Run a Business

Everything You Need to Know About Unfair Dismissal

Advice on Unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal can cause big issues for any type of small business. Even business owners with the best intentions and excellent hiring abilities might be faced with dismissing an employee one day.

Here, we look at what classifies as unfair dismissal and explain how to prevent legal action in the face of a dismissal within your business. (more…)

How to do Link Building the White Hat Way

Ethical link-building for SEO

Google regards links as a principal ranking signal and there is no evidence to suggest that this is set to change in the future. It therefore goes without saying that building the right links to your website will help you to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs). (more…)

How to measure your social media performance

Boost your business throughSocial Media

Continuous testing, benchmarking and learning is a cornerstone of all social media activity. It will help you identify areas of relative under-performance, potential risks and opportunities to generate better results. (more…)

Getting Started with Google AdWords – A Step-by-Step Guide

A lot of small businesses start using Google AdWords in the hope that it will help them increase sales with small investment. This isn’t true.

Yes, AdWords can help you increase sales but only with the right investment. To get the return on investment you’re hoping for, you will need to set up your account properly and invest the right amount of money. (more…)

How to help make sure your business survives a marriage breakdown

Ensure your business survives a divorce

Being a business owner ultimately means you will face tough times, whether that be the loss of a key staff member, a dip in revenue or an untimely economic recession. However, one of the greatest – and most unsuspecting – challenges to a business owner, is a divorce.

To help ensure you don’t lose your business if you get divorced, we asked Matrimonial Consultant and Family Lawyer Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart to share her advice on how to ensure business survival in the event of a marriage breakdown. (more…)

How the Employment Tribunal works

Employment Tribunal - details and procedures

Are you an employer that is being taken to the Employment Tribunal by an employee for alleged sexual harassment or racial discrimination or for unfair dismissal?

Are you an employee that feels your job situation is untenable? If so, then here’s what to do. (more…)

How to build a company culture where everyone likes to sell

all employees enjoying selling

The saying goes we hate to be sold but love to buy. However, the same can be said for how people feel about being involved in selling. We all love to help people buy but only a few feel comfortable with being seen to sell to someone.

In the past, this worked well, as the “sales” team were primarily responsible for doing the legwork knocking on doors and finding people to sell to. The trade-off for the company culture was that some individuals in the sales team then behaved like minor gods expecting all to fall before them. (more…)

A 6 Step Marketing Process to Accelerate your Startup Growth

Marketing process for scale up businesses

For business founders, the “To Do” list is never ending, especially when faced with external demands from investors and stakeholders.

The need to increase revenue becomes an all-encompassing obsession, and it’s easy to forget “secondary” tasks – like marketing – that help to fill the sales pipeline.

But failing to build an effective marketing strategy will cause your growth plans to stall. And if you cannot demonstrate ongoing, increasing sales, it becomes harder than ever to secure subsequent rounds of funding. Miss your growth targets and stakeholders are often less than forgiving. (more…)

5 Strategies for dealing with office politics

tackling office politics

Office politics, workplace politics, corporate politics… You may refer to ‘politics at work’ by a different name, but, they all mean the same thing.

The danger for a business where office politics take hold is that everybody involved becomes distracted and loses sight of the common purpose that galvanizes a team. (more…)

The Dos and Don’ts of Filming in public spaces

Advice on filming in public spaces

More and more small businesses coming round to the power of using video to establish their brand presence and promote their products or services.

With the technology to make professional looking brand film, becoming increasingly affordable, a little bit of production knowledge and know-how can go a long way.

Of course it’s not just a case of grabbing a camera and shooting. A proper video strategy is essential but so too is an understanding of the logistical, technical and legal hurdles you’ll need to overcome, especially if you’re going to be filming outside a studio. (more…)

5 Ways you can use emotion to connect with customers and get more from your marketing

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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Science of Success – How to Apply Team GB’s Gold Medal Winning Techniques to Your Business

Team GB golds - business lessons

In 1996, Britain’s team of athletes returned from the Olympic Games in Atlanta with one solitary gold medal from rowing. This was a low point in British international sporting achievement and was the subject of a good deal of national self-flagellation in the media.

Fast-forward to 2016 and Team GB had completed an incredible turnaround in performance, securing over 20 gold medals. So what was behind the change in fortunes? And what lessons can you take and apply to boost your business? (more…)

Improve your business profitability with the 3C approach to employees

I should put on the invoice

Can you say that you and the people in your business form a dynamic team?

When geese fly in V formation, I see a dynamic team at work. This level of cooperation benefits each goose and the overall team. They reach their destination quicker and use far less energy.

Let me share an effective approach for translating this into the small business environment – the V is a great example of employee engagement. (more…)

A Guide to getting started with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for small businesses

Tips on choosing CRM software

Are you struggling to get your sales and marketing processes clear, consistent and measureable?

If so, it may be time to invest in a CRM system. If used correctly such a platform can benefit fast-growing businesses and allow them to build their customer base whilst maintaining that personalised relationship which is essential for both B2B and B2C companies in today’s world.

To help you understand how CRM software can help you to boost sales, and what to look out for when choosing a CRM system, we asked Robert Stead of The Marketing Centre to share his insight; (more…)

What is Google’s RankBrain and why should you care?

WHat Google Rankbrain is and how it can help your website succeed

 

Google RankBrain first rolled out in 2015. Unlike Google’s many previous updates it uses machine-learning and AI for the first time, in order to help better refine search results, especially in cases of rare, ambiguous or one-of-a-kind queries.

Understanding more about Rankbrain can help your website succeed, so we asked digital marketing expert, Paul Morris of Superb Digital, to explain what Google’s RankBrain is, how it works, where it’s going and why, as a small business owner, you should care. (more…)

The Do’s & Don’ts of giving gifts at work

workplace gifts - what employers need to consider

The practice of giving gifts to colleagues and clients is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence in the workplace.

Although this activity is predominately centred around the Christmas holiday period, it is also common to see gifts distributed at other times of the year in celebration of birthdays, work anniversaries or the closing of an important business deal.

With this in mind, there are several factors employers must think about the next time they consider giving a gift to someone at work. (more…)

SME Secret Weapons – How Smaller Businesses Can Take On and Beat Bigger Competitors

how small business beat big business

In 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. (more…)

7 Top Tips to help your small business find success online

eCommerce success tips for small businesses

Ecommerce now accounts for 17% of all UK consumer sales and it’s only going to keep growing. Yet, despite this growth, it is still hard to make it in the online marketplace.

Competition is tough, it requires both technical and business savvy, and you need to work much harder to gain trust.

Simply having a great idea for a business isn’t enough. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many poorly reviewed retailers on Trustpilot, so many horror stories of poor products and services, and so many rubbish websites.

To help you succeed online, we asked entrepreneur Stuart Maclaren, to share his 7 top tips for ecommerce success. (more…)

How to improve company culture by enlisting your ‘Culture Champions’

Growing your company culture

Why does your company do what it does?

If you’ve thoughtfully identified this motive, you have probably embedded it in statements of your business mission, vision, and values.

These documents are akin to the ten commandments – guidelines that suggest how to act in the course of delivering your products or services. They are foundational to any corporate culture. (more…)

5 Principles to cut your meetings in half and still make them more productive

organising worthwhile meetings

Many businesses, organisations and leaders have created a ‘meeting culture’ whereby they need a meeting to decide what they are going to be meeting about and then another meeting to prepare for the meeting itself and another to de-brief after the meeting.

Wow, that’s a whole lot of meetings going on.

Meetings are the killer of productivity and part of being a ‘productivity ninja’ is centred on valuing your time and the time of others. Small businesses tend to understand this better than big business, simply because resources are tight and time is scarce, but I have no doubt we’ve all fallen into the ‘meeting for meeting sake’ trap.

Now, if you’re in this trap and not sure how to get out of it follow these five simple, but effective, guiding principles on how you can halve your meetings AND reduce the time they take whilst still making them productive. (more…)

Think like a hacker: How to protect your business from cyber attacks

avoid your business suffering security breach

Businesses cannot afford to neglect cyber security in 2018. A recent report published by Beaming found that UK businesses are attacked online every 2.5 minutes, with the average firm suffering from 52,596 cyber-attacks between April and June 2018.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, as a lack of security/training budget and expertise leaves many unable to properly protect their confidential information.

But all is not lost for mall businesses. The best way to defend your company from a data breach isn’t by investing millions in expensive software and data security experts, it’s by thinking like the person behind the attack in the first place – the hacker. (more…)

How to Attract Customers from Heaven, Not Clients from Hell

You’ve done your market research, you’ve got a solid business plan, you’ve registered your company and pulled together funding, suppliers and everything else you need to start your new business. You’re ready to trade – you just need some customers.

However, not all customers are created equal; some are a delight to deal with, while others seem to have crept from the depths just to torment you. When you’re building up your customer base, you obviously want more of the former and fewer of the latter, especially if you’re in a service-provision industry where customer relationships are key; but how can you achieve this? (more…)

What is Micro-Influencer Marketing?

Micro Influencer marketing for small businesses

The way in which audiences are perceiving and consuming marketing content is changing rapidly. The digital sphere has changed the nature of how we, as consumers, respond to advertising, with the result that many traditional techniques just aren’t cutting it any more.

Consumers are digitally literate and don’t have any qualms about voicing their dislike of traditional advertising. (more…)

Practical tips on navigating the patent process

Tips on the patent process

Starting your own business isn’t plain sailing. It throws lots of new challenges at us, each with their good, bad and ugly dimensions. And registering a patent is no different.

A lot of inventors with incredible ideas have fallen along the wayside, simply because they didn’t invest the time needed to successfully navigate the patent system.

Make a mistake at this point and you could end up doing all the hard work only for someone else to exploit later down the line. So if you want to protect your business idea or invention, you need to take the patent process seriously. (more…)

Thinking of exporting to Asia? Here are 7 common pitfalls to guard against

Tips to succeed with exporting to Asia

UK exports to Asia are now worth 18% of the UK export market – that’s £98.6 billion. China is now the eighth largest export market for the UK – with India and Singapore being among the UK’s largest trading partners in the commonwealth.

Trading to Asia offers an entirely new world of possibility for UK businesses to export their products and to build a global brand – and with Brexit fast approaching and the future of British trading unclear, exporting to Asia is becoming increasingly popular. (more…)

The Challenges of recruitment for startups

Challenges new businesses face when hiring staff

Hiring the right people is vital for the growth of your company. It is likely to go some way in contributing to the development of the business and helping it to become successful.

The task of recruitment varies across different industries depending on their nature. For example, recruitment in hospitality is seasonal and finding the right people can be difficult.

Moreover, recruitment can be even harder for startups, so here we take a look at some of the main challenges facing startups when it comes to looking for people to join their team. (more…)

5 Simple Steps to Grow Your Facebook Fans

Nowadays, everybody knows that social networks play a significant role in the promotion of a company. That’s why having an engaged and active community on Facebook can make all the difference to your business.

But if you don’t know what you’re doing, building Facebook friends can take a lot of time and effort. So to help you to quickly build your Facebook fans, here are 5 simple steps you should take. (more…)

Keeping employee records: What small business owners need to know

the employee records employers should keep

The GDPR gives people more control over their personal information and requires organisations to clarify exactly where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored – and how it is used.

Less well-documented than data protection regulations, but no less important, are data retention regulations. To outline what your legal obligations are when it comes to keeping business records, we asked Paul Ravey of Access Records Management to explain.

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4 Cyber safety essentials for small businesses

cyber safety tips and advice for small business

According to the latest Zurich SME Risk Index, almost one in six UK SMEs have fallen victim to cyber attacks in the past year, costing a fifth of victims over £10,000 and 1 in 10 over £50,000.

It’s clear no SME should gamble when it comes to cyber security, especially with the new GDPR regulation in force. Delaying action will put your business, your employees and your customers at risk.

It may seem like a challenging task but as Adam Louca, Chief Technologist – Security at Softcat explains, there are simple and affordable ways small businesses can strengthen their cyber defences.

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Employment Status – Why do I need to know the difference?

employed, self employed and worker

It would be fair to say that employment status has been a contentious issue in recent times as business owners and staff in various sectors dispute the true nature of their respective working arrangements.

As a business owner it is important that you are familiar with the differences between the three main categories of employment (employee, worker and self-employed) as this will help determine the rights of the individual and the obligations you have towards them. (more…)

Why helping, not selling, is the key to sales success

Technology is constantly advancing and with technological advancement comes change. If you want your business to stay competitive, then you must be prepared to embrace technological changes.

You may think that you understand the current sales market, however, the sales game is changing, and these changes are coming about thanks to technology.

If you want to achieve sales success it is no longer about selling, but about helping. (more…)

6 Reasons why local PR can be good for business

how to get free publicity in local newspapers and media outlets

Getting coverage in your local press may not have the kudos of being featured in national newspapers but it often delivers a better return on investment, especially to locally-based businesses.

For small businesses, local newspapers are a more realistic target for press coverage than the national press. Readers of local papers want to read about local news, stories and events so if you can help a journalist deliver this, then you are well on the way to getting valuable press coverage for your business.

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9 GDPR Myths – Busted

GDPR Fact or Myth?

The juggernaut that is GDPR has now come into force. We’ve known about this radical new change in privacy and data protection law for over two years and on 25th May it became law across the EU.

The past two years have allowed plenty of time for numerous myths to bubble up about the impact of the new rules on UK businesses. But which are the GDPR myths and which are GDPR facts? (more…)

How to use Google My Business effectively: 6 Tips for small businesses

Using Google My Business to get customers

To generate new leads in today’s online world, your business needs to be optimised for search engines – in particular Google.

Most small businesses know this and invest good time and money in their online strategy.

The challenge lies in achieving sustained search success and business map listings are a key part of this. Here’s how to achieve this with Google My Business. (more…)

5 Simple ways for SMEs to address workplace stress

workplace stress

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (14 – 20 May) is shining a spotlight on stress.

With one in six adults experiencing depression, anxiety or issues relating to stress at any one time, it’s important for smaller employers to recognise the signs that their team may be under too much stress.

Here, Jaan Madan of Mental Health First Aid England, highlights five ways small businesses can address workplace stress.

(more…)