How to set up and run a small business

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helping employees stay in auto enrolment company pensionWorkplace pensions are a legal requirement for all UK businesses no matter how small. Since 2012 more than 8 million people have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer.

With auto enrolment contribution levels set to rise on 6 April 2018, it’s more important than ever that small businesses improve pension awareness to prevent employees opting out of the company pension scheme. To help you do this, we asked Steve Butler, CEO, Punter Southall Aspire to reveal his tips on how you can help ensure how your staff continue to save for their retirement. Continue…


steps to growing your businessAsk a group business leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs what their biggest business challenge is, and I’m confident you’d hear the same recurring thought: building their business in a sustainable, predictable, yet profitable way, quickly.

It’s a reality that most businesses never reach their full potential, always yearning for the thing that will catapult them into significance, but never really finding it.

So to help you in your business growth journey, we asked global growth authority, Royston Guest, to share his take on the ABC of business growth;



technology to help your business growBritain’s entrepreneurial nature is highlighted by the fact that a new business is founded every hour. But only a small portion of these start-ups will make the leap to become a growing business that enjoys success at scale.

For the best chance of becoming a successful scale-up, small businesses need the right people, systems and processes in place, with an invest-to-grow mindset. They need to plan for the complexity, standardise and automate processes wherever possible and eliminate manual processes. Continue…


How to use Google Analytics to boost website resultsThere are a million things to think about when you start a small business. Your website alone is a field of rabbit holes – content, structure, design, SEO, social media integration – down any one of which you might lose yourself for days if you don’t know what you’re doing.

One area that small business owners tend to neglect, or to consider out of their league is web traffic analytics. Yet this form of stat management is nothing less than essential if you want to make your website a worthwhile proposition. Continue…


how mentor can help small business ownerThe Internet has opened up many avenues for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Ecommerce and online based services provide great opportunities for business start-ups, and, with this being the case, there are more small businesses now than ever.

The sad fact is many of these businesses don’t survive more than 5 years. However, there is hope. Research shows that having a mentor to guide you can be a game changer. Continue…


guide to content marketing

When you are looking for ways to promote your new start-up or small business you will, without doubt, soon hear the words, “content marketing”.

There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at the moment, but what does it actually mean and how can small business owners use content to help grow their business?

This guide answers those questions, and also offers useful, practical advice if you are considering incorporating content marketing as part of your marketing strategy. Continue…


why work experience benefits buisnessesThis week (5-9 March) marks National Careers Week, it highlights the importance of good careers education and support for young people leaving education. The week brings together schools, colleges and universities with employers to showcase best practice in careers guidance.

Work experience can help kickstart a career for young people, but it also offers many great opportunities for employers too. If managed effectively, a well-structured work experience programme can deliver returns from bringing in fresh insights, through to training the next generation of talent with the skills your business need. So, this National Careers Week we’re looking at how and why more SMEs can reap the rewards of offering work experience. Continue…


why saying thank you to staff boosts performanceStarting a business often consists of putting out fires. Despite all the planning and contingency scenarios, you may have drawn up in preparation, you usually have to rectify things that have gone wrong before you can focus on what’s right.

As you move past the start-up phase, you’ll want to flip that equation. Then, as you begin to identify what’s working well, look at the people on your team who are getting that good work done – and thank them for it. Continue…


where to put your advertising budget

Now that the panic-provoking headlines of “print is dead” have toned down to “well, not quite”, it’s safe to say that we all know there is value in both print and digital marketing.

The question that businesses are now asking themselves, is how exactly do we work out how to divide our budgets between print and digital marketing? Continue…


lead your business more effectively by planning aheadMost people have some opinions on what makes a good leader. High on the list in one form or another are “resolve” and “vision” – but these are pretty nebulous terms. How are aspiring leaders meant to achieve these qualities?

Neither quality guarantees success, and if a leader suffers setbacks, changes track or fails to provide the leadership they strive to, then that “resolve” and “vision” become harder to maintain.



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There are several ways to finance a business. These include bank loans, finance from independent lenders, and crowdfunding. Your capability of financing your business depends on convincing somebody else to invest in your idea and you.



startup strategy tipsYou have a great business concept. Now you just need to sell it – not to customers, well, not yet. But to your backer.

Your top sales tool is a business plan. But take care. Potential investors banish the vast majority of plans to the bin, so you need to make sure business plan does the business. Continue…


creating an inspirational speechIn a competitive business environment every business owners need to:

1) Keep raising their profile, and

2) Inspire others to make changes and take action.

To help you do this, we asked award-winning speaker, Simon Bucknall to reveal the practical steps you can take to raise your profile by public speaking and to share his Quick Start Guide for an Inspirational Speech which will help you to impress customers and inspire your team.



Becoming the best leader you can beWe call the best leaders for the 21st Century, Transpersonal Leaders. They lead beyond their ego, are radical, ethical and authentic whilst emotionally aware and caring, yet focused on performance enhancement and sustainability.

There are many differences between being a senior corporate executive of a large company and running your own small business (I know, I have done both) – but leadership is not one of them. Continue…


What small businesses can do to enure gender equalityThe issue of gender equality in the workplace has garnered much publicity in recent months and is one of the biggest issues facing employers in 2018.

Most of the media attention has surrounded information on Gender Pay Gap Reporting (GPGR) which forces companies with 250+ employees to publish a report detailing aspects of staff pay and bonuses.

Whilst smaller employers are not caught by this requirement, it will be wise for all employers to take appropriate measures to address gender equality in their workplace. So what steps can you take to do this? Continue…


business phones mobiles broadband voipEveryone wants to get the best deal on their telecoms – but buying just on price, is unlikely to give you a great return.

Not all telecoms solutions are the same; so, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you are comparing like for like.

To help you get the best deal on your business telecoms, we asked, telecoms specialist Dave Millett to reveal the key questions you need to ask when looking to get broadband, lines, mobiles and VOIP solutions for your business.


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getting your business ready for change

Change is constant in business and rapid technological advances are forcing companies to make significant changes. And frequently these changes need to be implemented rapidly.

Being able to swiftly adapt to new developments can be the difference between thriving and surviving, so we asked change implementation specialist, Philip Cox-Hynd, to outline how you can forge a company culture that embraces change.



The transition from being a manager to becoming business leader, is one that many new business owners will need to make. Often, the success or failure of your business depends on how well and how quickly you can adapt to this fundamental role change.

Never more so than in times of challenge, are leadership skills going to make the difference between a galvanized team of people and a disparate group. Here, Kate Tojeiro reveals 7 tips that will help you transform from a manager to a successful business leader; Continue…


copyright law and infringementCopyright infringement can be defined in numerous ways, some of which include piracy, theft and freebooting.

Legally, the term is used when an individual uses any works protected by copyright law, without permission, which then leads to the infringement of any exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder. Continue…


should you get MS Office 365For any small business, the decision to switch to a cloud-based system where all pieces of data can be stored online is one that’s worth deliberating.

Platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 have many benefits, but they might not always be suitable for every business. To help you decide whether or not it’s a system that works for your business, here are the pros and cons of using MS Office 365 for business. Continue…


How customer demands are reshaping the logistics industry

February 21, 2018

The logistics industry is heavily influenced by customers, and frankly delivery companies would not be able to operate without their consumers. With, the growth in ecommerce and the increasing demands from consumers for ever-faster delivery options, the logistics industry is being forced to adapt to meet this shift in expectations.

Checking to see if a VAT registration number is valid – Why it’s important, and the best way to do it

February 20, 2018

If you are dealing with a new customer or supplier and want to check whether the VAT registration number (VRN) they have supplied is valid, there are two ways you can do so. One method is to call the HMRC VAT Helpline, the other is to use the online VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) run […]

Why the customer relationship should now be TOP priority for any business

February 19, 2018

In the past, company leaders were focused first and foremost on the development of innovative products and operational excellence. Today, customer satisfaction is the absolute number one priority – a point confirmed by almost every recent survey of top managers, with 89% of company leaders now seeing customer experience as their biggest differentiator. Here, customer […]

The power of the ‘pilot’ – 3 reasons why you should test your new business before launch

February 16, 2018

Setting up a new business is an exciting, thrilling and all encompassing challenge! Personally, I think it is the best and most stretching form of personal and professional development that a person can do. Creating and selling your own products and services, building a network of happy customers and managing your own time are just […]

Starting a business with your partner – 10 Tips to working and living together successfully

February 15, 2018

To some starting a business with their partner is a great idea. A chance to spend more time together and to share the experiences of running a business. To others it’s a nightmare. The thought of spending virtually every waking hour in each other’s pocket is simply too over bearing. If you are thinking of […]

How to turn your experience into an awesome presentation

February 14, 2018

The most powerful place in any room is at the front, on the platform. What you do when you get there will have a dramatic impact on your business – for good or for bad. Do a good job, and win respect, admiration, and new business. Do poorly, and you’ll wish you had stayed home. […]

Planning a shakeup – How to plan for big changes in your business

February 13, 2018

The only thing you can be certain of in business is that things will change. This might be a slow change or a sudden sharp one, but either way, it’s important to prepare for the future. These changes are a lot easier to predict if you are the instigator of the change. You may decide […]

Tools that will make your startup team more productive

February 13, 2018

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How to prepare your business for crowdfunding

February 12, 2018

Crowdfunding is often seen as an easy route to raising money, but a major factor often overlooked is that it only works for certain types of businesses. This article explores what those businesses that suit crowdfunding typically look like, and for companies that don’t fit the mould, suggests some steps you can take to make […]

5 Key Facts businesses need to know about Open Banking

February 9, 2018

Open Banking is here and is about to transform competition in the banking and funding arenas. Since 13 January 2018 nine of the largest banks in the UK are governed by the new regulations introduced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). But what exactly is Open Banking, and how does it affect businesses across […]

4 Simple Steps to finding more customers

February 8, 2018

Finding customers is a vital skill for all startup and small business owners. Without big advertising budgets or marketing campaigns to bring new customers to your door, you need to know the smart ways to attract clients. To help you succeed, we asked growth coach and author, Robin Waite to reveal how to cut through […]

6 Facets of cybersecurity that small businesses need to be aware of in 2018

February 7, 2018

Every article on cybercrime makes alarming statements about the issue becoming more of a threat year after year. And sure enough, this was borne out in 2017 with some very high-profile cyber attacks, significantly impacting both the NHS and the UK government. So, as a small business owner, what are the key cybesecurity threats and […]

A Start-Up’s Guide to Co-working

February 6, 2018

Co-working spaces have grown in popularity over the last few years, and it is no surprise that many companies are now exploring the option of moving their business into the hub of a buzzing co-working environment. But what exactly is co-working, how does it differ from a typical office environment, and could it be a […]

Business telecoms in 2018 – Key factors, trends and questions

February 5, 2018

Technological developments are driving changes in all aspects of business. And business telecoms is no different. Startup and small businesses can reap the benefits the advances in technology are bringing, but they need to ask the right questions when it comes to the cloud, contracts, coverage and customers. So what are the key factors and […]

Having fun at work – Is it something your business should be aiming for?

February 2, 2018

What constitutes ‘fun’ at work, and why is ‘fun’ in the workplace deemed essential anyway? And more crucially for business owners, does having a fun workplace bring real benefits to the business? We asked change consultant, Philip Cox-Hynd to share his experience and reveal the 9 Do’s and Don’ts of building an open and honest […]

Motivating employees: How to energise your people to achieve great things

January 31, 2018

Your people are one of the most powerful forces available to you in realising your goals and ambitions, and the way you culturally think about your people strategy is critical to your commercial and business success. Getting the most out of your team is pivotal to a thriving business, so motivating your employees isn’t an […]