How to set up and run a small business

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10 advantages of a limited company

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;
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planning your business for short term and long term success

Planning ahead is important. It helps you to understand where you want to get to and how you’re going to get there.

However, financial planning can be a bit of a mystery for many small business owners. So to help demystify it, we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to answer the questions business owners often ask about financial planning;

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Power of business blogSetting up and running a small business isn’t easy. We all know that.

The first few years are often spent seeking the answers to — what seems like — a never ending list of questions, like, “Who is my target audience?” and “How do I reach them?”

Whatever industry you’re in, we all strive for the same thing: more website visitors, more valuable leads, more sales and more loyal customers. But how can you achieve this? Continue…

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Attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the right people is crucial to the success of any business.

Staff turnover is costing businesses more than ever and recent research from the Recruitment and Employment Federations reveals that companies are reporting skill shortages across 60 different types of role including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants.

Not only that but the world of work is changing so rapidly that jobs that will be essential in three years’ time, don’t even exist yet.

The stakes for many employers have never been higher. It’s vital to compete to get the right people if your business is to flourish but what’s the best way to do this? Continue…

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Disciplinary inestigation

A disciplinary investigation is the first important step in carrying out a full and fair disciplinary process. It is one step that employers may find insignificant but, on the contrary, a proper investigation will generally lead to a smoother disciplinary rocedure.

An investigation is key as it is required by the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and will be taken in to account by an employment tribunal when deciding compensation awards. It is usually detailed in a company’s disciplinary policy and procedure which should be followed internally.

Here’s what every business owner needs to know about a disciplinary investigation; Continue…

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Change is happening rapidly in the business world. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and ever improving technology at almost level are just a few of the new trends that business owners will need to deal with in the next five years.

With these trends being pivotal for businesses of every size, we asked Rohit Talwar and Steve Wells of Fast Future Publishing to highlight the 20 future factors that business owners will need to address as they chart their course to tomorrow;

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Part 2 of; The Future of Business – 20 Key Trends leaders should know.  Continue…

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When you set up a limited company, your annual profits will be subject to Corporation Tax.

Dealing with your corporation tax issues is one of your accountant’s key tasks. However, it is ultimately the directors of a limited who are responsible for ensuring that a company’s tax affairs are in order.

As a director of a limited company, you therefore need to make sure that your company’s corporation tax liability is accurate, your corporation tax return (form CT600) is filed with HMRC on time, and that you pay the corporation tax to HMRC when it falls due.

If you are setting up a limited company for the first time, here is a handy overview of how to comply with the corporation tax rules for UK companies.
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With auto enrolment now well into its fifth year, you’re likely to be familiar with the workplace pension reforms and what they mean for you and your workers.

What some employers may not have thought much about is that, as a result of auto enrolment, millions of workers are getting a stake in companies around the world.

Choosing a pension scheme that invests your employee’s pensions suitably is therefore something every business owner will want to do.

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Local SEO tips for startups

According to recent research by Google on search behaviour, a whopping 50% of all people who conducted searches on local businesses visited the business the same day. If you’re a startup owner and serve clients locally, this might sound like music to your ears.

People who conduct local searches are highly motivated and are looking for an instant solution. This is why you should do everything in your power to go after these searches aggressively. Continue…

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Marketing is about getting more business – and that includes getting more value out of your existing customer base – through delivering them multiple times the value you get.

If all you did was chase new clients, then you would be regularly losing the ones you already have, which means you would need to be constantly building. This is hard work.

There is an important model that will help you understand what to do in terms of sales and marketing for your existing customers, and it is one that every business owner should know and understand. Continue…

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Nobody enjoys failure, but everyone experiences it at least a few times in their life and especially as a small business owner.

While it’s one of those things that most people like to gloss over, failing is actually a hugely valuable experience, as long as you know how to make the most of it.

Leigh Ashton, co-founder of Sasudi, stresses the importance of bouncing back from a disappointment as a small business; Continue…

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Many small business owners view ‘big data’ as something exclusively for large businesses. But that isn’t the case. Astute small business can benefit from using data to grow sales.

To help business owners understand more about ‘big data’ and how they can benefit from it too, we asked Oliver Rowbory to explain;
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There are lots of things to think about if you’re considering taking out a business loan.

The UK’s business lending market includes a wide range of providers offering subtly different types of business loans. Some are aimed at a particular type of business, or companies of a certain size or those operating in a specific sector.

With a wide range of business loans available it’s important to first get a basic understanding of the different options you have when it comes to borrowing money to fund your business.

Here are some of the key considerations you need to bear in mind when sourcing a business loan for your firm. Continue…

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Pop-up shop tipsPop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment.

In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing business to take their offering to new locations.

There are lots of different factors that can determine the success or failure of a pop-up shop and it’s vital you consider these before starting your pop-up venture. Here are 6 key considerations to help you get your first pop-up shop running smoothly and generating income for your business. Continue…

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It’s not uncommon that when an employee makes a complaint about a fellow colleague that employers wish to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue.

A getting on with business approach, however, is unlikely to solve the dispute and can cause the situation to spiral out of control. Employers who manage disputes and try to resolve these when raised will see the benefits of taking such an approach.

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Your business should register for VAT if your “taxable supplies” over the past 12 months has exceeded the VAT registration threshold.
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raise funding through alternative financeSince the recession of 2008/2009, there has been a significant reduction in the ability of banks to lend to British SMEs.

Whilst mainstream finance is still great for some businesses, many banks now have lending criteria that small businesses are unable to fulfill.

Fortunately, ‘alternative finance’ can offer a viable substitute for entrepreneurs looking for innovative and flexible ways to fund their business growth.

But before blindly assuming alternative finance is the answer to all your financial woes, there are six things you need to understand before you approach an alternative finance provider looking for funding. Continue…

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According to Bloomberg’s infamous, mythical study, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months.

The Bloomberg figure has been shown to be nonsense, but business failure statistics given by other sources still report business closure rates of 20-40% within the first 2 years of trading, which is still a very high failure rate.

In this article, I’m going to explore one of the ways to avoid the financial pitfalls many businesses find themselves in. I’m going to talk about not just having a financial plan – but understanding the discipline of testing it.

There are myriad reasons why such a large proportion of businesses don’t succeed, but for small businesses cash flow problems are one of the most common reasons. There are practical ways to stave off cash flow problems – but much better if they can be avoided in the first place. Continue…

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People learn through observing others – how they act, how they react, how they make others feel. They do it so they can work out how to be successful, or to survive. They do it so they can emulate them, or avoid their mistakes.

When we are leaders, it means they are observing us and making judgments about whether to be like us, or not.

As a business leader, your actions can have a profound effect on your business. Not only does it set the tone for your company culture but it shapes how you and your business are viewed by potential customers and partners.

You therefore need to ask yourself, ‘What can I do to be the kind of person that people want to emulate and do business with?’
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Purpose, values and goals: The 3 Key ingredients for a successful business

April 10, 2017

Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Acknowledging this as the key motivator for everyone involved in your business will help you to nurture the best achievements and results. Neuroscientific research taking place around the world is beginning to piece together connections between the brain and behaviour, […]

Harness the “Power of Three” to nail your pitch

April 7, 2017

If you’re a start-up, chances are you are going to have to get out there and tell people about your new venture. What you say, and how you say it, is a lot more important than you may realise. When it comes to communicating what you do, you don’t want to make a rookie error, […]

Part-time Entrepreneurs – How, and why, more young people are juggling a career and their own business

April 6, 2017

The days of a “job for life” are long gone. Millennials are starting their careers in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, but they are also equipped with the skills and attitude to react quickly to changes and spot new opportunities. The trend of young people changing jobs more frequently is one perhaps one […]

The 3 most important financial measures & tools to drive your business forward

April 4, 2017

You may have heard the expression: ‘Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality’. If ever there was a philosophy which I passionately believe in, it is this. However, there are three important financial measures, which we need to unpack in this expression. Let’s look at each of them in turn;

What are the dangers of overtrading?

April 2, 2017

Business is a complicated old game sometimes. Just when you think you’ve got your head round one thing, you realise there’s another rule you didn’t know about! Here’s a good example. Did you know it’s possible to get your business into serious financial trouble by selling too much?

How to stop the ego from sabotaging your success

March 30, 2017

Having set up my company, I won a handful of decent clients and achieved an annual turnover of £500,000. Initially this felt good, but 2-3 years later it no longer did. As many small businesses can find, it seemed like I was up against a glass ceiling and could not break through. I had problems […]

A beginner’s guide to financial reports, and what they reveal about your business

March 27, 2017

Financial reports are standardised measures of a business’ financial health. They are a necessity for publicly traded companies, but this does not mean that they are only useful for large organisations. Each of the various types of financial reports in this article takes a different view of the business. These reports can seem intimidating at […]

Perfecting your pitch: 10 Principles for entrepreneurs

March 24, 2017

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. […]

7 Guiding Principles to growing your business

March 22, 2017

These 7 Guiding Principles to business growth have been developed through my 20 years of experience in working with thousands of organisations. Their purpose is to stimulate your thinking about the critical challenges and opportunities in growing your business and how you can avoid some of the errors that might otherwise stifle your growth potential […]

A Practical guide to Content Marketing for small business owners and start-ups

March 21, 2017

When you are looking for ways to promote your new start-up or small business you will, without doubt, soon hear the words, “content marketing”. There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at the moment, but what does it actually mean and how can small business owners use content to help grow their business? This […]

What small businesses need to know about the General Data Protection Regulation

March 20, 2017

In 2016, the EU passed legislation governing the standards by which companies collect and secure personal data (so-called ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’). The aim of this legislation was to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new General Data Protection Regulation lays down some fairly stringent requirements for […]

How reverse mentorship can help drive fresh ideas, develop staff and help your business succeed

March 17, 2017

With age comes wisdom, but all too often in the business world, hubris can come along for the ride too. After finessing business decision making for decades, executives naturally begin to conclude that their specialised knowledge, expertise and business skills mean that they always know the best way to solve a client problem, to win […]

Government scraps proposed Class 4 NICs rise for self employed

March 15, 2017

Just a week after the 2017 Spring Budget when Chancellor, Philip Hammond announced an increase in Class 4 National Insurance Contributions for the UK’s self employed workers, he has decided that the proposed tax increase isn’t a good idea after all! Responding to wide criticism from Tory MPs and the perceived attack on millions of […]

Restrictive covenants and contracts of employment – Advice for employers

March 15, 2017

For most employers, setting in place rules and responsibilities for employees during their time with the company is their most important consideration. This can be achieved through having effective contracts of employment, alongside employee handbooks. Employers should, however, be putting thought in to what happens once employment ends to ensure that they are protecting their […]

Telecoms mistakes to avoid when starting a business in 2017

March 14, 2017

Over 600,000 business were started in the UK in 2016, and that number is expected to be exceeded in 2017. There are many challenges for every one of these business start-ups, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.