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If you have approached your bank and found it difficult to secure the funds your business requires, you’re in good company. Banks are declining up to 50% of loan requests from some smaller businesses.
Banks’ lending decisions have very little to do with you or the prospects of your business. And their outdated processes and high costs of capital make it difficult for them to lend to smaller businesses.
Business owners are also being frustrated by the inability of banks to provide flexible forms of credit to businesses. This is highlighted by the fact that the availability of business overdrafts, long a favorite tool for businesses to smooth cash flow, has shrunk by more than 30%.
So where else can you get funding for your business?
Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome.
In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Co-creation brings many benefits to businesses, such as;
- Team members feel respected and honoured, and they know their contributions make a difference.
- Job satisfaction and creativity is ignited, there is a positive flow of ideas, and problems get solved in surprisingly simple and practical ways.
- Staff remain loyal and stay longer because they love what they do.
For the entrepreneur, co-creation can be a challenge, a real anathema. The building of a business demands resolve and determination to push through ideas in the face of disbelief and scepticism.
For business owners who have honed such skills, co-creation may not come naturally. They struggle to let go of being in charge, and risk blocking further evolution of the business. Maybe this is due to a subconscious belief that no one can do the job as well as them – or indeed, a dread that others may do it better.
Negotiations can often be a mysterious process. Maybe the conversation has reached a sticky point, no one is budging and tempers are beginning to rise. Then one person says something and the whole situation transforms. You strike a great deal and everyone is best friends.
How did that happen? How did they know just what to say?
With negotiating being such a key skill in starting and running your own successful business, Simon Horton, author of The Leader’s Guide to Negotiation, reveals 5 phrases that you can use to get any negotiation back on track. Continue…
Parents, politicians, pundits, pub philosophers. They all have something in common – an arsenal of adages, aphorisms, proverbs, mottos and maxims. But of all the oft-used phrases you’ve heard in your life, which do you think sticks with people most?
- Give a hundred and ten percent
- Never say never
- Game of two halves
- Winter is coming
You may think that giving presentations is something that happens in a big corporate, but not in your start-up or small business. Not true!
We’re all giving mini-presentations and pitches several times a day, and getting your message across in a digital world where everyone is mildly ADHD is more vital for business success than ever.
Whether you’re speaking with a potential customer over the phone or pitching your start up idea to investors, you have a choice between doing it in a forgettable way – like elevator music – or making it rock!
If you want your message to be remembered, then just recall how a well-crafted three-minute song stays in your mind forever. So to let’s pick apart the techniques that songwriters use to achieve this effect and look at how we can apply them to make our presentations rock!
When considering great customer experience (CX), it can be helpful to picture a shopkeeper.
The more we visit the shop, the better the shopkeeper gets to know us. After a few visits, the shopkeeper initially learns our name; then what products we like and have previously purchased; when we’re likely to need more of them; and finally to the stage where they can make recommendations of what we might like to try.
Such a role is now expected, and even demanded, of all the brands consumers interact with. The days of a one-size-fits-all approach to customer communications are long gone. Today, brands need to forge personal relationships, similar to that which people enjoy with their favourite local store. Continue…
You’ve got to be a bit of an optimist to start a new business. This positive outlook undoubtedly helps you to get through the ups and downs of starting your own business, but it’s worth investing in a bit of negative thinking too.
When astronaut Chris Hadfield described his preparation to go into space, his focus was not on how fantastic it was going to be when he got there but on being ready to deal with the things that could kill him, so he could get to come back again.
This approach has parallels for how we start up too – we can dream of the big fabulous destination, but we have to expect that we will need to overcome challenges to be a success.
Running a startup is about stepping up to run a messy marathon, not hunkering down to run a perfect sprint. We have to make sure we can go the distance and this means we need to talk about embracing failure, affordable risk and filling the weak spots.
The area of tax for small businesses is not straightforward, in fact it can be a real minefield for the unwary. However, if you take a little time, and work with your accountant, it’s usually possible to find ways to save some tax.
To help you think about ways you and your business could pay less tax, we’ve asked Simon Cox of Forbes Watson Accountants to share 10 of the best ways small business owners can look to pay less tax. They are designed to make you stop and think. Are you doing everything you can do to save tax? Is your advisor helping you to do so?
In this concise guide, we look at the taxes you will encounter if you start your own business as a sole trader, and other things you should bear in mind before taking the plunge and becoming self employed.
Becoming a sole trader is the simplest way to get your new business off the ground.
You can start trading immediately, subject to any industry-specific licences or insurances you might be required to have.
As a sole trader, you will have complete control over your business and finances. You can adapt quickly to any changes in your business, without having to concern yourself with a great deal of bureaucracy.
National Insurance is a deduction from earnings, set up originally to fund various State benefits such as the NHS, the State pension and other welfare-related schemes.
In reality, it is just another tax. In fact, as standard income tax rates have remained constant for many years, NI rates have soared.
In this guide we look at how National Insurance works, and what your National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will be as a small business person. The guide has been updated with the NIC rates for the 2016/17 tax year. Continue…
Nobody goes into business to make staff redundant. However, it is a task that many business owners will need to undertake at some point
Redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee, but it is vital that you get this procedure right as failure to do so could result in an unfair dismissal claim at the employment tribunal.
Here’s a step by step guide to the redundancy process, and how to negotiate it safely.
Human history provides countless examples of leadership be it in the political, economic or military sphere. But no two leaders are alike and some leaders have left a far more distinctive mark on history than others.
To lead other people you need to be able to communicate clearly. Indeed, many successful leaders such as Winston Churchill have been able to inspire others through the power of the spoken word.
But inspiration also requires another ingredient besides communication. It requires a vision.
New start-ups and small businesses often fail to give much thought to their standard “Terms and Conditions of Business” (T&Cs). That is, until there is a dispute with a customer, by which time it may be too late.
Business owners who are unaware of the importance of T&Cs can even find that they are conducting business on their customer’s Terms and Conditions of Business. This can happen when a customer successfully substitutes their own T&Cs for yours. If this is the case, you could be in for a very nasty shock when a customer complains.
To help make sure you protect your business, and only work on the basis of your Terms and Conditions of Business, we asked Sheren Thiara, of Wright Hassall Solicitors, to explain why T&Cs are so crucial for businesses and to give some practical advice on how you make sure the work you do is under your standard T&Cs.
For a small business, email marketing offers an inexpensive but effective and efficient way to engage with your customers, and attract new ones – so long as the right planning has been put in place first.
It creates and maintains communication, helping to keep your brand front of mind and build customer loyalty. Campaigns can be designed around a specific purpose, e.g. to boost sales, or to increase website traffic, and they can be targeted – you decide who receives which email.
Most importantly, and unlike many other marketing options, its results are measurable – the best email marketing platforms will even provide you with reports outlining how successful your campaign has been, and what aspects worked best.
This makes it an excellent choice for small businesses with a limited marketing budget. As long as you take the time to really think about what you want to get out of it, it is also simple – follow these 6 steps for planning and implementing your campaign, and you won’t go wrong. Continue…