Budget 2008 – The fiscal cupboard is bare

The Chancellor, in his first Budget, duly announced that the Treasury is now expecting the economy to grow more slowly this year and next than it forecast at the time of the Pre-Budget Report just five months ago. It now thinks the economy will grow by between 1.75% and 2.25% this year before bouncing back to 2.25% to 2.75% in 2009. That, however, is still more optimistic compared with most independent analysts, including those at HSBC. On average, independent forecasters expect growth to drop to well below 2% this year and to remain below 2% next year.

Entrepreneurs predicted to take less risks in 2008

The director of an online site for business angels and budding entrepreneurs warns that the UK economy will suffer if business start-ups steer on the side of caution.
 
Echoing the thoughts of business angels signed up on the funding site, www.angelsden.co.uk, Director, Bill Morrows believes that higher interest rates and predictions of an economic downturn will prevent many potential start-up businesses from getting off the ground. 
 
Starting up a new business can be a huge risk, with 20,000 UK start-ups failing in their first year of business. Coupled with the initial outlay and the fragile state of the current economic climate, it is no wonder that many business ideas will never get further than an outlined plan.

Small business working group must have real influence

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to place a new small business working group at the heart of his enterprise policies. The group is to be created within the Business Council for Britain, which currently comprises representatives of big business and celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson and Sir Alan Sugar. The move follows criticism that smaller firms have been left out in the cold.

Chinese corporate tax reforms

UK companies residing in China are set to have their tax bills increased following the introduction of corporate tax reforms by the Chinese Government.
The new regulations, aimed at levelling the playing field between domestic and overseas companies, also encourage hi-tech and environmentally friendly industries into China.
Stephen Weatherseed, Head of the Grant Thornton UK China Group, which advises UK companies conducting business in China, says that in most case a new 25% corporate tax rate now applies across the board for both international and domestic companies.

Your email address might stop business

4 in 10 potential customers in London and South East are put off using firms that don’t use business email addresses
Image counts as research shows 95% of people check a company’s website before making a purchase, with over 40% admitting to avoiding a business if it doesn’t use business email
A professional business image is what counts when attracting customers, reveals new research by Loudhouse, commissioned by Microsoft UK. 81% of people think it is more important than ever that a local business appears professional with 84% believing a professional image conveys a good quality service, and 69% stating that it gives a sense of honesty and trustworthiness.

The return of the formal office wear

The White House recently made the headlines by banning flip-flops. 83 per cent of UK businesses agree, saying that these are not suitable work attire. 70 per cent of UK businesses would not allow shorts, and 88 per cent do not allow mini-skirts, so even in a more relaxed working environment there are still some boundaries.

Back to Winning Ways

Gerald Ratner will top the bill at the Ideal Business Show next month, a business to business event which replaces B2B Thames Valley after the original organiser – like Mr Ratner – went out of business.
When i talked to Ratner, he explained his darker moments and how he clawed his way back.  Cycling, he said helped him stave off depression but eventually he decided that if he couldn’t beat ’em he would join ’em and now tells his story to business audiences.
It was in 1991 Mr Ratner told an IoD meeting his shops’ products were ‘total crap’. He was also on record as saying some Ratner earrings were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long".