top tips

Exporting Overseas – 9 Top Tips

Exporting Overseas – 9 Top Tips

You’ve made the decision to expand your business overseas, but what next? The following top tips will help you overcome difficulties in setting up your business in foreign markets. 1. Where are we now? Review all your international accounts (and your domestic ones) and how you control and administer them. Look at sales trends, sales values and volumes and the margins involved. Is your international price list up-to-date and the discount structure clearly geared to maximise sales and margins in every market? It is easier and less costly to sell more to existing customers than to find new ones. 2. Consolidate Once you have reviewed your key accounts your focus should be placed on supporting and developing them. Examine the geographic and product splits, as there will be some markets and prod... »

Ten Top Tips for a Successful Start

1. Write a business plan. Many businesses seem to get by without a plan, and so might yours. On the other hand, preparing and presenting an effective business plan can make all the difference between success and failure. Besides being a great way of capturing the long-term objectives and financial goals for your business, your business plan can be used to demonstrate to prospective lenders, investors and customers that you have thought through your ideas and that they are dealing with a business which has good potential. It also gives you a benchmark to monitor your progress, so if something starts to go off track you can take prompt action to put it right. 2. Learn all you can about your chosen industry. If you have never worked in your business sector before, get some work experience. Ma... »

10 Top Tips for Start-ups

Starting up a business can be hard, with a multitude of different things to think about, not least of which is where you’ll be hosting the new venture. While many small businesses and one-man band start-up’s opt to choose working from home as a focus for their idea, this isn’t always suited to everyone. After all, working from home can often be cramped, there can be family distractions and while it may work out as a cheap route to take, the solitary lifestyle can also be off-putting to some. For a chance to get out there and start your business in a ‘proper’ office there are now plenty of options to choose from and this can also be a great way to grow your new venture too. Location, location, location The place where your business is situated could prove to be... »

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... »

9 Tips for Staying Alert During Business Meetings

Meetings are integral to any business, but they can be a drain on resources and time. Therefore, it is important to get the most out of them. Here are some great tips on remaining attentive and sharp during those important meetings. 1. Setting an Agenda One of the most important elements to any meeting is the setting of an agenda. A common mistake is the lack of forward planning – everyone goes into the meeting with different conceptions about the focus of the meeting. This first hurdle is likely to be the primary reason any meeting doesn’t achieve its aims. Confusion stems from tasks that have no focus – large projects and even the most important meetings often suffer because participants become distracted due to meetings having a lack of focus. Participants can start thinking about other... »

Top Tips for Women in Business

March 8th 2011 marks the centenary of International Women’s Day, with hundreds of events occurring throughout the world to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Leading law firm, Lester Aldridge, is celebrating this occasion by offering top tips to women in the small business community: More than a token. According to the Financial Times, a well constituted board needs three to four women on it. One female director on the board is seen as a token woman, two are likely to be seen as conspiring, whereas three or four are viewed as ‘proper’ directors. But, before becoming a director, take advice on your exposure and ensure the company takes out an appropriate directors’ liability insurance. What about equal pay? At the current rate of change, working women will not ac... »

Outsourcing: 10 Top Tips for Successful Outsourcing

As businesses attempt to cut costs in the new year, many small businesses are looking at outsourcing as a means to reduce outgoings, but how can SMEs and start-ups make a success of a practice traditionally reserved for big business? Recently launched online portal OutsourceMyProject.com aims to open up the global outsourcing market to businesses of all sizes. Founders Loren Holland and Sumit Agrawal give their 10 top tips on how to make outsourcing pay. Clearly define your project and set out what you want before opening it up to proposals. Poorly defined briefs tend to attract low quality proposals and can often end up as much larger, and so much more costly, projects than anticipated. Don’t just go with the first offer. If possible get a selection of proposals from both the UK and overs... »

Software Piracy – 11 Tips to Avoid being an Accidental Pirate

Most businesses don’t intend to use illegal software, or break the terms of their license agreements, but through a combination of bad planning, inadequate IT policies or simply a lack of awareness, many end up doing so. Software piracy takes many forms, from unlicensed software use where a business buys a single copy of the software and installs it on multiple computers, to downloading and using unauthorised copies of software from the internet. But whatever guise it takes, software piracy carries multiple business risks. You may have to pay settlement and legal fees if you are caught out – an unplanned cost that most businesses can ill-afford. The damage to your company reputation if you are exposed could also be substantial. But what you may not realise is that you could be exposing you... »

Top Tips for Choosing an Office Printer and Saving on Running Costs

With the overwhelming amount of products in the printer market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the factors that matter for your office. John Sollars of printer cartridge retailer StinkyInk gives some tips on what to look for. Where to start: Pricing The old adage “you get what you pay for” is very apt; beware of printer offers seemingly too-good-to-be-true. In most cases their cartridge prices will be extortionate and long-term running costs will be unbelievably high. Budget for an initial lump sum purchase, and for future repeat cartridge purchases so you know what value market you are browsing for. Inkjet or laser Previously polar opposites, most small offices will now be equally well served by either, with only two areas of concern. If you expect to print volumes ... »

Changing the VAT rate – Top Tips for Business

The standard rate of VAT is reduced from 17.5% to 15% with effect from Monday 1st December 2008. What you have to do to change the rate depends on what type of business you are and what type of VAT scheme you are in. Frank Haskew, Head of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, gives the following advice: If you are a retail business that does not issue till receipts that identify VAT separately, you can continue to use these as before. It is up to you whether you reduce your VAT inclusive prices to reflect the lower VAT rate. The Government encourages businesses to pass on the benefit of a lower VAT rate to customers by lowering prices, but you do not have to do so. If you issue receipts that identify VAT, you will have to change your systems (which might include changes to your tills and accounting syste... »