Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where Are The Women's Organisation?

We have our base in the fantastic Baltic Triangle at our building 54 St James Street, but we also make sure that our team come to you as well! If you are unable to come down to our base to meet a business advisor, there is also the opportunity to meet and talk with one of our team at a location near you.

These drop-ins are great for women who are looking for advice whether they are starting or already running a business, and one of our team can answer your questions and prepare you for the next step of getting support from The Women’s Organisation.

Our next sets of drop-ins are listed here!

Thursday 14th May at Central Library (1-3pm)

Details here…

Come down to the fantastic Liverpool Central Library and meet with one of our team, we will be there from 1-3pm

Tuesday 19th May at Allerton Library (1-3pm)

Details here…

We will be over at Allerton Library on this day, so pop in for a chat with us!

Thursday 21st May at Childwall Library (10-12pm)

Details here…

 An advisor will be over at Childwall Library on this day so you can come and meet them!

You can drop into these events without booking a slot, or alternatively to remove the risk of having to wait, you can book a slot over on our Eventbrite and let us know you are coming!

#IAmEnterprising Comes To A Close With Championship Event!

The big day had finally arrived for the 8 student finalists who were in the running to become the winner of our #IAmEnterprising project that we have been running with the City of Liverpool College. The setting for the day was the incredibly grand boardroom at the Learning Exchange Centre on Roscoe Street.

Our 8 finalists were: Kiara Makoo with her Photography and Graphic Design Business, Kate Johnson with The Chocolate Gallery, Olga Bokova with her Accountancy Practice, Jessica Pierce with 4 Liverpool, Buy Liverpool, Suzie Higgins with her handmade phone cases, Ashley Rose Standish with Rare Rose Designs, Daniel Curran and John Wilson in a joint partnership with Front Row Plumbing Services and Michael Patrick with his Photography business.

Although the students were bound to be nervous as we had asked the to prepare a 10 minute presentation to be followed by a question and answer session from a panel of judges, they had been well-prepared with our Business Boot Camp day and drop-in sessions in the run up to the big day.

We had a fantastic panel of judges, who were representatives from our sponsors and partners. These were Donal Bannon from our lead sponsor Morecrofts Solicitors, Darren McLeod from Agent Marketing, Heather Heaton from City of Liverpool College and our own Enterprise Director, Jackie Williams.

The standard of the student’s presentations was extraordinarily high, and the judges knew they were going to be in for a tough decision when they had to decide the overall winner. After much deliberation and a last minute change, it was decided that the standard was so high that there would be three runners up instead of two, and an overall winner.

Our fantastic runners up were Kiara Makoo, Daniel Curran and John Wilson, and Ashley Rose Standish, and the overall winner of the #IAmEnterprising Championship was Kate Johnson with The Chocolate Gallery, who gave a great presentation, and who the judges all agreed would benefit greatly from the prize package, and be growing her business substantially very soon!

The #IAmEnterprising Project has been fantastic, from the very first drop-ins with the students, to the action-packed Business Boot Camp, all the way through to the Championship Day. We, at The Women’s Organisation would like to thank our sponsors, Morecrofts Solicitors, Agent Marketing, Chic Networking, Downtown in Business Liverpool and our partner City of Liverpool College.
 The project has shown the need for such competitions, as the finalists for #IAmEnterprising had fantastic business ideas, passion for their work, and the drive to continue working towards their goals. And as it said on their certificates; ‘Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy’ – it won’t be an easy ride for these students, but we are positive they will all reach their goals in the end!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Help The Women’s Organisation And Complete Our DIGA Survey!

Followers of The Women’s Organisation blog may have already heard about our DIGA project, when we received our international partners to Liverpool back in February.

DIGA (Digital Innovations for Growth Academy) will be developing a new, innovative ICT and digital training programme for staff delivering  education and training in the fields of entrepreneurship and business development.

Digital technology is rapidly transforming how people communicate, learn, work and manage new enterprises. Given its central role in personal and professional contexts research has been commissioned to figure out what digital technologies are used by entrepreneurs in education and training. This is what our Growth Academy (DIGA) project will do.

When we talk about digital technologies, we mean a large number of things, whether this is the social media that you use, of the data collection tools that you use, the type of email service, the type of cloud or online storage you use, pretty much anything.

To do this, we are seeking the view and experiences of learners, educators and entrepreneurs to help us improve and develop. YOU can help The Women’s Organisation and are international partners on our DIGA project by completing a survey!

There are three different surveys to choose from, and which one you can answer depends on your experience. We have:

Entrepreneurs Who Use Digital Technology

This one is for you if you are a Business owner, running your own business or starting your own business and use different digital technologies.

Educators Who Use Digital Technology

This one is for you if you are in the field of education, teaching and training, and specifically good for you if you teach students over a long period of time.

Learners Who Use Digital Technology

And this survey is for you if you are a student or in education of any type, regardless of your age, and you use digital technology.

If you think you can help us and have 5 minutes to spare, please complete our survey, and help The Women’s Organisation with their Digital Innovations for Growth Academy (DIGA) project. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Strangest Late Tax Return Excuses - Join Us To Understand Tax and National Insurance

Every year the HM Revenue and Customs releases a list of the 10 worst excuses that people have given them for filing or paying their tax return late. You can receive a fine for submitting your tax return late, so here at The Women’s Organisation know that, that isn’t what you want to happen. Take a look at some of the frank and bizarre reasons that were told to the HMRC

My pet goldfish died (Self-Employed Builder)
I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands Farmer)
After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London Woman)
My husband told me the deadline was March 31st and I believed him (Leicester Hairdresser)
I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry Writer)
My bad back means I can’t go upstairs and that’s where my tax return is (A Working Taxi Driver)
I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South-East Man)
Our Business doesn’t really do anything (Kent Financial Services Firm)
I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London Accountant)
All of these people received a £100 penalty from HMRC for filing late. They appealed against the decision and used these excuses, but were unsuccessful.
HMRC’s Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said:
‘There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.’
If you want to avoid this unfortunate fine, and making up a strange excuse like these, then it’s important that you know all there is to know about Tax and National Insurance when you are running your business. Which is why, we have opened up our doors to women everywhere with our Understanding Tax and National Insurance course.
Whether you are starting a business, or if you are a woman who has already started your business and feel you would benefit from developing these key skills, you are welcome to book a place. We are heavily subsidising the course to make it as accessible to as many women as we possibly can, and offer the course at the price of just £25 for a half day.
This course will step you through:
How to register with HMRC as a Sole Trader 
National Insurance requirements
What expenditure can be claimed as a Business Allowance
 How to pay HMRC and the support tools available 
 How to calculate the amount of tax you may need to pay  
This course will:
Help you to ensure you’re up to date with the most current tax requirements
Provide you the information required to submit your own self-assessment
Prevent you getting things wrong when submitting your tax information
Allow you to successfully budget to meet any tax demands
Reduce fear of HMRC and Tax

If you would like to find out when our Understanding Tax and National Insurance Courses are then you can head over to our Events page, follow the link and book via Eventbrite.

Please remember that you may be eligible for a fully funded place on these courses. Please ring us on 0151 706 8111 to find out more!

The Women's Organisation & Red Ninja Working on Entrepreneurial Gaming...

At The Women’s Organisation we are passionate about getting involved with new projects, whether they are our #IAmEnteprising Project with the City of Liverpool College Students or our Digital Innovations for Growth Academy with our international partners. One of our newest projects that we are involved in, has been kept mostly under wraps on The Women’s Organisation Blog, but we wanted to now introduce it.

The Women’s Organisation has been working with Red Ninja and other partners on ‘Building entrepreneurial capability of Higher Education students through gamification.’ Or, in other words, creating an Enterprise App.

This Enterprise Education Application will enable students to work towards required entrepreneurship learning outcomes in an interesting and interactive way and to build business growth ambition into a new venture creation.

Apps are a massive part of everyday life for a huge majority of people, we read the news via Twitter, we check the weather across the world, we are constantly programmed into and receiving updates on whatever we desire. Gaming apps which involve business and entrepreneurship is a new and evolving market. Games like Simventure have made major contributions to learning through small business simulation.

The app that we are involved in making will be set within a Coffee Shop and the aim is to engage with and encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, whilst embedding important lessons on how to start, manage and grow a new business. With these being The Women’s Organisations main area of focus and services, we are able to work with Red Ninja on the design and ensure the game is as realistic as possible.

Students in Higher Education will be able to use the app to build up the entrepreneurial capabilities and this will be achieved by a number of challenges and tasks that they come up against and succeed in, when they play the realistic and engaging game.

When such a large number of new start-ups struggle within their first few years, this is a great opportunity to use technology to help those interested in entrepreneurship to gain skills digitally before moving into self-employment and running a business. 

Many of the obstacles that young businesses come up against are often a surprise and unexpected so this app aims to combine realistic and expected problems like hiring staff and managing stock with other more unexpected problems that all business owners come across.

 We are extremely excited about the planning of this project and the possibility that it could one day be realised! Keep your ears to the ground for more information on the app!

The Women's Organisation Manchester @ Forever Manchester Women Evening

The Women’s Organisation, as well as having our home in Liverpool, also has a base in Manchester with Ada House and two fantastic Business Advisors Ameena Ahmed and Mike Marsden. Last week, Ameena had the opportunity to impart some of her business wisdom at a brand new event in the heart of Manchester.

Forever Manchester Women held at an event at Great John Street Hotel, and brought together women in business from across the Greater Manchester region. Ameena, an Associate Business Advisor spoke, alongside Jean Bills, Forever Manchester Women’s Head of Business Development.
Ameena is one of our Associate Business Advisor at has had 10 years of experience working in the charitable sector and has a different approach to her work by connecting and communicating using a holistic approach and in particular the soft skills that women have. She reminded the women that they are capable to help change history.

After Ameena’s talk, Jean Mills spoke about the community women-led groups that Forever Manchester has recently supported, such as Gorgeous Gorge Hill. This is a group of four women who made a change in their neighbourhood by planting flowers, painting bollard and helping to make their neighbourhood a more attractive place; ‘They really make a difference to the community and get people talking and involved in continuing to improve their area.’

The event managed to raise £1,135 which will continue to help more community projects throughout Greater Manchester, and we are delighted that Ameena could be a part of this!

Dina Railean's Business; Express Language Solultions Crosses Time Zones As It Continues To Grow

Dina Railean, founder of Express Language Solutions is a language expert and linguist through and through, having many years of experience at senior levels in language and translation companies, before forming her own company, which she saw as a ‘natural progression’

Manchester based Express Language Solutions has been working globally since 2008 and has a worldwide network of qualified translators and interpreters. Dina says; ‘Over the years we’ve gained a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable provider of translation and interpreting services to businesses and private customers alike.’

Express Language Solutions caters for more than a 150 languages and assists their clients 24/7 across the different time zones, working across the public and private sector. Dina, although the sole employer and employee of the company, works with over 3,500 people globally who assist her with ELS services. She says; ‘I have a fantastic team, which I have been selecting to represent the brand over the years.’

One of the main advantages of having worked at a senior level in the sector for many years is that Dina understood the nature of the admin side of business, but she admits; ‘I didn’t have any prior knowledge of setting up the company, but I was fortunate enough to be able to learn about that. It was a journey and it still is a journey.’

Dina came into contact with The Women’s Organisation Manchester when she meet Business Advisor Ameena at a networking event last year and they met for a coffee subsequently, and have been in touch since with Ameena providing Dina with support and advice as she navigates the minefield of successfully running her business. Dina says; ‘I found Ameena’s support to be a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed working with her and found it very valuable.’

Ameena was able to assist Dina in creating a strategic 3-year plan, in order to enable ELS to win new contracts. Becoming a supplier with the Business Growth Hub was a stepping stone in achieving the plan's objectives.

Business Advisor Ameena said; 'Interpreting and translations are crucial to working with overseas clients or when communicating your products or services to a wide range of people both domestically and internationally.' 

As the business grows Dina, like many others, admits that ‘My business is my life’ and envies other business women who can separate business and pleasure. ‘I think this is very difficult to do, unless you are at a completely different level when you have quite a lot of people working for you. But when you are on your own, you have to do every single thing on your own and it in addition to that it’s ensuring, for me, that the client always receives the correct service.’

Working across time zones means that often the business doesn’t run from 9am to 5pm and she can talk late into the night trying to finish a piece of work for a client; ‘I’ve been known to be on the phone on a Friday night at quarter to midnight, speaking with a lawyer so a project could be completed by the following morning.’

Dina went on to say; ‘From that point of view, for people that think it is easy to run your own business because you have the freedom to do everything you want, yes that is true, but equally you have massive responsibilities not only to yourself but primarily to the business.’

The most enjoyable part of running her own business for Dina, is the variety of work that she does; ‘I get excited every single day about the business, it’s so unusual and you never know what project is going to come along next. One minute I might be translating a document and the next transcribing a video file or I can get involved with carrying out an examination to see how good someone’s language skills are. The projects are so varied and that’s what I get a buzz from.’

As well as this of course is the freedom that running your own business does allow. Instead of meeting with clients and going back to head office to seek permission, Dina enjoyed being able to help a client immediately and says it helps with her business because the clients like the immediacy of the service that she is able to offer.

The future for Express Language Solutions is clearly, growth, although by the nature of the business they are trading internationally and have many overseas clients, but are looking to improve the service by having linguists based in the country that they are translating and interpreting for.

And any advice for those wanting to set up their own business? Three words from Dina; ‘Just do it!’ She went on to say; ‘But do think about what type of business is right for you carefully, and ensure you are getting the right professional advice to enable you to reach the right decision. Contact The Women’s Organisation so they can assist you. It worked for me! I’ve been in business before, but still found it very useful, and want to thank The Women’s Organisation for the support I have received via Ameena.’

If you would like to find out more about Dina’s business; Express Language Solutions, feel free to contact them on the details below or visit the website

Tel: +44 (0)161 737 2970
Fax: +44 (0)161 737 2970

Monday, April 27, 2015

Top Five Bookkeeping Tips – Are You Book Savvy?

Keeping your books is a difficult thing to learn when you begin your own business, and a skill that is so important. Here at The Women’s Organisation we know how vital it is to keep your business books in order, that’s why we have our Basic Bookkeeping half day course which will provide you with all the information you need to start becoming that business owner who always has their books in perfect order.

In the meantime, we’ve sourced a fantastic article from Entrepreneur, and written by Eileen P. Gunn, on adopting some habits to keep you from making costly mistakes!

Entrepreneurs keep a lot of the financial details of their business in their heads. Doing so has its advantages: No new software to learn, no danger of a system crash that loses all your data, and you can tweak your budget as often as you need without sitting down at a desk.

But when you don't have a system and some processes in place, unpleasant surprises can pop up, goals can be easily missed and important paperwork forgotten. Getting a better handle on your money can help you to make and keep long-term goals, smooth out the seasonal ups and downs of your cash flow and maybe improve your profits. It can also help you to stay out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

Here are five bookkeeping tips for entrepreneurs.

1. Plan for major expenses.

Why it's helpful: You're less likely to miss business opportunities or have to scramble for a loan when the expenses become unavoidable.

What to do: Put events like a major computer upgrade on the calendar a year in advance or, ideally, three to five years ahead. Acknowledge the seasonal ups and downs, something many entrepreneurs are reluctant to do.

You'll avoid taking money out of the company during the flush periods only to find yourself short in the slower months, when costly projects like upgrading computers or replacing factory components usually happen.

2. Track expenses.

Why it's helpful: You otherwise might some miss tax write-offs and may lose out on others.

What to do: A credit card that you use solely for business can be a basic accounting system. Most card statements categorize expenses, so you can see which outlays relate to which business activities. If you always use your business credit card for business expenses, you're less likely to pay cash at, say, Staples and lose the receipts, forfeiting tax-time write-offs. Pens and printer paper can add up.

3. Record deposits correctly.

Why it's helpful: You may be less likely to pay taxes on money that isn't income.

What to do: Adopt a system for keeping your financial activities straight, whether it's a notebook you use consistently, an Excel spreadsheet or software such as Quickbooks. Business owners typically make a variety of deposits into their bank account through the year, including loans, revenue from sales and cash infusions from their personal savings. The trouble is that at the end of the year, you or your bookkeeper might erroneously record some deposits as income, and consequently pay taxes on more money than you've actually made.

4. Set aside money for paying taxes.

Why it’s helpful: The HMRC can add penalties and interest for not filing quarterly tax returns on time.

What to do: Systematically put a portion of money aside throughout the year for taxes. Then note tax deadlines on your calendar, along with prep time if you need it, to make sure you actually make payments when they're due.

5. Keep a close eye on your invoices.

Why it's helpful: Late and unpaid bills hurt your cash flow.

What to do: Assign someone in your organizations to track your billing. Then put a process in place for issuing a second invoice, making a phone call and perhaps levying penalties such as extra fees at certain deadlines. Some entrepreneurs believe that once they've sent out an invoice, they've taken care of billing. But, every late payment is an interest-free loan and hurts your cash flow.

The Women's Organisation have taken steps to offer key business skills training to women beyond our usual Merseyside centred business start-up programme remit.

We will be holding 'Basic Bookkeeping' workshops. Whether you are starting a business, recently started or an employee of a business who feels they would benefit from developing these key skills, women are welcome to book a place. We are heavily subsidising these courses to the rate of just £20.

Some of the women who have attended the course have told us:

'This has allowed me to take and keep control of my business without me feeling so stressed about 'professional' matters'

'I feel much more confident doing my own accounts'

'This was something that worried me, however I feel quite confident now.' 

This course will guide you through:

The current requirements of HMRC when recording your accounts

How to create an easy to use recording system for your Business accounts
How to create a monthly/annual budget or report
Getting hands on practice using our resources

You will leave with a resource pack that can be tailored by you to meet your individual business needs. 

The course will:

Save you money in accountancy fees
Enable you to generate the information required for tax Self-Assessment
Give you the resources to comply with HMRC  requirements when recording business income and expenditure
Show you how to implement time saving systems
Improve your financial controls and understand the week by week financial position your business
Improve your confidence and peace of mind when dealing with your business finance

If you would like to find out more about the course, the days that it is running, and book yourself a place, then head over to our Eventbrite page

Please remember, that fully funded places may be available for eligible women. To find out more about this please ring us on 0151 706 8111

Are You Thinking of Starting a Social Enterprise? Join Us To Find Out More!

The word Social Enterprise gets thrown backwards and forwards through business circles and networks all the time, but there is sometimes confusion around what a Social Enterprise actually is.

And if you know what it is, then the next question would be, how do you go about setting one up? These questions and so many others will be answered at our ‘Thinking of Starting up a Social Enterprise?’ event on Thursday 14th May brought to you by RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise with speaker and Social Enterprise Specialist, Janine Hyland.

This event is perfect if you are thinking about starting up a Social Enterprise and want to get more information, but also if you are already running a Social Enterprise as it can be an opportunity to find information you might not already know and meet other women in the same situation.

This event will focus on clarifying what a Social Enterprise actually is, as well as dispelling many of the myths that surround this type of business. Janine will discuss how to create social value within your business and give examples of different legal structures as well as model examples of Social Enterprises and how to sustain your business.

For over 19 years, Janine has worked in the not for profit sector, working hand in glove with social entrepreneurs, SME’s, charities and local authorities. She is a Senior Business Advisor at The Women’s Organisation and has been providing business support to female led Social Enterprises, helping them become sustainable and grow.

This event is brought to The Women’s Organisation with support from RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise, a project under their Inspiring Enterprise work they complete to encourage a more entrepreneurial culture; ‘From the classroom to the boardroom, we are inspiring enterprise at every stage of the journey.’

RBS say; ‘In the UK, twice as many men as women start a business. We want to change that. We want to enhance the role of women entrepreneurs. RBS has launched Inspiring Women in Enterprise to tackle this issue head on. With access to a support network offering expert advice, together with funding opportunities, we believe more women can be inspired and enabled to succeed in business.’

If you would like to attend this event, put this date in your diary and join us to find out more about Social Enterprises…

Thursday 14th May – 9:30am-11:30pm

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

You can book your place via Eventbrite

For more information contact 0151 706 8111 or

And don’t forget to use the hashtag #InspiringEnterprise to join in the conversation!