When it comes to writing a business plan, there is one single golden rule that dwarfs all others – your business plan must address each of the key concerns of your potential backer.
If you fail on this first point, all the other things you should and shouldn’t do pale into insignificance and even a great business idea might fail to get backing it needs. A good business plan keeps the investor happy, so follow these 10 Dos and Don’ts to ratchet up your chances of success: (more…)
The inspiration to start a business can come 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 as no more than a few notes on a napkin? (more…)
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…)
If you’re starting a new business, then the bookkeeping requirements are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. At this stage there are more pressing things for you to think about.
However, once your business is taking shape, you will need to start thinking about keeping up-to-date and accurate accounting details of your income and expenses. But what kind of records do you need to keep? (more…)
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 he was studying at Yale? (more…)
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. (more…)
Setting up a new business is an exciting, thrilling and all encompassing challenge. 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 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. (more…)
Everybody understands that starting up a business from scratch is not a simple process or an easy challenge to take on. Regardless of how lofty your ambitions are or whether you’re aiming to establish yourself as a sole trader or as a the boss of a burgeoning new enterprise, finding access to initial and early-stage sources of finance is a vitally important step along the way towards sustainability and success.
Here’s a look at some of the most commonplace and most viable routes to finance currently available to startup businesses. (more…)
When you decide it’s time to get your business started, you’ll find the first piece of advice given by most experts is to “get a business plan written”.
And they’re right; that is the first step to turn your business dream into a reality. But many people find it the hardest step to make. (more…)
When 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.
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. (more…)
One of the biggest obstacles to growth for start-up businesses is investment. Investors are often reluctant to commit their money to a new business with a promising idea but no track record of success.
Fortunately the Government lent a helping hand in 2012, and introduced the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to help smaller, riskier companies attract investors willing to take a punt on a bright idea becoming a successful business. (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.
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;
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…)
As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.
Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.
In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.
So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;
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…)
According to Bloomberg’s infamous, mythical study, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months.
The Bloomberg figure has been shown to be nonsense, but business failure statistics given by other sources still report business closure rates of 20-40% within the first 2 years of trading, which is still a very high failure rate.
In this article, I’m going to explore one of the ways to avoid the financial pitfalls many businesses find themselves in. I’m going to talk about not just having a financial plan – but understanding the discipline of testing it.
There are myriad reasons why such a large proportion of businesses don’t succeed, but for small businesses cash flow problems are one of the most common reasons. There are practical ways to stave off cash flow problems – but much better if they can be avoided in the first place. (more…)
Over 600,000 business were started in the UK in 2016, and that number is expected to be exceeded in 2017.
There are many challenges for every one of these business start-ups, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.
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…)
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…)
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, so what options are there to fund a new business? (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…)
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;
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;
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;
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…)
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…)
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;
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…)
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?