In this issue...
From staff to finances - The importance of keeping up with support initiatives.
There is a long tradition of support to business in the UK and right now, with the additional support available for Covid relief, there are probably more schemes than ever before. Some of them could be a boost for you when you it comes to expanding in an awkward market. They could also be a lifeline if you are experiencing a difficult period and they can even help you fund new staff positions. Here is a roundup of a few of the kinds of support measures, grants and match funding available. You will need to check your local area council and business development groups for details. We have included the SEMLEP site link below as well as the overview of covid relief from HMRC.
Kickstart and recovery and resilience grants. The second round of expression of interest in Recover and Resilience grants opens in March and is well worth a look. These are open to trading enterprises in the South East Midlands if through Semlep (check with your own local equivalent if you are not in the region) and can be used to match fund development costs of between £5000 and £50,000 and there is an expectation that they will be used to fund 1 job per £10,000 of the grant. There are some specific requirements which you can read in the supporting information, but they are quite flexible. We will mention kickstart again later (confusingly the name is used twice in relation to different schemes) in this context we are talking about the funding for specific projects offered late last year. This is now closed but there if the lockdown continues, we may see it re-open.
Business support through your local council There were a series of support measures put in place after the last lockdown to support specifically affected industries, as well as the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which was targeted to those areas forced to close due to covid. These tend to come in rounds of released funding with each new lockdown, so you need to check regularly as they are allocated quickly. Your local council will have details of what you can claim on their website. Furlough is still in effect We have sort of become used to the idea of furloughing staff now, but you do still need to keep it in mind. It has now been extended to the end of April due to the recent response to the rise in cases of Covid-19.
Kickstarter employee funding This is really interesting opportunity to perhaps do a little good and get an extra pair of hands around the business. The Kickstarter scheme is a way of offering 6 months of developmental employment to young people in danger of long-term unemployment. It began last year but had some pretty hefty restrictions initially. These have now been removed and if you are accepted you will be funded to employ a young person aged between 16 – 24.
Business Rate Relief This is exactly what it says in the name. If your business property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 you can probably claim relief. See your local council website.
R&D tax credits If you are involved in an innovative science and technology project you could potentially claim R&D tax credits to help with your development. These need careful handling though as they are a tax credit and not a grant as such.
CBILS and Bounce Back loans are still available They are, but only until the end of March. As with any loan these schemes need to be thought through in terms of how your business will deal with them in the long term, but Bounce Back Loans are quite a good deal if they work for you.
As always with this kind of article, we can only scratch the surface and you need to investigate your local options. The thing to also remember about all these support schemes, grants and similar initiatives is that they may well have an impact on your tax and running costs. You do need to be sure before you make a decision that you fully understand the implications for your business finances and that you have forecasted appropriately for them.
Call us or drop us a line from the contact page if we can help.
Business book of the month
The choice factory is a remarkably well condensed guide to the motivations that influence purchasing decisions, in fact, Shotton’s book is like a starter guide to the way all our minds work. Although the content is based in the academia of psychology the result is accessible and can be applied to the business world with a little work. The content is split into 25 easily digested areas that explain the behavioural biases that lead us to make a decision. Probably the best application for the book would be a process of read, digest and then consider your own business in relation to which biases are most likely to help and how they can be applied. These are not simple ‘life hacks’ though, and to make the most of them you will need to consider the best application of the content. That said, Shotton is a skilled writer when it comes to condensing very complex subjects into bite size chunks of information. The blurb refers to The Choice Factory as ‘A Haynes manual’ and that’s a really good analogy. Much like a Haynes manual explains the workings of your Ford Fiesta, this explains the works of purchasing. Applying the content is down to you. Richard Shotton has an impressive client list that includes innovative businesses such as Brewdog and Fevertree so his pedigree is clear and the book is a great insight into his methods. If you want to do the same though, be prepared for some work to figure out how best to apply what you have read. It is a fascinating and useful book that deserves a place on the business bookshelf.
Is it time to review your Terms and Conditions?
While it is always good to review your terms of service and particularly payment, on a regular basis there are several reasons to think about then right now.
Brexit may have changed your costs and in some cases even the terms of service you can offer. There is a real danger of not reacting fast enough to the sudden price and logistics changes caused by leaving the EU. It’s important that you really get granular on the potential changes, not just to your own business, but also from the point of view of potential cost increases in your supply chain. Do your T&Cs allow for price changes effectively?
The economy is unstable to say the least at the moment so having a bit of an overhaul of your T&Cs to make sure they are still relevant and appropriate is a very good idea. It’s worth it to confirm that they are strong enough and clear enough to stand on if you have an issue with a client. You can still be supportive and flexible but there is nothing wrong with being clear on your terms.
Terms and conditions are a vital part of your business because they help define when you will be paid and they can impact everything from forecasting to debt recovery. Keeping them up to date is vital.
Payments paid into pension schemes on behalf of directors can usually be deducted from your profits and therefore could reduce your corporation tax bill. This is a very simple method of making the most of your tax burden. However, it is worth talking through the contributions you make with your accountant because there could be an unexpected impact on personal tax. Your accountant will be able to look at the overall tax position and advise on the best course of action.
Have £200 on us
Introduce a new client to us and (subject to the usual Ts & Cs) we will give you £200 as a ‘thank you’. If you have had great service from us why not share it with a business friend. They get a great new accountant and you get £200. Sounds like a win-win situation to us.
Let is know if we can help.
That’s it for this edition. We hope you found it useful and as always we would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions about content.
Until then… Stay safe everyone.