Your 2014 Positive Outlook Stories

In our recent survey, customers told us that business confidence is on the up.
Here’s what some of them had to say about their outlook for 2014.

Breckland Orchard, Cambridge

Claire Martinsen founded Breckland Orchard in Spring 2009 after the birth of her children. Epitomising the business confidence for 2014 Claire said “We’re still small, but growing fast. We expect to take on another full-time member of staff this summer. We feel very upbeat about our prospects in 2014. As a result, we’re increasing our already wide range of Posh Pop flavours from 8 to 10.”

Claire Martinsen

1-80 Training, Leith

Adam White started 1-80 training at the start of 2013 in the height of the recession. Like many of the businesses that took part in the survey, Adam is looking to expand the services he offers “This year I’ll be launching my nutrition mission course and a new bootcamp class twice a week.  I am now moving my business to a bigger and better gym to be able to grow to twice the size by the end of this year!”

Adam White

Experience Liverpool, Liverpool

Harriet Gilmour of Experience Liverpool characterised the type of optimism that seems to be growing across the North West: “Tourism in Liverpool has been identified as a growth sector; this year it has been listed as Rough Guide’s third best place to visit in the world.”
In 2013 she took a leap of faith and became self-employed – feeling that the time was right and that the economy was at a crucial turning point. Experience Liverpool has also invested in a website launch in 2014, and plan to increase city tours.
Harriet Gilmore

View the full results of our Positive Outlook Survey here.

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UK Micro Business Confidence [infographic]

1,500 businesses tell us their outlook for 2014. The results show that optimism for 2014 is high, with many businesses looking to expand. The study gives an insight into the optimism at the grass roots level of the UK economy. Business confidence is on the up, with many looking to launch new services and initiatives and in turn create new jobs. Download the full survey results as a PDF

Positive Outlook 2014 Survey Results

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Download a PDF of the Full Results >>

Download a PDF of the full results


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The Positive Outlook Remains

Positive Outlook in the newsThe signs are more positive.

The Positive Outlook for 2014 remains. All the indicators continue to suggest that the outlook for doing business in the UK is increasingly positive. There has been no let up in media coverage.

The British Chambers of Commerce, the Bank of England, the Office of National Statistics and other organisations tell the same story – 2014 looks more positive.

“We believe that in 2014 UK GDP will at long last move above its 2008 pre-recession level.” – British Chambers of Commerce chief economist David Kern

Now is the best time for many years, to promote and grow your business. That’s why for February we’ve put together great offers to help you do just that.



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Your 2014 Positive Outlook Stories

Positive Outlook 2014

We’ve had a great response to our Positive Outlook Survey which is now closed. Thank you to everyone that took part. Here are some of your stories.


“As we are getting more clients and referrals, we plan to extend our services by opening a further 5 clinics this year. This will also mean hiring more staff.” Altana Physiotherapy, London.


“We are working to employ a least one new member of staff this year, continue to grow and generally enjoy being in business.” Lansalot Limited, Worcestershire.


“We have more pre bookings for weddings than we have had in the last 4 years and January has had a massive start too- 2014 is set to be our best year yet. We’ve just hired new staff to keep up with demand!” Make Believe Events, Glasgow.


“We are looking to hire a new salesperson to expand our product range” Amplio Software, Reading.


“After trading for almost 5 years 2014 has got of to the best start ever. 2013 saw us enter the “Track Car” hire market and this has also sold well during the winter and 2014 has seen us take booking’s already for the summer months ahead. In 2014 we are running 30% more events than last year and we are even venturing into Europe as well. So we are off to a great start and all our customers feel like it will be a good year for them and us.” Opentrack Events, Cambridge.


We’ll be publishing the results of the survey soon and will be in touch with a selection of respondees for further information to put together press releases for local PR.

If you haven’t responded to the survey but still wish to receive a copy of the results please email

Winners of the £500 worth of print will be notified by 10th February 2014.


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Always wanted to run your own business and be your own boss?

Be a part of the 2000+ entrepreneurs who have started their business with a Start-up Loan.

We’re pleased to announce that has become one of the first private sector Delivery Partners for the Government’s Start-Up Loan scheme.

The £112 million government initiative helps young people to start their own business by providing loans of up to £10,000 alongside business mentoring.

As a Delivery Partner, we can will assist applicants with their business plans and vet loan applications, approving Start-up Loans where appropriate. Other Start-up Loans Delivery Partners include The Prince’s Trust.

Launched in September last year, the scheme’s age range was recently broadened to allow people up to 30 years of age to secure a Government Start-Up Loan.

The scheme is headed up by former ‘dragon’ James Caan and was designed to provide the necessary seed finance for young entrepreneurs who have both a good idea and entrepreneurial drive, but lack the sounding board that a mentor can provide along with the security of financial backing.

Tony Rafferty, Chief Executive of, explains: €œOur main focus will be to help young entrepreneurs wanting to take their first steps into digital or indeed cross media, which provides a platform for entrepreneurs to integrate production at a later date. We have a wealth of experience built up over many years in both these areas.” Indeed, Rafferty highlights that much of the mentoring structure that his Company intend to use was developed to underpin the Company’s Franchise model.

Of course, the scheme is open to applicants wanting to start a business in any sector.  Indeed, Rafferty is keen to point out that them becoming involved in the scheme isn’€™t simply about funding Franchises or W3P partners. Explaining “€œit doesn’€™t matter if they start a business, never buy anything from but partner with a competitor, we want to help any young entrepreneur with a good idea take their first steps in building a business.”€

James Caan, Chairman, of Start-Up Loans Company, said: €œ”We welcome’€™s involvement in the scheme and we are thrilled with the momentum the scheme continues to maintain. To be an entrepreneur is more than having a job. It gives you the freedom to make your own mark, in the way in which you choose, and create your own path to success. It can be challenging, and exceptionally hard work, but the rewards are immeasurable.”

A key element of the Start-Up Loans scheme is business mentoring.  This starts with helping with the business plan before the loan is approved along with on-going mentoring over the first year. The objective of the scheme is to help fund 25,000 new businesses by 2015 and mentoring is seen as key to ensuring more of them go on and succeed.

Rafferty started at the age of 24 with a £3,000 loan from his father, operating from home with only a computer, a laser printer and a fax machine. This provided the basis for him to later integrate production. The company is now listed on AIM and has global operations. He added: “€œIn our sector you still really can create a business with just a Mac, Adobe’s Creative Suite and a connection to the internet -€“ provided you can afford the hardware and software.” The scope of the Government Start-Up Scheme provides this level of funding, or indeed it could be the liquidity on the finance for an entry level digital press.

In the first instance applicants should visit Applicants are invited to submit their business plan or simply an outline of their idea. A mentor will then get in touch and take them through the process.

The essence of the scheme is about helping would-be entrepreneurs with a credible plan to get going as quickly as possible. Indeed, potential loan recipients with a business plan that ticks the boxes could see their applications turned around in about a week.

Start up Loans from

We're hiring PHP Developers (x3), Manchester


We operate 20 eBusiness websites across the world. They’re all driven from Flyerlink, our IT heart. Everyone who touches our business interfaces with Flyerlink in some way, whether a client placing an order, a franchisee preparing a proof or our production team manufacturing finished print. We are expanding our development team and are looking for 3 well-rounded developers who’d like a challenging role. Our systems are mainly developed in PHP, but there are many non-PHP aspects to the job, so the more general your knowledge and experience, the better.



  • You will have a strong interest of web development using PHP, developing bespoke large scale applications. Any commercial experience is a big bonus.
  • We mainly use PostgreSQL, but experience of other DBMS may be sufficient.
  • We use a couple of different JavaScript libraries, but you should be proficient in JavaScript generally.
  • We use source control (Both Subversion and Git), and experience with other languages and frameworks is definitely preferable.
  • We telecommute, and we keep in touch using email and IRC. Whilst you will be based in Manchester, our other developers are scattered round the UK, Europe and the USA, so you must be able communicate well using your keyboard.
  • We all develop on Mac OS X. You can develop using any OS you prefer, but due to the nature of the development, you must use a Unix-based OS.
  • Although you won’t be expected to be an award-winning designer, you must be able to create and modify HTML and CSS.

Experience of system administration of Linux (Debian, specifically) would be highly desirable but not essential. We’d especially love it if you have experience with load balancing, replication and high-availability.



You’re a self starter. You like people. You’re confident and you like getting things done. You’ve got a high attention to detail and are proud of the way you present yourself. You’re interested in aesthetics and you get annoyed when a user interface is ugly or irritating. You’ll have a degree in an IT-related discipline and you’ll have done well at university. You’ll be good at maths and your written English is flawless.



We’ll pay a competitive salary, health benefits and make pension contributions. You’ll be eligible for our performance-related bonus scheme. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with lots of different people from lots of different countries (you’ll learn what winklewagen means in Dutch). And we’re located in the calm oasis of Trafford Park.



Is it? Or do you know a friend or relative who’s suitable? Email your CV and covering letter to No agencies please. Really.