According to research from outsourcing provider, Woven, more than three-quarters (78%) of consumers trust online reviews when it comes to making a purchase. As UK businesses continue to manage the fallout from lockdown, customer service experts from Woven have revealed the significant impact that positive reviews could have in helping small businesses recover.
Every business needs to constantly assess what it sells, to whom, and how it sells it. It also needs to constantly assess the market and its competitors, as well as attempting to forecast future trends in demand and technology. All of this is quite a task in normal times when events move in a predictable way and in a linear timescale.
The Government’s furlough scheme has saved an estimated two million jobs and helped protect tens of thousands of startups and SMEs from closure. However as the clock ticks down to the end of October, the point at which the scheme will end, many businesses are now understandably concerned about what will come next once this provision is taken away.
A new study, commissioned by business bank, Allica Bank, shows that the practice of regular training correlates strongly with high performance in SMEs and will be vital to businesses’ prospects of a swift recovery post-COVID. The study analysed data from over 1,000 companies and ranked their success on a scale that evaluated factors including productivity, growth, consistency and outlook.
One thing that every early stage business should produce is a pitch deck, whether they are looking to raise external funding or not. A pith deck is typically a 15 to 20 page very simplified business plan set out in a PowerPoint type format. Its purpose is to succinctly outline all aspects of the business to any outsider. Just like a business plan, producing a good pitch deck is a good exercise for any founder in refining the business itself, and considering all aspects clearly and objectively.
Is the education system equipping young people with the skills to succeed in a fast changing labour market? A new report from The Entrepreneurs Network argues that as children return to schools after lockdown, students as young as eleven should have the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in order to develop the skills and mindset necessary to prosper in the modern economy.
Remote working has been in the technology ecosystem for many years. I have personally been doing partial remote work for the last ten to twenty years and what I have found is surprising. Most individuals are not used to this style of work which is accelerating a nationwide transformation of company culture.
Before any business is established the founder will of course have spotted a gap in the market, thought of the original idea, conducted research, and come up with the MVP. Taking these basic thoughts and then forming a business around them, with all the necessary steps that regular readers will now be very familiar with, does of course take considerable time and effort.
Research from Workthere has revealed five top tips to keep employees happy at work. Workthere’s 'What Co-workers Want' report found that 59% of coworkers in the UK say they are happy with their current workplace, but what can providers do to improve happiness within their offices? Workthere asked 1,874 European office workers about 48 different office features in order to determine how satisfied they are with them and identify the areas offices should look to improve to provide an overall happier place to work.
The startup ecosystem is going through some big tests right now. This time has forced us all to discover just how efficient and productive we really can be working from our kitchen tables. It’s tested the limits of our patience (‘when will it ever end?’) and resilience (‘when can we go outside?’) and ability to stay focused (‘how do I ignore the distractions of home and get my work done?’).
According to the Office for National Statistics 213,285 businesses failed in the UK in the first half of 2020, a 14% increase on the same period in the previous year. Without looking much more deeply into the numbers it is not possible to say for certain how many of those that failed were due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown but we would not be far wrong to say that the 14% increase, or 26,193 businesses failures were as a result of the pandemic.
So I was listening to a podcast this morning - I listened to loads of podcasts so that's not unusual - but there was something about this podcast and the messaging within the podcast that rang a moderate alarm bell. The conversation was one of those that I estimate actually holds a lot of people back.
Blenheim Chalcot, the UK-based digital venture builder, and Imperial College London welcomed its first business members to Scale Space on Imperial’s White City campus this week. This new 200,000ft2 facility, will be home to scale ups and innovative businesses across the technology, digital and life-sciences sectors.
If you have purchased a new computer within the last few years, you likely lack something - ports. You know, places to plug in your stuff. With streamlining and consolidation, many modern computers (including the entire MacBook family) have shifted to utilising only USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. Because of this, a dock or hub is essential when you Work From Home.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has caused large-scale disruption to businesses worldwide, remote working has been a shining example of how to ensure ‘business as usual’, particularly in areas such as customer service. If Gartner predictions are correct that over 40% of all employees will continue remote working post-COVID, businesses must redefine remote working by ensuring customer service staff - contact centre agents and supervisors - are equipped with fit-for-purpose technology to ensure they deliver a truly first-class service to the customer. Anne-Meine Gramsma, Chief Commercial Officer at ContactCenter4ALL, explains.
Fifty percent of people currently employed are planning on looking for a new job after COVID-19, according to new research released from Hooray Health & Protection. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employees questioned said they were somewhat likely to seek a new job, 13% said they were very likely and twelve percent were pretty positive when they said they were extremely likely to look for a new job post COVID-19.
Forty nine percent of employers are planning to stagger return to work based on employees’ own health risks related to COVID-19, whilst 46% will be staggering employees return depending on how critical their role is to the business. The next most popular strategy is the creation of smaller work groups (40%), followed by changing work hours (34%), a voluntary return scheme (33%), and splitting shifts (28%).
While car MOTs were scrapped during lockdown, taking the same approach with a business could be a mistake that leads to catastrophic consequences. Just as leaving unchecked, unroadworthy vehicles on the road is potentially dangerous, by not taking control of a business and leaving success to chance is a gamble at the best of times, but right now that approach could be the beginning of the end.
Some founders come up with their business ideas alone, whilst others do so with friends or associates. Some founders wish to stay as sole founders, whilst others prefer to work with co-founders to share the tasks, decision making, and risks, as well as adding often complementary skills or knowledge to their own.
Commercial real estate, HR and technology professionals are focused on finding innovative ways to meet the challenges of a post-COVID workplace through safe and effective back to work strategies. John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices, considers what this means for businesses heading back into the office.
Starting a company and being a founder is stressful - especially in the current COVID-19 environment. Last year, 19% of all European founders said starting a company had a negative impact on their wellbeing, and a global pandemic will not bring that number down. However, mental health issues are not widely discussed in the startup ecosystem and beyond.
A new survey by global consultancy, Brandpie has uncovered that the number one challenge CEOs expect to face over the next five years is finding the right talent. Furthermore, Brandpie reports that 98% of CEOs surveyed agree that the new generation of talent have different expectations from previous generations - with emotional considerations such as alignment of a company's culture and values trumping benefits like flexible working, training, and access to technology for the majority of millennials.
Following the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, we have seen widespread business closures, pay cuts, reduced hours, and redundancies, resulting in many workers looking for a new venture. Today, LinkedIn is one of the go-to platforms for budding job hunters searching for a new role, therefore the competition is high. To help those looking to enter a new career field, online educational platform, Preply has provided tips on the things to consider when messaging a recruiter on LinkedIn.
In the COVID-19 era many people are taking the opportunity to organise and simplify their home working spaces, making good use of the ample time at home. But de-cluttering your virtual space - including your computer/laptop, phone, cloud storage, etc - is just as important as de-cluttering your physical space.
The home kitchen and dining area have become the most lucrative money making locations in Britain, that combined are generating £37.4bn to the British economy during lockdown - that’s being coined as ‘Kitchen Table Talent’. The research commissioned by Attic Self Storage, revealed that although restrictions are being lifted, 41% of office workers are expected to continue their jobs from home, with 44% saying it’s the most productive place they have ever worked.
Are you working at home and struggling to maintain productivity? For the majority of Brits currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for those looking to do more home working in the future, flexible office specialist, Workthere, has shared 10 tips on how you can create an office space that leads to maximum productivity.
Even in the bleakest of times, entrepreneurs have found a way to innovate and create disruptive products that have enhanced our daily lives or solved a problem. Take the humble chocolate chip cookie, baked for the first time after the Great Depression. During a period of severe economic hardship, this new treat offered some richness and comfort and remains immensely popular to this day.
The COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated the pace of change in the business world. Leaders and employees have had to adapt to operate in a challenging environment, where the only certainty is change. Not only have organisations had to rapidly adjust to the changing needs of its people, customers and suppliers, but it has also navigated the financial and operational challenges. This has led to many businesses prioritising the now, focusing on reshaping its operations to stabilise revenue and align with short term demand.
Local businesses are core to our communities, but the impact of COVID-19 has been tough on business owners. As the UK steadily reopens its doors to businesses and people alike, Google has pledged to support small businesses across the country with a burgeoning package of products, tools and services to support the reopening and growth of British commerce.
Britain’s small businesses achieved three years of innovation in just three months as they battled to keep trading during the coronavirus lockdown. While such efforts to keep revenues flowing have been successful for some owners, concerns about employment prospects and future investment remain for many as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
Global small business platform, Xero has announced its new analysis has revealed the extent of COVID-19’s impact on UK small business employment and revenue between March and May 2020, showing a 28% drop in revenue and a six percent decline in employment. Late payments to UK small businesses increased by 7.8 days between February and May 2020.
The number of people on UK payrolls dropped by 612,000 between March and May, according to early data from the Office for National Statistics and HM Revenue and Customs that is starting to show the depth of the hit to the economy from the pandemic. The UK unemployment rate for the three months to April 2020 was estimated at 3.9%, 0.1 percentage points higher than a year earlier but largely unchanged on the previous quarter.
Over the last few weeks, Chancellor Rishi Sunak spelled out how he and the Treasury plan to end the Job Retention Scheme - also known as furlough - at the end of October. The scheme is currently paying 80% of the wages of at least 8.4 million workers placed on furlough by their employers. Many are concerned that the majority of these workers will be made redundant as soon as the scheme ends, leading to mass unemployment.
The Bank of England has revealed that it may take the cost of borrowing below zero for the first time in its over 300-year history; following moves by Eurozone countries to introduce negative interest rates. The move could effectively mean that savers pay to have their money with banks and are incentivised to borrow money and increase their spending.
During Mental Health Awareness Week last month, in the UK and for seven days, the nation paid itself some attention and shone a light on the impact of work and COVID-19 on our wellbeing. For the rest of the year, however, we must continue to look after each other and our mental health in and out of work.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on our everyday lives, therefore, it is important we maintain high spirits and support each other and our local communities as much as possible. As non-essential stores remain closed until further notice, there is little we can do to help with this reality. However, for those small local shops and convenience stores that continue to provide us with our essential items and necessities, there are steps put in place to help support their success during this tough time.
The world is now facing a public health crisis known as Covid-19 and a financial crisis. The crisis on our hands manifests differently for individuals and companies. The uncertainty over our ability to revert to our normal state creates pressures on mental health, relationships, and business performance.
According to UK Government statistics some 660,000 new companies are established each year and many of these will have plans to scale rather than to remain a micro business. Some founders will of course be happy to run their startup as a side hustle, and others will only be looking for a lifestyle business. But for many others that are looking for something larger, ‘how do I scale my business?’ is a question that I am often asked.
The team at Quotezone.co.uk, an insurance comparison site, surveyed 600 UK businesses about how they are dealing with the lockdown. The research revealed that two fifths of UK businesses (39%) have had to pivot their offerings since the beginning of lockdown, with 76% of these providing a brand-new service.
When you are trying to navigate the management of a business in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s all too easy to neglect the maintenance of your company culture. Yes, it’s true that other priorities might seem more pressing right now; after all, your clients and suppliers won’t be sending you impatient emails demanding to know how you plan to safeguard your internal team relationships.
As employees return to work, UK businesses are likely to face a backlog of annual leave requests that could cost thousands of pounds. By collecting data and analysing the average monthly salary at a baseline at £2,214 and at least 50% of employee annual leave owed, Coworking Specialists Instant Offices have calculated how much it would cost for companies of different sizes to pay staff for a minimum of two weeks of annual leave.
After nine long weeks of lockdown, businesses are starting to re-open or, at least, planning to reopen in the near future. For some of the luckier ones this might be possible without having to make too many, or too onerous, changes. For others, the planning will need to be much mere detailed and the implementation will be much more complex.
The global pandemic is creating huge uncertainty for people, businesses and livelihoods in the UK. To support those who are looking to better understand the new government financial support that is available and how it can help them, Jim Harra, Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of HMRC, will be participating in a LinkedIn Live interview and Q&A hosted by Emily Spaven, UK Editor of LinkedIn News, on Thursday 21st May at 3pm BST.
A considerable task business owners face during the outbreak is keeping teams motivated and productive in the face of uncertainty. According to the people management and CIPD poll, around 63% of employers say anxiety is the biggest challenge facing their organisation right now, followed by the inability for their teams to work remotely.
In the current climate, many of us have found ourselves in different working environments - with the majority of people working from home. With our home and work spaces becoming the same place, it’s more important than ever to ensure you take steps to create some separation and avoid burnout - a common issue faced by small business owners.
The first step in an energy company collaborating with a startup is to ask itself a simple question: why? In part one of this series, we answered that from a wide-angle perspective – because the industry needs to innovate to keep up with the pace of change, and collaboration with startups appears the quickest, surest way to do so. Because the old model of fiercely guarded, siloed research has reached its limit.
Amid the current pandemic, the economy is taking a brutal hit, and as fledgling businesses, startups have a particularly fierce challenge to keep afloat. To try and help companies that aren’t eligible for existing relief schemes during this time, such as the CBILS loan, the government has announced a £1.25bn fund to try and help these companies - including startups - survive.
For the majority, the word entrepreneur conjures an image of a male in his twenties or early thirties. It’s unlikely the picture of someone in retirement age would come to mind and even less likely a woman in her 60s. However, a new wave of silver start-ups is emerging and with good reason! One such disruptor is Sheila Holt. Having traded on a smaller scale for a few years, Sheila embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and began scaling her finance business, Sapphire Lending Ltd, at the age of 60.
The current pandemic has brought shock and uncertainty to businesses across the world. From global heavyweights to SMEs that are the backbone of the British economy, the question for many leaders is, how can we keep afloat during this crisis? Thankfully we live in a digital age where many businesses can be taken online. Along with government support, there are many tools that can be easily accessed to pivot during this period.
More than ever, cash flow is a key issue for small businesses, and understanding it is crucial to making informed decisions at the right time. The government will be asking businesses to demonstrate that they have an understanding of the state of their cash flow as it stands, and in the future before allowing access to the grants and schemes being offered.
Skim read the annual report of a major energy company from 2010 and you won’t come across many instances of the terms: 'innovation' or even 'startup'. Now, it is a different world. Even the slowest moving established energy companies (perhaps especially the slowest moving) recognise that innovation is key to survival in a changing market and that collaboration with startups is a good way to go about it.
Businesses in the UK, and across the world, are facing unprecedented challenges in order to survive and thrive in the wake of COVID-19. Scaling businesses are facing an additional and unique set of challenges, as many will be in the ‘critical growth’ phase which is often loss-making – embarking on a stage of expansion in order to achieve future revenue growth. This makes the current climate daunting to approach.
With COVID-19 continuing to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds it can be hard to prioritise the right things for your startup when it comes to managing money. This is undoubtedly a tough time for everybody, but for startups, freelancers, sole traders and small business owners, it’s hitting particularly hard.
It’s always been clear to me that I’m not a math person. Or at least that’s the story I’m used to telling myself. Soon after graduating from Political Science and International Relations, I started working for Panama's foreign service in Geneva. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, representing my country on issues I cared for like gender, climate change, and mass migrations.
In 2020, companies throughout the world are investing significantly in colleague training. 94 per cent of British businesses’ suggesting, ‘that even in the current economic climate, learning and development is at the heart of their strategy’. The report by UK L&D noted how none of the companies who are spending more than the national average of £300 on training for each employee have a retention rate of less than half a year. Clearly, staff morale and job satisfaction are enhanced by sufficient training.
Found & Flourish is a female founders and aspiring entrepreneurs online membership, media & events platform. We have over 10,000 women within our network and run on average 40 events a year. Our mission is to empower women in business to launch, grow and scale their dream businesses. We also provide services, resources and community to support the women at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
Any business at any time has to constantly be considering how best to trade in the present, and how best to trade in the future. This is equally true in the good times as it is in the difficult times. For many, this strange period where the world is caught up in the coronavirus pandemic is certainly one of the much more difficult times, but for some lucky businesses it is actually a period of rapid growth and great opportunity.
With many office-based businesses still required to work from home, it can be stressful trying to manage your company and protect your employees, customers, and interests. Capital on Tap's CEO, David Luck shares his 'business health MOT' checklist, to ensure you’ve got the best plan in place for your business’ longevity.
In the current climate, overcoming the fallout from the coronavirus crisis will be a top priority for most, if not all, businesses worldwide. However, this does not mean we can ignore the underlying challenges that continue to impede global progress towards goals like ending the gender diversity crisis.
For the UK, innovation has become a top priority. Indeed, adapting to the coronavirus economy is the most important objective for most businesses and those that innovate successfully will thrive. However, R&D has become a much more public discussion over the past few weeks. In the recent Budget, the Government put significant emphasis on increasing R&D activity. It recognises that the UK could be more of a global innovation hub.
Coronavirus is on everyone’s lips, not literally but figuratively. And for very good reason. It seems so long ago already that the only thing in the news was all things Brexit, and how companies will need to adapt in order to survive, and now that has been brushed aside by a much bigger and more urgent threat – coronavirus.
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs claim they’ve learned their best life lessons from making mistakes and bouncing back. But that doesn’t mean that expensive errors should be embraced. Spotting problems early on and better understanding the challenges ahead can help limit the cost and potential damage when things don’t go as planned.
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed” - Steve Jobs. You know you have an incredible idea with which you could disrupt the market. But to do that, you need first to transform it into a software product. And you're possibly wondering what the starting point is, and at what stage you need to take to the market. You're worried because you know of people who did not make an impact despite their great idea. These thoughts are but natural and every entrepreneur goes through them.
The Coronavirus pandemic will change online behaviours significantly and possibly permanently both for consumers and businesses. People have been forced to access information in new ways, interact and purchase new and different products and services online, and the longer this continues, the more likely these are to become habits.
THE Covid-19 pandemic has made logging on to Zoom and Microsoft Teams part of a new daily working routine for millions of Brits. The use of the video-calling tools has exploded in the past fortnight with people following Government advice to stay at home. But there are increasing fears at how this key tool for home-workers is bringing new dangers.
Running your own business is not an easy thing. We know this. Everyone knows this. I am not saying anything revolutionary when I make this statement. But why is it hard? Well, to maintain financial and psychological wellbeing is tough for business owners but they’re not exclusive in feeling these worries, many employees also find maintaining financial and psychological wellbeing to be tough.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt and dominate our lives, feelings of anxiety are completely normal during times of uncertainty and in some cases isolation. Everyone will be impacted in a different way and it is important to remember that you are not alone. Already there are so many stories emerging of human kindness and compassion and people pulling together to help and support each other.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned off the lights in millions of offices, factories and shops across the UK. But for many businesses who have switched to home-working the cost of their now empty property will still need to be met. And that dilemma is now causing growing concern among businesses – many of whom have seen revenue totally stop in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Today one of Britain’s leading law firms has advised companies with concerns over meeting the cost of commercial leases to hold 'sensible' discussions with landlords as quickly as possible. Harper James Solicitors also advise firms yet to get a plan in place to do so – before it is too late.
Upscaling can be a daunting task for any business, many will find it difficult to step outside their comfort zone or be reminded daily the risks with investing in new opportunities. While this approach may work in our personal lives, it can be detrimental to new business opportunities as well as the entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to upscaling your business.
These are strange times, unsettling times, and if I am honest this is not a normal question that I overhear much in more normal times, but recently THE question that I keep hearing is ‘do I have to work remotely and what does that mean for my customers?’ or, put another way, ‘does remote working have to mean working remotely?’
Any business at any stage of its life must be able to adapt and change to changing circumstances. One of the very real benefits that early stage businesses have is that they are small and fast on their feet and are therefore perfectly structured to be able to react swiftly to changing circumstances.
A startling statistic from the European Commission’s: when it comes to European startups, 83% of startup founders are male. At the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), we want to see more women entrepreneurs: more female ownership of startups, and more businesses owned by women. It’s about equality and social inclusion, it is also about a good economic sense and using Europe’s biggest untapped entrepreneurial talent pool - women.
Some people are afraid of networking and others love it! It is true. We have all come across people that love nothing more than going to networking events and chatting to as many people as possible – some of these really get the benefits that good networking can bring to them and their business, and others simply love networking because it fits their outgoing personality.
For the whole of August, I embarked on a smartphone detox. There were a few reasons as to why, but the most prevalent was a worry around burnout. For the past 18 months I’d be working hard setting up and growing Shine Workplace Wellbeing, while also ensuring I was spending ample time with my two young sons.