Why can’t we be more like Samoa

An interesting item caught my attention recently.  It appears Samoa have made a decision to literally lose a day by moving to the west of the International Date Line.  Since 1892, Samoa has had a time zone tied in withAmericabut the government has now decided that for largely business reasons, it would be better to change this to link in withAustraliaandNew Zealand.  Currently, Samoa is 21 hours behindSydney, but the change will mean that they will be three hours ahead.  Continue reading Why can’t we be more like Samoa

Are these valuations for real?

The Business news is full of the latest stories in connection with Microsoft purchasing Skype for the rumoured figure of $8bn.  This is not the first time that Skype has been acquired, but the truth of the matter is that Skype barely makes a profit despite the fact that it is a wonderful service which I use all the time. Continue reading Are these valuations for real?

DotCom What?

There has been considerable talk in the media over the last few weeks, speculating on the valuations of some high profile businesses.

Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Spotify and LinkedIn, have all had some eye-watering numbers ascribed to them, yet in some cases, they seem very optimistic.

There can be no doubt that some, if not all of these businesses, have amassed very substantial user bases, and their following, globally, is very substantial. The real question is whether their business models will ever be able to generate sufficient profits.

A number of commentators have been speculating as to whether we are heading towards another dotcom crash. The problem is that none of us really know which businesses will survive to become the next Google or Amazon and which ones will literally just crash and burn.

It’s hard to imagine Facebook, Twitter or any of the other very high profile names not making it in some way or another, but the thousands of “me to” sites, that have been funded by business angels or venture capitalists, may not survive in the long run.

At the end of the day, however much in the way of smoke and mirrors is applied, a business has got to make money and generate cashflow.

Perhaps the problem is a more fundamental one and goes to the heart of what is currently taking place online. For many years, we have all become used to getting information, products and software for nothing or next to nothing. Rupert Murdoch, with his innovative new approach to news, maybe showing us the way forward. The jury is still out on this, but there is no doubt about it that Facebook, Twitter and the like have to find a serious revenue stream to warrant their stellar valuations.

You have to ask yourself how millions of Twitter and Facebook users would feel if a subscription model was introduced. It could be that the basic model allows a certain amount of usage with various subscription models for additional services. Would people pay £5 a month for that? I think they possibly would.

Whatever happens, the next few years could see some very interesting developments in the way the Internet is used, how businesses are valued and what new ideas are developed.

As a Chartered Accountant and partner in Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for the BBC, Microsoft, Imbibe magazine.

Making Business Simple

Passionate about small business, I certainly am and always have been. For the last 25 years, I’ve been working with small businesses as an advisor and also have an active role in many other businesses.

Business is very simple. All you have to do is bring in more income than you spend. However, most businesses, particularly small ones, can’t seem to understand this. Even worse, they do the same things year after year and expect different results.

I want to share my experiences, my challenges, my joys and frustrations and all the other little things that contribute to business through this blog.

I hope it will interest, inform and inspire.

As a Chartered Accountant and partner in Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for the BBC, Microsoft, Imbibe magazine.