Small firms cold shouldering accountancy advisers

It’s very, very scary to have just read a survey from the Institute of Leadership and Management revealing that although 19% of small businesses were not confident they can manage their business’s finances without an expert, around 39% are currently without professional accountancy advisers.

Apparently sole traders, at 54%, are most likely not to use a professional adviser for financial issues, compared to 20% of micro businesses.

“It’s alarming to see that two in five sole traders are currently operating without any professional guidance on their business needs, whether that is an accountant, a financial adviser, a solicitor or even a bookkeeper,” said Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk told ILM writer Helen Mayson

Many small companies are struggling to “make ends meet in the current environment”, but the right financial advice “could make all the difference”, she added.

Last month, according to ILM, figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that there were about 48,000 more new businesses at the start of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.

Some 64.2% of private sector businesses are sole proprietorships, while small and medium sized enterprises account for 99.9% of all companies.

Do you think this is worrying?

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Young entrepreneurs open for business

Everything we do in life starts with an idea, but not all ideas catch on. One idea that has gained real traction as a recession beater is the Young Entrepreneur Society (YES), the brainchild of Carly Ward who left college in 2009 to become one of the 936,000 young people who were unemployed in the UK.

Only 19 years old, Carly felt the only path out of her jobless state was to start her own business. But how? An Internet search delivered information overload: “if you Google “How to Write a Business Plan” did you know more than 20 million results come up? What a nightmare!” she wrote in a recent article in Business Matters magazine.

Cutting a long story short, Carly decided to create a programme that teaches young people entrepreneurial and life skills. She contacted some of the top entrepreneurs in the UK to ask them how they began their amazing journeys and what made them super successful in life.

Carly recalled: “I asked them questions from a young person’s perspective – who cares about economic growth strategy in China. Us young Entrepreneurs want to know the nitty gritty real life stuff – how successful people became successful, what their advice is, how to get funding and how to never give up when things get tough!”

Most of those she contacted agreed to see her and share their experiences in recorded interviews that became an integral part of Carly’s ‘The 12 Steps to Success Programme’. The Young Entrepreneur Society also gained early support from The Prince’s Trust and later on, the Fredericks Foundation.

YES offers network membership to the YES Network, described as the first and only network for young entrepreneurs under the age of 35. It is a ‘hub’ for young entrepreneurs to socialise, learn and grow together in a fun atmosphere.

Carly’s YES has a superb philosophy that helped her become the winner of Inspirational Women in Business Award 2011, a Prince’s Trust Ambassador and also a Member of new steering group set up by the Minister of Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk, advising on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. The YES philosophy states that ‘future employment and the prosperity of the entire world depends on fresh talent, ideas and energy of the emerging youth – they are the ones who will mould the core future of global business and economic growth’.

YES believes everyone deserves the right to take part and contribute to the world’s future and Young Entrepreneur Society will lay down the foundations for young people to become our future great leaders and captains of industry.

Frankly, I am bowled over by the thinking and wish YES and Carly every success in the future in helping to make dreams come true. Like Carly I firmly believe ‘there are no limits to helping and encouraging all young people to reach their full potential by starting to seriously plan their future and become successful in life.

You can meet the YES team here

And please let all of us on Wanobe know what you think about this amazing initiative as a force for good.

Flexible working can boost productivity

Most employees believe their lives would improve if they could work more flexible and a majority of existing flexible workers believe they work more productively away from the office, according a new study across 15 European countries.

The study, that was reported on wanobe.com and commissioned by Microsoft Corp and carried out by Vanson Bourne, also shows that it’s small businesses leading the way in better meeting employee desires to have greater flexibility in deciding where and when to work.

However, even though the majority of office workers want to work more flexibly, it appears the larger the organisation, the less likely its employees are enabled to do so. Half of the people participating in the study said they lacked access to the most basic technology tools that would enable them to work away from the office.

The question the study raises is whether by not enabling the flexibility that working employees demand, larger and medium-sized businesses are missing out on the opportunity to increase their productivity and attract and retain great talent.

A conclusion from reading the study us that a key to success is about creating a corporate culture of trust and technology access. And businesses need to ensure that people can access the right kind of technology with IT support and creating a culture that trusts staff to be productive away from the office.

“Organisations that will be successful in the future are those that break down the barriers between people, workplace and technology and establish a culture of trust.” said Klaus Holse Andersen, vice president of Western Europe for Microsoft. “This means empowering people by providing them with a workplace that facilitates flexibility, self-direction and engagement and enabling them with the technology and tools that help them to be productive wherever they are. To bring the vision of a new world of work to life, leadership teams need to establish a culture that is focused on what individuals achieve, rather than how long they spend in the office.”

City authorities in Barcelona, Spain, have already taken initiatives to help their employees work more flexibly, including planning a web portal to help mobile workers find ‘third places of work’ such as hotels or coffee shops that provide internet access, printers and other resources.

“Various studies have demonstrated the positive impact mobile working has on a company — reduced time lost in travel, improved customer service, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, increased productivity, better work-life balance.” said Francisco Rodriguez, director of Telecommunications for the City of Barcelona.

You can discover more about information on Microsoft’s vision of a “new world of work” here.

Growth in number of female entrepreneurs slows to standstill

Female business founders are being hit by the business downturn according to an article in The Daily Telegraph newspaper citing a recent government survey. Just 14pc of small and medium-sized firms are women-led, the same as in 2007, the authoritative government survey of 4,500 businesses found.

While 21pc of start-ups last year involved female founders, the proportion fell to 13pc for small firms employing more than 10 people and only 8pc of all medium-sized companies – which is bad news from the Wanobe.com perspective.

The findings come as the Business Department considers the future funding of many of its female business support initiatives, including the £12.5m Aspire Fund, a venture fund for women-led businesses.

The fund was set up in 2008 to invest between £100,000 and £1m in businesses with women in senior management roles and has so far backed six companies.

You can read the rest of the article by Richard Tyler in The Telegraph here.

About the Aspire Fund

– Aspire is a risk capital fund which invests in businesses led by women.

– It encourages female entrepreneurs with viable business propositions to seek risk capital finance.

– Aspire is a public fund that works with private sector co-investment. It invests on the same commercial terms as a private sector investor and is managed by Capital for Enterprise Ltd.

The mad, mad world of social media

David without his sunglasses

Are you a research junkie? No? So why spend hours trawling the Internet for useful statistics and figures that promote the benefits of social media for companies, when the SMCC London App by TKGB – the UK custom publishing agency –  has done some of the fishing for you with some help from jeffesposito.com. For instance, did you know that 46% of Internet users worldwide interact with social media on a daily basis (TNS), while 25% of social media users are more likely to look into a brand advertising on social media (Adology)? Another interesting titbit is that 78.6% of consumers have apparently joined a company’s community to get more information on the company (Universal McCann?.

REMARKABLE IPAD APP PRODUCED IN A DAY AT CUTTING EDGE SOCIAL MEDIA CONFERENCE IN LONDON

Is this the future of mobile communications? Leading UK custom publishing company, TKGB, demonstrated the power of digital communications to engage with stakeholders by producing a unique iPad App during the prestigious Communicate Magazine Social Media in a Corporate Context conference in London last week.

Scoped and produced during the conference, the SMCC iPad App was published for free download in the Mac App Store the same evening with graphic and video content based on input from delegates attending the event.

Commenting, TKGB managing director David Noble said: “We demonstrated how the new digital publishing technologies enable near speed-of-light and very cost efficient production and delivery of mobile tools geared to promote stakeholder relations when allied with a high quality journalistic design and writing approach.”

Simple, logical and beautifully designed, the SMCC magazine App provides features, shortcuts and hints about how corporate communications managers can harness new digital custom publishing technologies and content to interact with valued audiences.

“It is a must-have App that delivers essential information that can be applied easily, efficiently and effectively to move corporate communication from ‘talking to’ to ‘talking with’ targeted stakeholders,” David Noble said.

With speakers from the Advertising Standards Authority, Metropolitan Police, Central Office of Information and Brighton & Hove City Council, the conference was arranged by the leading European communications publication, Communicate Magazine.

If you have an iPad you can download the SMCC app for free here. If you do not have an iPad, you can view and download the App in pdf format from the TKGB website.
For enquiries please contact David Noble on 07785 302 694 or david.noble@tkgb.co.uk

About TKGB
TKGB Limited is a ground-breaking media company producing a full spectrum of digital content and video designed exclusively for web platforms and mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and others, as well as traditional print publications and video for corporate brand clients. TKGB is partnered with top Scandinavian content publisher Tidningskompaniet with over 18 years of high quality content publishing expertise with corporate B2B and B2C clients.
http://www.tkgb.co.uk/www.tkgb.co.uk

About Communicate magazine
Communicate is the leading monthly trade magazine for the UK corporate communications community with a circulation of 10,000.

http://www.communicatemagazine.co.uk/