Thursday, 23 June 2011

Taxation explained to the masses

Suppose that every evening, 10 men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this :-

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7.
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that's what they decided to do....... The 10 men drank in the bar every evening and were quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner said,
"Since you are all such good customers, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by £20".

Drinks for the 10 men would now cost just £80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realised that £20 divided by six is £3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

Therefore, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing.
The sixth now paid £2 instead of £3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid £5 instead of £7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid £9 instead of £12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid £14 instead of £18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid £49 instead of £59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a pound out of the £20 saving," declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man, but he got £10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a pound too.
It's unfair - he got 10 times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get £10 back,
when I got only £2? The wealthy always win!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get
anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists, labour unions and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

You often hear that turnover is vanity, profit is sanity…..never more so than with a small business.

Increased volume allows you to not only increase turnover but negotiate your suppliers down on price. And whilst this can be quite an allure for a fledgling business, it often leaves you in an extremely vulnerable situation with your customer. With greater scale you get increased risk.

Understanding Your Terms and Conditions

Most of the big players understand the attraction they enjoy from small business and so manage a lot of the stock risk out of their own business through the terms and conditions they make you sign. The risk then falls on your shoulders as a small business in terms of returned product, reverse logistics, early invoice settlement discount, price promotions etc….all of it ends up being funded through the suppliers margin which is already a lot less than that which you would enjoy from a smaller, niche outlet.

It is very easy to overlook these risks in the excitement of getting your product onto the shelf of a major retailer. I’ve seen many businesses simply sign and return the standard T’s and C’s that a customer sends them (which are usually extremely aggressive) without negotiating.

They are often intimidated by the size of their customer, but there is often a fair amount of concession that the retailer can give you if you argue your case, especially if they want your product that much. Sweeteners such as a limited period exclusivity or a particular SKU that isn’t being sold elsewhere can help you negotiate better terms…..and remember if you don’t ask you won’t get!!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The New Face Of Venture Capital,

check out this slideshow. A fascinating insight into venture capital:
overview - Based on Morgan Stanleys study over a 22 year period on every single technology IPO in North America, only 1 in 20 startups made it to an IPO and only one in 20 of those companies created shareholder value afterwards, making the overall success rate 0.25% or 1 in 400!

change needs to be an intrinsic part of Startups - Think big, start small and be agile in response to market reaction!

VC's have started moving up the ladder and less receptive to early stage and pre-revenue propositions preferring de-risking of investment to potential ROI.

If you fail try to make it as early and cheap as possible.