How to set up and run a small business

Leaderboard – Homepage

You are here: Home

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:

Continue…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

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…

{ 0 comments }

eCommerce success tips for small businesses

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 great idea for a business isn’t enough. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many poorly reviewed retailers on Trustpilot, so many horror stories of poor products and services, and so many rubbish websites.

To help you succeed online, we asked entrepreneur Stuart Maclaren, to share his 7 top tips for ecommerce success. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

Growing your company culture

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 to any corporate culture. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

organising worthwhile meetings

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 of productivity and part of being a ‘productivity ninja’ is centred on valuing your time and the time of others. Small businesses tend to understand this better than big business, simply because resources are tight and time is scarce, but I have no doubt we’ve all fallen into the ‘meeting for meeting sake’ trap.

Now, if you’re in this trap and not sure how to get out of it follow these five simple, but effective, guiding principles on how you can halve your meetings AND reduce the time they take whilst still making them productive. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

avoid your business suffering security breach

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 many unable to properly protect their confidential information.

But all is not lost for mall businesses. The best way to defend your company from a data breach isn’t by investing millions in expensive software and data security experts, it’s by thinking like the person behind the attack in the first place – the hacker. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

preparting your company for a trade saleWe’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 Gunna, an award-winning range of low-sugar craft soft drinks, I drew upon my previous experience of building my first company, a marketing strategy and innovation consultancy called Clear Ideas, and selling it to M&C Saatchi for £18.4m in 2007.

So here are my top five tips to help you build your start-up for a trade sale; Continue…

{ 0 comments }

business partners signging shareholders agreemenrWhen 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 a lot of anguish down the line.

If you are going into business with other individuals working under a partnership structure, you should do this with a Partnership Agreement. If you are setting up a limited company, you will a need to record these in a Shareholder’s Agreement.

This guide explains what a Shareholder’s Agreement does, who should get one and what should be included in the document.
Continue…

{ 0 comments }

Use memorable words for sales successWhen 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 not only stick in the minds of your customers you’ll find yourself making more sales. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

How new business owners can produce cash flow forecast

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 forecast for a new business. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

how missed payments affect your credit rating

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 you can rectify the situation and pay the lender back, but have you also considered that this late payment could affect your credit score negatively? All The Lenders takes a look at how this works, as well as what you can do to also minimise the impact. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

Equity and Rewards crowdfunding compared

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 began connecting individuals, allowing them to bypass many long-established intermediaries.

This was the precursor to both rewards and equity crowdfunding.

Put simply, Rewards Crowdfunding is the practice of giving lower cost or exclusive items as rewards to early adopters in return for their backing, while Equity Crowdfunding involves selling shares in your business.

To help you understand more about the pros and cons of Rewards and Equity Crowdfunding, and the key points for success, we asked crowdfunding expert, John Auckland of TribeFirst to explain more. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

credit score mythsThere 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.

Continue…

{ 0 comments }

Micro Influencer marketing for small businesses

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 of traditional advertising. Continue…

{ 0 comments }

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 […]

5 Tax Incentives every small business owner should know about

July 11, 2018

Increasing 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 […]

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

July 10, 2018

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 […]

Thinking of exporting to Asia? Here are 7 common pitfalls to guard against

July 5, 2018

UK 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 […]

Why crowdfunding heralds a new power, and what this means for small businesses and start-ups

July 3, 2018

Look 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 […]

5 Power Presenting Principles for introverted entrepreneurs

June 28, 2018

The 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.

‘Business Basics Fund’ to boost uptake of new technologies launched by Government

June 26, 2018

Small 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.

The Challenges of recruitment for startups

June 26, 2018

Hiring 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 […]

5 Simple steps to grow your Facebook fans

June 25, 2018

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 […]

Staff Performance Reviews – How to get the most out of them

June 20, 2018

As 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.

A Guide to Setting up and Managing Payroll for Employers

June 19, 2018

If 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 […]

Keeping employee records: What small business owners need to know

June 14, 2018

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 […]

6 Common Challenges in managing small projects (and how to overcome them)

June 12, 2018

Organisations 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 […]