News in brief: innovation; awkward moments; exporting

News in brief
News in brief

Creative minds drive SME innovation

Employing and nurturing creative people is more important for business innovation than striving to come up with a bright idea, according to new research by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. The new survey suggests small businesses are investing in creative skills in a bid to create growth.

In a survey of business leaders at more than 750 UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), around half of respondents (52%), said having the right people and skills is the single most important factor for a business to be innovative. This is compared to fewer than one in four (24%) who believe having the right idea is most important.

As a result, the research suggests SMEs have prioritised staff training and development over other investment opportunities in the past year, and intend to do so again in the next 12 months. New equipment, technology and investment in premises, are also key, according to the survey.

Finance workers reveal top 10 awkward moments in an office

Finance workers have revealed what they think are the top 10 most socially awkward situations that inevitably happen at work, as part of the British Heart Foundation’s new Raise Funds Your Way campaign to get workplaces fundraising to fight heart disease.

Top of the list for finance workers was spilling something down your clothes moments before an important meeting (24%), followed by that tricky moment when your boss calls you the wrong name and you don’t know whether to correct them (19%). Accidentally clicking reply all to a private email (19%) was third followed by making small talk at the tea point (19%).

Some of these awkward encounters might be explained by the fact that over two fifths (43%) of finance workers confessed they don’t know the names of some of their colleagues even though they work in the same office, while 39% were guilty of not knowing what many of their fellow employees actually do.

Sage report finds 75% of SMEs are not exporting

To celebrate Export Week and the launch of a new Government exporting push, Sage has published survey data claiming that 75% of SMEs are currently not selling overseas, nor have plans to. The survey of Sage’s customer data reveals that 7% export with the EU, 16% export globally, but the rest do not export at all, or have plans to.

Coming as the Government launches a drive to promote exporting opportunities to UK businesses, the research also revealed the triggers that could prompt these companies to sell overseas. Companies surveyed said that government support, clearer information and EU advice on trading across borders would all make exporting more attractive.

Speaking at the launch of Exporting is GREAT, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said: “We’re passionate about supporting businesses from start-up through every stage of their growth. Exporting is a significant step on the journey – one that many small and medium businesses don’t feel they have the support or knowledge to take. Our customers tell us that awareness of the opportunities and more government and industry support would help them make the move, so we are thrilled to be supporting Exporting is Great.”

Around 17% of UK SMEs plan to expand overseas by 2025

By 2025, 880,000 (17%) of British small businesses plan to expand overseas – an increase from the 10.8% of small businesses currently taking advantage of additional export revenues, according to research conducted by business e-lender Everline and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) as part of its Small Business Tracker.

After growing their workforce (39%), exporting was the preferred way that small businesses saw their expansion plans going in the next 10 years. The stats varied according to regions, with almost twice as many London small businesses (30%) planning to export. Businesses in the North were least likely to take their business overseas (11%), followed by the South (excluding London) at 13% and the Midlands (17%).

COO of Everline Russell Gould said: "Although the number of small businesses planning on expansion overseas is hugely positive, more could be done to encourage small businesses in this area, particularly outside of London. The latest Annual Business Survey figures show that a third of medium-sized businesses and 41% of large businesses currently take advantage of export growth. Small businesses should work with industry bodies like the UKTI to see what opportunities exist and get advice on how to grow their business overseas."