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Fresh Threads: cynicism, dumb ideas, dumb investors, SEISS

  1. Ray Newman

    Ray Newman UKBF Regular Staff Member

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    Hi UKBFers,

    Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the most popular threads, comments and advice from the forums.

    Here are my top picks from the last week.

    1. Is my cynicism stopping me getting rich?


    I see lots of businesses which I instantly dismiss. I then see the same company secure millions in investment.

    I now think my cynicism is holding me back. I could come up with a hundred rubbish HR and payroll buisiness ideas and if only one if they gets me a new Ferrari I'll be laughing – a Roma in dark grey please.

    How can I become less cynical?

    JeffPWFB: You're only cynical if you're content to rest on your untested misgivings and embrace sneering as your default mode for life in general. If you've thought something through, kicked its tyres and you're still unconvinced, that makes you a sceptic, not a cynic.

    gpietersz: VCs are often wrong. Look at WeWork or Theranos or the entire dotcom boom. Look at companies like Enron that fool investors even when in the limelight. I was once really upset when an interview went badly and I was turned down for a job there. In retrospect I am really glad not to have it on my CV.

    Mark T Jones: The starting point is to remember the old adage that investors don't invest in ideas, they invest in businesses and people. You'll notice that most professional investors have segments that they understand and can relate to. They also look to build synergies amongst those they’re investing in. Evaluating ideas won't work, ever.

    billybob99: For every funky idea I've seen, I have a friend who said something along the lines of "X company only needs to offer the same service and these guys will be out of business”, "Why would anyone invest in that?", and so on. But VCs invest for a reason and usually the founding team has some domain expertise.

    2. What’s the best stock-keeping unit (SKU) for me?


    I'm in the process of compiling a database of all of my products. One range of products has many different variations and I'm trying to figure out if I should have a detailed but potentially complicated SKU or one that is simple but less detailed.

    For example the name of the product is ‘900mm x 50mm 1mm x 50m’ and throughout the range each of those measurements could be different e.g. 1200mm x 13mm 1.2mm x 25m.

    Detailed SKU: 90050150 and 1200131225

    Simple SKU: WN1 and WN2

    Any thoughts on why a detailed SKU would be more important?

    MrD: We have ours set per item location. Can see at a glance where it is. Multiple items can have the same SKU. Hard to mix up a toy giraffe with a photo frame. We do not try to duplicate the product details into the SKU.

    menetworkjadaltd: Hard to mix up a toy giraffe with a photo frame? You've obviously never had a substitution in a Tesco delivery.

    Alison Moore: Will clients be selecting the items based on their SKUS or is the SKU just for you? If it's just for you, I'd say choose easy to remember ones.

    3. I can’t get investors to understand my technology


    I cannot find investors because they don’t understand my technology. They ask dumb questions which show they don't have a clue what they are talking about.

    This is extremely frustrating.

    At the same time, professors, companies, funding organisations, investors and so on are extremely easy with investing in some nonsense app even if there are billions of similar apps flooding Google Play.

    fisicx: Learn marketing. Investors don't need to understand the technology, they just need to be convinced they will make a profit.

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA: Make them understand it. If you can't, employ a company that can, although it may cost you money you haven't got.

    Gordon – Commercial Finance: Maybe they understand it just fine but it’s just not viable, or not worth investing in? There has to come a point, when actual experts are trying to tell you something, that you stop and listen.

    MBE2017: First, you need to change your attitude. Many of us have to explain things to clients, investors, and so on, to help them feel comfortable in making a decision. That doesn’t make them dumb – it makes them normal. Secondly, if you cannot explain what your technology does in simple terms, then you are the wrong person to market it. Your technology can be the best thing ever, but someone else will become rich marketing and selling it, because you can’t.

    4. Accounting for the self-employed support grant


    I am self-employed and getting the Government's SEISS grant.

    Do I put that down as income in my Xero accounts package, or do I leave it off my business accounts and just add to my tax return?

    Adam93: There is no right or wrong way. I would code it to ‘other income’ on Xero (No VAT) as come April next year, you might forget about it when completing your tax return. Others will probably do it another way, perhaps by setting up an SEISS account in Xero.

    Jaydee: We generally use ‘260 - other revenue’ (no VAT) for those clients that use the default chart.

    Jon12345: Thanks for those suggestions. I just checked and they paid it into my personal bank account and not my business account. Do I still need to put it in my business accounts then? If so, how?

    Bobbo: You want to post it to Xero then post a journal for the amount(s) of SEISS received, crediting an income code and posting the debit to 980. The effect is the same as if the SEISS had been received into your business account and then you immediately transferred it to your personal account.

    That's all for this week – have a great run into the weekend!