Businesses in Thurrock need to use all the support services available to them – that is the New Year message from the Chairman of Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Iain Wicks.
Mr Wicks said: “2009 has been a tough year for businesses in Thurrock and it looks as if the start of 2010 will not be any easier with VAT having gone up by 2.5 per cent from New Years Day and rateable values for business premises increasing by up to three fold from April 2010.
“However there is light on the horizon with the recession anticipated to end during 2010 and we want to see businesses ready to take advantage of that upturn when it comes but that means they need to act now.
“There is a wide range of business support available which businesses should utilise:
1. Business Link’s free and confidential business health checks are a good place to start
2. The support available from local enterprise agencies is often free and is always confidential
3.Essex County Council is doing a lot to help businesses including the Banking on Essex scheme, Essex Apprenticeship Scheme and Essex Innovations.
“Businesses need to look at their costs and see how they can be kept low to improve profitability.
Get competitive quotes for insurance, trade waste collection, fuel for vehicles, credit and debit card processing as there are deals available to be negotiated to reduce costs – if you are an FSB member are you using the free business banking and other services available to you through your membership?
“Network events can be used to make contacts leading to new customers and can be an effective way of marketing your company as attending an event often costs just £10 and includes a meal so is excellent value for money!
Joining a local business organisation can open doors too – last year Essex FSB’s membership increased by around eight per cent as local businesses realised the benefits they could obtain for an annual subscription which starts at just £120.
“Councils and other public sector organisations also need to do their bit to help the local business community by making sure that contracts are of a size which can be handled by a local business; that payments to local firms are made promptly and that locally decided fees such as car park charges are kept as low as possible to encourage people to support their local businesses.
“The General Election will have a major impact on businesses and when the new Government is in place it must make sure it rapidly introduces business friendly policies, avoiding the temptation of punitive taxes on businesses as they try to balance the books nationally.
“Greater Essex has a reputation for encouraging entrepreneurs and for the resilience of our business community. During 2009 that reputation has been further enhanced and we expect that 2010 will see the economy in Essex, Havering and Redbridge begin to grow again – what we know is that Essex FSB will continue its work to support the 60,000 small businesses in the area to help them create the jobs and prosperity we need in our county.”