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Sharia Finance

Islamic finance is a market worth over £ 1 trillion and UK banks are keen to break into this marketplace.

Sharia finance is derived from the religious text of the Koran. It follows three basic rules:

  • Devout Muslims must not be involved with markets that are considered sinful, such as gambling, alcohol, tobacco, arms, cinema, pornography or anything to do with pig meat.
  • They must avoid taking risks, such as investing in hedge funds and spread betting
  • It bans the payment of interest. In other words you are not allowed to create money by money. This rule makes it hard to use Western banking products such as loans, mortgages and savings accounts.

How to Write a Winning Funding Business Plan

Part 2: Getting Started

This month’s blog is going to concentrate on how to get started when writing your funding business plan. Staring at a blank page and trying to get inspiration is often very daunting, especially as most people have never had to write a funding business plan before.

Land of (missed) Opportunities – part 1: Engage & Educate

Recently, in the space of a week or so, three individual events sparked my interest. All relate to business opportunities that were already ‘warm’ and with the right approach would have led to income for the people I was interacting with. Each has a slightly different slant but I feel there is something to reflect on in each, in this post I will reflect on the first.

The Branding exercise

How is your business like a hosepipe?

What can you learn about your business from looking at a hosepipe?

A hosepipe is used to transport water from one place to where you want to use the water. Depending on the length of the pipe, how many kinks or obstructions there are; their will be an amount of time that passes before the water starts to flow out of the hosepipe and how well it flows, once the tap has been opened.

Why do so many British Companies ignore R & D Tax Credits?

The Government wants to give money back to British Companies that undertake research and development. Unfortunately many Managing Directors and Finance Directors and even their Accountants concentrate on the word ‘research’ and not on the word ‘development’ and so believe that this means that they will not qualify. In many cases this will not be true and so they are missing out on this very useful source of funding. If you are developing a new product or service, or making improvements to existing products and services you may very likely be eligible. Even software companies have been successful.

The scheme is designed to encourage and reward innovation. It allows innovative companies to either recover Corporation Tax paid and or receive a rebate of the NIC/PAYE generated by the business. Most first time claimants are able to also submit a claim for the last two completed year ends.
The average claim in the first year is £40k

With a little help from my friends …

So if you have read some of my blog posts before, especially on my own site, you will have no doubt realised that there have been many occasions in my life where times have been tough and I have been left reeling. However, I am a strong believer in no matter what life deals you, if you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and bounce right back again, but this time not only stronger but also smarter because you learn from that episode in your life.

I know so many people who have gone through all kinds of challenges within their lives and they still keep fighting and smiling. So, why is it that when people receive knocks and obstacles within their business lives, they often crumble at the first sign of difficulty? Having gone through personal and professional difficulties, I believe I know the answer.

Do You Have An Exit Strategy For Your Business?

When you started your business, did you have a vision about where it would take you and how you would eventually exit the business?

If not, it is something you should consider and plan for so that you maximise the return on your years of investment; time and money!

There are a number of different options available for disposing of a business and some important considerations to make before you close the door of your business behind you.

Key Mistakes That Sellers Make

Business Head vs Human Heart

Business is all about figures and is widely acclaimed as the only language of business.  This is why Richard Branson can run an airline, a makeup company, a railway, a media company, Virgin Comics, a formula 1 racing team and the list goes on.  However there is always a human element. I’m not just talking the people involved but the heart of the business owner. If you are in business for yourself it’s because you are passionate about something.  Whether this is plastering, cabling, security, electrics or social media you started because you love it.  This is when the cold hard world of business and your heart start to do battle and sometimes in business this can be quiet often.  However, in life in general you can allow your heart to win more than not, but in business it has to be the head that triumphs more often.

Reality TV really reality?

It’s become a reality world on our TV and it’s proving to be addictive TV.  We have seen a big surge or reality TV in the last few years but did you know it all began back in the 1940’s with Candid Camera but really exploded in popularity in 2000 with Big Brother.  Since then we have seen programs such as X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Pop Idol, Popstars The Rivals, I’m a Celebrity, Dancing with the Stars and the list goes endlessly on.  More recently we have seen the genre develop more with main sub cultures appearing, such as programmes that focus such as professional life such as Airport, Miami Ink, Police Stop, and even a shift towards business building reality shows in recent years… such as Dragons Den and The Apprentice.

As a business owner I tend to pick and choose what I watch on the television carefully and I’ve been intrigued at this new type of television programming.

What price customer service?

 

 

I am currently looking for a new road bike, as I’m planning to do a tri-athlon within the next year. I have been to three shops to look at bikes, get information etc and have widely differing experiences of engagement and customer service during this time. Let me share with you a brief summary of it.

 

The first shop I went to is a long established, small independent retailer. When I walked into the shop I was greeted and quickly asked what I was looking for. I gave a brief introduction and I was put in the hands of another member of the staff. He proceeded to tell me a little about some bikes that were in my price bracket, not getting too technical and then we spoke about some gear such as pedals and shoes. I felt that I had been well looked after and was happy with the level of service I got.

 

I next went to a large, national chain. I walked into their cycle department and despite my obvious interest in the road bikes none of the several staff in the shop approached me. I found a bike that looked about right for my needs, it was a new model, and there was clearly a price on it. I approached one of the staff, explained my requirements. When I pointed out the bike, the ‘lad’ said that the bike was a new range and hadn’t been priced yet – first fail. I then asked for a quote, was handed a leaflet and told to ring national call centre – second fail. With which I left the shop, I could not believe the lack of interest when it was clear I was in the market for a purchase.

Why I started Virtual Health

Why I started Virtual Health

I started working with individuals because I love bringing out the best in them – and that’s what I’m at! I identified that there was a niche in the health & fitness market place, initially, for those individuals who were embarrassed to go to the gym.

Should I buy, lease or use HP to obtain that needed addition equipment?

Over the years I have often been asked what is the difference between buying, leasing or using HP to obtain that needed extra piece of equipment. The answer really is different from one company to the next, but here are the general guidelines concerning how they are treated for accounting, Tax and VAT purposes.

Outright Purchase:

From an accounting viewpoint the actual cost of the asset is capitalised in the balance sheet and an annual charge for depreciation is shown in the accounts as an expense in the profit and loss account. This therefore has the effect of showing the asset(s) in the balance sheet at cost, reduced by the cumulative charge for depreciation.

The annual depreciation charge is calculated in accordance with accounting standards, based on the useful economic life of the asset and the residual value.

image creator: Rob Wiltshire

The actual charge for depreciation is not allowed for tax purposes, as this is replaced by capital allowances, which is HM Revenue & Customs deduction regime for allowing capital expenditure against chargeable profits. The first £50,000 of expenditure each year on plant and equipment, excluding cars, qualifies for a 100% capital allowance deduction. Expenditure in excess of £50,000 enters either the 10% pool or the 20% pool, attracting a writing down allowance (WDA) at the appropriate rate.

A temporary first year allowance of 40% is available for expenditure on plant and machinery that exceeds the annual investment limit incurred in the year commencing on 1 April 2009 (corporation tax) or 6 April 2009 (income tax). This allowance applies to expenditure which would otherwise have been allocated to the main 20 % pool but excluding cars and assets for leasing.

Unless the asset is a car, the VAT shown on the supplier’s invoice will generally be recoverable by the purchaser.  VAT on cars is recoverable only in very rare circumstances.

Hire purchase

A HP agreement usually includes an option to purchase at the end of an initial period. Payment of this nominal fee transfers title of the asset and brings the legal agreement to an end.

The asset is treated as if it had been purchased. It is, therefore, capitalised in the balance sheet and depreciation is provided on an annual basis.

The obligation to pay future instalments is recorded as a liability in the balance sheet.

Top Ten Tips To Starting To Telephone Cold Call – Part One

Top Ten Tips To Starting To Telephone Cold Call – Part One

I’ve been making appointments via the phone for over 25 years…here’s some quick tips to help you get started.

1.       Be prepared! Sounds obvious, but make sure you have lots of paper and a pen cos you are going to need to make some notes.

2.       Who do you need to speak to? The Director? The HR Manager? The Facilities Manager? Higher up the food chain so to speak, the better results you will get. Make sure before you pick the phone up you know what decision maker you need to be asking for.

3.       What’s the aim of your call? Be sure before you pick up the phone. Is it to fact find? Get a name? Make an appointment?

4.       Receptionists are not Gatekeepers, dragons or destined to make your life hell. They are merely doing their job and acting as their employers have asked them to.  Bodes well to remember that because the quicker you make friends with the receptionists the quicker you will get through to the decision maker.

5.       Best opening line ever coming up…wait for it…” Hello, I wonder if you can help me please?”.

There’s an ‘ugly frog’ in the room

Having a brainstorming meeting with my good friend Michelle Dalley (www.creatingmedia.co.uk), she asked me what my ‘ugly frog’ was? I had never before heard this expression and Michelle explained that in business everyone has their own ugly frog, something that sits in the corner of the room that you don’t want to face or deal with. For many, its paperwork, you know you have to do it but you will do anything you can to avoid facing it.

Mine is without doubt making sales calls, I love meeting people face to face and am happy to do this all day long but I will do everything possible to avoid making a cold call.

So how do we embrace this and turn our ugly frog into a handsome prince?

All this social media stuff doesn’t work!

So many people scoff when I tell them how active I am on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy and about 30 other networks.  “I don’t have time for all that,” they say, “It’s a time waster – and, anyway, it doesn’t work.”

“What do you want it to do?”  I ask.

It’s a question guaranteed to stop most people in their tracks.  The responses I get vary from a shrug to a bit of preliminary mumbling followed by “More sales!”

I can be really horrible and ask a lot more tough questions (I was trained as a coach once) like:

“Do you like people selling to you on social media?”

“Do you have a marketing strategy for your business?”

“How much time to do you invest in networking offline?”

I’ve tried asking some of these questions, but they scare people!

So here’s my opportunity to explain about why social media doesn’t work – and how it can work very well indeed.

History lesson

Social media has been around since the 1990s, Ecademy launched in 1998.  LinkedIn appeared early in 2003, followed by Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006.  They’re not going away so people who don’t use their free services are missing a marketing opportunity.

Activity

Social media needs consistency – so one tweet a fortnight isn’t enough.  If you’re not making any noise people don’t know you’re there.  If you have a Facebook business page you need to keep it active, it won’t happy all on its own.  If you have a LinkedIn profile you need to be seen in groups and on the Q&A section for people to know you exist and get to know you.

Time management

The time issue is important – it’s true that you can get distracted and find a morning or afternoon has disappeared if you’re not careful.  However, most people are willing to attend one networking meeting a week to promote their business and meet people who may either become customers or refer them to others who need their products or services.

The challenge for most people is that it’s easy to get sucked in and spend half a day chatting to people about inconsequential trivia.  I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have conversations, but they should be a conscious investment of time.

The average networking event lasts a couple of hours plus travelling time.  It’s part of your marketing effort – why would you not be willing to invest three hours a week in marketing online too?