Archives for July 2015

London: can you afford a workspace?

London is where all that’s hip and happening stays hip and continues to happen. It’s the heart of the tourist industry, where creative types come to thrive and corporations set up shop.

But the runaway success of the city has made it markedly more expensive than anywhere else in the UK. The living wage, for instance, is £9.15, compared to £7.85 in the rest of the country.

Such inflated prices are pushing residents from the city, as local authorities are accused of gentrifying the capital.

Rents are increasing along with protests about living costs – and it’s a situation that has a knock-on effect for small businesses.

As more affluent residents populate the capital, those offering bespoke goods or running quainter businesses will struggle to meet the heightened expectations of high rollers.

SMEs are already being pushed from high streets thanks to the success of online retailers – will they soon be rushed out of the capital by big business?

Only individual bosses can really answer that question, but they’ll have to fight for survival.

One of the major issues facing a business lies in the price of a property in the capital.

Many have had to make do with smaller properties in poorer areas. But that doesn’t mean they’ll flag under the strains of their location.

With the right knowhow, even the grittiest areas can hold their own against the big hitters. You just need to know how to transform your office.

So how can you alter your London workplace, and turn it into a place that will wow clients?

Level up

Even a small warehouse or office can double its space – you just need room above your head.

Mezzanine floors London have been helping small offices for years. Essentially a platform held up by steel girders, they can give you a new floor and plenty of extra space.

These raised platforms have a rustic quality to match a hip agency or computer specialist. So you’ll be splashing out on aesthetics as well as space.

Know the zones

London is split into several zones that, although ostensibly for the underground system, can help you find exactly the right location – and at a decent price.

Some cheaper districts sit directly next to their more affluent counterparts. If you can find a place that sits neatly between zones, you could find customers flocking to you.

Each zone attracts a specific kind of clientele, so always bear that in mind before you rent a workspace.

Price will always be a factor in London – but the right changes to your workplace could stop you being pushed out of this bustling city.

Shoddy Accounting is one of the biggest reasons Startups Fail

Approximately 90% of all new businesses fail according to statistics, a frighteningly high number that makes you wonder why anyone would even start a new business these days.

If you do plan on starting a new business however, you need to know that poor accounting is one of the reasons many startups fail, and do your very best to avoid both the legal and reputation problems that it can cause.

Today’s blog will look at a number of excellent invoicing and accounting tools that will help you do just that. Enjoy.

The first is QuickBooks,  which has been around for quite a few years. It offers everything you need as far as accounting software is concerned, and can take care of invoicing, payroll, profit and loss sheets, balance sheets and bill management, among other things. You can also use QuickBooks to prepare your taxes, print out checks and also use it to accept online payments, because it’s integrated with Apps like PayPal, Constant Contact and Square. Even better, you can choose the features that you need and only pay for those, and the software comes with a 30 day free trial.

One service with an excellent task management tool is Invoicera, which will track the amount of time that you spend on any particular project and also assign tasks and evaluate their progress so that you can increase your productivity. If you’re a new startup with less than 3 clients you can use Invoicera for free but, at only $19.95 a month for their premium plan, it’s still a good deal.

If an intuitive accounting program is what you’re looking for, Zoho Books might be your answer. It can help you to calculate your taxes, has a time tracking tool and you can use to access customer data and send quotes from any device and, like QuickBooks, you can also integrate it with payment gateways like PayPal.

Over 1 million entrepreneurs and small business owners are already using a cloud-based, integrated accounting software called Wave. Approved by certified accountants, Wave provides accounting software that’s easy to use and understand, let’s you create a business reports and help you to keep records straight by uploading receipts into your Wave account. It’s also, for super low cost startups, absolutely free.

Lastly there’s FreshBooks, an invoicing and accounting tool that Forbes magazine has called “incredibly user friendly”. It allows you to do such things as schedule recurring invoices, track monthly expenses, capture billable hours and even see if a specific client has viewed your invoice or not.

All 5 of these excellent accounting programs and services are readily available to entrepreneurs and small business owners and, if making sure that your accounting stays up to date and correct is important to you (and it should be), using any one of them would be a good idea.

Legit Reasons Why You May Need a Cash Advance

A cash advance is where a company will advance you cash in the form of a short-term loan. There are usually few restrictions attached and you don’t have to worry about long application times. These emergency loans are ideal in certain circumstances.

So what legitimate reasons could you have for taking out a cash advance?


A Medical Emergency

While no hospital will refuse to treat a patient – because legally they can’t – they can and will charge you afterwards. You don’t want to find yourself in debt to your hospital. It’s a burden you don’t need.

On the other hand, a cash advance gives you the chance to pay for medical care immediately. You don’t have to re-mortgage your house or sell any of your belongings.


Pay Off a Toxic Loan

When we talk of ‘toxic’ loans we mean those that are hammering you with interest charges. For example, a payday loan with 300% interest will cripple you and your ability to pay it off. A cash advance can eliminate it in one swoop.

Yes, you will have another loan to contend with, but a cash advance is a far more manageable option.


Save Your Possessions

Sometimes loans can get out of control, as is the case with payday loans. Your only option may be to give up and accept the fact your home and possessions may be heading for repossession. But don’t give up right now. There are still options available to you.

You have a chance to save yourself through a cash advance. It’s a difficult situation to deal with and a cleverly timed cash advance can save you from this fate. It will give you some breathing space to get everything together and resolve your financial issues.


Choose Your Cash Advance Service Wisely

Before you accept a cash advance, carefully check the terms and conditions of the loan. Make sure they don’t have an absurdly high interest rate attached. You should also be able to pay off a loan early without any penalties. Don’t get dragged into more financial trouble by not reading the terms and conditions carefully enough.

If you have any questions, ask a representative of the company. This isn’t a decision to make in haste.

So we know there are some situations where a cash advance can come in handy. Just make sure this is an option you’ve given consideration to before making any financial moves.


Crowdfunding: The Solution To Your Startup’s Woes, Or Fraught With Peril?

Crowdfunding has taken on the business world by storm, with a new way to grow companies that never existed in quite the same way before. While the idea of gathering funds from community members to start a business is an old idea, the speed and scale of the internet has created conditions for growth on an incredible scale.


Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Quirky, Crowdcube and have grown enormously in recent years. These platforms have provided billions in seed funding for new companies. In exchange for funds, crowdfunded companies provide everything from their hearty appreciation, to beta products, to dinner with the founders to equity in the companies. The rules of the platform and decisions by the company provide the value of each dollar invested into the crowdfunding campaign.

Some companies achieve spectacular results. Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset maker that raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter to launch its product. The original investors received the beta product in exchange for their money. However, the funds helped the company lift-off and it was eventually sold to Facebook for $2 billion.


Unfortunately, the vast majority of campaigns do not have such an excellent outcome. Most campaigns fail to meet their funding goal, raising nothing to several hundred pounds.

The companies that do raise funding have a very different problem. They now have a public timeline to develop and deliver their product. Without delivering on this timetable, the company can get very bad publicity and sour relations with its earliest customers. In addition, resources are diverted to focus exclusively on delivering on the product, even if it turns out not to be ideal for the company. Finally, there is a chance that those that receive the beta product will be unsatisfied and leave poor reviews. In all, many companies must consider whether crowdfunding is the ideal path for them. For some, they are fraught with peril.

Business Credit Card

Instead, many companies are choosing credit cards from business banking institutions. These allow greater flexibility and choice by the business with how to spend funds. They can also manage cash flow by paying back a small percentage of the balance each month. Finally, business cards provide additional benefits such as cash back and travel rewards.

Overall, businesses must consider whether they can accept the burdens of crowdfunding. While their is significant potential for a big payoff, it is not 100% certain. Instead, many businesses are choosing to use credit card financing to accelerate their company into the future.