How to set up and run a small business

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Negotiating is a fundamental part of how business gets done and takes place millions of times a day around the world. But that doesn’t stop many business owners from avoiding it.

If you can take control of yourself, your values and prejudices, your need for fairness, and your ego, you can start achieving the best possible outcomes in your negotiations. However, the first challenge to overcome is changing the way you think about negotiations and yourself. Continue…

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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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Having to dismiss an employee is something many employers dread, due to the possibility that the dismissed employee may take them to an employment tribunal if they feel they weren’t treated fairly. This is why you should take care to act reasonably towards employees throughout the dismissal procedure.

So if you have a member of staff that you feel you may have to dismiss, this guide will hep you to understand how you can do this legally and without the unwanted fear, distraction or costs of appearing before an employment tribunal.

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Facebook is the second biggest site in the world, with us Brits being some of its most prolific users. 59% of UK residents use Social Media on a daily basis; which means that Facebook presents some great marketing opportunities for businesses.

If you can get your users to share information about your products and services in their feeds, you can reach a massive audience of consumers – at a time when they are relaxed and receptive to marketing messages.

If you are a start-up or small businesses, the low-cost and high-potential make Facebook a very attractive option to promote and grow your venture, but how do you do this effectively? Continue…

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The discovery of heat and movement sensors fixed to workers’ desks at The Daily Telegraph has led to accusations that employers care more about their bottom line than they do about having good workplace relations with their staff.

That’s the view of Protecting.co.uk, a nationwide workplace law consultancy, which says whatever reason given for placing the tracking devices on staff  desks, the lack of trust could be fatal for any organisation.

This is just one of many ham-fisted decisions made by bosses up and down the country that have proved toxic for employer-employee relations. Continue…

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Writing a book can be an extremely useful tool to help you promote your business or new start-up. Being a book author, immediately gives you kudos and extra authority, but only if your book is produced properly.

In most areas of business, winging it is rarely (if ever) a good idea. Each aspect of your business – be it recruitment, or marketing, or cash flow – requires a strong strategy. You need to know what you want to achieve before you can plan how that goal will be attained.

Publishing a book to support the growth of your business is no different. It may seem a bit more showbizzy – and it does involve a large amount of creativity – but it must never be a vanity project; there needs to be a valid business case for it. Continue…

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Data protection is now a more onerous regime for small businesses, and this will only increase when the EU General Data Protection Regulation is implemented.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), can impose penalties of up to £500,000. A glance at the ICO website will tell you how seriously they view failures to comply, so it’s crucial that small businesses understand their obligations under the DPA when dealing with any personal data, whether it relates to customers, clients or employees.

But for start-ups and small businesses, who can’t afford the luxury of a dedicated data protection officer it’s hard to know where to start. We therefore asked Clare Edwards, of Hill Dickinson, to distil some of the complexities of the Data Protection Act, and to offer some practical tips for start-ups and small businesses when dealing with personal data;

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Organisations are collections of human beings and the success of our businesses are grounded in our relationships with each other and with our customers.

As business owners, we might have a great vision, incredible ambition, a clear sense of purpose and construct the best strategy in the world, but if we have poor quality relationships inside and outside the business, ultimately, we will probably fail.

With building strong relationships being central to achieving our business goals, Dr Alan Watkins, author of 4D Leadership, reveals how leaders can do this better; Continue…

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An effective incentive scheme is an important way for small businesses to motivate their staff in order to improve performance and boost profits. Responding to incentives is part of human nature and employees like (and deserve) to be rewarded for their hard work.

For startups and small businesses who have a limited budget, designing a staff incentive scheme can seem like a real challenge. But you don’t need company cars and large annual bonuses to design an incentive scheme that has a positive impact in your workplace.

Here’s how to create an incentive scheme that really works for your staff and your small business;

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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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We live in a connected age where you can purchase pretty much anything you want at the touch of a button on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.

With this in mind, you may find it surprising to learn that not all businesses are tapping into this, or even quite know how to.
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Many entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits of becoming a published author. But only a very small percentage of business owners ever get around to writing a book.

This is a big lost opportunity for those who don’t put pen to paper, according to Sue Richardson, who outlines five ways that writing and publishing a book can help your start-up to take off;
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Resistance to change can be a major challenge to any new initiatives you might want to implement in your business.

Most business owners will be able to identify some employees that prefer the status quo and find new developments difficult to embrace. But before we think about how we can overcome this resistance, we need to properly understand why people resist change.

Here are 7 common reasons why people resist change, and how you can overcome each in turn, to ensure that your staff tackle changes and new developments with a positive attitude;

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Many small business owners now focus a lot of time and effort on their website and on how their customers are interacting with them online. We live in an increasingly digital world, so this is understandable, but the humble telephone call can still be a very valuable business tool.

Calls coming into your business convert more often and more quickly than online leads, ultimately making you more money. Not only that, but tracking your phone calls can give you useful data which you can use to improve the efficiency of your promotional efforts.
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Whatever your position with a company – your role within the organisation matters. There are various functions that each member of the team, as well as your customers, should be able to count on you to provide.

Everyone is expected to come through on promises and commitments made, and to deliver on their responsibilities. If this isn’t the case, a business will never thrive, and may not even survive. Here, William Buist, explains why companies need to have a clear ‘baseline of accountability’ and how to instill one throughout your business.
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Health and Safety - common workplace accidentsPROMOTED GUIDE – This is a promoted guide from HC Slingsby. Founded in 1893, HC Slingsby PLC manufactures and distributes over 35,000 high quality products for the workplace

 

You probably already know that health and safety legislation is a favourite punching bag for a certain type of newspaper columnist, but what you might not be aware of is that there are hundreds of thousands of accidents – many of them serious – in workplaces every year. That’s why it’s so important for every small business owner to take the proper precautions.

Of course, even the best prepared among us can still fall victim to accidents at work. But to be forewarned is to be forearmed, as the saying goes, so here are ten of the most common accidents and injuries in the workplace;

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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…

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Recruitment can be a tricky process for any business. Figuring out where to source candidates, considering what to include in the job ad, and trying to decide what salary bracket should be offered can make the process more delicate than you may initially think.

Here, Shweta Jhajharia, of The London Coaching Group takes a fresh approach to recruiting for your small business. It’s counter-intuitive, but she reveals how advertising a job with a lower salary can actually attract more applicants for your vacancies, and how you can use this approach to attract high-potential, ‘ugly ducklings’ to your team. Continue…

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Latest figures from the Government have shown that 131 million working days are lost to sickness absence very year in the UK, and over 1 million workers had sickness absences greater than one month.

The cost to employers, and to the country, in lost productivity, is considerable. Therefore, steps are now being taken to reduce longer term sickness absences by between 20% and 40% annually.

With the recent introduction of the ‘Fit for Work’ scheme, the Government is attempting to cut the cost of sick days, but how does the scheme work, and how can employers use it to lower the number of staff absences in their business? Continue…

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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…

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Guide to Auto Enrolment – 12 key facts small businesses need to know

November 30, 2015

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 […]

Boiler Room Basics: The 7 must-do’s every service business needs to get right

November 27, 2015

For every service business, ensuring your customers have a great experience is paramount. Whether you’re a small start-up cafe or a global hotel chain, customer satisfaction needs to be a top priority if you are to succeed. To help you put in place the foundations for a thriving service business, we asked Michael Heppell, the […]

How firing under-performing staff can be the kindest thing to do

November 25, 2015

If Alexander Armstrong gave 100 business owners 100 seconds to name words describing the kind of boss they are, the chances are, “cruel” would be a pointless answer. But some of the 100 would be wrong. Why? Because many well-intentioned business owners continue to employ some members of staff who, because of their results and/or […]

9 ways to strike the right work/life balance as a small business owner

November 23, 2015

Being a business owner, and your own boss, is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life, but it can come with some drawbacks such as long hours, stress and a poor work/life balance. If you’re running your own business and want to stay on top of your game for the long-term, […]

How to create a great job advert

November 16, 2015

PROMOTED GUIDE – This is a promoted guide from HRS Recruitment Software. Seamlessly manage permanent, temporary, contract and executive search from a single, powerfully integrated system.   Job adverts play an important role in recruitment yet are often rushed and overlooked. Eldon Jobe, CEO of HRS Recruitment Software explains how to write a great job […]

7 Mistakes you could be making with your website

November 12, 2015

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 […]

What is a written statement of employment particulars?

November 8, 2015

If you decide to recruit your first employee for your small business, one of your legal obligations is to present all staff members with a written statement of employment particulars.

Are you relieved when a staff member goes on holiday?

November 5, 2015

When a member of your staff takes a holiday, do you feel like you’re the one having a break? While they’re away, does your time at work feel less stressed? Do things run more smoothly? Is being at work just more enjoyable? And does the workplace in general seem lighter? Do the people around you […]

Is an electric company car or van a viable option for my business?

November 3, 2015

A lot of thought goes into choosing the right company cars, or vehicles for your business. In finding the right vehicle for your needs, you need to take into account a whole host of factors, including, cost, availability, reliability, your brand image, and emissions. In recent years electric cars have become more and more commonplace for […]

Cloud technology options that can help your small business

October 29, 2015

Small business owners look to technology to help them achieve their goals and grow their business. They expect it to help them speed up the way they work, make operations more efficient, reduce costs and generally enable them to do more things better. Technology should and really does help achieve these things. However, on the […]