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BUSINESS DOCTOR BUSINESS DOCTOR EXPERTS ANSWER 40 YOUR BUSINESS DILEMMAS What are the most important considerations for SME Business Planning? What is gender pay gap reporting and how will it impact my business in 2017? Q Q David Wright, Director BSA Marketing The start of the year is often a time for planning when clients want to know where best to focus, but ask five different people this question and you’ll get (at least!) five different answers! Here are my top three from over 30 plus years of New Year Planning…. 1. Why am I in business? From the media, you’d think every business owner wants to be the next Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg but in reality many people’s ambitions are not so lofty. Where do you sit? i. I want a lifestyle business I want to work when I want to work with minimal stress. I want to earn a living but flexibility and lack of stress are more important than maximising earnings. ii Small is beautiful I like having a team around me but I want to maintain my work-life balance. iii Take on the world Bring it on. I want to be the next Google All of these are perfectly valid ambitions but clearly knowing which is your goal will significantly impact on your own planning. 2. Cash is King Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity – Cash is King! If you can pay your bills, you are in business. If not, watch out! A growing business can mean rising turnover hiding a lack of profitability. Conversely, a genuinely profitable business with poor credit control can run out of cash as the debtor-book grows. Managing cash-flow is vital. A business can run out of cash surprisingly quickly. Realistic planning can pinpoint cash-flow weak points, giving time to address future problems in good time, either from internal resources or putting realistic financing in place. 3. Don’t forget the longer term Do you spend all your time fire-fighting or do you look further ahead too? Whatever your growth objectives, a business with a solid, respected brand that delivers real benefit has inherent value and will serve you well. It doesn’t matter whether your brand is ‘YOU’ or ‘Apple’, if your customers and markets trust you and have confidence that you deliver value, they will want to do business with you. Building trust and confidence takes time, so while you rightly have a focus on cashflow and the short term, remember to build for the future as well. BSA Marketing offers a free, no obligation consultation to Chamber Members davidw@bsamarketing.com www.bsamarketing.com Kevin McKenna, Head of Employment for Kuits Solicitors On 5 April 2017, businesses with 250 employees or more will be required to publish by 4 April 2018 six pieces of information in relation to the pay of employees to measure the differences in the pay received by male and female employees. While this seems a long way off, the reports will contain data of payments made in the 12 months up to April 2017, and will have to stay on your website for three years. While they will not be obligated to do so, we expect businesses with fewer employees to face increasing pressure from their staff to report on their gender pay gap. The government aim is to close the gender pay gap – which stands at 18% - “in a generation”. Given that equal pay legislation has been in place for over four decades, naming and shaming looks like the next weapon in the (pay) battle of the sexes. What are the risks to employers? The draft regulations do not contain any specific sanctions for failure to comply with the requirements. That said, employers could face the following risks for non-compliance: • Potential reputational implications: Failure to comply with the regulations will constitute an “unlawful act”. Non-compliant employers run the risk of attracting negative publicity from a variety of sources, including the government’s potential ‘naming and shaming’ lists, public interest from Trade Unions, employees and the media, and competitors within industry. Such adverse publicity may have an impact on an employer’s business and recruitment. • Financial implications: Although there is no specific right for an employee to bring a claim because of their employer’s failure to comply with the regulations, the published information (or lack of) could be used as relevant background evidence for other claims, such as equality of terms claims. Defending such claims can be costly and timeconsuming for employers. How can we help your business? The first step for any employer is to understand the extent of any gap in your pay before you are required to report on it publically. The results of any trial run carried out with our assistance will be subject to legal professional privilege and, as such, will be kept confidential. We will also provide legal advice on the extent to which your business may be at risk of claims arising from the gender pay gaps, and how to minimise these risks. www.kuits.com


53º Degrees
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