Pensions for small business owners

Small business owners: have you thought about your pension?

Whilst owning your own business is great many small business owners forget that one day they may wish to retire. The reason why pensions aren't normally a consideration for a startup is because start up businesses tend to be cash poor and focus on reinvesting all cash in the business. However, this behaviour can inevitably become habit resulting in the individual never putting into a pension.

In the UK the government has sought to try to find a solution to this problem. As of April 2016 small businesses with even just the one employee are required by law to provide a pension. This means that even for those small businesses when the owner is the only employee they are required to put into a pension. Unfortunately, small business owners are allowed to formally opt out of this requirement. As you can imagine, most do opt out. This is an understandable action but doesn't help the business owners in retirement.

Small businesses forty years down the line

Let's say that you ran your own small business from your 20s right up until you could claim the state pension. After forty years of business you're ready to retire and you haven't got a penny saved in a pension pot. Yes, you've paid off the mortgage on the property that you live in and have some savings but not enough should you live well into your 80s. What are your options?


You could downsize your property. Sell your current home, release the equity, go and live someone cheaper and smaller and use the excess profit to live off in retirement. This strategy is a bit of a gamble as you may not necessarily have enough.

Business property

Perhaps the business owns property that you could sell. No brainer really!

Sale of the business

Have you considered that you may be able to sell the business? If this is an option for your retirement plan then you need to be thinking today how a would-be buyer might view the Company. You need to ensure that all the accounts are accurate and in order demonstarting a long history of growth and cash production. 

In addition you need to be thinking about what a prospective buyer might be looking for. Consider that you have a consulting business. The business relies solely on the intellectual property of the consultant, so what on earth could the consultant do to make the Company worth buying. They could create documents and templates of best practice, they could create a customer list and a supplier list and a list of key contacts, they could create a brand presence for the business, or else they could produce a product to actually sell to customers today along with the advice. All of these things give the Company a value that a would-be buyer may actually be interested in.

Licencing or sub-contracting

You could keep the business running but subcontract or licence out the word. Easier written than actually done. This would require years of building up a reputation to ensure the work keeps coming in. It would also require a transition period where you could start to pass on some of the work that comes in to reliable subcontractors. Finally, it would require quality control checks, training and admin for those to whom you subcontract.

Dividend strategy

Finally, rather than selling the business you may consider keeping the business running. Hire I a manager to continue the business. They would continue the business and potentially even grow it and you could remain the shareholder and collect your dividends well into retirement. Obviously this strategy is quite dependent on the type of business you have. A consulting business could not simply be run by a manager for example.

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Revealed: Health & Safety Is The Secret To A Brilliant Business

Your business HSE

The following post has been contributed. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

There are many business secrets that not a lot of people know about. These are things that happen behind the scenes of a company. Things that you’ll only know about if you’ve had the experience of running a business before. Or, if you speak to business experts, and gain that knowledge from them.

I’ve spoken to many different people about what makes a company tick. Most of the time, they give me the same generic answers. So, I ask them to dig a little deeper and tell me something that I haven’t heard before. And, you’ll be surprised at what they say. Many experts will claim that health and safety in the workplace are the backbones of a successful business. I know, it sounds a tad far-fetched, right? How on earth are health and safety relevant to a business?

Most new entrepreneurs barely give it a second thought. Sure, they ensure their workplace is safe, but that’s about as far as they go. Well, in this piece, I’m going to talk about some reasons why health & safety is so important. And, I’ll give some tips on how you can up your health & safety game.

Healthy Employees Are Good Workers

Let me ask you something, have you ever tried working when you’re sick? Have you ever gone down to your place of work and tried to do your usual routine in bad health? If you have, then you’ll know that it’s hard. It’s impossible to perform at your peak when your health is bad. Bearing that in mind, a business that doesn’t care for the health of its employees will suffer. If your staff are all in poor health, then they won’t work as well as they can.

And, it’s important to note that their mental health needs to be taken into account too. Employees that are stressed or depressed won’t be able to perform to the standards you need. As such, your business suffers, and you lack efficiency. To counter this, you need measures in place to ensure your staff are healthy. One idea is employee assistance programmes; they can help your staff cope with various health problems. If they suffer mental stress, then they can get the assistance to get over it. Another thing that’s popular in Japan is exercise in the office before work. They spend some time in the morning doing yoga or stretching. This helps employees release tension and ensure they’re physically in good health. Healthy workers are good workers, so don’t overlook this!

Accidents Are Costly

Having an accident in the workplace can be costly on multiple levels. For one, the accident can cause an employee to be injured. As a result, they may need lots of time off work. So, you’re left with two choices, both of which will cost you. Firstly, you pay them sick pay and hire a temporary replacement. This now means more money is leaving your business, as you have another employee to pay. Secondly, you can pay them sick pay and try to get on with things without them. You won’t need to spend more money, but productivity will suffer. With your new lack of productivity, you may earn less money in their absence. Either way, you’re going to lose money.

Also, someone can sue you in the event of an accident. An employee or customer can sue you if they get hurt in your place of work. If they’re successful, then you may have to fork out lots of cash. Even if they’re not, the lawsuit can take up a lot of time and resources. To avoid all of this hassle, you need to make your workplace safe. Take safety as seriously as you can; it helps you save money and stay out of trouble. It doesn’t take much to create a safe working environment. You’ll have fewer disruptions, and your company can carry on being as productive as possible.

Now you can see the impact health & safety has on business. It sounded a little bit strange at first, but the evidence is clear. There’s no arguing that healthy employees are better than non-healthy ones. The problem is, a lot of your staff are in poor health because of their job. Sitting at a desk all day, or standing at a cash register, is not good for them. It can cause all sorts of stiffness and aches and pains. Similarly, an unsafe work environment can be very disruptive. It’s hard to drive a business forward when you keep having disruptions.

To sum up, you must make health & safety a top priority if you want your company to be the best it can be.

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Here Are the Ways Your Employees Are Losing You Money

Keeping your employees happy

The following post has been contributed. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

Every business owner is concerned about the money their business is making. The highest cost of most businesses, of course, is in employment. So you need to make sure you’re not overspending here. Is that possible? Just check out this article for the biggest costs involved in employment.

Being recruited in the first place

It’s a truth, but it’s a harsh one. Business owners often hire full-time employees that they don’t really need. You need to consider the fact that the costs of recruiting an employee in the first place aren’t negligible. The average company will spend thousands of dollars recruiting a single employee, even if they’re not fully aware of it at the time.

You may have thought that your startup needed a full-time financial controller, or an IT expert on-site at all times. But this is true for very few companies. If your office only has, say, less than fifty employees and deals mainly in small-scale projects? Then it’s highly unlikely you need such positions to be filled five days a week. This is why you should consider looking into outsourcing instead of full-on employment. You can get the job done as and when you need it. Otherwise, you may have employees who can’t do anything but twiddle their thumbs for most of the week.

Too high a salary

Woah, there! This is a controversial area if ever there was one. But let’s face it: we’ve all met people, often people who work in the same office as us, who are paid way too much for what they do. Of course, you don’t want to go cutting everyone’s salaries just because you want to make a few extra dollars. You can’t just cut an employee’s earnings because you’ve suddenly come to the conclusion that you’re paying them too much. You have to provide a reason, and if that’s your only reason, they’re might be eligible to take legal action against you.

Really, it depends how high “high” really is. The chances are that this particular problem won’t affect you very much. The kinds of businesses that really need to deal with this problem are the massive, multi-billion dollar companies. The ones who pay their executives millions a year. If that’s not you, I’d suggest tackling your problem another way.

Not even turning up

In a perfect world, employees would never get sick. Heck, in a perfect world, no-one would ever get sick. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure no-one would ever actually have to work in a perfect world. So let’s dispense with the hypothetical utopias and leave it at this: sometimes, employees simply can’t be at work. That’s not great, but it’s something employers will just have to deal with.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t worry about the costs that you incur when employees aren’t at their desk. Even if you pay your employees in accordance to attendance, a missing employee can still cost you revenue. (Paying according to attendance would be in contrast to, say, a fixed salary. This technically costs you more because you’re still paying the employee despite their absence!) Of course, people won’t turn up to work for several reasons. Sickness, family emergencies, inclement weather. Whatever the reason, you should be tracking absence and incurred costs via absence management.

Unhappiness and stress

When we think about employees “costing us money”, we often sound accusatory. We speak about the problems that could be avoided by the employee, or as though the employee is the problem just because they exist. Basically, we tend to shift blame towards them. But the things that really cost your business are the costs that go unnoticed. They’re the costs that come with a loss in productivity. And I’m not talking about obvious losses in productivity. I’m talking about the fact that employees are rarely working at their full potential. Why? Because so many employees, in pretty much every industry, are unhappy and stressed out.

Many business owners choose not to tackle these problems. They see unhappiness and stress as simply part of the working life. After all, we can’t pretend that every employee in our company is working for us out of sheer passion. Most of them are there because they need the paycheck. With that in mind, aren’t unhappiness and stress inevitable? Why try to fight them?

Fact: a happy worker is a productive worker. A given employee doesn’t have to be in love with the job itself in order to enjoy coming to work. A business owner should always be working towards making the workplace an enjoyable and less stressful place to be. I’m not saying you should turn the office into a play park, or into some Zen-like modern area. But there’s always something you can do to improve things here.

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The Neccesities Of Setting Up A Business You Can't Ignore

Preparing your business plan

The following post has been contributed. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

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Having the drive to start a business, the idea to start selling and the go-ahead to actually do it is already an achievement. It takes a lot of energy to start a business, so don’t let ill preparation stop you. Instead, devote your time to getting ready. Put that energy into giving yourself the best start possible. Do your research, read this article and figure out exactly what you need.

Your idea

So, you already have an idea. But is it a good one? A lot of it is going to be down to trial by fire. But you can at least ensure that your idea is prepared to go out there with a good chance. A big part of that comes down to researching the market. By thinking about your audience, what they need and how your product fits that. Then you need to create a prototype of that idea and test it. Take it on the road, have people try it out and listen closely to their feedback. It’s most likely that your idea won’t be perfectly ready, so take the time to reiterate it. An untested idea is an easy way to waste your money.

All in the plan

Once you have the idea ready, you need to think about how you’re going to implement it. Business plans aren’t just important for helping you get investors and other funding sources on your side. They help you clarify the direction that your business will take. It helps you find forward movement and define the exact methods of production and delivery. It also conveys the actual structure of your business. Of the roles that you and any collaborators will fit and what you do. It even helps you identify where you’re going to need the help of others, the roles you need to fit. Plans are important, so don’t just write one for financial purposes. Create a road map of your business that you can adapt to prepare for future growth.

Your funding

As we’ve said, the business plan can also play a very important role in getting you the funding you need. Nowadays, there are all kinds of ways to get funding for your business. First, look at what you can provide close to home. What savings are you willing to put towards your business? Are there any friends or family who can help you for a share of the returns? Then you need to look into bank loans and investors. It’s a good idea to carefully look through your connections for any potential. Past employers who are on good terms with you, acquaintances. Nowadays, crowdfunding sources are growing to be a more popular way people can support the products they want to see on the market.

Your property

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When you have the funding together, the chances are that you’re going to need a property to do business from. Even if you’re setting up a home business, you will need to invest some money into making it a proper work environment. Getting the equipment, you need, for instance. Otherwise, you’re going to need to buy or lease property. If you’re buying it, you’re going to need help getting it sorted as quick as clean as possible. Legal services like commercial conveyancing solicitors, Bannister Preston, can make sure you don’t get a raw deal. Buying property and starting a business are both stressful times. Take the help you can to eliminate some of that fuss.

Your team

You might not need people in your business, in which case you can skip this point. If you do, however, you need to understand the position you are in. You are not part of a successful company. You are a startup that needs help. Just as you need people with the skills to help you grow, you need to show that they will be working in a stable company. This is another place where your business plan can help you sell the job, just as much as your potential employee needs to sell themselves. As good idea for brand new startups is to hire people that you know. People who know your skills and people whose skills you know.


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Getting the business up and running isn’t enough. Think of the proverb ‘if a tree falls with no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound’? You need visibility. You need to make your business relevant, even before you open doors. This is where your marketing needs to being. By building anticipation, usually in the form of a launch event. Spend plenty of time networking and creating a name for yourself in the industry. Take your product to trade shows, get in touch with people in industries that you benefit. If you’re going B2B, get directly in touch with business owners. Otherwise, you can use things like influencer marketing. This helps build visibility for your product in the eyes of those who are most likely to be your audience.

Preparation for risk

It’s not all about how you get everything up and running, either. You also need to have adequate preparation for risk. For example, insurance that can protect your business and your property. Similarly, you need to prepare for the risk that is workflow interruption. In the early days especially, things need to be running like a well-oiled machine. Having your internet go down or a power cut can be disastrous. So have back-ups for what keeps your business going. Whether it’s a diversity of available internet connections or a generator. Even success needs to planned for. If your business grows too fast without preparation, it can bust easily. That’s why we recommend updating your business plan often. Make potential scaling something you’re prepared for.

There are a lot of things that can happen in business that you can’t prepare for. Good or bad. All you can do is make sure you have the strongest base to jump off of. From there, it’s about being open and adaptable. So long as you have all the necessities in place, you can deal with the rest.

Do you like what you've read? Tell your friends by sharing it with one of the buttons below. Please post this to Facebook or Tweet it to help your friends and family. Feel free to send me an email (, find me on twitter @millionairer0ad or comment. Whether good or bad, I want to hear from you all.

How to predict the stock market

Become a brilliant investor

One of the difficulties in investing is timing the market. The solution to the problem of trying to time the market is that you cannot! If anyone knew when the markets (any market) was going to go up or down then they'd be a multi billionaire (never mind multimillionaire). Evidence that even the likes of the great investor Warren Buffett sometimes gets it wrong (his investment in Tescos is a case in point) proves that no one can predict which way the market will turn. So if the stock market analysts, hedge funds, professional investors, banks, private equity funds, and asset managers cannot get it right all of the time then you need to wake up and accept that you cannot predict the market.

If I can't predict the market then why am I still reading?

You cannot predict the market. However, you can pounce when opportunity strikes. When markets take a significant down turn is the time to invest. Be greedy in the markets when others are fearful. When stock markets have "crashed" and the media is generally reporting negative sentiments, this is the time to invest big in solid Companies.

Investing heavily during times of distress is something that I've done in the past and it's been very profitable. During the recent financial crisis: 2008 - 2011 UK banking shares (Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Barclays) took a hammering in their share price. Lloyds Banking Group Plc reached a low of 10 pence per share from a previous all time high of £7. Lloyds was bailed out by the UK government. Given the UK government was now the major shareholder it seems unrealistic for the Company to ever go bust. The U.K. Government would have been willing to throw good money after bad to ensure that the Company didn't go bust - as to let that happen would have been a political disaster. I invested in 2011 in Lloyds, (at 30 pence) probably one of the safest Companies in the FTSE given the UK government backing. I since sold the Company in early 2016 at 75 pence realising a 150% profit growth. This all happened because I pounced when the opportunity arose.

How to prepare for the investment opportunity?

The difficulty with investing is that often times you will find that when you find an opportunity to invest there is no cash available with which to make the transaction. This has happened to me on more than a few occasions. People who begin investing in the stockmarket tend to invest all that they have. If this is you then stop. Your actions are preventing you from taking advantage of the opportunities.

The solution is to always keep cash back for investment opportunities. You don't need to be fully invested all of the time. Keep 50% back in cash. This added discipline has the added bonus of preventing you from investing for the sake of it. 

In practical terms let's say that you've got 50% of your money in cash and an opportunity strikes. Of corse you will break the 50% rule to take advantage of it. But do not fully invest. Invest half of the remaining cash. Then build up your cash pot again and wait for the next opportunity.

In summary, you cannot time the market so don't try. Instead, have the discipline to hold a portion of your money back in cash to take full advantage of investment opportunities as they arise.

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Easy Steps To Becoming A More Environmentally Helpful Business

Your business and the environment

The following post has been contributed. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

It’s on everyone’s mind, nowadays. The idea of our responsibility not just to our fellow man, but to the world we live on. It’s a serious concern, that how we’re living isn’t sustainable. So everyone needs to start making the move towards a more environmentally healthy way of doing things. That includes business owners. Not only is it beneficial for its own sake, but it can help you win over customers, as well. So here are a few ways you ought to approach it.

Reducing carbon

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In most offices, one of the resources that is most broadly used is carbon. Particularly in the form of paper. Paper that goes to waste more often than not. So it’s paper waste you should seek to eliminate. Start moving to a digital form of storing, which is both cheaper and makes things easier to find. When you do need to print, make use of print services that can cut how much paper and money you use.

Your energy bill

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Electricity and heating are going to be another considerable cost, if not the biggest one besides paying for the office space. One of the best ways to cut down on it is also one that makes a much more pleasant work environment. Improving your heating, ventilation and air conditioning. This means you spend less energy creating that comfortable work environment. Replacing bulbs with LED lights and other eco-friendly fits can all do their part, too.

Be mindful of your water

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One resource is in serious decline but isn’t being taken as seriously as some other moves for sustainability. In your office, it’s as simple as fitting in smart faucets and smart flush toilets that use less water to get the job done. Besides that, you need to educate your employees on smart water usage. Similarly, check your meters before the working day begins to make sure you’re not wasting water through leaks. Finally, find where your used water is going and whether or not you can recycle it for other purposes.

Your staff and their commute

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It’s an individual responsibility but one that you can play a role in helping. For example, by setting up a carpool, less employees need to bring their own cars to work. Perhaps you might think of setting up a rewards scheme for those who are able to bike to work, too.

The community

It’s not just contributions in office life that can make a difference to the world. But rather, leading the way and encouraging your employees to get involved in community activities. If you want to find a good use of your resources, then see what you can offer to charitable events and fundraisers. Similarly, think of how you can lead the charge. Businesses have the benefits of reach and connection, so use them to start your own promotions and campaigns.

We hope this article helps. For a lot of businesses, the switch to a more conscientious manner of doing things can be relatively painless. All you need to do is find the changes you need to make.

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Revealed: The Devastating Reason Your Business Could Go From Boom To Bust

Saving your business

The following post has been contributed and provides an overview of how to prevent you Company going bankrupt. Please note that the following post may contain affiliate links:

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There are plenty of ways that you can lose money in business. You can overspend, and that could lead you to borrowing in the hope of keeping your company afloat. It’s an issue for sure, but it’s not the one we’re talking about today. This time, we’re going to focus on the main way businesses can lose money and be thrown out of the market. The problem comes from poor health and safety. If you have poor levels of health and safety in your business, it’s likely that your employees will be involved in accidents. They can then make personal injury claims against your company. You can read about this on a recent post at

At this point, your business could start to lose massive amounts of funding. To put this in perspective, over hundred thousand PI claims were received in the UK alone last year. Claims that were based on lack of mobility amounted to as much as five hundred thousand in damages each. Claims that were for permanent injuries ranged into the millions. Finally, there have been cases of brain injuries resulting in seven-figure sums. As such, it is certainly in the best interest of the business owner to keep the office safe. But how can you do this?

Keep It Clean

You would be amazed how many accidents or incidents are being in the office due to a wet surface or slippery floor. As such, you do need to make sure that your office or business property is cleaned and regularly maintained. You can not afford to risk the possibility of hazards building up. If this happens, it is likely at least one will cause a serious accident. You can look at cleaning services on a site such as They cover the full range of cleaning services that business owners might need.

Train Up Staff

Of course, you may need a hazard to be dealt with before the cleaning crew arrives. That’s why you should regularly be training all your staff in health and safety issues. This might seem like a  waste of time. During their time training, your employees will not be able to complete their regular work. However, you can always schedule these training workshops out of office time. They can be incorporated into team building exercises. If you do this, your staff should be able to handle most hazards by themselves. If a claim is brought forward, you will be able to show you took measures to prevent accidents.

Buy The Best Furniture

Lastly, it is possible that an accident occurs due to the physical actions of an employee. RSI is an example of this, but employees can still sue over this type of injury. Particularly, if they can show that they were expected to work in conditions that caused the injury. You can prevent this issue by taking two important steps. The first is to invest in furniture that stops the development of RSI. If your employees spend a long time working on computers, make sure they have the option of using wrist supports. Second, you need to encourage your employees to take five-minute breaks every hour. At first, this may seem as though your business is working at a lower level of efficiency. However, it’s far better than an employee suffering a permanent injury that you have to pay for. Learn more about RSI on

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