Fresh Threads: Amazon, Brexit bonuses, business rates

  1. Ray Newman

    Ray Newman UKBF Regular Staff Member

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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 from this week.

    Double standards for Amazon sellers?


    We had a product banned on Amazon because our address is not printed on the product itself. It is fully CE approved and we hold all the test reports. I've just had a look at a few popular products, such as iPhones and Samsung phones, and they don't have an address on them, so how do they get away with it? Has anyone else had this issue and did you manage to get your product reinstated?

    JEREMY HAWKE: I sell sport nutrition products on there and they don't have the supplier's address even though that's a product that requires full traceability.

    Maxwell83: They have different requirements for different sellers – the big boys have a different business relationship with Amazon to you. It might also depend on the item itself.

    MrD: If it's simply the address missing, I'd buy a bunch of address labels – they are pretty cheap – and stick them on the products. Amazon does sometimes make sellers jump through hoops but this appears to be a minor issue easily solved.

    Paulo1Chop: From my dealing with Big A, they're good at most things, one of which is being pretty transparent and reactive when you ask why they've banned your product. I agree with most of what others have said – there's usually a quick fix and zero point wasting time and effort trying to call out brands like Apple and Samsung as naughty boys.

    Using a domestic shed as a workshop

    Gone Home

    I am a commercial woodworker making specialist components for a particular hobby. I have just been asked by the council to have my workshop assessed for business rates. I have no idea how they found me as the workshop is just a large garden shed in my back garden, though it does have electricity. I don't receive any customers and most of my work is done at the customers' premises, but I will sometimes do prep work in the shed, or occasionally bring things back that need extra care. I also store things in a small separate shed along with the usual domestic junk, lawnmower, and so on. Although I pay tax and national insurance as a self employed person it did not occur to me that my shed could be rateable.

    wispafish: You would probably get small business rate relief so just let them value it. Anything with a rateable value of less than £15,000 doesn't incur rates. The valuation would only be done on the shed so chances are it won't cost you anything. Planning permission for the use of shed as workshop could be required though.

    ecommerce84: The problem with having a rateable value of any amount, even £0, is that part of your property is classed as commercial. This could make selling the property difficult in the future as many mortgage lenders wouldn’t lend against such a setup. You could even be liable for capital tax should you sell the house in the future. My advice would be to ensure that the shed is seen to be a standard residential shed upon inspection and you just use a small proportion of it to work from.

    Chris Ashdown: The inspection has most likely been triggered by the noise upsetting neighbours – power tools do make a racket. Take the advice above and maybe soundproof the shed to stop upsetting your neighbours. Make sure they understand you only work on customers properties and the use of the shed is your hobby.

    kulture: I would not lie to the inspectors. As long as you do not have customers visiting you there is nothing wrong with doing a bit of work at your home. As long as the shed or room you are using for business is not exclusively for commercial use and not likely to bother environmental health (noise, fumes, sawdust, and so on) you should be OK.

    Bonuses blocked by Brexit


    My husband and his business partner set up a company about a decade ago. The partner, his wife, my husband and I each have 25% shares. My husband and BP manage the business fifty-fifty. They have been through peaks and troughs but have generally made a reasonable living and provided well for their ten employees. Since Brexit was declared, however, the business partner has become all-consumed by it, even to the point of losing sleep. My husband is far more pragmatic and fundamentally believes that as they have no control, they just need to get on with things. Because the partner is so worried he has blocked any bonus payment to either of them for the past two years. My husband doesn't want to take a huge amount, just enough to make it worthwhile.

    Paulo1chop: While the political situation might go either way the ramifications are likely to be long term if the two partners have reached a point where they have quite fundamental black-white views. It seems more deep-rooted than a financial dispute and if the relationship is broken then it could be difficult to move forward with the current structure in place.

    strikingedge: It sounds as if the cash hoarding is more about feeling secure than an actual business need which is irrational and may end up doing more harm to the company than Brexit by damaging the relationship between the two directors. I think the first question is how much money you might need if cash flow was hit by a Brexit downturn. Once you've modelled a reasonable worst-case scenario and worked out much of a cash reserve you need, if you already hold more than that figure, it should be OK to pay some out in bonuses.

    tony84: Discuss what needs to be in the account for them to feel comfortable. There must be a number. I have put twelve months income aside. If things become really bad, I could probably drag it out to eighteen. But if all hell breaks loose and I can see another five-year recession on the way, I'll shut up shop and get a job.

    Financial-Modeller: The core issue seems to be that two decision-makers with equal decision-making rights hold opposing views. If they both accept that then the obvious solution is an independent adjudicator. The company's accountant would seem a sensible choice given that they will be familiar with the company and the directors and would need less time to prepare than someone unfamiliar with the situation.

    Marketing strategy for a finance product

    Gordon - Commercial Finance

    I'm trying to put together a strategy for marketing a product which relies on getting consumers to arrange finance for their car before they go to the dealer. The model I'm looking at is similar to that of a very large company which spends a fortune on TV advertising. I don't have a fortune but, equally, I don't need the returns they've got from it. I'm thinking of using Facebook, YouTube and a website using something like SquareSpace.

    DarrenSsc: To run any kind of successful advertising campaign you need a good landing page. It not only impacts on your conversion rate but can also have a dramatic effect on your cost-per-click. Look at what your audience likes and give them more of the same. Nice pictures and a clear message rather than anything complex that makes people think too much. The real key to success, though, is constant optimisation of your ad copy, landing page and audience. But it's a steep learning curve and can be an expensive one.

    AllUpHere: Don't even think about promotional marketing until you have the strategic stuff sorted. What advantage do you have over the competition? What angle can you use? Bear in mind that you are competing with big finance companies who pay for opinions from people like me and then might throw 5, 10 or 20 million pounds at an idea to see if it works.

    fisicx: Your dilemma is how to make people aware of what you offer and then remind them of this when they find a car. There are various numbers but it's generally accepted that you need multiple impressions of an advert before it will sink in. So you will be spending money for a good while to just let people know there is an alternative source of funding. Not sure it's going to be cheap.

    NickGrogan: I've never seen someone in a showroom, sitting in their dream car, looking at YouTube. Most towns have all the car showrooms in small geographic areas – BMW is near Mercedes, which is over the road from Lexus, and so on. This is where people are when they're getting excited about a car and want to start signing papers, so logically this is where you or your advert needs to be. Posters, vehicle trailers, or flyers might work better. I'm not sure how happy the garages will be but that's a different issue.

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

  2. Furqan721

    Furqan721 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    55 4
    Thank You for sharing this stuff!
    Posted: May 16, 2018 By: Furqan721 Member since: Feb 26, 2018
    Chris The Dropshipper likes this.
  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

    ÜZEYİR UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    0 0
    teşekkür ederim
    Posted: Jan 25, 2019 By: ÜZEYİR Member since: Jan 25, 2019
  5. Brian Preston

    Brian Preston Banned Free Member

    0 0
    this is Inflation
    Posted: Mar 27, 2019 By: Brian Preston Member since: Mar 26, 2019