CALLING INNOVATORS, YOUR CHANCE TO DISRUPT FINANCIAL SERVICES


Marketing & Business
piece written on the 3rd November 2015 by  

I’m taking part in a campaign called the Pathfinders Challenge by Standard Bank. For this campaign I’ve been asked to blog about my experiences as an entrepreneur, what it’s been like to start a business and any advice I have to share with all of you. Before I do that, let me take a moment to tell you about this competition though because it’s a good one!

pathfinder

The Pathfinders Challenge is a website that allows people to submit innovative ideas that will benefit the customer of the future. By “customer”, I’m referring to people who belong to a bank or financial service and the concept resolves around people offering up ideas on how these customers may best benefit from their banks and financial service providers. I think it’s a fantastic idea though, it puts the power into the consumers hands and allows them to play an intimate role in what they feel banks and service providers should be offering. You come up with an idea, you submit it to the Pathfinders Challenge website and then people vote on it. Here is a short video that will give you the low down:

I registered my company, iMod Digital, several years ago and it has been one heck of a challenge. A challenge that I will never regret though and the amount that I’ve learnt is really hard to summarise into a few points. A couple of years ago, on November 12, 2013 I wrote a blog post on 5 things I wouldn’t change about starting a business and that’s a really good reference point for anyone who wants to start a business but today I need to give you some financial related items to consider. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve spent a lot of time learning so I’ll share that but please seek professional advice over mine.

#1 Accounting

When I started my business I knew that I was not an accountant. I may have done accounting at university, but I’m a digital guy who does digital marketing and programming, not someone who balances debits and credits. So one of the best moves I made was to hire an accounting firm, Galbraith Rushby, to take care of all accounting related matters. This was a decision that definitely comes in my top 3 or 4 decisions that I made and am so darn happy I made them.

#2 Banking

People shy away from banking and moan about banking fees, but at the same time it’s really important to forget that nonsense and create a good relationship with your bank. Understand how your bank accounts work, understand the difference between opening an account in your own name or the business’s name and take the time to learn what services your bank can offer you. This to me is the perfect topic for innovation: access to practical case study type information for those starting businesses.

#3 Investing

I believe that most people don’t understand the importance of long term investing as a business owner. When you’re employed you may get a pension fund, provident fund or a retirement annuity. However, when you’re the business owner you don’t get this and you need to make sure that you’re investing. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Do you invest in your own name or in the business name and how does that affect you from a tax point of view. Is the 15% dividend worth taking to invest in your own name for example. What did I do? I split up my investments. A portion of my salary goes into investment accounts and then excess money in the business goes into another investment account (including the VAT portion, but that’s a bit complicated for this post).

#4 Splitting Accounts

Boy oh boy is this a topic I come across a lot when I speak to new business owners. People are forever asking if they should stay as a freelancer or open a business account to separate their money and the business’s money. It’s a tricky question because it affects tax, which in the beginning can be scary. Talk to your accountant about this, understand the pros and cons of separating them and make sure your accountant explains the reasons why you might need to open a business account. I cannot stress how important this is, it took me quite a while to sort it out myself.

There are so many tales that come to mind whilst I write this blog post, but I think these 4 items are fairly simple to understandable and are quite actionable, which is what I was trying to achieve. Perhaps one of these items could inspire your submission to the Pathfinders

There are so many tales that come to mind whilst I write this blog post, but I think these 4 items are fairly simple to understandable and are quite actionable, which is what I was trying to achieve. Perhaps one of these items could inspire your submission to the Pathfinders Ideascale?

The competition closes on the 6th of November at 23:59 and terms and conditions are on the website. Hurry and enter, you don’t have much time left!

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