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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best comments and advice from the forums.
Here are my top picks from this week.
Four of us are directors of a small limited company with no employees. The managing director has a 50.4% shareholding, Bod B 24.8%, Me 16.4%, Bod D 8.4%. The company has been making a loss for a number of years and the MD plans to retire. He wants the company to buy back his shareholding. How much do we offer him? 50.4%? Or what he would be likely to walk away with if the company was liquidated? And could the MD unilaterally wind up the company against the wishes of the other three directors?
Blaby Loyal: If the MD is owed £750 or more other than in shares then, yes, theoretically, they could start the process to wind up the company. But this would be a bit of a contrived route, and costly, and you will be able to watch with amazement as the assets disappear in fees. Has the MD said what value they think they will get from any deal? Use that as a starting point and work your way down to £1!
Lisa Thomas: He could wind up the company through the compulsory liquidation route, via the courts, if the other shareholders objected to a voluntary liquidation. However if the company is insolvent liquidation may be the only option. The directors need to take insolvency advice.
Mr D: He could merely claim from any dividends the company issues in the future the same percentage of shares he owns, and could at shareholder meetings scupper some votes, or be a major influence in others. Plus he can request a company audit every year.
Clinton: I don't think these matters should be approached by talking about positions of strength or weakness, but through conciliatory gestures and compromises on both sides. The goal is to find a solution that works for all parties. This is a job for an expert.
Does anyone know of ways to market viral competitions? So far I've posted it on all the major UK competition threads, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, and got more than 80 entries in the past 11 days, but new entries are starting to dry up. Should I use pay-per-click (PPC) promotion, or are there better (cheaper) ways of going about it?
Calvin Crane: There are some specific tricks (I won't be sharing mine) but ultimately even I use PPC and I find it is pretty cheap considering what you get for the money. It's the way you use PPC that is important. I would give it a go.
antropy: You haven't mentioned Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, post it there and get friends and family to share the competition.
mattk: I use Gleam. Once you have seeded the competition to a few locations such as social media and bargain-hunting forums, it takes care of itself. I'd also suggest looping round where you've promoted it again a couple of days before the competition expires.
Nochexman: There are whole communities of people dedicated to finding and sharing competitions. If you are getting low take-up, maybe you are making it too difficult to enter, too hard to share, or the prize is just not worth the effort.
It would be nice to think that every small business owner has a good handle on costs in the business but that's not always the case. Somewhat embarrassingly, I've just been stung for £14 for just two phone calls to place an order with a supplier who'd secretly introduced a premium number telephone line which always keeps you waiting. That wasn't the case before, the phone was always picked up in seconds. How often do you check supplier practices and prices?
Mark T Jones: I don't have many high value suppliers and only keep a vague eye on prices. I stick with my mobile provider because their call centre is good – I have no idea if I'm getting the best deal, but there's only a few quid in it. Last year I came close to changing bank, mostly because I needed to amend my online banking and their service was beyond diabolical. I didn't bother, but certainly won't recommend them to other small businesses.
Mr D: I've done sales. The idea that both sides gain from the deal was appallingly uncommon in the places I've worked. Its what I used, and I was successful enough to earn a wage for a few years. It doesn't help when the board of directors take everything and mess things up, alienating customers.
billybob99: Yeah, I hear you. I've had the same mobile phone contract since I was 16. Nowadays they don't care how long you've been with them really, but before I used to get all sorts of discounts when upgrading and so on. Now, I just buy the phone I want sim-free and maintain a very small monthly contract with unlimited everything. There's not a lot of loyalty around now people are prepared to just switch and change every year.
JeremyHawke: I use a service that sends weekly emails with local petrol prices, and fuel card prices for diesel.
I'm just wondering whether buying a house to let is a good business decision. My current landlord recently told me he has 37 properties to rent. He says he uses tenants' rent payment to cover mortgages and that after 25 years he expected to have made a lot of money.
Mike Hayes: It's best to run the numbers for yourself. I went through this last year and found that, for me, it didn't make sense once everything was factored in. Instead, I continued investing in the stock market, taking advantage of the tax efficient wrappers (ISA/SIPP). I would still consider investing in property for the purpose of diversification in future.
chalkie99: All you need to do is tune into BBC and watch Homes Under the Hammer. Nothing ever goes wrong, the sun always shines, and complete novices can saunter into an auction room, pay way over the odds for a property they've never even seen. They all make a fortune regardless. Just make sure you never change channels in case you stumble upon Nightmare Tenants – Slum Landlords where there seems to be no shortage of people who have collected a month's rent and then lost a fortune while they try to collect future rents whilst having to make mortgage payments.
UKSBD: A lot depends on luck with tenants. I kept our old house when buying a new one five years ago. I haven't seen or heard from my tenant in over two years now – I just see his monthly payment in my bank account. I charge him at least £200 per month below market value but know he looks after the place and the gardens. It was costing me over £300 a month before I decided to get a tenant in, so not only do we make money from the rent, we also save on all the outgoings.
Jessica Harrison: Many of our clients are professional landlords and make a substantial income from owning and letting property out. Most of them have built portfolios over many years and they know exactly which areas to buy in to meet demand. They use practiced letting agents who ensure properties are kept filled and well maintained, and they regularly refinance their properties to ensure they are on the best products, and can also free up equity when required to use as deposits on new properties or refurbishment projects.
That's all for this week – have a great weekend!
Thank You for sharing this stuff!
After all said and done, not all businesses or websites need to worry about it. Most small businesses will not be affected right?