Take 10: 3 simple ways to manage an overwhelming workload

Quick and simple ways to boost your business in just 10 minutes

There’s never enough hours in the day, especially for small business owners. So, for the latest in our Take 10 series, we’re looking at 3 simple ways to help you stay on top of that never ending to do list.

busy workload

Managing your workload effectively can help keep you happy and healthy

Managing your time effectively helps you control of your day-to-day workload and keep a clear view of longer-time projects. In turn that can help you achieve your career goals more quickly and avoid stress.

Although a bit of stress is normal and can even be channelled into positive energy, being highly stressed over a longer period of time can be problematic. It can affect your sleep or even cause more serious illnesses, so controlling your workflow for a peaceful mindset is really important.

1) Is the task urgent, important or both?

When we’re busy rushing around it’s easy to prioritise those quick, urgent items to simply tick them off your to do list. It’s always tempting to reply to an email as soon as it pops into your inbox.

However, it’s important to understand the time constraints of the task in hand and whether it will have a high impact. The below Importance vs Urgency matrix can help you prioritise competing tasks:

Important vs urgent

For example, depending on your role, emailing a supplier about a change in your team might be important but not time sensitive. Whereas organising a looming invoice payment might be urgent and important.

2) Categorise tasks with the 4D’s

When looking through your inbox, try categorising tasks into the 4D’s: Delete, Delegate, Defer or Do.

Set yourself free from an exploding inbox and delete it

Consider whether the email requires your attention or is worth your time. If it’s not, keep your inbox uncluttered and delete it. This will help you focus on prioritising important items. And there’s always the deleted items folder if you realise you need it back!

Learn to delegate

You might be responsible for the task, but think whether it’s important or necessary for you to do it. Experts in your business might actually be better at performing the task. Just remember to ensure you put in time to check the item has been done by the person you’ve delegated it to.

If you don’t need to do it straight away, defer it

Think about whether the task is important or time sensitive, and whether you can afford to defer it. It might be an item that you’d like to do, but doesn’t need to be done for a hard deadline like a meeting or print deadline. Deferred tasks can sometimes become obsolete as goals move, meaning you also save yourself some time.

Just do it

If it’s a task that’s important to you and you have time to do it, get it done. Achieving these tasks, especially if business critical, can help you bookend your day or week and stay in control.

3) Prioritise using the MoSCoW matrix

If you’re managing a project and have a clear set of requirements, the MoSCoW matrix can help you rank tasks and deliver the most important items.

MoSCoW

Must: Any items that must be achieved to complete a successful project

Should: The project success doesn’t rely on this item, but if possible within your time and resource constraints you should include

Could: Items you could have as long as they don’t impact on other items to ensure you deliver a successful overall project

Would: If you had unlimited time and resource you would include this item. It might be included in future edition, but won’t be delivered within the current project scope

We hope you found this post useful. In the next instalment of Take 10, we’ll be looking at how to motivate your direct reports.

The Funding Circle team

Your April Impact – Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

April's investor impact

You told us that monthly and weekly updates were a little too much, so to better suit your needs we’re improving the way we talk to you on a monthly basis.

In your first Investor Impact, we’re looking at some of the success stories from recent borrowers and how your lending has helped them achieve their goals.

Did you know?

This month we hit more than 60,000 investors, big and small, lending to businesses through Funding Circle. Together your lending is having a real impact on the UK economy. Already in 2017 you’ve helped more than 5,000 businesses access much needed finance to grow and prosper. We’re going to need a pretty big venue to host everyone for our next event!

60000 people

A great month for

Firstnet create 100 new jobs in Leeds

Award winning IT services provider Firstnet Solutions Ltd was founded in 2011 to provide small businesses with the best possible IT infrastructure. Based in Leeds, husband and wife team David and Angie Cusworth are passionate about helping small businesses benefit from the same IT solutions as larger companies, but for a price that suits their needs.

Firstnet solutions

Last month, Firstnet Solutions Ltd opened a new purpose-built data centre in Yorkshire. David told us ‘we envisage that this data centre will create more than 100 new jobs, providing an important source of local employment.’

To facilitate the launch of their new data centre, Firstnet Solutions Ltd borrowed £74,480 in October 2016. David added: ‘Accessing finance through Funding Circle has helped our business achieve this success and we will look to work together more as we grow.’ Congratulations to David and the team!

We’ll be visiting David and the team soon to film a case study video – stay tuned.

April's success story

Paralympian goes for gold with a Funding Circle loan

Husband-and-wife team Peter and Linda Norfolk are well-experienced in achieving excellence. Nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’, Peter Norfolk OBE is a double paralympic gold medal and multiple Grand Slam winning wheelchair-tennis player, while Linda was Head of Physio for the Paralympic GB team at the Athens Games.

Not content with just winning medals, together they also own and run Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC), specialising in providing high-performance wheelchairs and powerchairs.

To hire two new members of staff, Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC) borrowed £30,000 in 2016. Meet this inspiring couple and hear more about their story in this short video.

5 fun ideas

The glorious summer weather is fast approaching and with more bank holidays coming up in May, it’s the perfect time to start planning. We’ve put together a list of five great ideas, from picnics to watersports and weekend getaways, to help you get outdoors and support businesses that have flourished thanks to your lending.

Up next

At the beginning of May, we’ll be publishing ‘Your May Review – Insight and Analysis’ which will focus on what’s been happening on the marketplace to help you get the most from your investment.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any further suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Paralympian goes for gold with a Funding Circle loan

Peter and Linda Norfolk are no strangers to success

The husband-and-wife team are well-experienced in achieving excellence. Nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’, Peter Norfolk OBE is a double paralympic gold medal and multiple Grand Slam winning wheelchair-tennis player, while Linda was Head of Physio for the Paralympic GB team at the Athens Games.

Not content with just winning medals, together they also own and run Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC), specialising in providing high-performance wheelchairs and powerchairs. Founded in 1989, EPC imports specialist equipment from all over the world, providing their clients with a personalised service to ensure they get the chair best suited to their need. Their focus is to give customers more freedom, creating innovative chairs that are easier to dismantle, transport, and fit a wider range of uses.

To hire two new members of staff, upgrade their website and purchase new computer equipment, Peter and Linda borrowed £30,000 through Funding Circle in December 2016.

In this short video, meet this inspiring couple and hear more about their story.

 

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like EPC-Wheelchairs?

Lend alongside 60,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 22,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Five fun ideas for a delightful bank holiday

The glorious summer weather is fast approaching and with more bank holidays coming up in May, it’s the perfect time to start planning weekend activities. We’ve got five great ideas that will help you get outdoors and make the most of the weather, while supporting businesses across the country that have flourished thanks to your lending.

1. Plan the perfect picnic

If your idea of the perfect weekend includes indulging on delicious food and drinks, while enjoying the company of friends and family, why not plan a picnic? Stock up on award-winning relishes, along with olives, toasted bread and a range of cheeses, from Deli Flavour, the one-stop-shop for all your snack needs. Voted one of the 50 best deli’s in the UK, the company was able to open another shop after borrowing £25,000 from 275 investors in November 2013.

2. Test your skills at watersports

Based in beautiful Brighton and Hove, Lagoon Watersports are experts in their field and offer a range of trainings in activities such as yacht sailing, paddle boarding and windsurfing. The friendly team teach sessions for all ages and aim to get people confident and comfortable in the water. Lagoon Watersports were able to purchase a new powerboat engine for powerboat rides after borrowing over £100,000 across three Funding Circle loans since 2012.

 3. Embark on a weekend getaway

With great views of the Irish Sea, St. Kilda Hotel is nestled in the middle of Llandudno’s beautiful promenade, with easy access to all the town has to offer. This family-run business is sure to give you a warm and friendly welcome during your stay. St. Kilda Hotel used their Funding Circle loan to cover maintenance and refurbishment costs, borrowing £30,620 from 322 investors in December 2015.

4. Get busy in the garden

Dust off your gardening boots this long weekend and start to get your garden ready for the summer. Based in Meols, a village on the northern coast of England, Carr Farm Garden Centre has been running since the 1930’s and since then has grown to be a successful garden centre – they also have online shop so you can order no matter where you’re based. To help with maintenance works across their 7 acre site, the family-run farm shop borrowed over £100,000 from 1,631 investors.

5. Get active outdoors

And finally, if you’re a thrill seeker, or just love outdoor sports, Pure Outdoor have some adrenaline-pumping activity ideas. Located in the heart of the Peak District National Park, the experienced team provide courses and activities such as rock climbing, caving and mountain guiding – a fun and exciting way to spend your bank holiday! The adventurous company were able to purchase a new office for their business after borrowing £8,000 through Funding Circle.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 60,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped nearly 23,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

A quiet crash in bank lending? March industry news

A quiet crash in big bank lending?

Bank of England statistics reveal that since the EU referendum, net lending (that’s total lending minus repayments) to British small businesses by 22 of the largest banks dropped from £1 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down to just £220 million in the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, Funding Circle investors lent £167 million on a net basis in Q4 alone! This is a great demonstration of the huge value your lending is having on the UK economy.

Bank said no, but I didn’t lose my sense of hummus

Helen Smith, founder of Glogg and one of Funding Circle’s many great borrowers, shares her company’s success story and experience of using direct lending for growth finance in The Times. When Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups for last year’s festival, Glogg stepped up to the challenge. Turning to Funding Circle for support, Helen was able to secure funding from hundreds of investors and the project was a huge success. Read the full story on our blog.

They came, they saw, they disrupted

It was also great to see Samir Desai, Funding Circle CEO, featured in the The Sunday Times Maserati 100 list, which recognises influential entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world. In it’s third year, the award took a new approach and focused on celebrating the beneficial impact that these individuals are having on the economy. This type of recognition is only possible because of the continued support we receive from our customers on both sides of the platform so thank you!

The best places to put your cash if you want to beat inflation

With inflation on the rise, an article in This is Money explores a few tricks to help make your spare cash work harder. By considering these options, such as direct lending or investing in stocks and shares, you don’t have to leave your money in a cash Isa that loses value over time. Read more about direct lending and how you could earn stable, attractive returns by lending to small businesses – but remember, when you lend, your capital it at risk.

Read between the lines: New tax year, new tax planning

Speaking of financial planning, personal finance expert and former editor at The Independent Simon Read, gives his advice on how to approach financial decisions in our new blog series ‘Read between the lines’. When planning for the new tax year, Simon encourages investors to be proactive and start the process as early in the year as possible so that there’s plenty of time to take any potential changes into account. To learn about what the recent Spring Budget means for you, check out this video on our blog.

Funding Circle secures $100M investment from CIM

And finally, our US business announced that Community Investment Management, an impact investment firm focused on direct lending, is now lending an additional $100 million to American small businesses. This exciting agreement gives even more businesses the opportunity to access the finance they need, which in turn encourages job creation and economic growth in local communities across the United States.

Property development lending – important update

Funding Circle’s long term goal is to become the first choice for small businesses here in the UK and across the world. By attracting thousands more businesses to the platform, we can offer you many more lending opportunities, allowing you to continue to earn an attractive, stable return. To meet this goal, we have taken the decision to focus on our core small business lending product in the UK and our other markets and will scale down new property development lending, expecting to stop all lending by mid-2018.

We are proud of the lending we have facilitated to small developers since 2014. The borrowers you have lent to have built thousands of homes and credit performance has been strong; loans have generated a 7% annual return* (as of 10th April 2017) and you have earned more than £22m in interest.

By focusing on our core product you will be able to help thousands more small businesses to access finance and grow. Over the last year you have lent record-breaking amounts, with approximately £280m lent to small business borrowers in the first three months of 2017. We expect this trend to continue.

It’s important to note that this decision is not related to credit performance of property development loans, which have outperformed expectations over the last three years and we expect this to remain the case.

We will continue to work on your behalf to service all existing property development loans. There will still be opportunities for you to lend to experienced property professionals over the next 12 months.

If you have any questions on today’s news, please get in touch at contactus@fundingcircle.com.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns shown may change over time as some businesses may not be able to fully repay their loans.

Read between the lines: New tax year, new tax planning

Over the next few months we will be bringing you a regular column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. Last time we caught up with Simon to get his reaction to the recent Spring Budget. In this column, Simon looks at what changes the upcoming tax year may bring for you.

The new tax year begins on 6 April. There’s usually a lot of noise before that date for people to make the most of their existing year’s tax allowances, or lose them forever. That’s sound advice but making any financial decision in haste can lead to expensive mistakes. That’s why I encourage everyone to do their tax planning at the beginning of the financial year, so there’s plenty of time to take account of what may be a changing situation.

What’s different about the 2017/18 tax year? It’s mainly a question of changing limits – the deadline to act will be exactly the same as it has been in previous years, 5 April. For savers the most notable change is the increase in the tax-free ISA allowance to £20,000, up from £15,240. That’s a massive jump but, to my mind, the biggest advantage is that the new figure is a nice round number and easier to remember!

The 6th April also sees the introduction of the new Lifetime ISA, aimed at first-time homebuyers and people saving for their pension. You need to be under 40 to open one and the big attraction is that the government has promised to top up your savings by 25%. However there are several restrictions and a limit of £4,000 each year. So, while it’s worthwhile for hopeful homebuyers to take advantage or even switch an existing Help to Buy ISA to a Lifetime ISA, anyone looking to save for their retirement is likely to be better off sticking to a company pension scheme, if they have one.

There’s also the Innovative Finance ISA which allows you to shelter your investments through peer-to-peer platforms in a tax-free account. The established platforms are yet to launch their ISA products, so this is something to look out for.

Meanwhile the Personal Savings Allowance introduced in April 2016 continues and means you can earn £1,000 of interest and pay no tax on it if you’re a basic-rate taxpayer, and £500 of interest if you’re a higher-rate taxpayer.

The amount of tax the authorities will demand from you is likely to fall in 2017/18 as the personal allowance is climbing from £11,000 to £11,500. That means an extra £100 for basic rate taxpayers.

The higher rate threshold, the point at which you start paying tax at 40%, is effectively climbing from £43,000 to £45,000, giving anyone earning about that level a £300 boost. That’s unless you live in Scotland where the threshold has been frozen at £43,000.

I haven’t yet mentioned pensions, salary sacrifice, company car tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or several other areas where the tax situation has changed or may require your action. The point is this: you now have 12 months to get your head around your tax situation and act to make the most of it.


The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.