Whether it’s specific questions about the services I offer at DRS Business Solutions, or more general questions about business, I make certain that I am available, as far as possible, to answer my clients’ questions during the working week.

However, if you’re not an existing client, and are simply looking to find out more about what I do and the sort of service I provide at DRS Business Solutions, have a look at these frequently asked questions and answers.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in this list of frequently asked questions, please get in touch – I will be delighted to hear from you and happy to answer your question.

I’ve lost sight of what is going on in my business. Can a Business Review help?

Losing sight of what is going on in your business is a common occurrence, especially when your business is growing, and there seems little time to do your own Business Review.

Often you no longer feel you are in control of what is going on – a sense that you are looking at the tip of the iceberg when you find out that something has gone wrong. In other words, could there be other problems of which you are unaware, just waiting to explode – very stressful! In this situation, I believe that a Business Review by an independent, commercially experienced professional can really help.
  • It’s  a highly focused review of your business, to help you identify your key issues.
  • It provides the basis for the preparation of a prioritised Action Plan, to make the changes necessary to maximize the profitability of your business, both in the short and long term.
  • It enables you to focus on skill, system, or control gaps and call in other professional resource to plug them.
  • It gives you the visibility that you previously lacked and the confidence to take your business forward
If you think you need a Business Review, please contact me, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.   Enter answer here

Why do I need a Business Plan?

I passionately believe that a Business Plan, together with a Financial Forecast (at least two years hence), will provide you with a clear statement of your vision, strategy and objectives, and bring you the following benefits:

  • It will set out clearly your strengths and that of your team, based on your past experiences.
  • It can be used to attract finance to fund growth.
  • It will provide much of the information required for a grant application.
  • It will help you communicate your business vision to your employees and stakeholders (instead of keeping it in your head!).
  • It will help you to identify potential risks to your business and set out strategies to resolve them.
  • It will include ‘what if’ scenarios and the consequences for your business.
  • It will provide you with a timetable for future profitable growth and the investments required to achieve it.
  • It will help you to demonstrate that you have appropriate contingency plans in place to recover from potential business disasters.
  • If you are considering a future exit sale, it will help you to maximise the value of your business.
Above all, a business planwill put you back in the driving seat of your business (where you should be, instead of being overwhelmed by the day to day stuff) and help you to focus on driving your business forward. So if you are ready to consider a business plan, please contact me, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.  

I am starting up my own business. Can I get a start up loan?

Yes, if you are starting up your own business it is possible to get a start up loan.

I know from personal experience, that starting a business is the most challenging time for any budding entrepreneur, especially if you have little by way of personal or family funds to call on. Traditional bank finance is usually hard to obtain, as you have no trading track record. However, there is now an alternative - a start up loan. A start up loan is aimed at any entrepreneur, who is a UK citizen, a UK legal resident, or anyone who is entitled to be in and work in UK, aged 18 or over, who is living in England. The Start-Up Loans is a national initiative and is a government backed programme. A start up loan is from £1,000 up to £25,000, with the final amount being determined by a Business Plan and a Financial Forecast. These documents, together with a number of other forms must be submitted to one of the bodies supporting this initiative. Once the Business Plan has been deemed viable, if your documentation has been filled out correctly and is adequately supported by evidence, such as quotes and estimates, most bodies will endeavour to have your loan approved within 5 working days. The Start-Up loan is a personal loan, which means if 4 or 5 people from the same business apply for a loan, all are eligible for an individual loan up to invest in their business. Applicants will be required to pay back the loan within one to five years at a fixed APR (annual percentage rate) currently 6.2%. Applicants can pay their loan off early without receiving any penalties. Start-up loans are accessible to anyone who has a business in its initial phase and it is less than 24 months since you started trading. So if you think that a Start Up Loan will help you kick start your business, please contact me, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.

What is a Business Grant? Is it free money?

A business grant is an amount of money given to an individual or business for a specific project or purpose.

If you own a business, you can apply for a business grant (usually only if you trade mainly with other businesses – ‘B2B’). They are often awarded by a local government body, but could come from Central Government or even the European Union. You will not need to pay a business grant back (providing you meet the award criteria) or pay any interest, but there is a lot of competition and grants are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project. This could include: plant, IT equipment, marketing, consultancy, building works or innovation. Each grant will have its own criteria that need to be satisfied, but creation and safeguarding of jobs is usually high on the list. So often, I find that business grant availability is a postcode lottery! In other words, the eligibility of your business for the grant may be dictated by its location. You will usually be expected to match the funds that you are awarded, for example, a grant might cover part of the cost of a project (up to 50%) but you will have to fund the rest yourself, either from your own resources, or by attracting funding. Business grants are usually awarded for proposed projects, not ones that have already started. The application process can be time-consuming, so if you have a pressing commercial need to undertake the project, do not rely upon waiting for the grant process to complete. I always say to business owners: never let the grant tail wag the commercial dog! That said, the application process often include the preparation of a Business Plan and Forecast, which is no bad thing, as it helps you to step back from the day to day requirements of your business focus on its future direction. This information can also help you attract finance to help you grow your business. In summary, whilst business grants are free, the application process is not, whether you do it yourself (which takes up your precious time), or work with a professional to prepare one (which I would recommend as it does mean you can keep focussed on running your business). Business grant availability is a moving target, so if you think you think you might benefit from a grant and would like to find out if you are eligible for one, please contact me, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.

What is business mentoring?

I believe that Business Mentoring can be a really powerful process to help you run your business.

Business mentoring is founded on a professional relationship, where you are the Mentee, and you utilize the services of a Mentor, usually a professional with extensive, practical experience in business. A good Business Mentor:
  • is a trusted confidante who will provide an outside perspective on you and your business.
  • will listen, confidentially, to the matters that concern you about your business.
  • will help you by sharing his / her own failures and successes.
  • will seek to give you friendly, unbiased, support and guidance.
  • will give you honest and constructive feedback.
  • will be a sounding board for ideas.
  • will facilitate your decision making by suggesting alternatives based on his / her personal experience.
  • will provide you with contacts and networks to further your personal and business development.
  • will provide ongoing support and encouragement.
If you think you or your company might benefit from business mentoring, please contact me through this website, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.

I’m trying to make a profit, but my business overheads seem so high. Is there help?

The answer is yes. I know all of us have business overheads, even when you are running your business from home, but it is vital to keep them under careful review, so that your ‘break even’ point is kept as low as possible.

If you wish to review your business overheads, it is important to choose experienced, professional specialists who will give you quality advice to maximize your savings and put some extra cash in the bank for you. There are good professionals out there who will even undertake the exercise at no cost to you! If you would like to find out how, please contact me through this website, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.

What are Embedded Capital Allowances? Can they help my business?

Can Embedded Capital Allowances help me get cash from my business premises, without renting any of it out or selling it?

You may be able to take advantage of this special tax relief, but, first of all, you need to answer these questions:
  1. Do you own a freehold or long leasehold commercial property?
  2. If so, is that property being used for a qualifying trade?
  3. Can you prove that you have incurred capital expenditure on that property?
  4. Are you a UK tax payer?
If your answer to these four questions is yes, then you could be entitled to thousands of pounds of refundable tax. Embedded Capital Allowances are a tax deductible allowance that can be set against business profits. Every commercial premises has some embedded capital allowances, but according to HMRC, some 90% of these are left unprocessed. So what kinds of expenditure could be classified as embedded capital allowances? Let me give you some examples:
  • Air Conditioning
  • Electrical, water, heating and sanitary systems
  • Fire Alarms
  • Kitchen Equipment
  • Moveable partitions
  • Mezzanine floors, where they are used as ‘oversized shelving’
  • Data and telecommunication infrastructure
  • Lifts and escalators
  • Furniture that has been fitted, such as kitchen cabinets and vanity units
These are just a few examples – there are many more. Identification of these items and preparing reports on embedded capital allowances is skilled work. I would recommend you carefully choose professional specialists who have had a high success rate with their submissions to HMRC. They can review your premises and assess the potential for embedded capital allowances in a brief initial meeting that should cost you nothing and commit you to nothing. You can contact me through this website, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.

Can I get Research and Development Tax Credits?

I’ve incurred substantial expenditure in researching and developing new products and processes for my company. Can I get additional tax relief via tax credits for this cost?

In principle, yes, but, first of all, you need to answer the following questions:
  • are you creating, or attempting to create, any innovative new products, services, systems or materials?
  • are you developing new processes for manufacturing or other business processes to gain competitive advantage?
  • are you taking on development projects where there was uncertainty, the work is experimental and you take the risk?
  • are you designing, installing and trialling bespoke engineering solutions or projects?
  • do you have failed projects of the above types?
  • Do you consider that the 'solution' cannot be readily identified by a competent professional?
  • Is this a significant development and not 'trivial work' ?
If you consider that you can answer these questions to your satisfaction, then you may be able to claim for Research and Development Tax Credits from HMRC.  You will be able to claim an additional 125% of any identified and agreed R&D expenditure within two years of the financial year end in which they were incurred. If your business has tax losses, it will be able to claim a cash refund equivalent to over 20% of the expenditure identified, or carry forward those enhanced losses to reduce corporation tax bills in future. If your business has chargeable profits, then these profits can be reduced by 125% of the expenditure identified, resulting in a lower corporation tax bill (and repayment if tax has already been paid) and / or revised tax losses to carry forward as above. To find out more, you can contact me through this website, email me at Ralph@drs-business-solutions.co.uk, or pick up the phone and call me on 0777 454 88 22.