Monthly Archives: July 2016


How a Virtual Receptionist Service Can Help You Create a Professional Guise

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

You may be a dedicated and professional businessperson, starting a credible and respectable business, but starting your business from home may not be giving out the best impression to potential customers. This doesn’t mean you need to take huge steps before your business or your finances are ready, instead consider the varied services offered by a virtual receptionist.

In this blog we tackle some of the issues that you may face when starting your business from home and how a virtual receptionist service can help you to combat them.

professional guise

You don’t like having to use your home address as your main contact address

Your concerns…

  • Clients may use google maps and see that it is a residential address and question your credibility.
  • You feel a lack of privacy by giving out your home address to clients and suppliers.
  • You’re embarrassed using a residential address on your professional business cards.
  • You’d rather business deliveries from suppliers weren’t delivered to your home.

Solution:
A virtual receptionist service can offer you a virtual address. The address will become your own, use it on your business cards, use it for deliveries. All post that arrives can either be forwarded onto your home address, or alternatively you can collect it at your convenience. Letters can even be scanned and emailed over to you for speed and ease.

You don’t like having to use your personal mobile number

Your concerns…

  • What message do you put on your voicemail? If you use a message that introduces your business this is the message also reached by friends and family. If you use a more generic voicemail, this wont sound professional to your clients and potential clients wont be sure they’ve reached the right number
  • You never know whether it’s a personal or business call so you’re unsure whether you need to answer the phone call with your business name.
  • You would like to maintain some separation between your business and personal life, but having the same number results in answering work calls late into the evening and at the weekends.
  • You feel that not having a landline number makes potential clients lack confidence in a business that has no physical base.

Our solution:
A virtual receptionist service can offer you a virtual landline phone number. It’s a number that can have any geographical code, such as 01273 (Brighton). This becomes your number and can either be answered by a phone receptionist on your behalf, or diverted straight to your mobile. The benefit of having a trained agent answering your incoming calls is that they can take the name of the caller and inform you of this when it is diverted to your mobile. To your clients, the call agents appear as members of your own in-house team.

You don’t seem to have enough hours in the day or enough pairs of hands, but you don’t have the funds to hire a member of staff.

Your concerns…

  • You’re missing important calls because you’re trying to grow your business.
  • You’re answering calls but at the cost of growing your business.
  • You’re struggling to juggle your diary and the daily running of your business.
  • You know the importance of taking orders, but it takes over your working day.
  • You’re the only person answering the phone which makes your business look small.

Solution:
A virtual receptionist service can offer you a team of trained call agents that act as though they are members of your own in-house team – your clients would never know they weren’t reaching a receptionist sitting in your office. Call agents can do more than just answer your calls and take messages, they can manage your diary and even process orders using your own online system.

Csnotepad can help you to manage your business professionally and efficiently – why not give us a call 01273 741400.

The National Living Wage (NLW) and The National Minimum Wage (NMW) – Simple Answers to Questions Surrounding the National Living Wage

Monday, July 25th, 2016

In this blog we give answers to some of the most common questions surrounding the national minimum wage which was brought in from April 1st 2016.

money

Q: What is the National Living Wage?
A: It is calculated by academics as the level of pay that would give workers sufficient money for a basic standard of living.

Q: How much is the national living wage?
A: From April 1st 2016 the NLW is £7.20 an hour.

Q: What is the difference between the Living Wage and the Minimum Wage?
A: According to the BBC, the technical answer is that the living wage will act as a top-up of the minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over – as it is compulsory it has left many people feeling that this is nothing more than a re-branded minimum wage (BBC news).

Q: Why has the national living wage become a legal requirement?
A: The NLW has been introduced because there are more people in the UK on low pay compared to other advanced economies (Telegraph).

Q: Has there always been a national living wage?
A: There has previously been a NLW, but it was not a legally enforceable level of pay, just an advised benchmark.

Q: As an employer do I have to pay the national living wage to all my employees?
A: You are legally obligated to pay the NLW to all your employees over the age of 25, full and part-time.

Q: What happens if I don’t pay the national living wage to my employees?
A: Penalties for non-payment of the NLW will be 200% of the money owed. Employers found guilty can be disqualified as a company director for up to 15 years. The maximum penalty is £20,000 per worker.

Q: Will the National Living Wage increase?
A: The Government wants the NLW to reach £9 an hour by 2020.

You Don’t Need to Rent an Office to Grow Your Business – A Virtual Receptionist Offers a Cheaper Alternative

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

When you’re starting a business we all know that it’s key to keep your overheads low. But what happens when you outgrow your spare room or kitchen table, when you need extra support and a more professional guise? The solution: rent yourself an office and employee a personal assistant….maybe….or maybe there’s a simpler, more immediate and far cheaper solution!

wallet being squeezed

The amount you’ll pay per month for renting an office space is dependent on many factors based on the the area you’re looking to rent, these include the cost of living, unemployment rate and demand for space.

There are different models of office rental open to you; fully serviced (where everything is included), managed (where you’ll supply your own furniture and pay for some utilities), and stand-alone (where you would need to organise, pay and supply everything, signing a rental lease with the landlord).

Beyond the rental cost, you will also need to consider who your neighbours will be when choosing the right office space, how might they affect your productivity? What about the infrastructure of the building; how quickly will you be able to move and resume working, how much interruption will your business experience? Does the office space have phone lines, reliable internet, will you have to look into local parking provisions and costs for you, your new employee and any potential visitors?

Moving your small business to an office doesn’t have to be daunting, but it is expensive and it has to be well thought through to ensure it doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your fledgling business.

An office isn’t the only way, before making that leap, consider first if your needs can be met by using the services of a virtual receptionist. A virtual receptionist company can support you as your business grows, adapting to your needs and acting as the first member of your in-house team! There’s no training involved, no lengthy searching or organising, no disruption to your business and no hefty payout. You and your business can have the support you need agreed over the phone, in an afternoon, from the comfort of your home office. A virtual receptionist can take your calls (answering in a way that you choose and collecting the information you need), they can manage your diary, and even process orders using your own online system. Many virtual receptionist services can supply you with a virtual land-line number so that you no longer have to give out your mobile number (which looks rather unprofessional) and even supply a virtual address routing your post to a business address rather than your home address (protecting your privacy) where it can be forwarded to you, or collected at your leisure.

There’s a huge array of ways that a virtual receptionist service can help you to grow your business without the costly step of renting an office and finding, employing and training your own staff. To find out more about the services that we offer at CSnotepad, visit our website, or call us on 01273 741400.

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Workplace Pension Auto Enrolment Made Simple – What Small Businesses Need to Know

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Auto-enrolling employees into a pension scheme is something that began back in 2012 with large businesses, now from 2016 smaller businesses are having to follow suit whether employing 1 person or 500. Read our short blog and learn what your obligations are as an employer…

stress relaxx sign

In the UK, 1.8 million small business owners will now have to offer an auto-enrolment pension scheme for their eligible employees.

Eligible employees are…
1) aged between 22 and the State Pension age
and…
2) earn at least £10,000 a year.

Auto-enrolement means that as a business owner employing staff you will be obligated to put in place a pension scheme if you don’t already have one. You must pay into this scheme each and every pay period. Be aware that non-eligible workers can ask to be included in this pensions scheme, you must then pay the minimum contribution for these workers too.

Non-eligible workers are…
1) aged between 16 and 22 or between state pension age and 74
and…
2) earns more than £10,000 in a year

OR

1) aged between 16 and 74
and…
2) earns at least £5,824 but less than £10,000.

You the employer must pay a minimum contribution into the scheme which will start at 1% of a worker’s qualifying earnings and increase to 3% over the next few years.

Qualifying earnings does not mean all of an employee’s salary, but applies to their earnings between £5,824 and £43,000 ( for 2016/17). Overtime, bonuses, commission, statutory sick pay, other statutory pay (such as maternity) are all included when calculating qualifying earnings.

As an employer it is your responsibility to set up and make the correct contributions to a suitable pension scheme, to evaluate the eligibility of each member of your staff at each pay period and maintain accurate records.

So what happens if you don’t?

Well, firstly you will get a notice informing you of your offence and you will be given a time scale to pay the necessary contributions. If you do not pay the outstanding contributions you will receive a fixed penalty of £400. If you still do not pay the outstanding contributions a daily penalty will be applied, the amount will depend on the number of employees you have, for example if you employ 5-49 employees you will receive a £500 daily penalty charge. If things escalate further you could receive a Prohibited Recruitment Conduct Penalty Notice at a maximum of £5,000, and where contributions have not been paid a Civil Penalty Notice can be issued for up to £5,000 per individual and £50,000 per organisation – ouch! So, if you don’t currently have a pension scheme in place – get one! The government runs a scheme called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) which was set up specifically to provide employers with a simple way to set up auto-enrolment, find out more at www.nestpensions.org.uk.

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