How to set up and run a small business

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How diversity can make a better, more profitable business

As a small business owner, you may think ‘inclusion’ is an issue for big corporates, with large HR departments.

This misperception assumes that inclusion is a cost, when in fact, done properly, inclusion is one of the best free resources available to smaller businesses.

Here’s how being an inclusive business can help you succeed and how it can help you to build a more profitable company. Continue…

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successful video marketingVideo is a potent and wildly effective marketing tool, but only when it is part of a measured and considered content strategy.

It is no easy task to succinctly and effectively communicate your brand values and core messaging to an audience in a way that is original and compelling.

Before you even begin you need to have spent time seeking to understand who your customers are in the first place. Continue…

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staff sickness absence guideIt is virtually impossible to eradicate staff sickness absence entirely. However, for small businesses, the costly nature of absenteeism can be extremely disruptive to the day to day running of the business.

There are many costs associated with staff being off sick, including compensation to the absent employee, the additional expense of finding temporary workers and the possible decline of productivity due to other employees being tasked with additional workloads.

Despite its unpredictability, there are steps small business owners can take to minimise the negative effects of absenteeism. This guide provides you with advice on how to effectively manage the different aspects of sickness absence. Continue…

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Start-ups and small businesses have to be prudent in their go-to-market activities. There isn’t the budget to splash out on extensive marketing campaigns, or the time for spray and pray customer targeting.

As a business owner, you are often the face of the business at every turn. Whether you’re dealing with customers, suppliers, partners or staff, what you do matters and sets the tone for your whole business.

How successful you are often comes down to how good you are at persuading and influencing people. With these skills being so important, we asked behaviour expert, Ally Yates, to outline how you can become more persuasive in business. Continue…

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benefits of mindfulness in business

Now more than ever, creative thinking and the ability to come up with innovative solutions to today´s challenges is crucial for business success.

With mindfulness being increasingly used to unlock creativity throughout businesses we’ve asked author Palma Michel, to share practical tips on how you can use mindfulness to improve your business:

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marketing psychology - using emotion to connect with customers

The more people feel, the more people buy. That’s the clear conclusion from the last decade of work by two of Britain’s top marketing analysts, Les Binet and Peter Field.

They delved into the IPA DataMine – a huge database of ad effectiveness case studies – to find out how advertising really leads to meaningful business effects, going beyond short-term sales spikes to look at profit growth and market share gain.

So what is the key to effective marketing, and how can businesses apply this to their marketing techniques to boost sales and grow profits? We asked Tom Ewing to explain;

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conducting good job interviews

Getting the recruitment process right is important for any business as employing the wrong person can have a significant impact on future success. It will also save time and costs as the process will only have to be carried out once and not repeated.

Although some employers perceive interviewing as a small part of the recruitment process, it is a vital opportunity to examine how potential candidates measure up against the needs of the business and, as such, it is important to get it right.

There are also risks of discrimination that employers should be aware of to avoid a tribunal claim, so here’s how to make sure your interviewing process gets the right results. Continue…

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Guide to UK outdoor workwear regulations PPE

The UK has one of the most robust and exacting health and safety regulatory frameworks to be found anywhere in the world.

Compliance with the various H&S laws is crucial for employers and this is true of the regulations for the appropriate and correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for outdoor workers. Continue…

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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…

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General Data Protection Regulation

Despite Brexit, the UK government has confirmed it will abide by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect on 28 May 2018.

The aim of General Data Protection Regulation is to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new GDPR lays down some fairly stringent legislation, for both large and small businesses, governing the standards by which personal data is collected and stored.

To help UK businesses understand the new laws, and avoid the heavy punishments failure to abide by them bring, here’s a guide to the GDPR legislation. Continue…

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auto enrolment pension - no jargon

If you work in the world of hairdressing you’ll know a lob from a wob, just like plumbers know the difference between an angle stop and a capillary connector.

For those of us who don’t work in these industries it’s complete gobbledegook. What are they talking about?

The pension industry is one place where jargon is rife, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With auto enrolment pension schemes meaning more employees taking out workplace pensions, we asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to outline the benefit of jargon-free pensions communications. Continue…

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electronic commerce regulations

If you are selling any products or services online, you need to comply with e-commerce regulations.

But what exactly must your business do to comply with these regulations? We asked Adrien Herbert of Lawbite to explain; Continue…

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real time marketing word cloud

Real-time marketing (RTM), the strategy and practice of reacting with immediacy in digital channels to external events and triggers, has been steadily growing in use and popularity.

An expanding array of tools and digital channels (e.g., social media and listening capabilities) has made real-time accessible, in theory at least, to virtually every marketer.

As digital channels increasingly function in real-time, all marketing organizations must consider to what degree they, too, will adapt, so here are 12 steps to help you get ready for real-time marketing; Continue…

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employees collaborating document teamwork

From greater productivity and coming up with new and exciting ideas, to boosting morale and motivation, there are lots of advantages to working together. New businesses may be searching for effective and efficient ways to help promote teamwork and one of the best ways to do this is through document collaboration.

Document collaboration has a number of benefits. Most notably, it keeps everyone ‘in the loop’.

The practice makes it easy to see changes, understand processes, and maintain strong communications, both internally and externally. However, while some may think of collaboration as being simple, getting it right can be tricky.

So to help you get it right first time, we asked, author and document management specialist, Kent Raju to share his tips on how startups and small businesses can successfully collaborate on documents: Continue…

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how to choose right phone system for your business

As internet access becomes increasingly universal, more and more businesses are turning to cloud phone systems (also known as PBX, virtual or internet phone systems and VoIP) instead of traditional landlines.

The benefits of a cloud phone system are numerous – they’re more flexible, allowing team members to make and receive calls without being tied to their desk, and they’re often more cost-effective for smaller businesses.

If you’re thinking of moving to a cloud phone system, or setting up your first business phone system, this guide will help you to work out which features you’ll need, and what to look out for when choosing a phone system supplier. Continue…

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job advert in newspaper

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business.

One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will be to write a job advert. However, there are legal implications, as well as practical concerns regarding the advertising of job vacancies, that employers need to be aware of.

If you get this crucial part of the recruitment process right, the next steps are more likely to go smoothly, but get it wrong and you could get into hot water.

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Questions to ask about SEO

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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PR Tips for start-ups

June 16, 2017

PR tips for new businesses

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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It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick.

One of the best ways to increase happiness and morale throughout your business is by implementing an employee engagement scheme.

Here, Steve King, Director of Gifts International, explains how you can help your staff to be happier and more productive with an employee engagement scheme.

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signing telecoms contract agreement

To some extent we are all caught in a telecoms trap. Whether you are in services, retail, or manufacturing your start-up or small business must have some form of telecoms.

This gives some suppliers an opportunity to bamboozle customers with jargon and complicated long-term contracts. It can even get to the point where when you have a query and consider moving supplier you are promptly told, “sorry you are still under contract.”

But are you really always bound by such a contract, and do you have any options to get out of a telecoms contract you aren’t happy with?

We asked Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage, Equinox,  to give you the inside-track on business telecoms contracts; Continue…

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How to avoid death by PowerPoint – 9 Practical tips to captivate an audience with your presentation

June 9, 2017

You may have attended presentations that dragged or others that gripped people throughout. Perhaps you have given talks yourself and wondered what really makes the difference. Whatever the situation, there are numerous factors that affect your chances of success. Everything you do contributes to the overall audience experience and even small things make a big […]

Transforming your sales strategy with research-led prospecting

June 7, 2017

Prospecting is the foundation of B2B sales strategies. Or at least, it should be. Many businesses aren’t prospecting as well as they could be, if at all. Research-led sales prospecting is a highly targeted, measurable way of identifying businesses for your salespeople to approach. It is important to realise that prospecting is not lead generation. […]

When could your small business benefit from an interim manager?

May 30, 2017

Businesses often find themselves requiring some management resources and skills on a temporary basis. Hiring an interim manager, or an entire management, team can ensure the business successfully fills this temporary, but urgent, business gap. To help you understand if your business could benefit from the input of an interim manager, we asked Clive Hyman […]

How to harness the power of business blogging

May 23, 2017

Setting up and running a small business isn’t easy. We all know that. The first few years are often spent seeking the answers to — what seems like — a never ending list of questions, like, “Who is my target audience?” and “How do I reach them?” Whatever industry you’re in, we all strive for […]

People first: How to engage key talent through a great employee experience

May 22, 2017

Attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the right people is crucial to the success of any business. Staff turnover is costing businesses more than ever and recent research from the Recruitment and Employment Federations reveals that companies are reporting skill shortages across 60 different types of role including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants. Not […]

A guide to carrying out a disciplinary investigation

May 18, 2017

A disciplinary investigation is the first important step in carrying out a full and fair disciplinary process. It is one step that employers may find insignificant but, on the contrary, a proper investigation will generally lead to a smoother disciplinary rocedure. An investigation is key as it is required by the Acas Code of Practice […]

The Future of Business – 20 Key Trends leaders should know (Trends 11-20)

May 16, 2017

Part 2 of; The Future of Business – 20 Key Trends leaders should know. 

Two big reasons to choose a workplace pension scheme that invests responsibly

May 10, 2017

With auto enrolment now well into its fifth year, you’re likely to be familiar with the workplace pension reforms and what they mean for you and your workers. What some employers may not have thought much about is that, as a result of auto enrolment, millions of workers are getting a stake in companies around […]

Local SEO for Startups: What you need to know before you start

May 8, 2017

According to recent research by Google on search behaviour, a whopping 50% of all people who conducted searches on local businesses visited the business the same day. If you’re a startup owner and serve clients locally, this might sound like music to your ears. People who conduct local searches are highly motivated and are looking […]

The 4 Rs of getting more business from your existing customer base

May 5, 2017

Marketing is about getting more business – and that includes getting more value out of your existing customer base – through delivering them multiple times the value you get. If all you did was chase new clients, then you would be regularly losing the ones you already have, which means you would need to be […]

5 ways for small businesses to get smarter about using data

May 2, 2017

Many small business owners view ‘big data’ as something exclusively for large businesses. But that isn’t the case. Astute small business can benefit from using data to grow sales. To help business owners understand more about ‘big data’ and how they can benefit from it too, we asked Oliver Rowbory to explain;

6 Steps to setting up your first ‘Pop-Up Shop’

April 26, 2017

Pop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment. In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing […]

How to tackle disputes in the workplace

April 24, 2017

It’s not uncommon that when an employee makes a complaint about a fellow colleague that employers wish to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue. A getting on with business approach, however, is unlikely to solve the dispute and can cause the situation to spiral out of control. Employers who manage disputes […]

Becoming the type of leader people want to emulate and do business with

April 12, 2017

People learn through observing others – how they act, how they react, how they make others feel. They do it so they can work out how to be successful, or to survive. They do it so they can emulate them, or avoid their mistakes. When we are leaders, it means they are observing us and […]

Purpose, values and goals: The 3 Key ingredients for a successful business

April 10, 2017

Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Acknowledging this as the key motivator for everyone involved in your business will help you to nurture the best achievements and results. Neuroscientific research taking place around the world is beginning to piece together connections between the brain and behaviour, […]

A Practical guide to Content Marketing for small business owners and start-ups

March 21, 2017

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 […]