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Get a Business Bank Account That Your Company Can Bank On

When operating a business it is always recommended you establish separate business bank accounts through which you can run your day to day business finances. This will make reconciling money in and out a great deal easier and will avoid upsetting the tax authorities by mixing your personal expenses with business expenses.

It also looks a lot more professional to write cheques that show the business name and for your customers to make payments to you in the name of your business and not you personally.

Most UK banks offer an initial period of free banking so it need not cost you a penny and in fact can actually make you money if you choose the right account.

Which business account should I choose?

Most UK banks offer business accounts so it is simply a case of assessing which features you will use the most. The ideal account is one that offers an initial period of free banking for at least 12 months. Make sure that when they say free business banking they really mean free! Check for transaction limits, some may have limits on how much cash you can deposit over the counter free of charge. Others may put limits on how many cheques you can write per month. If you exceed any stated limits they typically charge a small fee per transaction outside of the limit.

It is also worth considering the interest rate paid on any finds you hold in the account. Some businesses can hold considerable amounts of money in their account.

Assess the available business accounts until you find one that best fits the way you operate your business.

How do I manage my business bank account?

Most banks offer the ability to manage your business account directly through your local branch, over the telephone, by post or via the internet.

The internet is often the most useful way of managing your account, especially if your customers pay you by bank transfer. By using online facilities you will always have a real time view of your account.

If your business does not deal in physical cash transactions then there is often no real need to have a personal bank manager. You can bank online, receive and send payments directly to and from your account. If you receive cheque payments you can often post these directly to your business banks processing centre.

Business Savings account – Business Reserve account

It is always worth opening a reserve savings account for your business which can be linked to your main business account. This type of account typically pays a higher interest rate than the main account so you can sweep any surplus funds to this reserve business account. You might as well maximise your profit while you don’t need the money!

Switch Business Accounts to stay free

Many businesses just stick with the same old business account even after the initial free period has expired. There is no reason why you can not switch your business account to another bank that will happily offer you a new free period of banking in return for your custom.

Just make sure that if you close your old account you have informed anyone making regular payments to you that you have new account details. Many banks offer a switching service to assist with this process.

Business Credit Cards

In addition to your business account that will offer you a debit card facility you can also apply for business credit cards. A business credit card can offer various benefits. First off it offers a short term borrowing facility, typically 56 days interest free after which you will need to clear the balance. If you need to borrow short term just pay at least the minimum payment.

By clearing the balance each month you can hold the money due to pay the card in your business reserve account and earn interest whilst the credit card is giving you interest free borrowing.

There are often additional perks like air miles which you can use personally. Free personal travel insurance is another useful perk that can save you money personally.

Just be aware of the annual fees connected to business credit cards. If you are not going to benefit from short term borrowing and the added perks then this may not be worth using for your particular business.

Other considerations

- You can have as many business accounts as you wish so if there are two banks with features you like then open two separate accounts.

- If you need to borrow money from the bank you may benefit from a more personal relationship with you business bank. In this scenario a branch based account may be beneficial

- You don’t have to be tied to your bank for all aspects of finance for your company. Pick and choose the most suitable providers for services such as merchant accounts for taking card payment or Factoring services.

Shop around for the best deal and don’t just accept paying fees for use of a business bank account. Remember, treat your business account as if it is your own money and make it work for you!

Nolo’s Crash Course in Small Business Basics by Richard Stim

Nolo’s Crash Course in Small Business Basics is just what it claims to be. It is a very good source for basic business information. It is provided on 5 audio CDs that are approximately one hour each. The packaging is not as fancy as many of the other audio programs I have, but that does not distract from what is important, the content. (Basically you have five CDs in slip covers inside the box).

The information on the five CDs would be very valuable for the person with little business knowledge who wants to start a business. As the title suggests, this is Small Business Basics. It is by no means everything, but it is a very good start. There is a lot of practical advice on these discs. For the experienced business owner, or someone who has studied business, there would not be as much value because it is just the basics.

The five CDs contain information as follows:

Disc 1

This disc points out that this set is aimed at people who need the basics and the briefly defines success for a small business owner: Love what you do, be good at what you do, and there has to be a market demand for what you are selling.

The rest of disc one focuses on money matters. It starts with managing your money. The program covers a lot of important topics and provides useful information such as the difference between accounting and bookkeeping, accounting methods (cash vs. accrual), cash flow, basic accounting principles, equity, debt, and financial forecasting.

The program includes a lot of good advice such as keeping your business and personal accounts separate, including checking accounts and credit cards. There are also a lot of references and information sources provided with places to find these on the Internet.

An important topic regarding money is getting paid. This program provides some good basic information on ensuring you get paid for your products or services including things like accepting checks and credit cards to dealing with debtors and those customers who have not paid.

The last portion of the program on disc one has some advice on raising money for your new business.

Disc 2

This disc focuses on protecting your assets. It covers topics such as setting up corporations or LLCs to provide liability protection and insurance that also provides protection. There is a general description of the various business formations such as sole proprietorships, Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs. The second half of the CD focuses on insurance and the kinds of insurance available and how some insurance is required and some just recommended.

This would be a very good CD to listen to before going to see your attorney to help with business formation or going to see your insurance agent to discuss your insurance needs. This disc provides some good basic information that will assist you in discussing your needs with your legal or insurance professional.

Disc 3

This disc focuses on marketing basics. The disc starts out saying word of mouth from happy customers is the best. The disc then goes on to discuss various ways to market and advertize your business to help increase sales. It starts out describing the difference between marketing and advertising and then the disc provides strategies for both, but focuses more on marketing without advertising, and they even provide a good reference on marketing without advertising.

There is a lot of good practical information on this CD to help market your business. Even if you are marketing, you may find some alternate ideas and some tips to make what you are doing even better. There are also some good suggestions for advertising.

The final portion of this CD covers taking your business online, and it provides some good information regarding creating websites and blogs and the information you need to get going, drive traffic to your site, and make sales.

Disc 4

Employees, contracts, permits and licenses are topics that must be dealt with by some businesses. Some types of businesses don’t have near as many of these as others. This CD sets forth the basics and offers general guidance for those small business that need to hire someone, and how to ensure you have the right permits and licenses. It provides the basics for employees vs. independent contractors, something very useful for many small businesses. There is also some good advice regarding hiring family members. The general information on this CD provides guidance as to what kind of licenses and permits you should check on to make sure you are operating with all your local requirements.

The final portion of this CD covers basic contracts. Oral and written agreements are part of everyday life, and especially with business life. One must have a basic understanding of contracts to run a business successfully and this CD provides those basics. Again, this information would be good to listen to before discussing the specific contracts you have your own lawyer draft. Or, you may want to draft your own, and there are some tips and suggestions for resources to do-it-your-self contract drafting.

Disc 5

The fifth and final CD in this set focuses on business taxes and deductions. Just like the previous disc would be useful before talking with you attorney or insurance agent, this CD would be useful to listen to before talking with your accountant.

There is a general overview on how various businesses are taxed and what kinds of taxes need to be paid such as income taxes, self-employment taxes, and sales taxes. There is also a good bit of information regarding deductions, and very important topic for small business owners. Listening to this CD will provide ideas for the small business owner as to what kinds of things can be deducted. As I stated, listen to this before going to your accountant to discuss your business tax needs.

Conclusion:

Personally, I really like audio programs. I am always listening to them in my car, while exercising, and at various other times. This is a good program to listen to in order to gain some general information on starting a small business. They are good to listen to in order to prepare to discuss your business with those professionals that are assisting you.

One negative thing about listening to these is all of the outside sources that are suggested and provided are not accessible when I am usually listening to audio programs. While driving, exercising, etc., you can’t look up those sources, so you have to remember where to go back when you are in front of a computer. (Don’t get me wrong, I like the extra resources, but they are not useful in my car or other places)

I also received a set that had CDs 2 and 3 mislabeled. No big deal, just have to remember which is which next time I listen.

This would be a very good audio program for the individual who is starting out with a small business. There is a lot of practical information provided and a wealth of other resources as well.

How a Business Mind-Set Can Affect Your Physical Business

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a small, local coffee shop (hopefully in a town sans Starbucks, for your sake), or if you’re looking to build an online dynasty of technology information and products. Every type of business requires the same confidence, drive, and perseverance to get it going, and having the right business mind set can greatly improve your chances of success. In the advancing world of e-commerce you might think that your business idea won’t bloom if it’s not an online business. However, that’s a false assumption to make. As long as you are starting a business that is needed in the location you choose, having a traditional offline business can be just as successful as starting an internet domain.

There are thousands, if not millions, of successful businesses that have been started as online companies. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that offline businesses are a thing of the past. On the contrary, there are many types of businesses that people prefer to have a physical location for, and some business that don’t suit the online world that are needed out there. Thus, if you’re feeling defeated in your desire to start an offline business, you need to change your business mind set; you need to be positive, inspired, and believe in your business.

Having the right business mind set really can make or break your business success. People think that the economy and other external factors will influence their business much more than they actually do. As long as you’re not trying to start a business selling products or services that aren’t needed, your business can thrive in any economy. Ultimately, in writing your business plan, you’ll determine the market for your business, including whether there is one or not. If you’ve got a good idea and a great product or service, the success of your business is in your hands.

If you believe in your business, and have a passion for success and a commitment to yourself and your product or service, you’ll succeed. It sounds too simple, but it really is that easy to succeed in your business ownership. If you believe in yourself and your business, you will be better poised to achieve your goals. If you’re achieving your goals and won’t settle for less than success, your business will grow and thrive because you have a business mind set and are dedicated to succeeding. It might take some time to get into the right frame of mind, but adapting to the thinking and mind frame of a business owner is essential to your business’s success.