How to set up and run a small business

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No matter how successful your business has been with just you working in it, if you want to grow you will need to take on employees.

There are innumerable benefits of having employees. The right people will ease the workload on you and allow you take holidays. Good staff keep your business running day to day, so you can focus on the most important part of your role as the leader: growing the business.

But being an employer brings with it a wide range of responsibilities that are driven by statutory requirements. The law places certain obligations on employers to ensure the rights of their staff are adhered to. And you have a general ethical responsibility to look after your team and ensure they are fit, well and happy at work.

The majority of these responsibilities start from day one of employment and continue for the lifetime of the employment relationship. When you hire staff, some of your main responsibilities as an employer are;

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Today, more young professionals are making alternative choices to the standard roles assumed by their parents’ generation. As a result, the landscape of work has changed dramatically for this generation, and for generations to follow.

Why?

It’s simple. We want more from our jobs than just a salary. We also want to be happy in the place we spend 70% of our waking hours.

This may be surprising, but for small business owners and start-ups, this is actually really great news. Even if we’re not a multi-national company, we can still compete for talent by offering a happier workplace than our big business counterparts.

So how do you create a fun culture and put happiness at the core of your small business? Here are five examples of companies that are focusing on employee happiness and reaping the benefits; Continue…

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When staff appraisal or review time rolls around, many small business owners view this as a waste of their valuable time. This is not the case, however, and employers who spend the time and effort to make these meetings are a success will often get much more out of staff appraisals than they put into them.

In this guide, we look at staff appraisals and outline how smaller employers can reap the benefits of an effective employee appraisal scheme;

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As a business owner, you’re also a business leader. And therefore, in order for your start-up to grow and develop beyond a one-man-band, there will come a time when you need to be able to lead other leaders within your business.

To do this successfully, you’ll need to develop a whole new set of skills and ways of operating because leading leaders is not simply a question of knowing what needs to be done and telling others to do it.

Instead, you will have to guide those leaders and inspire them to inspire their teams to deliver the results you need. When you can do that – you are a Super Leader.

To help you become a leader of leaders, in this article, Jean Gamester reveals 3 key steps, you’ll need to take; Continue…

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How to lead inclusively

October 25, 2016

Your ability to be your most effective and successful is fueled by how inclusive you are as a leader in all aspects of your business – your supply chain, your workforce and how you take your products and services to market.

It’s likely that you have based your success to date on your intuitive grasp of key business issues, but if you rely on intuition alone, you could reach a plateau that will stunt your progress, and may well limit the level of creative and innovative thinking around you.

This isn’t a great recipe for sustainable business success, so here’s how you can avoid this stagnation and drive your business forward. Continue…

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Many companies are enthusiastic about creating opportunities for younger people to gain business experience and skills in shorter placements, often labeling these as work experience or internships.

While larger businesses frequently put internship schemes in place, many smaller businesses can be put off offering these opportunities because they view them as an extra administrative burden.

Many small business owners hold the misconception that they would take up large amounts of time, money and effort but this is not always the case. In fact, providing such opportunities can bring tangible benefits for smaller employers.

Here’s what every small business owner needs to know about offering work experience and internships; Continue…

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As a business owner, you will no doubt, face some of the common team challenges experienced by many businesses today. When you do face these problems, you will need to know how to overcome them if you want your team to deliver.

We all know that dysfunctional teams are not successful. They will become de-motivated and in turn deliver poor results.

So, here’s how to take the pain out of meetings, handle tricky conversations and solve those perennial communication problems once and for all. Continue…

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‘If you think training is expensive, try ignorance’

This oft-quoted phrase, attributed to Peter Drucker, is frequently used when businesses say they ‘can’t afford’ to train or develop their staff.

So it’s worth asking yourself how much ‘untrained ‘or ‘undeveloped’ staff are costing your business – now and, potentially, in the future? Continue…

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In years gone by, equality and diversity haven’t always been at the forefront of business owners’ minds. However, in recent years more and more business leaders are recognising that respecting equality and diversity make good business sense.

So, what makes equality and diversity increasingly vital when you are setting up and running a business? We asked entrepreneur and author, Jackie Arnold to explain; Continue…

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Having to carry out difficult conversations is an inevitable consequence of owning a business and being an employer. When most business owners start employing staff they often haven’t thought of the reality of becoming an employer and having to tackle workplace issues as they arise.

Employers often don’t have the confidence to successfully carry out difficult conversations but avoiding these, and leaving issues to fester, is likely to negatively impact the business and, whilst this may be avoided in a larger business, a lack of productivity, capability or incidents of misconduct can have a serious effect on the business as a whole.

As a small business employer, you can avoid this outcome by being prepared, and facing difficult conversations with confidence in your ability to come to a positive solution. Here’s how; Continue…

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Workplace diversity is a term which relates to the people who work for an organisation. It is often spoken about with reference to equal opportunities, and the two are intrinsically linked, but have varying perspectives.

Providing equal opportunities means ensuring that no individual is treated less favourably on the basis of who they are – that all decisions taken in relation to them are based on fact and merit alone.

So what are the benefits of workplace diversity to a small business and how can you achieve it? This guide provides you with the necessary advice. 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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It is virtually impossible to eradicate staff sickness absence entirely. However, for small businesses, the costly nature of absenteeism can be extremely disruptive to the day to day running of the business.

There are many costs associated with staff being off sick, including compensation to the absent employee, the additional expense of finding temporary workers and the possible decline of productivity due to other employees being tasked with additional workloads.

Despite its unpredictability, there are steps small business owners can take to minimise the negative effects of absenteeism. This guide provides you with advice on how to effectively manage the different aspects of sickness absence. Continue…

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Red tape… compliance… ticking boxes… costly… time consuming… frustrating… not my job!

Be honest, when you think about HR (Human Resources) in your business, are these the kind of phrases that first spring to mind?

If you ask any small business owner what frustrates them in their company, most will include HR and talk about problems with their staff. They will tell you about people who fail to do what they are supposed to do or what they say they will do! They will bemoan the fact that people constantly ‘let them down’. This is what they relate HR with… and blame HR for!

However, HR does not have to be like this.

Imagine you could get people to do what they are supposed to do and to the standard you need – wouldn’t that make your life as a small business owner easier? Would that add value to your business? Would it free up your time so you could concentrate on other aspects of your business?

Well it is possible – not easy – but possible! Continue…

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As a leader, it’s your job to decide what kind of behaviour you would like in your organisation. But, how do you find your own style as a leader and set the tone for everybody who works with you?

Here, Kate Mercer, author of ‘A Buzz in the Building – how to build and lead a brilliant organisation’, looks at different styles of business leaders and explores the concept of partnership at work as a guiding principle…

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When you employ staff you must give them a certain amount of annual leave, and pay them during this time.

If your employees work a set amount of hours, and received a fixed salary, calculating their annual leave entitlement and holiday pay is straightforward. However, if staff have irregular hours, work overtime, or receive commissions or bonuses then calculating holiday pay can get quite tricky.

To help new business owners and employers understand the regulations on calculating holiday pay, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points for small businesses;
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When it comes to first aid in the workplace, the same principles apply to small businesses with only a few employees, as they do to companies with a bigger workforce spread across multiple locations.

In both instances, there must be plans in place to ensure the day-to-day working operation complies with health and safety regulations, protecting employees from possible injuries and reacting to sudden illness.

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Small businesses and start-ups are particularly vulnerable to staff health issues. If you’re a small business of five staff when suddenly one of the team is off sick with a chronic back complaint, then the business is trying to operate with only 80% of the workforce.

The increased workload this pushes on to other staff can soon create problems. The extra pressure can cause mistakes to be made, customers to be lost and staff to become stressed and a booming business can rapidly spiral into decline.

While it may not be top priority, there are several common sense health and wellbeing steps that will not only protect your small business but also pay significant dividends over time. If your staff are healthier, they’re going to have fewer days of sick leave and you could also see a boost in productivity.

With the value of workplace health being increasingly recognised, we asked Rosie Bambury of the Better Health at Work Alliance, to explain how small businesses can benefit from a bigger focus on employee health.

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As an employer you are required by law to give your employees a certain number of days holiday during the year. The amount of annual leave employees are entitled to depends on several factors.

This guide to leave entitlement for small business owners explains the amount of holiday you are required by UK law to give your employees, and how to calculate this for workers not working a normal working week.

Also covered are the laws regarding bank holidays, carrying over unused leave days, imposing a period of annual leave on staff e.g. over the festive season, and when you can refuse employees’ requests to take holiday;

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Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome.

In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Co-creation brings many benefits to businesses, such as;

  • Team members feel respected and honoured, and they know their contributions make a difference.
  • Job satisfaction and creativity is ignited, there is a positive flow of ideas, and problems get solved in surprisingly simple and practical ways.
  • Staff remain loyal and stay longer because they love what they do.

For the entrepreneur, co-creation can be a challenge, a real anathema. The building of a business demands resolve and determination to push through ideas in the face of disbelief and scepticism.

For business owners who have honed such skills, co-creation may not come naturally. They struggle to let go of being in charge, and risk blocking further evolution of the business. Maybe this is due to a subconscious belief that no one can do the job as well as them – or indeed, a dread that others may do it better.

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What every business owner needs to know about stress

May 6, 2016

People who run their own business have a multitude of priorities to contend with every day. When you’re in the thick of it, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple truth that the people you depend upon for your business’ success are, like you, only human. But they are, and it’s well […]

Making staff redundant – how to do it and stay on the right side of the law

April 28, 2016

Nobody goes into business to make staff redundant. However, it is a task that many business owners will need to undertake at some point Redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee, but it is vital that you get this procedure right as failure to do so could result in an unfair dismissal […]

A practical guide to flexible working rights for small businesses

April 19, 2016

Statutory flexible working rights become available widely to all employees when they complete 26 weeks of continuous employment. Previously, a request to work flexibly had to be made for the purposes of taking care of dependents e.g. children, however, this requirement has now been removed, giving all employees the right to request flexible working regardless […]

Team Building – The best way to train your staff to really work as a team

April 14, 2016

Who do you call if a pipe is leaking? A plumber, right? You don’t call an electrician. And when he turns up, you don’t expect him to build a hypothetical model of the structure of your pipework and work on that, leaving you to sort out the actual problem yourself. You expect him to get […]

A few small changes that can really boost your productivity

April 13, 2016

Technology is the modern day malaise. On the one hand it has helped businesses become more efficient, but on the other it often means people are switched on 24/7 – something business owners need to overcome to improve productivity. The Chartered Institute of Management (CIM) suggested in a report called the, ‘The Quality of Working […]

Your business isn’t ‘yours’, and your problems aren’t all about ‘them’

March 31, 2016

When you start and run your own business, your company inevitably means more to you than anybody else. As a business owner, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything and become frustrated with staff that don’t understand ‘your’ business like you do. This mindset can lead to you spending too much time and effort […]

Why “Change Management” is the most overlooked driver for executive success

March 30, 2016

Uber has a new logo. And many people don’t like it. There are things we don’t mind changing – seasons, governments, underpants – but most of the time, most of us resist change. For every innovation, from skinny jeans to a black Bond, there are plenty of us instinctively asking why? Why change? Why do […]

How to handle disciplinary issues in the workplace

March 22, 2016

Despite every effort, even the best-run businesses may encounter disciplinary problems with employees from time to time. Although it is always best to focus on effective management practice and preventative measures, having clear and fair disciplinary procedures is a good first step in avoiding difficult employment tribunals. Here’s what you need to consider, the procedures […]

How employers can help change attitudes to mental health in the workplace

March 18, 2016

A recent survey about mental resilience of almost 2,000 workers found that nearly a third of UK employees feel unsure about who to talk to or where to find help or support regarding mental health. And, nearly 40% of people find it hard to talk to or open up about their mental health to anyone. […]

5 Ways you could be stifling staff, and 5 Steps to harnessing their full potential

March 10, 2016

It can be exasperating when staff don’t use their initiative, or they go about solving problems in a seemingly baffling way, but often workers donning their stupid hats as they clock-in can be because of how you act as their boss. If you regularly find yourself cursing the stupidity of your employees, then you really […]