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Italian Restaurant Rip Off in London!

Hungry tired and wet after a long day at work, I called in to il Fornello Italian restaurant in Southampton Row last night.

Soup - heat me up and good for the system. Having ordered home made Cream of Tomato, at £4.50, I settled down with a glass of Pinot Grigio and waited. Fifteen minutes later, soup arrived.

One taste confirmed what my eyes told me, this was not home made it was Heinz Tomato Soup!

The waitress feigned ignorance and all of a sudden only spoke Italian. The manager eventually came across and said "eef you no layk I geev you Minestrone" - that wasn't really the point

He then agreed that it was in fact Heinz Soup! Bought from convenience store next door.

Paid for wine and left. Don't go to il Fornello unless you like Heinz?

Begbies Profits Warning Highlights Insolvency Market Weakness

Despite guiding the markets that profits might be AHEAD of plan in the current financial year, as recently as 10th December, a shock profits warning yesterday reduced the group's shares by 12% to 93p.

The expected avalanche of failures, forecast by Begbies and others, post Christmas didn't materialise for the insolvency profession in the UK, it seems.

With the news that the economy grew in Q4 by a feeble 0.1%, will this recession be marked by a "non-peak" of insolvencies?

My view, which Begbies blamed for their profits warning, is that the Time to Pay (TTP) Scheme provided by the HMRC has led to a "skew" in the market. A new Government, without the need to curry favour with voting SME businesses, may want to crack down on tax collection to get the much needed tax revenues flowing. So my guess is insolvency numbers will rise markedly towards the end of Q3 2010.

Then TTP will be much tougher to obtain and company voluntary arrangements will be the method choice for struggling viable companies.

Excellent Blog Discussing HMRC and Footbal Clubs

Read Matt Slater's blog on the growing pressure from the tax man on football clubs (like Portsmouth) cashflow here


Portsmouth Fails to Block Winding-Up Petition: First Premier League Club to Fail?

Portsmouth Football Club failed, in its High Court action today, to stop a winding up petition being heard on 10th February 2010.

Will the club be the first Premier League club to fail and fall into administration we wonder. As the petition hearing nears will the club find the funds to meet the alleged £11m of tax debts. Some £7.5m of VAT is said to be owed which the club disputed today.

What will happen when the petition is formally advertised in the London Gazette, will the company's bank freeze the bank accounts? This is the normal response to an advertised petition.

What happens then - will the players get paid or will the directors take the obvious step and appoint an administrator?

Usually, for a football club, the exit from administration is to propose a company voluntary arrangement.

See link here to what is a winding up petition guide for background reading.

Will Millions of Tweets From Businesses Kill Twitter?

We leading edge marketing types (ha!) are told by the real leading edge marketing gurus that we MUST DO social networking stuff. So off we go doing Twits or Tweets. We do LinkedIn. We do Facebook, or will that soon be FaceKindle? No books allowed in guru land.

I wonder, will millions of tweets every day by SME's looking to get that competitive edge actually kill the social media upside for your business?

Jo Schmo's wonderful pizza-parlour's tweets will hardly drive traffic to his table if 1,000 other pizza joints in a big city are tweeting, blogging, Linking. Or will it?

Perhaps for bricks and mortar businesses, or accountants, or lawyers for example short (attention span) video is a potential answer on blogs and websites. So people can look at the offer before calling in or buying. Supported by a cogently structured marketing plan that ensure good service and support when they take the chance to call in or call.

Will good products and services, delivered well, with friendly service (on time) always be the KILLER APP? For bigger brands "Apps" like Jamie Oliver's Cookery iPhone App are add-on revenue streams, not actually the USP.

In other words this marketing stuff all seems to be perpetuated by the promise of golden results by the golden boys and girls of marketing. Myopic perhaps but I feel that there is an overwhelming pressure to be hip and trendy marketers, whilst the delivery of your, often not that exciting really, product or service is overshadowed.

Clearly, without marketing one could argue you can't deliver good goods or services, but you know what? "Word of mouth" supported by decent informational web sites, good marketing thoughts/plans and excellent customer care, is still going to beat, whizzy social media led marketing for the forseeable future.

Emperors new clothes v the golden marketing gurus calling me a luddite?

Free Advice from a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner Today

Client with problems? Or are you a distressed director?

LiquidationPre-pack Administration? Company Voluntary Arrangement? Need to Decide?


Speak to one of our insolvency practitioners today!

Simply call our advice line in business hours and discuss the problems your company faces with our trained advisors. After giving some details about your company problems, they will get urgent help for you by putting you through to one of our insolvency or turnaround practitioners or arrange a call back same day or next day.

Please call now 0800 9700539 all enquiries treated quickly, courteously and professionally

Dumb Ass Director - Winding Up Hearing Today

This is a TRUE story, you really couldn't make it up.

A lady from a private nursery company called our helpline today. She asked "help, how do I deal with a winding up petition from HMRC for late PAYE"?

We asked the usual questions, when was the petition issued "I don't know, October / November maybe".

Our advisor asked when is the winding petition hearing scheduled for? "It's TODAY, what can I do"?

Our answer to the question was let the company be wound up.

If you or your client gets a winding up petition ACT TODAY, get advice and help. Don't be the dumb ass director.

See here for our guide to dealing with winding up petitions

Great News for Recruitment Companies - FREE 96 page Turnaround Guide

KSA’s Complete Expert Guide to Turning Around, Rescuing or Restructuring Your Struggling or Insolvent Recruitment Company.

FREE - 96 Pages of Pure Gold Advice

Learn the trade secrets of UK's leading CompanyRescue Expert.

With many years of experience of turning around and rescuing distressed recruitment companies, Keith Steven has put together a unique turnaround guide for struggling or insolvent recruitment companies.

Directors of Recruitment Companies:

Mild cashflow problems? Serious threats by creditors? Winding up petition from tax man? Need help now?

If your company has any cashflow or loss making problems you need to get this guide now and here is the good news - its free. KSA has published hundreds of guides for struggling companies on www.companyrescue.co.uk for over 10 years. We want to help recruitment companies recover and prosper using tools that are simple to follow.

Subjects covered

Is my recruitment company insolvent?

How can my recruitment company get a time to pay deal with HMRC for PAYE and VAT?

What is a Company Voluntary Arrangement and why is it a great rescue tool for recruitment companies?

What is a pre-pack Administration and how does it help recruitment businesses?

How to cut costs in your recruitment company?

How to deal with a winding up petition from HMRC.

And lots more

Click here to download the guide free of charge...

Blacks Leisure: Successful Retail CVA?

According to Marcus Leroux of the Times today:

Having closed 87 stores using a CVA that offered 6 months rent to the landlords of the closing stores, Blacks Leisure has had a good Christmas season with like for like sales up 15%. Mind you with the coldest winter for thirty years, such retailers SHOULD have had a good time.

Now some of the landlords have offered Blacks the same or smaller stores at smaller rents! It seems they cannot live without each other as Blacks boss says new store openings and a share issue of £20m are planned.

For a complete guide to CVA's get our unique Experts Guide here


To see other stories about Black's CVA search: "Blacks CVA" on this Blog or Google etc

OK time to gloat - a bit - Man Utd 0 - Leeds Utd 1

As a long time Leeds supporter (er 40 years now), its been a good few weeks. Top of League one, 8 points clear game in hand. But come on League ONE!

This last weekend was astonishing, the biggest FA Cup upset for...... well who knows, but many years. Man U hasn't lost in the 3rd round of the FA Cup since before I got married!

Man U doesn't lose at home almost ever. YET, and yet, plucky Leeds from 2 divisions below MU beat them fair and square, at Old Trafford.

Pity the poor 75 insolvency people who I gave a speech to in the Old Trafford Room in that OLD Manchester Hotel, last December (2009).

As you know who, started his speech nervously, I admitted being a Leeds fan that day. BOO some of them said. Well BOO YOO.

Indeed with a decent striker we could have own 2 nil.

Gloat? You bet.


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