prompt paymentAs signatories to the Prompt Payment Code receive a letter about changes to the Code following a consultation process in December 2014/January 2015, the FSB announced that only 21% of their members feel confident that it will be enough to address the poor payment culture in the UK.

In fact, more than half their members said that they would support a full and independent enquiry into poor payment practices that had seen 39% of the businesses questioned enduring payment terms that were longer than 30 days and a massive 43% having to wait more than 90 days beyond the agreed payment date before they got their cash!

The top five reasons for late payment were:

  • internal invoice processing issues caused a delay (35%);
  • the customer extended the payment terms without your consent (34%);
  • invoice was lost or misplaced (33%);
  • invoice was never received (31%) and
  • top of the list of excuses with 49% was no excuse or justification was given at all!

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cash for business ratesEarlier this month, the Chancellor used his budget to promise a radical review of the business rates system, a 400-year-old burden that dates back to the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1572 and is becoming 'crippling' for many of the small firms that occupy half of the commercial properties on which business rates are paid.

Business rates are based on the rental value of the property a company uses but these are set using property values from 2008 when commercial property values were much higher. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage right from the start when they are competing with online retailers, like Amazon.

In 2013/14, business rates brought in £20.5bn of revenue from 1.8 million non-domestic properties. However, the latest data from accountants PwC revealed that the shop closures in our town centres trebled last year, with 987 businesses closing, compared with 371 in 2013.

George Osborne said: 'In my view, the current system of business rates has not kept pace with the needs of a modern economy and changes to our town centres, and needs far-reaching reform,' the Chancellor said.

The Government has already tried to help 300,000 small businesses like shops, cafes and pubs by increasing the business rates discount for retail premises with a rateable value of £50,000, doubling small business rate relief until 31 March 2016 and capping the rise in the business rates multiplier at 2%.

What are the new plans for Business Rates?

Pilot schemes will be run that allow local authorities to retain 100% of any additional growth in business rates above existing forecasts and be free to invest this extra yield in new pro-growth economic schemes and infrastructure projects. Continue reading

Here at Lollipop Local, one of the first things we show business owners is how to maximise the effect of their Facebook cover image by turning it into a click through.

But not many other folks are actually doing this.

So, introducing a new bright shiny thing from Facebook!

Custom Call To Actions on your Facebook cover image. Clickable buttons that will link through to a page on your website, a more mobile friendly page on your website or to a custom app.

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google four packGot a call from a business owner in Liverpool today.

He told me that he was paying a company who guaranteed him a front page ranking with his Google Map/Google Plus/Google My Business listing.

His business usually came in at position number 4 in the local pack but, over the last couple of weeks, it had disappeared off the front page.

The reason?

The Google Local pack usually showed seven listings but had suddenly changed to only showing three listings.

Hence, his business at number four was no longer showing. Continue reading