Starting a business

Budget 2021 and the implications for small businesses

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has delivered the 2021 Budget which was, as expected, was not full of joy for small businesses.

Some of the main points

  • Furlough to be extended until the end of September
  • Government to continue paying 80% of employees’ wages for hours they cannot work
  • Employers to be asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September
  • Support for the self-employed also to be extended until September
  • 600,000 more self-employed people will be eligible for help as access to grants is widened
  • Minimum wage to increase to £8.91 an hour from April


  • No changes to rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT
  • Personal income tax allowance to be frozen at £12,570 from April 2022 to 2026
  • Higher rate income tax threshold to be frozen at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026
  • Corporation tax on company profits to rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023
  • Rate to be kept at 19% for about 1.5 million smaller companies with profits of less than £50,000

The arts and sport

  • £400m to help arts venues in England, including museums and galleries, re-open
  • £300m recovery package for professional sport and £25m for grassroots football

Business, digital and science

  • Tax breaks for firms to “unlock” £20bn worth of business investment
  • Firms will be able “deduct” investment costs from tax bills, reducing taxable profits by 130%
  • Incentive grants for apprenticeships to rise to £3,000 and £126m for traineeships
  • VAT rate for hospitality firms to be maintained at reduced 5% rate until September
  • Interim 12.5% rate to apply for the following six months
  • Business rates holiday for firms in England to continue until June with 75% discount after that
  • £5bn in re-opening grants for non-essential businesses initially worth up to £6,000 per premises
  • New visa scheme to help start-ups and rapidly growing tech firms source talent from overseas
  • Business rates holiday extended to June
  • Contactless payment limit will rise to £100

Starting a business Video Marketing

3 ways for your business to get the best out of video

The importance of video in marketing your business cannot be over-stated.  Potential customers and visitors to your website are more likely to buy your product or service if there is a video there explaining or showing what you do.

There are many applications for video but here are just three to get you thinking…

Online video

People retain more information visually than on the page. Web videos help visitors to your site understand your product or service quickly and easily.  For example, a video on a local networking group uses real-life experiences to emphasise the benefits to freelancers and small business owners

Product Promotion

If you need more time to feature your product or product range, a longer video gives you and potential customers a more in-depth view.  If you are an hotel owner, a well-shot video brings alive the services you offer much more than static images.

How-Tos and Training

Online videos that explain how to use your product or train sales staff help you retain customers and enhance your brand

Starting a business

3 ways to starting a small business in 2021

Covid 19 has made many people reevaluate their personal and working lives. The option to starting a business has come to the fore in 2021.

The first question is what will your new business look like? Will you start straightaway or ease yourself in as a second income stream?

There are a number of options to consider:

Selling online

Some people start by selling using one of the many sites that buy and sell some as ebay, etsy etc. who allow you to set up ‘shops’ that help you establish a brand. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to start. What you need to consider whether you are selling stock you have bought or items you have made yourself. This is an ideal way to ‘test the water’ and see whether you are cut out for running a business.

Provide a Local service

There are a number of opportunities on your own doorstep. There is always room for provide a service locally: dog walking, gardening, cleaning windows/carpets, IT support, bookkeeping – the list is endless. You would be surprised how many successful business are based on simple services. One of my clients made a good living hoovering beds for customers with hotels and large houses!

Turn for job experience into a business

They say “playing to your strengths” so use your knowledge into a business. Everyone has the potential to turn knowledge into income. Consider using your expertise into a business – accountant, estate agent, IT expert, hairdresser – research your particular field and look into gaps in the market.

Starting a business

How to write a winning Business Plan – Outline

1. Cover Page

Always have a cover page with the name of the business and main point of contact. Add any other useful links such as website, social media accounts etc.


A contents page helps the reader navigate your document. Stick to section headings – it’s only a short document not a 500 page text book


This is where you tell the reader what you REALLY want them to know. This should be short (no more than 2 pages) and packed with sales points about your business: what’s great about your product or service, why it’s unique. Why you started it. If you’re looking for funding, tell them how much and why.


Some history about the business and why you started it in more detail (but not too much)


Go deeper into what you said in your executive summary. Be passionate, show them you care about what you do and how you want to make it a success.

  • Business ownership / legal status and reason for that status
  • Capital structure, stakeholder/owners’ stake
  • Owners’ vision and mission statement
  • Description of activities and any future activities
  • Key strengths, competitive advantages or any Unique Selling Points
  • Goals [short, medium and longer term]
  • Business Objectives for first year
  • Outline of strategy for success
Starting a business

Writing a winning business plan – Introduction

Let me begin by saying that is no magic formula for producing a business plan. If someone says that they can write a business plan for you, do not believe them.

The only person that can produce an effective, persuasive plan is YOU because it’s YOUR business. Only you can inject the right amount of passion and love for your product or service that will tell the world what a great business you have.

That said, it is always good to have a little help and this is what this guide sets out to do – show you how to sell your story in the best possible way using a tried and tested formula that I have used with countless business owners.

Why have a business plan?

Well you wouldn’t set off for a big trip in an unknown country without a map, would you? So that’s what we’re producing, a map of how you will get your business from where it is now to where you to want it to be in a year, two years, five years.

When you start a business you (hopefully) have identified a need and you have a way of fulfilling it. Sometimes the need exists or sometimes your market doesn’t realise it – yet – so you have to educate. Whichever is the case, you will have to research the market, estimate its size and work out how to communicate the benefits of your product to it. The business plan encapsulates all this and shows what processes will support it.

Who needs to read it?

Let’s get one thing straight. Your business plan is never finished. You can’t write it and then put it in a drawer, never to be seen again. You should revisit your plan a least once a year – preferably twice. Your thinking will inevitably change as your business grows and you learn more about it and your market.

You may at some point you may need some form of additional funding or capital either from a bank or an investor so this is where your plan comes into play. However, be aware that you will need to revise your plan to target your reader. Lenders and investors have different motivations. They are seeking as risk-free an involvement as possible. Banks want to be assured that you can afford to repay them and investors want a good return on their capital employed.

The Business Plan Template

As I have said before, the rule is there are no rules but there is a formula that if followed, will yield results. The following pages show the various areas that your plan should address. They are laid out in a certain sequence for a reason – they tell your story. From the Executive Summary – which is effectively your sales pitch- to the SWOT analysis it should be a smooth narrative that conveys the elements of your business in a clear and concise manner.

Don’t burden the reader with unnecessary detail or flowery language. I once saw a business plan that was over 100 pages long, guess how many people read it!

There are no hard and fast rules as to how long your plan should be, just say what you have to say and when you’ve said it STOP!

For more help, please contact me at