Posts Tagged ‘Blogroll’

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.

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.

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?

Pass it on economy – are you listening?

 This post is by Bernie  Mitchell

This is almost too obvious to write, “word of mouth is just the best thing you can have.” All the words that go with it like buzz, vibe, pass it on are groovy – ok maybe not viral.

I was at a networking lunch and we were saying what we did and someone jumps in with – “I am Penny and the type of referral I am looking for today is…”

Now was this a misunderstanding? Does she operate in a world where she sits down with people she has never met and something other than lunch arrives at the table?

It occurred to me that the “People to People” economy is a very technical business to be in because you have to plug something in and I don’t just mean electrical power.

I mean REALLY technical as in emotional which is even more complicated. Oscar Wilde famously said that the “only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about.” Because in the “People to People” economy you need to get people talking about you and that does not happen overnight. Amber Naslund explains this in her blog about building your network before you need them here.

 

I know that people do business with people they know like and trust; previously this applied to B2B, these days both corporate and small companies are in the people to people business.

 

“If you get quiet for long enough, if you really listen, then and only then will they tell you the secret. Knowing the secret means you get to be here five years from now.”

 

Word of mouth is in just about everything we read, write and speak. In the super market or bar a buying decision will be triggered by people talking and an emotional connection.

That gap between stimulus and response happens when we feel something, in this way emotion is our social currency, and passion drives us to pass it on. Because people will naturally pass on passion word of mouth is the most amazing positive influence. Often sales and marketing is misunderstood as a “convincing business” no one likes to be sold or to have someone convince them to do something, whether that is buy a beer, choose a school for their child or buy a new laptop.

 

Free Apps to Enhance Your Facebook Page

Facebook Pages are terribly dull places when you first create them. You have a wall, an info tab and a place to stick some photos. You might think of using the discussion area on there but mostly these are pages with only a few posts by the page admins. By and large, Facebook Pages aren’t very interesting until you add some apps and custom tabs. Here I want to run you through some of the free tools you can use to enhance your Facebook Page in an instant.

Add Google Maps

This app is a great contact tab for your Facebook Pages despite suggesting you simply get a Google Map added to your page. Instead of just that, you get to add links to your business’ other social network accounts on Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others. There is also a section to add a Google or Bing map to your page making it even easier for your users to find your business. To find the app, click here.

Pagemodo

I am probably not alone in thinking this but it is pretty hard trying to design a good looking landing tab on Facebook for those of us who were not blessed with a designers eye for detail. Thankfully a bunch of clever people created Pagemodo, the WYSIWYG page creator for Facebook Pages. With no technical knowledge at all you can create a Facebook Tab that shows off your business in a great light – no Microsoft Paint necessary! The best thing about is it you get one tab entirely free. Result!

RSS Grafitti

If you’re using your Facebook Page to get people onto your website, quite possibly via your blog, you could a lot worse than install RSS Grafitti. A lot of RSS tools that you can install onto your Page will give you a plain list of your most recent posts whereas RSS Grafitti allows you to add a great looking tab to your page that pulls all your content into a fantastic looking page. It automatically posts content to your wall and can be setup in a few minutes with you never heaving to fiddle with the settings again.

Static HTML

The guys at Involver certainly know how to make a decent app or two and their Static HTML tab gives you the freedom to create a tab using HTML that we all know and love. When Facebook stopped supporting new FBML tabs there were many who thought setting up a simple page with a few graphics and clickable links would become very difficult to run. Not so. Installing Static HTML makes the whole process real easy and you once again you can play about to create tabs that really make your Page stand out.

Who’s been tinkering again?


This post is by Karen Wilson

Would you let Jim the office junior attempt to fix electrics if they went bang in the middle of the working day? Would you let Paula on reception mend a broken gas pipe in the office kitchen?

I’m guessing (or rather hoping) the answer is no. So why oh why do companies let Jim and Paula have a little tinker with their IT systems???

We appreciate that in (as we hear so often) “the current climate” companies need to keep tight hold on the purse strings and that every penny needs to be justifiably accountanted for .

Now when Jim has that little tinker with the server because “he’s a whizz on a computer” or decides to download several printer drivers trying to find the right one to network the new printer what he’s actualy doing is potentially causing the company downtime, running the risk of viruses and slowing the hardware down as it fills with unesscesary software

So whilst the company thinks they’ve just saved themselves £150-£200 it may have actually cost them £1000’s in down time and loss of productivity.

Nowadays most businesses cannot function without their IT systems and business can quickly grind to a halt.

It’s really not uncommon for businesses to call an IT company in a blind panic when the systems have gone down and no amount of tinkering can bring them back up. Guess what?? Experienced, qualified IT people don’t generally tinker….what they do and how they work comes from years of experience and hours of studying.

A good solid IT infrastructure can help a business improve productivity and work smarter. If a company is tendering for large contracts (particularly in the public sector) then a good solid, secure infrastructure is an absolute must. As a business there are several options that can be considered to help you keep you and your team keep working seamlessly and efficiently

It’s all about me……..

It’s not actually all about me this one, but interesting how people in a pressured working environment neglect to remember that there is actually  ’no I in team’….

How do your motivation levels effect your work?

Fact – low motivation affects confidence levels, it affects how we feel, how others around us perceive us and how we behave towards clients.

It is an art being consistent and managing how you feel, but it is an important factor to maintaining balance during work. If we understand how our behaviour affects not only how we feel but how it affects people around us then we can work on how we maintain our motivation levels.

When an organisation is anything but…

This post is by Rosie Garwood

Surprising as it may seem, the vision of a business, even its organisational structure can be the management’s best kept secret.

Given this, it’s not hard to see why many teams seem to lack direction or a sense of purpose. I’ve lost count of the number of times a boss has complained that his people fail to see the bigger picture, and every time my response is to ask when was the last time they shared this bigger picture with the team.

Is your email address or phone number costing you business?

This post is by Helen Stothard

 

What email address or phone number do you advertise for your business? Chances are you may be losing custom if you do not portray the correct professional image.

Frequently we come across businesses advertising yahoo, hotmail or gmail email addresses on the Internet.  Why? For example, Joe Bloggs is a plumber by trade.  If he advertises joebloggs@hotmail.com or joe@joebloggs.co.uk which do you suppose will be treated more seriously?  Which gives the perception of a professional business?

Networking. Where to start?

An important part of any new business is networking, meeting other people that may either require your services or perhaps know someone that will. Laying foundations with new contacts, and sowing seeds for business growth.

And this day and age there are many networking events out there. All of them are very good. They all have something slightly different to offer.

I Hate Invoice Discounting and Factoring!

This was a cry that I used to hear frequently from managing directors of SMEs. When I asked them why, it became clear that some were speaking from past experience and others just repeating what they had been told.

Why has one of the best and most useful forms of funding got such a bad reputation in some quarters? The answers date back from a few years ago and certainly pre-recession.  In those days the providers could pick and chose who they would do business with and were inflexible with their terms and companies were growing so fast that they needed this type of finance to avoid over-trading and were not particular about whom they obtained it from.

Lord Sugar and the Telegraph corner shop

As a marketeer I’m always on the lookout for inspirational ideas and stories about how businesses and business people are successful in marketing their products and services.  Few business people will fail to recognise the face of Alan Sugar, even fewer will fail to acknowledge the value of reading his autobiography – What you see is what you get. I’m currently about half the way through it and thoroughly enjoying the read. Apart from it giving me an insight into the man, it is also challenging a key tenet of my belief about the value of low pricing as part of a marketing strategy. The Amstrad strategy was always built on “stack them high and sell them cheap” and without a doubt it was a successful ploy; the company made millions that way. In my marketing workshops I advise small and medium sized businesses to avoid this strategy and to focus on quality and customer care because only the big boys with massive buying power can win in a low price war; it’s a well documented marketing theory and one that’s easily understood. Once the undercutting begins, only the player with the biggest and deepest pockets can win out.

Driving More Profit Through E-Commerce

You can read any number of articles that tell you how easy it is to sell online. Set up an e-commerce site, and the sales will just come rolling in.
But there are rather less sources of advice around to tell you how to do it profitably. So here are a few things to consider:-

The benefits of outsourcing in a small business

This post is by Philippa Bowen

Making the decision to outsource a service, a product, or a process can be the best thing you ever do for your business. It can save you money, people power and physical resources. If you are a small business and are trying to run your company single handed then outsourcing will undoubtedly make the job easier. Well that has always been my opinion and is what I say to business owners when I get asked this question. I also recommend that businesses get into the habit of outsourcing as soon as possible in life of the business. Why?

Warning: SEO at work!

This post is by Hazel Walker

 

You’re no doubt familiar with SEO, search engine optimisation. If you’re a widget maker in Essex and you’ve had your site optimised, people who put “widget maker in Essex” into Google have a much better chance of finding you than if you didn’t have your site optimised.

Fine and dandy, if all you’re looking for is a high ranking in Google. If you’re looking for customers, however, you might want to bear in mind the cautionary tale of my client, I’ll call her Freda.