How to set up and run a small business

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Working from home can seem like a dream come true – whether you’re self-employed, or are employed by a company that allows flexible working conditions, it’s a chance to cut out the commuting and work in your pyjamas.
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As technological advances and work practices enable it, more and more small business owners are deciding to work from home. Fears of an economic downturn are also turning people away from signing up to expensive serviced office contracts and choosing to set up shop at home.
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If you’re about to start your business and need premises, or have started up successfully at home and now need space to expand, this is an exciting time!
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One of the best things about starting a business in the internet age is that it’s perfectly acceptable, and easy to start up from home.

In fact, running a new business from a spare room in your own home removes a whole layer of cost and risk, and makes it a lot more likely that your new venture will properly get off the ground.
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One of the main attractions of starting your own business is the freedom it offers. Nothing is more liberating than being able to plan your own work routine – when and where you plan the meteoric rise of your fledgling enterprise.
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The past decade has seen a massive increase in the number of small businesses working from home – driven by web technology, and a growing recognition of the overall benefits of ‘flexible working’.
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If you’re starting a business and need room to work outside the home without the permanence (and expense) of leasing office space, there are more and more flexible options open to you – from hiring meeting rooms, to ‘hotdesking’.
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When you take on a commercial property, you probably have a lot of things to worry about that don’t directly relate to the property itself – business plans, securing funding, and so on.
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With an estimated 2.1 million business based at home (a number which is growing fast), many of them operating in a family environment, more and more small business owners are torn between concentrating on a successful homeworking career and meeting the needs of a family.It would be impossible to write an article which covers all gender / work / family combinations, but here are two fundamental tips which should help create a healthy balance between work and family duties.
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More than 60 per cent of the UK’s new businesses are now started from home.

It’s a very sensible way to get going. You remove a lot of the financial risks by operating from premises you are already paying for. And it’s a lot easier to make the right decisions early in the life of your business if you’re not waking up each day wondering how you’re going to pay the bills.

As your new venture grows you may find your business has outgrown your spare bedroom. You might need extra space, or perhaps want to take on staff without them tramping around your house. Or maybe you have clients visiting your home and want to present a better image.
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Of all the things you need to deal with when you start your business, two areas are particularly scary and will give you most hassle: recruitment and finding premises.

Get either of these wrong and you are facing big bills and a load of work to overcome early in the life of your new venture. Get them right, and you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about!
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If your new business needs staff straight away, then you may find choosing the right office space difficult. In this guide, we look at the benefits a serviced office could provide.
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The wonderful thing about starting your business in the 21st century is how inexpensive it is to get the ball rolling.

The internet has made marketing cheaper and more efficient than ever before, and technology has freed businesses from the need to have lots of staff.
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It used to be really easy to know whether you were dealing with a small or big business.

In the days before mobile phones, advanced telephone services and the internet, businesses needed premises, plus staff to answer the phone and greet personal callers.

Everything’s different now. Many successful small businesses are run from homes, yet project the image of being much bigger firms.
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Finding the right premises is one of the most crucial decisions when starting or growing your business.

Many firms are successfully started from home – that’s certainly the most cost effective place to base your business in the early years. But as you grow, or if you have a business which needs a lot of space early on, you will need to find premises.
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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.

Changes in the law mean that employers are now legally obliged to consider seriously flexible working (for example, working from home or from different locations, working flexible, or staggered hours) to some employees, namely those with a child under six, or a disabled child under 18, or a carer of a dependent adult.
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Many small businesses are successfully started up from home.

There are huge advantages in doing this. There’s little or no financial burden of premises in the early days, you save huge amounts of time in looking for premises, and your commute will be taking a few steps from the kitchen!

But the downsides are huge too. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself burning the candle at both ends, and constantly ignoring your family in favour of your new venture.

Here’s how to successfully manage a home office, even if you’re a workaholic:
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This article provides an overview of the services offered by virtual office providers, and was written by the MD of YourCityOffice.com, a Central London-based virtual office provider.
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In a world where 24/7 communications are increasingly important, companies of all shapes and sizes have to work extremely hard to keep their customers happy all the time.

But small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must work even harder to maintain the loyalty of their customers, because they face an endless stream of competition from larger companies, who have the money and manpower to be “on-call” for their clients constantly. Continue…

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