All Best Business Decisions

Banks won’t lend, say growing businesses

More than two-thirds of SMEs believe that banks are failing them, according to a poll conducted by SmallBusiness.co.uk

Rising star: Marc Koska

Marc Koska spent 24 years working on his single-use syringe, which is designed to reduce the spread of disease in poor countries. His company Star Syringe is now profitable with revenues of £1.5 million

My best business decision

Just over a year ago, we opened our office in New York. We’d always got a lot of work out of the US and we believed we could get a lot more.

Object of desire:The S2u Upright Bike 

Think “online racing” and the image that springs to mind is of inactive teenagers who can’t remember the last time they set foot outside

Women still paid unfairly, according to poll

Women are still finishing second when it comes to salaries, according to a poll of 250 entrepreneurs conducted by SmallBusiness.co.uk, a sister title of Business XL

it’s all about survival

Jon Moulton, the founder of private equity group Alchemy Partners, says it’s time for entrepreneurs to ‘stop worrying about prosperity and to start thinking about survival’

What I’m reading now

Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing What’s Obvious but not Easy, by David Maister - George Foot, sales and marketing director, Kensington Europe

Rising Star: Heather Gorringe

Nearly 20 years after launching her business, Wiggly Wigglers, Heather Gorringe has won £15,000 as the UK winner of the Dell Small Business Excellence Award

Economic insight

The collapse of Lehman Brothers has stunned financial markets across the world. Ismail Erturk, senior fellow in banking at Manchester Business School, explains what it all means for the troubled UK economy

My best business decision

We invested about £500,000 in employing and training people to market our childcare vouchers, and in purchasing the software to process them. That was before the government introduced legislation to make the vouchers non-taxable.

The next big thing: Simulating business strategies

Business is often compared to warfare. Indeed, Sun Tsu’s 6th-century military strategy treatise The Art of War has long been required reading for ambitious executives.

Object of desire: King Ludwig’s desk

If you ever feel your office is lacking a sense of importance, but aren’t sure exactly how, here’s a way to add some grandeur. For £16,999 and not a penny more, German company Royaris will provide an elaborately crafted reconstruction of King Ludwig II’s desk.

Next big thing: automated call-centres

Along with airport car parks and fake tan, call centres are one of the great ills of the modern world. A company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Artingence, believes it has discovered the antidote.

Object of desire: the Tesla Roadster

Production of this electric car began in March this year, but according to Fortune magazine, only seven have so far rolled off the production line.

State funds friends, not foes

The rise of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) does not present a serious threat to Western economies, according to research from two US- and UK-based academics.

Business founders seek work-life balance

More than a quarter of those who set up their own business did so to achieve a better work-life balance, according to an online poll of 908 owner-managed businesses from Business XL’s sister title SmallBusiness.co.uk.

Rising star: Aspect Maintenance

Banker-turned-plumber William Davies set up Aspect Maintenance in 2004, aiming to provide reliable property maintenance services. The company’s turnover has doubled every year since launch and is now £4.4 million.

What I’m reading now

Make Your First Million: Ditch the 9-5 and Start the Business of Your Dreams, by Martin Webb - reviewed by Alyson Pellowe, Founder of People Vision

Stagflation strikes again

Inflation has broken through three per cent, reducing the chance of rate cuts and threatening growth. Brian Farthing, senior economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, considers the impacts of rising prices on growing businesses.

Going places...

This month, entrepreneur Louise Wreathall is awarded the 'Best Mumpreneur' accolade and corporate financier Ewan Lloyd Baker is spearheading a series of deals on behalf of one of his companies.

More from GrowthBusiness

News & Market Deals

Clusters such as Media City UK in Salford have attracted new and growing firms

Northern initiative launched to replicate Tech City in London

The government is coming together with Tech City UK to create a technology hub in the north of England in the hope that the region can 'capitalise on talent'.

Growing A Business

Great Tech Expedition to the US – Nineteen British companies, three American cities, five days

George Burgess, founder of Gojimo and recipient of a $1 million capital injection from Index Ventures and JamJar Investments, relives his trade mission for GrowthBusiness.

Comment & Analysis

Time for The Apprentice to decide its purpose

What started as a TV show attempting to find the next superstar of Alan Sugar's business empire has turned into a tit-for-tat 12-week cat fight culminating in an angel investment you'd never find in the business world.

Research

What moves small-cap share prices?

Research report into the top-performing 100 companies below the FTSE 350 and on AIM.