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Small businesses recover: The number of small businesses starting up continues to rise, according to Barclays’ latest Small Business Bulletin. Some 252 000 new businesses have been formed in the past six months, which is 9 per cent up on the same period last year. And the number of small businesses surviving their first three years of trading has also risen, from 40 per cent in 1994 to 44 per cent in 1995. “Despite recent concerns on the strength of the recovery, more businesses are surviving longer as the economy moves away from the difficult trading conditions of the recession,” says David Lavarack, small-business services director at Barclays Bank. “We expect the business survival rate to continue to improve and, at the same time, a steady rise in the number of start-ups will lead to a larger and more mature business stock.”

No holiday blues: Small-business bosses in the UK have been reluctant to take a holiday this year, according to a survey by the Small Business Research Trust on behalf of Lloyds Bank. It reveals that many managers are unhappy to leave employees in charge and feel a break could add to their stress levels. “While we understand it can be difficult for small-business owners to take breaks, it can make all the difference to the welfare of their company,” says Lloyds Bank head of business banking John Spence. “Managers can find themselves getting increasingly tired and jaded. A holiday means they come back feeling better with a fresh perspective.”

Accounting software at DBA: The Design Business Association is to host a demonstration of an accountancy software package on 19 September. Rebus software package enables designers to use their Macs for accounting, costing and job management. Rebus creator Kent Computer Consultants claims the system is unique. “We developed Rebus from the ground up and aimed to make a product that worked the way our customers do, not the other way around. The response we’ve had proves that we have the system that the design industry wants, which is why we’ve been invited by the DBA to demonstrate Rebus to members,” says Kent Computer Consultants managing director Nick Tomlinson. For more information on the DBA event or the Rebus system, contact Nick Tomlinson on 01732-851434.

Multimedia for management systems: A new multimedia product, designed to help managers understand why programmes of change – such as ISO 9000 and Total Quality Management – fail, is due to be launched in October. The product, which consists of a CD-ROM package, has been developed by Vanguard Consulting and is currently being tested by UK business managers. The package outlines “why management standards have largely failed British businesses”, explains Vanguard managing director John Seddon. “Forward-thinking organisations are striving to change their management methods from traditional ‘command and control’ techniques, which can stifle innovation and creativity, to a view that is based on how to run the organisation as a system. This is a fundamental shift which is not easily achieved. Our multimedia product is designed to assist individual managers and whole organisations seeking to make this change,” says Seddon. For further details contact John Seddon at Vanguard on 01280-822255.

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