Thursday, 12 June 2008

So your website is not bringing in enough business!

This is one of the most common issues that I come across on a daily basis.

But when I have examined the client’s websites I usually highlight several shortcomings.

The website is not being listed on the main search engines ie google.

The content is all about the company and its products/services and not about why the visitor should do business with them.

When the business is questioned they may know how many hits the site has per month but not whether they are unique visitors, what they looked at, where they entered the website, and more importantly why they left.

Often the website has not been properly search engine optimised (SEO).
And even more importantly the website is not integrated into the business operations.

The good news is that in-spite of what I hear regularly ie businesses being mislead or even worse ripped off there is help available and in some cases the business owner can handle this themselves.

I have recently formed an association with a colleague who is a leading expert in this field and even better he has written an excellent paperback book that is vital reading by way of a guide to developing a website that really brings in the business and produced a self help DVD course that ensures that the website statistical information needed to ensure maximum success is produced by your website.

Below are the two low cost products that I am recommending to every client with a website.
Simply click the link to find out more and place an order today!!

statsfaceslap!'>Discover 26 Critical Statistics.
Discover how to measure 26 absolutely critical statistics that can optimise online marketing results by up to hundreds of percent... guaranteed!

The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy
22 Powerful Web Strategies any and every real business can use to blast their sales through every record they've ever witnessed... and dominate their market within just weeks or months. 208 page paperback book. Click on the advertisement shown at the top of the profile panel on the right

For more information about how we could help you grow your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd
Tel: 07917 446068



Raising Finance during the ‘Credit Crunch’

Raising finance for a small business is always a challenge banks tend to be risk averse at the best of times so the current economic situation just increases the challenge.

But the problem is not insurmountable but like all business issues preparation is the key.

Firstly the directors or owner have to identify the best form of finance, then before approaching the source of finance a good business case must be prepared, specifically a tailored business plan. Just dusting off an existing business plan, (if one exists) is not enough. With over fifteen years experience of these situations I know that the business plan that you write for a risk averse banker is totally different to one that is required by a Business Angel (or private equity investor). But more of that to come in a latter post!

Identify the correct form of finance is critical; otherwise you will just be wasting time and effort.

Listed below are the most common forms of finance, however if you can’t find a suitable method detailed below then please contact me for more specific solutions.

Raising Finance

Loans, Factoring, outside investors, Business Angels and Venture Capital are all means of financing a business but the starting point should be using savings or borrowing from family & friends, (but make sure that there is an agreement drawn up to protect all parties).

The most common source of funding is the bank, however businesses often utilise the bank products and services in the wrong way.
For instance if a business has an agreed overdraft limit of £5,000 but the business constantly operates their account with the overdraft fluctuating from £3,500 to £5,000 but it never drops below £3,500.
The business should consider changing the £3,500 debt into a commercial loan and then change the overdraft to cover the fluctuating debt of £1,500. This could save money in interest charges.

Other Ways to Fund Cashflow.

Firstly can the terms of trade with your suppliers be extended? Often businesses are paying on Pro-forma. Once some trading history has been built up it is usually possible to agree improved terms ie 30 days or longer.

Just simply taking longer to pay your supplier can damage your relationship or even affect your credit history and rating when you try to get other products or services on account.

Invoice Discounting
This is also known as ‘factoring.’ The finance company inspect your books and agree to pay a percentage of the value of invoices that you send to your regular clients at the time you issue them and pay most of the rest of the value when they get paid.
They can either run your debtor book for you chasing the payments or you can chase payments. Obviously in the first case it relives you from that time consuming and some times uncomfortable chore but the cost are higher and you may feel that your clients might not like someone with whom they do not have a business relationship chasing them form money.

Asset Based Lending
This is a similar form of financing and the finance company agree to provide you with a percentage of the value of your sales even before you invoice, this is especially helpful to businesses who do not invoice until the end of the project. This allows manufacturing businesses or other industries like builders to fund the cost of materials and labour or other processes which extend the time before the business gets paid. The finance company inspect your books and agree to pay you a percentage of the value of the sales. Debts can be secured against stock, machinery, premises, invoices and even brands

Click here to get our finance options table

Other options include outside investors, Business Angels or Venture Capital.

Click here to get our Guide to Equity Finance:- Business Angels or Venture Capital.

For more information about how we could help you source finance to fund your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd

Tel: 07917 446068


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Legal Structures for Businesses

Sorry that I have not posted anything for a while but I have been concentrating on building another online venture which you will soon hear about. Recently whilst talking to a lot of start-up businesses it became evident that deciding on the structure was an issue.

Here is some guidance and more will follow for social enterprises in another post.

Legal Structure Guide

Before starting a business one of the first steps is to decide on the type of business structure, will you be a sole trader, partnership, limited company etc.

Sole Trader
Becoming a sole trader is easiest way to set up in business
Setting up a business as a sole trader is quick and easy and involves virtually none of the form-filling associated with forming and running a limited company. Sole traders make their all of their own business decisions and don’t have to answer to anyone else.
However, the downside of this is that sole traders are personally responsible for any losses the business makes.
If fact many owners are unaware that your own possessions — including your home — could be at risk if you can’t pay your debts. And you may also find it more difficult to get finance to fund your business.
Once you’re operational, you must keep a record of the business’s income and outgoings.
Despite the name, you don’t have to be completely on your own; a sole trader can take on employees.
Although sole traders are often taxed as self-employed, this isn’t automatically the case even though you’ll be working for yourself. If you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs within three months of starting up


It’s a good idea to seek help from a business adviser or solicitor when deciding the best legal form for your business

If you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs. Contact 08459 15 45 15;

Forming a partnership allows two or more people to establish a business together, sharing profits, management burdens — and risks.
A partnership will allow you to share the responsibility of managing a business. And joining forces with other people may mean you often have more money to invest in the business.
Partners also share personal responsibility for business debts.
They put their own possessions on the line, including their homes, if things go wrong. If one partner can’t pay their share of any debts, the other partners become jointly responsible for it.
Remember that a partner could make business decisions or enter into binding contracts without the consent of other partners. It’s therefore vital to draw up a partnership agreement, setting out how the partnership will be run and how any proceeds will be split, (it’s best to use a solicitor for this). This will help to prevent disputes.
Partners are often taxed as self-employed but this isn’t always the case. If you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs within three months of starting up (see below).


It’s a good idea to ask a solicitor to help you set up a partnership agreement

If you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs. Contact 08459 15 45 15;

Limited liability partnership
A limited liability partnership, or LLP, is a newer form of business and shares many of the features of a normal partnership, but it also offers reduced personal responsibility for business debts.
Members of an LLP are protected from personal responsibility for business debts. Their liability is limited to the amount of money they have invested in the business and to any personal guarantees they have given to raise finance.
As with a traditional partnership, you share management responsibilities and potentially have more money to invest in the business.

But forming an LLP is more expensive and complicated than setting up a partnership. You have to send a registration document (Form LLP2) to Companies House and pay a fee (currently £20, or £50 for same-day service).

A solicitor or company formation agent can help you set up an LLP. An LLP also brings a number of extra running costs. For example, you have to make financial information about your business publicly available by sending a copy of its annual accounts to Companies House. You must also submit an annual return giving key details of the LLP and its members.

Also LLP’s have to have their accounts audited. But those with a turnover of less than £5.6m and a balance sheet total of less than £2.8m are normally exempt.
Again it’s essential that you have a partnership agreement drawn up setting out how the LLP will be run and how profits will be shared.
Members of limited liability partnerships are often taxed as self-employed but this isn’t always the case.

One restriction is that you can’t form an LLP if your business will be a charity or not for-profit organisation.

If you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs within three months of starting up.


It’s vital that you ask a solicitor to help you draw up a partnership agreement

Again if you are self-employed, you must register with HM Revenue & Customs.
Contact 08459 15 45 15;

You can get Form LLP2 from Companies House. Contact 0870 33 33 636;

For more information read:
Limited Liability Partnerships— Formation and Names (GBLLP1).
Contact 0870 33 33 636;

Check for changes in the law as regulations, figures and sums of money may have changed since publication.

Limited company
A limited company can offer reduced responsibility for business debts — but it brings a range of extra legal duties too.
Private companies are limited by shares that generally protect the individual from personal responsibility for business debts. But your personal risk will be restricted to how much you invest in the business and any financial guarantees you have given in order to obtain financing.

However, if the company fails and you have not carried out your duties as a company director, you could be liable to pay the company’s debts or be disqualified from acting as a director in another company. You can raise money for the business by allowing individuals or other businesses to subscribe for shares in the company.

You can also give employees the opportunity to own a share in the business.
Alternatively, the company may seek loans from banks or other lenders, although lenders will usually want personal guarantees for the loan from you.
Setting up a limited company may also bring marketing advantages if it adds to the perceived credibility of your business, also organisations offering contracts will often only contract with Limited companies.

Although Limited companies pay corporation tax on their profits, you as a director will also be taxed as an employee of the company in the same way as anyone else who works for you.

There are extra administrative costs associated with setting up a limited company. The company must submit annual accounts and tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs — on top of any returns you must send on your own behalf.
A set of accounts also has to be sent to Companies House, this will make financial information about your business publicly available. You must also send Companies House annual returns giving certain details on the company and its directors and shareholders.
Some Limited companies must also have their accounts audited. But most small companies with a turnover of less than £5.6m and a balance sheet total of less than £2.8m are exempt.

To set up a limited company, you will need to create a memorandum of association and articles of association, which have to cover issues such as who will be running your business, what it will do and where it will be based. These documents, along with the standard registration documents (Forms 10 and 12), must be forwarded to Companies House before you can start trading.
(Currently the registration process costs £20, or £50 for a same-day service).

Company formation agents can handle the process for you, registering your company electronically with Companies House (for a fee). You can register a company yourself, but it’s worth taking advice from a solicitor, an accountant or a formation agent to make sure you get it right first time. The introduction of electronic incorporation allows formation agents and other intermediaries to register a company with Companies House very quickly and at a competitive cost. contact me for a recommended low cost on line formation service

This guide covers only covers regulations, it’s also recommended that you also obtain general business advice

For more information about how simple techniques could help your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd
Tel: 07917 446068


Monday, 21 January 2008

Lost Out On a Deal Recently?

Just the other day, yet another customer said to me, “I just lost a big contract on price again; perhaps I should reduce my prices when I quote.”

That’s just plain wrong!

What has happened is the customer was not convinced that they were getting anything better or extra for the higher price quoted.

People buy differences and perceived value, don’t believe me?

If you know a bit about cars here’s an analogy.

In the UK there are on the many cars on the market, 3 of them are:

The Audi A3
The Volkswagen Golf
The Skoda Fabia

The Audi is the highest price vehicle and the Skoda the lowest and the Golf sits at the middle price band.

The Audi is predominately bought by the young professionals or those aspiring to that image.

The Golf is most often bought by those people who want good reliable, stylish vehicles, which hold their value at a reasonable cost.

The Skoda’s market is often retired or middle aged people who want a vehicle that is reliable and budget priced.

If everyone was only interested in price we would all be driving a Skoda.

What people buy is the difference between your product/service and the competitors. If you don’t convince them of the additional value added benefits of your proposition then the decision will be made on price. That probably means they will not buy from you unless you drop your price.

There goes your profit margin…, and interestingly enough, the people who buy on price usually show no loyalty in the long run, (and take longer to pay). If you gain business on price, then you are likely to loose it on price.

Remember there is always someone selling a cheaper and more inferior product or service than you and that sort of customer are his rightful prey.

Don’t ever apologise for being more expensive, be proud!

For more information about how simple techniques could help your business e-mail me or visit my website today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd
Tel: 07917 446068


Friday, 18 January 2008

Getting Closer to Your Customers

One powerful source of help in developing your business is often forgotten, your existing customers.

I said recently that you should understand what influencing them, i.e their market trends, how their needs are changing, how they feel about you as a supplier and what makes them tick.

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen businesses that take their best and biggest customers for granted. The first time they know that the clients needs have changed or are disenchanted with them as a supplier is when they stop doing business with them.

Help is at hand, there is a powerful tool that allows any business that has internet access to carry out electronic surveys.

Check out Survey Monkey which is a user friendly website that has interactive tools to help design produce and manage online surveys.

The good news is there is no initial charge to sign up. If you only want to produce simple surveys and will only receive up to a maximum 100 responses per survey then the cost is zero.

Even if you upgrade to the next level allowing more functionality and up to 1000 responses per survey the cost is only $19.95 per month.

The top grade option with all the optional extras and unlimited responses is only $200 per year (less than £100).

Just think about all that information and customer knowledge and what you can do with it, for a start you will be ahead of your competitors.

Unless they read this blog of course………

Happy surveying!

For more information about how simple techniques could help your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd
Tel: 07917 446068


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Free Help for Businesses!

I knew that would get your attention!

As a business owner you are probably as suspicious as me when you see something for free but sometimes there isn't a catch or you just need to go in with you eyes open.

One of my clients showed me a letter from a Local newspaper group inviting her to a free workshop about getting the best out of advertising. Of course we know that the aim is to get you to book advertising with their publications. But hey you don't have to place any business with them if you don't want to.

This is an example of the sort of help that can supplement other advice or training.

Other sources like the free research that I mentioned that other day can be really valuable.

But don't forget to use the other advice and tips from Web-Blogs like the one you are reading now. I will be shortly launching some more services on line much of which will be free so watch this space.

I would also like to recommend two other Websites/Web-blogs that I visit on a daily basis.

Check out Ed Rivis website .
Also the other person who has a great blog is Jim Sansi, .

Remember 'Knowledge is Power' and this what will give you the edge over your competition.

For more information about how simple techniques could help your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd

Tel: 07917 446068


Wednesday, 16 January 2008

2008 Downturn or Not

In the last few couple of weeks I have been working with clients and helping them to make sense of the scare stories in the UK press about the impact of the sub-prime crisis and what some pundits are saying about the prospects for economy.
I have just issued an article to a number of newspapers and business publications and the media. If you would like a copy of the full article, click here. Here is a taster of what I have written.

Of course I have already said that I don’t believe what some panicking journalists are implying ie crashes, recession etc.

But you should as a sensible business owner, take account of what’s happening and plan accordingly.

Here are the actions that you should take now!

Firstly plan your sales and growth realistically
Do a thorough review of your costs and overheads, (not a quick ‘back of the cigarette packet’ estimate).

Save costs and overheads but not at the cost of business, for example in a downturn a lot of businesses first reaction is to slash marketing dramatically but that can be counterproductive.

Manage your finances using good Cashflow and Profit & Loss forecasts and credit management records.

This business maxim is still true today, ‘Turnover is vanity, Profit is sanity, and Cash is reality’. Think Profit and Cash not turnover.

Do you have a big overdraft? Reduce this by converting the proportion of it that is constant to a commercial loan, it can save lots of money.

Are you reliant on one or two big customers? If so, could you tie them into a longer term contract or if you are a service business, into a maintenance contract.

What are you spending money on, are you getting the best deal?
Get three quotes for everything, ask for fixed price quotes from your service suppliers that includes your accountant etc.

For more information about how simple techniques could help your business e-mail me today!

Alan Briggs

Dynamic Business Strategies Ltd
Tel: 07917 446068


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