Key Business Start-Up Guides
To some starting a business with their partner is a great idea. A chance to spend more time together and to share the experiences of running a business.
To others it’s a nightmare. The thought of spending virtually every waking hour in each other’s pocket is simply too over bearing.
If you are thinking of going into business with your spouse, there’s added pressure to succeed. So we asked Vicki Ashman, who co-founded Scrumpies of Mayfair with her husband, to share 10 valuable lessons she has learned about how to run a successful business venture with your partner.
The most powerful place in any room is at the front, on the platform. What you do when you get there will have a dramatic impact on your business – for good or for bad.
Do a good job, and win respect, admiration, and new business. Do poorly, and you’ll wish you had stayed home.
When you have the opportunity to do a presentation or give a speech, will you seize it, or head for the hills? If you’ve got expertise to share, speaking to an audience can bring tremendous rewards.
All businesses go through change as they grow and develop and it will become likely that at some stage every business will take on a project of some sort, whether that’s the delivery of a new IT system, reducing wastage in the supply chain or developing a new website.
Many business projects can be complex and protracted affairs that go on for months and take up a lot of precious resources. An understanding of project management will therefore help business leaders to keep things on track and avoid lengthy and costly delays. (more…)
Commercialising your innovative ideas requires constant, large leaps forward. This requires great speed, to make sure that your market isn’t filled by your competition.
Yet speed is useless if you aren’t running in the right direction, that is – if you are not pursuing a promising enough market.
If you are too blinkered, you might miss out on blockbuster opportunities. On the other hand, if you spread the net too wide, you risk running yourself into the ground, with too many commitments and too few assets.
Building a successful new business is a roller-coaster. There will be days you know you couldn’t do anything else, and days you wish you did. Sometimes you’ll be on top of the world, but at other times it will be a struggle to drag yourself out of bed.
In the high-stakes world of starting a new business, only one thing is certain: everyone will make mistakes, but only those who learn from them will succeed.
So, to help you learn from these common errors, without making them yourself, here are 8 mistakes that startups frequently make;
The US Marines are world-famous for their exacting standards and ruthless efficiency. The conditions they operate under might be very different from those we see in the commercial world, but there are very valuable lessons that businesses can learn from the Marines.
Here, James Bowen and Brian MacNeice, authors of Powerhouse – Insider accounts into the world’s greatest high performance organisations – explain what your business can gain by studying the strategies and tactics of the US Marines. (more…)
Leadership is one of the most written about topics in business. You can be an ‘Authentic Leader’, a ‘Facilitative Leader’ or an ‘Agile Leader’, to select words from just three of the recently published leadership titles.
These words fast risk becoming clichés. Some may have currency, others do not. What is true is that there is no one, indisputable, formula for effective leadership. (more…)
While many festive traditions have successfully made the move from the home to the workplace – the annual party and ‘Secret Santa’ are both staples of nearly every small business’ Christmas celebrations – there is one that still hasn’t made the leap: proper gift giving.
Crack Christmas gifting and the benefits will roll in: you’ll motivate your team, improve customer loyalty, and boost important supplier relationships. However, fail to pick the right presents, or show any kind of effort, and you’ll risk losing morale, motivation, and maybe even business.
As the owner of a startup or small business you will inevitably need to stand in front of an audience and speak to them. It is an essential part of modern business life.
Speaking in public is something that turns many business owners cold with fear. But with some expert insight and a little practice you can quickly learn how to speak with confidence.
To help you on your way, we’ve asked award-winning international speaker, Bret Freeman, to reveal how to present with POWER. (more…)
The inspiration to start a business can come anywhere at any time: in the pub, in the shower, in the supermarket, walking the dog.
How many times has someone you know announced they’ve had a great business idea? And how many of those eureka moments ended up getting no further than a few notes on a napkin?
Why was this? Too much hard work involved? Concerns over starting a business being too risky? Worries about it needing too much commitment?
But those aren’t barriers to every business idea taking off; some ideas do make it from conceptualisation to conclusion. The difference? Dedication and passion. And perhaps necessity. (more…)
Having an online presence is crucial for any modern business so that potential customers are able to find you online. However, many small businesses are missing out on the opportunities that being online bring.
So if you’re yet launch your business online, or are thinking of starting a new business and want to make the best of your website, here are a few handy tips and tricks from Li-at Karpel Gurwicz of Wix, to help you do it successfully: (more…)
So you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business. Does this mean that all the leadership stuff you learned about on your mini-MBA gets tossed out the window?
Ah, the joys of throwing away the corporate policies manual, the bliss of not worrying about reporting lines and organizational structures.
Well, yes and no. Leadership structures are there for a reason. They might look like it, but they’re not just there to keep people in jobs. (more…)
We are living in an exciting time… a time where technological changes are booming.
Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing and the Internet of Things are just a few examples of these amazing technologies that are opening up a world of completely new opportunities.
However, in order to turn the technological possibilities into economic success, you need to identify the emerging market opportunities, and to carefully evaluate their future value, to make sure you are betting on a winning option.
So how do you evaluate whether your big business idea could be a gold mine, or a waste of time?
Starting up and growing your own business can be extremely exciting and exhilarating, but it can also at times be quite lonely and overwhelming, particularly if you don’t have a business partner to share the experience with.
When you are sitting alone at your desk it can be hard to know where to turn for advice and support.
The good news is there is fantastic solution to this. That is to create your own support team that you can call on whenever you need to for help and advice, and even sometimes simply for encouragement and motivation and a friendly chat.
Here’s how to do it: (more…)
No matter what industry you’re in, there are organisations that recognise and reward those that excel above the competition.
When you’re concentrating on finding your feet as a business, you may think that awards should be put on the back-burner. However, you can learn a lot by paying attention to industry awards. (more…)
Managing time effectively is vital if you are to prosper as a business owner, especially when it comes to running a small business when just a few people have to deal with every aspect of the business.
Despite best intentions though, we’ve all got to the end of a day without achieving any of the tasks we intended to do at the start of the day.
There are many tips, tools and guides online and in print that deal with the age old issue of time management. Most seem to over-complicate something that really shouldn’t be that complicated in principle, but Covey’s Matrix has stood the test time and is something that all business owners can benefit from. (more…)
If your new business is going to be operating in a competitive marketplace, it’s crucial that you find a way to differentiate your business from all the competitors out there.
In short, why should customers choose your products or services over what’s already available?
If you can’t answer that question, then you need to read on to find out why it’s essential startups and small businesses find a niche, and how you can spot a potentially profitable gap in the market.
Many small businesses, up to 20 employees, are run in a very hands-on manner by their owners. This can work well for everyone and hopefully provide the proprietors with a good level of income.
When it comes to the moment they want to move on, or retire, however, their future financial independence will depend on how much the business is worth. If the business is dependent on them, it will have limited value, but if it functions as a fully autonomous company, it will command a significantly higher value.
So can a management buyout be a good way to sell your business? (more…)
The dream for many entrepreneurs is to come up with a great new product, find the funding to develop it and then for it to fly off the shelves.
The reality for most is different, but when this does happen it’s worth finding out how this success was achieved because the lessons we learn can help us to replicate the achievements for our own business.
Yuu is one such success, so we asked co-founders, Gill Hayward and Kellie Forbes to share their story with us; (more…)
As a business owner, you are always looking for greater efficiencies, more productivity and some general cost savings.
One of your key jobs is to make sure you are always looking for ways get your business running more smoothly and more profitably, but before you jump in and make wholesale changes to the way your business is run; ask yourself these 5 key questions; (more…)
We live in a platform economy dominated by one or two big companies in every industry: but small businesses should see this as an opportunity not a threat, says Steven Van Belleghem. (more…)
Change is happening rapidly in the business world. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and ever improving technology at almost level are just a few of the new trends that business owners will need to deal with in the next five years.
With these trends being pivotal for businesses of every size, we asked Rohit Talwar and Steve Wells of Fast Future Publishing to highlight the 20 future factors that business owners will need to address as they chart their course to tomorrow;
Nobody enjoys failure, but everyone experiences it at least a few times in their life and especially as a small business owner.
While it’s one of those things that most people like to gloss over, failing is actually a hugely valuable experience, as long as you know how to make the most of it.
Leigh Ashton, co-founder of Sasudi, stresses the importance of bouncing back from a disappointment as a small business; (more…)
If you’re a start-up, chances are you are going to have to get out there and tell people about your new venture. What you say, and how you say it, is a lot more important than you may realise.
When it comes to communicating what you do, you don’t want to make a rookie error, just because your business is new. And the last place you want to miss the mark is when it comes to your pitch.
Preparing a powerful presentation is one of the best ways to communicate your start-up’s mission and vision. Deliver it well and you’ll earn a reputation as “one to watch”. Nail it, and your chances of success will increase exponentially. Using the “Power of Three” will help you to do just that.
The days of a “job for life” are long gone. Millennials are starting their careers in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, but they are also equipped with the skills and attitude to react quickly to changes and spot new opportunities.
The trend of young people changing jobs more frequently is one perhaps one result of a growing desire by young people to take control of their own destiny and pursue their passions, after being inspired by other young people they see doing the same online.
Just having one single “job” in the traditional sense may no longer be satisfying enough for the new generation. They increasingly want to feel passionate, engaged and motivated by their work.
Consequently, there are now thousands of young people who transfer skills between a day job (that pays the bills) and their own personal business and creative projects. (more…)
Having set up my company, I won a handful of decent clients and achieved an annual turnover of £500,000. Initially this felt good, but 2-3 years later it no longer did.
As many small businesses can find, it seemed like I was up against a glass ceiling and could not break through. I had problems finding quality staff and just like many entrepreneurs oscillated between feast and famine – masses of work for several months and then a gap with very little.
However, my situation changed when I began to understand the workings of the ego and how I was effectively blocking my own progress.
I learned several techniques for dealing with this and managed to implement them to positive effect. As a result high quality staff started to appear and we achieved year on year growth of +40%. The following is my own definition of the ego, and how to stop it from holding you, and your business, back.
These 7 Guiding Principles to business growth have been developed through my 20 years of experience in working with thousands of organisations. Their purpose is to stimulate your thinking about the critical challenges and opportunities in growing your business and how you can avoid some of the errors that might otherwise stifle your growth potential or, worse, derail your ambitions.
As you read through these Seven Guiding Principles, score the current performance of your business against each on a scale of 1–10. How does your business shape up? (more…)
Business sustainability is a great opportunity for start-ups and small businesses to focus on. Not only is it a way to create long-term, sustainable success, but it’s also a way to attract employees (younger generations expressly value sustainability), investors and business partners.
Let’s briefly look at what business sustainability is and then get into some practical tips for how to make it reality for your business. (more…)
For many business owners and entrepreneurs, it can be hard to motivate your employees and encourage them to perform to optimal levels, especially when resources are limited.
Olympics athletes not only have to train extremely hard but are also faced with huge financial burdens and limited resources and often rely on sponsorship to maintain a standard of living. Yet, Team GB still enjoyed great success at the London and Rio Olympics!
So what are the real reasons for their success? How did they manage to bring the country together, and more importantly, how can their winning success help you turn your business into a winner? Adam Strong reveals the secrets of creating a winning culture; (more…)
Startups need to get their message across — and fast. It’s therefore vital for every new business to create a great pitch presentation. To help you prepare a compelling case, we asked, Emma Ledden, author of The Presentation Book to share the secrets of how to produce memorable presentations that help put you on the map. (more…)
Starting a business with friends can seem like a good idea, but before you jump in and set up a company with people you are close to, you need to be honest with yourself and each other.
If you get it wrong your new business could fail and lifelong friendships ruined. So what steps should you take before going into business with friends, or any business partner for that matter?
We asked entrepreneur, Mike France, who has experienced both sides of this coin, to share his advice on how to successfully start and run a business with friends; (more…)
As a small business owner, you have to juggle many balls and spin a canteen’s worth of plates. You have to simultaneously pay attention to every part of your business; sales, production, cash flow, marketing, accounts and the list goes on.
During a typical day, your attention is pulled in many directions at once and this can make it difficult to focus and get anything done at all.
Sadly, this means many business owners end up being a slave to their own dream business. They could do with another couple of hours each day and another working day a week. How can they hope to get off the bus? (more…)
It might be strange to think that storytelling can be a powerful tool for startups. But stories provide a fantastic way to explore the purpose of your new business, what it stands for, what it will be like and how you will achieve your vision.
The great thing about stories is that we are all designed to be storytellers. Every time we talk about why we are starting a business, every time we share our idea of what the business will be achieving in the future we are sharing stories.
When we do this, we are influencing others – sometimes these stories change our thinking, sometimes they help us and those around us to understand and accept new ideas. So with stories, being such a powerful tool for new business owners, here are 4 simple strory-telling techniques you can use to get results; (more…)
Successful business owners know how to make the most of every minute of every day. Wasted time costs money and clients, but when you’re slowed down by administrative tasks, an over-spilling inbox and endless meetings it can be hard to keep up with the pace.
Here, Richard Walton highlights ten ways to maximise your productivity every day: (more…)
The craft business boom of the last decade has brought plentiful opportunities for businesses and customers alike.
For entrepreneurs involved, however, managing growth and expansion while retaining the original values and quality that initially propels a business to success can sometimes be easier said than done.
Growing and scaling a craft business presents unique challenges but offers unmissable opportunities and rewards. So to help craft business owners understand how to successfully grow their enterprise without compromising on their principles, we asked Jeremy Torz, Co-founder of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee to share his insight and experiences;
Your business may offer amazing products and a fantastic service. It may have a clear, determined vision of what it is doing and where it is going. But if your potential customers don’t know it exists, your wonderful business is likely to disappear without trace. As Alan Sugar put it: “Your start-up will be a cock-up if you don’t learn marketing communications”.
But what can a small business do to get themselves noticed?
There are two options: pay lots of money to a marketing company, or do it yourself. The DIY route costs less (if anything at all) and lets you use your unique insight to create the kind of personalised, precision-targeted marketing message that an external marketing consultant could never pull off.
So let’s dip into the marketing communications pic ‘n’ mix to see what methods are at your disposal;