Monday, 22 December 2014

With new figures suggesting that 46% of SMEs are set to grow next year, Axis for Business asks; is it going to be a bright 2015 for small businesses across the UK?

The Lay of the Economic Landscape

Axis for Business is an independent energy and telecoms provider that’s committed to providing quality service to small businesses across the UK. As such, we understand that SMEs need to expand in order to grow their business.

In order to grow your firm, you need to understand the lay of the UK’s economic landscape and know what avenues of funding are available to you to fund said expansion. That’s why we knew you needed to know that a new survey has suggested that whilst firms all over the UK plan to expand in 2015, many don’t know the range of funding open to them which they could take advantage of to do so.

Small Business Finance Markets 2014

According to, Whitehall’s British Business Bank surveyed 1,000 SMEs to determine the state of the UK’s financial markets. The resulting Small Business Finance Markets 2014 report showed that 46% are planning to expand in 2015.

Yet the report brought one key issue to light. When asked how they were going to fund said expansion, 68% said that they were “confident in their ability to obtain external finance.” However, when questioned over funding avenues, 65% admitted to not knowing about mezzanine finance, import and export finance, peer-to-peer lending or even crowdfunding.

Meanwhile a third (33%), suggested that they didn’t know they could access government funding via government or local authority grants. However when it came to which avenues of funding SMEs were aware of, 95% said credit cards and 85% said lease or hire purchase; both prove inefficient for the profit margins of any small business.

A Useful Benchmark

Vince Cable commented on the findings of the survey. Cable said: “This new research – the first of its kind by the British Business Bank – is a useful benchmark for measuring the challenges ahead in making British businesses aware of the various alternative finance options available in the market.

“This is particularly important given the findings also show that almost half of British small and medium enterprises plan to expand in the next year. I am confident more businesses will be able to realise those ambitions thanks to the new finance on offer, especially on the equity side.”

Consider Every Avenue to Fund Expansion

If this benchmark has shown us anything, it’s that more needs to be done to show SMEs every avenue available to ensure they find the most cost effective manner possible to fund expansion. Only then will 2015 prove to be a bright year for SMEs across the UK.  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The results of a new survey have shown Axis for Business that one in five small business have faced ‘supply chain bullying’ in the last two years.

A Symbiotic Relationship

As an energy and telecoms supplier that strives to deliver value for money to small businesses in the UK, Axis for Business understands the symbiotic relationship many SMEs have with larger firms.

For many small businesses, a significant portion of their revenue stream relies on the trade they receive from supplying their larger equivalents. That’s why it’s so worrying that according to, nearly a fifth of SMEs feel they have been subjected to one form of ‘supply chain bullying’ or another in the past two years.

17% of Small Businesses Face ‘Supply Chain Bullying.’

In a poll of 2,500 members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 17% (almost one in five) admitted to facing pressure from a larger company that they supply.

Furthermore, the survey found that this goes beyond pay to stay, where larger companies’ demands a supplier pays a fee to continue to do business. It indicated a serious deterioration of payment practises, with issues such as exceeding payment agreements, prompt payment discounts and excessively long payment terms highlighted by SMEs.

“Small Businesses Are Fast Approaching Breaking Point”

Speaking out on the results of the survey, FSB’s national chairman, John Allan, said: “The government has indicated that they are prepared to do more to improve the culture of payment practices in the UK and they are right to do so.

“The sense I get from talking to our members is that small businesses are fast approaching the breaking point. They are no longer prepared to put up with these sharp practices. Brands that think they can continue to squeeze their suppliers with impunity may get a nasty shock when what they are doing comes to the attention of their consumers.”

Protect Your Small Business from Supply Chain Bullying

If you don’t want to reach that breaking point, ensure you protect your small business from the prospect of ‘supply chain bullying.’ That way, you’ll be able to ensure you are able to generate the capital you need to stay in the red. 
If you want to throw a shindig your employees will talk about in hushed whispers for years to come without damaging your small business’ bottom line you’re in luck, as this week Axis Telecoms shows you how to save money on the office Christmas party.

The Mandatory Office Christmas Party

Bringing competitively priced energy and telecoms to small businesses all over the UK, Axis Telecoms knows that when it comes to motivating employees, SME owners have a hard choice to make.

You want to motivate them to work as hard as they can, but galvanising your staff roster can prove particularly hard on the tight budget typical of most SMEs. This conundrum becomes particularly pronounced when confronted with the office Christmas party – an event that at this point, is practically mandatory.

Five Ways to Keep Your Office Christmas Party in Budget

Yet it’s possible to throw a memorable Christmas do on a budget. You just need to find ways to stay within said budget. Here are five you might want to consider...

Hold it in the Office: It’s an office Christmas party. Note that word, office. Why drain your company’s bottom line by hiring out the backroom of an upscale bar, when you can hold it in the office for the exorbitant price tag of… oh wait… nothing at all.

Take Advantage of Deals: If you’re throwing it in the office, then you’ll have to cater the party yourself. Reduce the cost of catering your own soiree by flocking to your nearest supermarket and taking advantage of it’s latest offers on party food. At this time of year, you won’t fail to find a deal that’ll lessen your Christmas party food expenditure at the local Tesco or Sainsbury’s.

Club Together: Does someone in your building have a bigger office? If so, talk to them about throwing a joint do. That way, you share the cost of food, drink, entertainment etc. A problem shared after all, is a problem solved.

 Create a Playlist: These days, computers are equipped with an amazing programme called Spotify. With it (if you can stand an advert or two), you can create a playlist for nothing, and avoid paying a DJ to oversee the music at your office Christmas soiree.

Arrange on a Friday: Employees are going to drink a little too much at the office Christmas party, that’s just tradition. Don’t lose valuable employee time to the inevitable hangover; throw the party on a Friday night so they have a weekend to recover from their overindulgence.

Apply the Lesson

If this blog has shown you anything, let it be that you don’t need to deprive your business of the funds it needs to grow, just to motivate your employees. Take this lesson and apply it throughout the year to save money for your small business. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

This week, Axis for Business discovered that UK Chancellor George Osborne used the yearly Autumn Statement to announce the initiation of a package of measures designed to aid SMEs.

With One Stroke

Because Axis for Business listens to what our customers say to ensure we supply cost effective energy and telecoms services to SMEs in the UK, we understand the role of government in facilitating growth.

With the responsibility of safeguarding economic prosperity, with one stroke of the pen the government can initiate policies which provide SMEs the climate they need to boost profit margins. The latest stroke of Osborne’s pen could prove extremely beneficial to small businesses throughout the UK.

A Cash Injection for SMEs

This week, the BBC reported that Osborne announced in the government’s Autumn Statement that it’s decided to invest £400 million into Enterprise Capital Funds. These are government-backed venture capital funds that invest in small businesses.

Meanwhile, Whitehall also announced in the yearly budget that it’s decided to guarantee up to £500 million in new lending funds to small businesses. Furthermore, the Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme – which is designed to increase the rate at which banks lend to SMEs – has been extended into 2015.

Time to Focus on Small Businesses

According to the publication, the new schemes are to be managed by the British Business bank, which was established by Vince Cable in 2013.

Whilst announcing the new measures, Osborne said: "Now that credit conditions for households and large businesses have improved, it is right that we focus the scheme's firepower on small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy."

The Lifeblood of the British Economy

Osborne makes a valid point. SMEs are the lifeblood of the British economy – this country needs them to stay in the red. Therefore, the government needs to use its power over economic affairs to ensure small business economic growth at every turn. 
You need to strive to protect your flow of capital when you’re taking the first steps to building your own company, which is why this week Axis Telecoms asks; how do you save money when you’re starting a business?

Letting Your Idea Shine

Axis Telecoms is dedicated to ensuring small businesses throughout the UK receive value for money for their energy and telecoms services. As such, we understand that there are certain times when an SME decision maker needs to go the extra mile to ensure their company has a steady flow of capital to hand.

The need to save money is never more important than when you are looking to get your venture started. You believe that your business model could prove lucrative, however when you’re building a venture, you need to trim the budget anywhere you can to provide yourself enough capital to give your idea the provisions it needs to shine and generate healthy profit margins.

Keep Your Firm’s Bottom Line under Control

Saving money is all about ensuring you find any way you can to keep your business’ bottom line under control – do so with the following five tips…

·         Take Advantage of Mates Rates: What are friends for? If you have a mate who’s willing to decorate your office for less, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of mates rates and pair your outgoings own to a bare minimum.

·         Provide Your Own Capital: Your business is never going to succeed if you don’t believe in the power of your idea. Take a risk, trim your personal expenses i.e. trade in your car for a cheaper model, and devote the resulting capital to your start-up.

·         Invest in Online Services: When you are starting a business, you need to find any way you can to generate sales, so that you inject cash into your company. At the genesis of a venture, the most cost effective business model is to sell your wares online, as there are few costs attached to doing so.

·         Trim the Employee Roster: Do you really need a receptionist at this point? No you don’t. If you want to put your business in the position it needs to be in to succeed, avoid making a frivolous hire; trim the employee roster.

·         Keep Your Outgoings Low: One of the most effective ways to keep a start-up’s bottom line under control is to keep its outgoings low. If you invest in cost effect telecoms and energy services from suppliers such as Axis Telecoms, you free up the funds you need to grow your company.

An Uphill Climb

As an entrepreneur who is striking out on the road to building a successful venture, you have an uphill climb in front of you. Ensure you keep your outgoings under control if you want to reach the summit. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Last week, the government announced the start of the Do More Online Scheme, which Axis Telecoms believes can help your small business increase its customer base.

Capitalise on Your Presence Online

Because we are a telecoms and energy supplier who are passionate about providing effective customer service to small business all over the UK, Axis Telecoms is always looking for ways to help SMEs do more online.

If you develop and maintain an online presence, you can reach a wider customer base with minimal effort. However, there are a fair share of SME decision makers who don’t know have the knowledge of how to use the tools they need to capitalise on the opportunity to build a presence for their business online.

Government Helps SMEs Do More Online

Those decision makers were given a life line last week, as the government announced the launch of the Do More online campaign – its newest effort to help small businesses do more with their online presence.

Through Local Enterprise Partnerships, the government will channel £2 million into 22 projects which are designed to help SMEs increase their digital presence. Projects include the development of a digital TV outlet in Manchester which will equip businesses with easily-accessible and cost-effective advice, as well as a partnership with Go ON UK that has already created a database of resources for SMEs.

Addressing the Digital Skills Gap

Commenting on the new initiative, Matthew Hancock, Minister of Business and Enterprise said: “To make sure consumers get the best deal and small businesses spread their nets far and wide, the government is investing in a range of advice to help them do more online. I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start up and grow, and this is integral to achieving that.”

The initiative has already been endorsed by Go ON UK’s CEO, Rachel Neaman. Neaman said: “Go ON UK welcomes the government’s investment in addressing the digital skills gap for small businesses.”

Giving You the Tools to Reach a Wider Customer Base

By addressing this digital skills gap, the Do More Online campaign gives you the tools you need to reach a wider customer base. By reaching out to your potential customers online, can you attract new sales and bump up your profit margins.