SME Support Toolkit

Not a day goes by at the moment when we don’t see or hear about rising costs, whether that’s energy or the price of food. We’re living through uncertain economic times and our priority remains doing all we can to support you. We know many of you will be worried about these rising costs and the impact to your business, but we also know that with uncertainty comes opportunity and so we’ve increased the support available through a refreshed online SME Support Toolkit. There’s no one size fits all answer to all of these issues but we want to reassure you that by talking to us early ,we can help. We have a range of tools to support you with different aspects of your business including strategies for growth, navigating international expansion, developing your workforce, and business coaching or mentoring. Not only will these help you deal with the risks and challenges your business is facing, they'll also help you identify new opportunities. We would encourage you to have a look at them. Over the next few months we’ll be adding to these as we try to help you to navigate the challenging economic landscape, as well as to achieve your growth ambitions.

The SME Support Toolkit is powered by Santander Breakthrough and all hyperlinks in this site lead to the Santander Breakthrough website which is controlled by Santander UK plc.

Managing Strategy

Growing your business through coaching

We've teamed up with ActionCOACH to run a range of business coaching masterclasses for every step of your journey. These are all fully funded by Santander, and designed to help you grow your business, however many sessions you choose to join. Topics include money management, generating more sales leads, mindset, gain control of your finances, how to build a business that works without you, managing your teams and planning for success.  

Tips for running a successful business in the current economic climate

Our recent research found the rising cost of living has made it harder for 65% of SMEs to run their business – with 87% saying the past winter has been the ’toughest in memory’. We also uncovered the different steps businesses are taking to stay successful. Hear from Sushil Raniga, from East London jewellery store Bees, about some of the steps he’s taking to manage rising costs and changes in shopping habits, and how you can take some of these learnings into your own business.

What you can learn from businesses that thrived throughout the pandemic

Santander recently commissioned The 10 per cent report to look at the positive trends in the UK during, and as we began to emerge from, the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings and lessons learned are still relevant today, as businesses find ways to tackle new trading and economic challenges. We’ve pulled together a series of learning videos and worksheets that explore some of the practical steps you can take to maximise your business potential.

Navigating your export journey

Our research tells us that, despite a renewed sense of optimism as trading performance begins to improve, businesses still see international growth as a real challenge. Santander Navigator’s ‘Navigating your export journey’ webinar series will provide businesses with nine on-demand, easy-to-consume, virtual drop-in sessions where our international trade providers will be able to offer a one-stop shop to support overseas trade. To access the free content, please register here.

Steps to digital transformation

Through the Government's Help to Grow: Digital scheme you can access free, impartial online support about how digital tech can boost your business' performance. Software funding is also available to eligible businesses.

Explore how Santander Navigator can help you to grow your business overseas

The world of international trade can be complex for businesses who wish to find new markets and expand overseas. Santander Navigator is an online platform that collates our years of experience and knowledge into one online portal. It provides a unique gateway to identify growth opportunities, navigate red tape and regulation, optimise logistics and build connections, where you could save both time and money as you grow.

Grow and adapt your business with ActionCOACH

Join the thousands of business owners that use ActionCOACH successfully to increase their profits, improve their business, and reach their professional and personal goals. Their expert business coaching programmes will get you started on the right journey to building and developing a successful business.

Managing Resources

Cost-of-living action plan for business

Rising living costs present considerable challenges for households and businesses alike. While there is no silver bullet solution, businesses can be flexible in how they adapt to the challenges while exploring new opportunities and more efficient ways of working. To help with this, Santander has partnered with Business in The Community who are actively building tools to help your business deal with the mounting pressures. Their Cost-Of-Living Action Plan for Business sets our a series of actions, tested with their members, focused on supporting employees, customers, communities and suppliers. The action plan sets out 12 calls to action to help you gain a better overview of how your business is performing and the steps you can take to be a responsible business.

10 ways to boost your cash flow management

Experian have shared their ten simple tools SMEs can use to help tackle cashflow problems. There are three ‘pillars’ of cash flow analysis which can be used to inform a positive cash flow plan. Once you have an understanding of the numbers under your own pillars you can apply these ten simple cash flow management tools. 

Why is cash flow management important?

No matter what you sell, whether its products or services, strong cash flow management can be the difference between success and failure. Reducing the risk of cash flow problems is fundamental to all businesses. This guide shows you how cash flow analysis can help you meet your payments and grow your business, even during uncertain times. 

Tap into emerging talent and transform your business

We've teamed up with Unibeez, a skills-based talent platform, to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to find the right people. Forward-thinking businesses can find a diverse, previously inaccessible, mostly remote workforce of up to 3 million students and graduates. It gives businesses access to skills today, and a talent pipeline tomorrow. Unibeez transforms how businesses attract, interact and retain their future workforce, reducing the costs associated with project work engagement and graduate hire, and increasing the accuracy and retention of hiring entry-level roles. 

SME energy switching service from Bionic

Energy is one of the largest costs for businesses, but all have different energy demands depending on things like premises, location, opening hours, number of employees and sector. Using a switching service like Bionic can help you find the best deal by comparing from a panel of trusted UK business energy suppliers. A Bionic business energy comparison is free, and you only need your business postcode to get started.

Energy guidance from Ofgem

The Government's Energy Bill Relief Scheme came into effect in October 2022, but you'll still need to be aware of a number of things when making your commercial energy choices. Ofgem have a wealth of advice available to help you manage those resources.

Transform your people management

We’re starting our Managing Resources support by looking at recruitment. Our first article poses the question 'How can you recruit and retain the best people in a challenging economic environment?'. It gives you some practical steps you can take to find the best people for your time, alongside some expert recruitment tips for hiring in the current climate.

Protecting your cashflow

Read the guidance from the Small Business Commissioner on prompt payment and invoicing best practice.

Managing Risk

Why your business needs PCI compliance

For organisations pivoting to a more modern, digital way of doing business, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) should be top of the to-do list and not a task for another day. In this article, Robin Varley, Data Securty Manager at Elavon, explains the importance of PCI Compliance, what you need to do and the risks of getting it wrong. 

What your business credit score means and how to improve it

Learning about your company credit score might not be the first thing that springs to mind when there are bills, staff and suppliers to pay. But understanding what it is, why it’s important and how you can use it to your advantage is a small step that can make a big difference to your entrepreneurial journey. Having a solid understanding of it is more important in a fast-moving world, enabling you to secure finance, and work with customers that won’t lead you into bad debt. So, whether you’ve just launched your business or have been operating for a while, our guide tells you everything you need to know about business credit reports, how to check a company credit rating and more.

A complete guide to credit control

If customers don't pay you for the work you do it could soon seriously impact your cashflow...Learn from Experian how to manage your credit control. While it’s a core element of running a business, collecting payments from customers on time is often one of the biggest challenges faced by owners and their financial teams. In this guide we’ll explain exactly what a good credit policy looks like, with plenty of tips and wider considerations.

How do I improve my business' social and environmental impact?

For those taking their first steps towards creating a more sustainable business, the path forward can appear vague and challenging, but a few small actions can have a significant impact for your sustainability ambitions. You can hear more about improving your impact in the final webinar of our business and sustainability series. We have also created an Impact Measurement Matrix in which a number of key policies and practices that can positively impact your business’ stakeholders have been outlined. 

Guide to managing business debt

A practical and impartial guide from the British Business Bank to help you navigate financial uncertainty and growth, how to improve your cashflow, developing your business' resilience and focusing on next steps. If you would like to discuss your existing lending with Santander, please contact your Relationship Team.

Protect you and your business from fraud

1 in 4 businesses are affected by fraud, while total fraud losses to UK SMEs were estimated at £19bn last year. Every type and size of business is at risk. By being aware of some simple tips and incorporating some best practices, your business will be increasingly protected from fraud and financial crime.

We have a wealth of information available online - take some time to read about fraud prevention, watch our video on protecting your business from payment fraud and learn more about current fraud and scams.