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Top tips for launching a successful start-up

How to get your start-up off the ground

Launching a start-up is fraught with pitfalls – so many, in fact, that it’s unwise to experience them all for yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of people out there willing to offer advice, but how do you know where to start? Here, we outline five ways to ensure you get your start-up off the ground successfully.

  1. Have a plan

By which, we don’t mean, have an idea in your head of how it’s all going to work out, but actually sit down and write a plan. Write a description of your objectives and company values, set out what you plan to achieve in the first three to five years, and outline how you’ll get there. Next, forecast the first few years’ figures to give you an idea of what size loan you’re looking at. Finally, write a summary of the market and its demand, and detail how your offering will meet it.

  1. Get the money

The business plan is your ticket to obtaining the funding you need to get started. Without it, it’ll be hard to convince loan providers and investors that your idea is not only great, but also commercially viable. Investigate and pitch to a number of sources to secure investment and – perhaps most importantly – don’t blow it on fancy computers and a state-of-the-art office. You’ll need to make the money last until you’re seeing the returns.

  1. Define your brand

It’d be unwise to start marketing your business before you’ve got your branding down. It’s not just a case of getting a logo and a registered name; you’ll need to outline your company’s core values, decide on a suitable style and tone of voice for content, invest in uniforms if necessary, and define colour palettes. Once you have a cohesive brand, it’s time to get out there.

  1. Get out there

Which leads us nicely onto the next point – getting recognition. You can do this is a variety of ways, from attending conferences and trade shows, delivering flyers, advertising in the local press and engaging in social media. However you choose to market your offering though, make sure it’s via the channels that your target market engages with. Otherwise you’re just wasting money.

  1. Serve your customers

No successful business would be where it is today without a strong customer base. Aim to build repeat business by offering the very best service you can, consistently and on every single interaction. Whether you’re making a sale or dealing with a complaint, you should afford your customers the same level of courtesy and friendliness, and work hard to build their trust. It’s the only way to keep them coming back and – even better – advocating your brand.

A little help

If you’d like some help with the financial aspects of starting your business, speak to a specialist such as THP Chartered Accountants. With extensive experience in helping start-ups get going, professional accountants are well-placed to offer advice.

Working with a financial advisory service can help a business

It can be tempting to have a “do it yourself” attitude when it comes to business, especially when your enterprise is on the smaller side or is newly launched. But while it’s important to have a strong grasp of all business areas for which you provide leadership, it can be a mistake not to make the most of the specialist skills and experience of others.

Working with a good financial advisory service can help your business grow and succeed. It’s important for any business owner or start-up founder to understand the underlying principles of finance and business management, however, financial professionals can contribute much deeper industry knowledge and experience to help you make the best decisions and investments.

There are various types of financial advisory services and professional support available. Financial planners may specialize in a specific area or industry, or provide more general advisory services across sectors. They are certified professionals who are tasked with understanding complex financial products and solutions. By staying abreast of historic developments, ongoing trends, and informed projections they can help you navigate the market more effectively.

If you have specific ideas that you would like to explore with regard to growing, development, financing, or investments for your business, you can task a financial adviser with researching and reporting back on the benefits or drawbacks of all available approaches. They will use industry knowledge, specialist access to information, and certified advisory experience to investigate all available opportunities,

They may also be able to help you access exclusive products or services that will benefit your business. Asset management and stock brokerage are common services to receive help with, but certain types of financial products or solutions may only be available through the financial advisory service acting as an intermediary. They can also monitor your investments and other financial products, provide regular reports, and be empowered to take specific types of action in your best interest.

Another valuable benefit of working with a financial advisory service is peace of mind and legal protection. While some things are by nature volatile and subject to unpredictable gains or losses, such as investments, working with a certified professional adviser authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority gives a measure of legal protection. If you believe you are not receiving good advice or have been misled in any of the financial matters entrusted to your financial adviser, you can address that with the Financial Ombudsman.

It should be noted that, while there are avenues of legal recourse if you are unhappy with your financial adviser, you do need to ensure you work with a reputable, certified, and fully authorised financial advisory service in the first place. There are unscrupulous parties that may try to represent themselves as financial advisers without adequate experience, good reputation, or certification. It’s always best practice to do your research ahead of time, ask for references and visual confirmation of credentials, and avoid services that “cold-call” or otherwise approach you.

If you have strong industry connections, you may want to ask colleagues, mentors, or other members of your network for a referral to services they have used and found valuable. Reputable financial advisory services are generally well-known, well-established parties that can be confirmed by reputation. Shard Capital is a London-based independent financial services company that offers a wide range of expert services. It is relatively simple to research the offerings of such professional companies and assess their track record with various services such as investment management, capital markets, fund management, and institutional broking.

The right financial advisory service can help your business thrive, grow, make the most of its assets, and take advantage of the right opportunities. Knowledgeable, certified, and experienced advisers can help you identify goals and steps to reach them; research and recommend the best financial products and services to support your goals, access and manage investments, funds, or other brokerage services, and keep you abreast of market shifts and trends so you can shift strategy and approach as needed to make the most of your opportunities.

While it’s undeniably valuable to have some awareness of the market and a foundational grasp of markets, options, business targets, and other financial matters, a dedicated, certified financial adviser brings high levels of experience and skill to the work, as well as legal protection and peace of mind that is unavailable to an outside party. They can also provide access to financial products and services that are not otherwise possible to obtain. It’s in your best interests to find a reputable, experienced financial advisory service to take your business to the next level at the earliest opportunity.

How to Make End of Tenancy Cleaning a Hassle-free Task

Making a security deposit of a fixed amount is a universal thing while renting a property. This amount is a kind of safety deposit which is refundable at the end of tenancy (EOT) period. Although, the landlord reserves the right to withhold this deposit at the end of tenancy if any clause(s) of the agreement is(are) found broken. Amongst others, the end of tenancy cleaning conditions is a major cause of disagreement.

Facts you should know

There are some legal standardsbeing drafted in the tenancy agreement, but discretion canhold due to mutual understanding between the landlord and the tenant. Concerning this, the facts underneath will help you know what to expect:

  • As per Landlord and Tenant Act of 2004, the landlord has certain key responsibilities and tenants cannot be held responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
  • Landlord cannot force tenants to use professional cleaning services, unless otherwise being mutually agreed upon.
  • Law states that tenancy deposit is a property of tenant and during tenancy period, neither tenant nor owner has access to it.
  • In a perfect scenario, the owner can’t make any deductions from the tenancy deposit. They can only withhold it in case of disagreement or dispute. Once resolved, the complete amount needs to be paid to the tenant.
  • The deductions can only be made in the case,
    • Tenant agrees
    • Dispute resolution
    • If court orders

For a hassle-free EOT cleaning

In the United Kingdom, insufficient after tenancy cleaning leads to about 56% of deposit disputes in the country. While moving in, if the property was handed over after being cleaned, it is expected same from you when your tenancy period ends. And believe me, it is a task that needs your complete attention. Regular moping and dusting will prevent unrepairable and costlier depreciation of the house and other issued stuff. Though there are some hard to control cleaning such as mold.

Just so you do not face the chaos, this is how you can prepare yourself for the moving out day, with undisputed security deposit:

  • While occupying the property, read the tenancy inventory report carefully. This will help you compare the state of the property during your course of living.
  • Faults in the provided infrastructure, systems, furnishing, etc. must be immediately informed before they lead to irreparable damage.
  • There are frequent inspections of the property by the owner or the property agents. Make sure you point out all the damages or leakages. It is also necessary that all these damages and repairs be pictured and documented.
  • Tenant must invest time in the frequent& rigorous cleaning of refrigerators, cupboards, gardens, windows, bathroom tiles for molds, etc.
  • As tenancy approaches expiration, an end of tenancy cleaning checklist is always a good idea.
  • If you decide to use professional cleaning services, do not forget to take a receipt of the service.

Disagreements can happen but with little organization and knowledge, the unpleasantness can be avoided. What’s fair, needs to be accepted from both the sides.

Options Trading In Forex

A forex exchange option also referred to as a currency option is a financial derivative that gives traders the right to sell or buy currency pairs at a determined price (strike price)on specific days (expiry date). The options are either call or put options. A call option gives the trader the rights to buy the currency pairs while a put option gives the trader the right to sell.

A currency CFD trading is driven by the factors that drive the currency pairs. These factors include interest rates, macroeconomics, geopolitics, inflation expectations and also data like GDP, unemployment as well as business and consumer confidence surveys.

There are two options styles, European and American. The European options can only be used on the date of expiry while the American options style can be used at the strike price at whatever time before the expiry date.

How Forex Options Are Traded

Traders taking part in options trading can make use of (delta, gamma, theta, rhio, and Vega) otherwise known as the ‘Greeks’, as a way to judge the rewards and risks that come with the options price as it would be done for equity options.

An option buyer’s risk is limited to the option buying cost known as the premium. For an option seller, they face potentially unlimited risks but the premium received makes the profit fixed.

Why Should You Trade Forex Options

The most common reason given for trading forex options is to fix short-term spot forex hedges. For instance, if you want to purchase AUD/EUR but think there may be a short-term decline in price, you can go for an AUD ‘put’ option which ensures you profit from the decline and still maintain your ‘buy’. It is also possible for you to sell AUD/EUR ‘short’ the very same time you buy.

There are numerous strategies that can be made use of when it comes to options trading contracts. You can make use of spread strategies used in equity options, which include straddles, vertical spreads, butterflies, and condors.

Forex options can be sold or bought. The prices are usually derived from the currency base. The currency base is simply the first currency in the pair. If the first currency price is moving upwards, you can buy calls and sell puts. However, if the first currency price is moving downwards, you need to sell calls and buy puts.

Accessing Forex Options

Forex options trading contracts are available through OTC (over the counter) market. They are completely customizable and expire at any time. When you go to a spot options market, buying a ‘call’ automatically means that you get a ‘put’ too. For instance, traders can buy one option to get the right to purchase an AUD/USD lot at parity (or 1.00) in 3 months. This becomes an ‘AUD call/USD put’ trade option.

Forex options trading contracts can also be accessed via regulated exchanges which are forex future options. This makes it a simple call or put. Regulated exchanges forex options offer the trader different expirations as well as quoting options with maturities that are standardized. When a trader chooses to trade options on the exchange, the options are availed in ten currency pairs. All the pairs involve the USD and are also settles in dollar cash.

Advantages of Options Trading

Cost efficiency – forex options trading come with a high leveraging power. It is possible for the trader to get a forex option that almost identically mimics a currency position only that the option comes with huge savings.

The risk is less – there are numerous times that traders can use options as a way of reducing risks. They are also less risky for an investor since they only require putting in a very little amount of money as capital.

High return potential – options trading is preferred and loved for their high percentage returns. With options, it is possible to make as much as you put in as capital.

It is a strategic alternative to trading forex – options trading offer the investor various alternatives for investment.  You can use a few options to recreate numerous variations and all have almost the same potentials in profits.

5 cost-effective ways to impress buyers

Trying to sell your beloved house can be a stressful business, especially if you want to close the deal quickly. To help the process go smoothly, it’s crucial that you make the house as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Here’s how.

1. Evaluate exteriors

Nothing makes a better first impression than a well-kept house exterior. Go outside and look at your front garden, fence, front door and porch – does any of the above need fixing or refreshing? If you consider your house to be in perfect condition, you might want to proceed with some minor works like removing dead debris and cutting back overgrown shrubs.

2. Declutter

When selling a property, no area is safe from the gaze of a serious house hunter. Having said that, the potential buyers are not interested in seeing your personal belongings like photos, but are concerned about the space instead. To make it more spacious, make sure that you properly clean and declutter your house to make it appear larger, brighter and warmer. If you need to store your personal stuff somewhere for the time being, avoid putting them in one of the rooms and opt for a local self-storage instead.

3. Refresh

If you feel like your worn, stained carpeting needs a bit of love then now is the perfect time to get it replaced. Think that your walls need a fresh lick of paint as well? Great, just make sure that the colour is bright and neutral so the buyers can move in immediately. Minor changes won’t cost you a fortune, but can make you some good profit and allow you to close the deal faster.

4. Define

The most important thing for every home hunter is an ability to picture his/her living in the house, so make sure that each room is well prepared and free of any personalised things like posters. Prior to arranging any viewings, you should also go through your place to ensure that each space highlights its purpose – for example, the dining room is more likely to impress your visitors if decorated with a family table rather than paperwork or gym equipment.

5. Use Scents

A good smell can create a relaxing atmosphere and encourage buyers to spend time in your property – especially if is homely and brings memories. To upsurge your chances of selling your house quickly, welcome the potential buyers with the scent of baked fresh bread and brewed coffee or, if you‘re in a rush, opt for a zesty fragranced spray instead.

Why might a corporate video benefit your business?

Whatever the sector in which your business operates and type of customer base it is aiming to build, you shouldn’t look past the promotional merits of video.

Research vindicates the theory that video can engage viewers surprisingly effectively. However, your company might still have held off thoroughly investing in the medium – perhaps out of misconceptions about how effective or easy-to-make videos can be. Allow us to enlighten you…

Information imparted via video is easier to remember

As explained in an Entrepreneur article, molecular biologist John Medina has claimed that video can have a much more powerful effect on human memory than audio alone.

To be more precise, Medina has said that, should a human hear some information, 10% of it will still be in their memory three days later. However, that percentage rises to 65% if the person simultaneously hears information and views an image, as video improves information processing.

Online video is widely watched

The Next Web has shared various figures shedding light on the wide reach of video. These statistics include that, each day, 55% of people watch online videos, while mobile is the platform through which 90% of Twitter videos are watched.

Company videos are especially popular with Millennials. Entrepreneur reports that, in surveys, 70% claim to watch such videos while online shopping – and, thus, yielding their major purchasing power.

A team effort can result in a big success

Before they buy anything from your company, a client will want to see that it has the same values. By gathering various employees for a team video, you can help give a client an insight into your company culture – and, if they like what they see, they could be more tempted to proceed.

Furthermore, for your company, filming team videos can be a lot of fun. Even just planning for it can develop camaraderie – and that could fuel excitement that lasts right through the video’s production.

Your company could become easier to find in search engines

A corporate video can help strengthen your company’s SEO – search engine optimisation – profile, especially if that video will be posted on YouTube, as explained in a LinkedIn article.

When you do this, you can anticipate search engines more easily coming across the video and giving your business higher rankings in the search engine’s results pages. Basically, as a result of all of this, your company can become more easily noticed online.

An effective video can be delightfully cheap to make

In the last decade, mobile phones and tablets have been muscling out desktop and laptop computers in popularity not just as content consumers, but also as content makers.

This certainly holds true in the realm of video. Prices on such devices have dropped over time – meaning that, today, you don’t need to spend too much money to pick up a phone or tablet with which a small HD video camera has been integrated. Nonetheless, if your video-making skills are not quite up to scratch, The Mob Film Company could assist.

From smart meters to security: Clever ways to save money on bills

2017 was the most expensive year since 2006 for UK households. In its annual family spending survey, the Office of National Statistics found that the average household spent £554.20 a week last year—over £20 more than in 2016. A few dips aside, this figure has been rising steadily since 2012. Meanwhile, average wages have been falling in real terms, meaning money is tighter than ever for UK families.

With figures like this, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling the pinch. And it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re doing all we can to save money. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of clever ways to save money on your monthly bills.

  1. Install an insurance-approved burglar alarm to reduce premiums

Though this one requires a bit of an initial investment, it can certainly pay off in the long run. According to Compare the Market, a number of factors have contributed to a rise in home insurance premiums in recent years. Upping your home security can help combat this.

Security experts Banham advise installing insurance-approved burglar alarms—such as those that comply with Grade 2 EN50131 standards—as this can often encourage home insurers to lower premiums due to the increased safety they bring. Grade 2 EN50131 alarms are defined as those that cannot be circumnavigated by criminals with “limited knowledge” about alarms and “some tools” to help them. A Grade 3 alarm would defend against those with more knowledge and a full range of tools, and Grade 4 alarms can only be bypassed by specialists.

Compare the Market’s insurance form asks specifically if your burglar alarm is monitored by a company certified by the National Approval Council for Security Systems or another well-regarded security body, as this will keep your home even safer, and therefore lower premiums even more.

While the initial savings may seem only small—especially compared to a burglar alarm which could cost hundreds of pounds—the long term benefit is undeniable. One expert, speaking to Admiral, pointed out that burglar alarms, in reducing the risk of burglary, will also minimise the risk of the premium increases that can come as a result of burglary. This makes them more than worthwhile in the long run.

  1. Switch providers to reduce energy bills

Aside from food and rent, energy bills can be a family’s largest financial outlay. While the majority of us just let our suppliers tell us what to pay year in, year out, it doesn’t have to be this way. The ball is actually in our court. All you have to do is pick up the phone (or laptop) and switch suppliers, and you could save up to £537 a year (according to Energy Helpline).

This level of saving will make a huge difference to your day-to-day life, and making the switch is actually relatively straightforward. As well as Energy Helpline, there are countless other switching services that can help you find a better deal for your energy bills, including uSwitch and MoneySupermarket. These sites show you prices from your current supplier and alternative suppliers side by side, giving you the opportunity to find a cheaper energy provider.

Last year the number of consumers switching energy suppliers reached a record high. Make sure you’re one of them.

  1. Monitor your home with smart technology

 Leaving one light bulb on when you’re not home might not be the end of the world. But the price of forgetting to turn off lights, heating, taps, and mains electricals can all add up over the course of a year.

Because it’s so difficult to be completely sure you’re on top of these things, several affordable smart home devices have hit the market to help you monitor your home from afar. Smart thermostats and lighting control systems work with companion apps on your phone, allowing you to turn the heating up and down, and the lights off and on, no matter where you are in the world. According to The Energy Saving Trust, a smart thermometer could potentially save you £150, not to mention 680kg of carbon dioxide emissions. And if you lower your average room temperature by just one degree, you could save up to £75 and 340kg of CO2. These are significant savings that come from smart devices which are widely available, and very simple to use.

How Important is Networking?

Networking is the very foundation of any business process. There are businesses who swear by it and think that their success can be attributed to it, but others believe that networking is a dying art. As a graduate it can be difficult to assess how important something is to be successful. If you want to be successful and get great business connections, then it’s imperative that you find a way to get yourself in front of the right people.

Networking gets you noticed:

When searching for an internship at a law firm, or applying for jobs within your niche after graduation, it would be foolish to believe that your initial interviews will be a walk in the park. There will be so many graduates, who have the same degree, who have the same grades and who are in the same league as yourself. You need to make yourself stand out to potential employers, and there is no better way to do this, than to meet with them face to face in a more relaxed networking setting. Interviews can be intense and can really bring out your less favourable qualities.

Employers in any business will seek to bring people into the team who can bring value to the firm, rather than those who solely have the necessary legal doctrines and qualifications. Having the skill sets and redeemable qualities such as emotional intelligence and business development will take you far with employers, qualities such as this can be refined and tried out in the networking arena. In order to be successful in business development and in order to refine your emotional intelligence, you must firstly have to speak to people, learn how to read them, learn what they want, and how you can take it from them. All of these skills are the core foundations of networking, which take time and practice to perfect.

The art of networking:

Any successful professional will tell you that networking and brushing shoulders with the right people is one of the key elements to career progression. Developing powerful relationships and connections can allow you to gain an insight into the industry you are seeking to become a part of, it can help you to develop the right dialogue, professional conversational style, and above all else, can help you to meet the key people who can push your career forward. Whether you speak to hiring managers, whether you speak to CEOs or like-minded professionals who can give you an industry insight, all of these types of people will sow the seeds of your career and will help you to advance.

Networking relationships need to be a two-way street, those who seek to take everything and give nothing back will soon be found out and turned away from. Instead of solely focusing on what can be gained for yourself, you must first question what is in it for your networking partner. Everybody has something that they can offer, whether this is money, time, talent or performance and in most cases, valuable industry information. It’s important to develop a networking strategy before you enter the room. Find out who will be attending the networking event, consider everybody who could be beneficial to your end goal – whether this is getting industry information, making connections or getting a job. Once you have selected the people you wish to network with, you must now consider everything that you have to offer and refine your conversational techniques in order to “schmooze” with them.

The importance of maintaining a strong and connected network:

The absolute bottom line to securing a job at a law firm or business comes down to how well connected you are – this goes beyond having many connections on Linkedin! Within your respected niche, it is likely that CEOs will know CEOs, hiring managers will know other hiring managers and so on. If you make connections with the right people, and make a positive impression on the right people, then you will be more susceptible to be considered for a job. The law industry is driven by relationships and reputation, the more people you know and make a good impression on, the more successful you will become. Making connections and networking will be an integral part of your career until the day you retire, this is not a fruitful task that will gain you your initial position. Networking can open the door to new employers, new partners and new clients. One of the most well known statistics when it comes to law employments, is that “40% of law positions are advertised, and the rest are filled within a network”. If you want to open yourself to new opportunities, then it’s integral that you put yourself out there and pave the way to your success.

Alice Porter has worked in conjunction with the Employment Lawyers in Manchester to raise awareness for the importance of networking and maintaining networking etiquette.

Legal requirements for starting a new business

If you are considering starting a business, then you could be excused for feeling bewildered. After all, there are reams of laws applicable to the process of forming a business – and you may fear that it would take an age for you to discern which of these laws would come into play for you specifically.

For this reason, we have decided to untangle some of the legal complexities of starting a business – and so help you see which legal needs to which you should pay the most attention.

What technical form will your business take?

A business can have one of various types of legal structure. However, the majority of businesses are registered as a sole trader, limited company or partnership, says the GOV.UK site. Which of these structures you should choose for your firm can strongly depend on personal needs and preferences.

It would be most straightforward for you to start out as a sole trader; this would give you personal responsibility for the company’s debts and some accounting, too. Forming as a limited company would separate your corporate and personal finances, but also task you with a greater degree of reporting and management.

If you intend to run the business with at least one other person, forming that business as a partnership would be the simplest strategy – and share out responsibility for corporate debts.

Choose a legally sound business name

Your company’s name must be distinct from names of other companies in the same sector. Otherwise, people could be misled into thinking your company is a different one. This, in turn, may lead you to incur a charge of “passing off” that could expensively land you in court.

For this reason, Law Donut advises that you look through the Companies House index of companies before you settle on a name, which also must not already be trademarked.

Will insurance be legally necessary?

There are various types of insurance available for businesses – and your startup is likely to need at least one of these types. If you are an employer rather than handling all of the corporate responsibilities alone, one legal necessity is employers’ liability insurance, as the ABI points out.

This insurance can help you fund compensation payouts to staff if they become ill or injured due to carrying out work for your business. Even if you aren’t an employer but do use vehicles for business use, then this would, by law, require you to hold commercial motor insurance.

There are other forms of insurance that are legally optional, but could still be wise for you to take out, depending on your business. For example, commercial property insurance could assist you in paying for repair or rebuilding of your corporate premises if they incur damage, while cyber insurance can ease your making of financial amends for losses resulting from damaged IT systems.

You could treat a single broker, Be Wiser Business Insurance, as a source for various types of corporate insurance that meet your needs while remaining favourably priced.

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.

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