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Home feeling cramped? Five top tips for creating more space without blowing the budget….

With the average cost of moving house estimated at being around £10,000, it’s no wonder many homeowners today are choosing to extend their homes rather than relocate. If you feel that you’ve run out of space, but can’t afford extensive building work, here are some top tips for creating more space within your home:

Look into self storage

The industrial outskirts of practically every city and town in the UK are dotted with self-storage units. These purpose-built facilities provide secure, temperature controlled environments, with many also offering 24/7 access and free parking. In terms of costs, companies such as Blue Box Storage charge from as little as £11 per week for a 10 square foot space. With such easy access and minimal financial outlay, storage needn’t just be for excess furniture or when moving house. Why not consider storing your winter and summer wardrobes, cherished books and memorabilia, or even outdoor furniture/equipment during the winter months? This could free up essential space within your home, helping you cope when conditions are cramped.

Board and convert the loft

Boarding the loft is a great option for adding storage space to your home. However, without the additional floor strengthening required by building regulations for a full loft conversion, boarding will only allow occasional footfall. This means that you’ll create extra storage space rather than a fully usable room within the home. If you require an extra room, loft conversions come in at upwards of £20,000, depending on the extent of the building work required. While the procedure for converting your loft can be lengthy as well as costly, loft conversions are really attractive for homeowners. Not only will the additional floor create essential breathing space for your family, it also means you’ll avoid the stress of moving home. As an added bonus, it will also add over 20% to the value of your home and make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

Get creative with under stairs storage

The under stairs space is often overlooked in our homes, but this empty space can provide excellent storage as well as living areas. Options range from low cost installations such as a built-in cupboard or shelving for a bookcase to more expensive alternatives such as a built-in reading nook, home office or even an additional downstairs toilet. By getting creative with this space you can not only create additional storage but also completely transform your living space.

Install a garden shed

Traditionally the preserve of gardening equipment, garden sheds are seeing a renaissance. No longer damp and draughty spaces relegated to the end of the lawn, sheds today come in all shapes and sizes. They can be anything from a basic wooden shed for storing bikes and equipment to larger spaces with heating and electricity, that are truly an extension of your home – be that a playroom, office or even a spare room. The Posh Shed Company recently reported a 35% increase in sales in London, with the capital making up over a quarter of the company’s entire sales and reflecting the needs of homeowners that have limited space.

Convert the garage

Few people use their garage for storing their car, so integrating this little-used space back into your home by creating another room is an attractive option for many homeowners. Costing from as little as £5,000, a well thought-out garage conversion can add as much as 10% to the value of your home, meaning not only will it add valuable living space to your home, but it will also improve the resale value. If you already use the garage for storage, then you’ll need to invest in additional outside storage. If this isn’t possible, consider a partial garage conversion. By converting just a third to two thirds of the garage, you can still create a small office or playroom, while retaining invaluable storage.

Everything You Need to Know for Medical Emergencies at Work

As the saying goes: it’s better to be prepared than sorry. While you may not expect a significant medical emergency at work, accidents will and do happen. If you have provisions in place, however, you stand a better chance at minimising risk for your employees, and maintaining your business reputation.

In 2017, 609,000 non-fatal injuries were reported by workers. Thankfully, fatal injuries are relatively rare, and tend to occur in highly-dangerous industries. However, the common causes for the non-fatal injuries relate to handling, carrying and slips. With that in mind, you can attempt to reduce risks attributed to those incidents.

Risk Assessment

It goes without saying that you need a risk assessment in place. The necessity for a risk assessment is outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, so you cannot avoid the measurement. However, if you don’t know what should be included, you can find templates online. In simple terms, your assessment must analyse all equipment and conditions to ensure they run as they should, and you have provisions in place for any emergency. It should feature:

  • The action determined to resolve any accidents
  • Identify the first aiders in the workplace
  • Highlight any unsafe equipment of conditions, with the aim to resolve all issues

Emergency Accident Reporting

Emergency reporting of any incident is crucial for all businesses. In many cases, staff are not even aware this is part of their duties. You should contact all team members with the action plan in place for all emergencies, highlighting the necessity of incident reporting immediately and the form they will need to fill out.

Potential Hazards

As we mentioned above, the government has conducted surveys as to the most common causes of non-fatal injury in a workplace. As such, you can work to reduce those incidents and identify potential hazards in your office. Of course, you cannot eliminate all risks, but you can work to ensure the safety of your employees.


Handling and carrying incidents accounted for 122,000 of non-fatal injuries reported by UK workers, and there are straightforward procedures you can put in place. One such example is to provide proper training for your employees on lifting boxes etc., and to ensure there are no obstacles in their path. Similarly, make sure the doorways in your workplace are not obstructed.


Common incidents relating to this cause can easily be minimised – you just need to follower proper steps, which is where we come in. For example, if there happens to be a spillage, get rid of it straightaway. You should always make sure you provide suitable floor materials and signage.

First Aid Kits

We can’t state this any clearer, but you need several first aid kits in your business. Depending on the size of your team, the number of kits should relate. Your first aiders should also be aware of their responsibilities during an emergency. Your first aid kit should include:

  • Gloves
  • Various types of dressing
  • Eye pads
  • Sharp and blunt scissors
  • Instant ice packs
  • Sports tape
  • Triangular bandages
  • Sterile gauze swabs
  • Crepe bandages
  • Wound wash solution
  • Deep freeze spray
  • Emergency foil blanket
  • Safety pins
  • Resuscitation face mask

Med Plan

Your business should have a med plan in place, and it must feature everything mentioned above. Now you’ve got the basics, we suggest including:

  • Evaluating the particular injury/illness
  • Designate contacts for incident reporting
  • Ensure all first aiders have received proper training
  • Store all first aid certificates in an accessible place, keeping them up-to-date
  • If you have medical facilities near your office, speak to them to see if they could handle any emergency cases that may arise
  • Deliver medical procedures to all staff and ensure they understand the action from each accident
  • Consult with healthcare professionals to provide advice on first aid kit/supplies

Essential Medical Apps

While all of the above is essential, you could even download professional medical apps to ensure you have all information at your disposal. While they are certainly not as accurate as healthcare professionals, these apps will be able to guide you through responding to a medical emergency.

Medical Dictionary

The medical dictionary is as expected. The app boasts thousands of downloads, providing users access to more than 180,000 medical terms, all from authoritative sources. The medical app states that it will offer ‘clear, in-depth definitions of medical terminology’, and they could prove invaluable in a case of an emergency. The app includes features on diseases, drugs, physiology and treatments for specific illnesses.

First Aid by British Red Cross

This medical app is officially produced by British Red Cross, offering excellent guidance for first aiders. Their emergency section provides step-by-step instructions for all manner of incidents, including those occurring due to asthma, allergies, burns, broken bones, choking and even diabetes.

St John Ambulance First Aid

Another trusted app, this time produced by St John Ambulance. It does not replace the need for first aid training, but can help in terms of emergency. Similar to the British Red Cross app, this offers easy-to-follow illustrated guides and voice instructions on specific emergencies, both minor and major.

Instant Heart Rate Monitor

This is the world’s best mobile heart rate measurement app, and is worth installing to your device. The app works by detecting a colour change in your finger, thus calculating your heart rate. It is exceptionally accurate, but should never replace a true heart rate monitor.

Ultimately, if you do put provisions in place for emergencies, you will reduce the risk for staff and even any visitors to your premises. In the long run, that will only serve to enhance your company reputation.

What to do if your Home has a Repossession Order

Woman worried about financial problems. Jobless or to many bills

As anyone would imagine; being threatened with your home being repossessed must be one of the most stressful events imaginable, this is your home not just bricks and mortar, it is where you and your family relax, have fun and of course shut out the world.

A word of caution should this ever happen to you, DO NOT ignore it, it will not go away, you need to act to ensure that you keep your home and frankly the quicker you act the more chance you will have of keeping the home you value. If the worst case happens and repossession becomes an inevitability you will still have some options, let’s see what can be done.

What should I do first?

Contact your mortgage company as soon as is possible, if you can do this even before a repossession order comes (because you will know if you haven’t paid your mortgage) then all the better, however, if you receive the formal repossession order, call immediately or frankly proceedings will move very quickly. Always be honest regarding your current situation, lenders do not want hundreds and hundreds of repossessed homes as it becomes a headache for them to dispose of, so they will try and help for both of your sakes. Normally you can come to an agreement with the lender which will be beneficial to both and allow you to keep that roof over your head.

Don’t panic.

In normal circumstances proceedings would take several weeks to come to the stage of actually being evicted, so do not panic, just act, if you do as set out above there would be no need to have to go through a court hearing, it can be sorted with your lender. Of course, if it should get as far as court, the court has a responsibility to protect the assets which of course is the lenders assets as you are actually not the owner until the mortgage is settled. But even taking that into account, the court also has a duty of care for the community it represents which ensures that you can state your case.

If you act from day one by being honest and making calm rational dealings with your lender you can possibly avert any chance of actually ending up in court.

What are my options?

Discuss with your lender the level of repayments you can make, do not pluck a figure out of thin air, do your sums and work out exactly how much you can repay and still live. Your lender will ask for all your incomings and outgoings and between you, come to an agreement that will work for both parties.

If you cannot reach an amicable agreement, well, you might want to think about taking in a lodger for extra income, rent out your property for the amount of mortgage repayment. This must be agreed to by the lender in almost every case as it their property and therefore the “owner” per se.

You could sell your property very quickly though any of the companies that offer immediate cash, meaning you would be able to complete within a matter of weeks, companies such as these normally take care of the whole process from start to finish i.e. legal side, which would give you the relief you have been looking for.

What if none of the above work?

Unfortunately if all the above fail then the chances are you will have to attend court with regards to the repossession, however that is not the end for you, the court may decide to suspend proceedings to allow you some time to try and resolve the matter or the court may find that the correct procedures have not been followed to a “t” and that also will maybe give you a little more time. But don’t let it get that far, use all the resources mentioned above as theoretically if you do reach the courts there is every chance that you will have to vacate your home at a given time as court really is the final stage of repossession.

I have had my home repossessed?

This is obviously not a good situation to find yourself in because even though your home has been repossessed until it has been sold either at auction or privately by the lender you will probably still be liable for the ongoing interest on the initial loan, should you home fetch more money than the debt it has on it then of course you would expect to receive the difference after all debts on it are cleared.

Another point is of course if it does not clear the debt on the property you will still be liable for the remaining amount.

Of course, this is worst case scenario and most repossessions do not reach court, the reason for his can be many, money is attained from another source, you reach an agreement with the lender, you sell the property. But as we stated right at the beginning, do not panic; simply act quickly and state your case and in that way, you are taking control of the situation instead of the other way around!

FJP Investment is a team of investment specialists sourcing a wide range of investment opportunities both in the UK and overseas.

5 Smart hiring Tips for Startups

As with any business, the colleagues behind the brand are the foundations of its success. Being able to find the right candidates for the job though can take time, from receiving the CV’s to making the final decision on who to choose for the role.

There are many large brands out there which can be very appealing to candidates on the job search. However, there are still ways for smaller business’ to stand out from the competition and acquire the top people at your company who can help pursue the goals of your startup business. Below are 5 steps you can take that will help with gaining the best individuals for the job through your hiring :

  1. Honesty around what you require and the changes you make.

Unsettled and demotivated staff can be worrying for team morale, especially if they’re unaware of the changes happening. Make sure it’s clear to your staff about what you expect from them for the sake of the business. As with any start up, there will be frequent changes occurring as you continue to grow and adapt to its needs. It’s important that potential candidates are aware of this beforehand so they can prepare for it later down the line, and remain comfortable getting to terms with the changes. Being able to communicate well with potential new members of the team about expectations will help them settle, and can almost make them feel excited about what to expect for the future. Otherwise, you may find that employees will start to become disgruntled in their day-to-day work.

  1. Create a strong rapport with all the candidates.

Whilst candidates are looking for jobs, it can be encouragement to them if they feel wanted by the company approaching them. Coming across as welcoming to job seekers can create an appeal to want to work for you and they’ll feel valued from your initial approach. Investing the time develop the rapport can help with this. If it happens that the candidate isn’t the one you were looking for, as long as the relationship has been built they could help to promote the brand through due to their experience in the recruitment process. It’s always worth asking those who have been rejected for the job to encourage others to apply, perhaps through an incentive of your own like referrals to jobs elsewhere.

  1. Provide benefits that are worthwhile

Initially, start up businesses are hard to predict in terms of their future success so it may not be worth providing false hope about it. Instead, offer other ways to make the candidates experience more enjoyable in the role. Putting an informal twist on development can be a great way to encourage job seekers to jump on board with the business. Anything from social events to discounted courses can help promote morale within the office and continue to challenge employees.

  1. Get help in the hiring process.

Although you may know the ideal candidate you’re looking for to fill the role you’ve advertised, it can be a bit of a juggle sometimes to manage a start-up and search for potential job seekers. For example, you may be dealing with the commercial property management side of things whilst recruiting staff also. You’re a start-up that’s wishing for success and with each individual hired, you’re wanting it to continue the development of the company so far. To make sure you find the right one, you may require further help. Seek help with finding the right candidates for your job advertisement, or understanding interview techniques to make the most of your hiring process.

  1. Continue your manner once they’re hired.

Although the papers have been signed and the candidate’s been on-boarded, continue to motivate them about the opportunities available in the company. Make sure they’ve had an easy process of entering the business so when they first start, they’re motivated and excited about what’s to come. Welcome the new recruit in a positive way, providing support along the way and making sure they have the tools at their disposal to succeed. This way, your company will continue to grow whilst retaining the valuable colleagues who have grown within the business.

When can you contest a will?

A senior citizen signing a document.

When someone dies, their estate is dealt with according to their will or, if there is no valid will, according to the intestacy rules. In England and Wales, individuals have considerable freedom to choose the beneficiaries who will inherit under their will. However, potential beneficiaries are sometimes unhappy with a will and may seek to challenge it in the courts. Any such challenge must commence within six months of the grant of probate.

Challenges to a will are usually made for one of two reasons:

(a) the will is invalid; or

(b) the will does not make adequate (or any) provision for a particular person or persons.

Claiming that a will is invalid

There are several potential grounds.

(1) Lack of testamentary capacity

Only an individual of sound mind may make a will. This does not automatically exclude deathbed wills. Provided the testator understood what they were doing and the implications of their decisions, their will is unlikely to fail for lack of testamentary capacity.

(2) Undue influence

Undue influence, or duress, is where a testator is pressured into making a will or is coerced into choosing to make particular bequests to certain individuals or organisations such as charities.

(3) Fraud 

Fraud may have occurred if a will does not reflect a testator’s true intentions. Although this makes it similar to undue influence, there is usually no element of coercion or pressure to fraud. Due to the “behind closed doors” nature of testamentary fraud and to the fact that one of the main witnesses – the testator – is deceased, it is difficult to assess how many wills really are fraudulent. Successful challenges are rare but include cases where the claimant has proved that the testator left money or property to a particular individual as a result of false representations made about that person’s character or personal needs.

(4) Forgery

Sometimes classified with fraud, forgery occurs where someone impersonates the testator in order to draw up and execute a will.

(5) Knowledge and approval

Proving undue influence or fraud can be very difficult. Where the circumstances surrounding the will’s execution are suspicious, it may be easier to argue that the testator lacked the knowledge necessary to understand their will and so did not approve its contents.

(6) Failure to execute the will correctly

This is less likely as a potential ground of challenge if a will was drawn up by an experienced probate solicitor. However, anyone who chooses to draft their own will risks skipping essential procedural requirements, such as the need to sign the will in the presence of two independent witnesses. Failures can lay the will open to subsequent challenge.

Claiming that a will does not make adequate (or any) provision for a particular person or persons

Testators in England and Wales have relative freedom when it comes to disposing of their assets. However, failure to make reasonable provision for a dependent can be contested under the Inheritance Act 1975. There is no exact classification of “dependent” but it may include a spouse, cohabitee, minor child, adult child who was financially reliant on the testator, or anyone who the testator treated as a close family member. A successful challenge does not automatically mean that other beneficiaries will be disinherited. Instead, a judge will decide what amounts to “reasonable provision” for the claimant.

Seeking legal advice

The decision to challenge a will can be emotionally-fraught. Meanwhile, the process itself can be lengthy and often expensive. Nuanced legal advice from an experienced probate solicitor is essential at the outset. Our experienced team at Keoghs Nicholls Lindsell & Harris LLP is here to help you with sensitivity and in confidence.

5 Affordable Cities for Cosmopolitan Living

Do you live and breathe London but can’t afford its astronomical rent prices … not to mention getting on the property ladder? In collaboration with Safestore, we’ve created the ultimate list of British cities you might consider buying a house in if you fancy the cosmopolitan lifestyle without the capital price tag.


Ready to relocate to find your perfect location? Welcome to Leeds! This beautiful city located in the northern English county of Yorkshire and has the second largest economy in the UK, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a strong job market. You’ll also find the city boasts a rich cultural heritage, with plenty going on to keep you entertained. Plus, the average house price in Leeds stands at approximately £171,000.


Full of great people with even better things to do including exhibitions, shows, concerts and sporting events, Liverpool is a great place to live if you love socialising with your friends and meeting new ones. Liverpool is also the perfect destination for anyone looking to get their foot on the property ladder as it offers reasonable housing choices for less than £125,000.


Did you know that Manchester has the highest proportion of 20-34-year-olds in the UK? This might be because of high volume of students who

graduate and decide to stay and enjoy the cosmopolitan aspects of Manchester living.

This beautiful major city of the northwest England is also an excellent choice for first time buyers, who can purchase a 2-bed apartment close to the town centre for as little as £180,000. Need we say more?


If you’re looking for a city that offers both decent nightlife and plenty to explore, then Cardiff is the place to go. Named as the UK’s most sociable city, Cardiff is a great alternative for those looking to get away from the overcrowded London.

Money-wise, the cost of renting in this welsh city are up to three times less than those in the capital..


With the average house price of £176,000, Leicester is an exceptional and boutique place to live for anyone seeking an affordable housing as well as peaceful lifetime destination.

Recognised in 2017 as one of the best places to live in Britain, Leicester is well known for its low rent, beautiful green scenery and excellent range of pubs!

Get Creative with Our Top Direct Mail Examples

Direct mail is hitting the headlines for all of the right reasons in 2018. This form of marketing can place your message directly in the home of your prospects. Email marketing may be successful on its own merit, but it’s not tangible, and recent reports suggest consumers respond better to brands using direct mail. With that in mind, Washington Direct Mail – leading UK mailing house – have been scouring the web for the best direct mail examples, and are sharing their favourites.

  1. World Water Day

World Water Day is an annual event celebrated every March. The day is designed to place focus on those without access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. To demonstrate the importance of water, and how we would suffer without, the corporation behind the event provided some of the most innovative direct mail. The message, sent out to press and targeted consumers, could only be seen when held under water.

  1. Candle Box, Earth Hour

To mark Earth Hour, the firm produced an innovative piece of direct mail that will go down in their history. The mailing featured a black box, designed to mirror the exterior of an office building. Inside, they placed a yellow candle that, when pulled out, replicated turning off the lights. In response to their genius marketing, company support of the ‘switch off’ increased by a staggering 260%.

  1. Free Kit Kat Chunky in the Post, Nestlé

You should all remember where you were the day Nestlé launched the Kit Kat Chunky. Sending out a Royal Mail-inspired ‘we’re sorry we couldn’t deliver your parcel’ card through specific consumer doors to promote the chunkiness of the bar. The campaign encouraged people to collect their free chocolate bar at their local newsagent, using this card. Due to this, the sales for the bar topped their estimates, and it’s still one of their more popular products today.

  1. Recyclable Helmet, Smart

Smart’s most famous direct mail campaign had two objectives: promote their new range of e-friendly bikes and encourage cyclists to wear helmets. They succeeded on both. Smart’s mail involved the consumer crafting a helmet from recycled cardboard, causing a sensation on social media.

  1. DNA Box, Jeep

To further encourage the tagline ‘Freedom, Adventure, Authenticity and Passion’ and to ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’, Jeep created a DNA box. This box promoted the versatility of their brand-new Cherokee Line, with the kit embodying the spirit of the Jeep. For example, the box included a clock for ‘anytime’ and a compass for ‘anywhere’. Alongside those items, they placed test tubes containing elements of nature for freedom, adventure, authenticity and passion. Subsequently, 76% of new customers went to test the Cherokee.

  1. Macbeth, The Theatre Academy

Everyone responds well to McDonald’s, and The Theatre Academy tapped into the brand’s popularity. They sent out paper bags, emblazoned with a huge M in the style of the recognisable arches, to promote the showing of Macbeth. It’s also a relatively cost-effective method of communication, using produced paper bags.

  1. Mis-Fortune Cookies, Hell Pizza

Everyone has read a fortune cookie in their time. Hell Pizza decided it was time to turn the tables and created ‘mis-fortune cookies’. These cookies included darker messages for prospects, such as ‘Help! I am being held in a Chinese bakery’, and even featured expiry dates from 10 years ago. As the concept became so successful, Hell Pizza began selling the cookies in all of their 66 restaurants.

  1. Stadium Shoe Box, Nike

Nike wanted to encourage children to take up athletics, and created a relatively budget-friendly campaign. Shoeboxes were sent out to targeted consumers, with each box designed to replicate the look, and sound, of the inside of a stadium when opened.

  1. Tomato Splat, LavOnline

Promoting their laundry business, Tomato Splat sent out direct mailing to people who do not, typically, employ laundry services – including young professionals and managers. The mail, or box, took the form of a white shirt when opened, with a tomato placed in the middle. The consumers were asked to ‘splat’ the tomato on the shirt. In response, website traffic increased by 15% and 32% of prospects even signed up online.

  1. 3D Hologram Prism, Google Partners

All Google Partners received a holographic prism to assemble. The mailing provided a set of instructions to build, so you could watch a YouTube video and place the prism on top of your phone screen. The holographic video demonstrated hidden mobile tips for your site and how to improve speed on mobile etc. The successful campaign experienced great response across social media.

If there’s one thing you can take away from these examples, it’s that to expand your customer base; you must get creative.

NME Terminates Print After 66 Years

NME, the longest standing music publication in the world, has announced it is ceasing magazine publication after more than 60 years. The magazine that has seen music royalty grace the covers has experienced a rapid decline in readers, and is now adapting to survive in the digital age. With the enormous growth of mobile and consumers digesting news from their handheld devices, we have witnessed the demise of newspaper and magazine publications.

NME is world-famous as the world’s longest standing music magazine – initially established in 1952. NME changed the face of the music industry, appealing to their target market of men in their late teens and twenties. However, as their popularity grew, so did their readership, going on to become 63% male and 37% female.

As the print industry experienced a boom, so did NME. At peak popularity, NME was generating over £1 million a week and boasted 400,000 subscribers. To continue to move with the times, NME launched their website in 1996, branching into more cultural and topical areas. In 2008, the headline ‘mobile to overtake fixed internet access in 2014’ was a bold prediction. Today, 70% of consumers spend their media time on their smartphone. This change in the market led to NME dropping to just 15,000 subscribers in 2015, with a corresponding slump in advertising spend.

NME took note of the change and converted the magazine to a free publication in September 2015, prompting a surge in subscribers – up to 300,000. They began relying on advertising revenue instead of sales revenue, providing temporary relief to the decline in the print industry.

In the past several years, NME was also acquired by a private equity firm. After such upheaval in the market, this firm has concluded the magazine is no longer financially viable. NME announced they would solely focus on online.

Changes in the Print Industry

As mentioned above, the rise in smartphone users has directly contributed to the decline in print. Readers can access news directly through their device, rather than travelling to purchase a magazine. News is now portable and freely available, particularly in an age where younger readers are said to have less disposable income. The internet also allows competitors to publish news pieces as they happen, and print magazines can no longer compete.

Those brands sticking to printed publications must adapt to the changing face of the market and react to these attitudes. Innovative ideas to sell magazines include:

  • Provide interactivity with a specific webpage or app by utilising QR codes
  • Vouchers exclusive to the magazine
  • Produce rich, in-depth content that is not freely available

Funding for Online Publications

As NME moves online, there is a focus as to how websites make money – particularly in the midst of a dwindling print market. The funding can be split into advertising, data collecting surveys, paywalls and competitions. Advertising is the primary form of funding, and you will, most likely, have seen the ads in place. If you have ever had your reading interrupted by an advert, this is due to funding. Similarly, paywalls for content are a way of selling rich content, taking up time and resources to produce.

Data collecting surveys, for example, are the questions you may have to answer before reading an individual article. A condition will then be the data is sold on. Thus the publication receives revenue from you freely accessing the content. Competitions are another example, such as texting a premium rate line to enter the draw for £20,000.

The technological advances in the industry mean that you can no longer run your print publication as you did 20 years ago. The times are changing and your business strategies must too. The companies that survive will be the ones who adapt and incorporate new technologies to appeal to their readership.

How the Growth in Custom Envelope Printing Benefits Businesses

A mail slot in a red door.

If a business wants to make an impact on its customers, whether it be to convey a brand message or to mark them out as different from the competition; custom envelope printing is a tried and true method.

Numerous studies have already shown that recipient engagement rises dramatically when customised envelope printing is used, and it stands to reason. Most people aren’t interested by yet another series of white, dull square envelopes – when opting for a direct mailing, show them something they don’t see every day and they will be more inclined to look inside.

Unique envelop printing with online specialists

There was a time however when custom envelope printing wasn’t really an option for a business unless they were lucky enough to live near a specialist printer. Even then, the chances are that unless they put in an enormous bulk order, it would not be a wise move in terms of cost. The rise of the internet however has led to a growth in opportunities for businesses by taking advantage of online printing services. There, the customisation options are limited only by your imagination. Square envelopes are still popular and now they can be customized for every company; colours, custom text, even the material the envelope is printed on – all are subject to change in line with your taste and the image you want to present with your business correspondence.

The benefits of custom online printing

There are many benefits for business that look online for their custom printing of envelopes, the first and most obvious of which is cost. Online exclusive businesses don’t need to foot the cost of physical store front, which means they’re able to pass on the, occasionally quite substantial savings, on to their customers. You also get a benefit in terms of customer service. When you’re dealing with specialists you know you’re going to get quality and attention to detail in your final delivery. You’re also generally able to have samples delivered to your door before you buy, as well as a host of payment protection to ensure the safety of your transaction. Delivery is quick and efficient, and further discounts can be had by placing bulk orders which are conveniently delivered straight to you. There’s also the fact that online printing specialists are able to offer you almost infinite choice in terms of what you would like on your business’ envelopes, which means that it’s easier than ever to let your creativity flow.

Online printing is an easy, affordable, and reliable way of making your business stand out.

Getting a Mortgage While Self-Employed

With 4.7 million self-employed people in the UK, the mortgage market has responded by making it easier than ever for the self-employed people to get a suitable mortgage.

Historically it has been slightly more difficult for self-employed people to get a mortgage, but that has changed thanks to the growing trend towards people starting their own business.

Where fundamentally the mortgages are the same, there are a few basic differences between the mortgage application process for the self-employed and the employed…

The Mortgage Application

Once you’ve found your property, applied for the mortgage, had the valuations, surveys and searches done etc, the administration begins.

This is where the self-employed have to provide additional information to the lender and will see the differences in the application process; especially in terms of the way their income is reported.

Essentially, a self-employed person is allowed to borrow against their profit, not against their turnover.

How is that different?

Say an employed person earns a gross salary of £30,000 per year; their take home pay (net salary) is around £23,700. Despite this, the figure that a mortgage company will base their mortgage offer on is the gross salary of £30,000.

With a self-employed person, their turnover (the revenue their business brings in) could be £50,000, but the profit only £25,000. In this case, the mortgage offer is based on the £25,000, not the £50,000, even though you could argue the turnover is the self-employed equivalent of a gross salary.

With this in mind self-employed people should look to make their business both as profitable and fiscally sound as possible

Next up is the duration of proof of income.

Typically, a lender will ask for a contract of employment and 3 months pay slips before offering a mortgage to an employed person.

This is different in self-employment, where lenders typically ask for 3 years worth of books (accounts) to assess their income and risk before they agree to a mortgage. In some cases, you can get a mortgage earlier if the lender is willing to accept a financial forecast from your accountant.

Tips For Getting a Mortgage While Self-Employed

Run your business well

Keep your books and accounts up to date and professional. A bank is hardly likely to lend you potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds if your books are poorly kept.

It’s also useful to keep all of your documentation in an organised fashion – you’ll have to show it to any potential mortgage lenders, so having all of your paperwork handy will be a big bonus.

Hire a good accountant

A good accountant will keep on top of your finances for you and will be a professional and trusted ally when trying to get a mortgage while self-employed. They’ll also keep your company up to date on taxes.

Additionally, your accountant will provide you with all of your accounts in a professional and easy to read document which you will need to show your accountant.

Be honest with cash

Although they shouldn’t, many self-employed people pocket any cash they are paid in. Where this is illegal, it’s also reducing your chances of getting a mortgage.

Every penny of income that goes through the books increases your chances of getting a mortgage. Not declaring potentially thousands of pounds in cash will seriously reduce your profits and therefore your chances of getting a mortgage.

Save Money

Due to the fluctuating nature of a self-employed income, you’re likely to be seen as a higher risk. To help reduce any risk (and improve your chances of getting a mortgage), you should try to save as much money as possible.

There are two benefits to saving money in business – one is that you show a fiscally stable business. The other is you’ll need to borrow less money from the lender, improving your chances of getting the mortgage.


Where getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed is slightly more work from an admin point of view, if you run your business well, stay cash-positive and show you are profitable, it’s no more difficult than it would be for an employed person.

Use the Anwyl Homes mortgage calculator to work how much you could borrow to buy your new home.

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