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business start up tips

business partners signging shareholders agreemenrWhen you start a business with someone else, it’s always a good idea to lay down some rules on important issues, such as; how you will run the company, your respective responsibilities and what happens if someone wants to leave the business. Agreeing on how you will handle these, and other important matters, will save a lot of anguish down the line.

If you are going into business with other individuals working under a partnership structure, you should do this with a Partnership Agreement. If you are setting up a limited company, you will a need to record these in a Shareholder’s Agreement.

This guide explains what a Shareholder’s Agreement does, who should get one and what should be included in the document.
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Perfect business pitch to potential investors

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but many of the most innovative entrepreneurs are creative contrarians. They are outsiders, gainsaying the doubters that say it cannot be done.

In fact, many entrepreneurs are introverts, which can be a major barrier when it comes to that vital part of the entrepreneurial process: pitching.

Entrepreneurs are suddenly asking to be judged by their doubters, which is certain to raise their defences. Yet, painful as it is, the only way to make their creativity profitable is to present their work to those that hold the keys to their future.

Luckily, there are plenty of books, advice and personal experience that can guide us through this important process, which are distilled here into 10 key pitching principles; Continue…

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what you need to do when becoming self employedOne of the main benefits of becoming self employed is the ease with which you can start up and run your new business.

You can even become a sole trader (another term for self-employed) whilst working as an employee for someone else, so you can test the water and see whether working for yourself suits you.

To help you understand some of the most important issues, you’ll need to tackle, here are 5 things you need to do when you decide to go self employed: Continue…

6 key steps to starting a successful technology businessAnyone who decides to launch their own company is bound to experience challenges along the way, and these challenges will all be different depending on what sector you decide to tap into.

For me, I knew launching a tech start-up in one of the most exciting and rapidly changing industries would be an exciting prospect. I knew I was bound to make mistakes but also understood the importance of learning and developing from them.

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how to create a great business card 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;

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startup strategy tipsYou have a great business concept. Now you just need to sell it – not to customers, well, not yet. But to your backer.

Your top sales tool is a business plan. But take care. Potential investors banish the vast majority of plans to the bin, so you need to make sure business plan does the business. Continue…

testing your business ideaSetting 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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Mistakes that new business owners commnly makeBuilding 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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questions to ask yourself before starting own businessThe 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…

Setting up a support network for your startup businessStarting 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…

What I learned from going bust

September 5, 2017

Business startup lessons

Every business owner can learn valuable lessons from studying how successful businesses are born and grow.

Looking out for, and replicating, key drivers of success in other businesses, can help to drive our own business forward.

However, vital insight can also be gained from business failures. In many cases, what we can learn from terminal business mistakes can prove even more illuminating than what we can glean by following the high-flyers.

Here, Robin Booth shares his experience of going bust, and highlights lessons we can all learn from a business failure.

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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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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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When you are starting out in business, you need to quickly grasp that the three key factors that determine a company’s financial success, or failure, are:

  1. Sales
  2. Control of costs
  3. Cash management

Two out of three simply won’t work – you need to have complete control over these three crucial aspects, otherwise your chances of succeeding in business will be very limited. 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…

If you are looking to start a new business, there is a good chance that you will need some funding to get it off the ground. Most businesses will have start-up costs, whether it’s securing premises, stock, equipment or hiring people, and they will all need paying for.

Some people might have savings, or a redundancy payment, they can use to fund their start-up, but others will need to find funds before they can launch their new business. However, as many prospective business owners find out, getting start-up finance can be difficult.

For someone who just wants to start their own business, negotiating the finance maze can be confusing and take up a lot of valuable time. So to help increase your chances of success, here are the answers to some common questions on how to fund a new business; Continue…

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; Continue…

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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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 chance of becoming their preferred supplier.

One of the best ways to grow awareness is to share your industry-specific knowledge. Information you take for granted can be very valuable to people in other industries . . . but only if they are made aware of it.

By sharing what you know, you not only help others to improve their business, you can simultaneously position yourself as the ‘go-to’ person in your industry, and turbo-charge your start-up. Continue…

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 business.

The way you behave, now, at the start, will set the scene for what your business will be like in the future. This is where being a good customer comes in. Continue…

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why the best businesses start with a vision

October 11, 2016

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 […]

Copycats: Why the best business ideas come from copying what others are doing

September 14, 2016

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 […]

10 tips for starting a business at university (from someone who did it themselves)

September 7, 2016

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 […]

Starting your own business – 8 common myths and misconceptions

August 1, 2016

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 […]

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 […]

Building your resilience to help you cope with the ups and downs of starting your own business

May 31, 2016

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 […]

What you need to ‘master’ to turn your startup into a growth business

May 17, 2016

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 […]

How a little negative thinking can help your startup succeed

May 9, 2016

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 […]

What do bagless vacuums, budget airlines and The Great Escape have in common?

April 27, 2016

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 […]

7 Brilliant branding tips for start ups

April 11, 2016

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 […]

How to register as self employed

April 4, 2016

The simplest way to start a business in the UK is to become self employed. This is also commonly referred to as becoming a sole trader. There is minimal paperwork to take care of, and you don’t have to pay any company formation costs. However, you do need to formally register as self employed with […]

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 […]

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 […]