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How SMEs can beat the business rates blues

Business rates have long been a thorn in the side of small business owners. The business rates revaluation has only stoked their ire. How can the cost be managed? One answer is alternative finance.

Business owners will be pleased to learn that they are no longer facing a delay in receiving the business rates relief promised by the current government – it had been thought that the dispersal of the £300 million relief fund would be postponed until after the general election. However, the handing out of funds to mitigate the impact of the revaluation is by no means the end of the problem for small businesses. Not by a long shot.

Business rates are a long-standing bête noire for SMEs. While rates are always one of the first topics raised by small business owners when lobbying for SME sector support and reform, the matter remains hugely problematic and as contentious as ever. For many business owners, rates are as big a barrier to development as costs relating to pension auto-enrolment, cybersecurity, the living wage and new apprenticeship regulation, yet it is these other subjects that normally grab the headlines.

So, while the decision to make business rates relief funds available regardless of the impact of the general election, the cost of rates remains a threat to SME sector growth and continues to put a big question mark against the sector’s ability to realise the growth ambitions that the government has for it.

How can small business owners manage this cost? How can they protect their cashflow? One way to do so is to make alternative finance part of their financial planning. The popularity of non-bank services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending continues to soar, not least as they offer businesses the accessibility, affordability and flexibility they need to maintain their cashflows in these uncertain times.

If SMEs are going to manage the cost of business rates, regardless of handouts, they need to be aware of all the finance options available to them, and this includes alternative finance.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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