Start Up Tips
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? (more…)
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; (more…)
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 (more…)
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;
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 ahead and introduce systems blindly as you may find they are largely ineffectual, doing little, if anything to boost your company’s performance.
To construct clear, simple, effective systems. that will optimise your output, you need a foundational knowledge of the three basic layers of systems. Shweta Jhajharia, of The London Coaching Group explains;
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; (more…)
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 so important for small business owners, we asked Garry Smith, co-author of Creating Business Advantage: Setting Up and Running A Successful Business to explain more about it;
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? (more…)
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;
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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? (more…)
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 employees can be treated immediately if they have an accident or feel ill. The regulations apply to businesses of every size, even if you have fewer than five employees, so this means you need to have First Aid Kits available to treat staff injuries and illnesses.
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 starting a business choose something that you enjoy doing, something you have a real passion for. Someone who waits to be successful in a business they don’t have a passion for will be waiting a very long time. (more…)
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;
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 hour or so. That’s for weddings and next-door’s BBQ. The point of networking is to build mutually beneficial, integrated alliances (with the right partners), and to raise your own status. For start-ups and small businesses, where one-on-one relationships and personal contacts drive word of mouth business, this is especially important.
For your networking to bring benefits, you need to plan and prepare; winging it won’t do. You need to be in the right places, making the right first impression in front of the right people. And you need to know in advance what your follow-up strategy will be. (more…)
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 her lifestyle and start seeking value creation. (more…)
Being able to persuade people to come around to your point of view is a very valuable skill to have, and particularly so when you are starting and running your own business.
When you’re launching a new venture you might need to convince potential investors to fund your fledgling business, persuade suppliers to give you favourable terms, encourage great people to join you and entice new clients on board. To do all of these successfully, you will need to be able to influence others and their views.
So with this ability being so crucial in helping you to grow your business, how do you get people around to your point of view?
When we are starting up and running our own business there are extraordinary demands on our time. We need to spend time on getting our product right, finding customers, seeking finance, managing staff and dealing with the latest legislation, such as the new auto-enrolment pension laws.
With the sheer range of tasks and every day duties to tackle, we can all find that our business goals can get lost in the frenzy and the frustration of not meeting our aims can get us down.
To achieve long-term success we need stay focused on our goals. And to achieve those goals, we need to keep quite a degree of discipline to ensure that our time doesn’t get sucked away and evaporate like a puddle on a sunny day.
Employers and employees talking to each other is a good thing… right? Of course it is, but only if they’re actually listening. Key to the success of any start-up is effective communication between everybody in your team. But that means more than merely ensuring that all your staff know what’s required of them.
An employee can often feel their role is that of a worker bee, and all that’s asked of them is to get on with it. While this relationship can work to an extent, it usually results in frustrated staff because they know the business and can see how to improve aspects of their work, but there’s no outlet for them to share their unique understanding, insights and ideas.
So, if you’re starting a business, (or running an existing business), and want to harness the full talents of all your staff, you need to learn to listen actively.
Companies often look to improve collaboration in order to help streamline their processes and encourage strategic pace in their organisation. Collaboration is seen as an important element in helping organisations approach their customers and industry from a more judicious standpoint, rather than striving to get ahead by mere speed.
Effective collaboration is much more than just ‘working together’ – it’s a strategic choice too. But what does this mean for start-up businesses? We asked William Buist, founder of xTEN to answer some common questions business start-ups ask about collaboration; (more…)
Many business owners now recognise what a powerful tool a book can be to help them build credibility for their brand and raise the profile and visibility of their business.
A book gives you a terrific platform from which to share your purpose and your vision. In the main, people who have written books about their expertise gain huge respect from others as not very many people ever get around to doing it!
So how should you go about writing and publishing a book that will help you grow your small business? (more…)
It is often noted that a business is nothing without its people, but how do small business leaders create a winning team when their time and resources are often taken up with getting the business up and running?
The key is to remember that a great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. A great team is one that shares a common goal, its members are engaged and work within an environment of support and trust. Employees who are engaged and feel supported are more likely to be loyal and motivated. (more…)