With the self-assessment tax return deadline looming, this is the time many freelancers and ‘solopreneurs’ start panicking!
Many find filling in their tax return an onerous prospect and, as a result, it’s traditionally a task which gets left until January, with some only just getting it in on time: in 2016, 385,000 people filed their returns on 31 January, narrowly avoiding the £100 penalty – even so, an anticipated 870,000 returns were still to be filed, which also suggests that hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to do their own returns.
As the next step in abolishing tax returns and replacing them with individual digital tax records, on 15 August 2016 HMRC published a series of consultation documents. These set out some of their ideas and timings, but were open for responses by professionals and businesses until 7 November 2016. The undermentioned points are subject to any amendments which might be made as a result of the consultations. (more…)
There has been a lot of uncertainty in the world this year, with political events sending the stock marketing yo-yo-ing and the continued drawing out of Brexit making the markets increasingly nervous. What’s going to happen to investments in 2017 is almost anyone’s guess, and in some quarters appears to be more influenced by psychics rather than solid facts. One woman in America, for instance, is predicting a stock market crash because there have been crashes in and 1987, 1997 and 2007.
What to consider when deciding on investments
You don’t have to have a lot of money to make an investment. A simple savings account with a bank or building society counts as an investment. Other types of investment are:
Brexit hasn’t been out of the news since the vote to leave took place in June, and although the majority of the news stories concentrate on the effects of Brexit on larger companies, not many have looked at the SME in a local context.
The overall picture is still confused. At the end of September, the CBI reported business confidence worsened, but a GfK survey showed consumer confidence had risen slightly and are now back at pre-Brexit levels.
Running your own business is a pipe dream for many, but those who are brave enough to stick their toe in the water are often rewarded when they’re their own boss. A recent survey discovered that 90% of the self-employed are happier than they were when they were in a traditional job. If you’re setting up your own business for the first time, it can be quite scary and many first-time entrepreneurs do make business mistakes. We’ve put together a list of the five most common pitfalls so you can do what you can to avoid them.
1) Not asking for help
Don’t be proud; you’ll need all the help you can get. Look for organisations, such as Wenta, that offer advice and training for people setting up their own business. You might know everything there is to know about your product or service, but running a business also involves doing the accounts, finding clients and customers, hiring suppliers, selling, marketing… you name it! And it’s your responsibility now!
Unless you’re a professional marketer, you may not appreciate how important digital marketing can be for your business. You can take small steps on your own, but if you want to concentrate on making money for your own business, you really do need to put a budget aside to outsource digital marketing to an expert. And this is something you need to discuss with your accountant when drawing up your business plan.
Digital marketing is something that big businesses take very seriously – on average, have increased their spend on search engine optimisation (SEO) and email marketing by over 50% over the past year. Whilst the large corporations are putting aside around 35% of their marketing budget to concentrate on digital marketing, smaller companies and technology concerns are more likely to use 100% of their marketing spend on digital, which is a much more cost-effective way of raising their profile and targeting customers.
So if you are drawing up a business plan, you will need to add a budget for digital marketing – the good news is that a digital strategy will be a lot cheaper than a traditional print marketing strategy, and it also has the potential to reach target customers anywhere in the world.
Ambition Broxbourne was only launched in April 2014, but it’s already making a significant difference to the area which has fast become an enterprise zone in its own right. It offers free advice to small businesses, has drawn up a business charter to establish working relationships between businesses and the Council, and has a number of short and long-term targets to encourage and support business start ups. In March this year, it organised a Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge for school students who’ll be the business owners of the future.
But its greatest achievement so far is undoubtedly the Broxbourne Enterprise Centre which is due to open this autumn. At a cost of nearly £4million, the centre is a collaboration between Broxbourne Borough Council and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. When it’s finished, it’ll offer 25,00 sq ft of high quality, managed workspaces for small businesses and start-ups.
When I started working in taxation more than 40 years ago, one of the first things I learned was that there was “no equity in taxation” – either you were taxed by the statute or not. (more…)
Small businesses play an important role in creating jobs, delivering innovation and helping to drive economic growth. Starting a business may be a major achievement but running it and surviving is an even bigger challenge. For every 10 businesses that are created, the life cycle of 6 businesses is less than 5 years. This can be for any number of reasons, some predictable, and by adapting their behaviour, business owners can increase their chances of success.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term “networking” was first used in 1967, but has only recently increased in popularity. In 1975, 8.7% of the UK workforce was self-employed; a number which grew steadily to 12% by 2008. Then the world’s economies crashed and, as a result of redundancies, many took the opportunity to set up their own business – currently more than 16% of the UK workforce is self-employed and that figure is rising. There will soon be more people working for themselves than there are working for the public sector.
With such large numbers of entrepreneurs and small business people running their own companies, it’s hardly surprising that business networking groups are springing up across the country. Many self-employed people have started them up or taken over networking franchises as a business in their own right. They not only provide a great opportunity to make contacts with small business owners, they also provide much needed social contact for people working for themselves.
With the advent of Ambition Broxbourne, Hoddesdon has thrived as a place to not only do business, but also to start your own enterprise. For entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs, networking is an excellent way of making contacts and building up a great network of clients and suppliers.