Skip to main content
We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.

Search

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.

Fake reviews are big problem for small firms that sell online

7 January 2020

New research from the Federation of Small Businesses has revealed the scale of challenges facing firms that use online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook.

The FSB study has found that small firms are reliant on these online platforms to succeed but are dealing with a number of barriers to growth, especially when it comes to trading overseas.

One in five small firms that trade digitally sell their products via online marketplaces such as Amazon and Facebook. However, the FSB research has found that three of the biggest problems facing traders are fake reviews (21%), sudden changes to terms and conditions (19%) and infringement of intellectual property (13%).

Many SMEs use online platforms to expand their sales to new territories because they provide a cheaper way to reach overseas customers, as well as reducing risk, raising brand awareness and fostering consumer trust. Germany, France, Ireland, the United States and the Netherlands are the biggest markets for UK small firms that export. The top three digital platforms are eBay, Amazon and Facebook.

However, 38% of small firms polled told the FSB that local delivery problems for tangible goods is the top problem affecting their exports. Non-tariff barriers, such as local taxes and regulations, are the top barrier for exports when it comes to intangible goods and services.

"Digital trade is taking the UK small business community by storm. Businesses are using the online opportunities being offered to them to grow and expand their firms. But huge difficulties lie ahead," said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry.

"Crucial to small firms are websites like eBay, Amazon and Facebook who are central to advertising, sales and their exporting aims … At the moment, around 20% of current small business exporters and importers use online platforms to trade internationally, but this could expand hugely if the environment for them was improved."

The FSB is calling on the UK government to do more to support UK exporters. Cherry said: "It's vital that government both listens to small businesses about their exporting needs and considers them as part of any response to the ongoing digital trade revolution. Domestically, this means having access to fast and reliable broadband and mobile coverage across the country, but also requires upskilling employees' and business owners' digital skills.

"Internationally, this will require the government to push to remove barriers to digital trade encountered in overseas markets, such as data localisation measures and weak intellectual property protections, at both the WTO and in the government's future bilateral trade negotiations."

Written by Rachel Miller.

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry