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Mixed Forecasts from London Businesses

After a year that’s been bad for both businesses and consumers, it might be assumed that business forecasts are going to be negative. However, a survey of London businesses late in 2023, gives mixed signals. Most expect difficult times in the first half of 2024 — but a surprisingly large number also expect to increase their profits this year. Fears for Economic Activity in 2024 In a survey of 500 London-based b
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Small Businesses Are Confident About 2024

The Federation of Small Businesses reported that, for the 4th quarter of 2023, 40% of small businesses reported a fall in revenue, and confidence had also plummeted. Which makes it more surprising that, according to research by three separate organisations, optimism is high among small businesses for 2024. Expectations for Growth in Turnover In a recent poll by lender Iwoca, 47% of small businesses were expecting an
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Company Liquidation — How Does It Affect a Director?

In any time of economic uncertainty, there’s likely to be an increase in companies going into liquidation. The recent collapse of Wilko has focused our attention on this issue, and no doubt many company directors are feeling nervous. The position of a director of an insolvent company can be problematic in certain circumstances. In general, however, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Insolvency fo
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Good News and Bad News for International Business

During the pandemic, SMEs worldwide assumed this was as bad as it got, and by this time things would have improved. In fact, 2023 seems to be even worse than the height of lockdown — in fact, the worst the economy has been since 2008. Strangely, though, this doesn’t appear to be causing gloom among business owners. A recent survey suggested that the vast majority of SMEs in the international business community are op
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Buy Now Pay Later — Flexibility or Debt Trap?

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) has grown massively over recent years, with options to defer payment being offered for everything from clothing to groceries. Used responsibly, this can be an effective method of obtaining credit to give flexibility in budgeting. However, it can also lead consumers into spiralling debt. The government promised to introduce regulation for the sector, but recent reports suggest they’re consider
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Are Supply-Chain Delays Killing Your Business?

Business owners generally focus most on the sales that bring in the income, rather than on their suppliers. That’s understandable, but it can also be short sighted. Recent research by retail bank Aldermore has found that well over half of SMEs have suffered supply-chain problems in the past year — and this has cost a total of £1.9 billion. Why Are There Supply Chain Delays? Disruptions to supply chains have been goin
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Business Insolvencies Soared in May

There have been many signs recently that the economy is in trouble, most obviously the most recent announcement of interest rate rises. Another troubling sign, though, has been given less publicity — a sharp rise in business insolvencies in May. What’s behind this, and what does it mean for you as a business owner? The Rise in the Figures Business insolvency figures have been rising for a while, but it’s been possibl
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FCA Ban for Debt Packagers Charging Referral Fees

In these times of financial stress, large numbers of people, both consumers and small business owners, are seeking debt advice. A good deal of the advice out there is excellent, but there are exceptions. There’s been concern expressed for some time about the referral fees charged by debt packaging companies and whether this creates bad advice. It seems that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) share this concern, an
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SMEs Are Targeting Growth in 2023 — But There Are Challenges

With rampant inflation and a cost-of-living crisis in progress, it would be easy to assume that businesses would be consolidating and cutting costs. While some may be, though, the attitude where SMEs are concerned looks surprisingly optimistic. There are challenges, however. So, should you go for growth or concentrate on playing safe? SMEs Planning for Investment A recent survey by retail bank Aldermore has revealed
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A Crisis in Late Payments to SMEs

Are you being held back by cash flow problems caused by late payment of invoices? You’re not alone. A recent report by Time Finance found that SMEs are owed an average of about a quarter of a million pounds in outstanding invoices. At the same time, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has reported that 52% of small businesses have experienced late payments. Are you among these? And, if so, what can you do about
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