Employee Lateness

The rail regulator has announced that almost 400,000 passengers face daily delays in their journeys.  Rail commuters have been hit hard by various problems, including flooding last summer, regular train and tube strikes, and the inevitable ‘leaves on the line’ in autumn.; Those who travel to work by road have their own problems. 

Seizing opportunities

It is one of life’s certainties that life is full of uncertainties and business life in particular has a habit of presenting us with all kinds of uncertainties – through situations and circumstances, both good and bad, which arise completely unexpectedly.  
We all welcome the unforeseen opportunities. They’re one of the things that make business exciting. Usually we need to act on them quickly because it’s unlikely they’ll recur again.  And if we don’t make the most of the opportunity, someone else will. It could be the chance to buy a competitor’s business or acquire a property that has tremendous future potential.

Time for a review

For many businesses, agreeing marketing budgets is an area fraught with difficulty as marketing departments struggle to justify and quantify the return on investment.
This is a particular issue for small enterprises, where margins are tight and ‘the bottom line’ is of utmost importance.  It is possible for such businesses to look at large companies and bemoan the vast sums of money they can plunge into promoting their products and services and the lavish advertising campaigns that are beyond the reach of most organisations.  However, there are valuable lessons small businesses can learn from their larger counterparts which aren’t reliant on breaking the bank.

Trading in China

As the Chinese economy continues to grow at over 10 per cent each year, an increasing number of SMEs are looking to set up a presence in China to take advantage of this growth. Although there are several forms of corporate vehicle available to SMEs, the two most popular are the equity joint venture (EJV) and the wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE).

The Right Formula for Data Leak Protection

Whether on the race track, on the web or in the boardroom, data leaks are invariably bad news.  Just ask Ferrari and McLaren, the F1 giants embroiled in controversy over allegedly stolen technical documents. Or Facebook, who mistakenly exposed a slice of their own source code recently, and thereby possibly their own users. Or Monster.com, who made the monster mistake of losing over a million customer records to expert “phishers.”

A tax on retirement

When is a u-turn not a u-turn? Many members of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) would argue that the Government’s suggested £100,000 in tax relief when they sell up and retire certainly fits the bill, following, as it does, the much-vaunted proposals to change the Capital Gains Tax system.
At best, it is a small step in the right direction. At worse, a limp gesture designed to ease the swelling tide of criticism from owner-managers, lobby groups and MPs since the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, announced that taper relief and indexation of Capital Gains Tax would be abolished.

On board with Madonna

Madonna and the Prince of Wales are two of an estimated 3000 select people who are being invited to join the world’s first private flight sharing club in an effort to reduce the environmental impact and cost of private jets that are currently flying empty 40% of the time.
The Flightshare Private Members Guild is the brainchild of Farnborough UK based David Lacy, an aviation veteran of 26 years who was the first to introduce carbon offsets to the European private jet industry last year.

Carry on Trading: Formal and informal

So you’ve decided you can’t carry on as you are and you’ve decided not to simply inject more capital.
If the business is viable if it did not have debts then you have one set of choices.  If the business isn’t viable even without debts then there are another set of options.
Let us first look at your options if the business is viable, were it not for the debts.  As we discussed last month, your energy levels and attitude to the business are as important as the balance sheet.  Let’s assume that you have energy and you want to continue; essentially, there are two possible approaches: the first is a formal negotiation with your creditors; the second is an informal one.

Picking up the post

Struggling to cope with late deliveries is nothing new for smaller business. Three years ago, when the Royal Mail’s second post was scrapped as part of the continuing drive to cut costs, many members of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) complained that late deliveries were hindering their ability to do business.
However, the latest delay is in naming the UK’s 2,500 post offices that are to face closure. This has been postponed from September and has left countless owners of small businesses on tenterhooks. Post offices are vital links in their supply chain, and many communities face prolonged agony because the process of consultation will not be concluded until October 2008, in some areas.

Going it alone

At the end of the ‘90’s the air was thick with revolution.  Offices, newspapers and gastropubs across the land were alive with rumours that the end of the workplace as we knew it was nigh.  With just a mobile phone and a laptop, people could work from anywhere, anytime. For some, tomorrow’s working world was a freelancer’s haven.  To others, it was all hype.
Whichever way you look at it, the UK’s freelance community is growing and it includes some of the country’s most experienced and talented workers who make up a highly skilled, highly mobile and flexible 21st century workforce.

Your own boss

Some of the common reasons cited for going freelance include being your own boss, making more money, having freedom and variety and striking the work/life balance.

Managing staff sickness absence

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) published their eighth national survey of absence management policy and practice in July.  According to the survey the average employee now takes 8.4 days off sick each year, costing employers £659 per employee per year.  It is inevitable that some employees will need to take some time off sick but long-term sickness and growing rates of short-term sickness can have a huge impact upon business.  But what can businesses do to do tackle absence?

No longer a great job

The directors of Britain’s companies are feeling the pressure from the growing risks and responsibilities they face – to the point where a majority are seriously questioning whether it is worth being a director at all – and those at small-to-medium sized enterprises are bearing the brunt.
These are the main findings of a major survey conducted in August by TakeLegalAdvice.com – an online service that matches businesses with law firms – which questioned 918 directors and senior managers at companies in the United Kingdom.
More than half of company directors polled – 55% – agreed that being a company director ‘is no longer a great job’, while 58% said that the risks and responsibilities of the role are increasingly outweighing the rewards. The proportions of SME directors  – those at companies with between 2 and 249 staff – who say the same are higher still, especially those at companies with fewer than 10 employees, 61% of whose directors agreed with the statement.