Entrepreneurs receiving loans and support from The Start-Up Loans Company will now also be offered a cost-effective way to take card payments and grow their business, backed-up by first rate customer support through WorldPay’s Pay As You Go (PAYG) Card Acceptance Service.
Geraldine Wilson, managing director, Micro Merchants at WorldPay, commented: “89 per cent of adults in the UK have at least one debit or credit card and one in three UK consumers carry less than £5 cash. This means that businesses which are still unable to accept card payments considerably risk losing out on custom.”
WorldPay PAYG allows sole traders and small businesses in mobile professions (such as mobile hairdressers, plumbers and photographers), who would traditionally need to rely on cash, cheque or bank transfer to quickly, easily and cost-effectively take card payments using their smartphone. The service is specifically designed for sole traders and small businesses with 1 to 5 employees and has no minimum commitments.
James Caan, entrepreneur and chairman of The Start-Up Loans Company, commented: “The Start-Up Loans Company was created to provide young entrepreneurs all the support and expertise they need when it comes to setting up their own businesses. We’re continually looking to partner with innovative businesses that can help entrepreneurs to increase their chances of success and improve the service they offer their customers. WorldPay is a great example of a large enterprise that recognises the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as understanding the challenges they face. We’re looking forward to being able to offer this additional service and help even more young entrepreneurs succeed in building their own businesses.”
Guest Post: Starting a new business is an exciting time but it can also be very stressful, with plenty of things to think about. In order to help ease the burden, we have a bit of advice on the things you as a new business owner need to do – and some tips on what you should avoid – in order to get your company off to a good start.
What you need to do
All businesses operating in the UK need to be registered at Companies House, the central registration point for firms operating under British law. You can register your company yourself online or by post, or you can use the services of an agent such as the Formations Company, which will take care of this for you. You will need some basic information, including the name and address of your company, names of directors and shareholder details.
Once your start-up is registered with Companies House, you need to get your tax liabilities in order – it’s always best to get this done straight away, to avoid unintentionally underpaying and leaving yourself with a large bill which could cause major problems with your business cashflow. Have a look at this guidance from HM Revenue and Customs to get an idea of what is involved.
What you need to avoid
You’ve probably heard a number of figures being thrown around about how many new businesses fail within the first three years, but all you should take from this is that getting a concern off the ground is difficult and requires plenty of hard work. Yet there are some common mistakes that entrepreneurs make, so here’s what to avoid:
Lack of research and planning
Remember that a business plan is not supposed to represent the height of your ambitions, but rather should be a realistic, achievable framework of goals. This means knowing the state of your current market – both in terms of general economic trends and the on-going viability of your product or service – and preparing contingency plans so that unexpected setbacks don’t derail your progress.
Manage your cashflow
Always make sure you have enough cash to pay for the things you need, and try and avoid credit where possible. Getting into debt and damaging your credibility early on will prevent you from getting loans and support you will need to grow your business later on, when it’s more established and stable.
Don’t get over-confident
Early success with business is great, but don’t overstretch and try to grow too quickly. Taking on too much and failing to deliver to customers on time is incredibly damaging to your reputation, which is vitally important to small businesses. While you should always be looking to grow your business this must be done sustainably, so make sure your infrastructure and processes can cope with any new business you take on.
The response by businesses to this year’s Budget has been muted, with some SMEs praising increased capital expenditure, a reduction in corporation tax and changes to the PAYE system, while others have said the Chancellor did not go far enough to help the UK’s small businesses.
The rate of corporation tax is to be cut by a further one per cent – it’s currently 28 per cent, but is due to fall to 24 per cent next month and then to 21 per cent in 2014. In 2015, it will fall to 20 per cent. The fuel duty increase scheduled to come in this September has been scrapped.
An extra £3 billion a year is to be spent on infrastructure projects, while £12 billion has been earmarked to help home buyers get a mortgage on a new build property, throwing a potential lifeline to housebuilders.
Meanwhile, George Osborne said he is cutting employers’ National Insurance from April next year, potentially saving SMEs up to £2,000, with some SMEs paying no NI at all.
However it wasn’t all good news. The rate of growth in the economy was vastly overestimated and is now predicted to be just 0.6 per cent – Osborne hinted that the first quarter of 2013 would also be in negative growth.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The CBI was clear this Budget needed to deliver a good dose of business and consumer confidence, while being necessarily fiscally neutral.
“We’re particularly pleased our call for a focus on the short-term boost of housing has been heeded, alongside an increase in longer-term big ticket infrastructure spending.
“This was recognition it was a mistake to cut capital spending so sharply and that other growth-boosting measures were taking too long. But by shifting £6bn to housing and infrastructure, the Government has sowed the seeds for growth and jobs.
“An extra one penny cut in corporation tax will also make the UK one of the most internationally competitive locations in which to do business.”
Sean McCann, personal finance specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “We all expected some relatively slim pickings from the Chancellor but overall, this Budget is a pretty good deal for entrepreneurs.
The Start-Up Loan scheme has exceeded expectations as 2,000 young entrepreneurs have now received support to help get their business venture off the ground, in a boost to growth and the UK’s efforts to get ahead in the global race.
The Start-Up Loans Company, which administers the scheme and is chaired by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur James Caan, has helped to start 1,000 new businesses in the last month alone.
The success of the Start-Up loan scheme, which helps young people get their business ideas off the ground with a loan of typically around £4,500 and mentoring support, demonstrates the strong demand amongst 18-30 year olds for self-employment. The scheme has already reached its £10m pilot spend following high demand, and an immediate £5.5 million injection of funding was approved yesterday in Parliament to fulfil its pipeline of young businesses until the end of the month. The Government has made £117.5 million available to fund the Start-Up Loans scheme up to 2015.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Start-Up loans are now helping thousands of aspiring young entrepreneurs get the finance and support to strike out on their own and launch their own business. The success of this scheme shows that young people have got the ideas, the ambition and sheer commitment to get ahead – and it is by backing them, and backing their aspirations that we will be able to compete and thrive in the global race.”
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Start-up Loans are firing up thousands of aspiring young entrepreneurs business ideas. This scheme is really motoring and its high demand and popularity shows no sign of abating. This is about encouraging and unlocking the great entrepreneurial spirit we have in the UK.”
Chairman James Caan said: “Whilst we are well ahead of our target numbers, I believe that we are only scratching the surface. 2000 young, ambitious and highly motivated people have taken their future into their own hands. At the moment 40 people a day are choosing to start their own business thanks to Start-Up Loans.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved thus far. We have built a fantastic team that is committed to the success of Start-Up Loans. As an entrepreneur myself who has built businesses, I am very conscious that maintaining our own costs when we are spending money on behalf of the country is absolutely vital in the current economic environment. Using our own entrepreneurial approach, I’m pleased to see that we have come in under budget for expenditure. “
An expanding number of new businesses, a talented workforce and excellent broadband connectivity have helped make Westminster the most business competitive London borough, according to Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking’s UK Town and City Index.
Based on 20 factors that can drive private business competitiveness and success for towns and cities, such as business survival rates, median income and broadband speeds, the index is a comprehensive study of the largest 74 conurbations in the UK as well as 32 London boroughs.
Westminster was rated ahead of Kensington & Chelsea (2nd) and Richmond-upon-Thames (3rd). Overall, the results showed that inner London boroughs to the north of the Thames and the west of London are typically ranked higher.
The study commissioned by Santander Corporate & Commercial was authored by Francis Greene, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. Nationally, Cambridge emerged as the top town or city in the UK for its business competitiveness ahead of long-term academic rival, Oxford, with Edinburgh ranked third.
Criteria for the report were based around five central ‘domains’: Enterprise, Talent, Connectivity, Costs and Well-being. These were selected as being fundamental ‘building blocks’ for business success.
The Enterprise domain, for example, which accounted for the largest weighting in the index, used nine measures to assess business vitality and sustainability including: business stock per 10,000 of working population; business start-ups per 10,000 of working population; five-year business survival rate; private sector employment density; and job density (total number of jobs/resident working population in area).
Francis Greene, professor of small business and entrepreneurship at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, said: “Favourable business conditions are found across different geographic parts of the UK as well as different boroughs in London, though some conurbations clearly have more business momentum than others. Many are making investments in education, infrastructure or transport in an attempt to foster business success and it is reasonable to assume that many businesses have benefited from prior investments in such areas.
While Westminster ranks very highly for most of the domains, many other London boroughs show strengths in others – Hackney, Lambeth and Haringey and Sutton rate highly in terms of Well-being. It is important to focus on a range of factors: personal well-being, for instance, has a positive impact as places with higher earnings, better employment and, arguably, more satisfied people are more likely to enjoy more favourable business conditions.”
Marcelino Castrillo, head of SME, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “The future of the UK economy depends on its businesses and their success and growth. It is vital that all stakeholders in this endeavour encourage and foster business growth – the UK economy is, after all, the aggregate of our businesses. The more vibrant and successful they are – the more vibrant and successful we all are.”