The Federation of Small Businesses has just celebrated it’s 40th anniversary and has been representing businesses nationally and regionally lobbying government on business issues. Members also benefit from 24/7 legal advice and representation on certain issues, full tax protection as well as host of other business related benefits.
Introduce your business and tell us what you’ve been up to recently?
Simon Edmondson was elected Regional Chairman of the Manchester and North Cheshire Region of The Federation of Small Businesses representing nearly 4,500 local businesses.
What makes you different from other similar businesses in the area?
The FSB is the leading business organisation in the UK with a membership of approximately 200,000 businesses and represents them both nationally and regionally lobbying government on behalf of all small to medium enterprises.
What flexibility does being an independent business give you over a national chain / business?
We are a member led organisation so the people who decide what we lobby on are small business owners themselves.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for small businesses at the moment?
One of the main challenges for small businesses tends to be their fixed costs The FSB has been involved in the maintaining of Small Business Rate Relief, National Insurance Allowances as well as the reduction of red tape.
Looking back, which piece of advice would you give to somebody setting up their own business today?
Ensure they get all their documentation in order such as terms and conditions, contracts etc and ensure they obtain legal advice at all times which will ensure prompt payment of accounts. The FSB legal team advises it’s members 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Which are the best networking groups you regularly attend and why?
The FSB hold 4 free networking events in the Manchester area and there are a number of other free or low cost groups which are organised by local businesses who want to work with each other within the community.
What part does Social Media play in your business?
Social Media is very important, it gives the FSB the opportunity to make a response quickly on important business related matters such as legislation.
What is your biggest passion outside business? Manchester City, Squash and Crown Green Bowls
What was the last book you read? (for business or pleasure)
Archangel by Robert Harris
Which is your all time favourite film? And who would play yourself in a movie of your life?
Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. Probably someone like Martin Freeman!
Where are your favourite places to eat out / take out?
To eat in any local independent restaurant and to take out Chinese
Which is your favourite pub or bar and why?
The Plough in Ashton-On-Mersey, a really good, well run local pub with a great atmosphere.
Which is your essential must visit high street independent shop?
The local butchers in Ashton-On-Mersey, fantastic chilli and pork sausages
What’s been the most impressive new business you’ve seen open in the past 12 months?
It is difficult to single one out but there is a small coffee chain called Grindsmith in Manchester who started with a small hut opposite Manchester Cathedral and now has another outlet at the other end of Deansgate. A really great new brand.
In an ideal world which major improvement would you like to see happen in your area / town ?
More co-operation between independent traders to create a business community who can organise events and promotions to encourage people onto the local high street. There are lots of local traders organisations but it needs everyone to be committed not just the few who take the time out to organise events.