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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the best threads and debates from the forums. This week was Budget week, and despite the expectation that Philip Hammond was going to make some bombshell announcements, the speech contained jokes and not much else. Still, there's a welcome reprieve ahead on business rates - read more in Francois's article here.
Here's some of the best advice from the last week:
Scott at Karma Content, General Business
Or, as Scott concisely puts it: “JUST TELL ME THE PRICE!!!! I DON'T WANT TO BE SOLD TO!!!!!”
Noah: Seen as commercially-sensitive information, innit? If they take that position, then they probably become paranoid about competitors masquerading as customers to extract their commercially-sensitive prices.
AllUpHere: There may be sound reasoning behind it. If they know their business and their marketing, they may have found that the people they manage to up-sell and cross-sell when they get them on the phone more than makes up for the potential clients who are put off.
Paul Norman: It is a function of what you are selling. If you want me to tell you the price of a jacket - I can do that immediately.If you want me to tell you the price of installing the Waste and Recycling Management software in your business, I honestly can't, because I don't yet know what that will involve without us having a chat.
CrushedBunny67, General Business
This week, CrushedBunny67 discovered that a café she’s long been a regular in has been put up for sale. The café is popular, in a good location and has plenty of repeat customers.
Though she admits that running a café isn’t something she’s considered before, she’s keen to get back to work after being a stay-at-home mum for the last few years. The owner would still be on hand to help and run through the basics, but she still wonders if it’s a “barmy” idea.
cjd: There's a lot of positives here - an established business with what seems to have a good reputation and a good handover period where you can learn the business. It seems also that you have friends with relevant experience that can also help.But you can't possibly know that it's 'cheap' without the numbers. The numbers come first, before anything else and the fact that it's 'vague' should ring alarm bells. You must insist on getting the financials before you invest more emotional commitments into this.
Café Course: I would encourage you to think about whether running a business is the career move you really want to make (it may well be). Running a cafe is many miles away and a very different experience from being a customer in a cafe. And the long hours can be difficult fitting in with family life.
Macmacman, General Business
When people pay us, macmacman explains, they sometimes pay by BACs. Since the goods aren’t released until the person has paid, the bank statement has to be checked every day.
macmacman doesn’t want the staff to have access to the business banking, so he ends up being the one to check the statement and inform a member of staff if the payment has been made. Is this the best way to do it – or is there a workaround?
Pentel: I have a similar issue and my workaround is to send an email each morning to all the relevant people with a copy and paste of the last 2 days of transactions from the website, edited to remove all of the payments out and the balances on the account.
deanpunchard: I'm interested by the movement towards transparency between owners, management and staff. Essentially in a model like this, everyone within the company can see turnover, sales, costs, etc as well as each other staff wages, dividends and bonus payment. If you have nothing to hide, then in theory there shouldn't be a problem.
MikeJ: On a practical level, we have an accounts person who has access to the bank. They'll pass on when a payment has been made. You don't need everyone to have access, but give it to a supervisor/accounts person.
Ashley_Price, General Business
In the practical business world of UKBF, blind optimism isn’t particularly common. But Ashley’s thread is a great reminder that sometimes we could all do with a positive affirmation to get us through the morning.
“The question was raised as I walked to work this morning,” Ashley says. “A sign on the dashboard of a parked car caught my eye. I thought it was a note, probably telling the parking warden the ticket machine was out of order. But as I drew closer I saw it just had two words, facing the driver's seat. It said “YOU MATTER'.”
David WH: Above the 40" TV in our office that displays the weekly calendar, we have “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Mark T Jones: I used to like these motivational quotes. Unfortunately my timelines have become so drowned in them that I don't even notice them anymore.
Pish_Pash: As a fully paid up and faithful associate of the 'school of modest knocks', this one particular lyric from those erudite lyricists Chumbawamba pretty much sums up my approach to life, and often comes into my head:“I get knocked down, but I get up again You are never gonna keep me down”
And on that motivational note – enjoy your weekends.