The Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employed Income Support schemes have both now been announced, with guidance documents made available from HMRC. Both aim to provide a grant worth 80% of your income up to £2,500 per month, in principal, but details and eligibility are complex for the non-traditional employed - particularly if you are a limited company owner-director. Luckily, an official answer on that specific scenario has been provided by Her Majesty's Treasury, albeit buried in a webinar.
Here, I outline how each scheme can help, and how and when you can apply for support.
Show notes and links (including our always-up-to-date guidance) and all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-10-support-for-small-business-during-covid-19-31st-march-update
The support available to small businesses and the self-employed amid measures to control the spread of COVID-19 is still lacking, but help is being actively worked on in Westminster, to 'top up' self employed and freelancer income to 80% of the last 3 years net profit, or £2,917, whichever is lower. But the proposal is not finalised into legislation and we are still awaiting to understand if or how this will help limited company owner-directors, or contractors who pay themselves via dividends.
Again, more changes and more support will surely follow, imminently. For now, I outline what help is available and when we'll know more about how and when you can apply for support.
Show notes and links (including our always-up-to-date guidance) and all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-9-support-for-small-business-during-covid-19-25th-march-am-update
The chancellor has put in place some extraordinary measures to support small businesses and the self-employed amid measures to control the spread of COVID-19. More changes and more support will surely follow, as many agree that what has already been announced does not yet go far enough. For now, I outline what help is available and when we'll know more about how and when you can apply for support.
Please note: The quality of this video is reduced in comparison to our usual podcasts, as speed is of the essence in spreading the message regarding this highly time-sensitive topic!
Edit: Since today's daily briefing by the Prime Minister and his advisers at Downing Street, I understand the chancellor will have more to add tomorrow regarding a so-called 'package for workers' - we will provide an update as soon as we are able!
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, will soon be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-8-support-for-small-business-during-covid-19/
The UK budget for 2020-21 has finally landed, with some clarifications to SSP and other support available amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We look at this and also some principles, specific tools and delegation tips to consider if you decide to bring in remote working to your small business to cope with the inevitable self-isolation brought about by corona virus.
A whole bunch of measures are in place to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including clarification that the government will reimburse employers with fewer than 250 employees for up to 14 days of SSP per employee, including those who self-isolate. 'New style' Employment and Support Allowance is the alternative option to SSP for the self-employed, and it will also be payable from the first day of self-isolation or sickness. This plus the changes to National Living Wage and the effect on the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit claimants is discussed.
Remote working principles:
Working remotely as a team can be a challenging setup. A recent article from Harvard Business Review helpfully outlined some of the important principles you may need to adopt, such as reinforcing goals and roles, especially clarifying any changes due to the new working setup. Refer to the article for an outline - it's helpful stuff.
Remote communication tools and delegation tips:
A messaging platform with status and availability indicators can be great for showing who's available or busy and who's working on what, which is particularly important for workers to be able to stem the all-too-human suspicion that they might be shirking. In previous employment, I used Lync - now Microsoft Teams - which was useful for synchronising my availability and 'status' to my calendar, but there are other options available that at least offer always-on communication like Signal, Google Hangouts and Slack.
When delegating tasks, especially if by email, I like to use the 7 golden rules of delegation - see this in detail, and how to apply them 'upwards', in the show notes.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-7-budget-2020-21-remote-working-principles-and-tools
New SSP obligations for employers amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but any help for the self-employed or those on zero-hours contracts? Donald Rumsfeld's classic Unknown Unknowns speech confused a nation, but what are they and how might they affect your business? And, when problems strike, how can you use the tools of 5 Whys and Ishikawa Analysis to seed your action plan.
COVID-19 and SSP: In response to the current outbreak of Covid-19, the Prime Minister spoke of a change to Statutory Sick Pay, indicating it would become payable on day 1 of self-isolation due the virus, to avoid anybody being "penalised for doing the right thing" - but employers will foot this bill, not the government (though it's only an extra £40), and it only affects those eligible and earning more than £118 per week... some zero-hours workers won't qualify, and what about the self-employed?
The article from I quoted in this podcast is linked to in the show notes, below.
Unknown Unknowns: Donald Rumsfeld famously spoke about 'unknown unknowns' in his speech around the time of the Iraq war, confusing the room, his nation and much of the watching world. But sudden issues that are near impossible to predict are a staple of the world, and can affect business hard. Just look at Corona Beer's £132m loss due to a similarly-named virus. Was that on a threat-watch list somewhere in their head office with a mitigation plan ready to go? Unlikely...
5 Whys and Ishikawa Analysis: When problems strike and the cause is unclear, asking 5 whys (much like a petulant child) can actually be a helpful approach. If you add to that an acknowledgement that some things may have multiple causes, use of Ishikawa Analysis (or the 'fishbone diagram') can really help. Go 5 why's deep and you might discover some common underlying themes, some causes you might be able to identify as highly likely and some that are easy to fix. It's a straightforward exercise to give a go if you're facing some complex problems.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-6-covid-19-and-SSP-unknown-unknowns-5-whys-and-ishikawa-analysis/
The chancellor has changed, but what does it mean for small business? And, not entirely unrelated, what can you do to survive in a landscape of increasing uncertainty? Plus, plan out your new product, service or business in super short time using the lean canvas.
Chancellor change: The shortest serving chancellor of the exchequer since the 70's left his position this month, and a new one is now in office. What does it mean? Essentially: Delays. A decreased or axed entrepreneurs relief on capital gains tax seems inevitable in March, but many other features that targeted the Spring budget will now be delayed until Autumn. Also, the new chancellor made comments about HMRC going easy on businesses during the first year of the IR35 changes due to hit the private sector then. Does this reveal a foregone conclusion in the upcoming review of IR35? Are the originally-planned changes increasingly inevitable?
Handling uncertainty: Tracking your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats ('SWOT analysis') is a great way to monitor your position in an uncertain world - using PESTLE (Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) categories to prompt your thinking around external factors you might need to consider. Just don't forget to re-review it frequently, not just at the outset of a new activity. Developing opportunities and/or threats might need you to 'pivot' your business activities, to borrow the startup parlance.
Lean canvas: An unrivaled tool for thinking out your new small business, product or service, using a single page and about an hour of consideration. Inspired by the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, I tend to lead with the question: Who can I afford to reach? Check out leanstack (link in show notes) for a run-through, filling it out online and piece-by-piece. Like SWOT analysis though, it can change with your business, so make it a living document.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-5-chancellor-change-handling-uncertainty-lean-canvas/
IR35 is in the news this week with Westminster demonstrations by contractors and their advocates. This week I discuss this, plus: How and when jargon might be useful in your marketing materials; and what we've been doing and thinking about when it comes to social media marketing tools.
IR35: There may be demonstrations, but is it too little too late, or is there political clout in these protests? HMRC have been working against the notion of 'disguised employment' for well over a decade, but the Tory party promised to review IR35 rules in the lead up to the general election in December. Will anything change? If it affects you, see the links to the great resources IPSE has to offer (no affiliation, but they are strong on this in particular) in the show notes via the link below.
Jargon: I argue that using terse and opaque jargon is essentially 'group identification'. If you're not marketing to that group, is it helpful? Speaking the language of those you're trying to reach is, in my opinion, the way forward. But, also, translating jargon from one audience (like 'bootstrapping startups') to another (like regular small businesses trying to grow) might be a useful service in opening up resources that would otherwise be hidden behind that unfamiliar jargon.
Social Media Marketing Tools: I like to stay off the native tools mostly, because they're built to effectively distract you into consuming content - and they're good at it! So I have been looking for a tool to keep my focus on posting when that's my goal (I do my social listening separately). But tools to help with social media are often highly expensive for what they are. The native tools are still there for free, even if they do offer distraction to go with it... We're trying out Lately Social at the moment, for posting across 6 social networks (all at once, or separately) from one interface. It seems well priced and I expect to pop an affiliate link in the show notes, in case you'd like to follow along with our experiment.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-4-ir35-jargon-in-marketing-social-media-tools/
This week: An opportunity for some to reclaim tax on previously received PPI payments, the importance of 'gateway' habits in building new routines into your life and how we're exploring sales and cold calling.
PPI: Money Saving Expert (no affiliation, but I love what they do) had a great recent news piece on the opportunity to reclaim tax on the interest element of PPI repayments you may have previously received. It depends on the year, the tax rate applicable to your savings in those years and the tax rate you were under, but check out their great story via the link below to learn more and to see if the opportunity to reclaim some tax from HMRC applies to you.
Habits: As a prior Project Manager enjoying undertaking novel activities each day, building Business-As-Usual habits needs some specific care and attention. Gateway habits are the key final piece I have needed to grasp this concept best and kick off the routines I need.
Sales and Cold Calling: It's a necessity in small business to talk to people who've never heard of you about what you do to find prospective clients. Cold calling can be a significant part of this. I've found a fantastic resource in the form of the 'Sales Prospecting School' podcast that discusses this in a way well aligned to the non-pushy approach that we feel is appropriate to how we want to do business.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-3-ppi-tax-reclaim-habits-cold-calling/
This week we cover three items spanning: Recent news (or lack thereof) regarding Brexit and EU VAT, keeping your commitment going and how to choose your CRM system.
News: 31st January (or is it 1st February!?) is Brexit day! But what about VAT when trading with EU member states? HMRC may not provide the perfect body of rules you think it does... No long, dull explanations of tax rules here, but simply a brief window into the challenges we face when squaring incomplete rules from HMRC with giving the best quality accounting advice we can... Challenging stuff.
Commitment: A small business can have many irons in the fire. Deeply considering alternative opportunities, yet deciding to reject them in favour of whatever direction you feel in your heart is right, can be a uniquely galvanizing experience that helps boost your commitment and drive you forward. A little story on that here.
CRMs: If, like me, you're bad at naturally remembering to keep in contact with all those people whose relationships you value, a CRM can be an invaluable tool. However, they're not all equal, and many lean hard toward a different kind of user and a different kind of 'habitual' usage pattern. Here's a short piece on how to choose a CRM and what to think about when you do, and the choices we've recently made on this at Aegis Accounting.
Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcast-2-brexit-and-vat-commitment-choosing-a-crm/
A short introduction to Aegis Accounting, including: Our back story, what's happening at Aegis now, and where we're headed in the future. Show notes and links, including all the other platforms we post on, can be found at https://aegisaccounting.co.uk/blog/podcasts-are-go/