7 Needless Expenditures to Stop Paying Today

needless expenditures















At some point, every business makes needless expenditures that sap valuable time and resources from other projects, and damage the bottom line. These excessive costs—which also detract from funding new customer acquisitions or product upgrades—often perpetuate themselves, making it very difficult to pull the plug farther down the road.

But if you feel the time has come to crack down on unnecessary spending, here are actions worth taking:

Improve the process of tracking expenditures. Businesses that fail to monitor spending often later find areas of waste and overspending that could have been avoided. With a plethora of cloud-based expense tracking apps to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to strengthen existing processes and eliminate areas of excess spending as soon as possible.

Crackdown on paper costs. If your business still spends money on paper products, it’s well past time to shift to digital technology. Virtually overnight, you can cut printing and storage costs dramatically. Scan important documents and email them to clients and suppliers, rather than incurring costs related to personal deliveries.

Eliminate unproductive meetings. Most businesses are susceptible to meetings “that waste everyone’s time and lack any viable ROI.” Think of the money you can save by holding only productive, actionable meetings. This frees up your team to engage in other, more focused (and often revenue-generating) activities.

Analyse the purpose of every business trip. Back in the day, it was considered necessary to travel throughout nationally or internationally in order to maintain solid working relationships with clients. While this remains true to some extent, in fact, many businesses no longer feel compelled to show up in person at every industry conference, trade show or overnight client presentation. Digital and video technology make steady contact easier than ever—often at a fraction of the cost.

Hone your negotiating skills. For all the needs of your workplace—from leased office space to purchasing supplies and equipment—it’s vital you get the most for your money. If your negotiating skills aren’t up to par, it’s possible you’re paying more to vendors for their products and services than is absolutely necessary.

Be on the lookout for ways to negotiate volume discounts, for example. Armed with information about much you regularly spend with current vendors—and what competing vendors might charge for similar products and services—you can negotiate ways of “aggregating purchases to achieve savings in volume.”

Explore options to outsource technology functions. Businesses can opt to purchase the most costly, up-to-date equipment to support their operations, but they don’t have to. Technology and software aren’t cheap and often entails further expenses in terms of technical support personnel and/or server administrators. Outsourcing IT services offers potentially significant financial and operational advantages, such as:

  • Decreased staffing costs
  • Access to data applications without paying license expenses
  • Opportunities to focus the internal IT staff on large infrastructure initiatives, rather than day-to-day desktop glitches
  • No need to constantly update IT equipment, a responsibility assumed by the third-party service provider

Outsourcing IT functions isn’t the perfect choice for every organisation, but it’s a flexible, cost-effective option worth considering.

Encourage submission of cost-saving ideas from your employees. When leadership makes clear how important it is to reduce unnecessary spending—in order to continue making a profit and paying the workforce—employees feel incentivised to look for cost-cutting measures on their own. With your encouragement, they may come up with creative suggestions to consolidate current expenditures and other money-saving ideas well worth implementing. It’s up to you to communicate this organisation-wide priority and reward the best cost-saving suggestions.

Want to learn more about sales management and training? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!


Irish Investor and Entrepreneur Immigration Schemes

William Brophy

Kirby Tarrant Managing Partner of O’Grady solicitors – TAB member.   Kirby Tarrant is one of the most generous, solution driven, insightful lawyers I have ever come across and William Brophy one of his Partners is a really excellent diligent and generous lawyer also. William recently joined the Board of Drinkaware,  a voluntary independent and well known Health Promotion organisation. In this article William shares how the Immigrant Investor Programme operates here in Ireland. 

PJ Timmins TAB Ireland MD


Multi nat

The Immigrant Investor Programme (“IIP”) was established in 2012 and offers non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to an approved investment in Ireland a route to obtain permanent residency in Ireland. The IIP requires a minimum investment of between €500,000 and €2.0 million (depending on the investment option), from the applicant’s own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility, which must be committed for a minimum of three years.  Applications under the IIP increased by 500% in 2016. A total of 329 individuals from 16 different countries applied in 2016. Of this figure, 313 were from China.

Individuals can apply, without committing any investment funding, on the basis of one of four investment options. Once the application is approved and funds are invested, the individual and his nominated family members will be issued with permission to reside in Ireland.

There are currently four investment options for foreign nationals who are interested in acquiring residence in Ireland through the IIP, as described below.

Enterprise investment
Under this option, a minimum investment of €1.0 million must be made in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of enterprises for a minimum of three years. The enterprise may be a start-up established by the investor or an existing business registered in Ireland.

The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
The investment must be made in the name of the individual seeking residence under the IIP. An investment by a corporation, even where owned 100% by the applicant, will not be acceptable. Investments in publicly traded securities will not be considered as an eligible investment under the enterprise option.

An investment in commercial or residential property for the purposes of leasing or renting that property to tenants will not be considered as an eligible investment under the enterprise option.

Investment fund
Under this option, a minimum investment of €1.0 million must be made in an investment fund that has been approved for the purposes of the IIP. The money invested in the fund must be committed for a minimum of three years.  All funds have to be invested in Ireland and must represent equity stakes in Irish registered companies that are not quoted on any stock exchange. The funds and fund managers will have to be regulated by the Central Bank to conduct business in Ireland.

Real estate investment trust (REIT)

Under the REIT investment option, a minimum investment of €2.0 million must be made in one or more Irish REITs listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. A REIT is a listed company, used to hold rental investment properties. To eliminate the double layer of taxation which typically hinders the holding of property through a company, a REIT is exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. Instead, the company is required to distribute the vast majority of its profits to investors each year for taxation at the level of the investor.  The full REIT investment must be held for three years from the date of purchase. During this three year period, the number of shares in the REIT approved for qualification under the IIP must be retained by the investor even if their value rises above the €2m original investment.
After three years from the date of purchase, the investor may divest no more than 50% of the shares purchased for the IIP. Where an investor has divested shares during year three, the investor may, after four years from the date of purchase, divest no more than a further 25% of the shares purchased for the IIP. After five years from the date of purchase, no requirements on the retention of shares will apply to investors.


Under this option, a minimum endowment of €500,000 must be made in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational fields. Investors will receive no financial return or recoupment of the principal.  Where a group of five or more investors wish to combine their philanthropic endowments to contribute to an appropriate project, a minimum investment of €400,000 per investor will qualify under the IIP.

Discount for education expenses
An investor may avail of a discount on their investment for educational expenses that they intend to commit to in Ireland. The following conditions apply:
• Investors may discount their approved investment with eligible education expenses that they commit to incur within the first five years after their permission has been granted
• The education expenses must be for an Irish University or Institute of Technology
• The expenses must be for an investor and/or a family member who has been accepted on an academic programme in one of the above educational institutions
• The maximum discount allowable is €50,000
• Retrospective education expenses cannot be

Applicants must supply supporting documentation as evidence of their net worth, a source of wealth and good character.

Net worth
All applicants for the IIP must demonstrate that they have a minimum net worth of €2.0 million or equivalent. In addition, applicants must provide an explanation of all of their activities for the previous 12 month period, including their income, investments and loans.  Funds for investment and source of funds  The applicant must provide evidence of the funds  that are to be used for the proposed investment, the provenance of those funds and the ability of the applicant to transfer those funds to Ireland.

Evidence of character
All applicants, as well as their nominated family members over the age of 16, must provide a statement of character from the police authorities of each country in which they have resided for more than six months during the 10 year period prior to making an application.

Once an applicant has been approved and has invested funds in the preferred investment option, the applicant and his or her nominated family will be issued with permission to reside in Ireland.

Residence in Ireland under the Immigrant Investor Programme

All successful candidates and their nominated family members will be granted continuous residence in Ireland, with permission to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland. An applicant is not required to reside in Ireland in order to maintain the immigration permission. The only requirement is that the applicant visits Ireland at least once per calendar year.

First five years
Immigration permission is initially for two years and will be extended for a further three years subject to certain conditions being fulfilled.
After five years
After the initial five years, the investment in Ireland will be deemed as having being completed for immigration purposes. There will be no further conditions requiring an IIP participant to make an investment in Ireland. Thereafter immigration permission will be extended for further five year periods without limit subject to two conditions:
• The participant has not become a financial burden on Ireland
• The participant has not been investigated, indicted or convicted in relation to any criminal offence in any jurisdiction

Eligible family members
Residency under the IIP is also available to spouses/partners and children under 18 years of age for whom the applicant and/or their spouse or partner has legal guardianship. In certain cases, children between the ages of 18 and 24 will be considered where they are unmarried and are financially dependent on their parents.

The IIP does not provide for preferential access to naturalisation for successful applicants. Successful applicants are free to apply for naturalisation in the normal manner under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1957-2004. In summary, this legislation requires applicants for Irish naturalisation to be physically resident in Ireland for the 12 months prior to application and to be physically resident in Ireland for four of the preceding eight years, i.e. five years. Only residence where the applicant physically resides in Ireland is considered for the calculation of the minimum residency period in naturalisation applications. Investors and their family members who exercise their right not to reside in Ireland under the IIP will not fulfil the residency requirements for naturalisation. A person can be regarded as physically resident in Ireland and still travel abroad for business or leisure. However, the person’s home must be in Ireland and they should spend the larger part of the year there.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme was established by the Irish Government in 2012. It is a more suitable option for entrepreneurs who will be actively engaged in the establishment of a business and have a lower level of funds to commit to a project. The programme provides a route for non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to a high potential start-up in the innovation economy in Ireland with funding of €75,000 to secure residency in Ireland for the purposes of developing their business.

The sort of businesses intended for this programme are so-called “High Potential Start-Ups” (“HPSUs”) that are part of the innovation economy, in areas of high potential growth in the future.

To qualify as a HPSU, the start-up venture must be:
• Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets
• Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up
• Led by an experienced management team
• Headquartered and controlled in Ireland
• Less than six years old

The scheme is not intended for retail, personal services, catering or other businesses of that nature.
Applications that centre on small or medium enterprises in domestically orientated business areas such as retail or hospitality are not appropriate for the programme.

Applicants are required to have secured funding of a minimum of €75,000 for their business proposal from one or a combination of the following sources:
• Their own resources
• Business loans
• Business angel/venture capital funding
• Grants from an Irish State agency

Funds must be capable of being transferred to Ireland and convertible to euros. Many jurisdictions have controls over the transfer of currency and it will be necessary for the applicant to prove that the funding can be transferred to Ireland if the application is successful.
Where a proposal has more than one principal, other than family members, seeking to avail of the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, then each
principal will be required to demonstrate access to €75,000 funding.

Applicants must provide a statement of character from the police authorities of each country in which they have resided for more than six months during the 10 year period prior to making an application.  They will also be required to arrange for the submission of an affidavit attesting to their good character and affirming that they have no criminal convictions. This affidavit must be produced by a legal practitioner who is registered to practice law in Ireland. A similar affidavit will be required from all family members of 16 years of age or more who are
availing of residence under the scheme.

Successful applicants and their nominated family members will be granted residence in Ireland for two years which will be renewable for a further three years. After five years’ residence, participants under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme will be eligible for long-term residence in Ireland.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme does not provide for preferential access to citizenship for successful applicants. Successful applicants are free to apply for citizenship in the normal manner under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1957-2004.

For further information on any of the issues discussed in this article please contact:
William Brophy
Partner, O’Gradys Solicitors
Phone: +353 (0)1 6613960
E-mail: [email protected]

The material in this document is provided for general information purposes only and does not purport to cover every aspect of the themes
and subject matter discussed, nor is it intended to provide, and does not constitute, legal or any other advice on any particular matter.O Grady Solrs


7 Funding Tips for Entrepreneurs

funding tips

In March 2016, The Alternative Board surveyed hundreds of business owners to learn more about how they funded their business and what they learned from their funding experiences. According to the results, the large majority of business owners (80%) got their businesses off the ground via self-funding, then primarily turned to bank loans (62%) for additional cash flow and growth.

The survey results reveal what these business owners learned from borrowing capital and how you can apply their insight and experiences to borrowing successfully for your own business. Based on this quarter’s industry research, here are the top 7 funding tips for entrepreneurs from entrepreneurs:

1. Be sure you have a strong relationship with more than one bank                                                                                            According to 57% of business owners surveyed, borrowing from banks is getting harder. To give yourself the upper-hand, TAB Member Simon Banks, President of Sampson Products Ltd suggests treating potential lenders like potential suppliers. “Always have at least two quoting to gain your business,” says Banks. “Lenders may well be reluctant to negotiate rates, but if challenged they may move on securities, guarantees and other fees.”

2.  Be well prepared 
As with all things business, when taking out business loans, planning is key. A good rule of thumb is not to borrow money unless you are absolutely positive that it will benefit your business. TAB Member Brad Hickerson, Owner of Fast-Pak Supply Corp, recommends you understand what you’re asking for and why. “For example, you can justify a €1,000,000 loan when you’re buying a machine that will help your business provide €2,000,000 in new sales.”

3.  Borrow before you are desperate
Looking back, business owners wish they borrowed more (29%) rather than less (11%). Of the business owners surveyed, several stressed the importance of taking out loans before they become a necessity. “Get loans or credit lines setup when you don’t need them,” says TAB Member John Hill, CEO of Allegiance Technology. “Then, when you are ready to put them to use, have a specific plan on how  the money will help grow your business.”

4.  Spend conservatively
“Don’t overspend your capital,” says TAB member Jeffrey Robinson, President & Owner of Efficiency Systems Co., Inc. “There’s no need to drive expensive cars or have large expense accounts. No matter how good you think your business’s prospects are, unexpected expenses, like bankrupt customers who can’t pay and dishonest employees – can and will come up.”According to Robinson, conservative spending also relates to being vigilant about your bookkeeping. “Always be aware of your bank accounts. Don’t give other people in your office cheque signing ability, unless they can be completely trusted.”

5.  Only borrow for strategic initiatives
TAB Member Dave Younge, Owner of Progressive Stamping only establishes lines of credit for help with temporary cash shortfalls and quick opportunistic purchases – and only when he knows he can repay within six months or less. “Borrowing should only be used for fixed assets that will have lasting value. Borrowing for a marketing campaign or hiring is like using credit to buy groceries.”

6.  Establish a substantial relationship with your investor
Be transparent with your investors from the very beginning to ensure the smoothest possible transaction. Don’t opt for the first investor that comes your way. “Pick a banker like a spouse,” says TAB Member Mark Nonweiler, Owner of P. Nonweiler Co. “It works best if it is like a lifetime career commitment.”As with any healthy relationship, honest communication is key. “Talk to your lenders. Share plans and progress on a regular basis,” says TAB Member Kristine Van Cleve, President of Dental Prosthetic Services. “Help them see you as a person and part of the community – not just a loan application. Keep the relationship ongoing.”

7.  Don’t forget to factor interest fees
Seek out funds with historically low interest rates, and be aware of the effects of sudden rises in interest rates on your business. “If you are having difficulty with profitability under low-interest rates,” says TAB Member James Teat, Owner of Axcess Technology Source. “Just imagine what a 2, 4, or 6% increase will do to your business and its ability to be competitive.”

Across the board, the number one tip business owners had to share regarding funding was to be prepared. Know why you’re taking out money, how it will positively affect your business, and how you will pay it back. Having a concrete strategic plan allows you to identify all of these factors when opportunities present themselves. That way, if an amazing business opportunity comes up, you’ll know whether it’s worth the additional funding or not. The Alternative Board works with business owners to help them develop a strategic plan for their vision.

TAB’s executive peer advisory model provides business owners with firsthand advice from other business owners – just like the tips in this blog post. If you’re interested in learning from the experiences of other business owners, get in touch with a local TAB board.


5 Small Ways Entrepreneurs Can Save Big

One business can have a hundred objectives, but at the root of each mission is the company’s bottom line. The more profit the company turns, the more it can achieve and the more it can give back to its leader, employees, clients, and community.

While figuring out ways to make money is on the forefront of most business owners’ minds, many are forgetting the importance of saving. Here are 5 cost-saving ideas for businesses:

1. Understand the “why” of each expense.

According to TAB Fraser Valley President Rod Woodcock, cutting costs begins exactly where all other business decisions should – the company’s strategic plan. Before making a purchasing decision, Woodcock suggests business owners “challenge every line in their operating statement to TRULY understand what the expense is bringing the company.”

2. Charge for expenses.

Businesses owners should not be afraid to charge clients for the tools required to provide the best possible product/service. For example, if you bring in a credit card system to streamline payment processes, charge for it. “If credit card fees are 1.5%, raise prices 1.5%,” Woodcock says.

3. Maximise current employees before hiring new ones.

When demand spikes, entrepreneurs are often too quick to bring on new hires. Not only does hiring cost time and money, but you risk bringing on unnecessary hires who will serve as little more than an added expense once demand plateaus. Woodcock recommends maximising the output of existing employees before hiring to accommodate growth in demand. “Drive to 110% for an extended period before expanding fixed costs,” he says.

His top tip for achieving this is investing in the education and/or technology to help employees accomplish more with less — don’t just push them, give them the tools to be more efficient.

4. Look at the numbers.

As with all things business, the proof is in the numbers. The Alternative Board San Antonio President John Dini recommends using “common size” income statements as fast and easy analytical tools. “It can be difficult to identify appropriate expenses when your business is growing,” says Dini. “Print a report showing the last few years side by side, with each expense item measured as a percentage of sales (QuickBooks can do this). Looking at how the expense increases or decreases in relation to your revenues can be illuminating.”

For example, Dini adds, “If sales increased over the last two years from €1,976,433 to €2,152,555, and your freight costs increased from €51,387 to €66,729, is that better or worse? Seeing that shipping, as a percentage of sales, went from 2.6% to 3.1% is a half-point off your margins — and actionable information.”

5. Use Your Accountant Wisely

Many business owners are unintentionally losing money because they aren’t keeping accurate records of their spending. If finances aren’t your strong suit, it might be time to call in a pro. David Wechsler, Vice President of The Alternative Board Denver West suggests that business owners “hire a bookkeeper or accountant that has some familiarity with your industry.” Wechsler notes that entrepreneurs need to take advantage of their accountant’s expertise in order to save the most. “Use your financial professional wisely. You are not paying someone north of €75 per hour to do data entry; you are paying them for guidance, compliance, and peace of mind that your financial house is in order.”

Take a moment to reflect on your personal vision of success. Whether it focuses on profits, work-life balance, or bringing about change, your company’s bottom line plays an influential role in the pursuit of your long-term goals. It’s very common for hidden business costs to prevent business owners from reaching the profits they need to make their vision a reality. These cost saving ideas for businesses can make or break your strategic plan.

The Alternative Board works with small business owners to help them define their personal vision of success and develop a strategy – financial and otherwise – for achieving it. Contact a local board to see how a community of business owners can help you refocus your finances and help you get out of your business exactly what you want from it.


Presenting your price increase


When I knew that I needed to increase my labour hourly rate, I chose to do a calculation of what my actual costs were and added an appropriate margin.

The result I came up with was an unrounded amount (not an even number ending in .00), and, after some thought, I decided to use the new rate as-is rather than rounding up or down.

In doing so, I actually seemed to make it easier for my regular customers to accept the increase—no one really complained, and those who inquired about the unusual amount appreciated that it represented analysis on my part rather than “whatever the market will bear.”

It is always good to implement price increases with fairness and consideration, and this specific calculation for the increase seemed to make it easier for everyone.