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adapting leadership style to be a better leaderLeadership is one of the most written about topics in business. You can be an ‘Authentic Leader’, a ‘Facilitative Leader’ or an ‘Agile Leader’, to select words from just three of the recently published leadership titles.

These words fast risk becoming clichés. Some may have currency, others do not. What is true is that there is no one, indisputable, formula for effective leadership. Continue…

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being productive in DecemberThe Christmas holiday season is eagerly anticipated. But the forthcoming festivities mean that the number of working days in the month is curtailed – and at a time when planning for the new business year makes life busier than ever.

So how can you maximise available working days to ensure a fully relaxing festive period? Richard Morris, UK CEO of workspace provider Regus offers three top tips for a dynamic and productive December.

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Who to give business gifts to at Christmas and what to buyWhile many festive traditions have successfully made the move from the home to the workplace – the annual party and ‘Secret Santa’ are both staples of nearly every small business’ Christmas celebrations – there is one that still hasn’t made the leap: proper gift giving.

Crack Christmas gifting and the benefits will roll in: you’ll motivate your team, improve customer loyalty, and boost important supplier relationships. However, fail to pick the right presents, or show any kind of effort, and you’ll risk losing morale, motivation, and maybe even business.

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telecoms solutions over holidaysChristmas is fast approaching and if you started a business in 2017 this may be the first Christmas period you have experienced as a business owner.

It’s therefore important to starting think early about your telecoms and your customers over the festive season. If you don’t plan now, you may find that rather than having a relaxing festive break, you’ll be in a pickle.

We’ve asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett to explain what you need to think about to ensure your business runs smoothly over the festive season. Continue…

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Presenting with P.O.W.E.R.

December 11, 2017

How to plan and deliver a great preentationAs the owner of a startup or small business you will inevitably need to stand in front of an audience and speak to them. It is an essential part of modern business life.

Speaking in public is something that turns many business owners cold with fear. But with some expert insight and a little practice you can quickly learn how to speak with confidence.

To help you on your way, we’ve asked award-winning international speaker, Bret Freeman, to reveal how to present with POWER. Continue…

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Artificial Intelliegence driving customer satisfactionThe growth of AI is set to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the coming years for businesses of all sizes. Even in these relatively early days of AI, it is already affecting customer experience.

The younger generation have grown up in a world where they are used to a quick and effortless service, and as a result, will lose interest with anything that takes too long or requires too much effort from them.

Here, Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, an expert in customer focus in the digital world, examines the evolution of customer service under Artificial Intelligence. Continue…

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Using Google services to boost your businessGoogle is the world’s most popular search engine, controlling 79% of the market share and dealing with 3.5 billion searches every day.

The power of Google is staggering, but many businesses aren’t fully harnessing this power.

To help ensure you’re not missing out, we’ve asked Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual to outline how you can make the most of Google for your business. Continue…

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self assessment tax returm mistakes to avoidIf you need to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return (SATR) it’s imperative you get it in on time and free of any mistakes.

There are penalties for not submitting your tax return on time and you may have to pay a fine if HMRC deem you have not taken enough care in completing it.

With regard to the deadlines, paper tax returns need to be filed with HMRC by 31 October and tax returns submitted online by 31 January. So, if you complete your tax return online, you get a few extra months.

This article explains how to get started with your tax return, and how to avoid common mistakes that people make on their self assessment tax return.
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Employmenr law in 2018From the removal of tribunal fees to widespread claims regarding sexual harassment, 2017 has been a busy year in employment law.

Although employers might hope for a quieter 2018, it’s looking likely that there will be a number of issues that are prevalent throughout the year, amid the on-going uncertainty of Brexit.

With this in mind, Alan Price, Employment Law Director at Peninsula highlights 5 key employment law issues that businesses will need to address in 2018;

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market research customerMarket research is often assumed or anecdotal. A few good words here and there, enthusiastic leads, handshakes and happily resolved issues from existing customers can lead to the pleasant feeling that you know your market.

However, if your business is to thrive, you really need to develop a deep understanding of your customers. To help you to do this, we’ve asked Robin Booth to explain the steps you need to take. Continue…

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reward employeesEvery business, regardless of size, scale or industry wants to get the best from its people. When people work hard, it logically follows that output goes up.

The idea of achieving that through incentives is not a new one, but from the outside, it seems that a defined recognition and reward program is reserved for big business.

Smaller businesses just don’t have the time or resources to invest in developing something as grandiose as this and, when the focus needs to be on sustaining the business day-to-day to protect the jobs for everyone involved, it certainly doesn’t look like a business priority.

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short term financing solutions for small businesses

Christmas can be a challenging time for many businesses, whether it’s your busiest time of year or a seasonal slump in trading.

Either way, lots of small businesses find that short-term finance can provide the boost needed to cover short term cash flow issues. Here are 5 funding options that can do this for you; Continue…

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invoice finnce and factoring explainedInvoice finance is an umbrella term for two distinct forms of business funding called invoice discounting and invoice factoring.

It’s likely you’ll have heard of these alternative types of business finance before, but without knowing exactly how they work, you might dismiss them as just another financial product that you and your business don’t need.

However, there are real benefits to these products, so here is what every business owner should know about invoice finance.

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Making the leap into starting your own business takes a lot of bottle and brings a lot of new challenges.

Those early days, as you work to drum up business and generate new customers, will be among the hardest you face.

Making sure that your business stands out in your niche is crucial to your success. But how can you do that?

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How to network successfullyWhen you start your own business, one of the first things you need to do is to start promoting it and finding customers?

Depending on the type of business you are in, one age-old and sure-fire way to build relationships is through networking.

However, if you are to enjoy the full rewards of networking you need to know what you are doing. Continue…

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Autumn Budget 2017 Key points for small businesses On Wednesday 22 November, Philip Hammond delivered the UK’s first Autumn Budget for 21 years.

Constrained by high borrowings, falling growth forecasts, poor productivity, the uncertainty of Brexit and a very slim Government majority the Chancellor wasn’t in a position to announce too many radical changes.

They might not grab the headlines but there are changes small businesses need to be aware. Here, we’ve worked with HFM Tax to bring you a summary of the key points from the Autumn Budget 2017 likely to directly affect small business owners; Continue…

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costs of cyber attack on small businessTalking about the ominous threat of cyber-attacks these days has a whiff of closing-the-stable-door-after-the-horse-has-bolted about it.

Cybercrime is out there and it’s happening right now to organisations of all sizes, in all sectors, all over the world.

Hacks are more sophisticated, viruses are more widespread and systems are more vulnerable than ever. If the great and good (and wealthy) of the business world can’t stop it, what chance does the average startup have?
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attracting motivating and retaining millennials

By 2020, millennials will comprise more than 50% of the total workforce, according to PwC.

This generation is radically different to any other, with new tastes, preferences, and expectations – and we’re not just talking about selfies.

With millennials shortly to make up the majority of the UK’s workforce, businesses need to understand what motivates and drives this generation when it comes to work and their career. So how can small businesses attract and retain millennials? Continue…

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employing staff from outside UKIn all businesses, the focus is on employing the right person for the role.

When the person you intend to hire is not a UK citizen, you need to be aware of the legal requirements to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

If you get things wrong you could be fined £20,000 for every worker you’ve wrongly employed. Some cases could even result in an unlimited fine and a 2 year prison sentence.

With such a lot at stake, we asked HR expert, Peter Done of Peninsula Business Services, to explain what employers’ need to know about taking on people from outside the UK. Continue…

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second business broadband lineRedundancy is a word many businesses would prefer to avoid, except for those businesses where redundancy means the inclusion of components to safeguard against the failure of vital equipment/services.

For example, radio stations build in redundancy at every level of their business that involves broadcasting their content: back-up microphones in studios; back-up studios; back-up transmission links; back-up power. Having these back-ups in place ensures the station can stay on air when some technology fails.

If your business relies on access to the internet, Nolan Braterman of Frontier Voice and Data argues that you should have a redundancy plan, to ensure your business doesn’t suffer when there is a broadband outage.

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5 questions to ask yourself before you start your own business

November 13, 2017

The inspiration to start a business can come anywhere at any time: in the pub, in the shower, in the supermarket, walking the dog. How many times has someone you know announced they’ve had a great business idea? And how many of those eureka moments ended up getting no further than a few notes on […]

10 tips to help you choose the right telecoms package for a start-up

November 9, 2017

As a start-up business you have a lot to think about but not a lot of time. Although a phone line and broadband connection are essential, you may feel that ‘all the providers are basically the same’ – so are tempted to just go with the telecoms provider that’s the easiest or the cheapest. If […]

Long term planning – how far into the future can you look

November 8, 2017

Long term planning is an oft-ignored aspect of running a business. Why is it so ignored? Because people think… It’s not useful. It’s not possible. In this article, I’m going to explain why long term planning is both useful and possible, and also provide some practical advice about how far ahead you can look when […]

A guide to setting up your first business website

November 6, 2017

Having an online presence is crucial for any modern business so that potential customers are able to find you online. However, many small businesses are missing out on the opportunities that being online bring. So if you’re yet launch your business online, or are thinking of starting a new business and want to make the […]

DBS checking employees – 6 tips to make sure you get it right

November 2, 2017

Whether you are a small or large business owner, it’s likely you will welcome any method that cuts down the level of effort and time needed to successfully perform a given activity. Employee recruitment and security checks can be time-consuming and laborious, so it’s helpful to know whether there are quicker routes that will benefit […]

How to use stories to make your business communication memorable

November 1, 2017

From primitive cave-paintings, etched long before words were first recorded, to modern-day classics such as Harry Potter, the power of stories has been used to move people. Stories we heard as a child – whether it is Aesop’s Fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, or fairy tales such as Cinderella – can create created […]

Setting up an induction process for new employees

October 30, 2017

Once the recruitment process has completed with your chosen candidate accepting your job offer and agreeing their starting date, this should not signal the end of your plans for the new recruit. To give the new employee the best opportunity to flourish you should set up an induction process. But what is an induction, or […]

How to attract investors to your tech start-up

October 26, 2017

Venture capital money going into technology companies in the UK is at an all-time high. A year post-Brexit referendum, British tech firms attracted £2.4bn in funding. To date this year, UK fintech companies alone have seen £825m of VC investment. So, what do investors look for in tech start-ups and how do you get a […]

Onsite & Offsite SEO: How to optimise your output

October 25, 2017

For startups and small businesses, getting down to the nitty gritty of SEO can be incredibly daunting; there are over 200 signals that Google looks for when ranking your website, and few small business owners will even have ever heard the term ‘offsite SEO’ before. With attracting customers to your website becoming an ever-more crucial […]

Asset Finance – A Guide for small business owners

October 23, 2017

Getting finance for your business is no longer just a case of approaching your high street bank manager and asking for a loan. The market is now much more varied, and boasts a huge range of products which have been tailored for more specific purposes. This means that depending on your requirements, it’s easier than […]

5 Business leadership tips for new business owners

October 20, 2017

So you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business. Does this mean that all the leadership stuff you learned about on your mini-MBA gets tossed out the window? Ah, the joys of throwing away the corporate policies manual, the bliss of not worrying about reporting lines and organizational structures. Well, yes and […]

Gold Mine or Moon Shot? How to tell if your business idea really is a winner

October 19, 2017

We are living in an exciting time… a time where technological changes are booming. Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing and the Internet of Things are just a few examples of these amazing technologies that are opening up a world of completely new opportunities. However, in order to turn the technological possibilities into economic […]

5 Ways to unlock finance for your startup business

October 16, 2017

Everybody understands that starting up a business from scratch is not a simple process or an easy challenge to take on. Regardless of how lofty your ambitions are or whether you’re aiming to establish yourself as a sole trader or as a the boss of a burgeoning new enterprise, finding access to initial and early-stage […]

8 Ways to turn buyers into loyal customers

October 12, 2017

In marketing, there a million ways to reach your customers. You can go big with a billboard, or far with a Facebook post, targeting potential customers city-wide, nationwide and globally. The internet has allowed us more reach than ever before, and while powerful, this means that we can easily lose the humanity of our marketing. […]

Creating a proactive mental health strategy for your business

October 10, 2017

According to Unum UK’s “Mental health as a workplace asset” report in partnership with The Mental Health Foundation and Oxford Economics, 15 percent of UK employees – 4.9 million people – are affected by common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Such issues are fast becoming a top priority for businesses both large […]

How to spot, and respond to, mental health problems in your business

October 10, 2017

Each year around ten million adults in the UK will experience mental ill health, meaning one in four of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lifetime. Over the past decade, mental health awareness has accelerated, and more and more employers now understand that mental health is not only a […]