How to set up and run a small business

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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 comes into force in just a few days.

We’ve known about this radical new change in privacy and data protection law for over two years and finally the day is almost upon us when the new regulation becomes law on 25th May.

The past two years have allowed plenty of time for numerous myths to bubble up about the impact of the new rules on all UK organisations. 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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Retaining and rewarding key staff with EMI share optionsFor 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 Share Options are significantly more generous than ordinary share options from a tax perspective so can help you attract and incentivise key staff, in a very tax-effective manner. We asked John Leyden FCA, to explain how.

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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 prospects and move them along the path to purchase.

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choosing best online accounts package for your businessSmall 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 to ease the pain of book-keeping and accounts for small business owners and provides a range of other benefits too.

But with so many different web-based accounting solutions out there, how do you choose the right system for you and your business?

That’s where this guide comes in. If you follow the advice, and ask these questions, you should be able to quickly narrow down the field, and ultimately choose the best online accounting software for your needs.

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What small employers need to know about GDPRRecent 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 to prepare for its consequences right now.

The GDPR marks the start of a radical new data protection landscape, with significant penalties if your business doesn’t comply, so here are 9 key points small employers need to watch out for. Continue…

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Pros and cons of email marketing and direct mailTechnology 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 in the marketing mix for direct mail?

As David Manton explains, direct mail may be slower, but it still has a lot to offer businesses. Continue…

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alternatives to main broadband suppliersFor 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 explain what alternative options you have if your business can’t get the broadband service you want from one of the main suppliers.
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Cut your pension fees boost your pension fundOnce 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 retirement age, but what if you do not want to work after the age of 65?

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claiming expenses when you are a sole trader and simplifies expenses for the self employedWrestling 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 use ‘simplified expenses’ to claim certain allowable business expenses without having to make complicated calculations.

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Crowdfunding new HMRC EIS GuidelinesWhen 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 investment as tax relief against their income tax bill. Continue…

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Paying yourself tax efficiently through a limited companyThere 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 more about the tax advantages of a limited company, we asked Manchester based accountants Alexander & Co to outline the tax-effective ways you can pay yourself if you own a limited company. Continue…

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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;

The single most important tool that enables your business to adapt to change

April 3, 2018

When you are starting, or running a business you’re never quite sure what’s around the next corner. However, the one thing you can be certain of is change. So for your business to succeed, you need to embrace change and adapt to what it brings. To help you do this, we’ve asked Jonathan MacDonald, author […]

Six lessons I’ve learned launching a tech start-up

March 28, 2018

Anyone who decides to launch their own company is bound to experience challenges along the way, and these challenges will all be different depending on what sector you decide to tap into. For me, I knew launching a tech start-up in one of the most exciting and rapidly changing industries would be an exciting prospect. […]

How to improve your email deliverability

March 27, 2018

Email marketing is an essential tool for small businesses and large enterprises alike. The ability to communicate directly with your target audiences helps attract new prospects and keeps existing customers informed. However, delivering a good email campaign that hits all the right notes is not as simple as you might think. It’s a complex discipline […]

How businesses can use bridging finance to raise money

March 25, 2018

A form of finance which is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK business market is bridging finance. Around £750 million was borrowed through the means of bridging in the year 2011, since then it has only gone up where in 2016, this number went up by £4 billion. The way bridging loans work is that […]

How to spark more innovation in your business with these 6 I’s

March 23, 2018

Managing cash flow, hiring new employees, delivering top quality customer service, these and many others, occupy the minds of small business owners. Innovate? That is number 50 on the To Do list, when headspace allows. Yet innovation, creating value out of ideas that are new to you – is the only way to ensure you […]

How to set up a loans company

March 23, 2018

Stricter lending criteria and the boost of digital technology has led to a huge demand in the loans industry in the UK. With more and more applications being taken out online and by mobile and the ability to make faster payments, consumers are ditching their traditional bank managers to apply for finance online.

How you can use asset finance to grow your business

March 21, 2018

Whether you’re starting a business, or taking it to the next level, the right finance can be a significant factor in driving growth. Perhaps the growth of your business depends upon the purchase of new equipment to enable you to increase capacity, provide additional services, or win a particular new contract. In that case, asset […]

How to improve your company culture to attract, and keep, the best employees

March 20, 2018

Improving company culture is at the top of the agenda for most modern day businesses, as more employers are coming to appreciate the role it plays in attracting prospective employees. However it is not as simple as placing a ping-pong table in the staff room; a company culture needs to be fostered over time. To […]

How to create business cards that make a big impression

March 19, 2018

Most business cards are about as much use as a scrap of paper with a name and number scribbled on it. That’s fine if you are looking for a date, but not so good for showcasing your business. With a little thought, however, it’s easy to create a business card that packs a real promotional […]

How to help more of your employees to stay in the company pension scheme

March 16, 2018

Workplace 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 […]