Reasons to Keep Your Business’ Finances In Check

When you first head into business and start running your own startup, you may believe that finances are pretty simple. You spend a certain amount investing in your business, you make a profit from selling your products and services, and you reinvest. Simple, right? Well, you’d actually be surprised how many ins and outs you’ll find yourself dealing with as time goes on. Perhaps you offer goods on finance or invoice. Maybe you forgot to put your tax and national insurance contributions aside, as you’re so used to having an employer do this on your behalf. Believe it or not, there are various ways that being lax with your business’ finances can negatively affect you without necessarily dragging your company into debt. So, it’s time to get organised! Here are just a couple of reasons that you might want to be a little more organised with your business’ finances!

HMRC Visits

When most business owners hear the letters “HMRC”, they simply think of sorting their taxes out at the end of the tax year. However, nowadays, HMRC can visit your business on both an announced basis and an unannounced basis. They can quite literally just turn up, ask for your records and they can also speak to your staff. If this does happen, you can feel free to ask for proof of identity and the visitors will provide you with a letter explaining that their checks are entirely legal. Generally speaking, this occurrence may put on the guise of being a standard visit, but HMRC doesn’t waste their time visiting businesses out of the blue. If visitors do turn up as part of HMRC Visits, it’s because they believe that something is wrong or doesn’t add up. If you already have your finances and accounts in check, you’re unlikely to receive this visitors in the first place. It is essentially a tax investigation. Thus, it’s good to have all of your proof at hand just in case. Remember that even once the letter has been handed to you, you do have the right to refuse the visitors entry. However, they will want a reason and will try to establish why their entry is being refused if nothing is wrong. It’s better for your image and any further cases that you simply have your affairs in check and can receive visitors as and when they turn up.

Simplifying the End of the Tax Year

The end of the tax year is a stressful time in general for many business owners. Why? Because the self-assessment deadline always seems to approach out of the blue, despite being around the same time every year. If you don’t use an accountant and opt to complete your assessment yourself, you’re going to have to have access to a whole lot of documentation in order to work out all of the figures correctly. This is difficult enough in itself, never mind if you’re rummaging around piles of paperwork trying to find the right statements and pieces of proof of expenditure. Make life easier for yourself by saving all of your financial documents and receipts in monthly folders. Label them clearly so that you can find everything in good time. Also, try to start your returns sooner rather than later. This removes the stress of being rushed. Remember that if you submit your return even a day late, you’ll be subject to all sorts of fees, fines, and penalty charges, plus interest! Being organised with your finances will also mean that you have sufficient cash put aside ready to pay any tax bill or national insurance contributions that you may owe, which will mean that you don’t have to find large sums of money out of the blue to pay for your tax return.

As you can see, a little organisation can take you a long way (and save you a whole lot of stress down the line). So, it’s time to get your professional finances in check! Remember that you don’t have to be entirely alone in this organisation process, which can often be daunting. You may notice that as your business expands, it may be difficult to keep on top of your money matters at the same time as all of your other responsibilities. So consider taking on a receptionist to help with your filing and accountant to crunch the numbers. Just these two additional members of staff can make all of the difference. Even if you only take them on as freelance workers or on a part-time basis.

Image: Pixabay

Important Tips for Choosing the Right Bank

There are numerous considerations that need to be made when you are looking for the right bank. It is important that you take the time to explore your options so that you can select the right one in particular. The more time you spend researching your banking options, the easier it will be to choose the right place.

In this article you will get some helpful tips for when you are trying to find a bank that will meet your needs. The last thing you want to do is rush into this kind of decision.

Find Out About the Fees Each Bank Charges

When you are gathering information on the various banks in your area, you should find out what kinds of fees each one charges. You will want to make a point of selecting a bank that won’t charge you a lot of unnecessary fees, as so many of them do these days. This is especially important if you don’t want to pay a monthly or yearly fee just to have a checking account. There are quite a few banks that offer free checking accounts, so you will need to keep that in mind.

Overdraft Fees

It’s also a good idea for you to find out what each bank’s policy is on overdraft fees, and how much they charge. You will find that most banks offer overdraft protection, but it can cost quite a bit. Some banks charge more than others for overdraft fees, so this is definitely something that you will need to look into before making a final decision.


You will want to think about just how accessible each bank that you look into is. While most banks do offer online services, there might not be a physical branch near you. If it’s important that you have a brick-and-mortar building that you can visit for your banking needs, you will need to make sure you choose the right one.

Use the Internet to Your Advantage

With the internet it is possible to gather all kinds of information on the best banks in America. Take as much time as you need to look through reviews written by customers of different banks before you choose one in particular. This information can be very valuable when you are trying make the best possible decision on a certain bank.


The technology that each bank uses is going to be something else to think about. Some banks use state-of-the-art technology while others use equipment that is more outdated. If you want a bank that offers a mobile app, for example, you will need to look for one that is in the tech loop.

Choosing the right bank is important for a number of reasons, so you will need to spend a decent amount of time looking into the options you have while considering your own needs. Each bank is very different in a lot of ways, so you don’t want to make a hasty decision.

Image: Nattanan

Does Your Business Website Need a Makeover? Trends in Web Design for 2018

Is your website beginning to feel a little dated? Have you analysed its performance recently? Is it really contributing to your business as it should be? Would you like some tips to make your website more successful this year?

We asked an expert web design consultancy offering web design in Bristol, Clevedon, Portishead, and Weston-super-Mare what they believe will be the web design trends which will dominate, so without further delay, here are the most significant trends for web design in 2018.

Emphasis on usability

With respect to web design, it seems that the skeleton design will continue to be strong, allowing a website to be loaded in stages, from the simplest to the most complex. This means an improvement in the usability of the website thanks mainly to the fact that the loading speed is reduced significantly. In the first instance, visitors see the structure of the site and little by little the rest of the content is then loaded.

Modular designs (think Pinterest) will also dominate; the website works through modules that act independently, providing a greater capacity to adapt to the dimensions of each device it is viewed on.

Clever use of colour

With regard to colour, it seems that the tendency will be to create own content with respect to illustrations and infographics, with very interactive designs triumphing above all. The use of bright colours, gradients and very geometric shapes using textures of life itself will be popular. Backgrounds will continue the minimalist and clean design (not only on the site, but also in logos and brand names) and personalization of shapes and buttons.

Even bigger images and video

If we talk about images and videos, these will tend to occupy the entire page, as a presentation of the brand. As long as developers are careful with loading times, this should not be a problem.

Differentiating details

Micro-interactions (small actions that cause a change when the user interacts with them) will also be important. For example, different types of hover effects (activated when the user places the mouse on the image and it changes) or parallax (movements in different speeds of web elements that are activated when scrolling) and of course, virtual reality and 360°.

Distinctive Typography

And last but not least, one of the important trends in web design will be typography, the “hand-made” or vintage styles will still be present to achieve greater differentiation and distinction from the usual. However, circular typefaces and Sans Serif will also occupy a large place among the preferred ones. And one of the trends is to combine texts or horizontal and vertical titles to attract the attention of users.

So, if you feel your website could benefit from being updated, why not seek input from a professional web designer and see if some of these dominant website design trends could work for your site.

Four business trends to watch in 2018

We’re a couple of weeks into the new year and (I hope!) back into work after that first week of intense goal setting, so let’s take a look at the trends to look out for this year.

The growth of social media communities and live video

Our use of technology has increased dramatically in recent years, but we still want to connect with human beings. Patience with businesses who did little but broadcast content on social media dropped significantly in 2017. At the same time, live video became quick, easy and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. These trends coming together in 2018 mean we can connect using technology but on a more human level than ever before.  Smart brands will be tapping into live video within online communities to build relationships. Then when those people meet for real, they already know one another.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will increasingly be used to perform mundane, repetitive task that have been done by humans up until now. If that sounds daunting, then it needn’t be.  According to economic consultant Andrew Charlton, there’s no need to fear AI because it will make businesses more efficient and free up us humans to do more interesting work.

You can find examples of how you could tap into AI in your small business in this article on the Internet of Things.

A new generation is coming of age

There’s no doubt you’ve heard a lot about millennials over the last few years! Their buying habits, their work ethic and much more. In fact, the oldest millennials are now thirty-five and Generation Z (born from 1998) are starting to join the workforce, which means they have money to spend. Generation Z is the first one to have grown up with hand-held devices as the norm rather than a cool new gadget. How will they change the world? Only time will tell.

Sophisticated consumers

Today’s buyers are sophisticated consumers who already know all about your product’s features and benefits before they come to buy it. That means the buyer’s journey is no longer linear and businesses now need to meet their consumers where they are. Businesses need to be thinking in terms of developing communities (yes, communities again!) where there are a mix of buyers, experts and people who are just learning about what you do. The aim is to serve your community whether they are ready to buy or not.

Following on from this, businesses also need to think beyond selling benefits and features, and towards customer experience. Customers are looking for shared values and experiences, so think about using  storytelling and gathering your community together at events.

So there you have it, some business trends to look out for in 2018.

Image: nastya_gepp

Four Areas You Should Grow Your Business In 2018

January is always going to be a month filled with promise and motivation. So many people feel the need to move forward, not only in their personal goals, but also with careers and business. A lot of people start businesses this month, or at least a draw a line in the sand in regards to previous growth and results and look at ways to expand and move a business forward. So what areas should you be looking at if you are serious about moving your business forward? I thought it was an ideal time to share with you four of them that could prove successful for business growth this year.

Image: Startupstock

Social media channels

Social media is always going to be a powerhouse of advertising for your business, but are you really making the most of the platforms available to you? Facebook by far is one of the best ways to market a business with over 1.3 billion people using it each day. A quick focus on your  Facebook marketing strategies could highlight some of the areas you may not be focusing on enough, or even try and pinpoint the type of content shared on this social media platform that works for you. Instagram may mean that you want to improve photography. Even trying out new methods of sharing such as live video, edited videos on YouTube, or even other platforms like Snapchat, could help you reach a wider audience of potential customers.

Expanding locally

It is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. The need to shop small or stay local can really work in your favour, if your market it correctly. This could mean seeking out opportunities of advertising with local events. Joining forces in the way of sponsorship with local charities, and making your company known while helping out the local community or charity of your choice. It can be a great way to become the expert in your field locally, and could open up a whole new customer base.

Improving your ecommerce site

Shopping online is the way forward for some, and there isn’t any hiding from the fact that so much is done by a click and a swipe of the smartphone. So you may really need to consider focusing some time and energy into your ecommerce site. Is it easy to use? Does it have easy payment methods and the fintech needed to support it? Could you extend further from this and have your own app? These are all valid things to consider.

Working on repeat business or referrals

Finally, you may already have a great advertising opportunity sat in your current customer base. How often do you explore the opportunity for repeat business? Or if your product and service is a one time thing, then what about bonuses for referring new customers and clients? Exploring your current customer base could create new opportunities for your business.

I hope that these options give you something to consider to grow your business this year.