SME checklist – 9 things you need to do in August 2015

August heralds summer holidays, which means customers and clients may have more time on their hands to check out your business. But remember to get your company in shape too.

 1: Work Permits

If you are employing school age children either as August help or as part of a new recruitment plan for the year, check with your local council if a permit is needed. Most local councils say that businesses, like shops, garden centres, hairdressers and cafes employing school age children must ensure the part timer has a permit before they can be employed.

 2: Enter the Great British Entrepreneur Awards

The benchmark of entrepreneurial success, The Great British Entrepreneur Awards are accepting entries until 14 August and have a number of categories including service industries entrepreneur of the year, manufacturing entrepreneur of the year and food and drink entrepreneur of the year. For more information visit www.greatbritishentrepreneurawards.com

 3: Work/life balance

Two thirds of SME owners work more than 40 hours a week and one in ten work more than 70 hours, but it’s playing havoc with their health. A third worry an important client won’t get good service if they go on holiday. So get your life back by learning to say no and delegating. Track your time and prioritise tasks. Try to turn off your phone when you’re with friends or family, enjoying the August sunshine – at least once a week anyway!

4: New laws

Get familiar with the new Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Act given Royal Assent in March. It could improve the welfare of SMEs, reduce red tape and ensure fair competition as well as look to tackle late payment practices – a daily battle facing many small businesses.

5: Get an apprentice

With school exam results out in August, consider the benefits of employing an apprentice. You provide training and in return pay less in wages and could even get a government grant of up to £2,500.

6: Keep your staff happy

According to the National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence (NICE) the UK loses £13.4 billion and 27 million working days a year due to work-related illness. So keep your staff happy by encouraging office workouts, great in the August sun, and healthy eating.

7: Check your cash flow

Staying on top of your cashflow, is critical to a SMEs survival and especially important if you’re in an industry where business is slack in the summer. Make sure you set clear payment dates with debtors. Here are seven ways to make sure you get paid on time.

8: Call on lady luck

According to a poll by AXA, 70% of SMEs believe luck plays a part in their success, and research from the University of Cologne suggests superstitions boost confidence and improve performance.

9: Check your business rates

Are you getting a raw deal on business rates? Hundreds of thousands of firms have contested their business rates over the past five years with the Valuation Office Agency. Check if you need to mount an appeal here.

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