Here’s the Euroffice SME Update for April 2015 to keep you posted on developments on the small business front
Unemployment Falls to 1.84 Million
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that unemployment fell 76,000 to 1.84m in the three months to February – that’s the lowest rate since 2008. Average weekly earnings rose a little too, going up by 1.8% compared to the same period last year. Is it time to stock up on salary books?
Labour to End Unpaid Internships?
At the time of writing, it’s believed that Ed Miliband will say companies offering interns a placement of a month or more will have to pay them the minimum wage.
Some commentators feel that unpaid internships are only viable for young people with wealthy families, so maybe this will see more, and different, types of talent finding a way into business.
Expect to see a rise in requests for cups of coffee, mind.
Footfall is up. Or is That Down?
The British Retail Consortium says that retail footfall in March was 0.2% higher than a year ago. Unfortunately where your business is might dictate how many feet you see: high streets saw a 1.4% drop in footfall, while out-of-town locations saw a 3.4% rise year-on-year.
Does that mean high street stores need to work on being ‘destinations’ and having ‘experiences’ to draw people in? Perhaps bookshops are a good model; independent stores are diversifying and even collaborating with other companies.
Do Staff Prioritise Location Over Wages?
An online survey by OnePoll, conducted on behalf of ClickSoftware, found that some UK workers are looking for a company in a good location, not just a good salary.
57% of respondents said they stayed in a role because they felt location was more important than wages and even job security. (20% felt their productivity was negatively affected by where their job is.)
Does this mean that small businesses in socially buzzing or beautiful places can compete for employees on where they’re based rather than the salary they can offer?
Ring ring – Nobody’s There.
47% of UK SMEs don’t answer their phone, according to research by Tele PA a virtual PA service.
Maddeningly, of the companies that don’t pick up, but do at least have an answering machine, 20% don’t even use a personalised message mentioning the firm’s name. Callers just get a generic greeting.
Don’t miss out on business because customers don’t know if they’ve rung the right number and can’t leave a request. Get a phone with an answering machine and leave a friendly message with contact details and opening times.
Previously on The Euroffice Blog…