Hire staff from outside the UK

Your company must register as a licensed visa sponsor with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to hire staff from outside the UK beginning 1 January 2021.

This includes hiring people from the following countries:

  • The EU  
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland

Who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 because the UK has left the EU and the transition period ended 31 December 2020.

The people your company is recruiting must also meet the new job, the language and the salary requirements set by the UK Immigration Department called the Home Office.

Licensed visa sponsor for UK employers

You can apply for your employer licensed visa sponsor from the UK Visas and Immigration.

Once approved, the Home Office will a certificate of sponsorship to you. Your license will be valid for 4 years.

Once your company has become a licensed visa sponsor, you must maintain your employer’s responsibilities as set out by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For example, if your company has ceased trading and you are going to dissolve your company.

Hire Staff from outside the UK that does not require a licensed visa sponsor

The licensed visa sponsor rule does not apply to the staff from the following countries you already employ in the UK and were living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

  • The EEA
  • Swiss citizens

They and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021.

Besides, making sure you apply for a licensed visa sponsor before hiring staff from outside the UK and maintaining your responsibilities as a licensed visa sponsor employer, remember to maintain your company filings with Companies House. Deliver your confirmation statement and company accounts to Companies House promptly to avoid a late filing penalty.

Non-verbal communications in business

Understanding non-verbal communications in business settings allow you to gather feedback on what being said instantly, whether the message is of interest or boring, clearly understood or confusing, disapproved or accepted.

All you have to do is to be aware of people’s non-verbal behaviours. Non-verbal behaviours are autopilot. In other words, they are controlled by your subconscious mind. The non-verbal behaviours tell you the feelings and attitudes of others in response to what being said or discussed.


When someone is mirroring your non-verbal behaviour. He/she shows a willingness to understand you and genuinely connect with you. This is like the “we are on the same page on this subject” kind of non-verbal communications.

If you observe politicians on TV, you will see them mirroring each other when they stand and also when they are sitting down. This is because politicians have a genuine desire to connect with people meet.

Top tip, if you want to catch a stranger’s attention, you can do it by mirroring the person. Say in a restaurant, you want to attract a stranger’s attention, you mimic her postures, gestures including the words she said. If she picks up her glass to sip her wine, you pick up your glass to sip your drink. If she touches her nose, you also touch your nose. Sooner or later, she will notice you and start talking to you. Remember this phrase – like with like.


Be honest with yourself so that your non-verbal body language will be congruent. If you don’t agree with something say so. People tend to trust you when your non-verbal body language and words are congruent because you come across honest.

If you see someone said one thing but do another. Naturally, you will doubt the person’s intention and the person’s reliability become questionable. Your non-verbal body language can’t lie unless you are well-trained in acting it out.


A firm handshake is the best bet but you do not want to overdo it from a firm handshake to become a bone crusher handshake. Some people may perceive bone crusher handshake as aggressive. You don’t want that. You want to be perceived as firm but trustworthy and friendly.

On the other hand, a fingertip handshake is interpreted as lack of confidence and insipid.

Eye contact

Maintain eye contact when you speak to someone or someone is speaking with you. Don’t look away when people are talking to you. Steady eye contact is often taken as a sign that a person is telling the truth and is trustworthy. On the other hand, shifty eyes and an inability to maintain eye contact is frequently seen as an indicator that someone is being deceptive.


Gestures are another form of non-verbal communications. You can see on anyone’s face if he/she is happy or angry or sad or envy or fear or love. These are universal human emotions.

You smile when you are happy. People scowl when they are angry and have a long face when they are sad. With this, you can gauge if you should continue with your conversation or better change the topic. For example, if you are about to ask your friend for a favour to help you with your confirmation statement and company accounts filings and it is urgent, your friend told you his wife just had a baby and you can see from his face, look like he has slept for days. In this situation, you may want to reconsider, be kind to your friend, maybe ask some other friend to help.

In business social gatherings, if someone is talking to you with his/her body facing you directly, this means he/she wants to give you full attention. Later, if you notice the person shifted their body slightly to open up a gap between you and him/her in a triangle shape like this means the person is ready for another person to join in the conversations or that the person is ready to leave.


Generally, people have a conceptual egg shaped zone of personal space around their bodies and only trusted person can invaded if others trespass into it.

In business gatherings, if you do not want a person to invade your personal space, for example, standing up close to you, you can stand behind a chair or counter or you use your handbag (if you have one) to make the gap to protect your personal space. Likewise, you can observe yourself so that you are not invading others’ personal space unintentionally. When a person is comfortable and trusts you, he will let you into his personal space.

Understanding non-verbal communications can help you to communicate effectively with people and network with ease. You can gather instant feedback based on their non-verbal body language and act accordingly.

A firm handshake gives a good impression

Handshakes are a universally accepted way to meet and greet in business social gatherings and meetings. A firm handshake gives a good impression, and an intention to have peace with each other.

A handshake is also a popular non-verbal behaviour when a business deal is closed. It was like “thank you for accepting my proposal” or “thank you for the opportunities to collaborate or work together”.

A firm palm to palm handshake

Practice a firm, palm to palm followed by a decisive release kind of handshake. You will need this after the COVID is over. Avoid bone crusher, wet fish, dead fish, fingertips handshakes. Also, when your hand is cold, warm it up by rubbing your hands together before a handshake.

History of handshake

According to history.com, one of the earliest depictions of a handshake is found in a ninth-century B.C. relief, which shows the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III pressing the flesh with a Babylonian ruler to seal an alliance. 

You can read the full article about history of handshake here.

No handshake during COVID pandemic

During this COVID pandemic, a handshake is deemed dangerous. Scientifically, it is because of the possible COVID transmission from one person to the other and can spread like crazy.

Handshake will be back to life

You know what? COVID is not going to last forever on this planet. Face to face business meetings will come back to life at some point in the future and the popular handshake way to meet and greet in business gatherings will come back to life too.

Just look at the history of the previous pandemics, for example, the H1N1 Swine flu pandemic occurred between 2009 to 2010. The main route of swine flu virus spread between humans is exposure to the virus when someone infected sneezes or coughs, and the virus enters one of the potential mucous surfaces, or when a person touched something infected with the virus and subsequently touch their nose, mouth, and surrounding areas. This is how COVID was spread too.

Ask yourself? Before the COVID outbreak, did you shake hand with other people? I guess your answer is YES. With the COVID vaccines rolling out rapidly worldwide as I am writing this article, I believe COVID will no longer control how we want to live our lives and greet people in business settings.

Be ready to meet and greet with a firm handshake

Let be positive about the future and practice your firm handshake for when we are ready to meet face to face for business.

In the meantime, we embrace online meeting via Zoom, Whatapps, Face Time, Messenger, Skype, Google Meet and so on. We cannot do a handshake but we can smile and wave when we meet on screen. This is a popular non-verbal body language to welcome others in virtual meetings.

If you are running a business through a limited company, remember to deliver your confirmation statement and company accounts promptly to Companies House. It is important to maintain your company status “Active” with Companies House during this COVID pandemic. Your customers will lose confidence in your products or services if they see your company status is a “proposal to strike off” or “dissolved”.

Deciding whether to start a business

Deciding whether to start a business is exciting. The first question you must ask yourself is WHY you want to start a business? Here are some common reasons that motivate people to start their own business.

Why is it important to ask your the big WHY? This is because your big WHY will keep you going when things don’t go your way.

We share with you a story of a mother raising a child with a medical condition that requires ongoing hospital treatments. She decided to work for herself so that she could do what she loves and continue to care for her child. Caring for and meeting her child’s medical care is the main motive to start her business. She provides services to clients.

Start a business can give you flexibility with your working hours

Flexible working hours help the mother a lot. She manages her time around her child’s school errands, holidays, endless hospital appointments and ongoing hospital treatments and her clients’ assignments. She can catch up with her work at night at home or sitting next to her child’s hospital bed or anywhere as long as she has a smartphone or a laptop.

She agrees with her client the assignment completion time in advance. She would then complete the assignment within the agreed deadline and deliver. She always delivers her work on time.

No one boss your around

This is the best part. She does not have anyone to boss her around. She is her own boss.


No one pressure the mother to finish her work before she can take leave to care for her child or make her feel bad that when she has to take an emergency leave to care for her child.

She is stress free.

Freedom to run your business the way you see fit

Being your own boss gives you the freedom to run your business the way you see fit your vision. The six honest serving-men can serve your business well.

“I Keep Six Honest Serving Men …”

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.

But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!”

― Rudyard Kipling,

For example:

  • How do you price your products or services?
  • Where your business is to base when starting up? maybe at home initially and later move to an office.
  • What are your target customers and market?
  • Why avoid working with a certain type of people? For example, very fussy people and hard to please type of people would drain your energy out fast. You are better off working with positive-minded people.
  • When to hire people in and expand your business?
  • Who do you want to collaborate with in your business?

Start a business give you financial independence

Of course, we are all in business to make money. However, the mother with a child mentioned earlier, she makes money but money in itself is not her main motivator. Her big WHY is her main motivator. She uses her business is to give her the flexibility to support her child’s needs.

For this reason, she does not accept every assignment comes her way. She only accepts assignments that she is confident she can deliver the work on time. For those assignments that she thinks she cannot help she would pass them on to other reliable associates that deliver the high-quality work.


You secure your own future. In the sense that you create your solid business now to support you till you are ready to retire. Comparing to working for other people, you face the risk of being sacked or made redundant.

Starting a business motivate you to gain new skills

You would undoubtedly learn new skills in starting a business. Say you are a quantity surveyor, you have required professional skill and training for your quantity surveying course, training and work experience. You provide quantity surveying services to your clients. A great start to your business.

Create your own business website

You may also consider having a website to promote your quantity surveying services and provide the basic information to your potential customers. If you know how to set up a website then great news for you. If you don’t, not to worry, you can learn to set up one. It is very easy.

Most domain names and hosting providers provide one-stop service to enable you to create your business website swiftly. For example, You can buy a domain name of your choice and buy an affordable hosting package. Usually, the hosting package comes with a website builder software that allows creating your own business website.

A few of companies that provide such services are listed below

  • Fasthosts
  • Heart Internet
  • Go Daddy
  • Wix.com

Design your own company logo

You can design your own logo using “canva” app. It is free and they have lots of free logo templates to get you started. Even if you do not have design skill, you can just choose a free template you like, change the wording to your company name and you are good to go.

Get to work with other professionals when you start a business

You can handle your own company legal affairs if you are familiar with the Companies Act. Otherwise, we strongly recommend seeking professional advise and help. You can seek advice from an accountant deciding whether to start a business using a limited company or a sole proprietorship and what are the pros and cons.

If you are intending to set up a limited company, you may make the application yourself to Companies House, or use the service of a company formation accountant or a solicitor to help you.

Thereafter, you would require an accountant to help you with your company accounts, corporation tax returns and confirmation statement filings with Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs.

The benefits of having an accountant to help you are that you save time in terms of creating your accounting system and data recording system for your business that serve the legal filings needs and also for your business management purposes.

Tough time don’t last

You risk being made redundant or let go when the economy is no good. The same goes with running a business, you would risk making a loss too. A good example here would be this COVID pandemic, some businesses are severely impacted by the government legislation to control the spread of the virus, i.e. businesses that serve the tourism industry like the restaurants, airlines, hotels and so on.

On top of that the fear of being infected with the virus and the chances of surviving it can also make you reluctant to make a business transaction especially if you business involved face to face dealing.

Your big WHY would keep you going in this situation. There is a saying “there is a will, there is a way.” The government offer financial support including loans to businesses severely impacted by the pandemic.

Besides, there are also many free online courses available to businesses on how to create a website, use social media to attract customers and to sell online.

We hope that sharing our insights in deciding whether to start a business will help you to find your big WHY and move forward.

How to calculate rent in London?

How to calculate rent in London? London residential properties advertised for rent in Rightmove, the asking rent is usually per calendar month and/or per week. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in London Mayfair is £550 per week. This article focuses on how to calculate rent in London for residential properties only. This is an essential “know-how” for new properties owners.

Calculate rent per month

You take £550 per week x 52 weeks then divide by 12 months. The rent per month is £2383.33

Calculate weekly rent

Say, a two bedrooms apartment in London Regent Street is advertised as £3000 per calendar month. To calculate the rent per week from the monthly rent of £3000, you take £3000 x 12 months then divide by 52 weeks. The rent per week is £692.31.

New to London property letting business

If you are thinking of starting a London property letting business or new to this business, knowing how to work out your rent is essential so that you can work out your profit on your letting.

For example, to make a profit on your London apartment, you must achieve a minimum rent of £3500 per month.

You work out your rent per week that is £3500 x 12 months divided by 52 weeks gives you £807.69 per week. To achieve your minimum rent, you may ask your estate agent to advertise your London apartment for £810 per week rent or more.

Using a limited company for your properties letting business

If you are using a limited company for your properties lettings, you must also comply with the Companies House requirements. You must deliver the following documents to Companies House every year.

You can submit your company documents online. You would require your company’s authentication code to do so. The authentication code is the electronic equivalent of your company’s director(s) signatures. Hence, you must keep it safe.

In addition, you must also submit your corporation tax return to HM Revenue and Customs together with your company accounts.

If you require help with your company’s filings, contact our accountants. They will be more than happy to assist you.

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