Get your voice heard: quick poll and event next Thursday

5 million people run small businesses or are self-employed in the UK. More than 10 million work for a small business. But traditional media is just not catering for your needs or voicing your problems. National newspapers don't give small business owners proper coverage. The most popular small business magazine in this country has less than 100,000 circulation. The largest lobbying group for small business has a membership of 200,000. Pretty abysmal.

So - the leading voices of the online small business community are coming together, despite being competitors, to act as one and do something about the lack of airtime the self-employed get. Smarta has joined forces with the other nine top small biz websites to make sure your concerns get addressed by the next government.

Together, we have a collective audience of more than 2 million businesses. And you can all make sure your voices are heard.
We've collectively launched the Judgement Day Poll to tell the government - and future government - what they should be doing to make life easier for you. It's a super-quick survey of the key questions you've told us matter most to you. Just click here to take the poll. And tell your friends. Tell your colleagues, tell your competitors. Tweet about the Judgement Day Poll using the hashtag #JDpoll to share your thoughts.

We will announce the poll tonight live on Sky News and we will announce the results at our live event: Have Your Say! Debating Doug Richard's "Entrepreneurs' Manifesto" on Thursday April 22 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. It's open to all of you to attend. Register by clicking the link.

Next Thursday's event will see the following top small business minds fielding your concerns:

  • Doug Richard - Original BBC2 Dragon & Founder of School for Startups
  • Michael Hayman - Co-founder at Seven Hills
  • David Lester - Chairman at Crimson Publishing
  • Dan Martin - Editor at BusinessZone.co.uk
  • Andrew Diggle - Deputy MD at j4b plc
  • Rory MccGwire - MD at MarketingDonut.co.uk
  • Sháá Wasmund - Founder and CEO at Smarta.com
  • Nick James - Founder at FreshBusinessThinking.com
  • Janice Pittis - Director at VentureNavigator
  • Jasmine Birtles - Owner at MoneyMagpie.com
  • Stuart Rock - Editorial Director & Co-founder at Caspian Publishing

They'll be discussing key suggestions raised in Doug Richard's Entrepreneurs' Manifesto and debating whether these are measures enough to help small businesses. Here are the key proposals from that manifesto:

  • Scrap Business Link to provide savings and migrate government business support services online to promote efficiency. Measure achievement by number businesses started and sustained by the programme.
  • Simplify regulation to encourage people to start businesses by cutting red tape and easing obligations.
  • New structures to empower individuals, such as friends and family, to invest in small businesses.
  • Skills development focus by supporting small businesses to train employees. Business owners to be paid a subsidy for passing on marketable skills.
  • Mandate government to procure from small UK businesses through a minimum quota.
  • Broaden the scope for social entrepreneurs by creating new legal frameworks while increasing scope for outside investment and maintaining the benefits that accrue to CICs and other CLGs.]
  • Introduce fast broadband to every home and business in the UK.
  • Nationwide programme of entrepreneurship teaching and mentoring.

We'll finish with words from the School for Startups website, which makes an important point: "One way or another silence is complicity. Silence is assent. You are the people on whom this country depends for its wealth. It is not merely your right to have a say, it's your responsibility."

You can also voice your views via our election microsite.

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