Employing a new member of staff can be a scary thought for any employer even the most experienced ones. Will that person fit in with the team, can they do the job, what will they cost me.

It depends on what type of job you are trying to fill as to how strict you need to make the interview process.

A lower paid non responsible role might be at minimum wage whereas a manager or professionally experienced person might be at a much higher salary so you need to make changes as far as getting the right candidates to apply. Be clear from the outset what it is that you want. Do you need a full time or part time person, is the job permanent or casual.

Put together a job specification which will list all of the jobs and responsibilities the person has. Do they need specific qualifications to do the job.

A person specification this is where you are looking at the personality of the person, the experience that is required, what type of specific jobs are they essentially needed to be experienced in, to get a chance of an interview.

Grade every candidate with a score depending on how they fit with your specification above, it’s a little more time consuming but will quickly discard candidates who don’t fit your requirements.

The interview make a list of questions you need to ask and try and encourage the person in front of you to open up and talk about their experience. This will allow you a small insight into their personality.

If this is a role for an experienced or technical job, then give them a test as well as a person to person interview. I tend to do a test at the end of the interview when the candidate is all relaxed. They are more likely to be calm when you are in discussion with them.

Check references always, don’t take anyone on face value, and if you have other members of staff introduce the person at the interview. Other employees feedback is always helpful as at the end of the day they need to fit in with your already established team.

Give them a contract of employment this is required by law, even a casual member of staff is entitled to holiday pay.

An employee is controlled by the terms of their contract with you. You can allocate them any job that is within the remit of their employment.

They tend to be cheaper than a subcontractor but you are responsible for handing over their income tax and national insurance contributions. Plus Employers NI which is currently 13.8% above the lower rate earnings.

They are entitled to holiday pay

Entitled to pension under the new scheme automatic enrollment

There is more chance of loyalty from an employee as you are providing them with their main work

Outsourcing A Subcontractor

This can be useful if you only have a need for a small pocket of time for a particular project or contract. As you are not offering a permanent role.

They tend to be slightly more expensive than an employee as they are responsible for their own income tax and national insurance.

You can expect them to be able to do the task in hand as they are likely to be experienced in that particular field you are employing them for.

You do not control what they do, but should expect a reasonable level of professionalism and expertise.

They are not entitled to holiday pay or sick leave or pension.

They are likely to be working for other people so other than a commitment in a contract you might be waiting for work to be done.

Recruiting someone in this capacity should like employment be done on the basis that they will fit in with the team and that they can do the job effectively. They are not entitled to redundancy payment







This blog is intended for information purposes only, you may have your own suggestions.  Use this a guide only

Love is in the air this month, with Valentine’s Day just here .. and now is the time to give your business the TLC it also needs.

Investment. Investment in a business can be many things. It can be your investment of time and energy in nurturing your business as it grows. It can be working on your operations, improving your processes and making yourself more efficient.

Investment is money. The business may not be generating you the income you were expecting, so investing some money into the business to spend on a marketing campaign, or buying that piece of equipment that will make the operation run smoother may seem painful initially. We are still at the start of the New Year, getting these investment ideas up and running will be worth it in the end.

Now is the time to take a closer look at your customer base, are you meeting their every expectation? Is there something you are not currently offering that could add value, or which you can use to up-sell to increase your sales turnover? A business which knows their customers very well, and manages their expectations always succeeds.

Marketing. Take a look at your marketing strategy. If you are putting time and money into activities that don’t work, then you need to stop them! Only spend money and time on what works for your business. Measuring the success of your marketing is a very important exercise that needs to be done on a regular basis.

Processes. Is there something you are doing that can be done more efficiently? The difference between profit and loss can often be a case of the process being too cumbersome. So, streamline your processes to meet the changing needs of your business. This will become increasingly vital as your business grows. If you don’t manage your processes – you are guaranteed to waste money.

You the owner. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you are busy and stressed you will not have the mindset to focus on your business effectively. Watch your stress points and take regular holidays. I still see far too many clients visiting me looking completely worn out. It’s not good for you – and it’s definitely not good for your business.

Your business is an investment for the future, feed it and it will grow.




This blog is intended for information purposes only and is only advice from past experience, you may have other suggestions of your own. It is not intended to be used to make all of your business decisions but as a guide only.

Improving your credit score

We are seeing an increasing number of our clients looking for mortgages and loans with their banks. It’s a good thing because it means that our client base is looking ahead at moving home, moving up the ladder by getting a more expensive house, or expanding their businesses.

As owners/directors of a business, your business and personal lives cross over, so these tips to get that dream house or expanding your business to meet your strategic goals will be similar.

The banks and finance houses look at a number of things when deciding whether to loan you money.

Can you pay it back ?

Do you meet their risk assessment criteria ?

What assets do you own ?

As a soletrader or Director of a Limited company your accounts to a bank are just as important as the personal income you are taking from the business.

They generally look at three years accounts, wanting to see that not only is the director taking an income, there is a defined growth year on year, the director is not taking out the complete amount of disposable profit, and keeping the balance sheet positive. This also needs to show year on year growth.

There are two main figures which are of high importance on a balance sheet ive discussed previously, the Net Current Assets, which is an indication of working capital, or cash in the business. The other figure is the overall total balance sheet value, this again needs to be positive.

The more money you wish to borrow the stronger the balance sheet and directors income needs to be.

This is not an overnight task but needs to be planned ahead over a period of time, but by putting in some self restraint and leaving funds or assets in the business you are over time improving your credit score.

Another scoring technique the bank uses is the amount of credit the company is taking and asking for. Whether is through credit with suppliers, a credit card, or a short term loan, ie overdraft. The bank will be checking your records demonstrating that you are being given credit by 3rd parties and are paying it back on time and within the terms of those agreements.

We have a number of clients who have been able to self sustain their businesses by not needing to apply for credit. This will unfortunately go against you if you are looking to expand. You need to be applying for credit every so often so that your credit history is gaining information. Even if you don’t need the money, and don’t want to pay any interest. You can apply for a credit card and just make sure you pay it off at the end of the month, you are naturally improving your credit score just by applying for the credit.

If you have an overdraft already in place its worth having a meeting with your bank manager keeping them informed of your plans for the future. We as a business put it into our routine to have a meeting every six months. As a company did this recently not only did the bank provide us with a larger overdraft than we had originally asked for, but as we had built up a good credit score, and were considered low risk to them they reduced the interest rate voluntarily by half for a much larger credit facility. It is definitely worth staying in touch with your bank manager.

Your own operational processes within the business. If you are giving credit to customers, make sure you are keeping on top of chasing the debt. Keeping your cash inflows at regular intervals this means to a bank that you are very active and have good controls in place, making you low risk to them. Next time youre reading your bank statement take a look and check not only the value of the cash inflows but the number of transactions. Frequent transaction is gold dust to a bank you are demonstrating large activity.

The cash outflows, if you are using an overdraft be sure to come out of the overdraft and into positive at least once a month. And never go over the overdraft. You will be penalised badly by the bank for doing so and can even have a much needed resource taken away. Remember an overdraft is very short term, it can be recalled and cancelled at anytime. I hope you find this article useful and use it a planning tool for your future, both personal and professional.





This blog is intended for information purposes only and is only advice from past experience, you may have other suggestions of your own. It is not intended to be used to make all of your business decisions but as a guide only.

For anyone who is looking at taking on a an employee in the next 12 months, then this article is just for you.

There is a good budget at the moment with assistance with wages for both apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

ACT Training is providing training and assistance to young people aged 16 - 24 years.  Take a look at their website on /www.acttraining.org.uk/apprenticeships-2

Paying £100 towards wages on a full time placement for the first six months, followed by £50 per week for the next six months.  There is also funding for training available.  Take a look at this website its got some useful information the helpline is good too.

Jobs Growth Wales again is offering placements for six months, paying the national minimum wages for the first six months.

website is wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/skillsandtraining/jobsgrowthwales/?lang=en

Lastly the graduate scheme at Go Wales.  I recently attended their 10 year anniversary event, this organisation is actively seeking employment for students.  There are two schemes in place the placement scheme where the student stays with you for a six month placement and Go Wales supports the wages bill.  

Or you can have the taster sessions where the student get a small taster of your business which is great for if you have a project in mind to be finished, or are unsure whether you can employ a person.   The taster sessions are normally free of payment.


Think of this article as taking a look into the future and growing your business, you are also giving a young person the opportunity that you once had.  So go on what are you waiting for?


Thanks Nicola