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Archive for the 'Business Forecasts' Category


How Is The UK Economy Doing Post EU Referendum?

The effects of the EU referendum are the most widely debated topic in social and economic circles across the UK. So far, there is a lack of unanimity regarding the magnitude of this development, since conflicting reports emerge depending of which figures are being analysed. To assess the impact of the referendum thus far, we examine several individual indicators linked to the performance of the economy, based on data collected by the Office for National Statistics.

- On the whole, the UK’s economy grew by 2 per cent in 2016, mainly thanks to a resilient manufacturing sector that compensated for a weakened retail sector.

- The value of pound sterling experienced a sharp drop: three months after the referendum it was 20 per cent lower on a year-on-year basis.

- Linked to devaluation of the pound was an increase in the Consumer Prices Index, along with a rise in inflation and in the price of imports due to unfavourable currency exchange rates. Nevertheless, a PwC report affirmed that consumer spending has not been as negatively affected by the Brexit vote as it was initially predicted.

- On the brighter side, the drop in value of the pound had a positive effect on the export sector, which accounts for a significant part of the country’s overall economic activity. Barely two months after the referendum, manufacturing output growth reached its highest level since 2014, and some suggest that the fall in sterling value is the main reason behind this spike.

- A modest increase in GDP (2 per cent higher than in 2015). Short-term prospects in this respect will depend on the performance of the services sector.

- A minor increase (0.8 per cent) in the Index of Services during the quarter that followed the referendum. This is a positive figure considering the connection between this indicator, the services industry, and the overall economy. Read more »



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Top Tips For Launching A Successful Business

Although entrepreneurship is at the heart of the US economy, business fail rates seem to be increasing and are currently 30 percent higher than they were in the late 1970s. There are other figures that confirm this trend: the latest US census shows that the annual business creation / business fail ratio is 400,000 / 470,000; and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only half of all new businesses survive their initial 5 years, whereas the 10-year survival rate is even lower at 33 percent.

In this article we offer seven tips that can help US entrepreneurs launch a successful business.

1. Focus on strategic planning

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of investing most of their time and resources into planning and running successful operations. However, concentrating all efforts on the day-to-day running of a business often leads to missing the forest for the trees. To avoid that, you should ensure business strategy (whereby mid and long-term goals and action plans are defined) is a top priority and underpins all business operations.

2. Create and nurture an organizational culture

When it comes to achieving long-term business success, a strong organizational culture is as important as strategic planning. Contrary to popular belief, organizational culture is not the exclusive prerogative of large firms, as it also plays a key role in the success of small businesses by permeating every aspect of their operations with motivating values and a compelling mission.

3. Look after existing customers

Although this may seem an obvious suggestion, the truth is that many new businesses tend to focus their efforts on acquiring new clients, and sometimes do so at the expense of existing ones. A 2015 Customer Experience Index revealed that as few as 1 percent of all US companies deliver customer service that is rated as excellent, therefore missing an opportunity to turn existing customers into loyal advocates who generate new leads on their behalf.

4. Build a winning team

To put it simply: your team should be as strong as your overall business plan. Team building should be done in the initial stages of a business operation instead of as an afterthought. Moreover, it should guide the recruiting process to ensure that the personalities and skill set of team members are a perfect match to the company’s organizational culture. Don’t limit yourself to recruiting staff who have the right experience, but also look for those who enthusiastically share your vision and believe in your business concept. Read more »



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Female Entrepreneurs in the UK – How Things Are Changing

In honour of International Women’s Day we would like to celebrate the great strides women have made in the business world. Across the UK, successful female entrepreneurs are making headlines for the role they play in transforming their respective industry sectors. Names like Alice Hall, Brynne Hebert, or Rachel Bell are often used as examples of the transformational current that has been sweeping the business world for a while. However, the fact remains that the entrepreneurial scene is largely dominated by men. According to a Centre for Entrepreneurs report, only 19 per cent of successful serial entrepreneurs are female, despite fact that women account for over 50 per cent of the country’s population. But how exactly is the female entrepreneurial scene changing, and what can we expect in the near future?

Female Entrepreneurs: Signs of Change

The UK’s female entrepreneurship scene has changed along five main dimensions:

- Higher participation in labour market that has nevertheless not been matched by higher entrepreneurial rates.

- Entrepreneurial activity is twice as likely among men, but things have been improving in favour of female entrepreneurs since 2001. Currently, entrepreneurial activity rates are 4.7 per cent for female’s vs 9.5 per cent for males.

- Female-led businesses experience higher churn rates and the female share of business ownership has not changed significantly since the mid 1990s.

- Female entrepreneurs are more likely to be involved in management consultancy services, events organising, and PR, although the number of female-led ventures involving technology, science and engineering is on the rise.

- An increase in the number of female-led firms that make a significant contribution to the local economy. For instance, the sales volume generated by female-led mid-sized firms has increased by more than £2bn in just 12 months.

Challenges and Solutions

The key challenges affecting female entrepreneurs relate to support, funding, mentoring, training and skills development, work-life balance, and access to new markets. Over the last decade, several initiatives have been launched to address these issues. Examples of policy initiatives created to increase the relatively low numbers of female entrepreneurs across the UK include:

- The establishment of the National Association for the Promotion of Women’s Enterprise (2002)

- The Women’s Business Council (2012) Read more »



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Top Ten Small Business Ideas for 2017

Small businesses account for over 99 per cent of the UK’s private sector. 2017 presents some attractive small business opportunities to discerning entrepreneurs, here we give you some of the top ten small business ideas for this year.

 

1. Brexit Consultancy

Regardless of which form Brexit eventually takes, it is clear that the move will affect multiple aspects of the country’s social, legal, and economic life. Businesses of all types and sizes will certainly welcome sound advice about how best to tackle the ramifications of Brexit, so professional Brexit consultancy firms are likely to become one of the most in-demand industry sectors in the coming years.

 

2. Social Media Consultancy

Entrepreneurs with knowledge of digital marketing, social media, and business can take advantage of the unparalleled growth of these sectors with minimal investment. Social media consultancies can focus on delivering training, providing management services, or both, and can easily be run from home or remotely.

 

3. Co-Working Spaces

The rise in the number of start-ups, remote workers, and freelancers has translated into a need for suitable working spaces that offer flexibility and first-class business services. Co-working spaces are popping up all over the UK as an alternative to traditional offices and their popularity is only expected to grow, both in London and in other regions.

 

4. Shared Living Spaces

Shared living spaces offer the convenience and quality standards of a hotel along with a convivial and homely atmosphere. This is an attractive proposition for certain segments of the population (particularly millennials, young professionals, and digital nomads) who may find that accessing the traditional housing market is difficult or not suited to their needs and lifestyle.

 

5. Meal Subscription Services

Not only British consumers are becoming more aware and knowledgeable about their food choices, but they are also increasingly requiring convenience when it comes to their meals. Meal subscription services are an interesting and versatile niche that can cater to the demands of savvy consumers. For higher chances of success, you could choose to focus on specialty meal delivery (e.g. gluten-free, vegan, Japanese, organic, etc.).

 

6. Craft Alcoholic Beverages

The UK’s craft beer market has been experiencing important growth for over seven years, and the prospects for independent brewers continue to look good. Breweries, microbreweries, and craft beer subscription clubs are some options worth exploring, but don’t feel you should limit yourself to beer. The production of craft liqueurs and spirits are also a business idea with much potential for success.

 

7. Sugar-Free Drinks

The UK’s controversial sugar tax will be implemented in 2018, and this presents a wealth of business opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to capitalise on alternative and / or sugar-free drinks. Parallel to the introduction of the sugar tax is an increase in the number of health-conscious consumers, and both factors can contribute to the success of businesses that focus on the production of healthy sugar-free beverages.

 

8. Jive Dancing Lessons

Search engine statistics reveal that over the past two years there has been a surge in the number of people interested in taking jive lessons. This dance style is definitely experiencing a revival thanks to its ability to combine opportunities for socialising with chances to get fit and build confidence in a leisurely way.

 

9. Big Data Analytics

Businesses today have a wealth of online data at their disposal, but finding ways of making sense of huge volumes of data is not always easy. This is precisely why offering big data analytics solutions and applications to companies involved in finance, insurance, and retail can be a highly profitable business opportunity.

 

10. InsurTech

Providing technology solutions tailored to insurance companies is another potentially successful business idea for tech-minded entrepreneurs with a passion for innovation and a thorough understanding of how to connect consumers with insurance firms.

 

 

 



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Top Cities to Start a Business: Shreveport, LA

A number of factors make a location an ideal place for a start-up, including the local cost of living and taxes. Access to resources like financing and talent are also important variables. Shreveport has been recognized as a city with many of these key elements to making a successful start for a new company. In WalletHub’s 2015 ranking of the best and worst places to start a business in the United States, Shreveport came on top (1). In 2016, Shreveport ranked eighteenth in WalletHub’s list of the best large cities to start a business (2). The same study found that Shreveport has the fifth highest rate of growth for small businesses.

Shreveport is Louisiana’s third largest city. The city is a major commercial center in the Ark-La-Tex region where Louisiana meets with Arkansas and Texas. Interstates 20 and 49 link the city to nearby states, while Shreveport Regional Airport offers direct flights to major economic centers in the South including Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. Founded in 1836, Shreveport is home to nearly 200,000 people (3). A major business hub for the oil industry until the 1980s, the city is now home to a strong service-based economy. Major commercial developments include the Louisiana Boardwalk, a large shopping and entertainment complex in neighboring Bossier City. Downtown is the home of the 350,000 square foot Shreveport Convention Center.

Businesses in Shreveport benefit from several tax incentive programs at the local and state level. Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone Program provides tax credits and sales and use tax refunds for businesses hiring from targeted groups, while the local Caddo-Bossier Foreign Trade Zone allows for the import of materials and components without paying duties until they enter the U.S. market. With the Louisiana Quality Jobs Program, an annual rebate is available for up to ten years for employers that meet minimum hourly wage rates and offer a basic health plan. Motion picture and television production companies also benefit from refunds on sales and use taxes. Read more »



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Regeneration Projects: Southern England

London is the South of England’s largest and most important economic driver. The international financial hub is also a major European and global business destination. In the coming years, several regeneration projects will continue to reinforce the capital’s position as an economic powerhouse.

New Covent Garden Market

One such project is the New Covent Garden Market. In addition to developing up to 2,800 new homes, the £2 billion project will redevelop an estimated 115,000 square feet of commercial space. Construction on New Covent Garden began in 1971 and it opened in 1974 as the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK. Forty years later, the site is now being developed to provide a better experience for businesses and visitors. Once complete, the redeveloped New Covent Garden Market will serve as a gateway to Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea and the project will help transform the area as an exciting place to do business and live. Nearby developments include the new Embassy of the United States and the redevelopment of Battersea Power Generation. For more information go to brand.newcoventgardenmarket.com.

Silvertown

In East London, the Silvertown regeneration project at the Royal Docks area has the potential to add more than four million square feet of commercial spaces. The site could also see the addition of almost 3,000 new homes. Silverton is planned as a multi-phase project and the 25-hectare (62-acre) site has the potential development cost of £3.5 billion. It is already connected to leading commercial developments such as London City Airport and the Excel Centre and will be a five minute walk from the Custom House Crossrail station, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Silvertown includes Millennium Mills, a new home for 150 innovative businesses with flexible workspaces. For more information go to www.silvertownlondon.com. Read more »



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Sustainable Business Practices

How to introduce sustainable business practices in your organization

Sustainability involves considering environmental sustainability in all aspects of an organization’s operations. It also involves considering social sustainability and how an organization’s actions might affect the local community and people in general. Also known as environmental and social responsibility, considering sustainability of every business decision and activity may not be possible or feasible for some companies. At the same time, there are several ways to introduce sustainable business practices in your company or organization.

The Benefits of Being Sustainable

One of the main reasons to adopt sustainable business practices is the advantage it can give an organization. In many cases, sustainable practices lead to greater efficiency. This in turn can help reduce operating costs. Sustainable practices also attract and retain employees that want to work for an organization that encourages and embraces sustainable practices. They also attract new clients, customers, investors and other partners looking for environmentally and socially responsible organizations. In turn, being sustainable might encourage your partners, suppliers, clients and customers to also be more environmentally and socially responsible.

Ways to Make Operational Changes

An organization can become more environmentally and socially sustainable or responsible through operational changes. Part of this involves being a ‘good’ employer. This means being committed to your employees and how they feel about working for your organization. A good employer cares about how satisfied employees as well as their development and well-being. This might involve encouraging good work-life balance with, for example, flexible work arrangements and on-site fitness centres and childcare. It also involves promoting equality and fairness where there is no tolerance for workplace discrimination and harassment. Promoting a healthy and safe work environment for employees is a vital part of being a socially sustainable organization as well as a good employer. Read more »



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Future Proofing your Business Model – Small and Medium Sized Business in UK

Small and medium-sized businesses are an important component of the UK’s industrial structure. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, their numbers have been growing steadily over the past two decades, reaching a record high of 5.4 million in early 2015. In recent years there has been a shift in the focus of business activity within the UK economy, whereby the country’s default organisational forms in the private sector gravitates towards SME’s.

However, and despite the obvious rise in the percentage of SMEs operating throughout the country, these businesses face major challenges when it comes to staying competitive in the long term. This is why one can never underestimate the importance of having a solid business model that is capable of bringing long-term value to your business.

A bullet-proof business model can help create and maintain value and define how a company will relate to its clients. This article offers some useful considerations regarding the best ways of future-proofing your SME business model.

Make It Innovative

In a recent study, researchers at the IESE Business School and at the University of Pennsylvania found that on the whole, novelty-driven business models yielded better results than efficiency, service, and cost-oriented models, in particular when innovation was specifically applied to business exchanges. Researchers also found that there still is room for improvement in the UK context, as the study referenced above revealed that only 25 per cent of interviewed firms could indeed be defined as innovation-driven. Read more »



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Top Cities to Start a Business: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Countless factors influence the success of a new start-up. When starting a business, location can be just as important as the type of service or product being sold. Cities provide different environments to help entrepreneurs and businesses succeed, as well as a range of supports. A state’s business environment including access to skills and business-friendly tax policies also play a major role. The following are just some of the best cities to start a business in the Western United States.

One of the best cities to start a new business is Chattanooga, Tennessee. The city places fourth on WalletHub’s 2015 list of the Best Cities to Start a Business, and ranked second in terms of access to essential resources for start-ups including skills, affordable office space, financing and other business supports. The study used 13 unique metrics that ranged from the average five-year survival rate of businesses and educational attainment of the available labor force to the affordability of office space and access to business financing. Access to high-speed broadband internet, business incubators, educated employees and government incentives helped make Chattanooga one of the best places for start-ups to succeed, according to WalletHub.

Chattanooga is Tennessee’s fourth largest city and is located in the state’s southeast. The city is strategically located close to major economic centers in the U.S South. It is within 120 miles (190 kilometres) of Atlanta and Knoxville, and is also within a day’s drive Nashville and Birmingham, Alabama. Chattanooga also sits close to three major interstates – I-25, I-75 and I-59. The city is the home of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Community College, and has a diverse economy that includes manufacturing and service industries. Several major companies have a presence in and around Chattanooga, including Amazon.com, DuPont, BASF, Norfolk Southern, Coca-Cola, and Volkswagen. Read more »



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Regeneration Projects in Central England Boost Economy

Regeneration Projects: Central England

A 2015 study carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research revealed that the UK is on its way to becoming the second largest economy in Europe, with key indicators including total GDP and purchasing power continue to rise. Moreover, economists at the Centre for Economic and Business Research have predicted that by 2028, the United Kingdom could rank among the world’s top three largest economies, ahead of giants like Germany and Japan. This level of economic growth is partly the result of a long-term development strategy that has been designed by the UK Department for Trade & Investment and implemented by the Regeneration Investment Organisation. Regeneration projects are a fundamental part of the UK’s growth and development strategy, and this article looks at some of the key projects that are currently underway in Central England.

Worcester Growth Corridor


In the near future, Worcester will offer world class investment opportunities thanks to the £300-million regeneration project known as the Worcester Growth Corridor. This initiative aims to redevelop nearly 300 hectares of space along the M5, creating opportunities for investment in commercial, residential, and mixed-use real estate. A total of 8 sites will be redeveloped, the first being the Worcester Technology Park, which will primarily provide first-class business accommodation to companies in the advanced manufacturing, clean technologies, and agri-food sectors.

Overall, it is expected that this project will help create more than 6,800 permanent jobs in the local area. This regeneration project will be carried out in various phases over a period of 15 years, and its estimated delivery date is Q4 2024.

Priors Hall Park, Corby


With a GDV of over £1,200 million, the Priors Hall Park project is one of the most ambitious regeneration projects currently taking place in Central England. The project covers an area of more than 500 hectares in Northamptonshire, and will result in the construction of over 5,000 sustainable homes and of commercial premises, including office and industrial space. This project capitalises on Corby’s strategic location, as the town offers access to 75 per cent of the country’s population with just a 2-hour drive. Read more »



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