How to set up and run a small business

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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.
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As a leader, it’s your job to decide what kind of behaviour you would like in your organisation. But, how do you find your own style as a leader and set the tone for everybody who works with you?

Here, Kate Mercer, author of ‘A Buzz in the Building – how to build and lead a brilliant organisation’, looks at different styles of business leaders and explores the concept of partnership at work as a guiding principle…

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There is so much that a small business owner, or potential entrepreneur, can do with just a shift in how we think, and what we focus on.

When you start to look back at what you have achieved and where you are in your life, work and business, you would begin to realise that success is heavily dependent on your attitude.

Most people who are successful started out just like you – and then they kept their strength and determination, they persevered through the tough times and now we look up to them as successful business people.

The good part is that you can make it too and even achieve much more than them. The magic is upgrading the software your mind has been running on with a new, better and bug-free version!

Here, serial entrepreneur, Taimur Khan, tells ByteStart how a positive mind-set can help you succeed with your start-up; Continue…

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If you can develop a competitive advantage for your small business, you will be able to sell your product or service more easily and more profitably.

Ultimately a good competitive advantage will mean that your business is more likely to succeed and is able to grow.

With the ability to develop a competitive advantage being so important for small business owners, we asked Garry Smith, co-author of Creating Business Advantage: Setting Up and Running A Successful Business to explain more about it;

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Whether you’re in the early start-up phase or you’ve been around a while – running a business will inevitably mean coping with change.

This could be the need to deal with new regulations, an ageing customer base, a new competitor, or even your company growing and expanding faster than you planned. Whatever it is – you’ll need to be able to keep your head and deal with new developments.

Our minds have a preference for the predictable – our primitive ancestors had a much better chance of staying alive if things stayed stable. We might want excitement (our ancestors did love the thrill of the chase), but we naturally want it on our terms, not someone else’s.

So how do we support change that will help us and our business evolve and grow while dealing with the feeling of being threatened by it? Continue…

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Since 6th April 2016, nearly all UK companies have been required to maintain a register of Persons with Significant Control (also known as a “PSC register”).

The PSC register obligations were introduced as part of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The government’s intention was to enhance corporate transparency where complicated ownership structures can sometimes make it difficult to tell who owns and controls companies.

However, even small limited companies with very simple structures are required to maintain a PSC register. And, from 30th June 2016, companies need to file this information with Companies House as part of the new Confirmation Statement (which replaces the Annual Return from this date).

This guide explains to small business owners what a Person with Significant Control is, how to produce a PSC register and what companies need to do to stay on the right side of the law.

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All UK limited companies, large and small, have been required to file an Annual Return (AR01) with Companies House at a set point each year.

From 30th June 2016, as part of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the Annual Return is replaced with a new document called a ‘Confirmation Statement’.

Like its predecessor the Annual Return, the Confirmation Statement is a snapshot of information about a company which must be provided once per year. Most of the information provided is placed on the public record by Companies House.

Here’s everything that limited company directors need to know about the new Confirmation Statement; Continue…

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If there’s one marketing skill you should focus on developing above all others it is copywriting.

The ability to passionately sell a product or service in the written word is something that will never go out of fashion. And the reality is that few people will be able to do it as well for your business as you.

Yes, you can pay a copywriter to create the content for your new website or write a sales letter. But you have it within you to do a better job yourself. Your business gets your full focus day in, day out, so you are more likely to understand it properly and convey it more passionately to other people.

All you need to do is follow these seven simple copywriting secrets to write copy (another word for content) that potential buyers just can’t resist Continue…

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Setting up a new business is an exciting, thrilling and all encompassing challenge! Personally, I think it is the best and most stretching form of personal and professional development that a person can do.

Creating and selling your own products and services, building a network of happy customers and managing your own time are just three of the perks that come with starting and running your own business.

But all too often, I meet entrepreneurs who are burnt out, stressed and lacking in sufficient income. This is often because they did not trial their business ideas before they got stuck in. So today, I want to convince you that you should ‘pilot’ your business idea before you launch your new venture for real.
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As a business owner, you may occasionally need to speak in front of an audience. It might be for a business pitch where you are trying to persuade investors to back your business, or a sales meeting where you are trying to secure a key deal.

If you do need to do any public speaking, you won’t want to fall flat and fail. So to help you impress we asked professional speaker and author of ‘Insider Secrets of Public Speaking’, Ian Hawkins, to reveal his 3 golden principles to follow when you’re making a speech;

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Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

What he is talking about is that with the right tools, you can achieve a lot more with much less effort. And this ‘leverage’ is a critical step in taking businesses to the next level.

The point of it is that you do the work once and achieve the result over and over again using this leveraged system. Shweta Jhajharia, founder of The London Coaching Group outlines 4 ways that you can use the power of leverage to help your start-up succeed.

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With rapid developments in technology many business owners can now choose to live in and work from locations all around the world. Some choose to work from somewhere with a better climate than the UK, while others are drawn to places that have more affordable property.

So if you’re fed up with grey skies or overpriced housing, is it feasible for you to relocate and run your own business from another country? Dave Millet of Equinox Comms, outlines what you need to consider;

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When you start a new business you will need to do almost everything. This means you will need to roll up your sleeves and take a very hands-on approach. You will be working IN your business.

However, if you want to grow your business, you will need to pass on the day-to-day work to others and spend more time managing. You will need to work ON your business.

Some business owners find this shift difficult because it means giving up work that they enjoy. You, along with thousands of others, may have started your own business so you could follow a passion. But growing a business means that you can become detached from the work that fulfils you, and the very reason you started your business in the first place.

So how do you decide whether you really want to run your business?

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PR Tips for start-ups

June 8, 2016

As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.

Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.

In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.

So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;

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When you employ staff you must give them a certain amount of annual leave, and pay them during this time.

If your employees work a set amount of hours, and received a fixed salary, calculating their annual leave entitlement and holiday pay is straightforward. However, if staff have irregular hours, work overtime, or receive commissions or bonuses then calculating holiday pay can get quite tricky.

To help new business owners and employers understand the regulations on calculating holiday pay, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points for small businesses;
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Whether you have just launched your new start-up, or are the owner of an existing business, to be successful you need to make the best use of your valuable time.

With so many different aspects of the business to think about, and a host of demands on their time, it’s easy for small business owners to become too busy to get the really important things done.

To make sure you don’t get sucked into this trap, author Martin Gladdish, reveals some simple tips and tricks to show how you can build your business in 90 minutes a day.
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When it comes to first aid in the workplace, the same principles apply to small businesses with only a few employees, as they do to companies with a bigger workforce spread across multiple locations.

In both instances, there must be plans in place to ensure the day-to-day working operation complies with health and safety regulations, protecting employees from possible injuries and reacting to sudden illness.

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Good publicity can help to propel your small business to another level. Sadly many small businesses don’t make any effort to get any press coverage because they think it’s impossibly difficult to do so.

However, it is really simple to get free publicity for your business. In fact, the reason that many businesses get it wrong is because they try to over-complicate things. Here are the five powerful and unbreakable rules you must follow when trying to get free publicity for your business:
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Everyone has to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Challenges and changes are constant, and this is especially true if you are starting up your own business.

Adverse situations may be familiar or unfamiliar to you depending upon whether you have experienced them before, or whether you have experienced circumstances that may be similar. You will have developed coping mechanisms and these will help you in dealing with familiar adverse situations and, if you’re launching a new business, many unfamiliar ones.

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As business owners we all make mistakes. It’s part and parcel of being an entrepreneur and taking risks.

Sometimes going wrong it’s part of the learning curve we all need to experience. However, there are some common pitfalls that catch many new business owners time and time again. They trip up the unwary, hold you back and stop your business from fulfilling its potential.

Knowing what these mistakes are will help you spot them before they ensnare you – saving you precious time, effort and money. Here, Shweta Jhajharia reveals the 6 leadership traps you need to avoid if you want your business to flourish.

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Why a healthier workplace is good for a small business, and simple ways to achieve it

May 26, 2016

Small businesses and start-ups are particularly vulnerable to staff health issues. If you’re a small business of five staff when suddenly one of the team is off sick with a chronic back complaint, then the business is trying to operate with only 80% of the workforce. The increased workload this pushes on to other staff […]

A small business guide to annual leave entitlement for employees

May 25, 2016

As an employer you are required by law to give your employees a certain number of days holiday during the year. The amount of annual leave employees are entitled to depends on several factors. This guide to leave entitlement for small business owners explains the amount of holiday you are required by UK law to […]

Business Funding – What to do when the bank says “NO”

May 24, 2016

PROMOTED GUIDE – This is a promoted guide from Funding Xchange – the business funding marketplace where lenders compete to fund your business. Get Funding Now   If you have approached your bank and found it difficult to secure the funds your business requires, you’re in good company. Banks are declining up to 50% of […]

10 Top tips for small businesses starting out with social media

May 23, 2016

We’ve all heard it; “You just have to be using social media marketing.” And the response from many business owners is; “I’m keen to try using social media to promote my small business but I’m not sure where to start.” If this sounds like you, here are ten simple but effective tips that will help […]

Why business owners must embrace co-creation to create real value in their business

May 19, 2016

Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome. In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Co-creation brings many benefits to businesses, such as; Team members feel respected and honoured, and they know their contributions make a difference. Job […]

5 killer phrases that all negotiators should know

May 18, 2016

Negotiations can often be a mysterious process. Maybe the conversation has reached a sticky point, no one is budging and tempers are beginning to rise. Then one person says something and the whole situation transforms. You strike a great deal and everyone is best friends. How did that happen? How did they know just what […]

What you need to ‘master’ to turn your startup into a growth business

May 17, 2016

Parents, politicians, pundits, pub philosophers. They all have something in common – an arsenal of adages, aphorisms, proverbs, mottos and maxims. But of all the oft-used phrases you’ve heard in your life, which do you think sticks with people most? Give a hundred and ten percent Never say never Game of two halves Winter is […]

5 questions you should ask a prospective SEO agency before you consider hiring them

May 15, 2016

A website can be a very powerful marketing tool for start-ups and small businesses. An effective site helps smaller firms to reach out to a huge audience of potential new customers and take on bigger rivals. However, the battle to be found online can be fierce, so if you want your small business website to […]

How to deliver ‘rocking’ presentations and pitches that will captivate your audience

May 12, 2016

You may think that giving presentations is something that happens in a big corporate, but not in your start-up or small business. Not true! We’re all giving mini-presentations and pitches several times a day, and getting your message across in a digital world where everyone is mildly ADHD is more vital for business success than […]

How email can deepen customer relationships and transform online conversions

May 11, 2016

When considering great customer experience (CX), it can be helpful to picture a shopkeeper. The more we visit the shop, the better the shopkeeper gets to know us. After a few visits, the shopkeeper initially learns our name; then what products we like and have previously purchased; when we’re likely to need more of them; […]