How to set up and run a small business

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all employees enjoying selling

The saying goes we hate to be sold but love to buy. However, the same can be said for how people feel about being involved in selling. We all love to help people buy but only a few feel comfortable with being seen to sell to someone.

In the past, this worked well, as the “sales” team were primarily responsible for doing the legwork knocking on doors and finding people to sell to. The trade-off for the company culture was that some individuals in the sales team then behaved like minor gods expecting all to fall before them. Continue…

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Marketing process for scale up businesses

For business founders, the “To Do” list is never ending, especially when faced with external demands from investors and stakeholders.

The need to increase revenue becomes an all-encompassing obsession, and it’s easy to forget “secondary” tasks – like marketing – that help to fill the sales pipeline.

But failing to build an effective marketing strategy will cause your growth plans to stall. And if you cannot demonstrate ongoing, increasing sales, it becomes harder than ever to secure subsequent rounds of funding. Miss your growth targets and stakeholders are often less than forgiving. Continue…

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fundraising failures - mistakes to avoid when raising finance for your business 

Getting funds together to accelerate your venture won’t be a quick task. Choosing the wrong fundraising activities can not only prolong the process, it can even deter investors from backing your business.

So, what are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to bring in funding for their companies? Funding expert, John Auckland of TribeFirst, reveals 7 frequent fundraising failures; Continue…

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when to use short term loan or funding

Like many people, you may have always dreamed of starting your own business. Being your own boss, making your own hours and realising your own vision are all common reasons people decide to start a business in the first place.

A lack of funds can hold you back from taking the plunge, but now more than ever, a variety of options exist to help fund your vision and turn it into a reality. Continue…

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Business huddle

Many small businesses and startups are quite agile. The relatively simple structure of most small businesses means they are well placed to adapt to changing market conditions, the ever-increasing pace of working life and evolving customer needs.

If everyone in the business is empowered to act in the interests of your customers, you’ll find that the decisions they make and the work they do is likely to have a real impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

To make sure that your people are empowered to act, you need to ensure they are up-to-date with key business activities. One of the best ways you can keep everyone updated is through a simple daily huddle. Continue…

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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.

Continue…

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tackling office politics

Office politics, workplace politics, corporate politics… You may refer to ‘politics at work’ by a different name, but, they all mean the same thing.

The danger for a business where office politics take hold is that everybody involved becomes distracted and loses sight of the common purpose that galvanizes a team. Continue…

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Advice on filming in public spaces

More and more small businesses coming round to the power of using video to establish their brand presence and promote their products or services.

With the technology to make professional looking brand film, becoming increasingly affordable, a little bit of production knowledge and know-how can go a long way.

Of course it’s not just a case of grabbing a camera and shooting. A proper video strategy is essential but so too is an understanding of the logistical, technical and legal hurdles you’ll need to overcome, especially if you’re going to be filming outside a studio. Continue…

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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;

Continue…

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Team GB golds - business lessons

In 1996, Britain’s team of athletes returned from the Olympic Games in Atlanta with one solitary gold medal from rowing. This was a low point in British international sporting achievement and was the subject of a good deal of national self-flagellation in the media.

Fast-forward to 2016 and Team GB had completed an incredible turnaround in performance, securing over 20 gold medals.

So what was behind the change in fortunes? And what lessons can you take and apply to boost your business?

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Guide to ALternative Funding for BusinessesFinding a business loan used to be a pretty black and white affair. You’d call up your local bank and book an appointment, wait a few weeks (or months) and then sit down with the bank manager, explain why your business needed some money, and hope that you’d caught them after their morning coffee.

Since the birth of Alternative Finance, however, getting your hands on funding to grow your business has become a lot easier, but equally, a whole lot more complicated. This guide will explore the various different types of alternative finance out there, help you decide whether it’s a viable route for you, and how to prepare your business to raise finance. Continue…

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Business Plan tips and adviceWhen it comes to writing a business plan, there is one single golden rule that dwarfs all others – your business plan must address each of the key concerns of your potential backer.

If you fail on this first point, all the other things you should and shouldn’t do pale into insignificance and even a great business idea might fail to get backing it needs. A good business plan keeps the investor happy, so follow these 10 Dos and Don’ts to ratchet up your chances of success:

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I should put on the invoice

Can you say that you and the people in your business form a dynamic team?

When geese fly in V formation, I see a dynamic team at work. This level of cooperation benefits each goose and the overall team. They reach their destination quicker and use far less energy.

Let me share an effective approach for translating this into the small business environment – the V is a great example of employee engagement. Continue…

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how to make realistic sales forecasts

So, how do you do forecast sales realistically?

Every startup benefits greatly from making a cash flow forecast. But if your business hasn’t opened its doors yet, how is it possible to estimate the kind of sales you will get in your first month, let alone year of trading? We asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to explain. Continue…

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Tips on choosing CRM software

Are you struggling to get your sales and marketing processes clear, consistent and measureable?

If so, it may be time to invest in a CRM system. If used correctly such a platform can benefit fast-growing businesses and allow them to build their customer base whilst maintaining that personalised relationship which is essential for both B2B and B2C companies in today’s world.

To help you understand how CRM software can help you to boost sales, and what to look out for when choosing a CRM system, we asked Robert Stead of The Marketing Centre to share his insight; Continue…

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WHat Google Rankbrain is and how it can help your website succeed 

Google RankBrain first rolled out in 2015. Unlike Google’s many previous updates it uses machine-learning and AI for the first time, in order to help better refine search results, especially in cases of rare, ambiguous or one-of-a-kind queries.

Understanding more about Rankbrain can help your website succeed, so we asked digital marketing expert, Paul Morris of Superb Digital, to explain what Google’s RankBrain is, how it works, where it’s going and why, as a small business owner, you should care. Continue…

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workplace gifts - what employers need to consider

The practice of giving gifts to colleagues and clients is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence in the workplace.

Although this activity is predominately centred around the Christmas holiday period, it is also common to see gifts distributed at other times of the year in celebration of birthdays, work anniversaries or the closing of an important business deal.

With this in mind, there are several factors employers must think about the next time they consider giving a gift to someone at work. 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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Challenges to growing an international business

Once you have conquered your home market, what should you do? Set your sights overseas! That’s an obvious answer, anyway. Indeed, by pursuing international growth, you can give existing products a new lease of sales life and spread your company’s risk exposure across a range of markets.

However, mining meaningful returns from overseas markets can require you to first overcome various challenges. Here are 5 of the most common obstacles to global corporate success; Continue…

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7 Top Tips to help your small business find success online

August 28, 2018

Ecommerce now accounts for 17% of all UK consumer sales and it’s only going to keep growing. Yet, despite this growth, it is still hard to make it in the online marketplace. Competition is tough, it requires both technical and business savvy, and you need to work much harder to gain trust. Simply having a […]

How to improve company culture by enlisting your ‘Culture Champions’

August 22, 2018

Why does your company do what it does? If you’ve thoughtfully identified this motive, you have probably embedded it in statements of your business mission, vision, and values. These documents are akin to the ten commandments – guidelines that suggest how to act in the course of delivering your products or services. They are foundational […]

5 Principles to cut your meetings in half and still make them more productive

August 20, 2018

Many businesses, organisations and leaders have created a ‘meeting culture’ whereby they need a meeting to decide what they are going to be meeting about and then another meeting to prepare for the meeting itself and another to de-brief after the meeting. Wow, that’s a whole lot of meetings going on. Meetings are the killer […]

Think like a hacker: How to protect your business from cyber attacks

August 17, 2018

Businesses cannot afford to neglect cyber security in 2018. A recent report published by Beaming found that UK businesses are attacked online every 2.5 minutes, with the average firm suffering from 52,596 cyber-attacks between April and June 2018. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, as a lack of security/training budget and expertise leaves […]

5 Steps to help you build your start-up for a trade sale

August 14, 2018

We’ve all heard tales of bedroom entrepreneurs that end up selling their companies for billions. It’s a dream that’s shared by many current and aspiring business owners. However, assembling your start-up with the ultimate goal of a trade sale takes a lot of preparation. What’s more, it’s hard to know where to begin. When launching […]

A Shareholders’ Agreement – Why you should get one if you are setting up a company with others

August 10, 2018

When you start a business with someone else, it’s always a good idea to lay down some rules on important issues, such as; how you will run the company, your respective responsibilities and what happens if someone wants to leave the business. Agreeing on how you will handle these, and other important matters, will save […]

Use memorable language for memorable sales success

August 8, 2018

When you run a small business it may seem like an extra chore to carefully wordsmith every presentation you give or to think carefully about the words you use when talking about your product and service. However, when you are trying to make a sale, every word counts. By making your words more memorable you’ll […]

How to make a cash flow forecast as a startup

August 6, 2018

How can I forecast my cash flow when the business doesn’t even exist yet? That’s a question most new startups wrestle with as they are planning their new business. It may seem to some to be an impossible task, so we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to show how you can produce a cash flow […]

How late payments affect your credit score

August 2, 2018

There may come a point where you end up missing a repayment for a loan or credit card that you have taken out, perhaps as a result of an unexpected financial emergency, or maybe just simply not having kept a track of your finances that month. One of your first thoughts will be how quickly […]

Equity v Rewards Crowdfunding: Which is best for me?

July 31, 2018

It’s impossible to forget the repercussions of the financial crash, many of which are still felt throughout the global economy today. But, as economic growth flatlined, the opposite happened in the online world. While the banks cut off their lending to startups, internet technologies were undergoing a key evolution. Web 2.0 was emerging, and technology […]

Credit score myths debunked

July 29, 2018

There are a number of different myths surrounding credit scores, making it difficult to truly understand what it is you need to know and what you should be doing in order to boost yours. In this guide we cover the most commonly spoken about myths, and debunk them one by one.

What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?

July 25, 2018

The way in which audiences are perceiving and consuming marketing content is changing rapidly. The digital sphere has changed the nature of how we, as consumers, respond to advertising, with the result that many traditional techniques just aren’t cutting it any more. Consumers are digitally literate and don’t have any qualms about voicing their dislike […]

Perfecting your pitch: 10 Principles for entrepreneurs

July 23, 2018

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but many of the most innovative entrepreneurs are creative contrarians. They are outsiders, gainsaying the doubters that say it cannot be done. In fact, many entrepreneurs are introverts, which can be a major barrier when it comes to that vital part of the entrepreneurial process: pitching. […]

9 Tips to help you impress when communicating on the small screen

July 19, 2018

From bold new start-ups to established small companies branching out, meetings and interactions are increasingly virtual. In some cases, due to distance and the global reach, you may never meet in the ‘real world’, only ever online. So to help create a good impression, now more than ever, is the time to invest in developing […]

How to quickly build good rapport with anyone

July 17, 2018

Being able to get on with other people is important for anyone, but especially for small businesses and start-ups. There is very little you do alone – for most things you need to work with other people, (staff, suppliers, customers, advisors, government agencies, and so on) – and you need to get them onside. The […]

Practical tips on navigating the patent process

July 13, 2018

Starting your own business isn’t plain sailing. It throws lots of new challenges at us, each with their good, bad and ugly dimensions. And registering a patent is no different. A lot of inventors with incredible ideas have fallen along the wayside, simply because they didn’t invest the time needed to successfully navigate the patent […]