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…)
Financial reports are standardised measures of a business’ financial health. They are a necessity for publicly traded companies, but this does not mean that they are only useful for large organisations.
If you know what to look out for, these financial reports are great tools for businesses of all sizes, so Robin Booth of Brixx.com, the financial forecasting app, explains about the three main financial reports. (more…)
Successful business owners know how to make the most of every minute of every day.
Wasted time costs money and clients, but when you’re slowed down by administrative tasks, an over-flowing inbox and endless meetings it can be hard to keep up, so here are ten ways to maximise your productivity every day: (more…)
The transition from being a manager to becoming business leader, is one that many new business owners will need to make.
Often, the success or failure of your business depends on how well and how quickly you can adapt to this fundamental role change. (more…)
In a competitive business environment every business owners need to:
1) Keep raising their profile, and
2) Inspire others to make changes and take action.
To help you do this, we asked award-winning speaker, Simon Bucknall to reveal the practical steps you can take to raise your profile by public speaking and to share his Quick Start Guide for an Inspirational Speech which will help you to impress customers and inspire your team.
National Insurance is a deduction from earnings, set up originally to fund various State benefits such as the NHS, the State pension and other welfare-related schemes.
In reality, it is just another tax. In fact, as standard income tax rates have remained constant for many years, NI rates have soared.
In this guide we look at how National Insurance works, and what your National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will be as a small business owner. (more…)
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;
The US Marines are world-famous for their exacting standards and ruthless efficiency. The conditions they operate under might be very different from those we see in the commercial world, but there are very valuable lessons that businesses can learn from the Marines.
Here, James Bowen and Brian MacNeice, authors of Powerhouse – Insider accounts into the world’s greatest high performance organisations – explain what your business can gain by studying the strategies and tactics of the US Marines. (more…)
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…)
Some people say that the ‘ideal leader’ is a myth. They argue that there are leaders that suit some situations but not others.
The notion of ‘good’ leadership is always relative to the need. There is no single ideal leader. Yet there is a common theme to good leadership: access to a particular set of energies and skill-sets.
None of us has all these naturally: becoming a leader means having to grow. But it means growing in a clear direction, acquiring certain qualities that we need but don’t have enough of.
To clarify the various tax rates, thresholds and allowances that self employed workers, business owners and company directors need to be aware of for tax calculations, here is ByteStart’s summary of the main tax rates, tax bands, and tax allowances for the tax year from 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017.
These are the rates and thresholds that you will need to use for completing self assessment tax returns for 2016/17.
The deadline for filing a paper tax return for the 2016/17 tax year is 30 October 2017. If you are completing your self assessment online, you have until 31 January to submit your return.
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…)
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 HMRC, and assume responsibility to pay your own income tax and National Insurance liabilities.
Here are the steps you must take to if you want to become self employed, plus the other aspects you will also need to consider when working for yourself: (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…)
Fixed term employment contracts are generally seen by employers as those which “plug the gap” when their normal, permanent employees are absent for a period of time.
Fixed term contracts are useful tools for businesses who need to employ staff to cover short term peaks in business demands. But before employing staff on a fixed term contract, employers need to be aware of the rights fixed term employees have to ensure they are not at risk of a tribunal claim.
So to help make sure you don’t get caught out, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points of fixed term contracts for small businesses; (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;
It is vitally important for business owners and managers to understand their duty to comply with UK fire safety regulations, as the consequences are potentially very serious.
All legislation regarding fire safety in business (non-domestic) premises in England and Wales are incorporated in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005. It provides clear guidance for those responsible for implementing safety precautions and procedures, including fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment.
Here, we look at who is ultimately responsible for fire safety on business premises, and lay out the steps that a ‘responsible person’ is obliged to take by law. (more…)
Business owners and leaders looking to get the best out of themselves and their team will frequently spend a lot of time and effort searching for, and trying to improve on their weaknesses.
However, this is a completely counter-productive approach that can lower employee engagement and ultimately damage a business’ chance of success.
Here Jan Mühlfeit, Former Chairman of Microsoft Europe and author of The Positive Leader: How Energy and Happiness Fuel Top-Performing Teams explains why business leaders and owners need to stop focussing on fixing weaknesses; (more…)
When you are starting a business, you will need to answer many questions. However, one of the most fundamental questions any business owner will be asked is, what is the purpose of your business?
So what would your answer be?
How you answer the question, has a significant bearing on whether your business is likely to succeed, so we asked Jim McGrath, author of The Little Book of Big Management Wisdom to reveal what your answer should be; (more…)
For millions of UK small businesses, ‘tax season’ represents a costly, time-consuming inconvenience. But Britain’s tax landscape is transforming: in March 2015, HMRC announced its plan to update the self assessment tax payment process – moving away from annual paper returns, and towards a digitized, online system.
The government’s new digital tax accounts system introduces a fundamental shift in the way small business owners – both those working as self employed and those operating as limited companies – report and pay their tax liabilities.
The introduction of digital tax accounts will, within a few years, make the annual self assessment tax return obsolete – so how exactly will the changes affect Britain’s small businesses? (more…)
When staff appraisal or review time rolls around, many small business owners view this as a waste of their valuable time. This is not the case, however, and employers who spend the time and effort to make these meetings are a success will often get much more out of staff appraisals than they put into them.
In this guide, we look at staff appraisals and outline how smaller employers can reap the benefits of an effective employee appraisal scheme;
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;
As a business owner, you’re also a business leader. And therefore, in order for your start-up to grow and develop beyond a one-man-band, there will come a time when you need to be able to lead other leaders within your business.
To do this successfully, you’ll need to develop a whole new set of skills and ways of operating because leading leaders is not simply a question of knowing what needs to be done and telling others to do it.
Instead, you will have to guide those leaders and inspire them to inspire their teams to deliver the results you need. When you can do that – you are a Super Leader.
To help you become a leader of leaders, in this article, Jean Gamester reveals 3 key steps, you’ll need to take; (more…)
Your ability to be your most effective and successful is fueled by how inclusive you are as a leader in all aspects of your business – your supply chain, your workforce and how you take your products and services to market.
It’s likely that you have based your success to date on your intuitive grasp of key business issues, but if you rely on intuition alone, you could reach a plateau that will stunt your progress, and may well limit the level of creative and innovative thinking around you.
This isn’t a great recipe for sustainable business success, so here’s how you can avoid this stagnation and drive your business forward. (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;
Many companies are enthusiastic about creating opportunities for younger people to gain business experience and skills in shorter placements, often labeling these as work experience or internships.
While larger businesses frequently put internship schemes in place, many smaller businesses can be put off offering these opportunities because they view them as an extra administrative burden.
Many small business owners hold the misconception that they would take up large amounts of time, money and effort but this is not always the case. In fact, providing such opportunities can bring tangible benefits for smaller employers.
Here’s what every small business owner needs to know about offering work experience and internships; (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!
If you are starting your own business, you can’t hope to succeed in today’s commercial world without employing good, time-saving technology. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-cost, or even, free tools out there that help small businesses to do those everyday tasks that much quicker and simpler. But, faced with dozens of different tools, the biggest problem is usually trying to work out which one offers the best solution.
So to help small business owners find the best time and money-saving tech tools, we asked Martin Bailey, author of The Useful Book of Gadgets, Gizmos and Apps, to share five of his favourite small business utilities that can give you the edge over your competition. (more…)
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.
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.
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…)