Steps for non-UK citizens to start a company in the UK

Incorporation in the UK does not require citizenship. The best option is certainly to find a reliable company formation agent who can complete the registration for you. Their services generally include free customer support, business banking advice, company type recommendations, free pre-submission reviews, address services, free accountancy consultation, domain names, etc. Be very careful and read the reviews about the formation agent you choose. Confirmation of incorporation is usually received a couple of days after submitting all the documents to the agent.

The next steps you'll need to take to actually begin functioning in the real world are usually:

- Decide whether you want to register for VAT (and charge VAT on all your sales and deduct VAT on your purchases). This is compulsory if the company revenue goes beyond £80k in a 12 month period.

- Start a business bank account. This is a difficult step, UK banks are extremely reluctant to prevent money laundering and formation agents only can offer an introduction to a bank. Paypal can be used as a temporary alternative.

 - Registration with PAYE if you have any employees.

Last but not least, you may also need to apply for visa if you are not European and you are planning to stay in the UK while running your business. The exact rules and conditions for a visa are pretty complicated depending on your circumstances, so please check the government website.


Xmas-New Year slowdown? We are open

The festive season is often the busiest and most vibrant time of the year for global businesses. Every year as Christmas approaches we see a rise in our business activity. As in previous years, we will be open during the Christmas-New Year period. This means we will guarantee our 24 / 7 / 365 consultancy service. Deskia Consult team wishes you merry Christmas and a succesful and sustainable 2016.


How to collect invoices faster and get paid asap

One of the main problems facing small businesses is to reduce the average collection period for bills in order to avoid cash-flow problems. We present some tips to reduce the number of days to charge an invoice:

- Our first tip is to  create the perfect invoice: include the tax details for the buyer and the seller. Add the description of the service provided clear and specific and include the payment terms on the invoice with the maturity of the same .

- As soon as you send the invoice, make a phone call to your client to check if they have received the e-mail with the attached invoice, if the format is correct and if it is according to what the client expects. It is very easy that if the invoice did not comply the requirements proposed by the client, the payment could be delayed for this reason.

- A week before the maturity of the invoice, send to your client a statement of account updated with all the bills that have pending payments, clearly indicating the maturity deadline.

- It is the due date and you have not received the payment. What do you do now? First, call the customer, have a first contact with him or her, ask if they have received the invoice and a statement of account previously sent. If the answer is yes, ask for an anticipation of payment of the invoice. If the answer is negative, send the invoice and a statement of account by e-mail, now you can start to ask for an anticipation of payment of the invoice.

Some extra tips:

- Be nice, even if your customer is very rude.

- Save all the e-mails sent and received and keep a phone diary. Not only these files will help you keep control through the process but it will help you as well to be more stringent on credit conditions when issuing a new invoice.


How to create the perfect invoice

It is important to always work with a budget accepted by the client with all terms detailed in the invoice .
This budget must be signed by the client or accepted by e- mail. In most cases, when we have any available delay in the collection, it could be cecause the invoice is presented with "shape defects" in the bill.
There are some basic rules to create the perfect invoice. Everything that every invoice must meet in order to avoid delays in the collection.

Client name, your company name, address, telephone number and email address. If the client have any questions regarding the charges, contacting you should be as easy as possible.

Be clear: People want to know what they have paid for. Most people will not pay for something described merely as “Design”. Tell them exactly what they have received: e.g. “Design of three-page static website for Sporting Goods Department.” Be as specific as possible. In five years, would both you and the client know what you meant by your description? Also, specify whether the charge is project-based or hourly.

When do you expect the client to pay? What happens if they miss the deadline? To be able to send follow-up or overdue notices or to charge interest, you need a rock-solid paper trail that no one can argue with.
You have to include all the terms of payment, payment milestones and special conditions as cash discounts or sales volume in the invoice.

Many people associate a picture to a particular product or service. If you include your logo on the invoice you will be easily remembered, resulting in new opportunities for future contact and a powerful weapon of networking.

The invoice design should be structured in a very deliberate manner in order to influence the reader. There are three primary pieces of information we want the client to notice: Who it is from, when it is due, and how much it is for. Everything else is certainly still important, but ultimately secondary to this key information.
For example, you can remark the amount of any line of your invoice and the total amount.
Use the corporative colours of your company. Be clean: invoices that are "visual clean" are easy to  understand to the client, and if the client unsderstand it, you can collect it earlier.


Feasibilty study and business plan

In our business and engineering consultancy experience, we have often had to explain the difference between a feasibility study and a business plan. 

A feasibility study is not the same thing as a business plan but it is quite understandable why they are confused. The process of writing a business plan and writing a feasibility study are very similar but the feasibility study should be completed prior to the business plan

The feasibility study helps determine whether a business idea is a viable option or not. The feasibilty study should be focused mostly in potential competitors, financial, legal and tax constraints, and always the worst-case scenarios. If feasibilty study is negative you can save a lot of time effort and money. If the feasibility study is positive you are just one step away from a business plan, one step closer to success. The business plan should be focused mostly in the marketing and sustainable growth strategies. 

What is more, we strongly recommend the order of magnitude feasibility study prior to the feasibilty study. This kind of pre-feasibility studies are very cheap and fast analysis of costs, incomes and times to a level of detail that allows a viability  estimate within an order of magnitude.


Keep calm and say it plainly

Plain language is a good strategy for clearly communicating information, but there are certain communication barriers that plain language alone cannot overcome.

At Deskia Consult we love using plain language in all of our communications but it is not a silver bullet. Many other factors must be present to create lasting business behaviour change: engage staff and customers, stay positive, motivate your people,...

The reverse is true as well. No matter how engaging your website, emails and presentations may be, if users cannot easily understand the information, the business behaviour will be the same.


Lost in transition?: consultancy in times of slow recovery

A business model may be in troubles due to two main groups of issues. A business may work but it may be unable to sell enough. Also, a business can run into liquidity problems because banks do not provide funding, customers make late payments and defaults or because your suppliers do not allow flexible commercial credit.

In the first case, the root of the problem is usually a mistake in strategy. This strategy might have been good before but after changes in the economic environment it has to be reformulated. In this case it is not sufficient to apply cost control, re-engineering and restructuring. These measures correct part of the strategic mistakes but they will not lead to success in the mid term.
Lack of liquidity may be a result of poor performance and lack of self-financing of the company. In times of uncertainty, lenders, investors and suppliers are even less willing to give credit if it is not clear as water that the company has the ability to pay back on time. In this case, the most likely solution focuses on re-engineering  and operational restructuring.
So, why do you need an external consultant even if you have experts inside your company? It is proven that the executive body performs worse in times of crisis if the team feels alone, trapped in the loneliness of management. It is quite natural that the management team are immersed in the daily problems but everyday problems can block the mental capacity to find other solutions or make room for new ideas. A business that needs to be improved should be reviewed with new eyes in order to find new opportunities and take advantage soon.