October 2018 Bulletin – Federation of Small Businesses


Issue 18 for October 2018 (issued October 2 2018)


FSB launches ‘High Streets Hub’ to focus on helping retail

The ongoing battle to ensure our high streets continue to grow and flourish in what is a very challenging period for retail has led the FSB to launch a new campaign setting out how we believe the UK government and local authorities in England can help the situation. Our new online High Streets Hub highlights a number of key areas of concern where we feel a focus is needed including business rates, parking and access to banking services. The hub features targeted recommendations for policymakers to consider. A podcast is available on the initiative here.


Best ‘business friendly’ local council search continues

The FSB in Gloucestershire and the West of England recently launched its first competition to find the most ‘small business friendly’ councils within our area and the closing date for entries is fast approaching. In line with other areas of the country where these awards have been in operation for some time, the 11 main councils who are part of either the Gloucestershire or West of England LEP areas have been be given the chance to show what they offer in terms of support and advice to FSB members and other SMEs in three categories. Councils are reminded that the deadline for entries is October 13 and council officials wanting an application form or more information should contact sam.holliday@fsb.org.uk


SME confidence falls….

Confidence among our small business owning members has dropped significantly this quarter, and the self-employed are feeling particularly pessimistic about their prospects for the coming months. That is the key findings of the  latest FSB’s Small Business Index (SBI) which shows that amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty, fewer than one in three (29%) small firms expect their performance will improve over the next quarter. Over a quarter of small exporters also report falling international sales in Q3 and an increased number (21%) expect this trend to continue. The latest SBI also shows confidence among the self-employed falling to an all-time low since we began the SBI and those in retail are the least confident of all the sectors.


Focus on stress for SMEs and self-employed  

The vital subject of how to deal with stress in the workplace for small business owners and the self-employed was the subject of a highly successful and well-attended event in Bath which had been inspired by our ‘wellness in small business’ campaign. Teaming up with Bath and North East Somerset Council’s public health team and the Bath branch of the charity Mind, the FSB hosted the event at Bath Racecourse and a large and very engaged audience turned up to hear a number of speakers discuss the issues around stress, well-being and mental health in the SME environment. The great response to the event proved that the FSB‘s decision to focus a campaign on coping with stress for small business owners and the self-employed is very timely and relevant. You can read about our well-being in small business hub at this link


Why not encourage great SME businesses to enter our awards?

If, as a key stakeholder, you have come across local small  businesses who you think are deserving of further public recognition then why not point them in the direction of the FSB ‘Celebrating Small Business’ Awards which are now up and running in the South West? The free-to-enter awards, open to FSB member and non-members alike, will see small businesses and sole traders throughout the South West  battle it out for prizes across 11 different categories and could lead to national as well as regional success. You can find our dedicated awards website here or for more information email sam.holliday@fsb.org.uk.