Small Business Missing The Mark Online

London’s small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are not reaching their full online potential – and many have no web presence at all, according to a recent poll by Business Link in London.

Almost half (45.4%) of the 500 London entrepreneurs polled admit that they do not have a business website, with the majority (62.6%) stating that their business does not need one. The manufacturing industry topped the list of businesses without a website. However, over half (53.3%) the retail, catering and leisure businesses participating also lack websites.

Tony Cattermole, Business Adviser from Business Link in London says: “The results prove that there is a digital divide among London’s SMEs – those that embrace the Internet as an important component of their business and those that think they can do without. That mindset could hamper their road to recovery. Websites are a cost-effective way of generating sales, reaching customers and launching new products and services.

“A client of mine runs a car garage in London. He didn’t think a website was necessary, despite needing to increase sales and reach new customers. However, upon my advice, a quick search on the Internet made him realise that no garages in his area had an online presence – giving him the potential to capture 100% of the online market. Going online has become second nature to many customers which is why small businesses are potentially missing out.

“Having a website so customers can find you is the first step, but many businesses can also benefit from selling online.”

Research from Google shows that online sales account for 17p of every pound spent in the UK. Google also reports that online retail sales grew 14% over the last.

According to the Business Link in London poll, women entrepreneurs are leading the way for those that do have websites, in comparison to their male counterparts (58.2% vs. 50%) and this is a trend that has accelerated in the last two years.

However, even SMEs that have an online presence may not be reaching their full potential. Many of these businesses are admitting that increasing sales and promoting goods and services are not key priorities for them. 50% of the business owners had used a professional to create their website and almost half (46.6%) do not plan on making any changes to their website.

“Websites should not be static – they need to constantly evolve to reflect changes in customers’ needs, the economy and business competitors. The ultimate goal is to meet the ever changing needs of your customers”, adds Mr Cattermole.

Business Link in London is urging any small business to come to us for advice and business support, whether they need to start from scratch or make their website more effective. We are a free and impartial business advisory service providing support to small businesses in London through our online guides and toolkits, Business Advisers, workshops and seminars.

Via EPR Network
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Small Business Still Playing Catch Up With Finance

A recent Business Link in London poll found that many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in London do not have clear processes in place to manage their financial health. Smaller SMEs in particular are putting themselves at risk by failing to adopt adequate financial management systems. Business Link in London is launching an online checklist to help businesses get their financial house in order.

The recent poll of 350 London businesses found that nearly a third of the respondents do not have effective cash flow management and 45% do not have efficient systems to chase unpaid invoices. Nearly half of the businesses polled (46%) are unaware of what their break-even point is – the point at which their business starts to make a profit. 49% told us they do not know their gross profit margin – a key indicator of business performance.

Matthew Perkins, Business Link in London Senior Business Adviser says:

“Sound financial management should be the bread and butter of every business, especially during these tough economic times. As we head into the recovery period, understanding where your money is, following up your unpaid debts and knowing what your profit is, are vital to keep your business in the black and head for growth.”

The poll results also show that smaller businesses – employing up to ten people –are less prepared than medium-sized businesses. 72% of the larger SMEs questioned have a
structured process in place for retrieving unpaid invoices, compared to less than 50% of smaller businesses. They are also slightly less likely than their larger counterparts to use an accountant for their end-of-year accounts (75% vs. 78%)

Mr Perkins adds: “Smaller SMEs are at risk of being left behind. Without an accountant to prepare their end-of-year accounts, they face the possibility of filing incorrect accounts and paying incorrect taxes, affecting the overall health of their business.

However, end-of-year accounts are retrospective which is why it is important that you keep on top of your own finances on a regular basis.”

The London Development Agency’s Director of Business, Jobs and International Promotion Audrey Slade says: “We are giving the capital’s small and medium sized businesses access to the support and advice they need to assess their financial effectiveness. In addition to the toolkit available through Business Link in London, we are extending our series of free seminars that offer expert advice on issues such as managing cash flow and forecasting. These are run in partnership with high profile partners and help SMEs reach their potential even in the challenging economic climate. The first of these seminars will be held on Tuesday, the 26th of January.”

In addition to the checklist that Business Link in London is launching today, there is a range of tools and guides on the website www.businesslink.gov.uk/london to help.

Businesses are also urged to contact one of the expert Business Advisers who can conduct a thorough business health check and seek business advice They can easily assess ways in which businesses can live within their means and still thrive.

Via EPR Network
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ezW2 2009 Makes Filing W-2 and 1099 Easy, Fast & Risk Free for Small Businesses

Halfpricesoft.com recently released ezW2 2009, the easy-to-use W2 1099 filing and printing software for small businesses. Best of all, anyone interested in trying ezW2 2009 can do so totally risk free by downloading the full-functional W2 1099 software for free. ezW2 1099 W2 software was specifically engineered with non-accountant business owners in mind. Its intuitive interfaces allow the user to get started on filing and printing Forms W2, W3, 1099 and 1096 without the long learning curve typically associated with financial software.

New to the 1099 W2 software 2009 edition is the ability to print 2 sets of W2 or 1099 data on one red form sheet – the top half of the sheet for one employee and the bottom for another employee. This feature can cut the employer’s cost for red form sheets in half. Of course it also includes the latest versions of Form W2, W3, 1099 and 1096 for compliance with the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.

Business owners and managers new to ezW2 can try the w2 1099 software risk free, without cost or obligation to ensure they like the software and that it meets their needs. ezW2 software can be downloaded for free at http://www.halfpricesoft.com/w2_software.asp. This is not a demo or trial version with limitations. It is the complete software with all features and no time limit. However, a license key is required to print documents without a “DEMO” or “SAMPLE” watermark across each page The license key can be purchased for just $39.

To make sampling ezW2 2009 even easier, the w2 1099 software download package includes a sample database. Instead of wasting time entering data, small business owners and managers can upload the sample database and begin testing features and functions immediately after installing which saves time and money.

Via EPR Network
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