October 26, 2012 - Rachel Miller

Also in the news this week — 26 October 2012

Out of recession — but business groups say we're not out of the woods yet

The ONS has announced that the economy grew by 1% in the third quarter of this year, ending nine months of economic contraction. The news has been welcomed but business groups are calling on the government to do more. Alex Jackman, senior policy adviser of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) said: "The Government has to act now. We need to deregulate, deregulate, deregulate to keep this growth momentum going." John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The Chancellor must use the Autumn Statement to sustain recovery." Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: "The bounce back in GDP growth is good news, but not enough to pop the champagne corks. The key message is that we're out of recession but uncertain where we're going."

Could do better: SMEs fail to make the most of online marketing

New research, commissioned by Bdaily, has revealed that only one in four SMEs are carrying out any kind of online marketing to drive local business. This is despite the fact that the majority (56%) of the 1,000 small business owners polled said that local custom is vital to their business. Two thirds of businesses surveyed (67%) said that a lack of expertise, confidence or understanding of digital marketing was holding them back. And of those businesses that are spending on online marketing, nearly half (45%) are spending less than £200 a month.

Proof that face-to-face networking pays dividends

Dealing with contacts in person could be helping UK business owners to generate as much as £9.45bn revenue a year, according to new research from MOO. The study shows that face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to build relationships and improve revenue. While one in four consider their website to be their most important tool, 32% say word of mouth/referrals work best and 21% believe their business cards are their most important marketing tool. Almost half of those polled (49%) said networking had brought "a lot of new business" for their company.

What are the lessons we can learn from successful small firms?

A report launched by Kingston Smith — Success in Challenging Times: Key Lessons for UK SMEs — identifies some of the main characteristics of successful small firms. The research is based on the views of over 1,000 SME owners/directors or senior managers in the UK. It found that successful SMEs tend to have the following characteristics:

  • they are likely to use more than one source of finance to start and sustain their business
  • they are willing to find new ways of doing things and encourage their employees to be innovative
  • they proactively monitor their cash flow and liquidity
  • they consider direct referrals and SEO as central to their success