Author Archives: laurag

Everything you need to know when starting your gardening business

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Everything you need to know when starting your gardening business

You may know your hydrangeas from your hollyhocks, but how clued up are you on the different company structures open to professional gardeners? If your gardening business is going to flourish, you’ll need to pick the best setup for you, and meet all the business and legal requirements that come with it.

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What is home business insurance, and do I need it?

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What is home business insurance, and do I need it?

Working from home can be one of the greatest perks of launching your own business. It’s the perfect environment to meet your needs, and it’s affordable. However, you still need to make a small investment to prevent your dream office turning into a nightmare: home business insurance.

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2018 roundup the best home businesses to start

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2018 roundup: the best home businesses to start

Home businesses have always offered a path to career success, from the earliest cottage industries through to some of today’s leading tech brands. Jeff Bezos launched his business, Amazon, from his garage in 1994; at the time of writing he’s the richest person on the planet.

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6 habits to hack your morning routine

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With Summer drawing to a close and the Autumn darkness creeping in, it’s a transitional time of year where we’ve started swapping garden BBQs, flip flops and iced frappés for cozy jumpers, pumpkin spice lattes (sorry not sorry) and nights in front of The X Factor. Whilst the seasons may be changing, there’s no reason you or your business have to go into hibernation mode. Continue reading

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Get up to £25,000 Government back funding for your new business

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Starting a new business will be one of the most exciting things you do, but it can be financially risky and daunting.

Our partner, Smarta Start Up Loans, is your route to government backed funds – specifically for people just like you, starting and growing their business.

As well as low-interest funding of up to £25,000, Smarta are also offering a strong support network including award winning mentors, there to help you with your first few steps and provide face to face advice. In addition, you could benefit from a free 3 month subscription to the UK’s leading suite of business software (as distributed by high street banks).

If you’re looking to take the next step with your business, register with Smarta here for more information. As a valued customer of Companies Made Simple, your application will be fast-tracked.

If you found this post helpful – subscribe to our blog now.

This post was by Laura Gilmour at MadeSimpleFind Laura on Google+

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What is a P11D and why do I complete it?

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When and why do you need to complete the P11D document?

A P11D is a form that is completed at the end of the Tax year to record expenses and benefits that have been provided to your employees (or to you as a director). You must complete the P11D form for each employee that has received expenses and/or benefits during the tax year. In addition, you must also complete another form – a P11D(b) – to declare the overall amount of class 1 NICs (national insurance contributions) owed for all expenses and benefits paid.

These forms must be submitted to HMRC by July 6th so if you haven’t completed yours yet, you can complete the forms electronically here or, alternatively, you can manually complete and post the forms to HMRC. Your payment of the class 1 NICs owed to HMRC is due by 22nd July or 19th July if you are sending payment by cheque.

Top tip: don’t get confused with a P9D form – these are only to be completed when the employee’s earnings are below £8500 a year.

For further guidance on completing these forms, we recommend speaking with your accountant or a financial advisor. You can also find more information on HMRC’s website.

This post was by Laura Gilmour at MadeSimpleFind Laura on Google+

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How do I pay myself if I’m a limited company director?

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If I’m a director – how do I pay myself?

Being the director of a limited company comes with many rewards, one of which is being in charge of your salary. But how exactly do you take money out of your own company? There are a couple of ways to do this:

1. PAYE (Pay as you earn) in real time

Also referred to as Real Time Information (RTI), PAYE is a scheme run by HMRC to collect National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and Income Tax for all employees of a limited company, including the directors. To pay yourself and any other employees a salary, bonuses or expenses, you will need to be registered. As the director, you will be registered as both the employer and employee.

Each time you wish to pay yourself a portion of your yearly salary, whether it’s monthly or weekly, you must send a PAYE return to HMRC detailing the total pay, tax and deductions. The NICs you pay will depend on your tax code and, as an employer, you will also pay employer’s Class 1 NICs. Continue reading

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Harness the 6 Principles of Persuasion

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They may be almost 20 years old but the 6 Psychological principles of persuasion, created by influence and persuasion expert Professor Robert Cialdini, are powerful, scientifically-supported factors that influence decision making, including the consumer choices of your customers. Here, we outline each factor and how you can apply them in order to benefit your business.

Reciprocity

The logic of reciprocity is, essentially, when people are given something by another, they feel indebted to that person. To restore the equality, they are highly likely to give something back. By giving your customers and potential customers valuable freebies, for example product samples, 1 month free trials, resources, guides and so on, you can persuade them to give you something even bigger in return. Like their credit card details.

Commitment/consistency

People have an inherent need to be seen as consistent with their actions and self-image, therefore if they make a small commitment they will be more likely to follow it up in the future. This principle can be utilised with your email communications; if a customer enters their email address to gain access to a free resource or enters a competition, they will be more likely to see themselves as a customer and go on to make a purchase. Ever wondered why Nando’s is so popular? A great loyalty scheme can be an effective way to initiate commitment.

Social Proof

As much as some individuals may attest that they are not a ‘sheep’, the truth is we are always looking to others for guidance on what decisions to make and what actions to take, even online. Incorporating social media plug-ins onto your website and encouraging customers to share, ‘like’ and tweet about you will persuade others that your business is worthy of their attention too. The same logic can be applied to your feedback. If you have glowing testimonials, use them!

Liking

It may seem common sense but people will respond more favourably to people that they like and make them feel good. With regards to your customer service, a polite and friendly approach (even with those tricky customers) is imperative. Remember to thank them, compliment them, anything to give them that warm, fuzzy feeling. Familiarity and similarity also fall under this principle – if you communicate with your customers in the same style that they do, you can subtly boost your appeal.

Authority

When it comes to a customer handing over their hard earned money, they need to feel they can trust you, and being seen as credible and authoritative is one of the best methods to gain their respect. Don’t be modest, let your customers know exactly how you can help them and demonstrate your expertise in your market sector. If you write a blog, fill it with informative and helpful content. If you have employees, ensure they are well trained and knowledgeable about your products/services and remove any shadow of doubt from your customer’s mind.

Scarcity

This principle relates to supply and demand and implies that when there is a limited supply of a particular item or service, the higher the value we place on it. As a result, we are more likely to want it and will seize the opportunity to get it before it runs out. Legitimate messages such as “50% off for a limited time only”, “while stocks last” or “only 10 left!” can reduce customer hesitation and persuade them to make that all important sale.

Have you incorporated any of these principles into your sales and marketing strategy? How effective were they? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

This post was brought to you by Laura Gilmour at Companies Made Simple – The Simplest Company Formation Service

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Our Top 5 UK Entrepreneurs – What can we learn from them?

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Top 5 UK entrepreneurs- what can we learn from them?Shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den have shoved entrepreneurship into the media spotlight over the last ten years. Although it’s not easy and there are undoubtedly many lessons along the way, the rewards of being your own boss are numerous and exciting (Necker Island, anyone?). Here are our top 5 success stories of UK entrepreneurs and, like them or loathe them, you can’t deny that this lot have bags of spirit, money and honours.

Sir James Dyson – founder of the Dyson company

“The key to success is failure… Success is made of 99 percent failure”

Best known for his invention of the bag-less, cyclonic vacuum cleaner, Sir James Dyson created a whopping 5,127 prototypes of his first machine before finding success with his DC01 ‘dual cyclone’ model. The Dyson company has since gone on to develop other products including a fan heater, air multiplier fan and the increasingly popular Dyson Airblade; the first hygienic commercial hand dryer.

What to learn: Keep going. Even if a product or idea doesn’t work straight away, keep re-designing, testing and evaluating your ideas until you get it right and, ultimately, you’re happy with it.

Michelle Mone, OBE – founder and CEO of Ultimo

“I knew nothing about the way bras were made”

After a brief stint as a model and a career in marketing, Michelle Mone set up MJM International after wearing a particularly uncomfortable bra and deciding she could design lingerie that was both more comfortable and better looking. The launch of Ultimo in 1999 became the biggest ever bra launch in the UK and Mone, who has a net worth of over £30 million, was awarded an OBE in 2010 for her contribution to business.

What to learn: Inspiration can strike at any time. If you have a great idea for a business or product, do your research but don’t expect to know how to do everything. Your ambition and drive can go a long way and compensate for a lack of manufacturing skills, for example.

Peter Jones, CBE – founder of Phones International Group

“The best entrepreneurs keep a tight lid on expenses and will wisely re-invest profit to continually improve their business”

Famed for his appearances on the BBC show Dragons’ Den, Peter Jones is a businessman with many interests including mobile phones, television and wine, to name a few. He set up Phones International Group in 1998 which has become one of the fastest growing enterprises in Europe and he has an impressive investment portfolio including a lifestyle magazine, properties, a TV production company and, who can forget, Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce.

What to learn: Critically consider your investments. Jones’ success is no doubt partly due to his ability to make sensible decisions, so be sure to invest your time and finances in the right areas of your business, whether that’s marketing, sales, staff training and so on.

Sir Richard Branson – founder and chairman of Virgin Group

“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts”

The charismatic founder of Virgin Group, an international conglomerate with more than 400 companies and 50,000 employees, Sir Richard Branson started his business career at the age of 16 with magazine ‘Student‘ before moving into the travel and entertainment industries. Challenging the rules and breaking world records, here is an entrepreneur who clearly loves what he does.

What to learn: Be passionate. If you’re not head-over-heels for your business idea then you’ll be less motivated to make it succeed. A lack of enthusiasm will affect not only your productivity but the productivity of those around you too.

Lord Alan Sugar – founder of Amstrad

“Once you decide to work for yourself, you never go back to work for somebody else”

Known for his sharp tongue as much as his sharp business mind, Lord Alan Sugar- who is worth an estimated £770 million – started selling consumer goods from a van before founding Amstrad in 1968. The self-taught entrepreneur went on to found/chair a number of other ventures such as YouView and Amscreen and, after more than 40 years in the business, is still heavily involved in his empire.

What to learn: It takes a certain person to be an entrepreneur. The move from working for someone else to being your own boss is a huge step and you should be proud that you’re one of the few people with a strong enough character to start your own company. If you’ve got resilience and bold determination, the sky’s your limit.

References:

www.quoteswise.com

www.allgreatquotes.com

www.brainyquote.com

www.thinkexist.com

www.peterjones.com

This post was brought to you by Laura Gilmour at Companies Made Simple – The Simplest Company Formation Service.

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