How to set up and run a small business

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Business development is much more than just about marketing, sales, pitching, online wizardry, mailings, advertising, branding, social media strategies, glossy brochures, discount deals, promotional gimmicks or special events.

Every single thing a business does has a potential impact on how your business performs. Following these 10 business development truths, will help your business to grow and give you an edge over your competitors.
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The development of a strong relationship between consumers and your company is one of the keys to achieving a good level of customer retention.

Now, with the increasing possibilities offered by digitalisation, it is even possible to make the customer a part of the company, allowing them to play an active role in its activities and build a genuine emotional connection through the four following options Continue…

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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 difference.

This guide gives you 9 proven, practical tips to deliver more engaging and more effective presentations. Each one makes a positive impact, and you will know best which will be most useful in your own presentations. Continue…

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Free publicity is a great way to spread the word about your business. If you can get your business featured regularly in the newspapers and magazines your target audience reads, it brings your business to the attention of potential customers, and at no cost.

Another advantage of being featured in articles written about your business is that editorial coverage gives you a huge amount of credibility. It’s an independent trusted person talking about your business – the total opposite of an advert, where you are delivering your message.

The good news is that getting media coverage for your small business isn’t difficult if you know what you’re doing. Continue…

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If you could have lunch with any businessman or woman in the world, (alive or dead), to discuss your commercial/professional situation, whom would you choose – and why?

Chances are that you’d choose someone you admire or are intrigued by, perhaps because of their achievements, their values or their reputation/personal brand.

Most of us recognise the need to learn from the life experience and wisdom of others. We also aspire to accelerate the pace towards our own success, or at least smooth a few of the bumps in the road. A business mentor can be an invaluable asset to enable us to identify relevant principles of success and adapt them for our own situations and use.

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No matter what business problem you have to solve right now, there’s a powerful way of finding the answer quickly and efficiently… and it’s called networking.

That’s a word that makes many people’s hearts beat faster. The idea of getting out to events and meeting a bunch of strangers is not something that seems natural!

Yet networking is a powerful marketing and business tool.
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There’s nothing worse than being told by a customer that your website is not working. Or logging on yourself to check something, and finding the page you want to see is not displaying.

Website downtime can have a direct impact on your business and on your profits – particularly if you have an e-commerce website – so it’s important to know what you need to do if your website goes down.

Even the most robust websites suffer technical glitches happen, so the chances are you will experience it at some point. Often, it might only be down for a few minutes, as part of wider technical problems or updates to a global server.

But sometimes, there might be a specific problem with your website individually. If you do experience website downtime, here are the five things you should do;
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Good public relations are essential for any business, but especially so, for small and start-up businesses. If you can persuade editors to run a story about your business, it’s worth a dozen adverts or mailshots. And there’s also the huge added benefit of it not costing you anything!

However, writing a press release isn’t as simple as dashing off a letter to the editor of your local paper. For it to work, your release needs to be carefully crafted and put together.

Here we look at how you should structure your press releases to grab editors’ attention and maximise your chances of getting that elusive, but highly-prized free press coverage.
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One of the beautiful things about running a small business is that it’s so much easier to motivate your staff.

As the leader of a small team, you will have the opportunity to get to know exactly why each employee is working for you – and use that knowledge to press the right buttons and positively influence productivity.

Managers of large companies can’t do that, especially when their hands are tied by daft schemes “sent from head office”. You can therefore use the advantages of a well-motivated team to sharpen your business’s performance against your bigger rivals.
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With 2015 fast approaching, an important year in the political calendar, employers are sure to be turning their mind to preparing for any changes set to come in over the next few months.

It’s clear, if last year is anything to go by, employment law will not remain the same for very long and so there are a number of changes that businesses can expect in 2015. Continue…

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If you’re about to launch your new business and need premises, or have started up successfully at home and now need space to expand, this is an exciting time!

Moving into an office or retail premises for the first time says something about a business. It can make your operation seem more “real”, meaning your dreams are actually happening.

But getting business premises brings a whole new set of pitfalls that you have to watch out for. You shouldn’t allow these to put you off; but you do need to be aware of these potential dangers so that they don’t sour the experience and hamper the growth of your new venture. Continue…

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Year on year, the e-commerce industry continues to boom with more and more companies moving to the web.

The rapid pace of business is amplified online, with the proliferation of apps, new technologies and seemingly daily digital changes affecting how you operate.

Analysts and experts are always attempting to predict the latest trends and developments which could make the most difference to online retailers, so we’ve pulled together some of the most talked about, and hotly anticipated predictions for the e-commerce marketplace in 2015.

We’ve focused on the developments we think could affect your business the most in the next 12 months. Whilst some of these online retailing trends have been developing year on year, others may just be set to explode in 2015 Continue…

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When you’re starting or running your own small business, you have an endless list of jobs to do. One of the most crucial is generating interest in your business and creating awareness of your products and services.

Big companies can have a team of people to do this and hire a PR agency but as a small business you will probably need to do all your PR yourself. There’s nothing more demotivating when you’re doing your own PR than spending hours getting the perfect press release put together… only for it to be completely ignored by all the journalists you’ve sent it to.

But don’t take it personally, it’s a very common occurrence. And when you hear that 99% of all press releases sent to the media end up in the bin you realise it happens a lot more often than you think.
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Most small business owners have an opinion on networking. For every person who enjoys and values it – you’ll find another who visibly shudders at the mere mention of the word.

But why does networking seem to polarise small business owners? Is it a massive untapped opportunity, or is it an uncomfortable evening in the company of strangers and cocktail sausages?
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The phrase ‘cloud computing’ has already been around for a number of years. However, plenty of small business owners are only just discovering what the ‘cloud’ actually is and more importantly, how cloud computing can be used to their advantage. Continue…

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Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s not just the big corporates who are offering their staff the chance to work away from the office. Savvy small business owners are now looking to enjoy the benefits it can bring to their ventures.

Recent changes in the law mean that employers are now legally obliged to consider flexible working requests from all employees. A flexible working request could, for example include, working from home or from different locations, working flexibly, or staggered hours.
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As long as brands have existed, consumers have loved to talk about them. While 90% of conversations about brands are happening offline, today millions of people talk about companies on social media, and these online conversations now offer a new dimension in marketing.

Whether consumers are aware of it or not, these branded conversations are increasingly being watched by businesses.

Being faced with so many conversations happening in real time can be a daunting prospect, particularly for small businesses, but ignoring them can be a huge missed opportunity to influence how the world sees your brand.
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Every business – even yours – has a brand.

One common misconception is that your brand is your logo. Your logo is a single visual representation of your brand, but it is not your brand. Continue…

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In recent years, the number of businesses embracing social media has grown rapidly, and this trend is set to continue in the coming years.

The businesses that are successfully using social media as a promotional tool have recognised the importance of delivering valuable content on a regular basis, and the value of stimulating, and engaging with online conversations around their brand.

With the opportunity to connect with such a vast online audience, social media integration is no longer a choice for business owners but indeed a necessity. To help you on the way, here are 5 tips to help your business succeed with social media;
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For the majority of small businesses buying business travel is unstructured and unmanaged, with travellers operating without policy costing the company time and money.

By following these five fundamentals of travel management, smaller firms can successfully buy travel smarter, cut costs and get more for their money;
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