Business, Your Start to an Empire
When it comes to business it can be hard and small at first but if you don't give up on it, learn from the experience and love it no matter what, then you would be amazed at how far it can take you.
You see business takes time to grow because not everyone would be able to understand and know about the product or service you are offering them, that is why you should make sure that you are strong enough to withstand such pressure because when you are about to withstand that pressure then your business will grow and turn into an empire.
Not all new businesses come from nowhere, there are lots of opportunities for establishing a franchise – i.e. starting a business with an established model that’s tried and tested. From coffee to healthcare, language schools to fast food – there’s a huge number of opportunities out there, but is it right for you?
We’ll look at some of the pros and cons associated with owning a franchise…
- Recognised brands
When you open a franchise you’re opening a business that people are likely to already know at least a little about – and even if they don’t, there’s a huge amount of information they’ll be able to find if they search for the brand name.
This is especially true if you open one of the big names – such as KFC, McDonalds or Subway. In some instances there’s even a demand from the public for recognised brands like these. Even if you’re looking at a less well-known business, you’re following in the footsteps of people who’ve launched before you, so whatever size, the business already has a marketplace presence and people who know how to make it work.
- Location support
If you’re starting out on your own, there’s nothing that will stop you opening within a mile of 4 similar types of business – a move which can be catastrophic when it comes to breaking into your market.
When you’re opening a franchise you’ll receive a lot of support from the franchisor around finding a suitable location. They’re going to be looking for an area in which there’s a market for their services and no competition that will finish the location before it’s started – while making sure that you’re not overlapping with another of their franchises.
This kind of support is great, because it helps you to succeed in the very best location by utilising tools and knowledge you may not have access too without the weight of a big business behind you.
- Banks say yes!
Franchises can vary massively in cost – from a couple of thousand pounds for the smaller – to £500,000+ for some of the biggest names. Whatever the cost, there’s a chance that if you’re starting out, you might struggle to find finance that stretches to some of those bigger figures.
When you’re starting a franchise banks are far more likely to say yes than if you present your own business plan then ask for a quarter of a million pounds!
It’s fairly obvious when you think about it, you’re stepping into a tried and tested business that both you and the franchisor wants to succeed – so whether your business credentials are fantastic or slightly lagging behind, you’ve got the big advantage of having an international company behind you.
- Support and guidance
With a franchise you’re on a well-trodden path, there are systems that work elsewhere, support that’s provided and the blueprint for success available to you at all times.
Take one of the larger fast food retail franchises for example – you don’t think that they’ll package you off to your new restaurant - hoping for the best that you keep the place clean and don’t damage their reputation do you? Instead, they’ll provide you with the initial guidance you need to start thing moving in the right direction – then on-going support visits, inspections and standards checks to make sure you’re in line with the brand.
Whether it’s helplines, on-going training or even financial support – it’s in the best interest of the franchisor to provide you with support – because if you win, they win.
Cons of franchising
- Hard work
There’s no escaping it, owning a franchise is hard work – if it weren’t, the business wouldn’t be using a franchise model, they’d be employing someone who’d earn a lot less than you to apply those lower levels of effort.
Just because there’s a model to follow doesn’t mean it’s easy – it’s not uncommon for franchisors to expect you to be ‘at the coal face’ of the business for a significant period of time before you get comfy in your back-office seat. That means running the business while you learn every in and out that there is.
You’re going to need a good support structure to make sure long hours and some sleepless nights don’t wear you down…
- A strict path
How many McDonald’s restaurants have you been in where the manager or owner is experimenting with a new burger you haven’t seen anywhere else? A Body Shop that’s decorated totally differently to the rest? Or a Costa Coffee with a lime green logo?
The answer is a solid zero – because as a franchisee you’re not following your own daydreams and hunches, you’re following the multi-million pound established paths to success that the business demands.
While this is a huge bonus for marketplace recognition it does mean that your individual flair can be somewhat hindered. This might be a problem for you – it might not, but it’s one of the things people can sometimes feel constrained by when they’re not making the decisions…
There are a variety of costs associated with owning a franchise – and a lot of them need to be offset, at least in your mind, against the benefits of running a recognised business whose success might be (at least in part) due to its brand.
There’s an amount of money to pay upfront, sometimes it’s a few hundred pounds, sometimes it’s tens of thousands – all depending on the model the franchisor opts for. Materials and location outfitting costs can sometimes come from your pocket too – followed by a proportion of your takings to cover the ‘royalty’ fees that trading under their name entails.
You’ll often be expected to have an amount of money that’s readily available capital before you get started – i.e. money that’s not tied up in any other asset or awaiting approval from the bank.
While starting a franchise can look like the more cost-effective option in the short-term, it’s well worth sitting down with your accountant and looking at some projections.
There’s an increasing number of online accountancy firms that are super easy and convenient to use – but might lack that personal touch the older generation came to expect from the person overseeing company finances. Meetings with accountants used to be full and frank conversations about what can be legitimately claimed as expenses – although now your accountant’s expense advice might only extend to a quick glance over a spreadsheet.
It pays to be well informed when it comes to what can be claimed as expense and what can’t. While it’s no substitute for professional advice we can run you through a list of things you’ll want to make sure you keep you receipts for so you can dig into a bit more detail with your accountant later:
The more established your business becomes the more you’ll incur in business banking charges. Keep a track of monthly or quarterly charges and make sure they’re on your expenses list.
If your business requires specialist clothing for any role then this can be claimed for – as can equipment like boots, gloves, masks, helmets and so forth.
Living and working away from home?
If you’re living away from home because of work then you can claim for ‘subsistence’ – this means any accommodation and general living costs should be kept track of carefully as they can quickly add up. There’s a limit of 24 months – beyond which your temporary workplace is no longer considered temporary…
Travelling for work?
In a similar vein to living away from home – temporary accommodation when you’re on a long-distance visit can also be claimed. You can claim ‘incidental’ expenses of £5 if you’re away in the UK – and £10 if you’re away overseas.
Any travel tickets – whether that’s for planes, trains, taxis or boats can also be claimed, as can travel to and from business engagements – no sneaking in pleasure-boat or sightseeing tickets though.
Don’t forget to keep tabs on your driving miles too – you can claim 45p for every mile you do up to 10,000 – with miles beyond that dropping to 25p. Not a driver? No problem, bicycles experience wear and tear too – you can claim 20p per mile if you pedal your business miles.
Claiming against computer equipment can be tricky – you have to ensure that you’re claiming for something that is used exclusively for work purposes, so if that iPad doubles up as the family music centre or feeds your CandyCrush addiction then you’ll need to scratch it from the list… You may also be able to claim back expenses for things such as web hosting for your business website, for more information on web hosting check out this great guide to wordpress web hosting.
If you’re going on a training course that’s relevant to your work then this is also a legitimate expense. If it’s not immediately obvious why you might require the course – jot a quick note of why it’s crucial for the business and it’ll save you trying to justify it further down the line.
As long as your phone, internet and mobile packages are registered in the company name then they can be claimed. Are you working from a home office with a shared line? Take a while to look through an itemised bill and pick out what are your business calls – they’ll have a cost attributed to them which can be claimed.
Working from home?
If you’re home based then there’s a varying amount that can be claimed. Let’s say you have 6 rooms and 1 of those is used entirely for work – you’ll be able to claim 1/6th of the cost of heating and providing electric for business use. Even if you don’t keep tabs on this use (it can be difficult to accurately work out) – HMRC allow you to claim £4 a week without receipts or statements.
There are some obvious ones here – your accountant, solicitor and so forth – but don’t forget that any work done on your premises, specialist marketing, outsourced services can also fall into the professional services category.
A little like mobile phone and utility contracts, finance contracts can be claimed – but only if they’re in the company name.
Do you need public liability insurance? Insurances that relate to employee health and safety? Or something more specialised? These are all business expenses that you can’t safely trade without.
Stationary and printing
Any stationary that you buy to support your role is an expense – as is any printing you do. Don’t worry, this doesn’t just extend to the company printer, anything that you’re outsourcing or ordering online falls into the printing category.
Depreciation of company assets
This is a complex area with specialist calculations to be made. Essentially any asset held is likely to lose value as it ages – and this depreciation can be offset against tax. Your accountant is likely to be on top of this one – you just need to make sure you’ve got a comprehensive list of assets held.
Professional magazines, journals and subscriptions
If they relate to your work then subscribing to often costly professional publications is very much a business expense.
If your employees use screens as part of their role then you can claim an annual eye-test as an expense.
Employee general health
Although we have a national health service there’s an allowance made for any company who wishes for their employees to have a private medical health check.
If you’ve got a festive celebration planned then there’s an allowance of £150 per attendee that can be claimed, including partners and spouses – which might be some solace if the company credit card ends up behind the bar…
What can’t be claimed?
It’s important to remember HMRC’s guidelines when it comes to looking at your expenses – they clearly state that expenses should be “wholly, exclusively and necessary” for your business purposes. It’s important that you’re watertight on this requirement – when it comes to tax, a ‘little white lie’ is generally referred to as ‘fraud’ by HMRC.
Because we’re dealing with such a complex and professional area it’s important to note that everything here is intended as a ‘rough guide’ to expand people’s awareness as to what can be viewed as a company expense. You absolutely must seek the professional advice of a qualified accountant with experience in your field to ensure you’re maximising your expenses while staying on the right side of HMRC.
Have you ever read an article online and thought I could write that? If so you’re not alone many people want to write for the web and while finding volunteer opportunities is easy if you want to make money writing online then it’s a little more difficult.
But don’t worry we can help you! Whatever you enjoy writing about there’s likely away you can turn that passion into one of the best ways to make money online.
You don’t have to be an English or journalism graduate either, all you need is a talent for writing and the patience to do some research and some waiting.
When it comes to making money writing online there’s some tough competition, new writers are popping up all the time and there’s already a lot of experienced ones out there. But don’t let the competition scare you, it might take a little time but you can use your writing skills to make money online.
Follow Your Passion
Using your writing skills to make money online can be challenging at first but we can help. First of all, work out what your main writing strengths are, is it review writing, general web copy, item descriptions for online shops or articles written for a particular industry like movies, fashion, technology or music?
That can be your starting point, from there you can offer freelancing services writing for your main passion. There’s a wide range of freelancing sites like Peopleperhour and Fiverr which make great starting platforms for writers and you can also search sites like Gumtree and Craigslist to find writing positions.
But Don’t Be Afraid To Tackle New Things
While following your passion and niche is a good way to ensure you always write high-quality content if you really want to make money online using your writing skills then you’re also going to need to be brave.
Following your niche is great but to attract more custom you’re also going to need to be willing to learn and be open to doing research. The most successful online writers today are versatile meaning they can tackle a wide array of subjects and still ensure high-quality results.
While this might require some practice, it's usually much easier than you might think, all you need to do is think outside the box a little. For example, if you enjoy writing about fashion or technology then you could easily transfer those skills into writing shopping descriptions for clothing and tech products.
If you want to make money writing online then you should always be reading as well, don’t be afraid to check out similar pieces for ideas and inspiration, but make sure you don’t just copy what you read.
It’s Not All Articles and Blogs
When you think about writing online you’re probably thinking about articles and blogs, aren’t you? While they’re probably the more fun and interesting pieces to write (for most people) they are far from the only things you can write.
Think about it, the web is full of writing, isn’t it? You could write general web copy for websites like their home and landing pages and you could also offer spell and grammar checking services as well.
Most website like to refresh their copy every now and again and will be more than willing to outsource the work to a freelancer.
Submit Your Own Articles
Freelancing is a great way to make money online using your writing skills, in fact, it is arguably the most sort after online freelancing skill. But there’s a lot of competition and standing out from the crowd can be difficult meaning that you might have to wait a long time for clients or be willing to offer cheaper prices at first.
However, you can speed the process up and network all at the same time by submitting your own writing to websites directly. This might take some searching and your writing might not be suitable in every case but there’s sure to be a site or two out there that will pay you for your writing.
You should also consider starting a blog (writers should really have a blog anyway so they can show examples of their work online) because if your blog is popular then companies or sites may be willing to pay you to write about their products or services.
Review blogs or niche interests’ blogs like fashion and technology are very popular for these kinds of things but any blog, if it's popular enough, could attract interest. You could also volunteer to write for sites for free and try to turn it into a paid position if the site starts making money and your articles are popular enough, although it as to be said this can be difficult.
Always Keep Learning
Making money online can be difficult because of the tough competition but if you can write well then people will usually come back to call upon your services again. There might be a lot of writers online but the more skilled and versatile writers will be able to build a loyal client base.
So, if you’re looking to make money online using your writing skills then make sure you always keep learning and keep practicing. Every time you write you’ll get better and better and that way you can be sure to always impress clients and build customer loyalty.
- Do what you say you’re going to do!
- Ben Duffy questions
- What is it? What does it do? What does it mean to me?
When you are about to do business, you would think that everything will be fine because everything is under your control and you have people to work on it. The thing about that mindset is it isn’t practical enough to handle the challenge that a business will give you. You see, though you are your own boss that doesn’t mean that you should take things lightly because if you do then your business wouldn’t last through the long run. That is why so that you would be able to manage your business efficiently and effectively here are a couple of tips that you can apply to your business and yourself.
Learn to budget and save Lets say you provide CCNSG courses and training in Manchester! A tip to properly manage your business is for you to learn to budget and save. Remember that in business money has a cycle and if you disrupt that cycle because you are spending too much or you don’t know how to manage your finances then your business wouldn’t last long and could risk going bankrupt or if you're self employed this could result in you having to applying for a self-employed IVA should you need help managing your finances. That is why when you have made sales don’t spend it but invest it in your business so that your business will grow.
Don’t be too harsh on your workers Another tip would be for you to not be too harsh on your workers. Remember that your workers are still learning so it will be common that they will make mistakes. That is why rather than get mad at them, you being the owner and their boss, should educate them properly so that the next day when they work there will be fewer mistakes. Remember a happy worker is a happy business.
Be resourceful Being the owner of the business you should be resourceful. Remember that money only comes to your business when it is doing well but there will be days where it wouldn’t go the way you hoped it would be. That is why if you know that your business is struggling then you should be resourceful and learn to be hands on because a business can’t run without the boss. For example if you're paying a Freelance SEO consultant you may want to take the time and learn these skills yourself.
Have a keen eye for things? If you want to manage your business well, then you should have a keen eye because it can't be helped that sometimes there might be things you didn't notice and it can be crucial to your business or your employees haven’t been being honest and nice to your business. That is why as much as possible learn to have a keen eye for things so that you would know if things are going well or not.
Be updated on latest business news This can help you for when you are about to create an important business decision. You see when it comes to the business news you would know if the price of certain products has increased or decrease and through that information, you would know how to handle your finances in your business and create strategies and make good decisions in your business.
Take things at your own pace Though it would be nice to immediately turn your business into an empire within a span of a day,it would take more than that. That is why you should take things unto your own pace so that you would see how your business have grown and you would also know how to handle things when things in your business aren't going nicely.
Applying the following tips stated above can help you when you are about to start managing your own business. You see when you are into business then everything about it will be in your hands that are why you should make sure that you always know how your business is doing and know how to create strategies to keep it going so that it will last through the long run especially since you will have a lot of competition. That is why you shouldn't forget about these tips and you should learn to apply it because it can help you a lot.