Adventures in micro-business: What is my business worth?

Professor Russell Smith answers your queries

Q: I am thinking of selling my business - what value can I put on the name and logo which are registered trademarks in the UK?

A: The value of any “brand” will all depend on whether the purchaser wishes to trade using the same logo and name that you have registered. Assuming that they wish to trade using your developed “brand” then the Trade Marks will have a value. You should get a professional valuation from a qualified accountant that takes account of all intellectual property that your business owns. For example, a registered web domain name and photographs on the website (assuming you own copyright) all have a value. In other words, it’s the overall brand that you have established that needs valuation and not simply the value of the trade marks in isolation.

Q: I am a UK-based business looking to export products and services but am finding it difficult, particularly in this current financial climate, to get a letter of credit confirmed by my bank. What should I do?

A: The Government’s Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) should be your first port of call! Take a look at their website ( ) for information about their Letter of Credit Guarantee Scheme(LCGS). The scheme aims to help businesses like yours by boosting the availability of short-term export finance. They do this by sharing the risk (up to 90%) associated with confirmed letters of credit issued by foreign banks.

Q: I am just starting out and I have been advised to find a good accountant for my business. Where do I begin my search?

A: If you have friends, relatives or colleagues in business they may be able to give you referrals or recommendations to suitable accounting firms. Whether you look for an accountant in business directories like Yellow Pages, or seek advice from a bank or a solicitor who may be able to provide introductions, you should make sure you engage the services of accountant who is experienced as they will be able to provide the most useful advice as your business develops. There are also various accountancy bodies, such as The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales ( ) that provide details of member firms. When choosig who to work with, always remember that a good accountant should be an adviser to your business and not simply someone who prepares tax returns!

Q: New products that I am looking to sell are going to require substantial phases of R&D and my cash flow is going to be impacted. Apart from raising debt or equity finance to support my business during this phase is there anything else I can do to help my cash flow?

A: You should try to establish if your business would qualify for grant funding. Start by looking at the Business Link website ( ) under its grants and Government support section from where you will find lots of useful information about where to find R&D grant schemes that may be operating in your region or particular industry. Also, in order to encourage innovation, research and development in the UK there are tax credit and relief schemes that are designed to support businesses. For further information take a look at the HM Revenue and Customs website ( ) and seek advice from your professional adviser.


Send your questions to Professor Smith at Selected questions will be answered each month. Answers are for the general guidance of ownermanagers only. Always seek professional advice. Professor Smith is the founder of Business Boffins Ltd which, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University, Anglia Ruskin University, Warwick University and University of the West of England, delivers support programmes to small businesses nationwide. Readers of The Independent andThe Independent on Sunday can enrol on the programme at a discounted rate. See

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'