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Credit Crunch - How we can help - Businesses

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Credit Crunch - How we can help - Businesses Powered By Docstoc
					     Brentwood Borough Council and its
      partners offer a range of services
      to help businesses who might be
         struggling to cope with the
                credit crunch.


Small business support and assistance
The Council works closely with a range of partner organisations to
provide tailored support for local businesses based on individual
needs. There is a range of information for businesses to help them
access support on our website’s Business Pages. This is being
regularly updated to reflect any emerging programmes developed in
response to the Credit Crunch.
For further information please contact 01277 312693.

Surviving the credit crunch
For many businesses, the credit crunch is hitting hard. With higher
interest rates and a reduction in the availability of funds it’s a
struggle to secure bank loans. These problems could be combined
with a potential slowdown in demand for goods and services and
debtors who are unable to pay their bills, seriously disrupting cash
flow and threatening expansion plans and even survival. According
to the British Chambers of Commerce, 75% of small businesses are
concerned about the economy but few have plans in place to
protect their business.

In fact, many businesses are actually risking their financial security.
According to a survey from Business Link, over one third (36%) of
businesses in the East of England have used credit cards to help
finance the company in the past two years. The survey also
revealed that 80% have relied on bank loans and overdrafts whilst
32% have turned to friends and family for financial assistance.

For more information about Business Link services, or to speak to a
business adviser, call 08457 17 16 15 or log on to
www.businesslink.gov.uk/east. Specific information regarding the
crunch is also available at www.crunchguide.com

Crunch survival tips
Mind your cash flow - Issue invoices promptly and chase up
debtors; don’t buy more stock than you need; negotiate longer credit
terms with suppliers, shorter ones for customers; fill up gaps in your
forward order book; and keep in touch with your bank.

Cut your costs - Look for savings in every part of your business.
Do you turn equipment off at night? Is every business journey
necessary? Are you taking full advantage of your tax allowances?

Credit check new customers - Protect yourself by conducting
rigorous credit checks on new customers and agreeing clear credit
terms up front.

Focus on retaining clients - Do all you can to keep your
customers coming through your doors. Loyalty schemes, small
discounts and regular communication are just three ways of letting
your customers know you value them.

Provide outstanding customer service - Consumers appreciate
businesses that give them more for their money. Efficient service,
fast delivery, flexible payment terms and so on can persuade people
to spend with you rather than a competitor.

Increase your marketing - When competing for a smaller pot of
money, it becomes more important than ever to tell people why they
should come to you. You don’t have to break the bank, but be sure
to shout about your business.
Concentrate on products and services that sell - Don’t put your
efforts into trying to sell things that are untried or that few people will
buy; stick to profitable favourites. Don’t be tempted to slash prices
either – if demand for your offer is not price sensitive, you will be
giving your profits away.

Avoid borrowing - Bear in mind loans may be more difficult to
obtain and more expensive in a slump. Alternatives include invoice
financing, which releases up to 85% of cash tied up in unpaid
invoices, but better still, save money by cutting costs.

Streamline your operation - Consider moving to smaller premises
or subletting your existing space. Sell off excess equipment and
look at staffing – are
your people
concentrated in the right
areas? Will flexible
working be more cost
efficient?

Sell online - An online
sales or marketing
channel will expose you
to a larger marketplace
for minimal cost. Plan
and resource online
selling properly,
including providing
payment security,
attracting visitors and
meeting orders swiftly.
National Non Domestic Rates (Business
Rates)
There are a number of business rate reliefs, which can be applied
for:
l Unoccupied Rate Relief for three or six months after a property
  has been occupied

l Partly Occupied Property Relief for three or six months where a
  self contained area of a property is permanently unoccupied

l Small Business Rate Relief, for those who occupy either
  (a) one property, or
  (b) one main property and additional properties with a rateable
  value less than £2200
  The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the
  aggregate rateable value of all properties mentioned in (b) must
  be under £15000.

l Charity Relief

l Non Profit Making Organisation relief, where the organisation is
  not established or conducted for profit

l Discretionary Rate Relief for businesses with a rateable value
  less than £14000 in a rural settlement with a population less than
  3000

l Hardship Relief, the local authority has discretion to give relief in
  special circumstances

l You can appeal to the Valuation Office to reduce your rateable
  value. You do not need to use a third party to do it for you.

Brentwood Borough Council can offer advice on paying your bill and
on reductions that migh tbe available. Full details can be found on
our website’s NNDR pages or call 01277 312892/3.
Business Link voucher scheme to aid
business survival in 2009
Business Link has launched a £500 voucher scheme to support
East of England businesses through the economic downturn.
Redeemable in exchange for consultancy services, this voucher
complements the existing package of help available from Business
Link that includes free confidential business health checks,
one-to-one specialist advice and skills workshops.

Businesses that have been trading for over 12 months are eligible
for the voucher.

Following an online or face-to-face ‘health check’ with a Business
Link adviser, an action plan will be discussed and agreed with you
detailing areas where additional support is required. Using Business
Link’s supplier brokerage database, the adviser will suggest up to
three suppliers who may be able to meet your needs in the areas
identified. It is with these suppliers, who have been accepted to be
part of the scheme, that you can redeem the voucher, up to a
maximum of £500.

Contact Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 or email
healthcheck@businesslinkeast.org.uk for further information.


 Useful numbers
Business Debt Line                 Brentwood Chamber of
A business helpline providing      Commerce
free, confidential and             Represents the interests of
independent advice on how to       Brentwood businesses
deal with debt problems            01277 214814
0800 197 6026                      www.brentwoodchambers.co.
www.bdl.org.uk                     uk
Brentwood Town Centre              Mid Essex Enterprise Agency
Partnership                        (MEEA)
Leads a number of key tasks        Provides support and advice to
intended to ensure Brentwood       new and existing businesses
Town Centre remains                01245 496712
economically viable, green,        www.midessexenterprise
clean, safe and attractive         agency.co.uk
01277 312725                       National Debt Line
                                   Free confidential and
Business Link East                 independent advice on how to
A free advice and support          deal with debt problems
service for businesses in the      0808 808 4000
East of England                    www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
0845 717 1615
www.businesslink.gov.uk/east       Exdra -
                                   Essex Development &
Citizens Advice Bureau             Regeneration Agency
An independent voluntary           Stimulating innovation,
organisation offers a free         entrepreneurship and business
confidential information, advice   competitiveness
and advocacy service               01245 702400
0844 477 0808                      exdra@exdra.co.uk
www.adviceguide.org.uk
                                   Federation of Small
Community Legal Advice             Businesses
Free, confidential and             Protecting, promoting and
independent legal advice           furthering the interests of
0845 345 4345                      self-employed & small
www.communitylegaladvice.          businesses
org.uk                             01253 336000
                                   membership@fsb.org.uk
Energy Saving Trust Advice
Centre                             Train to Gain
Provides free impartial advice     Offers funding and support as
on ways to save money on fuel      you train your employees for
bills and on grant schemes for     business success
insulation and heating works       0800 0155 545
0800 512012                        www.traintogain.gov.uk
Brentwood Borough Council
Town Hall
Ingrave Road
Brentwood
Essex
CM15 8AY
T: 01277 312500 for general enquiries or
   08457 585 592 if you have difficulty hearing
T: 01277 312892 NNDR enquiries
E: revenue@brentwood.gov.uk
W: www.brentwood.gov.uk

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   For more information, please call 01277 312629.

				
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