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Tax and accounts advice when going self employedIn 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.

With so much to think about, we asked David Genders, author of The Daily Telegraph Tax Guide to explain the key financial and tax points you need to consider when going self-employed.

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Find out what NICs you need to pay if you're self employed or a limited compay directorNational 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 owner. Continue…

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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 and invest the right amount of money. Continue…

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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 for doors for you.

So how can you overcome your fears of speaking to an audience? Lyn Roseaman, explains. Continue…

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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.

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How to get the right business finance 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.

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pros and cons of funding your business with credit cardThere’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 cards useful for the short-term end of the spectrum, and while you wouldn’t necessarily use one to pay for larger purchases, they can be a good tool for day-to-day spending, expense tracking, and perhaps emergency cashflow needs. Continue…

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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 benefits blogging can bring to your business, we’ve asked Luke Budka, of TopLine Comms to reveal 5 ways to make sure that your blog gets the desired results. Continue…

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Guide to employee benefits, staff perks and incentivesAs 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 accept a job offer.

So what perks can your business offer to help you attract and retain staff, and what should you watch out for? Continue…

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Branding tips for small businessesThe 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 and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Creating strong brand messaging is one of best ways to get your product or business noticed. So how can smaller businesses do this effectively, without it costing too much? Continue…

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Mistakes that new business owners commnly makeBuilding 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 new business, only one thing is certain: everyone will make mistakes, but only those who learn from them will succeed.

So, to help you learn from these common errors, without making them yourself, here are 8 mistakes that startups frequently make;
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pay less taxWhether 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?

To help find out if you could cut your tax bill, we’ve asked Jonathan Amponsah of the The Tax Guys to explain more about some of the less well known business expenses you can claim. Continue…

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fnding options for businesses
PROMOTED GUIDE – This is a promoted guide from Funding Options – the free marketplace for business finance. Find the right finance for your situation, from dozens of the UK’s best lenders.

They might not have the catchiest name — but revolving credit facilities are one of the most useful types of business finance available.

Here’s everything you need to know about revolving credit facilities, and how they could help you fund your business. Continue…

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Over 99% of businesses in the UK are small and medium enterprises and, according to Wasp Barcode’s annual State of Small Business Report, 50% of small businesses say hiring new employees is the top challenge they face.

‘Parents’ represent a great pool of talent; however they seem to not be noticed by many small businesses.

In fact, in some cases they are avoided. According to the Guardian: 40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around the issue and costs of maternity leave. Continue…

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The majority of startups and small business owners recognise the power of digital marketing and that having a website is a must have.

With limited funds and marketing budgets, the majority of small business owners tend to buy their website from a creative agency or designer that does everything.

However, as Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual explains, this might not be the best course to take.

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US Marines Practice High StandardsThe US Marines are world-famous for their exacting standards and ruthless efficiency. The conditions they operate under might be very different from those we see in the commercial world, but there are very valuable lessons that businesses can learn from the Marines.

Here, James Bowen and Brian MacNeice, authors of Powerhouse – Insider accounts into the world’s greatest high performance organisations – explain what your business can gain by studying the strategies and tactics of the US Marines. Continue…

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adapting leadership style to be a better leaderLeadership is one of the most written about topics in business. You can be an ‘Authentic Leader’, a ‘Facilitative Leader’ or an ‘Agile Leader’, to select words from just three of the recently published leadership titles.

These words fast risk becoming clichés. Some may have currency, others do not. What is true is that there is no one, indisputable, formula for effective leadership. Continue…

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being productive in DecemberThe Christmas holiday season is eagerly anticipated. But the forthcoming festivities mean that the number of working days in the month is curtailed – and at a time when planning for the new business year makes life busier than ever.

So how can you maximise available working days to ensure a fully relaxing festive period? Richard Morris, UK CEO of workspace provider Regus offers three top tips for a dynamic and productive December.

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Who to give business gifts to at Christmas and what to buyWhile many festive traditions have successfully made the move from the home to the workplace – the annual party and ‘Secret Santa’ are both staples of nearly every small business’ Christmas celebrations – there is one that still hasn’t made the leap: proper gift giving.

Crack Christmas gifting and the benefits will roll in: you’ll motivate your team, improve customer loyalty, and boost important supplier relationships. However, fail to pick the right presents, or show any kind of effort, and you’ll risk losing morale, motivation, and maybe even business.

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telecoms solutions over holidaysChristmas is fast approaching and if you started a business in 2017 this may be the first Christmas period you have experienced as a business owner.

It’s therefore important to starting think early about your telecoms and your customers over the festive season. If you don’t plan now, you may find that rather than having a relaxing festive break, you’ll be in a pickle.

We’ve asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett to explain what you need to think about to ensure your business runs smoothly over the festive season. Continue…

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Presenting with P.O.W.E.R.

December 11, 2017

As the owner of a startup or small business you will inevitably need to stand in front of an audience and speak to them. It is an essential part of modern business life. Speaking in public is something that turns many business owners cold with fear. But with some expert insight and a little practice […]

Intelligent Customer Service: How AI is transforming experience of customers

December 8, 2017

The growth of AI is set to be one of the most disruptive technologies in the coming years for businesses of all sizes. Even in these relatively early days of AI, it is already affecting customer experience. The younger generation have grown up in a world where they are used to a quick and effortless […]

How to harness the power of Google for your business

December 7, 2017

Google is the world’s most popular search engine, controlling 79% of the market share and dealing with 3.5 billion searches every day. The power of Google is staggering, but many businesses aren’t fully harnessing this power. To help ensure you’re not missing out, we’ve asked Tim Butler, founder of Innovation Visual to outline how you […]

10 common Self-Assessment Tax Return mistakes and how to avoid them

December 6, 2017

If you need to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return (SATR) it’s imperative you get it in on time and free of any mistakes. There are penalties for not submitting your tax return on time and you may have to pay a fine if HMRC deem you have not taken enough care in completing it. With […]

5 Key employment law issues that should be on every business’s radar in 2018

December 5, 2017

From the removal of tribunal fees to widespread claims regarding sexual harassment, 2017 has been a busy year in employment law. Although employers might hope for a quieter 2018, it’s looking likely that there will be a number of issues that are prevalent throughout the year, amid the on-going uncertainty of Brexit. With this in […]

Market research – what do you need to find out about your customers?

December 4, 2017

Market research is often assumed or anecdotal. A few good words here and there, enthusiastic leads, handshakes and happily resolved issues from existing customers can lead to the pleasant feeling that you know your market. However, if your business is to thrive, you really need to develop a deep understanding of your customers. To help […]

Why recognition and reward matters for small businesses

December 1, 2017

Every business, regardless of size, scale or industry wants to get the best from its people. When people work hard, it logically follows that output goes up. The idea of achieving that through incentives is not a new one, but from the outside, it seems that a defined recognition and reward program is reserved for […]

5 Types of finance to help Christmas cash flow

November 30, 2017

Christmas can be a challenging time for many businesses, whether it’s your busiest time of year or a seasonal slump in trading. Either way, lots of small businesses find that short-term finance can provide the boost needed to cover short term cash flow issues. Here are 5 funding options that can do this for you;

Invoice Finance – What is it and how can it help my business?

November 28, 2017

Invoice finance is an umbrella term for two distinct forms of business funding called invoice discounting and invoice factoring. It’s likely you’ll have heard of these alternative types of business finance before, but without knowing exactly how they work, you might dismiss them as just another financial product that you and your business don’t need. […]

A Startup’s guide to effectively using promotional materials

November 27, 2017

Making the leap into starting your own business takes a lot of bottle and brings a lot of new challenges. Those early days, as you work to drum up business and generate new customers, will be among the hardest you face. Making sure that your business stands out in your niche is crucial to your […]

How NOT to Network – 7 Business networking mistakes to avoid

November 24, 2017

When you start your own business, one of the first things you need to do is to start promoting it and finding customers? Depending on the type of business you are in, one age-old and sure-fire way to build relationships is through networking. However, if you are to enjoy the full rewards of networking you […]

Autumn Budget 2017 – Key Points for small business owners

November 23, 2017

On Wednesday 22 November, Philip Hammond delivered the UK’s first Autumn Budget for 21 years. Constrained by high borrowings, falling growth forecasts, poor productivity, the uncertainty of Brexit and a very slim Government majority the Chancellor wasn’t in a position to announce too many radical changes. They might not grab the headlines but there are […]

Why cyber-attack recovery isn’t just an IT problem

November 21, 2017

Talking about the ominous threat of cyber-attacks these days has a whiff of closing-the-stable-door-after-the-horse-has-bolted about it. Cybercrime is out there and it’s happening right now to organisations of all sizes, in all sectors, all over the world. Hacks are more sophisticated, viruses are more widespread and systems are more vulnerable than ever. If the great […]

How a social conscience can help small businesses attract the people they need

November 20, 2017

By 2020, millennials will comprise more than 50% of the total workforce, according to PwC. This generation is radically different to any other, with new tastes, preferences, and expectations – and we’re not just talking about selfies. With millennials shortly to make up the majority of the UK’s workforce, businesses need to understand what motivates […]

What employers need to know about hiring staff from overseas

November 16, 2017

In all businesses, the focus is on employing the right person for the role. When the person you intend to hire is not a UK citizen, you need to be aware of the legal requirements to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. If you get things wrong you could be fined […]

Why you should consider a second broadband line for your business

November 15, 2017

Redundancy is a word many businesses would prefer to avoid, except for those businesses where redundancy means the inclusion of components to safeguard against the failure of vital equipment/services. For example, radio stations build in redundancy at every level of their business that involves broadcasting their content: back-up microphones in studios; back-up studios; back-up transmission […]