Many businesses don’t realise that staff training is no longer the time-consuming expense it once was. Discover the benefits of boot camp, the virtues of virtual training and the merits of a MOOC
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The founding principle of the Breakthrough programme will remain unchanged in 2013. Santander launched Breakthrough with the aim of providing both finance and more general support to fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises. These businesses perform a vital role within the UK economy: they create jobs, they innovate, and some will grow to become world-leading brands.
Some suppliers will be strategic partners – essential to the operation of the business – whilst others will be providers of commoditised products, such as printer ink or paperclips. In all cases, it’s important to consider whether there is scope to reduce your outgoings by taking a proactive approach to supplier management.
In principle, accountants are a force for good. It’s a fact that businesses with good financial assistance and advice tend to be more successful than those without. Accountants can help you focus on the core needs of your business, keep your tax affairs in place, and advise on important business decisions which involve financial investments upfront or over time.
When should you hire an accountant?
Let’s compare two businesses. Company A is at the beginning of the growth journey. It’s one or two years old, it generates revenue and employs about ten people. In the not-too-distant future it will be looking for investment or additional bank finance to underpin its growth plans. Company B is bigger: it has forty or fifty people on the payroll and is successfully selling products at home and overseas. So, what is it that really differentiates company A from company B?
Many start-ups overlook – or even purposely avoid – the task of compiling a dress code. However, as those businesses grow, the chances are a dress code will nevertheless emerge, even if it remains an unwritten and tacit agreement.
Activity in the UK social enterprise sector presents a vibrant and positive outlook. There are 62,000 social enterprises in the UK providing 800,000 jobs. And they’re growing in number and size, says Sheralee Morris, senior manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at Santander. “This is a high-growth, dynamic part of the UK economy with great potential. Some 58% of UK social enterprises have grown during this recession,” she says.
With the Olympics – and associated travel issues – in full swing, it’s won’t be easy for everyone to get into the office. And what about those other occasions when train cancellations or sick children make it impossible to get to work? With just a few key tech tools in place, you can be ready to work from any location at the drop of a hat.
Imagine that over half of your turnover came from one client. You would treat that client with respect and ensure that your customer service and stakeholder management was of the highest possible standard. You would ensure that it featured prominently in your business plans and that the relationship was nurtured. However, incredible as it may seem, some businesses become complacent once a major client has been secured and the invoices are flowing through regularly.
In May this year, an all-female group of the UK’s most dynamic entrepreneurs embarked on a trade mission to the US. Organised by Santander’s Breakthrough programme, the trip took in New York and Boston on the east coast of the country and offered delegates the opportunity to learn about the economy, tax treatment and legal implications of doing business in North America. Perhaps more importantly, the week-long event gave delegates the opportunity to meet potential suppliers, business partners and customers, as well as build new sales leads and channels for the future.
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Marcus Austin has over 25 years’ experience in the technology field and over 15 years’ experience in the Internet and business fields. Writing for various companies and publishers, Marcus also runs his own consultancy and publishing business.
Trevor Clawson is a business journalist specialising in growth strategies, corporate finance, governance, technology and management. His work has appeared in Director magazine, Growing Business magazine, CFO World, Guardian, Times, Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday.
Dan Matthews is a business owner and journalist with more than 12 years' experience writing in print and online. He specialises in online marketing and web project development, having created and grown several successful websites.
Phil Dibbs is managing director of Hawkmoor Associates Limited. After 25 years working for major UK Banks and PLCs, he has amassed a huge amount of experience in the SME sector, and dealing with the challenges that they face.
For the second of Breakthrough’s trade missions connecting Growth Champions to overseas markets, delegates from 11 female-owned-and-run businesses visited Boston and New York. Among their number were entrepreneurs in engineering, brewing, eco-brands and food businesses.
Liz Loxton is a business editor who honed her skills on accountancy and insurance publications. Her work has been published in the Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and City AM. She writes features for Accountancy, Real FD, and CFO World as well as for corporate clients.
Santander has appointed Darren Hart to manage Breakthrough’s £200 million growth capital investment programme. Darren is responsible for overseeing the application and due diligence process for companies interested in accessing the mezzanine-based funding.
Martin was group CEO of IRIS Software for 10 years (2001-2011), during which time the business grew to become one of the UK’s largest private software houses. In 2006, he won an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Communications & Technology category.
Former Chief Executive of Gateway to London, John Williams has been appointed by Santander to head up its small business support programme, Breakthrough.
As Senior Manager, CSR, Saskia works on initiatives that encourage sustainable business growth amongst SMEs. From staff training and local enterprise initiatives, to environmental sustainability, CSR is a vital consideration for all growing businesses.
Forward Ladies is the North's largest women's business support organisation.