Archive for 'Small business'

UK Small Business Owners Optimistic About 2011- New Study

UK Small Business Owners Optimistic About 2011- New Study-Image via Wikipedia

New study shows half (56 per cent) of small businesses are expecting their profits to increase in 2011, driving the economic recovery • Optimism is evident in SMEs’ employment plans for 2011 with an expected increase in headcount • SMEs in manufacturing, transport and communication, and financial services sectors set to lead the way.

A new report, “The year ahead: a view from Britain’s small businesses”, published today by Barclays Business in conjunction with Kingston University Small Business Research Centre, reveals the views of owner-managers in key areas including ambition and optimism for the year head, planned growth, areas for investments and employment plans.

According to the report, two thirds (66 per cent) of owner-managers are expecting to grow in 2011, with positive action being taken in areas that include entering new markets (35 per cent) and strengthening existing client relationships to potentially increase sales and improve credit management conditions (34 per cent).

This optimism is reflected in owner-managers’ recruitment plans, with the average business expecting to increase the number of full time employees from 33 to 34 people, and part-time employees from 15 to 16, in order to meet demand. The report also spells good news for graduates, with a fifth of SMEs (20 per cent) planning to recruit graduates into full and part time positions next year.

Owner-managers are also focused on the opportunities ahead that will enable them to diversify their customer base and drive efficiency, including: anticipating an upturn in the economy (46 per cent), the development of new domestic markets (25 per cent) and the introduction of new technology (21 per cent). Some are also expecting to benefit from the demise of their competitors or their withdrawal from specific markets (19 per cent).

The research also suggests that despite the challenging economic conditions, SMEs are still planning to invest next year, although they are being increasingly strategic about where they invest their cash, focusing on where it will have maximum impact. For example, nearly half (43 per cent) are looking to up spend on marketing to increase sales, whilst almost a quarter hope to increase spend on product development and innovation. Two thirds (66 per cent) intend to at least maintain their investment in innovation, underlining the forward thinking mindset of the country’s owner-managers.

Commenting on the findings, Travers Clarke-Walker, a Director at Barclays Business, said: “The importance of SMEs has been acknowledged for some time, but never more so than at now, with their performance forming a central component of the recovery, its speed and outcome.

“The research reveals that owner-managers have been actively managing their businesses to reposition themselves for survival and growth in 2011. This is far from the alternatives of retrenching, cutting prices and reducing their profits; strategies that are unsustainable and only add further to any downturn in the economy. In addition, the fact that SME are seeking to grow and to enhance their profitability suggests a sense of optimism and a stepping up to the challenge of recovery.”

Professor Robert Blackburn, Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University, continued: “Our analysis shows that SMEs are able to make a significant contribution to the economy in terms of their employment, sales and innovation activities. Thus the emphasis by the Coalition Government on the central role of SMEs and the economy is not misplaced, as these firms have the potential to meet the expectations that the government has for them during the recovery.

“However, it is worth noting that whilst owner-managers are proactive in terms of planning for survival, development and growth, their success is partly dependant on the level of demand in the economy for their goods and services. Government supply-side measures, including the increased provision of finance, appear to be less popular amongst owner-managers than stimulating demand for goods and services.”

The manufacturing, transport and communications, and financial services sectors look set to lead the way when looking at growth, optimism and employment. These sectors are the most optimistic that their profits will increase in 2011, with financial services the most ambitious about their prospects (76 per cent). In terms of growth, manufacturing and financial services firms are the most likely to increase their spending on innovation (29 per cent), with a significant number of businesses looking to expand into new markets (34 per cent) and invest in products and services development (46 per cent). Businesses in the transport and communication sector top the rankings in terms of employment, with many (25 per cent) looking to recruit next year.

However, set against this backdrop of cautious optimism and development, owner-managers are more than aware of the barriers to recovery. In addition to weak demand linked to the economic climate (66 per cent), other challenges cited include competition for customers, as other businesses seek to intensify their sales efforts and consumers reduce spending, as well as concern around management of cash flow and debtors (30 per cent), which can cause substantial difficulties for owner-managers.

Notes to Editors:

The full report is available for download at


The report was based on an in-depth study of 1000 small and medium sized business owner-managers across Britain combined with qualitative analysis by Kingston University’s Small Business Research Centre.

For further information:
Julia Dudley
020 7544 3115
David de Koning
020 7544 3090
Martin Dyan
020 7544 3021

Case studies of small businesses, photography and interviews with Barclays Business spokespeople are available. Please contact press office on number above.

About Barclays Business

Barclays Business is the business banking arm of Barclays. It has over 700,000 – customers that are a mixture of start ups, sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.
Barclays services to SMEs include:

  • A choice of business accounts that they can tailor to their needs and the provision of up to two years free banking to start-ups, subject to remaining in credit.
  • Day to day business banking support through an award winning team of Business Managers who are available over the telephone for everyday and urgent banking needs during the daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • A support line that customers can use to talk directly to a Barclays lending specialist to discuss additional financing options.
  • Free consultations for businesses with a local accountant, marketing expert and solicitor to advise on topics such as the best legal status, how to advertise or draft supply contracts.
  • A free nationwide business seminar and workshop programme. This is designed to help business owners network and gain practical help on relevant challenges such as marketing, trading online or how to generate more business profits. Over 12,000 delegates have attended one of Barclays 800 business seminars this year.
  • Business management software that helps business customers complete their account work quickly and efficiently; support their hiring efforts; help back up their business data securely; and avoid late payment and bad debts.

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking (bank accounts and savings accounts), corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 140,000 people. Barclays moves, invests and protects money and provides business loans, personal loans, home insurance, life insurance, income insurance and other services for over 49 million customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website

Small Businesses Look to GroupPrice for Software and Services

Small Businesses Look to GroupPrice for Software and Services-Image via Wikipedia

To help small business owners save time and money in getting the software and services they need to grow online, GroupPrice ( launched today, putting the power of group buying in the hands of small businesses. Designed to increase profit by helping buyers cut costs and sellers find new customers, GroupPrice offers a range of software and services from well-known brands geared specifically to help small businesses grow online.

GroupPrice offers weekly deals at up to 60 percent off regular price targeted specifically to small businesses to help them:

  • go online—with website design, copywriting and e-commerce services, hosting and more;
  • grow online—with email marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising, mobile apps and more; and
  • manage online—with online accounting and bill pay, online backup and security services.

“GroupPrice takes the hassle out of finding the software and services small business owners need and lets them lock in a low price that drops even lower as more of the group commits to buy,” said Van Jepson, CEO of GroupPrice. “And, sellers can now build to order and take risk out of the cash flow.”

Lock in a Great Deal that Only Gets Better as More Businesses Buy

Similar to GroupOn, which uses a daily deal tipping-point strategy where a certain number of consumer members must commit to buy at a set price for the deal to be “on,” GroupPrice employs a weekly deal target-price strategy. Business members can set the price at which they commit to buy, and with each new member who commits, the price goes lower. When a deal is posted, members can reserve the deal to lock in the limited-time offer, then share it within their business network and watch the price go lower. Reserving a price gives harried business owners time to research, compare and collaborate to ensure the software or service meets their needs without missing out on a great limited-time deal.

“We’ve eliminated the guesswork and risk in the buying process by offering only pre-qualified deals from trusted companies that can help small businesses save time and reduce costs,” Jepson said.

The company also offers a “Profit Points” frequent buyer program, similar to an airline’s frequent flyer program, which allows customers to save even more with every purchase and member referral they complete.

Instant Time to Market and Targeted Channel for Businesses who Sell

For businesses with software and services geared toward the small business market, GroupPrice provides a highly targeted channel to quickly launch promotions and deals into this growing business segment. With GroupPrice, businesses can offer tailored pricing models and selling benefits without directly competing with their other channels. And, the GroupPrice system can help businesses better balance supply and demand with more accurate insights of short-term group-buying demand.

GroupPrice is continuously adding new limited-time deals to its offering at the request of business members and through its free vendor self-signup at

To sign up and get exclusive access to discount group-pricing deals, visit

Women Company Presidents Show Resiliency in Tough Economic Times

Women Company Presidents Show Resiliency in Tough Economic Times-Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Women presidents have shown they can adjust to the changing economic climate. Results from the surveyed membership indicate 74% of women presidents and CEOs of multi-million dollar companies have maintained or grown their employee base, according to the annual economic survey by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), the premier peer advisory organization for women entrepreneurs. Despite the economic downturn, 79% of these CEOs and presidents are optimistic about their company’s performance for 2010.

“These statistics are evidence of the versatility and strength of companies owned by women entrepreneurs in the face of adversity,” said Marsha Firestone Ph.D., president and founder of the WPO. “Our survey indicates that WPO members have found ways to adapt to the changing economic climate. To succeed as a small business is tougher than ever, yet 80% have indicated that their businesses are growing or stable in 2010. I sincerely believe that the members of the WPO are models of perseverance of small businesses globally.”

The WPO currently has 1400 members from four continents (U.S., Canada, Peru, South Africa and the UK) and the survey showed that 80% of these women presidents confirmed that the WPO has helped manage their business concerns in the current economic climate.

Other Key Findings:

Health Care

  • 85% provide health insurance to their employees
  • 32% cover 81%-100% of health insurance for employees

Future Role for the Next Five Years

  • 43% will continue full-time management
  • 16% plan hands-off oversight, with presence in the office 1-3 days per week
  • 11% will have implemented exit strategy, starting a new venture


  • 63% of member businesses have grown since joining
  • 80% Believe the WPO helps manage business concerns in the current economic climate
  • 70% Believe their WPO Chapter is the most valuable resource that WPO provides
  • 70% of WPO members have done business with a WPO members and/or WPO Corporate Sponsor

Additional survey data and interviews are available upon request.

About the WPO:

The WPO is the premier peer advisory organization connecting women who own multi-million dollar companies.  In monthly meetings across four continents (U.S., Canada, Peru, South Africa and the UK) chapters of 20 women presidents – from diverse industries– invest time and energy in themselves and their businesses to drive their corporations to the next level. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by a professional facilitator and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. For more information, call 212-688-4114 or visit

Kirsten Wynn
Women Presidents’ Organization
Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) Shows Small Business Bankruptcies Continue Decline

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) Shows Small Business Bankruptcies Continue Decline-Image via CrunchBase

Small business bankruptcy filings declined more than 11 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to a year ago and have decreased nearly 19 percent since their peak in Q2 2009, Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) announced today.  The decrease is the fifth consecutive quarter in which commercial bankruptcies have declined based on data from the company’s quarterly research on small business activity.

Analysis from the Equifax study shows that the number of small business bankruptcy filings peaked at 37,299 during Q2 2009, compared to 30,392 during Q3 2010.  There were 34,257 bankruptcies in Q3 2009.

“For more than a year, we have seen a decline in the number of small business bankruptcies but this is the biggest percentage decrease during that period,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh, senior vice president, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions.  “Small businesses are still having a tough time.  But the numbers are beginning to indicate that some of the stresses may be abating.”

For its quarterly study, Equifax analyzes Chapter 7, 11 and 13 filings as well as its data on the more than 24 million small businesses in the U.S.  The company considers commercial enterprises with 100 employees or less as a small business.

About Equifax (

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

With a strong heritage of innovation and leadership, Equifax continuously delivers innovative solutions with the highest integrity and reliability. Businesses – large and small – rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology, marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 14 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500(R) Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.

SOURCE Equifax

Cyber Hackers Focusing on Small Businesses

Cyber Hackers Focusing on Small Businesses

Cyber Hackers Focusing on Small Businesses-Image by Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr

Hackers and cyber criminals are now focusing more of their unwanted attention on less secure small businesses. Therefore, it is important that each small business appropriately secure their information, systems and networks.

Coinciding with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, experts will show small business owners how they can protect their most precious online-based assets and customer data from viruses, malware and cyber attacks, in a complimentary webcast, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. ET.

According to President Obama, “cyber security is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” However, according to a study commissioned by the National Cyber Security Alliance, only 28 percent of small businesses have a formal Internet security policy in place, which is alarming given the study also found that 59 percent of small businesses depend on the Internet for day-to-day operations.

This webcast, supported by Bloomberg Television, is just one of a number of resources offered by Solutions for Small Business (SFSB) – a coalition of Americas top cable companies. It will educate business owners on cyber security awareness, and provide tangible, relatively easy and cost-effective steps they can take now to protect themselves. Interested parties may register for the webcast at

Bloomberg Television anchor Monica Bertran will moderate this interactive discussion, which includes small business experts, Rich Kissel, senior information security analyst, National Institute of Standards & Technology, who conducts information security workshops for small businesses nationwide; Larry Godfrey, sales engineer, Heartland Payment Systems, who directs a program to protect payment card holder and account information at one of the nation’s largest payment processors; and John Marshall, small business owner of Main Street Fine Foods, who handles customer data and transactions on a daily basis. Participants can present questions to Bertran and her guests during this live discussion.

Kissel will share ten crucial cyber security steps that small business owners must implement immediately in order to ensure peace of mind and business continuity. According to Kissel, “hackers and cyber criminals are now focusing more of their unwanted attention on less secure small businesses. Therefore, it is important that each small business appropriately secure their information, systems and networks.”

The SFSB cable initiative includes a library of resources available on the Web site, from case studies to the SFSB Report Series and podcasts, all of which delve more deeply into webcast topics. Also offered are archived copies of past SFSB webcasts, originally presented in late 2009 in early 2010.

More specifically, complementing the October webcast is a SFSB Report, entitled ”Cyber Security Strategies for the Small Business Market” and a vendor report that describes the myriad security solutions available to small businesses.

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