Friday, 12 February 2016

Frugal Entrepreneurs 01

Time to find out what everyone's doing to make extra savings and investments, other than by being frugal with the household shopping, being economical with energy use and quitting spending on non-essentials. Are you debt free? Is your financial future secure? Have you protected your 'cyberdosh'?
Top Cashback savings
Here at NYK Media HQ, we run annual money saving challenges (see Frugal Forums) and also regular money making ones, like the frugaleur or cyberdosh micro-business challenges, but what is everyone actually doing by way of investing in their own futures? Can frugaleurs AFFORD to invest, as by its very nature, investment can reduce savings as well as increase them.
In 2008, my challenge was to earn an extra £15 per month (not quite 50p per day) and save it into a 10-year, tax-free savings bond with life assurance attached. That's £15 per month, every month for 10 years - a total of £1,800 paid out for a guarantee of only £1,500 life assurance or around £1,500 cash back at the end of it. If I remember correctly, there was cash back award of around £45 plus, I think, some Marks & Spencer shopping vouchers, but is it really worth it?
At the moment, the £25 'Scottish Bond' from Scottish Widows is offering £50 cash back plus a £25 'My Rewards Card' when you have paid a minimum of 2 monthly instalments into your plan. But then you are paying £25 a month for 10 years in the hope of getting your £3,000 back - no guarantees.
At the time, being guaranteed £1,500 of death benefits appealed to me. I had nothing set aside for that eventuality and it's one that I know can break family finances and create horrible psychological scarring for those guilt-ridden at not being able to afford to bury family members, lost suddenly and unexpectedly. So I went with the £15/month and stuck with it. I'm now paying it from my basic £4,000 per year budget, as prices on other things have reduced and I no longer have rent to pay. However... I may not get back what I put in after the 10 years - that's the risk we take with investments. For me, the little bit extra peace of mind was worth it and I still have the £1500 guaranteed lump sum due back in May 2018.
Back in 2002, I began learning a bit more about trading from home on the stock market and had some fun for a few years doing that, while being in what I considered to be a fairly well-paid job. (It was about £7 per hour and that was a huge amount of money to me back then, even allowing for £500+ a month rent, and still is to this day.) In all these years, I have continued to live on £4,000 per year and save everything else that was left after household bills and clearing debts. When rent became obsolete (on accounts of buying a small house for cash) I still continued to live on £4,000 per year, regardless of my income. Can you see the potential for savings when it costs £4,000 to run a household of 3 when all 3 are earning at least minimum wage each year?
The moral of this tale is that once you have learned to live on little and achieved your debt free status, there is no need to change your frugal routine just because your income doubles, trebles or quadruples, your household running costs drop, or a combination of both. While I had children home paying 'dig money' it all got saved, so when they finally moved into their own places, the drop in my household income didn't affect the budget at all, it simply meant the household running costs dropped slightly and the regular savings amounts were reduced.
Now what? I have a £4,000 + council tax annual budget but real costs are much less than that because I share the house and bills. I'm not money-orientated in a way that I wish for vast financial wealth - but the thrill of investments, even the most microscopic of them, is worth pursuing. It's what being a frugal entrepreneur is all about - playing a game of chance that can improve your future financial prospects while still being aware of the potential for it all to go wrong at any minute.
If we can weather our money storms, then we can learn from our own experiences that enable us to make better-informed guesses at what's right for us in the future. If we need to do it penny by penny, then so be it... the pounds will take care of themselves as long as we aren't foolish in spending our savings.
I want to be Shona Prophett by the end of 2016, so it's time to up the ante and make a few more decisions about what's going to be hot and what's not!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Be the FIRST to TEST THE entrepreneurship formula that will REVOLUTIONISE 21st Century Business!

By Denise at

Be the FIRST to TEST THE entrepreneurship formula that will REVOLUTIONISE 21st Century Business!

Over the past 30 years I have avidly studied & researched Entrepreneurs from attending their seminars, reading their books to talking to them face to face. My passion to understand what makes a Great Entrepreneur and Enterprise began at the age of 15 serving tea & coffee on exhibition stands as my father sold his engineering products to the business owners of haulage, plant, transport, oil & gas, farming & food companies. Followed by the experiences in my own business as I negotiated contracts with entrepreneurs or later in my career mentoring them as business start-ups.

Through my contradicting career in both Business and Design my research has concluded that the appalling mortality rate for business start-ups beyond year one is based on the absence of one essential SECRET ingredient PLUS an understanding of How to Design & Invent a sustainable business in the 21st Century and knowledge of whether you have the credentials of what it takes to PASS the entry exam as an Entrepreneur.

The ONE essential ingredient rarely discussed in business is the same essential ingredient which is responsible for creating solutions, progress, innovation & economic growth and is central to my ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORMULA "Black Box & White Ball Thinking".

Why do we need an ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORMULA "Black Box & White Ball Thinking"?

Look at the statistics!

Why are the majority of business's Sole traders with no employees?

Why do we have such ridiculous Business failures- or infant mortality rates Year 5? mortality rates Year 10?

INTERESTED? WAIT till 7tH December & learn more!

Here is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle- our current obsession with robotic process's, systems, and the franchise phenomenon is eroding free thinking and our economical competitiveness for growth.


At the age of 25 as a relatively new business start-up, I had already read & listened to multiple business books and audio programs due to being brought up in a family in business. I was introduced to a book by a fellow young entrepreneur (whom later made his multi million pound fortune in Mobile Telephones) . This book totally transformed my perception and thinking of business forever, and provided a solution to building a business which later enabled me to build a successful business (allowing me as a mother to put my young family first). That book was Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited".

Almost 20 years on this is still one of my No.1 Favourite books which I have recommended to countless business friends. For those of you unfamiliar with the E-Myth it simply promotes the benefits and logic behind the franchise culture and business's built on strong, methodical systems and operating systems.

Disappointingly though 20 years on it's success and like minded business philosophies have been taken quite literally. 

Tell me if I am wrong,  we now have a culture of business obsessed with operating systems & rules. 8 out of 10  call centres or banks etc. are scripted, impersonal, many with systems for systems sake, rules over ride personal initiative and common sense.

Yes rules, systems and processes are essential to business but this is only 50% of what makes a successful & sustainable business & economy.

The fact is that our Greatest Entrepreneurs & thinkers don't define the characteristics of the business analyst or bureaucrat: 

Apple- Steve Jobs/ Steve Wozniak -Innovation, Design, Engineering,Imagination.

Microsoft- Bill Gates- Technology, Ideas, Vision.

Dyson-James Dyson- IP, Patents, Innovation, Engineering.

Paypal/Tesla- Elon Musk- Vision, Engineering, Science.

They epitomize freedom of expression, thought & ideas, they are predominantly rebels and are all ultimately free thinkers.

Where are the creative thinkers, Designers & Innovators in your organization?

What are you investing your time & resources in?

Why not Products & R&D? (see Dyson/Dimbleby lecture ) is all your focus on Advertising & marketing

Are you generating new ideas & models of enterprise? or are you bogged down in refining processes systems & rules

Are you creating the next innovation & investing in IP or are you too focused on building a safe unimaginative business model i.e. franchise, service business.

Are you building a team of skilled, free thinkers i.e. engineers, technicians, scientists? or a predominantly robotic workforce another Call centre culture.

Interested in seeing the other 39 pieces of the JIGSAW?


Don't miss out Follow Denise Now!

Be the first to TEST the ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORMULA that will 


Published by NYK Media on the Frugaleur blog

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Five Excel Tips and Tricks for Basic Bookkeeping

Five Excel Tips and Tricks for Basic Bookkeeping

thumbnail-spreadsheetsStarting your own business can be an extremely exciting and empowering experience but comes with its own set of responsibilities. One of the most crucial of these is the need to stay on top of your incomings and outgoings.

For many, even the most basic bookkeeping and budgeting will be an alien experience. A recent Sunlife poll, found that only a third of UK adults formally budget, with just 19% using a spreadsheet and a further 7% using an online tool or app.

Whether you’re a small business owner or just trying to get on top of your family financing, tracking your incomings, outgoings and tax liabilities has a host of benefits, such as allowing you to project your profit, loss and turnover into the future and budget accordingly. The accounting tool that most turn to for this task is Microsoft’s spreadsheet stalwart, Excel*.

Excel’s strength is its incredible versatility. When it comes to bookkeeping and budgeting, it is by far the best option on the table. To some though getting to grips with Excel’s interface can feel a little daunting. It’s true that the program comes with a lot of features, but it’s unlikely you will ever need to use more than a small fraction of them.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at five essential Excel tips and tricks that any budding SME owner really needs to get under their belts. (For the purposes of this guide, I’m going to presume a very basic working knowledge of Excel, such as summing columns, navigating around a spreadsheet, etc).

Paste Special

To explain why the paste special functionality is so crucial to Excel, take a look at the two images below... Read more here

Friday, 26 June 2015

An SME’s guide to professional indemnity and business insurance

money_thumbnailNo business owner wants to contemplate the unpleasant possibility of damage or loss, but being unprepared is even worse. Proper business insurance is one of the surest ways of protecting your resources and has become a necessity for doing business.

The choice can be bewildering though, so to help determine which insurance products are right for your business, we’ll examine five different types so you can assess what’s right for your organisation.

Employers’ liability insurance

Unless you are self-employed and have no staff, employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement for your business. It not only protects your employees but also your company in the event that a staff member should suffer an injury at work or falls ill as a result of their job. This regulation also… Read more here

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Looking abroad for unexpected investment opportunities


We all know that investments have to be managed for both risk and returns. The deal that promises to double your money in three years comes with a very real risk of losing your investment. Conversely, Gilts give your investment complete security, but once you factor in inflation, you're only getting a nominal return. The solution to maximising returns while keeping risk at acceptable levels lies in carrying a diversified portfolio.

You're thinking that means spreading your investments across, say, Gilts, stocks, property and corporate bonds. Yes, you should spread your investments across different instruments to get higher returns, but chances are, they are all in the same country and you're content with a 6-7% annualised return.

Now, what if part of your investment is in a country where the economy is growing at 6-8% and for a similar risk threshold, your investment there yields an 8-10% return, thus allowing your overall portfolio to go beyond the earlier 6-7%?

Diversifying your investments across different instruments and destinations allows you to maximise your returns while maintaining an acceptable risk threshold. So what are some investment destinations that merit further study? Read More

Understanding the world of corporate buyouts


Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are financial transactions in which two companies merge into a new entity, or a larger company acquires a smaller one, which is then absorbed into the parent or run as a subsidiary. M&A activity surged in 2014 with over 7,500 deals for a combined value of £2.1 trillion.

In 2004, Sanofi-Synthélabo and Aventis, two large pharmaceutical companies, merged to form Sanofi-Aventis, while in 2008, the 150-year-old, $100 billion Tata conglomerate from India acquired Jaguar Land Rover from Ford Motors. Why do companies merge with or acquire each other and who really inhabits the world of corporate buyouts today?

Companies merge when the managements feel that each can offer the other some benefit, thereby benefiting the combined entity. Mergers are a way for a company to both increase its market share and achieve better economies of scale. For the company being acquired it can provide long-term stability and growth. Companies look at mergers and acquisitions when they want to grow quickly and inorganically.

In the case of the Tata-JLR acquisition, the synergies were obvious. The Tata group is a conglomerate that makes commercial vehicles, railway locomotives and the world’s cheapest car, the £1,500 Nano. The company is also among the top ten speciality steel producers in the world. At one stroke, the Tata group acquired a respected but financially weak luxury brand, while affording JLR cheaper access to speciality steel, its key raw material.

In six years since the acquisition, JLR has gone from a loss-making £4 billion company to a highly profitable company with revenues in excess of £21 billion. The company has added three manufacturing plants and over 5,000 jobs in the past four years… Read more

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Navigating the world of social media


For our intrepid Frugaleur challengers with associated websites and online presence: There are many different ways to use social media to promote a business. Social media is a fantastic way for a company to connect with their customers and attract others. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a social media strategy for your company.

One of the least expensive forms of advertising

You will be able to afford to do more advertising or at least save a lot on your marketing expenses if you use social media platforms. While people of all age groups are now using the internet daily, younger consumers get almost all of their news and advertising messages via online sources. Since there are not as many resources used, you save money and reduce your company's environmental footprint by not using lots of paper, ink and postage.

Saves time

Messages posted to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are posted almost instantaneously, so your customers and potential customers can view your message quickly. This allows for more steady advertising and educational opportunities. If those that view your posts like what they see, they can share your message, which means it is reaching even more people. You don't have to wait for advertisements to come out or plan a long time ahead to get your message out there.

Drives traffic to your website or other social media sites

The whole dynamic of social media is about connections. If someone finds your business on Facebook or LinkedIn, they may well also visit your website. In turn, those that visit your website will be inclined to like your Facebook page. If … Read more

Published as part of Scottish Multimedia web project and the Frugaleur challenge