How to set up and run a small business

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Start Up Tips

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 – you’ll need to be able to keep your head and deal with new developments.

Our minds have a preference for the predictable – our primitive ancestors had a much better chance of staying alive if things stayed stable. We might want excitement (our ancestors did love the thrill of the chase), but we naturally want it on our terms, not someone else’s.

So how do we support change that will help us and our business evolve and grow while dealing with the feeling of being threatened by it? Continue…

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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 three of the perks that come with starting and running your own business.

But all too often, I meet entrepreneurs who are burnt out, stressed and lacking in sufficient income. This is often because they did not trial their business ideas before they got stuck in. So today, I want to convince you that you should ‘pilot’ your business idea before you launch your new venture for real.
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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, you won’t want to fall flat and fail. So to help you impress we asked professional speaker and author of ‘Insider Secrets of Public Speaking’, Ian Hawkins, to reveal his 3 golden principles to follow when you’re making a speech;

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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 next level.

The point of it is that you do the work once and achieve the result over and over again using this leveraged system. Shweta Jhajharia, founder of The London Coaching Group outlines 4 ways that you can use the power of leverage to help your start-up succeed.

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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 and spend more time managing. You will need to work ON your business.

Some business owners find this shift difficult because it means giving up work that they enjoy. You, along with thousands of others, may have started your own business so you could follow a passion. But growing a business means that you can become detached from the work that fulfils you, and the very reason you started your business in the first place.

So how do you decide whether you really want to run your business?

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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 to become too busy to get the really important things done.

To make sure you don’t get sucked into this trap, author Martin Gladdish, reveals some simple tips and tricks to show how you can build your business in 90 minutes a day.
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Everyone has to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Challenges and changes are constant, and this is especially true if you are starting up your own business.

Adverse situations may be familiar or unfamiliar to you depending upon whether you have experienced them before, or whether you have experienced circumstances that may be similar. You will have developed coping mechanisms and these will help you in dealing with familiar adverse situations and, if you’re launching a new business, many unfamiliar ones.

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As business owners we all make mistakes. It’s part and parcel of being an entrepreneur and taking risks.

Sometimes going wrong it’s part of the learning curve we all need to experience. However, there are some common pitfalls that catch many new business owners time and time again. They trip up the unwary, hold you back and stop your business from fulfilling its potential.

Knowing what these mistakes are will help you spot them before they ensnare you – saving you precious time, effort and money. Here, Shweta Jhajharia reveals the 6 leadership traps you need to avoid if you want your business to flourish.

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Parents, politicians, pundits, pub philosophers. They all have something in common – an arsenal of adages, aphorisms, proverbs, mottos and maxims. But of all the oft-used phrases you’ve heard in your life, which do you think sticks with people most?

  • Give a hundred and ten percent
  • Never say never
  • Game of two halves
  • Winter is coming

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You may think that giving presentations is something that happens in a big corporate, but not in your start-up or small business. Not true!

We’re all giving mini-presentations and pitches several times a day, and getting your message across in a digital world where everyone is mildly ADHD is more vital for business success than ever.

Whether you’re speaking with a potential customer over the phone or pitching your start up idea to investors, you have a choice between doing it in a forgettable way – like elevator music – or making it rock!

If you want your message to be remembered, then just recall how a well-crafted three-minute song stays in your mind forever. So to let’s pick apart the techniques that songwriters use to achieve this effect and look at how we can apply them to make our presentations rock!

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You’ve got to be a bit of an optimist to start a new business. This positive outlook undoubtedly helps you to get through the ups and downs of starting your own business, but it’s worth investing in a bit of negative thinking too.

When astronaut Chris Hadfield described his preparation to go into space, his focus was not on how fantastic it was going to be when he got there but on being ready to deal with the things that could kill him, so he could get to come back again.

This approach has parallels for how we start up too – we can dream of the big fabulous destination, but we have to expect that we will need to overcome challenges to be a success.

Running a startup is about stepping up to run a messy marathon, not hunkering down to run a perfect sprint. We have to make sure we can go the distance and this means we need to talk about embracing failure, affordable risk and filling the weak spots.

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Human history provides countless examples of leadership be it in the political, economic or military sphere. But no two leaders are alike and some leaders have left a far more distinctive mark on history than others.

To lead other people you need to be able to communicate clearly. Indeed, many successful leaders such as Winston Churchill have been able to inspire others through the power of the spoken word.

But inspiration also requires another ingredient besides communication. It requires a vision.

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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”.
How to get your new business noticed
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;

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Your brand is your identity and in a tough market place it can be the thing that separates you from the competition and grabs the attention of potential new customers.

Remember you’ve only got a very short space of time to capture the attention of new customers, so whether it’s the design of your business cards and marketing collateral, your website or even the name of your company, these things really make a difference when it comes to winning business. Continue…

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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. Continue…

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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 t0 the way your business is run; ask yourself these 5 key questions; Continue…

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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…

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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;
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Most new businesses will fail within the first five years. If you are starting a business you have probably read this before. Do some research and you’ll find that poor management, inadequate funding, or failure to understand your customers tend to top the lists of why this is the case.

Continue researching and you’ll get much on how to make your business a success, with advice like write a business plan, conduct market research, and ensure you have enough capital before you begin, all good suggestions.

However, even the most innovative idea, followed by the most robust market research, accompanied by more than adequate funding can still fail. That’s because success is rarely the product of any single task or decision. Continue…

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Launching a new business is a huge undertaking and, like most entrepreneurs, I am sure that you will give huge amounts of time to considering your product/service, funding and business plan, but there is one crucial component to business success that is often neglected – YOU!

We gather endless feedback on whether our new product idea will be popular, we jump through endless hoops with investors to secure funding, but for some reason we seem to forget that the single biggest variable that will determine whether we succeed, or not, is our own talents and how we apply them to our new business.

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How to create your own support team and increase your startup’s chance of success

March 2, 2016

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 […]

The start-up survival guide – 6 tips to get beyond the early years

February 12, 2016

Statistics from HMRC show that around 80% of companies registering for VAT cease trading within three years, and this statistic has held true for many years now. With the chances of survival so slim, it’s a wonder so many people decide to take the plunge and start their own business. Anybody that manages to steer […]

How to create business cards that make a big impression

February 9, 2016

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 […]

How reverse mentorship can help drive fresh ideas, develop staff and help your business succeed

February 8, 2016

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 […]

First Aid Kits: What does your business need?

January 29, 2016

As a business owner, the welfare of your staff will naturally be a key concern. Health and safety is just one of many concerns for small businesses, both in terms protecting employees and complying with the law. The government’s Health and Safety Regulations state that employers must provide “adequate and appropriate” equipment that ensures injured […]

Learning to grow – the early years of your new business

January 12, 2016

To create a successful new business you need four things;  A good plan,  A good product that people actually want,  Good people who can make things happen, and  A good supply of money. Running a business is also a way of life, which invariably takes up a lot of your time, so when you are […]

Why it’s important you plan your exit strategy before you start your business

January 8, 2016

Starting a new business is fun. It’s a world of learning and discovery as you set out on your own and try to build a brand new business from scratch. Many people are so caught up in building their business that they don’t really consider where they want it to go in the long-term. And […]

How to build a strong, powerful, strategic network

January 5, 2016

When you start a business, everyone says networking is important; so you network. But are you getting more out of your networking than passable plonk and the occasional first-class canapé? Have your efforts delivered a strong network that adds value to your business? Successful networking is about more than turning up to grip-n-grin for an […]

The Founder’s dilemma – Managing the transformation from start-up to growth business

November 19, 2015

Business growth can be characterised in several ways – sales, profit, employees…. and looking to make the business scalable and capable of achieving sustainable profitable growth is a fully understandable objective. However, whichever way you look at it, the underlying driver is likely to be that the founder wants to look beyond funding his or […]

Harness the “Power of Three” to nail your pitch

November 16, 2015

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, […]