How to set up and run a small business

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Start Up Tips

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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In 2014 Gallup carried out a study of 2,500 entrepreneurs and identified the top ten behaviours that they consistently observed in highly successful entrepreneurs – second on the list was confidence.

Self-confidence is a vital ingredient for great leadership and having confidence is essential for any business leader to achieve their full potential. As Francisco Dao, author and founder of 50Kings says;

“Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.”

But what is confidence? Having confidence or lack of confidence means something different to each individual, and as a result people behave differently.
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In the tech start-up sector agile is a popular mind set and method used for business and product development. It’s a methodology that aims to maximise profit, deliver value and help you to enjoy the journey of shaping and building a successful business.

When launching and growing a business and developing new products we face an environment of extreme uncertainty and constant change with disruptive and fast-moving markets. Being agile helps to navigate this journey and find the best path to creating a sustainable and scalable business model.

Agile isn’t just for tech businesses, any business can use agility to springboard their growth. Companies with an agile culture that embraces and adapts to change, can turn uncertainty into opportunity, and flourish when other businesses fail.

Here are ten ways your business can become more agile today by adopting agile thinking and tools; Continue…

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Starting a new business is an exciting time but getting the administrative side of things set up can be quite a time-consuming process. However, if these initial tasks are completed in a thorough and efficient manner, things are more likely to run smoothly and you can focus on the more exciting aspects of running your own business.

There are a number of different legal matters which need to be addressed before setting up a new business. Seeking good advice to help you through the planning and setup process ensures your business is built on solid foundations andcan provide protection when things do not go to plan.

Being prepared for any legal issues that could occur and having a good understanding of business law is essential when setting up a new company; lacking both could lead to a make or break situation. This guide is here to help you get your business off to a flying start and make sure you are both prepared and protected for what the future holds. Continue…

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While many business start-ups focus on trying to come up with a single ‘killer’ business idea and attempting to raise funding for their grand vision, this is the wrong approach according to the author of ‘The Millionaire Dropout’, Vince Stanzione.

Here’s why Vince thinks you should forget about the big business idea and just get on with starting your small business;
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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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It’s natural to want to protect your business. After working hard to get where you are today, you want to do all you can to safeguard your company against any potential threats.

While many companies are cracking down on criminal attacks from burglars, they often disregard the threat of fraudulent attacks from their very own staff, which can have even worse consequences for their business.

Cases of fraud cost businesses the equivalent of 5% of their annual revenue, a report by the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse revealed.

While loss of short-term profits is detrimental to any business, it isn’t the worst consequence of internal fraud. Imagine if an employee gained access to sensitive customer data and used it to their advantage. This could result in terrible repercussions for your customers, a badly damaged brand reputation for your business, and cause lasting, long-term harm to your firm. 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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You are ready for your big speech: you’ve crafted the talk, you’ve tailored the content for the audience and you’ve rehearsed your words. That’s great – but have you thought about the body language you will use when delivering it?

When we are preparing for presentations and speeches, we tend to focus on our words because vocal language is a conscious activity, whereas body language is a more unconscious activity. We pay attention to saying the right words but we need to extend this attention to our body gestures which unconsciously could be communicating a different message.

If your body language isn’t aligned with your vocal language you are missing the opportunity to deliver the full impact of your message. Worse still, you are at risk of creating confusion among your audience.

Here’s how to use body language to capture your audience’s attention and ensure you get your message across when you are giving a speech or making a presentation;

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It was Mahatma Gandhi who once famously said, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.”

And his observation applies to business as much as it applies to life. Businesses that have the most success are the ones willing to take the time to slow down and think about what they are doing.

This is borne out by an Economist Intelligence Unit study that found companies who slowed down made, on average, 40% more sales and 52% higher profits than companies who had set getting faster and faster their main priority.

So what aspect of your start-up will benefit from you slowing down?
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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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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 is heavily dependent on your attitude.

Most people who are successful started out just like you – and then they kept their strength and determination, they persevered through the tough times and now we look up to them as successful business people.

The good part is that you can make it too and even achieve much more than them. The magic is upgrading the software your mind has been running on with a new, better and bug-free version!

Here, serial entrepreneur, Taimur Khan, tells ByteStart how a positive mind-set can help you succeed with your start-up; Continue…

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Why do some businesses appear to steam ahead, recording rapid year on year growth, when others even in the same sector, with the same market opportunity, lag behind, recording poor growth or often no growth at all.

Of course, every sector will have its own nuances, however there are some barriers to grow that every business owner (and aspiring business owner) will need to address if they aim to punch above their weight. Continue…

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According to research, around 7% of working age adults in the UK expect to start a business in the next three years.

Many of these aspiring new business owners will be envisaging a multi-million pound business, or even a multi-billion pound business. But, statistically, only 4% of business owners ever reach the £1million turnover mark.

So, what’s holding back more than 2.5 million UK businesses from breaking that £1million barrier?
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To create a successful 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 starting a business choose something that you enjoy doing, something you have a real passion for. Continue…

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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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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 a start-up safely through these crucial early years, has done so against the odds and should be heartily congratulated on this achievement.

So what are the secrets to surviving the start-up years, and thriving beyond? Continue…

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If you are starting a new business, or your business is still in its infancy, it’s tempting to grab any deal that offers something for free – after all you need to save as much money as possible and look after your cash flow.

But if you are offered a free phone or other telecoms equipment – you may find it ends up being anything but free.

Sadly, many small businesses have fallen prey to a scam where they are offered free phones for their business, but are then tied in to overpriced, long-term contracts that can cost them thousands of pounds.
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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.
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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 very few people are forward thinking enough to plan the finish – their exit strategy – when they are starting up.

Yet it’s an essential part of your start-up planning. Not only will there have to be a day when you walk away from the business, but when you know where you ultimately want it to go, you are much more likely to make the right decisions along the way.

Here’s why you need to plan your exit before you launch your new venture;
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The 7 qualities every business woman needs

October 7, 2014

Popular media would have us believe that the legendary entrepreneurs are born that way, concocting profitable deals with their schoolmates from a young age, and that you either have those elusive qualities or you don’t. I disagree. From what I have experienced over the years, you can acquire the qualities of those successful business owners, […]

Brilliant or bankrupt? How to work out if your business idea is viable

September 15, 2014

With the enduring popularity of entrepreneurial TV shows, a lot of attention is paid to finding a great business idea by the media. To work out if your idea is brilliant or will bankrupt you, there are four key questions to ask before you get started.

Before you make the leap – 10 tips for start-ups

May 30, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of new businesses are formed each year. Some will be a great success, but the vast majority will no longer exist in five years time. So if you are thinking of starting a business, what can you do to increase your chances of success?

10 lessons on how to survive the highs and lows of starting up

March 29, 2014

Chris Robson, author of Confessions of an Entrepreneur provides some helpful tips on how to survive the initial stages of starting up a new business.

10 tips to consider before starting up a new business

January 10, 2014

Starting your own business can be very exciting, but the reality is that it can be very tough to get a new business off the ground. Statistics indicate that out of every 5 businesses started, 4 will close within their first 3 years, so the chances of success are slim. However, if you are passionate […]

New businesses – getting the timing right

December 13, 2013

When you’re starting a new business, there are plenty of things to take into account – finding suppliers for any physical goods, suitable premises, a strong customer base, and so on.

How to successfully start a business in the evenings

August 27, 2013

If you think lack of time is stopping you from launching your own business, think again. In this guide, we look at how you can realistically start your own small business by working in the evenings.

5 Steps you must take before you start your business

May 23, 2013

Once you’ve made the decision to start your own business, the natural instinct for many is to charge headlong into getting it off the ground right away. Starting your own business might have been something that’s been at the back of your mind for years, and now that you’ve finally decided to take the plunge, […]

Start-up tips – How to run your business finances efficiently

April 30, 2013

If you want to make your start-up business more profitable, alongside the quest for more sales, and better margins, there are a number of things you can do to make your new business more efficient.

Truly transferable skills overlooked by employers

August 16, 2012

Setting up or running a business of your own takes a certain set of skills, and you might think they’re the same ‘transferable skills’ that employers look for in top-class job candidates.