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SME Business News Round up – April

Another month has passed, we have had Easter, threats of nuclear war from the North Koreans, the Premier League title race back on and a snap General Election being called…

Never-mind all this – what about the news in the SME world that affects you and your company?

Increased funding for SME’s?

A recent study from an investment firm indicates that investors are increasingly keen to buy into new businesses.  A poll of 1,000 investors found that over 40% regard Brexit as having a positive effect on their investment strategy.  With returns on investments still at a record low, many of those questioned saw private equity investment into UK owner managed businesses as the biggest opportunity for returns in the year ahead.

Patrick comments: If your business requires finance, think about this source of finance.  I will be doing a blog on this very subject shortly!

SMEs bullish about future prospects…

In a report from the Federation of Small Businesses, the confidence that SMEs have in the economy is the highest for 18 months.  In the survey of almost 1,250 firms, they cited the weak Pound as a major factor in boosting overseas sales.  Although as a note of caution, the survey revealed that almost 2/3rds reported an increase in operating costs, principally fuel/energy costs and labour costs.

Patrick comments: The optimism is good to see but the rise in costs is a concern.  We can certainly introduce you to experts in cost management although keeping the wage bill down is more tricky!

Corbyn declares war on late payers!

It is not often I agree with JC but by promising to tackle the culture of late payments  I am with him 100%.   Speaking recently at the FSB, he said that more than 50,000 small firms are forced out of business every year due to this practice.  He likened it to big companies using their suppliers as a source of interest free capital.  He proposed a new system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late payers.

Patrick comments: This was before the announcement of the snap election but who knows, with the unexpected nature of recent election results, he may well get his chance to put this into practice!

SME owners expect their pension cash to run out…

New research indicates that nearly half of all small business owners expect their pension funds to die before they do!  Additionally 42% of these owners expect to have to work until they are 70 or older.   Indeed, many are not planning to retire at all.  More than 50% expect a pension pot of less than £500k to fund their entire retirement.  The research also warned against raiding your pension pot to fund their businesses.   Without expert advice, it warned, the risk of an impoverished retirement increased substantially.

Patrick comments: This is backed up by a survey Haines Watts itself undertook recently; the feeling that ‘my pension is my business’ is prevalent amongst business owners.  You need proper advice on pension forecasting and investments but also on your exit strategy (I’m not talking Dignitas here…), so that your business gives you the best final return it can.

“Keep calm and buy me a beer…”

Brexit stories still seem to be everywhere at the moment; the message being sent out to SMEs from the 2017 National Business Awards is to ‘keep calm and carry on’.  What they mean is to carry on doing what you do well, maintain your cash, engage with staff/customers/suppliers.  Also, watch your KPIs (key performance indicators) and above all be alive to the opportunities offered.

Patrick comments:  Sound advice, SMEs are more adaptable then larger concerns and can take advantage of a market opportunity should it arise.

Another round up next month – yee haw!




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