How to set up and run a small business

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Employee performance reviewsAs 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. Continue…

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What new employers need to knoa to set up payrollIf 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 it right and stay in line with what HMRC expects. Continue…

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the employee records employers should keep

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 business records, we asked Paul Ravey of Access Records Management to explain.

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tips to overcome project managenebt problemsOrganisations 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 involved, how long it will last and how much budget is assigned.

Yet it’s often the small projects that get completely out of control, experiencing scope creep, or eating up resources before it gets onto the radar of the project’s sponsors. Continue…

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online accounts for start-upsFrom 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 is mandatory for any business and being on top of your  finances will help your new business succeed so it’s something you want to get done quickly and efficiently. Continue…

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how to recover from a failed business

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 to shape his future success. Here, he shares his story and explains how to bounce back from a start-up failure.

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cyber safety tips and advice for small businessAccording 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 in force. Delaying action will put your business, your employees and your customers at risk.

It may seem like a challenging task but as Adam Louca, Chief Technologist – Security at Softcat explains, there are simple and affordable ways small businesses can strengthen their cyber defences.

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Guide to the Flat Rate VAT Scheme for small businessVAT 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. Continue…

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employed, self employed and workerIt 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 (employee, worker and self-employed) as this will help determine the rights of the individual and the obligations you have towards them. Continue…

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helping not selling

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 to achieve sales success it is no longer about selling, but about helping. Continue…

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how to solve cash flow problemsCash 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 of cash to pay staff or suppliers, your business will risk insolvency.

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how to get free publicity in local newspapers and media outletsGetting 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 local news, stories and events so if you can help a journalist deliver this, then you are well on the way to getting valuable press coverage for your business.

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GDPR Fact or Myth?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 of the new rules on UK businesses. But which are the GDPR myths and which are GDPR facts? Continue…

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what do crowdfunding investors look for in businesses 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 decisions.

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how to futureproof your businessThere’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 a changing landscape? Continue…

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Using Google My Business to get customersTo generate new leads in today’s online world, your business needs to be optimised for search engines – in particular Google.

Most small businesses know this and invest good time and money in their online strategy.

The challenge lies in achieving sustained search success and business map listings are a key part of this. Here’s how to achieve this with Google My Business. Continue…

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workplace stressThis year, Mental Health Awareness Week (14 – 20 May) is shining a spotlight on stress.

With one in six adults experiencing depression, anxiety or issues relating to stress at any one time, it’s important for smaller employers to recognise the signs that their team may be under too much stress.

Here, Jaan Madan of Mental Health First Aid England, highlights five ways small businesses can address workplace stress.

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stressed female employee

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives and the UK Government is taking this statistic seriously, recommending all companies with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support for their staff.

But what about smaller businesses? With millions of small businesses in the UK, making sure these businesses are equipped to support the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff is essential for keeping the majority of the working population healthy. Continue…

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Enterprise Investment Scheme - raising funding

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help smaller, risky businesses raise funding to fuel growth.

Early-stage businesses can find it difficult to secure investment, so the EIS was set up to encourage more investors to back fledgling businesses by offering generous tax-breaks.

To help you see whether the EIS could help you raise funding for your business, we asked award-winning chartered tax adviser, Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA to explain how it works. Continue…

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what you need to do when becoming self employedOne of the main benefits of becoming self employed is the ease with which you can start up and run your new business.

You can even become a sole trader (another term for self-employed) whilst working as an employee for someone else, so you can test the water and see whether working for yourself suits you.

To help you understand some of the most important issues, you’ll need to tackle, here are 5 things you need to do when you decide to go self employed: Continue…

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Incentivising and rewarding staff with an EMI share option scheme

May 3, 2018

For many companies, staff retention is a key issue. Giving employees a slice of the business can foster a sense of ownership and can be a key element in retaining and rewarding them. One of the most widely used methods of achieving this is the use of Enterprise Management Incentive (“EMI”) Share Option Schemes. EMI […]

3 Ways Inbound Marketing can help grow your sales

May 2, 2018

Inbound marketing is an essential tool for any online business. By creating and distributing useful content, the aim is to attract potential customers to your products and services. Ultimately the purpose of inbound marketing is to create sales. So, here we examine ways that you can hone your inbound marketing tactics to engage with more […]

How to choose the best online accounting software for your business

May 1, 2018

Small business accounting software has changed massively in recent years. Thankfully, the advent of cloud computing has consigned the days of buying book-keeping software in a box and installing it on your own computer to history. Nowadays, start-ups and small business can choose from a whole host of online accounts software packages. The technology helps […]

9 Things small employers need to know about the GDPR

April 30, 2018

Recent research has suggested that 39% of SMEs haven’t spent any time planning or preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over the last year. With the clock ticking down rapidly to May 25 when the rules come into force, if you’re one of the small businesses that haven’t planned for GDPR, you need […]

Direct mail or email – Which marketing option is better for my business?

April 27, 2018

Technology has enabled us to communicate faster than ever. In the digital age, email tops the list of many people’s favoured way of communication, mainly because it’s faster than letters – or even phone calls. So, in a world where communication is dominated by instant messaging, email and social media, is there still a place […]

What are the alternatives if your broadband doesn’t meet your business needs?

April 25, 2018

For small businesses broadband is an essential requirement and yet for many people it’s hard to get the level of service they want from their supplier. Why is this and what steps can you take to get the quality of broadband you need to run your business successfully? We asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett to […]

How to retire sooner by making just one single change to your retirement planning

April 24, 2018

Once upon a time, not too long ago (up until 6 April 2011 to be exact), employers could force workers to retire at 65. However, since the abolition of the Default Retirement Age, you can continue to work well after 65 if you choose to. Many business owners enjoy working, and do continue working after […]

How using ‘simplified expenses’ can save you time if you’re self employed

April 23, 2018

Wrestling with your accounts is certainly not the highlight of working for yourself, but getting your finances right is an important part of being self-employed. Claiming business expenses can help you to cut your tax bill but, knowing what, and how much you can claim for isn’t straightforward. Fortunately, HMRC allow the self employed to […]

How the new EIS Guidelines impact crowdfunding

April 20, 2018

When it comes to start-up investment, the UK has some of the best tax relief schemes anywhere in the world. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), along with its earlier-stage sibling the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), offer protection of investments in UK start-ups. If the business fails, investors can claim up to 80% of the […]

Tax efficient ways to pay yourself through a limited company

April 18, 2018

There are a variety of reasons why businesses or consultants may choose to operate via a limited company. For some, the protection limited liability offers if things go wrong is an attraction, for others, the potential tax benefits are the main reason why they choose to be a limited company over a sole trader. To explain […]

Minimum Wage and statutory rates increases – April 2018

April 17, 2018

The beginning of April has likely been a hectic time for many employers, with usual accounting and financial deadlines sandwiched in between important updates to employment law rates and payments. Here, we outline the increases in the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage and other statutory payments, all business owners need to abide by from […]

How to set up a taxi business

April 13, 2018

If you are thinking of starting up a taxi business, the most important and initial steps to take are to research the UK taxi industry as a whole, find a unique selling point, choose a brand name and obtain the relevant equipment, employees and licenses. Nowadays, with emergence of taxi apps like Uber and Get […]

Why small businesses should embrace GDPR and be ready for May 25

April 12, 2018

Data is vital for many businesses looking to take their productivity and profitability to the next level. Yet according to our research, 56% of UK small businesses have concerns about their current data collection processes. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to become law in May 2018, every UK business needs to ensure […]

5 Cybersecurity quick-wins for startups

April 9, 2018

You don’t need to be a multi-national enterprise to be an enticing target for cyber criminals. Half of small business owners experience at least one type of cyber-attack over a one-year period, research from Nationwide’s Small Business Indicator survey revealed. The reality is poor cyber security awareness and a lack of dedicated IT professionals make […]

The 10 Steps to successfully managing a project

April 5, 2018

Businesses operate by planning and executing a series of never-ending projects, though we may not always see it that way. Everything from running a successful marketing campaign, to taking over a rival company, is essentially a project that requires the same rules to be followed. So here are 10 steps that will help you to […]

10 Data Science terms every business leader needs to know

April 4, 2018

There is a lot of talk about data science, big data, AI, and IoT these days, but what is the reality behind the hype? What do these terms actually mean, and what impact could these have on your business? Let’s take a look at 10 of the highest profile tech terms affecting businesses in 2018;