- Get paid sooner! Encourage your customers to pay more quickly, by giving small discounts or just by chasing them promptly. Send out invoices for completed work as soon as possible, and for long term projects ask for stage payments on account.
- Promote best value products. If you have a range of products or services, look at giving more prominence to the best value items in your marketing.
- Talk to your bank. Keep your bank informed, especially if you are going to have a need to secure extra funding or even renew existing arrangements. If fees are being increased it may pay to shop around for facilities.
- Take advantage of the crunch. If you are cash positive, turn the crunch to your advantage. Some businesses may be keener to make a sale so those with cash to spend may be able to negotiate some great bargains, especially for early payment!
- Staffing needs and working hours. Consider asking staff to change their working hours to part-time or flexi-time, with an appropriate drop in total pay. Or to take their holidays now if business is slow. If a skilled member of staff is about to retire ask them to stay on part time, as this may be cheaper than recruiting a new employee.
- Office rent. Ask your landlord if you can change from a quarterly payment in advance to a monthly payment. Or with improvements in technology perhaps now is the time to consider if you could run your business from home and make use of home workers and lose the office rent altogether!
- Don’t forget the marketing. Whilst cutting back on costs can be necessary in a recession and it may be tempting to cut the marketing budget, it may prove a false economy if sales suffer. Whilst others cut back on their marketing, you may be able to use this to your advantage and keep on marketing to get a larger share of the present market.
- Renegotiate with suppliers. Review the agreements you have with suppliers for continuing services, such as; security, energy, or cleaning. Can you renegotiate any of these contracts to get a better deal?
- Reduce tax payments on account. Review the projected tax payments for your business. Payments on account for unincorporated businesses can be reduced and reclaimed if you are confident of the final taxable profit figure. This is a good reason for getting the accounts completed quickly after the year end.
- Carry back losses. If your business is likely to make a loss for the current year, quantify that loss as soon as possible and submit a claim to carry back the loss to get a refund from HMRC.
HSBC will move its UK retail business to Birmingham in the next four years, restoring the bank’s links to the region which date back to the early 19th century.
Around 1,000 staff will head north from London to Birmingham by 2019, when new rules forcing banks to erect a firewall between their personal and business banking operations, and their investment banks.
The move will see HSBC’s UK retail bank, which is formed largely from the old Midland Bank it acquired in 1992, return to its Birmingham roots. The company was founded on Union Street, Birmingham in 1836 before later moving its headquarters to London.
HSBC said it was in “advanced negotiations” to acquire a lease at Arena Central, a new office block in central Birmingham, and had chosen the city after considering a number of locations. The bank said a review had determined that London was not the best place to headquarter its retail business, given its diverse spread across the UK.
Birmingham is already a major financial services centre. HSBC has around 2,500 staff there and Deutsche Bank set up a trading floor in the city in 2013.