Monday 19 November 2012

Learning new stuff for better small business performance

You’ve had a brilliant business idea. Or you’re brilliant at what you do, your speciality. Either way it doesn’t automatically mean you’re equally adept at every aspect of running a business. You can’t afford to employ experts in the early stages. Perhaps you don’t want to expand, happy as you are, there’s nothing wrong with that. But unless you’re a superhero you’ll need to brush up in some areas and learn new skills.

Pinning down the grey areas

1.       Jot down a list of your business-related strengths and weaknesses  
2.       Look for patterns and group your blank spots logically: 

·         Administrative
·         Financial
·         Systems
·         Sales
·         Marketing

3.       Put your blank spots in priority order using your business plan as a guide, basing your decisions on what you want your business to achieve and when.

Delve into DIY online learning

If you want to learn it there’ll be a course about it online. Often hundreds or thousands of choices from a vast choice of suppliers including trusted quality stalwarts like the Open University. You can take your pick from videos, how-to guides, animations, interactive and distance learning courses and qualifications, from dummy to degree-level and beyond.

Lose yourself in real books and ebooks

If reading is your favourite way to soak up new information, Amazon is a reliable source of new and used textbooks and course books. There’s also a world of useful stuff available on Kindle.

Face to face learning at our city’s excellent FE college

City College Brighton & Hove runs an impressive array of professional courses for the business community. Their part-time courses in employment-focused subjects are perfect for sprucing up your skills and boosting your capabilities. Courses are taught by people with recent industry experience, with professional backgrounds and recognised qualifications.

Private tuition

Do you know an expert, or know someone who does? Would they be willing to give you tuition on a paid or barter basis? Or would you like someone to simply be there for you, answering tricky issues you come across in your e-learning, testing your knowledge ad egging you on? Private one-to-one tuition and support suits some of us better than classes or DIY learning. It depends on your personal preferences.  If you’d benefit from private tuition you could even ask around at our next Curry Club event.  You never know!   

Business training in Brighton and Hove

We’re lucky to have a wealth of excellent training providers in the city. Here are just a few of them:

·         Silicon Beach Training (
·         Integration Training (
·         Achieve Coaching and Training (
·         The University of Brighton - Training and professional development (
·         The Life Project (
·         Sussex Chamber of Commerce (
·         Pitman Training Brighton (
·         David Foster Associates Limited (

Thursday 8 November 2012

10 Great Reasons to Outsource Your Payroll

 Big businesses can afford to maintain big payroll departments. For small businesses however, an in-house payroll service is a money burner. If you calculate the hours your employees spend on payroll-related activities, plus payroll software costs, training costs, printers, printing and distributing payslips, creating tax documents etc, you could be surprised by the result when you compare that amount to the cost a  payroll service provider can offer.

The payroll function can consume a large proportion of your staff resources, especially if the staff in charge of the payroll are not trained specifically to deal with it or have the payroll function as a smaller part of their overall responsibilities.  The benefits of  outsourcing the payroll include freeing up these resources allowing your staff to concentrate on more essential tasks.  You may even be able to reduce your staff's size. Outsourced functions also give you better scope for expansion of your company with scalable services suited to your business.

It can often be expensive to employ staff with the necessary training to operate a payroll system. For smaller companies where the payroll role is not enough to warrant a full-time employee, you may have to use your current staff to train in payroll as an additional responsibility to their core role. Your payroll staff will also need to keep up to date with the latest tax procedures and legislation.

Certain types of employment can lead to complicated payroll structures or scenarios. It pays to have a wealth of experience at your disposal which is something you are unlikely to have with a small in-house payroll department. A good payroll service provider will know all the ins and outs of payroll-related tax  laws and latest government legislation.

As payroll service providers are specialists, they can process even the most complex payrolls at a great speed, providing a quick turnaround time on your payroll when required.

Payroll mistakes can be painful, upsetting and stressful.  A good payroll service provider is far less likely to make a serious error than your in-house staff, as you are paying them for their expertise, knowledge and finely-tuned checking procedures they have in place.

In-house payroll activities function as reliably as the people doing the work. With a payroll service, output, speed and quality won't vary in accordance with holidays and sickness. There is always a risk that you may lose one of the key members of staff that deal with your payroll and all their knowledge walks away with them. If this happens you could find it extremely difficult to replace them, causing a logistical nightmare come payday. You also won't have to spend time training new staff or helping them to understand your business's payroll system.

Many payroll bureaux can offer small  and medium sized business total payroll packages in which all your payroll requirements can be met. With outsourced solutions, these packages are often flexible to meet your specific business model so you don't end up paying for something that includes services you don't need or misses key features that you do need.

Do you have the time and energy to closely supervise your business's payroll for time and rate abuses and other shady activities?  Most payroll bureaux have technologies that can spot and alert clients to various types of payroll fraud, such as payment manipulation and 'phantom workers'.

There's a lot to be said for the peace of mind that outsourcing payroll services can bring to a business owner or manager. No headaches, no hassles, no stress, no worries: You're left to focus on running your business knowing you payroll obligations are dealt with correctly, efficiently and lawfully.