How to set up and run a small business

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avoid your business suffering security breach

Businesses cannot afford to neglect cyber security in 2018. A recent report published by Beaming found that UK businesses are attacked online every 2.5 minutes, with the average firm suffering from 52,596 cyber-attacks between April and June 2018.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, as a lack of security/training budget and expertise leaves many unable to properly protect their confidential information.

But all is not lost for mall businesses. The best way to defend your company from a data breach isn’t by investing millions in expensive software and data security experts, it’s by thinking like the person behind the attack in the first place – the hacker. Continue…

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preparting your company for a trade saleWe’ve all heard tales of bedroom entrepreneurs that end up selling their companies for billions.

It’s a dream that’s shared by many current and aspiring business owners. However, assembling your start-up with the ultimate goal of a trade sale takes a lot of preparation. What’s more, it’s hard to know where to begin.

When launching Gunna, an award-winning range of low-sugar craft soft drinks, I drew upon my previous experience of building my first company, a marketing strategy and innovation consultancy called Clear Ideas, and selling it to M&C Saatchi for £18.4m in 2007.

So here are my top five tips to help you build your start-up for a trade sale; Continue…

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business partners signging shareholders agreemenrWhen you start a business with someone else, it’s always a good idea to lay down some rules on important issues, such as; how you will run the company, your respective responsibilities and what happens if someone wants to leave the business. Agreeing on how you will handle these, and other important matters, will save a lot of anguish down the line.

If you are going into business with other individuals working under a partnership structure, you should do this with a Partnership Agreement. If you are setting up a limited company, you will a need to record these in a Shareholder’s Agreement.

This guide explains what a Shareholder’s Agreement does, who should get one and what should be included in the document.
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Use memorable words for sales successWhen you run a small business it may seem like an extra chore to carefully wordsmith every presentation you give or to think carefully about the words you use when talking about your product and service.

However, when you are trying to make a sale, every word counts. By making your words more memorable you’ll not only stick in the minds of your customers you’ll find yourself making more sales. Continue…

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How new business owners can produce cash flow forecast

How can I forecast my cash flow when the business doesn’t even exist yet?

That’s a question most new startups wrestle with as they are planning their new business. It may seem to some to be an impossible task, so we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to show how you can produce a cash flow forecast for a new business. Continue…

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how missed payments affect your credit rating

There may come a point where you end up missing a repayment for a loan or credit card that you have taken out, perhaps as a result of an unexpected financial emergency, or maybe just simply not having kept a track of your finances that month.

One of your first thoughts will be how quickly you can rectify the situation and pay the lender back, but have you also considered that this late payment could affect your credit score negatively? All The Lenders takes a look at how this works, as well as what you can do to also minimise the impact. Continue…

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Equity and Rewards crowdfunding compared

It’s impossible to forget the repercussions of the financial crash, many of which are still felt throughout the global economy today. But, as economic growth flatlined, the opposite happened in the online world.

While the banks cut off their lending to startups, internet technologies were undergoing a key evolution. Web 2.0 was emerging, and technology began connecting individuals, allowing them to bypass many long-established intermediaries.

This was the precursor to both rewards and equity crowdfunding.

Put simply, Rewards Crowdfunding is the practice of giving lower cost or exclusive items as rewards to early adopters in return for their backing, while Equity Crowdfunding involves selling shares in your business.

To help you understand more about the pros and cons of Rewards and Equity Crowdfunding, and the key points for success, we asked crowdfunding expert, John Auckland of TribeFirst to explain more. Continue…

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credit score mythsThere are a number of different myths surrounding credit scores, making it difficult to truly understand what it is you need to know and what you should be doing in order to boost yours.

In this guide we cover the most commonly spoken about myths, and debunk them one by one.

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Micro Influencer marketing for small businesses

The way in which audiences are perceiving and consuming marketing content is changing rapidly. The digital sphere has changed the nature of how we, as consumers, respond to advertising, with the result that many traditional techniques just aren’t cutting it any more.

Consumers are digitally literate and don’t have any qualms about voicing their dislike of traditional advertising. Continue…

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Perfect business pitch to potential investors

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but many of the most innovative entrepreneurs are creative contrarians. They are outsiders, gainsaying the doubters that say it cannot be done.

In fact, many entrepreneurs are introverts, which can be a major barrier when it comes to that vital part of the entrepreneurial process: pitching.

Entrepreneurs are suddenly asking to be judged by their doubters, which is certain to raise their defences. Yet, painful as it is, the only way to make their creativity profitable is to present their work to those that hold the keys to their future.

Luckily, there are plenty of books, advice and personal experience that can guide us through this important process, which are distilled here into 10 key pitching principles; Continue…

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Tips to run a successful virtual meeting or presentationFrom bold new start-ups to established small companies branching out, meetings and interactions are increasingly virtual.

In some cases, due to distance and the global reach, you may never meet in the ‘real world’, only ever online. So to help create a good impression, now more than ever, is the time to invest in developing your small screen skills.

Whether you are hosting a virtual meeting, pitching to a potential client, running a webinar, conducting online training, or even interviewing a prospective new employee, how you present yourself on the small screen matters. So, here are 10 tips to ensure you put your best foot forward on the small screen. Continue…

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how to quickly build rapport with peopleBeing able to get on with other people is important for anyone, but especially for small businesses and start-ups.

There is very little you do alone – for most things you need to work with other people, (staff, suppliers, customers, advisors, government agencies, and so on) – and you need to get them onside.

The first step in getting on with other people is to build rapport with them. If you don’t get this right, you won’t get much further so we asked author, Catherine Stothart to outline tips and techniques that will help you to quickly establish rapport with anyone. Continue…

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Tips on the patent processStarting your own business isn’t plain sailing. It throws lots of new challenges at us, each with their good, bad and ugly dimensions. And registering a patent is no different.

A lot of inventors with incredible ideas have fallen along the wayside, simply because they didn’t invest the time needed to successfully navigate the patent system.

Make a mistake at this point and you could end up doing all the hard work only for someone else to exploit later down the line. So if you want to protect your business idea or invention, you need to take the patent process seriously. Continue…

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Tax breaks & Incentives for small businessesIncreasing cash flow and being tax-efficient are usually near the top of every small business owner’s agenda.

One way to achieve both these aims is to tax advantage of some of the various tax incentives available to businesses. However, small businesses often miss out on these tax breaks because they either don’t know what they’re entitled to, or can’t find the time to make a claim.

So to help you save time and money, here are five tax incentives and tax relief opportunities that small businesses can take advantage of;

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younger employees being a mentor for older staffWith age comes wisdom, but all too often in the business world, hubris can come along for the ride too.

After finessing business decision making for decades, executives naturally begin to conclude that their specialised knowledge, expertise and business skills mean that they always know the best way to solve a client problem, to win a major account, or to drive a workplace innovation.

After all their past successes confirm this. Subconsciously survivorship and confirmation biases are at work; good decisions are reinforced, and poor ones are forgotten – which distorts their real importance.

So, can these experienced executives learn something from Millennials? Absolutely! Continue…

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Tips to succeed with exporting to AsiaUK exports to Asia are now worth 18% of the UK export market – that’s £98.6 billion. China is now the eighth largest export market for the UK – with India and Singapore being among the UK’s largest trading partners in the commonwealth.

Trading to Asia offers an entirely new world of possibility for UK businesses to export their products and to build a global brand – and with Brexit fast approaching and the future of British trading unclear, exporting to Asia is becoming increasingly popular. Continue…

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crowdfunding - more power to businessesLook around at the world’s many unpredictable events and it could not be clearer that our political, and social, tectonics plates are shifting.

Fueled by the digital revolution of young technology adoptees who are now reaching adulthood, it is in many ways unsurprising that the connected generation is rejecting old leadership paradigms, and favouring the peer-to-peer model over outdated intermediaries.

As the plates shifted, crowdfunding has been able to blossom, and its societal impact is far more radical than you might realise.

My prediction is that by 2030, all worthwhile ideas will be brought to life via crowdfunding. Continue…

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presentation advice for business ownersThe common perception is that you need to be a bit of an extrovert to be a good public speaker.

However, that needn’t be the case. With a few simple tricks, as Kay Heald explains, introverted entrepreneurs can become excellent public speakers.

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Business Basics Fund boost take up of new technologies in small businessesSmall Business Minister Andrew Griffiths unveils a new £8m Business Basics Fund in a speech to the CBI today.

The Business Basics Fund aims to boost the productivity and performance of small businesses in England. Continue…

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Challenges new businesses face when hiring staffHiring the right people is vital for the growth of your company. It is likely to go some way in contributing to the development of the business and helping it to become successful.

The task of recruitment varies across different industries depending on their nature. For example, recruitment in hospitality is seasonal and finding the right people can be difficult.

Moreover, recruitment can be even harder for startups, so here we take a look at some of the main challenges facing startups when it comes to looking for people to join their team. Continue…

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5 Simple steps to grow your Facebook fans

June 25, 2018

Nowadays, everybody knows that social networks play a significant role in the promotion of a company. That’s why having an engaged and active community on Facebook can make all the difference to your business. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, building Facebook friends can take a lot of time and effort. So to […]

Staff Performance Reviews – How to get the most out of them

June 20, 2018

As a business owner, it’s likely that you struggle to find time to do the performance appraisals for your team. You are not the only one. Surveys have indicated that owners and managers hate doing performance reviews and as many as 58% think it is a waste of time.

A Guide to Setting up and Managing Payroll for Employers

June 19, 2018

If you’re starting to employ people in your business, mastering payroll is going to become an essential part of your business. Get it wrong and you risk unhappy employees and potential penalties from HMRC. There’s a lot more to it than simply paying staff money. So we’ve put together this guide to help you get […]

Keeping employee records: What small business owners need to know

June 14, 2018

The GDPR gives people more control over their personal information and requires organisations to clarify exactly where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored – and how it is used. Less well-documented than data protection regulations, but no less important, are data retention regulations. To outline what your legal obligations are when it comes to keeping […]

6 Common Challenges in managing small projects (and how to overcome them)

June 12, 2018

Organisations tend to be fairly poor at defining their projects in terms of criticality and risk. Yet these are key attributes when it comes to deciding how much management and governance a project needs. Instead, the importance of a project is often seen as directly related to how large it is, how many people are […]

A Startup’s Guide to Cloud Accounting

June 11, 2018

From IT and recruitment, to marketing and sales, it’s safe to say as a startup you have a million and one things to do to get your business up and running. Finding time to devote to accounting and financial matters isn’t always at the top of a startup’s list of priorities. Nonetheless submitting annual accounts […]

How to bounce back from a business failure

June 8, 2018

A failed business can have a devastating impact on a business owner. However, the lessons learned can also make an entrepreneur stronger, wiser and more determined to succeed next time. Author and international speaker, Jonathan MacDonald, was floored by a business failure, but after the initial despair, he picked himself up and used the experience […]

4 Cyber safety essentials for small businesses

June 6, 2018

According to the latest Zurich SME Risk Index, almost one in six UK SMEs have fallen victim to cyber attacks in the past year, costing a fifth of victims over £10,000 and 1 in 10 over £50,000. It’s clear no SME should gamble when it comes to cyber security, especially with the new GDPR regulation […]

A guide to the Flat Rate VAT Scheme & the Limited Cost Trader test

June 4, 2018

VAT is one of the more complex accounting practices you’ll have to undertake as a business, which is why it can help to make it as simple as possible. The Flat Rate VAT scheme does exactly this and, if you’re eligible, could save you the headache of unnecessary work.

Employment Status – Why do I need to know the difference?

May 30, 2018

It would be fair to say that employment status has been a contentious issue in recent times as business owners and staff in various sectors dispute the true nature of their respective working arrangements. As a business owner it is important that you are familiar with the differences between the three main categories of employment […]

Why helping, not selling, is the key to sales success

May 29, 2018

Technology is constantly advancing and with technological advancement comes change. If you want your business to stay competitive, then you must be prepared to embrace technological changes. You may think that you understand the current sales market, however, the sales game is changing, and these changes are coming about thanks to technology. If you want […]

Guide to cash flow management

May 25, 2018

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, and managing it effectively can mean the difference between make or break. When we refer to cash flow management, we’re talking about making sure there is enough cash available to cover all your outgoing expenses. If your outgoings are more than your sales and you run out […]

6 Reasons why local PR can be good for business

May 24, 2018

Getting coverage in your local press may not have the kudos of being featured in national newspapers but it often delivers a better return on investment, especially to locally-based businesses. For small businesses, local newspapers are a more realistic target for press coverage than the national press. Readers of local papers want to read about […]

9 GDPR Myths – Busted

May 22, 2018

The juggernaut that is GDPR has now come into force. We’ve known about this radical new change in privacy and data protection law for over two years and on 25th May it became law across the EU. The past two years have allowed plenty of time for numerous myths to bubble up about the impact […]

How to get investors to back your crowdfunding campaign

May 21, 2018

The goal of any equity crowdfunding campaign is to catch the attention of investors and convince them that your business is worth backing. But how does the mind of an investor work? With more equity crowdfunding campaigns run each year, it’s crucial to know what motivates potential investors and how they make their crowdfunding investment […]

How to futureproof your business

May 18, 2018

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur, the amount of new options and opportunities can also feel overwhelming. Moreover, your customer has become ever more fickle and mistrustful of how companies operate and what they promise. So how do you futureproof your business in the face of so many choices and […]