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London entrepreneurs get ‘Business Booster’ advice to help their companies grow

London, UK, 8 April 2008 - Small business complacency is harming future growth potential and increasing the chance of business failure across London according to information released today by Business Link in London. With 29 out of 33 London boroughs experiencing a growth in the number of new businesses, only 67% of them are making it to their third birthday, whilst 91% are making it to their first.[1]

Business Link in London hopes the findings will be a wake-up call to businesses that have passed their one-year anniversary, helping them recognise and effectively tackle the growing pains they often face. Companies can find support in Business Link in London’s ‘Business Booster’ initiative, which is designed to help businesses across the capital grow.

Tim Campbell, the successful winner of The Apprentice, who has since gone on to set up his own charity, The Bright Ideas Trust, comments, “If you’re running your own business, you will know that everything doesn’t always run smoothly. You will experience growing pains, but to face the challenges, you need to think about who can help you plan for the future. No one is an expert in everything. The ‘Business Booster’ initiative provides access to a range of resources to help business develop into the companies they passionately want to be.”

Other key findings announced today highlight[2]:

Trouble spots - Key areas of concern for growing businesses were finance and cash-flow, staff issues and raising business levels through marketing

Churn up - The rate of churn for businesses in London was higher than it was for the rest of the UK

Advice seeker - Only 44% of businesses with less than 49 staff had sourced formal business advice, with Asian and Black businesses less likely to access external help, with only 29% and 27% doing so respectively

Guiding hand – Only 55% believed they needed outside help to develop and grow their business, but 47% thought they needed help across a whole range of business areas, not just one of two

Dining Out - Restaurants were three times more likely to go bust than other businesses, with financial firms most likely to still be going after three years

Andy Berrow, Senior Business Advisor at Business Link comments, “ We found that recruitment, marketing and finance were the key problem areas for developing small business. We want to make sure that out of the rising number of businesses starting up in London each year as many as possible are making it to their 6th birthday. In reality only 20% will make it this far. Business owners can’t just put their head in the sand when it comes to growing pains. They have to overcome them and the best way to do that is with external advice and support.”

The ‘Business Booster’ campaign sees Business Link in London providing businesses with access to free support and advice to help them boost their business to the next level. Businesses will be able to use the organisation’s ‘Online Business Review’ tool (www.businesslink.gov.uk/london/review) – which offers users a ten-minute reality check of their business online – to see how their business shapes up, along with access to local events, master-classes, fact-sheets, advice and consultancy.

Topics covered will include:

Marketing
Recruiting the right people
Employment law
Finance and funding
Tax and VAT
Sales and negotiating
Moving your business to the next level

Business Link in London also suggests five top tips for businesses to think about when it comes to going forward:

1. Assess current performance – where is your business now
2. Set a vision for growth – where do you want to be
3. Plan to grow – work out how to increase market share, develop new products and take advantage of commercial opportunities
4. Lead staff through the growth – motivate current staff and take on new ones to fuel growth
5. Manage the risks – look at the risk in each of the areas of your business and how to limit it

For further information about growing your business please contact Business Link in London at: www.businesslink.gov.uk/london/booster or call us on 0845 6000 787.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

About Business Link in London

Business Link in London is a free and impartial business advisory service available to anyone starting up or running a small or medium sized business. It is the first place to go for high quality, actionable information and practical advice to help business people succeed directly or with further expert assistance.

The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a dedicated telephone enquiry line and website or face to face at an event, local business surgeries or at your premises.

Business Link in London is wholly funded by the London Development Agency (LDA) to build a stronger small and medium business sector, help create and sustain jobs, and contribute to the economic prosperity of London. Visit http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/london or call 0845 6000 787

Press enquiries:

For further press information about the Business Booster campaign from Business Link in London, please contact:

Joanna Timmermann / James Warnette
Octopus Communications for Business Link in London
T: +44 (0)845 3700655
E: Joanna@octopuscomms.net / James@octopuscomms.net

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[1] Information complied from the DTI Small Business Service 2007 and the Business Link in London boroughs start up research 2007
[2] Information provided by Business Link in London awareness survey Nov 2007

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