Join Thrive in Bridgwater!

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Join Thrive in Bridgwater!

Let me introduce you to ‘Thrive’, a new business development group from The Business Greenhouse.  The concept has been developed in response to feedback gathered from small business owners. Thrive’s aim is to deliver the type of support they would really value, yet isn’t easily available for this size of business. After much cultivation, I’m utterly delighted that it’s time to launch the first ‘Thrive’ group. As the town in which The Business Greenhouse is based, I’ve chosen Bridgwater, Somerset, in which to open the inaugural group. Intrigued? Read on for more information… A dynamic new business development group in Bridgwater Are you ready for your business to benefit from the energy and momentum anticipated by other organisations in and around Bridgwater? This new Thrive group aims to flip business support on its head. You won’t find a prescribed series of talks telling you what you should be doing in your business. Nor stacks of reading material. Times are challenging and uncertain. Here at The Business Greenhouse we believe there is a need to think, and do things, differently and better. In the company of like-minded small business owners and leaders, the aim of this group is to encourage a micro-culture amongst you of entrepreneurial mindset. Collaboration, learning and innovation will enable you to realise your business ambitions. Providing a collective solution-generating, impetus-giving, sounding board, the group is invested in you and your business’ success. We envisage the advantage and future opportunities for your business as you profit from shared skills, know-how, resources and the benefit of hindsight. Being part of the group will mean a ‘time and effort investment’ from you, too. Other participants will expect and value your input and support. You will also remain responsible for the development of your own business in real-time. You’ll be accountable to the group as well – for their investment in you and your business, they’ll want to see you make progress! However, with the group’s support, you will unlock confidence, capability and capacity that enables you to make things happen for your business.   Who’s the group for? This initial Thrive group is for businesses based in and around Bridgwater in the Sedgemoor District of Somerset. Our intention is that you will benefit whether you’re an owner-manager, have one or a handful of employees, or are tipping the balance into becoming a medium enterprise. Typically, you might describe your business as a micro or small enterprise.  If your business is larger than this, and you feel that you would benefit from being a member of the group or contributing, please let us know. The wider the sector representation, and the larger the breadth of experience, the better we anticipate the opportunity for cross-fertilisation of ideas.   How do I know this group will work? This dynamic business development model has been developed as a result of the work The Business Greenhouse has done with Bristol Business School and the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of the West of England...

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What the Taylor Review could mean for small businesses

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

What the Taylor Review could mean for small businesses

Yesterday, I found myself trying to get my head around what the Taylor Review means for self-employment and small businesses. When the Taylor Review was commissioned, it had a ‘clear remit to examine the growth of self-employment‘. There has been an undeniable increase in the number of self-employed people since 2008. Forty percent of all 2.2 million jobs created since then have been self-employed. The FSB adds, ‘In 2016, there were 1.3 million employing businesses and 4.2 million non-employing businesses. Therefore, 76% of businesses did not employ anyone aside from the owner‘. So far, the sense I’ve made of the Taylor Review is as such: The Taylor Review today is quick to make a distinction between self-employment and ‘gig’ workers. Gig workers are people who work via an app or online platform such as Uber, Deliveroo, RatedPeople and People Per Hour. Much of the debate appears to be around the gig economy and the government providing more protection for these ‘dependent contractors’. The Taylor Review wants to change the terminology – ‘gig workers’ should be ‘dependent contractors’ in order to differentiate between them and self-employed. Taxes may increase to address government losses However, looking into the implications on self-employment and owner-managers, I found the issue of ‘fair tax’ rises again. Do you remember Philip Hammond backtracking after last Autumn’s budget? He faced opposition to plans aimed at taxing the self-employed on a level more akin to those employed. Yesterday I read, ‘the sharp rise in self-employment in recent years, to 15 per cent of the workforce, is effectively costing the Government around £2bn a year in revenues‘. And ‘the rising trend of self-employed individuals to create their own companies, which pay a lower rate of tax on income than individuals’. At this I wonder if a version of Hammond’s original proposal will return to the table. Then the cynic in me recalls the rise in the number of small businesses coincided with the introduction of austerity. A huge number of job cuts forced people to set up their own business in order to survive. Was the government in fact responsible for creating this loss in revenue? ‘Incentives’ to pay pension and benefits insurance Leading the review Matthew Taylor, said, “It’s a problem for the public as a whole that too many self employed people will be retiring not being able to support themselves and too many self-employed people are not insuring themselves”. This is an issue. However, I suspect not because self-employed people don’t want to insure themselves or don’t need a pension. Self-employment is incredibly challenging and risky. Your income stream can be extremely erratic. The number of hours you put in can far outweigh the level of income you generate. Business-changing contracts can be lost because you’re not considered big enough. Many also constantly fear losing work because someone else (usually a larger business) will undercut you. Beside this, you have to cover costs and wages in times when customer demand is low. Austerity, or tightening up of the supply chain you feed in reaction to Brexit uncertainty...

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Celebrating success in your business is crucially important

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Celebrating success in your business is crucially important

This is a photo of the glass of bubbly that I had when I submitted my books to my accountant this week. I was celebrating success.   My Corporation Tax deadline is looming and I will outwardly admit that getting the business financial records together has to be one of my least favourite jobs. Consequently, I chose to tidy the house, weed the garden, and bake cakes, rather than knuckle down and get this done sooner. (Looking at it, did I actually make myself busier while distracting myself from the inevitable?) Sorry, Paul (my long-suffering accountant), if you read this, but I guess you knew this about me already! Anyway, after hours of beavering away, they’re in. I pressed ‘send’ on the email, and didn’t give it another thought. That is until my other half said ‘Congratulations!’ after finding out I’d managed to submit the figures. For a split second I paused, but moved quickly on to the job of getting tea ready for the tribe. I thought nothing of it as there was, as always, a seemingly never-ending pile of other things on my desk waiting to be done. I was already thinking about the next major thing on my list – completing the business analysis I’m carrying out for a client. Later that evening I was handed a glass of beautifully chilled sparkling wine. ‘You should celebrate,’ I was told. ‘Why?’ I asked, again thinking that this ‘achievement’ was a drop in the ocean compared to the number of items on my ‘to do’ list. ‘Because you got the accounts in. You’ve had it to do for ages, and now it’s done.’ The job was done. I hadn’t granted myself any credit. Celebrating success needs only a breath See this from this perspective, too. I place great importance on my clients a. Recognising their achievements; b. Celebrating their successes (small, significant and everything in between). I do genuinely believe this is important. Yet I had failed to stick to my own conviction. Stopping to think about what you have accomplished helps…no, is crucial…to: Understand how far you have come Feed the energy and enthusiasm you have for your business and where you’re going with it Remind yourself what you are doing and why I say to my clients, even if you don’t feel the success warrants a party, allow yourself a moment to appreciate what this means to you. In the fast paced world we live in, we rarely give ourselves that time to even take a breath and absorb what we have managed to do. I’ve certainly resolved to take the time to celebrate my achievements from now on. The feeling when I raised that glass in recognition of getting my accounts in, was really quite marvellous. It might even spur me on to get them done sooner next time! What successes are you celebrating in your business this week? Do drop me a line and let me know at lynda@thebusinessgreenhouse.co.uk or pop a message on The...

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3 beliefs Macron champions that can benefit small businesses

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

3 beliefs Macron champions that can benefit small businesses

His meeting with May last week reminded me how beliefs much associated with small business success appeared to help fuel Emmanuel Macron’s rise to President of France. Beliefs are interesting things because there’s no absolute certainty that they can be right, or bring you success! We often form them to help us connect with, and understand, our world, but it sometimes requires active thought and exploration of what we hold as important to know what our beliefs are. However, it’s also perfectly possible to challenge and re-evaluate them. Knowing what your beliefs are can be a powerful motivation to decided how to go about achieving your ambitions. As such, our beliefs can guide what we do…or don’t do – our actions. In all honesty, though, I can’t say if these are Macron’s beliefs. I didn’t interview him, nor have I done an in-depth character analysis. I literally mapped my observations from what I saw of the coverage of his election to what resonated with the small business world I inhabit. The three beliefs I homed in on are likely informed by the stories told, and conversations had, with my clients during my time working at The Business Greenhouse. It’s possible, though, that Macron also swallowed a book of commandments for entrepreneurs – I’ve sat in the audience of many talks given by leading business people all giving the same advice. So what can we, as small business owners, glean from Emmanuel Macron’s rise to President of France? This is what I saw as crucial to the success of small businesses:   1. Barriers need not be barriers It’s rather obvious to state that there are a seemingly infinite number of hurdles to jump when starting, running or growing your business. We know, too, that hurdles can escalate into brick walls. They come in various guises from red tape to discrimination, from knowledge to finding confidence. They can suck up an enormous amount of time, energy and effort as we endeavour to fight our way over them. This really does go without saying. However, not all barriers are actually barriers. Sometimes it is the perception that these hurdles and brick walls exist that deters progress. Macron refused to let age and experience stand in his way Macron elegantly demonstrates the point. He’s 39 (making him the youngest ever President of France) and has zero experience at MP or local political level, nor on the campaign trail. Age and lack of experience are oft quoted reasons for why people feel they can’t achieve their goals. Have you heard it? “I’m too old,” “I’m too young,” “I won’t be taken seriously as I don’t have a background in what I’m trying to do”. Sometimes, I’m sure, there is truth in their convictions. We know ‘ageism’ is an understood concept in today’s society, and ‘lack of experience’ isn’t commonly the key to securing a job, a meeting, or a sale. Macron has not escaped the critical views. There were many references to his being young to run...

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How your business can thrive pre-Brexit

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

How your business can thrive pre-Brexit

Brexit has become front page news again after a brief interlude over the summer, and what a return it has made! But are you any clearer as to how your business is supposed to flourish in this post-Brexit-vote/pre-actual-Brexit world? It got me thinking…if I could ask Theresa May to do one thing that would help my business in these changeable times, what would it be? My deliberations took me back to a conversation I’d had with a local business owner, Andrew Lee, earlier this summer. The conclusion is removed from policy making and political agreements. Yet it is, I think, one that would produce a positive effect on the majority, if not, all British businesses. By ‘all’, I mean no matter whether one-man bands or massive corporations. I wrote up our conversation, with Andrew’s consent – read on below. Let me know what you think!  The one thing this Bridgwater lettings agent needs from Theresa May Andrew Lee of Andrew Lees Lettings in Bridgwater, Somerset, is clear: Theresa May’s government needs to make a statement saying that Eastern Europeans are still welcome in the UK. One third of the properties his company lets are traditionally taken up by Eastern Europeans working in and around Bridgwater, Somerset. The number of Eastern Europeans wanting to rent is down by half. Asked why this is, Lee recounts one of the many conversations that he’s had with tenants over the last couple of weeks. The tenant and his family are going to return home as they’re uncertain what’s going to happen to them.  The worry that this uncertainty is causing is reflected in other families that rent their homes from Andrew Lees Lettings. Going forward, too, Andrew Lee talks of the number of Eastern Europeans who, sending their earnings home to support their families, will be affected by the change in the exchange rates. This may translate into less money available for rent, which may mean families downsize or move into different areas. It also means less money for their families. Lee is visibly worried by the effect Brexit is having on peoples lives. “My concern is that Eastern Europeans are welcome here. I’ve been running this business for 10 years and I have seen their families growing up, their small children growing up, and I want certainty for them.” What of tenants of other nationalities? Lee notes, “We have tenants from France, Portugal and Spain too, they are more confident and feel they can stay.” Lack of concern for people after Brexit vote causes business instability “Pre-Brexit, I really thought that small business ministers would say more. Did you hear anything about the people?  I felt let down by the government that they didn’t say anything. There were so many headlines. Osborne and Carney made some good statements, but all we heard about is the markets and the value of the pound. I’m fed up of hearing about the markets, and hate crime, but nothing about the people. [People’s feeling of uncertainty and word] is...

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