Know your entitlements
According to the Revenue Commissioners, there were 1.4 million claims for tax reliefs last year, more than three times the number in 2004 (around 402,000).
There are no hard figures on how much in tax relief goes unclaimed every year, but it is generally assumed to be millions of euro.
Consumer and tax experts say now is a good time to start claiming any tax reliefs due to you.
Over the past couple of years, some reliefs have been abolished, while others have been scaled back. But you can still claim for tax reliefs for any expenditure made as far back as 2006.
This means that you can submit a claim for tax relief relating to expenditure which took place during the tax years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, as long as the claim is submitted before December 31, 2010.
Is it a good idea to overpay your mortgage at the moment, if you can afford it? There tends to be a huge focus on people who are struggling to meet their mortgage repayments.
Many people who bought a house in the last seven years, especially those who took out a 100pc mortgage, are certainly finding it difficult.
But others are managing to repay their mortgage and have benefited hugely from the still low, but rising, level of mortgage rates.
Pension Assets under Threat
A recent legal decision could affect the future financial security of thousands of pension investors, especially those struggling with debts. According to Sunday Business Post correspondent, Emma Kennedy (25/4/2010).
On Wednesday, April 14, a receiver was appointed over the pension assets of businessman Brendan Murtagh. The former Kingspan boss, who went on to purchase Smart Telecom, once had a multimillion euro fortune, but is now being pursued by investors for debts of close to €30 million.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues on with advice on how Lenders and how they asses the worth of your Business Plan.
How a financier reads a business plan
How financiers read a business plan depends on what kind of financier they are. There are two types of financier: the lender and the investor. The lender is typically your bank manager.
Lenders will invest money in your business if they think it worth doing so by their criteria, in return for interest on the capital. The professional investor, on the other hand, will invest equity in your business and share in your risk as owner of the business.
Professional investors will postpone their return for a period -typically three to five years – but will look for an above-average return for the risk involved in doing so.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues on with advice on the format of your Business Plan.
A standard business plan format
Each business plan is unique. However, those whom you seek to convince to invest in your project have come to expect certain information in a broadly standard format that presents information in an easily digested logical sequence.
For a very small or simple business, the following intuitive format – adapted from Applying the Rules of Business (Steps to Entrepreneurship series), by Ron Immink & Brian O’Kane, Oak Tree Press – may be sufficient.]
You need to cover all the information that a reader of a business plan is likely to want to know in order to come to a decision on the plan. and ensure that you have fully thought through all aspects of your business.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues on with advice on Business Models & Projected Figures.
A financial model of the business is effectively a set of accounts, represented on computer spreadsheets or in a dedicated modelling package for ease of manipulation – for example, Business Plan Pro from Palo Alto Software.
While a financial model is useful for businesses of all sizes, it is essential for a business of any complexity. Your model should enable you to change certain variables – such as the number of units of product sold, the price at which you sell them or the cost of supplies – and discover what the effect will be on the business.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues on with advice on writing your business plan.
Very simply: you.
No one else. You may receive offers from consultants, many of them highly reputable and professional in their work, to write your business plan for you.
They will quote their extensive experience of business, of raising finance for start-up businesses, of presenting financial information – all valid points and, in many cases, true.
However, whatever experience consultants may have of business in general – and drafting business plans in particular – they lack one essential ingredient: your intimate relationship with your business.
You are the one who has spent your waking hours – and many of your sleeping ones, too – dreaming, planning and guiding your tender and frail creation to this point.
You know what makes you tick, what makes your team tick and what will and won’t work for you.
Only you can assemble these thoughts. Therefore, the first draft of the business plan is your responsibility. Do it yourself. Refine and redraft it – again, and again, if necessary – until it’s finished. Then – and only then – should you entrust it to someone who can put the right gloss on it. But let them do only that. Don’t let them put their words on your pages.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues on with advice Communicating business to third Parties.
Communicating plans to third parties
Though they would readily acknowledge the importance of good planning, many businesses would not prepare a formal business plan document if it were not for the need to present their plans for the business to outsiders – usually to raise finance.
But if you wish to raise finance for your business to develop, you will have to prepare a plan. Financiers – whether bankers, venture capitalists or private investors – need:
- A document they can study in their own time and which makes its case independently of the promoters of the business
- Evidence that the future of the business has been properly thought through and that all risks have been taken into account
- Information about the business.
In addition, others may have reason to read your business plan, such as key employees or suppliers. So it must communicate your message clearly.
No matter how good a writer you consider yourself to be, if you can’t put your business proposition clearly and persuasively in writing, it suggests that you have more thinking to do.
It doesn’t mean that your project won’t work. On the contrary, your business maybe a resounding success, but you need to be able to communicate it.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane asses the viability of your project and the role a business plan has to play in this.
There are plenty of ways of researching whether your project will succeed. All, however, finally require an act of faith from the entrepreneur when the time comes to commit to the business. Before this point is reached, a great deal of planning and careful thought should have been completed.
A well prepared business plan will assist immeasurably with that process simply through the discipline it imposes. Too often, entrepreneurs are carried away with their own enthusiasm. They neglect the most cursory checks on the viability of their idea.
A continuation of our ‘Start your Own Business‘ series, In an extract from his book in Sunday Business Post 25/4/2010, Starting a Business in Ireland, Brian O’Kane continues to discuss the concept of planning for the future and the importance a business plan has in any business future plans.
Moving on from that we now move on to the purpose of your newly written business plan.