You have probably been bombarded with information on the above measures that the Government has taken to support and protect businesses of all kinds against the impact of the COVID 19 virus in the UK. There is a lot of information going out to businesses and employees at the moment. The information isn't static but evolving daily. I have received many calls and I understand your frustration and concerns. After several conversations with senior staff in Financial Institutions, Trade Body Associations and Funding Associations and reading subsequent follow up documents from the government, things are much clearer. The operational mechanisms for delivery and implementation are still being worked on in some cases.
As you now know, money will not come directly from the government to businesses. It's a wholesale process and it’s the British Business Bank that will be liaising with selected banks.
Key highlights however are:
1. The CBILS is being disbursed through the banks and even this is evolving with time
2. The schemes are taking time to set up HMRC and have said they will be ready for April 2020. However, banks are already taking loan applications through their EFG
3. Some of the information is changing rapidly
4. No matter how big or small you are the government is saying schemes will become available, ranging from Universal Credit for the Self Employed to Grants and Loans for SME's
5. Look at your insurance policy under the business interruption section to ensure that any business interruption by viruses is not covered already. The Government will not double fund what is already covered in your insurance. Some policies have fixed diseases they will cover and some don’t
6. Government will pay 80% of the salaries of staff who are kept (where it can be proven that these staff were about to be let go by their employers due to the virus crisis) covering wages of up to £2,500 a month – Part of the Job Retention Scheme
7. Please note that GRANTS only relate to business rates and you will be contacted directly by the local authority and not vice versa if you are entitled to this
8. Relief for Statutory Sick Pay
9. Mortgage Holidays even for Buy to Let properties
10. IR35 tax reforms postponed for a year
11. VAT and income tax deferments
12. Reclaims for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
13. Support for the Self Employed – Please click here for more details
For full details regarding CBILS, please click here
The key thing to note is grants are all rate related and will be dealt with by your local council. Loans will be through banks, mostly likely through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) Scheme already in place, but with 80% government backed guarantees. Job retention will be through HMRC as they manage the payroll program and it is all linked to your reference numbers and UTR. Self Employment support will be through HMRC. Finance terms are from three months up to ten years for term loans and asset finance and up to three years for revolving facilities and invoice finance.
Facing Cash flow problems now, then please feel free to contact us and we will help broker and facilitate access at no cost to you. We will also offer guidance around eligibility and possibilities for raising finance.
If you want some help for your company with regards to the above or you just want someone with the required knowledge and experience in business to guide you on other related matters, please connect with our business advisers at RBSS Consulting Ltd on 0333 355 1696 or direct on 07796 800 187 or drop us an email. We provide real business solutions for start-ups and existing micro and small businesses.
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As you would have heard numerous times, we live in a fast moving world especially where business is concerned. New today, obsolete tomorrow. Selling your product/service is more about reaching out to your customers unlike when, it used to be the other way round. This however, could be very challenging when you are stretched and have limited resources or at least not unlimited. There’s a never ending list of tips on what every small business owner should know. However, I’d like to focus on 5 tips which is a good place to start. Please note this is practical advice for real results from feedback from businesses we have worked with.
1. Know your market (Have an online presence). Retain your current customers or clients with the most efficient form of marketing. A smooth operation leads to smoother growth. If your clients or customers are happy, you will be their first go-to and they will be more than happy to recommend you without realizing they are actually advertising your business for you. However, there needs to be a stable balance between gaining new customers (via marketing) and retaining current customers (via operations). To gain further insight into this area, have a look at our quick guide on how to develop your business performance strategies.
Effective sales and marketing lies at the heart of any successful business growth and helps to achieve business goals. Your system of marketing will very much depend on your products / services and your target market. Some businesses feel they don’t need a target market. In this day and age, for any business to grow, it needs to have a system of marketing which is geared towards its market. This could mean having an online presence, inbound marketing, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. An intelligent investment in marketing will ensure stability and growth, if combined with strong customer retention. This will therefore help in making your business sustainable and therefore also compete effectively. Our Business Consultants at RBSS will help ensure your marketing goals align with your business goals.
2. Hire the right staff. This includes knowing your weaknesses and hiring the right staff including professionals to help put the right systems in place. Richard Branson emphasizes on this throughout his business book; ‘Like a virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School’ This could mean outsourcing which will give you more objective ideas from a different prospective (your customer/client’s prospective), including those you and your staff may have never thought of or procrastinated on.
3. Know your finance options. The truth of the matter is that, whether you are a start-up business or an existing business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way, alongside the right plan. But asking for money isn’t often that simple or easy to obtain. This includes knowing what each available option has to offer, such as business angels, equity funding, bank loan etc. Any funder, be it a business loan, equity finance or any other kind of finance will want to see a business plan and financial projections, to help them decide if investing in your idea is going to be a profitable one, or not. Some alternative funders don’t require a business plan, but carry out their assessments in a different manner. The business advisors at RBSS Consulting in Romford, Essex, help companies of all sizes get finance ready. They will also give you various options open to you. Our aim will be to help you get the right business finance, at the right rate and the right time and aim to make it as least daunting as possible.
4. Understand your product/service. Many experts agree that you need to know your product or service ‘like the back of your hand’. That is so true when people want immediate answers and you have to ‘sell yourself’. This does not pertain to you alone but your staff. There is no use having a sales person on the floor in a restaurant that does not understand what’s on the menu when a customer asks for advice. They may know what’s on the menu but not understand it. You may be the chef who owns the business but be in the kitchen. In other words you (and your staff) have to prove to be the expert in your field and you can’t afford to get questions wrong either! Knowing and understanding your product/service which is your brand should also determine your purpose, mission and values which should serve as your guide to your decisions and what you hope to accomplish in the future, which also comprises what you stand for; hence your ‘pitch’. You should truly represent your brand, keep learning more about your product/service continuously and improving it along the way by keeping yourself abreast on how to better it and therefore bring more satisfaction to your customers/clients which brings us to my next point.
5. Understand your competitors. There is often a lot of competition regardless of which industry you are in or decide to venture into. Although this again depends on your product/service. Whatever the case may be, the only way you can be ahead of the game is by knowing what your competitors are doing and aiming to deliver beyond them or something different that will bring more satisfaction to your customers/clients. Going on line, visiting your competitors’ shops. Our researchers at RBSS Consulting Ltd will help you research your local competition. We will do more than check out their websites. We will visit your competition in person, book appointments with them and see how they run their businesses. Ask them their challenges and pain-points. This in-depth research will only make your business more viable and ready to start, continue or expand your business with what you need to know as a business owner.
If you can identify with any of the 5 tips or more or require further insight into these key areas to help your company start and grow or you just want someone with the required knowledge and experience in business please connect with our business advisers at RBSS Consulting Ltd on 0333 355 1696 or drop us an email on the link below. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
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Statistics vary by +- 5% on the number business failures within the SME community in the UK, however all statistics in the UK agree that up 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and a further 30% within three years. It’s been proven that part of the reasons for business failures is lack of proper business planning, understanding business finance, cash flow challenges or lack of business support, either prior to the business starting or during the business operation. However, this does not have to be your fate. Benjamin Franklin says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
To avoid such a pitfall, I’ll be sharing five very brief tips to turn your business around or in some cases, how to avoid failure altogether.
1. Knowing your business objective is key. This is probably the stage at which you have to be true to yourself. You should be asking yourself Soul-searching questions, such as “why am I in this business and what do I seek to achieve”? This will probably lead to other related questions such as, ’Am I in this more for the money than anything else?’’ Do I enjoy this?’ If the answer to the first is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the second, you are either in the wrong business or job role or lost your passion for it. Or you may be in the right business, but performing the wrong role within the business. Who says you have to be the CEO because you started it. Maybe you are better at being the Head Chef. This could be where you are most productive, rather than leading the organisation as a whole and administering the business. What do you do if this is the case? Business Consultants at RBSS are here to assist you in thinking through and putting systems and procedures in place to achieve your business objectives. Let’s help you with a full business valuation, performance and health check.
2. Take action as soon as possible! When things start to go wrong in a business, the signs are always there. Sometimes we hope they get better and hold on for too long or take the wrong action when we do take action. The more you procrastinate, the fewer options you leave open to save your business. This could lead you down the path of making decisions out of frustration as opposed to wise and calculated ones. One of the most crucial steps would be to get in touch and be open with your accountant if you have one. You certainly do NOT want a court making the final decision for you! If you are not sure where to start, RBSS is there to give you unbiased advice.
3. If the stumbling block is mainly financial or a cash flow problem and you have the luxury of borrowing money off friends and family, then you can do so. However, the reality is, not everyone has that option. That’s where RBSS can step in. We can help you explore various finance options and secure finance that suits your business circumstances. We work closely with UK’s leading innovative business finance providers and advice on how to improve profitability and improve margins. We have helped hundreds of clients successfully raise the right kind of finance at the right time for their business. Finance is the blood of any business and the flow of it is crucial but not always available.
4. This next point is often avoided as much as possible even by large well established companies. Always contact or call a meeting with colleagues, staff members or directors including other stakeholders as soon as it is necessary. Whilst you may not be able or need to share all the gloomy information, try as much as possible to share what needs to be shared to put hearts at rest. With the speed at which bad news spreads on social media, you certainly do not want those concerned to hear the news from a third party. The above would apply especially to where there needs to be staff cuts and business needs to continue with as high a moral as possible and manage expectations. Even at this stage, staff could help structure your decision making process.
5. Review Customer Relationships. Another key point is to review your relationship with your customers. In any business, after your staff, your customers are the most important. What is your relationship with your customers like in key areas like; customer service, online presence including social media, advertising etc. With the amount of competition and speed of change and expectation, you need to be consistently reviewing and updating your position on and offline. We at RBSS can help you analyse your position in the marketplace and where you need to be, making your business still sustainable and able to compete effectively.
Notice I haven’t said much about marketing and advertising at this stage. Well there is a reason for that. It’s one step at a time. Let’s address some fundamentals. Don’t wait for things to get bad before you contact us. Contact us for a full business performance and health check. We will assess the 5 key drivers of your business and give you a health report on them. Furthermore, we will help you with key planning, methods and implementation to turn things around and make things better. Our mission is to build and fund better and sustainable businesses.
Contact our experienced and professional Business Advisors at RBSS on 0333 355 1696. We are at hand to give you unbiased advice, be it at the business planning stage, the implementation stage or the growth stage of your business.
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Whether it’s starting a business or running an existing successful business, we could all do with a few pointers every now and then. Here are 5 important business quotes and what you can learn from them:
1. "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."- Winston S. Churchill.
Many of us are aware of the burdensome challenges Churchill faced whilst the British army was heavily under fire, including himself. However, he proved it does take true courage and perseverance especially in the face of failure. This eventually led Britain to victory. Your business may be under fire at the moment for various reasons, lack of customers, state of the economy, cash flow issues, temporary industry setbacks, lack of funding or even a lack of clarity of the health of your business. RBSS Consulting will help you do a full business health check and performance diagnostic and offer real solutions to help you meet your business goals and thrive.
2. “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.”- Steve Jobs
Going the extra mile is a lonely place. This also makes the extra mile a place filled with opportunities. Over time, that's what will make you successful. This is what made Jobs a great success. He didn’t care if he stood alone in his ideas and he continued to pursue them in spite of the conflicts and alienation they bought, even upon himself. With fierce competition facing many business, RBSS Consulting can help improve your business performance making your business sustainable and driving growth by showing you where to persevere.
3. "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.’’- Albert Einstein
Being successful is not always the hardest thing in the world as it is equal parts of luck and hard work. However, if your business concentrates on adding value to its clients or customers and does this wisely, then you are on the way to success.
Nevertheless, adding value is a not as easy as people think. Einstein was true to his word and is well known for his theory of relativity and the equation E=MC2, which foreshadowed the development of atomic power which we still enjoy and value til today. As an entrepreneur, it is important you look to add sustainable value to your clients, thereby being an effective business model within your community. Value that is not easily eroded. This could be in the business model, customer service, innovation, etc. RBSS Consulting will help you with this.
4. "You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.’’- Oprah Winfrey
Success is much more likely to come your way if you’re in it for the right reasons... the right reason should be because you love what you are doing. According to statistics an average of 60% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and 30% within three years. This has been known to be because of poor planning, lack of vision, driving profitability from day one or even over trading. We at RBSS can help you find or rekindle that passion by also finding your purpose for the business and having clarity of what to focus on in those early years.
5. On a lighter note, ‘’Spend more time smiling than frowning and more time praising than critising.’’- Sir Richard Branson
I believe I can safely say whenever Branson features in the press, he’s often caught with a big smile. We should also be aware that happy employees are central to the success of a business as emphasized in his book, ‘Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School’. This largely contributes to Virgin’s success. Appreciating and embracing your team including their ideas really makes a business. This gives employees freedom to help structure your decision making process. An entrepreneur should aim to be a lender and NOT a boss.
If you are facing any of the above challenges or would like to talk to an expert about taking your business to the next level, connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
Undeniably, customers are at the heart of every business and you need to keep on acquiring new ones to keep your business afloat. It doesn’t matter what you do, you may be a consulting firm or a bakery or a real estate agent, your business needs new customers. They not only provide increased access to finance but also help in boosting business growth.
However, it is easier said than done. In the competitive business world of today, you certainly need that extra edge over competitors to be able to draw in new customers. Here are 5 essential tips to get new customers and stay on top of the game –
1. Make it easy for customers to find you
Have you been complaining about how you just can’t seem to get new customers? Well, think for a second – is your business easy to find? It doesn’t matter how great your services are or how amazing your product is, it all boils down to the fact that are you visible to potential customers or not. Increase your online presence; put a digital marketing plan in place, make use of online directories as well. Make sure that you put yourself in front of your potential customers. Visibility is the Key to Credibility which leads to profitability.
2. Leverage your existing network
Try to put your existing network to use when it comes to getting more customers. Request your old customers to provide a referral; these could be the strongest leads for your business. Make efforts to network within your target market. For example, if you run a bakery business then join local baking groups, online baking communities and more. Then leverage this network to increase your customer base. Why not look up your local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and join their networking events?
3. Speak at events and exhibits (or host one)
Sign up for speaking at events, exhibits and meet-ups within your target market. This is the best place to put your business out there, in front of your potential customers. If there are not many relevant events, then maybe you could host one? It would be the best chance to connect with your target market.
4. See whether free trials work for you
People don’t buy what they see or hear, they buy what they experience for themselves. If you can provide a free trial of your product or service, then advertise the same. If a complete free trial is not viable for your business then you could offer a small sample for free. This is a proven way to gain new customers; ones that are more likely to turn into regular clients. This isn’t proposing offering a free service as part of your accessing the market. It also works better for some businesses than others and can be built into your model in a positive manner.
5. Run a referral program
Referrals are often undermined whereas they should be treated like gold. Plan and put in place a referral program which mutually benefits everyone. For example, ask your customers to refer a new customer and both of them could get x% off on the next order. Overtime, you will have a good number of new customers coming in from your referral program itself.
If you would like to talk to an expert about acquiring new customers, then connect with the top business adviser in Romford, RBSS Consulting on 0333 355 1696 or drop an email at email@example.com. We provide real business improvement strategies and also offer business start-up plans for small businesses.