Business Connections

Small Talk: 'Scrap cheques' call to help SMEs fight late payments

When consumer groups forced the banking industry to abandon its plans to abolish cheques in 2018, it was celebrated as a populist victory. But it turns out that not all customers are so pleased. The British Chambers of Commerce says getting rid of cheques would be one way to tackle the late payments problem that continues to dog so many small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Vince Cable’s new bank
will be up and running
within 18 months and
hopes to lend £10bn

Cable reveals plan for £1bn bank to help small business

Coalition agrees to fund manufacturers directly after pleas to high-street lenders fail

Small Talk: the story of your life – and a tale of modern business

Who says British companies can't be entrepreneurial as well as inventive? Meet OMG, the Oxford-based technology business which will today unveil its first foray into the retail sector: a new type of camera that stands a genuine chance of changing the market.

Small Talk: A cleverer approach to the issue of intellectual rights

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser on making sure you comply with international sanctions. Join our growing SME network at: es-bc.co.uk

Small Talk: Online doors opening fast for small firms seeking funds

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser maps out the road to StartUp Britain. Join our growing SME network at es-bc.co.uk

Small Talk: Entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking in North

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser reports on issues vital to the small and medium business. Join our growing SME network at: es-bc.co.uk

Small Businessman of the Week: Big companies overcharging SMEs by billions a year

Saurav Chopra is chief executive of Huddlebuy, the deals site that sells discounted business products and services to more than 35,000 SMEs

Small Businessman of the Week: Factoring in a speedier cash flow for small companies

Anil Stocker is director of MarketInvoice, which was set up a year ago to provide an alternative to traditional factoring services. It offers SMEs the opportunity to auction off outstanding invoices to investors, improving their cash flow

Global trading presents rich opportunities

Neil Kuschel's guide to international expansion for small businesses

Selling to the toughest consumer

Just over five years ago I sold my first pouch of baby food. It was actually the first pouch of baby food in the world - an innovation that launched the Ella’s Kitchen brand and started a revolution by creating a new category of premium baby food. 

Scenarios: A valuable tool in an uncertain world

While traditional models and forecasting have their place, scenario planning can be a real aid to preparing for the uncertainties of the future, says Stephen Boyle

Raising finance in a tough market

Ask entrepreneurs to name the greatest obstacle they face in their business and I would expect most to say raising finance. Even at the best of times, securing sufficient funds to get an idea off the ground is a challenge and in today’s climate entrepreneurs are finding this increasingly difficult.

A slow dawn

Almost a year since we launched our Get Britain Trading campaign there remains a real need to help small businesses create jobs and drive growth. The campaign has allowed the Forum of Private Business to raise awareness of the vital role SMEs play in the UK’s economic health, and the importance of removing the barriers that stand in their way.

Playing in the big leagues

Sports team and event sponsorship has become ubiquitous in the world of big corporate marketing, but until now has remained a closed shop to smaller companies. However, with the great power of sport to unite and excite people, it’s natural that businesses of all sizes would want a piece of the action for their brand marketing strategy.

Dissatisfaction, disruption and determination: the three Ds of success

Dissatisfaction is the single greatest driver of innovation. I started Seatwave in 2006 because I was appalled by the existing options for selling or buying sold out tickets, which at the time meant relying on eBay or street touts.

News
Women and men stand in an office
Two economists have come up with a formula to quantify the gender gap
News
An investor reads a newspaper in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, China. China's major stock indexes sank more than 6 percent in early trade on Tuesday, after a catastrophic Monday that saw Chinese exchanges suffer their biggest losses since the global financial crisis, destabilising financial markets around the world.
Satyajit Das, Das Capital: The ‘Chinese dream’ risks turning into a nightmare for its investors and its leaders.

News
Paddy Power is well-known for eye-catching promotional stunts, such as this balloon at the Cheltenham Festival
Outlook: It isn’t hard to see Paddy Power and Betfair's investors are excited
News
A view through smog over the 02 Arena and the Canary Wharf financial district in London. The BBC weather centre predicts a potential 8 or 9 out of 10 level of air pollution likely to be found in East Anglia and the East Midlands
James Moore:

“Sell in May go away, buy again on St Leger Day” runs the old City saying. 

News
Stonewall, which marches at London Pride, is working with firms in the professions to promote equality
Jo Bourke investigates 'prevalent' homophobic attitudes in the construction and property sectors
News
Spokespeople for the companies involved, including BHP Billiton, stressed their political neutrality
James Moore, Outlook:

The sort of name recognition enjoyed by the likes of Tesco or Barclays is not something BHP Billiton is ever going to achieve.

News
The Chinese stock market has faced its own 'Black Monday'
James Moore, Outlook:This is what happens when humans are replaced by computers.
News
Everything you need to know about the global stock market meltdown and what it means
News
Rupert Scofield, founder of microfinance institution Finca, shows Matthew Glynn how it has changed lives
News
Laura Wade-Gery, the M&S executive in charge of the company's 870 UK stores and website, is going on maternity leave, the retailer announced today
James Ashton, My Week After her moment on the front pages, Laura Wade-Gery should be left to get on with it
News
Online gambling operator 888.com is a client of XL Media, which specialises in driving internet users to its site
Jim Armitage, Outlook: The takeover battle for the Bwin.party online gambling company has had more twists than an all-night blackjack session.
Voices
A file photograph showing a HSBC corporate logo outside a branch of the bank in central London, England, 09 February 2015
Ben Chu, Voices : Aristotle was not a fan of interest rates but the father of Western philosophy nevertheless might have been at home in modern Britain.
News
Goldman Sachs Manhattan headquarters
Jim Armitage, Outlook: Next time there’s a financial meltdown, your money could be rescuing Goldman Sachs.
News
The Bank of England
Jim Armitage, Outlook:The British economy remains basking in the glow of super-low inflation.
News
The Bovis Homes building site in Cambourne Near Cambridge
Jim Armitage, Outlook: Bovis has confirmed it in black and white: Britain doesn’t have a hope of hitting the Government’s 200,000 annual housebuilding target. Ever.
News
In the aftermath of share falls in the Chinese stock market, there is increased focus on the wider effects
Satyajit Das: In the aftermath of share falls in the Chinese stock market, there is increased focus on the wider effects.
News
Highly commended Richard Fisher. 'I had rented a camera for the weekend to photograph a friend's wedding, and so had planned to get my money's worth by visiting Richmond Park that Sunday morning long before knowing what the weather conditions were likely to be.'
Mike Cherry, Small Talk: Take a look in any estate agent’s window, or read online, and you’ll spot rent rises and price hikes.
News
Jim Armitage: There's little doubt – life is going to get harder
News
Balfour's turnaround is under way, writes Jim Armitage
News
Mark Carney inside the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London
Today has been dubbed Super Thursday, because there is a wodge of new information coming out of the Bank of England about the economy and interest rate policy. But how super will it be for the financial markets? Hamish McRae reports
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Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future