Why small businesses face a perfect storm

Tips for getting out alive.

Managing cashflow effectively has always been critical to a burgeoning business’s ability to become established and grow, though right now in particular, it’s an area that owners and financial controllers need to keep a very keen eye on.

This is because SMEs currently find themselves in the midst of a perfect storm. At one end, more stringent capitalisation requirements in the wake of the Basel III Accord and the generally uncertain economic outlook has seen banks reign in their lending to small and medium sized businesses. A recent BBA study found that last year, lending by banks to SMEs fell in 80 per cent of UK postcodes. At the same time, large corporations are taking longer to pay their suppliers, taking advantage of the hugely dominant position they hold in a relationship that, even in the times of plenty, was never one of equals. The unfortunate result is that at a time when our economy desperately needs SMEs to breathe life into it, their ambition and desire to drive the recovery is being stifled, with many of them left gasping for air as they suffer from a squeeze in all directions.

There are however some simple, yet effective steps that SMEs can take to help them navigate what is unquestionably a difficult time when it comes to keeping their enterprises cash-healthy, functioning smoothly and primed for growth.

If the cash balance of the business is good, securing a credit line now could be an SME’s smartest move. Credit is always easier to secure when you’re in a position of strength, and taking advantage of this upper hand to boost your cash flow - at cheaper rates and in quicker time than if things were tight - is a savvy maneuver. Things can change quickly, particularly in the economic-age we’re operating in at the moment, and having ample funding in place can help ambitious businesses shock-proof their growth plans before adversity strikes.

Anil Stocker is the co-founder of MarketInvoice.com.

This rest of this piece can be read on economia

SMEs currently find themselves in the midst of a perfect storm. Photograph: Getty Images

This is a news story from economia.

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Jeremy Corbyn sat down on train he claimed was full, Virgin says

The train company has pushed back against a viral video starring the Labour leader, in which he sat on the floor.

Seats were available on the train where Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, Virgin Trains has said.

On 16 August, a freelance film-maker who has been following the Labour leader released a video which showed Corbyn talking about the problems of overcrowded trains.

“This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed,” he said. Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.”

Commentators quickly pointed out that he would not have been able to claim for a first-class upgrade, as expenses rules only permit standard-class travel. Also, campaign expenses cannot be claimed back from the taxpayer. 

Today, Virgin Trains released footage of the Labour leader walking past empty unreserved seats to film his video, which took half an hour, before walking back to take another unreserved seat.

"CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming.

"The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey and over two hours before the train reached Newcastle.

"Mr Corbyn’s team carried out their filming around 30 minutes into the journey. There were also additional empty seats on the train (the 11am departure from King’s Cross) which appear from CCTV to have been reserved but not taken, so they were also available for other passengers to sit on."

A Virgin spokesperson commented: “We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case.

A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign told BuzzFeed News that the footage was a “lie”, and that Corbyn had given up his seat for a woman to take his place, and that “other people” had also sat in the aisles.

Owen Smith, Corbyn's leadership rival, tried a joke:

But a passenger on the train supported Corbyn's version of events.

Both Virgin Trains and the Corbyn campaign have been contacted for further comment.

UPDATE 17:07

A spokesperson for the Jeremy for Labour campaign commented:

“When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat. 

"Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.

"Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains. That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

A few testimonies from passengers who had their photos taken with Corbyn on the floor can be found here