• 10 reasons why your business is losing money

    There’s no doubt that getting up and running with a new business can be very exciting. You are your own boss and that can give you a lot of freedom. However, if you are inexperienced with the corporate world, your enthusiasm could soon fade as the costs start stacking up. Many of those costs, you might not even have foreseen. Perhaps what had started as just a trickle of expenses has, unexpectedly quickly, ballooned into something much more serious. How you use vehicles for business purposes could be to blame – so, let’s look more closely at how you can control these costs better.

    Inefficient use of fuel

    Your vehicles are incapable of running without fuel, making it seem very necessary to spend some of your precious revenue on. However, you might not be maximising the efficiency of that fuel. Alec Lee, operations manager at small-tours firm Rabbie’s, made a major admission to The Guardian.

    He said that training in more energy-efficient driving helped his firm to save money on fuel.Workers were “also decreasing the general wear and tear on the vehicle” – which, in the longer term, could help Rabbie’s reduce its necessity of paying for costly repairs.

    Failure to regularly audit your vehicles

    Spending time carrying out this kind of audit can help you see where cash might be being haemorrhaged, advises Grant Boardman, Fleet Alliance’s regional sales director.

    Boardman, whose firm keeps SMEs supplied with fleet management services, explains: “It’s about understanding the whole-life costs of a vehicle”. That means, he adds: “Not just looking at the purchase or hire price, but other consequential factors over the next three or four years.”

    Leasing commercial vehicles from a single provider

    Does your company routinely hire commercial vehicles, like vans, from the same provider? Then you are making what Boardman has branded a “classic mistake”.

    What you should instead do, he says, is look for a combination of providers capable of offering what you need – and all at what adds up to the lowest possible overall price. He also notes that, in doing so, you should especially strongly consider lease costs and fuel consumption.

    Not paying attention to company cars’ CO2 emissions

    You might often use cars in running your business; cars put to this purpose can be succinctly referred to as company cars. If you indeed utilise cars in this manner, then check, before you decide to buy any such vehicle, how much it will produce in CO2 emissions on the road.

    This is crucial as, for discerning how much tax should be payable on different cars, the government puts these cars into different “emission bands”. The less CO2 emissions a car is responsible for, the better its CO2 rating can be and so the less tax you could need to pay on this vehicle.

    Improper management of your fleet

    If you have an entire fleet of vehicles at your company’s disposal, how is that fleet being managed? If the company is directly handling those affairs, you might want to rethink that strategy.

    John Hargreaves, Kia’s head of fleet and remarketing, has noted that a vehicle fleet poses a “significant overhead” for many businesses. That fleet “should be managed professionally, whether by a dedicated person within the company or by outsourcing to a specialist vehicle management company,” headded.

    Not taking advantage of telematics for cost-cutting

    You might have seen or heard the word “telematics” occasionally popping up in discussions about how money can be saved on corporate vehicles. However, what does it actually mean?

    It is commonly used as shorthand for “vehicle tracking systems”, as they are more formally called. Jenny Powley, who has worked at the RAC as a sales director for corporate partnerships, has recommended such systems that “collect data on the vehicle and give business owners a much better picture of wear and tear, enabling them to take cost-effective preventative measures.”

    Not using fuel cards

    These payment cards are available from various firms, the RAC included, and can help you lower your fuel bills. Furthermore, as Powley points out, when a business owner uses them, they receive “regular reports and can see exactly what is spent, rather than having drivers submit receipts”.

    Taking out vehicle insurance for longer than is necessary

    Your company’s vehicle needs might actually be very low. For instance, they could be limited to requiring simply a van for use in transporting items to a new office or an even more modest car for occasional times that you want to attend a trade show or team bonding event.

    That’s fine, but it doesn’t take away from the need to check that you have insurance for a vehicle before you use it. In the UK, driving without insurance can lead to you incurring a massive fine and other penalties. However, a standard insurance policy lasting a year or more can be much costlier than short term car insurance which you could source through UK broker Call Wiser.

    Trying to meet vehicle costs by pricing products too highly

    You might reason that you need to price your company’s products at a particular – probably relatively high – level because you have hefty costs to pay in keeping vehicles running.

    However, advice posted by Forbes insists on the need to strike a middle ground when pricing products. Set prices excessively high and too many people could be put off. Nonetheless, on the other hand, keeping prices overly low could see you struggling to achieve a profit.

    Whatever prices you settle on, consider that trimming those vehicle costs – by, for instance, using remedies listed in this article –could be a better strategy than keeping your prices high.

    Reluctance to invest in vehicles necessary for growth

    One reason why we are eager to provide advice on how to cut costs of running vehicles is that paying those costs could, ultimately, be necessary for cultivating your company’s growth.

    Therefore, if you have so far resisted drawing extensively on automotive assistance for your own company, this could help explain why it is financially struggling. Avoid the false economy!

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  • SW Motech Kit Out the BMW R nineT Racer

    SM Motech has released a range of accessories to protect your BMW R nineT Racer from damage, or to add some stylish luggage. The German firm has added to the Legend Gear range for vintage-style bags, and sturdy guards and crash bars for Boxer engine. Check out the SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer below.

    SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer

    SW Motech Legend Gear Luggage for the BMW R nineT Racer:

    Whether you plan on a motorcycle holiday, commuting, or just have too much to carry in your pockets, bike luggage comes in rather useful. And the SW Motech range suits the retro look of the R nineT Racer. The bags are constructed from waxed canvas and Napalon synthetic leather to look like classic motorcycle kit. But they also have a polyurethane coating on the inside, waterproof inner bags and rain covers for modern protection from rain and damp.

    The two pannier style bags are the SW Motech LC1, which carry 9.8 litres per side and cost £139.99 per bag, or the larger SW Motech LC2 which carry 13.5 litres and cost £149.99 each. Either size will be attached using SLC Side Carriers which are designed for the R nineT Racer with touch steel tubing fitted to original mounting points. That gives you the flexibility to carry one or a pair of bags, and there’s a quick-lock system to get them on and off quickly. You can attach other Legend Gear bags onto each pannier using the army-style webbing loops and alloy hooks. The side carriers cost £59.99 each.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Legend Gear Side Bags

    Alternatively, there’s also an SW Motech Legend Gear Tank Bag LT2 available for £125.99. That’ll carry 5.5 litres, and attaches with a classic strap mounting. The strap has two clip buckles, to let you get to the fuel tank filler when you need it.

    You get the same mix of vintage look construction and waterproofing as the panniers. But for the handy stuff you need when riding there’s a clear PVC window for smartphones and satnavs. Plus a hole for your charging cables. And you can also add accessory bags or smart phone bags for more storage by using the same additional fastening system.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Legend Gear Tank Bag Strap

    SW Motech Crash Protection for the BMW R nineT Racer:

    So that’s all your kit carried. But what about saving your retro BMW from damage? There are three options to save your engine in particular from potential problems.

    The SW Motech Engine Guard will protect the block and sump from debris being thrown up off the road, particularly by the front wheel. It’s made from 4mm brushed aluminium, and has a rubber mounting to reduce vibration. It attaches to your bike via existing mounting points, using steel brackets. And it features air intake holes so your engine still benefits from the cooling airflow. It costs £178.00.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Engine Guard

    For the sides of the engine, you can also invest in SW Motech Cylinder Guards. You can probably guess they cover the valve and spark plug covers. So they’ll help if the side of your Boxer engine comes into contract with the road. Laser-cut, brushed aluminium is used, with an anodised aluminium pad, and a rubber lining to cushion the engine in a fall. You can choose from Black and Gold or Black and Silver finished for £158.99 per pair.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Crash Bars and Cylinder Guards

    And for even more protection, why not whack on a paid of SW-Motech Crash Bars. The heavy-duty steel protectors come in a choice of plain powder coasted black for a stealthy look at £177.99. Or shiny stainless steel to give you even more to polish at £226.99.

    As always, it’s a fair investment for all the crash protection listed. But having seen a brand new Japanese middleweight written off when a low-speed fall cracked the engine casing, it’s a lot cheaper to add crash bars in advance. Especially when your insurance excess will often be a couple of hundred pounds anyway. And they’ll save the engine from scuffs and marks when you might consider selling it in a year or two. Which means you’ll be able to get more cash.

    So those are the current SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer. If you’ve already bought and fitted any, let us know what you make of them in the comments. Or your thoughts on the R nineT Racer itself…

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  • Want to Win a 2017 KTM RC 390 for Free?

    KTM would like you to sign up for their monthly newsletter. In fact, they really, really want you to sign up. So much so, that you can win a 2017 KTM RC 390 if you do.

    And it’s probably worth doing. Not only has the RC 390 received a range of updates for this year, but it’s also worth £5,099. Improvements to the bike include a new ride-by-wire throttle which aims to give smoother and more efficient power. You also get a larger front disc with a radial four-piston caliper and ABS. Plus a new power-assisted slipper clutch (PASC). The single-cylinder KTM also has a side-mounted exhaust from this year, we’re not sure that’s necessarily better than the underbelly version on previous bikes.

    Win a 2017 KTM RC 390

    The other changes include span-adjustable levers, wider rear view mirrors and a more comfortable race-style passenger seat.

    OK, so they’ll probably get quite a few people signing up to their monthly email when there’s an RC 390 as a potental reward. And you won’t get the chance to be selected until sometime after the competition closes on 26th November 2017. By which time, the model for next year will probably be on stands at various motorcycle shows. But it’s still the chance to win a free bike.

    2017 KTM RC 390

    To enter, you need to sign up at www.ktm.com/gb/newsletter/. You’ll also need to be 18 or over, and have a full A, A1 or A2 motorcycle licence and be responsible for sorting your own insurance etc once the bike gets sent to your nearest dealer.

    You’ll also need to remember to check your email after the closing date. Which means using a fake email address you never check probably isn’t the best idea. But given the number of UK motorcyclists who haven’t already signed up, the odds are still better than the lottery. And who wouldn’t want to win a 2107 KTM RC 390 for nothing?

    As cynical as we are, we certainly wouldn’t complain. Although the fact we know the KTM PR people probably means they’ll spot our email address.

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