How to set up and run a small business

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There are a few certainties in life; death, taxes and skills shortages. However you’ll notice that some companies suffer more than others when it comes to hiring and keeping great employees.

So, how can you be one of the smug employers that attracts and retains great people when everyone else is struggling? And how can you keep the down costs of recruiting staff?
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How can you be at your most efficient each day? What efficient or inefficient routines have you grown accustomed to in your everyday life?

Improving personal efficiency is not about forcing yourself into a daily regiment of torture, it is about creating awareness of what you want and discovering a few natural steps that lean more in the direction of where you want to go.
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Culture is the intangible glue that binds us. It shapes attitudes and behaviours. It generates tone and identity. And, it is the lens through which we make-meaning of the world around us, and our place as an organisation within it.

Building a culture of innovation in your business brings many benefits, including helping to give you a competitive advantage and making it easier to recruit new talent. Continue…

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Running a business means you always have plenty of problems to overcome and issues to deal with. It’s part of the fun of being in business, but when you’re busy it can be hard to be creative and to find innovative solutions.

Your brain is always coming up with solutions to problems and providing a constant stream of innovative ideas.  But if you aren’t tuned in and ready to receive them as they bubble up from the depths of your subconscious and surface in your conscious – they will quickly disappear again? If you need solutions, it is vital that you’re in the right state of mind to receive them.

When trying to be more creative, there is a technique called “dunking” you can try. It’s an approach inspired by the brilliant engineer Thomas Edison whose inventions truly changed the world.

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Most organisations and their leaders acknowledge that their reputation – establishing it, defending it, building it – is critical to their success in today’s always-on, connected and often very transparent world.

Reputation is really created by two things: what you say and what you do. This is heavily influenced by your approaches to brand management (what you stand for, what you promise, the products and services you provide) and talent management (the people who design, manage, and deliver the products and services you provide).
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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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As a small business owner you may not have lots of money sloshing around. You know your staff are your most important asset, but you may not be able to afford to give them a pay rise. So how can you be an attractive company to work for, motivate and reward staff and promote loyalty without increasing your pay bill?

Believe it or not, introducing employee benefits may be the answer. There is a range of benefits which won’t be a cost to your company and will actually provide savings by reducing your tax liability. These are known as salary sacrifice schemes.
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When you are starting a new business, you will constantly need to learn new skills and tackle lots of issues that you’ve never dealt with before.

It’s fair to say that as a small business owner you will spend the majority of your time well outside of your comfort zone, so to be successful you’ll need to be adept at breaking new ground.
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Unless human resources is your line of work, you almost certainly didn’t go into business to devote your time to HR. In this article, David Webb, from work expert Acas, explains how small firms can hire without fear
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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.
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A series of guides and resources to help small businesses deal with employment issues successfully have been published to help keep employers on the right side of the law.
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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.
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How can employers avoid an Employment Tribunal?

The simplest advice, of course, is to ensure that all of your employees are happy and contented and never have any complaints they would want to take to a Tribunal. However, in the real world even the best employers can not achieve this all the time.
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As a small business owner, it is likely that you will have had at least a couple of employees call in sick this winter and with the cold weather expected to last a while longer, sick leave may become a HR issue that you deal with well into Spring.
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David Aldridge, Adviser, Business Link Berkshire looks at how to handle disciplinary issues in the workplace.
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The Office for National Statistics showed GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth at zero per cent between April and June 2008. As a recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP, and taking into account the current economic climate and the unemployment jump in August 2008 it is evident we are facing a downturn.
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Peter Vreede of Redundancy Assist provides advice about successful redundancy transitions.
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As you grow your business you will eventually need to rely on other people to execute the work while you focus on sales and running the business. This also means that sooner or later you will have a difficult employee to deal with.
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The right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children aged between six and 16 from 1 April 2009. The legislation already covers parents with children aged six and under, or children under 18 with a disability, as well as carers of adults. This extension means potentially an extra 4.5 million parents will gain the right to request flexible working.
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This article provides guidance for employers on what they need to check before employing staff from overseas. It will also briefly outline the new points-based immigration system the Government will start introducing from March 2008 to manage the flow of overseas workers to the UK. Continue…

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