Massage Therapy: breaking the pamper stereotype [Guest blog]

Guest blog by Eudaimonia Wellbeing

With an estimated 6.6 million working days lost due to workplace related musculoskeletal problems in 2017/18 [source], paying attention to our body aches in advance is no longer prudent, it’s necessary.

We met the owner of Eudaimonia, Mel Franklin, through our Grow Your Business workshops in Thatcham in spring this year – aimed at business owners. We got to know about the impact she has on people’s wellbeing and how it affects their lives, including for some, their businesses. We really wanted to share this with YOU!

As soon as we start experiencing pain our body starts adapting, looking to avoid any situation which will bring it [pain] on. Musculoskeletally, this could be something subtle: sitting differently in our chair, adjusting the way we move, using our other hand instead and maybe that’s enough to combat the problem. Yet for some, niggles persist or lead onto something bigger and when it’s too hard to ignore is usually when they come to see me: I am a remedial massage therapist who works with those suffering from chronic soft tissue pain.

My deep tissue work is my speciality. I choose to spend time on only one area of the body to access the layers of tension held deeply within the body. Chronic soft tissue tension often develops as a response to repetitive use, damage or malfunction therefore this work requires time to strip through those mechanisms involved. This approach yields good results, with clients appreciating the focus of quality over quantity by not spreading my attention too thinly, the benefits of which are pain relieving, stress reducing or improvement in functionality.

For anyone who has experienced pain, you know it is never just about the sensation of pain but what we’ve had to do to compensate or give up instead. It’s the dependency on pain relief, giving up the sport or hobby you love, not being able to play with the kids so easily, taking your time to get out bed in the morning, trouble sleeping or calling in sick to work. To change someone’s relationship with pain is to give them more back than just a relaxed muscle.

“I’ve been able to ride my horse this week and no pain for the first time in 6 months.”

This style of massage has proved popular for office workers, manual workers, parents of young children, sufferers of medical conditions; anyone where lifestyle, disease, injury or body structure brings about tension, aches and pains. You do not need to continue to suffer through chronic pain and investing in your soft tissue health can pay dividends in pain relief and pain prevention. Massage is a supportive mechanism that leads back to better health both physically and mentally.

Top tips

Stretching – Daily stretching is helpful in realigning fibres, breaking up tension and increasing flexibility. This makes your soft tissue less prone to damage and more able to cope with workload demands. (Mel has an assortment of stretches by body area on her youtube channel. The link is if you would like to see them.)

Rest – Soft tissue repairs, rebuilds and replenishes when not being used, equally true with nerve tissue too. Being ‘on’ all the time does not increase productivity, it hinders it.

Would you like to understand more about how massage can help your health?

Call Mel on 07745 052241 or visit for more information.

Do you want to build your business?

If you want to build your business and reduce your stress levels then talk to us!

We get alongside business owners and their staff, take the fear and pain out and release owners to do what they want to do.

Contact Dawn Edwards on 07896 665104. Dawn – leads our team delivering common sense clever finance services.

Are you “low hanging fruit” for HMRC?

As tax experts we are curious about your view…

Dawn works with many clients and resolves issues with tax and HMRC on almost a daily basis! This includes issues between sub contractors and contractors. Sub contractors sometimes get “the mucky end of the stick” when HMRC want information or think there is a route to uncovering fraud. The playing field can seem very sloping!

Any of this can have a big impact on sub contractors;

on stress levels;
on time consuming enquiries and
on income and cashflow.

We thought it good to share some up to date research into how smaller businesses view HMRC.

If you want to make sure you are not low hanging fruit talk to Dawn.

Small businesses don’t see UK tax system as level playing field 

The British Chambers of Commerce recently conducted a survey of firms across the UK.

The findings largely signal concerns over how HMRC applies the tax rules to different types of firms. 

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents don’t believe that HMRC applies tax rules fairly across all sizes of business. Micro firms are more likely to have that view (70%) compared to their medium and large counterparts (59%). 

The results also found concerns over the quality of service provided by HMRC. One in two (49%) firms don’t believe HMRC provides the support they need to be compliant. This figure is higher for micro firms (51%), compared to medium and larger firms (42%). Many respondents expressed frustration that HMRC underestimated the time and money their small businesses spent trying to keep pace with regulatory burdens and the complexities of the system. 

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These results reflect a strong impression among businesses that the current UK tax regime isn’t a level playing field.

“When it comes to compliance there is a tendency for HMRC to see smaller businesses as low hanging fruit and as a consequence they feel under the constant threat of being called out for getting things wrong in a tax system that has grown ever more complex. In contrast, action to tackle persistent compliance issues among a small minority of firms remains frustratingly slow. 

“There is also widespread disappointment over the escalating burden of up-front taxes and costs of doing business in the UK, particularly at this time of heightened uncertainty. This has proved to be tipping point for many smaller firms who typically operate on a tight cashflow.

Make sure the playing field is set right for you!

Improve YOUR business finances

If you want to build your business and reduce your stress levels then talk to us!

We get alongside business owners and their staff, take the fear and pain out and release owners to do what they want to do.

Contact Dawn Edwards on 07896 665104. Dawn – leads our team delivering common sense clever finance services.

“Your business finances – not just a once a year relationship”

Choosing software, using apps for you and your business

Software needs to deliver hard results

Here are questions lots of business owners are asking:

“Don’t Xero, QuickBooks and all these apps just do it all? I can just take photos of receipts and that’s it isn’t it?”

There is so much chatter and advertising about what various software packages claim to do for business owners who want to smooth finance and spend less time messing about with receipts and on and on…

Some of our clients are in time precious industries where back-room admin is not top of the agenda! For instance those in building traders, landscaping and catering.

The answer to the questions is:

Software and Apps – It’s not like it says in the adverts!

Software needs to deliver hard results

Software – essential considerations

Get the right software – Ask and check

  • Will it integrate with existing systems, software and apps you are already using?
  • Training – What are the training requirement and who will need this?
  • What Business requirements do you want to get out of the software and how can this be tailored to suit your company needs – for example Payroll, VAT, Invoicing and Financial overview?
  • What is the real cost to the company eg including subscription, setup and training?
  • Can you have a good demonstration and back up support if needed?

Benefits to using Software

All these benefits are about saving you time which saves you money!

  • Consistency – financial accuracy.
  • A tool as part of decision making with your finance professionals.
  • Accessibility – proper up to date Information is readily available.
  • Cash flow information – Trade/Creditors reports can be produced to ensure you are keeping on top of your finances.
  • Compliance – Making Submissions to HMRC easier and accurate.
  • Communications – shared access with you Bookkeeper/Accountant.
  • Forward thinking easier– information as part of decision/planning.

Pitfalls to Consider

  • Think through what you need for now and the future – don’t be fooled by sales spin!
  • Avoiding hassle – incorrect set up of income and expenses accounts can be time consuming and costly in the future.
  • Avoiding disruption – make sure your previous data is uploaded properly. 
  • Most software companies will offer different pricing plans which are tailored. Not all will suit your needs. Picking the correct package for your business size and needs takes time, thought and advice.
  • Allowing the right employee access – different roles need different access levels.

Working this through smoothly needs planning properly.

  • Up to date ready for changes – make sure the software is MTD ready.

Software and Apps cannot do everything –

Prepare your financial accounts, and Companies House requirements.

  • Develop and measure your marketing and sales plans.
  • Advise you on any financial and business decisions for the future.
  • Keep you up to date on HMRC changes, finance advice to your advantage.

How can The Real Business Club help me get the best?

Simple – give us a call. Our in house finance software experts can talk you through and make this clear FOR YOU.

Are you clear on your business finances more broadly?

If you are not sure what is going on with your money, how you can make more or whether your finance advisers are doing the right things for you then give Dawn a call for a no obligations conversation.

If you want to build your business and reduce your stress levels then talk to us!

We get alongside business owners and their staff, take the fear and pain out and release owners to do what they want to do.

Contact Dawn Edwards on 07896 665104. Dawn leads our team delivering common sense clever finance services.

“Your business finances – not just a once a year relationship”

Good bookkeeping is a foundation for small business success

The Real Business ClubRecently we have been running training for childcare organisations in Berkshire. One question that has come up has been about frustrations caused and time wasted when bookkeeping is not done well. For instance Payroll calculations and impact on staff pay and discrepancies. Another example was where a manager was still dealing with issues and frustrations relating to old payslips and inaccuracies from bookkeeping after a staff member left.

We also know many businesses where the business owner or a family member is doing their own bookkeeping. It is not really what they want to spend their time on! They are not sure if they are doing the right things! It is just plain STRESSFUL!!

From our experience here are some top tips for what makes an ideal bookkeeper

  • Up to date knowledge in finance – changes in the laws etc
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Reliable and consistent
  • Knowing your business and its needs and commitment to supporting this
  • Experience in specified areas eg that relate to the businesses sector
  • Good organisational skills including in using IT really efficiently
  • Good at problem solving and helping with thinking through issues
  • Approachable
  • Efficient time management that gets the finance information to you

Things are always changing in the finance industry

Changes can have so many impacts. Some changes are good to know because they can improve your cashflow or profit lines. Other things are essentials to know because laws have changed that need compliance. Things like:

  • Making Tax Digital – make sure your bookkeeper is getting you ready for changes that will have an impact.
  • Software and systems that can help your business be more efficient and be less hassle day in day out.

Record keeping Software – the options – helping you choose what is right for your business.

There will be a blog next month on software options and how using phone apps can make a difference

How can good bookkeepers help you and your business?

Protect you from finance risks by

  • Making sure you and your business is up to date with recent changes to HMRC/ Laws and Regulations
  • Updating you with a reliable overview of your business finances and cashflow
  • Help you see when things are going wrong and how to get back on track

Help your decision making and planning:

  • Give information for business decisions and growth for now and tomorrow

Make being in business more satisfying and enjoyable!

  • Efficient in your accounting needs so you have more time to run your business, stress-free?

FIRST STOP – Finance training for business owners and bookkeepers

The Real Business Club finance training will help! Here are some options

Feedback from business owners

“It helped me to understand everything from start to finish”

“The timelines on tax and planning were so helpful.”

“Learned a lot about National Insurance that I didn’t know”

Feedback from bookkeepers who attend training

“I can go back to my business knowing I am doing the right things.”

“Love the training – the discussions are so helpful.”

How about you and your bookkeeping?

If you are not sure whether your bookkeeper is doing the right things, if you have any doubt, then why not talk to us about either our training for bookkeepers or our bookkeeping services.

Contact Dawn Edwards on 07896 665104. Dawn trains bookkeepers and Accountants.

Finance training for bookkeepers

If you are not sure your bookkeeper is up to date why not invest in this – and be confident and sure?

Finance for professionals training BOOK here

Finance training for business owners

If you want to build your business and reduce your stress levels then try these!

Workshops cover a whole range of every day finance topics.

Finance for business owners BOOK here

Understanding Marriage Allowance

Millions of married couples and civil partners in the UK failed to claim their slice of £1.3 billion in marriage allowance cash in 2017/18, with many unaware of the tax break or forgetting to claim it.

Introduced on 6 April 2015, the marriage allowance is designed for couples where one partner pays the basic rate of income tax and the other is a non-taxpayer.

More than four million married couples and 15,000 civil partners are eligible to claim up to £238 in 2018/19, find out if you’re eligible for this tax break.

What are you entitled to?

Whoever does not pay tax in your marriage or civil partnership can reduce their personal allowance by £1,190 in 2018/19 and transfer it to their spouse or civil partner.

It’s possible for the tax paying spouse or civil partner to increase their tax-free personal allowance to £13,040 (£11,850 + £1,190) in 2018/19.

You may benefit from the marriage allowance if:

  • your spouse or civil partner has elected to reduce their personal allowance in 2018/19 and transfer it to you
  • you are a basic-rate taxpayer in 2018/19
  • you meet the residence requirements and have the right to claim a personal allowance
  • neither you nor your partner submits a claim to the married couple’s allowance (MCA).

Personal Allowance

You can choose to reduce your personal allowance if you’re married or in a civil partnership with the same person for the whole or part of the tax year at the time the claim is made.

You must also only be liable to pay income tax at the basic rate, dividend nil or ordinary rate or the basic or starting rate for savings after your personal allowance has been reduced by the transfer.

You must elect to use the marriage allowance within four years after the end of a tax year, and it will remain in force until you give notice to withdraw it.

However, an election made after the end of a tax year applies only to the year of election.

This is the easiest way for us to operate the allowance for you, as it can be made when your tax return is prepared and once we know your income and your partner’s for 2018/19.

Separation and Divorce

If you and your spouse or civil partner separate between the end of a tax year and the date your tax return is due, there’s a slight chance you’ll lose your eligibility for the marriage allowance.

Cancelling the marriage allowance normally takes effect from the next tax year unless the marriage or civil partnership has come to an end through:

  • divorce (decree absolute)
  • order of judicial separation
  • decree of nullity 
  • in the case of a civil partnership, a dissolution order, order of nullity or order of separation.

In these circumstances, the withdrawal of the marriage allowance can be backdated to the start of the tax year.

Death of a Partner

If your spouse or civil partner dies, it’s possible to make a backdated claim for the marriage allowance providing the deceased spouse or civil partner was eligible for it when they were alive.

A claim can be made for any tax year in which you were both alive, including the tax year of death, although no claim can be made thereafter.


If you have any questions…

The Real Business Club can help. Dawn is our tax expert, and can help you with any tax queries you may have as well as submission of your self-assessment. Call Dawn on 01189 680813 or email

Think LinkedIn is not for you? then read this

The Real Business Club works with and trains all kinds of business people who sometimes miss the opportunity of Linked in – their presence (what they say and how they say it) does not do them justice, or it is just out of date.

The following blog is written by an excellent Linked in specialist we have known for years. 

Whatever your business…

  •             If you don’t think Linked in is for you – read on!
  •             If you know your profile “could do better” – read on!
  •             If you have no idea whether it could help you get more clients or customers – read on!


Think LinkedIn is not for you? then read this

People often ask where LinkedIn fits in with their business especially when they perceive that they are B2C only. On the face of it they may look to be accurate with their assumptions, but on many occasions, I have shown the businessperson that in fact they are well and truly in the B2B space and therefore LinkedIn is very relevant.

The reason for most people making their assumptions is that it is an individual that purchases their products and services. This means it is B2C, but what do they do for a living? Many will be in a business where a LinkedIn profile is a good business tool, in fact they may be senior managers or even directors. Many in fact will be business owners themselves so will be on LinkedIn to promote their business.

As LinkedIn is the main B2B online tool and in fact some people see it in a completely separate class to other social media such as Facebook. I lean towards this idea and do see LinkedIn as a great Business tool regardless of what the company does. There will be some businesses that will not benefit from a LinkedIn presence and some that should not be on the platform at all, but in over a decade of networking and using LinkedIn, amounting to meeting some 10,000 businesspeople, these exceptions are few and far between.

The big thing is to remember that LinkedIn is a massive search engine as well as a platform to be found on. This means people use it to search for people for all manner of reasons and it could well be the service or product that you supply so not being on the platform means that you are missing out on a potential revenue stream.

A small investment in both time and money could open up a new potential revenue stream not to mention its lead generation potential. Can you afford not to be in with a chance of getting this extra business?

To summarise LinkedIn most definitely is a business tool across both B2B and B2C and having a winning profile will indeed bring in new business.


This blog has been written by Tony K Silver who has been using this fabulous business tool for over a decade and now runs a successful company dealing in LinkedIn training, presentations, workshops and profiling. With over 2.4K connections and having attended 1250+ events Tony has seen it all and now wishes to offer his expertise so that others can really use LinkedIn as an important Business tool regardless of size or industry.

Please have a look at the testimonials Tony has received here



The Real Business Club is not responsible for content found on third party websites not controlled by The Real Business Club itself. 

Making Tax Digital (MTD)

Are you ready for the April 1st 2019 deadline?  If you are a VAT registered business with a taxable turnover of £85,000 you must keep digital VAT records & use specific software that is compatible with the new HMRC making Tax Digital requirements  

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a government initiative that will change the way businesses maintain their tax records and the software they use to send tax returns.

The deadlines for sending VAT returns and making payments are not changing, including for monthly, quarterly and annual VAT return schemes, but businesses will have to keep digital records and send the returns to HMRC using MTD-compatible software for VAT accounting periods that start on or after April 1st 2019. This also applies to businesses that operate the Flat Rate Scheme for VAT.

Do you use spreadsheets for your business records?

A spreadsheet can be used to calculate or summarise VAT transactions to arrive at the return information you need to send HMRC.

If you use spreadsheets to keep business records, you’ll need MTD-compatible software so that you can send HMRC your VAT returns and receive information back from HMRC.

Get ready now – Find out what is right for you, contact

Tips on managing your business before, during & after a holiday…

As a self-employed person (often working alone), the thought of a holiday can fill you with dread. The kids have broken up from school, the sun is shining – and the temperature in the UK is high.   

Concerns over having no one to reply to emails, close business, deliver service to your customers and keeping the bank manager happy often cause stress. However, taking a proper break is hugely important to revitalise and re-energise yourself!


These top tips can help you stay sane, and keep your business running while you take a much needed vacation.

Before your holiday:

When is the best time to take a break? If your business is seasonal, perhaps it doesn’t make sense to take a holiday in the summer or at Christmas. When is your business quietest? Maybe an off peak holiday will be more manageable and more affordable.

Forward Plan – manage the last 3 to 4 weeks like a project. Know what you need to do and when. Keep an up to date list of everything that needs completing. Can you delegate some of the work, or pass to a virtual assistant? Can something be postponed? Remember Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix. This will help you to avoid working right up to the last hours before you go on holiday.

Communicate BEFORE you go on holiday – don’t rely on “out of office”. As a sole trader it is critical to communicate with your clients, suppliers and any other businesses/sole traders you have business relationships with. Start telling them 2 months in advance. Out of office can be useful for prospective clients, but is not a professional way to tell your existing and valued clients.

Decide on your availability and manage expectations accordingly – will you have an hour a day to manage any emergencies or can your clients expect you to be totally uncontactable? Talk to you family and anyone else going on holiday with you too – so you can set their expectations as well.  Remember to set your out of office and voicemail accordingly.   

During your holiday:

Stick to the availability schedule you set – Don’t disappoint family and friends by being totally stuck to your phone. If you have told Clients you will check email between certain hours – stick to it.   

Relax and enjoy yourself – Everyone needs to rest, relax and recharge. This may be sitting by a pool, being at the beach or being out exploring and seeing the sights. Do whatever it is that will provide you with the chance to re-energise. Only you will know what this is.

Take a notebook and pen – Even when we think we are switched off, our minds will keep processing information whether we like it or not. A note book will provide a great tool to catch those brilliant ideas that pop up when you’re least expecting them.

After your holiday:

Prioritise – Just as you did before you went away, you need to be realistic about when and how you respond to Clients and prospective clients on your return. If necessary, acknowledge their email or voicemail, and let them know when you will respond fully to their specific enquiry. Remember that time management matrix! Consider what is important vs. not important.

Review any notes you made – build any actionable items into your regular planning activities. Don’t disrupt your normal “modus operandi” but do give your ideas the time to come to fruition.

Review & Plan – consider what worked for you as you prepared for and enjoyed your holiday. Is it worth documenting those items that worked well so your next holiday goes more smoothly? What didn’t work – and what would need changing to make it work for you in the future? Then set about planning your next vacation! 

And if you can’t even think about taking time out for holiday!

If your time management skills let you down or you are too busy to think about holidays and family time – please make time to get this right! The Real Business Club can help you prioritize, plan with confidence and get you ready for relaxing! Peace of Mind – YES

Contact Isabel on 0118 9680813 or 07759 074864, or email us at

Don’t forget to renew your tax credit claims

Families and individuals that receive tax credits should ensure that they renew their tax credit claims by 31 July 2018. If you do not complete your claim form on-time you may have your payments stopped.

HMRC has been sending tax credits renewal packs to those already claiming tax credits and is encouraging everyone to renew their tax credits claim online. If you haven’t received your renewal pack by now you should contact the HMRC tax credits helpline (0345 300 3900). 


Just remember though, no renewal pack will be sent to you until April 2019 if you first claimed tax credits after 6 April 2018.

You will need to notify HMRC where there have been changes to your family size, child care costs, number of hours worked and salary. Details of previous year’s income also need to be completed on the form to allow HMRC to check if the correct tax credits have been paid. 


You must also inform HMRC of any changes in circumstances not already reported during the year such as new working hours, different childcare costs or changes in pay.

In some areas of the country new claims for tax credits may no longer be possible as the introduction of universal credit is slowly rolled out. Universal credit will eventually replace tax credits, and other social security benefits. If you have an existing tax credit claim, the change to universal credit will be between 2019 and 2022.


One of the questions on the claim form asks if you have already submitted your 2017/18 Tax Return. I would suggest you do this at the same time as your tax credit claim.


Need help and advice?  I can help

Dawn Edward
The Real Business Club

GDPR – stops joy riding with data!

The Real Business Club was recently the victim of a misuse of data and information. It was an unpleasant experience. In a way – someone went joy riding with information and left us with expense and frustration. Our situation was well managed and well protected. It became learning rather than pain. It made the reasons for GDPR very REAL.

There are good reasons for GDPR.

We want to keep data safe and respected – you probably do too.

You probably want to comply with the law about data. You can – it’s NOT difficult.

Good trusted engagement with our clients is very important – it will be for you too.

We have already delivered practical detailed training to finance professionals. The feedback showed they want to take care, they can adapt their systems to comply and it is NOT a total nightmare.


The key step is to know the data your business holds about other people:

  • What have you got and what do you use it for?
  • Have you got more than you need?
  • Do you keep it longer than you should?
  • Is what you use it for likely to be reasonably expected by the individual, based on their relationship with you?
  • Do you match data obtained from elsewhere?
  • Consent – clients actively opt in


The next step is to comply with how you hold it, use it and dispose of it:

  • You will need some planning to do this.
  • You will need people responsible for data and
  • You cannot ignore this!



Don’t be an information joy rider or encourage others!


TOP TIP – GO TO THE HORSE’S MOUTH – the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

These are great resources – straightforward and comprehensive.

GDPR practical training and advice for small businesses – BOOK here

Contact The Real Business Club if you would like GDPR practical advice and a complementary review of your readiness for GDPR. Email

For other enquiries contact Isabel King on 01189 680813 and