Small Business Success Stories

With the changing face of the economy in recent years and the number of businesses that have gone bankrupt, more and more people are turning to being self-employed, forming their own company or working as a freelancer. And while being self-employed can be challenging, there are plenty of inspiration success stories to show that with hard work, dedication and a good idea, you too can be a successful entrepreneur.

Success stories

Talk about successful entrepreneurs and people like Sir Richard Branson are always among the first mentioned and this is for good reason – an example of someone who has taken an idea, worked hard on it and gone from strength to strength. Other examples include the founder of the Foxtons estate agents, Jon Hunt, who had just £100 to his name when he founded the company.

But the question isn’t so much what these people did but how they did it? What are their secrets to success that meant they survived where others didn’t? While there’s no guarantee that any ideas or theories will ensure success, there are certain principles that the most success all follow that can help anyone starting a business.

Managing finances

Regardless of the type of business, cash flow is king and hanging your business’s finances can be a challenge. One of the key steps to starting a successful business is to get the right advice to avoid common financial pitfalls. Top of this list will always be tax – not anticipating that you will need to pay it and finding yourself facing a large unexpected bill is a common problem for many new businesses.

Getting an accountant is a good step that helps you start as you mean to go on, keeping good accounts from the start and ensuring that you don’t get caught out by the tax man when the time comes around. Good bookkeeping can also help see how the business is doing and if you are in the position to take on more staff or launch new products.

Managing staff

Sometimes you might need extra help but can’t afford to set someone on full time and this is where outsourcing can be great. Outsourcing can help your business remain flexible while gaining the services or skills that you need at the particular time. Using freelancers for anything from bookkeeping to software development to website design can get you the service you need without the long term commitment of taking on staff.

Managing yourself

The other big thing about being your own boss is the self-motivation factor. It can become tempting to relax, take the afternoon off or postpone a job until another day. Make sure you’re managing your time effectively and have some kind of regime or calendar to follow or you run the risk of getting nothing done and therefore making no income. One of the top reasons people return to work is that they don’t have the personality for working alone and there’s nothing wrong with this but if you are organised, motivated and controlled, then you can make it work for you.


Making Your Money Work When Interest Rates Are Low

Low interest rates have been a fact of life for a number of years now and anyone who is trying to save for the future will find their money isn’t making them a fortune. But how can you make your money work well when interest rates are low? And are there any benefits to those low interest rates?

Tax and savings

Due to low interest rates, tax doesn’t have to be taxing! Quite simply, the less money you make in interest, the less you will have to pay on that money. Currently, if you have a taxable income of less than £17,000, you won’t pay any tax on savings from interest and those with an income up to £43,000 a year can have a £1000 tax free Personal Savings Allowance. This means they can save up to £1000 each year without paying any tax on it. There is an allowance for those earning up to £150,000 but this just £500 a year. there is also a tax-free ISA allowance which for 2016-17 is up to £15,240.

If you are over £1000 and face paying tax on your interest or other savings, then getting good advice/assistance will help simplify your tax returns. Tax is always a complicated process and if you have a large amount of savings, say from an inheritance or from an investment you have made, then an accountant can help you with the tax implications of your investments. No-one wants to have to lose a big chunk of savings to the tax man but it is better to pay what is owed that face a worse encounter!

Should you still save?

For some, there seems to be little point in saving when the interest rates are so low. Effectively, you receive almost nothing in interest. But there is more to savings than just accumulating interest. By having savings, you are in a better position to make a change in your life, be it personal or business.

If you are self-employed or have your own business, those savings could help you expand your business, add a new product line or a new property. Even the experience you gain could help make your kids more entrepreneurial too when they realise that being careful and clever with money can have such benefits.

Shop around for products as even though rates are low, there are still variations out there and it is possible to get a better deal for your savings with a little work. Don’t forget that some current accounts also offer interest on money paid into the account so consider these when looking at options to deposit your money.

Don’t forget a good accountant is always useful to help you understand the implications of your savings, tax that it due and other issues. It is often better to invest a little money in accountant’s fees than to pay a big fine to HMRC for not declaring something or declaring something else too much – it does happen to people every day!

number plate

UK most expensive number plate to date came in at £518,000!

The price tag of £518,000 was attributed to the UK Private Reg “25 o”, which was once owned by Eric Clapton before being sold at auction to be proudly displayed on a rare Ferrari 250 SWB. So, the question is, what’s all the fuss about and are there really enough reasons to justify the cost? Well, stats show that over 334,000 plates were sold by the DVLA last year, which means a large proportion of people must believe so. Here are a few of the benefits to a private number plate that we think help give an insight into why.

Make a Statement.

Displaying a personalised number plate is often used as a way to make your car more individual, those seeking alternative ways to show off their personality can choose unique combinations such as S3 XXY, D4 RTS, PUB to express personality traits, hobbies or even occupations. It’s a much easier way to make your car your own than some of the more hands on and tricky car modifications, so we can certainly see the appeal if individuality is your thing.

An Investment.

Private reg numbers are often seen on big, expensive cars and part of the reason for that is that those that have a little spare cash left over often see them as a good investment. In today’s economic climate it can be tricky to find good ways to invest, especially when savings ratings are low and there is a certain level of economic uncertainty in the UK. So we can see why private registration plates can be seen as a good investment. Certain plates, referred to as ‘cherished plates’ can see a really good profit margin, for example 1997 saw 2NJS sold for £3,300 and in 99’we saw 3NJS (and equivalent plate) go for £5,800. With some good research and analysis to try and predict up and coming trends, theirs is certainly some investment potential here.

A Beautiful Modification to a Classic Car.

Those with a love for cars are forever purchasing accessories and tinkering with their prized possession, in fact some stats show that some people could actually purchase a decent sized property for what they spend on their car in just a year! But when it comes to beautiful classics, fanatics want more than just another accessory for your car. The right modifications to vintage classics can make all the difference and really give them that extra air of class. We think that a Private number plate, done right, is one of the easiest and most effective modifications that can be made. Some stunning examples include those reflecting the make and model, the cars release date or one beautiful classic car (used for business purposes) has JUSTWED, which makes a really unique feature.

A Great Gift.

Purchasing private number plates isn’t just for the star studded, wealthy, and car enthusiasts though. They can also make the perfect gift for births, christenings, special birthdays and so forth. It is always difficult to find a truly unique gift (because who needs 17 silver money boxes really?) and there is nothing more personalised or unique than individually selecting the perfect combination on a personalised reg for your friend or loved one. We know of a couple of people who have selected initials and year of birth when their child has been born so that they can hand it over to them on their 18th as a really special and thoughtful gift and its a really touching reason for a private reg purchase.

Excellent arguments can be made for getting a personalised number plate and, despite there being some with those astonishingly high price tags, you can still get your hands on them for a modest budget, with some going for as little as £250. If you need some more inspiration the clip below shows some examples of how the most expensive plates look in person.


Are We a Nation in Debt?

We keep hearing that we are a nation in debt, that even the government must borrow money to function and that it is all going to collapse at some stage. This is probably an overly dramatic view of the situation but it is a fact that more and more of us have debt of some form. So how do we know when it is a problem? And how do we manage it?

Take a step back

Manageable debts are a part of life – mortgages and car loans are two examples while credit cards are something many of use. There’s nothing wrong with having debt but the problem comes when having so much debt you’re worried about it isn’t great. If the debt you have is keep you up at night, then maybe you need to take a step back and look at the overall picture.

There are two common ways to know if you are in a debt crisis. One is that you are struggling to make the payments you need to make such as rent or mortgage, energy bills, credit card minimum payments and then have anything left for food. The other is if your debts (excluding your mortgage) are more than your take home pay.

Re-organising your debt

Maybe you aren’t in a debt crisis but you want to get a handle on things and look to tart proactively working to improve your credit score can help reduce the cost of borrowing. Going out and getting loads of quotes for mortgages and loans won’t do you any good so start by find out what interest rates you’re paying (lots of people don’t even know), and see if you can reduce them.

For example, your credit card may have offer twelve months’ interest free but you are eighteen months on and the APR is higher than other similar cards, it might be worth applying for a different card with lower or no interest rate and swapping the balance. Similar situations can arise with loans and store cards.

Taking new debt

Sometimes consolidating debt can be a good way to save money, improve your credit rating and stop all those little payments coming out of the bank. If you do have to borrow, look for ways to get the best possible credit deals so that you are saving money on what you were paying before as well as making your credit record tidier. Only consider a situation with a poorer interest rate if you are going to save money on monthly payments and this is your problem.

Other tips

Lots of people have claimed for things like payment protection insurance that they were paying and didn’t realise – and a lot of people haven’t done this yet! Make sure you claim back anything you are entitled to and then you can consider paying this off your debts or using the money to replace essentials like kitchen appliances, rather than using a credit card.

Finally, don’t forget all those voucher websites. There are hundreds now and you can save a lot of money with a combination of vouchers and clever shopping. This can ease the situation on your finances or mean you don’t need to use your credit card for something, saving you interest and an increased minimum payment.

2017 sports holidays

2017 Sporting Holidays In Style

As we are all coming down from the excitement of Christmas and have been battling through the January blues, it seems like a great time to look at some inspiration for how to make sure you feel your holiday booking gives you the pickup you need. So if you you’re traveling with sports fans and or those who love to be treated like a VIP then here are some fantastic pointers for your 2017 trips.

Get 18 days holiday using just 9 days holiday.

There is more than one way to holiday in style and sneaking in an extra-long break is a brilliant way to get that holiday feeling. This has been all over the news and it seems like a great way to make sure you get a great extended holiday without struggling with days off for the rest of the year! If you book your holidays between April the 13th and the 1st of May, because of those lovely weekends and bank holidays, you could actually get all 18 days off but only have to use 9 of your actual annual leave days. Plus! Booking over these dates would give you time to make the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2017 where you could soak up the tennis whilst having the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and famous in one of the most cultural and beautiful areas of the world.

Hoping for something in the Summer Holiday?

Getting the holiday you’ve always dreamed of during the summer months can be really difficult financially, with holiday prices soaring over the school holidays, it can be even more difficult to add a luxury element to your trip. To save some of the strain on your finances you could consider a couple of things: Firstly, if any of your loved ones have a special occasion coming up, you could combine the holiday with a present of a ticket to see a sports event you will both love. It’s only a minimal saving, but, you’ll save on getting them a present plus a holiday excursion by combining the cost of both and a dream sports trip makes the perfect present for any special occasion. It doesn’t have to be long haul and you would save money or in a far way land, if they love motor racing the Belgian Grand Prix in the final week of August could be a fantastic option as if you do your research, sites like Skyscanner can help you pick dates where UK to Belgium flights are really low, meaning you still get to visit a beautiful city, make the most of your summer holidays and visit an amazing sporting event, all on a reasonable budget.

Looking for the height of Luxury in the UK?

If you love the VIP treatment and are desperate for that break but, would rather soak up events the UK has to offer than tackle the flights abroad, Royal Ascot is a fantastic event to make into a long UK break. On the race days you can splash out on Fizz and stunning food, dressed in your finest consorting with the rich and famous. Make it into an extra luxurious break by staying at a luxurious five star hotel like the Coworth Park or one of the stunning spa hotels in the area and dine at one of the areas AA rosette restaurants such as Bluebells on Shrubbs Hill.