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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best threads and debates from the forums.
It's been a busy week, with some insightful discussions on everything from late self assessment submissions to changes in search algorithms. Thanks to everyone who took the time to give advice (I'm sure sarcastic replies were appreciated too, in a special way)
Here are my picks of threads from the last seven days:
Richardtaylor2, Accounts & Finance
Richard is a sole trade and VAT registered, and runs a business on Amazon. He has an accountant who does his books and VAT returns, but recently discovered that the accountant had “messed up” his VAT.
The mistake has led to him owing around £12,000 in fines, and he’s worried that he’ll end up losing his home. “If, in theory, I incorporate into a limited company and transfer the VAT number, will the VAT debt go into the company to become company debt?”
g: 'Don't panic' is usually a sound tip. As is 'contact a different accountant, and HMRC, so you can get a more appropriate overview and detail'. And it's probably useful to remember: you will be liable for any VAT due on supplies made by the previous owner, even if they come to light after the transfer.
Mr D: Company debt or personal debt, HMRC will be looking to get it paid. Not sure how switching it over would help much, if it can be done at all.
Newchodge: You should also bear in mind that if your friend does not understand about transferring your VAT debt to a new limited company, they may have made a mistake about your VAT and you owe nothing.
LoulouR2012, Employment & HR
LoulouR2012 currently works as the manager of a retail department in a busy tourist park. Her boss has asked her to take a few days off a week to help organise events, but Lou doesn’t feel comfortable doing this. The department’s a stressful and busy environment, and the added workload would only increase her stress.
Though she told her boss how she feels, her boss has insisted it’s all part of her personal development. Can Lou just say no?
fisicx: Of course they can ask you to do this. They see potential for promotion or a new role and want to see how you perform. Or they have seen how stressed you are and want to reduce this. […] You can refuse, but this may have an adverse effect on your future with the company.
Newchodge: You need to sit down and have a frank discussion with your manager. Explain everything that you have here. Don't stress the stress of your current role - explain it in terms that your time is fully occupied in keeping things running smoothly in your department.
The Byre: Every good employer is looking for people who want to better themselves, people who step up to the plate and play the ball that is pitched - ambitious people who can rise to the occasion. You are in danger of placing yourself in a situation of "shift up, or shift out!"
After working for a number of small, privately owned agencies in London, Anna decided to set up alone in July 2016. It’s been satisfying, but hard work. Her industry is heavily dependent on email marketing and while she doesn’t exactly spam people, she’s terrified that her business won’t survive after GDPR.
Paul Murray: The way I understand it, you can still send an unsolicited email to a business if what you are marketing is relevant to their business/industry and you give them the option of opting out, i.e. a 'soft opt-in'.
AllUpHere: I'd look at this from a different angle. Spend your time formulating a proper marketing plan and your current problem will simply disappear. It may be the norm to use cold mailing in your industry, but it's certainly not the best approach (or actually, even necessary).
Thetiger2015: The problem has been the utter confusion around this. One minute it's another 'cookie law' that everyone has been ignoring, but in the last few weeks it's turned into Armageddon, where people may receive fines for inadvertently spamming people on an old data list that they've never had a problem with in the past.
Ashley_Price, Sales, Marketing & PR
As Ashley puts it: in the day and age of digital everything, is there still a need for business cards?
He says yes. Though he often hears “why don’t you just connect on LinkedIn when you meet the person?”, that only really works if the venue has good WiFi and you don’t mind everyone looking down at their phones instead of talking to each other.Handing over a business card means it can sit in people’s wallets or bags for a long time, or you can put a card in with any letters you send. It’s still a great marketing tool.
Paul Murray: As a designer, business cards are a great way for me to show off what I do. Finishes such as embossing, spot UVs or foil stamping add a nice touch and aren't something you see all that often in some industries (though they're the norm in the creative field). At networking events, I see plenty that are cheap and poorly designed though. This isn't an issue for most, but if that's the first impression someone gets of your business, shouldn't it be a good one?
Mr D: I use business cards. Visit trade shows, exchange cards and have a small and quick reference for who they are and who to speak to. I have on the edge of the hall mirror a bunch of local business cards: a taxi, plumber etc. Handy when needed.
cjd: Business cards costs nothing - or at least they should do - and are really, really useful. But do keep them simple and use card so that it can be written on, at least on the back. That way people can make notes about you so when they look at it later they know what you do and how they met you.
Brian Mcculloch Glasgow, General Business
An interesting one to end on – with corporate responsibility a much-discussed topic in the media, does your business support the local community?
Have a good weekend everyone!
Wonderful article. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.
Thanks, great article
Useful article - useful
This is a great article, something I was wondering about as I am a recent startup CIC and have been working on building partnerships in the NE - was concerned that a cold email to an organisation who may be a good partnership (at little, or usually no, cost to them) might be seen as spam.