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Chichester Chamber Blog

'In My View'... Are small businesses putting themselves at risk?

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, March 29, 2018

I recently read an article reporting that in 2016 there were 5.5 million small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, employing 15.7 million people and generating an annual turnover of more than £1.8 trillion.

This is a huge sector and you would think it would keep business advisors fully employed to the point of demand exceeding supply.  But this isn’t the case.  When I talk to business owners, many say they do most things themselves even when they know someone else far more qualified and experienced who could do it better.  So, it appears there are a lot of businesses running their own books, doing their own accounts, dealing with staff contracts and employment issues while, at the same time, ensuring they meet their legal obligations and hoping they don’t fall foul of the law.

While some people do this very well, others say they just don’t get around to it, some even say they don’t know what they should be doing.

Some of this is down to cost, especially with start-ups, and I accept that businesses won’t want to spend on advice they feel they don’t need.  However, when it comes to some activities (or inactivity) the cost of getting it wrong can be far greater (just look at the current last-minute scramble to get compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations due to be in force in May).

As an HR specialist, I’m increasingly surprised at how many businesses don’t have any real HR provision in place – even if just to help with the basics.  I’m also surprised by how many employees appear to accept what really comes down to unacceptable behaviour, often amounting to inadvertent law-breaking, from their employers.

The argument, I suppose, is that external support is a costly luxury to small businesses – but this isn’t always the case.  There are many ways to engage in affordable expertise and advice before you face the financial consequences of leaving it too late.

CCCI members’ meetings and events give businesses the chance to talk about issues that are important to them.  Meeting other business people and getting to know them in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere provides members with their own informal support network – as well as the opportunity to develop good business relationships and learn about various funding initiatives.

Dianne Lambdin, Director of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and The Sussex HR Hub

'In My View'... Are small businesses putting themselves at risk?

Thursday, March 29, 2018
I recently read an article reporting that in 2016 there were 5.5 million small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, employing 15.7 million people and generating an annual turnover of more than £1.8 trillion. This is a huge sector and you would think it would keep business advis ..

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'In My View'... Connectivity is the key to successful businesses

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, March 01, 2018

As the country delves more deeply into the messy business of divorce from the European Union, the importance of building our economy through organic growth is even more vital.  Those of us living in more rural areas appreciate the significance of the small business.  In Chichester, of the 7,300 businesses, 85.7% employ less than 10 people according to West Sussex Life 2017-19.

Good knowledgeable people are essential to successful businesses, as is their ability to build relationships and network effectively.  The Chichester Chamber of Commerce exists to support businesses to prosper and it does this through some really beneficial networking events

Once a month, on the second Monday, the Chamber runs a business meeting.  It moves round to different business and charity venues each time and this gives the host the opportunity to say something about what they do.  It also includes a chance to hear a short talk on a business pertinent subject.  Recently it was the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and was delivered by a lawyer and a practitioner owner of an IT support company.  Together with Chichester College, the Chamber also runs a business breakfast once a month which includes time to network and then a delicious breakfast cooked by College students.  A keynote speech is incorporated and recent speakers have included the Bank of England Agent and the Chief Executive of Fishbourne Roman Palace.

Of course network events are only an effective tool if those attending plan what they want to achieve.  In her excellent short article on six keys to effective networking, Susan Rittscher describes using the ‘hostess principle’, imagining yourself as the hostess, greeting all the guests and ensuring they are comfortable.  This allows you to feel more relaxed and able to deal with the inevitable nervousness in a room of strangers

Chichester Chamber also provides a range of business support activities and training and some fun events too.  If you are not geographically close to Chichester, find your nearest Chamber.  If we are to build a successful local economy, the connectivity of businesses is one of the vital ingredients.  We are more effective as a group than we are as individual companies and together we can work to remove some of the barriers to business growth.

Shelagh Legrave, Vice-Chair of Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chief Executive,  Chichester College Group

'In My View'... Connectivity is the key to successful businesses

Thursday, March 01, 2018
As the country delves more deeply into the messy business of divorce from the European Union, the importance of building our economy through organic growth is even more vital. Those of us living in more rural areas appreciate the significance of the small business. In Chichester, of the 7,300  ..

Read More

Chichester Business Magazine