So you have your business idea, you've registered your company, now what?
One mistake that alot of new business owners make is the assumption that if they create the business, the clients will come, but as so many will tell you, that is not always the case, so how do you go about getting new clients?
Networking is a great skill to have in the business world and a great way to make new connections. But don't be fooled into thinking you can attend one event and get all the clients you need, networking enables you to make those connections, build on those relationships and expand your knowledge base.
From networking, you can make new friendships, meaning the world of new business won't seem such a lonely place.
You can generate referrals. It might be that your new friend you made at last months event needs a plumber and you know just the guy for the job, or your looking for a bookkeeper and the host says, I know just the person!
These friendships and referrals are just the begining, but are also important.
Maybe one of your weak points is public speaking, well by attending a regular networking event, you get the opportunity to introduce yourself without the presure of having to prepare a big speach. At our local event, everyone has 7 seconds to introduce themself, now 7 seconds can't be that scary, about the same time it takes to inhale a deep breath and count to five, but the more you do it, the less intimidating it becomes.
It might be that from attending the event your able to chat to someone in a similar field, or who has business experience and can provide you a bit of advice ( normally for FREE!) or even better, you might find yourself a mentor who can give you guidance and positive encouragement or you could be the one mentoring someone else.
Networking enables you to build your business and make great connections, so it's a no brainer really.
Whatever you do next, make sure you attend a local networking event!
In this ever evolving and ever changing world of technology, as a start up or small business, it can sometimes be hard to know which apps are the most useful and will help you with your productivity. Below are a few that we recommend.
Google Calendar is a great app that can be accessed via the desktop or your phone, we love it in our household as it enables us to share calendars when we all use differnt phones ( don't get me started on the Apple V Android debate).
You can set reminders, invite other members to join and it enables you to see at a glance what is going on.
Compatible with several of the big accounting softwares such as Sage, Quickbooks, Xero and Kasflow, Receipt bank enables your suppliers to email in their invoices and to save you time inputting them. You can also upload them directly from your desktop.
Once the invoice is received, you log into receipt bank, review the information and approve it. It then send the invoice to your accounting package for you thus saving you time as you don't have to manually input it.
Trello is an interactive lists app. You can creat different boards, make lists of things to do and assign them to different users. If you have a big project that your business is working on with lots of people involved, this is a great way of managing the tasks you want done and users can mark the item as completed once they have done it so you can see where it's at.
Dropbox is the most popular cloud based file storage. It's espically useful for companies that need a GDPR compliant reliable way to share information with staff and freelancers.
Skype is a fantastic way of communicating with your team and/or clients. It offers you the ability to call, video call, group call upto 250 people and share files as well as being intergratable with office 365.
google translate is a fantastic app for businesses. It can translate text or documents in up to 100 differnt languages.
Or you can go to the following link to translate whole web pages on google. http://itools.com/language/translate
If you have any recommendations of apps/ programmes that you think should be listed here, then comment below!
As a small business, especially a new one, it can sometimes be difficult to know what expenses you can claim back against your self assessment tax bill.
The main items that small businesses can claim are;
Please note that if you work from a home office, then you claim for the following items, but as a percentage of your property. (HMRC suggests dividing the costs by the number of rooms in the house.. eg you have 10 rooms in the house, but only use one for the business, so therefore your going to claim 1/10th of the costs.. You can get further indepth information and guidance from the HMRC website.)
In 2017 HMRC annouced changes to the self assessment process with the intoduction of Making Tax Digital. For futher information please visit the HMRC website.
Zero waste seems to be one of those buzz words at the moment. It's every where you look, everyone talking about reducing waste and plastic usage, but how can that be applied to the office?
There are a few simple things that can be done to reduce the waste produced in your office.
As a small business, it can sometimes be difficult to know when is the right time to hire help and if they will add value to your business.
Essentially if you spend a large portion of your time scheduling meetings, answering calls, greeting customers, sorting post, filing letters etc that you could be spending on growing your business then maybe the time is right for you.
By hiring someone to take over these tasks, you'll free up your time to focus on your business.
But what if I'm not sure if I'll need someone full time?
If you are unsure about hiring an assistant, then why not get someone in from an agency or even a virtual assistant.
Both will cost more per hour than hiring someone full time, but it's a good way to test the water. A 1-3 month trial with an assistant from an agency or a virtual assistant will be enough for you to assess the benefits of having one.
It may be that you have a big project on that requires you to have extra help for a limited period. In this instance an agency or virtual assistant is perfect.
The difference with a virtual assistant is that they aren't placed in your office, so they will be able to answer emails and calls and perform tasks such as diary management, but as they won't physically be in your office, they won't be on hand to file invoices or greet clients etc.. a great option if you are limited on space.
What tasks can I have the admin assistant do?
An admin assistants role will vary depending on the needs of your business and the job description, so think carefully about what you want them to do.
Your admin assistant will be responsible for a range of clerical and organisational tasks such as;
Greeting your visitors / clients
Answering emails and calls
Ordering office supplies
Managing your diary inc. booking meeting rooms, arranging lunches and possibly even travel arrangments
taking minutes during meetings
What skills will my admin assistant require?
An admin assistant role doesn't normally come with formal qualifications, however there are some skills that you want your assistant to have;
Basic computer literacy
knowledge of word and excel
Good written and oral skills
A high attention to detail
Good time keeping
Friendly approachable manner
Strong work ethic
Either way, if you find that you are getting bogged down in the small details and not able to move your business forward, an admin assistant might be the difference between your business stagnating or progressing.
As a business it can sometimes be difficult to know what type of accountant you need, so what are the different types of accountancy and what does each one do?
Tax accountants help business with the filing of their tax returns and make sure that you are within the law. They can also advise you on tax planning to help you and/or your business save money.
Auditors are specialists and they review the accounts to ensure that your company or organisations financial records are valid and legal. They can also advise on any risk and suggest measures and cost savings that can be put in place. Often they are brought in to large companies where they suspect some unusual activity is going on.
A financial accountant supervises the organisation of financial records, maintains records, helps with finance planning and assists with VAT returns etc.
A Management Accountants role is to analyse, budget and plan. They'll produce reports to help the business owners understand how they are performing and help them plan for the future. They essentially manage the risk and advise the business on their performance and how they can improve and have growth.
A Forensic accountants role is all about investigation. They will look through a companies accounts for errors etc when looking for evidence of crimes such as fraud. They will also give expert testimoney in court cases.
In 2018, there were 5.7 million private sector start up businesses in the UK.
That's 5.7 Million people who have been brave enough to take the leap and start their own business because they believe they have a product or service that's in demand and that's 5.7 Million people who will now be keeping accounts and records of their business transactions.
Most of these new business owners will start out doing their own accounts, be it a spreadsheet that they keep track of their purchases and sales on or an accountancy package such as Xero for example, but there will come a time when they wish to grow their business and not want to be bogged down with the paperwork, and this is where a bookkeeper can help.
Instead of having the expense and legal obligations of hiring a member of staff, small businesses wishing to grow can benefit emensely from hiring a freelance bookkeeper for a day or two a week.
Spending few hours doing a book entry that would take a bookkeeper in lesser time (say 30 -45 minutes) just doesn’t make sense.
A Bookkeeper brings with them the skill set and knowledge to help get the accounts in order and upto date. They can also provide services such as managing the payment runs, even chasing your aged debtors!
In turn this means you have a more accurate idea of the business finances and can then make informed decisions, which help you grow the business.
They can make life alot easier when preparing your books for the accountant!
They can also help you with setting up your finance team when your business is at the point that you are growing and ready to hire a full time employee.. infact, we love it when you get to that stage as it means that we've sucessfully done our job of supporting you and helping your business grow.
You may ask why I need a bookkeeper when I have an accountant?
Well, aside from the fact that the bookkeeper will charge you alot less than your accountant for their services, the skills that they offer differ.
An accountant analyzes the financial condition of your business and offer strategic advice and solutions. He/she works on the key financial documents, such as a profit-and-loss statement and files the tax obligations of the company (if needed).
Your bookkeeper does the day-to-day tasks such as keeping your puchase ledger and sales ledger update, posting your monthly journal postings, managing your payment runs, processing payroll and preparing your VAT Returns for the accountant.
In short, for a business that is wishing to grow, a bookkepper is a sensibile option!
If your small business has employee's then you will need payroll services.
Either you can outsource this to a HR firm or you can keep your costs down and keep it in house.
If you choose the latter, then this normally means choosing a Payroll software and possibly hiring someone (like VJR Business Support Ltd) to run the payroll for you.
When choosing which software is best for your company there are many things to consider such as the cost and if it's RTI compliant (capable of reporting to HMRC),
Every business will have different requirements, but in general you’ll need payroll software that:
Another thing to consider when choosing your Payroll software is the features that it offers, yes the free ones can be good if you are just starting out and trying to keep your costs down, however they may not offer all the features that you want for example, the payslips may not be customisable, or they may not deal with pension deductions and payments, or calculate payments across different periods (when you pay some employees monthly and others weekly).
Below is a list of a few Payroll softwares that we recommend.
HMRC BASIC PAYE TOOL - This is free tool for companies with less than 9 employees
Kashflow Payroll - If you already use Kashflow for your accounts package then you should looke at their easy to use payroll.
Monysoft Payroll 100 - This is an easy to use paid software. Its great if you are relatively new to payroll, however it is currently not Mac compatible so only any good if you have a pc.
XERO Payroll - If you have Xero accounts package then its a no brainer option to use thier payroll too - it's an extra £5 per month for payroll for up to five employees, and £1 per month for each additional employee over that number.
Here at VJR Business Support Ltd we are supporting our customers with MTD.
Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their taxes right and keep on top of their affairs.
HMRC’s ambition is to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world, so they have introduced Making Tax Digital to make fundamental changes to the way the tax system works – transforming tax administration so that it is:
VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold are now required to use the Making Tax Digital service to keep records digitally and use software to submit their VAT returns for VAT periods that started on or after 1 April 2019.
More information can be found Here.
The Government further announced in March 2019 that they would focus on supporting businesses to transition, and will therefore not be mandating Making Tax Digital for any new taxes or businesses in 2020.
The primary legislation for Making Tax Digital relating to VAT and Income Tax is contained in the Finance (No.2) Act 2017, providing certainty about the broad framework in which Making Tax Digital will operate, with secondary legislation for VAT laid in February 2018, coming into force from April 2019.
HMRC provides a wide range of digital services and support for businesses and the self-employed.
Data Protection law is changing on 25 May 2018 and organisations need to be ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The ICO has produced a package of tools and resources to help you get ready. These resources, available through the ICO’s website, include:
If you hold and process personal information about your clients, employees or suppliers, you are legally obliged to protect that information. Under the Data Protection Act, you must: