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15 Bright Ideas For Starting A Small Business

More people are deciding to work for themselves – throwing their energy into their own small business in a bid for greater flexibility and control over allocation of their time.

There are more than four million self-employed workers in the UK – a number that has grown steadily over the past two decades.

But if you’re thinking of going it alone, what are the best small business ideas that require minimal set-up costs and professional training? We’ve compiled 15 of the most popular:

1. Tutoring
If you’re an expert in a particular field – whether it’s maths, languages or playing the violin – you could make money teaching.

You don’t need any formal qualifications to be a tutor but some students (or their parents) may expect you to have a degree. Some previous experience of teaching is probably also useful.

Tutoring is now more accessible than ever with remote lessons via Zoom or the like widely accepted. You can also opt to go solo or join a tutoring platform. While you’ll probably have to pay to list online, taking this approach is likely to widen your client base.

2. Pet care
Animal lovers could consider setting up a pet-sitting business – whereby you spend time with clients’ pets while they’re at work or on holiday. This could be at their home or yours.

If you have the space at home for the right equipment you could invest in a grooming business – or, if not, the mobile equivalent. Dog walkers are also in high demand and, other than trust and reliability, don’t require any special credentials.

3. Home cleaning and gardening
Cleaning and gardening is flexible when it comes to earning extra cash. You might want to take your own cleaning supplies (which can be factored into the price) but equally, it’s acceptable to ask the client to provide them.

You can think about adding laundry or ironing services if it might boost your earnings. For gardening, diversification could mean design, landscaping or garden clearance.

4. Cake making
Talented at baking and decorating cakes? Or perhaps artisan sourdough is more up your street? It’s possible to turn skills like this into a successful business.

However, if you’re preparing food in your home to sell to the public you will need a food hygiene certificate and you’ll need to register with the environmental health department at your local council. Think about the best ways to market your new business through local press, for example, and on social media.

5. Personal training
Personal trainers are part workout and part motivational experts. It’s their job to develop workout plans to help clients either lose weight or meet other fitness goals.

Training and qualifications are necessary if you want to work in a gym or as a freelance PT – which will take time and money. But it could pay off, with trainers earning anything from £40 to £50 an hour or more depending on your location and target market. As well as 1-2-1 sessions, you could take group classes and bootcamps, too.

6. Personal assistant services
Workers who thrive on organisation and an Excel spreadsheet could flourish offering services to individuals or businesses and company execs.

Tasks might involve organising a diary or calendar, booking travel and other tickets and appointments, as well as other personal admin tasks which save the client precious time.

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7. Sewing and alterations

If you’re talented with a needle and thread, you could set up a business sewing and making alterations for the many who don’t have the skills.

While alterations alone could keep you busy, you might specialise in a particular area, such as handmade wedding and bridesmaid dresses or dance costumes.

You will need to invest in a high quality sewing machine and some basic materials and supplies. You could look to partner up with a local dry cleaner or laundry business as a way of broadening your client base.

8. Copywriter or editor

Most businesses have an online presence – but many won’t be au fait with blog writing, customer emails or website content. It will need to be written and edited by a professional.

If you have experience in writing, all you’ll need is a laptop and a good internet connection. Many writers and editors market their services on LinkedIn or other business social media groups. You could also directly contact businesses to offer your services.

9. Photographer or videographer

This is a great business for creatives with an eye for composition. You can be a generalist or choose to specialise – such as creating training videos for corporate clients, for example.

You’ll need to invest in some high-quality camera equipment and lighting accessories – or for a videography business, a good digital video camera, lights, microphones and bounce boards to achieve the best quality footage.

10. Bookkeeper

Those who are great with numbers could consider freelance bookkeeping. Bookkeepers sell their services to small businesses that need help managing their accounts, preparing payroll and gathering data for tax purposes.

You’ll need to be well-organised and fully understand the liabilities that can come with handling someone’s finances.

11. Blogger

If you can create a successful blog and build up your subscriber numbers it is possible to monetise it. The most successful bloggers can make an annual salary out of it.

There are different ways to make money from a blog, such as through advertising, affiliate links or subscriptions. Research options and successful blogs and bloggers to find the best route.

12. Removals

If you’re fit, strong and patient, all you’ll need to set up a removals business is a van. However, this line of work is very physically demanding. You’ll also have to be comfortable driving long distances and with busy city driving – as well as parking.

You’ll need liability and van insurance to cover yourself for all eventualities.

13. Market stall

Market stalls can make serious money – if you’re in the right environment with the right products. Whether that’s a food or farmers’ market, antiques or craft fair, you’ll need to book and pay for your pitch, as well as make or source your stock.

14. Setting up a virtual shop

Buying and selling online is probably one of the easiest businesses to start. And finding a market niche should help your business succeed.

If you make your own items to sell you could use Etsy, which is an online marketplace for unique and individual, often handmade goods. Setting up an Etsy shop is straightforward although you’ll need to factor in the transaction fees with each sale.

15. Car cleaning and valeting

This type of business can be set up with very low overheads. You’ll need vehicle cleaning equipment – and your own transportation if you are going to offer a mobile service – but there won’t be many other costs.

Liability and legal expenses insurance are important in case of disputes over accidental damage to customers’ vehicles.

By Jo Thornhill

Source: Forbes

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4 Benefits Of Opening A Business In The UK

If you’re looking to start a business, the United Kingdom is a great place to do it. There are many benefits to opening a business in the UK, including a strong economy, a favorable business environment, and access to resources. This article will discuss four of the biggest benefits of opening a business in the UK. Let’s get to the details.

Availability of Essential Services

The UK has a world-class infrastructure and provides businesses with access to essential services, including transport, energy, water, and telecommunications. This infrastructure is vital for businesses to operate effectively and efficiently. For instance, UK PEO can help you set up your business quickly and efficiently by getting you reliable employees and HR services. This ensures that you don’t struggle much when starting your business in the UK.

However, when seeking these services, it is important to ensure that you get them from reputable and reliable providers. For instance, you should ensure that the PEO you choose has a good reputation and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. You can also ask for recommendations and read reviews to understand what other business owners think about the services.

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A Favorable Environment for Businesses

The UK government has implemented policies and regulations that create a favorable business environment. For instance, the tax regime in the UK is conducive to businesses. The corporate tax rate is only 19%, which is significantly lower than the rates in other countries. This makes it easier for businesses to profit and reinvest in their growth.

In addition, the UK has a highly skilled workforce. The education system in the UK produces workers with the skills and knowledge that businesses need to compete in the global economy. This gives businesses a competitive advantage and helps them to grow and succeed. The UK also has a strong legal system that protects businesses and their interests. This gives businesses the confidence to invest and expand their operations in the UK.

Access to Global Markets

The UK is a leading global economy, and its businesses have access to numerous global markets. The UK’s membership in the European Union gives businesses preferential access to the EU’s single market of 500 million consumers. The UK is also a member of the World Trade Organization, which provides businesses with preferential access to global markets. This makes it easier for businesses to export their products and services to new markets and grow their business.

In addition, the UK has a network of Double Taxation Agreements with more than 100 countries. This makes it easier for businesses to operate in multiple jurisdictions and reduces business costs. The UK also has several Free Trade Agreements with countries around the world, which gives businesses preferential access to these markets.

Supportive Government Policies

The UK government is supportive of businesses and entrepreneurship. The government offers a variety of programs and resources to help businesses start and grow. For example, the government offers tax breaks for businesses investing in research and development. The government also provides loans and grants to businesses to help them expand their operations. In addition, the government offers various business support services, including advice on starting and growing a business.

The UK government is also committed to attracting foreign investment. The government offers several incentives to businesses looking to invest in the UK. For example, the government offers tax breaks for businesses that create new jobs. The government also offers loans and grants to businesses to help them expand their operations.

The UK is an attractive place to start and grow a business. The country has world-class infrastructure, a favorable business environment, access to global markets, and supportive government policies. These factors make the UK an ideal location for businesses starting and growing their operations.

Source: Finance Monthly

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How Are UK Businesses Being Impacted By The Current Cost Of Living Crisis?

The last few years have been detrimental and troublesome for many businesses within the UK, thanks to the global pandemic and issues transpiring from inflation. As a result, businesses and economic leaders have had to remain resilient during these tough times in order to survive.

To assess the influence of the current cost of living crisis on UK businesses and the challenges they are presently facing, business loans specialist Nucleus Commercial Finance surveyed 1,000 individuals within the business management sector, where they relayed their biggest concerns for the growth and stability of their company within this financial year.

The findings of the study revealed that 72% of business owners are now worried the current cost of living crisis is going to negatively affect their business somehow, with 23% admitting they don’t picture their business surviving as prices continue to increase day by day. One of the reasons behind this could be due to customers no longer being able to afford their products, which 68% of the study predicted. Overall, the five biggest concerns from the study were:

  • Price of fuel
  • Energy expenses
  • Cash flow
  • Employee retention
  • Transportation costs

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Price of Fuel

As of lately, the price has fuel has soared and hit record highs across the country, which typically affects business both directly and indirectly. The increase in cost of fuel will likely hit certain businesses harder, such as those involved in haulage and delivery, where their services will see a direct impact. Additionally, rising fuel prices can also affect supply chains and the daily undertakings of employees.

Energy Expenses

The cost of energy bills is another major stressor to businesses in the UK, with 42% claiming it is a threat to their stability this year. In the last year, small businesses have faced a 250% increase in gas bill prices alone. Recently, the government has announced that the energy bills for UK businesses will be cut to around half of the expected level during the winter months in order to shield them from crippling expenses. The scheme will fix wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses for six months starting from October; however, many fear what will occur after this period, particularly for vulnerable businesses that need the additional support.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is another primary concern for business leaders, and for good reason. Maintaining a steady cash flow is vital for a business to operate successfully. Having access to cash is necessary for businesses to pay employees, fund opportunities for growth and pay suppliers. This is particularly difficult for start-up businesses or those who do not have a cash flow high enough to support them during the financial crisis. When faced with a loss of clientele and a reduction in employee retention, these businesses must be selective when spending their cash reserve. The Confederation of British Industry (SBI) has stated the trade that has seen the largest decrease in sales is the retail industry, which encompasses clothing retailers and specialist food stores – demonstrating how customers are now prioritising their basic necessities in response to the increase in the cost of living.

Source: Manchester Gazette

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Recovery on track as more UK business sectors see output grow

The number of UK business sectors reporting output growth rose last month as supply conditions improved, according to a new report.

However, firms continued to face “significant” cost inflation, which translated into a record uptick in selling prices among service sector businesses, the latest Bank of Scotland (BoS) UK Recovery Tracker reveals.

The number of UK sectors reporting output growth increased in January to 11 out of 14 – up from ten in December, and the highest number since last October.

UK chemicals manufacturers registered the fastest output growth of any sector monitored, due to a solid increase in new orders, after contracting in December. Fewer supplier delays helped automotive manufacturers’ output increase at the fastest rate in seven months.

But concern over the Omicron variant and Plan B restrictions, which remained in place for the majority of January in England, hampered activity for consumer-facing businesses.

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Jeavon Lolay, head of economics and market insight at BoS parent Lloyds’ commercial banking division, said: “An increase in the number of sectors reporting output growth in January is good news to start the year.

“While consumer-facing service businesses have borne the brunt of Covid-19, high-frequency data show activity here also rebounding after restrictions were eased last month.

“If it goes ahead, the announcement that all Covid regulations could be abolished earlier than planned in England in the coming weeks should also translate into stronger consumer demand as the post-pandemic recovery further normalises.

“Sharp focus will also be on how the divergent inflationary trends revealed in our report unfold in the months ahead.”

By Scott Reid

Source: The Scotsman

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Coronavirus eating into SME cash

Over two-thirds of UK SMEs (69%) have reported significant pressures on their cash levels according to latest insights from business lender MarketFinance. This is in large part down to businesses paying for supplies earlier than anticipated because of Coronavirus-related stockpiling and fears of deeper disruptions to transport (road, air and rail) linkages.

Additionally, on orders and work that has been completed, payments are being delayed. Three-quarters (74%) of business owners reported invoices due to be settled at the end of February have not been paid yet (as of 10th March 2020) and that these were unlikely to be settled before the end of March 2020.

Over a third (36%) of business owners feared they won’t survive to Easter (6 weeks) if they were unable to secure some finance to bolster their business. Meanwhile, as economic conditions worsen, and with the possibility of widespread quarantine implemented across parts of the country, businesses will need to have financial and operational contingency plans in place to protect jobs, industry and communities.

Anil Stocker, CEO at MarketFinance, commented: “The impact of the Coronavirus spread is being felt by SMES across the UK as finance and supply chains are disrupted. At the best of times, only around half of these businesses are cashflow positive. Today, businesses are feeling a palpable sense of helplessness and isolation and there is a lack of specific information on how to cope with the crisis.”

“At the moment cash is king and if businesses are being starved of this cash, it will leave them stranded. Whilst policy efforts play out to contain the spread of Coronavirus, business owners should brace themselves for some turbulence and have a prepared mindset for the scenarios ahead.”

“Rishi Sunak has a golden opportunity to prove that he is a champion of UK SMEs. There is a role for government to work with businesses, banks and other lenders to ensure a resilient economy. It will be the smallest businesses that are most hit as they have the least bargaining power in global supply chains. They could, for example, give businesses VAT / tax ‘holidays’ to ensure that they have enough money to cover immediate costs.”

Source: Business Money

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Steepest fall in lending to UK businesses for almost two years

LENDING to UK businesses saw the biggest decline in almost two years in July, the Bank of England has reported.

Net lending to UK firms slid by £4.2 billion over the month, driven by a £2 billion net repayment by businesses to banks.

The significant amount of repayment saw the annual growth rate of bank lending to UK businesses fall to 3 per cent, down from 4.4 per cent in June.

Analysts have suggested the slump in borrowing could be another sign that firms are resisting investment which would need a loan and are hunkering down until there is greater clarity over Brexit.

The decline was most significant among large businesses, where the growth rate of borrowing fell to 4.2 per cent.

Growth of borrowing by small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) was unchanged at 0.8 per cent for the month.

Michael Biemann, chief executive of Selina Finance, said: “SME borrowing rates remained static at 0.8 per cent, which once again underlines the disconnect between the average UK business and the high street.

“These days, high street banks want businesses to jump through all kinds of hoops to secure finance, and so it’s no surprise the number of SMEs turning to alternative sources is on the increase.”

Meanwhile, the new Bank of England figures also revealed that British lenders approved the greatest number of mortgages for two years in July, appearing to highlight greater stability in the housing market following a Brexit slowdown.

The central bank said lenders approved 67,306 mortgages last month, up from 66,506 in June.

The UK housing market has been downbeat since the EU referendum in 2016 but has shown tentative improvements in recent months.

However, earlier on Friday, the latest Nationwide housing survey revealed that annual house price growth ran below 1 per cent for the ninth month in a row in August as consumer confidence remained low.

Source: Irish News

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Why UK Businesses Need to Trade Internationally – The Key Benefits of International Trade for UK SMEs

The Key Benefits of International Trade for UK SMEs – As a business, you’re always trying to find and break new grounds to gain that competitive edge. But, have you considered going global yet?

The history of the world as we know it has been shaped by a complex concoction of ideas, events and people.

But there has always been a strong, undeniable driving force behind much of the development we’ve seen in the post-industrial revolution era: natural resources. The quest for the very best of everything that our planet has to offer has built, transformed and even destroyed civilisations, and international trade is a vibrant reminder of that fact.

Today, no country can afford to sit back and not engage in international trade. Many of Western economic policies stem directly from trade-related reasons and thousands if not tens of thousands of companies in the UK keep the wheel of our international trade turning.

But while all this happens, what does international trade mean for you and your business?

In the more-connected-than-ever world, you can’t possibly afford to ignore the possibilities that exist around the world. If you’ve been apprehensive about the seemingly complex international trade puzzle, let us break some things down for you.

Before that, let’s take stock of where things stand from an SME point of view.

More and More SMEs Are Trading Internationally

Thanks to consistent efforts of successive governments, international trade has seen some promising numbers in the last few years.

Although there has been a marked drop in overall exports in the past two years due to puzzling developments and speculations around Brexit, the overall number of SMEs exporting internationally has increased. The latest figures released by the government indicate that the number of SMEs exporting products and services internationally rose in 2017 by 6.6%.

“With more and more SMEs engaging in international trade (especially exports), it’s clear that it’s indeed possible even for a small business without millions of pounds in cash reserves to expand their operations, customer base and influence around the world with success.”

At 235,000 and counting, the SMEs trading internationally account nearly for 10% of all SMEs in the UK.

Benefits of International Trade for UK SMEs

While there can be cited dozens of benefits of international trade, here are the important ones that UK SMEs need to know:

A. International Trade Allows for the Diversification of Operations

It’s probably the most apparent benefit of going global for SMEs.

As a business trading internationally, you can easily diversify many of your business operations. This includes the two end-points of business – paying customers and suppliers whom you pay. You can access diverse technologies, market opportunities, natural resources and human resources, and make them all work in your favour.

B. Diverse Operations = Better Risk Tolerance

Risk tolerance is a business metric that defines how much of a leeway a business can have against various risks – from market events to uncontrollables like natural calamities.

When you start trading globally, your business automatically spreads much of its risks over a wider geographic area. Of course, this comes with additional trading risks, but they usually offset themselves with associated rewards. Essentially, businesses that import/export can tolerate negative events without sustaining much damage, as opposed to domestic businesses that can suffer irreversible damage.

For example, an unfortunate event like an earthquake can bring your manufacturing operations and domestic demand to a standstill. But if you export the manufactured goods internationally, you can still move the surplus inventory off your warehouses, maintaining the incomings relatively unscathed.

C. Trading Internationally Opens Up New Channels of Revenue

It’s no secret that you can’t have every type of demand in a single market. If you trade only domestically, your operations will always be limited to a certain type of demand. Any fluctuations in those demand forces will have a direct impact on the revenue.

Alternatively, when you trade globally, you can add multiple, previously-untapped revenue channels to your operations. This is just an extension of the previous risk tolerance argument we made, but it’s definitely one of the highlights UK SMEs need to think about.

D. International Trade Isn’t Crippled By Finance Bottlenecks Anymore

The second half of the 20th century was marked by epochal turns. The World War II started a chain of events that was propagated further by the Cold War, followed by the oil-centric upheavals in the Middle East. All these events meant one thing – the money gradually dried up from all international trade that wasn’t related to oil.

Lenders were unwilling to deal with foreign suppliers or banks, making letters of credit an irrelevant option for businesses. Today, we are glad to report, this isn’t the case.

Even a small business with limited capital can easily have letters of credit issued to the supplier’s bank without any problems. Thanks to the good perception UK businesses have in foreign markets, there are fewer things to worry about today than ever. If you’re exporting goods or services, you can just as easily arrange for flexible finance packages that keep the operations running smoothly.

When it comes to trade finance, Commercial Finance Network is an automatic choice for hundreds of UK SMEs. Being an industry-leading whole of market broker, we help UK SMEs access a diverse panel of lenders who bring on board decades of global trade experience. High acceptance rates, customised loan terms and fast approvals are just some of the features that make our trade finance services popular among businesses across the UK.

E. You Can Easily Beat Domestic Competition

Trading internationally means trading on a bigger and wider canvas. By going global, you can make sure that your business has an edge over domestic competitors.

F. A New Lease of Life for the Service Industry

Service provider businesses are among the fastest growing businesses of the 21st century, thanks largely to the internet effect. Given that the UK is one of the most important financial markets of the world, it’s no wonder that UK service providers – especially in the technology, financial and education sectors – have been reaping the rewards of trading internationally.

If you run a service business, you can – at relatively lower cost spreads – access and seize foreign markets.

G. Trading Internationally Promotes Innovation

Innovations isn’t just a buzz word – it’s the primary catalyst for business growth today.

If your business operates in tech, manufacturing or financial sectors, you know this first-hand. Innovation in a far-away market can often have an tearaway effect on your local performance. In such times, it pays to be connected to the world at large – something trading internationally lets you do.

Explore the World of Opportunities With Commercial Finance Network

Whether it’s sourcing better, cheaper equipment from overseas suppliers or exporting goods/services to foreign customers, every well-thought-out international trade move can be a game changer for your business.

At Commercial Finance Network, we help UK SMEs realise their global trading goals with robust, flexible and customised trade finance solutions – from affordable import-export finance to universal letters of credit. Let us worry about mediating with foreign banks and suppliers while you focus on your business.

To request a quote or talk to our trade finance experts, click here.

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London is one of the top 15 cities in the UK to start a small business

Research by card payment solution’s provider Paymentsense reveal the top 15 best cities in the UK to start a business.

Starting a business can be an exciting endeavour, but getting through the first five years is challenging. The cost of rent, consumer demand, beating the competition, and keeping your cash flowing are often tricky things for SMEs to juggle.

Based on factors including business survival rates, weekly salary, average rent, population, and the number of employed adults in the area, they worked out which UK cities offer the best environment for prospective SMEs. If you’re thinking of embarking on a new venture this year, take a look at the below 15 places for starting a business.

15. London

It’s probably no surprise that the capital of the UK, which is often considered to be a leading global city, made the list. London accounts for roughly 30% of UK GDP and is a major location for finance, both nationally and internationally. As well as this, it thrives in the media, technology and tourism sectors.

5-year start-up survival rate: 39.3%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £713.20
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £1,705.35
Population: 7,556,900
Number of employed adults: 3,817,203
Money available per week: £2,722,429,179.60
Index score out of 5: 1.36

14. Glasgow

This city has Scotland’s largest economy and the third highest GDP per capita out of all the UK’s cities. Glasgow has seen growth in its communications, biosciences, healthcare, retail, finance, and creative industries. Tourism is also strong in Glasgow, as it’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Scotland.

5-year start-up survival rate: 36.1%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £573.60
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £624.75
Population: 591,620
Number of employed adults: 280,700
Money available per week: £161,009,520
Index score out of 5: 1.54

13. Manchester

A textile manufacturing boom made Manchester the world’s first industrialised city – it’s also the revolutionary place where scientists first split the atom and graphene was produced. Nowadays, as well as its continued involvement in science and engineering, Manchester is known for its media, culture, music scene, and sports.

5-year start-up survival rate: 37.5%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £555.90
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £746.09
Population: 395,515
Number of employed adults: 194,093
Money available per week: £107,896,298.70
Index score out of 5: 1.66

12. Birmingham 

The UK’s so-called ‘second city’ has a long history as a centre for manufacturing and engineering, although the last few decades have seen the services sector take over the local economy. Public administration, health and education are major employers in the city and it’s the third biggest financial centre in the UK. Birmingham also attracts a lot of conference and exhibition trade, thanks to major facilities like the NEC and the ICC.

5-year start-up survival rate: 39.7%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £584.10
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £752.62
Population: 984,333
Number of employed adults: 400,679
Money available per week: £234,036,603.90
Index score out of 5: 1.83

11. Liverpool

Made famous as the birthplace of The Beatles and home of the Merseybeat genre, Liverpool is one of the most visited cities in the UK. Tourism and leisure are big contributors to the city’s economy, as is the services sector. The future looks promising for Liverpool, too, as the economy has been on the up since the mid-1990s.

5-year start-up survival rate: 38%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £544.30
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £656.02
Population: 864,122
Number of employed adults: 182,270
Money available per week: £99,209,561
Index score out of 5: 1.83

10. Edinburgh 

The history and culture of the Scottish capital, as well as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, have made it the UK’s second most popular city break. Scientific research, higher education, and financial services also account for a significant portion of Edinburgh’s local economy.

5-year start-up survival rate: 42.9%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £613.30
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £763.63
Population: 464,990
Number of employed adults: 272,000
Money available per week: £166,817,600
Index score out of 5: 2.02


Car manufacture and ribbon making are what Coventry is historically associated with. These days, although the automotive sector is still a big part of Coventry’s economy, the city has more involvement in areas such as finance, leisure, logistics, research, and the creative industries.

5-year start-up survival rate: 42.2%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £595.10
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £616.07
Population: 359,262
Number of employed adults: 128,764
Money available per week: £76,627,456.40
Index score out of 5: 2.1

8. Leeds 

As well as being one of the UK’s largest legal and financial centres, Leeds has one of the most mixed economies in the UK. Engineering, publishing, chemicals, medical technology, and food and drink are the most major sectors in the city. However, it also has strong retail, leisure, construction, creative, and digital industries.

5-year start-up survival rate: 41.9%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £551.90
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £659.21
Population: 455,123
Number of employed adults: 333,333
Money available per week: £183,966,482.70
Index score out of 5: 2.28

7. Cardiff 

The Welsh capital is a popular destination for visitors, which is why its retail, leisure, and tourism sectors account for a large portion of its economy. Cardiff is also Wales’s main business and financial services centre and it has a thriving media sector.

5-year start-up survival rate: 42%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £529.80
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £694.12
Population: 447,287
Number of employed adults: 147,955
Money available per week: £78,386,559
Index score out of 5: 2.31

6. Stoke on Trent 

Affectionately known as The Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent has a long history as the home of England’s ceramics industry. Although much of the production has moved out of the city, many pottery firms remain. Tours of the factories for these goods help to boost tourism in the city, as does the canal network.

5-year start-up survival rate: 39.3%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £497.10
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £427.78
Population: 372,775
Number of employed adults: 103,269
Money available per week: £51,335,019.90
Index score out of 5: 2.35

5. Bristol 

Creative media, electronics, and aerospace are the main industries that hold up Bristol’s economy. It’s a popular tourist destination, which is likely helped by its artistic and sporting influence. Plus, the government named it a science city in 2005 because of its contribution to innovation.

5-year start-up survival rate: 44.8%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £565.70
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £828.75
Population: 617,280
Number of employed adults: 197,915
Money available per week: £111,960,515.60
Index score out of 5: 2.38

4. Leicester 

Textiles and shoes were the bread and butter of Leicester’s economy in days gone by. Recent years have seen a resurgence in these areas, as some textile manufacturers have moved back to the city. Much of Leicester’s commerce also lies in the engineering, retail, and food and drink sectors.

5-year start-up survival rate: 40.5%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £487.90
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £568.75
Population: 508,916
Number of employed adults: 128,142
Money available per week: £62,520,481.80
Index score out of 5: 2.42

3. Sunderland 

With roots as a trading port, Sunderland is now a strong centre for the services, automotive, science, and technology sectors. Its success is largely helped by Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, which is the biggest employer in the region.

5-year start-up survival rate: 41.9%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £517.20
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £550
Population: 335,415
Number of employed adults: 116,562
Money available per week: £60,285,866.40
Index score out of 5: 2.46

2. Nottingham 

Historically, Nottingham was known for its bicycle manufacturing and lace-making. These days, it’s home to many major companies, while other businesses could benefit from the Nottingham Enterprise Zone and Creative Quarter. Digital media, life sciences, low-carbon technologies, finance, retail, and leisure are major contributors to Nottingham’s economy.

5-year start-up survival rate: 43.4%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £506.40
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £579.41
Population: 729,977
Number of employed adults: 112,861
Money available per week: £57,152,810.40
Index score out of 5: 2.66

1. Sheffield 

In 2019, Sheffield is the best UK city where you could start a business. The Steel City is known for its rich, industrial heritage. Although steel production has been in decline since the 1980s, Sheffield still develops advanced manufacturing technologies through its two universities and other research organisations. It’s also a major centre for sport and its public sector is a major employer.

5-year start-up survival rate: 44.9%
Average weekly pay for full-time workers: £542.10
Average monthly cost to rent a 1-bed city centre apartment: £585
Population: 685,368
Number of employed adults: 227,822
Money available per week: £123,502,306.20
Index score out of 5: 2.7

Source: London Loves Business

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Alternative finance key to British business growth

Alternative finance holds the key to funding expansion for many British small businesses, as access to funds from traditional lenders remains restricted. According to a recent survey of 1,000 small business owners, almost one in three reported difficulties in securing business loans from banks, potentially halting their expansion plans.

To help address this issue, Worldpay has announced a three year extension of its popular Business Finance scheme, aimed at helping over 300,000 British small businesses access alternative financing by enabling access to a “cash advance” based on their future credit and debit card sales. The scheme, launched in 2015 in partnership with Liberis, a leading provider of cash advances to small businesses, has already provided funding in excess of £50 million to UK SMEs. Under the scheme, funds can be made available to businesses in as little as 72 hours.

Chris Andrews, proprietor of Blacks Cheese, is one business owner who has utilised Worldpay Business Finance to help address stock purchasing needs.

“Worldpay Business Finance became apparent as an alternative method of funding the business, at a time when we needed it instantly and it was delivered within a matter of hours. Worldpay is now part of our financial reckoning, and it’ll be one of our tools that we’ll always use and it’s not going to be something that we need to consider. We know how it works, we know how it funds us – it’s paid off for us.”

Alternative finance, while available to all types of small business, is proving particularly popular with start-ups. Worldpay’s research revealed that businesses under five years old are as likely to select alternative finance methods to secure capital as approaching banks. Analysis by Worldpay of how these funds are used reveals that in 2017, direct investment in businesses, including stock purchase, expansion & refurbishment funds and equipment purchases drove 87 per cent of the cash advances.

Despite its growing popularity, the research also revealed that business cash advances are among the least known forms of funding, with only 2 percent of businesses indicating an intention to use this form of finance in 2018. At the same time, business owners aged under 35 indicated they are more likely to place their confidence in alternative financing as a way to reduce their reliance on banks, with 40 percent stating its emergence will make things easier. With the extension of the Business Finance scheme, Worldpay and Liberis will work to address this lack of awareness.

“Steve Newton, Executive Vice President, UK and Europe Worldpay said: “Worldpay Business Finance has proven extremely popular with small businesses looking for alternative methods of finance. Worldpay Business Finance was created specifically with the unique needs and structure of small businesses in mind – it’s flexible and it’s fast.

“In 2017, we tripled funding for growth to UK SME businesses and have now advanced over £40million – but we know that this form of funding has the potential to help thousands more.  So over the next year, we’ll make it easier to access the scheme by increasing call centre and online support to enable Britain’s small businesses to thrive.”

Source: London Loves Business