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A guide to fire risk assessments for businesses

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is effective in the United Kingdom from 1st October 2006. This order requires appointing a Responsible Person (RP) for all non-domestic premises in order to carry out a fire risk assessment. In fact, such a risk assessment should include measures that will help to prevent or eliminate the risk of fire and identify the individuals at risk. On the other hand, if your business has five or more employees, a record needs to be kept of the significant findings. These are the basics of an effective fire risk assessment plan for your business in the United Kingdom. He is a guide to fire risk assessments for businesses in the United Kingdom.

The individual who has control over the premises such as the landlord, employer, or owner of the premises should be informed of these new fire risk regulations and ensure that these regulations are complied with. On the other hand, if the building is shared with other businesses and the responsible person doesn’t have control over the entire building, the other businesses should be informed of the significant risk findings by the RP or responsible person. In fact, proper communication and coordination between the parties are important to implement the fire safety provisions, firefighting measures, and evacuation procedures, etc. The RP should know the ins and outs of the business that he is responsible for. In fact, the business owner or manager should appoint a person who has an in-depth knowledge about the premises and the fire safety procedures as the responsible person or RP. The RP is responsible for his own premises in terms of the fire risk assessment process. If the RP is not confident in his own abilities to complete the fire safety risk assessment, he can arrange for a suitable and competent person to complete the assessment on their behalf.

The Concept Of Fire Hazard

You need to first understand the concept of fire hazard when considering the process of fire risk assessment. A fire hazard comes with two components that are balanced against each other. The first component is the possibility of a fire occurring while the second the component is the magnitude of consequences of that fire. For example, although a metal fabrication business has a higher risk of a fire occurring due to the welding and cutting equipment in the workshop, the probability of such a fire spreading could be reduced with the right housekeeping measures. On the other hand, if no combustible substances are present on the premises, the spreading of a fire would be further reduced and the consequences are much low. Hence, the risk of a fire in such a premise can be considered normal or even low.

On the other hand, if you operate a cellulose paint shop, the fire risk is quite high considering the equipment and products used for the process. Such a fire could have a rapid development in the premises. Hence, it is considered a very high risk. It is important that every business takes relevant measures to reduce the risk of a fire by way of proper housekeeping, equipment and products stored away from the risk, and appropriately designed electric apparatus. These are important things to consider when devising the right fire safety procedure for your business in the United Kingdom.

Objectives Of A Fire Risk Assessment

The fire safety order states that a business uses a goal-based and flexible approach when devising an effective fire risk assessment for the premises. The responsible person or RP will evaluate the fire risks in the workplace. In fact, he or she should take the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the employees and equipment in the premises. Here are some important things to consider in this regard.

  • The RP should identify probable fire hazards and people at risk in the organisation. He or she should take measures to remove or reduce the risk of these hazards causing harm to the employees in the premises.
  • The RP should determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary in order to ensure the safety of the people in the building. This should be done by reducing the probability of a fire starting, limiting the effects should a fire occur, and ensure that all the occupants are alerted to safely leave the premises should a fire start in the building.

What Is Needed When Conducting A Fire Assessment?

A fire assessment is a foundation for all the fire safety measures in your business premises. It is important that you read and understand the guidance document that applies to your business premises. A simple single line drawing of your business premises to scale can show all the structural features such as the office accommodation, production, storage, and plant of your premises. A copy of this document is very important for the fire services for the purpose of firefighting.

Recording Of The Fire safety Risk Assessment Information

Once you have created a fire safety risk assessment for your business premises, it is important that you record the findings of such an assessment. In fact, if your business employees five or more individuals, it is mandatory by law that you record all the findings of such an assessment. This record should be up-to-date and maintained properly. In fact, it should be made available to the enforcing authorities on request. The record should include important information such as:

  • The date the assessment was made
  • The fire hazards identified
  • Any employees or visitors to the building at risk
  • What are the actions you need to take and by when?
  • The conclusions that arise from the assessment

Your fire safety assessment isn’t a one-off procedure. In fact, it should be regularly reviewed for the benefit of the premises and employees in it. If the findings are no longer valid and need to be changed, you should take appropriate steps to change or upgrade them immediately. These are important things to consider when devising a fire risk assessment for your business in the UK.

The most important three considerations for a hosted phone service

You might not have noticed the advancements in cloud-hosted communication technology that, over the years, has made this technology much more palatable for a range of businesses. Through bringing your own business to the party, you can benefit from a flexible mobile business solution.

Hosted phone services are so-called as they are based in the cloud rather than linked to a specific location through a telephone line and physical keyboard, as ITProPortal explains.

There are many merits of switching to a hosted service from a standard one, but consider the following factors before you proceed.

A hosted service provides agility befitting a growing company

Your business might be going through a sustained period of rapid growth – in which case, you can probably easily relate to the frustrations of having to spend a lot of time overhauling your infrastructure to suit. However, this doesn’t have to extend to the firm’s phone system.

In switching that phone system to the cloud, you can avert such an overhaul or downtime that could prove a speed bump to your firm’s growth. Indeed, one of the biggest incentives to choose a hosted phone service is that it can be quickly deployed, as a LinkedIn article states.

Furthermore, once a hosted phone system is in place, you can readily scale it up as your company’s growth continues apace. This functionality helps to make the system truly future-proof.

How strong is your internet connectivity?

With a hosted system, you will be relying on your connection to keep your communication channels smooth and consistent. For this reason, it is worth verifying that your company’s current connection is up to the task. Also, incorporate wireless backup, as this will be crucial to the system’s resilience.

The telecoms services provider Gamma offers Horizon, a fully-hosted system that you can access over an IP connection. If you fear that your own company might be too small to practically benefit from Horizon, rest assured that this service can be used with businesses of any size.

Rest assured that, when you feed a cloud-based phone system like Horizon through internet connectivity, you can eagerly anticipate a raft of benefits. Those include improved phone call quality as well as lower risks of downtime and outage.

Which particular provider should you choose?

The question of which provider of hosted phone service constitutes the “best” provider can initially seem like a tricky question to answer. However, you can decrease your chances of a slip-up if you trace a provider that meets very particular criteria…

It would be a particularly good sign if the provider pledges to provide everything necessary for you to set up your hosted phone service. That “everything” can include premium handsets and core network access along with on-site installation of the phone system.

Through sourcing all of the above from just one provider, you can ease your company’s transition towards fully taking up a hosted phone service. Chosen wisely, a hosted phone system could allow you to streamline communication even across multiple offices.

How to Find Backers for Your Small Business

One thing about starting a business that leaves people hesitant – often delaying or putting a complete stop to their dreams – is the idea of funding their business. However, it doesn’t have to be a scary or difficult process if you understand it from the outset. In fact,

With that in mind, here are some of the best ways that you could be earning the money to start your business.

Investors – Yes or No?

Some people are all for investors when it comes to starting a business, while others try to avoid them as if they were the common cold. If you’re looking for investors, however, there are a few things that you need to look out for when doing so. One thing to remember is that you’re not looking for cash alone, you’re actually also searching for an individual who can add an appropriate level of value to your business.

The key is to have confidence in your business idea. In most cases, you won’t receive investment the first or even second time that you pitch. However, so long as you don’t let these knock backs effect you too badly you should be able to present your idea well enough at some point to earn investment. Be articulate, express your love of the idea and exude enthusiasm. Doing so can help make a potential investor love your business, mainly because you do.

But, a word of warning when it comes to investors. When it comes to a souring of a relationship it can be much harder to get rid of an investor compared to an employee. In fact, you could even find yourself being ousted from the business depending on their level of shares and power. So, a word to the wise: be cautious.

Bootstrapping

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is bootstrapping. This is where you don’t seek any investment whatsoever. What this involves is bartering with other businesses or startups for services or products, basing yourself in a shared office space and only using free tools for marketing and servicing.

Note: this is much easier if you are a service-based enterprise. If the whole point of your business is to produce a product, then, materials and assembly are an inevitable cost. However, bootstrapping is a very real strategy in the modern business world for those outside of this product scope.

Pledge Earnings

If you are willing to bet on your future earnings, then you might be able to just that in order to secure funding. Some might call it reckless. But, if you truly believe in the power of your business idea then it may actually be a worthwhile strategy. This comes as a personal investment contract, the legality of which can be a little iffy (always better to have contentious probate solicitors on your side in this situation). However, the basic concept is that for 3% of potential lifetime earnings you could get $300,000 right now. And so on and so forth up to what you are willing to part with.

There are many issues when it comes to this type of funding. Such as the fact that 3% of your lifetime earnings may end up to be very little if you fail and convincing someone that you won’t fail in the first place can be extremely difficult. Ultimately, this is probably the investment tactic you should be most wary of but worthwhile knowing about nevertheless. If this does go wrong, however, remember you may end up needing litigation solicitors Manchester.

Microloans

Though you may not be able to secure investments or loans from a traditional method, that doesn’t mean that nobody will lend to you. A microloan can range from anywhere between $500 and $20,000, which doesn’t necessarily have to come from a bank. The interest rate is typically much higher, but the level of underwriting involved is typically not that extensive (making it easier and faster to obtain in most cases).

These types of loans are really aimed at a business who is already established, but facing an incoming capital gap. The microloan can help to mitigate the problems caused by this and help take you to the next stage more smoothly. It should be considered carefully, especially as ideally you want to pay it back as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you will be stuck paying back the high-interest rates.

Crowdfunding

This is a type of business funding which has really taken off in the modern world – especially with the rise of Kickstarter. Why? Well, for many reasons. But, largely because it equates to free money in exchange for a set level of product or services in return. For example, if a person were to crowdfund a launching of a book then they would expect to receive that book at some point in the future.

However, one drawback of this is if you do not, in the end, put out a product to backers you can draw quite a negative reputation. For both yourself and your company. You need to make sure you can deliver in order to deserve the money in the first place.

Conclusions

Ultimately, the way you find backers for your small business depends entirely on your business and current position. If you need money to lift off, then investors and crowdfunding are vital. However, there are also plenty of other options if your situation isn’t quite that precarious.

4 easy ways to cut your business costs

Every business owner wants to increase their profits, but as you’re probably aware, this is easier said than done. Reducing the overall outgoings of your business can be an easier solution, provided you make smart choices. Here, we’ll go through four easy ways any business can cut costs without sacrificing the quality of your service.

1. Move into a serviced office

Office space can be incredibly costly, especially if you’re renting and even more so if you’re based in a major city like London, New York or Berlin. With space at a premium in such cities, the competition for occupancy has driven office prices sky high. This has led to more businesses adopting flexible working arrangements or opting to work from serviced offices. Figures from Savills UK reported that the number of serviced offices increased by more than 150% in 2017 alone.

Serviced offices have a financial advantage over traditional leased offices because of their flexibility. Growing businesses often have to rent offices that are larger than they need them to be in order to be ready for expansion. With a serviced office, you can rent a space that is exactly the size you need, and then easily move to a larger office once you expand because you’ll have no long-term commitment.

All serviced workspaces offer basic features as part of the package. Most come with high speed internet access, and some, such as the serviced offices offered by the likes of Landmark, Leo and Regus, come fully furnished, allowing you to get straight to work, instead of spending time setting up.

2. Improve your time management

Wasted time simply means wasted money, which is not what any business wants or needs. Improving your time management could be as simple as implementing techniques to help keep staff focused and motivated, such as minimizing distractions, or ensuring that they get plenty of breaks to keep productivity levels up.

You may choose to invest in software that tracks employee time usage, which can be especially helpful if you’re working on billable hours for clients. Some of these apps, such as Toggl, can even send you reports, breaking down hours based on projects, clients, and tasks, so you can clearly see where your time, and therefore money, is going. This lets you decide how to proceed in order to get the most out of the time you have.

For businesses that rely on a fleet of vehicles, such as delivery or collection services, fleet tracking software can be hugely beneficial. These programs work with GPS and offer drivers live traffic updates, ensuring that they take the most efficient route in order to avoid traffic, saving as much time as possible. Being more time-efficient allows drivers to fit more deliveries into a day, improving the overall efficiency of your business. Some fleet tracking software programs, such as Movolytics, also offer driver behaviour reports, tracking inefficient driving which can increase fuel usage. By simply driving more efficiently, drivers can use less fuel and reduce the wear and tear on vehicles, saving money in the long run for your business.

3. Switch to the cloud and go paperless

For many businesses, cloud computing is an excellent way to cut back on costs and ongoing expenses. By switching to the cloud, you won’t need to spend money on purchasing, upgrading, and maintaining expensive servers to house all your documents and files. Instead, you can simply create folders on cloud storage systems such as Google Drive, which all employees will be able to access regardless of where they are. Cloud service providers will usually also take the responsibility of ensuring that all software and programs are kept up to date and maintained.

Having everything saved on the cloud also makes it much easier to go paperless, and minimal paper ensures you don’t have to spend money on printer paper, ink, and maintenance. This can drastically reduce your outgoing costs, and speeds things up, as you won’t have to waste time on printing, scanning, or posting documents, unless you absolutely need to.

4. Refine your marketing strategy

Marketing is likely one of your biggest expenditures, with the average firm allocating 41% of its marketing budget to online efforts. However, by simply refining your social media strategy, you can cut this cost right down, reducing your expenditure. With an estimated 3.196 billion social media users in 2018, businesses have the chance to engage with customers, and potential customers, for free by simply utilising social media channels. According to Marketing Sherpa, 95% of 18-34 year olds are likely to follow brands on social media, and are therefore more likely to interact with your brand on a daily basis.

By shifting your marketing focus to free social media channels, you can increase the amount of inbound traffic to your website. Every new post to your website encourages users to visit your website, providing you with the opportunity to convert them to a customer once they’re on the webpage. You should ensure that posts are consistent in terms of theme and style, and that you only post content your customers want to engage with. This could take some experimenting to see what works best, is worth it to cut your business costs.

Interest rates rise – what does it mean for your mortgage?

One month ago, interest rates rose to 0.75% from 0.5% as a result of the decision made by the Bank of England, the highest it has been in almost a decade. The interest rate is the reference percentage for how much those that borrow are charged, and how much extra those that save can receive. It’s also important to remember that the main aim for the Bank of England is to keep inflation as low as possible. Despite this sounding like a small increase, this growth affects those that currently have a mortgage or those looking towards this.

Around four million households have a variable or tracker rate mortgage, meaning they will be affected directly by the change in interest rates. Those on this type of mortgage will experience an increase in their monthly payments. For most on variable rates, they tend to be of an older generation with a small balance left on their mortgage meaning the rise is unlikely to make much of a difference to their payments. However for those with a larger balance left to pay, are likely to experience a greater increase in their regular payments. For example, for those with a mortgage balance of £125,000 (the average balance is £112,000), the annual increase to their payments would be £187. On the other hand, if a household had an outstanding balance of £250,000 the annual increase would be £374. If you are unsure what type of mortgage you are on, make sure you contact your lender to check.

Fixed interest mortgage loans are now more common, and they account for just under five million households. These are a great option to maintain lower regular payments for as long as possible, especially as fixed interest rates are currently at all all-time low at around 2.09%. However, for those considering mortgage options acting fast is important as rates are predicting to go up. Due to the changes, such mortgages are predicted to become more common that the standard variable rate as they provide more security in monthly payment amounts.

If you are considering a remortgage it’s vital to know what the terms and conditions are of doing so, as there is the early repayment charge which can really determine whether it is worth it to switch to a fixed-rate from a variable. It’s a great idea to use an online mortgage calculator to compare the best mortgage rates. The obvious benefit of switching means the potential protection (depending on the length of your plan) from further interest rate rises for another five years. If this is something you are thinking about, it is advisable to get an expert opinion before just to ensure you have considered the decision carefully.

Given the financial pressure that most households are under, and living costs if interest rates were to further increase this would likely have a knock-on effect to many families. If you’re suffering from financial issues or are worried, you can seek advice from the Money Advice Service. The Bank of England are expected to avoid this, and a return to the 5% base rate is not envisaged by anyone in the City. If you need any more information, or financial guidance on the subjects discussed in this article do contact expert advisors.

How companies benefit from preventive maintenance planning

Is your company continually having to shell out on large repair bills for plant and equipment? Do you sometimes feel as if you’re lurching from crisis to crisis? There is a solution. Proper preventive maintenance planning could reduce your overheads and help your business to run much more smoothly. It takes organisation and investment to get it up and running, but it’s well worth the effort.

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the process of making regular investments over time to keep the things that matter to your business in good condition. It can be scheduled in a way that makes it easy to balance expenditure with your other commitments, and it saves money in the long term and could also help to improve your health and safety record.

Preventive maintenance isn’t all about the kind of specialist work that requires a mechanic, electrician or plumber. It includes things like cleaning, painting and oiling, routine tasks that may seem trivial but which, if they’re carried out well, can significantly reduce the rate at which issues develop. Activities like this can often be combined with checking for problems if the people carrying them out are suitably trained.

What does preventive maintenance cover?

A preventive maintenance strategy can be applied to all your material company assets, from offices to equipment, vehicles and storage facilities. It can help you stay on top of shop front repairs or will keep your production line running smoothly. When planning your preventive maintenance strategy, you should think through all the items you need to consider so that you can draw up an accurate budget. Once your strategy is up and running, you won’t need to draw on your emergency budget as often.

Why does preventive maintenance matter?

There are numerous benefits to undertaking preventive maintenance, including the following:

  • Costs are reduced – it costs less to make regular small repairs than to make one-off major ones or have to replace items altogether. Most of your assets will last longer if you keep them in good condition and you can pay standard prices rather than having to spend extra to get work done in a hurry.
  • Efficiency is improved – equipment works more effectively and reliably when it’s maintained in good working order. Problems are more likely to be spotted before they start to affect quality. Workers are inspired by the awareness that managements care about the parts of the business they deal with day to day.
  • Downtime is reduced – there’s a far lower risk that production will have to stop because a key piece of equipment has stopped working or become unsafe. It’s easier to plan production over short time periods in response to demand because it’s unlikely that unexpected problems will affect your ability to deliver.
  • Accidents are reduced – everybody is safer because well-maintained equipment and buildings are less likely to develop serious problems. If you do find your organisation facing a legal action after somebody is injured, you can demonstrate that you do everything in your power to maintain safety standards, reducing the risk that you’ll be found to be at fault.
  • Customers are impressed – it’s good for the company image when everything is in tip-top condition, and it makes visitors feel more confident about the quality of goods they’re purchasing. Investors also find these positive management practices appealing, making it easier for you to raise funding when you need it.
  • Insurers are impressed – when you can demonstrate that you’re making maintenance a priority, you may be able to negotiate better insurance deals. You also face a lower risk of having insurance claims denied because equipment or infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate.

Maintenance routines can also provide an opportunity for new workers to become familiar with equipment or other company assets, so that they understand what’s important to the business and to help them to work more efficiently.

Getting into the habit of regularly maintaining machinery and equipment rather than having to obtain replacements reduces waste and thereby enhances your green credentials.

How to undertake preventive maintenance

There are two ways to approach preventive maintenance: by making regular checks and improvements and by responding quickly when minor problems develop. Whichever approach you take, it’s important to ensure that you maintain records of the work done. You can keep them in a log book, but you may also find it useful to keep them on site, for instance by using small calendars that let you keep track of how long it has been since major pieces of equipment were last serviced.

Scheduling maintenance means you can avoid interruptions to normal work like those caused when a piece of equipment stops working. You can arrange for maintenance checks to take place during lunch breaks or after hours so that normal activity is not disrupted. Even if a problem emerges that requires major work, you will usually have a bit of notice before it reaches crisis point, so you can rearrange other scheduled activity to fit around it to ensure your staff are still being productive.

As part of your maintenance regime, you’ll have to replace damaged parts from time to time, so make sure that your budget accounts for the cost. You may find that changing your approach in this way comes to influence your buying choices so that you spend a bit more in order to obtain equipment that’s easier to repair. That can save you a lot of money over the longer term. You’ll also be in a better position to make use of warranty agreements if you look after your equipment and identify problems quickly – the companies you buy from won’t be able to blame problems on neglect.

A well-planned approach to preventive maintenance means that you’ll rarely have to deal with crises and you’ll have time to recover in between them. It will put your business on a much more stable footing. Although it may seem like extra work in the immediate term, it will pay off as the years go by.

Mortgage Advice for Sole Traders

Finding the Best Deal When You are Self Employed

There is a common belief that lenders are prejudiced against the self-employed. However, there are some great mortgage options if you know where to look.

A combination of tough economic conditions for employers and new opportunities for online businesses have combined to result in a substantial increase in the number people choosing to forge their own path as self-employed sole traders and freelancers over recent years. In fact, since the turn of the millennium, the number of people registered as self employed has increased by almost 50 percent from 3.3 million to 4.8 million.

Many feel that this places them at a disadvantage if they want to get a foot on the property ladder, and are worried that lenders will see them as a bad risk if they cannot produce payslips and employment contracts. According to a mortgage broker in Chelmsford who deals with self-employed clients every day, there is an element truth in this – certainly high street lenders will take a more critical look at the finances of an entrepreneur, and they might even be reluctant to deal with those who operate in the more fragile sectors of the gig economy.

However, a basic principle of market forces is that where there is a demand, someone will capitalise with a supply. Lenders are rapidly catching on to the fact that the self employed need financial products just like everyone else.

Get expert advice

With so many lenders out there, it is always worth talking to a professional mortgage broker to get the best picture of what deals are on offer. When you are self-employed, this is doubly important. A good broker will be able to look at your specific circumstances, for example how long you have been trading, the kind of business you operate and what condition your overall credit file is in, and immediately be able to zero in on the lenders that are geared towards your need. Equally importantly, they will know which ones are not even worth looking at.

What will the lender want to know?

Conceptually, the lenders need exactly the same information in order to offer you a deal as they would if you were in employment. They will need to know that you are capable of making the monthly repayments, and that they can be reasonably confident that you will continue to be able to for the duration of the mortgage period.

They will want to see your accounts, and most will insist that these have been prepared by a chartered or certified accountant. From a risk perspective, the longer you have been trading, the better – if you can provide accounts showing healthy revenues for the past three years, the lenders will be queuing up to make you an offer.

What if you’ve only just begun?

If you recently set up in business on your own, three years’ accounts will not be an option, but don’t panic. There are specialist lenders out there who will still be interested in working with you even if you’ve only been trading for a year, provided you can demonstrate that the business is bringing in money and is sustainable. Just keep in mind that in doing so, they are increasing their risk exposure, and so the interest rates will inevitably be set a little higher.

Gender Inequality In The Immigration Process

The problems facing women in the legal profession are well documented, from problems with workplace discrimination to the ongoing debate around being a working parent. The question of whether women can have it all is frequently uttered, to the point where it has almost lost all meaning. As a female law student, I’ve seen this all too frequently. What I wear to court is more likely to be criticised or highlighted, and I often find myself the subject of unwanted attention in professional situations. It shouldn’t happen, but it does, and we all have our own coping mechanisms for not letting it get to us.

The was an article published recently about the ways in which the immigration system is also riddled with gender biases. While each and every person who passes through the system and applies to live in the United States should be granted an level and fair playing field, this simply isn’t the case. Women are more likely to apply as dependants, rather than as principal visa holders, regardless of education level. The long expired view that the man should be the primary breadwinner lives on in the legal system.

There are many other situations when being a woman puts you at a disadvantage in the immigration system. In the case of asylum seekers, women often find it more difficult to prove political persecution. When fleeing from patriarchal societies, women will often be in danger, but the threats will be directed at their husbands or partners. When the time comes to make an application, the threat will not be strong enough to make a compelling case for asylum. According to the report, this was the case for a woman from El Salvador who applied with her husband.

Another problem with immigration law stems from the very laws designed to protect women. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is supposed to allow women who are the subject of domestic abuse to apply for legal immigration status independently. Unfortunately, a requirement of this particular visa is that the woman needs to be able to prove she is living with her abuser. A key component of abusive relationships is control, so women who aren’t listed on the bills may struggle to prove they live with their abusive partner.

When we look around the world, the United States isn’t the only country with a problematic immigration process for women. In the United Kingdom, British women will also be unfairly penalised by the immigration process. From British women wanting to bring their foreign partners to the uk on a spouse visa, UK immigration law states that the woman will have to be earning over £18,600 in order to be able to sponsor their partner. This number increases to £22,400 if there are children involved.

How to Raise Extra Capital to Fund Your Business

Whether you are just starting a new business or planning to grow your existing business, you need funds. To follow through with your business plans and obtain this funding, you may need to raise extra capital.

Use these tips to ensure that you make the best decision for funding your business.

Determine How Much Extra Capital You Require

The first step in raising extra funds for your business is to determine how much money you need. However, you should also take a closer look at your current finances. After you evaluate your assets and existing savings, you may find that you do not need to raise as much money.

For example, you may have equipment or other assets that you do not use regularly. Selling these assets may help cover a portion of your business plans.

Borrow Money or Find an Investor

There are two primary ways to raise capital for your business. You can go the traditional route and borrow money in the form of commercial finance, which is referred to as debt capital. Another option is to find investors to purchase equity, which is called equity capital.

When Should You Consider Debt Capital?

Debt capital is the most commonly used method of raising extra funds. With debt capital, you borrow money from a lender, friends, or family. However, borrowing from family and friends is rarely recommended.

If you plan on obtaining a loan from a bank or alternative lender that provides bridging loans, you may need to secure the loan with collateral. The equity that you use to secure the loan may come from property holdings or major assets.

For those that lack equity, an unsecured loan may be the only way to get a loan from a lender or a bank. Unfortunately, an unsecured loan will carry a higher interest rate, which costs you more over the length of the loan.

When Should You Consider Equity Capital?

With equity capital, you can sell a portion of the business to an investor. Equity capital may be the only option for those without the necessary equity to obtain a loan with reasonable interest rates. However, this requires investors.

Angel investors are individuals that look for new business investment opportunities. They often help fund businesses that are just starting out or in need of funds for expansion in hopes of a solid return.

Venture capitalists are another option for selling equity in your business. Unlike angel investors, they are often more interested in obtaining partial ownership of a business.

Besides debt and equity capital, you may find assistance through government programs for small businesses, crowdfunding, or corporate investors.

Which Option Should You Choose to Raise Capital?

If a business is not growing, it is in danger of failing. When you need additional funds to finance your expansion plans, remember these tips to raise capital.

You should first determine how much capital you need and then, select the best type of financing based on your needs. The types of money-borrowing belong to one of two categories. You can either raise debt or equity capital.

Debt capital is preferred when you have the equity available to secure a loan. With these loans, the equity is used as collateral. Another option is to sell equity in your business to potential investors.

Raising capital to fund your business is not a decision that you should make quickly. Always review your options before deciding on your next step.

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.

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