How to set up and run a small business

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10 common Self-Assessment Tax Return mistakes and how to avoid them

January 5, 2017

If you need to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return (SATR) it’s imperative you get it in on time and free of any mistakes. There are penalties for not submitting your tax return on time and you may have to pay a fine if HMRC deem you have not taken enough care in completing it. With […]

Auto enrolment – What should be at the top of your 2017 ‘to do’ list?

January 5, 2017

As smaller businesses prepare to put their plans for 2017 into practice, there’s one thing that should be on almost every small employer’s radar. I’d say auto enrolment is one of the most important things that employers right around the UK must deal with in 2017, it’s both a legal duty and an important staff […]

5 things you must do when you go self employed

January 3, 2017

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 if you’re suited to working […]

The power of the ‘pilot’ – 3 reasons why you should test your new business before launch

December 27, 2016

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 […]

What is the purpose of your business?

December 22, 2016

When you are starting a business, you will need to answer many questions. However, one of the most fundamental questions any business owner will be asked is, what is the purpose of your business? So what would your answer be? How you answer the question, has a significant bearing on whether your business is likely […]

What is the Bank Referral Scheme and why does it matter?

December 20, 2016

Many small business owners don’t know about the Bank Referral Scheme, but it represents a significant milestone for business funding in the UK. But what exactly is The Bank Referral Scheme, how does it work, and how will it help businesses? We asked Conrad Ford, Chief Executive of Funding Options, to explain;

Leased or serviced office space – which is the best fit for your business?

December 16, 2016

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 […]

A small business guide to employee handbooks

December 15, 2016

Nearly all employers are aware of the legal requirement to give new employees a statement of their main terms once they start working for you. For some small businesses this may be the only documentation they give staff, after all this meets their legal requirements. However, many employers can find that well-drafted and implemented employee […]

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

December 13, 2016

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 […]

6 Things you need to know before launching a crowdfunding campaign for your business

December 12, 2016

You have a great business idea and you’re finally ready to make it a reality. However, the next obstacle you need to overcome is to find the funding you need to get your business off the ground. In recent years, the advent of alternative finance has brought startups new funding options, and driven an explosion […]

Why small businesses must stay on top of web application security

December 9, 2016

Nearly 6,000 retail sites were recently compromised by credit-card theft, after attackers injected malicious JavaScript code into their e-commerce websites to steal payment card data. While compared to the 500 million user details breached at Yahoo it may seem but a small number, however this hack has highlighted the significant risk that cybercrime poses to […]

5 Questions to ask before you stand up and deliver a presentation

December 8, 2016

As a business owner you are your own best marketing tool. Presenting in public not only highlights your business, it also establishes your credibility, makes your listeners trust you (and people prefer to do business with those they trust) and generates leads. But, even if you have a stunning presentation with fabulous visuals, you can […]

Checking to see if a VAT registration number is valid – Why it’s important, and the best way to do it

December 7, 2016

If you are dealing with a new customer or supplier and want to check whether the VAT registration number (VRN) they have supplied is valid, there are two ways you can do so. One method is to call the HMRC VAT Helpline, the other is to use the online VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) run […]

How to plan and implement a successful email marketing campaign

December 5, 2016

For a small business, email marketing offers an inexpensive but effective and efficient way to engage with your customers, and attract new ones – so long as the right planning has been put in place first. It creates and maintains communication, helping to keep your brand front of mind and build customer loyalty. Campaigns can […]

Becoming an employer – Your responsibilities when you hire staff

December 2, 2016

No matter how successful your business has been with just you working in it, if you want to grow you will need to take on employees. There are innumerable benefits of having employees. The right people will ease the workload on you and allow you take holidays. Good staff keep your business running day to […]

Rules you must follow when naming your limited company

December 1, 2016

If you are setting up a limited company, you should think carefully when choosing your company name. Alongside the business reasons for choosing an appropriate name, there are also a number of company naming rules you should be aware of. If you breach certain naming rules, Companies House will simply reject your company formation application.

Set up a limited company or stay self-employed?

November 30, 2016

One of the first, and most important decisions you make when you set up a new business is to decide what type of legal structure you should work under.

Getting your IT right as your startup grows

November 29, 2016

Small businesses often begin when an entrepreneur brings an idea to life on a laptop at the kitchen table. At this point, the entire IT infrastructure of the business is likely to be the computer and the software it’s running. But things can grow very quickly. As your startup grows, the size and complexity of […]

A Guide to Company Administration for small business owners

November 28, 2016

The purpose of putting a company into administration is one that’s widely misunderstood by business owners. So to help de-mystify what’s involved and what it entails; here’s a guide to the company administration process;

How to get your business noticed – Self-marketing for start-ups

November 25, 2016

Your business may offer amazing products and a fantastic service. It may have a clear, determined vision of what it is doing and where it is going. But if your potential customers don’t know it exists, your wonderful business is likely to disappear without trace. As Alan Sugar put it: “Your start-up will be a […]

The 10 things you’re doing wrong in your presentations (and how to fix them)

November 24, 2016

It doesn’t matter how many presentation skills training courses we’ve been on or how many truly terrible presentations we’ve seen, we all end up falling into the same old traps when we present, pitch or speak in public. To help you avoid making yawn-inducing presentation mistakes we asked Steve Bustin, author of The Authority Guide to […]

How the lines between online and offline retail are blurring, and how to capitalise on this trend

November 23, 2016

Let’s start with a sobering statistic: Retailers opened the lowest number of new stores in the last 5 years in the first half of 2016. What’s more, 15 stores pulled down their shutters for the last time every day. Altogether, that means nearly 2000 more stores were closed than opened in that six-month period. Today, […]

A Guide to HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements

November 22, 2016

If you are having problems paying HMRC your business taxes, you may be able to agree a Time to Pay arrangement so you can pay the tax over a longer period of time. In this concise guide, we walk you through HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements, explain what you should understand before contacting HMRC, and […]

How to master your inbox in five simple steps

November 21, 2016

The inbox has changed from an exciting place where anyone from anywhere in the world can reach you within seconds to a daily burden where tasks disappear under the onslaught of new emails coming in. Email productivity experts agree that dealing with emails instantly as they appear in our inboxes, decreases productivity. New emails can […]

Turn your website browsers into buyers with personalised product recommendations

November 18, 2016

Understand how to shape the customer journey and convert browsers into buyers. The more relevant you make your website for each visitor, the longer they’ll stay, the more they’ll do, the more they’ll spend, and the more they’ll tell other people. And a great way to do this is to make the experience more personal. […]

Why 1 in 3 Customers don’t buy your full range of products or services

November 17, 2016

One in three customers do not buy your complete range of products and services. Why? Well the answer is very simple! It’s because they don’t know you offer them! So is your business unknowingly falling victim of this profit-crushing statistic? A thought-provoking question, isn’t it?

Turbo-charge your start-up by sharing what you know

November 15, 2016

One of the biggest challenges you face as a start-up is getting your name out there. However, even if people hear your name, unless they know what makes your business unique, they are unlikely to choose you over a competitor. Help someone understand how you can solve their problem, however, and you’re in with a […]

Covey’s Matrix: The Simple secret to great time management

November 14, 2016

Managing time effectively is vital if you are to prosper as a business owner, especially when it comes to running a small business when just a few people have to deal with every aspect of the business. Despite best intentions though, we’ve all got to the end of a day without achieving any of the […]

5 things to consider when choosing a pension scheme for your business

November 11, 2016

For many small employers, providing a workplace pension, because of Automatic Enrolment, will be brand new territory. With a wide range of providers to choose from, where do you begin? How do you narrow it down and make your selection? It’s a similar process to hiring a new worker or signing up a new supplier. […]