How to set up and run a small business

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successful video marketingVideo is a potent and wildly effective marketing tool, but only when it is part of a measured and considered content strategy.

It is no easy task to succinctly and effectively communicate your brand values and core messaging to an audience in a way that is original and compelling.

Before you even begin you need to have spent time seeking to understand who your customers are in the first place. Continue…

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staff sickness absence guideIt is virtually impossible to eradicate staff sickness absence entirely. However, for small businesses, the costly nature of absenteeism can be extremely disruptive to the day to day running of the business.

There are many costs associated with staff being off sick, including compensation to the absent employee, the additional expense of finding temporary workers and the possible decline of productivity due to other employees being tasked with additional workloads.

Despite its unpredictability, there are steps small business owners can take to minimise the negative effects of absenteeism. This guide provides you with advice on how to effectively manage the different aspects of sickness absence. Continue…

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salary sacrific schemes new rules April 2017Significant changes to UK salary sacrifice schemes have now been implemented. Affecting both employers and employees, these changes essentially remove the tax incentives of many of the benefits in kind (BiK) offered under salary sacrifice arrangements.

With, the new salary sacrifice rules reducing the tax benefits of salary sacrifice schemes, here’s what small businesses need to know about the changes and how they affect employers and employees. Continue…

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why you need to find a niche for your businessIf your new business is going to be operating in a competitive marketplace, it’s crucial that you find a way to differentiate your business from all the competitors out there.

In short, why should customers choose your products or services over what’s already available?

If you can’t answer that question, then you need to read on to find out why it’s essential startups and small businesses find a niche, and how you can spot a potentially profitable gap in the market.

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Start-ups and small businesses have to be prudent in their go-to-market activities. There isn’t the budget to splash out on extensive marketing campaigns, or the time for spray and pray customer targeting.

As a business owner, you are often the face of the business at every turn. Whether you’re dealing with customers, suppliers, partners or staff, what you do matters and sets the tone for your whole business.

How successful you are often comes down to how good you are at persuading and influencing people. With these skills being so important, we asked behaviour expert, Ally Yates, to outline how you can become more persuasive in business. Continue…

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12 Steps to getting paidDealing with late payment can be tricky for small and medium sized businesses. Handle it wrong and a customer could be lost, ignore the issue and it can stifle business growth, have a huge impact on cash flow and even cause a company to go bust.

Staggering figures published in a government paper, revealed that small businesses spend around 130 hours a year chasing late payments, equating to an average cost of £1,500 per business.

The problem is endemic with two thirds of SMEs suffering according to research by the IOD, but follow this 12-Step plan and you’ll be able to minimise the damage late payment causes your business.

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benefits of mindfulness in business

Now more than ever, creative thinking and the ability to come up with innovative solutions to today´s challenges is crucial for business success.

With mindfulness being increasingly used to unlock creativity throughout businesses we’ve asked author Palma Michel, to share practical tips on how you can use mindfulness to improve your business:

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Business exit - MBOMany small businesses, up to 20 employees, are run in a very hands-on manner by their owners. This can work well for everyone and hopefully provide the proprietors with a good level of income.

When it comes to the moment they want to move on, or retire, however, their future financial independence will depend on how much the business is worth. If the business is dependent on them, it will have limited value, but if it functions as a fully autonomous company, it will command a significantly higher value.

So can a management buyout be a good way to sell your business? Continue…

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When the bank won't fund your businessPROMOTED GUIDE – This is a promoted guide from Funding Xchange – the business funding marketplace where lenders compete to fund your business. Get Funding Now!

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?

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marketing psychology - using emotion to connect with customers

The more people feel, the more people buy. That’s the clear conclusion from the last decade of work by two of Britain’s top marketing analysts, Les Binet and Peter Field.

They delved into the IPA DataMine – a huge database of ad effectiveness case studies – to find out how advertising really leads to meaningful business effects, going beyond short-term sales spikes to look at profit growth and market share gain.

So what is the key to effective marketing, and how can businesses apply this to their marketing techniques to boost sales and grow profits? We asked Tom Ewing to explain;

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steps to successful financial planning

Good planning is important for both startups and established businesses, and a financial plan is no exception.

As a new business owner, you have probably never had to produce a financial plan, so it can definitely be a daunting prospect. However, investing a little time and effort in making a financial plan for your new business can save you a lot of money and pain down the line.

So to help you get your financial plan right we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to outline the 6 steps to develop a coherent, holistic financial plan of your business. Continue…

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going from startup to successful businessThe dream for many entrepreneurs is to come up with a great new product, find the funding to develop it and then for it to fly off the shelves.

The reality for most is different, but when this does happen it’s worth finding out how this success was achieved because the lessons we learn can help us to replicate the achievements for our own business.

Yuu is one such success, so we asked co-founders, Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes to share their story with us; Continue…

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conducting good job interviews

Getting the recruitment process right is important for any business as employing the wrong person can have a significant impact on future success. It will also save time and costs as the process will only have to be carried out once and not repeated.

Although some employers perceive interviewing as a small part of the recruitment process, it is a vital opportunity to examine how potential candidates measure up against the needs of the business and, as such, it is important to get it right.

There are also risks of discrimination that employers should be aware of to avoid a tribunal claim, so here’s how to make sure your interviewing process gets the right results. Continue…

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Guide to profit & loss statementWhen you’re trying to work out how well your business is doing, one of the most powerful tools in your financial arsenal is your profit and loss account (P&L).

This is a simple set of figures that will give you a summary of what your business has spent and sold, normally in a 12 month period.

Crucially, a P&L statement will tell you how much profit or loss your business has made so it’s useful to have a good grasp of it.

Here’s an overview of Profit & Loss Accounts for a small business owner.
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Guide to UK outdoor workwear regulations PPE

The UK has one of the most robust and exacting health and safety regulatory frameworks to be found anywhere in the world.

Compliance with the various H&S laws is crucial for employers and this is true of the regulations for the appropriate and correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for outdoor workers. Continue…

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how small business beat big businessIn its 50 years, business book publisher Kogan Page has remained buoyant in a sector that is dominated by much larger companies.

The fact that its business is still prospering is testament to a few basic concepts that are as true today as when the company started in 1967. We asked Managing Director, Helen Kogan to share her experiences of how a smaller business can gain competitive advantage over bigger, dominant competitors. Continue…

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General Data Protection Regulation

Despite Brexit, the UK government has confirmed it will abide by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect on 28 May 2018.

The aim of General Data Protection Regulation is to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new GDPR lays down some fairly stringent legislation, for both large and small businesses, governing the standards by which personal data is collected and stored.

To help UK businesses understand the new laws, and avoid the heavy punishments failure to abide by them bring, here’s a guide to the GDPR legislation. Continue…

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auto enrolment pension - no jargon

If you work in the world of hairdressing you’ll know a lob from a wob, just like plumbers know the difference between an angle stop and a capillary connector.

For those of us who don’t work in these industries it’s complete gobbledegook. What are they talking about?

The pension industry is one place where jargon is rife, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With auto enrolment pension schemes meaning more employees taking out workplace pensions, we asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to outline the benefit of jargon-free pensions communications. Continue…

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factors affecting your business plan

Thinking about your business in different ways affects how you plan for the future, opening up some new avenues, but making others potentially harder.

By being aware of how you view your business you’ll also invent new ways of thinking about it, which will give you a more balanced and flexible approach to financial planning. Robin Booth of Brixx.com explains how to think differently about your business, and the benefits of doing so; Continue…

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increase profitability

As a business owner, you are always looking for greater efficiencies, more productivity and some general cost savings.

One of your key jobs is to make sure you are always looking for ways get your business running more smoothly and more profitably, but before you jump in and make wholesale changes to the way your business is run; ask yourself these 5 key questions; Continue…

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A Small business guide to e-commerce regulations

June 28, 2017

If you are selling any products or services online, you need to comply with e-commerce regulations. But what exactly must your business do to comply with these regulations? We asked Adrien Herbert of Lawbite to explain;

Real-time marketing – How to do it right

June 27, 2017

Real-time marketing (RTM), the strategy and practice of reacting with immediacy in digital channels to external events and triggers, has been steadily growing in use and popularity. An expanding array of tools and digital channels (e.g., social media and listening capabilities) has made real-time accessible, in theory at least, to virtually every marketer. As digital […]

Gardening start-up seeks to bloom with crowdfunding

June 26, 2017

PROMOTED CONTENT This article has been provided by fastgardener the new garden maintenance service. A new British start-up connecting businesses and homeowners in the UK with professional gardeners is turning to crowdfunding to get the necessary capital to grow.

7 Tips for effective document collaboration

June 23, 2017

From greater productivity and coming up with new and exciting ideas, to boosting morale and motivation, there are lots of advantages to working together. New businesses may be searching for effective and efficient ways to help promote teamwork and one of the best ways to do this is through document collaboration. Document collaboration has a […]

How to choose the right cloud phone system for your business

June 22, 2017

As internet access becomes increasingly universal, more and more businesses are turning to cloud phone systems (also known as PBX, virtual or internet phone systems and VoIP) instead of traditional landlines. The benefits of a cloud phone system are numerous – they’re more flexible, allowing team members to make and receive calls without being tied […]

Getting your job adverts right

June 20, 2017

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business. One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will […]

5 questions you should ask a prospective SEO agency before you consider hiring them

June 19, 2017

A website can be a very powerful marketing tool for start-ups and small businesses. An effective site helps smaller firms to reach out to a huge audience of potential new customers and take on bigger rivals. However, the battle to be found online can be fierce, so if you want your small business website to […]

PR Tips for start-ups

June 16, 2017

As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible. Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise […]

How to increase productivity and positivity with an employee engagement scheme

June 14, 2017

It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick. One of the best ways to increase happiness […]

Telecoms contracts – What every start-up and small business needs to know

June 12, 2017

To some extent we are all caught in a telecoms trap. Whether you are in services, retail, or manufacturing your start-up or small business must have some form of telecoms. This gives some suppliers an opportunity to bamboozle customers with jargon and complicated long-term contracts. It can even get to the point where when you […]

How to avoid death by PowerPoint – 9 Practical tips to captivate an audience with your presentation

June 9, 2017

You may have attended presentations that dragged or others that gripped people throughout. Perhaps you have given talks yourself and wondered what really makes the difference. Whatever the situation, there are numerous factors that affect your chances of success. Everything you do contributes to the overall audience experience and even small things make a big […]

Transforming your sales strategy with research-led prospecting

June 7, 2017

Prospecting is the foundation of B2B sales strategies. Or at least, it should be. Many businesses aren’t prospecting as well as they could be, if at all. Research-led sales prospecting is a highly targeted, measurable way of identifying businesses for your salespeople to approach. It is important to realise that prospecting is not lead generation. […]

7 Advantages a sole trader (self employed) business has over a Limited Company

June 6, 2017

For those new to the world of business there are many things to consider. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when you’re starting a business is whether to set up as a sole trader (self employed) or limited company. Both sole traders and limited companies have their distinct advantages and disadvantages (make […]

Standing on the shoulders of giants: How small businesses can thrive in today’s platform economy

June 1, 2017

We live in a platform economy dominated by one or two big companies in every industry: but small businesses should see this as an opportunity not a threat, says Steven Van Belleghem.

When could your small business benefit from an interim manager?

May 30, 2017

Businesses often find themselves requiring some management resources and skills on a temporary basis. Hiring an interim manager, or an entire management, team can ensure the business successfully fills this temporary, but urgent, business gap. To help you understand if your business could benefit from the input of an interim manager, we asked Clive Hyman […]

10 advantages of running your business as a limited company instead of being self-employed

May 25, 2017

Although the sole trader route, which is commonly referred to as being self employed, is the most popular way of running a business in the UK, there are significant advantages of operating as a limited company. Here, we highlight 10 of the biggest benefits a limited company gives you over working as self-employed;