02 July 2015

Q&A: The benefits of joining the Forum of Private Business

Commercial Director at the Forum of Private Business explains what his organisation does and the business benefits of becoming a member

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When was your organisation formed and why?

“The Forum for Private Business was founded in 1977 by Stan Mendham OBE, a chartered engineer who was frustrated with the way big businesses dominated the commercial world in the UK. He was also concerned by the lack of understanding of smaller businesses and dismayed by mounting red tape. After studying member-based organisations for smaller businesses in America and Canada, he created a British equivalent. Over the years, we’ve evolved our support and services in line with our members’ changing needs, but we remain dedicated to representing them and helping them focus on compliance, profitability and growth.”

How many businesses do you represent?

“About 18,000 businesses from throughout the UK and from a broad range of sectors. Our membership is made up primarily of private companies that employ between 1 and 25 people.”

Why should my small business join your organisation?

“We provide a comprehensive protection and support package to help your business succeed. As well as tailored legal cover, we help members to stay up to date with ever-changing regulations, make savings on business essentials and give them a voice where it counts.”

How much does it cost to join?

“Membership starts from £175 + VAT a year and includes comprehensive legal expenses insurance cover, a 24-hour legal and general helpline for support on all business issues, as well as access to exclusive money-saving offers on utilities, cyber protection, telecoms, card processing, business insurance and purchasing.”

You’re a not for profit organisation – why is this important?

“The Forum doesn’t operate for profit, but everything we do is about making sure our member businesses do. Every penny we make goes into supporting businesses to help them grow.”

What can you tell me about your campaigning work?

“We’re recognised as a leading authority on business issues and we represent members’ views on numerous issues. We’ve been influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect businesses and we continue to campaign vigorously for the fair treatment of private businesses by decision-makers in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

Why do you carry out regular member surveys?

“It ensures we accurately represent the views and concerns of small businesses in the UK. Our quarterly member ballot enables us to lobby effectively on our members’ behalf and develop services their business needs. We also run member panels, which focus on specific areas such as employment, health and safety or tax. We use this information to inform our policy position, consultation responses and lobbying. We’re keen to ensure that any member can contribute to our panels or provide evidence to support our consultation responses.”

Why should I visit your website?

“As well as the latest business news and views, it offers business advice and useful resources relating to all aspects of running a small business. Members can choose from a library of free guides on such topics as marketing, social media, credit control and basic health and safety. You can also find out more about our membership benefits. If you want to join, you can simply call our membership team on 0845 130 1722.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the HSBC Group.

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