NEGOTIATING WITH YOUR BANK in the 21st Century

Having been in banking since the early 1970’s it is with a sense of sadness that I have to witness the antics of Bankers over the past decade & more with their treatment of all types & size of business (es) through Derivative mis selling, the PPI Scam when the common statement from the Bank was” no PPI - No Loan”. There are many other practices I could refer to which would further diminish the reputational value of Banks in the 21st Century. The problem is we will never know the names of those individuals who orchestrated these policies. It is worth reminiscing if only for a moment to recall that through the decades leading up to these events SME’s had a treasured & trusted relationship with their bankers through the relationships the Banks had with the Professional Community namely Accountants, Lawyers, Insurance Brokers et al. Banks were at the heart of the community; they were involved within the community through various professional organisations such as Chamber of Commerce, Round Table, Rotary, Lions etc. The local bank staff & the Manager knew their customers by their first name - they were invited to Weddings & Christenings - they got involved in the community in every way. We went through the recessions of the early 1980’s. early 1990’s during which time the local bankers would help their customers through the “sticky” times - there was no need to call in Insolvency Practitioners charging big fat fees. In those times the manager had their own discretionary Lending Limit that enabled him to control the decisions that were taken for the good...

Top 5 factors to keep high morale in your business,

Good Leadership: Good Leadership is essential to the morale of the troops, by providing a vision and adequate resources, removing barriers, encouraging accountability. Leaders are special people. Within business, effective leadership has proven results, from the release of employees’ potential, to improved bottom line financial performance. Leaders can be pivotal to organisational change, pushing back boundaries and creating new ways of working. Leadership is very much about the ability to influence people by personal attributes and behaviours: skills are secondary. Good leaders are followed chiefly because people trust and respect them. Leaders treat others with dignity, equality and fairness, live up to their commitments, and trust is thus engendered. They are sensitive to the expectations of the workforce and lead accordingly. They truly listen to others’ opinions, and take them in to account. This doesn’t mean they have to act on the suggestions, but, having listened with care, they are best placed to explain their rationale. By acting in this way, not being afraid of making tough, unpopular decisions, leaders will be respected, potentially at the expense of being liked. What do leaders do for their teams? A good leader will set a framework and define boundaries for actions and behaviours, and therein allow co-workers full autonomy. The behaviours part of this is important. It’s right that a leader demonstrates and, if necessary, states what behaviours are appropriate and expected in an organisation. Leaders should keep people challenged, moving them on to achieve their potential and thus be successful in their own right, and as part of the collective success of the company. Leaders should be concerned with talent...

Why do Businesses pay Lip Service to Good Courtesy Practices ??

I am old fashioned, but my father always imbued in me that ‘courtesy costs nothing’. I understand completely where he was coming from. I walked around London recently and found people neither held doors nor gave way when oncoming and there was an equal right of way. People spend their days walking round the streets more concerned about the contents of their smartphone and the latest message from wherever, rather than the person immediately in front of them whose space they share. OK, ‘he’s having a rant’ you may say, ‘grow up, it’s a modern world’. Yes it is a modern world and what does that mean in terms of courtesy? Surely, if we lose honour and respect within our communities, we lose something essential about the nature of humanity being that of a social animal. We revert back to a primal, ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘first among equals’ approach. The very social media devices that distract people from normal social intercourse would ring out with protest if we found an individual in a high corporate arena using such selfish traits to exploit markets, individuals, societies, and we’re quick to criticise the bankers for their lack of awareness elsewhere. The lack of shared consensus on what are basic civil rules underpins a lot of our basic social relationships. We have lost respect for many status individuals who are learned in our community, with years of hard work and devotion. Absolutely, they should be more accountable, but accountability and an ability to exercise rights to call people to book, whether this is the police, doctors or others, should not amount...

The next five years ? What does the FUTURE hold for your Business ?

This election doesn’t appear to have the makings of a landslide, so we’ve no real idea of who the next prime minister will be. SMEs will understandably be nervous about the prospect of change, but both main parties look to be putting the needs of growing businesses at the heart of their manifestos, while the Liberal Democrats and other challengers all emphasise the importance of SMEs to the economy. The digitisation of business and public services have transformed the landscape for SMEs over the past five years, with the current government able to point to numerous success stories of SMEs making the most of the digital economy. Despite this, it seems as if our national leaders are still dancing around issues such as the ‘two-speed’ digital economy. With just a few months remaining until the election, it’s time for our political leaders to make a stand on the issues...

Braving the unknown

What we’ve heard from both main parties is certainly a step in the right direction, but business leaders can be forgiven for demanding more. Elections can have a huge impact on the planning process of SMEs, which may think twice about hires if new immigration restrictions are implemented, or if minimum wage legislation is passed. Business leaders should demand to see a commitment to a position on these issues at the very least. In addition, policymakers in Westminster don’t seem to be addressing of the imbalance in the digital economy for imbalance SMEs. Innovative start-ups in urban areas currently make the headlines and enjoy the benefits of the digital economy, including the bulk of money saved through the digitisation of public services. Yet half of all SMEs outside of the cities feel that they are unable to take advantage of the government’s new emphasis on ‘digital by default’, undermining the government’s efforts to put its weight behind growing businesses. SMEs should demand that the next government address this...

LONDON’S CASH SHELLS

Nearly £230 million is sitting in cash shells waiting to find a home It seems like the perfect situation and a less expensive method to obtain a Public Listing, a wider range of shareholders and a lump of cash for future investment. For all these positives reversing into a cash shell remains unknown and unchartered territory but if it happens can fulfil most of any businesses goals. Extensive research shows that there are 59 cash shells currently on London’s Aim and Plus markets with £229.25 million in the bank. This research which is now into its 8th year includes for the first time analysis of cash shells on all three London markets highlighting the difficulties of raising money in the first quarter of 2011. New issues have raised £77 million in this period, but three times that figure remains in the balance sheets of cash shells. The average market capitalisation of shells is £5.8 million, while the AIM listed ones have most cash in the Bank; the average size of a cash shell on the junior market is £9.8 million and the average cash in the bank stands at £6.6 million. Plus quoted shells have an average market value of £1.1 million with cash in the bank of £300,000. The main benefit of reversing into a cash shell is knowing that there is available cash. A lot of businesses will go through the listing process and fundraising at the same time without knowing whether they will be successful in raising the cash. At least with cash shells you knew immediately that the cash is sitting in the bank account...

The Difference Between Working Capital and Equity Financing

It’s not uncommon for business owners suffering through a cash flow crunch to think that bringing on an equity partner or investor, such as a venture capitalist or angel investor, will solve all of their problems. Unfortunately, during my 31 years in the alternative business finance industry, I’ve seen many businesses fail due to this kind of thinking. Specifically, these business owners didn’t understand the difference between working capital and equity financing. I’ve seen good, profitable businesses blow themselves up because of cash flow problems, and entrepreneurs lose ownership and control of their companies before they had a chance to succeed. A lot of this grief could have been prevented had the business owners opened their minds and taken the time to seriously look at all of the financing options available to them. Often, what’s really needed is simply a boost in or access to more working capital. “There is a big difference between increasing working capital and bringing on an equity partner,” “While owners suffering from cash flow problems may think their only solution is a large injection of cash from an equity investor, that could very well be the worst possible thing to do,”. In fact, the maths will demonstrate that the owner who funds 100 percent of his or her working capital with equity earns a lower return on owner’s equity. Working Capital vs. Equity Financing At this point it might be helpful to clarify some terms. For starters, working capital is the money used to pay your business bills until the cash from sales (or accounts receivable) has actually been received. Terms for sales vary...

Top 5 factors to keep high morale in your business

Good Leadership: Good Leadership is essential to the morale of the troops, by providing a vision and adequate resources, removing barriers, encouraging accountability. Leaders are special people. Within business, effective leadership has proven results, from the release of employees’ potential, to improved bottom line financial performance. Leaders can be pivotal to organisational change, pushing back boundaries and creating new ways of working. Leadership is very much about the ability to influence people by personal attributes and behaviours: skills are secondary. Good leaders are followed chiefly because people trust and respect them. Leaders treat others with dignity, equality and fairness, live up to their commitments, and trust is thus engendered. They are sensitive to the expectations of the workforce and lead accordingly. They truly listen to others’ opinions, and take them in to account. This doesn’t mean they have to act on the suggestions, but, having listened with care, they are best placed to explain their rationale. By acting in this way, not being afraid of making tough, unpopular decisions, leaders will be respected, potentially at the expense of being liked. What do leaders do for their teams? A good leader will set a framework and define boundaries for actions and behaviours, and therein allow co-workers full autonomy. The behaviours part of this is important. It’s right that a leader demonstrates and, if necessary, states what behaviours are appropriate and expected in an organisation. Leaders should keep people challenged, moving them on to achieve their potential and thus be successful in their own right, and as part of the collective success of the company. Leaders should be concerned with talent...

Professional Business Recovery

FREE confidential advice: 0800 458 3320 from trusted Business Recovery Professionals & Licensed Insolvency Practitioners If you think your business is insolvent, and you need help with a business recovery strategy or you are searching for advice on a personal debt problem, you are not alone. CBS provides complete business recovery, insolvency, including liquidation and individual debt solutions, for businesses and individuals across the UK. Contact us today for FREE ADVICE and to arrange a FREE CONSULTATION for your business....