Online sales in the run up to Christmas this year are expected to grow by 19.5% over 2013, with UK shoppers expected to spend £17.4 billion online.
Total Christmas sales are predicted to reach £74.3bn according to research conducted by the Centre of Retail Research for RetailMeNot, with the average UK household spending £775 on all of their Christmas shopping.
Are you trading online? do you have a website? do you have an App?
For project based businesses you need to understand the sales pipeline inorder to produce a forecast, a typical sales pipeline looks like this:
Prospects and Leads
In many cases larger contracts require a Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ) and Tender.
If you want to forecast Sales you have to start by recording the volume of activity at each stage of the pipeline and your success rate at each stage.
Sales is all about activity, the more Prospects you can find the more Sales will be achieved.
Finding propects will be different for every organisation but Social Media and Linked In are increasing being used to find Prospects.
To prepare a Weighted Average forecast you simply use you success ratios and apply them to each stage of the process, so for example if you win 1 in 3 proposals that means you need 3 proposals to get one sale.
You can use this approach to set targets for your sales team.
On submitted proposals you can also apply a probability of success assessed by your sales team.
We want all kinds of small businesses to get involved, so know that whether you are a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler or small manufacturer, Small Business Saturday is supporting you!
Research carried out by American Express following last year’s event found that 43 per cent of consumers chose to visit small businesses as a direct result of Small Business Saturday.
Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable confirmed: “The Government is fully behind the Small Business Saturday campaign, which gives people the opportunity to trumpet the valuable contribution they make, not just to the economy but to their local communities.”
Basically research shows that you have the following options:
•Paid Content and Affiliate Marketing
•Journalistic work for other media
Advertising is the most popular and is based on:
Popularity of the Blog (number of visitors)
Stickiness (time spent by visitors)
Loyalty (number of repeat visitors)
The visitors are measured in CPM (cost per thousand visitors)
Adverts are 125 x 125 Pixels
A blog with 100,000 monthly hits might charge 50p CPM which works out to £50 per month (£600 per year)
eMarketer estimates that retail sales via smartphones and tablets have more than doubled to £8.2 bn in 2013, accounting for 18% of total UK ecommerce sales. Tablet commerce has seen particularly high growth, reaching £4.8 bn. In 2014 mcommerce is expected to increase by 53.3% in 2014, more than triple the 15% growth rate for retail ecommerce.
UK mobile ad spend is expected to pass the £1bn mark in 2013, according to eMarketer, reaching £1.2bn (19% of total digital) – a 126.1% YoY growth. Mobile ad spend is expected to nearly double again in 2014 to almost £2.26 billion (32% of total digital).
There was also a 19.2% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years……..
The online retail boom was very much in evidence in late 2013, with many High Street chains expanding their internet offerings, and some shops reporting record figures for the amount customers purchased online around Christmas.
In a recent AccountingWEB survey on average survey respondents said more than 80% of their customers use a smartphones or a tablet and almost all expect this number to increase over the next 12 months.
Without an online presence your business is likely to be become invisible to your customers.
Its not just about having a website either, there needs to be something that will keep your customers visiting your website and you probably need an app….
Finding ways to fund your business can be a challenge so hear are some business models where your customers provide the funding.
This can apply to many situations ranging from Networking and Memberships to Sky TV or Microsoft Office 365, get your clients hooked on paying a monthly or periodic payments and it should work wonders for your cash flow.
Any product in short supply creates a situation where clients are prepared to pay now in order not to miss out, here is an example:
Microsoft unveils its new Xbox One console Friday, one week after the release of the rival PlayStation 4.
Microsoft says the supply of the new $499 consoles is its biggest ever. But with record pre-orders — more than double those of the Xbox 360 back in November 2005 — the consoles may be hard to find.
Pay In Advance
Often used in the home improvement market for example conservatories, kitchens, bathrooms, getting customers to pay a deposit or in some cases all the money upfront (or on finance) puts you in the best possible position especially if you can set up accounts to pay your suppliers on 30 or 60 days.
Getting paid to bring people together is a great business model think of ebay, dating sites, or any on line market place where the owner gets paid when a deal is done.
The Chancellor George Osborne presented the Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 5th December 2013 and things are getting better, economic growth forecasts for this year have more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.4% but the austerity plan is set to continue.
Here is a summary of the key announcements:
Business rate increases in England will be capped at 2% in 2014/15 (they were set to increase by 3.2%) and businesses will be able to pay over 12 months rather than 10.
The Retail Sector will also get a £1,000 discount in 2014/15 and 2015/16, this applies to pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops with a rateable value below £50,000.
A reoccupation relief of 50% is being introduced for up to 18 months on premises that have been empty for a year or more and it will apply from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2016.
Small Business Rate Relief has been extended to April 2015 under the scheme small businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 or less can get 100% relief, the relief is scaled down to zero on rateable values of £12,000 and there is a lower multiplier on rates between £12,001 and £17,999.
As previously announced the personal allowance will be £10,000 for the tax year 2014/15.
From April 2015, a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to income tax will be able to transfer £1,000 of their allowance to a basic rate tax paying spouse and as a result save £200 in tax.
State Pension Age
By 2020 it will be 66, by 2028 it will be 67 and by mid 2030’s 68, then in 2040’s 69.
Capital Gains Tax
The annual exempt amount will be £11,000 for individuals for 2014/15.
But there was an exemption for principle private residence letting for 36 months and from 6th April 2014 it will be reduced to 18 months.
Consultation will start in April on non-residents paying capital gains on property disposals.
Individual Savings Account (ISA)
The limit will rise to £11,880 for 2014/15 and of this £5,940 can be invested in cash ISA’s
Mortgage Guarantee Scheme
The scheme started in October will run for 3 years and end in January 2017.
Buyers will only need a 5% deposit and the government and the funder will guarantee 15% of the loan in return for a fee.
Legislation will be tightened from April 2014.
A range of measures were discussed in addition to IR35 and these included:
Controlled foreign companies
High risk tax avoidance schemes
Other headline measures
Employers NI for under 21’s to be scrapped in 2015
Rolling back green levies to allow an average saving of £50 on energy bills
Free school meals for infants
Scrapping of 1% above inflation rail fare increases
Electronic tax discs
Abolition of next years 2p per litre fuel duty rise
On the 25th November 2013, the House of Lords Select Committee on Personal Service Companies met with Rowena Fletcher (Deputy Director with special responsibility for the Employment Status Team) and Robin Wythes (Team Leader of the Employment Status Team).
HMRC estimate there are 200,000 Personal Service Companies in the UK compared to their estimate in 1999 of 90,000. Interestingly, HMRC admit to employing 8 Occupational Phychologists through Personal Service Companies. The risk to the Exchequer is valued at £475 million and despite the large increase in PSC’s this estimate hasn’t changed since the introduction of IR35 in 1999.
In 2012-13 opened 256 enquiries into cases believed to be high risk and the tax year 2013-14 112 cases were opened in the first 6 months. In 2011-12 only 59 cases were opened.
Currently it is taking 28 weeks per enquiry which is faster than in previous years when it took between 110 and 140 weeks.
Currently only 5 cases under investigation which are expected to go to tribunal.
HMRC have 40 specialist staff working on IR35 Compliance, they had 1,200 calls in 2012-13 requesting advice and 80 detailed contract reviews were sought. If a contract review is carried out HMRC will issue a written certificate of opinion, the committee was assured that any contract review is totally confidential and not passed to the compliance team.
So are you happy that your PSC would be safe if HMRC carried out an enquiry?