Unfortunately, we all do! We need lawyers, accountants and other professionals because in business these individuals offer advice that can protect you and your business against unforeseen events. We’ve all seen the ads “where’s there’s blame, there’s a claim and no win no fee” and it’s a sad state of affairs but we have to face the reality that this is the environment we now live in. We’re fast adopting the ‘compensation culture’ and as a business owner you need to ensure that you take every possible step to ensure that you reduce your risk of exposure to any form of liability. Commercial disputes are a part of normal business life and can range from late payers, employee issues to contractual conflicts.
Litigation Has More Than A Financial Impact!It was estimated that some £12 billion is been spent by British businesses and a further $20 billion by US businesses on litigation every year. No prizes for guessing who emerges the winner – the lawyers! The effects of a business dispute can be far reaching, such as affecting growth, having an adverse effect on reputation and goodwill, or causing a downsizing exercise of some sort. Should any of these happen to a small business it could have a crippling effect. However, the most important aspect and probably the one that is most over looked, is that it takes your focus away from the business and its objectives. Right or wrong the law does not promise justice – just uncontrollable costs.
Take Action TodayThere are certain steps that one can take to avoid this exposure: vet everyone you deal with; have all contracts professionally reviewed; ensure that terms are clear; keep accurate notes and organise records; if a meeting may cause some contention, be accompanied by a third party with the relevant experience. You may also consider creating a dispute response plan to enable you to act quickly and decisively. My advice in business is the same as it is in life, always prepare for the worst and have a plan in place should the worse happen. That way you can immediately implement the plan, learn from it and get back on track doing what you do best – running a successful business!Read More
Why is there such a high rate of failure among small businesses? Bloomberg states that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start a business fails within the first 18 months – a failure rate of 80%! Small businesses accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK and 99.7% in the US is a major factor, but more importantly is the problems faced by small business due to cashflow and poor financial management. We are well aware of the economic downturn since the Financial Crisis in 2007/8 and are now being encouraged by the news that recovery is on the way. Unfortunately for us, small businesses suffer these effects more than our larger counterparts. As they usually have larger buffers in terms of cash, stocks etc. to save for a rainy day.
But It Can’t All Be Due To The DownturnIn a recent study by Entrepreneur.com, they found that the reason why US small businesses fail was:
So How Can These Issues Be Addressed?A critical discipline that must be adopted is having a sound credit management system. Business can’t fail through a lack of profits but they can through a lack of cash. This is made far easier by having a computerised accounting system and instead of waiting until the debt is overdue to find out that there is a problem, implement a system whereby you invoice as soon as possible and remind, remind, remind until you are paid. A computerised system can not only provide you with the minimum financial information you legally require, it can also provide useful management data that will make running your business far easier. It can help you forecast by providing trends, margins and plan, whilst giving you useful information to aid your decision making. In a CIMA study 54% of businesses stated that their accountant failed to assist with the strategic development of the business, a management accounting system can. We cannot leave it to factors outside our control to determine the future of our business; the main driver must be the owners/directors. If you identify a weakness, take immediate steps to resolve the situation before it’s too late.Read More
In light of recent worldwide events such as 9/11 and the terrorist events in London, Paris, Brussels and recently in Las Vegas, more and more people are taking steps to improve the quality of their lives.Read More
According to the USA Today, 4 in 5 US businesses will not be around to celebrate their first-year anniversary. As you can imagine, businesses go under for a variety of reasons; lost orders, poor forecasts, bad or no controls, no cash, litigation, the list is endless. Where there’s a business activity, there’s a potential reason for failure. No business performs according to plan each and every day so why doesn’t the owner see the warning signs? They usually do, but in the case of the businesses that I have been advising, they either ignore them, hoping that they would go away, or they simply see them far too late. Addressing The Cause And acting isn’t good enough if you don’t address the cause of the problem. Ploughing more of your own personal funds into the pot to sure-up the cashflow won’t help. You must reduce your outflows because the problem will return to haunt you in weeks or months to come! Is cash the first of the alarm bells? I would argue that it isn’t. Your staff should alert you where there’s a problem, for example credit control may alert you that a customer is not paying, or your accountant may notify you that profit margins have fallen. Not Getting Paid How can you remain cash positive if you are not receiving the money you are owned, or making enough profits in the first place? OK, so you have a problem and several months later it’s still there, you take your head out of the sand and decide to do something about it. You ask yourself “have I got the necessary skills or experience to resolve the issue?” The clock is ticking, you can’t delay paying your suppliers, you’ve had final notices and more importantly pay-day for your staff is just around the corner, so what do you do? I would suggest you turn to a professional, a specialist like a company doctor, who has the experience to help you turn the ship around before it runs aground. There will be some of you out there thinking, I have managed this business for years; it has grown from nothing to where it is today, why do I need help? Outside Help The simple answer is that at certain stages of any business’s life it will need outside help, whether it is a loan to purchase new equipment, legal advice, who knows… No-one will question what you have done, the past does not matter, what is important is that your business has a future. Imagine on the football pitch, a player gets injured, he doesn’t treat himself, he calls on his medical team to ensure that his career and future is not jeopardised and that is what you may need to do. There are many reasons why each of us decided to run our own businesses, don’t let pride get in the way of seeing it flourish and grow.Read More
The world is changing. The world’s largest taxi company, Uber, owns no cars. The world’s largest hotel chain, AirBnB, owns no hotels. The world’s largest media company, Facebook, creates no content. And the world’s largest retailer, Alibaba, has no inventory. We’re living in an era of endless innovation, where century old companies are being replaced overnight. These are the words of Jay Samit, author of Disrupt Yourself, from a recent TED Talk. And it’s true. In fact, due to the ever-increasing speed of technological development we too are being replaced…By machines! According to an Oxford University study, nearly half (47%) of US jobs are at risk of being automated. But it’s not just US jobs that are at risk. This is a global phenomenon. In the UK, that figure is 35%, with 69% of jobs in India and 77% of Chinese jobs are at risk! As recently as June 2017, the Bank of England’s chief economist predicted that 80 million US and 15 million UK jobs could be taken over by robots. Gone are the days of a job for life! You’re most likely sitting there and thinking “that is not going to happen to me” and I hope that you’re right. But what it you’re wrong? What if your employer is already looking at plans to automate your job? I’m pretty sure that typists thought that their jobs were safe when the computer was launched. I bet it is what switchboard operators said before the automatic exchange was introduced. And it is probably what taxi drivers and are saying right now despite Uber developing driverless cars! But it’s not just robots that you’ve got to worry about… GE has made a working jet engine using a 3D printer and this technology will change the manufacturing industry forever. You can even order your Big-Mac and fries even without talking to someone, so you fast-food workers better beware too! Are You Safe? What should you do about it? You could bury your head under the duvet and pretend that it’s not happening. But what if you go to work and the company announces that you’re gonna be laid off? How painful would that be? Could you continue to pay the mortgage or the rent if you were out of work for say 3 months? How would you afford the bills? And how humiliating would it feel if you were no longer be able to provide for your family? You can do something about this so that you’re never in this situation. Of course, if you’re certain that your job is safe, then there’s nothing to worry about, but if your job isn’t 100% secure, then read on… Protect Yourself Before It’s Too Late! I know it’s scary, but you can do something… The first thing that you need to do is to make the decision to take action. You need to decide to not be a victim, not to let circumstances dictate your life, but get on the front foot and go for what you want and more importantly what you deserve. Imagine A Better Life Imagine a future… where you’re living in a nice house, enjoying lovely holidays and driving the car of your dreams. Think about your family… imagine being able to give them what they want without worrying about the cost. How great would that feel? But you’re probably wondering how? Starting your own business is one of the best ways that gives you instant job security, control over your career, your income and your future. We’ve never seen a better time to start your own business than we do today! Live Your Dream Starting your own home-business is what dreams are made of! You’ll instantly change your life forever… You’ll have so much freedom (you can work from anywhere) You’ll have so much power (your business can instantly go global) You’ll have so much wealth (you can make a fantastic income!) But let’s be clear, this isn’t for everyone. If you’re lazy and don’t want to do any work, then you’re more suited to working for someone else. As Les Brown once said, “you don’t get in life what you want, you get in life what you are” so if you are hard-working, willing to make the commitment and put in the time and the effort to grow your business, then maybe this is right for you.Read More
If life were like baseball, would you be sitting in the bleachers (stands) saying to yourself “I don’t think that I could even hit the ball” or, “what if I missed and I’m hurt by a pitch.” Would you be the one finding all the reasons not to try?