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guide to content marketing

When you are looking for ways to promote your new start-up or small business you will, without doubt, soon hear the words, “content marketing”.

There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at the moment, but what does it actually mean and how can small business owners use content to help grow their business?

This guide answers those questions, and also offers useful, practical advice for businesses that are interested in developing a content marketing strategy of their own. Continue…

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In 2016, the EU passed legislation governing the standards by which companies collect and secure personal data (so-called ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’).

The aim of this legislation was to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new General Data Protection Regulation lays down some fairly stringent requirements for both large and small businesses as regards data protection.

Although the UK subsequently voted to leave the EU, the UK government has since confirmed that it will abide by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect from 25 May 2018. To help UK businesses understand how they could be affected by the new laws, here’s a guide to the GDPR legislation. Continue…

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For most employers, setting in place rules and responsibilities for employees during their time with the company is their most important consideration. This can be achieved through having effective contracts of employment, alongside employee handbooks.

Employers should, however, be putting thought in to what happens once employment ends to ensure that they are protecting their business interests. After the employee has resigned, or been dismissed, they are no longer bound by their contractual terms.

Restrictive covenants are an effective tool for restricting damaging activity by the ex-employee but employers need to carefully construct these covenants to ensure they are enforceable. Continue…

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Over 600,000 business were started in the UK in 2016, and that number is expected to be exceeded in 2017.

There are many challenges for every one of these business start-ups, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.
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“Will you give us a discount on that figure?”

“Can you match the lower price I can get down the street?”

“Can’t you do it cheaper?”

These are the kind of questions people running start-ups and small businesses get asked an awful lot.

But what are the best answers to give? Here, we look at how small business owners can respond to these kind of questions, without losing business and without cutting prices and profit margins.
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You don’t have to think back very far to remember the time when disruptive start-ups and forward thinking businesses were championing a “digital first” strategy. Digital technology had been adopted by mainstream consumers and companies that failed to recognise it were being left behind.

More recently, that slogan has been replaced for many businesses by a new one, “mobile first,” and is not difficult to understand why. Today’s consumers are constantly on their mobile. Continue…

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As the name suggests, a dual sim phone allows you to have two sims in a single phone. There are a variety of reasons why people may want access to two different phone numbers on a single device.

A dual sim phone could be of particular use to self employed people, freelancers and business owners who want to be able to handle personal and work calls separately, but don’t want to carry two different phones.

The facility to have separate numbers for work and personal contacts, with tailored voicemail messages can help you to be more professional and create a better impressions with potential customers. With dual sim phones seemingly solving a communications conundrum for many small business owners we asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett, to share his insight into them; Continue…

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Starting your own business means you suddenly become the owner of several hats – one for selling, one for bookkeeping, one for planning, one for looking after customers and one for marketing to name but a few.

The marketing element of a start-up is one of the most complex, especially given the changing ways small businesses need to reach customers in a digital world.

Digital marketing can be a bit of a mystery to many small business owners, so to help you explore how you make the most of the opportunities it offers, we’ve asked Tink Taylor, founder of dotmailer, to share some simple tips to get you started on your digital journey.
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Trusted selling

We live in incredible times of change; there’s no disputing that. Old business models are dying out, new business models and disrupting technologies are being born every day that are turning industries on their head.

At the same time, trust is at its lowest level ever. We no longer trust politicians, we no longer trust banks and bankers. We no longer trust the proven models and establishments that have supported us for years, never more proven than in recent times with Brexit and Donald Trump becoming US President. Continue…

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The roll-out of auto enrolment is well into its fifth year. Having started with the largest organisations back in October 2012, it’s now the turn of small and micro sized employers.

If you’re one of these, you’re in good company. During 2017, hundreds of thousands of organisations just like yours will need to get to grips with auto enrolment.

If you aren’t sure what it means for you and your workers, this step by step guide to Automatic Enrolment for small businesses, will put you on the right path.

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“Time is money” isn’t just an adage when running a small business, it’s a way of life. When your business model is to sell your time and expertise, it’s important to monetise every moment of every working day.

There are plenty of hacks to help freelancers and contractors get more and more efficient with reducing the cost of non-billable time. These tend to focus on outsourcing your unproductive time and automating repetitive tasks, but you also need to pay special attention to the time and effort you spend on winning new business. Continue…

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If you’ve been involved in running a website, you’ll know that it’s relatively “easy” to get eyeballs on your site. Throw money at it and they will come.

But, it’s getting those visitors to take action, to buy from you – that’s the hard part. So it’s no wonder that a website’s ‘Conversion Rate’ is one of the most keenly tracked metrics in online business. It measures the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, which in e-commerce means making a purchase.

Improving your conversion rate means more sales and higher profits, so finding ways to convert more of your website visitors into buyers is a key plank of ecommerce success.

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Fixed term employment contracts are generally seen by employers as those which “plug the gap” when their normal, permanent employees are absent for a period of time.

Fixed term contracts are useful tools for businesses who need to employ staff to cover short term peaks in business demands. But before employing staff on a fixed term contract, employers need to be aware of the rights fixed term employees have to ensure they are not at risk of a tribunal claim.

So to help make sure you don’t get caught out, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points of fixed term contracts for small businesses; Continue…

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Technological innovation is happening ever more rapidly and the changes will transform every industry. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from these innovative technologies but must strike a balance between using technology and being overwhelmed by it.

To help business owners embrace the potential of new technologies we asked Rohit Talwar, editor of, ‘The Future of Business’ and ‘Technology vs. Humanity’ to provide some practical advice on how to survive, and thrive, in the face of this continuous tidal wave of technological change. Continue…

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The gig economy is one of the UK’s fastest growing ways of working. According to IPSE, the body representing UK freelancers, there are now around 1.9 million freelancers in the UK alone. And the global figure is upwards of 50 million people earning a living from freelancing.

The rise in popularity of freelance working is creating more opportunities for those looking for more flexibility and control over their own lives, but joining the growing ranks of the self-employed does bring its challenges.

So if you’re thinking of going it alone and starting up as a freelancer, here’s what you need to do to be a successful freelancer in the gig economy; Continue…

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IT security has never been a bigger issue for startups and SMEs, with 3 in 5 digital firms likely to experience service failures by 2020 due to improper mitigation of risk. It comes at a time when small businesses are increasingly being targeted by hackers keen to exploit network vulnerabilities, and access their data.

Ensuring the security of your data – and more importantly, the data you hold on your customers – is essential. It’s one of the reasons that many businesses are moving to the cloud, where data is stored virtually.

It’s a cost effective solution for most business, but those things that make the cloud an attractive option – accessibility, flexibility and price – are reasons why others consider it to be unsafe. As more and more small businesses move data and processes to the cloud, here’s a handy guide to ensuring your data is safe. Continue…

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If you’re starting a new business you’ll, no doubt, want to establish and build a strong brand. Doing so will bring huge benefits over the long-term, helping you to stand out from the crowd, generate more customers and ultimately build a more valuable business.

But how do you build a brand, and where do you start? We asked branding expert, and author of ‘Winning in Your Own Way; the Nine and a Half Golden Rules of Branding‘, Robert Bean to explain;
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…continued from Part 1 of Build a Brand, Build a Business Continue…

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Figures from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) reveal that more than 95 per cent of the small employers required to put their staff into a workplace pension by June 2016 had complied with the law.

To the end of September, almost 257,000 employers had completed their automatic enrolment duties and enrolled over 6.7 million workers on to an auto enrolment pension scheme.

During the first quarter of 2017, the automatic enrolment legislation will step up a gear as more than 1 million small businesses will need to meet their automatic enrolment duties. And so with a busy time ahead, we asked Caroline Bateman of Enrolsme to offer her tips on how small business can set up an auto enrolment pension scheme in 2017, ‘stress free’; Continue…

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As a small business, one of the biggest threats to your information assets resides within your operatin. The insider threat, intentional or otherwise, is now one of the major concerns in cybersecurity, and with good cause.

So what exactly are the insider threats to small businesses, and how can you mitigate the dangers? We asked Jamie Graves, Co- Founder and CEO of ZoneFox to explain;

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Statutory & Contractual Notice Periods: Advice for small businesses

January 17, 2017

Once a contract of employment is in place, notice has to be given by either party to the contract to end it. There are two types of notice periods; statutory notice and contractual notice. As an employer, if you fail to give the correct notice when terminating an employment contract, you are in breach of […]

7 cybersecurity issues small businesses need to understand in 2017

January 16, 2017

Security breaches and cybercrime incidents hit the headlines in 2016, as high-profile news of data breaches, malware, DDoS attacks and compromised systems became mainstream news. The news reports inevitably focused on cyber-attacks on major corporations, such as the data thefts from TalkTalk, Three and Tesco Bank, as well as the extraordinary autumn story of the […]

What are the compulsory fire safety regulations for UK businesses?

January 12, 2017

It is vitally important for business owners and managers to understand their duty to comply with UK fire safety regulations, as the consequences are potentially very serious. All legislation regarding fire safety in business (non-domestic) premises in England and Wales are incorporated in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005. It provides clear guidance for […]

What creativity can do for your bottom line

January 10, 2017

If you’re running your own small business, or thinking about starting one, then chances are that you’re already creative and putting your ideas into practice. But as any business owner knows that your initial idea is often just the start. Ongoing creativity is also not an optional extra for companies. It is a crucial component […]

Why you must build on your strengths, NOT focus on trying to fix weaknesses

January 9, 2017

Business owners and leaders looking to get the best out of themselves and their team will frequently spend a lot of time and effort searching for, and trying to improve on their weaknesses. However, this is a completely counter-productive approach that can lower employee engagement and ultimately damage a business’ chance of success. Here Jan […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]