Are Napoleon’s comments about the English still relevant in today’s business climate?

According to sources, Napoleon once said “L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers” – “England is a nation of shopkeepers”.

Whilst the number of shops on the average UK high street has certainly diminished greatly, we may well still be a nation of entrepreneurs. Continue reading Are Napoleon’s comments about the English still relevant in today’s business climate?

Why small businesses need to knock down barriers

Whichever way you voted on the Brexit issue and however strongly you feel about it, the one thing that seems pretty clear is that the task facing this and successive governments is challenging to say the least. Much of what has to be done is completely uncharted territory. None of our leaders will have much if any experience in this. The same can be said for many people starting their own small business. Continue reading Why small businesses need to knock down barriers

Is Cash Still King?

Is Cash still King? Our CEO Howard Graham doesn’t think so.
There are a multitude of ways to grow a business and as customers generally become more sophisticated, even the smallest things need to be considered.

One of these relates to the payment methods you allow, or put more simply, how easy you make it for someone to buy from you.

A recent study by Sagepay, the online payment processor, has looked at the payments landscape in 2014 particularly relating to small businesses. One finding was that many businesses, particularly retail ones, still only allow people to pay cash despite the fact that apparently, 31% of consumers stated that they would shop elsewhere if they couldn’t pay by card.

Cash also has hidden costs not least the additional accounting and administrative issues it raises. New payment methods online and with mobile phones are becoming commonplace and the advent of ‘contactless payments’ using secure smart cards have to be the way forward. Currently, there is a payment limit on these cards of around £20, but in the future this will undoubtedly increase.

According to the Sagepay report, businesses using these new technologies were growing commonly by more than 20% annually.

One thing that is absolutely clear is that cash is no longer King!

This post was by Howard Graham at MadeSimpleFind Howard on Google+

Is your business aiming for Good or Great?

Focus on what you do best
A famous best seller by Jim Collins, ‘Good to Great’, looks at what makes companies not just good, but great. In fact it propounds the theory that ‘good’ is the enemy of ‘great’.

As Tesco announces its latest financial results, which show a decline in profits for the second successive year, it is clear that all is not ‘great’ with the supermarket giant that was once the nation’s favourite and market leader.

Whilst food sales were one area of the economy that was reasonably unaffected during the recession, individual players in the food sector significantly upped their game over that period and Tesco definitely felt the competitive pressure. Continue reading Is your business aiming for Good or Great?

Is new found confidence in economy to thank for Company Formation increase?

There are a number of words in the English language that have always been something of a mystery to me. Words like belief, soul and experience are so hard to describe to someone yet we all feel we know what we mean by them. What causes them, how they manifest themselves and how we teach people about them are very difficult to explain.

Confidence is another such word.

Confidence in economic terms is often reflected by increases in key indices. For instance, property prices, employment figures and growth in the economy are often a reflection of a consumer’s confidence in their employment position and the future economy. As the British public feels more confident, they start spending money on the many things that they gave up during the recession. Continue reading Is new found confidence in economy to thank for Company Formation increase?

New Year, New Start?

Of the many things people get up to over the Christmas break, forming a company is not one that naturally springs to mind. Yet, statistics show that the period between Christmas Day and New Years Eve is a fertile one for the germination of new business ideas.

What better time can there be for reflection on the past year and dreaming of future enterprises and adventures?

From discussions with many small businesses, and based on our own figures, it is clear that many people start thinking about how they might change their lives at this time and that doesn’t just mean giving up smoking or losing some weight.

Unlike many of the presents we receive at Christmas time, starting a new business can be life changing. The holiday season, when you’re relaxed and with the people who matter in your life, can be the ideal time to discuss and think about starting your own business.

Recently, Lord Young proudly announced that record numbers of new start ups have been achieved in the current year, breaking the 500,000 mark. Of those, over 42,000 companies were formed in January.

Britain truly is a nation of shopkeepers and the entrepreneurial spirit has never been more alive and well.

With the Christmas period fast approaching, the economy is showing very positive signs and the general outlook for the next year or two is very encouraging, January 2014 could see a surge of new start ups.

What are your business plans for 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brought to you by our CEO, Howard Graham

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The Chancellor’s recent autumn statement included a number of positive announcements, particularly in the light of a better economic climate than a year ago.

Despite the unappealing prospect of people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s having to work longer before they get their state pension, there were some very positive announcements for families and businesses as well as some sensible details relating to the cancellation of the fuel duty increase and the introduction of an electronic system for the vehicle excise duty.

One announcement that stole many of the headlines was the introduction of a new break for employers. From April 2015, employers’ national insurance contributions will be removed altogether on a million and a half jobs for young people. The intention is to encourage businesses to employ under 21 year olds.

I applaud the Government for this initiative but am somewhat frustrated by the time scale under which it is proposed to introduce this. The legislation will not come into force until April 2015, 17 months or more after the announcement. This would be just one month before the general election which has to be held by no later than the 7th May 2015. The cynic in me sees this as a political move so that the current Government doesn’t have to bear any cost for this initiative but can champion its merits as part of its election campaign.

What would have been truly impressive would have been to introduce this initiative by April 2014. There is plenty of legislation that gets passed by Statutory Instrument and it can’t be that difficult, in these highly digitalised times, to make the required changes to the PAYE systems straight away.

So, Mr Chancellor, good idea, but dubious implementation.

Brought to you by our CEO, Howard Graham