Your Business

From writing a business plan to VAT issues, this section contains a constantly-updated resource of useful information for businesses. Browse the topics below or use the site search feature to find the articles you need, then contact us for advice specific to your particular circumstances.

Can you cut your interest payments?

At Kirk Hills, we can provide businesses in the Exeter area with help and advice on finance and on a wide range of business issues. Here are some thoughts on reducing interest payments…

If you have a business loan, a commercial mortgage, or a permanent overdraft facility with your bank, the chances are you are paying more than you need to in interest.

Interest payments can be a significant cost, so any way you can reduce them will help to improve your profitability. Given the right circumstances, almost any kind of loan can be renegotiated, and it is surprising how easy it can be to lower your interest bill in this way. strictly employees.

At Kirk Hills we can provide businesses in the Exeter area with help and advice on finance and on a wide range of business issues. Here are some tips for reducing credit card fees… Did you know that the rates set by banks and other credit card companies are negotiable? Different companies have different charges for processing credit card transactions, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.

Credit card processing fees are determined by:

The number of transactions
The sterling amount of these transactions
The type of equipment used (use swipe machines not imprinters)
Your ability to negotiate fees with the bank
Depending on these factors and on the card used, processing fees can range from 1% to 4%. At the top end, the credit card company can be taking a large part of your bottom line away, and when margins are tight these fees can mean the difference between enjoying a profit or slipping into the red.

Trying to trim these costs by setting a minimum level for credit card transactions risks losing sales if the limit is set too high. A better way is to negotiate a reduction in the processing fee with your credit card company.

Businesses in the Exeter area needing to raise finance require professional advice, which Kirk Hills can provide. Here are some of the issues you will need to consider…
1. Choose the right financier
Spend time thinking about the most appropriate funding source for the project or objective. Long-term projects are probably not best funded by overdrafts or loans in debt. Learn about the various sources of finance and select those best suited to your purpose. If in doubt, seek our help.

2. Provide the financier with the right information
Often, unsuccessful applicants will complain that the lender did not seem interested in their business, but this is not necessarily the case. More often, it is not because the idea is lacking, or because the bank disapproves of the proposed development. Rather, it is because the proposal is not presented in terms that will appeal to a potential lender.

Make sure that you fully understand the information that the bank wants. This often means much more than simple financial projections.

To have confidence in an enterprise, a financier usually wants to gain an appreciation of the business, the quality and depth of management and the key people involved – and this information should be presented in a suitable way.

3. Take professional advice
It is best to use the services of a professional when preparing and presenting a proposal. We can help you prepare a solid, detailed business plan that will attract financial support, and perhaps identify potential financiers who will meet your needs.

A well-prepared proposal presented to a carefully chosen lending source will have a greater chance of success.

Don’t cut costs – manage them

At Kirk Hills, we can provide businesses in the Exeter area with help and advice on finance and on a wide range of business issues. Here are some thoughts on target costing…

When there is competition in a marketplace, one of the key factors on which businesses typically try to compete is price. But when you wish to lower the price of your product, you usually need to find ways of cutting the costs involved in bringing it to market. The traditional approach to cost reduction has always been one of trying to control costs during the production, or manufacturing, phase of a product. Unfortunately, this approach is becoming less and less effective.

This is because costs are often effectively determined at the design and development stage, and once a product reaches the factory floor there is often not a great deal you can do to reduce them. Combine this with the trend toward automation and streamlining in the workplace and it leaves very little scope for reducing costs during the manufacturing phase.

With little room to manoeuvre, manufacturers are often left fighting ‘rearguard actions’ to preserve market share, with reduced profit margins a frequent outcome.

At Kirk Hills, we can provide businesses in the Exeter area with help and advice on financial control, forecasting, and cash flow. As a business person, you will recognize the vital importance of financial control in sustaining and improving profitability.

Good financial control involves:

Deciding which areas you need to monitor and how frequently
Generating the numbers quickly and accurately
Sharing the results with everyone who needs to know them
Interpreting the numbers correctly
Taking appropriate and timely action based on your interpretations
The starting point is to set up a system that enables you to generate accurate reports as quickly as possible – certainly no later than ten days after the month closes.

To be fully in control, you need information on what is happening to your business now, not what happened weeks or months ago.

At Kirk Hills we can provide businesses in the Exeter area with help and advice on finance and on a wide range of business issues. Here is a checklist for reducing your utility bills…

Almost every business pays more than it needs to in utility bills. Conducting a utility audit might seem like a time consuming distraction but you could be pleasantly surprised by how much it adds to your bottom line.

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