Tuesday, 23 September 2014

How Important is Goal Setting for you and your business!

Nothing else can have the impact that setting goals can have on your business and on your life.
Goal-setting isn’t difficult. So why do so few people do it? Ultimately, it’s because people don’t think goal-setting is that important. But show me a highly successful business owner and I’ll show you his or her goals and the plan to achieve them. EVERY SUCCESSFUL CLIENT WE HAVE USES GOAL-SETTING. Think about that for a moment… there’s a big clue in there!
Quite frankly, if you’re not setting goals, you’re not that serious about building your business and achieving startling results. Just by thinking carefully about your goals, writing them down and then creating a plan to achieve them, takes you to a completely different world than the one you’re probably operating in at the moment.
Setting Goals for you and your Business!

Think about it…
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there? It’s like sailing a ship without a rudder. But setting in place a number of goals gives you direction. Of course, rarely do you get there in a straight line, but knowing exactly where you want to get to gives you a focus that you won’t have experienced ever  before. As   Zig   Ziglar   said, You’ll never make it as a wandering generality.” Defining specific, precise and clearly set goals gives you purpose, gives you motivation and gives you a path to follow. If you’re just meandering—all that you need to get you back on track is a defined set of goals.  So decide what they are and write them down. Next, because you know what your goals are, you can then put in place a plan to achieve them. 
Make no mistake, this is of course a critical part of achieving your goals. The often unspoken benefit of setting goals is how easy it makes your daily decision-making when running your business. Think about it… the actions and decisions you take each day have an effect on the journey you take.
So when you know where you’re going, making even the smallest decision in line with your goals makes the whole process so much easier AND ensures you get there quicker and without having to take too many wrong turns or detours.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Focus On Customer Frustrations & Your Profits Will Take Care Of Themselves!

We recently returned from a week’s holiday in Turkey. I love spending time away with the family—these days it’s the only real quality time we get together. Plus, it gives me time to catch up on reading. I often read what I consider to be  ‘classics’ again and again. One of those books is  ‘Broken Windows, Broken Business’ by Michael Levine. I read it again in Turkey.
The book focuses on the principle that neglecting ‘small’ problems ultimately ends in anarchy. It was a principle founded by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982 and put into practice by mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1993. He basically cleaned up New York with his tough stance and zero tolerance on the ‘small’ crimes such as graffiti and prostitution. The results are well documented and now New York is a transformed city (I actually haven’t been to New York for over 20 years, but I’m returning there on business in a couple of days’ time). The philosophy is that even if there’s just one broken window in an area, if that window isn’t repaired quickly, people will assume no one cares and this leads to more broken windows and so on. Within a relatively short period of time a once-peaceful, clean and smart neighbourhood can be ruined. 

This is what happened to New York in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Now it’s a wonderful city and it’s booming.
So Michael Levine’s book takes this same philosophy and applies it to the business world. I agree with it 100%.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognise that many businesses fail or don’t reach the heights they could because they don’t focus on the small problems, irritations and frustrations (broken windows) of their clients or customers. Thing is, if the owners aren’t bothered, this permeates throughout the organisation (more broken windows) and ultimately the customer goes elsewhere.
You know this is true just from your own experiences. The key is to  make  sure  that   whenever  you spot a broken window, it’s fixed. And fixed immediately.
That shows your whole philosophy and approach to any broken window and again it will permeate throughout your business.
The hotel we stayed at in Turkey is a fine example of ‘fixing’ the broken windows.
Here’s two great but very simple examples of how the Voyage Belek Golf & Spa has fixed two very common broken windows…
Let me begin by saying we are very fortunate that we can holiday in fine hotels.
The Voyage Belek is one of them but this is the first time I’ve stayed at any family hotel that has taken note of and fixed a couple of common frustrations (broken windows) that virtually every family must encounter often.
First, around all the pool areas they have an abundance of sun loungers and parasols.  This is a big hotel. But there are more sun loungers and parasols than guests.

No more getting up at silly o’clock to ‘reserve’ parasols and loungers (there are 5 of us, so making sure we’re all together is an important part of our holiday—we don’t want to be walking too far to throw mum in the pool!).
And whilst getting a parasol is not as important to us now (my children are aged 17, 14 and 11), we do want one between us. Again, no hassle at any time of the day.

So by taking away this key frustration, the hotel have completely extinguished a big problem that virtually every average, good, very good and excellent hotel faces every single day.
There are no losers, just winners all round!
Second, they give you as many pool towels as you want. They don’t count them out and don’t count them in. You don’t need ‘towel passes’ or anything like that. You can change them at any time of the day and you can change them as often as you want.
What a breath of fresh air this is. Once again the hotel has taken away another key frustration and benefitted accordingly.
The lesson is insightful.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you can easily replicate the ‘broken window’ philosophy! What broken windows can you fix in your business right now that will have a similar effect?

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Monday, 8 September 2014

RTI Penalties Start October 2014!

Since 6 April 2013 employers have been reporting PAYE information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in real time. You may see this referred to as Real Time Information - or RTI.

This means you must set up payroll records for the new tax year using payroll software, some of which is free. It makes PAYE submissions to HMRC be updated in real time, every time you pay your employees.

Earlier this year, HMRC announced that the penalties for late returns of payroll information (RTI) would start from October 2014 instead of April 2014. If you operate your own payroll, make sure that your RTI submissions are made on time to avoid an automatic penalty.

Remember that the RTI submission should normally be made on or before the date when the wages or salaries are paid to the employees.

Check for more information about PAYE payments and deadlines and penalties at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/paying/deadline.htm

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Tax Relief For Donating Your Old Suit To Charity!

HMRC has amended its guidance for charities that claim Gift Aid on the sale of donated goods. Gift Aid normally only applies to gifts of money by an individual. However, in certain situations, Gift Aid can be claimed by charities or community amateur sports clubs on the income from the sale of supporters' goods on their behalf.

The charity can offer to act as an agent for private individuals and sell goods on their behalf, so that at the point of sale the funds actually belong to the individual. If the owner agrees to donate the sales proceeds to the charity, Gift Aid can be claimed by the charity on the net sales proceeds, subject to all other Gift Aid conditions being satisfied.  The charity  is then able to reclaim tax at the basic rate. A number of charities, such as Oxfam, operate such schemes. The charity provides the donor with details of the value of goods sold in order for the donor to claim tax relief on their self-assessment tax return.

Remember that the Gift Aid payments, grossed up for basic rate tax, are an effective way of reducing income where an individual’s personal allowance is restricted by income in excess of £100,000 a year. 

Higher rate taxpayers also benefit from additional tax relief. For example, if a suit is sold for £40, the charity is able to reclaim £10 basic rate tax from HMRC (£50 gross) and a higher rate taxpayer obtains a further £10 tax relief - win win!.

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Employee Engagement & Turnover!

We all know that the best employees are engaged and highly motivated. However, most businesses don’t consider the relationship between employee engagement and turnover. Research shows that companies with highly engaged employees experience higher employee retention rates, improved profitability and better overall effectiveness. 

Contrary to popular belief, those leaving at the greatest rate are not necessarily those who are the least engaged. It is those with average engagement, the passively engaged staff that leave. These employees are the solid workers that contribute reasonably well to the business. They leave because they are "looking for something better" and when they leave, they take their knowledge and abilities with them.

Unfortunately, those with low levels of engagement are very often the ones who stay in the firm. Why? Because they've landed the perfect job! They are satisfied and are collecting a pay cheque each month.

By measuring and making some targeted changes, employees with average levels of engagement can often join the ranks of the highly engaged. With this come the benefits of higher profit and higher productivity.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Consultation On Possible Changes To Rules On Employee’s Travel

Many employees and employers find the current tax rules for dealing with travelling and subsistence claims difficult to understand. This is an area that the Office of Tax Simplification is seeking to make more comprehensible.  Consequently, the treasury are consulting on possible changes to the rules, and the way that such expenses are reported. The government intends for any new rules to reflect, rather than drive, commercial decisions and that it will be responsive to 21st century working patterns. As is currently the case, any new system would not provide tax relief for private travel or ordinary commuting.

Note that unless the employer holds a dispensation from reporting such expenses, they need to be included on the employee’s or director’s end of the year Form P11d.

If the tax rules or reporting requirements change, we will get in touch to explain the implications for your business.

Business Travel For Self Employed Traders

Following a recent case in front of the Upper Tier Tax Tribunal involving a doctor with a private practice (Dr Samadian), HMRC are applying the rules for business travel much more strictly.

The “wholly and exclusive” principle states that where there is both a business and a personal reason or benefit in meeting an expense, there is no tax relief for any of the expense. The doctor in question argued that as he was based at home (where he saw some of his patients and ran the business), the expenses of traveling to and from various hospitals and nursing homes should be an allowable business expense. Based on earlier cases, the Tribunal decided that the “habitual” journeys to two hospitals should not be allowed but less regular “itinerant” journeys to other locations would be allowed as a deduction.

Although this case involved a doctor, it has wide ranging implications for other self-employed individuals who operate their business from home and travel regularly to one or two locations. It will become increasingly important to keep a detailed mileage log of business journeys should HMRC challenge the deduction in the business accounts.

Do you still have questions regarding Taxation and Expenses? Feel Free to Phone us on 020 89310165  Now or Arrange a FREE No-Obligation Meeting with us.