Category Archives: Top Tips

Top business tips from BRX Bond Street members!

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

Child’s possessions at University

A simple guide to looking after and insuring your child’s possessions at University

Did you know that…

Students take on average £4,000 of possessions with them to University

(Source: NUS)

As your children head off to University, whether they are staying in Halls of Residence or sharing a house with their friends, there are two things you need to consider to help them: How are they going to look after their possessions; and is there insurance for their possessions?
Simple tips for students:
  • Always ensure that you lock doors and windows when you go out- even if it’s just to the kitchen in a Hall of Residence.
  • Don’t leave valuables in full view of the window.
  • Get a cheap ‘pay as you go’ mobile to take with you on a night out – then it won’t matter if it’s damaged or lost.
  • Back up your essays and projects! That way all your work is not lost if something happens to your computer.
  • Get a laptop lock to secure your portable computer to your desk or workstation.
  • Rather than spending money on ‘specialist’ or ‘standalone’ policies which cost on average £150 per year, your home insurance may be extended to cover you with no additional outlay.

Ensure you are covered by following these simple steps:

  • Calculate the replacement value of the items your child will be taking with them.
  • Typically this will include clothes and bedding, laptop, mobile phone, mp3, camera, musical instrument, books, hair straighteners, sports equipment.
  • Call Green Park Insurance Services to check your level of cover. Most of our Household buildings and contents policies automatically cover student possessions up to at least £5,000 and some have no limit to the cover provided.

Green Park Insurance policies can provide the following within your Household insurance cover:

  • Cover for your child’s possessions on a Worldwide, All-Risks basis – no need to specify what is taken out and about
  • Accidental damage is covered as standard
  • Most policies include cover for “walk-in theft” (i.e. even if force / violence was not used to access the property)
  • Some of the policies will also cover your child for Tenant’s Liability, meaning damage caused to Landlords’ property can also be covered
Useful Contacts: Green Park Insurance Services – Rachel Ewing–07557 970707

Take steps to prevent damage to your home during cold weather….

Did you know that… Escape of water claims rose to £755 million in 2008 (Source: Datamonitor)

Here are some simple steps you can take to help you avoid this unpleasant experience:

Make sure you are prepared for winter by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure that exposed water pipes and tanks in the loft are properly insulated. Do not insulate underneath water tanks so that the warmth from below will help to prevent the water from freezing.
  • Leave your heating on constant i.e. 24 hours per day, during severe freezing temperatures.
  • Know where your main stop valve is located and make sure you can turn it on/off with ease.
  • It’s also a good idea to label it so that all the household are fully aware of its location in an emergency situation.
  • Repair dripping taps. It’s usually just a washer that’s needed.
  • A constantly dripping overflow pipe is a sure sign that your system requires some maintenance.
  • If, during freezing conditions, the heating fails or makes loud banging noises, this could indicate that a pipe is freezing. Turn off the boiler and call a plumber immediately.

When you leave your home unoccupied:

  • If you plan to go away, no matter how short a period, leave your heating on – constantly if a cold spell is predicted.
  • Check if any unoccupancy conditions will apply to your insurance policy.
  • Do isolate the domestic water supply if your home is to be left for a long period.
  • Leave the loft hatch open to allow warm air to circulate into the loft space.
  • Even if you leave your home for longer than one day, ask a neighbour or relative to check the house regularly so that any problems can be detected and dealt with immediately.

Follow these simple steps should you experience a burst pipe:

  • Turn off the water supply at the main stop valve.
  • Contact an approved plumbing and heating engineer for assistance.
  • If you should locate a frozen pipe, NEVER use a naked flame to thaw it out. A hot water bottle or hairdryer on low heat will assist in achieving a gradual defrost, always starting from the end nearest to the tap.

 

 

Creating your personal mission statement

George Metcalfe, the UK’s (and probably the world’s) top business coach and life coach, gave us an enthralling 10 minute presentation today on creating your personal mission statement – the key points of which George has summarised below. While people often create a mission statement for their business, they rarely do so for their own life – yet doing so can make you a happier, more effective human being:

Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement provides you with a clear outline of what you would really like to do. Based on your principles, it becomes your standard, provides you with a personal constitution, and a basis for how you live your life. It is unique to you and identifies the deepest and best within you. Producing a personal mission statement helps you identify your unique gifts and talents, and deals with all the significant roles in your life. It also embraces our fundamental human needs – physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual.

It encompasses such issues as:

  • What would I really like to be and do in my life?
  • How would I like to be remembered at the end of my life?
  • If I had unlimited time and resources, what would I do?
  • What is most important to me?
  • What do I feel are my greatest strengths?

The content of your Mission Statement

There are three key areas to identify.

1) Your overall aims in life, including your values. This will help you create a meaningful, purposeful statement, which provides clarification of how you want to live your life, direction for the future, and the motivation to work towards it.

2) Your specific roles that you need to adopt in order to live out your mission.

3) The specific goals and actions you need to take in order to create your mission. These need to have a timescale attached to them, in order to make them real.

If you were going to start up a new business, you would want a plan or blueprint to work from. In the same way, if you want to build a better life for yourself or change things, then it’s a good idea to review where you are in life and take time to assess your situation. From there, you can work out how you want to live your life, and start to plan a course of action to achieve what you desire.

Your personal mission statement is unique to you, and therefore, you can construct in whatever way you choose. However, it is recommended that you include information about your values, which are at the core of how you live your life and address the issues/questions that are identified in this document.

Identifying your current values

We all live our lives by values, and it is important to recognise those values. If you are to fulfil your mission, then you need to live by values which are congruent to the things that you want to achieve.

Clarifying your values creates a basic structure upon which you can build your personal life, your career our business and other important aspects of our life.Look at the list below of personal values, and then identify your top ten. Alternatively, choose your own.

  • Development of skills and talents
  • Knowledge
  • Special interests
  • Hobbies
  • Spiritual contributions
  • Humanitarian contributions
  • Environmental contributions
  • Life balance
  • Sense of purpose

To contact George:

George Metcalfe Coach

81 St Julian’s Farm Road
London SE27 ORJ
Tel/Fax: 0208 670 2122
Mob: 07950 549 920
Email: GeorgeFMetcalfe(at)aol(dot)com
W: www.georgemetcalfe.com