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Month: November 2009

Flybe prepares for stock market float

Flybe prepares for stock market float

British Aerospace 146
Image via Wikipedia

It’s interesting to see FlyBe preparing for a stock market flotation with a company valuation of £300 million. If you’ve never heard of them (I guess if you’re out of Europe they’ll be new to you), they’re a discount airline which has spread from humble roots to routes all over Europe.

Their website is quite intuitive, after all, you’re not looking for a life insurance online quote, but they do try to attach extra charges for everything but the kitchen sink along the way. Still, the market must be loving it, if they think there’s so much value.

They’ve tried to get off the ground twice already, well, you know what they say, third time lucky. We’ll see how the market plays this one.

Watch out for those thresholds

Watch out for those thresholds

On the subject of paying attention to detail, there’s another thing you must always watch out for, and that’s thresholds. There are a number of systems out there that use graduated costs and knowing where the thresholds lie can help you save a packet. Let’s take house prices in the UK for example. There’s a tax on house purchases called “stamp duty” which is a graduated scale based on the price of the property. Here’s what the scale looks like:

Purchase price/lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate
Up to £175,000 (until 31 December 2009 – see note above) Zero
Over £175,000 to £250,000 1%
Over £250,000 to £500,000 3%
Over £500,000 4%

As you can see there are a number of thesholds there. For example, the difference in stamp duty if you cross the £250,000 threshold is an extra £5000 in tax. That’s a strong reason to try not to cross the threshold, but if you don’t know what you’re buying into. If you can rip out the stainless steel backsplash and all the trimmings to keep the price below the threshold, go ahead and do it.

Watch out for those bank charges

Watch out for those bank charges

Bank vault

Interesting article on the BBC website talking about how Bank are charging “sneaky fees”. It’s an interesting look into what’s happening to the bank overdraft market, where legislation has clamped down on unauthorised overdrafts. In return, the rate of authorised overdrafts has increased, with an average of around 19%. That’s an average, so while there are some that are lower, there are also others that are higher.

It can be quite awful to be hit by unexpected charges, so make sure you always know what’s going in and what’ going out. It’s the best way to be in control. So before you spend money on that xbox 360, just make sure you have enough cash in the bank.

What’s your service expectation?

What’s your service expectation?

If one of your customers has a problem, how long does it take you to respond? I’ve had a number of opportunities to interact with companies here in Europe and the usual experience is as follows:

  1. Send an email to the company
  2. Get an automated email saying that you’ll be contacted within the next 48 hours
  3. Wait 2 days
  4. Get a customer service representative emailing back
  5. Reply saying that I’ve solved the problem in the meantime or switched to a different supplier.

I had a great experience the other day dealing with a company in China called DVBSeller, an online store where I purchased my new Dreambox. I emailed them with a problem on my shipment and received an email reply from one of their customer service reps in under 8 minutes! An email response time measured in minutes is something that European counterparts can only fantasise about, but the experience has redefined my expectation of Customer Service. We can really learn from these guys.

How do you pay for your news

How do you pay for your news

Image representing Rupert Murdoch as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

There’s an interesting movement happening in the journalism world at the moment. You could sum it up as a battle of wills between Murdoch and Google, but it’s more than that. There’s a cost involves in collecting news and someone has to pay for that in the end. Here are some costs The Times faces:

Indicating the costs of quality journalism, he said it had cost the Times £1.5m to run a Baghdad bureau for the duration of the Iraq war and £10,000 to send a correspondent to report on violence in northern Sri Lanka.

(taken from an article in the Guardian)

The answer isn’t quite clear for now. It’s not like you can take some time out, hire one of those outer banks vacation rentals and put everyone in a room until they reach a compromise. The market will bear what the market will bear.

Are you an entrepreneur?

Are you an entrepreneur?

Layfield is one of a generation of UK entrepre...
Image via Wikipedia

Do you have what it takes to grow an idea into a successful business? So you know what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Well, I came across an interesting post called 12 Facts about Entrepreneurs That Will Likely Surprise You that outlines some interesting facts about successful startups. Here are some interesting facts to get you started:

  • The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies was 40.
  • 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
  • Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds

There’s more where that came from, and can be interesting whether you’re into directory submission or building an airline business. Read all about it here.

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