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What on earth is VAT MOSS? A new species of plant??

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

In an attempt to make life easier for businesses who sell digital products into the EU and need to charge VAT at the local EU country rate, the government established the VAT ‘Mini One Stop Shop’. Sounds rather fun I know, rather like a American drive through or drug store. Sadly, it is not quite the case and instead you are offered an online portal aimed at simplifying things by offering you the opportunity to register your business for the VAT scheme just once rather than having to register in every single country you will be supplying your digital products to. You can then submit just a single return.

Note: even if you are below the UK VAT threshold for having to register for VAT ( £81,000 for 2014-15), you still have to charge VAT as above for your cross border sales. However, this does not mean you have to charge your UK customers VAT.

Copyright 2016 Goburo

Picture Copyright 2016 Goburo

Clients not paying on time or refusing to pay?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Overdue payments

If so, ask yourself this: Do your clients actually know when they need to pay you or are you assuming they do!

Check through these three easy steps:

1. State your terms BEFORE you provide the goods or services– this may seem obvious but many businesses do not actually tell their customers when they want to be paid! I had a client call me up for help because she was owed money by a customer who was refusing to pay.When I asked her to send me a copy of her Terms of Business, turns out she didn’t have any! She had sent out beautifully coloured proposals setting out her services and the price, but no actual statement of when it was payable or what would happen if they were late paying.

2. Check your invoices– do they clearly set out:

  • Payment terms e.g. ” Payable within 14 days from date of invoice”
  • Your bank account details
  • That interest is chargeable if client is late paying
  • Link back to your Terms of Business?

3. If all else fails, sue! If the amount you are owed is less than £100,000 and you have done everything possible to get it back, you can actually take the client to court yourself online without involving a lawyer.Check out the new Money Claim Online service, offered by HM Courts & Tribunal Service. It costs from as little as £25 for claims up to £300.

If the customer does not pay or defend the case, you get judgment against the customer and can then enforce it. Most customers do not want to have a judgment against their name as it will affect their credit ratings if they want to borrow money, not to mention the overall black mark it creates on all sorts of records.

If you need help with drafting your Terms of Business or would prefer us to handle the claims process, contact us now.

Website owners- tell your customers how to pay orelse..

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Selling on-line to consumers? Did you know…

You must make it clear when customers will be parting with their money. Usually websites require customers to click on a button to proceed. From now this button must be labelled with clear wording such as ‘order with obligation to pay’ or ‘buy now’, ‘pay now’ or ‘confirm purchase’. Not acceptable are phrases such as ‘register’, ‘confirm’ or ‘order now’ and unnecessarily long phrasepaynow 3s that may effectively conceal the message about the obligation to pay. See the Consumer Contracts Regulations for more information.

pay now 1 paynow 4

Meet a Mentor events for female entrepreneurs

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

meet a mentorFemale business owners across the country will benefit from additional mentoring support, Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson announced £150,000 to fund ‘Meet a Mentor’ events which will link up female-led businesses, at both the start-up phase and at the point when they are exploring business growth, with mentors.

This builds on the success of the government’s ‘Get Mentoring’ project, delivered by the UK Sector Skills Body for Enterprise (SFEDI), which successfully recruited and trained over 15,000 volunteers from the small business community, including over 6,000 mentors who were trained to specifically support female entrepreneurs.

Sign up to register for a Meet a Mentor event here



Great book for all of you thinking about leaving the corporate world

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Corporate Crossovers image

Be brave and take the plunge!

If you are thinking about leaving the corporate world and starting your own business, then ‘Corporate Crossovers‘ is the book for you. Written by my very good friend, Wendy Kerr, she has truly been there and done it! As the owner of a very successful coaching and mentoring business- and now No.1 bestseller- she shares vital insights and tips, many of which I have followed too on how to make the transition. So be brave, take the plunge and become a Corporate Crossover ! You can buy her book on Amazon here and if you do, you get a free business health check consultation with me too. Hurry before stocks run out.

Small business Saturday this weekend

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Small business saturdayStarted in the USA three years ago as a way to promote independent retailers in a country more known for its faceless strip malls, Small Business Saturday has since proved a great success across the pond; 2012’s iteration saw American shoppers spend £3.4bn in independent stores.

Now, thanks to efforts spearheaded by shadow business secretary Chukka Umunna, the American Express-sponsored event is coming to the UK for the first time on December 7, with hopes that British shoppers will be similarly galvanised into providing independent retailers with a much-needed boost during the busy Christmas season.

With backing from the Federation of Small Business, the Retail Trade Association, O2 and Dragons’ Den star James Caan, the one-day event will comprise a series of events championing small business up and down the UK, with Christmas markets, competitions and promotional events all planned. Interest and activity is building and it’s worth getting a sense of what’s happening on the initiative’s Facebook page.

To find out more,click here.

Free tele-summit ‘Is your website legal?’

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

You have had the amazing idea for your business, splashed out a small fortune on a shiny new website or simply spent hours yourself creating it. The website is now open to the world, but is it legal? Did you even know that it had to be legal?  The answer is a big YES!! There are serious fines and implications if you do not comply with certain laws and have some key information on your website and stationery. This is regardless of whether you sell or not.

For instance, if your website is not legal, you risk:

  • Up to £500,000 fine and possible imprisonment for data protection offences
  • A so-called “Stop Now Order” from The Office of Fair Trading and other enforcement agencies which as the name suggests, means stop business, NOW!

    Stop NOW!!Copyright Brian Snelson

    Stop NOW!!
    Copyright Brian Snelson

  • Being asked by the courts to publish corrective statements to eliminate the continuing effects of past infringements.
  • Bad publicity for your business as many punishments are broadcast on the enforcement agencies’ websites

None of this is good for business and absolutely gutting when you have put so much time and effort into your website and all in good faith too. Most website developers are not aware of these laws either.

Lest you break out in a cold sweat, fear not as I will be revealing exactly what you need to be legal and how to do it as part of a special FREE tele-summit for entrepreneurs hosted by Wendy Kerr of Corporate Crossovers on 17th Sept 2013 at 1pm. You simply register and then sit back and listen to the interviews from the comfort of your own office! There is a great line-up of experts to help you in other areas of your business too

I really hope you can join us. All details are here

Expert Tele-summit details

5 reasons to consult a lawyer BEFORE you start your business

Monday, June 3rd, 2013
  1. Lawyers can highlight what your risks are and how to protect yourself.
  2. Written agreements will spell out all eventualities and avoid misunderstandings e.g. when you expect to get paid!
  3. You can limit your liability whereas with no terms, your liability is wide open.
  4. By law, website owners must have certain information and specific terms on their website or else they could face big fines and trouble from Trading Standards.
  5. You will sleep well at night knowing that all risks have been thought through!
I am so glad I consulted my lawyer!

I am so glad I consulted my lawyer!

Washed and ready to tweet?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The recent discovery of a dead bird in a bag of Tesco’s ready-to-eat baby leaf salad reminds me of a famous case from 1932 that all law students have to learn about and still holds strong today Donoghue v. Stevenson.

Snail image

Poor Mr Snail!

Whereas in the present case, James and Jasmine Watson were enjoying a candlelit dinner of steak ,chips and salad when they made the gruesome discovery of the bird, Mrs Donoghue went to a cafe with a friend. The friend brought her a bottle of  Stevenson ginger beer and an ice cream. The ginger beer came in an opaque bottle so that the contents could not be seen. Mrs Donoghue poured half the contents of the bottle over her ice cream and also drank some from the bottle. After eating part of the ice cream, she then poured the remaining contents of the bottle over the ice cream and a decomposed snail emerged from the bottle. Mrs Donoghue suffered personal injury and shock as a result. She commenced a claim against the manufacturer of the ginger beer and, after a lengthy battle,was successful. Indeed it went all the way to the House of Lords, and the case established  the modern law of negligence and  the neighbour test.

The case aroused so much attention because in most cases one would have brought a claim on the basis of a contract of sale between the seller and the consumer.However, Mrs Donoghue had no contractual relationship with the ice cream parlour as she had not purchased the ginger beer; and while her friend did have a contract due to placing the order, she had not suffered any injury. Moreover, neither had a contract with Stevenson, the manufacturer of the ginger beer. Mrs Donoghue was therefore required to claim damages for negligence. They studied the rule  that “where anyone performs an operation, such as the manufacture of an article, a relationship of duty independent of contract may in certain circumstance arise, the extent of such duty in every case depending on the particular circumstances of the case“. It was argued that the ginger beer manufacturer owed a duty to take reasonable care in the manufacture of his ginger beer because the sealed bottles were opaque, and therefore could not be examined, and because the ginger beer was intended for human consumption.

And so emerged the neighbour principle: You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? According to Lord Atkin, the answer seems to be : persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question. Maybe Tesco should take a leaf out of his Lord Atkin’s book with its washed and ready to eat salads…( Pardon the pun!)

Putting Mrs Moneypenny’s advice to the test…

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

I recently came across Mrs Moneypenny’s bestseller: ‘Career’s advice for ambitious women’ . Wanting to know the tricks of the trade of an Mrs Moneypennyambitious woman, I promptly bought the book and read it from cover to cover. That is until I had a little mishap with it! I too am a working mother  with two  teenage ‘cost centres’ (to use Mrs Moneypenny’s affectionate term for children!). Both have increasingly demanding timetables. As part of my  New Year’s resolutions, I had decided to take 4 weeks off in the summer to be a true Mum and spend quality time with them. This involved a massive amount of juggling of appointments, setting up out of office procedures, turning down jobs….Despite all this, the precious 4 weeks started to be eroded by their unmissable parties, exams results days, work experience opportunities etc and the final straw came when it was announced that a further chunk had been cut out without any discussion with me. We were now down to 1 week!

Clearly I must have been “ little” hormonal myself and stomped off into my office. The first thing I saw was Mrs Moneypenny’s book and I hate to confess to this, but the title made me see red! I thought “how on earth can I plan to be ambitious when I can’t even organise 4 weeks off?” and at that point I tore the book into several pieces! Quite a feat considering it was the hard copy! Needless to say I immediately regretted it, as I was really enjoying the book. The priceless bit came when a week later I was on half term break with youngest costcentre in Cornwall . We had decided to have breakfast together in bed and read our books all morning. Imagine her amusement when I pulled out my fragments of book and had to humbly confess how it had “fallen apart”! So much for my exemplary adult behaviour!

I have since managed to finish the book and I highly recommend it.Maybe I should have taken more heed of Mrs Monneypenny’s chapter: “You can’t have it all!

To buy the book, simply click here