Ed’s Top Tips – Tip 3 – Managing your cash flow

Ed Goodman, business mentor, author and co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge, presents Ed’s Top Tips – a series of short and useful guides for starting and running a business.

Tip 3 – Managing your cash flow. It’s all about the money, money money…

One of the main reasons why a business fails is its mismanagement of its cash flow. In fact, according to a U.S. Bank study, as many as 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.

Watch this video where Ed talks about the importance of managing your cash flow.

How do you track your finances? What lessons have you learnt in ensure your cash flow is managed effectively?

Let us know in the comments or Tweet us using the hashtag #EdsTopTips.

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Remote working has the made the decision of where to work or run a business very easy (or not, if you don’t like making decisions). Which is why, I’m sure, the number of employed and self-employed, who work from home, has increased so dramatically in recent years.

In March 2016, I took to social media to get a greater understanding of where my connections (across the UK) run their business from. The results were:

laptop-943558_960_720Home: 81%

Serviced Office: 10%

Coworking Space: 6%

Other (coffee shop, library, etc.): 3%

Not too much of a surprise there, as working from home is certainly the most flexible of all options. It’s also free and commuting is a dream. I know, as I’ve worked from home for years, and completely agree that it’s great for convenience. However, it takes discipline to work from home day in, day out, and can extremely isolating. Also, if you have a bad day at work, how does that impact on your home environment? Especially if you work from a room that you socially spend a lot of time in.

Whereas, working in an office or shared space is great for inspiration, bouncing ideas off everyone and breaking away from at the end of the day.

A Freelancer’s Route To Home-Working Discipline 

CaptureI remember a freelancer telling me how they used to leave the house at 8:30 every morning, dressed for work, and would walk round the block (via a coffee shop) back to their home. Now there were at work and all home comforts and chores were out of bound.

At the end of the day, he would leave ‘work’ and walk the reverse route, so when they entered the door, they were now at home. It sounds like a lot of effort, but that was their way of mentally getting in the right frame of mind.

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Given that most of those who responded (majority of which are freelancers) worked from home, here are how they described their Pro’s and Con’s:

Advantage: No longer have to get up at 6.30 for the hour long journey into work on the A14.

Disadvantage, no longer get up from desk to go see colleagues, so spend far too much time sitting at the computer, getting fatter. – Susan Fleming, Not Just Travel Anglia


 

Advantage: Incredibly short commute

Disadvantage: No banter with colleagues – Andy Boothman, Creative Graphic Designer Director


 

Advantage: I can work in my pj’s.

Disadvantage: The washing is here… (and the rest of the chores) – Nicky Shephard, Director of The Marketing Boutique.


 

Advantages: Cost and flexibility.

Disadvantages include being treated as the neighbourhood parcel drop. – Karen Packham, Editorial and Website Consultant.


I am not a freelancer but I can work from home as part of my job:

Advantages: Fewer distractions, no commute.

Disadvantages: Not seen as part of the team, lack of interaction with colleagues. – Emma Saldanha, Marketing Executive at Cogent Accountants Ltd


Main advantage is the convenience & flexibility to work the hours I choose. But for a procrastinator like me that’s also a disadvantage as I can always find other things that need doing around the house instead of working. – Geraldine Jones


Advantage: my cats keep me company and act as my office assistants.

Disadvantage: my cats keep me company and act as my office assistants – Stewart Harris, Bassist, Singer, Graphic Designer


Big advantage is the journey to work and back. No traffic or public transport hassles. – Graham Harris


Advantage: Convenient but miss the camaraderie. – Karen Cann, Freelance Video Editor & Producer


Advantages: I can use travel time to work, I can take breaks and get stuff done at home, I can stop and go and pick my little boy up from school. It’s my space and I feel comfortable in it, no interruptions.

Disadvantages: I miss working with other people sometimes; it upsets my little boy that I am home but not playing with him. – Rachel Willer, Founder and MD at The Work Bees


 

In Summary

There clearly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it also doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be more than one option. You prefer to work from home? Great. But what happens on the days (however infrequent) that you need a change of scenery?

Test the other options, even for just one day, and see how that impacts your productivity as well as the size of your network.

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Working From a Coworking Space

cambridge-business-lounge-co-workingFlexible workspace, coworking, or hot-desking. Call it what you like, the concept of working in a shared office with other business owners and professionals is a fast growing one. Which means that the more you know about it, the more informed you’ll be to know whether it could actually be of benefit to you and your business. 

In April 2014, the Coworking Handbook was published to help those who are wanting to create a space for local businesses and freelancers to use. However, in the book are some benefits and disadvantages that almost every business owner would benefit from knowing. Here is a selection:

The Advantages of Coworking:

  • Expand your personal and professional networks
  • Find new clients and grow your income
  • Be more productive
  • No distractions from family members, or temptations from the fridge or TV
  • Share with soundboards that will improve your projects
  • Be more motivated to work by surrounding yourself of hardworking professionals like you
  • Be more creative
  • Get a professional working routine with your own schedule
  • Work by yourself, not alone

For the purpose of balance, here are some disadvantages:

  • I work better from home – Maybe coworking isn’t for you, but have you tried it (we have a free day on offer if you haven’t. Also, could coworking even one a week be of benefit? e.g. How many contacts do you make at home?
  • I don’t want to share my projectYou don’t have to share anything. Just being around others can provide the benefits listed above. 
  • You have to pay You get a lot of value for little money. Plus, as listed above, there are a lot of benefits.
  • You have to commute There are more and more coworking spaces opening every year. So, find a space that is near to you and that you like.

book-image

Really, there’s only one way to find out how beneficial coworking could be for you, and that is to try it for yourself.

Book for your free taster day by emailing info[at]cambridgebusinesslounge.com, calling 01223 324040, or tweeting @CamBizLounge

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – The Ultimate Business Book?

Bearhhunt

I look forward to going home and reading to one of my kids of an evening. Well, most of the time. Not because I don’t enjoy reading to them, but because not all books are that enjoyable to read after 50 or so occasions.

Most children’s books contain some kind of feel good story and one that stands out is “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

The premise of the book (no spoilers here) is about a family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! It wasn’t until I realised that there’s a lesson on each page that is pertinent to all business owners.

The book starts with the narrator (a child) saying “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. I’m not scared”

Business translation: “I’ve got an idea, I’m going for it and it’s going to be great”.

Then the family take on a series of challenges. For example, “Uh-uh! Grass! Long wavy grass. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!”

Business translation “You’ve got a challenge in front of you and you can’t avoid it. You’ve got to use the tools you have and face it, head on”

And that’s the difference between this children’s book and my business translation: The “tools”. The family only have to wade through some grass, or negotiate some mud. They can support each other through that. Who supports you through the challenges you face? Where you do acquire the knowledge and skills to ensure you’re able to go through the problems your facing?

For the narrator of the book, it’s the family; for you, it’s all the other business owners in your area. You just need to get out there and meet them.

Once you build a strong network, you won’t need to go over your challenges, or under them…you’ll be able to go right through them.

Action Point

Try coworking, visit a networking group or get in touch with a business mentor.

Ed’s Top Tips: Tip 2 – Backing Up Your Business Files

Ed Goodman, business mentor, author and co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge, presents Ed’s Top Tips – a series of short and useful guides for starting and running a business.

In tip 2, Ed focuses on the importance of backing up your business files.

What’s the most effective way you use to backup your files? Do you use an external hard drive or cloud based storage like Google Drive or Onedrive?

Let us know your experiences with backing up your data in the comments below, or tweet us including the hashtag #EdsTopTips

CBL Network- A Business Network in That Works With You

CBL Network is a series of informative talks, surrounded by engaging conversations and informal networking, usually hosted at Cambridge Business Lounge. They are inspiring, engaging and an enjoyable way to meet new and familiar faces, as well as to get to know the people behind the businesses they represent.

The speakers who come to talk at CBL Network are there to share the stories of their professional journey, or they are experts in a field that challenges the status quo of traditional business and who’s knowledge can be applied to a wide range of businesses.

This video highlights two of our CBL Network events, from 2015, – hosted by Jeremy Waite and another by Cameron Webb – and captures the nature of our very informal and informative events.

To find out more details of our events, visit our Meetup Group, follow us on twitter or track the hashtag #CBLNetwork.

Ed’s Top Tips: Tip 1 – The Sweet Spot of a Successful Business

Ed Goodman, business mentor, author and co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge, presents Ed’s Top Tips – a series of short and useful guides for starting and running a business.

In this first video, Ed gives you an understanding of the sweet spot to running a business and why it’s so important.

How did you find the sweet spot for your business? Are you still struggling to find yours – if so why not leave us a comment below or Tweet us using the hashtag #EdsTopTips

A Day in the Life of a Co-worker

Gavin Rankine, Accounts Tax Plus, works for himself. Every day, he cycles to Cambridge Business Lounge, whatever the weather, despite having a purpose built office at home.

So why does he go to all this trouble? Why bother commuting at all? What does coworking really offer Gavin that working from home doesn’t?

Watch “A day in the life of a coworker” to hear Gavin answer these questions as well as explain the benefits of working for yourself but not by yourself.

Follow Gavin on Twitter at @accountstaxplus.

Collaborating or Social Interaction is Not The Priority of People Who Use Coworking Spaces

Let’s cut to the chase; freelancers and other business owners use coworking spaces to work on their own business. Whether it’s bookkeeping, coding, or planning, the most important thing for them is using the space to maximise their level of productivity.

IMG_0127The ability to help someone else with their query, or vice versa, or meet someone new that could spark a new direction for either business is a by-product and benefit of the time spent there. So, although coworking evokes collaboration and a professional community, and rightly so, the vast majority of time spent by any user of a coworking space is on their own business. With this in mind, how can coworking be coworking?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes coworking as “The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge”
Although the ‘by-product’ that I mentioned represents a small amount of time spent at a coworking space, that time can prove so valuable to so many. One co-worker, who was booked in to work from St Ives Business Lounge for the whole day, left at 3pm because he’d already achieved more work then he needed to. While he was there, he also had time to engage in general conversations, meet new local contacts and exchange support and advice with other business owners.

Imagine if, while working on your own business, you could receive or give support with the other businesses in a coworking space, remove the isolation challenge that working from home gives, all while exceeding your goals for the day and being more productive. Most people who use coworking spaces experience these benefits for themselves.

Coworking or collaborating may not be the main priority of people who use coworking spaces, but it’s a brilliant benefit that is worth you experiencing for yourself.

How would you rename ‘coworking’?

What encourages you or stops you from trying it out?

Email us at info@cambridgebusinesslounge.com or tweet @CamBizLounge.

What We Did At The CBL Summer Networking BBQ 2015

On 9th September 2015, 80 businesses took over the stunning Cambridge Union Society for an evening of amazing live jazz, delectable food, refreshing Champagne….and informal, wonderful networking. 

Our thanks for this go to everyone who came, and especially the following:

Pendleton Events – For organising such a fantastic event with us.
Nouveau Jazz Group – Amazing jazz band. Watch them on YouTube.
Cambridge Champagne Co – This went down very well, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Big Day Catering – The food was a real highlight of the evening.
Cambridge Union Society – One of our favourite venues in Cambridge.
Ian Olsson – Who took these amazing shots below…