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Lancashire
Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Running a small business is an experience like no other

There can be highs and lows on an hourly basis as the business owner deals with issues which big businesses have dedicated teams of staff on hand to tackle. The vast majority of businesses across the UK employ less than ten staff, classifying them as micro businesses. They are too small to be able to afford or justify in-house human resources, tax, legal or in many cases business development expertise, yet they need this support as much if not more than bigger businesses to ensure that they are compliant and on an upward trajectory in terms of where the business is headed. Usually a small business begins with the skills and abilities of the individual who starts it up, combined with an entrepreneurial awareness of the value of their goods or services in the marketplace. The rest, as they say, you have to learn as you go.

As the business grows it starts to consider its options. There are serious questions to consider. Do I even want to grow or am I comfortable as self-employed with a basic income which I can get by on? If I do want to grow are my premises fit for purpose? Do I need to take on somebody to help?

This is typically the point where the business- owner needs support or assistance in some way and why so many put off this move in favour of remaining as a one-person business. Yet the vast numbers of micro-businesses and one-person enterprises that we have across the UK could do so much more to boost our economy if more were assisted and encouraged to get to that next stage.

FSB came into being to provide a voice for small businesses in the corridors of power. We constantly update the Government on the issues which small businesses are experiencing and reporting to us, and we push for change. Government knows the importance of a thriving small business community. Small businesses provide the jobs and pay the taxes which help to fund what we need to run the country. So how do we encourage more people to grow their businesses? The tax regime is a good starting point. It needs to be fair and not to create false ceilings which can deter people from getting to the next stage because they will financially lose out. We also need to remove the stigma of failure from someone who may have tried and not made it. Some of the best known business figures in the UK have had a business which failed before they returned with a new product or service.

We need a safety net for businesses, to plug the gaps in the areas I mentioned at the start, so that they are not worried about HMRC or getting into a legal hassle, or even having to spend hours setting up a pension scheme for their business. FSB does all this and much more I should add. Business needs assurance which sparks confidence. The loss of confidence following the EU Referendum vote reaffirms the importance of this. We also need to have good business support available. Grants for businesses are understandably limited in the current economic climate, but that’s not to say there isn’t good support available and Boost Business Lancashire have recently secured money to help people grow their business.

FSB, Boost and many others also run events or businesses, which offer a crucial opportunity to network, promote a business, but importantly, also share ideas, explore common issues and tackle difficulties together.

The businesses which get support and take a step back to see the bigger picture are usually the ones with the greater chance of success.

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