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New Year Resolutions?

New Year Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year when people herald in the New Year with plans to renew their gym membership, eat less and cut down on booze. These resolutions also apply to the world of contracting. Here’s what I mean.

Go on a diet

Our government needs to reduce red tape and ditch the complicated tax system. Will they? I doubt it against the current economic backdrop and with an election around the corner. It will also be interesting to read the Conservative manifesto on taxation – although I think, ironically, that this will offer slim pickings. We are getting an audience with the shadow chancellor, so watch this space; I may have more to report back on.

Get fit

We need the economy to be in better shape, but the world of contracting has remained robust in 2009. The flexible workforce has been instrumental in helping to keep the UK competitive as we power walked through the recession. But we still need a fitter and much trimmer economy. I just wish the UK government would do more to understand how contractors have contributed to the health of the nation and recognise this point. And in terms of membership issues, the EU social chapter that tries to impose conditions on countries needs to cater to each member’s diversity of employment and labour trends in order for these countries to remain economically healthy. I am pro protecting truly vulnerable workers, but the true nature of flexible employment needs to be understood.

Get competitive

Offshoring, outsourcing and flexible working are all here to stay. So quit complaining and start competing! Niche contractors always find good roles (and rates) and now more than ever we need to focus on better skills, better delivery and perhaps creating more connectivity to compete. Try and find some time and money to think about training and marketing.

Get advice

Invest in good advice. If your yoga teacher reckons he’ll have you in a lotus in the first half-hour of training you need better advice! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a contractor bemoan bad tax advice from a cheap book keeping solution. Spend a little bit extra and get good counsel about your tax position, possible opportunities to invest and improve your finances. Use a specialist rather than a generalist.

I could go on and on, but if we could keep to some of the above then we stand a chance of succeeding. I think 2010 will be tough but not impossible. The strong will thrive. Right, I’m off for a beer and pie….

Rob Crossland is Managing Director of Parasol Group
© 2009 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Project Pork Chop: Resolutions by dixieroadrash

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