With the UK economy back in full swing, and a raft of supportive measures introduced in the latest Autumn Statement, the scene is set for small businesses to prosper this year – it’s already started.
So what’s in store throughout 2015 and how will small businesses up and down the country be affected?
1. The high street will undergo a revolution
The Dot-com bubble saw the emergence of hundreds of thousands of internet-based SMEs, with the tech start-up scene on both sides of the Atlantic exploding. But in recent years, we’ve seen the revival of the high street, with the number of pop-up shops and restaurants across the country expected to grow by 8.4 per cent over the next 12 months. Movements such as Small Business Saturday are doing a lot to get more shoppers through the doors of local businesses, with some traders reporting takings were up by around a third after this year’s event.
The revival of the high street shows us that you don’t need quirky, new tech-led innovation to be a success. There are countless small businesses on every high street in the UK, whether in a shop front or occupying an office above them. They are built on hard work, determination and the ability to solve a problem, rather than revolutionary ideas.
2. More British SMEs will spread their wings
The Government is keen to get more SMEs selling abroad, as shown by the UKTI’s recent Explore Export Week. Yet SMEs currently account for just 20 per cent of British exports, leaving plenty of opportunity for growth. It will now be interesting to see how many SMEs respond to the exporting incentives to come out of the Autumn Statement, such as the £45m boost to help them send their goods and services beyond the Eurozone and the US.
Before any small business starts to export to any new market, they should first consider the cultural differences of each region and how they will make a success of their firm overseas. Consider everything from dealing with different customer demands to trading in new currencies.
3. SMEs will have increasing legislation to tackle
While the government’s auto-enrolment regulations were first introduced in 2010, most SMEs’ staging dates will take place from 2015 onwards, depending on their size. Despite the impact that this legislation could have on their bottom line, many local businesses remain unaware of how to make themselves compliant, or even what it is.
With so much confusion surrounding the new legislation, the onus is not only on accountants and technology providers to educate their small business customers, but also SME founders themselves. It’s vital to get compliant well ahead of the staging date in order to avoid punitive fines.
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