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Best of business cliches

ClichesGreat list of business cliches on

I've picked my favourites

1. It’s a paradigm shift = I don’t know what’s going on in our business. But we’re not making as much money as we used to.

3. We need to wrap our heads around this = Gosh, I never thought of that. We need to discuss that….

4. It’s a win-win = Hey, we both get something out of this (even though I’m really trying to get the best from you)

5. ROI [used in any sentence] = Look at me, I’m very financially-minded, even if I never took any finance classes in school

6. Let’s blue sky this/let’s ballpark this = Let’s shoot around a bunch of ideas since we have no clue what to do

9. Let’s circle back to that/Let’s put that in the parking lot/let’s touch base on that later/let’s take this off-line = Shut up and let’s go back to what I was talking about

10. We think outside the box here/color outside the lines = We wouldn’t know about how to do something innovative if it came up to us and bit us in the behind

14. We’ll go back and sharpen our pencils = We’ll go back and offer you the same for 20% less in hopes you’ll buy it before the end of the quarter

15. It’s like the book “Crossing the Chasm”/”Blue Ocean”/”Good To Great” / “Tipping Point” / “Outliers” = I’ve never read any of these books but I sound literate if I quote from them. And, besides, you cretins probably never read them either to call me out on it

16. Let’s right-size it = Let’s whack/fire a bunch of people

17. It’s next-gen/turn-key/plug-and-play = I want it to sound so technical that you’ll just buy it without asking me any questions

22. By way of housekeeping = This makes the boring stuff I’m about to say sound more official

25. It’s our cash cow/protect/milk the cash cow = If that business goes south, we’re all out of a job

26. It’s about synergies/1 + 1 = 3 = I don’t get the math either, but it sounds like more and more is better, right?

27. Who’s going to step up to the plate? = One of you is going to do this and it’s not going to be me

29. We need to monetize/strategize/analyze/incentivize = When in doubt, stick “-ize” on the end of a word and say we’ve got to do this and 9 out of 10 times, it will sound action-oriented.

30. We did a Five Forces/SWOT analysis/Value Chain analysis = We didn’t really do any of that, but none of you probably even remember Michael Porter, so what the heck

31. It was a perfect storm = We really screwed up but we’re going to blame a bunch of factors that are out of our hands (especially weather)

32. At the end of the day…. = OK, enough talking back and forth, we’re going to do what I want to do

35. I’m putting a stake in the ground here… = I’m a leader, simply because I’m using this cliche

36. We’re customer-focused/proactive/results-oriented = That can’t be bad, right? This is motherhood and apple pie stuff 37.

38. That’s not our core competency/we’re sticking to our knitting = We’re just glad we’re making money in one business, because we’d have no clue how to get into any other business

43. We’ve got to do a little more due diligence there = Don’t have a clue but does that legal term make me sound detail-oriented?

44. Don’t leave money on the table = Be as greedy with them as possible

57. Going forward = Don’t screw up like this again

62. It’s best-of-breed = We hired a market research firm to say that

73. What are “next steps”? = Did anyone take notes during the last 90 minutes of this meeting?

74. This is low-hanging fruit = Get this done quickly

77. I want to address the elephant in the room = I know you think I’m trying to cover up/gloss over something, so I might as well talk about it


Surprise victory....

Rather to our surprise the PEM team entered in Mills & Reeves quiz evening this week emerged victorious. And this despite Lloyds banks unassailable knowledge of popular music. A big thank you to Mills & Reeves for an entertaining evening, and for the champagne of course.

On the radio!

Web-logo510x120Podcast of my radio interview on "In Your Company" program.  

I was interviewed by Cambridg105's  Kate Symons on raising bank finance, the failings of the government's loan schemes for SME's, the M&A market, how it's not all doom and gloom out there........ and why the John Lewis model is not the universal panacea that Nick Clegg might think it is!


Government cash for innovation

R&D Tax Relief

TaxThe R&D Tax Credit Scheme has been around for a number of years but if you think it’s all about test tubes and lab coats – and so doesn’t apply to your business – read on.

 The scheme exists to encourage innovation in the UK through research and development in the fields of science and technology.   It does require there to be a scientific or technological uncertainty to be resolved, but this can be applied to advances in a wide variety of fields. Successful claims have been submitted for, amongst others, tomato plants, wire bending machines, trees, software and goldfish bowls!

The Schemes

There are two schemes: the Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) scheme and the Large Company scheme. The relief only applies to companies, not partnerships or sole traders.  

The SME scheme generally applies to companies that do not breach the limits of fewer than 500
employees and either an annual turnover not exceeding €100 million or a balance sheet not exceeding €86 million.   Circumstances in which a company will fail to qualify include where the R&D project receives any State Aid grant funding (although it is only the funded project which is affected, other R&D projects carried on by the company can still qualify).

The SME scheme is the more lucrative of the two schemes and provides most tax relief. The Large
Company scheme applies to companies who do breach those limits or fail the conditions for the SME scheme for some other reason.

The SME scheme providees an additional tax deduction to the company over and above what they've spent. The rates have steadily increased over the last few years and from 1 April 2012 the rate has increased to 225% - that is to say for every £1 spent on R&D, the company will receive a £2.25 tax deduction.

RD-Tax-CreditThe company will either benefit from a reduced tax charge or, if the company is loss making, there is the option to surrender the loss created by the R&D claim for a tax credit. Surrendering for a tax credit is less tax efficient as cash is received at only 11% of the amount surrendered compared with a potential tax
saving in future years of between 20% and 24%.  However if short term cash is more important companies will presumably go for that ahead of perfect tax efficiency.

The Large Company scheme is less beneficial as it only confers an additional deduction of 30% and
no repayable tax credit is available. However, it can still provide useful relief for companies which fail the conditions for the SME scheme.   

Qualifying R&D Activities

To qualify for relief the company must be carrying out an R&D project which is seeking to achieve an advance in science or technology.   To qualify as an “advance” the company must carry out its R&D with a view to creating a new, or appreciably improved, product, process or service. The question of whether
something represents an “appreciable improvement” is very subjective but essentially, it is an improvement that a fellow competent professional in the field would consider a genuine and non-trivial improvement.  There is also a further requirement that in seeking the “advance”, the company must be seeking to resolve some form of scientific or technological uncertainty.

 Whilst it is a requirement that the R&D must involve the resolution of a scientific or technological uncertainty and result in a related advance, the end product, process or service can be virtually anything.

 R&D projects which fail or are aborted will also qualify if they meet the other conditions as the project needs only to “seek” an advance, it does not need to achieve it.   

Qualifying Costs

 Qualifying costs must fall into one of the following categories:  

  • Staff costs (including pension, employer’s NIC and expenses reimbursed via the
  • Consumable  items (these must be consumed or transformed in the R&D process)
  • Utilities  (water, power)
  • Software
  • Subcontracted expenditure

 Only the costs incurred directly in carrying out the research and development can be claimed so where costs are incurred on both qualifying and non-qualifying activities, a reasonable apportionment will need to be made. In addition, where costs are incurred on subcontractors, as a general rule only 65% of the payment is allowable.