How to set up and run a small business

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testing your business ideaSetting 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 three of the perks that come with starting and running your own business.

But all too often, I meet entrepreneurs who are burnt out, stressed and lacking in sufficient income. This is often because they did not trial their business ideas before they got stuck in. So today, I want to convince you that you should ‘pilot’ your business idea before you launch your new venture for real.
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tips to successfully runnning a business with your partner

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 going into business with your spouse, there’s added pressure to succeed. So we asked Vicki Ashman, who co-founded Scrumpies of Mayfair with her husband, to share 10 valuable lessons she has learned about how to run a successful business venture with your partner.

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how to produce and deliver a great presentationThe 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.

When you have the opportunity to do a presentation or give a speech, will you seize it, or head for the hills? If you’ve got expertise to share, speaking to an audience can bring tremendous rewards.

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Planning for change at your businessThe 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 to take on a partner, move location, change the way you sell, change what you sell, or even sell the business itself. Continue…

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Raising finance for your busienss through crowdfundingCrowdfunding 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 your venture more attractive to crowdfunding investors.

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open banking affects small businessOpen 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 the UK? Here are five key facts you need to know about Open Banking: Continue…

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How to get customersFinding 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 the noise to reach customers.

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Cyber security issues 2018Every 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 issues you need to watch out for in 2018, and how can can you guard your business against these? Continue…

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co-working space - LondonCo-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 good choice for your business?

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business telecoms - what business owners need to think aboutTechnological 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 trends small business owners need to think about when it comes to business telecoms in 2018? Continue…

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Having a fun workplace - advice and tipsWhat 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 work culture where employees feel valued and engaged. Continue…

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finding emotional trigger to boost employee performanceYour 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 optional extra.

The key to really energising your staff is finding their motivational triggers. Best-selling author, Royston Guest, explains how you can do this.

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what insurance policy should tradesmen getTradesmen who are looking for the most appropriate type of insurance when setting up a business can often find themselves confused with the sheer number of options available on the market.

From the all-encompassing tradesman insurance, to policies tailored to specific trades, e.g. electrician insurance, the choice can be overwhelming. So to help you work out what policy would suit you, we’re taking a look at the compulsory and optional insurance cover tradesmen can choose from. Continue…

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should you get a leased line for your business

While, you may be willing to put up with a bit of buffering if you’re trying to watch YouTube comedy clips, a slow connection can be no joke for your business.

If slow connection is an issue for your business, your service will almost certainly be ADSL over a standard copper phone line. In these circumstances, it may be cost-effective to upgrade to a leased line Continue…

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digital marketing - new developments & key trends 2018Digital marketing never stays static, and 2018 is going to be no exception.

As a small business owner, or the person responsible for marketing in a small organisation, what do you need to know at the start of this year to stay ahead of your competition?

We asked Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual, to reveal the key digital marketing trends that every business owner will need to get to grips with in 2018. Continue…

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Prince2 - 7 Principles f project managementAll businesses go through change as they grow and develop and it will become likely that at some stage every business will take on a project of some sort, whether that’s the delivery of a new IT system, reducing wastage in the supply chain or developing a new website.

Many business projects can be complex and protracted affairs that go on for months and take up a lot of precious resources. An understanding of project management will therefore help business leaders to keep things on track and avoid lengthy and costly delays. Continue…

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finding the best market opportunityCommercialising your innovative ideas requires constant, large leaps forward. This requires great speed, to make sure that your market isn’t filled by your competition.

Yet speed is useless if you aren’t running in the right direction, that is – if you are not pursuing a promising enough market.

If you are too blinkered, you might miss out on blockbuster opportunities. On the other hand, if you spread the net too wide, you risk running yourself into the ground, with too many commitments and too few assets.

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Finding investors to support fledgling businessOne of the biggest obstacles to growth for start-up businesses is investment. Investors are often reluctant to commit their money to a new business with a promising idea but no track record of success.

Fortunately the Government lent a helping hand in 2012, and introduced the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to help smaller, riskier companies attract investors willing to take a punt on a bright idea becoming a successful business. Continue…

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Building a business isn’t just about making money. It’s about building a workplace that people want to be part of.

Whether you are building a new business or part of an existing one, you can and should take steps to make the culture of the workplace a positive one.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the challenges that workplaces face, why it’s important to focus on workplace wellbeing and how to change your workplace for the better. Continue…

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How to manage staff holidays

January 22, 2018

managing employee annual leaveAll workers are entitled to receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave. Whilst this is a benefit for staff, employers can find themselves struggling to manage staff holidays around their business needs.

Even large companies can find managing holidays difficult, for example, Ryanair’s recent flight cancellations were caused by too many pilots booking leave off at the same time.

To help make sure your business runs smoothly, here is an overview of how you can successfully manage staff holiday.

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5 Ways small businesses can implement a successful CSR program

January 19, 2018

When it comes to implementing an effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, small business leaders can often feel overwhelmed. However, CSR activity shouldn’t be reserved just for the big players. Small businesses can also enjoy the benefits a good CSR program can bring.

Confident SMEs plan to drive growth in 2018 with innovation and customer focus

January 18, 2018

New research finds the UK’s SMEs are optimistic about the global economy and their role in it – and indicates that they are going ‘back to basics’ to unlock ambitious growth over the next 12 months. The study also suggests that Britain’s SMEs could be ripe for international expansion.

10 of the most common workplace accidents and injuries

January 18, 2018

There are hundreds of thousands of accidents – many of them serious – in workplaces every year. That’s why it’s so important for every small business owner to take the proper precautions. Of course, even the best prepared among us can still fall victim to accidents at work. But to be forewarned is to be […]

Thinking of going self-employed? The key finance & tax points you’ll need to get right

January 17, 2018

In recent years there has been a large increase in the number of individuals working for themselves in a trade, profession or vocation. Becoming self employed is a new and exciting chapter of life, but it is crucial to get all the basics right to ensure that your new business is as successful as possible. […]

Guide to National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for small business owners

January 16, 2018

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 […]

Getting started with Google AdWords – A Step by Step guide for small businesses

January 15, 2018

A lot of small businesses start using AdWords in the hope that it will help them increase sales with small investment. This isn’t true. Yes, AdWords can help you increase sales but only with the right investment. To get the return on investment you’re hoping for, you will need to set up your account properly […]

How to overcome your speaking nerves by turning fear into your friend

January 11, 2018

When you’re starting a new business or part of a small team, public speaking is an essential skill and yet one that many of us fear so much. As a small business owner you need to be the face of your own business and being able to impress rooms full of people will open lots […]

Sole Trader Tax – A Guide for start-ups and the newly self employed

January 11, 2018

In this 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.

The best UK cities for co-working

January 10, 2018

A new study examining 18 major UK cities reveals; Edinburgh is the most popular city for co-working spaces Leeds and Bristol are the next best. Brighton & Hove named as least favourable city. London near the bottom of the rankings.

Preparing to raise finance for your business – 6 Steps to success

January 9, 2018

Any time is a good time to start a company, so said renowned American angel investor Ron Conway. That may be true, but how easy is it to find the necessary funding? The answer largely depends on your understanding of how fundraising should be done.

A Guide to business credit cards and using them as a short term funding solution

January 8, 2018

There’s a huge variety of finance solutions available to small businesses these days, and each have their own pros and cons. What works for one business may not work for another, and you may use a number of different products to finance your cashflow, short-term projects, or long-term growth plans. Many companies find business credit […]

5 Ways to make your blog content SEO-friendly

January 5, 2018

Blogging is something a lot of small business owners do. When it’s done well it can be a great low-cost way to reach out to potential customers. However, many new businesses can find that the effort they put into their blog isn’t as well rewarded as they’d hoped. So to help you realise all the […]

A Guide to employee perks and benefits for small businesses

January 4, 2018

As salaries, working hours and development opportunities are becoming more aligned from business to business, offering staff perks, benefits or incentives is a way of attracting, and retaining, talent. Glassdoor, the career site, say that 57% of all workers rate perks and benefits as one of the top factors they consider when deciding whether to […]

5 ways small businesses can effectively communicate brand messages without big budgets

January 3, 2018

The number of businesses in the UK is at a record high. It’s exciting the country is a fantastic place to start a business, but, it also means today’s business landscape is more competitive than ever before. With lots of competition for customers it’s imperative you find ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace […]

8 Common mistakes new business owners make

January 2, 2018

Building a successful new business is a roller-coaster. There will be days you know you couldn’t do anything else, and days you wish you did. Sometimes you’ll be on top of the world, but at other times it will be a struggle to drag yourself out of bed. In the high-stakes world of starting a […]

Could you cut your tax bill by claiming some of these business expenses?

December 22, 2017

Whether you’re a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company, you may be paying more tax than you need to, and you won’t be alone. Many business owners don‘t realise that the expenses they can claim against income go beyond rent, rates, equipment, marketing, insurance and salaries. How about food, holidays and school fees? […]