Tuesday, November 4th, 2003

October's survey asked for views on contact with universities, crime and security, buying via the Internet, road and rail traffic conditions, meetings, smaller businesses and party conference proceedings, start up advice and scheduling regular exercise.

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  • About the respondents

    165 respondents were drawn with the following population characteristics:

    Sector
    Production & Manufacturing Distribution Services Total
    31.5% 6.1% 62.4% 100.0%


    Turnover ()
    < 1 M 1M-3M >3M Total
    66.7% 21.8% 11.5% 100.0%


    Number of Full-time Employees
    1-10 11-20 21-50 51-100 100+ Grand Total
    47.9% 40.0% 6.7% 2.4% 3.0% 100.0%


  • 1. In view of the continuing efforts through regional initiatives to provide practical encouragement to the formation and sustaining of new and small businesses, and to provide access for them to leading - edge intellectual resources, the first two questions of this month's Survey were focused on contacts and awareness of regionally local Universities. While 6% of respondents have had more than 10 contacts over two years, 7% are highly aware of services for businesses provided by universities. 47% had never had a contact with a regional university, and 16% had only one contact, while 53% are either not aware or only slightly aware of universities' services for business.





  • 2. The Survey included three questions relating to crime and vandalism. The sister survey of Business Advisers, the UKBAB also asked about crime. 31% of UKBB respondents and 28% of UKBAB respondents say that crime and security are highly significant or significant issues for business, while 44% of UKBB respondents and 38% of UKBAB respondents say that they are insignificant or not very significant.



  • Around 20% of both UKBB and UKBAB respondents believe that crime against businesses has increased significantly over the past five years, while 76% of UKBB and 61% of UKBAB respondents think it has increased slightly or stayed broadly the same. 16% of BAB respondents returned 'don't know'.



  • Gratuitous vandalism highly troubles 7% of respondents around their business location, with varying degrees of problem experienced, but 15% suffer none at all and 39% suffer very little.





    3. Buying products and services through the Internet has increased dramatically since March 2000 when we first asked this question, and even compared with a year ago the volume is clearly increasing. 17% now say they buy through the Internet highly, compared to 11% last October, and the number saying they never do is down from 12% in October 2002 to 2% this year.



    4. Road and rail transport were the focus of two questions. Changes in road conditions proved to be more important overall. Nearly half of respondents, 48%, are not sensitive to changes in rail conditions compared to only 11% which are not sensitive to changes in road conditions. But 17% are highly sensitive to changes in road conditions compared to 3% that are highly sensitive to changes in rail conditions.



  • 5. Meetings can be a source of intense irritation and frustration if not run properly, and respondents chose their top three out of the list of potential 'sandbaggers'. UKBAB respondents also chose and the results were very similar between the two Surveys. The results have been placed in order of unpopularity.



    6. In the season of party conferences, the interests of small businesses could have been debated. However, few respondents appear to believe that their interests have been very much considered among those topics which will form the basis of the parties' manifestos. Just over 2% believe either highly or moderately that small business featured prominently on the agendas, while 34% think it did not feature at all and 50% believe it may have featured but only slightly.



    7. The majority of UK Business Barometer respondents would recommend a potential start-up to seek advice from Business Link or an independent business adviser first. 17% would recommend an accountant and 13% would advise going to a friend, family or a colleague.



    8. In percentage terms it seems that UKBB respondents exercise slightly more than UKBAB respondents on average! 40% of UKBB versus 35% of UKBAB exercise more than once a week, although only 13% of UKBB versus 17% of UKBAB exercise weekly. Of the remainder, 43% of UKBB versus 40% of UKBAB exercise occasionally or rarely.



    Listed below are extracts from feedback received in Survey BB65 October 2003.

    Comments are listed under sector headings.

    Views expressed are those of individual panellists and may not represent those of the University.

    Motor Trade

  • My advice to people who want to start a business is the only person who can make it work is yourself. You have to totally believe in yourself and your power to survive. If not don't.

  • I feel that someone starting up a new business should be wise to speak to people already in business, not necessarily an adviser, but someone in the thick of every day trading, and hands on experience of all the pitfalls and red tape involved in such a venture.

    Production & Manufacturing

  • I would like to see a survey on the relationship between HM Gov and business, and send Blair the results.

  • Our Industrial Park has 24/7 monitored CTV causing crime to drop by 70% in the last three years.

    Other

  • Question 9 on Meetings is very relevant. However, although offered a list of frustrations, it missed 4 of the main problems I & others experience -

  • (a) Late arrivals

  • (b) Unclear agenda

  • (c) Poor audio quality

  • (d) Poor manners/technique towards remote attendees (eg joining a conf call silently without saying your name)

    The last two apply where a meeting involves conference call / loudspeech phone / video link, which are growing features of many business meetings.

    Business Services

  • Q9, I think meetings are often most affected by poor chairing

  • There is an antiquated approach required to get into supplying work for local authorities. This makes access to public sector work difficult for young, dynamic or small companies. You might chose to address this important issue.

  • It is very important that all new businesses and sole traders attend some form of stress and financial management course, seminar or overview day. I have found it is crucial that a full understanding of the connection between the two subjects are pointed out and solutions to help them.