How to set up and run a small business

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how to quickly build rapport with peopleBeing 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 first step in getting on with other people is to build rapport with them. If you don’t get this right, you won’t get much further so we asked author, Catherine Stothart to outline tips and techniques that will help you to quickly establish rapport with anyone. Continue…

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Tips on the patent processStarting 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 system.

Make a mistake at this point and you could end up doing all the hard work only for someone else to exploit later down the line. So if you want to protect your business idea or invention, you need to take the patent process seriously. Continue…

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Tax breaks & Incentives for small businessesIncreasing cash flow and being tax-efficient are usually near the top of every small business owner’s agenda.

One way to achieve both these aims is to tax advantage of some of the various tax incentives available to businesses. However, small businesses often miss out on these tax breaks because they either don’t know what they’re entitled to, or can’t find the time to make a claim.

So to help you save time and money, here are five tax incentives and tax relief opportunities that small businesses can take advantage of;

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younger employees being a mentor for older staffWith 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 a major account, or to drive a workplace innovation.

After all their past successes confirm this. Subconsciously survivorship and confirmation biases are at work; good decisions are reinforced, and poor ones are forgotten – which distorts their real importance.

So, can these experienced executives learn something from Millennials? Absolutely! Continue…

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Tips to succeed with exporting to AsiaUK exports to Asia are now worth 18% of the UK export market – that’s £98.6 billion. China is now the eighth largest export market for the UK – with India and Singapore being among the UK’s largest trading partners in the commonwealth.

Trading to Asia offers an entirely new world of possibility for UK businesses to export their products and to build a global brand – and with Brexit fast approaching and the future of British trading unclear, exporting to Asia is becoming increasingly popular. Continue…

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crowdfunding - more power to businessesLook around at the world’s many unpredictable events and it could not be clearer that our political, and social, tectonics plates are shifting.

Fueled by the digital revolution of young technology adoptees who are now reaching adulthood, it is in many ways unsurprising that the connected generation is rejecting old leadership paradigms, and favouring the peer-to-peer model over outdated intermediaries.

As the plates shifted, crowdfunding has been able to blossom, and its societal impact is far more radical than you might realise.

My prediction is that by 2030, all worthwhile ideas will be brought to life via crowdfunding. Continue…

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presentation advice for business ownersThe common perception is that you need to be a bit of an extrovert to be a good public speaker.

However, that needn’t be the case. With a few simple tricks, as Kay Heald explains, introverted entrepreneurs can become excellent public speakers.

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Business Basics Fund boost take up of new technologies in small businessesSmall Business Minister Andrew Griffiths unveils a new £8m Business Basics Fund in a speech to the CBI today.

The Business Basics Fund aims to boost the productivity and performance of small businesses in England. Continue…

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Challenges new businesses face when hiring staffHiring the right people is vital for the growth of your company. It is likely to go some way in contributing to the development of the business and helping it to become successful.

The task of recruitment varies across different industries depending on their nature. For example, recruitment in hospitality is seasonal and finding the right people can be difficult.

Moreover, recruitment can be even harder for startups, so here we take a look at some of the main challenges facing startups when it comes to looking for people to join their team. Continue…

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Nowadays, everybody knows that social networks play a significant role in the promotion of a company.

That’s why having an engaged and active community on Facebook can make all the difference to your business.

But if you don’t know what you’re doing, building Facebook friends can take a lot of time and effort. So to help you to quickly build your Facebook fans, here are 5 simple steps you should take. Continue…

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Employee performance reviewsAs a business owner, it’s likely that you struggle to find time to do the performance appraisals for your team.

You are not the only one.

Surveys have indicated that owners and managers hate doing performance reviews and as many as 58% think it is a waste of time. Continue…

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What new employers need to knoa to set up payrollIf you’re starting to employ people in your business, mastering payroll is going to become an essential part of your business. Get it wrong and you risk unhappy employees and potential penalties from HMRC.

There’s a lot more to it than simply paying staff money. So we’ve put together this guide to help you get it right and stay in line with what HMRC expects. Continue…

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the employee records employers should keep

The GDPR gives people more control over their personal information and requires organisations to clarify exactly where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored – and how it is used.

Less well-documented than data protection regulations, but no less important, are data retention regulations. To outline what your legal obligations are when it comes to keeping business records, we asked Paul Ravey of Access Records Management to explain.

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tips to overcome project managenebt problemsOrganisations tend to be fairly poor at defining their projects in terms of criticality and risk. Yet these are key attributes when it comes to deciding how much management and governance a project needs.

Instead, the importance of a project is often seen as directly related to how large it is, how many people are involved, how long it will last and how much budget is assigned.

Yet it’s often the small projects that get completely out of control, experiencing scope creep, or eating up resources before it gets onto the radar of the project’s sponsors. Continue…

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online accounts for start-upsFrom IT and recruitment, to marketing and sales, it’s safe to say as a startup you have a million and one things to do to get your business up and running.

Finding time to devote to accounting and financial matters isn’t always at the top of a startup’s list of priorities. Nonetheless submitting annual accounts is mandatory for any business and being on top of your  finances will help your new business succeed so it’s something you want to get done quickly and efficiently. Continue…

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how to recover from a failed business

A failed business can have a devastating impact on a business owner. However, the lessons learned can also make an entrepreneur stronger, wiser and more determined to succeed next time.

Author and international speaker, Jonathan MacDonald, was floored by a business failure, but after the initial despair, he picked himself up and used the experience to shape his future success. Here, he shares his story and explains how to bounce back from a start-up failure.

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cyber safety tips and advice for small businessAccording to the latest Zurich SME Risk Index, almost one in six UK SMEs have fallen victim to cyber attacks in the past year, costing a fifth of victims over £10,000 and 1 in 10 over £50,000.

It’s clear no SME should gamble when it comes to cyber security, especially with the new GDPR regulation in force. Delaying action will put your business, your employees and your customers at risk.

It may seem like a challenging task but as Adam Louca, Chief Technologist – Security at Softcat explains, there are simple and affordable ways small businesses can strengthen their cyber defences.

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Guide to the Flat Rate VAT Scheme for small businessVAT is one of the more complex accounting practices you’ll have to undertake as a business, which is why it can help to make it as simple as possible.

The Flat Rate VAT scheme does exactly this and, if you’re eligible, could save you the headache of unnecessary work. Continue…

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employed, self employed and workerIt would be fair to say that employment status has been a contentious issue in recent times as business owners and staff in various sectors dispute the true nature of their respective working arrangements.

As a business owner it is important that you are familiar with the differences between the three main categories of employment (employee, worker and self-employed) as this will help determine the rights of the individual and the obligations you have towards them. Continue…

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helping not selling

Technology is constantly advancing and with technological advancement comes change. If you want your business to stay competitive, then you must be prepared to embrace technological changes.

You may think that you understand the current sales market, however, the sales game is changing, and these changes are coming about thanks to technology.

If you want to achieve sales success it is no longer about selling, but about helping. Continue…

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Guide to cash flow management

May 25, 2018

Cash 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 […]

6 Reasons why local PR can be good for business

May 24, 2018

Getting 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 […]

9 GDPR Myths – Busted

May 22, 2018

The juggernaut that is GDPR has now come into force. We’ve known about this radical new change in privacy and data protection law for over two years and on 25th May it became law across the EU. The past two years have allowed plenty of time for numerous myths to bubble up about the impact […]

How to get investors to back your crowdfunding campaign

May 21, 2018

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 […]

How to futureproof your business

May 18, 2018

There’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 […]

How to use Google My Business effectively: 6 Tips for small businesses

May 16, 2018

To 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 […]

5 Simple ways for SMEs to address workplace stress

May 15, 2018

This 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 […]

4 Reasons why SMEs should invest in an Employee Assistance Programme

May 11, 2018

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 […]

How the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), and the generous tax relief it offers, can help you raise funding to grow your business

May 10, 2018

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 […]

5 Things you must do when you go self employed

May 8, 2018

One 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 […]

Incentivising and rewarding staff with an EMI share option scheme

May 3, 2018

For 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 […]

3 Ways Inbound Marketing can help grow your sales

May 2, 2018

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 […]

How to choose the best online accounting software for your business

May 1, 2018

Small 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 […]

9 Things small employers need to know about the GDPR

April 30, 2018

Recent 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 […]

Direct mail or email – Which marketing option is better for my business?

April 27, 2018

Technology 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 […]

What are the alternatives if your broadband doesn’t meet your business needs?

April 25, 2018

For 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 […]