How to Build a Business Case for IT

Influence your business and get the best out of your IT IT is constantly evolving, but a company that invests in every minor improvement could end up wasting money. To convince your company that now is the right time to invest in IT you need to put together a persuasive business case. Identify a need. Before you can delve into the details of your proposal, you need to convince everyone that a need exists. Identify existing problems and explain how IT investments can solve them. If you convince people that your solution is reasonable from the beginning it will make the rest of your job easier. Relate the investment to stated company goals. In addition to solving problems that already exist, show that the IT investment you are proposing furthers existing company goals. This provides an addit... »

Banks and Businesses Should Find Common Ground to Boost Lending

Banks and small businesses must work together to stimulate lending if the economy is to fully recover, the Forum of Private Businesses (FPB) has said. Speaking at the recent Better Business Finance conference in Manchester, FPB chief executive Phil Orford said that the time for “bashing and blaming” had passed, and urged banks and businesses to find common ground in order to boost economic growth and improve lending levels. “We’re talking about enabling or disabling our recovery – it’s that serious. Businesses and banks need to take a critical inward look and accept that the days of easy credit have gone.” The FPB said that tougher lending criteria and centralised decision-making were two main reasons for small firms failing to secure bank finance. However, Orford insisted that... »

Your Business on Divorce/Dissolution

Your Business on Divorce/Dissolution

Business assets On the breakdown of a relationship, any business owned jointly, solely or contains an interest, will need to be valued and perhaps, need to be restructured to effect any settlement. Settlements now centre on contributions to the business and homemaking during the marriage or civil partnership, with both regarded as of equal merit. It is important to understand the nature of your business and how it operates. Full and frank financial disclosure is required including examination of up to five sets of audited accounts and up to date management accounts, if they exist. Since the landmark decision of White v White (2000), where there are more than sufficient assets to meet the needs of the parties, as a starting point the court must consider a 50:50 division as a measure of equi... »

Tips for Keeping Your Business Competitive With IT

by Benjamin Dyer of ecommerce and EPOS systems supplier, SellerDeck While there are many ways companies can differentiate themselves from the crowd, most business owners tend to focus on their offering and not the business as a whole. In this article I look how technology can give you a helping hand. Slay the dragon From experience I know that a lot of small business owners are always looking at ways to beat their larger brethren. I recently had a conversation with a merchant that went along the lines of “how can I beat Amazon?” This is fairly typical. However larger enterprises have one advantage that sometimes seems impossible to beat – scale. Scale, particularly in low margin businesses gives a bargaining power that’s impossible to compete with. The biggest advantage is the abilit... »

Students Ill-equipped for Business Despite Record Results

Poor basic skills are leaving young people ill-equipped for work despite record exam results, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned. Even though this year’s A-level and GCSE results show record grades, the IoD has cautioned that high pass rates do not equate to more capable young people entering the workplace. “A lack of skills is holding back business growth and impeding organisations’ ability to capitalise on economic recovery,” said the IoD’s director-general, Miles Templeman. He added; “The fact that we have a system where we can expect little more than half the pupils to achieve the benchmark of five good GCSEs, including English and maths, is a fundamental problem.” The IoD has highlighted poor literacy and numeracy among people leaving education as majo... »

Financial Choices Vital in “New Era” for Business

With the CBI this week unveiling its vision for a “new era” for businesses, times will undoubtedly change for UK firms says Edward Rimmer, chief executive at independent invoice financier Bibby Financial Services. “Businesses have been scarred by the financial situation they have found themselves in, be this frustration with accessing credit, the knock-on effect of suppliers going into administration or indeed the ongoing problem of late payment. “New regional banking institutions, as the CBI has suggested, would indeed go some way to helping businesses on a local level for example, and enable new sources of credit to be accessed by more firms. “But it is easy to see how a new generation of entrepreneur will rise from the recession, taking fewer risks, managin... »

Postal Strikes “devastating” for Small Firms

Postal Strikes “devastating” for Small Firms

The nationwide postal strikes scheduled to take place on 22nd and 23rd October will have a “devastating” impact on small firms, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. A number of localised postal strikes have taken place throughout recent months, in response to a dispute about pay and working conditions for postal workers, and disagreements over the modernisation of the postal service. However, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which organises the strike action, has now announced plans for nationwide strikes to take place on 22nd and 23rd October in response to Royal Mail’s rejection of its demands. According to research from the FSB, 80% of small businesses use the Post Office to send mail and carry out other business transactions. “Small firms m... »

Striving for Better Efficiency

Studying how people work and how we can improve efficiency reminds me of the old time and motion studies that were so popular in the mid 1950’s. These white coated figures would roam factories with their stop watches. The purpose of a time and motion study would be used to reduce the number of motions in performing a task in order to increase productivity and even reduce staff numbers. No wonder they were viewed as the enemy by the employees. It conjures up the image of Peter Sellers as the shop steward in the British comedy called I’m Alright Jack. Thankfully things have moved on since then. However, I remember that during the recession of the 1990’s a new business buzzword appeared on the landscape of best practice – ‘downsizing’. I think this meant di... »

Business Jargon Lost in Translation

Firms that trade abroad should steer clear of using jargon when communicating with foreign contacts as their meaning will be distorted when literally translated, translation firm The Translation People has warned. The translation business has published a list of some of the most common phrases which make no sense when translated from English into other languages. For example, “Give me a ball park figure” translates back as “Give me to the diagram of the baseball stadium” in Russian when an online translation tool is used, “Flag it up with me” comes out as “Mark it above by me” in German, and “We need to get our ducks in a row” as “We to need to obtain our duck continuously” in Chinese. The Translation People spokeswoma... »

Good for Business

Good for Business: The SME guide to Standards

A free guide explaining how standards can help SMEs become more competitive and attract more customers is available to download from the BSI, the National Standards Body of the UK. Good for business: The small business guide to standards also explains how standards can help firms cut costs and improve their products and services. Other benefits highlighted include regulatory compliance and more stable and efficient supply chains. Using small business case studies, checklists and articles, it offers an overview of what standards are, practical advice on how managers can choose relevant ones for their business and how they can be introduced into the workplace. “This guide highlights to small and medium-sized businesses the many benefits of using standards,” said BSI’s marke... »

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