If 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? (more…)
Managing cash flow, hiring new employees, delivering top quality customer service, these and many others, occupy the minds of small business owners.
Innovate? That is number 50 on the To Do list, when headspace allows. Yet innovation, creating value out of ideas that are new to you – is the only way to ensure you are relevant for every stage of your company’s growth. (more…)
Whether you’re starting a business, or taking it to the next level, the right finance can be a significant factor in driving growth.
Perhaps the growth of your business depends upon the purchase of new equipment to enable you to increase capacity, provide additional services, or win a particular new contract. In that case, asset finance could be the key to unlocking your growth potential. (more…)
The more people feel, the more people buy. That’s the clear conclusion from the last decade of work by two of Britain’s top marketing analysts, Les Binet and Peter Field.
They delved into the IPA DataMine – a huge database of ad effectiveness case studies – to find out how advertising really leads to meaningful business effects, going beyond short-term sales spikes to look at profit growth and market share gain.
So what is the key to effective marketing, and how can businesses apply this to their marketing techniques to boost sales and grow profits? We asked Tom Ewing to explain;
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help smaller, risky businesses raise funding to fuel growth.
Early-stage businesses can find it difficult to secure investment, so the EIS was set up to encourage more investors to back fledgling businesses by offering generous tax-breaks.
To help you see whether the EIS could help you raise funding for your business, we asked award-winning chartered tax adviser, Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA to explain how it works. (more…)
Ask a group business leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs what their biggest business challenge is, and I’m confident you’d hear the same recurring thought: building their business in a sustainable, predictable, yet profitable way, quickly.
It’s a reality that most businesses never reach their full potential, always yearning for the thing that will catapult them into significance, but never really finding it.
So to help you in your business growth journey, we asked global growth authority, Royston Guest, to share his take on the ABC of business growth;
Britain’s entrepreneurial nature is highlighted by the fact that a new business is founded every hour. But only a small portion of these start-ups will make the leap to become a growing business that enjoys success at scale.
For the best chance of becoming a successful scale-up, small businesses need the right people, systems and processes in place, with an invest-to-grow mindset. They need to plan for the complexity, standardise and automate processes wherever possible and eliminate manual processes. (more…)
The Internet has opened up many avenues for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Ecommerce and online based services provide great opportunities for business start-ups, and, with this being the case, there are more small businesses now than ever.
The sad fact is many of these businesses don’t survive more than 5 years. However, there is hope. Research shows that having a mentor to guide you can be a game changer. (more…)
When you are looking for ways to promote your new start-up or small business you will, without doubt, soon hear the words, “content marketing”.
There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at the moment, but what does it actually mean and how can small business owners use content to help grow their business?
This guide answers those questions, and also offers useful, practical advice if you are considering incorporating content marketing as part of your marketing strategy. (more…)
Commercialising your innovative ideas requires constant, large leaps forward. This requires great speed, to make sure that your market isn’t filled by your competition.
Yet speed is useless if you aren’t running in the right direction, that is – if you are not pursuing a promising enough market.
If you are too blinkered, you might miss out on blockbuster opportunities. On the other hand, if you spread the net too wide, you risk running yourself into the ground, with too many commitments and too few assets.
New research finds the UK’s SMEs are optimistic about the global economy and their role in it – and indicates that they are going ‘back to basics’ to unlock ambitious growth over the next 12 months.
The study also suggests that Britain’s SMEs could be ripe for international expansion. (more…)
If you could have lunch with any businessman or woman in the world, (alive or dead), to discuss your commercial/professional situation, whom would you choose – and why?
Chances are that you’d choose someone you admire or are intrigued by, perhaps because of their achievements, their values or their reputation/personal brand.
Most of us recognise the need to learn from the life experience and wisdom of others. We also aspire to accelerate the pace towards our own success, or at least smooth a few of the bumps in the road. A business mentor can be an invaluable asset to enable us to identify relevant principles of success and adapt them for our own situations and use.
You may have heard the expression: ‘Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality’. If ever there was a philosophy which I passionately believe in, it is this.
However, there are three important financial measures, which we need to unpack in this expression. Let’s look at each of them in turn; (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…)
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
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. (more…)
We live in incredible times of change; there’s no disputing that. Old business models are dying out, new business models and disrupting technologies are being born every day that are turning industries on their head.
At the same time, trust is at its lowest level ever. We no longer trust politicians, we no longer trust banks and bankers. We no longer trust the proven models and establishments that have supported us for years, never more proven than in recent times with Brexit and Donald Trump becoming US President. (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;
If you’re running your own small business, or thinking about starting one, then chances are that you’re already creative and putting your ideas into practice.
But as any business owner knows that your initial idea is often just the start. Ongoing creativity is also not an optional extra for companies. It is a crucial component of a successful business. This is because creativity is really about change. It is about thinking differently and challenging the status quo. It is about having the same conditions as other people but coming up with something fresh.
And it is this new thinking and innovation that helps secure the future for businesses big and small, and keeps individuals relevant in a fast-paced changing world.
With creativity being so crucial to business success, we asked Claire Bridges, author of, In Your Creative Element to explain how to harness the creativity, within yourself and your team, to fuel your business growth;
One in three customers do not buy your complete range of products and services. Why? Well the answer is very simple! It’s because they don’t know you offer them!
So is your business unknowingly falling victim of this profit-crushing statistic?
A thought-provoking question, isn’t it? (more…)
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 are running a successful business, the prospect of replicating that success throughout the country, with a team of crack managers at the helm can seem very attractive, but franchising is hard work, and lots of planning is required to ensure it is a success.
You’ve established a company, it’s successful, and everything is running smoothly. Congratulations, that’s a fantastic feat. But…
… at some point every company will find that its growth has plateaued. Although things are stable, stimulating growth becomes an issue and the company isn’t climbing to the next level.
When this happens to you, do not panic, take these five steps and you’ll kick-start your business growth strategy.
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;
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.
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.
Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome.
In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Co-creation brings many benefits to businesses, such as;
- Team members feel respected and honoured, and they know their contributions make a difference.
- Job satisfaction and creativity is ignited, there is a positive flow of ideas, and problems get solved in surprisingly simple and practical ways.
- Staff remain loyal and stay longer because they love what they do.
For the entrepreneur, co-creation can be a challenge, a real anathema. The building of a business demands resolve and determination to push through ideas in the face of disbelief and scepticism.
For business owners who have honed such skills, co-creation may not come naturally. They struggle to let go of being in charge, and risk blocking further evolution of the business. Maybe this is due to a subconscious belief that no one can do the job as well as them – or indeed, a dread that others may do it better.
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
When you start and run your own business, your company inevitably means more to you than anybody else.
As a business owner, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything and become frustrated with staff that don’t understand ‘your’ business like you do. This mindset can lead to you spending too much time and effort battling with employees, and this is not good for business. (more…)
Uber has a new logo. And many people don’t like it. There are things we don’t mind changing – seasons, governments, underpants – but most of the time, most of us resist change.
For every innovation, from skinny jeans to a black Bond, there are plenty of us instinctively asking why? Why change? Why do the bus timetables have to change? Why do we need another damned software upgrade? Why can’t fat-free yogurt and smoothies still be good for us?
The questions may vary, but the subtext is constant: Why can’t things stay familiar, and safe? (more…)
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…)
Recruitment can be a tricky process for any business. Figuring out where to source candidates, considering what to include in the job ad, and trying to decide what salary bracket should be offered can make the process more delicate than you may initially think.
Here, Shweta Jhajharia, of The London Coaching Group takes a fresh approach to recruiting for your small business. It’s counter-intuitive, but she reveals how advertising a job with a lower salary can actually attract more applicants for your vacancies, and how you can use this approach to attract high-potential, ‘ugly ducklings’ to your team. (more…)