The channel went live in June 2009. On it, FPB experts join a host of other industry luminaries offering useful advice under a wide range of subject headings but in short, easily digestible clips of no longer than 90 seconds in length.
The instantly streamed video shorts download in a matter of seconds, and visitors to the site can gauge the popularity of each by checking many times the clips have been watched. Understandably, given the current economic climate, the most popular is advice on accessing finance recorded by the FPB’s National Chairman, business consultant Noel Guilford.
Since November 2008, the FPB’s Economic Downturn Panel survey has been a barometer measuring the impact of the recession on small businesses. It has shown that restrictions in bank lending remain an ongoing concern for most respondents, despite recent indications showing a slight improvement in relations between some business owners and their banks.
“Some indicators suggest that finance for some small firms is improving slightly, which has been a catalyst for returning confidence. But business owners must now take control of their own destiny to make sure they are the ones who get this funding rather than the ones turned down,” said Mr Guilford, speaking on www.smallbusinesschannel.co.uk.
He added: “In order to approach lenders and investors successfully they should be prepared and armed with information. www.smallbusinesschannel.co.uk allows them to do this and offers a huge variety of other business advice in the most efficient and effective of ways.”
The FPB is providing additional support via its lobbying and other business support services. On Wednesday, 1 July 2009 the FPB attended the Government’s ‘Growth Capital Review’ summit in order to explore long-term commercial lending and private investment – and the Government’s role in facilitating both.
The Review will consider a modern-day version of the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation, or 3i, which was set up in 1945 to provide long-term investment funding for small businesses. It is one of the first actions to emerge from the Government’s ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ plan for the UK’s economic recovery.
Mr Guilford advised that entrepreneurs are likely to require a combination of both debt and equity in order to establish and grow their businesses.
“Commercial lenders such as banks, HP companies and trade finance companies are fundamentally looking to lend money in the certainty of getting it back. That means that their risk profile is very risk averse.” he said. “Investors, on the other hand, are prepared to take greater risks, but, obviously, in return they are looking for greater reward. So, whilst an investor will be prepared to invest money over a longer term, they will be looking for a greater return if the business is successful.”
The FPB have teamed up with GuruOnline for the initiative, a leading digital media business which specialises in Internet TV, the partnership serving to offer users one of the most comprehensive resource of recorded information on the web for small businesses.
“As a leading lobby group and business support organisation, the FPB has always provided to its members with exhaustive, expert advice as well as understanding,” said the FPB’s chief executive, Phil Orford.
“But business owners are busy people, so this new facility will allow entrepreneurs to access essential, bespoke information on many business issues without having to negotiate a sea of text.
“It is a tool of empowerment, particularly during these testing times,” he added.
Topics covered on the website vary enormously, with experts from the world of industry having recorded more than 2,000 videos containing in excess of 30 hours of footage. In addition to finance, there is advice on technology, law, leadership and management, networking, lifestyle, sales and marketing, finance, business and professional development and more.
A series of videos that is likely to prove popular in the coming months is the section employment law. As the swine flu pandemic increasingly threatens to set back the economy even further, firms faced with potential cases of mass sickness by employees can learn about how to prepare contingency plans, and also the rights of both employers and their staff when creating sickness policies.
For more information about the FPB’s business support services, and its lobbying and campaigns, all 0845 612 6266 or visit www.fpb.org