Crunchers Accountants

Crunchers Accountants

Working on your Business Seminar

Archive for November, 2011

Working on your Business Seminar

We were delighted to welcome seven business owners to our second seminar last night on the topic of ‘Working on your Business’.   It was a very interesting subject for a room of sole traders and start up companies because, of course, it can feel like there is so much working in your business to be done. For those not familiar with the term, working on your business means working on shaping the structure and mechanism of your business rather than doing the day to day tasks of your business.  It means planning and implementing changes to the way resources are expended that make the business more profitable.  Often it means mechanising, systemising and delegating.

Whilst preparing the seminar I realised that the reason this topic has attracted so much attention in the business world and given rise to books and indeed this seminar, is not because it is a particularly revolutionary idea.  Clearly if you want a successful business you would be interested to get the shape right, to set up the system so that it delivers a return.  That is hardly a big deal.  It is not even that doing it is very important, though it is.  It is also important to deliver your service well.  The real reason that it has become a hot topic, is that so little of it actually happens.  It is vital and ignored.

For example I have been meeting a lot of business owners recently and to date not a single one has an annual budget.  My theory (unproven), is that there is a psychological block with working on your business.  There is a kind of safety in the day to day routine.  There is an unwillingness to let go of doing other things that might free the business owner up to work on their business.  Working on your business implies looking at it in cold blood and shaping it rationally.  Of course people are not rational and regard their business as ‘their baby’.  As such we are deeply emotionally involved. There is also a tendancy to regard it as a dehumanising process.  I can understand that but would argue that in plenty of walks of life, deep rooted structure, time keeping and division of labour is combined with artistry and human expression.  Theatre is great example.

I highly recommend looking into the topic.  I drew on the following sources for the seminar and I think that getting to know them first hand is a great investment in time.  They tend to be quite American in tone, but deliver an important message:

Again feedback from the the seminar was very positive, scoring over 9.5/10 for overall value.  Here are some of the comments:

“Love this, combining some of the thoughts I already have but feel very empowered after each seminar and feel I have gained some structure towards my business.”

“A good opportunity to get back to basics after a few months trading, to reassess our priorities.”

“It is definitely worth coming to this event if you want to improve your business.”

The next seminar will take place on 30th January, 7-9pm, the topic is Pricing and the venue is to be confirmed.  Sadly The Bespoke Space now has a regular Monday booking.  All suggestions of alternative venues are gratefully recieved.

Click here to register.

Tougher penalties for missing 31st Jan deadline

Until the Finance Act 2011, HMRC rules effectively meant that if you did not have an outstanding tax liability at 31st Jan, your penalty was limited to £100 fine.  People who knew they were not going to file their returns in time were often advised by accountants to pay an estimate of the tax liabilty plus the £100 fine in advance.  This meant they limited the penalty owing to HMRC.

This is no longer the case.  New rules mean that penalties are no longer limited by the tax you owed on 31st Jan.

Anyone who was counting limiting their penalty through the method described above should be aware that the rules have changed.  Whilst the changes do not make a huge difference in the first three months that a return is late, they make a big difference thereafter.

Positioning Seminar

We held our first seminar last night at the Bespoke Space, East Dulwich.

The intention of Crunchers Seminar series is to bring business thinking and support in development to the level of the sole trader businesses we serve. Though I say it myself, I think we achieved the objective.  10 business owners turned out and in feedback rated the overall value of the evening 9/10.

The basic idea being presented was that it is highly powerful to immediately spring to mind when someone is looking to buy the product or service you offer.  The trouble is that in many cases our competitors have got there first.  Positioning argues that instead of trying to knock our competitors off that list that people hold in people’s head for a particular product or service, we would do better to create our own category of product or service.  For example instead of being a general plumber, become a plumber for over 60s; or become a plumber for for schools only; or become a plumber specialising in grey water systems; or become a plumber specialising in procurement for large organisations.  In other words find a position that you can be the market leader in.

We are creating the seminars in workshop style with a lot of interaction between people attending and the speaker.  Last night people had the chance to explore possible positions for their business run them past other business owners.

There was some nice feedback:

“Extremely valuable”
“Very personal and informative.  Walking out of here with ideas and clearer understanding of my business.”
“This topic has allowed me to explore different ideas and think of possible directions for future development.”
We are continuing the series on 28th Nov with ‘Working on your business vs Working in your business’.

The excellent Breadroom have promised pastries to add to the evening.  Registration is available through the Something for Nothing page of the website.

I hope to see many of you there.