Is HMRC Killing Business or Is It You?

How do you make good decisions?


This is an interesting subject around how do you make decisions and how do you interpret advice and opinions of others.

I was speaking recently with a business owner who ‘used’ to invest in unique and personal gifts for their clients at Christmas, quite some time was invested in buying personal gifts that demonstrated that the company had listened and had remembered the little things that were important to the client. They would often take their client’s out for lunch and would be the first to offer to pay for coffee whenever they met up with new contacts or associates.

One day they were looking at the numbers, wanting to increase profit and improve the stability of the business and their accountant mentioned that the above expenses were not tax deductable. Being a business owner that wants to succeed, she took on the advice of the account and almost instantly stopped buying personal gifts and invites for lunch were drastically reduced.

It begs the questions:


  • What happens in between review of numbers and decisions in your business?
  • What happens in between advice and decisions in your business?


What happened in this particular example: Is what was said:

“You can’t claim tax allowance for those expenses”

And what the business owner heard:

“You should not buy that”

This brought about the discussion at Step by Step Listening office how often do people make decisions based purely on numbers or advice that they have misinterpreted?

How often do you change what you are doing because of the advice of another without even checking if what you are currently doing is working for you or not?

Luckily for this business owner they were attending our sessions and recognised the ‘true value’ of relationship building. They did this by working through, ‘when they did invest this time and money in gifts and lunches’, then what happens. By taking the time to consider what is working about this particular practice they quickly understand the value to the company. They learned how the whole present buying process allowed them to connect and check in how well they were listening to their clients. It was more difficult to choose a personal gift if they had not invested much time in the relationship. This then enabled them to prioritise who to contact next and therefore even helped with follow up.

It left the clients feeling valued and heard which in turn had resulted in a high rate of referrals.

Don’t get me wrong, they did make some changes, the gifts were purchased still but a smaller budget was set and they have met more clients for coffee than lunch. They recognised the value was in the time they spent with the clients not the food they bought for them.

But that initial interpretation could have cost this business clients and valuable relationships.


  • What happens in your business when you review the numbers?
  • Are you avoiding the numbers?


You are not alone, many business owners do, that is why ‘The Business Owner’s Break’ is a valuable space to face your fears and deal with it anyway.

Time to learn from other’s without ever being told what you should or should not do.

Time for you to understand what works and what you would like to have happen. Even if the Inland Revenue don’t recognise things as an essential expense of business, you can with confidence decide it is a vital expense for your business.

Thanks for Listening

How to make a good decision






Shaun Webb

The Directors Confidant

Step by Step Listening enabling you to make decisions with confidence

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