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.
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…
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…
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?
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.
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…
“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…
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 cheaper alternatives could mean you soon find yourself facing a Google penalty (the worst of which is your website being complete removed from their index), which can put your entire online presence in jeopardy.
The good news is that SEO need not always be a lengthy commitment and if you have some in-house capacity, it is possible to take on a large portion of the work yourself.
This in-depth guide explains what you can expect from a SEO campaign, and will help you determine if you can do some of the work yourself or whether you’ll be better off outsourcing everything from the start. Continue…
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 rewards and credibility of local media instead.
Although it might seem like you are downplaying opportunities when targeting your local area, what needs to be remembered is you are only competing for coverage with other local businesses which ultimately presents a far greater chance of your story succeeding.
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 that you must take into account. Plus the way your business runs with just you and any business partner, may not continue to be appropriate when employees are on board.
This guide will help you identify the true costs of an employee, and build a plan to manage the impact on your business. Continue…
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 another tax avoidance battle going on between HMRC and the UK’s freelancers and contractors.
The crux of the argument is a piece of legislation called IR35. IR35 protects hundreds of millions in tax revenue, HMRC claims. However, the UK’s freelancing and contracting population contends that IR35 is a millstone around their necks, and which puts disproportionately high compliance costs on one-person businesses.
So what are the IR35 rules that you need to know about if you are new to contracting?
2014 was a huge year for privacy and security on the Internet.
There were several high profile security issues which were serious enough to make the leap from technical news sites to the mainstream press, and ongoing revelations about how easily everyone’s connections can be spied on have made the major players in the web industry take action.
If you have an e-commerce website, given all the coverage around SSL and website security, now is a good time to check the security of your site, or to consider getting a site certificate if you don’t already have one. This guide explains all.
If you can develop a better understanding of the selling process, you’re more likely to make those all-important sales. And by knowing more about the seven specific steps you need to take before you can close the deal, your sales efforts will be more richly rewarded.
Here’s what you need to know about the seven steps of the sale;
As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of the phrase “Intellectual Property”, or IP as it’s commonly referred to. But studies show that despite knowing what Intellectual Property is, many small businesses assume that protecting their Intellectual Property is only something that larger, well-known businesses need to worry about.
The fact is that IP protection is something that many start-ups and small businesses can benefit from considering early on, because without the right protection businesses could lose some of their most valuable assets.
To help you get to grips with the subject, this guide looks at some of the key intellectual property rights small business owners need to know about.
The Brompton Bicycle is a great example of how a simple idea can be transformed into a global business. Today, the company behind the bike is a well-known British business success story, but it wasn’t always the case.
Back in the 1970s, having looked at the folding bike designs already on the market, Brompton founder Andrew Ritchie, decided he could do something better.
Automatic enrolment is looming large on the horizon for hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the UK.
With many small firms unfamiliar with company pensions, tackling auto enrolment (AE) can feel daunting, so this guide has been designed to help small business owners get to grips with the subject.
It outlines they key issues for small businesses, including what auto enrolment is, what’s happening, the implications for you and your employees and the steps you need to take to ensure you comply with the new rules.