Friday, 27 May 2011

Module Evaluation

I have thoroughly enjoyed this module and feel this is because I have been able to focus more on where I want to progress to in the future. The enterprise module it helped clarify more specific aspirations I have and therefore I have been able to apply this to my work. I have a keen interest in high end retail design, mainly in editorial design but also in branding and identity. 

During this module I have learnt a variety of skills that will help me to progress both on this course and into  a professional designer. I have become more aware of the importance of a fluid brand identity, making sure everything links together to create a stronger and prominent overall company. I have only recently gained a specific interest in editorial design since the typography module and therefore thought it was a good idea to design a magazine to put my new interest and skills to the test. 

During the Ted Baker brief my partner became ill toward the end and therefore I had to create all of the designs and deliver them to the YCN submission. I found it very daunting initially having to completely change my time scale for designing. Having to think on my feet and quickly turn around the majority of a project on my own.

I found creating a website quite challenging to grasp in the first instance because it is like learning a new language. After attending the web sessions I found myself more coherent with the software and able to incorporate my own design onto an interactive page.

I feel my greatest strengths of this project have been in idea generation and decision making. I feel more directed with my work now and know what I want to achieve. My time management has helped me throughout this module writing lists upon lists of 'to do's'. I found setting smaller time framed lists helped me look at the smaller picture and me more dedicated to specific tasks rather than generalising and looking at the big tasks in hand. I am starting to learn more about myself and how I work best so I would say that overall this is a good strength that I have gained.

My main weaknesses during the module have lied within documentation. At the beginning of a module I am always very motivated and enjoy finding streams of research and initial ideas, but once this has been done I can sometimes become overly focused on the finished product and push the documentation of my experimentation to the side. I have also found it very hard to keep up to date with my blog this module, because I have been so motivated to finish the product I have become behind and this in turn made me feel slightly lost and jumbled in the normally logical way I go about things.

Overall I am very happy with this module and wouldn't change much if I were to do it again. I have learnt that I cope well under pressure and in fast changing situations. In a sense I am happy that I had to think on my feet with the changing circumstances because it has made me aware that I am very capable.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Presentation

Start up costs

Before you start your business there are many costs you need to be aware of and account for in your business plan to make sure you don't get any nasty surprises later on whether you are starting a home based internet business or a bricks and mortar retail outlet.
Of course you can consult an accountant but you may not need to. Have a look through this article and write down the cost of everything you think you'll going to incur into a spreadsheet before you start up your business.

Types of Startup Costs

Of course different businesses will have different costs when they are starting up so we have attempted to think of all the different types of start up expenses you may encounter whether they be running costs of the operation or once off capital costs for purchasing assets.
When preparing your first business plan you'll probably have to estimate most costs which is fine so long as you are estimating based on facts and not on what you believe they should be. As your business grows you'll hopefully be able to make cost savings as you can build in economies of scale into your operations.
There are two basic type of cost you'll incur - fixed costs and variable costs and these are used to estimate and plan your break-even analysis point.

Types of Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are those costs you incur which do not increase (or decrease) from you selling one more unit of your product or service. (The costs directly associated with you doing this are called marginal or variable costs).
We have split the fixed cost of your business startup into the main categories.
  • Professional fees - These may include the cost of hiring an accountant, solicitor, lawyer, or other expert professional to deal with the legal aspects of starting a business such as company formation, copyright protection, drafting partnership agreements or other fees you may need to pay to the government for certificates and inspections for health and safety or food hygiene.
  • Insurance - this can include public liability insurance, car insurance, van insurance, contents and building insurance
  • Premises costs - included refit of a shop, building and construction cost of premises, rent, rates and connection of utitilies including electricity, telephone, gas and water rates.
  • Staffing and employment - Any advertising and recruitment fees for new staff including training and training course
  • Stock - purchase and storage of initial stock and warehousing costs
  • Sales and marketing - initial launch and promotion of your products and services including ecommerce and website development
  • Finance - any forms of loans or finance including interest payments and arrangement fees

Variable Costs

Variable costs or direct costs are those that increase if you sell one more unit of your product or service. some of the above costs under fixed costs may actually be variable, but more often than not your variable costs will fall under direct product costs such as:
  • Actual cost of product - this may come your stock but it's a variable cost
  • Shipping of product - the cost of shipping, postage and any shipping insurance
  • Packaging - the packaging of shipping the product
  • Remuneration and commissions paid to your sales force
  • Direct wages paid to workers who get paid by the item produced

Project Management of your new Start up Business

Think about the time it's going to take you to develop your ideas into the first day you startup your business because whatever you need to undertake will take much longer that you imagine. For example, if you need premises the time taken to have solicitors to go through the lease agreement to you getting the keys and then having to have the shop re-fitted can take months. And, if you have to recruit new staff you don't want to have them employed by you and not doing anything whilst you are paying the salaries.
So it's a wise move to produce a project plan of all the items you need to get ready and plot them against a time line, the cost of each activity and the person responsible for that activity on the overall project. You can then monitor progress against the actual events as you progress.
Perhaps also think about what skills and professional you may need to hire to help you with your small business because you alone will not be able to do everything.

Cost Management

Like most people you will be keen to get your business off to a great start as soon as possible and may tend to rush things to get towards your goals without keeping an eye on the best deals or to ensure that working capital and cash flow are healthy. Here are some tips to keep the cash flowing in the early days:
  • Lease or rent rather than buy - this keeps the initial payments low and like vehicles you can give them back at the end of the lease and not have to worry about depreciation and sometimes maintenance during the contract
  • Use contract workers - so you don't need to worry about tax, NI and pensions
  • Use price comparison websites to check out the best deal for utilities - there are business price comparison sites these days also
  • Use pay as you go rather than contracts so you're not tied into a long period you can't get out of

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Design Style

We would love to sit alongside designs like this... but using our morals of sustainability.

Sleek elegant design, feminine and luxurious. 
Making food a fantasy. With suggestion of luxury and a sneak peek at the contents.







Standout design breaking away form the norm.

Innovative design ideas to stand out on the shelf and make life that little bit easier.


Collections and ranges with minimalistic design.




Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Evaluation

Before I started this module I liked to think that I enjoyed business and would one day like to run my own company. Now that I have finished the module, I still have he same passion and I am possibly even more excited about my future business ventures, however, it has opened my eyes, and somewhat shocked me, as to how much time and effort needs to go into setting up a business.

I found the lectures very helpful and informative. There was a vast amount of information to take in, however it was delivered in an easy-to-understand way, which made me feel more capable and not out of my depth.

The tasks I was asked to do helped greatly at solidifying the information we were given in the lectures. It enabled me to apply my own aspirations and to further understand what it is exactly what I want to do in my future. Never the less I still haven't thought of exactly what I wish to do in the future, but I feel a lot more secure in the fact that I know what's out there and I know how to handle my self better in the business world to reach out and do what I want to do.

I fund it very enjoyable and a positive experience being able to set up a virtual business. It helped to apply the knowledge we had gained in the lectures and set tasks and apply them to the 'real word'. I found the financial side of it very interesting, however I have to admit, I did find it very hard to get my head around all the final calculations so my other business partners aided in that aspect of the company greatly.

I have enjoyed learning about what makes businesses work and I now feel overall more capable in the enterprising world. If I were to do this module again I would definitely stick the with same design partnership as we worked very well together, however, I would perhaps try and get to grips more with the money side of things and persevere with trying to understand better. Overall it has been a great learning experience and I will undoubtably benefit from this in the future.

Overall Costs

Maya calculated the costs of doing business:




Direct and Indirect Costs

Our indirect costs will include:

Office supplies
Rent
Insurance
Marketing
Post and phone bills

We will not need to pay for gas and electricity because it is included in the price of the rent for the office space.

Our direct costs will include:

Travel
Print
Manufacture of designs

Social Change

Within society you have:

Greatest Human Needs


and


Lesser Human Needs


In the current global situation some of the needs have been shifted.

There is a lot of talk about global warming etc. and resources are having to be used to carefully and sparingly. A big result of these issues are sustainable, ethical and economical ideas. They aim for our actions we take today not to impact badly upon the future of the environment.

This example shows how being good to the environment now is becoming a greater human issue than it was before.

Roles and Responsibilities

Maya Srivastava - Editorial and packaging

Roz Stoughton - Sustainability and ethics

Kim Sandford - Photography

Me -High end retail.

Internal, Micro and Macro Environments


Because our business is a new, our priorities will initially be internal. Making sure everyone in the business is capable and wanting to start this company.

Then we will need to penetrate the micro environment, getting ourselves known and on top of everything regarding, supplies, contacts, money etc.

Finally once he business has been set up for a while and has become relatively successful we can focus on a wider market area and think about expanding (macro). Also we will need to keep up with ever changing trends in society to keep up to date.

Location and Premises

We decided firstly to rent office space because it would be a cheaper option than buying permanent space.


We need a place in a highly populated design area


Fairly cheap to rent


Good location and building to make us look more professional.


We also decided that we wanted to be near london


Here's what Roz found for us:




Think this is a really good option as it's so flexible. It's cheap to rent, and you can alter how much space you need according to your needs. You pay per desk per week, so if we needed to expand this would also be possible. It has 24 hour access, good for late nights. Car parking - definite requirement. Meeting rooms available. And an on site manager which means less costs have to spent on the running of the building. It also has kitchenettes for tea! This would be ideal as it's affordable and flexible.

Business rate tax:




Approved people we would may need to contact in order to move into a new office space in the EC1 postcode area: 


Here is a table for the budget of setting up in a new office:


SWOT and PEST



S - Strenghts

Our business has 4 creative minds with different specialities making our overall design capabilities stronger. 

We have found a hole in the market therefore we will have less competition.

We will be situated in a popular design area.

We have calculated costs and investigated all aspects of our business before we have set up.

W- Weaknesses

Because it is a new business idea we can't be 100% that it will be successful.

Because none of the team are on the business radar at the moment it will be harder to find clients if they only want to work with known designers. 

O - Opportunities

With growing amount of clients we could move to a bigger office or a more central location for accessibility. 

With sustainability being a growing market working overseas could become a big opportunity.

We are targeting a market which hasn't been used to its full potential yet (sustainable high end retail design|) and so businesses could be very interested in our unique and current design values.

T - Threats

High end retail brands like to work with established designers and so they could carry on using the more established brands instead of stepping out of their comfort zone.

With sustainability, ethics and the eco friendly market being a lucrative area at the moment other companies may be in the same position as us, setting up, and therefore we need to stand out from the crowd so they don't take our custom.






P - Political 

With current social money issues funding may become an issue, so we will need to keep on top of our finances and always have a back up if something was to go wrong money wise.

In relation to money, businesses may not be willing to take risks using our new company incase things went wrong ad they would loose money.

E - Economic

We need to get out costings right so that we can be competitive enough in the market, but still create enough income to fund the business and ourselves. 

S - Social

People will want to work with well known designers for a better guarantee of quality. 

Or idea is fairly new and unique so businesses may be slightly apprehensive to try something new.

Sustainable, eco and ethical are a growing market and interest within society. 

T - Technological 

Everyone will have to keep up to date with their skills and software will have to be re newed yearly to keep up to date.

Being an ethically aware company we need to ensure that every step in our design is as eco friendly as possible to keep a good reputation.

Accounting

It's important to select an accountant who's right for your business. Speak directly to everyone on your shortlist, discuss their experience and services and outline your business needs. Ideally the relationship you have with your accountant will be long term, so these are important considerations.

Telephone your shortlist

Ask each accountant about their practices:
  • Experience - do they have clients in your sector and experience of businesses of a similar size? Can they deal with your business' specific needs?
  • Charges - what do these cover, how are they scaled and do they offer all-in fees?
  • Personnel - who will look after your business most of the time - a partner or someone more junior? How many partners are there? Sometimes smaller practices suit smaller businesses.
  • Efficiency - what response times do they work to?
  • Added value - what additional services can they offer?
Choose about three to visit. Check whether you will be charged for this meeting.
Meet your prospective accountant
When you visit a practice, you should discuss:
  • How the practice can help you develop your business.
  • Whether it will be able to offer you advice.
  • What services you will be charged for and how and when you will pay for them.
  • The level of access you will be given to the data held about your business. This is important as you might need data to update your business plan or for a tender document. You will also want easy access to this information if you ever decide to change accountants.
Take your business plan and other useful information about your business to the meeting. A good accountant should want to know as much about you as you do about them.
A good accountant should also be happy to pass on names of clients for you to take up references.
Once you have chosen an accountant, let them know that you have selected them and they will issue a letter of engagement. This letter will be the contract between you and your accountant and should detail:
  • your responsibilities
  • the accountant's responsibilities
  • their fees and how they will be charged


EC1 Accountants





There were so many results for accountants in the EC1 area, however, Carbon Accountancy kept cropping up so I decided to see what they were about.








Their website seemed very legitimate with case studies and quotes from their clients approving them. The site was well laid out and clear to navigate. They seem almost perfect.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business esp. as affecting liquidity.



The basic elements of cash flow are:
  • Starting cash -- This is your starting balance -- what you have on hand at the beginning of each month.
  • Cash in -- This is all cash received during the month, including sales, paid receivables, interest or cash from sales of assets or stock.
  • Cash out -- Includes all fixed and variable expenses.
  • Ending cash -- This is your ending balance. Add starting cash to cash in for total cash, then subtract cash out.


4 P's



Price - £45 per hour

Place - where the design will go.... retail

Product - the design - high end 

Promotion - poster, billboard, tv advert, flyers, in store, online, etc.

Business Status

We have decided to have the status of a PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS... here are the ins and outs of our commitments to the business:



Legal structures: the basics

There are three types of partnership:
  • 'ordinary' partnerships
  • limited partnerships
  • limited liability partnerships (LLPs)

Common features of all types of partnership

All three types of partnership have the following features in common:
  • two or more persons – ie the partners - share the risks, costs and responsibilities of being in business
  • a partner can be an individual or another business, eg a limited company or another partnership
  • each partner takes an equal share of the profits, unless the partnership agreement states otherwise
  • income tax and Class 4 National Insurance contributions are deducted from each partner's share of the profits
  • each partner must register as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and complete an annual self-assessment tax return
  • a nominated partner must also send HMRC a partnership return
  • partners raise money for the business out of their own assets and/or with loans
  • the partners themselves usually manage the business, although they can delegate certain responsibilities to employees
  • it's possible to have 'sleeping' partners who contribute money to the business but are not involved in running it from day to day
  • the partnership must keep records showing business income and expenses
It's a good idea to draw up a written agreement between the partners. For further advice, consult an accountant or solicitor.

'Ordinary' partnerships

An 'ordinary' partnership has no legal existence distinct from the partners themselves. If one of the partners resigns, dies or goes bankrupt, the partnership must be dissolved - although the business can still continue.
A partnership is a relatively simple and flexible way for two or more people to own and run a business together.
However, partners are jointly liable for any debts owed by the partnership and so are equally responsible for paying off the whole debt.
Creditors can claim a partner's personal assets to pay off any debts - even those debts caused by other partners.
If a partner leaves the partnership, the remaining partners may be liable for the entire debt of the partnership.
Therefore, partners do not enjoy any protection if the business fails.

Limited partnerships

A limited partnership is made up of one or more general partners and one or more limited partners.
General partners are jointly liable for any debts owed by the partnership and so are equally responsible for paying off the whole debt.
A limited partner's liability is limited to the amount of money they have invested in the business and to any personal guarantees they have given to raise finance.
Limited partnerships must register with Companies House but don't generally have to make an annual return or file accounts.
Registration is via a paper application form only.

Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)

LLPs must have a minimum of two designated members - the law places extra responsibilities on them.
If for any reason the number of designated members falls to one, every member is deemed to be a designated member.
LLPs must:
  • register with Companies House
  • send Companies House an annual return
  • file accounts with Companies House
You can register either via a paper application form or electronically using a third party with access to the necessary software - eg an incorporation agent, software provider or solicitor.
You can also send your annual return and other documents to Companies House electronically using its Webfiling service.
A partner's liability is limited to the amount of money they have invested in the business and to any personal guarantees they have given to raise finance.
This means that members have some protection if the business runs into trouble.

Legal Issues


No matter who you are, you will make mistakes at some point in your business life. Unfortunately the law is not very forgiving - ignorance is not a defence. In this section, we have compiled some of the common legal pitfalls to watch out for when setting up your own business.

  • Partnerships
    A partnership is formed when two or more parties form to start a business, sharing the workload and investing capital to get things going. It is always wise to have a written partnership agreement and get it checked by a solicitor. If you do not have a proper agreement and it all goes wrong, the partnership will be covered by the Partnership Act, whose provisions may not always seem fair.

    For example, under it partners can withdraw without giving notice. This could mean they insist on the immediate return of their capital and the business may be forced to close down as a result. If you do not however, have an agreement you may be liable for all sorts of costs and you have no legal standing. It is very important to make sure all of your agreements are legal and will withstand in a court of law.

  • Clarify Relationships
    You can find yourself in a partnership without realising it, for example, if you run a business with somebody but don't employ them, this often happens with husbands and wives or other family members. In a partnership, each partner is responsible for business debts incurred by other partners and there is no limit to their liability.

  • Put Everything in Writing
    I cannot stress enough how important it is to have everything in writing. If things go wrong you have no legal standing without some form of documentation (which includes all correspondence), contracts are the basis of all business relationships. A contract will include four key components: Consideration, an obligation to pay or a promise to provide something in return for something of value. Certainty, the contract must clearly state what is expected of all parties. The intention to be legally bound and an offer and an acceptance. However, contracts can be oral and it isn't always clear when one has been made.

    Confirm every agreement in writing so everyone knows where they stand. What is the brief? Who will pay? When? How much? Are expenses included? What are the acceptance criteria? Who will own copyright? It is important that all aspects are covered and that there are no grey areas.

  • Make Sure all Employees Have a Contract
    It is very important to have a contract of employment in place from day one for all employees. Make sure that all new employees are entitled to work in this country, or you could face heavy penalties. The contracts act to protect both parties.

  • Know your Employment Laws Employment laws in this country are very precise on what you can and cannot do. Before you fire someone, make them redundant or change their terms and conditions of employment, take legal advice. If you don't, you could find yourself open to claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination or breach of contract. Also warn employees that discrimination, sexual harassment and other illegal acts will not be tolerated.

  • The Importance of Health & Safety
    If you fail to carry out your health and safety obligations you may face prosecution, your insurance premiums may rise and you may find difficulty in obtaining insurance altogether. In the worst cases your business may be closed until you adhere to the Health & Safety laws. Information packs are available from the Health & Safety Executive which will outline your legal requirements. The Government are legally entitled to carry out spot checks on your premises at any time.

  • Make Sure you are Insured
    Insurance is vital from a financial viewpoint. There are also legal requirements for employer's and public liability insurance. If you sell products, product liability insurance will protect you if someone injured by a defect in your product successfully sues you.

  • Are you Covered?
    Many people find it hard to imagine that work they have done will result in a claim for hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, most people only contribute a link in a chain, so the effects of a mistake can be out of all proportion to their individual contribution. If you offer services or advice you must get adequate professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity cover is needed for years after the work has been done, because it has to cover when the claim is made. Failure to do this will leave you open to claims that may make you bankrupt!

  • Terms and Conditions
    If you don't spell out in black and white your terms and conditions of trade (T&Cs) you are giving you customers the licence to pay you when they feel like it. And if they go into liquidation before paying you, you may not be able to reclaim your goods if you do not have a Retention of Title clause in your Terms & Condition’s. Draft some suitable Terms & Condition’s for your business and ask a solicitor to check them. You must ensure your customer agrees to them, and ideally, signs them when placing an order.

  • Read the Small Print
    Read all loan and overdraft agreements carefully to ensure you understand what you are letting yourself in for. Be very wary of signing personal guarantees. Banks often seek to over secure' their lending. Once you have signed any paperwork you will be legally bound to any terms and conditions that are set out in the small print, no matter how unreasonable they may be. It is imperative that you read all small print before signing anything.

Finally, be careful when signing lease agreements, especially for property. Even if you move and sell the lease on, you could find yourself liable if the next person defaults. Check whether you will be liable to repair and improve the property under the terms of your lease.

Avoiding these common legal pitfalls will help ensure that smooth running of your business and will also prevent you from receiving any unwelcome fines.

Solicitors

There was a vast array of commercial solicitors to be found on google search. 

Our solicitor needs to be reliable and contactable. 

Here are a few of the ones that stood out.







Commercial Law

Banking - Loans and Insurance

Google results for 'business accounts':


Lloyds TSB:






Natwest:





Money Supermarket:



Santander:




Chosen bank account:







HSBC also offer 10% off insurance when you have opened an account with them...




Loans and grants:

We ate planning to start this business three years after we all graduate. Therefore we all hope to have saved £5000 to contribute to the business, altogether starting off with £20000. Business loans often want to see how much money is being put into the company by ourself and then they can double this amount in a loan.












Chosen loan provider: