June 18, 2014
You could lose more than just your family business if it leads to a bust-up with your partner.
More than four in ten marriages in the UK end in divorce and while spousal start-ups have advantages there are also pitfalls to avoid.
Having co-founded natural sports nutrition company 33Shake in 2012, husband and wife team Warren and Erica Pole know how to keep the business thriving without sacrificing a relationship.
They suggest you both remember you are the boss. You set the deadlines, make the demands but also set the holidays too – remember to take them, and do not burn out.
Celebrate your successes. It’s human nature to focus on what you have not achieved, rather than celebrating what you have.
When landmark achievements happen, take time off and celebrate together.
Couples in business are in each other’s pockets far more than regular business partners.
Unchecked it can make work the only subject of conversation so avoid the rot by banning all laptops and phones from the bedroom.
And to avoid becoming a crashing business bore, keep your diary well filled with nights and days out with friends who have nothing to do with work.
You will have days when one of you is utterly positive about the company, and one is in the doldrums.
In any start-up self-doubt will creep in, it’s how you deal with it that matters. Couples in business can benefit from this balancing act more than most thanks to the closer bonds they enjoy.
Enjoy your launch hour
RUNNING your own business might not be a picnic – but it only takes your lunch hour to get started.
Too many budding entrepreneurs turn their back on plans for a start-up because they do not know how to kick it off, so The Biz asked general manager Mark Edwards to skip through the steps you need to get underway.
Mark, of online legal service rocketlawyer.co.uk, says: “It has never been easier to get a business up and running.
“Look for inspiration in those spare moments on your way to and from work, or even better, during that golden lunch hour which often goes by in an unmemorable flash.”
Taking the first steps does not need to be time-consuming or complicated. Here’s all you must know for what could be the most productive lunch hour ever.
15 MINUTES – Advice and funding. Ask work colleagues for honest feedback and advice on your idea and see if any would be potential investors. Then, quickly sketch out a top-line business plan.
Include sections for overview, company description. products or services, knowledge of the marketplace, marketing strategy, who is running the business, and finances including overheads and projected income.
You can fill in the in the finer details later but this gets the ball rolling to present a solid business plan to your bank, broker or crowdfunding website such as Kickstarter or Crowdcube.
15 MINUTES – BRANDING
Draw up a shortlist of potential business names and check them at Companies House (companieshouse.gov.uk) to find out whether the name has already been registered.
This will protect you from future potential name infringement issues. Once settled on, create social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter to provide valuable free marketing and networking tools and order branded business cards — Vistaprint often offers freebies where you just pay postage.
10 MINUTES – TAX
Sadly unavoidable but you have to register your business for tax purposes. It can be done easily through HM Revenue and Customs at hmrc.gov.uk.
Keep all records and copies of invoices and receipts as you will need these to tally up the numbers every business year.
10 MINUTES – BANKING
Set up a business bank account at your local branch. You can also do this online and it helps keep personal and business finances separate for tax purposes, which will make it easier to calculate in the long run.
10 MINUTES – EMPLOYING STAFF
Even if you hire help from close family and friends, you are still legally required to issue an employment contract.
Consulting a lawyer may sound daunting and expensive but websites such as rocketlawyer.co.uk (which offers a one-week free trial) allow you to create your own professional document so you have solid legal footing from the start.
The smallest firms have biggest debts
LATE payments are hitting businesses with less than ten staff the hardest, according to new figures.
On average each micro small and medium-sized enterprise (micro-SME) was owed £68,000 during the last financial year with 12 per cent having outstanding invoices accounting for a third of total turnover.
Larger SMEs averaged a trade debt of £2.5million, but this was at a more manageable 15 per cent of turnover.
It took 63 days for micro-firms to receive payment from customers compared to 40 days for small companies, well beyond typical 30-day agreements.
The worst affected regions were London, the North-East and Yorkshire where such businesses were on average nearly £100,000 in trade debt.
Mark Burgess of Debt Guard Solicitors, who conducted the research, said: “In the past, SMEs have often been lumped together when it comes to debt management, but it is clear that micro-SMEs in particular need much greater support in this respect.
“As the backbone of the UK economy, many of these micro-firms are suffering from big trade-debt issues with the threat of closure a real danger.
“Our message to all SMEs in this position is: Don’t write off your debt. Look at legal ways to professionally recover it as, by improving credit flow, this will help put your business on a more stable financial footing.”
The overall UK SME trade debt in the last year was £6.3trillion.