We’re in the full swing of the Summer Holidays, as a business owner this can be a very busy time if youre in the food and leisure industry, it can also be a quieter time as many owners see because everything appears to be put on hold when suppliers and customers take time off and are on holiday.

How does Summer affect you? I see many business owners not taking time away from their business and carrying on regardless. Its important to have time away to recharge the batteries and to re-evaluate where you are going with it.

A lot of my clients are small micros businesses who might not have an army of staff to take care of things whilst theyre away. Heres a few tips they’ve shared with me on how they still manage to run their business but still take some important r & r.

Plan the diary around their holiday, do the bigger more important jobs in the run up to the holiday then plan the next jobs to be in the diary when they return.

Take small breaks so time away isn’t too dramatic and they don’t face backlogs coming back. Ie a long weekend away a couple of times a year.

Use a subcontractor to keep things ticking over until they come back.

Those companies with staff, leave clear instructions on what is to be done whilst theyre away.

Others leave the mobile phone on in case of emergencies but limit their workload reduced over the time period.

Whatever your business please take that rest time, you will read time and time again, those owners who take time away and have the rest are far more likely to succeed, than someone who never takes time away.

Work life balance is important to keep in the mind, we all like to think of ourselves as workaholics, and fully committed. Our health and wellbeing, and feeling motivated and energised is important too.

 

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.

1. Stamp duty will be cut for 98% of people who pay it 

only the highest value residential properties will pay more Under the old rules, you would have paid Stamp Duty Land Tax at a single rate on the entire property price. Now, you will only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band – like income tax. Under the old rules, if you bought a house for £185,000, you would have had to pay 1% tax on the full amount – a total of £1,850. Under the new rules you don’t start paying tax until the property price goes over £125,000, and then you only pay tax on the price of the property within the tax bands over that price. Under the new rules, you’ll pay nothing on £125,000 and 2% on the remaining £60,000. This works out as £1,200, a saving of £650. This will make the system fairer, and means stamp duty will be cut for 98% of people who pay it. Our stamp duty factsheet explains this policy in more detail. You can also access our infographic which gives some examples of how the new system will work.

2. The tax-free personal allowance is being increased by a further £100 in April 2015, to £10,600 The personal allowance

the amount you earn before you have to start paying income tax – will be increased again from £10,000 to £10,600 in 2015 to 2016. Typically, someone earning between £10,600 and £42,385 will be £825 better off by 2015-16 as a result of increases in the tax-free personal allowance since 2010. Even while making difficult decisions to fix the economy, since 2010, the government has cut income tax for 26.7 million taxpayers. Read the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement speech in full.

 3. Children will be exempt from tax on economy flights This will apply for under 12s on flights from 1 May 2015, and for under 16s from 1 March 2016 

saving an average family of four £26 on a flight to Europe and £142 on one to the US. The government expects these changes should be clear to consumers, and will consult on making sure that the tax is displayed on ticket prices.

4. Spouses will inherit their partner’s individual saving account (ISA) benefits after death

Currently, if someone passes away they can’t pass on their ISA to their spouse, even if they have saved the money together. 150,000 people a year lose out on the tax advantages of their partner’s ISA when their partner passes away. From 3 December 2014, if an ISA holder dies, they will be able to pass on their ISA benefits to their spouse or civil partner via an additional ISA allowance which they will be able to use from 6 April 2015. The surviving spouse or civil partner will be allowed to invest as much into their own ISA as their spouse used to have, in addition to their normal annual ISA limit.

5. Business rates will be cut and capped

with extra Help for the High Street To support small businesses in local communities, the ‘high street discount’ for around 300,000 shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants will go up from £1,000 to £1,500, from April 2015 to March 2016. This is in addition to doubling Small Business Rate Relief for a further year which means 380,000 of the smallest businesses will pay no rates at all. The government will also continue to cap the annual increase in business rates at 2% from April 2015 to March 2016 – this will benefit all businesses paying business rates. Finally, the government will extend the transitional arrangements for smaller properties that would otherwise face significant bill increases due to the ending of ‘transitional rate relief’. Access our infographic on full employment, and the government’s long term economic plan.

6. No more employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) on apprentices under 25

To make it cheaper to employ young people, from April 2016 employers will not have to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) for all but the highest earning apprentices aged under 25. This is in addition to the announcement made at Autumn Statement last year that employers won’t have to pay NICs on under 21s from April 2015. These are part of the government’s wider ambition to have the highest employment rate in the G7.

7. Creative sector tax reliefs will be extended to children’s TV

Following on from the success of the film, high end TV, animation, video games and theatre tax reliefs, a new children’s TV tax relief will be introduced from April 2015. This will counteract a decline in investment in children’s TV in the last decade. Eligible companies will be able to claim 25% of qualifying production spending back through the relief. The government will also consult on introducing a new orchestra tax relief in April 2016.

 


What to do with your business if things have quietened down over summer

This may not be affecting you, but a lot of businesses suffer at some point during the year from seasonality or the great British weather affecting the productivity of their business.

Ive worked in the travel industry where if the weather is too good the telephone stops ringing, but Boxing Day the phone lines are maxed out.

Manufacturing tend to have a shut down over Christmas etc.

Everybody seems to be on holiday in July and August!

This might be adhoc or happens the same time every year, you know its going to happen, so planning ahead for that potential sales fall is vital to keep the operation moving and generating income for when the good times come back.

Keeping a buffer in the bank account certainly helps, you may need to scale back for a short period of time.

But for an ever growing business you are not going to want to scale back you want to keep on going.

Increase the marketing, do a special offer to either get things moving again in the Autumn, or get things moving now. The choice is up to you, but you are going to have to do something about it. Sitting on your laurels will not generate that income.

Use the time to look at your operation, are there systems you can tighten up on, costs to trim down. Think efficiency all the time, if you can do it better, add value, or save some time, its all a good thing.

Or a topical word at the moment, Collaboration. Get together with your network, maybe a couple of you have connected skills, and can promote each other, or do an event together and share the proceeds. What have you got to lose.

The important thing is to not sit back and wait for it to come, you make it happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Most business owners don’t realise that unless you have secured your name and logo through registering a trademark that you may not actually own your own brand.

Registering at Companies House is not enough to stop somebody else using your logo and claiming it as their own.

Please take a look at the following website.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm.htm

The Intellectual Property Office, are spending time informing business owners of the benefits of registering their business logo as a Trademark,. If you get the opportunity to go along to one of their seminars it is highly recommended.

Business Wales have advisors that can also help you with Intellectual property or patents as it was formerly known. http://business.wales.gov.uk/

To register a trademark is quite simple and costs £170 for 10 years, then you renew after that. You don’t need to be Kellogg’s or Tesco to see the Importance of this registration, the trade mark registration will increase the value of your business should you wish to sell it, plus you will definitely need it if you have planned to set up a franchise of your business, again this increases the value of the business.

If you have ever watched Dragons Den, it is one of the first questions the Dragons will ask the owner of the business. There are many options for you to protect but starting with your name should be the first point for increasing your business success, and definitely its value.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

When you are running a business whether a new company or a well established one, getting the costing of your products or services costed correctly is crucial to your success.

Service Companies

Creating the Sales price.

Your main component of cost is going to be heavily on labour. You’re going to have to make sure that not only have you covered your labour cost, ie Cost plus employers NI. Contribution to overheads plus that all important profit.

A service company needs to have a mechanism for keeping track of those labour costs versus quoting for a job, at the fingertips at all times. The easiest and simplest route to finding this out is to keep timesheets, or cost the time of every element of each procedure. You always compare the timesheet for a particular job, ie the project, versus the original sales price. This will give you an average hourly rate of the job as a whole. You very importantly need to know the average hourly cost of your overheads. Basing this on the number of hours you have available as a maximum for every member of staff.

Ie You have two members of staff, each work 40 hours per week for 5 days work. As a yearly average that’s 4,160 hours at your disposal or 347 hours per month. Your overhead for example is £2,000 per month which equates to £5.76 per hour. A cost of this nature would be labour cost per hour, plus £5.76 overhead plus % profit.

Every business and industry is different, and you’re dictated quite a lot of the time by market rates, or competitors. By knowing your average overheads and labour costs, you will know the price you cant go below or face making a loss.

Hotels have this down to a fine art. They are mainly in the services industry again heavily focused on labour costs. When you have booked your room for the night. They will know ahead of time, the number of rooms they have, the cost of an empty room, and the cost of a full room. They will have broken down in their costing mechanism

The length of time to make a bed!

Cost of cleaning the room, length of time for each room!

Cost of washing the bedding/ towels!

Cost of the tea/coffee facilities!

Heating and lighting for each room!

Your breakfast cost!

Plus a contribution to fixed overheads, and % profit

Whether your service business is hourly project based or procedure based, you need to know the cost of each element.

Manufacturing and product based sales

Again as above you are dictated to by market rates, you might be a low volume business that can charge a premium fee for your product ie Apple Iphone.   Or a high volume business that charges sales at lower margins of profit but has to sell a lot of them. Ie Walkers selling crisps

When costing a product you need first know

Cost of the materials for the product!

Labour time to make it!

Cost of energy to make the product!

The more volume you make the cheaper it should be per product as you will become more automated in your processes plus you are likely to have more negotiation power with supplier costs. You need to build in a little slack as no-one or machine can work at 100% capacity all of the time. You do need to track efficiencies and always look at how you can make things better and demonstrate you are always trying to reduce inefficiencies. This is usually where profit can go down, if a business does not look to always improve its offering.

Supermarkets have just done this in the last 18 months, by offering the self checkout facility, they’ve saved both wages cost, time and rates bills.

The main thing to realise that this is not a static job to do, as you grow and develop or change your product offering you will need to keep monitoring these costs, or you could end up working twice as hard, for a lower gain.

Always be one step ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog is intended for information only, you may have other suggestions of your own.  Please treat this as a guide only.