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How SMEs can capitalise on Budget Autumn 2018

If Phillip Hammond’s Budget Autumn 2018 is delivered as promised, it has been a win promoting growth for SMEs and entrepreneurs alike.

Independent businesses on the high street celebrate potential savings up to £8000 and a £675m cash injection to transform the streets in an attempt to lure Britons back to bricks and mortar shopping. For those within technology and e-commerce, the chancellors move to introduce 2% Digital Services Tax for technology companies with revenue over £500m creates opportunity for UK based tech start-ups to make the most of the competitive edge.

These advantages, among others revealed in this years’ Budget, should be looked at within the broader context of Brexit and actively capitalised on now.

It is simply not enough for business owners to settle for the good news, but instead identify and action the opportunities before your competitors do.

Sergio Afonso, founder and MD of globally respected, Absolute Translations, reveals the key opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs worth acting upon from the Budget Autumn 2018:

  1. Seek investment now

The domination of US tech giants has previously caused investors to hesitate when considering financing UK tech start-ups. The Digital Service Tax, which appeals to public calls for companies like Facebook and Amazon to “pay their fair share towards support of public services” has also been a large incentive for investors to see UK start up businesses as a viable investment option once again.

The indirect benefit of this tax for entrepreneurs and SMEs is no mistake and it would be short-sighted to miss this government-endorsed opportunity to confident seek growth investment while investors are hungry.

  1. Consider global expansion

The substanial increase in the Annual Investment Allowance, from £200,000 to £1m, along with a fluxating, Brexit-affected pound, present a global expansion perfect storm.

Not only are more extensive investments in captial are available tax-free but there is a growing demand to match. During time of an undervalued currency, British-goods are more appealing and affordable to international buyers who want to take advantage of the slump. Given the ambiguity of final Brexit arrangements and their knock-on affects, making yourself accessible to new customers and markets now could prove a saviour in future uncertain economic times.

  1. Match government efforts on the high-street

Small bricks and mortar businesses not appropriate for such expansion should ensure they’re building upon the government’s high-street transformation plans.

The Council’s funding to improve streetscapes, transport and infrastructure will be most beneficial to businesses who match efforts in making the high street more appealing with in-store spending incentives, aesthetic improvements and the age-old trick of real relationship building with loyal customers.

Community integrated efforts are key to returning a lagging high street to the buzzing hub it once was, aligning your business with representative bodies, such as Federation of Small Business High Streets Hub to really make a difference.

  1. Upskill and invest in staff now

Future training and employment changes is another example of a Budget 2018 decision that lends itself to easing future Brexit concerns. Fears of an employment crisis to follow the UK’s exit from the EU have been elevated by The Chancellor’s move to half the amount small firms have to pay when taking on apprentices from 10% to 5%.

Getting apprenticeships and staff training in progress prior to the Brexit deadline will help secure skilled staff and demonstrate how you value your staff; having an invaluable impact on employee retention rates and protecting yourself from potential future fall out.

  1. Make enviromentally friendly moves early

The taxing of plastic products that don’t contain at least 30% recycled material is the latest move in the government’s 25-year Environmental Plan; but it won’t be the last.

Businesses narrowly avoiding plastic tax or celebrating that no official action on disposable coffee cups has yet been taken, should stop treading water and shift businesses processes and packaging to as sustainable as possible.

There is significant scope for budding entrepreneurs in this societal shift towards a war on single-use plastic, and something to seriously consider for those looking for new endeavors, just as now $6m a year Australian company, KeepCup, has successfully executed.

While not every opportunity can be taken on by every business, those that apply to you should be considered as actionable ideas to enhance the positive impact from an already supportive budget from Hammond in 2018.