Start Up Tips
So you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business. Does this mean that all the leadership stuff you learned about on your mini-MBA gets tossed out the window?
Ah, the joys of throwing away the corporate policies manual, the bliss of not worrying about reporting lines and organizational structures.
Well, yes and no. Leadership structures are there for a reason. They might look like it, but they’re not just there to keep people in jobs. (more…)
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: (more…)
No matter what industry you’re in, there are organisations that recognise and reward those that excel above the competition.
When you’re concentrating on finding your feet as a business, you may think that awards should be put on the back-burner. However, you can learn a lot by paying attention to industry awards. (more…)
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. (more…)
Many 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? (more…)
The 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; (more…)
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; (more…)
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. (more…)
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;
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; (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
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.
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? (more…)
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. (more…)
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; (more…)
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. (more…)
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; (more…)
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? (more…)
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; (more…)
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 but offers unmissable opportunities and rewards. So to help craft business owners understand how to successfully grow their enterprise without compromising on their principles, we asked Jeremy Torz, Co-founder of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee to share his insight and experiences;
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”.
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;
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. (more…)
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 them it’s time for some blue-sky, out-of-the-box thinking; and then wait for the money ideas to come rolling in.
But do you find that often the ideas of your brainstorming session don’t really meet the grade?
Do you feel that somehow you’ve not achieved the quality of outputs the people in the room had the potential to achieve? (more…)
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. (more…)
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 is definitely a risk, but if you follow sound advice you’re more likely to succeed.
When it comes to good advice on starting your own business, successful entrepreneurs are always worth listening to, so we asked David Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly to share his 10 top tips on starting and growing your own business;
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 have found that more resilient people are higher performers and respond better to change. They are more motivated, build better working relationships and are less likely to take time off sick or suffer from low morale. (more…)
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. (more…)
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;
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; (more…)
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; (more…)
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. (more…)
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: (more…)
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;