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Jerry Roest Managing Director, PC World Business commented that he thinks 2007 will be the Year of Web 2.0 – the second generation of internet-based services.

He commented that as in the 1990s, we are likely to see more businesses (large and small alike) concentrating on developing their websites. However, businesses will need to rethink their approach to the web in order to appeal to the more savvy (Web 2.0) internet user. Web 2.0 will likely become more affordable and accessible for smaller businesses, presenting a good opportunity for them to develop more dynamic websites, and target/engage with customers. So too, marketing will need to become targeted and more interactive.

(Source The Daily Telegraph – 2nd January 2007)

A Green Paper is in the process of being drafted by Commission DG Employment & Social Affairs.

The Green Paper will in part draw on information from the General Report on the Evolution of Labour Law, and of concern is the way it treats working relationships as employment and certain types of contracts as non-standard or atypical.

The so called non-standard contracts are relating to agency workers, the self-employed and the “economically dependent” (a grey area between employment and self-employment.  Typically such a person may be self-employed but have one client – so economically dependent on that one client).

The green paper highlights that these forms of contract provide much needed flexibility in view of the changing needs of businesses and the economy in general, but it also suggests they have a detrimental effect on some workers as they may be vulnerable in terms of employment rights.

Freelancers and the self-employed should be concerned about this, as this could signify a head towards restrictions on the degree of flexibility that they currently depend on.

A follow up is due the end of March 2007 – we’ll be watching progress closely.

Beware of the latest postal scam doing the rounds.

The scam works like this:  A delivery card drops through the letter box from a company called PDR (Postal Delivery Service).   The card informs you that it had not been possible for PDR to make a delivery, and that you should contact them on the number supplied.

Not surprisingly, the number is a premium-rate line (based in Belize of all places), and by the time you have heard the start of the recorded message, you will have been charged £15.

Keep your eyes peeled.  If you receive such a card, file it under ‘R’ for Rubbish.

From 2007 onwards, supply chain and contracting opportunities will be available for small to medium-sized businesses.

If you’re interested in contracting opportunities, check out OJEC.com, (the Official Journal of the European Union website). 

You should also key an eye on key trade journals from 2007 onwards, as ads will obviously pop up in these.

You have plenty of time to prepare yourself and ensure you will be ‘fit’ to supply, so prepare yourself by understanding what kind of suppliers are awarded contracts. 

If you’re new to the tendering process, check out OGC.gov.uk (the Office of Government Commerce).  This gives valuable information on how to prepare, useful Dos and Don’ts.

Small businesses, London needs YOU.   

In an effort to help small businesses win public sector contracts, the Government has set up a new website supply2.gov.uk.

You can register for free and receive details of tendering opportunities for your particular industrial sector within a certain geographical area.  (For a small fee, you can register to receive details from other parts of the U.K. as well).

Its part of the Business Link (click on my “Home” tab and in the right-hand toolbar you’ll see a link to their website), or alternatively go straight to supply2.gov.uk.

It’s a good website and it covers a wide range of industrial sectors.   Customise your feed/search to be as specific or as generic as you want, and receive alerts by email.

A very good initiative for small businesses, particularly in view of the impending Olympic Games in 2012.  Let’s hope that local councils and local government use it as widely as possible.

Check it out and get yourself registered as soon as possible.

Recent data from the FSB (the Federation of Small Businesses) suggests that few MPS (apparently 93% of Labour, 60% of Conservative, and 75% of Lib Dems) have any experience of running a business (why are we not surprised).

No wonder we drowning in excessive and unnecessary legislation.

Well, now an opportunity has arisen for small businesses to educate Members of Parliament and other policy makers.   We’re offering them the opportunity to get some work experience, and run a small business for an hour or two, perhaps even a day.

Offer a Member of Parliament some real work experience.  Not that is something.

If you would like to get involved, contact me at:  info@antecell.co.uk

Setting up as a Sole Trader may seem like an attractive option.  There is no obligation to register with Companies House, so with a minimum outlay you can set your self up and off you go. 

But have you considered whether you might need a licence to operate your business?   

For example, to make photocopies of newspaper articles (even if you only distribute them internally) you need a Licence from the Newspaper Licensing Agency. 

Something as simple as putting an advertising board or a display stand on a public pavement requires that you register for a licence from your local authority. 

As a small business it might be tempting to make shortcuts, but don’t fall foul of these regulations.  If you’re unsure as to whether you require a licence to operate your business, either contact your local authority or check out the Business Link website at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk and select Your Type of Business.

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