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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Small firms say big employers "monopolise talent"

25 September 2018

Small firms say big employers "monopolise talent"New research has found that 69% of SMEs say they are unable to compete with large employers in recruiting the best candidates.

The 2018 Business Barometer report by the Open University has studied the recruitment challenges facing UK businesses; it found that small firms are struggling to compete with larger recruiters because they can't afford to spend as much on salaries and recruitment strategies.

The findings show that 83% of UK businesses say talent acquisition was their number one priority last year; however, the vast majority of firms polled (91%) said they have had difficulties hiring employees.

This is particularly prevalent in the STEM sector, where 97% of employers face difficulties finding the right hires, the financial industry, where 96% struggle, and in real estate, where 83% of employers have been unable to fill vacant roles.

The research reveals that over the past 12 months in the UK:

  • 64% of employers have spent more on recruitment than ever before;
  • 63% have recruited at a lower level than intended;
  • 56% have increased the salary on offer to recruit a skilled person.

The report concludes that the total cost of the UK skills shortage is £6.3 billion a year and SMEs, it says, shoulder the majority of the cost.

Recruitment methods are changing, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. It has found that 84% of organisations are now using social media for recruiting, up from 56% in 2011; and 79% of job seekers use social media for job searches. Of the employers using social media for recruitment, 96% used LinkedIn, while 66% and 53% used Facebook and Twitter.

Commenting on this data, John Williams, head of marketing and research at Instant Offices, said: "Social media has improved the way employers and recruitment agencies search and find new talent. If you are not yet embracing the power of social media for your recruitment efforts, you could risk being left behind."

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