R&D Tax Credit Specialists

R&D Tax Credit Specialists

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Mike Newnham, Quantum R&D Tax Specialists, about Research and Development (R&D) Tax Claims, for Ed’s podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Newnham’s teachings and illustrate them here:

The R&D Tax Credits Scheme is a simple process which rewards companies for being innovative.  It can be an incredible support to business due to the implications on corporation tax.


What Is An R&D Tax Claim?

An R&D tax claim is an amendment to the corporation tax return.  It tells the HMRC:

  • you’ve been doing Research and Development
  • what you’ve been doing
  • the costs incurred
  • that you’re entitled to money back under the scheme.


How Much Can I Claim?

The R&D Tax Claim looks to enhance your R&D costs by 130%, thereby reducing your profits and allowing you to pay less corporation tax.  For example, if you spent £100K on R&D, this would be enhanced by 130%, equating to a £230K total for R&D.

Note that you don’t have to make a profit in order to claim R&D Tax.  In this situation, you can surrender the claim at 14.5% and get this back.  For example, if your loss is £230K, you can claim this back at 14.5%, as cash to put back into the business.  There are no restrictions on how you can use this cash, and many businesses have used this money to hire new employees, initiate a R&D project, or to buy equipment.

There is also no limit regarding how much can be claimed which makes this scheme more accessible to small businesses who may wish to claim smaller amounts of £1K for example.  There used to be a £10K limit meaning that in order to claim, your costs needed to be £50K plus.


Am I Eligible?

Most businesses don’t realise they’re doing Research and Development.  However, the claims aren’t purely for technology companies, it can apply to any type of business.  In order to qualify, you need to be trying to make a technical advance in order to solve a problem, where there’s not an obvious or simple solution.  For example, you could be a cleaning company developing eco friendly cleaning materials or a new app.  Many businesses conduct R&D at some time in their business so it’s worth reviewing the R&D tax credit scheme.


How Do I Claim?

You firstly complete your Corporation Tax Form (CT600) then you file an amendment (tax claim).  Both can be done online.  The amendment needs to include two other reports: a financial report containing details of salaries, subcontractors, consumables/materials/prototypes/software and utility costs; and a technical report containing details of the project(s) undertaken, the difficulties you faced, and the process involved.


Note that you don’t have to succeed in solving the problem in order to claim.


If you would like to know more about the R&D Tax Credit Scheme, please read here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-development-tax-relief-for-small-and-medium-sized-enterprises


If you’d like to talk to someone about a potential R&D Tax Claim, get in touch with Quantum Tax.  Their contact details are available on their website https://www.quantumtax.co.uk/


If you need help with your accounts, completing your corporation tax form or complying with other business obligations, get in touch with Mushroom https://www.mushroombiz.co.uk/


Jargon Buster

To simplify the technical terms used in the podcast, we’ve provided an explanation of each below:

  • CT600: form number of the corporation tax return
  • R&D claim: amendment to CT600 (corporation tax return)
  • Tax credit: deduction on tax liability
  • Technical advance: advance in science or technology that doesn’t already exist
  • Financial report: details all costs incurred in doing R&D
  • Technical report: details the technical advances, difficulties you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them

How to spot the first signs of failure

How to Spot the First Signs of Failure

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Ron Mitchell of Business Rescue UK, for his podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Mitchell’s teachings and outline them below:


Businesses In Trouble

Business owners or directors don’t aim to get into problems and this usually only happens once, therefore they have no experience.  Some will wait till the 11th hour before getting help.  The earlier you contact someone for advice and help, the better, however there is always opportunity for recovery and success, if you get the right support.

When your business is in trouble you might contact an insolvency practitioner, accountant, or you could contact Business Rescue.


Insolvency Practitioners

One of the options for a business in trouble is to contact an Insolvency Practitioner.  An Insolvency Practitioner will use either an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) to help keep your business running.  This involves making an arrangement with your creditors to either pay all or some of the debt off over a period of time, usually five years. This may include selling off some properties, ending leases, etc.  One of the issues with a CVA is that it's advertised, so becomes public knowledge.  Other businesses become wary and any existing credit accounts could soon be replaced with proformas.   But in certain circumstances, a CVA works well.  The client states how much will be paid on a monthly basis, based on a realistic income and expenditure analysis.


How Can Business Rescue Help?

Another option is to contact Business Rescue.  Business Rescue is a group of businessmen who’ve experienced running companies that have had difficulties.  When they are contacted by a client, they ideally like to carry out a ‘business medical’.  They look at all aspects of the business, find the root problems from a business point of view, review all the options available and recommend actions in the short term and long term, that are required in order to improve the direction of the company.  So for example, a lack of cashflow can be a problem but what has caused this?  The answer depends on the solution required in order to repair it.  Unlike some other organisations, Business Rescue aren’t restricted in terms of the products they can offer and work with various other service providers to help turn businesses around ie. Finance, legal, debt management, employing new management, etc.  But the client chooses and Business Rescue will work with them, building up a good relationship.


Business Rescue offer a similar product to the CVA (mentioned above) but Business Rescue negotiate with the creditors. The agreement doesn’t become public knowledge and the only parties aware of the arrangement are the creditors, the client and Business Rescue. They look to pay 100 percent of the debt off within the five years, but there's no restriction, so can extend to six or seven years.  And the established supplier credit accounts are kept.


When Business Rescue are first approached for help, they generally have to take action quickly and buy some time.  They will call creditors telling them of their involvement, that they’re reviewing the situation and will contact them with a plan in a month.  During that month, they complete their ‘business medical’ as mentioned previously.  Business Rescue once received a phone call from someone who stated they had a winding up petition, due to be heard, the following day.  So they had to arrange a barrister to attend court the next day in order to at least get an adjournment while they completed their business medical.


Potential Problems

 There are many reasons why a business develops difficulties.  Internal and external change is always likely so needs to be monitored and planned for.  A few examples of potential problems are:


  • Major customer goes bust
  • Past loan has enormous interest rates
  • Product Life Cycle changed – now lack of demand
  • HMRC debts
  • Supplier relationship is weakening
  • Losing valuable staff
  • Cashflow problems


One of Business Rescue’s clients runs a commercial laundry.  He was subcontracting some of the work and doing hotel laundry for very major hotels.  Unfortunately the subcontractor had a fire and the majority of sheets and blankets were destroyed.  The subcontractor wasn’t insured, and had to replace £75,000 worth of linen for a hotel the next day.  The problem wasn’t the fire, but lack of insurance.  Often the essentiality of these products doesn’t become obvious until there’s a problem.

Another thing that seems obvious is having a business plan, even if it’s on one sheet of paper, with a plan of where the business is going.  Most businesses don’t, and they also don’t monitor what’s going on in their business.   They have no idea what their sales forecast is.  They might have a historic set of accounts but they don’t use them to regularly measure the key factors, graph them or look for trends, to help identify any early warning signs.

Some small traders have started business because they may be a technician, a plumber, bricklayer etc. and that's what their skill is. The company's got bigger, but they haven't been taught management and business skills to cope with this.   Small companies tend to work hard and keep going until the problem becomes too big.  But any business owner needs to understand his business or understand what’s going on in his business and it’s amazing how many people don’t.


Business Rescue help businesses as much as they can and are aware of the difficulties involved, particularly for a small business owner or SME, where for example, the owner’s house might be in jeopardy, he is in fear of losing the business and may not yet have told his wife.  He’s putting his future in Business Rescue’s hands so there’s a big responsibility involved.  However having shown their clients direction, many retain their services as business mentors to help out in the future.


Is your business in difficulty?  If you would like to find out more about how Business Rescue could help, click here.


If you’d like some business support (so you are less likely to need to call Business Rescue) please contact Mushroom by clicking here.

Setting up shop in Europe?

Setting Up Shop in Europe?

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Marcus Broix of Trade with Europe for his podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Broix’s teachings and illustrate them here:

Trade with Europe ultimately helps companies trade in the EU.  They’ve been helping businesses for two decades but after Britain’s vote to leave EU, Broix realised many UK companies would need support and solutions to trading in the EU in the future and therefore changed their business model in 2017.

The general election on 12th December saw Conservatives win by a large majority.  Before this there was major uncertainty.  Conservatives offered to complete Brexit, Labour offer ed another referendum, Liberal Democrats offered to cancel Brexit altogether.  So with Conservatives in power and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, what is likely to happen going forward?  Firstly, Broix says that nothing will change until end 2020 and that changes will happen from 2021.


The Deal

Boris Johnson’s deal includes 95% of Theresa May’s deal.  However the 5% change is crucial and is much closer to ‘no deal’ in terms of its effects for UK businesses.  May’s deal stated that the UK needed to stay in the EU Customs Union, Johnson’s deal doesn’t.  This means that if nothing happens by the end of 2020, on 1st January 2021, UK businesses will have to pay full tariffs, and for any exports they need a full customs declaration.  This also applies if a free trade agreement isn’t signed by end of 2020 which looks 99.9% unlikely to happen.  The trade agreement would agree how UK businesses will be able to trade with Europe and the rest of the world.  It affects other countries outside the EU because the EU has 8 free trade agreements with 80 countries which UK will not be part of anymore.

May’s deal included a mandatory need for a level playing field in that, there would be alignment between UK and EU regulations.  Johnson’s deal does not include this, which means social work, medical and agricultural regulations could differ.   Europe will not accept any deal that softens its standards which could make further progress regarding a trade deal by end 2020 difficult.  However, due to current discussions between Johnson and the US regarding salvaging the NHS, is Johnson moving away from the EU and looking for a no deal?


What Can UK Businesses Do?

With feelings of uncertainty and lack of control at the moment, what can UK businesses do?  Trade with Europe offers UK businesses the chance to ‘remain’ by establishing a business for them in Europe, similar to a Gmbh or BV company.  Broix suggests that the European business can operate with very little disruption to the UK business.  Trade with Europe helps by hosting the business in terms of administration, tax and operations.  They have an office building in Dusseldorf, which on a par with Munich and Hamburg, that offers virtual, serviced or real offices and meeting rooms.  Once a company statute at the Notaries office is signed and a bank account opened, the German business is up and running.  A network of associates including Chartered Accounts, lawyers etc. are also available to help with accountancy and tax, legal advice and business advice.  Depending on the business model, operators and service personnel to run the German business can also be found.  The Dusseldorf office was primarily set up to support UK businesses offering services however, production is also possible.  UK company Lush chose this option about 15 years ago, years before Britain’s decision to leave.

Trade with Europe have a fulfilment centre in Roermond, Netherlands which is ideal for distribution due to infrastructure and legislation benefits and operational costs.  There is no import tax, tax only applies when the goods are sold plus there are lower delivery and forwarding costs. A UK business can register their company in Roermond which includes all administration, taxation (a Chartered Accountant works in-house) and fulfilment.  If the UK business sells online, platforms are provided from which to sell, orders are taken, packed and distributed worldwide.  As Trade with Europe are a medium sized company, solutions can be tailored to suit individual requirements.  Packaging used is green, biodegradable and plastic is used only in terms of product safety.


Whether a UK business is exporting or not, the following is recommended:

  • Prepare your business to be more resilient for economic changes. Check all legal requirements, data protection, IP protection, GDPR and check all contracts with suppliers, to ensure you’re working from a good legal base.
  • Increase your capital base. Review your monthly outgoing costs e.g. rent and make savings where possible.
  • Review your business model and overhaul as necessary. Stop the less profitable/costly sectors that lack future potential and enhance your core business.
  • Grow your market by exporting – online if possible.
  • For those that are already exporting, build a bridge into Europe to access new markets or to stay competitive.


Trade with Europe helps you grow your business in a way that you wouldn’t be able to purely from the UK.

Whether you are already exporting or not, Trade with Europe could help.  To find out more, click here.

If you’d like some business support for your UK business, please contact Mushroom by clicking here.



Mental Health in and out of the Workplace

Mental Health in and out of the Workplace

When you consider the most important things in relationships, common themes include communication, honesty, respect and trust.  This doesn’t just relate to romantic or family relationships, it also applies to the employer/employee relationship.  Right now, more than ever, it’s vital for honest communication between different parties.

It’s important to understand employees’ needs.  They may, for example:

      • Have childcare issues or be home schooling
      • Be vulnerable and shielding
      • Have a family member who currently has COVID-19
      • Be concerned about returning to work and what this will mean

As an employer, clearly communicating your plans for home working and returning to work is extremely valuable, and so is inviting feedback from staff.  This can reduce or allay any fears from the outset.

Employees might benefit from:

      • Flexible working hours/days/times
      • Regular check-ins whilst homeworking, including virtual team meetings
      • Regular performance management

If you can provide positive feedback and reward, constructive feedback, advice and support where needed, and identify future training and progression within the business, you’re often rewarded with more motivated, committed, productive and loyal staff that will go the extra mile for you willingly. According to Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Why do people struggle with mental health?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model (below) shows that humans have a basic need to feel safe and secure, and then to feel loved and that we belong.  If you’ve had:

      • An Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) – e.g. loss of a loved one, emotional/physical abuse or neglect, a parent with a mental health issue/addiction, parents separated or divorced, or a parent in prison;
      • A UDIN - an Unexpected, Dramatic, Isolating event with No strategy to deal with it;

It can lead you to feeling these needs aren’t met, affecting your confidence, resilience, and the ability to share or cope with your feelings.  Over time this can lead to mental health or physical illness, and/or unhealthy coping strategies such as addictions.

Why it’s important to deal with the root cause?

 A person visiting a GP with stress and anxiety can often be prescribed a break from work, or even antidepressants.  An addict may be supported to stop drinking, smoking, using drugs, or change their eating habits.  Of course this is beneficial, but what happens afterwards?  When returning to work?  When the coping mechanism is simply taken away?  This doesn’t solve the real issue; it just deals with the symptoms.  The mindset needs to change so the person can:

  • Feel more positive and confident about themselves
  • Feel safe, secure, loved and that they belong,
  • Deal with the stresses of life and not need unhealthy coping strategies.

What can people do to help themselves?

      • Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling, whether it’s a doctor, family, friend, manager or colleague.
      • Know that life’s not perfect and it’s normal to sometimes feel sad, frustrated, or angry.
      • Difficult situations do arise but you don’t have to bottle things up or put on a brave face and deal with it on your own. It’s OK to say you’re struggling and that you’re not OK.
      • It’s easy to make comparisons and assume other people are doing better than you, but remember, you don’t know what’s going on in other peoples’ heads. Even people who seem to ‘have it all’. Remember the shock of Robin Williams’ death.
      • Find tools that can help you let go of any negative emotions that you’re feeling e.g. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Hypnotherapy, Journaling.
      • Write a gratitude list (to focus on the positives in your life) and create a vision board (to plan for a positive future).
      • You may benefit from working with a professional, and if so, keep looking until you find a therapy that works for you and the right practitioner. This may mean looking outside the NHS, but the value and difference to you and your life could be incredible.
      • It’s important to let go of the past and let go of blame so you can be free and move on.
      • Even as a business owner, you can be affected by negative beliefs around success and money which can stop you achieving your goals.

How can you help someone?

      • Encourage them to talk about their feelings and to seek help if necessary.
      • Ask what might help them and offer to talk through various options/strategies.
      • You can’t fix them but you can support them to feel more empowered.
      • Helping someone with mental health can be difficult so if you find yourself being triggered, try to stay calm, take a break and look to deal with your own feelings around this.
      • Remember that a person with anxiety, other mental health condition or addiction is still a human being and not just the illness, so try to be kind.
      • There is no magic wand.
      • It can be difficult to reach out and make changes, but it is possible.
      • A person has to be ready and you can’t force them.



The in’s and outs of selling a business

The in's and out's of selling a business

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Simon Robinson, Commercial Services Manager of Mushroom, about selling his family business Nexus, some years ago, for Ed’s podcast, Business With The Fun Guys. The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Robinson’s teachings and illustrate them here:

Robinson said the process of selling his family business in the healthcare sector, Nexus, felt like hell as it took blood, sweat and tears to achieve. Sometimes he lost heart and felt like it would never end. They weren’t in a hurry to sell, which was probably a good thing as it took 4 years to get ready, 18 months from negotiating to signing on the dotted line, plus a 6-month handover period. But once it was all over, what did he learn?

Getting Business Fit For Purpose

Simon had joined the company with the aim of getting the business fit for purpose and ready to sell, to address the unfulfilled potential of the business first to achieve better value. This involved getting processes, systems, policies and procedures up to date and as efficient as possible, including but not limited to:

• Sales
• Clients
• Contacts
• Pipeline
• Property
• Plant and machinery
• Contingent liability
• People
• Brand assets
• Intellectual property
• Licences and consents
• Websites

Of course, similar to selling a house, there is always the option of selling at a lower cost because there is work needed. It is always advisable to be upfront and honest about any issues affecting the business.

Prospectus of Business

A prospectus showcasing all products/services, company profile, markets they operated in, how they operated, the value points of the business and areas of potential was put together and provided to the potential buyer. This included:

• Accounts for the last few years – profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
• Copies of any leases and insurance policies
• Copies of any agreements
• Copies of any contracts
• Brief company profile
• Detailed company profile including products/services and markets, customers and competitors, distribution, personnel, finances, processes, timescales.
• The future

This helped the prospective buyer gain the information it required in order to make a decision and how much they would be willing to offer. It would be expected that the buyer would also do it’s own due diligence on the company.


A buyer for Nexus was found before finding a broker or putting a business for sale sign up. The buyer was a long standing customer, who were in a related field, not a direct competitor, but Nexus’ products/services would enhance their offering. This suggests that potential sellers may benefit from talking to any existing connections either face to face or on LinkedIn as a starting point.

After the proposal and pitch, Nexus received the first offer, and it was low. But rather than feel defeated and give up, they realised that this was common, and they continued to negotiate upwards and 2-3 months later, negotiated a deal both sides were happy with.


Nexus had a great advisory team including accounts and legal experts working with them. Not only did they help reign in emotions, they knew what they were talking about and their years of experience and knowledge was invaluable. A common worry can be giving away a percentage of the profits to others but by having good advisors, more will be gained, and there is the tendency to lose more by going alone.

For 18 months Nexus were trying to prepare for the sale of the business whilst keeping the company going on a day to day business. If too much focus is placed primarily on the sale, then the company itself can be affected. Lots of resolve and resilience are needed, but this is where good advisors can also help.

If you’re thinking of selling your business and would like some advice and support, please contact Simon by clicking here.

There are also a number of responsibilities depending on the type of business as shown in this link which Mushroom can help you with https://www.gov.uk/selling-your-business-your-responsibilities Contact us by clicking here.

currency risk

Managing Currency Risk

Managing Currency Risk

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed John Marney of Smart Currency about moving money across borders and changing currency for Ed’s podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Marney’s teachings and illustrate them here:

Marney discusses the benefits of having a plan in place to move money across border, what SME's should look for, and solutions that can be used to help small businesses move money around the world with ease and control.

The Risk of Currency Volatility

Businesses who have started exporting due to the drop in sterling and following the referendum, their goods have become cheaper to other countries, so in this respect exporting is definitely blossoming.  However, if you are, for example a clothing manufacturer, importing your raw materials, then you would have been paying more money for these materials in the last two years. So there is a real risk.

If you are importing raw material and then exporting back out, you have double the risk in terms of currency volatility. It's not uncommon for currencies to move 10% in a year. If you get that wrong both ways that's 20% of your margin gone. Obviously most companies would rather not experience this, but for some, they wouldn’t be able to suffer that kind of loss.

Exporting businesses may be covering contracts in foreign currencies on a reactive basis, as and when needed.  That's not necessarily bad, but it does mean being vulnerable to foreign exchange variances throughout the whole year.

The preference, if you have a fairly good idea of what your cash flows are going to be, then cover as much of it as possible at the beginning of your financial year. Forecast and plan your currency, hedge your cash flows, then it guarantees your margins.

No one knows exactly what will happen in a year’s time, so without that knowledge, the best thing to do is to be able to forecast your cash flows.  That’s the key.

Analyse Cash Flows and Set Exchange Rates in Your Budgets

Companies often analyse their cash flows and forecasts at the start of the year, so it is advised to set exchange rates in their budgets for the next year or so.  Given the current rate, those cash flows are going to return to you in that other currency.  If this is satisfactory, then the best thing to do is to hedge that situation.  You then have visibility over your cash flows, if they are reliable.

As mentioned previously, the other option is to buy foreign currency at the time you need it.  But in extreme circumstances, this can result in losing nearly all your profit for the year. We're talking about Brexit years here, the referendum year. But going forward it's going to be critical.

If you know what your cash flows are and that they're reliable, then to do nothing is effectively speculation. You know what the rate is right now and what you can guarantee in terms of revenue. Obviously there are people out there who believe that the rate may improve for them and therefore don't do anything. But of course, the rate can also worsen for them. And if it does, then your forecasted cashflows become worse. If you have reliable cash flow forecasts, the best thing you can do is to implement some kind of hedging strategy to manage that and to mitigate the risk from the currency moves as often as possible.

The Importance of Using an FCA Authorised Company

It is important when sourcing help with this to use a company who is FCA authorised.  The FCA authorisation is important because it guarantees the customer that their funds will be segregated, and they have security even, if the company helping them goes bust.

Why Smart Currency?

Previously businesses went to their banks for foreign exchange but the service levels have declined recently.  Many branches have closed and following 2008, there were incredibly high costs and shifts in costs that banks had to somehow assimilate into their business. As a result, many banks have cut back on the services and support that they give, especially to smaller companies.

And that's really where Smart Currency comes into the market. It's exactly that kind of guidance and support they offer, and then ultimately the ability to do that hedging through them. Smart are partners with various business services so that they can offer trade finance, invoice finance, etc. which again, help companies with working capital. If they have cashflow issues, it can help them out of those kinds of situations as well.

Does your business export and/or need to move money around?  Do you set exchange rates in your budgets? If you would like to find out more about how Smart Currency could help, click here.

If you’d like some business support, in terms of accounting, book keeping or administration, please contact Mushroom by clicking here.

Is your lease agreement losing you money?

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Jane Hartley of Jane Hartley Associates, Manchester for his podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve taken the main points of Hartley’s teachings and outline them below:




If you’re looking to rent premises, you may be concentrating on price and location.  However, there are various other considerations to factor:


Considerations of Lease


  • What’s the rent?
  • How long can I occupy it?
  • Is there a rent free period? – which may be available for long term leases.
  • When is the rent review?
  • Is there a break clause? – so you can pull out if it’s not working.
  • Can you sublet or assign the premises?
  • Is the lease within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954? – which gives security of tenures rights.
  • What are your repairing obligations? – are you expected to put the property back to a better condition than when it was given to you? Avoid a full Repairing Insuring lease.


Renewing Leases


  • For a typical 5 year lease, it is advised to renegotiate at least 2 years before the end of the lease, as the landlord may not grant a new lease or may demand ridiculous terms. You may need to relocate which is unlikely to be a quick process.
  • If the lease is within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, the landlord must grant a new lease on similar terms. However if the lease is outside the Act, there is no right and open negotiations can take place.  But even if the lease is within the Act, the landlord can still refuse to renew the lease on grounds of redevelopment.
  • If landlords are getting a good stream of income from a tenant who has been paying regularly long term, it is not in the landlord’s interest to deny a renewed lease.


How Professionals Can Help


  • Get a property agent to negotiate terms for you.
  • Get a surveyor to survey the premises and issue a Schedule of Condition so that you’re only expected to return the premises to the landlord in the condition you received them.


Get a solicitor to:

  • Negotiate terms of the lease
  • Conduct due diligence to check:
    • The landlord owns the property?
    • If the landlord has a lender, does he have permission to let the premises?
    • The premises has the correct permission for use?
    • If there are any current disputes?
    • If there are separate meters if it is a multi-tenant property?
    • That you can do what you need/want to do as a business? Ie. is there mobile phone coverage?
    • If the lease needs to be registered with Land Registry?



Are you considering renting premises for your new business, or renewing your lease?  Remember in all aspects of business, there are professionals with expertise that can guide and help you.


If you would like to find out more about Jane Hartley Associates, click here.


If you’d like some business support, please contact Mushroom by clicking here.




Mike’s 8 things to be successful

Ed Surman, Director at Mushroom, interviewed Michael Cochrane, Inspirational and Motivational Speaker about his business success for Ed’s podcast, Business With The Fun Guys.  The podcast interview is available here to listen to, however we’ve outlined Cochrane’s teachings, below:


8 Things You Need To Do To Be Successful in Business


  1. Communicate Effectively


There’s an acronym, KISS, which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.  Many people think this isn’t relevant anymore but Michael disagrees.  He states that if you keep communication simple, the chances are, the people that you’re actually speaking to internally and externally will understand what you’re talking about. He gets frustrated these days listening to the so-called gurus who stand up and tell you that they’re experts, but they talk in a different language to the audience that they serve.  Michael advises that if you’ve got something to say, say it well, say it often, and you’ll succeed.


  1. Always Be Open To Learning


From Michael’s point of view every day is a learning day. A day without learning is a day without living.  Even now he listens to a wide range of webinars. He learns from others. He says “You learn from the best and you leave the rest”.  From the start, he used his eyes, ears and mouth in the ratio he was born with.  He observed and listened very carefully, took what he needed and dumped what was irrelevant.


  1. Take Action


There is no point in learning something new but not implementing this knowledge.  Michael shares that people come to his talks and watch his webinars, however when he follows up with them, they’ll tell him that the talk/webinar was great but they haven’t taken any action.  In his opinion, they’ve wasted their time.  It’s not enough to just watch.  It’s important to listen, learn, assess and act.


  1. Belief In Yourself


Our beliefs often define us and our actions.  If we believe we can be a success, we will make this happen.  We will be focused and determined, completing the appropriate actions we had planned and amend anything as appropriate.


Michael reminisces about a gentleman who entered the car dealership where Michael worked as a trainee salesperson.  The gentleman was driving a poor car and therefore, other salespeople believed he wouldn’t buy a car from them.  But Michael did not judge and just saw an opportunity to sell.  He soon found that the gentleman had borrowed the car and was looking to buy as soon as possible.   Michael, before the end of the test drive, had already decided that the gentleman was going to buy the car, he had no doubts at all, and he made the sale, without negotiation, to the astonishment of his colleagues.


  1. Belief In Your Products/Services


You need to ensure that your products and services are second to none. Your people need to believe this. Your clients need to believe this. Your prospects need to believe this. And this is where the simple communication mentioned in Item One is required.


  1. Value Your People


As a Sales Manager of a car dealership that was losing six figures, Michael had to turn it around fast. The key, he says, was to get everybody on the same page and not to aim bigger than anyone else.  So he explained to his staff that they had 45 pieces of the jigsaw. At the end of the day they’re all different shapes and sizes and they probably thought the biggest piece was him.  But he told them that if he was missing the smallest piece, he couldn’t make it work.  They were a team and without the smallest piece in that team, it couldn’t function.


Michael shares a lesson in great leadership from Alan Forks, the MD of Iveco Ford Truck, who surprised him with a visit once.  Michael invited him for a coffee and chat in the boardroom but Alan said the first thing he wanted to do was to shake every truck technician’s hand and thank them for the work they do.  He made sure that his staff knew what they did was valued, and that they were valued.


  1. Stand Out From The Crowd


Michael explained that his company used to sell Ford Motor Cars, and you could buy a Ford motor car from anywhere. So from a product point of view he wasn’t standing out from the crowd. But what stood him out from the crowd was his team, and the customer experience they gave.  You have the opportunity, and must, stand out from the crowd and be completely different, no matter what business you’re in.


  1. Exceed Expectations


This is a simple but key point and follows on from the customer experience Michael mentions in Item Five above. Never over promise and/or under-deliver. Always ensure that you over-deliver.


And finally, remember you don’t pay the wages, the client does.  Whether you’re a business owner or a sales person, the client ultimately pays the wages.  Treat them well, and they’ll treat you well.  Customer retention and word of mouth are extremely valuable.


Is your business already doing these 8 things well?


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