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Research reveals government invested £9.8 billion supporting businesses in 2013-14

16th February, 2016 No Comments

A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

According to recent research at the Innovation Growth Lab, the British government spent £9.8 billion in 2013-14 supporting its businesses.

The research was undertaken by Teo Firpo and Thomas Beevers following the announced cuts in business support services as part of the Autumn Spending Review, November 2015 – with the BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) seeing a 17% reduction in their budget.

The research set out to discover how the cuts might affect businesses and innovation in the UK, and crucially, to consider how the government should target the cuts.

Teo and Thomas considered it critical to know how the British government supports its businesses and entrepreneurs, not just through BIS, but across all departments, in order to reach any answers to these questions so the IGL research maps out how much public money goes to businesses and, importantly, through what type of support programmes. The research discovered that business support takes place across government departments identifying six other public bodies with business support programmes, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Communities and Local Government, beside tax relief and BIS.

‘How much does the UK spend supporting its businesses?’ can be read in full here.

Summarised by Davina Young @ Cavendish

Board Dawn Whiteley - circle

New Year, New Start

3rd February, 2016 No Comments

choose a job you love

At this time of year, those of us working in the business of helping people to start up and run their own businesses usually expect to see a large increase in the number of enquiries! Whether it’s the fulfilment of a New Year’s resolutions, or the just the dawning of another new year being the catalyst – there’s no doubt it is the time when more prospective business starters come forward than at any other time of the year!

So if you’re thinking about starting a business, have you taken the bull by the horns yet?  And if not, why not?

More and more people are exploring the potential to become self employed than ever before.  The figures continue to increase and even following a slight drop off towards the end of last year, the numbers are on the rise again.

We now operate in an economy that is much more supportive and much more accepting of small, independent businesses, sole traders, and the self-employed, and so there has never been a better time to look at starting your own business, particularly if there is that burning desire within you to be your own boss!

But, if you are thinking about it, make sure you do it in the right way.  Take all the advice and support you can. Explore the opportunities and the challenges fully.  Don’t kid yourself it will all be easy as it certainly won’t be!  But if you’re prepared for hard work and probably a bit of stress, then there are many rewards to be had too!

There are drawbacks of course, in a good number of cases and certainly in the early days you will probably earn less than you’re used to and you certainly won’t have as many of the perks and comforts of a paid job either: holiday and sick pay, pension contributions etc.  And that’s before we start on whether you get paid on time for the work you do!

That might sound a bit negative, but actually far from it.  People working for themselves are generally happier than the run of the mill employed person – we suspect because you are in control of your career and your destiny, and you have the ability to make the choices about the work you do and when you do it and you’re prepared to compromise on some of the downsides because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself!

Get thinking
• Do you have what it takes to run your own business; the skills, experience and contacts required to make a go of it?
• Does your family support you in your ambitions? They’ll need to if you’re going to make a go of it.
• Do you have the resources to make it a success?  That could be cash; it could be tools and equipment; it could be access to other people who’ll help you make it work.

Get advice
• There are plenty of sources of good advice so take as much of it as you can.  You don’t have to follow it all, but listen, digest and work out how it can help you move forward.
• If there are training opportunities available to you, take them – you wouldn’t become a brain surgeon without studying medicine would you?  So why then might you consider not training for what it takes to become a good business person?  Not only that but you’ll meet people there who you can learn from and even better, trade with!
• Similarly with networking, hardly anyone would say they enjoyed it, but it’s an essential part of doing business because it helps you learn how to do business better.  More importantly networking gives you access to contacts who might become suppliers, customers or other important partners in your business.

Get customers
• Customers are absolutely key to the survival and success of any business, without them there is no business – remember that! You can have the best product in the world, the cheapest, the best value, the most exclusive or the most popular.  But if no-one is buying it then you have nothing!
• Remember that people buy people and so even if your product is the one they are almost certain to buy, if you don’t come across as the person they want to buy it from you will lose the sale!
• Who are your customers?  When you’re planning your business it’s very easy to base all your decisions on what your family and friends are telling you about the product or about the service you’re offering.  Well, that’s great, but they are likely to be somewhat biased.  What about those you don’t know?  Are they as likely to buy? If not then you’ll soon run out of customers and soon run out of business! Make sure you run your idea past the widest range of potential customers before you get started to be sure you have enough to base a good business upon.
• Once you’ve got them, make sure you keep them! Many businesses put a lot of time, effort and money into attracting new customers and then deliver a poor product or service, meaning they are very unlikely to buy again.  What a waste! If you’re going to put your hard earned cash into getting a new customer, you need to do all you can to make sure they buy from you again and again and again.  The saying ‘under promise and over deliver’ was never more apt!

If you want your business to grow and take on staff there is even more help available, notably from the start up business support programme, Start & Grow.  Programmes such as this support you through the stages of setting up your business with training and advice, and some continue to support you after you start trading.  Start & Grow support continues for 3 years – just think where you could be in that time!

What are you waiting for?  Get on with it!  And good luck!

Written by Dawn Whiteley, CEO, National Enterprise Network


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