5 MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY SME’S

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Starting a small business of your own can be an incredibly fulfilling move for a keen entrepreneur with a bright idea. But sometimes the bread and butter of running your business can get buried under the responsibilities of navigating tax laws, understanding employment duties and ensuring you are fulfilling all other legal requirements.

To avoid your SME’s accounts getting in a mess, take note of these 5 commonly made mistakes.

 

  1. Using your business account for personal purchases

It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s your business, so therefore the business accounts are your accounts. Business and personal finances should always be kept separate. No matter how small your start-up, open a dedicated business account and ensure you only use your business bank card for business purposes and vice versa. The odd mistake can be forgiven, but seriously mixed up finances will cause all manner of difficulties when tax season rolls around.

 

  1. Throwing away receipts

Again, this basic mistake can cause trouble when it comes to totting up your taxes. Losing and throwing away those small slips of paper is easy to do – set up a simple filing system to keep everything in place, or try scanning them and keeping digital records.

 

  1. Trying to be all things to all clients

You can’t do everything at once, especially when you are a small enterprise with limited staff, time and resources. Pinpoint what you’re good at and stick to it. Learning to decline requests from clients which would stretch your skill set to breaking point is just as important as winning business in the first place.

 

  1. Not reinvesting your profits

Hedging your bets by taking profits out of the business is tempting. After all, it is money you have worked hard for. But keeping those first profits reinvested in the business is necessarily to secure long-term performance, acting as precious resources that could be vital in the future.

 

  1. Expanding too soon

Expanding your business can be a clever move when the timing is right. But leaping into new premises and stockists or escalating the scale of your operation starts to sound like less of a good idea when you don’t have enough cash or equity to back it, or the key staff, business systems and supply lines to support such a move. Sitting down to make a thorough expansion plan and costing will make it clear whether your business is ready or needs to grow first.

With the right research, organisation and planning in place, your business will avoid these common issues. Protection is a key player in ensuring your personal finances won’t take a hit if your business suffers a loss. InsureEasy are experienced in arranging all kinds of business insurance for small organisations, so talk to us today for a consultation.

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit http://www.insureeasy.co.uk for all of your insurance needs.
5 MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY SME’S

THE ESSENTIALS AND THE “GOOD-TO-HAVES” OF STALLHOLDERS INSURANCE

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Cramped flea markets, heaving food fairs and vibrant craft exhibitions – the UK’s market scene is as well-populated and embraced as ever, with stallholders peddling everything from artisan bread to handmade iPad covers.

But while the stock may vary wildly – a successful day’s trading will always hinge on the quality of the products, customer interaction, painstaking organisation, safety and security. Insurance doesn’t need to cost a lot to protect these areas, but it can offer an indispensible and in some regards mandatory contribution to your business plan, however modest or ambitious they may be.

 

Market essentials
Just as with any permanent work premises, stallholders need an employers’ liability certificate if they have anyone helping out on the store. Useful at such times as when your handy helper slips on some gravy, the only time where this doesn’t apply is when it’s a family member.

Any van or vehicle you’re using must be insured for business use, otherwise any problems you have driving to and from your pitch, or food, artwork or other stock you’re transporting won’t be covered.

If you have a long term pitch at a busy city centre market where parking is likely scarce, it can make more sense to do without a van altogether and rely instead on couriers. That way you’re not having to pay for insurance, tax and parking. Just make sure you check that any couriers you use are adequately insured, in case there’s any damage to your stock while in transit.

 

Market “good-to-haves”
Public and product liability are not obligatory – necessarily – nor is stock or premises cover. This can vary depending on where you’re pitched, as some market managers will insist that you have this insurance in place.

It goes without saying that all these covers are pretty essential none the less, coming into play if a customer cuts themselves on a bespoke wind chime made from tin cans, or trips over a stray cable. Market stall cover packages will also likely cover your premises and stock from damage caused by water or fire, providing you have not been careless with over-enthusiastic festooning or have extension cables dangling over a hotplate.

Theft is a trickier area, but can be covered providing you’ve got the right security measures in place as per policy stipulations. This means that if you have your takings stashed in an unsecured Tupperware box below the counter and it’s stolen, you’re unlikely to be covered.

And if you’ve pinned all your hopes on taking a healthy profit from a particular event which is then cancelled, you won’t be left out of pocket for the provisions you’ve already made if you have cancellation cover in place.

Insurance policies can vary so it’s important to check the small print before you buy. If you’re unsure as to what is classed as an “essential” or which “good-to-haves” you should really think about for your stall, contact InsureEasy.co.uk who would be happy to help.

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit http://www.insureeasy.co.uk for all of your insurance needs.
THE ESSENTIALS AND THE “GOOD-TO-HAVES” OF STALLHOLDERS INSURANCE

1 IN 4 PERFORM POORLY AT WORK DUE TO MONEY WORRIES

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A staggering 1 in 4 people are suffering with money problems so substantial that it affects their performance at work, says new research published by the CIPD and Close Brothers Asset Management. The survey of more than 1,800 UK employees found that the figure rises to nearly a third (31%) among 18-24 year olds, and 32% among those living in London.

Not a problem limited to just low earners, 1 in 5 (20%) employees earning £45,000 to £59,000 per year said that financial anxiety had affected their ability to do their job. Gender also played a role, as 28% women reported the problem compared with 23% of men.

The report highlights how dramatically personal finance worries can impact on employee health.

Though the economic climate and rising inflation is likely to prevent pay increases over the next 18 months, whilst the cost of living continues to escalate, there is more that your organisation could be doing to promote and support financial well-being amongst employees.


Emotional Support
Financial well-being is a private and sensitive issue, so don’t be surprised if employees are not forthcoming to discuss it. But financial worries can weigh heavily on a person’s mind, impacting their mental and general well-being. Implementing an initiative which allows colleagues to discuss confidential matters in a comfortable environment may entail bringing in an outside counsellor who otherwise has no involvement in the business.

Charles Cotton, Reward and Performance Adviser at the CIPD thinks organisations should make financial well-being part of the workplace agenda, saying: “Employers not only have a duty of care to their employees but will also see their bottom lines benefit if they invest time in developing a financial well-being strategy and play an active role in supporting staff in this area.”

Money Management Workshops
Try offering sit-down sessions on practical money management skills such as budgeting, financial planning and free accounting apps. Though they might not set pulses racing with excitement, they may well prove popular as they bring the problem out into the open – and provide solutions.

As Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers asset management, puts it: “Equipping staff with the tools they need to take control of their finances now and for their future will not only improve their own well-being, it has been proven to boost productivity levels – benefiting both business and workers.”


Health Advice
1 in 5 employees reported that they suffered physical fatigue caused by loss of sleep due to worrying about money, therefore impacting their productivity at work. Stave off physical health worries and boost general employee well-being by offering healthy lunches, fitness classes and regular activities, perhaps teaming up with a local gym or health centre.


What else can I do?
Surprisingly, it’s not all about salaries. Only 32% of employees cited earning a higher wage as a solution to their worries, whereas being rewarded in a fair and consistent manner received 41% backing, being able to save through a pension came in at 26% and good prospects to develop and progress in their career received 20% of the vote.

 

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit http://www.insureeasy.co.uk for all of your insurance needs.
1 IN 4 PERFORM POORLY AT WORK DUE TO MONEY WORRIES

RECORD NUMBERS OF HOLIDAYMAKERS BOOST BRITAIN’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

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Whether it’s whippy ice cream and fish’n’chips in a traditional British seaside setting, or taking in the historic homes and country piles of this green and pleasant land, new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that international tourists travelled to English regions in record numbers last year.

In the first nine months of 2016, a record-breaking 12.2 million visitors holidayed in English regions outside of London – 4% higher than the same period in 2015. International visitors across England also set a record for spending during this period, up 2% on the previous year to reach the staggering sum of £5.9 billion.

Predictably, summer was the busiest time for visits to the country, with 4.6 million inbound tourists between July and September 2016. Again, spending reached a record breaking £2.9 billion during the summer Q3 period.

Tourism success was not just reserved for England, with visits to Wales shooting up by 12% to 856,000 between January and September. Overseas visitors also spent £1.6billion in Scotland during the same period, with 2.2 million visits making it Scotland’s strongest year for tourism since 2007.

Sally Balcombe, VisitBritain’s chief executive, said: “Inbound tourism is one of our largest export industries and it is very encouraging to see that growth is being spread right across our nations and regions, demonstrating the industry’s increasing importance as a driver of economic growth and jobs.”

Despite economic uncertainties such as the effects of Britain’s exit from the EU and political changes across the world, hoteliers, restaurateurs and bosses across Britain’s hospitality industry can take confidence in these encouraging figures and gear up for what is likely to be another busy summer for tourism.

 

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit http://www.insureeasy.co.uk for all of your insurance needs.
RECORD NUMBERS OF HOLIDAYMAKERS BOOST BRITAIN’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

5 WAYS TO BOOST WORKPLACE WELLBEING

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The benefits of a healthy workplace are innumerable, from happy staff and work satisfaction to higher productivity and lower absence rates. Perfect when your staff need a little extra boost, motivate employees and improve workplace health by sharing these top tips for mind and body:

 

  1. Sit less
    We all know we should be moving about more, but we should also aim to reduce sitting time, as excessive sitting is linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Granted this is difficult to do when your job is desk-based, but there are small changes you can make. NHS’s Start Active, Stay Active report recommends breaking up long periods of sitting time with “shorter bouts of activity for just one to two minutes” – stretch your legs with a short walk for every hour of sitting, make sure your posture is good and that your screen adjusted correctly.

 

  1. Walk to work
    Few people are lucky enough to live within walking distance of work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work a little exercise into your commute. If you drive, try finding somewhere to park which is ten minutes or so away from your workplace. If you get the train, swap your drive to the station for a walk or if the tube is your modus operandi how about jumping off a stop earlier?

 

  1. Introduce easy exercise
    No we’re not talking about racing wheelie chairs in an Office Olympics (although arranging a fun team activity can boost morale as well as breaking monotony). There are other ways to get moving at work. If possible take the stairs, try to walk over to see colleagues instead of emailing, utilise waiting for the printer by stretching and lunging, and periodically raise alternate legs underneath your desk.

 

  1. Stay hydrated
    The effects of dehydration – from headaches to tiredness – won’t help you get through your day. Keeping a large bottle of water on your desk is a good way to remind yourself to drink it. Tea and coffee do count – though watch your caffeine intake.

 

  1. Say no to sugar cravings
    3pm rolls round and it feels like lunch was forever ago. Though the vending machine seems to be calling, you can stave off the craving for an unhealthy snack with a little preparation. Nuts, homemade popcorn and dried fruit make for handy healthy snacks, or prepare celery, carrot and cucumber batons the night before for something a little fresher.

 

  1. Take control of stressful situations
    To address stress in the workplace, try taking an active approach to solving problems rather than letting them get you down. There is a solution to any problem. Tackling problems one at a time and brainstorming all your possible options is not only practical, but empowering.

 

  1. Connect with your colleagues
    They aren’t just the people you work with – they’re the people most likely to understand your workplace stresses. They may well be dealing with similar worries themselves. Putting in the extra five minutes in the kitchen to ask about them will build relationships, eventually resulting in a support network, so when you need help you will feel comfortable asking.

 

  1. Take time off
    Work can be stressful, and it isn’t the be all and end all of life. When you leave work for the evening or weekend, leave workplace stress in the office. Have some ‘me time’, earmarked just to do things you enjoy.

 

  1. Set goals and challenges
    If work is feeling overwhelming, it can help to break it up with to-do lists, mini goals and targets. This makes the challenge manageable. If you are finding work monotonous or need a break from thinking about business, try setting challenges outside of work such as playing a new sport or visiting a new place.

 

  1. Time management
    A common cause of workplace stress comes from feeling rushed for time and adds undue pressure onto your already busy day. Writing down lists and prioritising what is important will keep you on track. Making sure you take a lunch break away from your desk to re-energise will stop you flagging later in the day.
5 WAYS TO BOOST WORKPLACE WELLBEING

UK FACES WAREHOUSE SHORTAGE DUE TO E-COMMERCE BOOM

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We are a nation which loves online shopping, with online sales estimated to make up more than 20% of UK retail by 2020. In order to meet the soaring demand of the e-commerce sector, and demand from parcel couriers, the UK is predicted to need more than 18 million square feet of new warehousing space over the next 12 months to house online retail, parcel delivery and logistics companies. However, only roughly 3.5 million square feet of warehousing is due to be built in 2017.


The impact on companies and consumers
The predicted shortfall of over 14.5 million square feet of space could result in consumers having to pick up the tab for the higher cost of industrial space, driving up prices of goods, says the report from law firm Addleshaw Goddard, entitled “How soon is now? The future of logistics”.

The study argues that the rise of e-commerce and related services is putting extra pressure on supply chains and further straining the sector’s “notoriously thin” profit margins. It says the growing need for online stores and delivery companies to have distribution hubs in expensive urban locations has had an impact on warehouse property, whilst larger retailers are able to elbow out smaller competitors.

“Aggressive acquisition of warehouses by the likes of Amazon has eaten into property supply in the UK, with vacancy rates nationwide at a low of less than 4%,” said Addleshaw Goddard.

Another area driving demand for space is the amount of goods which consumers return, which then need to be processed. Ian Worboys, chief executive of logistics park specialist P3, said: “In Britain shoppers generally return about 7% of what they buy from physical stores. When you look at online shopping, returns are far higher – 40% for fashion and 27% overall. As a result, a huge amount of extra space is needed.”

Warehouse space is not the only challenge the industry faces. The report also found that the road haulage sector faces a shortage of 60,000 drivers alongside an aging workforce, whilst congested roads and rail systems could also cause delays to deliveries and incur late fees.

 

Is the answer in the Cloud?
The report suggests that big data and cloud-based software platforms could help to reduce the impact of warehousing challenges by saving warehouse costs and speeding up delivery times. It recommended that fashion retailers especially could benefit from this.

Out of town retail parks could be a potential source of land for logistics hubs – near enough to urban locations to ensure quick delivery, but cheaper than their inner city counterparts, whilst other potential solutions include incorporating deliver hubs into mixed used or multi-storey developments in cities to save on space and rent.

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit http://www.insureeasy.co.uk for all of your insurance needs.
UK FACES WAREHOUSE SHORTAGE DUE TO E-COMMERCE BOOM

COULD BREXIT CAUSE CUSTOMS DELAYS AT UK PORTS?

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As Theresa May suggests Britain will pull out of the EU’s single market and customs union as part of a “swift and clean” Brexit, the UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned Parliament that exiting without first creating an arrangement for “frictionless trade” could lead to expensive customs delays for ports, hauliers and shippers.

The customs union provides a series of uniform tariffs on the import of foreign goods, and prohibits member states from charging tariffs for moving goods across borders within the EU. The worry is that renegotiating the UK’s customs arrangements with the rest of Europe could take years – and that additional clearances needed in the meantime could lead to containers being delayed in port for up to four days. On average, one hour’s delay in port adds £15,000 to the road haulage industry.

The FTA has warned that the UK’s customs authorities will need to carry out a plethora of additional checks to goods imported from the EU – which are currently waved through without significant clearances, but which would need to be treated in the same way as goods from the rest of the world – totalling around 300 million extra import declarations per year. This could create enormous disruption unless thousands of additional staff are hired, at significant cost to UK customs.

FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said: “Shippers, forwarders and transport operators in the UK have been used to open borders in Europe for 24 years so it’s going to take time to adjust, it can’t just change overnight. …Hopefully, there will be ‘frictionless trade’ between the UK and EU, but if there isn’t, or a prospect there won’t be, then these are the key issues for FTA members.”

It was also warned that the port of Dover may not be big enough to cope with the extra lorries which would need to park, and the containers which would need to be stored whilst their contents are checked. Mr Hookham warned: “Dover doesn’t have the space. Absolutely categorically we should avoid physical checks on our lorries.”

The Government has been urged to start planning how it will fund the extra staff and facilities needed. In response to the FCA’s warnings, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper said: “I’m very concerned about the evidence we have heard and the way this could hit manufacturing.”

COULD BREXIT CAUSE CUSTOMS DELAYS AT UK PORTS?