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Weekly small business news round-up

A round-up of news stories for the week ending 7th September 2012.

As British businesses will face a significant funding shortfall over the next five years, there are a number of options that can be considered as alternative source for capital. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in particular, commented on the idea of a Small Business Bank, proposed to fulfil a similar function to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the United States, and Germany's KfW. The FSB recommends that the Small Business Bank be formed for the long term rather than as a short-time recession relief and that it should operate as a second tier agency above retail banks to distribute loans through the existing retail financial institutions. Furthermore, the Small Business Bank is expected to simplify government funding schemes, have a clear delivery remit with full accountability, and be fully planned out before implementation.

In response to the shocking finding that small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are owed £35bn in unpaid bills and the major offenders are large companies, twelve business bodies forming the Government's Small Business Economic Forum have agreed to advise their members to sign the Prompt Payment Code (PPC), to promote ethical and timely payment practice among their members. Small businesses are encouraged to be proactive about agreeing payment terms in advance, to check if their debtors have signed the PPC - and if the answer is yes, politely remind them of this fact. Although the PPC will certainly be a negotiating ground for small businesses, it does not touch on the problem of slow payment of 120 days or more that large companies are often able to negotiate due to disproportionate bargaining powers between the two parties.

Employees at small businesses 'pass the buck' for energy efficiency, reported GreenWise. 57% of surveyed workers claimed that they were not communicated their firm's guideline for energy efficiency. Although this figure might be surprising, it is more understandable in light of the fact that 24 % of owners and chief executives said that they rarely think about the issue of energy efficiency, with 51% of questioned chief executives admitting that they never spoke to staff about conserving energy. Unfortunately, in addition to wasting energy, many businesses also lose money by being unmindful of the roll-over trap, which results in higher contract rates for gas and electricity. Companies can avoid being rolled-over to more expensive contract rates by comparing market prices and switching providers, which they can get done in one step by calling Make It Cheaper on #phonenumber#.

Also, Make It Cheaper hosted a Save Money, Make Money free local business networking event yesterday at The Albany in Twickenham, featuring a Q&A session with local MP Vince Cable. Twickenham-area business owners had the opportunity to find out more about Make It Cheaper and the importance of getting into the savings habit, establish new local business connections, and ask Dr Cable about small business topics.