General Advice

Business advice on everything from fire safety regulations to basic copyright matters.

Taking on New Business Premises: Sorting the Legal Issues

Whether you’re buying or leasing premises for your business, there are important technical and contractual priorities that will require your attention. Failing to address these implications properly could turn your new business premises from an asset into a liability. This guide looks at: The legal areas you need to focus on Insuring your new business premises The professionals who can help you The legal areas to focus on You are responsible for ensuring that your new premises are fit for business, although if you’re a tenant, your landlord may also share this responsibility. To avoid the risk of unnecessary financial loss or legal action, you will need to focus on the following areas: The survey Service charges Leases Health and safety The survey As well as highlighting any co... »

Writing Your Business Plan

A business plan outlines your vision for the future of your business, looking at where you are now, where you want to be by a given date and how you intend to get there. This guide looks at: The benefits of a business plan What should be included in your business plan? The basics of writing your own The benefits of a business plan Many businesses fail because they don’t have a clear strategy and objectives. Writing a business plan forces you to address the details of your own business proposal and clarify exactly what you have to do to make it a reality. Any shortcomings or potential problems will soon become obvious if you take the time to look at your business idea objectively. In this way you make your mistakes on paper rather than in reality. A good business plan will: Give you a... »

Finding the Right Business Property

To find the right premises for your business is a complicated process involving a range of factors, from location to affordability. This guide takes you through the process, from assessing your needs to deciding between buying and leasing: What sort of premises do you need? Where to look for a property What to consider before you commit to a property The pros and cons of buying and leasing Useful contacts What sort of premises do you need? Being clear about your requirements before you start looking will save time and money. The basic considerations include: Location. Affordability. Facilities. Affordability Property size is usually calculated on a square footage rate, so it may be useful to work out how much space you will need, and base your budget around that. In addition to moving cost... »

ISO 9001: Supplying What the Contract Stipulates

An enterprise supplying goods or services that are in any way tailored to meet individual customers’ requirements needs to have a reliable routine for:- Establishing the individual contract of sale – even if initially set up orally; Recording all subsequent negotiation of detailed specification of what is to be supplied and when; Ascertaining ability to supply; Managing change control should the customer wish to re-negotiate details prior to completion of the order, once again, in terms of specification, timing and ability to supply; Having available, to all members of the organisation who may need to take over responsibility, accurate, up-to-date records of all the above events in the life story of the order. Furthermore, there is a need for some form of oversight seeking to ensure that a... »

Office Occupancy: Watch This Space

Why and How to Keep Tighter Control of Office Occupancy Driving down office rental costs is a hot topic, set to remain at the top of most company agendas for the foreseeable future, regardless of size or sector.  Long after the recession-based reasons for reducing overheads have passed, the age of flexible working will be forcing businesses to constantly reassess space requirements.  As employees gain better, faster access to information and business applications outside the confines of corporate headquarters, under-utilisation of office premises will account for a frightening amount of unnecessary spending on wasted resources. But making the case for a workplace re-configuration can be difficult without the right evidence.  By gathering comprehensive data about your workspace, you can ana... »

Business Presentations: Top Tips for a Great Presentation

A good presentation is often the foundation of a successful meeting, pitch for business or team building day out. Therefore, it is important to finely hone your presentation skills in order to be at the top of your game. We’ve outlined what we think are five of the most useful presentation tips – some obvious, some less so – see what you think. Be Enthusiastic This might sound like a no-brainer, after all who’s going to want to listen to someone who’s dull and uninspiring? However, if you or someone in your business can bring genuine enthusiasm into the conference venues you use – then it’s almost half the battle won. Top level content and good visual accompaniment are also a requirement but it is crucial that whoever delivers a presentation is eng... »

Brainstorming – The Art of a Good Think

Brainstorming during meetings is often seen in an unfortunate light. Like many productivity exercises they have a very clear purpose that when used inappropriately can often lead to being less productive than simply chatting about problems. They are also incredibly effective and when used correctly can not only produce fantastic ideas but actually bring teams together and get them invested in a project. So what is brainstorming and when is the most appropriate time to use brainstorming in a business meeting? Brainstorming is both a group and individual creative activity that has the main goal of developing a wide range of ideas or solutions to a predefined problem. As the name suggests the main technique follows a fairly rapid output of ideas that are presented onto one shared canvas. Ther... »

ISO 9001: Correcting Known Deficiencies

A typical business operating without managing the quality of its outputs will tend to tend to supply its customers in an inconsistent manner, simply because there is no control over consistency. Breaks in consistency become particularly noticeable when there any change of personnel involved in delivery of outputs. The main purpose of a quality management system is provide assurance of consistency of outputs and then to improve their quality and increase the degree of customer satisfaction; the ultimate target being to maximise these last two factors. By ‘quality’ is meant fitness for purpose, rather than luxuriousness, so maximising quality and customer satisfaction amounts to seeking to maximise profitability. Establishing a quality management system involves defining processes for the pr... »

Local Enterprise Partnership Good Practice Guide

Introduction For most businesses it is the private sector which can best provide the most professional customer focussed help for small firms and the government’s role is to facilitate that help and make the market work better for business. The government is continuing to drive a simpler approach to the support that it offers and provide a framework businesses can understand and navigate. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have simplified the Government funded offer for business improvement by introducing a streamlined Solutions for Business (SfB) portfolio with a much clearer focus on improving business performance and growth. The portfolio will be targeted at activities where a Government lead is required, for example, on supporting complex trade deals and challengi... »

Small Business Networking: Network Effectively

The ability to create and maintain strong professional relationships is an important key to business success. Networking is the vital business skill that lets you cultivate lasting business relationships and create a large sphere of influence from which you can find new clients, contacts, referrals and opportunities. These are the steps to cultivating long lasting business relationships: Clarify your objectives and then make a plan: you can’t form special relationships with everyone so you have to be selective. Go to business events, conferences, training days, exhibitions and any event where business people are gathered. You won’t build a lasting network from your office desk. A trade exhibitions website is a good events listing source. Be prepared when you go out to meet new ... »

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