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real time marketing word cloud

Real-time marketing (RTM), the strategy and practice of reacting with immediacy in digital channels to external events and triggers, has been steadily growing in use and popularity.

An expanding array of tools and digital channels (e.g., social media and listening capabilities) has made real-time accessible, in theory at least, to virtually every marketer.

As digital channels increasingly function in real-time, all marketing organizations must consider to what degree they, too, will adapt, so here are 12 steps to help you get ready for real-time marketing; Continue…

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employees collaborating document teamwork 

From greater productivity and coming up with new and exciting ideas, to boosting morale and motivation, there are lots of advantages to working together. New businesses may be searching for effective and efficient ways to help promote teamwork and one of the best ways to do this is through document collaboration.

Document collaboration has a number of benefits. Most notably, it keeps everyone ‘in the loop’.

The practice makes it easy to see changes, understand processes, and maintain strong communications, both internally and externally. However, while some may think of collaboration as being simple, getting it right can be tricky.

So to help you get it right first time, we asked, author and document management specialist, Kent Raju to share his tips on how startups and small businesses can successfully collaborate on documents: Continue…

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how to choose right phone system for your business

 

As internet access becomes increasingly universal, more and more businesses are turning to cloud phone systems (also known as PBX, virtual or internet phone systems and VoIP) instead of traditional landlines.

The benefits of a cloud phone system are numerous – they’re more flexible, allowing team members to make and receive calls without being tied to their desk, and they’re often more cost-effective for smaller businesses.

If you’re thinking of moving to a cloud phone system, or setting up your first business phone system, this guide will help you to work out which features you’ll need, and what to look out for when choosing a phone system supplier. Continue…

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job advert in newspaper

 

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business.

One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will be to write a job advert. However, there are legal implications, as well as practical concerns regarding the advertising of job vacancies, that employers need to be aware of.

If you get this crucial part of the recruitment process right, the next steps are more likely to go smoothly, but get it wrong and you could get into hot water.

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Questions to ask about SEO

 

A website can be a very powerful marketing tool for start-ups and small businesses. An effective site helps smaller firms to reach out to a huge audience of potential new customers and take on bigger rivals.

However, the battle to be found online can be fierce, so if you want your small business website to be successful, you will need to look at search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s commonly referred to.

With SEO becoming more complex and specialised, many small businesses look to outsource the work to an agency. But with so many practitioners and firms out there offering SEO services it can be tricky to find the reputable providers.

To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here are the 5 questions you should ask an SEO agency before you think about hiring them.
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PR Tips for start-ups

June 16, 2017

PR tips for new businesses

 

As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.

Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.

In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.

So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;

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It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick.

One of the best ways to increase happiness and morale throughout your business is by implementing an employee engagement scheme.

Here, Steve King, Director of Gifts International, explains how you can help your staff to be happier and more productive with an employee engagement scheme.

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signing telecoms contract agreement

 

To some extent we are all caught in a telecoms trap. Whether you are in services, retail, or manufacturing your start-up or small business must have some form of telecoms.

This gives some suppliers an opportunity to bamboozle customers with jargon and complicated long-term contracts. It can even get to the point where when you have a query and consider moving supplier you are promptly told, “sorry you are still under contract.”

But are you really always bound by such a contract, and do you have any options to get out of a telecoms contract you aren’t happy with?

We asked Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage, Equinox,  to give you the inside-track on business telecoms contracts; Continue…

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You may have attended presentations that dragged or others that gripped people throughout. Perhaps you have given talks yourself and wondered what really makes the difference.

Whatever the situation, there are numerous factors that affect your chances of success. Everything you do contributes to the overall audience experience and even small things make a big difference.

This guide gives you 9 proven, practical tips to deliver more engaging and more effective presentations. Each one makes a positive impact, and you will know best which will be most useful in your own presentations. Continue…

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Prospecting research to find customers

 

Prospecting is the foundation of B2B sales strategies. Or at least, it should be. Many businesses aren’t prospecting as well as they could be, if at all.

Research-led sales prospecting is a highly targeted, measurable way of identifying businesses for your salespeople to approach. It is important to realise that prospecting is not lead generation.

While prospecting can provide a framework that the sales team can use to qualify leads that come in (as we’ll explore), it is otherwise a distinct activity wholly concerned with finding and approaching the businesses that make up your target audience.

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Advanatges of running a business as a sole trader

For those new to the world of business there are many things to consider. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when you’re starting a business is whether to set up as a sole trader (self employed) or limited company.

Both sole traders and limited companies have their distinct advantages and disadvantages (make sure you read our guide on 10 Advantages of running your business as a limited company instead of being self-employed to learn the main benefits of the limited company option).

Whilst the professionalism and protection that comes with running a limited company is appealing to many, becoming self-employed is the more straightforward option, and with it comes a number of other benefits.

So to help you make the right choice when deciding whether you should go self employed or set up a limited company when launching your new business, here are 7 key benefits of working as a sole trader; Continue…

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Using platforms to increase sales and grow business

We live in a platform economy dominated by one or two big companies in every industry: but small businesses should see this as an opportunity not a threat, says Steven Van Belleghem. Continue…

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how to choose an interim managerBusinesses often find themselves requiring some management resources and skills on a temporary basis.

Hiring an interim manager, or an entire management, team can ensure the business successfully fills this temporary, but urgent, business gap.

To help you understand if your business could benefit from the input of an interim manager, we asked Clive Hyman of Hyman Capital Services to explain when an interim manager make sense and how to go about hiring the right person. Continue…

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10 advantages of a limited company

Although the sole trader route, which is commonly referred to as being self employed, is the most popular way of running a business in the UK, there are significant advantages of operating as a limited company.

Here, we highlight 10 of the biggest benefits a limited company gives you over working as self-employed;
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planning your business for short term and long term success

Planning ahead is important. It helps you to understand where you want to get to and how you’re going to get there.

However, financial planning can be a bit of a mystery for many small business owners. So to help demystify it, we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to answer the questions business owners often ask about financial planning;

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Power of business blogSetting up and running a small business isn’t easy. We all know that.

The first few years are often spent seeking the answers to — what seems like — a never ending list of questions, like, “Who is my target audience?” and “How do I reach them?”

Whatever industry you’re in, we all strive for the same thing: more website visitors, more valuable leads, more sales and more loyal customers. But how can you achieve this? Continue…

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Attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the right people is crucial to the success of any business.

Staff turnover is costing businesses more than ever and recent research from the Recruitment and Employment Federations reveals that companies are reporting skill shortages across 60 different types of role including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants.

Not only that but the world of work is changing so rapidly that jobs that will be essential in three years’ time, don’t even exist yet.

The stakes for many employers have never been higher. It’s vital to compete to get the right people if your business is to flourish but what’s the best way to do this? Continue…

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Disciplinary inestigation

A disciplinary investigation is the first important step in carrying out a full and fair disciplinary process. It is one step that employers may find insignificant but, on the contrary, a proper investigation will generally lead to a smoother disciplinary rocedure.

An investigation is key as it is required by the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and will be taken in to account by an employment tribunal when deciding compensation awards. It is usually detailed in a company’s disciplinary policy and procedure which should be followed internally.

Here’s what every business owner needs to know about a disciplinary investigation; Continue…

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Change is happening rapidly in the business world. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and ever improving technology at almost level are just a few of the new trends that business owners will need to deal with in the next five years.

With these trends being pivotal for businesses of every size, we asked Rohit Talwar and Steve Wells of Fast Future Publishing to highlight the 20 future factors that business owners will need to address as they chart their course to tomorrow;

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Part 2 of; The Future of Business – 20 Key Trends leaders should know.  Continue…

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What is Corporation Tax?

May 11, 2017

When you set up a limited company, your annual profits will be subject to Corporation Tax. Dealing with your corporation tax issues is one of your accountant’s key tasks. However, it is ultimately the directors of a limited who are responsible for ensuring that a company’s tax affairs are in order. As a director of […]

Two big reasons to choose a workplace pension scheme that invests responsibly

May 10, 2017

With auto enrolment now well into its fifth year, you’re likely to be familiar with the workplace pension reforms and what they mean for you and your workers. What some employers may not have thought much about is that, as a result of auto enrolment, millions of workers are getting a stake in companies around […]

Local SEO for Startups: What you need to know before you start

May 8, 2017

According to recent research by Google on search behaviour, a whopping 50% of all people who conducted searches on local businesses visited the business the same day. If you’re a startup owner and serve clients locally, this might sound like music to your ears. People who conduct local searches are highly motivated and are looking […]

The 4 Rs of getting more business from your existing customer base

May 5, 2017

Marketing is about getting more business – and that includes getting more value out of your existing customer base – through delivering them multiple times the value you get. If all you did was chase new clients, then you would be regularly losing the ones you already have, which means you would need to be […]

How to recover from a business failure, fast

May 3, 2017

Nobody enjoys failure, but everyone experiences it at least a few times in their life and especially as a small business owner. While it’s one of those things that most people like to gloss over, failing is actually a hugely valuable experience, as long as you know how to make the most of it. Leigh […]

5 ways for small businesses to get smarter about using data

May 2, 2017

Many small business owners view ‘big data’ as something exclusively for large businesses. But that isn’t the case. Astute small business can benefit from using data to grow sales. To help business owners understand more about ‘big data’ and how they can benefit from it too, we asked Oliver Rowbory to explain;

How to choose the right business loan

April 28, 2017

There are lots of things to think about if you’re considering taking out a business loan. The UK’s business lending market includes a wide range of providers offering subtly different types of business loans. Some are aimed at a particular type of business, or companies of a certain size or those operating in a specific […]

6 Steps to setting up your first ‘Pop-Up Shop’

April 26, 2017

Pop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment. In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing […]

How to tackle disputes in the workplace

April 24, 2017

It’s not uncommon that when an employee makes a complaint about a fellow colleague that employers wish to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue. A getting on with business approach, however, is unlikely to solve the dispute and can cause the situation to spiral out of control. Employers who manage disputes […]

VAT registration – when should you register for VAT?

April 21, 2017

Your business should register for VAT if your “taxable supplies” over the past 12 months has exceeded the VAT registration threshold.

6 Things you need to know before trying to raise funding through Alternative Finance

April 20, 2017

Since the recession of 2008/2009, there has been a significant reduction in the ability of banks to lend to British SMEs. Whilst mainstream finance is still great for some businesses, many banks now have lending criteria that small businesses are unable to fulfill. Fortunately, ‘alternative finance’ can offer a viable substitute for entrepreneurs looking for […]

A beginner’s guide to testing your financial plan

April 18, 2017

According to Bloomberg’s infamous, mythical study, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months. The Bloomberg figure has been shown to be nonsense, but business failure statistics given by other sources still report business closure rates of 20-40% within the first 2 years of trading, which is still a very high failure […]

Becoming the type of leader people want to emulate and do business with

April 12, 2017

People learn through observing others – how they act, how they react, how they make others feel. They do it so they can work out how to be successful, or to survive. They do it so they can emulate them, or avoid their mistakes. When we are leaders, it means they are observing us and […]

Purpose, values and goals: The 3 Key ingredients for a successful business

April 10, 2017

Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Acknowledging this as the key motivator for everyone involved in your business will help you to nurture the best achievements and results. Neuroscientific research taking place around the world is beginning to piece together connections between the brain and behaviour, […]

Harness the “Power of Three” to nail your pitch

April 7, 2017

If you’re a start-up, chances are you are going to have to get out there and tell people about your new venture. What you say, and how you say it, is a lot more important than you may realise. When it comes to communicating what you do, you don’t want to make a rookie error, […]

Part-time Entrepreneurs – How, and why, more young people are juggling a career and their own business

April 6, 2017

The days of a “job for life” are long gone. Millennials are starting their careers in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, but they are also equipped with the skills and attitude to react quickly to changes and spot new opportunities. The trend of young people changing jobs more frequently is one perhaps one […]