Cheaper bills, better access to finance and less regulation would have all been at the top of every business's Budget wish list - but did the Chancellor manage to deliver?
Well, that's a question that rarely has a straightforward answer. Where some sectors benefit from certain measures, others will occasionally suffer, and trying to put an exact figure on how much your firm will save - or lose - as a result of the Budget is never easy.
But there are ways that SMEs can discern whether or not they're going to see some overall benefits. So, without getting bogged down with the complicated equations, here's how the Budget could affect your business.
With the Treasury wanting the value of exports to double to £1 trillion by 2020, the Budget revealed export finance will increase from £1.5 billion to £3 billion
Ramping up exports has long been touted as one of the best ways to boost Britain's small firms, which perhaps explains why the Chancellor announced that more money will be spent to encourage SMEs to get involved on the international stage.
With the Treasury wanting the value of exports to double to £1 trillion by 2020, the Budget revealed export finance will increase from £1.5 billion to £3 billion. As an extra incentive, the interest rate on this support will be cut by a third.
Businesses will now have access to a funding pool that is twice the size it was - and it will also cost them less to borrow in order to boost export ventures. Still, the onus is very much on SMEs to apply for the finance - unfortunately, cheques won't suddenly start arriving in the post.
Currently, firms can apply for tax exemptions up to the value of £250,000 when investing in equipment or upgrades. Effectively, what this means is that businesses can cut the real cost of their purchases because they won't have been taxed on the money they use to buy certain items.
Under new terms announced in the Budget, SMEs will now benefit from a tax-free investment allowance of £500,000, putting them in a stronger position to buy more expensive upgrades. Again, it's up to small businesses to proactively apply for the allowance - something it's well worth taking the time to do considering the relative savings they could enjoy.
Energy bills can be a big headache for many SME owners - we know that more than most at Make It Cheaper because we help small businesses get better gas and electricity deals every day.
While the Chancellor hasn't introduced any drastic measures, the decision to freeze the Carbon Price Floor means that some of the upward pressure on bills will be relieved. Many SMEs are expected to see little difference, although manufacturers may enjoy noticeable reductions in the overall cost of their power in the coming years.
However, with the Climate Change Levy set to increase, many small firms' bills could still rise before the Carbon Price Floor freeze comes in to force.
Did the Budget meet your expectations? How will your business take advantage of the measures? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Image credit: Lee Davy
Dan O’Sullivan is Make It Cheaper's Web Content Manager, which means much of his time is dedicated to ensuring we have plenty of online material to help business owners understand the energy, insurance and telecoms industries. With years of experience working alongside SMEs, Dan is committed to making life as easy as possible for smaller firms. You can email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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