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Board Dawn Whiteley - circle

What does the Budget 2016 mean for small businesses?

18th March, 2016 No Comments

Budget briefcase

The 2016 Budget Statement was given yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne. In the statement the Chancellor defines his proposals as “a Budget for small businesses.

The key headlines within the Budget statement are reviewed here by Dawn Whiteley, CEO of National Enterprise Network. NEN is a membership body for enterprise support organisations that support pre start and start-up businesses.

“At NEN, we always look at budget statements in lots of detail, to understand how each and every decision affects the small business sector – a sector we happen to think is the lifeblood of our economy.

Following whisperings recently about changes to business rates, in one of the biggest announcements these were confirmed yesterday. The changes will mean that around 600,000 small businesses will no longer have any business rates to pay. A further 250,000 small businesses will have their rates cuts from April 2017. A significant outgoing for any small business is its overheads and these changes will ensure there is a benefit to be had for many.

Corporation tax is also to be cut from the current rate of 20% to 17% by 2020. This has a clear impact for small business owners, as does the removal of the Class 2 NI contributions for the self-employed.

Fuel costs are something which concern many small businesses so the freeze announced on fuel duty will be welcomed. The Chancellor described this initiative as “the tax boost that keep Britain on the move.” Keeping costs down for a small business is crucial to its sustainability and potential growth.

Budget 2016 infers that Job Centre Plus staff will provide support to self-employed universal credit claimants. If this does evolve any additional support should complement the specialist self-employment support given by enterprise support agencies and other professional bodies.

Britain is blazing a trail, let the rest of the world catch up” said the Chancellor. Start-ups and small businesses are a part of this ‘blazing trail’, with Cavendish Enterprise alone helping in excess of 32,000 potential business owners under just one of its business support contracts.

George Osbourne relayed his confidence in job creation, predicting the creation of a million jobs by 2020. It’s likely that there will be a significant contribution to this total by those classed as small businesses.

It is good to see that the Chancellor has put forward a Budget for 2016 that will have a positive impact on the small business sector. There is still more that can be done to help and support this vibrant sector and we will encourage the government to do all they can to support it too.

Like many others, I will continue to review the Budget as the details emerge over the next few weeks and months to ensure that the benefits that materialise are as suggested in the Budget statement.

We all also need to ensure people feel confident enough to set up these businesses in the first place – which is where the value of the enterprise support sector comes in.”

Written by Dawn Whiteley, CEO, National Enterprise Network

Cavendish Enterprise partners are committed to supporting start-up and growing businesses.  Contact our partners in your region for invaluable business advice and support.


Board Carole White - circle

Failure: It’s not the end, but is the beginning …

9th March, 2016 No Comments

cartoon - we all know what not to do


How many of us have failed at something during our lives?

Well, the only true answer is all of us. Some more spectacularly than others, but each and every one of us has failed at something or other. But do we ever shout about our failures or freely discuss them with friends, families, colleagues or business associates? Some of us may, but most of us certainly don’t. It’s just not very British!

Maybe it is time to follow the American philosophy, where failure is embraced and seen as a positive.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” Robert F. Kennedy

Of course, constant failure will never result in success!  However, it is important to learn from our mistakes; understand the reasons why; and move on with our business ideas.

The most successful companies in the world have experienced failure but instead of disappearing with their heads down, they embrace their mistakes, develop their ideas and bounce back. How can we learn if we don’t make mistakes?

Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, authors of ‘Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation’,  say, “We’re such a success-oriented culture, but think what we need is more failure. Improvements only happen when you try things differently.”

History is littered with stories of businesses and individuals who have turned failure into success. For example, it is said that the world famous Jacuzzi whirlpool was invented for arthritis sufferers, but failed to take off. It was then re-launched as a luxury item and the rest is history. Likewise, it is reported that Microsoft spent many years working on a failed database called Omega which resulted in the development of the most popular desktop database, Microsoft Access. Similarly, JK Rowling was an unemployed and depressed single mother who never thought she would make it anywhere. She spent night after night in coffee shops working on a novel about wizards, and describes herself then as “the biggest failure she knew.” Ultimately the way she embraced her failure formed the foundation of her incredible success. The list goes on and on………

Of course, not all failure should be seen as success. Careless, mindless, or malicious acts should be acknowledged and dealt with appropriately.

We need to remove the stigma from failure and see it not as the end, but the beginning.

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is the only opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” as Henry Ford so eloquently said.

Written by Carole White, Chief Executive, TEDCO Business Support


If you have a business idea but are worried that it may not be the success you think it could be, take some encouragement from these words from Carole.  You should also take advantage of any help, advice, and support that is available to ensure your business idea develops into the firmest of footings upon which to build a business.  Contact you local Cavendish Enterprise partner to discuss the business support available to you.



5 reasons to network as you start your business

3rd March, 2016 3 Comments

Several silhouettes of businesspeople interacting background business centrer

If you’re starting a business, networking with the right contacts in the correct way can be crucial to becoming successful. Networking isn’t about making a quick sale it is all about building long term relationships with other businesses that allow you to offer your services and experience to one another and reaping the rewards further down the line.

This blog post will be giving you five benefits of networking letting you know what it can do for your business as you look to take it to the next level.

1. Opening of opportunities

Networking can really help when starting a business. Joint ventures, client leads and partnerships are all brilliant ways for you to gain new experiences and skills. Ultimately these opportunities will all go a long way to expanding your eventual client base.

Though networking can be extremely beneficial, it’s also worth mentioning that you should be wary of approaches from certain businesses. Making the wrong connections and jumping into business with everybody that offers you an opportunity isn’t the right way to go, so don’t make rash decisions and always ensure you consider your options and conduct extensive research into those who you are considering to build trustworthy relationships with.

2. Sourcing the right connections

Sourcing the right business connections is a brilliant way of solving many of the problems your business may encounter in the start-up phase. The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” couldn’t be truer in business. Businesses that are more experienced in a particular area may be able to help your business out in new, unfamiliar and difficult situations. Having somebody to call upon in times of need is extremely beneficial. Ensuring you return the favour or letting the business know how much you appreciate the help is vital in maintaining these types of relationships.

3. A word of advice

Taking advice from the right people can be crucial in business. Gaining advice from like minded business owners who have had similar experiences can be very helpful indeed. If a business is slightly further down a particular path, which your business is planning on following, they may be able to offer you advice that could save you time, money or other resources.

4. Gaining referrals / increased business

Receiving a recommendation can go an extremely long way when making a decision about most products and services. Of course, that is if the recommendation is coming from a reliable source. Gaining from referrals can increase your business success dramatically. If you are referred or recommended to another business from a business that you have networked with you will then have the opportunity to make this referral a client. Making a referral a client means permanently expanding your customer base, meaning you will be establishing a solid foundation for your business.

5. Stimulating creativity

If you are running out of ideas and have hit a wall in terms creativity, meeting new businesses and taking ideas and new approaches from them can be the answer to your problems. Networking can bring new ideas and experiences to your business. By talking to other like minded business owners you will discover the different ways that they do business. Bringing new and different creative approaches to your business will bring fresh ideas which will always have a positive impact.


These are just five of many benefits of networking. There are many more ways that networking will have a positive impact and help open up new opportunities. Attending and meeting businesses at networking events is the perfect way to start connecting with other businesses but ensure you try to talk to as many people as possible and don’t just stay chatting to your friends!

Receive ongoing business support and mentoring through the Start & Grow programme, find out more here.

Written by Tara Gillam, Head of Enterprise, Business West

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