How agile is your Business?

Moving into March, the last month of the financial year for a number of businesses, there are a number of questions that the businesses should be asking itself. There is no doubt that 2016 was the year of surprises, Leicester winning the Premiership was just the start, followed by the Brexit vote and then Trump victorious in the USA. We have then seen the pound slump and stock markets around the World hitting new highs. What will 2017 see in the elections in France and Germany? The biggest thing that 2016 taught business is that every business, in whatever industry/sector needs...
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Data Privacy Day guest post from Matt Powell Editor at Broadband Genie

This January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an event aimed at promoting safe internet use and the protection of personal information. This is an issue that was in the news a great deal throughout 2015 thanks to a number of high profile incidents like the Ashley Madison, Sony and TalkTalk hacks. Toward the end of last year Broadband Genie ran a survey about online privacy and data security to discover how safe people felt online. A positive outcome was that the vast majority are using some kind of security software, only 15% say they’ve had personal data exposed by a...
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Demise of Business Growth Service

Well, nobody saw that coming! There was surprise all round with the announcement that the Business Growth service is closing its doors. The Governments thinking is that the Business Support is best provided by the private sector. There are all the independent coaches who were providing the face-to-face support with SME’s who will be looking to help businesses reach their potential. This can now be provided more flexibly in line with the requirements of the business.
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How Good will 2015 be for your Business?

Well 2015 is here…….where will your business be at the end of the year. What’s the vision? How are you going to achieve it? How are you going to know if you are on track? What are your Key Performance Indicators in your business? Who will hold you accountable for the actions you committed to? If you are not on-track does the vision need changing or are there corrective actions that need taking? These are the questions that so often get lost when the business owner spends too little time working on the business. How much time do you spend each month working on your business?...
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Spring is in the Air…….

After the wet winter it certainly feels that spring is it the air and to go with it the business environment is also improving. Most of the business indicators look to moving in the right direction but the world hates uncertainty and that is what the World has now and possibly for the next few months with the position in the Ukraine. At the present time nobody knows how this situation will play out, the USA are promising sanctions against Russia but these are not going to be without consequences to the West and Europe relies on Russian energy. Businesses must...
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Will you be happy in business in 2014?

Why do I enjoy running Cambridge Business Advisors so much? Why do I do this every day of the working week? Well I get a buzz from helping other people, be they friends, family, clients or those less fortunate. Being a sociable chap I also like meeting people. How good is it to be paid to do something that we enjoy and are successful at? The next question how are you going to enjoy 2014? Do you know what would make you happy running your own business in 2014? Research shows that around 80% of businesses get by, a small proportion...
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Help to Buy Scheme

The Governments ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, recently extended, has brought the British housing market into sharp focus. Some commentators believe that it will lead to an over-heating of the Housing Market, and this may be true in some areas of London but it is unlikely to be true in all parts of Britain. What we have today in Britain is a fast expanding new housing market – why is that? Finance for properties is much easier than it has been since 2007, simple as that. The result of this a large increase in employment in the housing market and of...
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Business Model Review

The CBI has increased its forecast growth for the UK economy to 1.2% for 2013 and for 2014 the growth forecast has increased from 2% to 2.3%. The Eurozone has also emerged from recession and the new Governor of the Bank of England has signalled that interest rates will still at their historical low levels until the unemployment rate falls to 7%. The good news for business has now been coming from various sources for the last month. How should business owners be reacting to all this good news? How will it affect their business? The period when an economy is...
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Business Review April 2013

We are almost 4 months through the year and with the weather feeling that spring is here I thought it was a good time to have a review of where we are in the Business world.

Firstly the facts:-
  • The UK has avoided a triple dip recession – this was due to the service sector as both manufacturing and construction was weak.
  • US economy has grown by 2.5% in the 1st quarter – strongest consumer spending figures in 2 weeks.
  • Unemployment is a mixed picture in the UK.
  • Inflation is steady at 2.8% this has not been helped by the Bank...
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Auto-Enrolment

The first meaningful report on the numbers of workers opting-out of the Governments new compulsory pension scheme by the Insurance broker, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, and they are broadly good news for the Government. With the scheme all workers must be enrolled but then the workers can opt-out but only 10% are presently doing so against some official estimates that up to 35% would do. This would indicate that the scheme is finding favour with workers but it is still early days and only large employers are within the scheme at present. Smaller employers will have a staging date for the...
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What to Expect from Budget 2013

There have been cries that the budget deficit reduction measures being employed by George Osborne and the Coalition Government are not working. We have an economy which at best is showing very small growth but we may see a ‘triple dip recession’ in the next few months and Government borrowing still very high. The extent of the problem is enormous: The Government debt is £40,000 for every household in the UK and the Annual deficit has reduced but is still £5,000 a year for each household. Those who argue for a change in direction and a boost for the economic...
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Lending for Small Business

One of the biggest barriers to business growth is access to both long-term and working capital and in the last week, from various sources I have heard a number of stories of businesses being turned-down. Businesses need to look at their position from the other side of the table. From my experience businesses are not providing the lender/investor with enough information to base a decision on. In this position the lender/investor can only make one decision……sorry. A lender wants to see a credible business plan of how it will get its money back, if a business does not have this...
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Start-Up Loans

The Telegraph published a report this week which stated that the biggest barrier to business was the access to Start-Up cash, http://ow.ly/iuzY9. Let's look at the reason behind this as there are schemes to lend to new businesses and get them moving.   The same article states that only 12% turn to their bank for cash and 10% obtain cash from Venture Capitalists. The British Bankers' Association which represents the Banks then states that 8 out of 10 loans are approved. Therefore if these facts are correct I am left with the feeling that a number of possible new businesses are...
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What have those Italians done?

Here we are coming to the end of February and it seemed with Stock markets around the World on the up and no shocks to the financial systems confidence was increasing and output was increasing. It would take some time but it did look like the business world would come out of the other end of the recession………and then came the Italian elections to bring us back to reality….. We have all woken this morning to stock markets falling and this shows the fragility of the present position. In Italy we have a position where no party has power and...
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Outlook for 2013

With the New Year just about upon us it’s the time to do a piece of crystal ball gazing into 2013. Here is what I have seen in my crystal ball, but the only certainty is uncertainty!

  • As I write this the Americans are still trying to negotiate a budget deal (the so called Fiscal Cliff) between the Democrats and Republicans. Nobody can afford for a deal not to be done but with the gap so large between the two sides it will be a compromise which means that nobody is really happy with it. As long as a deal...
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KPI’s. What are they?

So that’s the 2013 business and financial plans finished! Looking forward with optimism for a very successful 2013, I assume that these have been communicated to all staff in the business and they are clear on the strategy and the mission. But how do you know you are on-track? What do you do if the business is not on-track? It is important for businesses to have some Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) which will give an early indication that corrective action needs to be taken. These will be aligned to the strategy and mission of the business. For most business these will...
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Planning for 2013?

Well here we are in December and entering the festive season and looking forward to a prosperous 2013. A number of businesses will have their financial year at the end of the month, and for those businesses this is the time of the year when they should be reviewing their performance for 2012 and objectives for 2013. That is what businesses should be doing but in my experience many SME’s do not undertake this planning exercise and without it how can they know how successful they are? They may have grown in the last 12 months but could they have...
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Patent Box

Who has heard of Patent Box? Potentially this could be very important development for Cambridge businesses in 2013. By registering Patents under this scheme there is the potential to have considerable tax savings on profits earned from patents, not just from UK sales but Worldwide. The downside is that this will have an effect on tax revenues and up to £1 billion! The new scheme will commence in April 2013. But there are still a number of unanswered questions and still there are opportunities being lost by businesses to register patents. Cambridge is one of the cities with the highest...
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Fiscal Cliff

  What is the fiscal cliff I hear you say? Well it is something that could affect every man, woman and child on this earth. On many measures the US economy is in a worse state than many of the European countries that we are all worried about and there must be an agreement on the US budget or spending cuts and the automatic raising of taxes will kick-in which will send their economy into recession. Remember if the US sneezes the whole World catches a cold. What is really worrying is that there does not seem to be great concern and...
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Cambridge Business Outlook

The Bank of England has decided not to add to QE to add more stimulus to the British economy but how are we going to get growth in the economy and how does in effect the local economy in and around Cambridge? There are calls for Banks to lend money to assist Businesses to grow but local Bankers are telling me that they have money to lend to good propositions. My view is that businesses is still cautious regarding the future and a number do not want to invest either their own money or indeed borrow funds to expand. The...
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