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Weekly small business news round-up

A round-up of news stories for the week ending 21st September 2012.

This year, £15bn worth of in-store retail sales in the UK will be influenced by smartphone consumer engagement and product research before or during a shopping trip. That's according to Deloitte Digital, who also predict that figure will rise to £30bn by 2016. Although 51% of shoppers currently have smartphones, 80% will do so by 2016. This means that businesses should understand the importance of having websites that are optimised for mobile browsing and smartphone applications that engage customers before or while they are in the store.

Smart meters could save SMEs up to 5% on their annual energy costs, reports Business Green. Average business savings will be 4.3% on electricity and 4.7% on gas bills, amounting to an average annual saving of £230. With efficiency advice, however, this ratio could rise to a figure between 7.5% and 15%, raising the savings total to £390 and £800 respectively. Some business energy providers are offering free smart meters when you set up a new contract. You can contact Make It Cheaper on #phonenumber# to find out more - and we can help you get a great deal on your energy bills at the same time.

London-based small and medium-sized businesses may be interested to know that the Energy Saving Trust are offering free support that enables businesses to take advantage of the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) government incentive schemes. The support workshops are offered as part of the Institute for Sustainability's FLASH programme and include advice on opportunities specific to London businesses, information on required certification, and a chance to meet key stakeholders in the market. The first Green Deal Readiness and Certification Workshops will be held on 26 September, 1 October, and 4 October. For more information please refer to the Energy Saving Trust website.

According to a survey conducted among 1,400 small and medium-sized UK businesses, 37% plan to grow their management teams in the next year. For the short term, companies plan to recruit for management roles in the business development, finance, and R&D departments, and 14% claimed that they would prefer to bring an interim manager on board. The survey also highlighted that among the participants in the survey, 30% had used interim employees in the past and 81% of these companies believed that interims offered a good return on investment.