Small Businesses Ask What Next?

Small business is defined as a privately owned corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship that has fewer employees and less annual revenue than a corporation or regular-sized business.

Speaking after today’s vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Mike Cherry said: “On the day that we were supposed to be leaving the European Union, all we have is yet another political failure to chalk up.”

Withdrawal agreement means an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“Responsibility for this deepening political crisis lies squarely at the feet of politicians who have clearly stopped listening to the business community.

Our small businesses have been crying out about the significant damage that uncertainty is causing them. These cries have been drowned out by those seeking to play political games.”

Planning has stalled, investment is handcuffed and growth has flatlined. The only question now is what happens next?”

Mike is the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

An active FSB member for over 20 years, he is committed to getting the voice of small firms heard at the highest level.

Previous to his current role, Mike led FSB’s campaigning and policy work for nearly a decade as National Policy Director. He remains a strong advocate of employability and enterprise, both in the UK and across the globe.

For more than 40 years Mike has worked in the timber and manufacturing industry and continues to do so today.

Mike Cherry’s successful family business, W.H. Mason & Son Ltd, supplies cask closures for the brewing industry and laser engraved promotional and giftware products for B2B, specialist retail outlets and visitor attractions.

Politicians Try Mending Relationship With Business

Politicians in the United Kingdom have moved to rebuild their relationship with the business community by hiring Sky executive Andrew Griffiths, as part of Number 10 team.

A source close to Griffiths said Johnson’s appointment of the Sky veteran – who most recently served as the broadcasting giant’s chief operating officer – was “a clear sign of intent” that the former mayor of London wants to build fresh links with the City and businesses across the United Kingdom.

However, the relationship may already be thawing with most business groups giving a cautious welcome to the incoming resident of Number 10 yesterday.

The British Chamber of Commerce was also quick to send its regards, but again warned about the consequences of crashing out of the bloc.

The message to Boris Johnson from business communities around the United Kingdom couldn’t be simpler: the time for campaigning is over — and we need you to get down to business.

Companies need to know, in concrete terms, what your government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on 31 October – which would bring pain to communities across the United Kingdom and disruption to our trade around the world.

Business lobby group the CBI echoed other calls for a pro-business Brexit deal, but also on support for infrastructure projects to boost businesses across the country.

Johnson has previously voiced opposition two of the country’s most ambitious infrastructure projects: Heathrow airport expansion and the HS2 rail project.

The pound dropped to $1.247, after the membership ballot result naming Johnson as leader was announced.

As Michael Brown, senior analyst at Caxton FX explains, this was largely due to the fact that the likelihood of Johnson victory had already been priced in.

In the run-up to the announcement a number of businesses had been nervous about the prospect of a Johnson premiership, due to the former London mayor’s insistence that he would take the United Kingdom out of the European Union with or without a deal by the 31 October.

No-Deal Brexit Vote Boosts Pound Sterling

Pound sterling exchange rates remain under pressure with Brexit uncertainty continuing to loom large. However, against the United States Dollar, Sterling found something of a reprieve yesterday after disappointing house building statistics were published across the Atlantic.

With Theresa May now in her last week of office, concern over the potential for political chaos under her successor is likely to keep a lid on any upside for the Pound.

The Australian Dollar also performed notably well overnight, gaining ground over Sterling after Australian employment data suggested the Reserve Bank of Australia may have done enough for now in terms of interest rate cuts.

The Pound has continued to climb against the Euro and United States Dollar in Thursday’s trading session. MPs backed an amendment that could prevent Conservative Party frontrunner Boris Johnson from shutting down Parliament to pass a no-deal Brexit in October.

Housing Data Offers Cable Some Temporary Respite

The British Pound to United States Dollar exchange rate found a little respite yesterday following the release of some significantly worse-than-expected United States Building Permits data. Despite falling mortgage rates across the Atlantic, applications to build new houses fell for a second straight month to the lowest level in two years.

Land and labour shortages are said to be behind the move, so this may prove sufficient deflect some concern away from the reading which has previously been seen as an indicator of recession.

However, the news was sufficient to help drag Cable back from its test of two-year lows, at least for now.

Political Uncertainty Keeps Pound Exchange Rate in Check

Markets may have priced in Brexit uncertainty, but it seems as if the impending political chaos starting next week, once a new Conservative Party leader is announced and new Prime Minister appointed, may still need to be priced in. Parliament is, however, strengthening its resolve to ensure it cannot be suspended to allow a no-deal Brexit to be forced through.

The House of Lords voted yesterday to provide further safeguards here and the bill will return to the House of Commons today for a second reading.

The Pound to Euro exchange rate remains close to six-week lows, but anything that points towards another general election being necessary in the Autumn has the scope to see further selling here.

Why Did it Move? Pound to Australian Dollar Exchange Rate

The Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate fell last night despite a decidedly mixed employment report from Canberra.

However, upward revisions to May’s data and solid growth in terms of full-time jobs appear to have been sufficient to convince markets that the Reserve Bank of Australia doesn’t need to jump in with another rate cut just yet.

Having traded as high as 1.7760 yesterday, the cross now sits almost a cent lower at 1.7670.

Stay tuned for updates!

Unlocking Growth: Understanding the Challenges Hindering Small Business Expansion

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, small enterprises play a vital role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth. However, despite their significance, many small businesses face challenges when it comes to expanding their operations. This article will delve into the reasons why your small business might be struggling to expand and provide insights into how to overcome these obstacles.

Lack of Strategic Planning

One of the most common reasons small businesses struggle to expand is a lack of strategic planning. Without a well-defined roadmap for growth, businesses can easily get lost in the day-to-day operations and miss out on opportunities. To combat this, it’s essential to outline clear long-term goals and create actionable steps to achieve them. Regularly reviewing and adjusting these plans based on market trends and internal performance is crucial for sustained expansion.

Insufficient Financial Resources

Insufficient financial resources can be a significant roadblock for small businesses looking to expand. Whether it’s inadequate capital to invest in new equipment, hire additional staff, or enter new markets, a lack of funds can hinder growth. Exploring various financing options, such as small business loans, angel investors, or crowdfunding, can provide the necessary financial boost to fuel expansion initiatives.

Ineffective Marketing Strategies

Even the best products or services won’t gain traction without effective marketing strategies. Small businesses often struggle to expand due to a failure to reach their target audience with the right message. Invest in market research to understand customer preferences, and craft a compelling and consistent brand message. Leveraging digital marketing tools, social media, and search engine optimisation (SEO) can significantly boost your online visibility and drive growth.

Limited Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a limited online presence can severely hamper a small business’s expansion efforts. Consumers increasingly turn to the internet to discover and research products and services. A well-designed, user-friendly website that showcases your offerings, coupled with a strong social media presence, can significantly enhance your reach and customer engagement.

Inadequate Competitive Analysis

Failing to keep a close eye on competitors can put your small business at a disadvantage. Understanding your competitive landscape is crucial for identifying gaps in the market and differentiating your offerings. Regularly analyse competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to refine your own strategies and stay ahead of the curve.

Poor Customer Retention

While acquiring new customers is essential, neglecting existing customers can hinder growth. It’s more cost-effective to retain current customers than constantly acquire new ones. Develop a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of customer interactions and tailor your offerings to their needs. Offering loyalty programs and personalised experiences can foster long-term customer loyalty and contribute to expansion.

Operational Inefficiencies

Inefficient internal processes and workflows can create bottlenecks that impede growth. Identify areas where operational efficiencies can be improved, such as inventory management, production processes, and customer service. Embracing technology solutions and automation can streamline operations and free up resources for expansion initiatives.

Talent Acquisition and Retention

The success of a small business heavily relies on its employees. Difficulty in attracting and retaining top talent can hinder expansion plans. Foster a positive work environment, offer competitive compensation packages, and provide opportunities for professional growth. A dedicated and motivated workforce can drive innovation and support your expansion goals.

Regulatory Challenges

Navigating through complex regulatory environments can be particularly daunting for small businesses. Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations adds an additional layer of complexity to expansion efforts. Seeking legal counsel and staying informed about relevant regulations in your industry is essential to ensure a smooth expansion process.

Risk Aversion

Fear of failure or taking calculated risks can prevent small businesses from seizing growth opportunities. While it’s crucial to make informed decisions, being overly risk-averse can lead to missed chances for expansion. Conduct thorough market research, weigh pros and cons, and be willing to step out of your comfort zone when the potential rewards outweigh the risks.


Expanding a small business requires careful planning, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from challenges. By addressing these common obstacles head-on and implementing strategic solutions, your small business can position itself for sustainable growth. From refining your marketing strategies to optimising operations and fostering a culture of innovation, overcoming these hurdles can pave the way for a successful expansion journey.

Knowing When to Expand Your Business: Key Considerations and Strategies

Knowing when to expand your business is important. Expanding a business is a critical decision that can significantly impact its future growth, success, and overall trajectory. However, determining the right time to expand requires careful analysis and consideration of various factors. This article explores the key indicators and considerations that business owners should keep in mind when contemplating expansion.

Steady Demand and Market Research

One of the fundamental signs that your business is ready for expansion is a consistent demand for your products or services. Before expanding, conduct thorough market research to ensure there is sustained interest and need for what your business offers. Monitor customer feedback, sales trends, and industry reports to validate the demand’s longevity.

Financial Strength and Stability

Healthy financials are the cornerstone of any successful expansion. Your business should have a stable revenue stream, positive cash flow, and a clear understanding of its profit margins. Assess your financial readiness by considering whether you have the necessary funds to support the expansion without jeopardizing the existing operations.

Operational Efficiency

Efficient operations indicate that your business has the capacity to handle increased demands that come with expansion. Evaluate your current processes and systems to ensure they can scale effectively. If there are bottlenecks or inefficiencies, address them before expanding to prevent issues from compounding.

Market Saturation and Growth Potential

Expansion into a new market makes sense when your current market is saturated or when you’ve tapped into the majority of your target audience. Assess the growth potential in your industry and identify untapped markets or segments that align with your offerings. Expanding into a new market can open up fresh opportunities for growth.

Strong Brand Identity and Reputation

A well-established brand with a positive reputation has a higher chance of successful expansion. If your business is recognized for its quality, reliability, and value, it’s an indication that customers are likely to embrace your expansion efforts. A strong brand identity can provide a competitive advantage in new markets.

Competitor Analysis

Analysing your competitors can offer insights into the feasibility of expansion. If competitors are expanding or if there’s a gap in the market that you can fill, it might be the right time to seize the opportunity. Identify your competitive strengths and weaknesses to position your expansion effectively.

Available Resources

Expansion requires resources, both in terms of finances and personnel. Assess whether you have the human capital to manage the expanded operations. If not, consider whether you’ll need to hire new talent or invest in training to bridge the gap.

Technology and Infrastructure

In today’s digital age, technology plays a crucial role in expansion. Evaluate your current technological infrastructure and whether it can accommodate the increased demands. Upgrading or integrating new technology might be necessary to ensure a smooth expansion process.

Customer Feedback and Demand

Listening to your customers can provide valuable insights into expansion opportunities. Are customers requesting additional products or services? Are there specific geographic areas they’d like you to reach? Addressing customer demands can drive the success of your expansion.

Risk Assessment and Contingency Plans

Expansion inherently involves risk. It’s important to conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential pitfalls. Develop contingency plans to mitigate these risks and ensure your business can adapt to unforeseen challenges.


Expanding your business is a significant step that should be based on careful analysis and strategic planning. By considering factors such as demand, financial stability, operational efficiency, market potential, and customer feedback, you can determine the right time for expansion. Remember, successful expansion requires a solid foundation, a clear vision, and a willingness to adapt to the changing business landscape. With the right approach, your business can achieve sustainable growth and make a mark in new markets.