How to set up and run a small business

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Start Up Tips

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 business owner faces, many of the major challenges business leaders face are similar.

After discussing such challenges with a wide range of entrepreneurs, investors, executives and analysts, I suggest they boil down to eight essential “acts” of leadership. Continue…


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 concept, called the Noble Eightfold Path, gives a very practical and useful framework to take a startup idea from its genus and genesis through to successful delivery. It’s also a graceful way to move forward with in life.

But, there’s no need to become a practicing Buddhist, or ‘Anything-ist’, to benefit from the principles of mindfulness. Here, Tom Evans, author of ‘The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness’ explains how you can help turn your business dreams into reality with these 8 mindfulness hacks;



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. Continue…


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 of Al Murray (“The Pub Landlord”) “Where would we be without rules? France!”

I am not going to inflict upon you here a doctrine of rule-bound obedience leading to business success, but rather propose a Ten Commandments of Behaviour which are intended as a benchmark against which to measure yourself.

You can use them when you feel that perhaps you’ve ‘missed the mark’ or, better still, use them today, right now, and see how a change in behaviour might benefit your business. So here are the 10 Commandments of Behaviour tablets, delivered to your door; Continue…


If you can create a culture of learning, not blaming, in your business, you are more likely to see your business grow and flourish.

If you allow a blame culture to take hold in a business, staff will tend to hide, or even cover up, any mistakes. This attitude can often compound problems further. On the other hand, a learning culture encourages errors to be highlighted so everybody can learn lessons from them.

To help explain the benefits a learning culture brings to your business, and how you can instil such behaviour in your team, we asked Justin Hughes, author of The Business of Excellence: Building high-performance teams and organisations to share his experiences and to explore a few of the key issues around a learning culture; Continue…


If you were to survey a group of entrepreneurs about why they started their business, I’m sure you would get a huge variety of interesting answers. Of course many of them will have been motivated by money, but I would bet that one of the most popular reasons would be a desire to create something meaningful for themselves.

The prospect of taking control of your own destiny and being your own boss is a powerful motivator. I personally spent years as a Wall Street trader but found that the money I earned and lost just became numbers that had very little meaning to me.

Chasing money felt like an empty pursuit, and deep down I really wanted to start and run my own business, be the boss, and build stuff that I could actually point at. Continue…


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. Continue…


A key skill for business owners is the ability to deliver a successful business pitch.

A pitch can take many different forms, it might be pitching for contracts with possible new customers, highlighting potential opportunities to new partners, persuading talented individuals to join your team, or trying to win investment to grow your company.

With the ability to pitch being such an important tool in a business owner’s armoury, here are some simple steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of succeeding with your pitch and getting that handshake.


An entrepreneur with a super power memory would be able to easily remember important business related facts & figures to demonstrate that they are the go-to “expert” in a particular field.

This person would also be able to smoothly pitch for business and give presentations from memory without notes to be more persuasive. While the ability to effortlessly recall anecdotes would allow them to quickly build rapport with clients.

A business owner like this would also great at networking because of their ability to remember the names of everyone that they meet, and important things about these people. While valuable new qualifications could be quickly gained because exam material would be easy to master.

The great news is that you can become this business person with a super power memory! You actually already have an amazing memory and with the memory training tips in this article, I’m going to help you unlock your full memory potential. Believe it or not, this is also going to be easy and a lot of fun!



We’ve all been in business meetings where we’re clock watching and wondering how long it will go on for, worrying about our to-do lists which are not getting any shorter. This is especially true in start-ups, where time is especially precious for everybody in a small team..

When it comes to meetings, especially internal ones, it can be difficult to enforce the discipline needed to get the most out of them. This includes starting and finishing on time and sticking to the agenda. Meetings should have a purpose and a definite outcome, otherwise they can be an unproductive use of time for all involved.

What’s more, poor meetings aren’t only wasting our valuable time, they are also having an impact upon our bodies. Research has shown that spending long hours sitting down can play a significant role in the development of chronic diseases, so it’s imperative that you, as an employer, implement changes to protect the health, wellbeing and productivity of your employees.

It’s time to transform the standard routine and be more creative and active with work meetings, not only to breathe more life into them, but reinvigorate your colleagues too. Here’s how you can achieve more from meetings, eliminate wasted time, improve your health and potentially have some fun in the process: Continue…


Change is inevitable. And with change comes uncertainty. So, how can people in business, particularly those running a start-up or small business, which are often more sensitive to change, ensure they make the best decisions they can when so little is certain?

Here, John Reynard, author of ‘The Spiritual Route to Entrepreneurial Success” highlights 5 things you can do to help you make good decisions, even when there is confusion all around;



It’s safe to say that writing a health & safety plan isn’t one of the most exciting parts of starting a business. In fact, it’s something that many new business owners neglect to do.

A health and safety plan is a plan which outlines how health and safety protocol will work in your business. In an ideal world, it would be seen as something that goes alongside a business plan but, far too often, this is not the case and businesses end up neglecting it.

Planning for health and safety means more than just checking the law as you go to make sure you are following it. Rather, a health and safety plan is something that should be done in the early stages of business planning.


Have you ever heard the saying: “There is no such thing as an original idea?”

Like many things that live in the public imagination, it is there because there is some truth behind it. There are some ideas that come like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, or so they seem. But when you look closer at the facts, the ideas have been stimulated by other factors and inputs.

A great example of this is in watching the evolution of the earth and how totally separate cultures, closed off from each other, have developed similar inventions over time.

The best ideas have a bit of something else in them, but how can you capitalise on this and use it to develop a great business idea? Continue…


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 go back to the drawing board with your business idea, or read on to find out why it’s essential startups and small businesses find a niche, and how to spot a potentially profitable gap in the market.



Most business cards are about as much use as a scrap of paper with a name and number scribbled on it. That’s fine if you are looking for a date, but not so good for showcasing your business.

With a little thought, however, it’s easy to create a business card that packs a real promotional punch and helps you, and your small business, stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips and ideas that will help you design business cards that make a big impression;



Why the best leaders do less

September 8, 2016

How do you describe yourself? Are you an entrepreneur, a technical expert, someone who is good at a specific task or a manager? Or are you a leader?

Whether you describe yourself as a leader or not, the chances are that your business needs you to show leadership at every stage of its development. So how do you successfully lead your business?

Here’s why great leaders do less, and the 6 key steps you need to take to transform yourself into a brilliant business leader; Continue…


A number of the world’s largest companies were founded by ambitious and determined university students who weren’t afraid to dream.

Most people know that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, but were you aware that FedEx, the global courier service, was first imagined by Frederick W. Smith in an undergraduate paper while he was studying at Yale?

In fact, lots of companies that we encounter on a daily basis, like Google and Microsoft, were set up by university students who decided to run with their business ideas. So if you’re a student at university and feeling entrepreneurial, here are 10 practical tips to help you launch a successful business while you study; Continue…


Your business is growing and you’ve taken on one or more additional staff members – but are you really maximising their skills and getting the best out of them?

Or, if you’re honest, do you find yourself still doing some of the things you employed them to do?



Research shows that people with ‘emotional resilience’ will have the best chances of not only surviving critical business events but thriving in life.

With emotional resilience being such an important factor in whether you and your new business start-up will be able to survive and thrive, we asked Geetu Bharwaney, Author of, “Emotional Resilience” to explain how you can build your emotional resilience to help you and your business succeed Continue…


Every year, hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs make the huge leap from working for somebody else to running their own business.

Launching your own venture is a leap into the unknown, and many new business owners discover that much of what they thought was true about starting their own business, turns out to be completely false.

There are many common misconceptions about running your own business, and being caught out by some of these can prove very costly indeed. To help you separate truth from fiction, here are 8 common myths about starting and running your own business;



How to be a leader rather than a manager

July 27, 2016

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 […]

Growing your business with the 3 layers of systems

July 18, 2016

If you want your business to grow, it will mean employing more people. And to give those new members of staff the best chance of helping you break through to a whole new level of sales and productivity, it’s important to set up systems. These systems need to be scaleable, understandable, and effective. Don’t charge […]

How to grow your start-up by developing your mind-set

June 29, 2016

There is so much that a small business owner, or potential entrepreneur, can do with just a shift in how we think, and what we focus on. When you start to look back at what you have achieved and where you are in your life, work and business, you would begin to realise that success […]

Competitive Advantage for small businesses – How it can boost profitability, growth and drive long term success

June 28, 2016

If you can develop a competitive advantage for your small business, you will be able to sell your product or service more easily and more profitably. Ultimately a good competitive advantage will mean that your business is more likely to succeed and is able to grow. With the ability to develop a competitive advantage being […]

How to keep your head and cope with change in your business

June 24, 2016

Whether you’re in the early start-up phase or you’ve been around a while – running a business will inevitably mean coping with change. This could be the need to deal with new regulations, an ageing customer base, a new competitor, or even your company growing and expanding faster than you planned. Whatever it is – […]

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

June 17, 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 […]

The 3 Golden Principles of public speaking

June 16, 2016

As a business owner, you may occasionally need to speak in front of an audience. It might be for a business pitch where you are trying to persuade investors to back your business, or a sales meeting where you are trying to secure a key deal. If you do need to do any public speaking, […]

How you can use the power of leverage to get more done in your business with less effort

June 15, 2016

Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” What he is talking about is that with the right tools, you can achieve a lot more with much less effort. And this ‘leverage’ is a critical step in taking businesses to the […]

How to decide if you really want to run your business

June 9, 2016

When you start a new business you will need to do almost everything. This means you will need to roll up your sleeves and take a very hands-on approach. You will be working IN your business. However, if you want to grow your business, you will need to pass on the day-to-day work to others […]

How you can build your business in 90 minutes a day

June 3, 2016

Whether you have just launched your new start-up, or are the owner of an existing business, to be successful you need to make the best use of your valuable time. With so many different aspects of the business to think about, and a host of demands on their time, it’s easy for small business owners […]