Your latest newsletter from Cool Ventures
Follow on Twitter Friend of Facebook
Cool Ventures July 2013 Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>
Welcome to the latest edition of the Cool Ventures regular newsletter.  We hope you find the articles this month interesting.  If you have any subjects you would like us to cover in future, please let us know.
Superfast Broadband
Free Coaching
Growing your business
Employers Liability Insurance
Zero Hours contracts
Venturefest 2013
RTI rule relaxation
Credit Unions

Sales Survey

We are looking for your help to understand some of the issues facing companies trying to sell in the current climate.  To take part in our anonymous survey, please click  Sales Survey We will publish the results in next months newsletter.  The survey should take no longer than 2 or three minutes to complete.

Superfast Broadband
Funded support to help you to implement and maximise the benefits of the superfast broadband now being rolled out across the South West will soon be available under the Broadband UK Framework Programme which is aimed to provide Superfast Broadband speeds to 90% of businesses and homes in the region.  Cool Ventures has been selected to deliver coaching and familiarisation of the benefits to business (eligibility criteria apply).  If you are interested in finding out more about how superfast broadband can help your business, contact us on 01225 580850 or

Free Coaching

Now the school holidays are here many businesses are seeing a slow down in demand as their clients head for the beach.  Why not use this time to review where your business is going.  The Department of Business Innovation and Skills is offering to pay for growth coaches to work with businesses like yours.  As long as you are determined to grow your company and your company is registered in England, has fewer than 250 employees and turns over less than £250 million pounds, you can access coaching support up to the equivalent of 42 hours at prices starting from as little as £600.  With our normal hourly rates starting at £79 per hour, you could receive almost £2000 worth of FREE coaching.  Why not give us a call on 01225 580850 or email for more information.  We have successfully worked with businesses across the region and if you would like to talk to some our clients to see what they think we will be delighted to put you in touch with them for a chat.

Businesses that seek external advice and information are 14% more ambitious and 50% more successful than those that do not (BIS , 2010).

Working On, Not in, Your Business critical to growth

Our experience tells us that many ambitious business owners know what they want to achieve with their business. But finding the time to work on future strategy, while also overseeing the day to day running of a company, can be a challenge.

A report from GrowthAccelerator, Working On, Not In, Your Business, found that two-thirds of business owners do not have enough time to step back from the ‘day-to-day’, focus on a long-term strategy or decide on the best way to grow.

While many company owners and directors would like to prioritise growth, with the huge pressure involved in running a successful company it’s perhaps understandable that only 16% say they spend the majority of their time planning for growth.

More surprisingly however is that nearly half of businesses (47%) don’t force themselves to work regularly, or in fact at all, on their business strategy. This lack of planning can make it difficult to identify and articulate their business growth plans: half of the business leaders questioned as part of GrowthAccelerator’s research could not identify their business objectives for the next 12 months ‘off the top of their head’.

For some business leaders, the challenge in articulating future plans is identifying the best ways of achieving growth. Nearly half of those questioned, 44%, said a key challenge to achieving growth was knowing how to grow, while a third said that defining a clear strategy for growth also presented an obstacle. Business Development coaching to support businesses in defining this future strategy is one of the four crucial ways in which GrowthAccelerator’s nationwide network of Growth Managers is helping companies to explore and fulfil their growth potential. By investing in professional external support through GrowthAccelerator, businesses are making a commitment to not just the effective day to day management of their business, but to identifying and delivering a future strategy for growth.

With two thirds (69%) of those questioned who had paid for professional advice more able to describe clearly their business objectives, it’s clear that an increased focus on planning and future strategy can be invaluable in helping an ambitious business articulate and identify its goals for growth. Says Simon Littlewood, Director of GrowthAccelerator; “From our experience of working with high growth companies, revisiting business fundamentals such as profit margins and their cash position and forming a solid business plan with strategies to reach their objectives is vital. Mapping an attainable path to growth is an invaluable process that enables businesses to invest confidently in their future success.” 

And the potential return on investment is clear. While a third of SMEs said they found it impossible to take a step back, citing finding the time to do so as a bigger challenge to their growth prospects than even the current economic environment, those who had taken the time to plan said it had put them, on average 10 months, ahead of where they would have been without planning. 

Zero hours contracts to be investigated by Government

The Government is to investigate zero hours contracts, where workers are paid only for the hours worked, as part of a fact-finding exercise to understand the issues relating to casual workers' contracts. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "In the last decade, there has been a steady rise in the number of zero hours contracts. However, we know relatively little about its effect on employers and employees. There has been anecdotal evidence of abuse by certain employers - including in the public sector - of some vulnerable workers at the margins of the labour market. While it's important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally important that it is treated fairly."

Read more about the investigation at:

Firms unaware of Corporate Manslaughter Act

Many start ups and small firms with vans in the UK are at risk of punishment as they are unaware of the laws regarding Corporate Manslaughter, according to a study by insurer AXA. The study, which surveyed 300 firms with vans, revealed that 45% were completely unaware of the term Corporate Manslaughter. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, which came into force in 2008, allows criminal prosecutions to be made against private firms whose activities cause a person's death. Penalties include an unlimited fine, which could potentially collapse small firms. The research also found that poor admin, unchecked damage to van bodywork and a lax attitude to vehicle maintenance were areas of concern identified by the insurer.

Read more about the study at:

Venturefest 2013 is now booking!

Registration for Venturefest Bristol 2013, the ideal place for entrepreneurs and SMEs to meet investors, collaborators and business support providers, is now open.

For more information and to secure your free place go to

RTI rule relaxation extended

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to extend the temporary relaxation of new Real Time Information (RTI) reporting rules for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. HMRC originally announced the rule relaxation on 19 March for employers with fewer than 50 employees who pay employees weekly or more frequently, but only process their payroll monthly. It said it recognised that they needed longer to adjust to real time reporting of PAYE information and would therefore be able to send the data to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run, but no later than the end of the tax month. The concession was originally due to run until 5 October 2013 but on 12 June, HMRC said it would be extending the option until April 2014. Despite the concession to businesses getting to grips with RTI, employers could still face penalties for inaccuracies on RTI returns submitted in the 2013-14 tax year, although there will be no penalties for late payment until April 2014.

Government should 'do more to help credit unions expand'

The Government should ease restrictions on credit unions to allow them to expand, a report by Civitas has urged. The report’s recommendations include lifting the interest rate cap and allowing credit unions to develop a greater range of current and savings accounts. In the report, Civitas also identifies several measures to encourage credit unions to lend to business, such as creating partnerships between credit unions and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI’s) and redefining business membership to remove restrictions on deposits greater than £10,000.


There is more about the credit union report at:

Guide to employers' liability insurance published

A guide to help small and medium-sized business owners understand their responsibilities when obtaining employers' liability cover has been published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The guide covers the difference between employers' liability and public liability insurance, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and includes a table of common concerns about health and safety guidelines. Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said the guide would help reduce confusion surrounding health and safety requirements, minimising the burden on smaller firms and barriers to growth.

Read more about the guide at:



Cool Ventures girl with lightbulb

Upcoming Events

Business Awareness Session (on behalf of BANES and Business West)
Midsomer Norton 11.30am

Business Awareness Session (on behalf of BANES and Business West)
Bath 5.30pm

29/10 and 26/11
Developing a Growth Strategy and Business Planning - linked workshops
9.30am, Bristol
Copyright © 2013 Cool Ventures Limited, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp