How to set up and run a small business

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Start Up Tips

Be more productive, prioritise tasks with Covey's MatrixManaging 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. Continue…

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why you need to find a niche for your businessIf 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.

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Business exit - MBOMany 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? Continue…

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going from startup to successful businessThe 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; Continue…

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increase profitability

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; Continue…

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Using platforms to increase sales and grow business

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. Continue…

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;

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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; Continue…

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.
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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. Continue…

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.

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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? Continue…

With age comes wisdom, but all too often in the business world, hubris can come along for the ride too.

After finessing business decision making for decades, executives naturally begin to conclude that their specialised knowledge, expertise and business skills mean that they always know the best way to solve a client problem, to win a major account, or to drive a workplace innovation.

After all their past successes confirm this. Subconsciously survivorship and confirmation biases are at work; good decisions are reinforced, and poor ones are forgotten – which distorts their real importance.

So, can these experienced executives learn something from Millennials? Absolutely! Continue…

The transition from being a manager to becoming business leader, is one that many new business owners will need to make. Often, the success or failure of your business depends on how well and how quickly you can adapt to this fundamental role change.

Never more so than in times of challenge, are leadership skills going to make the difference between a galvanized team of people and a disparate group. Here, Kate Tojeiro reveals 7 tips that will help you transform from a manager to a successful business leader; Continue…

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. Continue…

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; Continue…

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. Continue…

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; Continue…

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: Continue…

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? Continue…

Simple stories, super results for startups

February 2, 2017

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 […]

10 ways to maximise your productivity when running your own business

January 30, 2017

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 […]

8 Common mistakes new business owners make

January 20, 2017

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 […]

Scaling a craft business – How to grow without compromise

January 13, 2017

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 […]

A guide to setting up your first business website

January 6, 2017

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 […]

The power of the ‘pilot’ – 3 reasons why you should test your new business before launch

December 27, 2016

Setting up a new business is an exciting, thrilling and all encompassing challenge! Personally, I think it is the best and most stretching form of personal and professional development that a person can do. Creating and selling your own products and services, building a network of happy customers and managing your own time are just […]

How to get your business noticed – Self-marketing for start-ups

November 25, 2016

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 […]

Turbo-charge your start-up by sharing what you know

November 15, 2016

One of the biggest challenges you face as a start-up is getting your name out there. However, even if people hear your name, unless they know what makes your business unique, they are unlikely to choose you over a competitor. Help someone understand how you can solve their problem, however, and you’re in with a […]

A New way to brainstorm – Getting great business ideas with ‘The Idea Generator’

November 9, 2016

Brainstorming was born in the 1950s and while all the other aspects of business have changed dramatically since then, the way we come up with new ideas hasn’t. Until now. Intuitively, brainstorming seems to make sense as an approach to get new ideas on a tricky issue. Get some smart people in a room; tell […]

Why being a good customer could drive your startup’s future success

November 3, 2016

Launching a startup is weird. You have a big idea driving you, with lots of small things to do to get going. You don’t necessarily have lots of business coming in or staff on board yet, but still you have to run this fledgling business the way you are going to run your future super-successful […]

10 Top tips to avoid business failure

November 2, 2016

The fear of failure is one of the most common reasons why people decide not to start their own business. Hauling yourself out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself into the unknown takes a certain amount of courage and self-assurance. Leaving a cosy, secure job to try and turn your business idea into reality […]

Why building resilience in your workplace is good for business

October 28, 2016

According to Billy Ocean “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” – a sentiment many people working in business would echo and applaud. Tough is a word people often use to mean resilient. It may not scan as well, but when the going gets tough, the resilient remain resourceful, creative and healthy. Studies […]

The 8 Acts all business owners and leaders need to master

October 24, 2016

So you’re in charge: perhaps you started the company, maybe you’ve taken it over, or you were handed the top job and told to run the show. What next? Every company is different. But while scale of the demands placed on the chief executive of a listed multinational may be different to those a small […]

8 Mindfulness hacks to help make your business ideas actually happen

October 21, 2016

The difference between entrepreneurs who succeed, and those who spend time just thinking about it, is taking action. Specifically, it’s about taking the right action at just the right time. You might not realise it but, if you’re starting a business, you can gain a lot from using some age-old Buddhist philosophies. One particular Buddhist […]

What businesses can learn from the US Marines

October 19, 2016

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 10 Commandments of Behaviour that every start-up should follow

October 14, 2016

Experience tells me that one of the reasons why people start up their own business is to be their “own boss”, and that means they don’t want to be constrained by petty, bureaucratic, small mindedness being meted out every minute of their working lives. The reality is that we all need rules. In the words […]