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A Guide to Tax and National Insurance for Small Businesses

A Guide to Tax and National Insurance for Small Businesses

If you’re starting a business, it is essential that you at least know the basics of tax and national insurance and your tax obligations. Tax inspectors will pay just as much attention to the profits and accounts of a small business or sole-trader as they would a large firm. What are the different taxes businesses should be aware of? There are a range of different taxes which depend on the type of business, business formation and how your business operates. Income tax and corporation tax: Income tax applies if you are self-employed or an employee of a business. If you are a limited company then you must pay corporation tax. National Insurance: National Insurance (NI) is a form of tax paid by both employers and individuals. Value Added Tax: Value Added Tax (VAT) is tax on the supplies and sa... »

How to Purchase a Property Licence

How to Purchase a Property Licence

If your business is in search of premises that will be quick to occupy, a property license might be your best option as they are cheaper than leases, and allow you to move in more quickly and easily. They also offer you the flexibility to change your premises if you experience a rapid growth, or a change in your circumstances. This guide will help you understand the difference between a license and a lease, check the license agreement and anticipate potential difficulties. What is the difference between a license and a lease? There are a number of differences that a business owner should be aware of. One of the main ones is that licenses cover short periods; leases longer ones. Licenses are valid for up to two years, but leases may run for significantly longer. Other measures businesses sh... »

A Small Business Guide to Franchising

A Small Business Guide to Franchising

If you’ve caught the entrepreneurial bug but you are less enthused by the considerable risk and uncertainty that comes with starting a business, a franchise may be for you. Buying a franchise allows you to set up your own business, but with the backing of a proven business model behind you and support, training and assistance from an established franchisor. However, franchises are not risk-free. Just as with any business, failing to do your homework could see your whole venture tank, however bullet-proof the model seems. This article will give you an introduction to franchising from the perspective of a novice, giving you the basic knowledge needed to start looking for a franchise that suits you. We cover the advantages and drawbacks of buying a franchise, then move on to how to select and... »

Effective Selling Techniques for Small Businesses

Effective Selling Techniques for Small Businesses

Every business must sell, sell, sell to maximise your chances of success. For many entrepreneurs, it will be their first time directly selling a product to customers, which can be a daunting prospect if you don’t have a sales background. This article is intended as an introduction to effective selling techniques for new sellers but includes steps that will help a business owner at any stage. You don’t need to use smoke or mirrors or demonstrate world-class charm to close a sale – by simply following some of the techniques found here, you will be well on your way to becoming a truly effective salesperson. We cover how to identify potential customers and reach decision-makers quickly, then move on to the actual process of making a sale; how to get the customer interested, how to sell the ben... »

Setting Up a Business: The Project Plan

Setting Up a Business: The Project Plan

The business plan is the recognised document that outlines the results of your research, analysis and planning, and points out how your business will be set up and run. But depending on the intended audience, it may not be sufficiently detailed to assist in the management of the launch. Furthermore it often doesn’t always outline time/resources needed throughout all the pre and post-launch stages. Here we look at the additional planning which will help you to create an effective business plan and assist you with launching and running your business. Setting up a business is a project Setting up a business is a project. For the purpose of this article let’s agree that this just means it needs to be managed effectively in order to minimise the time taken to reach a successful launch (time is ... »

How to Attract the Best Talent to Your Start-up

Discover how to compete with the big corporations to win top employees who will help your business grow Business is booming, your little start-up is growing into an empire and to move it forward you need to employ new talent. But how do you attract this talent to join your team in such a competitive market? What can you offer that sets your start-up apart from other businesses to ensure you get the best and brightest recruits? The obvious answer might be a big salary, although this is something not necessarily achievable for smaller businesses. While the wages have to be fair, there are other and often more important elements that will make your company a desirable place to work. A business that offers career progression The best new talent will have their eyes on career progression, so de... »

5 Ways Startups Can Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

5 Ways Startups Can Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

If you are a small ecommerce business then you will know that shopping cart abandonment is a problem. If you don’t know shopping cart abandonment is the process whereby online shoppers fill up their carts only to then abandon them. According to Baymard Institute, a small independent web research institute, the average documented rate of abandonment is 67.89%. This begs the question: Why do online shoppers abandon their baskets? These are just some of the reasons: They were presented with unexpected costs The website crashed The process was taking too long Their payment was declined They were just browsing They found a better price elsewhere They opted not to buy Saving items for later This leads to the question: What can you do to prevent shopping cart abandonment? This is a problem that i... »

Why Most Start-Up Companies Fail And How To Avoid It

Starting your own business is a challenging proposition. For a variety of reasons, such as poor planning, inexperience or changing market conditions, a great number of small businesses fail. You should be aware of these common failure reasons and consider how you can avoid it happening to you. A BBC report of October 2010 estimated that 80% of small businesses in the United Kingdom ultimately end in failure. This article looks at some of the common reasons why start-up businesses fail, and suggests ways small business owners can mitigate the risks of failure. Failing to produce a viable business plan A common slogan in business is ‘if you fail to plan, then plan to fail’. Starting a new business requires meticulous planning. A good business plan should contain all of the following: An intr... »

The Evolution of a Start-up

The Evolution of a Start-up

Every great business has to start from somewhere. Richard Branson didn’t build up his Virgin empire overnight. Apple didn’t become a technological leader without some hiccups along the way. Whether you’re toying with the idea of starting a new business or are looking to expand globally, this is the journey an average entrepreneur can expect to take. The idea Some people call it a lightbulb moment. That instant when we’re suddenly hit by a wave of inspiration. For some people, it’ s more of a gradual process – they’ve always had a passion for a hobby like baking, motorbikes or charity work, and have always dreamed of turning it into a viable business idea. For others, they may suddenly find a solution to a common problem, like the entrepreneur who developed a device for stabilising table le... »

UK Start-Ups Looking to the US for Funding

Amidst an uncertain economic climate at home, UK start-ups are looking abroad for both private and commercial financing, it has emerged. In particular, technology enterprises are seeking both financial and informational assistance from more ‘savvy’ US investors. Factoring services, those that allow new companies with a solid business plan to gain funding by providing the lender with copies of invoices, are more prevalent across the pond and can be combined with an input of private venture capital. Traditional UK lenders, including venture capitalists, have become rather risk averse since the onset of the financial crisis several years ago. It is this move to a more cautious outlook that has seen UK companies seek debt factoring (in the case of an acquisition of another company and its invo... »

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