In October 2022 we reported on Ofcom’s Autumn Connected Nations update which, amongst other matters, highlighted the increasing part played by broadband in delivering hybrid working and improved business connectivity. In December, Ofcom published its annual report and it’s more good news for UK businesses.
There’s nothing new about the idea of a national alert system. Indeed many countries have already seen successful deployments with messages being sent out over mobile or phone networks to warn of fires, floods and other hazards.
After the year that we’ve just had someone might be forgiven for thinking that the only businesses thriving would be those who are involved in delivering Covid solutions. And it is true that a number of businesses and business sectors have been hit badly by the lockdowns. On the other hand, businesses have also shown how adaptable they can be; bringing in covid safe operations, enabling their people to work from home, and opening up business telephone and internet solutions for their customers.
In a digital world we’d like to think that we were able to spot scam or phishing attempts. But the fact that the police and others regularly need to issue warnings indicates that sadly some fake calls are still getting through. Not that that’s really surprising. The scammers are getting ever more sophisticated in their methods, choosing subjects which we may encounter in our daily lives and using psychology to trick us into complying.
The Government’s decision to phase in implementation of post-Brexit regulations for imports and exports was designed to give companies time to adapt to the new requirements. With the second and third phases due to be phased in in April and June, the Government has now further helped in that adaption by launching a Brexit support fund for SMEs.
The fund provides a grant of up to £2,000 which SMEs can use to access training and professional advice in respect of exporting to and importing from the EU and Northern Ireland. It is intended, the Government say, to cover areas such as:
The number of business closures in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 37% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019. That’s not really surprising given the unique situation we find ourselves in as a result of the pandemic.
It’s often been said that cashflow is the lifeblood of business. Without prompt payments the supply chain can grind to a halt; leaving firms at all levels without funds, stock, and ultimately customers. And yet, whilst the importance of timely payments is widely acknowledged, according to the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) some fifty thousand businesses are forced to close every year simply due to late payment practices.
How are your New Year business resolutions for 2021 coming along? Whatever sector you are in it is a fair bet that your business plans may have to take into account the ongoing Covid pandemic and the signing of the post Brexit agreement between the UK and EU. And given all that has happened in the last year it is understandable if the planning process is not quite as straightforward as usual.
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