small business advice

9 Tips to Turn Your Business into a PR Success

9 Tips to Turn Your Business into a PR Success

Getting your story into the press, be it newspapers, online or even the local newsletter, is a great way to tell people about your small business; but the steps to getting there can be confusing. The fundamentals of public relations (PR) are mostly based on common sense, but below we’ve listed nine key tips that can boost your efforts to get your business and its news into the media to increase your coverage – and hopefully bring you more customers. Think about your business and what could be interesting to a journalist Take the time to research the publication or broadcaster you are interested in, and use this to determine how you will pitch your business to the journalists working there. Perhaps they will be interested in your businesses back story, how your business idea is unique or fu... »

Setting Up a Virtual Office

Ten steps you should take to prepare yourself for having a virtual office, from equipment to software to where you can work For anyone setting up on their own, or with an established small business with a small team, the cost of office space can be the biggest single piece of regular expenditure. Thanks to technology, though, offices aren’t the only option. Increasing numbers of small businesses are forsaking a fixed location in preference for a more nomadic life, working at home, from coffee shops and in rented office space, sub-let from other companies on an ad-hoc basis. This method of working has many benefits. You can achieve a better work/life balance, lower costs, and have more business agility thanks to the lack of fixed outgoings. For many new businesses in particular, it co... »

Handheld Computers Liberate the Worker

As the cost of rugged handhelds has reduced and mobile communications have improved, you see them deployed in more and more applications across different industries. By giving the worker direct access to pertinent information and allowing them to conduct business at the point of a transaction or information capture, you increase efficiency and liberate your staff. What’s exciting is that the future of mobile computing is exploding before our very eyes. For instance, the recent introduction of Google’s Android will spur many hitherto unheard of applications. There is an Android application that lets you input barcode information into your phone in order to obtain information about products. So if you are in a shop and you see something that you like, but want some more informati... »

The SME Owner Manager Juggling with Technology

Picture this scenario, a small business that makes things, takes orders, packs them and ships them; usually starts out with quite basic processes and for a while, they fulfil the purpose albeit just adequately. The owner manager feels in control as he oversees the orders, adjusts his stock position and then coordinates delivery to the customer; he instructs his dedicated staff every step of the way. But what happens as his company grows? Enter technology. Many small companies start by putting in a system for this and a system in for that. The result being that instead of having an end to end integrated management system, they end up with a disparate technology environment with point solutions that do not communicate and often turns out to be a false economy. Today more than ever it’s... »

Charities Have Smartened Up

Not so long ago charity shops tended to be no more than glorified jumble sale outlets, so the fact that they have survived so long was more to do with the efforts of the persistent bargain hunter and charity supporter rather than smart merchandising. To think that the first charity shop or second hand clothing shop was set up by the Salvation Army in the 19th century. However, modern charity shops did not appear until after world war two with the first of these being operated by Oxfam in 1947. One of the main advantages the charity shop has is that many are located in the town centre high streets, taking prime positions along side mainstream retail outlets. Over the years the high street has experienced a major overhaul as shops and cafes modernised to cater to the increasingly sophisticat... »

How to influence Government

How to influence Government

Small Businesses that work closely with government may be interested in the training courses from the Government Exchange training programme. Government Exchange is the training division of the Centre for Parliamentary Studies. Centre for Parliamentary Studies are accredited suppliers for Learning & Development and eLearning Solutions Framework Agreement. The seven courses are of particular relevance to organisations that need to learn how to interact with Government effectively, influence Government policy and legislation and communicate with the key players. How to Influence Whitehall and Westminster – 28 Apr Learn how to access the people that have power and influence, and communicate effectively with them How to Influence the European Union – 21 May ... »

Companies Act 2006 – Update

The new Companies Act, passed in 2006, is being implemented on a phased basis. Two points to note, which came into effect on 6th April 2008, are the new rules applying to a change of auditor and the removal of the legal requirement for a company to have a company secretary. One of the main changes to the new auditor rules is that if the auditor is removed before the expiration of his appointment, a statement of circumstances (or a statement that there are no circumstances) should now be sent by the company to the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) as well as to the company’s registered office. If the statement explains that there are no circumstances that need to be brought to the attention of members and creditors, then the auditors and also the company ... »

Recruiting & Interviewing

Introduction When you take on new staff, identifying your requirements and planning how you fill your vacancy is important to ensure you get the best person for the job. This guide takes you through what you have to think about before and during the recruitment process, starting from deciding what you need and where you are going to recruit through to the interview and the offer letter. And it reminds you that you need to be sure that you treat all candidates fairly and avoid discrimination for example on grounds of their sex or race, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or because they have a disability. »