to choose a dentist and stuck with them. However, there’s evidence that ‘brand loyalty’ these days is less common, especially among younger customers. And, of course, there’s the internet; around 33% of people go online to research options before choosing which kind of dental treatment to pursue. If your surgery doesn’t have the service that patients find online, there’s a danger that they’ll go elsewhere.
You don’t need to be a new business to use free versions of some software packages because it makes sense to keep costs to a minimum regardless of how long you have been trading. The problem with free services are the trade-offs that affect some businesses. Sometimes they matter and other times they have no bearing whatsoever. In some cases, your clients or customers will appreciate your effort to keep running costs low if they also benefit from savings you make by paying less for your business’ products.
Regardless of cost, the tools or services you use still need to cater to your needs. So is it true you can have free products to perform just as well as premium offerings? Here are some comparisons of popular free and premium business tools and you can make up your own mind.
If you’re running a business out of your garage or basement, you’ve probably noticed certain costs going up, or appearing out of nowhere. But did you know that some of those costs are tax-deductible?
Read these tips on what's deductible and what isn't.
The introduction of real-time information (RTI) has been dubbed the biggest change to payroll processing in almost 70 years.
Businesses were given plenty of time to prepare for the changes. The majority of Britain's largest corporations were given over a year to ensure that they had all the systems in place to process their payroll information in real time, with smaller businesses given a few months more before being forced to do so.
Collaboration in business is nothing new. In most cases, there are profits and reduced costs available when your business works with other businesses in a similar industry to your own or a business that caters to the same target market.
Read these tips on how collaborating could help your small business increase profits and reduce costs.
The what and why of Google Business Photos for small businesses
Google has been steadily shifting from a pure search engine with text results to a model that provides an answer to everything and Google Business Photos is another step in that direction. Google always tells us that search results with images have a much better click-through rate, but in order to make the images more relevant to search terms, Google is encouraging businesses to display photographs of their premises.
One of the more taxing challenges of running your own small or medium sized business is keeping and filing your own records and documents. It can be tricky and time consuming to maintain all your paperwork and there is an ever-present security issue with the more sensitive data. A solution to this is professional document storage.
How to keep your business successful, regardless of the weather
Is there a way a company dependant on the UK tourist industry can weather-proof itself? We believe with the right marketing, business finance and planning, you can carve a larger slice of the tourism pie – regardless of what’s going on outside.
Social media marketing appears to be one of the biggest buzzwords in the modern marketing world. But how does a small business do that? Can small businesses really rely on social media to increase their revenues and if so, how? In this article we’ll delve into three ways small businesses can use social media to transform their businesses and convert fans into cash generating customers.
Everyone loves coffee, especially early in the morning, after they've showered and dressed for work. Drinking coffee at a favorite coffee shop or cafe offers a welcomed energy boost, an invigorating way to fully wake up after a long night of sleep. It's also a great way to make friends, especially considering the fact that the same people generally visit their favorite cafe at the same time each day. Furthermore, the introduction of gourmet coffee (think Starbucks) only seems to have strengthened our appetite for a robust cup of coffee, not to mention fresh pastries.
Although the government describes small and medium sized business as ‘vital’ to the UK economy, it’s still far too difficult for them to access appropriate small business finance. While mortgages and lending to large companies are on the increase, the level of small business loans remains stubbornly flat.
However, SMEs are not surrendering to this situation and are creating opportunities from alternative small business financing options. Business cash advances are becoming more popular in the UK because of the credit squeeze.
The best way to start a successful business is to identify a problem and charge more to fix the problem than it costs. It seems simple enough, but many people still have a problem in their head but miss so many of the essential elements to make the business viable. The method is the same for businesses that have operated for many years because it is never too late to do things properly and it generally improves profits.
As a business owner you’ll know all too well the steep financial demands of running a small business in a difficult environment, such as financing business loans or securing business cash advances. We’ve recently looked to the Institute of Directors to see what they consider the main concerns for small business. We then pulled together a handy check-list to help you through some key challenges.
Positive Growth Forecast for SMEs: Infographic
It’s nice to hear some good news now and again, especially when everything we’ve heard in the last couple of years has put our optimism well and truly down in the dumps. Stats are only as good as their interpretation and you can always find a negative if you really look, but we prefer to find the positives because it breeds more positivity.
Take the blow infographic for instance...
Growth is a business term thrown around a lot, but not everyone appreciates its importance. If a hairdresser has enough appointments to stay in business, why grow? Although without something growing they’d have nothing to cut, but seriously, why would a hairdresser need to have more appointments than manageable?
In some sectors, image is everything...and we’re not talking fashion or fragrance. First impressions count in hotels, restaurants, bars and beauty salons and the way the premises look can determine whether customers come back for more or turn on their heels.
Refurbishing a new or existing business is an exhausting but exciting project.
The path of the SME can be a treacherous one but it’s not the doom laden experience that some would have us believe. According to the Small Business Administration, 70% of businesses still operate after two years and 51% are in place after five years. Small business success depends upon realism rather than pessimism and there are ways of improving the chances of popping the champagne cork this year and for years to come.
We all know healthy cash flow is the life blood of any business. Cash flow has been named as one of the single most important factors in avoiding business failure. The results from recent research by BACS have highlighted that small to medium business in particular are struggling to get payments both from their clients and customers, and suppliers and B2B partners.
Merchant Cash Express, which offers the product Business Cash Advance, has been nominated for the Alternative Commercial Lender of the Year award.
The finance firm, which provides small and medium-sized businesses with flexible cash advance payments linked to their card sales, will find whether it has won on May 9 during an awards ceremony in London.
Merchant or business cash advances are a relatively new form of commercial financing. Because they depend upon the company using debit and credit card payment systems, merchant cash advances are more popular in the hospitality, retail and entertainment sectors, according to the ‘Startups’ website.
Businesses rarely exist without experiencing some form of debt. And that’s not a bad thing. From the bond issuance of multinationals to the overdraft’s of sole traders, businesses at all levels will often be required to take on debt to finance their ambition or operations, and this is no less true for SMEs.
The internet has done for SME marketing strategy what business cash advances have achieved for small business finance; it has opened up previously unavailable options.
But where should a SME concentrate what marketing funds it has?
Today’s economic climate can look a little bleak to the untrained eye. Lenders throughout the UK have downscaled or are no longer able to help applicants and potential borrowers are increasingly struggling to secure the money they need. But there are opportunities out there to secure small business finance.
There was a lot of tension in the air before the coalition government’s budget for 2013. There was a strong feeling the general public were beginning to rebel against the crippling austerity measures which did not appear to be having any positive effect on the UK economy...