Name: Gloria Murray
Company: Murray Associates Accountants Limited
Gloria Murray, Queen of Profit and Director of Murray Associates Accountants Limited
Queen of profit
Q: I dissolved my Limited Company a year ago. I have now decided to leave full time permanent employment and go back to running my own business. Can I restart the company or should I create a totally new company with a new name?
Congratulations on taking the leap back to being in business again! First thing I would do is to talk to an accountant who specialises in start ups about the pros and cons of having a limited company and whether it’s right for you at the very start of your new business. The reason I say this is you could have some tax benefits from commencing as a sole trader at the start. First off if the business makes a loss in the first year (as many businesses do!) and you’ve already paid tax as an employee you may be able to offset some of the loss against this income and get some tax back.
Being a sole trader is also simpler in terms of setting up and you don’t have so much red tape to negotiate. There could also be tax advantages after a year or two or more of ‘selling’ the sole trader business to a new limited company. Much of this advice does depend on your own circumstances and this is why I recommend you talk to an accountant who’s a specialist in this area (I’m happy to have a chat to you about this).
You don’t have to be a limited company to get VAT registered or to employ people. The limited company status, in reality, rarely means limited liability when it’s new as you will generally be asked to sign a director’s guarantee for business loans or large purchases from suppliers.
To answer your original question, it’s faster, cheaper and less hassle to set up a new company. Normally it can be done in a couple of hours. Happy to advise on this too so just give me a call on 0141 889 4247.
Q: I can’t seem to get good clients and at least half of them are a real pain, taking up a lot of time and not paying for months. What can I do to get the clients who will appreciate what I do and will pay on time?
I’ve got to be quite brutal at the start of this question as the clients you are attracting are the ones you’re getting! So you’ve got to take responsibility for what you’re doing to attract them in the first place. If you’re not clear about the clients you want you will end up with unsuitable ones and if you’re desperate for work you’ll take on anybody! A customer/client relationship is just like any other relationship. You don’t become friends with anyone and you don’t indiscriminately start a personal relationship with anyone who asks. So why take the same approach in business?
Get very clear about who you can best serve, the type of client you like and how much money they need to do business with you. You can’t serve everyone and why should you try? Doing this will force you to pretend to be someone you’re not for some clients and even cut across your own values. And that doesn’t feel nice!
Also I’ve got a good saying for you to remember “a customer is only a customer if they’re paying you – otherwise they’re a pain in the butt!” As you’ve already found out!!