Spring Newsletter

The latest News from Fredericks Foundation 


Let’s Stay Together

New General Data Protection Regulations come into effect on May 25th. The new regulations are designed to ensure that your data is not misused or stored without your consent. As a charity, we take this very seriously and have never shared your details with anyone outside of Fredericks Foundation.

BUT we also need to prove that we have your permission to contact you about the work of Fredericks Foundation.

So all we need you to do is send an email to the address below, type 'YES' in the subject and press send. Easy peasy!

 gdpr@fredericksfoundation.org

You mean a lot to us and we would love to stay in touch.

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We Are Crowdfunding

On 8th May Fredericks Foundation is launching a Crowdfunding Appeal
and we are looking for your support.

“I honestly don’t know what I’d have done without Freddies. They believed in me when everyone else thought I was worthless.”
— Pia - The Vanilla Pod Bakery

Please click below for more info

 Video created by Big Yellow Feet

Video created by Big Yellow Feet

Our aim is to build a Women's Loan Fund to enable us to provide loans and support women with a viable business idea who cannot access funds from banks and other conventional lenders. We believe in a hand up, not a hand out.

The Women's Loan Fund will lend small amounts of money to women, who then repay it in order that others can then receive help from the fund. We see this as a sustainable solution to the lack of affordable start up finance available, specifically to women.

If you would like to support our Crowdfunder Appeal and help more women start their own businesses and change their lives and their families lives for the better, please donate what you can and share our appeal with others.

Please contact katy@fredericksfoundation.org for more information.


Fundraising Heroes!

We would like to say a huge thank you and well done to the team from Hiyacar who braved the mud, obstacles and water of Rough Runner on Sunday 15th April to raise money for Fredericks Foundation. 

The brave team took on the obstacle course challenge, combining distance running with a variety of obstacles along the way, each inspired by game shows such as Total Wipeout, Takeshi’s Castle, Gladiators, and Fun House. 

One member of the team said: 
“The event was great, tough but fun. Everyone was exhausted and a few minor scrapes, but all worthwhile. It’s our pleasure to support such a worthy cause.”

The team raised over £1000 for Fredericks Foundation which will make such a difference to our clients looking to start up their own business and change their lives forever.

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Thank you Team Hiyacar!

The smarter, key-free way to hiya cars from people just like you!


Mentor Training Day Success Supported by Capital Group

The first of two planned mentor training days took place on 22nd March 2018 at the offices of the Capital Group in London. 

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Firstly, we cannot thank Maeve Murray-Smith, James Hanford and the whole team at Capital enough for the tremendous facilities, delicious lunch and generous on-going support that they extend to us at Fredericks Foundation.

We were delighted to have Kerrie Dorman, the Founder of ‘The Association of Business Mentors’ as our trainer for the day. As one of the attendees said

‘"Kerrie elicited really interesting contributions from the participants and sent us all away with a much improved understanding of our mentoring role."

Fredericks Foundation is dedicated to providing our much-appreciated volunteer mentors with as much help as possible to assist them to provide the best possible service to our clients.

"It was great to get together with other mentors from Fredericks and to exchange experiences and thoughts on mentoring, all within a well-structured day."

There were 12 attendees on the day from all corners of country, who not only came away feeling that they had gained some very useful and practical insights, but that they also had fun. The feedback rated the day 8/10 and gave us some interesting ideas as to how we can improve going forward.

"It was brilliant to see such a fantastic amount of brain power and experience all in one room, all of which is available free to Fredericks clients."

We are beginning to plan a second Mentor Training Day, this time in Lightwater Surrey, either in October or November 2018. One disappointment was the lack of female attendees at this last one, let's try to correct this for this next one!
 
To express advanced interest in attending this second training day please contact peter@fredericksfoundation.org


Client News

Congratulations to Big Yellow Feet for reaching the finals of the 2018 Charity Film Awards for their charity video for RADLD. The video was a huge success, and was viewed on YouTube more than 16,000 times! The awards ceremony takes place on 11th May and we wish all at Big Yellow Feet all the best of luck for the night!

Click below to watch:

 Congratulations to Client Danielle from OhMySkin who’s skincare products have been shortlisted as a 2018 ‘Best Special Innovation’ Finalist  by The Pure Beauty Global Awards. The 2018 Pure Beauty Global Awards celebrate the most exciting new beauty products launched around the world! 

Click below for more details:
 


Client Spotlight on... 

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Big Yellow Feet is an award-winning corporate video production company. 

They specialise in B2B business films, HR training and internal communication videos, promo films, and commercials. Their services include everything from initial concept and script development through to live action filming, visual effects, motion graphics, and post-production. With over 16 years of experience, they take pride in delivering outstanding and cutting-edge videos with attention to detail and creativity that is second to none. Their production team is committed to fulfilling your unique needs and always strive to go beyond your expectations. 

Big Yellow Feet are always happy to provide quotes and advice so please feel free to contact them and they will gladly help. 

www.bigyellowfeet.co.uk


Volunteer News

Mentor Guide 2018

A new Fredericks Mentor Guide is now available for our registered mentors. The guide outlines the duties and responsibilities of being a mentor  and offers advice on mentoring strategies and how to get started.

To obtain you’re your copy please email peter@fredericksfoundation.org.

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Pop Up Business School

The PopUp Business School is an exhilarating five-day course showing you practical ways to get a business idea off the ground and launch online - without spending any money or writing any business plans!
 
Secure your free place now at popupbusinessschool.co.uk/reading-uni
 

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To sign up for our Newsletters, please contact katy@fredericksfoundation.org

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What kind of charity charges an interest rate?

By Duncan Parker, CEO Fredericks Foundation

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Background

Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. In Fredericks Foundation case, we lend to those typically excluded from mainstream lending, usually because of credit history issues.

Fredericks (and therefore the microfinance ideology) believe in the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognised that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending financial difficulty.

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Go Fishing!

You will be familiar with the proverb ‘ give a man to fish, he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. Well the ideology of micro finance as a poverty alleviation tool takes this a step further and enables the man (and woman) to own their own fishing rod and tackle by lending them money. This has two main benefits… firstly, the money that someone donates to us helps people over and over again (and one day we can stop fundraising) and secondly, it gives the beneficiary (we call them clients) self esteem as they have not received a hand out, but rather a hand up.

Charging an interest rate enables us to protect our capital and generate revenue to cover our overheads. If we are not sustainable we will not survive. If we do not survive, our clients will be at the mercy or more predatory lenders.

Fredericks accepts a higher than normal level of risk to help those most in need and our interest rate in some way helps to protect against that risk of loss and so protects the donation given to us.

Fredericks is a charity providing loans to those who are unable to obtain credit to start or support their businesses. Initially our interest rate was 4 %. However, after 9 years of data we found on review that this was not sustainable and had some difficult choices- either we stopped lending or we increased our interest rate. We did the latter. 

We increased our rate to 19% Apr. 
We found: 
 With increased support defaults went DOWN. Thus interest rate is NOT material in the businesses success. Far more important is the business plan and support. Our default rate is half that of commercial operators in this sector before they abandoned it all together

We work on a reducing balance and believe our rate to be affordable. For instance, our average loan is £5000 over 3 years. The cost total is £6664. Moreover Clients can pay back early WITHOUT PENALTY.

If our clients can get a loan less expensively we encourage them to do so. We are really lender of last resort.  Fredericks lends responsibly. If we think they cannot afford repayments, we will note make a loan. 

We are willing to make very small business loans.  It is as costly to do this in terms of staff time as it is to make a larger loan (in fact, arguably more so because people need support to develop the loan application), but obviously we earn far less on these small loans.  

We also have to cover capital losses, which will be higher at this end of the market.  However, it still represents far greater value than a grant, since we get ~70% of the principal back, which can be redeployed.

The mentoring offer is embedded in the loan, so clients are deriving that value without having to pay an additional fee for it.

Finally compare our APR with market leaders : ours is 19% theirs is 1500% or even standard institutions such as the banks, FOR THIS MARKET SECTOR FREDERICKS IS VERY COMPETITIVE.

 "Fredericks provides a vital service offering not just money but bespoke support appropriate for the client I cannot speak highly enough of them"
Little p nursery. 

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Blimey – this is interesting…I’ll read a little bit more….

Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. In Fredericks Foundation case, we lend to those typically excluded from mainstream lending, usually because of credit history issues.

Fredericks (and therefore the microfinance ideology) believe in the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognised that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending financial difficulty.

Why do we charge interest? Don’t charities usually give money away?

Microfinance providers believe that the best way to combat poverty (in many cases – not all) is to find a sustainable solution – one that doesn’t need constant new funds – in our case as a charity, continued fundraising and donations. This makes us very different from many other types of charity who need to fundraise on a continual basis to deliver their services (i.e. animal welfare charities, health care charities, elderly care charities etc.).

Microfinance is different – the money we receive from donors (or investors) has the potential to never disappear and if managed well, actually grown. We lend £1 out, and we expect to get that £1 back. In a perfect world where there were no costs to the transaction (i.e. if all our infrastructure was free, all our staff were volunteers and most importantly, we always recovered the £1 lent out) we wouldn’t need to charge interest – unfortunately that isn’t the case. So let’s look at those costs in more detail.

Costs that Fredericks have to pay

There are three kinds of costs that Fredericks has to cover when it makes microloans. The first two, the cost of the money that it lends and the cost of loan defaults, are proportional to the amount lent. For instance, if the cost paid by us for the money we lend is 10%, and it experiences defaults of 4% of the amount lent, then these two costs will total £14 for a loan of £100, and £70 for a loan of £500. An interest rate of 14% of the loan amount thus covers both these costs for either loan.
The third type of cost, transaction costs, is not proportional to the amount lent. The transaction cost of the £500 loan is not much different from the transaction cost of the £100 loan. Both loans require roughly the same amount of staff time for meeting with the borrower to appraise the loan, processing the loan disbursement and repayments, and follow-up monitoring. 

At first glance, interest rates can look high to many people, especially when the clients are poor. But in fact, this interest rate simply reflects the basic reality that when loan sizes get very small, transaction costs loom larger because these costs can't be cut below certain minimums. 

Profitability and sustainability of MFIs

In our sector, excessive concern for profit in microfinance, and the demands of some funders, is leading other MFIs away from poor clients to serve better-off clients who want larger loans. It is true that programs serving very poor clients are somewhat less profitable than those reaching better-off clients, but this is where Fredericks Foundation feel called to serve. 
 
There are cases where microfinance cannot be made profitable, for example, where potential clients are extremely poor and risk-averse or live in remote areas with very low population density. In such settings, microfinance may require continuing subsidies. Whether microfinance is the best use of these subsidies will depend on evidence about its impact on the lives of these clients.

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Should I Become a Mentor? 

By Peter Kelly

Volunteer Coordinator – Fredericks Foundation

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Many people have asked me why they should become a mentor. It is not an easy question to answer as it really does depend on the individual. To help people decide if they should become a mentor I normally go through the process of discussing the following with them:


•    The reasons  that individuals become mentors.
•    What a mentor does.
•    Why someone needs to have a mentor.
•    What makes a good mentor.

Why does someone become a mentor?

The main reasons given are:
•    To help someone else succeed and gain a sense of satisfaction themselves.
•    To have a feeling of giving something back.
•    To improve their own management skills.
•    To make additional use of their own experience and knowledge.
•    Improve their own personal self-development.

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What does a mentor actually do?


In general, a mentor provides support by offering information, advice and assistance in a way that empowers the mentee. The business mentor is primarily concerned with helping to ensure that the business survives. They:


•    Work with the client to develop a list of competencies required/needed to make the business successful.
•    Act in the best interests of the client at all times and attempt to encourage and motivate. Pointing out opportunities as well as potential pitfalls.
•    They will try and put themselves in the client’s shoes so as to get a complete understanding of the client.
•    They must recognise what motivates a client to learn and take action.
•    Help a client to set achievable goals and realistic plans and help them implement them.
•    Monitor the client’s progress and provide good feedback.
•    Provide a role model and pass on skills.
•    Give encouragement and provide motivation.
•    Be genuinely interested in the client’s development and their business.
•    Enable the client to make informed decisions.
•    Assess the client’s progress against the business plan.

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Why does a client need a mentor?

A client must always want to have a mentor. The relationship must be mutual. Most clients understand why and how they can benefit from a mentor. They understand that they can:

•    Gain access to additional people and resources.
•    Get a greater understanding of how the world of business operates.
•    Develop greater skills.
•    Benefit from feedback from an experienced third party.
•    Be helped to focus on the right goals and not be distracted.
•    Increase their chances of success.
•    Have a shoulder to cry on when needed.

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What makes a good mentor?

This depends on the individual requirements of the client, but in general someone who has started up and developed their own business or who has been involved in business for a number of years. In doing so they have experienced all the trials and tribulations of being in business. A good mentor will have the following attributes:


•    Empathy.
•    A desire to give something back.
•    The ability to listen effectively and care about the client.
•    Be well networked.

Now I have a question to ask you: Is this you?


If so and you would like to volunteer as a mentor for Fredericks Foundation then please contact me at peter@fredericksfoundation.org
 

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February Newsletter - The latest News from Fredericks Foundation

We Are Crowdfunding!

Fredericks Foundation is very excited to be launching a Crowdfunder Appeal to raise funds for the Women’s Loan Fund. The Women’s Loan Fund was launched in September and our aim is to eventually build a £2 million fund to enable us to provide loans to women with a viable business plan who have been turned down by conventional lenders.

Although their numbers have increased, women are still under-represented in enterprise. Moreover, women often have responsibilities that make traditional employment difficult, especially if under zero-hours contracts.  In 2016 in the UK, lone parents with dependent children represented 25% of all families with dependent children, and women accounted for 91% of lone parents. Many women are also carers for elderly, sick or disabled family members.  For some of these women, self-employment represents the best or only opportunity to work.

The appeal goes live in April, so keep a look out for it. Please do lend your support to this worthy project by donating, telling your friends and sharing it with your networks and on social media.

Thank you.

Before you even start crowdfunding, start building a crowd first.” Roy Morejon

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For more information please email katy@fredericksfoundation.org


Let's Stay in Touch!

Communicating with Fredericks Foundation supporters is absolutely vital to us! 

However new GDPR regulations are being introduced which mean we need to contact everyone on our database to ask them to opt in to future email communications.

In the near future, we will be sending out an email asking you to opt in to future emails. We kindly ask that you click on the link in the email to ensure that we can keep you up to date with our exciting news and events.

Many thanks for your continued support!

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A Fond Farewell to Fredericks Team Member

Fredericks Foundation are very sad to be saying goodbye to popular team member George Halford.
George has been an integral part of Fredericks Foundation from the very beginning, which is nearly 20 years. George will be truly missed by the whole Fredericks Team. Thank you to George for all of his hard work, dedication, humour and for having a gadget for just about everything.  

All the very best for the future George.
 

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Love What You Do!

Don’t settle for an unfulfilling job just because you can’t access enough funds to start your own business or grow an existing one! Fredericks Foundation can help you with startup loans of up to £15,000 and expert mentors to support you on your journey to success.

#lovewhatyoudo  #nowyoucan #success

See our loans at http://bit.ly/2ikkEeq  
 

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Looking for Challenge Champions

Are you taking part in any amazing challenges this year or next? Maybe it's your first 10K run, triathlon, 100 mile bike ride, parachute jump, marathon, open water swim or maybe you're climbing a mountain? 

If so why not use it as an opportunity to also raise funds for Fredericks Foundation? 

Gaining sponsorship for a personal challenge not only supports a good cause but  it can also help build confidence and your determination to succeed.

Fundraising doesn't have to cost you a penny or even take up much of your precious training time. Online fundraising platforms such as Virgin Money Giving are quick and easy to use and sharing your fundraising page with friends has never been easier! 

Fredericks Foundation will also be here to support you every step of the way.

Please do get in touch with Katy if you would like to hear more about how we can support you.
 

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Free Mentor Training Day


We are pleased to announce that Fredericks Foundation is holding a mentor training day on Thursday 22nd March.

The training will be located near Victoria Station and will run from 9.30am to 4.00pm. The training will be conducted by Kerrie Dorman, the founder of the Association of Business Mentors.

Each attendee will leave with a copy of ‘The Mentoring Manual’ by the best selling Julie Starr.

There is no cost to attend this essential training day but places are limited to only 12. Please register your interest as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

To register interest please contact Volunteer Manager Peter Kelly on peter@fredericksfoundation.org.

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Office Volunteer Required

We are looking for a volunteer to assist the Volunteer Manager for one day a week.

The volunteer would be required to help allocate mentors, from our existing database, to our new clients and then to follow up with those mentors to see how the clients are progressing.

Applicants should be within commuting distance of Lightwater, Surrey and should be available either on a Tuesday or Wednesday each week. Please note that this is a voluntary position.

New Mentors & Panellists Required

Here at the Fredericks Foundation we always have an urgent need for new mentors and panellists.

Mentors: If you are based in England or Wales and would like to look after one or more of our inexperienced, fledgling entrepreneurs then please do contact us. We are painfully aware that there are many of you in the past who have already volunteered to be mentors and that we have not been in contact for some time. If this is the case could you please re-confirm your interest and we will contact you.

Panellists: If you live within commuting distance of Lightwater, Surrey, and would like to take part in our application approval panels then please do let us know.

In addition, with the launch of the Woman’s Loan Fund we are actively looking for female mentors and panellists to support the increasing number of female clients that we are assisting.

Please contact
peter@fredericksfoundation.org
to express your interest.

10 Quick Ways to Raise Your Profile

by Lesley Anne Rubenstein-Pessok

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You are probably reading this article because you have realised the necessity to raise your profile. You are also probably aware that marketing has changed in recent years – big time!  It’s all about who you are and why you are doing what you are doing.  People want to know what’s your story?! You need to realise that you are the brand!  You are the broadcaster!  You are the storyteller! You are the reason people will buy what you are selling, or not! And it doesn’t matter if you are selling services, products, yourself, or an investment opportunity. That being true, you need to raise your profile!

Now more than ever, credibility and your personal PR are important. You need to be found online easily, in the right places, and for the right reasons. So, what are the ‘right places’ and what are the ‘right reasons’?

The ‘right places’ depends on what you are selling.  Are you selling your personal abilities and skillsets?  Are you selling a line of medical devices?  Are you selling B2B enterprise software?  Whatever you are selling, you do not want to be found looking worse for wear during or after a hen night, because you forgot to change your privacy settings on FaceBook or Instragram or wherever else you post selfies!  That would raise your profile for all the wrong reasons, and most likely cost you.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to google yourself every so often to see what appears, as well as checking your social media outlets via the ‘incognito’ chrome browser or equivalent in other browsers.

But I digress.  Let’s assume your privacy settings are perfect or you never do or post anything your Mum would be ashamed of and let’s now go back to the original question of ‘what are the right places’?  For example, if you are selling B2B enterprise software, where would I expect to find you to check out your ‘street cred’ in the field, so-to-speak:

First and foremost – Linkedin.  It’s commonly known as the FB for business people although lately there have been arguments as to what is suitable for LI and what isn’t.  People who still aren’t on LI shy away from it but for now, it’s not going away and a really important, and useful tool for checking people and companies.  With that in mind, you really do need to figure out how to use Linkedin and the best way to do that, is to start using it! So, back to you – if I wanted to check you out, one of the first places I would go to is your LI profile and look at:

  • Who you are connected to in the industry?
  • Who has recommended you and what they are saying about you?
  • Who have you recommended and what for?
  • What groups are you a member of?
  • What articles have you published?
  • What skillsets have you been endorsed for?

Re the endorsements on LI, these are far less important than recommendations because anyone can endorse you and it’s very easy to do so.  I’ve had people endorse me soon after linking in with me and they have never interacted with me in a sufficient manner as to be able to endorse me so anyone knowing LI will view your endorsements with a pinch of salt, unless you have a relatively high no. of endorsements for a particular skill-set.  On the other hand, recommendations have a filter on where you have to declare how you know the person you are recommending, so while they could still be false, it is less likely. A great way to raise your profile is to have excellent recommendations on LI and the best time to ask for one, is after you have completed a great job for your client.

Next, I would visit the company website and look at the news section, the About Us, the Team Members, and see where you fit, and what is said about you.

At some point, sooner or later, I would google your name and if it’s a common name, the company you are associated with, to see what comes up.

Bearing all of above in mind, you need to think where you should put your precious online time raising your profile.  Where do you want to be found?  Where are people you respect in the industry found?

It is when you ask those questions, you will start to figure out the answers of where best to raise your profile. So here are some tips for you to think about:

  • Complete your Linkedin profile to 100% by following their instructions
  • Start discussions on Linkedin
  • Join relevant Groups on Linkedin and join in discussions, aiming to get people reading your responses to check out who you are
  • Connect with people in the industry on Linkedin
  • Connect with people in the industry on Twitter and create relevant lists
  • Create boards on Pinterest that would interest your target audience
  • Blog at least twice a week
  • Vlog as often as possible
  • Start a discussion on quora.com or respond to relevant discussions
  • Get speaking positions at relevant conferences and exhibitions

 

About Lesley Anne Rubenstein-Pessok

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Lesley has worked with technology and innovation led companies for all of her working career. With an educational background in electronics, natural and medical sciences (BSc, M(Med)Sci) and managment (MSM), she is well poised to work with start-ups and companies interested in growth or turnaround. She is a Founder and Managing Director of LAR Consultancy Ltd and MediSpera Ltd, a medical device import & export business. She is a member of the prestigious UK Business Advisors and their affiliated local groups, Home Counties Business Advisors and London Group Business Advisors. She mentors companies in Essex on behalf of the Essex County Council's Innovation Programme, and is a judge for MassChallenge.

A Success - Jeremy Houghton Private View

On Monday 22nd January Fredericks Foundation was delighted to host a Private Viewing of internationally acclaimed artist, Jeremy Houghton’s Exhibition. The exclusive event gave the guests an opportunity to view Jeremy’s wonderful collection and also to purchase the artwork. Jeremy also kindly offered to donate 25% of all sales proceeds to Fredericks Foundation.

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The wonderful fundraising event, held at Gallery 8 on Duke Street was well attended with over 40 guests who all enjoyed browsing the artwork, a glass of fizz and nibbles, and some good conversation. The prosecco served on the night was kindly donated by Fredericks supporters Sporting Class.

During the evening Duncan Parker, CEO of Fredericks gave the audience a quick overview of the work of Fredericks Foundation and how vital it is to continue to support those in need. Duncan said,

“Fredericks Foundation's mission is to provide access to small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit in order to create choice not charity, and to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives, and to build a society based on dignity not on handouts.”

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Jeremy also addressed the guests telling them about his work, his impressive list of residencies, about his future plans and invited them to ask him any questions. Jeremy’s impressive achievements include being an official artist for London Fashion Week in 2008, the Olympics in 2012, artist in residence at Highgrove 2013, Windsor Castle in 2014, Goodwood in 2015, artist for the James Hunt 40th Anniversary, Race Against Time Expedition to the North Pole 2016, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing, America’s Cup and the official artist for the Wimbledon Championships in 2017.

On the night Jeremy sold several paintings including artworks named, Walk this Way, Pink Sky at Night and DB3 at Goodwood. Thanks to the generosity of the guests and Jeremy’s 25% donation, these purchases raised over £1500 for Fredericks Foundation.

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Duncan Parker summed up the evening by saying

“The event was a wonderful success and we are delighted by the turn out and money raised. We hope that everyone enjoyed the evening as much as we did. Thank you to our guests for attending on a cold Monday evening, to Sporting Class for the delicious fizz and to Jeremy for his generosity and for sharing his incredible exhibition with us.”

 

 

A Small Business Accounting Checklist – help keep your business healthy

By Paul Maddison, Bookkeeping Intelligence.

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What tasks should you be undertaking to keep your business healthy?

Daily Accounting Tasks

1. Check Cash Position

Start your day by checking how much cash you have on hand. Knowing how much you expect to receive and how much you expect to pay during the upcoming week/month is important.

 

Weekly Accounting Tasks

2. Record Transactions

Record each transaction (invoicing customers, receiving cash from customers, paying suppliers, etc.) in the proper “account” daily or weekly, depending on volume.

3. Document and File Receipts

Keep copies of all invoices sent, all cash receipts (cash, cheque and credit card deposits) and all cash payments (cash, cheque, credit card statements, etc.).

Start files, sorted alphabetically, for easy access. Create a payroll file sorted by payroll date and a bank statement file sorted by month. Avoid the temptation to wait until the end of the month, or quarter, or even the end of the year, to file your paperwork. Unless you have a small volume of transactions, it’s better to have separate files for assorted receipts kept organised as they arrive. Many accounting software systems let you scan paper receipts and avoid physical files altogether.

4. Review Unpaid Bills from suppliers

Every business should have an “unpaid suppliers” folder. Keep a record of each of your suppliers that includes invoice dates, amounts due and payment due date. If suppliers offer discounts for early payment, you may want to take advantage of that if you have the cash available.

5. Pay suppliers

Track your accounts payable and have funds earmarked to pay your suppliers on time to avoid any late fees and maintain favourable relationships with them. If you are able to extend payment dates to net 60 or net 90, all the better.

6. Prepare and Send Invoices

Be sure to include payment terms. Without a due date, you will have more trouble forecasting revenue for the month. To make sure you get paid on time, always use an invoice template that contains the right details such as payment terms, itemised charges, your contact details and payment details.

7. Review Projected Cash Flow

Managing your cash flow is critical, especially in the first year of your business. Forecasting how much cash you will need in the coming weeks/months will help you retain enough money to pay bills, including your employees and suppliers. Plus, you can make more informed business decisions about how to spend it.

All you need is a simple statement showing your current cash position, expected cash receipts during the next week/month and expected cash payments during the next week/month.

Monthly Accounting Tasks

8. Balance Your Business Bank Account

You need to know that your cash business transaction entries are accurate each month and that you are working with the correct cash position. Reconciling your cash makes it easier to discover and correct any errors or omissions—either by you or by the bank—in time to correct them.

9. Review Past-Due (“Aged”) Receivables

Be sure to include an “ageing” column to separate “open invoices” with the number of days a bill is past due. This gives you a quick view of outstanding customer payments. The beginning of the month is a good time to send out overdue reminder statements to customers, clients and anyone else who owes you money.

10. Review Stock positon

If you have stock, set aside time to reorder products that sell quickly and identify others that are moving slowly and may have to be marked down or, ultimately, written off. By checking regularly (and comparing to prior months’ numbers), it’s easier to make adjustments quickly so you maintain an accurate position.

11. Process or Review Payroll and Approve Tax Payments

You will have an established schedule to pay your employees (usually monthly), but you also need to meet PAYE/NI. Review the payroll summary before payments are disbursed to avoid having to make corrections during the next payroll period. A payroll service provider can do all this to save you time and ensure accuracy at a reasonable cost.

12. Review Actual Profit and Loss vs. Budget and vs. Prior Years

Your profit and loss statement (also known as an income statement), both for the current month and year to date, tells you how much you earned and how much you spent. Measure it against your budget every month (or quarter). Comparing your actual numbers to your planned numbers highlights where you may be spending too much or not enough, so that you can make changes.

If you have not prepared a budget, compare your current year-to-date P&L with the same prior-period year-to-date P&L to identify variances and make adjustments.

13. Review Month-End Balance Sheet vs. Prior Period

By comparing your balance sheet at one date to a balance sheet from an earlier date (i.e. 6 months earlier) you get a picture of how you are managing assets and liabilities. The key is to look for what is significantly up and/or down and understand why.

For example, if your debtors are up, is it due to increased recent sales or because of slower payments from customers?

Quarterly Accounting Tasks

14. Prepare/Review Revised Annual P&L Estimate

It’s time to evaluate how much money you are actually making, whether your net assets are going up or down, the difference between revenues and expenses, what caused those changes, how you are spending profits, as well as identifying trouble spots, and making adjustments to improve sales and margins.

15. VAT Return

If your company is registered for VAT, make sure your quarterly VAT return is submitted. Take the opportunity to review and use to review/update any budgets.

Annual Accounting Tasks

16. Review Debtors

Now it’s time to check significant overdue debtors and decide whether you think these customers will eventually pay or whether to write them off.

17. Review Your Stock

Review your current stock to determine the value of items not sold and any obsolete stock. Any write-down of stock can translate to a reduction in year-end taxes.

18. Review and Approve Full-Year Financial Reports and Tax Returns

Carefully review your company’s full-year financial reports before giving them to your accountant. Before you sign your return, be sure to review it for accuracy based on your full-year financial reports. If HMRC audits your company and finds any underpayment of taxes, it will come to you, not your accountant, for any additional taxes, penalty and interest.

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5 Reasons Why You Need To Write A Business Plan (And Use It)

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Named as one of The Independent’s 20 Extraordinary Women of 2017, Ali Golds is a growth coach, speaker, and author who helps women to achieve their best - both personally and through their business. She has worked with start-ups through to multi-million-pound companies, as well as advised awarding bodies and other leading education based organisations on enterprise and entrepreneurship; culminating in being appointed lead adviser on a UK government review of entrepreneurship education, 'Enterprise For All', in 2014. 

Ali specialises in coaching female founders, particularly single mums and women who’ve experienced domestic abuse, and is passionate about empowering them to achieve economic independence. www.aligolds.com

Below are Ali’s 5 Reasons Why You Need To Write A Business Plan (And Use It)

When I started my first business in 2000, one of the things I knew I had to do was to write a business plan. It’s number one on the official checklist of Things to Do When You Start Your Own Business.

I spent a week or two hunched over my computer, researching potential customer groups and competitors, and pulling together all manner of financial information, before assembling it all in a folder, bought especially for the job; and then filing it away on the shelf above my desk and never referring to it again.

My suspicion is that I’m not alone, and that’s assuming the business owner has written a plan in the first place (I’ve met a number who haven’t). I’m the first to admit that it isn’t the most fun of tasks but it’s necessary, and extremely helpful. After all, you wouldn’t go on a long journey without a map, or into the dark without a torch – so why would you start your own business without writing a plan?

Need convincing?

1.      A business plan brings clarity

One of the things that I find useful about writing a plan is that it helps me to think through what I’m doing through the coming year, and where I’m taking my business. It also helps with anticipating potential challenges along the way (and there’s always a few of those).

2.      It’s useful for banks and investors

When you start your business, or want to borrow money, you’ll be asked to show a copy of your plan to the bank manager. It shows them a level of commitment, and also enables them to talk through your idea and perhaps offer some advice (always helpful). For those growing their business, investors will require an in-depth business plan to assess whether they’d be prepared to invest.

3.      It can highlight areas for development

I’ve had some of my best business ideas whilst I’ve been writing next years plans. The process of unpicking what went right this year, and what went wrong, and then using that incredibly valuable information to plot where I want to take my business over the coming year, really aids my creative thinking.

4.      It helps you to be more organised

Knowing that I need to achieve even bigger targets and goals over the next 12 months means that I move into hyper organised Ali mode. I consider the skills and attributes that I’ll require for any new employees, the operational arrangements for my team, my marketing and sales strategies, and the financial requirements that underpin it all. Knowing that I need this information in place ahead of time means that not only can I make informed decisions at a more leisurely pace, but I’m also less stressed about it (and running your own business is stressful enough without adding to it).

5.      It brings great satisfaction

Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason for doing something beyond the fact that it just makes you feel better. This is one of those moments. We often forget the enormity of what we’re doing when we start and run our own business, we just take it in our stride and do what needs to be done, missing the incredible achievements and moments of glory that just become part of everyday business life. Writing a plan forces us to reflect on the year that’s ending, and in doing so we can see exactly what we’ve achieved. Take some time to celebrate your achievements, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and use all that experience and knowledge to plan and build an even more successful business in the year to come.