Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost writes:

And this week we are talking about hairdressing and debt collection.   The first is probably not going to be an insolvency, but rather a cold hard look at the finances together with an even colder and harder discussion with a number of creditors about what they might or might not get back!  In the middle though is a guy that knows how to cut hair and knows how to employ other stylists who also know how to cut hair.  So we have lots to do on the admin side and a bit of realism to spread around; but we should save a big chunk of the business and leave them with the basic structure to assist them in running it going forward.   As I tell all my clients, we are like an A&E Department.   We can bandage you up, but we are not here to help you walk again.  We do know a number of people that can help you learn to walk if you would like us to refer you?.

The debt collection did put a smile on my face.  On one of our cases we were met with a debtor who, although we had cast iron paperwork, refused point blank to pay us!  “I would rather spend the money fighting you” was his precise statement.  Fair enough then I think!  Onwards!

County Court Judgment is obtained as, rather than turn up, they thought it was a good idea to instead send us an e-mail a few hours before the hearing stating they hadn’t had enough time to deal with the matter yet and asking for another month.   Next, because of the debt’s size we transfer the debt to the High Court (I am sure we all know a lawyer to assist with this process) and instruct the Sheriffs.  You know the ones on the telly!  The next thing that happens is we receive an application to set aside the judgment. So many deficiencies in the application that this should be a nice trip out to the Court in a couple of weeks!  And then, this week  we receive an emergency application.  What is that for I think?  Well it appears that the Sheriffs paid them a dawn visit earlier this week!   Got to meet a Personal Assistant at 5:00am in the morning!   They are obviously very lucky with their hiring policy.  I struggle to get my staff in for 9:00am!

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services writes:

Four day weeks do seem to disappear so very quickly; Although just as I was preparing to put my feet up, after the usual quiet week that you expect when the kids are off school, I got a call to help a local club who appear to have fallen out with their beer supplier.  Great I am thinking; into Court for an Administration Application:  Trade the club for a few weeks and then hand it back, complete with a loan to pay off the beer supplier and a business plan to ensure it can be repaid!.  And with a large mortgage free building this is going to be a doddle.

Err No.  I have spent the last day learning about how certain very old clubs are not registered companies with a simple Table A constitution.  Some can’t use Administration or Company Voluntary Arrangements.  Indeed the only thing this particular club can do is borrow the money immediately or Liquidate.  The debt is probably too big for one or two donations and, similarly the total debt is a material chunk of the annual turnover.  Now, for someone who prides themselves on turning businesses around, this is quite depressing!  So where is that drawing board!

Twenty Four hours later and after a lot of research, we have a new strategy.  Murder the old and start again!  Now, how to sell this to 75% of the several hundred individual members of the public who are members?  Paying them a cheque for £10,000 each might well be quite persuasive!    They can then use the money to buy a slightly smaller more modern venue in the same area.  Or maybe they won’t.  First meeting is with  a Committee this Friday night at 8:00pm.  And this was meant to be a short week!

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services writes:

I am very lucky that I get to deal with a good number of different things during anyone week.  This week is no exception.

On the one hand have been involved in a very contentious Liquidation where all the Company papers have alledgedly been lost (by me if you believe some stories! ) and it is very clear that none of the parties one would usually go to for information hold any credibility.

As Liquidator I am the arbitrator of first resort.  I have so little information and have a considerable amount of “third party gossip” concerning a number of side deals, changes made to papers and withholding papers etc.  If I had limitless resources then my response is clear.  Sue and be damned.  None of you are good witnesses!  But do I really want to be involved in potentially years of litigation, funded by my personal resources?

But you must be confident of winning I hear you ask.  My response is simple.  Even when you think you have everything straight, matters can come up and judges can take decisions which look quite bizarre from below the bench; And when you have three individuals, who you have faith in, all confirming a story that you believe not to be true, but just can’t get enough info to rubbish it, then you are left with my word against theirs?   So doe anyone know a decent lawyer to ask for advice?

At the other end of the scale I am attempting, with the assistance of others to plan a new theatre for Croydon in my role as Administrator of the Warehouse Theatre.  If it was just a business plan then that would be simply.  Before that though we have to convince the powers that be that what we planning works on a variety of cultural and planning bases to fit within the various planning consents.  Oh yes and it has to make money too!  That will be easy then.

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk  

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost writes:

Been dealing with a load of stuff this week which is interesting, but confidential!  If I told you about it I would have to kill you!

What I can announce is the birth of our new website at www.frostbr.co.uk.  Any feedback is gratefully received.

Also, with my hat on of Chairman of the Croydon Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses I am helping to organise an event called:

“The Future of Businesses in Croydon:  Networking and Question time”

A bit of a mouthful I know, but it should be a great opportunity for the business community to challenge out local politicians to start delivering a pro-business environment in the London Borough of Croydon.  I was told today they are looking to bring along up to 11 local counsellors.  Should be a special evening.  The date for your dairies is 25 April 2013 if you want to come along.  We are limited to 100 people so bookings are a must!  And yes, we do have an event-brite page at:  http://reversequestiontime.eventbrite.com/

And on 1 May 2013 I am attending the Croydon Business Awards dinner celebrating businesses both large and small.  The Federation sponsors the Real Life Entrepreneur Award.  A busy couple of weeks I think.

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk   

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services writes:

And this week I have been mostly dealing with;  The Warehouse Theatre again.  After the joys of removing the memorabilia I have done three interviews, one for radio and both local papers dealing with the battle for Dingwell Road.  It is amazing how one aging gentleman with a small stick can be made to sound like a riot!  I certainly don’t remember the Met’s dogs and horses charging down the road! but it was I suppose a busy afternoon.  I might have missed them.

On the brighter side, we have now received commitment from a bunch of individuals interested in running a new theatre such that we expect to have an outline business plan on the desks of the developers by the end of the month.  We are still on course then for a happy ending!  What behind me?  Oh no it isn’t  ……..  You get the picture.  There is less of a positive outcome for the building whose life can be describes in terms of weeks.  I think it is called progress!

To cap it all I was asked to present a potted history of the Warehouse with particular reference to the past two years to Croydon Rotary who meet at the Masonic Lodge towards the north of the town.  I have not come across either organisation in my eight years in Croydon, so that was good.  Slides are available if anyone wants to look at them!  I am also free for birthdays, christenings and bar mitzvah’s.

Any questions and bookings should be forwarded to my agent, I mean personal assistant!

All this press attention can surely not be going to my head?

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk 

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost writes:

Not sure I should mention it, but I think I saw the sun today!  Could this be the end of a long cold depressing winter, leading to a warm period of growth?  Well even the latest economic stats appear to suggest we might be seing at least the first glimmer of an improvement!

But before we all get too excited, I caught 10 mins of TV chef, James Martin’s attempt to improve hospital food yesterday morning.  It would appear that, despite a budget of many £billions, no one within the NHS is engaged in the fairly basic task of minimusing waste and maximising taste.  In an organisation containing so many individuals how can it possibly be that no one has a job to make sure the patients get a hot nutritious meal within a reasonable budget!  And in the two hospitals mentioned, one in wales had to buy lambs from New Zealand and one in Birmingham threw away 40% of what was cooked on a daily basis!  This is after over 20 years of attempts to solve these fairly basic issues.

It just goes to show that we continue to put barriers in the way of progressive thinking.  This is called a compliance and regulatory culture.  When will we learn that this approach does more harm than good!

But in the end, I think Mr Martin says it very well. (after throwing away about three ton of un-reciped custard made with double cream)  I can teach them to cook in a week, but I don’t know how to teach them to care!   I wish we had more of this level of honesty and leadership within our government and its employees.

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk 

Wednesday Guest Blog

Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services writes:

The last few years have seen a significant increase in the number of agreements, usually about less and less.  This attitude is becoming so prevalent that not even the lawyers can make any money!

The basis of business still remains the same.

  • • Make stuff that people want (and need)
  • • Tell them about it!
  • • Sell it to them
  • COLLECT IN THE CASH!

Business owners tend to deal with the issues in order and only worry about the lack of cash when it hasn’t arrived and is unlikely to do so.

This week I have been looking at two cases:

  • • A debtor who believes that he should only pay for professional advice when he agrees with it.
  • • Two Directors whose response to the impending insolvency of their Company and their relocation abroad was to drain the Company’s Bank account of £45,000.

The first one is a matter we deal with.  Judgement achieved on line, with the matter now to moved to the High Court.  The time for the Sheriffs is close!

The Second is one for Freedman Alexander LLP.  Contingent fee to collect in debts overseas!  Looks good to me.

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk 

Wednesday Guest Blog

Here’s the next guest blog by Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services:

For many years I played rugby with and against the boys in blue.  “Policing only works when it is with the consent of the population.”  I always used to remember that as some usually smiling 18 stone Neanderthal, sorry, PC dropped his knees into my back.

It used to be said that falling out with HM Inland Revenue was almost impossible, whereas it was similarly impossible not to fall out with Customs and Excise.   One branch was the people and we agreed to pay them Tax and the other was the Crown whom we reluctantly paid duty.

So with one organisation doing both, how long will it be before the population begin to feel wholly alienated.  Not too long now I feel.  The number of stories concerning over zealous tax collectors destroying businesses, i.e treating tax in the same way as duties is growing.  But at the same time I receive alarming stories from accountants as to the level of clients leaving their charge and not going to a new Accountant. Attempting to Disappear under the radar!  There seems little appetite to recognise that these two events are related and even less appetite to accept that collecting tax is not necessarily an exact science, but this is a whole new subject.

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk 

Wednesday Guest Blog

Another blog from Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services:

It is very rare for me to know more than a day or two in advance what I will be doing.  On Friday I got a call to attend a Board Meeting with a client on Monday to discuss the Company’s pending Insolvency.  It was clear that the Board Meeting was the culmination of a twenty year business relationship which had disintergrated as, amongst other things,  trading pressures had built over the course of 2012.  A tough meeting culminating with the Board inviting in an Administrator.  To paraphrase the Chairman; I could go and borrow £250,000 to refinance this business, but not with  him in it and, quite frankly I would prefer to go back on the tools.

Very sad and very understandable.

And yesterday I was on my way to the little boys room in our business centre, merrily minding my own business when I got asked to partake in a television programme called Real Women which is produced by www.Croydontv.co.uk.  I was invited to discuss the effect of the mountain of debt on UK corporations and how it affects more of us than we might believe.  I tried to inject a bit of  humour but thought better of using my usual joke about buying too many handbags and shoes!  Hopefully it will look as good on the Interweb as it sounded when being there!

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk

Freedman Alexander LLP  – solicitors in Epsom and Ewell – http://www.fallp.co.uk 

Wednesday Guest Blog

Here’s a guest blog by Jeremy Frost of Frost Business Services:

It seems that I have been banging on about the damage done to UK plc by the increase in the prevelence of Zombie Companies and general fraud for months.  Is anybody listening I ask myself?

Well the amount of lip service is certainly increasing in term of the Zombies in our midst.  The latest example is Chris Loughton’s (Editor of R3 Magazine) views in the latest Recovery newsletter.  He is in “the business” so it is unlikely that I would disagree with him too violently, but I find it difficult to explain the current predicament better.  The Recovery newsletter is available on our website: http://www.frostbr.co.uk.

That was first thing this morning.  And next I got a call from a likely new instruction wanting advice on the threats of action being made against him resulting from an alleged personal guarantee of a corporate debt.  All sounded a bit fishy to me with requests to write letters after the event and the further request to remove “without prejudice” from correspondence.  Good job that I could speak to Freadman Alexander to get my head straight.  Something to do with one of the oldest statutes on the books!  dismissing aggressive solicitors is always best achieved once you have succinct advice.  Thanks guys!

Well well; both hobby horses ridden in a morning!

Jeremy Frost FABRP MIPA, Director  Frost Group Limited

Tel: 0845 260 0101   Fax: 020 8915 1018    http://www.frostbr.co.uk