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Is it really necessary for a plumber to have public liability cover?

If you are a plumber, you probably don’t need to be reminded of many headaches that can commonly arise when you carry out plumbing work. Being a plumber can be very time-consuming – not least because, even at home, you need to organise tax returns and send out invoices.

Therefore, it makes sense to have insurance to lower the risk of giving yourself even more headaches. Public liability cover is one option, but how much would you truly need it?

What is public liability cover?

This type of cover, otherwise called public liability insurance, would financially protect you if, in the course of carrying out your work, you make a blunder that ultimately necessitates your payment of compensation to an adversely affected third party.

There are various examples of how public liability cover could become necessary for plumbers. You might install some taps incorrectly and so cause flooding that damages the client’s property. If water damage extends to a neighbouring property as well, its owner could also sue you.

With this insurance, you would also be better positioned to provide compensation for a member of the public who has suffered an injury due to your plumbing work. This could happen if someone trips over a cable or pipe that you had carelessly left out where it wasn’t supposed to be.

In practice, can you decide against taking out this cover?

You could be tempted to think so, as public liability insurance is not compulsory in a legal sense. However, the Federation of Small Businesses cautions that some clients might, in the conditions of a contract, stipulate you hold public liability cover before you can start working with them.

If you want to join a particular membership body or regulator as a business member, you might also see public liability insurance in their list of requirements. You might want to join such organisations as a means of promoting yourself – and an especially trustworthy body might insist on public liability.

In January 2018, BBC News reported how easily a reporter could pretend to be a handyman on the trade website Rated People, which did not verify its members by asking for insurance details. This was contrary to several similar sites which sought proof of public liability insurance.

Public liability can provide a valuable financial cushion

Even assuming that you are very well-versed in how to handle water and gas appliances safely and you routinely provide plumbing work of a high standard, accidents can still happen. Costs of making a mistake can arise in various unexpected ways, too.

Someone who sues you for damaging their property, for example, could claim for the costs of both the damage itself and having to stay in a hotel while waiting for their usual home to be repaired. From you, they could also recover money they have spent on legal fees when making their claim.

It’s reassuring, then, that legal expenses cover is a standard inclusion with each of the plumbers public liability insurance policies available from Tradesman Saver.

How to Move to Another Country for Work, The Right Way!

Whether you have just accepted a post overseas or you are about to submit your C.V there are a lot of important things you need to cover before you go. It is not just about getting the job, its about finance, property, salary, holiday and more. Below are some very important points you should have on a check list before you go to make sure the transition is smooth. It is important you don’t regret the move for any other reason than the job itself if it doesn’t work out.

Old Home

Before you think about where you are going to live it is really important to make proper plans around where you live at the moment. If you rent you need to look at notice periods so you do not commit to starting your new role before you can move out and stop paying rent. If you own a property things can get a little more complex. Depending on where you are in the country selling a property can be very rapid but it can also take months. Having to deal with a house sale when you are in another country is not ideal so if the market is slow you might want to consider a home buying service. Companies like www.barryhomebuyers.com are able to buy your home within a matter of weeks for a cash lump sum. It will be less than the normal market value but it could save a lot of money and hassle hanging on for a traditional sale.

New Home

If you are homeowner then you instinct will be to buy straight away in the new location. This may be a bad idea. Renting first is always best, it allows you to find the best areas and see if you like there. Take some time to look for some expat websites and speak to a few people about places to live and areas to avoid. Forums like this can be useful – https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/30  Getting the right pace to live when you first arrive can have a massive affect on how much you want to stay for the long term.

Banking

Getting paid is obviously a key part of moving for a new job so making sure it all goes smoothly is important. Rather than keeping a UK bank account it is worth setting up a local bank account in the country you are moving too. This way you get paid into a bank that deals with the local currency and avoid any extra charges. You also get local bank cards so you don’t have to deal with any issues around payments.

Working Hours, Holiday and Pay

While much of this could be agreed by the time you accept a role it is important to look at the current levels of holiday, tax, and wages in the destination country. Some countries have higher taxes so a pay rise may end up being a pay cut if you don’t check first. Holiday allowance can vary greatly too – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_annual_leave_by_country . In the US 10 days is normal, Germany its 30 days! The times of year holiday is taken can change a lot too. Working hours vary too, in Spain for example it is normal to work from 9am to 8pm but a long 2-3 hours break is taken during the afternoon when it is hottest. In Dubai the working week is Sunday to Thursday which can be quite strange for people moving from the UK. By making sure you are aware of the numbers before accepting a job you can avoid some serious issues. However, if the job has already been accepted the problem could be harder to deal with but not impossible so it is worth discussing it.

Legal Documents

So apart from all the personal financial and of course emotional issues surrounding leaving the country there are also some very important legal ones to cover too. Firstly, you should have the correct permit to work in the country you are going too. You employer will probably help or the recruitment agency, but it is worth taking some control and learning what you need so you don’t fall foul to someone else’s mistake. On top of permits you also have some legal obligations at home in regards to tax, national insurance and the like. www.gov.uk is a good starting point but also speak to your employer and see if they have another workers from home who could help out too.

Good Luck!

Once you have everything in place in terms of money and legal issues it is time to consider family issues and how your loved ones will handle you being away. However, for many people it is very normal and with travel being so much cheaper these days often people visits friends overseas more than they see people in their own country. If you make sure you include all the critical aspects in your plan you can look ahead to a new adventure and potentially a new forever home!

Top trading tips for first time investors

If you have some money to invest, then you may well have decided that trading on the stock market is for you. This is a popular choice with many investors and could potentially be a wise move for you also. Not only do the many who consistently make money on stock trading show that it is possible to make your money work for you here, but it is also a regulated industry for peace of mind.

If you are a first-time investor though, it is crucial to take time before parting with any money to understand how the stock market works. Spending this time will give you the knowledge you need to invest your money wisely and see a return on it over time.

What are the best trading tips for first-time stock market investors?

If you are ready to start learning about how to invest money on the stock market as a first-time trader, here are some great tips to help:

  • Use up to date online analysis – a key factor in investing successfully on the stock exchange is having access to the latest market news and information. That will help you not only in deciding where to invest but also to manage any open trades you have in your portfolio. The best online trading analysis will give you regular updates on what the market is doing and also where it might be headed tomorrow or further in the future.
  • Diversification – only a fool would say there is no risk at all with trading stocks. The trick is to invest wisely and reduce any risk you face. One fabulous tip here is to make sure that you invest in a range of different sectors with the companies in which you buy stocks. By diversifying your portfolio in this way, you are protected if one specific sector takes a big hit.
  • Patience – if there is any magic to successful trading on the stock markets, it is really time and patience. The big gains are usually seen over longer time frames where compound interest starts to come into play. Of course, that is not to say you should blindly hang onto a stock you feel is not performing. You do need to realise though that trading on the stock exchange takes time and patience. Of course, you can undertake day trading which is faster paced, but that may be a little too much action for the first-time trader.
  • Control your emotions – when you go into a trade you should have a rational and logical reason to do so, beyond simply thinking the price will go up. You should also have a price in mind the other where you should sell to cut your losses. Decide all this in advance and execute without emotion when the time comes.

Handle the basics

As well as the above tips, don’t forget to just learn about the stock market in general, what it is made up of and how it works. That can be via books, online videos, engaging in forums or talking to traders in real-life. There is no such thing as too much knowledge here. Once you feel ready to invest, then take the plunge and look forward to some healthy returns.

Buy-to-Let Investment: Should you move your property investments into a limited company?

Over recent years, the residential buy-to-let market has seen a number of significant changes. These include regulatory changes (such as the “right-to-rent” scheme and the extension of HMO licensing), changes to the mortgage market (such as the introduction of affordability criteria for landlords) and changes to the tax landscape (such as the removal of mortgage tax relief).

While there is still the prospect of good returns in this area, achieving these returns (while staying on the right side of the law) means that the residential buy-to-let market is becoming increasingly professionalised, which in turn means that putting property investments within the vehicle of a limited company may be an appropriate course of action for a growing number of landlords. If you are thinking about this option, here is a brief summary of what you need to know.

Forming a limited company is a major step with long-term implications

It should be clearly understood up front, that forming a limited company requires an up-front investment of both time and money. It should also be clearly understood that, at this time, limited companies may find it more of a challenge to secure mortgages, precisely because of their limited structure. This may change in future, presumably if it becomes standard, or at least commonplace, for property investors to work through limited companies, then lenders will have to adapt to this to stay in business themselves.

Transferring property into a limited company needs to be done with care

While the use of limited companies has been described as the “landlord loophole” it needs to be done with care in order to stay on the right side of HMRC. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to transfer existing properties into a limited company in the same way as spouses can make transfers of assets to each other. Instead, the limited company will probably have to buy the property from the existing owner, which means that all relevant charges will apply (e.g. capital gains tax and stamp duty). This is not necessarily all bad news, since there are strategies which can be used to limit the impact of these charges (for example having the company make payment via the channel of a director’s loan), but these factors do need to be taken into consideration.

Profits belong to the company unless they are paid out as taxable dividends

The fact that limited companies can not only claim mortgage expenses as taxable deductions but also pay corporation tax (currently at 19%) rather than income tax can make it much easier for landlords to make a profit out of their investments. The flip side of this, however, is that these profits belong to the company unless they are paid out to directors/shareholders in the form of dividends, which can be taxed at as much as 32.5%. This, however, is still less than the higher rate of income tax. It should also be noted that there is currently no legal requirement for limited companies to pay dividends so investors could potentially hold off taking dividend income until their retirement.

Hopwood House are one of the fastest growing property investment companies in the UK, with a wide range of investment opportunities in the buy-to-let, hotel room and student property investment markets.

Features that makes shower wall panels worth every penny

It is evident that the bathroom is the smallest room in the house compared to other areas but goes through multiple changes and renovation annually than any separate place. Over the years homeowners have always had to spend a tremendous amount of money to make the bathroom look great, which eventually leads to buying expensive pieces of equipment and accessories for the bathroom. With the generation moving forward in many aspects so also, there is headway success in the invention of new types of equipment and devices for household use. Home appliances have been having a significant makeover, and its manufacturers were able to find the result to introduce it in the market. When it comes to shower and all its accessories, the average shower system have a swivelling nozzle aiming down on the user and typically sprays hot or cold water. However, people can find different types of shower style these days with all the adjustable screws and nuts to keep it in place. Many people want to maintain and have a great set of the shower that does not pose problems like the common ones available in the market. There is a vast difference between shower panels and shower system as wall panels brought more developments and upgrades to the accessories that were not available before.

If you are planning to get your bathroom renovated or remodelled, worry not, as the new brands of shower wall panels provide some of the best features that you have ever seen. Before getting into the details of the features that makes shower panels as cool and handy as they are, consider this, you want a makeover for your bathroom, or divine inspiration drove you to want to remodel your old toilet; however you have a busy household or just the one bathroom for daily use. In such given scenario and many others, it becomes a problem to start work or wait it out to finish the renovation process. The issue will get even harder in case of using materials like wallpaper, paints or tiles as it all requires careful steps to dry and install. When using wallpapers as it is paper or processed plastic paper, it is prone to soaking in case of paper and tearing off quickly in case of plastic sheets. Paints come in high volumes that claim to have a plastic coating to enable cleaning off dirt with water, but in many circumstances, the colors remain good through some months or nearly a year after which it begins to come off as flake or even worst begins to accumulate fungal mildew that spreads through the walls of the house. Tiles are the most common wall covering, but there are many flaws when using it. The first issue being costly, the installation process requires installers to get specific drills to make holes in case of putting dowels and pegs to hang particular objects, which leads to cracks on the surface as the material is fragile, and the grout increases collection of dust and dirt is eventually spreading all over the house.

The factors associated with wall panels are ideal for every homeowner as it provides convenient installation, cheap price ranges, lasts long, and easy to replace. Always opt for wall panels when you make plans to remodel your bathroom to give it a classier or vintage looks without having to waste time or spending a fortune in the process. The various feature and advantage will surely wake your interest in using the product.

1) Keeping labour cost down with easy and quick to fit facilities

The best benefit about using shower wall panels is that you can install it without having to hire additional hands, however, if you still need help, professional installers can assist at reasonable charges for the services. It is less time-consuming, and many companies provide customer helpline for clients to post their queries to get the most of the materials.

2) A long lasting product with low maintenance

Shower wall panels are the safest and sturdiest material that can withstand the daily wear and tear as opposed to tile, which is prone to breaking when something heavy falls on it. If you prefer the appearance of tiles do not worry as the wall panels are also available in tile designs. Due to the numerous varieties of wall panel designs available in the market, you can pick your choice of style, including tile fashion at a lower price with less labour and less time consumption.

3) No dangers of grouting or black spots on the wall

Wall panels for bathrooms, showers, rooms, and kitchen are 100% waterproof with no grouting, which means you need not worry about water sipping into the surface of the material, soaking it, leaving black spots or moulds, and spread all kinds of allergies and diseases risking the health of the household. Tiles, on the other hand, attracts and builds cavity due to the grout on its surface, which eventually leads to the foul smell, spreading of holes and stain the surface by fungal spots.

4) Ideal for covering any irregularities on imperfect walls

The more you read about the advantages of wall panel materials you will be beyond convinced that it is the right product for you. Of all the difficulties of renovating or remodelling any rooms in the house, the tiresome job of stripping and scraping off the old covering is the most difficult and time-consuming. The good news is that you do not have to worry about all such trivialities as you can straightaway fix the wallboards on top of the old covering without having to scrap it off. Even for surfaces like the tiles, the wall panels can stick appropriately without any problem. Other coatings include brick walls, plastered walls, plastic coverings, ceramic tiles, etc.

5) Shower wall panels reduce energy cost by insulation

Each shower wall panel is 8mm thick, which keeps the heat from the radiator, save when it gets cold outside unlike the cold tiles.

Why Online Learning is going to become more and more important to businesses.

OK so online learning isn’t new the technology to be able to deliver lessons via a computer has been around for some time. However, there is a bigger shift going on and it is less around the tech, although that does play a part, and more around the needs of employees, business owners and how we choose to learn as people.

The Old Way

In the fairly recent mists of time training and learning was pretty much only delivered in the class room or training room at work. This went for almost everything even learning an instrument. Learning materials went from books, to books and tapes, videos, CDs, DVDs and eventually online lessons but much of the tech architecture was expensive and not something easily developed. This meant people had to pay a lot to learn anything and businesses had to pay trainers or software companies lots of money to get training material for their staff.

YouTube

Part of the revolution has been because of YouTube. While there was and still isn’t any real barrier for content quality people were able to watch tutorials and even videos of lectures and the like. This has proved to be a huge resource and very helpful to a lot of people but it can be lacking in quality and due to adverts and the temptation to watch a video of people falling over that the algorithm suggests it is not always idea.

The New Way

As the demand for easily accessible online learning has grown so has the software options and the way other people can creatively use video channels like YouTube and Vimeo while keeping people on their site. Companies like www.perfectlyspoken.com use dedicated video learning platforms for deliver free online English lessons. It is this type of platform that is really pushing online learning into the future. People are now seeing they can not only watch lessons online as they have done for a while but they can chart their progress, complete lessons, complete courses and even gain qualifications with no human input apart from the creation of the original content…and this is a game changer.

Applications for Business

The potential for business is huge. Imagine a manager in an employee review meeting discussing how someone might need to improve their coding abilities, English skills or customer service skills. This is often a difficult moment, the choice about spending money on a trainer or asking the employee to go away and learn in their own time. Well with online learning said manager can do some research and simply set the staff member on a course towards learning what they need. Of course, they are not all free but most offer the chance to use it for multiple staff members for a single price.

More Benefits for Business

As well as the obvious benefits of low cost and easy learning opportunities for staff online learning also offers discretion. Sometimes staff feel awkward about getting training and online courses allow them to learn without anyone knowing. The change curve then becomes less of an issue the denial stage is reduced, the anger phase should be removed and the leap to engagement and acceptance will be a lot faster. Other benefits include people finishing a course and feeling inspired to move onto the next stage; thus leaving the manager with a member of staff who is driving their own learning!

Multi-Cultural Business

One very strong factor where online learning will become more and more important is language learning. As mentioned earlier on there are free online English courses but also the same will exist in other countries. As people become more global and move to different countries to work businesses will be able to take advantage of these and offer native language lessons to foreign staff. This kind of learning can help integrate people faster and improve productivity while also reducing any issue surrounding languages.

Tech

With all the benefits of the learning itself it is worth looking at the final huge reason online learning will be the future for so many businesses; Device flexibility! Not only can people learn in private and at their own pace, but they can do so on mobile phones, tablets, lap tops and in the work place on desktop PCs. This is great for busy lives and it allows people to learn faster not being constrained buy desk time. They can learn on the train, in bed, outside…the options are endless and that can only increase course completion and success.

What Should Business Owners Do?

In short, start researching and planning the use of online learning. Identify learning gaps and the needs of different staff groups and consider moving ahead with either paid for access or free trials to test the learning platforms.

Whether it be for language, business skills, HR, basic maths, or even sales skills there will be a course out there. If there isn’t, it will appear sooner rather than later. Any business ready for this will be able to bring cheap, accessible and quality training to their workforce and that can only be a good thing.

Don’ts for a Smooth Moving Day

Do you know, in the UK, people move to a new house on average 5 times before they turn 30, and 3 more times later in their life, making a total of 8 moves! And each moving time is as stressful as the other. There is so much to pack, clean, paperwork, handling, and then set up again.

Since moving house requires all your attention, you cannot avoid stress altogether. In fact, all these planning is a positive stress as it would help you in successful moving to a new place of comfort. But there are certain things that can really spoil the moving day and force you to have an anti-stress medicine.

The following are the absolute No-Nos for the big day. You can thank us later.

  • Don’t pack clothes and stuff which can be donated or thrown away

It is true that you won’t be picking up stuff on your own and carrying it to the new place; you have other people and a pickup van to do this for you. But that does not mean you should pack everything. There is no good in packing the stuff which you are no longer going to use like old clothes or a half-broken Chester. This will only increase a load of packing, moving, may inflict additional moving cost and then this stuff will occupy unnecessary space at your new place.

If you can, just donate the items prior to your moving day. You can ask your friends to have somethings like furniture, that won’t go with your new home décor.

  • Don’t do last minute packing, if you are doing it on your own

Last minute packing is a bad idea. It wastes everyone’s time. And with unexpected unforeseen things happening like your children’s resistance or pet’s interference, the whole moving day will just get ruined. Take at least a month to sort things out (if you got this much time margin) and pack everything prior to a day of moving. And what if you may need somethings on the day of moving? This leads to our next point, in this list of “don’ts”.

  • Don’t forget to pack a separate bag of essentials

Everything must be packed prior to the day of moving but it is not 100% feasible. You may have to use, for example, toothbrushes, documents, some stationery. Well, of course, you do need some things on the same day and even after moving into the new place. That is why it is recommended to pack a separate carry-on bag for essential items for the whole family.

  • Don’t miss minute details from telling your movers

You may have forgotten that you have a narrow lane at the front of your doorstep and you went to hire a big yellow van and man services. This seems like a problem unless you share this with the company’s customer representative. They may come prepared with the alternate methods like bringing a trolley to carry your stuff up till the van. Think of all such minute information which you should share with professional movers and with your friends who are helping you on your moving day.

  • Don’t forget to treat your movers

This is one thing you should do out of courtesy. Treat your professional as well as friends’ movers with a little treat of snacks and refreshment drinks as a thank you for their help and giving them some relief from all the laborious work.

  • Don’t pack carelessly

Packing carelessly by overloading boxes, not labelling boxes for fragile items, leaving any sharp-edged stuff popping out of a box, can lead to the major cause of stress on this important day. Make sure you cover the basic requirements of packing. You can check online for some packing hacks to organize everything neatly.

  • Don’t let your pets stressed out

Pets get stressed out too due to all moving and packing going on in the place. They may interrupt you while packing the boxes or they run around confusedly, making movers getting tripped over them. Understand their emotions and try to calm them. you can assign a duty to a family member who should just keep the pets entertained all the time. You can also drop your pets at your relatives or you can opt for a daycare service for your pets.

Make a list of things-to-do handy before, during and after moving house. Refer to it at every instance. This moving-out and moving-in won’t be that tough.

Happy moving!

 

Future-proof your business and finance education

Close up young woman with calculator counting making notes at home, hand is writes in a notebook. Savings, finances, concept.

The stunning pace of change in technology is well documented, and it should come as no surprise that it’s disrupting the finance and business management sectors along with all the others.

For students and midstream career professionals looking to upgrade their skills, this presents a challenge. Many senior and management-level roles require formal educational credentials. However, the time, effort and financial investment is significant, and there are some questions being raised about how relevant and useful these credentials are now, and will be over the lifetime of a career.

The gap between employer expectations, which tend toward the traditional, and modern-day sensibilities and developing trends is significant. How can you reconcile the need for formal educational credentials with the potential lack of relevancy of your investment?

You need to selectively pursue an educational track that meets both needs with a programme that prepares you for the future of business and finance while satisfying employers or clients and providing you with the formal credentials that will open doors in your career. While work experience and self-study are valuable, the network-building effects, specialised knowledge and formal credentials of an education aren’t to be missed.

When you start your search for a business leadership, administration or finance degree, there are a number of considerations. Foremost among them must be the programme’s relevancy to current needs and value for future needs, including the changing nature of work. Ask how the programme that you’re considering will make you more competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s employment market.

The educational institute and degree programme could be a known and respected quantity to employers, adding credibility and quality to your CV. It might have a high bar to entry and be known for its standards of academic excellence. It may expose you to an extended network of professionals who might be valuable as resources and supporters throughout your career.

Review the programme structure and course notes, sessions or syllabus to get a sense of what will be covered during the course. Look for content that speaks to current and emerging trends. Is the educational institution teaching content that was relevant ten years ago? Does it both incorporate the use of, and speak to, current technology and trends? Does it include projects or practical work that will expand your skillset, portfolio and preparedness to contribute to problem-solving in the workplace upon commencement? Does it emphasise capabilities and attributes such as rapid learning and creative problem-solving over rote memorisation or manual procedures?

The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers a wide range of programmes that not only look to the future in their content but also in their flexible delivery. Study remotely, in bite-size pieces around your career, or in intensive bursts as suits your schedule and needs.

A forward-looking certificate or degree programme focuses on helping you gain the skills, experience and connections that will help you succeed as the business and finance sector changes around you, rather than emphasising outdated technologies or skills. It’s that combination of transferrable, actionable principles and hard skills that will help you future-proof your career.

Legalities your startup needs to take into consideration

Business People Having a Meeting in the Board Room

Thinking of launching a startup? As well as having an innovative idea, a strategic plan and the willpower to turn your aspirations into reality, you need to take a whole host of legal issues into consideration when establishing your company. From employment law to your business structure, read on to find out about the legalities you need to be thinking about.

  1. Complying with employment law

If you are planning to hire employees, then being compliant with employment law is imperative. Fall foul of the relevant legislation and you could face lengthy and costly tribunals, with the average tribunal costing a business £8,500. This is without even mentioning the potential upheaval and effort of replacing unhappy staff and the damage to your reputation that this could cause.

Employment law is very complex, however, and there are many different rights that employees are entitled to, like privacy and protection from unfair dismissal. You should consider consulting a lawyer when it comes to tasks like drawing up employment contracts, though much of the onus will be on you to ensure that your startup is compliant with employment laws. For instance, issues like holiday entitlement and health and safety are very much in your domain. To help safeguard your small business, you should make sure you keep up to date with and fully understand the latest legislation surrounding employment.

  1. Protecting your intellectual property

Safeguarding your intellectual property (IP) is a crucial legal consideration in the early stages of your startup. There are a number of different IP rights that you may need to protect, depending on what type of business you are running. Most startups usually need to apply for copyright and trademark rights, with the former ensuring others cannot copy your works of authorship, like business plans, and the latter typically used to ensure others cannot use your business logo. Some startups will also need to apply for patents to protect inventions, and register design rights for any products they have invented.

In order to register your IP, you will first need to conduct a search to ensure that something very similar or identical has not already been registered by somebody else. When this has been cleared, you’ll need to apply to the Intellectual Property Office to register your own IP. This process can be time consuming and difficult, so it is worth enlisting a company to help register a patent, copyright, a design or a trademark on your behalf. This can cut your administration time and enable you to streamline your workflow.

  1. Deciding on a legal structure

 You also need to think long and hard about what type of legal structure you want your business to employ. Unless you want to raise substantial funds on the stock exchange within a set period, it is inadvisable to start as a public limited company. You therefore have a four way choice between being a sole trader, a partnership, a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). What is right for you depends on what type of business you are, and each have their own advantages and drawbacks.

If your startup is low budget and you are not planning to employ anyone then your best bet may be to launch your venture as a sole trader (you can still have employees in this structure). The advantages of being a sole trader are that there is little red tape and minimal set up costs. However, the law will see the business and its owner as the same entity, so any business debt can be met from your own wealth if the startup fails. In addition, you could end up paying hefty tax figures if your business starts to grow significantly, as profits are taxed as income; you will pay 40% tax as soon as you earn above £41,865 and 45% above £150,000. Another option is to become a partnership, a structure that is often used when two individuals want to launch a venture together. In this structure, you’ll again be responsible for any debt incurred by the business, and profit will again be taxed as income.

If you really want to make your venture sound credible, it could be worth incorporating as a limited company at the Companies House. This will also make it simpler to borrow money, and as a limited company is a separate legal entity from its directors, the business—not you—will take on any debts if it goes under. The tax regime is also more favourable to limited companies than to a sole trader, as company directors are taxed as employees, just like others who work for the business. Finally, you could incorporate as an LLP. This is almost a hybrid of limited liability companies and partnerships, and must have at least two ‘designated members’. Just like a limited company, a LLP model limits the liability of members, but profit will also be taxed as income.

While there a quite a few hoops to jump through, ensuring you comply with these legalities will help increase the chances of the success of your venture.

Are You Preparing for Global Growth?

With the British Chambers of Commerce raising the GDP forecast for 2018 from 1.1% to 1.4%, things are looking positive for many SMEs. A poll of 500 SMEs from Wesleyan Bank shows that 65% anticipate achieving growth of up to 40% over the next two years with only 11% stating they were concerned about the potential impact of Brexit.

In fact, many businesses are reportedly looking overseas markets to fuel growth. Separate research from CitySprint (referenced here) reports that 1.3 million UK SMES plan to fuel growth with overseas business over the next year, that represents one quarter of SMEs with overseas growth on their agenda. Are you preparing for global growth?

Digitisation

The fact more elements of trade transactions are moving online provides a huge opportunity for businesses to save on the costs of overseas sales, whether you plan to sell directly to overseas customers from a website or not. As we move aspects of trading online, many tasks become quicker, cheaper and easier to perform. A 2017 ICC Banking Commission report estimated that eliminating paper from trade transactions could reduce the cost of trading compliance by 30 per cent, along with benefits such as faster processing. Are you ready to take advantage? Is your company set up for digital trading and do you have the skills in your midst to handle it? Do you have the technology in place to make trading overseas easier? If you’d like to sell direct to customers overseas but don’t have a website, could you test the market by selling on worldwide platforms such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay first?

Market Research

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to target next. Putting a strategy in place for export rollout is fundamental for success and it does take research and planning. You’ll find some great tools on the government website www.great.gov.uk including tools for creating an exporter profile, searching out suitable online marketplaces and tips for ensuring you’re ready to meet the demand and expectations of overseas trading. You can also explore markets and build relationships with potential customers by attending trade shows and you may be able to access government grants in able to do this. For smaller businesses it can seem like a big leap to start trading outside of your home country, but having the market research, costing and business plans in place to help you take that leap will give you more confidence and a far better chance of success.

Funding Success

As your business grows, it’s likely you may need new talent, premises, materials, and maybe even equipment in order to help meet demand and successfully secure contracts. Unfortunately, business loans can still be hard to come by in the UK, even with a solid business and exporting model in place. SMEs are increasingly looking to alternative finance to bridge the gap and ensure they don’t miss out on taking their goods and services into the global marketplace.

According to UK Finance, the number of SMEs using invoice finance services to fuel export goals is increasing. If you’ve not considered this financing method before, it can be a useful tool for maintaining consistent cash flow or advancing much needed investment funds. So, how does it work? Invoice discounting firms advance you an agreed percentage based on upcoming invoices, releasing the funds to you before your client pays so that you are able to use the money when you need it. Providing you have a healthy sales ledger, you can use your current sales to help you reach new markets.

Another alternative is to seek investment funding. If you’d like some extra support in taking your product to new markets, you could consider looking for an angel investor with significant export experience. This way, you could benefit from the voice of experience in guiding your next steps and developing your export plan along with accessing additional funds to put them into action. You may also gain access to useful contacts and suppliers. However, you’ll need to be willing to accept criticism and listen to others in order for such a relationship to work, which can be tricky when you’ve grown your business alone up to this point.

If you’ve been bracing yourself for the impact of Brexit and are now daring to dream that the coming months could actually present more outside trade opportunities for your business, don’t waste time in taking your next steps. Where will your goods and services go next?

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