Issue #16 - Money! Money! Money! 💰

The art of small business | Will the National Insurance increase affect your business? (spoiler - yes, it will!) | How to save energy and money | Twitter's 'soft block' | Tunes | Podcasts | More

🦾 G O

What’s going on? 🤷‍♀️

Energy prices are rising, furlough is ending, the shelves are still half empty and we’ve just been told we’ll all be paying more tax via National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

Talk about the potential for a ‘winter of discontent’.

We’ll dive into how the increase in NIC’s will hit business owners later on in this issue, but it’s not all doom and gloom - our #BionicBusinessStory comes from an amazing artist, we have a cracking word for you to conjure with, some energy and money-saving tips, and an absolute gem of an autumnal playlist.

Here’s Issue #16 of The Backbone - lets’ go…

📩 J O I N

We want to hear about you and your business 🗣

💡 How did you end up running your own business?

😟 As a business owner, what keeps you awake at night?

🤩 What’s your proudest achievement as a business owner?

🤔 What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Leave a comment to get involved 👇

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🗣  S H O U T O U T

#BionicBusinessStory - Jillian Lauren Art 🎨

Bionic sat down with Jillian Lauren to find out all about her passion for painting, her inspirations, challenges and how her art is the business.

Bionic: What inspired you to set up your own business? 

Jillian Lauren: “From a young age I knew I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to show the world my work and help inspire and nurture people along the way.” 

B: What’s the best thing about owning your own business? 

JL: “The best thing is the ability to wake up and say, ‘I’ve created this. It’s also allowed me to create memories and emotional moments for people. 

B: What’s the most challenging thing about owning your own business? 

J: “The biggest issue has been confidence in my quality of work. Art can be so subjective, as can the merchandising that goes along with it. Having the confidence to handle ten rejections, all for that one ‘yes’ that will take my career to the next level, can feel jarring at times.” 

B: What’s your best advice for budding SME owners? 

JL: “Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people in your same field to see what has worked and what hasn’t for him or her. Many times, people will prove to be more friendly than you might expect. Also, don’t be deterred by the quiet months.”

To find out more about Jillian and her impressive array of artwork, check out her website and on Instagram.

To read more from this #BionicBusinessStory, click on Jillian’s artwork below 👇

👩‍🤝‍👩🏾 S H A R E

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📰 N E W S

How will the increase in NI affect your business? 📈

Millions of UK businesses will be hit with higher costs from next April, when National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will be increased to help raise money for social care and the NHS.

The increase will only last for the 2022/23 tax year, when contributions will drop back to their current levels and a social care tax will be introduced. This means that for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 tax year, National insurance rates will be as below:

For more information on how NICs work, check out the Bionic guide to National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for small businesses.

The bad news for business owners is that this increase will make it more expensive to employ staff, which could be a disaster for SMEs stills struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Let’s say you have one member of staff working 40 hours per week on £8.91 an hour (the current National Living Wage outside of London). As things stand, that employee will cost you £2,557.53 in NICs. But with the 1.25% increase, you’ll pay £2,789.18 a year in NICs.

That’s an extra £231.65 a year for each member of staff.

Multiply this by several employees and the costs really start to rocket.

And the changes will hit your own pay packet too. As a self-employed business owner, you’ll pay either Class 2 or Class 4 for National Insurance. The rates in both classes are less than the rates paid by SMEs and are taxed on income after business expenses.

Under the new rules, sole traders and the self-employed will lose an additional 1.25 pence for every £1 earned. Given you pay your own salary, a tax on earnings is a direct reduction of income.

Not only could 2022/23 prove to be another tough year for small business owners, but it’ll also hit employees hard too - in the example above, our minimum wage worker will pay an extra £231.66 a year in NICs.

The strange thing about National Insurance is that the rates are higher for the lowest earners than they are for the highest. The idea is that this is offset by the difference in income tax, but this still feels like a raid on the less well off in society. All at a time when household costs are increasing and benefits are being cut.

But was there an alternative? The vast majority of the 1,006 people who voted in our Twitter poll are in no doubt as to how the extra money should have been raised…

What do you think about the rise in NICs? Leave a comment and let us know 👇

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📊 B U S I N E S S

Get your business costs sorted 💷

Our tech-enabled team will answer all your questions in simple terms, and help you find the best deal on business energy, insurance, phone, broadband, or finance. No jargon. No-fuss. #BeABionicBusiness 🦾

Get business utilities sorted

Check out more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Trustpilot reviews

🤝🏻 T I P S

How to save energy and money 💡

It doesn’t matter if your business operates with a few staff from small premises or employs a large workforce over several sites, being mindful of how you’re using gas and electricity is vital when looking for ways to save money on your business electricity and gas bills

Reducing your energy usage could have multiple benefits for your business, such as: 

  • Save money on gas and electricity bills

  • Increase your profits 

  • Help the environment.  

The great news is that a lot of these savings can be made by making very simple changes to your daily working routine.  

Here are 7 simple ways to help your small business save energy today 

  1. Think about when you most use electricity and gas at your business and weigh up if you really need to heat your premises at those particular times.  

  2. Next time you’re finished working, make sure you turn off your computer monitor and any other unused appliances.  

  3. Switch off lights whenever you leave a room. It may seem like an obvious one, but sometimes we don’t even register that leaving lights on can cause our energy bills to soar.  

  4. Speak to your staff about energy saving initiatives and explain why energy efficiency is so important. You could think about things like incentives and rewards or words of encouragement to spur them on to really get involved. 

  5. Draught-proofing doors and windows is a cheap but effective way to save money on gas and electric bills as it limits the amount of heat that can escape and stops cold air from getting in.  

  6. Go paperless to help your wallet and the planet. Sometimes we don’t think about how many documents we’re printing and how much paper we’re using each day.

  7. Take a closer look at your business thermostats and adjust them to suit the weather. If it’s a hot day and rooms don’t need to be heated, then turn the thermostat down and you’ll be saving money in no time.  

For more useful tips, check out 11 simple ways to help your small business save energy today

🤳 S O C I A L

Twitter trials a ‘soft block’ 🛑

Twitter sometimes feels like one big online argument. It hasn’t always been like that, but as its popularity has grown in popularity, so have the levels of toxicity.

If you’re having hassle with someone and want to get rid of any unwanted content - or even put a stop to online harassment - aside from ditching the app completely, the only thing you can do is to block, report, and move on.

The trouble is, some people see getting blocked as a badge of honour and will happily screenshot the block, put it on their timeline, and cause a whole new pile-on from their followers. If this happens, you can go private, but this feels like you’re making the compromise when others should be getting punished.

To try and combat concerns over privacy and abuse on the platform, Twitter is trialling a new ‘soft block’ feature that allows you to remove a follower without officially blocking them.

To use this ‘soft block’ option, you need to go to their profile page, click “followers” and then the ellipsis (…) icon next to the follower’s name. Next, select “remove this follower” and they’ll no longer be able to see your content in their timeline as they’re not following you. And the former follower will not be notified by Twitter.

On the face of it, using this feature and locking your account so you can screen who follows you should be enough to see off any unwanted content.

The trouble is that trolls - anonymous or otherwise - will almost always find a way to get their message through. Twitter needs to come down harder on the real issues of online abuse and the people causing it, instead of paying lip service with features like this ‘soft block’.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know 👇

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🗞 R E A D

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published its latest, quarterly analysis of Small Business Confidence. And it seems confidence is growing among SME owners.

Small Businesses looking to grow and hire staff despite challenges

Alice Thompson wanted to work shorter hours to pick her daughter up from nursery, but ended up resigning. This shows the importance of flexibility and equality in the workplace.

Mother refused 5pm finish wins £185,000 payout

🎧 L I S T E N


The first flutterings of autumn are in the air, so we thought we share with you Autumn en Violette - a playlist that’s the perfect soundtrack for long walks and kicking leaves during the shortening days.


How do I leave my 9-5 for my side hustle? How do I make money from my work? Can I build my dream job? Creative Women International is here to help you figure it out.

🔥 H A S H T A G

If you want to hear more from us, check out our TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn feeds.

Get involved by using the hashtags #BeABionicBusiness and #BionicBusinessStory.

🏡 H O U S E K E E P I N G

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🚫 S T O P


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