Monthly Archives: August 2017

A Ten Point Checklist to Startup Funding in 2017

Image result for startup

There are many avenues of capital available when starting a business such as a loan from https://oinkmoney.com/, but regardless of the route we take, we need to ensure that we have our financial affairs in order when it comes to our startup. Evidently, there can be a lot to remember, which is why it can be helpful to use a checklist.

  1. Complete Your Business Plan

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s worth enforcing how important your business plan is. Not only does it allow you to look at the financial commitments of your startup, but it also serves as a guide as to how your business will operate as a whole.

It will also give any potential lenders or investors an overview of how your business operates, and what methods are used when it comes to acquiring customers. This will ensure you’re portraying a more robust vision of the company and its business goals.

  1. Research the Market

Another point that may seem a little obvious, but it can be easy to assume we have a viable business model simply based on how many businesses are placed within the industry.

However, you should look at what competitor’s solutions are lacking, and what can be brought to the table with the introduction of your business. This could be something as simple as amazing after-sale service, or something as complex as a new piece of software that automates an otherwise time-consuming task.

Knowing what services are already available, as well as ascertaining what customers are looking for puts you in a prime position to meet their needs.

  1. Monitor Your Incomings and Outgoings

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a loan or an investment, you should be in full control of your business expenses. This means looking for cost-effective solutions where possible, and ensuring that these can be paid on time without having a detrimental effect on other aspects of the business.

When operating a startup, the costs involved can be very low if you’re willing to carry out the research. It also ensures that you have to borrow less should any further capital be required, which is more cost-effective.

  1. Protect the Legal Aspects of Your Startup

Depending on the nature of your startup, it will often be the case that some form of legality will be involved. This could be anything from the contract you give to the customer, to the service itself.

Many are able to stay abreast of any legalities simply be following the relevant news platforms. However, if you do find you’re scratching your head in some respects, then you should consider the services of a legal expert.

Granted, it can be costlier upfront, but having a contract not worth the paper it’s written on can be much more detrimental overall.

  1. Keep Up to Date with Paperwork

When running a business, dealing with paperwork can seem like a task that’s of very little importance, but quite often the opposite is true.

Any correspondence sent in relation to your startup should be dealt with in the first instance. It can be too easy to put such task to one side, but if Government bodies such as the HMRC don’t receive paperwork on time, it will often issue fines as a result.

  1. Become Familiar with Your Tax Incentives

Paying tax is part and parcel of operating a business, but that doesn’t mean we should pay more than we have to.

If you have to purchase equipment or stationary for the business, then ensure you keep the receipts. This will reduce your tax liability for the financial year, as you won’t be taxed on income that has been used for the business.

  1. Protect Your Intellectual Property

While many businesses are similar, there will be those that have an idea that can offer something new, but this means it can be open to theft. While falling in line with the legal aspects of your startup, you should look to ensure that your business’s IP is trademarked so you’re not subjected to any inferior imposters looking to cash in on your idea.

  1. Register a Website

Having your idea down on paper is a great idea, but it can mean that it’s inaccessible to some. Having a website allows you to give out an overview of your business with one click. This is an ideal complement to your business plan, and it allows people to really look at what your business is about, and how it presents itself to the business community.

Having a website may be vital for some, especially if they operate a mail-order service. But as many people use Google as their first port-of-call when looking for businesses, a website is an essential starting point.

  1. Only Deal with Reputable Suppliers and Providers

There will be instances when some start-ups have to rely on the services of third-parties. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you do have to ensure that you’re only dealing with providers that are of good repute, or you could find that your startup suffers as a result.

Fortunately, there are many places to turn when it comes to reading reviews. A quick Google search will often bring up a series of reviews left on dedicated review platforms, as well as those listed on social networks such as Facebook and Goole Plus.

  1. Obtain a Business Bank Account

While it may be easy to separate your finances in the early days, as business starts coming in, you may find it confusing having so many entries in one account. Registering for a business account allows you to manage your finances with more clarity.

As well as allowing you to assess profit more clearly, it also prepares you for prompt returns in relation to any Corporation Tax or VAT payments.

There may be some elements here that are irrelevant to your particular business model, but it does show how much there is to factor in when running a startup, and just how useful a checklist can be.

To G Suite or not to G Suite, that is the question.

Image result for g suite

Formally known as Google Apps, G Suite is part of Googles cloud based offerings for businesses. We are all familiar with Googles basic yet powerful free tools such as Google Drive or Google Docs and a lot of us use them extensively in our business lives, especially in smaller businesses where buying expensive software isn’t in the budget.

Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations together with colleagues no matter where you at the same time. Whether you are a small business such as Reid Brothers – Stainless Steel Banding or a personal blogger with big admissions, G Suite is there for you to take advantage of its collaborative, cloud based software.

Why G Suite?

Googles free tools are fantastic as they allow you to work seamlessly across different platforms like Docs and Sheets which are basically Googles versions of Word and Excel. These programmes allow several users to access the document at the same time. Not only that but edits can be viewed in real time as they happen and notes can be left between the users to share ideas or suggestions. Thanks to G Suite being a cloud based system, you can comment on a document, while it’s being written in Japan, while you are in London.

Hangouts

We have also been given free access to Google hangouts which gives us the ability to video conference with up to 10 colleagues across the world. Not to mention Google Drive which is perfect for sharing and storing up to 15GB of data. Both of these free Google services have previously been very expensive from other providers.

For a lot of small businesses these free tools are all that are needed. Many businesses will create one business account and share the login details with everyone in the office. Some businesses ask their employees to create a personal, work Gmail account and grant them access to the various documents. Whichever way people decide to set up and use their accounts, it’s clear that Google has delivered some of the best free cloud based software available. Thanks Google.

Image result for hangouts

Cost

G Suite has all the same advantages as the free tools like Docs, Sheets, Drive and Forms with one main difference, it’s not free. Now before you catapult your cup of coffee across the room, it’s not as bad as you would think. There are three tiers, $5 Basic, $10 Business, $25 Enterprise and as you would imagine, as the price increases the amount of features increase too. In a nut shell, you get more control and less restrictions over your G Suite than you do with Googles free tools.

Storage & Collaboration

You get more storage space, 30GB for the basic package and unlimited for the other two. You also receive more advanced actions like smart search across the Suite and higher security control like data loss prevention. Being able to add multiple users to the account also allows for simple organisation and limitless collaboration. G Suite is also available on mobile so no matter where you are, as long as you have your smart phone you can retrieve and present the information you need in a matter of moments. If you are already fairly dependant on Googles free tools, it’s worth looking at the details of each tier to understand which package would best meet your specific needs.

G Suite Benefits

The main reason people choose to purchase G Suite over continuing to use what’s free, is that it brings your Google tools up to a professional level. Having more control over the business data and the users that have access to it. The most practical advantage of G Suite is that it gives you access to a business email. So instead of having a yourbusiness@gmail.com email address, you receive a @yourbusiness.com email address.

This not only gives your business emails a more professional look, but having a dedicated business email address also helps build trust with your stakeholders. A quick search for email hosting will give you an idea of the different prices available from other vendors. 123Reg for example offers you 1 email address with 25GB of storage for £6.99 + VAT and that’s all you get. If you compare that to the Basic G Suite package at $5, even if you all you needed was a business email account, it is still better value for money.

You get all the great cloud based tools with 30GB of storage and it’s from google, which is probably the most trusted source around. G Suite is fantastic value in comparison its competition.

It really comes down what you need and what your business needs. For a lot of people, continuing to use Googles free tools is the way to go.  After all, for a free service it’s brilliant. If you don’t need a lot of storage or a business email, it also may be pretty hard to justify spending any amount of money on added benefits you wouldn’t use. However, for those businesses looking to up there game, G Suite may just be the best option.

Real Estate and Virtual Reality: When Worlds Collide

If you’ve been in a shopping centre lately (yes there are still a few around) you’ve likely seen folks queuing up at what seem like video game booths. Except there’s no video game screen or steering wheel or any other type of controls to be seen. Just some chairs and some strange looking boxes that those people are strapping to their heads. Welcome to virtual reality.

Virtual reality as a concept has been around for decades although it wasn’t able to migrate very far from the labs in which it was born until recently. As the amount of computing power available to consumers in PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones has grown exponentially in the past few years this long-time fringe technology has burst out into the open and with it an almost unlimited array of possible applications from medical to cinematic and everything in between.

The Real Estate and home buying industry too has seen great potential in virtual reality, for example home reports glasgow could actually carry out a full home report without actually having to visit a location. Also, VR with the Internet will allow clients in every corner of the world to experience a property without ever setting foot in it. Below we’ll explain how they’re going to do that.

Virtual Real Estate

The real estate industry is a forward thinking industry populated by men and women who make it their business to know what’s going on in the world. As such when new technologies are introduced real estate companies are typically some of the first to make use of them. So it is that as virtual reality (VR) has gained traction in the marketplace real estate companies have looked for and found new ways to put this breathtaking technology to work. To understand why VR would be attractive to real estate companies you only have to consider two of the biggest problems they typically face:

  1. The time required to make physical visits to sites to show prospective buyers and
  2. The fact that photos often don’t give a realistic idea what a property is like.

VR presents an ideal solution to both of these problems while also allowing a company to expand their potential customer base. Here are several ways real estate companies are employing VR to do that.

  • Augmented Reality Tours – This is the most common type of 3D virtual tour currently in use and is often mistakenly labelled Virtual Reality. With AR guided tours the entire home is shot in 360 degrees and then a dedicated web page is created where the ‘tour’ video file is available for viewing. If a home or commercial property is as yet unfinished the tour can be further augmented using models and/or 3D computer graphics. Narration and on screen notes describing various aspects of what the viewer is seeing can also be added in post-production. This type of augmented video is the first step in the direction of true VR and has become increasingly popular as a promotional device.

 

  • True VR Tours – The next step up is to actually immerse the viewer in a virtual environment created entirely in the computer and then uploaded to the Internet and linked to a VR headset. This provides the viewer with a level of interactivity simply not possible using a linear augmented reality video tour. In true VR if the client looks left they see what’s to the left in the virtual room. If they look down they see the floor and so on. Like the AR tour the VR tour is uploaded to the real estate company’s server and the dedicated URL given to prospective clients. Of course not everyone in every corner of the world is going to have the requisite VR headset to view this type of content and so each visitor is given the option of taking the standard AR tour described above or to view the true interactive VR tour using their Oculus Rift or other VR headset.

 

  • Unprecedented Interactivity – The level of interactivity possible with true VR is mind blowing. The client can proceed with the tour at their own pace concentrating on the things that interest them the most and “moving” back and forth, left and right within the virtual space. Hot spots can be created within the virtual environment that appear in the client’s field of vision. Using their VR controls they can access the information available at these hotspots. The info can contain wallpaper options, flooring options, upholstery options and much more. With true VR there are no distractions, no extraneous visual clutter to block out. The client feels as though they are in the room and they’re able to navigate as if they are.

The Benefits

  • For the Real Estate Company – The benefits of VR are enormous and include the aforementioned ability to drastically reduce the number of site visits that need to be made as well as the ability to showcase properties to potential clients all over the world. Your client from Dubai will be able to get a feel for what it’s like to actually walk through the property at their own pace taking their own route. It’s like bringing the model home or condo unit to the client instead of having to have the client come to the model home. That also means of course that developers may no longer even need to build model homes or condo units. Instead they’ll simply direct potential clients to the web page where they can access the VR tour. The potential savings are enormous.

 

  • For the Client – Clients stand to gain just as much or more than the real estate companies as they’ll be able to take hyper-realistic, virtual tours of an unlimited number of properties worldwide while sitting at their kitchen table wearing their VR headset. No more time and money spent doing the open house shuffle. No more wondering what the floor might look like if you ripped up the tiles and installed hardwood. It’s all right there at your beck and call through the VR software.

 

Virtual reality is taking the world by storm and is set to revolutionize how people buy and sell real estate. Whether you’re a buyer, a seller or an agent you stand to benefit from the VR revolution.

6 pieces of tax advice for every small business

Whether you’re just starting out or are well established in business it’s vitally important that you seek good tax advice – without it you could literally be giving money away. While there’s no replacement for a qualified accountant, there are some pieces of advice that apply to all small businesses.

Have a look through our 6 pieces of tax advice and see if there are any areas you could be working more tax efficiently…

  1. Explore flat rate VAT

VAT is VAT right? If this is your assumption – you’re wrong – and you could be missing out on a healthy size chunk of profit.

A flat rate of tax applies when you choose to pay VAT annually on your turnover – rather than individual transactions. A flat rate also means that the rate you pay is based on your industry, for example:

  • Advertising – 11%
  • Computer repair services – 10.5%
  • Printing – 8.5%
  • Labour-only building services – 14.5%
  • Security – 12%
  • Transport (including taxis and removals) – 10%

…and that is to name just few.

So, VAT is charged at 20% – but if you choose to pay that one-off flat rate then you’ll be paying a reduced amount to HMRC – with the remainder retained by your business. And if that isn’t good news enough, HMRC even give you an additional 1% discount for your first year of operating that way. Well worth looking into in more detail.

  1. Work from home?

If you’re a sole trader or small self-employed business it’s easy to settle for the most basic tax perks of working from home – HMRC offer a fairly small £2 per week allowance if your home is your business base. However, there’s much more available if you do a little homework.

As an example, let’s say you have a house with 5 rooms, if you use one of these as an office then effectively 1/5th of your household costs can be attributed to the business – so if your electricity bill £500 then there’s £100 worth of electricity that is being used to power your work if you’re there full time.

There’s a sliding scale too, so even if you just work one day from then there’s still a proportion that can be claimed. And it’s not just energy bills, you can claim against a proportion of the following:

  • Heating
  • Electricity
  • Council Tax
  • Mortgage interest or rent
  • Internet and home telephone use

It can be tempted to just keep things simple and claim the most basic amount – but remember this is likely to be far less than it actually costs to run your business from home, so calculate what you’re entitled to with a ‘Use of Home’ claim.

  1. Staff perks can be tax perks

Perks for staff might sound like something that’s going to impact your bottom line – but in actual fact, used smartly there are perks that can save your business money at the same time as keeping employees smiling!

  • Car leasing – Have you considered offering a salary sacrifice car leasing scheme? There are lots of companies who’ll walk you through the kind of services they provide and explain the benefits in details. You’ll instantly do away with those ‘car won’t start’ excuses for days off too!
  • Ride your bike to work – There are a variety of Cycle to Work style schemes – staff can save a huge amount on buying a new bike, have a small monthly sum taken from their wage for doing so and your company receives a tax incentive for promoting green travel methods.
  • Child care – Providing tax free childcare vouchers can be a huge benefit to employees with families – especially considering the lofty prices of professional nurseries and child-minding providers.

And that’s not all – there are various salary sacrifice schemes available for businesses of all sizes, cutting your tax bill and giving excellent incentives that could help you recruit and retain excellent staff.

  1. How are you paid?

If you’re smart with how you take money from your business you can make some really big dents in your tax bill. The goalposts can move on what’s going to be best for you, so discussing options with your accountant is important – but some things to think about might be your level of salary, how much is drawn as dividends and anything that can be considered a ‘benefit in kind’.

Generally speaking the most common benefit in kind is the use of a company car – usually a positive step for someone self-employed – however, do make sure that HMRC are made aware, even delaying notifying them by a couple of months can mean a chunky tax bill.

The guidelines on how company directors are paid look set to change – so an on-going dialogue with your accountant is important. Which takes us neatly to…

  1. Talk to your accountant

We’re in an age that makes finding a ‘tick-box’ accountant really easy… That’s to say, every company needs an accountant – and many decision makers feel like having one onboard is just a formality – when, in reality a business-accountant relationship should be much more than that.

If you’re not talking to your accountant on a regular basis you’re missing out on what you’re paying for! An accountant isn’t just someone who’s there to keep track of the business money, in actual fact, proper financial advice is worth far more than the advanced admin skills that many are used for.

There’s no tangible amount of percentage of tax benefit that talking to your accountant will return, but if there’s one thing you can be certain of – it’s that they know more about tax than you do – so talking to them should be done as frequently as is practical!

  1. Keep organised!

Again, we’re finishing up with a non-specific piece of advice – but one that has the potential to save you a fortune in unnecessary tax. Keep your receipts and expenses in an organised manner! That means different things to different people – but the more detailed you are – the more efficiently you and your accountant can work together.

Can you face keeping a spreadsheet with all your business expenses? Can you just manage to keep all your receipts in one folder?

If you’re feeling really lazy, consider having a company credit card that you only use for expenses – pay it off at the end of every month and your statement suddenly becomes a very neat and organised list of your expenses – all kindly provided, printed and sent by your card company!

How Cryotherapy Start-ups Are Changing Health Industry

Cryotherapy (also known as cryo sessions or cold therapy) is a rather unusual medical treatment because many people have a very inaccurate view of what it actually is. The popularity of science fiction in all its forms have built a very advanced image of cold therapy when it’s real-world uses are actually far more on the mundane side.

According to Coldwellness, one of the industry leading manufacturers of cold therapy chambers, It’s used to treat a wide range of issues most commonly tissue damage, it can also be used in a range of cosmetic procedures as well. It’s a popular choice of therapy for the sports industry because it’s a quick and effective way to decrease inflammation and improve rejuvenation.

And despite its futuristic reputation amongst the general public, it’s a therapy that’s been around since the 17th century. Cryotherapy can also be carried out in a number of different ways at its most simple ice packs can be used, but there is also liquid nitrogen based treatments and whole-body therapy.

While more complex medical producers like cryo surgery are carried out at hospitals whole-body therapy and other similar simple procedures are available in certain spas and gyms. Cold therapy has many uses and has been adapted into a wide range of different treatments and therapies, but while it might have a much early history than many people know it’s the future of cold therapy that’s really of interest.

Cold Therapy Start-ups

The healthcare industry is always changing and cold therapy as shown its self to be a popular choice for start-ups, especially in America in the past few years. Particularly whole-body therapy because it’s a relatively simple variant of cryo therapy with a wide array of uses.

Whole-body therapy uses refrigerated chambers and participants stay inside for a short duration, research on it as shown that whole-body therapy could stimulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS) causing it to help relieve pain and soreness from a wide array of existing conditions. So, there are a lot of potential opportunities for entrepreneurs when it comes to cryotherapy. 

You could become the new manufacturer of the refrigerated units that are needed for whole-body therapy for example? Or you could start your own spar business specialising in different cold therapies, there’s also been a rise in cold therapy based franchising opportunities as well.

Cold treatment start-ups are rising because it has so many different opportunities, whether you want to become the new manufacturer, focus on being a treatment provider, or you want to add it to your existing business there’s a lot of potential opportunities for entrepreneurs. But what impact could this have on the healthcare industry?

Disrupting The Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is always changing and as technology advances those changes are going to come much faster. Cold therapy due to its wide array of uses and the ease of access people have to certain therapies as the potential to drastically disrupt the healthcare industry. This could have far reaching implications in a variety of ways.

More and more people could turn to whole body therapy instead of relying on traditional treatments or painkillers. This could mean that more start-ups are founded with the sole purpose of being the manufacturer of cold therapy products and equipment.

Or they could instead focus on training others on how to safely provide a range of different cold therapies.  America’s healthcare industry, in particular, could be hugely affected by the popularity of cold therapies because unlike other countries the U.S healthcare industry does not yet officially recognize cryotherapy for insurance purposes.

Although licensing and training are still needed in order to offer the services outside a hospital or professional medical setting.

Alongside other technologies like artificial intelligence, medical based virtual reality, and 3D printing cryotherapy is predicted to be one of the leading and most disruptive new technologies in the healthcare industry.

With the potential to be adopted by a number of different industries and a wide range of uses entrepreneurs will no doubt be taking a more serious look at the potential of cryotherapy in the years to come.   

The Future of Cryotherapy

It’s sort of ironic that the biggest developments in cold therapy are still likely to come when you consider many people believe it to be an advanced medical practice solely used in sci-fi movies. But while we haven’t quite developed the futuristic stasis technology you see in the movies cold therapy will likely be seeing a lot of development in the coming decades.

Few medical treatments can offer the levels of versatility and flexibility of cold therapy and its popularity in the sports and cosmetic industry, as well as a number of celebrity endorsements, have made it very popular. So, I believe it will be a big name in the future of the healthcare industry.