How to set up and run a small business

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You are ready for your big speech: you’ve crafted the talk, you’ve tailored the content for the audience and you’ve rehearsed your words. That’s great – but have you thought about the body language you will use when delivering it?

When we are preparing for presentations and speeches, we tend to focus on our words because vocal language is a conscious activity, whereas body language is a more unconscious activity. We pay attention to saying the right words but we need to extend this attention to our body gestures which unconsciously could be communicating a different message.

If your body language isn’t aligned with your vocal language you are missing the opportunity to deliver the full impact of your message. Worse still, you are at risk of creating confusion among your audience.

Here’s how to use body language to capture your audience’s attention and ensure you get your message across when you are giving a speech or making a presentation;

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It was Mahatma Gandhi who once famously said, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.”

And his observation applies to business as much as it applies to life. Businesses that have the most success are the ones willing to take the time to slow down and think about what they are doing.

This is borne out by an Economist Intelligence Unit study that found companies who slowed down made, on average, 40% more sales and 52% higher profits than companies who had set getting faster and faster their main priority.

So what aspect of your start-up will benefit from you slowing down?
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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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Your new venture might have first spread its wings in the comfort of your own home, but most start-ups need to fly the nest at some point.

Whilst sending emails from your sofa in your onesie undeniably has its charms, there comes a time when moving your business forward requires giving it its own four walls.

Moving into a proper office can make what you do seem a whole lot more real – but it’s a daunting move to make, and with more options available than ever before, it’s unsurprising that many small business owners make the wrong decisions, or delay the move from home entirely.

To help you choose the best route for your business, we compare the more traditional option of renting an office on a commercial lease and the serviced office option. We look at what each one gives you and highlight the benefits and drawbacks of both, so you can come to the right decision.

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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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When you are starting a new business, you will most likely need to produce a cashflow forecast.

If you’re looking to raise money, from either a bank loan or outside investors, a cash flow will be one of the financial forecasts that you will need to produce for prospective lenders and investors.

As your business grows, a cash flow forecast becomes an increasingly important tool to help you manage the business and to avoid any sudden cash flow problems.

We all therefore appreciate the importance of a cash flow forecast, but are there any trade secrets to doing it better?

Here are some top tips to help you produce a better, more accurate cash flow forecast first time, and how you can use it to give your business a commercial advantage.
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For many small business owners, the term ‘digital marketing’ could very well generate a concerned or baffled look, and the temptation to turn around and hide in a darkened room.

As an established small business, or even someone setting up a new business, you might know all about offline marketing like posters and billboards, flyers and direct mail, and word-of-mouth advertising, but when it comes to promoting your business online, it’s unchartered territory.

So to help you safely navigate the online marketing landscape, conquer new marketing activities and promote your business in the digital world, here’s a small business guide to the basics of digital marketing; Continue…

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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 any business starting out with social media, no matter how big or small your budget.
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Public liability insurance will protect your business if you cause an injury to a member of the public, or property belonging to another business or individual.

You should consider taking out public liability insurance if members of the public visit you at your place of work, or if you perform work at places of work owned by third parties. Continue…

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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 be successful, you will need to look at search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s commonly referred to.

With SEO becoming more complex and specialised, many small businesses look to outsource the work to an agency. But with so many practitioners and firms out there offering SEO services it can be tricky to find the reputable providers.

To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here are the 5 questions you should ask an SEO agency before you think about hiring them.
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Nearly a third of workers have admitted using drugs at work, and virtually every employee say they’ve been drunk in the workplace.

These are the incredible figures from a new survey carried out for Protecting.co.uk, which also found significant numbers of staff are “under the influence” every working day.
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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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A dormant company is one that doesn’t trade and has no accounting transactions.

There are two main situations where owning a dormant limited company can be useful for start-ups and small business owners;
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It’s fair to say that the digital landscape has given us all a platform to air every thought that warrants sharing, and also many that don’t!

Unfortunately for businesses, customers will often bypass customer services and immediately go online to air their views. While channels such as Facebook allow you to brush criticism under the carpet (not advised, angry customers will usually respond), reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor and Google can blemish your name on a longer-term basis.

While your customers will always have scope to poorly portray your business online, there are some simple ways to monitor and respond to criticism in a proactive and timely manner.

Here are 6 things you can do to protect your brand and enhance your business reputation on social media; Continue…

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It’s absolutely vital for a small business to maintain a good reputation. It can be the making or breaking of your company after all. Unlike bigger businesses that seem to shrug off really embarrassing moments and carry on, smaller businesses can find it impossible to recover from a tarnished reputation.

So managing how you and your employees represent your business on social media is crucial.

Many may just use it to interact with family and friends, but some – in the very rarest of cases – can use it to abuse, or say inappropriate things. And what if this is seen by your customers? Or they say something about work? Would you know how to handle it?
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Instances of anxiety and depression in the workplace have become much more common in recent years; it’s a matter of record. For example, the number of mental health related absences in the NHS last year showed a two-fold increase since 2010, and on average in the UK 23 days are lost for each case of stress, depression or anxiety.

Whilst these statistics may not exactly represent the state of mental health in your business, it’s worth thinking about. Not least because mental health issues affect more people in the UK than you might think, about four in ten adults having experienced anxiety about their work in 2014.

So, as an employer, what should you do if one of your employees encounters mental health issues? If they’re work-related especially, what is expected of a business?
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It’s estimated that almost one in every three small businesses maintain their own website, and with that comes a whole host of potential challenges to overcome.

Alongside the usual cost of building a new website, getting the right designer and managing your hosting prices, there are other factors which many small business owners do not consider when managing or monitoring their website.

In fact, there are a number of common mistakes which SMEs often make, but which are easy enough to overcome.

Here are the seven errors we most often see with websites designed for startups and small businesses.
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For many small business owners and start ups energy is what you wish you had more of at the end of a long day! But, when it comes to utilities, then energy is also a key part of your overheads and can have a big impact on the bottom line.

A recent Censuswide survey found that three-quarters of SMEs believe they pay too much for their utilities. That equates to a whopping 3.9 million businesses across the UK.

However, there are a number of simple steps that can help you reduce your energy bills, these range from changing staff behaviour, through to finding a deal with a different supplier or using different tariffs.

The savings you make can be significant, so it’s worth a little of your valuable time and energy. To help you get started, here are 4 things you can do to save money on your energy bills right now; Continue…

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“Networking is always important when it’s real, and it’s always useless when it’s fake.” – Seth Godin

When I decided to investigate how some of the most successful networkers operated both online and offline, I was desperate to know the “differences”.

Some of the greatest teachers of our time encourage their followers to look for the distinctions in life – the greater your knowledge of these distinctions, the greater your capability to deal with life’s challenges.

Interestingly, regardless of whether the experts I interviewed were using offline events, clubs and conferences to build their networks, or whether they were joining digital communities and groups online, their actions were underpinned by the same operating principles and many of the same activities.

From interviews with leading business experts, I’ve identified their Top 10 tips for networking success. I’ve called them the “Magic 10″ because they kept appearing in interview after interview, seemingly from out of nowhere. If you can integrate these tips into everything you do, you will have a thriving business network in no time. Continue…

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Why do some businesses appear to steam ahead, recording rapid year on year growth, when others even in the same sector, with the same market opportunity, lag behind, recording poor growth or often no growth at all.

Of course, every sector will have its own nuances, however there are some barriers to grow that every business owner (and aspiring business owner) will need to address if they aim to punch above their weight. Continue…

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8 signs that a small business may be approaching insolvency

April 17, 2015

Although it does not necessarily herald the end of a small business, decline into insolvency can bring significant changes in company structure, operations and management style. It’s worth checking your company for characteristic signs that, if spotted and acted upon early enough, could help you to steer the business away from danger. Here are 8 […]

A guide to peer-to-peer lending for businesses

April 16, 2015

If you need more finance to grow your business, there are a number of options which you might wish to consider. You could turn to your own personal savings, ask family members for help, get a bank loan, issue shares, or speak to some business angels or venture capitalists. Or you could consider peer-to-peer (P2P) […]

When to get SEO for your website, and when not to

April 15, 2015

SEO has become an integral part of online marketing. If you want your business to be seen online, the general consensus is that SEO is absolutely essential. Committing to a high quality SEO campaign can take up a lot of time and make demands on a startup’s budget that not everyone can meet. But seeking […]

Which types of insurance must your business have?

April 13, 2015

As with owning a car, you are legally required to take out certain insurances when running a business. If you don’t you can be fined heavily and could put your entire operation at risk. It’s also sensible to have some of the many optional business insurance policies available to cushion you from nasty shocks. With […]

The 3 issues you’ll need to overcome if you want your start-up to reach £1m turnover

April 9, 2015

According to research, around 7% of working age adults in the UK expect to start a business in the next three years. Many of these aspiring new business owners will be envisaging a multi-million pound business, or even a multi-billion pound business. But, statistically, only 4% of business owners ever reach the £1million turnover mark. […]

How start-ups can win the eyes and ears of the local media

April 8, 2015

If you’ve just started your own business, you might be making the mistake of overestimating the scope of publicity you wish to achieve. Chances are, if you haven’t got a unique business idea that’s going to revolutionise the world, then you’re probably wasting valuable time dealing with national media outlets, especially when you can reap […]

The real cost of taking on your first employee

April 7, 2015

Taking on your first employee should be an exciting time. It means your business idea is working and you need help to expand. But while employees will help your business grow, they will also bring new stresses you may not have encountered before. When you are employing new staff, there are all sorts of costs […]

How to choose the best online accounting software for your business

April 1, 2015

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 […]

Business angels or dragons – who do you trust to invest in your company?

March 30, 2015

Looking for an investor to help fund your business? You’d better make sure they’re an angel, not a dragon! Most businesses require outside investment at some point in their development. Whether you are a new business needing a cash injection to get started, or an established company looking to launch a new product or move […]

Getting your head around IR35 – Tips for new freelancers and contractors

March 27, 2015

If you are thinking of starting out as a freelancer or a contractor, you will very quickly need to get a basic understanding of the IR35 rules. The tax avoidance debate in the UK often focuses on the misdeeds of certain wealthy individuals and large multinational companies. But away from the national press there is […]