Piggybank News

December 13, 2011

FT reports on a “year of austerity”

Filed under: Business Advice,Hot tips — nspresources @ 1:26 pm
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The FT has just published a special report of the years financial highlights and lowlights. (Well, mostly lowlights!)  It makes interesting reading, especially with the application of a little hindsight.  Click below to download the report.

FT 2011 in financial news


November 16, 2011

Free invoicing software for small businesses

Sage have come up with a product that is free!!  It is designed especially for start-up and home-based businesses.   Clare Darrell of CygnIT mailed this across to me and  Piggy thought that it might be of interest to some of you, or maybe you know someone who might benefit.

The software is designed for invoicing your customers and chasing up payments simply.

Here it is… free Sage Invoicing software.


September 28, 2011

Improve your credit rating

One of the problems that seems to keep cropping up in conversation at networking events is how difficult it is to get finance these days.  People can’t get mortgages, investors can’t get development finance and even established small businesses seem to struggle.  We have been asked many times how it is that we don’t seem to have this problem with our own property portfolio.  Now to be truthful there is no one answer to this; but one thing you can do is monitor your credit rating and take steps to improve it  where necessary.  Whatever you do, do NOT pay anyone to do this for you.  The only way you can do this is by YOU doing it.

The obvious stuff to do is pay off any CCJs within 1 month of them being registered, pay your repayments on time and in full etc.  However there are a few more tricks which can help….

  1. Make sure that you are on the electoral roll.  This massively increases your credit score.
  2. Make sure you pay everything by direct debit to ensure payment.  If the payment is wrong you can always ask for the excess back.  If you under pay in their mistaken opinion they can lodge it as a late payment.  A surprising number of firms are very quick to register a late payment but never bother removing the notice after it has been corrected!
  3. Dispute ANY incorrect information – even small amounts unpaid will count against you.  So get a copy of your file and then make the effort to write to the credit reference agencies and get them to correct it. It can take a while for corrections to appear and this can be time-consuming to follow up but it is well worth the effort.
  4. Get credit!  One of the oddest things about the credit scoring system is that people who have no history of debt, because they always pay everything up front and don’t have credit cards, generally have the worst credit scores of all.  It is important to build up a history of paying debt on time and in full.  The easiest way to do this is to put all your shopping on the credit card and then pay it in full via direct debit.
  5. Go easy on credit checks.  Keep them to a minimum.  Unfortunately the more checks the lower the credit score.  This also applies to multiple checks from mortgage companies – do your research about the mortgage product and the lenders criteria in advance so that you are unlikely to need more than one check done within a short space of time.  A good mortgage broker will be able to advise you on this.
  6. Separate your accounts.  If you have a joint account with someone who has a rubbish record then get rid of that account.  Take your name off it and inform the credit agency you no longer have an account with them or are linked with them in any way!

September 21, 2011

How to work well from home

September 12, 2011

Sweeping change proposed for UK banks

Filed under: Business Advice,Hot tips — nspresources @ 11:12 am
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The FT is currently running an in depth investigation on whether the global banking system is any safer three years after the crisis broke.  Follow the series of articles here http://www.ft.com

July 7, 2011

Where Do You Fit In the ESBI Quadrant?


It was some years ago that I was given a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad by my (very poor) dad for Christmas.  I passed it on to my husband and that is pretty much how our property portfolio began.  If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend it.

One of the useful concepts introduced in the book is the ESBI Quadrant.

Here are what the letters in each quadrant represent:

mployee: Employees earn income by working for other people.

elf-employed worker: Self-employed people earn income by working for themselves – they own their jobs.

usiness owner: Business owners earn income from the businesses they own

nvestor: Investors earn income from their investments – from money generating more money

Everyone is at least on one spot of the quadrant. Generally speaking, people in the B and I quadrants reach their financial goals more quickly than people in the E and S quadrants. The good news for you, if you inhabit the E an S sections of the quadrant, is that you don’t have to be stuck there.  Indeed, Robert Kiyosaki contends that if you want to be financially free you have to move to B and I quadrants.

Changing quadrants means altering who you are, how you think, and how you look at the world.

July 4, 2011

10 Ways To Write Adverts That Sell.

Filed under: Business Advice — nspresources @ 2:38 pm
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Follow the advice of the world’s great advertising copywriters and watch your sales soar!

1. Target Only Those Who Can And Will Respond.

Forget trying to attract the world to buy your product or service and concentrate on those who can and will respond to your offer. Know your audience and write directly to them. Make your offer as appealing and persuasive for those people as you possibly can.

2. Write To Sell Not To Impress.

Put the thesaurus away. The point of your advertising copy is to increase sales and profits not to make people gasp in astonishment at your cleverness.

America’s top copywriter Gary Bencivenga says;

‘Effective copywriting is salesmanship in print, not clever wordsmithing. The more self-effacing and invisible your selling skill, the more effective you are.’

3. Sell One Thing At A Time.

Don’t try to sell the entire shop in your copy – offer just one product, one service or one idea. You can always tell customers about all your other fabulous products and services later.

4. Tell Your Customer What To Do.

This may seem obvious but it is so often forgotten… too many advertisements do a great job of educating and persuading customers but leave out the

most important bit – the part that tells the prospect what to do… so tell your customer to buy now and then lead them through the buying process.

5. Provide Compelling Reasons.

Your copy must provide compelling reasons why your product is better than any others, why prospects should believe what you say is true and why they should act IMMEDIATELY.

6. Perfect Your Headline.

The most crucial part of the advertisement is the headline… it’s the hook that captures your customer’s attention and motivates him or her to continue reading. It’s the first step you take in persuading anyone to buy your product or service.

A headline, according to copywriting expert Robert Bly, not only gets attention, it selects the audience, delivers a complete message and it draws the reader into the body copy.

To determine whether your headline is strong enough, use the ‘4-U’s’ formula created by copywriting expert Michael Masterton: ask yourself whether your headline is urgent, unique, ultra-specific, and useful.

Rate your headline on a score of one to four for each of the four ‘U’s. If it scores less than a three or four on at least three ‘U’s (urgent, ultra-specific, useful or unique) you need to rewrite it.

7. Make It Easy To Understand.

Keep your customer in mind when you write your advertising copy. Always make it personal: use the word ‘you’ throughout to emphasise the point that you are addressing the reader directly.

When you’ve finished, put the copy aside for a few hours or even a day if possible then pick it up and read it aloud.

8. Don’t Bury The Treasure.

If you have a great offer, reveal it (or at least make mention of it) at the beginning… don’t be too coy and make your reader wait until the end to discover your great offer because they may not bother reading that far and you’ll have lost an opportunity for a sale.

9. Write Like A Thriller Writer.

Keep your words, your sentences and your paragraphs short. It makes it easier for your reader to understand what you are saying and retains their interest.

Break your copy up. Great chunks of copy look intimidating and even boring. If you’re writing a long sales letter, break your main points up with catchy interesting sub-headings. Make liberal use of bullet points, numerals, dots and dashes – anything that makes it more visually appealing.

10. The Most Powerful Word Is ‘Free’.

The word ‘free’ is still the most powerful word that you can use in advertising. Everybody wants to get something for free. Robert Bly says other powerful words or phrases include: ‘how to’, ‘why’, ‘sale’, ‘quick’, ‘easy’, ‘bargain’, ‘last chance’, ‘guarantee’, ‘results’, ‘proven’, and ‘save’.

Don’t be put off using them just because they are so frequently used, he says, adding that they are used because they are so powerful. ‘Grade your performance as a copywriter on sales generated by your copy, not on originality.’

Now use it in every aspect of your marketing materials.

December 1, 2009

How free internet networking can boost your business profits.

My friend Liz at the Best of Milton Keynes just mailed me info on this free webinar about using free social networking sites to boost your business profits.  I will certainly be attending and I thought that Piggybank readers might also find it of interest.  See details below.


How to make Facebook and Twitter work for your business and boost your profits


Founder and CEO of thebestof, Nigel Botterill will be hosting a webinar with Mari Smith, the President of the International Social Media Association. Mari, who was born in Scotland but now lives in San Diego, has been dubbed “the Pied Piper of the Online World” by FastCompany.com and is known worldwide as ‘the Queen of Facebook’. She is one of the world’s top Social Media Keynote Speakers and Trainers.

This webinar is completely FREE and it’s for you whether you already use Facebook or Twitter to market your business and especially if you don’t! The great thing is that you can partake from the comfort of your office and desktop!

It’s all happening on:

Monday 14th December – 6.00pm (for 60 minutes) (more…)

November 18, 2009

10 Steps to Success.

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting of the MK Cashflow Club where Lindsay Hopkins was speaking.  He gave an excellent talk on the work and life habits which he has used to help build his 5 (!!) businesses and extensive property portfolio successfully.

There is an outline of his talk on the Club blog at



April 27, 2009

How will the Budget affect your business?

Filed under: Business Advice — nspresources @ 3:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,

budget-briefcaseThe Chancellor gave his Budget Report on 22 April 2009

Below are Piggy’s highlights for small business owners…..

The Business Payment Support Service which helps businesses that are having difficulty due to the existing economic conditions, has been extended with regard to corporation and income tax.

This number of small businesses who can return a simplified Three Line Tax Return has been increased. The Limit is being increased from the current amount of £30,000 for trading or self employment income and £15,000 for property income to permanently align it with the VAT registration threshold of £68,000 from the tax year 2009/10.

There is a new temporary rate of 40 per cent for capital allowances – first year allowance for expenditure on general plant and machinery.

The loss carry-back rules, which were extended in the Pre-Budget Report in November 2008, are to be extended for a further year for both limited companies and the self-employed.

VAT changes to modernise cross-border trading will be introduced over a three-year period from 1 January 2010.

The standard VAT rate will return to 17.5 per cent from 1 January 2010.

Corporation Tax rates for the financial year 2010-11 will remain unchanged with the main rate at 28 per cent and for the financial year 2009-10 the small companies rate will be 21 per cent.

Business owners who have earnings in excess of £150,000 (or employees in this wage bracket) will also need to be aware that there are changes to both the additional tax rate and the tax relief on pension contributions.

Read the report and further information on the HM Treasury website – Opens in a new window.

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