Category Archives: General

Finding new customers through your social media marketing

Our website designer, Aaron Brockhurst, talked today about how to using Social Media to promote the members of the BRX Bond Street group and how an organisation or business can use Social Media as part of their marketing mix to engage and convert new customers.

Aaron suggest a simple 3 step approach which could be used to get most SME’s off the ground and running.

Step 1 – Identify where your clients are
Most businesses are looking to meet new clients that are similar to their existing clients. Identifying who your new clients are and where they are online is the first step in the plan. If all your clients are on Facebook then that’s where you want to focus more of your attention. That doesn’t mean to say you ignore the other platforms but be where your new clients are.

Step 2 – Create interesting and engaging content
Create articles, images and videos that are interesting and “share worthy” on the your social media platforms. Use hashtags to raise the visibility of your content and encourage engagement

Step 3 – Link back to your website
I know it’s seems obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to link back to their own website and encourage their readers to visit the site. Using phrases like “read the full article” always help.

As with all marketing plans the KISS approach is always the best and often the most effective.

For ideas and really useful information take a look at CSL Web’s web design blog and read their latest article “How to use Social Media to boost online sales

Abseil for Street Child

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It is going to be a fantastic event and we plan to raise much needed funds for the Ebola Orphan Appeal. For every £250 raised by the abseil, we will be able to provide support for an Ebola orphan for an entire year. This support includes trauma counselling, reunifying them with extended family members and resettlement within a family home. We will also help that family with a business grant and regular business coaching to enable them to sustainably support their entire family for future years to come and all of their children can attend school once they reopen after the Ebola crisis.

dzn_sq_ArcelorMittal-Orbit-lrThere are 2 lines so people can descend with a friend and 10 people can book every hour so feel free to pass the reg form on and book other people to take part with you! 

We are fully booked between 11am and 12noon but have space any other time between 9am and 5pm. 

There will be a photographer there on the day so daredevils can prove that they actually did it and have a souvenir of the experience.  

Any other information on running and challenge events to support the appeal can be found at www.street-child.co.uk/running-challenge

To sign up, please download  Abseil Entry Form

TOP TEN TIPS – Reduce foreign exchange risk

For companies trading internationally, fluctuating exchange rates can be difficult to manage and hard to budget for. If the markets move against you it can erode or even eliminate profits and in a time of tighter margins and increasing raw materials costs, it is ever more important to protect yourself from exchange rate risk and make savings wherever possible.

Your business can take some proactive steps towards managing foreign exchange risk, whilst leaving the market analysis and interpretation to the experts.

1. Plan for risk

Planning is the first step to managing your FX risk. Agreeing on a budgeted exchange rate for the year will guide your transactions. Your budgeted rate should take into account the volume and timing of your expected transactions as well as a realistic assumption of current and future rates. A FX specialist can help to define this rate by analysing past trends. Planning ahead will help protect your business from foreign exchange risk and enable you to benefit from any exchange rate movements which are in your favour. This could make a huge difference to your bottom line.

2. Understand your business objectives

Your business objectives play an important role in defining a FX policy and it is important to know what degree of risk your company is willing to take and how much your FX exposure could impact on your business objectives.

3. Develop a foreign exchange policy and review it regularly

It is important that your policy complies with and works towards overall strategy and objectives. Once agreed, a policy should be reviewed regularly and be flexible enough to reflect the constantly changing nature of the markets.

4. Take information from a variety of sources

Information from varied market sources means a rounded view. Moneycorp dealers are MSTA (Members of the Society of Technical Analysts) qualified. As experienced dealers they will use their expertise to ensure your company receives the best information and guidance on the markets.

5. Choose a strategy that suits your requirements

With your policy in place it is time to review the FX tools that you can use to manage your exposure. Spot and Forward contracts and market orders can work individually or together to form a tailored foreign exchange strategy. Depending on your budgeted rate, your requirements and timing, your FX Dealer will be able to suggest a strategy to suit your business.

6. Get the timing right

Timing is key to managing FX risk. To take advantage of positive movements in the markets and to protect against negative fluctuations, you need to be informed at all times. Having access to a personal dealer who will proactively monitor the markets and inform you of relevant movements will enable you to make timely decisions on trades.

7. Don’t be tempted to gamble on the FX markets

While it’s tempting to take a punt on the markets, abandoning your FX policy can increase your risk. Extreme movements in the markets can catch you out. By speaking to your dealer and adjusting your strategy you can take advantage of positive movements without increasing the risk.

8. Investigate payment service options

Often, a foreign exchange transaction is just half of the task of managing international invoices. The time taken to process payments each month can add up and detract from other business activities. Your business could benefit from an online system, which simplifies payments, automatically checks banking details and stores details for future use.

9. Manage your business relationships

Tracking payments through the authorisation process is important in maintaining good supplier relationships. Look for payment tracking services, so your suppliers can be emailed automatically when a payment has been sent. In challenging times, key supplier relationships can be hugely important to your business.

10. Communicate and review

Reporting clarity enables your business to ensure it’s adhering to its foreign exchange policy and making the most of movements in the markets. It’s best to choose a system which will have access to sophisticated reporting tools, enabling you to keep track of deals, payments and the progress of your chosen strategy.

If you want to speak to a foreign exchange expert to discuss the specific requirements of your business, call Sarah Davie on 020 7828 7000 or email sarah.davie@moneycorp.com

Auditel – Lowering the cost of doing business

Chris Bourke Auditel

UK businesses are overpaying £1.6bn for energy every year!

If you run a business that has staff and premises, it’s likely that electricity and gas are going to be amongst your larger overheads.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of paying bills without ever querying them.

Quite rightly, you focus on what you are good at. Analysing your energy bills is not the best use of your time, diverting valuable resources away from core business activities. This is where Auditel comes in.

We work on your behalf to ensure your energy costs are kept to
the minimum.

As energy specialists, we can tell you whether or not you are paying a competitive market rate for your energy. If you’re not, we can make sure you start doing so as soon as possible – and keep it that way!

For a free audit of your businesses gas and electricity expenditure, call Chris or Pam on 0845 873 8080 now. Alternatively, simply email copies of your latest energy bills to cjg@auditel.co.uk

Here’s what some of our clients have to say about our service:

“I find it very hard to think of any way they could improve the service. It’s spot on.” – Callie Engelbrecht, Director, Ultimate Housing

Pam is really persistent at getting the best price for us. She’s also fully understanding of us and our organisation. I have full confidence in her abilities, and I am in no doubt she’s an expert. Even if I think really hard, I find it impossible to think of any way she could better the great service we get.” – Paul Goodstein, Accounts Manager, The Fellowship of The School of Economic Science.

www.auditel.co.uk/chrisbourke
T: 0845 873 8080

Non Payment of Rents: A Guide for Landlords and Managing Agents

While the financial climate is much healthier than it has been in the previous five years, landlords and managing agents of commercial properties I speak to still tell me they have problems with their commercial tenants failing to pay the rents and services charges. So, what can you do when payment has not materialised by the quarter date?

1. Act quickly and initiate a dialogue with the tenant to establish why payment has not been made. Is there a genuine reason? Are they in financial difficulties, or just biding further time to pay their other creditors to your detriment?

2. If despite your chasing, payment does not materialise, decide whether you wish to pursue payment of the outstanding monies, or whether you wish to obtain an alternative tenant and look to forfeit the lease.

3. If you decide you wish the tenant to remain in situ and want to chase for payment of the outstanding rent/service charges, consider which of the methods below you wish to pursue:

(i) County Court Proceedings

The first step is to send a Letter Before Action, compliant with the Pre-Action Protocol on Pre-Action, whereby a demand is made for the outstanding rent/service charges. In addition you may wish to seek recovery of interest at the rate stipulated by the Lease, or if that is silent, in accordance with the County Court Act 1984 at the rate of 8% per annum, or if the tenant is a Limited company, in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, at a rate of 8% above base, per annum. A deadline will be set for the tenant to respond with payment.

If payment does not materialise by the deadline, you can commence County Court proceedings against the tenant with the intention of obtaining Judgment against them. If Judgment is obtained, and payment is not forthcoming following that Judgment, you can then explore the methods of enforcement available to you.

(ii) Insolvency proceedings

To demand payment of the outstanding rent/service charges via insolvency proceedings, a Statutory Demand should first be prepared and served upon the defaulting tenant, with service being effected personally upon the tenant by a process server. Following service, the tenant has 18 days to respond, and seek to have the Statutory Demand set aside. If they do nothing, after 21 days, you will be able to instigate insolvency proceedings. For an individual this would be the presentation of a bankruptcy petition, with a view to them being declared bankrupt. For a Limited company, the presentation of a Winding Up Petition, with the intention of obtaining a Court Order for the Company to be wound up. If the tenant needs to keep trading / wishes to avoid being declared bankrupt, frequently the threat of such action can result in payment being made.

4. As well as considering the above options, you should also determine whether you have one or more personal guarantees, and consider whether you wish to pursue them for payment, using either route (i) or (ii) as set out above. It may be the case that the tenant has fallen upon hard times, but the guarantor remains financially healthy, in which case you may be more likely to obtain payment from the guarantor than the tenant.

Need more information?

If you would like further information on the above, or have a specific situation you wish to discuss, please contact Paul Marmor on pdm@sherrards.com.

Pound hurt by referendum uncertainty

The bookmakers still show Scotland as more likely to remain within the United Kingdom than to leave it next week but the odds have narrowed to 2/5. An opinion poll for yesterday’s Sunday Times put 47% of Scottish residents in favour of independence and 45% against. That result pulled the rug from under sterling this morning in the Far East.

The pound gapped lower, falling by a cent against the euro and cent and a half against the US dollar. Compared with Friday morning sterling is down by -0.7%. It is also lower across the board by an average of -1.6% on the week and -2.5% on the month.

The principal reason for the selling is that investors dislike uncertainty but there is also an argument that an independent Scotland would take with it most or all of North Sea oil production. That would mean a bigger UK trade deficit. A relocation of Scotland’s finance industry south of the border would arguably not be enough to make up the gap. However, the main reason for sterling’s decline is the uncertainty.

 

Sarah Davie

Sarah.davie@moneycorp.com

4 days to go, 969 miles to cover!

Sherrards’ 64-year old CFO will be putting his body on the line from 5-13 September when he cycles 969 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats over a period of just nine days. Andy Mills-Baker, who is Chief Financial Officer at Sherrards Solicitors, is riding as part of the Alliott Group international team of lawyers and accountants, and is raising money for local charity and cancer specialist hospice, Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

Andy Mills-Baker will be raising money for Rennie Grove Hospice Care as he cycles 969 miles in 9 days!

Andy Mills-Baker will be raising money for Rennie Grove Hospice Care as he cycles 969 miles in 9 days!

“Rennie Grove is a wonderful local charity. My nephew is currently being treated for Lymphoma, so this gives me extra motivation to get over the line on 13th September. I have managed 100 miles in a day in training, but repeating this for 9 days in succession is really going to challenge me mentally and physically. Though I have been training since February, I have had the odd crash in training, and two broken wheels. The first few days are full of hills and will be very tough on the old legs!”

At 64, Andy is one of the oldest riders in the event, but having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro four years ago, he’s confident he can meet the challenge head on.

The Deloitte Ride Across Britain cycle challenge starts this Friday and features some 700 riders from various countries. Andy’s efforts can be followed on his Twitter page (@amb49) or on this blog, and you can sponsor him on his Just Giving page.

For more information on Sherrards Solicitors’ services, please contact Paul Marmor on pdm@sherrards.com or visit www.sherrards.com.

How can companies avoid bad debt?

Bad debtors are the thorn in the side of every business. While, unfortunately, every business will face a bad debtor at some point, in our experience there are number of preventative steps you can take from the outset that will help put you in the best position possible when a bad debtor arises.

To avoid bad debtors, companies must be vigilant when taking on clients

Companies must be vigilant when taking on clients

1) Get information on who will be responsible for your fees from the outset

You should find out who you are dealing with. Are they:-
i) A limited company – who are the directors?
ii) A partnership – who are the partners?
iii) A sole trader?

You should obtain the full name of your client, together with their contact details, including a postal address and all other relevant contact information. Having this information at your fingertips is extremely beneficial should you have to pursue a debtor for payment.

2) Provide your terms and conditions

Terms and Conditions are important for a whole number of reasons, not least because within them you can stipulate what your payment terms are. For example, if you require payment of your invoices to be made within 14 days, then the terms should make reference to that. In the event payment is not made in accordance with your terms, you may wish to reserve your right to seek interest on the outstanding sum. This often acts as an incentive for payment to be made, with the debtor wishing to avoid their liability increasing.

3) Check your client’s financial position

There are a number of companies who offer credit check services. This is a very helpful tool to regularly monitor your client’s financial position. If they are in financial difficulties the earlier you know about that the better. This can avoid a situation whereby further invoices are being raised and going unpaid.

4) Have an effective credit control procedure
An effective system of chasing unpaid invoices is vital. Don’t be afraid to ask for payment. Regular chasing is a very successful way of ensuring your invoice gets paid, especially if you are dealing with a debtor who has a number of creditors. Make sure your voice is heard and not lost in the crowd!

If your business is struggling with bad debtors, we can help. Contact Paul Marmor of Sherrards for further information on pdm@sherrards.com or visit our website at www.sherrards.com.