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Fresh Threads: Startups, money and problems

  1. Kat Haylock

    Kat Haylock Community Editor Staff Member

    444 201
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    Hi UKBFers,

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

    Here are my top picks for this week:

    1. More money, more problems!

    intelligentppc, General Business

    intelligentppc sells leads to three clients. Two of these clients have offered to pay him more for each lead, while the other – his longest-running client – expects him to continue to charge the same rate.

    In the short term, it’s in intelligentppc’s interest to sell all of his leads to the two companies who’ve offered more.  But if he burns bridges will the third client, he might regret it in the long term.

    Should he continue to supply the client at a lower rate (and therefore keep the client ‘on side’) or do what’s commercially better for the business?

    Mike Hayes: I would value the long-running client enough to at least consider meeting somewhere in the middle on the rate.

    Gecko001: It looks like they are offering more to squeeze out your existing clients who I assume are competitors of theirs. I suppose you have a policy decision to make. I can see the advantages of setting your prices and sticking to them as a long-term strategy.

    Nochexman: In your position, you should not want to give up on a third of your customer base, since it just makes you more vulnerable to the other two when times get hard for them. While you might want to give some preference to the high paying customers, you need to do enough to retain the third.

    2. How much should I be paying for an accountant?

    adam thompson1981, Accounts & Finance

    Adam formed a limited company in this year and took on an accountant for £72 p/m. The company doesn’t have any other employees, and has a projected turnover of around £45k. Adam handles all the bookkeeping himself.

    The accountant’s recently increased prices to over £90 a month, and Adam can’t help but note it “seems a lot” for a small business to be paying, considering the accountant’s just dealing with end of year tasks.

    “Am I being tight? I don’t know what a reasonable figure is for limited accounts.”

    mattk: Take into account the time you spend preparing payroll, VAT returns and end of year accounts (plus learning how to do it all if you've never done it before). There’s also tax you’ll save from your accountant’s expert advice and other non-tangible benefits.

    My advice is not to scrimp on accountancy, at least for your first year. Once you have seen what is involved in the above steps, you can decide if it is cost-effective to do it yourself or pay your accountant to do it for you.

    Glenn Martin: Do you want a good accountant or just a cheap one? […] You may be able to shop around and get someone cheaper, but I rarely find that cheap is good.

    Raxsonic: Discuss the existing fees and service with your current accountant, before you make any decisions. They will either review the fee or give you a detailed breakdown of what they are providing to your business in return for monetary value. You can then make an informed decision to continue or to find an alternative.

    3. Marketing advice for a new online store

    Matthew_GMM, Ecommerce

    After working for a number of years in a bricks and mortar store selling male and female fragrances, Matthew’s going solo. He has suppliers, and can offer competitive pricing for recognised high street brands.

    He’s planning on creating a Shopify website to sell the products, but is stuck with marketing. How can he market his website effectively?

    Mr D: Spend money to market it. It can often work out that far more money is spent on marketing than on getting a website set up.

    Lee Oakley: Matthew, it might be an idea to look at the likes of eBay and Amazon market spaces, as they offer the consumer a little more protection than a standalone startup ecommerce.

    iDigLocal: Entering a competitive market with an ecommerce store will take some time and some effort. If we assume that your ecommerce store is set up correctly and all good SEO practices are followed, then it comes down to building your brand’s presence on the web. The first thing to think about is: what is going to be your USP? Decide on this, as it will set the tone of your overall marketing.

    4. Starting a business from the ground up!

    Phil C, General Business

    Phil’s been self-employed as a maintenance man for 15 years, and now he’s looking to take his business to the next level. He’ll require tradespeople and admin staff, and is looking for general advice that will help him move into an employer role.

    The Byre: 'Starting a Business for Dummies' by Colin Barrow. It's a bit dry and has one or two gaps, but it's a good starting point for all the above!

    JEREMY HAWKE: This forum is always a very good place. Keep a tight control on the costs – consider whether an admin person is a good idea. You might be fine with a good software package.

    Haryj: A great start for you will be to fulfil your order book well ahead, and make sure jobs are lined up (unless you already have a contract with a medium sized organisation). Getting decent staff can be tricky in the construction and engineering industry, but there are men and women out there who will put the effort in, just need to look hard.

    As a sole trader going to employer, a lot of your duties will change dramatically: you will need to take on board sick and holiday pay, staff training, insurances and so on. Expenses are on a significant rise too, so make sure you can afford them comfortably. 

    That's all for this week. Have a lovely weekend!

  2. Furqan721

    Furqan721 UKBF Contributor Full Member

    54 3
    Thank You for sharing this stuff!
    Posted: May 16, 2018 By: Furqan721 Member since: Feb 26, 2018
  3. Salifuj

    Salifuj UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 1
    After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?
    Posted: May 30, 2018 By: Salifuj Member since: Oct 7, 2016