Tag Archives: central London

9 Good Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Solicitor.

Yes we know they can charge seemingly outrageous fees for writing a letter or checking a contract but there are many good reasons to budget for legal advice for your SME.  Roz Gee writing in blackenterprise.com puts her finger on the 9 key issues.

1.Debt Collection: Many small businesses have trouble collecting money owed to them and can’t afford to give up a percentage of the debt to a collection agency.

2.Contract and Document Review: This is critical because of the need to be professionally advised and gain a thorough understanding before important papers or documents are signed.

3.Contractor or Supplier Disputes: It’s good when relationships are working well and functional, but when things go awry, it’s better to have the right representation if or when your company has contractor, vendor, or supplier conflicts that surface.

4. Internet Security Breaches: With the rising increase of sophisticated system hacking and data compromising, your company needs to be protected against internet predators and hijackers.

5.Product Liability Issues: The marketplace is no stranger to rapid product recalls and other issues that affect the functionality and operation of products. Having skilled attorneys could prevent unnecessary hassles and headaches as well as protect your brand.

6. Insurance Disputes: This is to safeguard your business against those insurance companies who deny or dispute claims of businesses or their properties.

7.Employee Theft: Unfortunately, no business owner wants to ever deal with major internal thievery whether intellectual property, monetary, or proprietary assets. But the reality is, employee theft happens even when the best processes are enforced.

8. Tax Audits: Although you may have a CPA, sometimes things still fall through the cracks, which may require an audit. You need to know that you have access to the right legal representation to help you navigate these potential pitfalls.

9. Threats of Customer Lawsuits: With the proliferation of lawsuits that continue to mount in this country alone, it’s assuring to have peace of mind of knowing you can defer to a legal professional who is actually on your team.

The Law Society can advise you of a suitable lawyer for your small business.

Venture Capital V Private Equity – A Guide for the Entrepreneur.

hold everything overseas clients

As a leading London business base  for entrepreneurs, we are often asked “what is the difference between venture capital and private equity?”  An interesting question that many may not readily appreciate if you haven’t been to Harvard Business School or LSE.  One of the clearest discussions on this topic was recently published in Forbes magazine with an excellent article by  Alejandro Cremades.  Here is what he says.

Startup Fundraising

Whether you are still juggling a startup idea or already have data and revenues and are ready to scale, it’s vital to understand who the investors are that will take you to the next level, and what your following milestone or exit is likely to be.

Fundraising and navigating potential exits can be incredibly time consuming and stressful. It can be confusing. The lines have certainly blurred. Far more so in the last couple of years. Different capital sources are playing a larger role in the startup ecosystem. Various players are stretching how and at what stage they will participate.

So, what are the differences between between VCs and PE firms? Who else is providing capital to this space? Who are the leaders that startup founders should be focusing on?

Private Equity

This space has become a little cloudier, with private equity firms diving into all types of new channels like single family rental homes and mortgage lending through conduits. Yet, in their most traditional forms, private equity firms are consider those who buy or get involve with more mature companies.

This means they are looking for established companies that already have established revenues. In some cases these are companies that may have even peaked and need new management to be optimized. Think classical music, farms and assembly lines in contrast with the typical jazz, disruption, or street art style of fast growth startups. They prefer predictability and lower risk. Even if that means lower returns.

This space is also differentiated by leveraged buyouts, in which PE firms utilize debt to complement their equity to acquire more corporate ‘real estate’. These firms are best known for taking majority stakes, if not full buyouts.

According to rankings from Private Equity International top private equity firms include:

Private equity is more likely to be your end game, or at least a large part of your exit as a startup founder, rather than an early investor. Though these firms may flow down debt that can be used for some ventures.

Venture Capital Firms

In contrast, venture capital firms are equity investors at an earlier stage in the lifecycle of a startup. Just not as early as most think.

For the most part VCs are funding startups at their latest stages in their businesses. This is changing some. More are participating in earlier funding rounds as they gain experience and competition grows for returns and opportunities. You may find them involved at Series A through D fundraising rounds. Or perhaps even at the seed stage.

VC firms will typically take much smaller portions of companies than their private equity counterparts. They are still investing at a much riskier stage and mostly try to spread their bets as wide as possible.

This demonstrates more crossover between traditional private equity and the VC world. Though before you go waltzing into one of these firms in your pajamas, know that they still expect a good amount of solid data and due diligence to make a decision on. They aren’t going to be your first investors on day one.

VCs are also typically looking for a shorter term exit. They have deadlines on their funds, and need to get results quickly. They are often going to push you hard to deliver on their promises to their own investors.

PE is more about numbers while VCs are more about people. However, with both PE and VCs everything starts with a solid pitch deck where the story of the company is told in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million .

Angel Investors

Angel investors are a much more likely funding partner for most startup founders. Angels are getting better funded, are grouping together, and are making more investments.

Angels are willing to participate in the earliest rounds of fundraising. They are typically basing their investment as you the entrepreneur and the idea, versus any data or profits. Expect to be raising from angels for a round or two before you even approach any VCs. PEs are probably four or five rounds of financing away at this point.

Other Startup Investors

Startup accelerators and incubators are another rising form of early funding. They may invest anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 and offer an array of intensive programs, resources and training opportunities. These include names like The Founder Institute, Angel Pad, Y Combinator and 500 Startups. They can get you going if it is a good fit and you can get in. Then help you show off your startup to other investors.

Family offices are increasingly investing in startups as well. They don’t want to miss out on the game that VCs and big private equity firms are enjoying. Though they often like the advantage of investing directly, rather than losing returns to middlemen.

Family offices can be quite different when it comes to what they want and their future expectations though. They may be more likely to offer patient capital or to seek cashflow than other types of investors.

Corporate investors are playing a bigger role in the startup ecosystem today too. They are setting up their own accelerators and are making more strategic investments in startups that can propel their growth and extend their reach.

Despite the confusion and ambiguity out there, there can be distinct differences between private equity and venture capital when it comes to raising money and exiting a startup. There are many more options for fundraising and exiting than there used to be too.

I hope that this clarifies some key points in the whole topic of business fundraising – problems you might face when building your London business empire at Hold Everything Virtual office.

Squatters

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street we covered the almost a year old GPDR rules and how as an industry we take our KYC checks extremely seriously by requesting and obtaining certain documents on our clients to ensure we help to prevent any fraudulent movements. ALL customers of a virtual office are subject to rigorous security checks when opening a service at a virtual office- these are similar to opening a bank account. This may sound quite dramatic but as discussed in last week’s blog it is to protect you as a client and you as a consumer.

‘‘The most important thing is to know who you’re working with and who’s using yours services’’- Simon Cowie, Chairman of Mail Boxes Etc

This week we are addressing another industry issue.

Squatting

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential,[1] that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.

In the virtual office industry the term squatting is used when either a person or companies or in fact any organisations displays or uses our address without having paid for the service, or sometimes after their services have expired.

So where is our address showing?

Our address is used on a number of different mediums, such as Google, Companies House, HMRC registers, and local directories as well as displayed on their correspondence materials such as websites, business cards, and letterheads etc.

How do we establish their squatting?

We only establish whether a company or person is squatting at our address after normally receipt of mail. We cross check the name using our CRM System to check they are an active account.

Occasionally we receive a visitor at the office enquiring about a company and after checking the relevant website can then investigate if we don’t know of their existence.

What do we do about it?

At Hold Everything one of London’s leading virtual office providers we are determined to prevent fraudsters and squatters who use our services for illegal purposes or without our consent. We take a number of procedures and steps to attain the companies who are ‘squatting’ at our address and have all details of theirs documented to ensure we follow and chase leads on their movements.

We regularly communicate with Companies House advising them of the situation and they in turn have systems in place to assist with the industry situation. Furthermore we search the internet for connections to any individuals whom we can connect to the company using search systems such as 192.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other social network.

Consequences of squatting

If a person or company is displaying our address to squatter at, obviously we will not to able to forward to them the relevant communication from any source including government letters from HMRC or Companies House. After a lengthy period of usage and due to nonattendance to those time sensitive letters from organisations such as Companies House systems are instigated by the Registrar of Companies for England & Wales which will eventually result in Companies House ordering a compulsory strike off.

The strike off request is then published in The Gazette; this is then recorded on the company register as a First Gazette notice. Once published anyone can object to the application or else the company will be eventually struck off the register, assuming no one objects the company will go into dissolution which takes at least three months to officially dissolve – depending on the size of the company.

So if you think you will use our or any other virtual office address to squat at – think again, the industry talks to one another and names are circulated around.

Will My Data Be Safe With a Virtual Office?

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street we have a dedicated team attending to the compliance around a mailing address.  Before we go into Virtual Offices and all the data that is needed to set up a service at one, let’s take a step back to make sure you understand what a virtual office is.

Simply put, virtual office services are a more affordable solution for small businesses and self-employed individuals and a virtual office can provide a prominent business address, may have facilities available to you, such as meeting room space or office space when required, without having to pay costs of a lease, utility bills, equipment and staff wages associated with traditional serviced offices.

There are many of virtual office providers across the UK, and they offer a range of services to various business owners.

For example at Hold Everything, our Virtual Office solutions are specialised in giving your business the professional edge, allowing you to gain new business, beat competitors and give off a more prestigious image. Having a Virtual Office on London’s Regent Street exudes the height of professionalism and ensures your business looks established and trustworthy. Whether you are a small business looking to improve your image by having an impressive London address, a start up wanting to be taken seriously or an established company looking to reduce costs by cutting overheads on office rent, we have the friendly professional virtual office service to provide everything you need.

We cater to a variety of business sectors from all over the globe and are the longest established Virtual Office on Central London’s Regent Street, W1. Our clients choose us because a Virtual Office affords them a number of advantages over their competitors;

  • Impressive image through a London address
  • Low cost
  • Flexible Meeting Space
  • Complete Virtual office solution

Have a look at our packages www.hold-everything.com.

With the rapid advances in technology this has produced a huge range of opportunities for businesses all over the world. Companies are able to accumulate information to create data-driven strategies that can really help increase their chances of success. But with as with many advantages come’s disadvantages, as data becomes more crucial to company processes the chance of having a data breach has now transpired as one of the today’s top business risks.

This is presented in the UK Governments Cyber Security Breaches Survey of 2018. It shows 74% of the countries company owners now say that cyber security risk is a top priority. This isn’t surprising as 43% of UK businesses have experienced a data security breach or a cyber-attack in the last 12 months.

Despite having this heightened sense of awareness concerning the importance of data security in business, still there is a vast proportion of UK companies that are still unprepared. In 2017, the average cost of a data breach for a large UK business was £22,300. Meanwhile, medium-sized businesses lost an average of £16,100 per attack, while small businesses lost an average of £3,100.

Although this may not sound a lot to some business owners, but to a small company this could make or break their success rate. Luckily there are many of steps small businesses and big can take to prevent a data breach especially when working with a virtual office provider.

What information do I need to give to a Virtual Office provider?

People use virtual office services for many reasons, and as part of those services you will need to supply a certain amount of documents and data on yourself and your company to finalise any contract agreement. By providing the requested documents by your provider it ensures we are supporting HMRC’s anti money laundering laws, the London Local authority Act and acting in both our clients and their clients best interest.

Our clients at Hold Everything are also possible customers of other Hold Everything clients. To this effect we treat every client the same, requesting the same documents, so protecting our clients against another client selling goods or services that may result in a complaint to trading standard.

By ensuring we treat everyone the same, should Trading Standards or HMRC need to know about a client trading incorrectly, we can support the enquiry to the highest level.

So what data do we request?

This personal data we request are documents such as:

  • Coloured certified Proof of ID
  • Proof of home address
  • Proof of trading address
  • Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
  • National insurance number
  • Email address, contact number, DOB, payment details

Why do we need so many documents? Like many other business service providers, Hold everything is legally required by the HMRC Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements to obtain the above documents for all customers who use our services. We do not need to/will never use your data anything else.

Storing Your Data

So you want to know how your data is stored and used, and the main issue, is your data secure? In May 2018, the EU legislated a rule that changed the ways in which companies in the UK are allowed to collect, process and store data- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR places the duty on companies whom need to store or process data, on how to keep their customer data safe, if not done this is can result in fines for the company. So with that in mind your virtual office provider will have implemented measures to ensure their customer data is protected as under the GDPR rules and regulations all virtual office providers in the UK are required to undergo a risk analysis and policies, with measures to identify and avoid data security risks.

In most virtual office companies there should be a designated job role – Compliance Officer, they are responsible for overseeing GDPR compliance and making sure the data is up to date on the client and 100% secure at all times. This person will most likely be your first point of contact with the virtual office provider as they will need your KYC to set your service up.

It’s important to emphasise that no matter how many precautions your virtual officer provider takes it is impossible to guarantee total data security at all times. Cyber criminals/fraudsters are always developing new tactics to hack a secure firewall or data protection system, that’s why improvements must be constantly made to maximise your company’s data protection measures.  It is also essential to that these risks are present in companies and industries not just virtual office providers.

More important still, if you are a business owner you must also take the right precautions to warrant that your data and the data of your customers are kept as safe as possible. With all this in place you should be able to move forward with your business and put your focus on your potential business success and goals.

 

 

 

First Impressions Count

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street, we are very much aware of what first impressions can do for your business from various marketing mediums such as websites, magazine advertising, social media sites and you as person.

We live in a world where people use search engines to lookup  any relevant information they need, because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be, starting with your website –  Your ‘shop window’.

It is quoted that you only have 7 seconds to make an impression and some online accounts even less than a second. 

In the pre Internet days, yes there was days before the Internet your physical shop window was one of the keys to a successful business, you would ensure your shop front had an impressive display to attract your consumers and with this you were a step closer to converting lookers into customers. This rule is exactly the same for your ‘virtual’ shop window- your website.

Today many businesses work predominantly and even entirely online – hence the need for a Virtual Office because regardless a website should display an address where the company is located. But the concept of the ‘shop front’ is still extremely important. Whatever industry category your business comes under, your website needs to attract enough traffic on the relevant search engines, otherwise you will be missing out on perspective customers/clients as your competitors also appear, so the ‘shop window’ has to be well presented.

To ensure you start off on a good foot attracting customers the website needs to be ‘on brand’ and conveys the right image for what your company stands for and represents, one way this this can be done is through the use of colour. There is a very small time window to capture your visitors attention so you need to make sure your website knows what it needs to say and delivers that message clearly showcasing the information about what you do and why you can attend to your customers’ needs and solve their problems the better than any other company.

Whether it is yourself who comes up with the design or you hire a website designer, your site needs innovation and imagination; after all you, want your website to stand out from the crowd.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. The importance of this vital ingredient for your business to do well is the success of the website. Behind this word lays the tools and strategies that you need to help boost your ratings in the search engine results. Once the visitor is on your website a ‘call to action’ response which is simply converting your visitor into a customer by the visitor clicking a trigger or button that allows them to purchase your service or product or a click through to another page.

Either way it is highly essential that you make this move as simple and obvious for them as possible, Do not forget, when it comes to your website, first impressions count.