The Small Business Toolkit Podcast – Episode 1 – With Andy Turner from Let’s do Business group

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The Small Business Toolkit Podcast – Episode 1 – With Andy Turner from Let’s do Business group

The Small Business Toolkit Podcast – Episode 1 – With Andy Turner from Let’s do Business group

CD:     Hello and welcome to the Small Business Toolkit Podcast.   My name is Chris Dabbs as you already know and today I have a very special guest and as usual I will let them introduce themselves.  So you are Sir?

AT:      Hi, Good Afternoon, I am Andy Turner.  I am a Business Finance Specialist from Let’s Do Business Group based down in St Leonards-on-Sea.

CD:     And there we are Let’s Do Business Group.  So in a minute we will come back and he’s going to tell us exactly what he does and how he can help and how Let’s Do Business Group can help a smaller business in this local area.

CD:     And welcome back so hi Andy.  Thanks very much for coming along on a Friday and a wonderfully sunny Friday at that.

AT:      It makes a difference, it’s superb.  It makes everybody more cheerful.

CD:     Well yeah let’s hope so. [Laughs]

I don’t know I think everyone is going to be not so cheerful in the fact that they are stuck in the office or stuck in a shop or something like that and tomorrow it’s bound to rain or something, that’s the usual thing isn’t it.   But anyway so here we are.  As everyone knows we are in the Enterprise Shopping Centre here in the middle of Eastbourne right next to the Station, just across from the old Arndale/Beacon Centre that’s being redeveloped right now.  We are surrounded with lovely boutique shops and all sorts of cafes so if you can hear shoppers in the background that’s all part of the atmosphere.  That’s the idea.  So you know where we are.  Feel free to pop in and have a chat with us if you want to on and also with the Small Business Toolkit of course, send in your questions and we will try and get our experts to answer them as well as possible.

So Andy, let’s start off with Let’s Do Business Group.  I don’t know whether anyone has actually obviously heard of you guys and if so they know all about your training and all the other help you can do but I tell you what let’s just start from the beginning and tell us something about Let’s Do Business and tell us how its formed and all of that sort of great stuff.

AT:      Yeah no problem at all. We are a social enterprise looking after businesses growing right from pre-start all the way up to the top of the SME marketplace and how we define SME’s are businesses turning up for about £25m a year turnover and up to 250 employees.  We have been running about 14 years, originally established in St Leonards, well just outside Hastings. Not where we are now but very close.  We actually cover the whole of the South East now as well so we have expanded from fairly humble beginnings to a team of about 40-45 people spread across as a team in St Leonards or about 30 strong.  There’s a lonesome man at the moment covering Kent based in Maidstone and Ashford and there’s a team of about 10 people covering Essex as well so effectively we cover the whole of the South East, what we call LEP which stands for Local Enterprise Area, of which there are 39 around the country but the team I work for specifically covers looking after businesses in East Sussex.

CD:     Okay and so you work in East Sussex specifically?

AT:      Yes, that’s right.

CD:     Right, right so it’s quite amazing that you have got such a reach of Let’s Do Business. You know all the way from Essex and all the way down here.  So that really shows that you guys sort of know what you are talking about I guess.   How are you funded? I mean how does that work?

AT:      We are funded by a combination of East Sussex County Council and the EU what’s called the ERDS Scheme which means we have funds to give away both via grants into a team called Business East Sussex which helps pre-start, newly started and growing businesses up to about 24 months old and also grants for companies or business locating either within or into East Sussex under our arm called Locate Sussex.  We also offer grants and I’ve already mentioned grants.  We also offer loans as well, that’s both growing and start up businesses and also to businesses moving into East Sussex as I’ve said so we have got three specific arms effectively.  Business East Sussex offers the grants and offers teams of navigators offering up to 12 hours’ free advice and support for people looking to start or have started a business up to about 24 months old.  We then have a lending team looking after the start up loans and the growth loans, ideally targeted towards businesses where perhaps are unable to get hold of mainstream bank funding, where we are able to look at them on a slightly more sympathetic basis should I say.  And the locate arms as I have mentioned as well offering some slightly bigger ticket stuff but also loans and grants, not to purchase property but to help and assist businesses moving either within or into East Sussex.

CD:     Oh right okay that’s really interesting because of course the people that listen to the Small Business Toolkit are both small businesses, micro businesses, micropreneurs, you know that sort of where maybe they are just working by themselves and one day they hope to be able to expand their business or people who are just starting out for whatever reason and really need to have training and help with finance and things like that and obviously it sounds like you guys can really help on that?

AT:      Yes, sure can absolutely so we have a range of people like I say working on the Business East Sussex on the lending and on the Locate Teams.  Teams of people offering both advice and support consultancy up to the top end of the SME market and then myself as a Business Finance Specialist.  Effectively my role is a bit like a business development role where I am able to look across the top of all three and not only introduce businesses seeking advice, support, finance, into what we can do within the Let’s Do Business Group, but also some of the bigger ticket deals where perhaps we can’t do that but I have contacts outside and able to put people in touch with people that can help anywhere from commercial loans, anywhere from asset finance to equity finance to a combination of those plus some other things as well.

CD:     Oh right okay so let’s talk about the higher end of where you work towards the SME’s of around about 250 employees.  Quite a significant employer being a 25 employee business within this area, well actually within the UK isn’t it?  I’ve seen statistics showing that most people are now employed by smaller companies rather than the large mega corporations or certainly not the nationalised industries anymore.  So a 250 employee business, what sort of turnover would that be looking at? What sort of level?

AT:      Anywhere from £10 probably to around about £25 million possibly more, depends how labour intensive the business is.  And each business will have its specific needs, some are importing, some are exporting, some are doing a combination of those.  We tend to find more in the South East it’s more the service sector but as you move up towards Essex then you do move into the exporters and the slightly more manufacturing maybe the slightly more heavy end of the manufacturing business but each business has a specific need and some have complex needs, some have fairly simple needs.  I’d like to think with the people we have within the business we are able to offer specific support tailored to that need. For example, we have a couple of consultants working for us now, both have been in business qualified accountants, been FDs and MDs of some quite large sizable businesses for about 40 years so again perfectly placed to offer advice not only for the smaller end of the business but right up to the top of the market give it some specific advice they may be seeking.

CD:     Yeah absolutely okay so talking about service industries we are not talking about investment and machinery or anything else like that, I guess it’s help that you can provide them, say for instance, if they are an insurance company or a utility re-seller or a telecoms company, something like that as opposed to banking where there’s not much banking that goes down here is there really in terms of…..

AT:      Not much need for our services at the smaller end.  Certainly they tend to be multinationals so we are talking about your typical large service company, manufacturing company maybe who are perhaps looking to branch into something new they are not doing now, or to expand another market.  Or indeed perhaps trying to on the smaller end certainly thinking about employing people for the first time, or perhaps taking on other people for specific reason again we are able to offer advice and support on the complexities of that as well.

CD:     Sure right and you work very closely with the Chamber of Commerce.

AT:      Yes, we do.

CD:     Or various Chambers I guess?

AT:      Absolutely.

CD:     Obviously being based near Hastings or St Leonards, Eastbourne, those are the sorts of Chambers that you work with.  Are there any stories you could tell us about how, not specifics of course, Fred borrowed £250,000 for a new swimming pool or something like that, but something that a business within this area has benefited from help in terms of employment or something like that?

AT:      We have got a number of businesses, not anything I have been involved so far but certainly some well known local vineyards where we published case studies on our locate side of things whereby we have enabled them to expand certainly in the Vinny culture industry.  I think if I’m honest Chris I’ll be struggling to pick ideas and examples out of a head but we have a number of things.  I’ve only been with the business four or five months now but I know given the length of the time they have been established and the amount of experience that’s in there, we have got a whole raft of case studies we can produce right across the whole spectrum demonstrating how importantly we add value to businesses across the whole of East Sussex and indeed beyond.

CD:     Yes, well absolutely. Okay so looking back at the initial stages of business because I guess that’s probably where most of your enquiries come in and I do understand that obviously you’re a business finance specialist so you don’t necessarily get involved with the micro businesses in the first place. I get that but hopefully you’ll be able to tell us a bit more about Let’s Do Business and what they can do for these micropreneurs who are starting out from home.  There’s training as well as finance involved isn’t there?

AT:      Yes there is, we offer a range of pre-start courses, what we call Business Builder courses run by a guy called Wes Game.  So they are specifically targeted with people who perhaps have an idea and want to start a business, not sure where to go with that or perhaps have just started and not sure they have gone past that initial hurdle and want some advice about what comes next.  They may have an idea and they may have a product but perhaps they are not sure about marketing it.   So we offer a couple of day workshops up to about 12 hours I think spread across a couple of days which offer people advice like that.  Myself you mentioned I don’t get involved in micro business although I’m happy to but not specifically but my role would be very much to go and talk to those people and perhaps introducing them to people within the group that could help them. Whether it’s Wes on a pre-start, whether it’s the likes of Fred and Chris offering navigator support, up to 12 hours’ advice around business plans and the grant side of things we can offer.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed on travels is that businesses have some great ideas but sadly little idea about how to raise finance or what’s out there around grants.  So we can certainly signpost them in the right direction and help them build plans that may enable them to become marketable to a bank or another mainstream financial organisation, to obtain a grant for some capital equipment or spend that becomes eligible or indeed signpost them towards the finance side of it, where we are able to offer start up loans and growth loans where perhaps they are not able to secure a conventional mainstream bank funding.

CD:     No and I think that’s the thing isn’t it with a smaller business is that sometimes they can have an idea and really want to put it into practice but the funding obviously is an issue but I think the skills are also a big problem and I know that you know we speak to a lot of people and small businesses and people who want eventually to become a small business owner and they don’t really know where to start. Now you mentioned about the training that you guys offer, that sounds really expensive, I mean if you were talking about one on one advice – 12 hours of that, I mean how much does that cost?

AT:      Well it would cost a lot of money if you went to an outside consultancy provider but I’m pleased to be able to let you know that it’s completely free under the funding received by East Sussex County Council and the EU.  We are actually targeted to help people who are looking to start a business or perhaps have an idea or have just started so the courses and the training we offer, both the stuff that Wes offers that I’ve mentioned earlier, the pre-start, the business builder workshops and the likes of my time and Fred’s time and Chris’ time for businesses who might be just started and seeking finance and looking for ideas and developing a direction, it’s completely and utterly free.   It’s completely free.

CD:     Well that’s obviously good news. Now that’s fantastic.  I think again I know that there are people who need to have help with HR.   I mean taking on their first employee that’s usually something that’s a step up in the ladder as it were isn’t it. And the issues that people have when they first start their business I think are all to do with things like sales you know how am I going to sell, I’m not a sales person, I can’t do that.  How can I get sales in?  Do you also offer like technical courses to do with the internet and being able to sell online?

AT:      Absolutely. We offer both those and what we tend to do is bring in third party providers now. Everything is on our website.  If people are interested in a course that’s not a business builder course for a specific reason, for example GDPR, how to sell and market yourself, all of these or most of them (I won’t say all), but most of them are free but it’s very clearly signposted on the Business East Sussex website.  So if you go on there and look at Events, we publish a calendar on a monthly basis where you can pick from a menu of any course that you could possibly want to do and then look to register yourself, using I think we use Event Brite to actually register and like I say many of them are free. Some aren’t, some we have to bring technical people in to train, if it’s for example on the HR side of it, just picking an example out the air, but the courses are always subsidised so people going through that route would never pay full price for that anyway.  So I’d like to think if we can’t provide a specific skill or some advice within the Let’s Do Business Group structure then we run courses and events and have tie ups with local people who are able to cover things across a whole range, whole spectrum of the business arena.

CD:     Right okay so we have covered training, some of the finance I think will probably a good idea to have a quick chat about because I’m intrigued with the tie in with Europe and the funding you provide with Europe. Obviously things are going to be changing in the next year or so, so we don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of that I guess but as with everything else in this Country at the moment Brexit puts everything into a different, or you need a different lens to be able to look through to the future.  In terms of being able to offer, say let’s start at that end that European funding and things. Now looking through your website and doing some research earlier on I’ve saw that obviously there is some funding to do with European money so if I can ask you about that and then ask you also about say, I don’t know some of the other ways of funding that you can offer specifically through your role, and tell us all about that if that’s okay?

AT:      Yes, sure not a problem.

CD:     So the European side, go for it.

AT:      Okay no problem so what I’ll do is I’ll restrict my comments to the smaller end which I’d imagine most of the audience listening to this may well be either people looking to start a business or have just started.  We have secured funding for the next three years so despite Brexit.  Brexit is going to happen whether we like it or not whichever way you voted but we are funded for the next three years so you can rest assured if you come to us for a piece of funding or some grant that is provided by the EU directly through us, then that won’t suddenly be pulled at the last minute.  Once we confirm support that is what is in there regardless.   You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we are also seeking alternative sources of finance once the EU tap becomes turned off so we are confident of being here for a long time to come regardless of how Brexit proceeds and regardless of our time with the EU after that. The way people source finance is like I say through the SEB grant scheme.  SEB stands for South East Business Boost and that’s run through the Business East Sussex side of things as well.  Also the loans which are partly provided by external providers and partly provided by the Council and other providers but specifically start up loans are provided by the Start Up Loans Company which is again is a centrally funded organisation where we act as an agent for them amongst other people around the Country.    Growth loans are provided by our own company called Capitalised Business Support through our own resources that we have and through a range of other providers which aren’t EU.  So really in terms of what I’m talking about the only area which is EU funded is the grant scheme but like I say we are funded fully for the next three years so grants are still available so come in and buy.

CD:     Absolutely so that’s good news then isn’t it?  At least that’s some stability and I guess that our government needs to try and plug that hole once the European tap has been turned off.   And also if you think about it this is part of, ahh we’re getting into Brexit here, but this is part of our divorce negotiations isn’t it because obviously there have been commitments made to and from Europe of which this is one so that’s good news.  So in terms of funding then, internally or the small loans company that you mentioned, is that part of Let’s Do Business or is it a separate thing or….

AT:      No not at all. It’s a government funded organisation so again it’s completely independent of the EU. Completely regardless of Brexit whether Brexit will happen, regardless of what happens on the back of Brexit then the Start Up Loans Company is where these types of loans are funded so we act as agents for them. We have the ability to grant loans off our own back and above a certain level that we need to go to a panel of people within the start up loans who will approve them.  After that then the loan is taken over by the Start Up Loans Company so effectively acting as agent for them, the contract then is between the individual borrowing the money and the Start Up Loan Company.   The growth loans I say are very slightly different because they are managed internally.  They are run by ourselves. We then do all the administration from the granting of the loan to the repayments to the paperwork and everything like that.

CD:     Okay oh right so with the start up Loans because that sounds quite intriguing for some of our listeners obviously they will be very interested in that, what would be the criteria for borrowing for that? I mean how much can they borrow, what’s the maximum and what makes it different from going to a bank?

AT:      That’s a very good question.  Start up loans are effectively provided for businesses who have been trading for less than 24 months and traditionally unable to obtain bank finance. Now it’s important to know here the loans are lent in a personal name so for example if you run a limited company or you have set up a limited company which has one or more directors then we will lend to the directors in their personal names.  Now because of that we don’t take security whatsoever so that’s the important point to note.  There is no security taken.  We can lend up to £25,000 per person. So if you are a company with two directors, two shareholders, we can lend potentially up to £50,000 to the company via each individual so that the company could benefit from up to £50,000.  Loan terms range up to a period of five years and the key bit to note is the interest rate is very competitive at 6% fixed or flat interest rate with no arrangement fee whatsoever and importantly you are able to repay the loan early with a lump sum without any penalty whatsoever.   It’s also important to note that we are only able to grant one start up loan per business so effectively if you come to us for finance, please bear that in mind and make sure you apply for the right levels of finance because we can’t then come back and say well we got our sums wrong could we have another £5,000 because sadly the answer will be no.

CD:     Oh right okay.  So yeah and they should really have done their homework before they apply for a loan.

AT:      And that’s part of the support that myself and the team can do to make sure that they have done their business plan, the projections are robust, the right questions are being asked so the level of finance they are asking for is the right level. I would always say err on the side of caution so perhaps go for a slightly higher amount than you actually need and using that as a contingency and making sure that you have covered all the angles because there is always something unforeseen coming around the corner.

CD:     Right and now you see you’ve hit something that’s really important there especially for our audience again.  People who want to start businesses want to start the business. They want to get money and they just want to run into it and do it as quickly as they possibly can. Raising the funds from a traditional high street lender may or may not be out of their reach but if they were to do that they would just get the money for instance wouldn’t they.  So in other words I think I need I don’t know £25,000 that should do it, that should be okay, I’m sure it would be fine, yeah that should last for however long but it’s all should, they don’t know.  But going to you guys you will work with them before they submit the application so that they as you mentioned,  so their business plan is robust, so that they understand what they need to do in terms of running a business properly, how many sales they need to make to do that, how much they are going to have to pay for their electricity even, so it isn’t guess work and so that they act as a proper business person with your help and I think that’s a really good point to make because  you are not just lending them the money.

AT:      It is but obviously we can’t answer all the questions.  What we do tend to do is ask the tougher questions and perhaps challenge the business plan and challenge the projections to make people think is this really realistic?  At the end of the day people put a figure in a forecast we have no way of knowing whether its accurate or not.  All we have the ability to do is question it and based upon experience, based on what the people are telling us and then if people are sure that’s right that’s what we work upon.  So yes something interesting you picked up on as well about if people go to the banks then they should. they could.  It’s important to know that if people can get bank finance we can still work with them under the 12 hours, for example, if they are looking to create a business plan which they are presenting to a bank we can actually work with them to help them to do that and then on the back of that if the bank then turn around and say we are not going to finance you for whatever reason that banks do that.  Some banks do, some banks don’t, some banks look at things a bit more sympathetically. We will then be able to use that information produced as collateral for our own application under the start up loan scheme.

CD:     Oh right okay so again helping on the consultancy side for those that do want to go to the bank to raise their funding.

AT:      Yes, under the 12 hours free that’s right.  So we can support businesses pretty much in any way they want us to.  If they think it’s a good chance of securing a conventional funding, then absolutely go for it.

CD:     Yeah sure.  And again you have brought something up there – conventional funding.   So let’s look at some unconventional funding or perhaps it’s actually looking towards becoming more conventional and mainstream.  There’s two points there.   So first of all we have the equity finance like a Dragons Den kind of thing, get an investor in you know bring the money, bring everything, yayyy everything will be great.  And then we have got the crowdfunding side of things as well which is really sort of kicking off in terms of being able to produce products and to raise finance before that.  Is that something you get involved with?

AT:      Certainly we can help, so the crowdfunding I can give small bits of advice on there but at the end of the day all I would say is go and find a crowd funding site that you like, build your plans very carefully. Crowdfunding is not something we can hold your hand through. We can just sign post you to perhaps some people that we might recommend or we might suggest you have a look at.  At the end of the day it’s up to you how you want to do that.  The key point to note is the majority of cases that crowd funders will be looking for something from you so be prepared to have something you can offer to support them.  On the equity side of it I guess there are two ways of looking at it.  Either you put your hand in your pocket or go to friends or family to start your business or you go to an external business angel and you mentioned the Dragons Den and the sort of people I have contacts with do that.  For example, you present to a network of people for 15 minutes and then they will question you for 15 minutes based upon your plans and pretty quick you’ll have a decision on whether somebody is able to work with you and able to make an offer.   And again similar to Dragons Den they will probably want a slice of the business as well and it depends how much you want, how much you are prepared to give up.  Other ways of financing the business are conventional bank finance whether it’s an overdraft or loan or a combination of the two.  If you have moved a bit further down the pipe and are generating sales on trade terms, then you could consider invoice finance which is a really good way for a business to raise funds without perhaps offering personal security but is really good when you grow because as you do more sales your debtors build therefore the higher level of finance you are able to secure.  Or indeed asset finance if you are looking to purchase a car, a piece of machinery, even a piece of office equipment then we can usually link you in with people that could finance that and again that avoids the need for potentially to offer personal security because the asset finance would actually take the asset as their security.  So a number of different ways we can help you or a combination of all of those or something else I haven’t thought of as well.  Export finance there are ways of export finance as well.   Again we don’t have ways of doing that specifically but again we can signpost you towards that.  The banks tend to be the people to go to if you really want to do that and they’ll have their own international departments and expertise within and support you all the way through that.

CD:     Well I think the export side of things for small businesses you know that makes a big difference to them doesn’t it.  You know you can talk about the large exporters and the large manufacturers and things but if you have people that are creating crafts and exporting, not to Europe obviously as that doesn’t really come into it in terms of the financing and things, but outside of Europe where people are looking for letters of credit or at least to be able to be signposted towards some help towards that because it can be a minefield of course getting paid once everything has been actually shipped or even beforehand.  So Let’s Do Business have got at least some idea of where to point people to?

AT:      Yes, absolutely the DIT Department of International Trade we work quite closely with who can advise you around exporting, around letters of credit and around finance for that as well.  Like I say the banks tend to be quite good but we have not tie-ins at all but we have relationships with the DIT both at a local and a regional level to know who potentially could be the right person to signpost someone to, who is either looking to export for the first time or even import or perhaps looking to ramp things up to a different country or a different area and they offer a range of courses too.  I have come across a number of them recently whereby people are looking to export to a specific area.  These tend to be free locally government funded courses so again you just need to keep your ear to the ground and talk to us or have a search around on the local government website to see what international courses might be available.

CD:     Well yes and I mean do you guys get involved with the delegations that are sent to different countries? You know the trade delegations so in other words where the Department of International Trade go off to say for instance Hong Kong and they will have a massive buy British kind of exposition out there and I know that there is funding involved or funding available for those sorts of trips from qualifying businesses, where they can go along and they can actually be in the ambassador’s residence say with people.  Obviously that could be somewhere else probably best for them to go straight to the Department for details about that.

AT:      Yeah definitely and there are also government websites that can help them.  There are grants available but you’re getting into very much needle in haystack territory. You know it’s out there, grants are available, you just have to spend the time investing and searching through sites and trying to narrow down your search on the internet to see exactly what businesses, what government organisation, where you may be able to secure support for whatever you are trying to do. Whether it’s sending a delegation to Hong Kong or perhaps setting up a trade show or perhaps funding a trip overseas to promote your goods. The DRT is usually a good start point and if they can’t help you they can usually point you to people that can actually do that too.

CD:     Well exactly and again if you look back, that’s what Let’s Do Business is good for people because they don’t have to worry too much about this needle that they are trying to find in the haystack because you guys have got the experience and expertise to be able to say well this could work for you and then work together within those 12 hours to form a plan that really works.  Fantastic and you mentioned actually exhibitions there.  Now Let’s Do Business have got an annual, is it an annual exhibition? And obviously there is one coming up.  Do you want to tell us about that?

AT:      Yeah happy to.   We have just announced our Brighton Expo which is on the 14th June, excitingly at the American Express Community Stadium. Again because we are funded it is a wholly free event so please do come along.  Details are on our website. If you want to come along as a visitor to meet people, please do.  It’s completely free like I said.  Parking and access to it is very easy as well.  The opening and closing times are on the website. If you want to come along and have a stand and exhibit to people, then details are there.  That is not free.  We do charge for that.

CD:     I noticed [laughs].

AT:      And again there is a booking form on the website you are able to do that.  I can’t comment on how successful these have been. I have never been to one myself in the past because I’ve only been in the business four or five months but we usually hold three a year.  There is always one in Brighton.  There is usually one in Eastbourne but sadly there won’t be this year given the redevelopment around the Congress and we haven’t found somewhere that is suitable to do that but hopefully back in 2019 and we are hopeful there will be one in Hastings as there is every year towards the autumn.  It’s around about October but as ever the best way to get the inside track and see exactly what is going on around training exhibitions, seminars that we run is always via the website or contact our helpline.  Go via or call our central number and there will be somebody within the team that can signpost you if you can’t find what you need on the website, we are here to help.

CD:     Yeah fantastic okay.  And what is the central number?

AT:      0844 415 2272 or the general information inbox is

CD:     Fantastic.  Andy this has been really fascinating and it’s great for people to now sort of understand that they can come to Let’s Do Business Group as a small business and get some signposting and some help when trying to actually raise money for their start up business.  And not just the money of course, I keep saying that because obviously that’s your specialism but the help and advice and really the networking opportunities that you offer as well.   From what I’ve seen is it Wes who runs the training.

AT:      Wes Gain yes.

CD:     Obviously there is lots of networking there with the training courses that they provide in terms of HR and finance well just normal finance, bookkeeping I think I should say.  So there’s all sort of places where people who want to start their businesses can mix together and brainstorm with each other and really sort of pick their ideas from other people and the exhibition looks fantastic and yes as I mentioned I wish it was free or at least cheap but actually it is quite cheap to be fair.  £300 I think it is for a stand and that’s June 14th at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.  So Andy I shall let you leave here now. It’s been a fantastic 30 minutes. Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to?

AT:      Yeah there is, you’ve just sparked something in me actually talking about the courses and people’s bookkeeping and financial requirements.  I mentioned at the start of this recording that we had a couple of people join us offering financial expertise.  One course that we do run which I think is really fantastic and I’d signpost to anybody is a course called Finance for Non-Financial Entrepreneurs.  So as everybody knows running a business, ideas, marketing, sales are all important but as is control of cash, control of the finances.  So this course is run by one of our guys called Jim Fletcher who is a qualified accountant and is spread over two days.  I think they are two six hour separate days.  They tend to be one on one week and one on the week after.  Again all details on our website and again as I said before completely free but 12 hours of time I guarantee you will be absolutely investing and understanding and taking your knowledge from zero or very little up to a level you think I actually understand how businesses work, how cash flows through a business, how to keep books and the importance of doing that so I commend that course to anybody listening.

CD:     Sounds great actually and it really is important to understand that you know people just think that it’s just oh yes hang on I’ve put an invoice together, oh yeah that’s been paid and that’s that. They just put it away.  They don’t realise really that they need to analyse various things so that they understand the costs of producing that service and not only just chasing money and making sure that they are paid for it but really understanding where it’s come from so no I can see that would be fantastic.

AT:      The old adage is turnover is vanity, profit is sanity but cash is king holds absolutely true.  Especially when you are starting a business.  Don’t focus on the sales so much, focus on how much cash you have got because you can have all the turnover in the world but if your terms of trade are wrong you run out of cash, you won’t have a business to run.

CD:     And very wise words to end with. Thanks very much Andy, appreciate that.  Okay so that’s the end of this episode of the Small Business Toolkit.  My name is Chris Dabbs and my guest, my very special guest was Andy Turner from Let’s Do Business Group. He’s a Business Finance Specialist and as he mentioned the contact telephone number is 0844 415 2272.  That’s 0844 415 2272 and their website is  So if you’re in the South East basically Kent or Essex or East Sussex then get in touch with them if you need any business training or business consultancy or help with exhibitions or help with business finance and I’m sure they will be able to help.  So again, thank you very much Andy, it’s been great to have you here and don’t forget to send in your messages and your questions for the next episode of the Small Business Toolkit.

You can download a PDF transcript of this podcast by clicking here:  The Small Business Toolkit Podcast – Episode 1 – With Andy Turner from Let’s do Business group

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