How Having Your Finances Right Can Benefit Your Business

Every successful business starts with a great idea. However, if it is not supported by a sound financial foundation and a business plan, it cannot succeed. While you might hope for the best, and think that eventually you will see a return on investment, you can do better than that. Financial planning is a great skill and can help you grow your venture faster, find your mission and goal, and keep your business secure in the uncertain operating environments. If you would like to find out more about the benefits of getting your finances right, read on.

Image: Unsplash

Clarity

If you keep your finances in order, you will always see your situation clearly. Clarity is important in business, and you should be able to generate up to date reports at any time so you can make better decisions. If you can save up for the equipment, you can beat the competition through research and development, as well as productivity. Apart from having a clear vision, you will also have to have a yearly and quarterly target and profit prediction, so you can plan further ahead.

Security

If your business accounts are in order, your business will be more secure. Whenever you get an audit, all your practices and accounting methods will be under a microscope. You must produce every document years back, and if you cannot do this, you will be fined. You should get a professional accountant for your business from day one, so you can protect your money and your reputation. Check out the recommendations of Business Accountant, George Kontominas and find out more about how to keep your business profitable through advanced accounting methods.  

Growth Potential

You don’t only have to protect your profits, but also secure your future and your sustainability. Without being able to plan ahead, you cannot create a growth strategy and your business will either stagnate or get left behind by the competition. To make the most out of your growth potential, you have to learn how to reinvest your profits in your business and allocate funds for product development, marketing, and research.

Long Term Planning

Most business owners believe that living from one day to the next is still a feasible way of running a venture. However, you will need a long term strategy that looks ahead and takes into consideration the current and future trends. Without looking into the future and checking out how customer behavior and technologies will change, you will be stuck in the past, and will have no chance to grow further. Whether it is expansion or acquisition you are planning, you must create a detailed strategy.

Lower Taxes

Having an accountant and keeping your books in good order doesn’t only take the weight off your shoulders, but also can save you money and reduce your taxes. As a business owner, you might not be able to keep on top of the latest regulations or know about the new ways of taking advantage of research and development tax rebates. You might be able to save thousands per year and have more funds to invest in your business, so you can create new offers and meet the needs of your market.  

Avoiding Penalties

You don’t want to be fined because you are missing a financial report or made a mistake somewhere down the line and cannot find it. That is why you need to outsource your accounting and bookkeeping. If you get a penalty, you will not only be issued a fine, but also damage your business reputation, which is very hard to repair. You can lose more than money; your customers will leave you if they don’t think your business is in good hands.

Better Project Management

You cannot start a new project without a solid financial plan. Whenever you want to enter new markets, create a new marketing strategy, or employ more people to increase your productivity, your plans have to be backed up by numbers. There is a financial side of every development project, and if you miss it out, you are less likely to succeed.

Having a solid financial foundation for your business is just as important as creating a sustainability plan or brainstorming growth ideas. If you neglect accounting, you will not be able to fund your projects and might end up getting your business into debt it cannot recover from. Keep an eye on the accounting and tax regulations in your industry, and always make sure that you are prepared for emergencies.

Making Time for Charity in Daily Life

Charity is an undeniably important aspect of life. Whether it provides a meal for a hungry family, allows a homeless person to sleep in a warm bed for a night or sends life-saving aid to people living in poverty across the world, the benefits and rewards that charity can bring really are endless.

However, it can be incredibly easy to get caught up in the trappings of everyday life. In today’s fast-paced, online environment, everything is expected instantly and as a result, constant communication, an inability to fully switch off and a lack of free time are becoming more and more commonplace.

Sadly, this shift towards the digital age leaves us with precious little time to ourselves. In this diminished personal time, we must curate our hobbies, exercise or go to the gym, spend time with our family and friends and, somehow, find time to relax and destress. Although schedules, routines and prioritising can help, is it really any wonder why so many of us struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning?

We all know and understand the importance of charity, but it can be incredibly difficult to find the time to discover the benefits it can bring to our own lives. Performing acts of kindness and generosity have the ability to enrich our lives and help us feel good about ourselves; just think, after a long, tiring day, seeing a smile light up someone’s face after you’ve helped brighten their day will instantly make things seem worthwhile.

So, if you do want to increase your interaction with charity but struggle to find the spare time to commit to length fundraising processes or high donation targets, here are a few tips, tricks and ideas to help you maximise the time you have available for charity.

Start Small

Even just offering a friendly smile and a listening ear can go a long way towards helping someone in need of comfort – charity doesn’t have to mean grandiose gestures and expensive donations. Offer to pick up some groceries for your neighbour the next time you go shopping, then drop your spare change into a charity collection tin on your way out of the shop. This way, you are helping multiple people without even going out of your way at all!

Choose Wisely

It may sound harsh but trying to support a cause that you are not passionate about is probably just going to be a waste of time. When you have limited time and resources available, try to focus on charities and organisations that mean a lot to you on a personal level – this way, you will automatically be more motivated to help them succeed. If you aren’t sure who to support, consider doing a little research and finding out about current disasters and emergencies going on across the world. For instance, you can visit this site to find more information on how you can help the vulnerable Rohingya people in Burma.

Get Involved

The more people that you can convince to get involved, the quicker and easier your charitable endeavours will become. Whether it’s family, friends or people in your local community, asking the people close to you to help out will make things much more fun. After all, if you can combine enjoyment with charity, everyone will be winning!

At the end of the day, it is essential that you feel confident and comfortable with the amount of time, money and effort you are expending on behalf of your chosen charity. You should never feel obliged to donate above your means or spend time volunteering instead of seeing your loved ones or looking after your own health and well-being, which is why it is important to work to find that happy medium between generosity and your own welfare.

Even the smallest acts of kindness and generosity truly do have the ability to reach and enrich many people’s lives, so don’t feel pressured into taking on more than you can manage. With the right mindset, you will be amazed at what you are able to achieve!

What to think about when organising a business event

If you’ve been tasked with organising a business event, there’s a surprising amount to consider. Gone are the days when you could assume a standard boardroom with a large table and plenty of chairs was all that was needed. Now your business meeting could include a retreat, an outdoor active team-building activity, all kinds of training as well as… you guessed it… the traditional meeting in a boardroom!

First, decide on your budget. There are so many options available that it will save you time to eliminate those venues that are beyond your budget early on. That said, some venues are open to negotiation on price, so it’s worth calling to see if they can offer you a discount. While it’s important to say within budget, be cautious about venues that are well under budget as they may not give the best impression to your delegates.

Once you have your budget, consider the content of the meeting itself. What will the participants be doing at the event? This is followed closely by ‘how many participants are there?’ With this information you’ll be able to decide how many rooms are needed, the size of the rooms and the facilities available, for example will you need a projector and screen, flip chart, outdoor space, breakout rooms for group work? It can be helpful to check with the speakers, trainers or presenters at this stage to make sure you know exactly what they need to lead the event. Obviously, you need a venue with enough space for all the delegates but be cautious about choosing a venue which is too big as this can give the impression that many of the delegates failed to show up!

Now you know the features the venue needs to have, consider the location. Does it need to offer peace and quiet away from the city? Or does it need to be in a city centre so it can be accessible for people travelling long distances and staying in city hotels? If many delegates are staying overnight, look at business meeting venues with accommodation. This reduces travelling time for the delegates, decreases the chance of delays starting the meeting due to traffic and encourages networking over meals and in the evenings. Alternatively, if it’s a short meeting where delegates are travelling on the same day, it may be more important to pick a location which is easily accessible by road and rail.

Try to match the style of the venue to the purpose of the meeting. A peaceful location in the country may be a good fit for a business retreat, whereas a more standard business conference may be better suited to a city hotel with conference facilities. Take a look at Partyhouses.co.uk  for inspiration. A short, relaxed meeting could even take place in a café.

Don’t forget to consider the refreshments available – will you need a sit-down meal, buffet, snacks? Are their options such as vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free? It’s also important to consider the accessibility of the venue. Often people consider accessibility to mean ramps for wheelchairs, but there are many other ways of making an event accessible including making sure lifts are working, that there is accessible parking close by and there are facilities such as induction loops in meeting rooms.

Good luck and I hope you find the perfect venue for your event!

Why you should consider a part time job

Many mums want to return to work part time after having a baby, but until recently the employment options have been limited. Part time work has often been low paid and didn’t allowed highly skilled and experienced women to make full use of their talents.

Thankfully that’s changing now. During the 2009 recession, many companies encouraged staff to go part time rather than make redundancies. This meant that part-time working became more ‘normal’, although unfortunately this was sometimes not by choice.  Also, many highly experienced staff are now choosing to work part-time rather than fully retire. This means organisations can take advantage of that experience but without the cost of employing that person full-time.

With part-time working no longer necessarily meaning low-paid work, the opportunities are improving for mothers, too. It’s been clear for many years that traditional working patterns don’t sit easily with family life, but now there are trailblazers who are promoting more flexible ways of working including Juliet Turnbull, a former chartered surveyor who started a job site for mums who want to work two to three days a week. Some of the more traditional businesses such as consulting firms are offering part time job opportunities, for example Accenture offers part time working, job share and telecommuting.

How does this fit with running a business around a family? Well, some mums had little choice but to become self employed when their kids arrived – there simply were no other options. Having more employment choices is very welcome for those of us who’d rather be employed than self-employed.

But for those of us who do want to pursue our businesses, it can be a hard to care for a young family, start a business (including funding it) and make an income at the same time. A part time job that pays a decent wage gives you freedom to experiment with business ideas but without the pressure to make an income from your business from day one.

The part time job has been a life saver for many people – parents or not – who started businesses suddenly (say because they were made redundant or had a baby) but needed an income until the business was making enough profit to support them. But it’s not just about money. Starting a business from home can be isolating and gradually chip away at your confidence. A good part-time job that makes good use of your skills can keep your confidence levels up. If the job relates to your new business, you could even develop useful skills and contacts. Check your contract carefully to make sure your business activities are allowed and never try to ‘poach’ clients from your employer!

As you can see, you no longer need to be either 100% employed or 100% business owner. There are many options now that allow you to be a mixture of both as you transition from employed to self-employed or business owner. In fact, there are many benefits to taking this route including it being easier on your bank balance, work-life balance and stress levels!

Image: Bruce Mars

 

Ever thought of freelancing?

As a mum with a young family you need to earn an income but you need flexibility, too. Childcare is expensive, so if you can work hours that minimise your need for childcare you can save a lot of money (and can work fewer hours if you like). You also need to be able to drop your work and pick it up later if you have a sick child to take care of. And then there’s the flexibility we all want so we can go to school sports days and concerts. You also need work that doesn’t involve too much travel because you need to be back for when school or nursery closes for the evening.

Freelancing from home ticks all these boxes so it could be a great fit for you. True, there are challenges, including finding clients and needing to shift your mindset from employee to business owner. Here are some tips to get you started.

Choose the service you offer

First of all, what do you have to offer? Look at your skills and experience, for example do you have project management skills, are you a good writer do you know social media well? These don’t have to be skills you’ve developed at work, often you can make use of skills you’ve learned in your spare time or voluntary work. If you feel your skills need a bit of a polish or you could use a testimonial, reference or even some examples for your portfolio, you can consider working for family or friends or volunteering for a charity.

Make use of technology

Technology has made a huge difference to freelancing from home, both in obvious ways such as small businesses needing someone to handle their websites and social media, but also in less obvious ways such as tools like Asana and Slack being used to manage remote team working.

It’s also relatively cheap and easy to get started – both at home and on the move as you wait for your kids to finish their sports clubs! All you need is a laptop, internet connection (broadband or wifi) and cheap, often free, software.

‘Technology is inevitably shaping a lot of business practices.’ says technology expert Adrian Rubin.

Try networking to find clients

The big question for new freelancers is ‘how do I find clients’? There are many ways you could find clients, but one of the most effective and widely used is networking.

The great news for those of us who are working around a family is that you can do this online. Twitter and LinkedIn are very effective ways of finding people who need freelancers, as well as some Facebook groups for small business owners. But always aim to encourage people to know, like and trust you rather than diving straight in with a sales pitch.

Although it’s easy to network online, don’t be shy about going to local networking events as these can be very effective. If the more formal groups aren’t your style there are plenty of more relaxed groups you could try.

Freelancing is a great low-risk, low-cost way to start your own small business so why not give it a try?