Chasing payments as a small business – the basic steps

A new survey of small and medium-sized businesses conducted by alternative finance specialist Time Finance has revealed that around three-quarters of SMEs have cashflow worries as a direct result of overdue customer invoices.

Furthermore, all SMEs surveyed in the report said that an increasing number of customers had been late with payments, around a fifth said that customer relationships had been damaged by being forced to chase m... Continue Reading

The small business guide to hiring freelancers

Amid ongoing economic disruption, SMEs throughout the UK are increasingly turning to freelancers as they look to benefit from the flexibility, skills and improved business performance that self-employed workers can deliver.

A study last year conducted by Iwoca found that 65 per cent of UK SMEs would use freelancers to support their businesses, with SME owners polled in the survey saying that hiring freelancers enabled them to minim... Continue Reading

The Spring Budget: What’s in it for SMEs?

Jeremy Hunt unveiled his first Budget as Chancellor last week and, as usual, the UK’s small business owners will have been watching closely to find out what the impact – whether positive or negative – of any new measures will be for their companies.

Overall, the reaction to the Budget from the small business community has largely been mixed to negative, with praise for some measures that will benefit small business owners, bu... Continue Reading

First acquisition: Finding the right business

Making your first acquisition can be exciting and scary in equal measure and, while you probably acknowledge that some mistakes might be made (entering the world of M&A is a learning curve, after all), your first deal is one you’ll be eager to get right.

That, of course, means you’ll need to undertake an exhaustive due diligence process to ensure any potential targets don’t have too many skeletons in the closet and that you�... Continue Reading

Business sale stalling? Four tips to get things moving again

If a business sale begins to stall, it can start to feel like the process will drag on forever and that your hopes of a successful exit are diminishing by the day. You can get in a vicious circle and become disillusioned with the sale, potentially leading you to make decisions that cause it to drag on even longer.

It’s important not to become too downhearted though, instead, you should think methodically and logically about what ... Continue Reading

Starting a business with an exit strategy in mind

It might sound odd, but one of the best decisions you can make when starting a new business is to begin thinking about when you might exit the company, what form this exit might take and what you plan to do once you’ve completed your exit.

While this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t plan to be at the business for the long term, incorporating a potential exit strategy into your business plan can deliver numerous benefits – bo... Continue Reading

Using M&A to diversify your business

With the UK on the brink of recession, many SME owners will be understandably worried about what the future may bring. The temptation at times like these may be to pause any ambitious growth plans and instead focus on just making it through to the other side of the downturn.

However, the best way to survive a crisis is in fact to focus on ways of attaining growth, which will not only improve a business’ chances of outperforming c... Continue Reading

SME acquisitions: Three sectors to consider

The start of 2023 is an interesting time in the UK M&A market. Widespread financial distress means there is set to be a plethora of opportunities over the next few months. However, the economic downturn that has fed into this financial distress also means that potential buyers may find it difficult to fund acquisitions, or may be hesitant about targeting deals even if they have the cash.

However, history has repeatedly shown two thi... Continue Reading

Turning a newly acquired business around

Business distress is currently at an extremely high level in the UK, as companies face up to issues including rising costs and plummeting consumer sentiment. While this is of course massively concerning for business owners, it also presents undeniable opportunities for buyers looking to acquire distressed companies.

Despite the difficult economic climate, acquiring a distressed business can be a real coup, providing the right turna... Continue Reading

Assessing the growth prospects of a potential acquisition

When you’re planning an acquisition, there are likely to be multiple reasons. Maybe you want to expand geographically, diversify your product range or services, boost your profits or expand your market share within your existing sector.

What all of these things have in common, however, is that they are all centred around one thing: growth. Of course, any new acquisition will need to be compatible with your existing business, but ... Continue Reading

Red flags when buying a business

Before buying a business, there are a huge array of factors to be considered and assessed. Does the company fit with your portfolio and strategy? What kind of reputation does it have? Will it boost your revenue once it has been integrated?

These are all among the things you’ll need to consider, but you should also be on the lookout for red flags which could suggest deeper seated issues that might not be immediately apparent. Here ... Continue Reading

Boosting a company’s social media presence

Social media has become an integral part of everyday life and, by extension, is crucial for how businesses market themselves and build their brand image. For small companies, in particular, a social media presence is vital to ensure they stand out from the crowd and make people aware of their products and services.

By now, the vast majority of businesses have at least some kind of social media presence. However, without a clear soc... Continue Reading

Buying a business: Questions to ask the owner

When buying a business, asking the right questions during the early stages of negotiations can be key to not only starting a successful acquisition process but also to gaining the relevant knowledge to ensure things go smoothly if and when you take over the business.

If you have an accountant or financial adviser involved in the deal, then they will likely ask many of the legal and financial questions during the due diligence stage... Continue Reading

What does the mini-budget mean for small businesses?

In our last piece, we discussed how small businesses could adjust to the prospect of soaring energy bills over the autumn and winter. Despite the chaos that has consumed Liz Truss’ short tenure as Prime Minister, small business owners will have been encouraged by the introduction of a temporary energy price cap for businesses.

Aside from the price cap, the most significant development so far under the new government has been the ... Continue Reading

Tips for surviving rising energy bills as a small business

Energy bills are skyrocketing across the UK and, with businesses unprotected by a price cap, the significant increases expected when tariffs are renewed in October look set to plunge many businesses into serious financial distress. Consumer sentiment is also likely to continue on a downward trend as the cost of living crisis bites, meaning that UK small businesses are facing the prospect of an extremely difficult autumn and winter.

... Continue Reading