Review to examine small business tax administration – HW News

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is to carry out a review of how bureaucracy in the tax system is hindering small businesses.

In a letter to the OTS, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, has asked the organisation to examine small firms’ experience of tax administration and ‘their contact with HMRC at key stages of their annual cycle.’

‘The first OTS reports have provided the basis for some genuine moves towards a simpler tax system,’ wrote Gauke. ‘To build on this excellent start, the Chancellor and I would like the OTS to look at ways to improve the tax administration for small business.’

The review will also consider the issues involved in starting and growing a new business.

‘It’s clear that many small businesses are struggling under the administrative burdens imposed by the UK tax system,’ said John Whiting, interim tax director at the OTS.

‘We plan to set up surveys and more road shows to really home in on what steps cause the most difficulties – and how the system can be improved, making it easier for businesses to get things right with the minimum of fuss.’

The OTS was set up last year to analyse tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions, and to conduct a review of business taxation with a view to reducing complexity.

Publishing its findings ahead of this year’s Budget, the OTS identified 47 reliefs which it said should be abolished and 17 which need to be simplified, including Entrepreneurs’ Relief and the Enterprise Investment Scheme.

The OTS will report its latest findings on small business tax administration ahead of the 2012 Budget.

via Review to examine small business tax administration – HW News.

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Who is advertising (or Marketing) for?

I always believe that marketing or advertising should not be about how good it looks or how many awards it receives (or even how popular it is.) It’s all about achieving your goals, and if you’re a small business, it should be about getting more customers and getting more sales.

This article touch on how advertising professionals have forgotten what they’re meant to be doing. Hopefully, as small businesses, we can all learn from it.

Who is advertising for? – Dave Trott’s Blog – Blogs – Brand Republic

When I was on holiday in Umbria, I visited Assisi.

As you drive into town, there’s the biggest Church you ever saw.

It’s called the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

And. It. Is. Massive.

I don’t think it’s actually a Cathedral, but it’s bigger than most cathedrals.

The space inside is vast and open and impressive.

Towards the front, inside all this vast open space, is a tiny little building.

It stands all on its own in the middle.

As you approach it, it looks like a tiny stone hut.

Big enough for maybe half-a-dozen people.

This is the original chapel where St Francis of Assisi found his vocation.

To live in poverty and devote his life to the poor.

To shun all material possessions, all worldly shows of opulence.

To give everything to those with nothing.

And you stand back from that bare, empty, basic chapel.

And you look around at the sheer scale of the building it’s in.

And you try to reconcile the two.

His devotion to poverty, and the opulence it’s encased in.

I think the religion founded in Francis of Assisi’s name has somehow gotten away from its original purpose?

Isn’t it amazing how that always happens?

Something starts out as a great idea and ends up being all about the show instead.

All about impressing people.

It loses sight of its original purpose.

The reason for doing it in the first place.

Let’s see if we can remember the original purpose of advertising.

Wasn’t it something to do with selling stuff to people?

So didn’t it have to be done with ordinary people in mind?

Ordinary, non-advertising, people.

Surely ordinary people were important to advertising at some point.

Maybe that was in the days before awards.

When people talking about your ads in the street was important.

When school kids singing your song or repeating your message was important.

When TV programmes or newspapers repeating your strapline was important.

When the object was to get the advertising into the language.

So it caught on and grew.

In the days before viral was a specific medium.

When the people who actually bought the product were more important than the people who made the ads.

I notice it’s changed because agencies don’t even care what award they win.

Just so long as they win an award.

It used to be that craft awards weren’t for agencies: best sound, best editing, best direction, best photography.

An agency didn’t want that, an agency only wanted the ‘best ad’ award.

Because to get a craft award without getting that was a sign of unprofessionalism.

It meant the production company had done their job, but the agency hadn’t done theirs.

Because, impressing other professionals is what craft awards are about.

But impressing ordinary people should be what ‘best ad’ awards are about.

But then advertising isn’t really about ordinary people is it.

via Who is advertising for? – Dave Trott’s Blog – Blogs – Brand Republic.

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The Myth of Perfect Conversion – by Tim Ash

You’ve set up your website, paid for Adwords and got your name at the top of the search engine ranking.  You’ve got thousands of visits every day yet, you don’t get thousands of customers.

In this article, Tim Ash discusses the Myth of Perfect Conversion and which of your visitors you should focus.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that every visitor is a potential prospect or buyer for your goods or services. That would be a delusion. The mythical 100% conversion rate simply does not exist.

There are three types of visitors to your website:

1. Noes — Those that won’t ever take the desired action

2. Yesses — Those that will always take the desired action

3. Maybes — Those that may take the desired action

You should completely ignore the first two and concentrate on the last group.

Let’s examine this more closely.

via The Myth of Perfect Conversion – by Tim Ash.

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Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum – Is any brand ever a winner when it comes to price wars? – Marketing news – Marketing magazine

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum – Is any brand ever a winner when it comes to price wars?

Tesco’s U-turn on its promise to pay customers double the difference between its prices and Asda’s – while blaming consumers for abusing the scheme – is the latest twist in an increasingly bitter feud

Read what big brand marketing directors think of the issue in the link below.

via Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum – Is any brand ever a winner when it comes to price wars? – Marketing news – Marketing magazine.

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Stop Worries from Destroying Your Business

A little anxiety or worry is helpful. It can help you perform better. For instance, if you have to give a presentation and you feel a little bit worried, you prepare more therefore you perform better.  However, excessive worry is harmful to your business. Worrying about your business can stop your creativity and productivity. Once worry sets in, it eats into you, you don’t sleep, you get agitated, you become irrational and you end up making decisions that you are likely to regret later. Not to count the fact that you get argumentative and may end up losing your precious customers.

As a business owner, it’s normal to be anxious about your business. After all when it’s your business you’re responsible for it. If it goes down, you will go down with it and you can’t blame anybody for it. However, you can’t let worries take over. If it does, it will bring your business to its knees. Luckily, worrying is a habit and like any habit, it can be undone.

busnes success

Put your worries into perspective

Personally, I’m a worrier, a product of a very eventful childhood (I’m reserving that story for another day.) However, I’ve learned to keep my worries under control by putting it into perspective. 

To put worry into perspective, ask yourself: “Can I do something about it?” If you can, then do it. If you can’t, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” “Can I live with it?”  It is almost always that the answer to the last question is “yes.” If that’s the case, what’s the point of worrying about it?

I admit that your worries won’t disappear entirely, but they became under control and will not take over your life.

 business success

Write down your worries


Another trick you can use when you are worried is writing your worries down.

By putting your worries on paper, you’ve taken them out of your head and therefore can stop thinking about them. When worries are written down, you can also look at them more objectively.

If you can’t do something about the situation that’s worrying you, try writing it down then put it away. Then try not to think about it. Every time you think about it, tell yourself you’ll look into it later. After a week, read it and see if it’s still worrying you. If it still does, put it away again. You’ll find that after a week or two, the situation that gave you sleepless nights is not actually as bad as you thought it was.

 business success

Share your worries

Ok, I don’t mean that others should worry with you. That will be counter-productive. What I mean is talk to someone who you know can look at your worries objectively. You’ll find that by simply voicing out your worries, you’ve stop it going round and round your head, allowing you to get hold of it and look at it for what it is.

If it’s about business, I find that seeking professional business advice is always helpful. Yes, it may cost you £50 or £1000, but at the end it will always be worth the money you paid for it. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.

business success

Keep yourself busy

Do you remember the saying: “idle fingers are the devil’s playground” or something along that line? Well, it’s the same with idle minds. The more idle your minds, the more space there is for worry to occupy. So, if business is quiet, do something. Start that blog you’ve been thinking of writing or pick up the phone to make that call you’ve been avoiding. Do anything to keep your mind working to crowd out worries.

Well, that’s all for now and talk to you again next time. In the meantime, if you need someone objective to talk to about business, just give drop me a line.

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Do You Have What it Takes to be Successful?

I once read that successful people have one thing in common: they do things that they don’t like to do.  How very true. By doing things that you don’t like or afraid of doing, you’ve managed to overcome the most difficult hurdle in your road to success.


But there are more to achieving success than just overcoming your fears. I am not an expert in Psychology (after all my measurement of success might not be similar to yours) so I’m not going to try to profess what traits you should have to become successful.  However, as I was surfing through the net, I come across this article by a personal success coach: Dr. Philip E. Humbert.  So I’d like to share it with you. If you are just about to plunge into self-employment or just starting a business, this article is a good read, inspiring and a good reference.

I hope you will find it as useful as I did.

Top 10 Traits of Highly Successful Peple

We have all read about people who are successful briefly. They win a gold medal, make a fortune, or star in one great movie and then disappear.…These examples do not inspire me!

My focus and fascination is with people who seem to do well in many areas of life, and do it over and over through a lifetime. In entertainment, I think of Paul Newman and Bill Cosby. In business, I think of Ben and Jerry (the ice cream moguls)…As a Naval Officer, husband, businessman, politician and now as a mediator and philanthropist on the world stage, Jimmy Carter has had a remarkable life. We all know examples of people who go from one success to another.

These are the people who inspire me! I’ve studied them, and I’ve noticed they have the following traits in common:

  • They work hard! Yes, they play hard, too! They get up early, they rarely complain, they expect performance from others, but they expect extraordinary performance from themselves. Repeated, high-level success starts with a recognition that hard work pays off.
  • They are incredibly curious and eager to learn. They study, ask questions and read—constantly! An interesting point, however: While most of them did well in school, the difference is that they apply or take advantage of what they learn. Repeated success is not about memorizing facts, it’s about being able to take information and create, build, or apply it in new and important ways. Successful people want to learn everything about everything!
  • Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/

    They network. They know lots of people, and they know lots of different kind of people. They listen to friends, neighbors, co- workers and bartenders. They don’t have to be “the life of the party,” in fact many are quiet, even shy, but they value people and they value relationships. Successful people have a Rolodex full of people who value their friendship and return their calls.

  • They work on themselves and never quit! While the “over-night wonders” become arrogant and quickly disappear, really successful people work on their personality, their leadership skills, management skills, and every other detail of life. When a relationship or business deal goes sour, they assume they can learn from it and they expect to do better next time. Successful people don’t tolerate flaws; they fix them!
  • They are extraordinarily creative. They go around asking, “Why not?” They see new combinations, new possibilities, new opportunities and challenges where others see problems or limitations. They wake up in the middle of the night yelling, “I’ve got it!” They ask for advice, try things out, consult experts and amateurs, always looking for a better, faster, cheaper solution. Successful people create stuff!
  • They are self-reliant and take responsibility. Incredibly successful people don’t worry about blame, and they don’t waste time complaining. They make decisions and move on.…Extremely successful people take the initiative and accept the responsibilities of success.
  • They are usually relaxed and keep their perspective. Even in times of stress or turmoil, highly successful people keep their balance, they know the value of timing, humor, and patience. They rarely panic or make decisions on impulse. Unusually successful people breath easily, ask the right questions, and make sound decisions, even in a crisis.
  • Extremely successful people live in the present moment. They know that “Now” is the only time they can control. They have a “gift” for looking people in the eye, listening to what is being said, enjoying a meal or fine wine, music or playing with a child. They never seem rushed, and they get a lot done! They take full advantage of each day. Successful people don’t waste time, they use it!
  • They “look over the horizon” to see the future. They observe trends, notice changes, see shifts, and hear the nuances that others miss. A basketball player wearing Nikes is trivial, the neighbor kid wearing them is interesting, your own teenager demanding them is an investment opportunity! Extremely successful people live in the present, with one eye on the future!
  • Repeatedly successful people respond instantly! When an investment isn’t working out, they sell. When they see an opportunity, they make the call. If an important relationship is cooling down, they take time to renew it. When technology or a new competitor or a change in the economic situation requires an adjustment, they are the first and quickest to respond.

These traits work together in combination, giving repeatedly successful people a huge advantage. Because they are insatiable learners, they can respond wisely to change. Because their personal relationships are strong, they have good advisors, and a reserve of goodwill when things go bad. And finally, none of these traits are genetic! They can be learned! They are free and they are skills you can use. Start now!

Dr. Philip E. Humbert,

About the Author:
Dr Philip E. Humbert is an author, speaker and personal success coach. For more articles on success, visit his website.

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Just a short hello!

Hello everyone! Finally, I’ve sat down and got this blog going.  For months now, I’ve been planning to start this one, but with my writing work gathering some momentum. I seem to have no time updating my blog.  Of course, it did not help that I got a bit distracted by Facebook and I seem to have spent most of my free time updating that one.

Anyway, for those who’ve dropped by on pure chance, I’ll take this chance to introduce myself.  I’m Hope Varnes, I’m married with two kiddie winkies and I’m a copywriter.  I launched my Copywriting service last November 2010, and luckily it is thriving.  To my great relief.  To know more about me, you may want to swing by my “about” page.

I write web content, SEO articles, sales letter, newsletters, text for e-mail marketing and other texts that compliment my clients’ marketing campaigns.

Why have  started this blog? Well, my aim is to share some ideas on copywriting, especially to those who are contemplating starting a career as one.  This is also a platform for clients to know a little about me, not just my work.  I do get quite busy, so altough, I’m hoping to update this blog as often as I can, I’m not sure I can do it everyday, but I hope you’ll drop by once in a while.

Well, I better go.  My kids are performing an exclusive concert for me and I can’t wait to listen them perform “fame” at the top of their voice.

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