The Federation of Small Businesses14.11.2018

Trade & Export Finance have recently signed up to the FSB, The Federation of Small Businesses – a company that supports small business enterprises across the country to help them achieve their ambitions. We’ve been taking some time to get to know Ray Hickinbottom, Membership Advisor at the FSB.

When you were a boy, what did you see yourself doing as an adult?

I saw myself as running my own business, but I did not know what type of business it would be.

Give a brief outline of your career to date.

After serving an engineering apprenticeship, I went to work for a small company making special fasteners, 3 years later I was the MD of the company and built it to over 50 employees before leaving to start my own special fastener company. I built this company to over 60 employees before selling it and starting a financial services business, which I built to over 50 employees before selling it. I now own a sales training business and a business that makes appointments for sales people. I also invest in small businesses through crowd funding.

What does your FSB chairman role look like?

A wide and varied role, leading an enthusiastic team to make sure the voice of the small business community is heard in the West Midlands. I meet many businesses, both members and non-members and with the team ensure that politicians know the problems that small businesses face.

What motivates you?

Helping businesses and helping individuals who want to become self-employed.

Why are you passionate about SMEs?

SMEs account for over 99% of all businesses in the UK and employ 60% of the workforce in the private sector. Together we are a huge contributor to the national economy. With a small business, the owners are supplying goods or services that enable them to put food on the table, pay for sports/dance equipment for their children and contribute to the local economy. Their business is so much more than just a job.

If you could take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?

The Godfather book by Mario Puzo.

What are some of the risks of trade now?

Ensuring that you are paid on time for the goods or services you supply, the ability to recruit a skilled workforce and the uncertainty around Brexit.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing business in the UK?

Advantages: common language, lower shipping costs.

Disadvantages: obtaining payment on time.

What do you think are the main implications for Trade following Brexit?

The uncertainty of how trade will be conducted post-Brexit and the possibility of recruiting workers becoming more difficult.