Business development · 20 March 2017

FSB announces new membership categories as part of major reinvention

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An FSB membership offers small business advice and expertise

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched two new joining membership categories as part of a long-awaited rebrand of the organisation.

FSB Business Creation and FSB Business Connect are two new membership categories, launched on 20 March, that will sit alongside the original joining category FSB Business Essential, which also receives an upgrade.

A third joining category for new members – FSB Business Plus – is due to launch later in 2017, while this Spring also sees the planned rollout of the organisation’s all-new ecommerce platform, FSB Marketplace.

The array of new joining categories, and the introduction of a suite of new and improved member benefits, is part of a major rebranding process that began in 2015.

The organisation, which has represented Britain’s small business owners since its launch in 1974, is undergoing a rebrand in recognition of the rapidly changing landscape for small firms in the UK.

With a variety of new membership categories which recognise different types of small business owner, the FSB hopes it can remain relevant and retain its status as the country’s premiere business organisation.

Announcing the next phase of the rebrand, FSB commercial director Dave Stallon outlined the organisation’s commitment to small business owners. “There are huge opportunities for both new and existing smaller businesses now, and we’re committed to assisting the nation in harnessing these.

“Advances in tech, manufacturing techniques, infrastructure changes, exciting new exporting opportunities, consumer diversification and demand for personalisation, all bring thrilling new prospects,” he said.

FSB Business Creation has been designed to help individuals through the initial stages of planning and launching a new business, whereas FSB Business Connect includes fewer benefits but gives small business owners access to the FSB’s network of members and experts.

FSB Business Essentials, the original joining category, has been upgraded to include cyber protection, enhanced legal insurance cover up to £100,000 and PR and crisis management support for company owners, as well as other exclusive benefits and discounted products.

“When FSB was founded we had one membership category, delivering the same benefits to all,” Stallon went on to say.

“That model worked for over 40 years, but we recognise that today’s landscape is fast-changing and we want to offer different options to different business owners, as well as to those who are thinking about starting a business, to help them achieve their ambitions.”

The FSB began life in 1974 as the National Federation of Self Employed (NFSE). Drawing oddly similar parallels with the economic and political climate of today, the NFSE was first established to safeguard small business owners and the self-employed in response to the then Labour government’s plan to hike up Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs).

By remaining a non-partisan, non-profit making organisation, the FSB has managed to uphold values of inclusivity and diversity, maintaining its position as the UK’s most effective network for small firms.

Three new and improved membership categories

(1) FSB Business Essentials

The new name for the FSB’s existing category of membership. It includes a large range of benefits, including business banking, insurance, card payment services and products, and lobbying.

(2) FSB Connect

A new category providing a first introduction to the FSB and open to anyone to join for free. Individuals gain access to UK-wide networking events, First Voice digital communications, and the opportunity to participate in the influential Big Voice survey.

(3) FSB Business Creation

Another new joining category which offers a unique set of benefits for those who have not yet started their business, including access to business advisors, and networking opportunities. A specially developed bundle of further benefits can include advice on company formation, domain name registration, website build, access to market entry reports and copies of the flagship quarterly publication First Voice.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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