Did You Know: Five Pieces of Advice Small Businesses Aren’t Often Told

They say the best advice often comes from the least likely of places, yet while entrepreneurs should be open to guidance from all parties, what value can this input really add to the journey of a business over time? Whether it was a past colleague, university roommate, or older sibling – good advice has the power to drive our ambitions forward in the years to come, whether we realise it or not. As 2019’s Small Business Advice Week begins (2-8 September) we take a look at five nuggets of advice relevant to an SME’s growth and development – often with tangible business results.

1. Did you know: SMEs can claim tax relief on some social events?

Starting a business from scratch can prove both an emotional and financial rollercoaster, as we soon learn the true value of time and money. For this reason, claiming costs wherever possible can save start-ups large sums of much-needed cash – whether set aside for a rainy day, or pumped directly back into the business. Organising an end-of-summer staff party? Business owners may not realise it, but ‘entertaining’ a workforce may make them eligible for tax relief for social functions and events – if it’s costing no more than £150 per employee. While annual events are exempt from this expense (no claiming back on that Christmas dinner), it’s worth noting for other sizeable, one-off occasions where a little spare cash goes a long way.

Business owners may not realise it, but ‘entertaining’ a workforce may make them eligible for tax relief for social functions and events.

2. Did you know: sole traders aren’t required to open separate business accounts?

It’s likely that your bank or fellow business owners may have ‘recommended’ opening a business account, but the reality is that as a sole trader, you are not legally required to. If the business is not separate from the self-employed person running it, start-ups can save money by holding off on opening this type of account – and dodging unwanted charges in the process. While a business account can be beneficial for a number of other reasons, such as accepting card payments from customers, applying for business loans, or becoming the owner of more than one company – you may simply consider opening a second personal account for now to help keep things separate.

3. Did you know: tech start-ups can gain easier access to capital through SEIS/EIS funding?

When it comes to financial backing, tech start-ups will already know the significance of securing the right investment. Tax-based government funding through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) are designed to support start-ups in the early growth stage by encouraging investors through tax incentives; in return for equity, a total of £100,000 (SEIS) or £1,000,000 (EIS) can be invested per tax year. Not only are these grants more attainable for tech entrepreneurs, but they also enable greater access to capital; a higher rate of failure within the tech industry also gives investors the grounds to substantiate the risks involved.

A dedicated mentor who’s focused on your business alone can be worth their weight in gold – especially during the early stages.

4. Did you know: business mentors can help you avoid costly mistakes in the long-term?

While you may already have a strong network of friends, family and industry professionals around you, a dedicated mentor who’s focused on your business alone can be worth their weight in gold – especially during the early stages. Contrary to popular belief, a good mentor is not hard to find when looking in the right place, and doesn’t cost the earth (if anything at all). The government-backed Great Business hub offers sound advice on where to seek this all-important guidance, whatever your circumstance – from 18-30 mentoring with the Prince’s Trust Enterprise to quality-assured business mentoring organisations. Details of entrepreneur events and networking communities can also be found here.

5. Did you know: passion can get in the way of progress?

Closing with a piece of broader advice, entrepreneurs who enter the growth phase blinkered to others can run the risk of jeopardising their own business. While that fire-in-the-belly feeling will get you so far, harnessing this drive in new ways can ensure you remain both passionate and knowledgeable (so as to always make informed decisions). From reaching out to fellow business professionals and conducting market research, to trusting in the expertise and opinions of your team, business owners can ensure the responsibilities of steering a new venture don’t disrupt that all-important approach to hands-on leadership.

Here at Adams Moore, our team of friendly professionals are dedicated to helping small businesses realise their vision. From business advice services to future tax planning, get in touch to start your journey today.