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How to Start a New Business in Hertfordshire - Start Your Own

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START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS SET UP
MARKETING
1
RESOURCES
* How to start a business * Local business support *
* Step-by-step guide * Useful Contacts *
* Business planning * Business start-up resources *
WEB/ONLINE
How to Start a New Business
in Hertfordshire
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
INDEX
All orange menu items and the coloured tabs are live links
Local Contacts
Local businesses and
organisations who are keen
to help you if you run your
own business or are thinking
of doing so.
Step By Step
Is it for You?
Your Business Idea
Practical Considerations
Common Mistakes
STEP BY STEP
However, starting a business
is not to be considered lightly.
There is an element risk of
course. Managing this risk is
a key element in success and
comes in some part from being
able to identify and put in place
the vital resources that are
needed to move the business
forward.
LOCAL CONTACTS
More and more people are
thinking about setting up on
their own and who can blame
them? The rewards can be
tremendous, both interms of
money and satisfaction.
Contents
INDEX
Introduction
Business Set Up
Business Advice
Business Planning
Businesses Funding
Accountancy
Business Law
Business Premises
Business Networking
Marketing
Spreading the Word
Graphic Design
Print
Marketing
Sales & Selling
MARKETING
This guide has been designed
to show you where that help
can be found and to give you
an overview of the key factors
that may influence your
chances of success. I sincerely
hope that you find it useful and
wish you all the best with your
business.
BUSINESS SET UP
There is compelling evidence to
suggest that those people who
start a business with the
support of external advisors
and skills training have a more
than 20% better chance of
being able to grow the business
and most importantly get the
business to survive for longer.
Web/Online
Good luck!
Andy Pringle
[email protected]
Published by: Start Your Own Business
Ltd PO Box 466, Eastleigh, Hampshire
SO50 0AA [email protected] Conditions: All copy and editorial are the property of Start Your Own Business and any
unauthorised reproduction of our material
is strictly forbidden. The views expressed
herein are not necessarily those of Start
Your Own Business Ltd or our advertisers.
WEB/ONLINE
Getting Online
Search Engine Optimisation
Online Marketing
Social Media
Useful Resources
2
RESOURCES
Resources
Clubs & Societies
Business Publications
Startup Websites
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
www.morgankeen.co.uk
___________________________
www.businesslink.gov.uk
0845 600 9 006
East of England
Development Agency
EEDA supports over 100,000
businesses each year by
providing high-quality support,
information, advice and funding.
www.eeda.org.uk
01223 713900
Business Link East
MARKETING
All round business
support in Hertfordshire
BUSINESS SET UP
We’ll explain your financial affairs
in clear, understandable terms
- and we won’t charge you the
earth.
www.businesslink.gov.uk/east
08457 17 16 15
STEP BY STEP
Morgan Keen
We’re a friendly local firm of
accountants who offer a personal,
professional service but don’t use
jargon.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Main Sponsor
Business Link
Business Link is a free business
advice and support service,
available online and through
local advisers. Businesslink.gov.
uk helps your business save
time and money by giving you
instant access to clear, simple,
and trustworthy information.
It is developed in partnership
with subject experts within
government and relevant
business-support organisations to
help you comply with regulations
and improve your performance.
Whether you’re starting up,
already running a business, or
looking to grow and develop,
Business Link can help you.
Last year over 108,000 businesses
used Business Link’s expert
services. Many said that the free,
independent and impartial help
they received had a significant
and positive impact on their
business. From free one-toone business advice, free skills
workshops, start-up support and
in-depth business reviews, the
people at Business Link can help
prepare you and your business
for future growth.
INDEX
Useful Contacts
Wenta offers affordable workshops and office space,
virtual offices, meeting rooms and a wide variety of
And FREE start-up business advice
training and development courses.
www.wenta.co.uk
0845 026 2081
www.myincubator.co.uk
*Terms and Conditions apply
3
RESOURCES
0845 371 0891
WEB/ONLINE
& workspace for 3 months*
with My Incubator – Watford.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
BUSINESS SET UP
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
4
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
01707 398 400
Inspire Management
01462 424367
Organisation for
Responsible Businesses
ORB is a business membership
organisation for businesses
that want to stand out from the
crowd: for businesses that believe
ethics and values are important;
for businesses that consider
people and the environment in
5
Watford and West Herts
Chamber of Commerce
The Watford and West Herts
Chamber of Commerce is one of
the fastest growing chambers in
RESOURCES
www.hertschamber.com
www.outsetherts.co.uk
01223 421585
WEB/ONLINE
Hertfordshire Chamber
of Commerce and
Industry Hertfordshire
Chamber of Commerce &
Industry offers members access
to a wide variety of cost effective
benefits in addition to our FREE
TO MEMBERS 24 Hour Legal
Advice Line and Insurance
Scheme
www.tristart.co.uk
Outset Herts
Outset Herts is a Government
funded organisation that offers
free training to Hertfordshire
residents that are looking to
get back into work and would
like to learn more about self
employment and enterprise.
Delivered by our expert advisors
in friendly workshops across
Hertfordshire, Outset Herts is the
best place to begin your journey.
MARKETING
www.fsb.org.uk
01908 560 376
www.inspiremanagement.org.uk
01767 682472
TriStart
The TriStart service begins
with a simple questionnaire
and ends with a personalised
report featuring detailed
recommendations specifically
tailored to you and your business.
Your input alone leads to
TriStart’s intelligent assessment
tool comparing your state of
readiness and overall commercial
position with hundreds of other
start up and early stage ventures.
TriStart helps to minimise the
risk of failure and develop a solid
foundation on which to build and
grow a successful business.
BUSINESS SET UP
Federation of Small
Businesses (FSB)
- Bedfordshire,
Cambridgeshire and
Hertfordshire
The Federation of Small
Businesses is the UK’s largest
campaigning pressure group
promoting and protecting the
interests of the self-employed and
owners of small firms. Formed in
1974, it now has over 200,000
members across 33 regions. In
addition, Member Services is
committed to delivering a wide
range of high quality, good value
business services to members of
the FSB. Regional organiser: PO
Box 7426, Milton Keynes, MK19
6WN
www.orbuk.org.uk
01702 468387
STEP BY STEP
0845 094 0310
their business decisions. Being
a member of ORB, using the
Responsible Business Member
logo and having an entry in the
Responsible Business Directory
is a great way to market your
business and is an asset to any
qualifying business.
LOCAL CONTACTS
http://www.embg.co.uk
Associates
Inspire Management Associates
is a local management advisory
service specialising in supporting
small and medium sized
businesses as well as not for profit
organisations. With over 25 years
Chief Executive experience in the
not for profit, public and private
sectors my services include
interim management solutions,
business health checks, problem
solving, crisis management,
turnaround management and
mentoring for Directors. We also
offer clients our unique telephone
consultancy service which can be
bought in units of just one hour.
We aim to always provide a high
quality cost effective service that
will really make a difference to
your business. Our special offer
for start up businesses is buy one
hour of telephone consultancy
and get the second hour for half
price.
INDEX
Ethnic Minority
Business Group
The companys objectives are to
promote, advance and coordinate
the interests of the ethnic
minority business community
in their trade, business or
professional activities, to facilitate
the integration of these businesses
into the mainstream and to carry
out such activities that may be
necessary or expedient in order
for the company to achieve this.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
INDEX
'Helping to make sense of business'
We offer free 2-hour 1:1 business mentoring sessions
to pre-start businesses and those in the first year of
trading. The sessions are conducted at your place of
business or home (your preference) and can cover
any aspect of business based on what you feel
would benefit you most.
“I honestly cannot think of
anything else that could have
been better for me.”
“...fabulous style, clear, patient &
informative”
“Overall a really excellent
session!”
6
RESOURCES
harlowbusinessmentors.co.uk
WEB/ONLINE
We make three sessions available each month and
these can be applied for by visiting our website.
Our Bitesize Business Briefings
are free 2-hour interactive
sessions for up to 8 people.
Attendees have said about them;
MARKETING
Free Mentoring
BUSINESS SET UP
As well as working with other agencies to accelerate the development
of the M11 Corridor as a thriving and dynamic centre for enterprise, we
provide bespoke support to businesses using mentoring to contextualise
the array of information available to those embarking on setting up a
business. Subjects such as business planning, marketing, social media,
networking, finance, sales techniques are all covered. Our extensive
network of associates means we can also suggest very specific expert
support for businesses operating in our area.
STEP BY STEP
Based in Harlow, HBM is a venture between two local businessmen –
Chris Greenhill and Ian Hudson – who share a commitment to
supporting the improving economic health of Harlow and the
surrounding area. Between us we have a wealth of practical
knowledge about doing business in the area ranging from micro
businesses to global corporations and spanning all three sectors.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Harlow Business Mentors
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
01379 651161
www.4networking.biz
Women’s Business
Development Agency
Help you take control of your life
by providing the specific support
and advice you need to start and
sustain your own business. Our
website tells you all about us
and the free advice and training
services that we offer both faceto-face and online.
Viva Networking
Viva Business Networking is not
just another networking group.
Now in our third year we have
established a strong network of
companies, created an ethos of
support and spirit of generosity.
We are a mixed networking
company with no professional
lock-out. We are a networking
service and help you get the
business you need.
watfordchamber.co.uk
01923 442442
Young Enterprise
With more than 40 years’
experience, Young Enterprise is
the UK’s leading business and
enterprise education charity.
The businesses and volunteers
that support Young Enterprise
take an active role in building
a better-motivated, educated
and enterprising workforce, at
the same time making a real
difference to the existing lives and
future potential of young people
who live and attend school in
their area.
www.young-enterprise.org.uk
01865 776845
___________________________
Business
Networking
4Networking
4Networking gives you the
essentials you need: People,
Appointments, Business and
Support. The 4N culture is
relaxed and friendly, with a
complete lack of pretension and
7
01442 382682
1230 The
Women’s Company
1230 The Women’s Company is
an effective, dynamic network of
meetings and events where likeminded business women meet
to inspire, share experiences,
strengthen and grow their
businesses through building
trusted business relationships.
1230 TWC is totally committed
to providing opportunities for
business women to increase
business. Gain all the benefits
of 1230 TWC by becoming a
full member both on-line and
off-line. Join us and hundreds of
other business and professional
women in one of the most
effective and friendly networking
organisations. The 1230 TWC
Franchise enables you to run
your own supported 1230 TWC
business
www.1230.co.uk
020 8650 8015
BNI
RESOURCES
Womans Work
WomansWork is a new
monthly one-stop resource for
women. Providing support for
start-ups, the self-employed,
www.viva-networking.co.uk
WEB/ONLINE
0845 371 0891
02476 236111
MARKETING
www.wenta.co.uk
www.wbda.co.uk
BUSINESS SET UP
Wenta
Wenta has been serving the
small business community
for over 25 years, supporting
enterprise and assisting the
growth and development of the
small business sector. Wenta
is able to offer a range of office
and workshop units across
Hertfordshire (Watford, Potters
Bar and Stevenage) all available
on a flexible, monthly let
terms. Businesses can also take
advantage of our virtual office
and mailbox services on offer.
Wenta’s advisory services include
access to Free business starter
workshops, specialist courses for
the unemployed, business advice
(covering general start-up issues
and specialist tax or legal issues)
and �My Incubator’, a business
incubation facility in Watford,
Potters Bar, Stevenage and Luton.
In addition to this Wenta run a
number of programmes aimed
at inspiring young people and
giving them the confidence to
make their ideas happen. Wenta’s
education team work with local
schools, colleges and universities
to promote enterprise and
entrepreneurship.
STEP BY STEP
www.womanswork.co.uk
�cufflinks’…plus you stay in
control: network where you want,
when you want. 4Networking
is 50% business, 50% social
and it works. Just be yourself,
you’ll be very welcome.To join
4Networking, the UK’s largest
joined-up business network, visit:
LOCAL CONTACTS
those wishing to get back
into employment or facing
redundancy and established
business women in the
Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire,
Essex, Hertfordshire and
Cambridgeshire areas.
INDEX
the country. We are a powerful,
independent voice for a vibrant
business community, committed
to optimising the benefits
and opportunities for all our
members. Our business is to
enable your business to grow by
providing a wide range of events
and services.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
•Saveonyourservices
•10%extradiscountonyourenergy
•10%extradiscountonyourtelephonyservices
•Upto£200tohelpyouswitch
•CashBackonyourofficeexpenses
andpersonalpetrol
Onecallisallittakes!
WEB/ONLINE
Gordon Ensor
ALLY
UTILI OUR
TIES
ON
ONE
BILL
MARKETING
•Award-winningcustomerservice
BUSINESS SET UP
You could benefit from:
STEP BY STEP
The Utility Warehouse offers the full range of utilities. They can save
your business money and make your life simpler in the process.
LOCAL CONTACTS
and get all your utilities on one bill
INDEX
Slash your office costs
0808 1476910 (Free)
[email protected]
http://www.utilitywarehouse.org.uk/g11501
8
RESOURCES
Some benefits apply only to customers with �Gold Status’ (ie. customers who apply for four or
more main services, and pay by Direct Debit). Charges, terms and conditions apply.
See the Utility Warehouse website for full details.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
LOCAL CONTACTS
01753 842142
Viva Networking
Viva Business Networking is not
just another networking group.
We have a knowledgeable team of
dedicated event hosts who offer
you a networking service. We are
all passionate about networking
and we understand the real
value of it. We are enthusiastic
and really enjoy uniting
business owners and managers
in a friendly and productive
environment. We meet the real
needs of business owners who
wish to develop their business
contacts and their business.
Our company offers business
networking training and support
in your business development
through the networking events
you attend. This is ongoing and
9
watfordchamber.co.uk
01923 442442
WIRE (Women in Rural
Enterprise)
WiRE is an organisation for rural
women in business, offering
a dynamic member package
for women in rural enterprise
including; WiRE Local Network
Group, a quarterly glossy
magazine, monthly e-newsletter
and countless marketing
opportunities.
www.wireuk.org
Women In Business
Network (WIBN)
The Women in Business Network
is about putting like minded
women together in a structured
yet informal environment to help
generate more business for one
another.
www.wibn.co.uk
RESOURCES
Media Volt
Online community bringing
people together from all sectors
of the Media industry to spark
new ideas and relationships,
creating prospects for those trying
to break into the industry, and
www.refer-on.com
Watford and West Herts
Chamber of Commerce
The Watford and West Herts
Chamber of Commerce is one of
the fastest growing chambers in
the country. We are a powerful,
independent voice for a vibrant
business community, committed
to optimising the benefits
and opportunities for all our
members. Our business is to
enable your business to grow by
providing a wide range of events
and services.
WEB/ONLINE
01206381482
Refer-On
Benefits from Refer-OnMembers
are Business Owners and
Leaders of start-ups & small-tomedium businesses, Independent
Professionals or Public Sector
leavers and those leaving the
Services. They are encouraged to
meet on a weekly basis, usually
for breakfast, to maximise time
effectiveness.
01442 382682
MARKETING
thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/
herts
www.primebusinessclub.co.uk
www.viva-networking.co.uk
BUSINESS SET UP
BWN
The B.W.N runs business
focused networking events in
Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and
Hertfordshire aimed at Business
Women and we are happy to
promote you across our entire
network. From sole traders and
SME’s to Blue Chip organisations
and professional institutions
business women attend B.W.N
events to connect with people,
raise their profile, learn new skills
and ultimately make business
more successful. No membership
fees, no block outs. Everyone
that comes along is considered
a member. Business focused
networking events that genuinely
work.
PRIME Business Club
Enterprise is not just about youth.
People of any age can set up in
business, but it is particularly
useful for the over 50s as there
are not a lot of other options.
Despite legislation supposedly
outlawing age discrimination,
older people still face difficulty
finding an employer willing to
give them a job.
STEP BY STEP
01923 891999
http://www.mediavolt.co.uk
doesn’t end after a networking
event, it is a continual cycle of
helping you to get the most from
networking events. We are a truly
connected business network and
we link all members to all events.
We are a networking service and
help you get the business you
need
LOCAL CONTACTS
www.bni-europe.com
creating new opportunities for
those already experienced in the
industry.
INDEX
BNI is a 24 year old business
and professional organisation
that allows only one person from
each trade or profession to join a
chapter. With over 5,291 active
chapters, and 111,733 members,
it is the most successful business
referral organisation in the world.
Belonging to BNI is like having
dozens of sales people working
for you because all the other
members carry copies of your
card with them. When they meet
someone new that could use your
products or services they hand
out your card and personally
recommend your services. Check
their Country Finder page to see
if there is a Chapter in your area.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
STEP BY STEP
LOCAL CONTACTS
If you answered �yes’ to all of the above questions,
you are either perfect for the role or you have an
unrealistic view of your own capabilities/situation.
If like most people, you have some �no’s’, do not
be put off - simply review those questions and ask
yourself how you can turn the �no’s’ into �yes’s’.
STEP BY STEP
Why are you doing this?
Many people think that the reason for starting
a business is to make a fortune. Whilst this is
certainly true for some, the majority of small
business owners probably earn less than their
employed counterparts. Independence, creating
something new, flexible hours, and personal
satisfaction are long lasting incentives. The desire to
make money is not usually enough by itself.
Are your circumstances suitable?
Are you the right type of person?
There are no formal qualifications required to start
your own business and anyone can have a go. The
truth is that only the most determined and hard
working people survive. You will need to master a
multitude of new skills but if you love what you are
doing or can convert a hobby into a business you
stand a much better chance of success.
Do you have support of family and friends?
Are you the right type of person to start your
own business? This list of questions, if answered
honestly, should help you find out.
Stress and lack of money can put a strain on any
household. It is best to make sure that your nearest
and dearest are 100% behind you before you begin.
Answer the following questions with yes or no…
Q. How well do you get on with other people?
Q.Are you a self-starter?
Q. Are you persistent?
Q. Are you healthy?
10
RESOURCES
Top tip! Although your venture may occupy the
greater part of your brain for much of the time,
try and make sure that it is not to the exclusion
of those around you. It is very easy to become a
business bore (as my wife will testify!).
WEB/ONLINE
Working for yourself can also provide a realistic
alternative career if your circumstances make it
difficult to find or hold onto a job. The flexibility
and wide range of choices make it possible for
virtually anyone to set up on their own. Single
parents, people with disabilities, the unemployed
and ex-offenders may find that this is a way to
support themselves without the need for benefits.
MARKETING
The upside can be: freedom; no superiors, the
opportunity to do something that you love; and
the possibility of making lots of money. This is
why so many new businesses are formed every
year and that as many as one in five of the working
population would also like to work for themselves.
This overview should give you an idea of the key
subjects that you should consider if you wish to
transform your idea into a sustainable business.
BUSINESS SET UP
Being self-employed or running a business does
not suit everyone. You need to have a passion
for what you are doing; you may have to put up
with stress; loss of sleep; and lack of money.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
INDEX
Setting Up On Your Own
Q. Are you a leader (or a follower)?
Q. Are you prepared to cold call/sell?
Q. Are you financially stable?
Q. Are you prepared to take (calculated) risks?
Q. Are you prepared to take professional advice?
Q. Are you really serious about the idea?
Q. Do you have the support of your loved ones?
Q. Do you have experience in this type of business?
Q. Do you have self-confidence?
Q. Can you handle stress?
Q. Are you prepared to work long hours?
Q. Can you take criticism?
Q. Do you complete checklists? (Only joking!)
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
STEP BY STEP
When you are excited about the prospect of
stating your business, the planning stage can
seem tiresome, however I cannot overstate the
importance of this part of the process.
Researching your idea thoroughly, preparing a
business plan, and a cash flow forecast are vital
components of a SUCCESSFUL business (even if
you do not need to approach a lender for money remember, this is for YOU).
Did you know? Enterprising student Alex Tew sold
enough pixels to fund his way through university.
Tew, 21, decided to offer pixels for a buck on his
www.milliondollarhomepage.com as part of a cunning
scheme to raise cash.
What are your skills?
Think very carefully about your strengths and
weaknesses and be honest with yourself. You
are unlikely to be able to do everything yourself
- certainly not effectively. A successful Business
requires sales, administration, accounting, and
strong marketing, as well as the core trade/product/
idea/profession. The way to succeed is to �do all the
bits that you can do well, and get help for the rest’.
Research your idea and your market
Are you going to start from scratch?
Setting up something completely new can be
extremely exciting - but challenging! With so many
different things to think about, it can be easy to
overlook something. (See our list of the top ten
mistakes.)
Top tip. Learn as much as you can about your
competition or how similar businesses work in
other areas (there is no better way to find their
strengths and weaknesses).
Buy a business?
Start Networking
Networking is a great way to make new business
contacts (and to put on weight). Often run
as breakfast, lunch or social events, it is an
opportunity to get to know other local business
people and if handled correctly, may ultimately lead
to more custom.
There will be many formal and informal networks
near you. Your local Chamber of Commerce may
be a good starting point but there are also plenty of
national and local networks. It is a good idea to try
a few to see which suit you best before committing
to a joining fee.
Top tip. Do not �sell’ to everyone who you meet this is likely to put them off you and your business
rather than entice them to buy from you. Your
chances of obtaining new business are far greater if
you genuinely try and find ways to help them.
11
RESOURCES
Franchising is the granting of a licence by one
person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee),
which entitles the franchisee to trade under the
trade mark/trade name of the franchisor. The
franchisor will receive an initial fee from the
franchisee, payable at the outset, together with
on-going management service fees, usually based
on a percentage of annual turnover. In return,
the franchisor has an obligation to support the
franchise network, notably with training, product
development, advertising, promotional activities
and with a specialist range of management services.
WEB/ONLINE
Buy a franchise?
MARKETING
Buying an existing business is a good way to
leapfrog much of the set up process. Although the
cost of purchase may be higher than if you started
from scratch, you do gain a trading concern from
day one and should be able get a realistic idea of
the potential turnover/profits from the audited
accounts.
BUSINESS SET UP
Time spent on researching will be valuable whatever you discover. Do not be afraid to find bad
news - it is better to uncover direct competition
or flaws in your plan at this early stage rather
than when it is likely to cost you real money.
Use the Internet, books, magazines, trade press,
and libraries. Talk to business advisors, friends,
relatives, and other business people.
STEP BY STEP
Top tip. There is a temptation to worry that
someone else will �get in first’ - however this fear is
usually completely unfounded. Do not rush - it is
better to take your time and get it right.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Planning
Whether you have identified a gap in a market,
are planning to buy an existing business or buy a
franchise, you need to make sure that the idea is
viable and the next set of questions are designed to
help you consider your options.
INDEX
Business Idea
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
STEP BY STEP
There are plenty of sites on the web that try and
sell you sample plans but be extremely wary before
parting with any cash. Some of the more sector
specific examples may be useful, but you should
be able to find free templates if you have a hunt
around. Alternatively, your bank or accountant will
almost certainly give you one without charge.
Many times it is harder to name a new business
than we think the process will be. It seems like you
should be able to come up with something catchy
that you like the sound of and run with it, but it
isn’t that simple. You must investigate the possibility
that someone else has already chosen that name,
and, if so, what rights they possess to use that name
in the area/market you will be serving.
Did you know? One advisory agency undertook a
survey of local people whose businesses had failed
to start or had ceased trading in the early stages. It
transpired that over 90% of them admitted that they
did not have a business plan.
Create a Cash Flow Forecast
Accountancy
Top tip. Most businesses have peaks and troughs
- planning ahead will help you survive the quieter
times. A landscape gardener may be well advised to
save some of the summer income to carry through
the winter months when work could be harder to
find. How does this relate to you?
Legal matters
Setting Up
Making sure that you are completely
prepared for �take off’ involves a great deal
of thought and planning. The more that
you can do in advance, the more time that
you will have later to concentrate on actually
running the business.
12
RESOURCES
Top tip! This is an exciting
stage and enjoyable because
it is within your control and
usually involves making
other people happy by
giving them money. Do
not get carried away with
expenditure and never stop
thinking about where your
income is going to come from.
WEB/ONLINE
There are numerous areas of the Law that
may prompt you to seek professional
legal assistance. Company /commercial
issues, commercial agreements / contracts,
company and business sales and purchases,
company incorporation / business startups, contract advice, joint ventures,
mergers, acquisitions and
disposals, minority shareholder
rights, partnership agreements,
raising capital, share schemes,
shareholder agreements,
terms and conditions of
business, restructuring
your business, agency &
distribution agreements,
franchise agreements,
commercial property issues.
MARKETING
Keeping track of income and expenditure is vital to
the financial health of any business, as is complying
with the demands of the taxman. Careful planning,
bookkeeping, and compiling annual accounts
are often best left to someone with the required
experience and skills - an Accountant or qualified
bookkeeper.
BUSINESS SET UP
One more recent but extremely important
consideration is whether a suitable domain name
can be acquired for your website to tie in with the
name of your company. If your business will be
operating on the Web, your trade name might be
your domain name. There sites that allow you to
check to see what names are still available.
Sadly, money rarely comes in or goes out at the
most convenient time (for example you may have
to pay for your stock before you can sell it). A cash
flow forecast will help you work out roughly what
you can expect financially in the future - even if
some of it will be based upon guesswork. This is
vital information, particularly if you are planning to
borrow money - it is best to plan for the maximum
amount that you will need rather than having to
keeping going back to your lender asking for more.
STEP BY STEP
You can check this by looking in your local
Directory/Yellow Pages and searching on Google.
If you are planning to start a limited company, you
will be able to check with Companies House to see
if your preferred name is still available.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Naming Your Business
INDEX
Prepare a Business Plan
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
STEP BY STEP
IT
Stationery
LOCAL CONTACTS
A well set-up office, the equipment, the systems
and the environment all contribute to making
you and your business more efficient. Instead of
cobbling together your office as you go along, plan
it properly from the start.
at risk of brain conditions including Alzheimer’s
disease, texting can lead to repetitive strain injury
and an eminent Doctor has reported that too much
use of a Blackberry could result in osteoarthritis in
your thumb. Don’t you just love progress?
INDEX
Office Equipment
There is a massive cost difference between buying
small and large quantities of stationery. Calculate
what you are likely to need to cover you for a
reasonable period and then shop around. Compare
local wholesaler’s prices as well as Internet/mail
order.
Insurance
Top tip! Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is becoming
increasingly widespread as we spend more time
using computers. The following website offers
useful pictures showing the correct posture to adopt
if you want to avoid this painful ailment http://ergo.
human.cornell.edu/AHTutorials/typingposture.html
Furniture
Did you know? Arson is the most financially
crippling crime small businesses can face; a report
showed that it accounted for 40% of crime related
insurance payouts to businesses. (AXA Insurance)
Summary
There is plenty to think about if you want your
business to stand the best chance of success. Many
of the topics touched upon in this section are
explained in more detail further on in this guide.
However, we would strongly recommend that you
make the most of the professional business advice much of which is free - that is available in the area.
WEB/ONLINE
Quote, unquote! “We don’t blame our competitors
for charging less for their furniture. After all, they
should know what their stuff is worth.” (Anon)
MARKETING
Your business space should be planned carefully,
as the right equipment and furniture will not
only save you time and effort, but money, too.
Old or inconvenient furniture results in a messy
workspace, loss of productivity and can eventually
lead to back or wrist pain. When you depend on
yourself for your income, any time you are not
working to your full productivity, you are losing
money. That is why most business owners need to
pay special attention to their furniture, choosing the
one that provides top performance.
BUSINESS SET UP
For peace of mind, please carefully consider
whether your business needs insurance. It is one of
those costs that sometimes can be �saved’ but then
prove costly later. The types of insurance that you
may be applicable are: Public Liability (essential
if you are dealing with members of the public),
Employers Liability, Professional Indemnity, Key
Man, Director’s Insurance, Equipment, Buildings &
Contents Cover, Motor Insurance, Goods in Transit,
Legal Expenses Insurance. Speak to a reputable
broker if you are in any doubt.
STEP BY STEP
With most people, starting a new business means
investing blood, sweat and tears into their new idea
and working hard to see it grow into something
to be proud of. It usually also means investing a
fair amount of money. If this hard earned cash is
invested in the wrong area it can quickly disappear.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to IT.
Neither the hardware, software nor support come
cheap and if you get it wrong you can suddenly find
a large hole in your finances replacing the wrong
systems.
Telecomms
RESOURCES
Advances in technology have dramatically changed
the way that we communicate with each other.
Mobile phones, broadband Internet and wireless
technology all have a part to play in a successful
modern business.
Did you know? One report claimed that radiation
emissions from mobile phones could place users
13
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
COMMON MISTAKES
- Holding costs (of products or inventory): If
inventory is required, housing, insuring, and
handling inventory can become expensive.
While this seems to be easy to avoid, this is one of
the most common start up mistakes. One distinct
advantage of the home based business is low
overhead, but many of these business owners buy
services they don’t really need, or max out their
credit cards on equipment, computers, mobile
phones, PDAs, copiers, printers, and other gadgets.
Don’t buy anything unless you know you need it.
Whether you are planning to turn your hobby into
a business or you have global aspirations, many of
the pitfalls in the early stages are very similar.
Lack of Knowledge
Most people do not lack the knowledge about the
industry they start a business in, but about business
in general. Just because you know your stuff at your
job, does not necessarily mean you could succeed
on your own. Leaving a job to start a business even
in the same industry means:
Don’t get caught!
Business owners face challenges every day. Here is
a quick checklist of the some of the most common
traps that you need to avoid.
Not Enough Capital
When you are employed, your true responsibilities
and liabilities are limited. Mistakes could be
another department’s fault, or when a client sues
your employer, even if you were involved, you
might have no real personal liability. In your own
business, the buck stops with you. You have to
answer to every dissatisfied customer and deal with
every new challenge.
The buck stops with you
This one is huge. So many people get overwhelmed
quickly in their own business because they did not
account for the seemingly boundless obligations.
- Re-occurring costs: Utilities, telephones, outsourcing, insurance, business licenses, etc. (Notice
that some start up costs are also Re-occurring costs.)
- Advertising/marketing costs: Here are some of the
biggest pitfalls for small business owners.
14
RESOURCES
- Start up purchase costs: Equipment, furniture,
insurance, business licenses, etc.
While on your job you might be responsible for
purchasing, in your business you’ll also have to fill
all the other roles such as customer service, human
resources, management, custodian, delegator,
administrator, file clerk, office manager, payroll
administrator, consultant, and CEO.
WEB/ONLINE
You wear all the hats
MARKETING
Assessing small business start up costs is tricky.
Most business owners project operating costs to the
point of break-even. (The break-even point is when
the daily or monthly income from the business
equals the daily or monthly expenses to stay in
business.) What start up costs should include is all
the costs required to open for business, and all the
operating costs to the point of profitability. This
means that the �break-even point,’ should be when
the owner estimates he or she will be able to get
paid the minimum salary required. Estimating start
up costs should include the following:
BUSINESS SET UP
Not only that, they have been faced by hundreds of
thousands of start ups that have gone before you.
Here are some of the most common traps, to help
you avoid having to experience them first hand.
STEP BY STEP
Common Mistakes
Spending Too Much
LOCAL CONTACTS
- Product or inventory costs: The purchase and/or
financing costs of inventory.
INDEX
Even big businesses often have no idea how much
they will need to spend in advertising dollars to
bring in enough business. Most can only estimate
this based on experience. .
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
COMMON MISTAKES
You need to know what laws your business is
subject to. This includes licensing and permits,
employees, insurance requirements, tariffs, taxes,
payroll withholdings, record keeping, and more.
Sometimes business owners fail to recognize
mistakes, but even worse, when they do spot them,
they do nothing. This happens for several reasons. If
the business owner has come from an employment
position, many times he or she does not fully grasp
that the buck now stops with them. They are used
to someone else taking the responsibility. These
owners often become immobilized in the face of a
blunder, and do nothing. This is where a business
mentor can be a lifesaver. Every new business
owner should have one or more seasoned mentor to
turn to in turbulent times.
Not Adequately Defining the Market
A small business can easily exhaust all capital in
advertising. Whether it’s traditional print ads or pay
per click, if the target market is not reached, the
mistake could be realized too late.
Mismanagement
Refusing to Delegate
Not Having Contacts and Services in Place
There is nothing worse than needing a contact for a
business transaction, and losing the deal before you
can find the help. Having no or poor subcontract
services can leave you scrambling to find help.
There is an enormous amount of information
required to operate a business.
Time Management
* Administrative Techniques
* Advertising. Effectiveness, costs, creation, monitor
* Bookkeeping - record keeping
* Financial management, profit and loss
* Law
* Marketing
* Personnel management
* Networking
* The product or service itself
You have to be self-motivating
This search alone can be enough to hurt a small
business. When in a pressure situation, many
owners take shortcuts, make poor decisions, and
choose subpar services.
Ineffective Marketing
This mistake can include inefficient marketing, poor
content, ill timed advertising, wrong target market,
and overspending, and many more.
WEB/ONLINE
When you’re an employee, you have a job
description and someone is usually telling you what
to do, directly or indirectly. You will be in charge
of your own actions as a small business owner. You
can’t just wait for business to happen. Becoming
self motivated with the kind of discipline needed to
run a small business can be a tough adjustment for
people coming from long term employment.
MARKETING
Time is money. There are so many distractions
in today’s world of business. Few people manage
their time effectively. All the conveniences such as
phones, PDA’s, email, the Internet, online meetings
and software updates, can consume your time if not
used wisely. The home-based business can even face
additional interruptions from family and chores.
BUSINESS SET UP
Small business owners are usually �take charge’
people. They know their businesses better than
anyone else and can do most every job. In the
beginning and as their business grows, these owners
often retain duties and responsibilities far beneath
their capabilities and not in the best health of the
business. As a small business owner, you must
decide which jobs would be better off delegated or
out-sourced. Do not hang on to any duty, which
would be better delegated.
STEP BY STEP
New small business owners often start without
a plan or fail to follow their plan. Learning to
prioritize, organize, and improvise can be new
to people who have not worked in previous
management positions.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Failing to Rectify Mistakes
INDEX
Sticking to the Law
Starting a business takes enormous energy
Learning your market and how to get business
could be the most important aspect. Having more
than enough business can compensate for mistakes
or shortcomings in other areas.
15
RESOURCES
You can’t afford to just coast along, go through
the motions, or get burnt out. Ultimately, you are
likely to be the main reason why the business either
succeeds or fails and we hope that these pointers
increase the chances that you will be celebrating
success.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS SET UP
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
BUSINESS SET UP
MARKETING
1. Business Advice
2. Business Planning
3. Businesses Funding
4. Accountancy
5. Business Law
6. Business Premises
7. Business Networking
STEP BY STEP
NEW BUSINESS SET UP
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
16
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS ADVICE
Adult education is on the increase. In recent
years, the number of students enrolled in further
education increased by 37 percent. To find out
what courses are available near you, ask your local
schools and colleges for a prospectus.
INDEX
Business Exhibitions/Seminars
LOCAL CONTACTS
If you can spare the time away from your business,
attending relevant exhibitions is a very effective
method of learning. In addition to the collection
of stands (which may provide ideas, potential
suppliers or customers) there are generally plenty of
free seminars.
Setting up a business is very easy, all you need
to do is print some flyers or business cards and
wait for the phone to ring! Setting up a business
successfully is a completely different matter.
Networking allows you to meet other business
owners, who may well have stories to tell that will
help you develop your own enterprise. There is
often the opportunity to for speakers to share their
expertise. See our networking section for more hints
and tips.
There is a lot to learn and a multitude of skills to be
mastered. The good news is that you do not have
to face this alone. There are plenty of organisations
just waiting to help you. This chapter will give you
an idea of what is available and where.
Online Support
The Internet has become an �information gold
mine’ and there are hundreds of websites dedicated
to helping new business start-ups. You will find
online courses, self-help sites and many e-books
dedicated to each aspect of starting a business.
Local Chamber Of Commerce
Make contact with your local chamber to see what
they can offer to help. Their main purpose is to
support local businesses and they often run events,
seminars and courses.
Business Support Organisations
Experienced Business People
One of the best sources of �real world’ advice is
anyone who has set up and/or run a business
themselves. Do you know anybody who fits this
description? If not, you are likely to meet suitable
individuals at networking events, your local
Chamber of Commerce.
Business Training Courses
Alternatively, why not advertise for a mentor?
Some retired business people may like the idea of
undertaking this task and may do this on a reduced
fee to start with or for a small share of the business.
Adult Education Classes
17
RESOURCES
There will almost certainly be regular events and
training courses in the area to help increase your
knowledge. Check the local press and online to
see what is available and make the most of other
people’s expertise – �become a business sponge’.
WEB/ONLINE
There are a number of government funded and
privately operated agencies who would love to help
you on your way. To find the most appropriate or
nearest contact, please refer to the Local Contacts
directory at the beginning of this guide.
MARKETING
Top tip. Running your own business is the same as
any other career: the more you know, the greater
the chance of your success. Thankfully, there is
plenty of help and guidance around, and much of it
is free!
BUSINESS SET UP
Networking
STEP BY STEP
Business Advice
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS ADVICE
INDEX
VH INNOVATION
Working With You To Take Your
Business Through To Success
Stage 1: Initial 30 minute
meeting with a member of the
VH Innovation team
Stage 2: Collaborative working
between your company and
VH Innovation experts to put
together a strategy and roadmap
for success
Stage 3: Assignment of a
business coach with specific
sector knowledge
As an idea the first stage of
the Innovation Collaboration
programme is completely free
of charge. It enables Matthew
Francis to get an idea of what
your business is all about. It is an
opportunity to find out just how
VH Innovation can work with
you and help you to achieve your
business goals.
From that starting point, advisory
units of time can be bought
in bundles. These bundles are
sold in sets of 5 hours and offer
access to a wide range of business
advisors with considerable
experience across a whole range
of fields.
18
RESOURCES
Stage 4: Regular assistance with a
multitude of areas, including but
not limited to:
• Business Setup
• Marketing & Business
Development
• Access To Finance
• Human Resources Management
To find out more about the
• Business Process Outsourcing
Innovation Collaboration
• Expansion & International
Programme, email Matthew
Development
Francis at [email protected]
com or call him on 02476
Stage 5: Continual advice and
493459.
assistance through to success
WEB/ONLINE
VH Innovation’s process of
Innovation Collaboration can give
your business the edge it needs
not just to succeed but to flourish
in today’s competitive market.
In effect what you get is top tier
advice at a more than competitive
price.
MARKETING
�The real difference with VH
Innovation is that we truly
understand the exciting journey
that SME businesses are taking.
Varley Hibbs have advised start
up companies for many years.
When this expertise is combined
with specialist sector knowledge,
it is clear to see the value that we
can add to your business.’
OK, enough talk; let’s show you
what programme is all about.
Innovation Collaboration
in Action
BUSINESS SET UP
As Matthew Francis, of VH
Innovation says:
In a nutshell what VH innovation
offers is cost effective business
advice at the level you would
normally associate with a top tier
company.
STEP BY STEP
The way that VH Innovation
works is to offer a full range of
services that cater to the needs of
their clients. This might include
anything from basic advice on
which business partners work
with, all the way through to
taking a company into overseas
markets. In a nutshell what VH
Innovation offers is cost effective
business advice at the level you
would normally associate with a
top tier consultancy.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Offering a comprehensive range
of insight, business advice and
practical development ideas,
VH Innovation works alongside
companies as they take the
road from start up to business
success. They do this through
a process they call Innovation
Collaboration. This follows a
structured methodology that
concentrates on the specific
needs and requirements of each
and every company they advise.
By working alongside companies
as they take this exciting
journey, collaboration takes
place that turns into a long term
relationship and success.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS PLANNING
c. Your plan will help
you analyze your
business
Although it is true that
all lenders will ask to see
one, it is also probably
the most powerful tool
in your new business
armory.
“Failing to plan
is planning to fail”
e. You will understand
your finances.
Having said that, it need
not be approached with dread.
The main components are extremely simple and are
made up of common sense, some careful thought,
and research. Above all, it is a great opportunity to
review your business and to give YOU an idea of
what you have to do to succeed.
f. Everyone is aware of your plans.
You and your staff, bank manager and other
interested parties all need to know the direction
the company is going. This is important to pull
everyone into the same direction and develop good
teamwork.
Planning helps you understand your business. It
can be frustrating when there are no customers
about and you don’t know why.
So what can you do to ensure that you have a
better chance of success? Research shows that
having a business plan is vital to the success of
your company, yet so many small businesses start
without one, so why write a business plan?
a. More companies stay in business.
Compiling your business plan can be quite
daunting but it shouldn’t be an intimidating process
a good business plan can focus the mind as well as
assist in securing finance and support.
b. You can understand what to do.
The best way to start is by asking yourself: “where
do I want to be in 12, 18 and 24 months time”?
From here you can begin to start questioning your
approach to growing and developing your business
idea. The next page contains a few pointers to help:
Not knowing why things go wrong, why customers
don’t buy or return, why your competitors are
better or more respected than you is a recipe for
disaster.
19
RESOURCES
Studies by organizations such as business link show
that companies that are in business and generate
higher than average profits mostly have a business
plan that they follow.
WEB/ONLINE
If you are looking at starting a new small business
and need a bank loan then you’ll want a fast and
easy way to write a business plan that’s going to get
your finance approved at the first time of asking.
MARKETING
If you’ve got an idea, it seems fool-proof, you can
see an endless market to exploit, what can possibly
go wrong? Sadly, the majority of new business start
ups will fail within three years, with half of those
failures inside the first six months.
BUSINESS SET UP
If you are always
overdrawn at the bank
or find it difficult to get
new finance then you’ll need to forecast your sales
and costs. But what are they? Work all of this out
with your plan.
STEP BY STEP
If compiled honestly and
thoroughly, it can be the
difference between success
and failure.
No company can do
everything. You will
need to prioritize the
work required in the
coming year. Choose
no more than 7/8 key
projects to work on
and you will see the
results.
LOCAL CONTACTS
d. You can allocate
resources better.
INDEX
A common
misconception is that
a business plan is
only needed if you
need to borrow money
from the bank.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS PLANNING
Marketing strategy
Q. What type of business is it and what are its goals
and objectives?
Management
Q. Who are your customers and why would they
buy from you?
Who will be running the business and how are they
qualified? How will responsibilities be divided?
Q. What premises will you be using?
Financial
Q. Are they suitable?
Where will the money to pay for the start up come
from and how will it be spent?
Q. What are your staff requirements and costs?
Project the following: Cash flow with explanation
(sales, expenses, profit); profit and loss forecast;
breakeven analysis.
Q. Who are your suppliers?
Your business start up is the beginning of a long
journey for you, one which will provide you with
excitement, independence, success, set backs and
freedom from �the boss’. Your Business Plan is your
route map for this journey. Do it carefully and you
will avoid unnecessary detours and costly errors.
You will then be able to enjoy the fruits of your own
hard work.
Q. What type of business are you? (working by
yourself, partnership, incorporated company)
Q. What legal processes do you need to go through?
i.e. licensing, copyright, insurance, health and
safety, food hygiene
Writing your plan
Q. What are the threats to your business and how
have you planned to overcome these?
So you want to write a business plan but are not
sure how to get started. Hopefully, this list of
resources will help point you in the right direction.
Market analysis
What is your market and where does your product
or service fit in?
How big is the market and how much money is
spent on products or services similar to yours in a
year. Profile your clients in detail, covering what
they like or dislike about your service
Who are your competitors and how are you
different from them?
Give your projections in terms of number of
customers, contracts obtained, etc.
20
RESOURCES
Examples/Other People’s Plans. Can you remember
back to school days when you had to look at
previous exam papers and answers to help you
revise? Adopting a similar principle can also work
with your plan. You will find a wide selection
online. They should give you ideas for style and
structure, but do not be tempted to copy their
wording directly.
WEB/ONLINE
Business Support Agencies, Accountants and Bank
Managers. These professional advisers will all tell
you how important your business plan will become
as your new venture takes shape. Thankfully, they
also have the knowledge and experience to assist
you with its compilation, and may well have a
template that you can use.
MARKETING
Q. What are your plans for future growth and what
effect will these have?
BUSINESS SET UP
Q. What problems could arise with your supply
chain?
STEP BY STEP
Q. How much will your products or services cost?
LOCAL CONTACTS
Present your marketing strategy - how will you get
the edge on the competition? Don’t rely on just
being cheaper. What makes you different from your
Q. What is your product or service and how are you competitors? What promotion tools will you use going to sell it?
Do you need to advertise? If so, how and where?
INDEX
About your Business
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS FUNDING
“The love of money is the root of all evil”, “money
brings the worst in people”, “money makes the
world go round” - and it is usually at the heart of any
business success or failure.
Expenditure in the year Sub total (a)
Estimated non businesses income
Income earned by spouse or partner
Other income
Total non business annual income Sub total (b)
How much cash do you need to start?
A cash flow forecast is an essential tool at this stage.
This will help you calculate your initial financial
requirement as well as the money needed for the
early days of trading. You will have to think about:
How much will you need to keep going through
the early stages?
Once you have started, there will be ongoing costs
that you will have to consider, these could be
staff wages, purchasing more stock or paying for
advertising.
How much do you need to survive personally?
Very few businesses make much money in the first
year. The list below will help you work out how
much you and your family need to survive over the
first 12 months. Calculate how much you are likely
to require on a monthly basis.
21
RESOURCES
Your Cash flow Forecast will give you an idea of
how much income you can expect, but this may
not be sufficient to cover all outgoings in the early
stages. It is essential to work out what the difference
could be in the worst-case scenario and build this
cost into your financial planning. Most of the major
banks websites also offer downloadable forms for
this.
Sadly, the personal bills continue to come in after
you start up a business and you need to make
provision for these!
WEB/ONLINE
a) Actual start up costs.
b) Your own personal needs,
c) The cost of running your business.
MARKETING
The total survival income required in the year from
your business can be calculated by deducting sub
total (b) from sub total (a)
BUSINESS SET UP
Financing a new business can be a challenge,
particularly in the current economic climate.
However, without enough capital, a new business
will shrivel and die very quickly. You should
identify what will be needed for your business
to start, and then to succeed. The next step is to
ensure that you have enough money to support
both you and your enterprise.
STEP BY STEP
The Money
LOCAL CONTACTS
Mortgage/rent
Property taxes
Utilities (heat, light and water)
All personal and property insurance
Food
General housekeeping
Repairs
Clothing
Telephone
Hire charges (TV, satellite, etc)
Entertainment (meals, drink etc)
Holiday
Subscriptions to associations, clubs
Publications
Vehicle running expenses (incl. fuel)
Vehicle service and maintenance
Children’s expenditure and presents
Savings plans, pensions
Loan repayments, debts, credit cards
Any other
INDEX
Estimated expenditure
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS FUNDING
Friends or relatives.
Government grants and awards
Some are operated on a nationwide basis, but
with many grants eligibility depends on where
your business is located. Grants are normally
available for specific purposes, such as investing in
equipment or for specific industries.
Will the bank help you?
Banks provide 90% of all new business finance
and are keen to do so, but only if the proposition
is a good one! Your business plan and cash flow
forecast must be able to show that your venture
is financially viable. They will also want to know
that their money is in safe hands! Your personality,
experience and the team around you will contribute
to the final decision.
STEP BY STEP
The more money that you can put in yourself,
the better! Borrowing usually involves either the
payment of interest or giving up a share of your
business.
LOCAL CONTACTS
�Friends, Family and Fools’ are a good potential
source of investment because they know you and
believe in your ability. They are more likely to
back your business when others say no, but think
carefully before borrowing money in this way. If
the business fails, the repercussions can be harder
to bear. Try and keep the transaction on a business
level. Explain that there are no guarantees. Friends
and family must understand the high-risk nature of
the venture and that there is a strong chance they
might not make as much as they anticipated, or
might even lose their investments completely.
Total start up costs
+
Amount required to see you through the early
stages (including you own survival income)
How much money you have already
=
Total that you need to raise.
INDEX
How much do you need to raise?
Business Angel
Other sources of funding.
Venture Capital
Leasing and hire purchase
If you need to raise cash to buy equipment,
consider spreading your costs with leasing and hire
purchase options. This allows you to use an asset
over a fixed period, in return for regular payments.
Check out small ads
Local newspapers sometimes carry advertisements
from people wishing to invest in companies.
You could try advertising for funds in the same
way. Always take professional legal advice before
entering into any agreement.
Bring in partners. If you’re a sole trader you could
consider taking on partners to raise finance.
You’ll need to negotiate what share of the profits
each person will receive. A written partnership
agreement should be drawn up before any decisions
are made.
WEB/ONLINE
Use your personal assets. Using personal equity,
such as savings or remortgaging your house can
give you the freedom to run your business your
way. However, it’s important to draw up a business
plan, mapping out when you expect to see a return
and what you can afford to lose.
MARKETING
A source of money for start up companies,
particularly for those with high growth potential. In
return for their investment, the venture capitalists
generally receive significant ownership of the
company and seats on the board.
There are numerous schemes to help start-ups and
can be found via your local pages on our website
(www.syob.co.uk). Areas that have been identified
as �deprived’ often have dedicated funds for loans/
grants.
BUSINESS SET UP
Is a particular type of informal investor, usually a
successful entrepreneur, who is willing to invest in
high-risk, high-growth firms at a very early stage,
and adds value by supplying business advice.
Enter competitions
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RESOURCES
There are many competitions on offer to start ups
- not only can you receive a cash prize, but the
exposure you gain can bring you to the attention of
a potential investor.
Persuade trading partners to pay upfront. Larger
organizations can sometimes be persuaded to
pay upfront to fund a project or product you are
developing if they need it for their own business.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS PREMISES
INDEX
Where will your business be based?
Office or workspace?
Lease
1) A famous quote states that the three most
important considerations are LOCATION,
LOCATION, LOCATION! However, the better the
location the higher the rent!
2) Length of lease?
Deciding where to run your business could be
determined by the nature of your work, running a
restaurant from home is probably not a good idea
and a window cleaning business is unlikely to need
swanky offices!
3) You may have to pay a substantial premium for a
longer-term lease.
BUSINESS SET UP
Whether you plan to work from home, to rent or buy
commercial premises, it is best to understand the
advantages & disadvantages of each option. With the
kind help of local property professionals, this section
explains the legal and practical considerations.
STEP BY STEP
A lease is a contractual agreement to rent a property.
But do you rent or buy? Your financial situation
could decide this for you, but if you chose to
lease/rent, think extremely carefully about the
implications.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Starting in an office or workshop will involve higher
set up costs than working from home but may be
more appropriate particularly if you are planning
to employ staff or if your customers come to you.
There are also important Health & Safety Issues that
you will need to be aware of if you are planning to
work from any premises.
4) Who is responsible for repairs?
5) Take legal advice.
Purchase
Work from home
Advantages: Cost, convenience, easy to set up, the
kettle is close by!
License
Disadvantages: Domestic distractions, possibly lone
working, holiday cover, the kettle is close by!
Top tip! Check to make sure that your lease/house
deeds do not prevent you from operating from home.
If required, obtain permission from your landlord/
building society.
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RESOURCES
With a license, the property owner is effectively
saying “OK, you can occupy my property for a
while, but I can interrupt at any time and ask you to
leave.” The advantage to the owner is obvious, but it
can also be a flexible and inexpensive way for a new
start to move into premises. Licenses are usually
relatively short term.
WEB/ONLINE
If you area able to purchase your property,
this could prove to be an attractive long-term
proposition. You will be giving yourself security of
tenure, possibly an asset that will rise in value, and
any repayments will be reducing your loan rather
than simply paying rent to somebody else. You will
need to use a solicitor to conduct the purchase,
but also take advice from Commercial Agents and
definitely pay for a full structural survey!
Working from home is definitely the cheapest
option, but not always the best! You will need
to ensure that you can separate home and work
life. Will you be able to motivate yourself and
concentrate, or possibly even more tempting - avoid
the temptation to work all the time.
MARKETING
The various options open to you are covered in this
section.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
WORKING FROM HOME
LOCAL CONTACTS
Home or away?
INDEX
without bankrupting your business before it’s even
off the ground. Renting a desk in a shared office
offers the best of both worlds. You’re still your own
boss, but you’ll have the business support services,
such as Internet connection, a receptionist, meeting
rooms and technical support, all available on site.
You’ll have total autonomy, but feel like you are part
of a community. Working from home suits some
people, but for anyone who doesn’t want to stay in
pyjamas all day and who miss the office banter but
not the office politics, a shared office could well be
the answer.
How to make a home office work for you
* Notify your mortgage lender/insurance company.
* Consult an accountant regarding how this affects
your tax situation.
* Tell the neighbors as there might be more
disruptions, depending on the type of business
* If possible, create a separate �work zone’ away
from any distractions. Don’t allow disruptions by
family members just because you are there. Adhere
to working hours that suit you on a regular basis.
* Get into work mode by dressing professionally
and creating regular breaks.
* Combat loneliness by organizing regular meetings
with other home-based entrepreneurs or business
clubs to communicate new ideas, catch up on news
or simply for human interaction.
* Rent office space on an ad hoc basis if you are
concerned about presenting a professional face
when holding meetings or receiving clients.
Re-arranging the CD collection will take precedence
over writing a business proposal; mornings will
be lost to �This Morning’. The failure of such
procrastinators to �switch on’ rather than switch
off from work means they live under a constant
cloud of guilt. Even those grounded enough to be
motivated but not obsessional about work may find
that the demands by children, resentful partners or
other distractions beyond their control will distract
them.
There is an alternative that will keep you sane
WEB/ONLINE
Type A personalities will of course drive themselves
whatever they do. But working from home will
never give them the mental space to switch off
- their home will permanently be contaminated
by work. Those of a more attention-challenged
disposition will fare equally badly.
MARKETING
Technology advances mean we can as easily run a
successful business slumped on our sofa, clad in
our PJs, as suited-up in a swanky office. Sounds
perfect, but reality has a habit of messing with
perfection. Both on a personal and professional
level, being home alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to
be, particularly for start-up firms without a big
corporate comfort-blanket to support them. Not all
home workers have the skills to prevent the work/
life balance from tipping wildly in one direction.
BUSINESS SET UP
Working from home is constantly portrayed
as some kind of ideal, promising us a
commute-free existence, better work/life
balance, reduced costs, higher productivity
After all, why go to work, when work can
come to you?
STEP BY STEP
If you decide to work from home, this does
require discipline since it comes with its own set of
distractions. Here are some tips on how to make a
home office work for you:
* Establish clear boundaries such as not answering
your business phone or catching up on paperwork
during private time.
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RESOURCES
* Most importantly, make sure your business does
not take over your personal life. Your work-life
balance must be actively protected.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ACCOUNTANCY
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
It goes without saying that HMRC will take a keen
interest in your new venture. Legally, you are
obliged to supply them with information that will
determine how much tax that you will have to pay.
Evidence of Transactions. One of the first steps
This section gives you a simple overview of the key
points, but we strongly recommend that you take
professional advice. If you are not an accountant
yourself, it is probably wise to engage the services
of someone who is and to get on with what you do
best - make the money.
Keeping the evidence. HMRC have powers to
inspect these records up to six years after the end of
any accounting period. Make sure you have a safe
place to store your records. Be aware that there are
penalties for failure to keep your records.
Keeping records
Cash. If you are dealing with cash, you will also
It’s commonly said that nobody likes paying tax, but
it’s a legal obligation to do so, and clearly it’s a bad
idea to add insult to injury by missing deadlines
and incurring penalties and interest as well. Your
professional adviser will be able to save you from
problems in this respect.
Cheques. Get into the habit of writing the details of
checks banked onto the paying in stubs, and fill in
your check stubs.
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RESOURCES
need a cashbook or till that provides the money trail
into the bank. For every transaction, you will need a
piece of paper that proves the purchase or sale you
have made. Right from the start, get a file with some
dividers and put all your paperwork in date order
as you get it. Separate things out - for instance, keep
your sales invoices together in one section.
WEB/ONLINE
HMRC operates a series of penalties and
surcharges to encourage businesses to meet their
responsibilities in respect of tax. You may think it’s
obvious what the cheque for ВЈ100 is for today, but
will you remember when your bookkeeper asks you
in twelve months time?
MARKETING
to take is to open a bank account. Don’t put it off imagine how complicated it will get if your weekly
shopping gets mixed up with business expenses.
Your accountant will be able to do the job more
efficiently and cheaper if you can give them bank
and credit card statements that evidence all the
financial transactions of the business.
BUSINESS SET UP
Making sure that the figures add up.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ACCOUNTANCY
It is very important that you feel comfortable
with your accountant.
You may feel that you can keep your own financial
records, and calculate your own tax liability.
Wouldn’t it be better however to concentrate on
running your business?
INDEX
Why use an accountant?
You should be able to trust so after you have met
with them, ask yourself these questions:
A good accountant will also help you set up efficient
record keeping right from the word go. This is
really important because if you get it wrong you
could be fined. Having a good record-keeping
system in place will additionally save you time and
large accountancy bills in the future.
Any accountant can produce a set of accounts
for you, but a good accountant will help you
understand how your business has performed. You
can compare results against what you had expected
to achieve and make changes that will improve
results next time around.
But your accounts can be used for other things too,
and it is important that your accountant helps you
get the most from them. For example, they can be
used when you talk to your bank manager to raise
some finance for expansion.
Each one of these questions has to be answered
positively. If not, then this accountant may not be
the one for you.
Here is some practical advice for choosing a good
accountant:
You can use an accountant to do as much or as
little as you want. For example, if your business is
straightforward with easy, simple records, you may
wish to calculate your own trading figures. You
should follow some standard accounting principles
and a good accountant will help you with these.
- Contact a couple of accountants that you
have heard of through word of mouth, or seen
advertised.
There are costs attached and this can be a worry,
particularly when you are starting a business and
the income has yet to flow.
Once you have decided which accountant to use,
make sure that you are both clear about what
services you require and get written confirmation
about what they will do for you.
Taking some time at the outset to choose the right
accountant for you will reap rewards in the long
run as you develop an invaluable and long-term
business relationship!
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RESOURCES
It is important however to remember that a good
accountant will help you save money by advising
how to set up the most tax-efficient way of running
your business. For example, would it be better to
start as a partnership or limited company, rather
than a sole trader?
WEB/ONLINE
- Get an appointment with them. Before your
meeting, decide what services you would like them
to provide.
MARKETING
They can also be used to calculate how much you
are eventually going to sell your business for. And,
of course, good records will make sure you pay the
right amount of tax.
BUSINESS SET UP
Q. Are they asking a price that I can afford?
Q. What experience and qualifications have they?
Q. Does their website give me more information
about their firm?
Q. Can they give me guarantees for quality and
service?
Q. Will they provide an estimate of when the work
will be completed?
Q. Do I get on with them
STEP BY STEP
Using a good accountant can help: making sure
only tax that is actually due is paid and providing
really good advice to help your business grow and
flourish.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Q. Did I feel that they understood my business and
its needs?
Q. Are they easily accessible, and will they answer
my questions quickly?
Good records will help you to see how well you are
doing, where your money is coming from and how
you can make more.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ACCOUNTANCY
INDEX
Accountancy
We’ll also ensure that when it comes to your year end, you have some real
idea as to what all the numbers actually mean - it’s nice to know whether
you’re winning or losing.
STEP BY STEP
Ok. So maybe you find the accounting bit one of the more boring parts of
running your business. It’s certainly important, but it doesn’t have to be
so much of a chore. We understand that you’d rather be trying to make or
sell widgets (or whatever it is you do) than keeping your books up to date,
so we’ll do our best to help you find a compromise.
LOCAL CONTACTS
We’re a friendly local firm of accountants who offer a personal,
professional service but don’t use jargon. We’ll explain your financial affairs
in clear, understandable terms - and we won’t charge you the earth.
Taxation
BUSINESS SET UP
No-one likes to pay any more tax than they have to, and it can
sometimes seem that tax demands appear as if by magic. There
is no big secret. Tax is a complicated subject and it pays to take
advice if you possibly can. We appreciate that the very least we
can do is to make our clients aware of any tax-saving opportunities
available to them. And to make sure that a tax bill doesn’t come as
a complete surprise.
Company Formations
If you need to form a new company, change the name of an existing
one or anything along those lines, you’ll find us very competitive. We
can move pretty quickly to help get your new venture off the ground.
MARKETING
Had a great idea for a new business?
Contact Us
There is usually someone in the office between 9.00am and 5.30pm every weekday - and
sometimes on Saturday mornings.
If you prefer, you can email us at [email protected]
Or visit our website:
WEB/ONLINE
The easiest way to get in touch is to call us on 01494 689009
www.morgankeen.co.uk
Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged. Please contact us for further details.
27
RESOURCES
To visit us at our offices, please call first for an appointment and we can explain about parking.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
shcroft A4 Book Keeping Letterhead:Ashcroft A4 Book Keeping 11/05/2011 05:19 Page 1
ACCOUNTANCY
Ashcroft Cameron Book Keeping looks after the needs of the small to medium sized businesses. Offering a book keeping service tailor made to your individual requirements...
STEP BY STEP
> Book keeping and payroll
> Full office services
> VAT returns
> Self assessments
> Free advice
> Free estimates
LOCAL CONTACTS
Book Keeping
INDEX
Unit 6, The Mead Business Centre, Mead Lane, Hertford, Herts. SG13 7BJ
Tel: 01992 500 700 Fax: 01992 509 059
Ashcroft
Cameron
We can also offer book keeping services for Payroll and PAYE, VAT computation and returns, credit control, sales invoicing, or cheque book management.
We are always happy to discuss our services with potential clients and how we may support
their book keeping business needs.
Please contact us.
MARKETING
We can prepare management accounts for bank purposes or to your company style. And we
naturally take away a lot of daily queries from your offices.
BUSINESS SET UP
Our book keeping services look after the needs of small to medium sized businesses, offering a book keeping service tailor made to your individual requirement. We offer you either a
complete book keeping service to trial balance, or individual or combined sales, purchase
and nominal ledgers.
Telephone: 01992 500 700
WEB/ONLINE
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web: www.ashcambooks.com
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RESOURCES
Ashcroft Cameron Book Keeping Limited, Registered in England No. 3015158
Registered Office: Unit 6, The Mead Business Centre, Mead Lane, Hertford, Herts. SG13 7BJ
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ACCOUNTANCY
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
For a refreshing approach to
accountancy services why not
give us a try.
Tel: 01525 854862
www.cookthebooks.org.uk
29
RESOURCES
We offer a comprehensive range
of services, covering accountancy
and audit through to taxation and
payroll; and have vast experience
in many areas of taxation,
finance, accountancy and
business advice over a wide range
of businesses, from corporate
clients and property investors,
to individuals and smaller
companies.
Clients prefer us because
our passion shines through
everything we do. We are
dedicated to finding new ways to
generate value for our clients.
WEB/ONLINE
Cook the Books Limited are
one of Bedfordshire’s leading
accountancy practices with over
30 years experience providing
a proactive accountancy and
taxation service for all types
of businesses and individuals,
wherever they may be located.
We pride ourselves in building
long-term relationships with all
of our clients and believe that the
personal touch really does matter.
Our principal, Graham Cook,
has over thirty years experience
in the accountancy profession
and established the practice in
2003.Over this period we have
significantly increased our client
base by offering a high level of
expertise and experience and
we are proud to state that the
majority of our new clients since
2003 have come as a result of
direct referrals from happy and
satisfied existing clients.
We believe in maintaining a close
and regular contact with our
clients by guiding them through
the accounts and financial
aspects of their business in a
straightforward manner. All our
staff enjoy being actively involved
with clients. We feel that keeping
in regular contact enhances a
good working relationship and
allows for a better understanding
of our clients’ business.
MARKETING
Working closely with your
accountant and other professional
advisers from the outset allows
the new business owner to be
aware of and consider many
options that may not always be
obvious. Proper and effective
planning at the right time can
reduce stress and costs and make
the business experience much
more rewarding.
Cook the Books Limited is a
modern, friendly accountancy
practice based in Leighton
Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
BUSINESS SET UP
And while this may appear to be
a blinding grasp of the obvious,
what is less apparent is what the
most successful firms are actually
doing to address this challenge.
STEP BY STEP
We know from speaking with other business owners that setting up
and successfully running your own business is an ongoing challenge.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS LAW
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
If so, this page could be yours!
BUSINESS SET UP
For more details, please visit
syob.co.uk/localguide.php
STEP BY STEP
Are you a printer who can help
local new business start ups?
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
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START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
BUSINESS NETWORKING
Business cards.
The idea of business networking can seem terrifying
to some people. Yet it’s vitally important to business
these days, a great way to make contacts and
increase business without a lot of cold calling.
Give and take.
Don’t aim to give your card to everyone in the
room. Give it only to people with whom you have
established good rapport
Before you go to the meeting.
Just turning up at a networking meeting, hoping
for it to result in new business won’t work. Like
anything you do to promote your business, you
need to plan each event you go to.
After the meeting.
MARKETING
When you get to the meeting.
BUSINESS SET UP
Effective networking doesn’t end when you leave
the meeting. The final stage to getting the best from
Have an objective.
your efforts happens when you get back to the
Why are you going to this meeting? Are you looking office.
for new clients? Do you want to spend time with
one of your clients? Some meetings provide a list
Follow up.
of attendees. If you can get hold of this list, use it
When you leave a meeting, you should have a
to identify the people you need to speak to at the
reason to contact some of the people you spoke to.
meeting. Use it to set your objectives so that you
Whatever you said you would do - make sure that
can use your time wisely.
you do it. Keeping in touch is the start to building
trust with people you meet. When people trust you,
Your ideal client.
they buy from you.
If meeting new clients is your objective for a
meeting, you’ll need a clear picture of who you
Making measurements.
want to work with, this will help you identify these
One of the secrets to good marketing is finding out
people early on. Whenever you go networking,
what works for your business, so that you can do
someone will ask, “What do you do?” If you have
more of it. Measure your efforts. Every few months,
an answer prepared, you’ll make a much better
review your networking. Look at what is working
impression and get your message across clearly.
and do more of it.
STEP BY STEP
Networking should always be approached with a
spirit of generosity. Think about what you can bring
to a meeting - not just what you can get out of it.
�Pay it forward’ and the reward will come full circle
to you.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Here are some hints and tips to help
improve your business networking.
INDEX
Networking
Even if you only ask for a card, you have
established rapport and have a genuine need to
carry on talking
Keep it up.
There’s no point in going to one meeting and
then
going back to the office
and waiting for the
phone to ring. Good
marketing is about
building up lasting
relationships with
the people you meet
over time.
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RESOURCES
Keep going out there
and meeting the
people you need to
your business thrive.
WEB/ONLINE
When you enter an informal networking meeting
for the first time, get
yourself a drink or some
food, but not both,
because you will need
one hand free to
shake hands! Get a
list of the attendees
before you talk to
anyone. Look for the
sort of people you
want to talk to. Look
for the sort of people
you want to talk to.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
MARKETING
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
BUSINESS SET UP
1. Spreading the Word
2. Graphic Design
3. Print
4. Marketing
5. Sales & Selling
STEP BY STEP
NEW BUSINESS MARKETING
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
32
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SPREADING THE WORD
b) Don’t just ask your �local’ printer. Don’t just
ask your �local’ printer. Every printer has different
equipment and specialities. Make sure that you are
using the right printer for the job.
How to spread the word
c) Ask a trusted colleague if you aren’t sure about
which firm to choose There are thousands of
printers, and like any industry, some are awful and
some are great. You will find that the most talked
about printers in the town are the ones at either end
of the scale! Ask a business colleague who they use,
to sort the good, from the bad.
So, how can you create the maximum impact
without breaking the bank?
Top tip: Your business card has to work as your silent
salesman, so do not be tempted to save a few quid
by printing them at home. An amateur business card
implies that you run an amateur business!
Website
Print
Did you know? Google has indexed over 1 trillion
unique URLs and more are being added every day.
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At the very least, you will have to consider
ordering stationery (letterheads, business cards,
and compliment slips) that portrays your business
professionally. It may be tempting to print
something off at home on your computer, which
may save you a few pounds, but it could cost you
much more in lost business. Once you have made
the decision as to what you need to get started, you
need a printer.
WEB/ONLINE
Being one of the first places your potential clients
will see your business it’s certainly worth serious
consideration. What do you really need on your
website? What should you ask a web agency and
which agency should you work with? How do you
spot the hidden costs? Are you comparing like
with like? These are just some of the questions that
armed with the right answers will allow you to see
through the many offerings available, avoid the pit
falls and confidently take your company online.
MARKETING
Corporate image & design. As they say, “you don’t
get a second chance to make a first impression”.
For many of your clients, the first time they
encounter your business will be via a letter, flyer
or advertisement. It is vital to make sure that your
printed message is as strong as if you were there
in person. A great starting point is to think about
branding your business. If you think only big
corporate names need to think about their brand
identity, think again. Your brand says a lot about
you and your business, and that’s as true for a
one-person home-based business as it is for a multi
national conglomerate.
BUSINESS SET UP
d) Check, check and check again. Print isn’t an easy
industry, so check details at every point you can.
Make sure your artwork is up together and �printready’ to avoid extra charges, check the proofs
thoroughly as strange things can happen, and make
sure you check regularly with the print company to
ensure delivery is on target!
This section should give you a good over-view of
your options which include Design; Print; Web
Design; Online Marketing; Sales & Selling; and
Networking.
STEP BY STEP
As you will quickly discover, there are so many
�opportunities’ to promote your business, you
could easily spend every penny you earn on
marketing and advertising.
LOCAL CONTACTS
a) Ensure your quotes are �like-for-like’. The
best idea is to get one quote, and then use that
terminology to explain what you want to the other
printers you would like to quote for you.
INDEX
Here are some tips to ensure that you are able
to find the right printer who is able to supply
professional looking printed material at the right
price.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SPREADING THE WORD
- Make sure it is targeted and relevant
- Never send an attachment
- Offer to send a photograph
- Follow up with a call the same day
- Make sure it is timely to meet deadlines
- Keep ALL your contacts updated
Public relations are about building relationships,
and if you bombard your local editor with too much
irrelevant information, your email address will soon
be filed automatically in the editor’s delete bin.
Quote, unquote. “Half of all advertising is wasted.
We just don’t know which half.”
Online Marketing
Internet marketing is relatively inexpensive.
Companies can reach a wide audience for a small
fraction of traditional advertising budgets. The
nature of the medium allows consumers to research
and purchase products and services at their own
convenience. Therefore, businesses have the
advantage of appealing to consumers in a medium
that can bring results quickly.
Direct mail is a tried and true advertising medium.
There are several advantages to direct mail:
a. Direct mail is measurable. When customers walk
through the door with your mailer in hand, you can
easily measure response.
c. Direct mail is targetable. Rather than sending
a generic message out to the general population,
direct mail targets your audience.
d. Direct mail is timed and planned
Customer Service
e. Direct mail is also the only advertising that can be
guaranteed to reach its audience.
Effective use of PR (public relations) and word of
mouth can provide two of the strongest ways to
get your business known. Sadly, your competition
has probably realized this too. This means that you
have to work extra hard to create a buzz, as only
the most interesting stories will get you the free
publicity that you crave.
Word of Mouth
PR isn’t just for big companies using national
newspapers or television. Even the smallest business
can use publicity opportunities to catch the eye of
its local audience.
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Last and definitely not least. Word of mouth
advertising is probably the cheapest and most
effective marketing tool in your armory. A
recommendation from a satisfied customer is far
more persuasive than any paid advertisement.
Harness this secret weapon by asking for referrals
and positively encourage your happy clients to tell
their friends.
WEB/ONLINE
Finding new customers can be extremely expensive,
so treat your current customers well and they will
keep coming back to you.
PR
MARKETING
Business networking is more than just a way of
having a friendly chat over breakfast, it can also
be an extremely effective way to draw in more
clientele. For most small business owners, proper
networking skills are necessary for their continued
existence and success. Networking takes many
forms. Whether a business owner is cold-calling
their clients on the phone, or meeting other
business owners in the area for breakfast or lunch,
the networking never stops.
BUSINESS SET UP
Networking
b. Direct mail is inexpensive. When you are
conducting a direct mail from a targeted list, this is
a cost-effective use of your advertising pound. You
are getting your message to those who are genuinely
interested. Each direct mail campaign should get
better than the last.
STEP BY STEP
Direct Mail
LOCAL CONTACTS
As a new business you will be bombarded with
opportunities to advertise in all manner of ways.
When deciding where to spend your budget, try
and judge how to reach your potential customers
effectively and economically. Be very wary of �special
offers’ and impressive circulation figures - it is better
to reach one customer who will buy from you than
100,000 who don’t!
INDEX
Advertising
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
GRAPHIC DESIGN
Why pay a graphic designer rather than
knock something up on your own pc?
INDEX
The advances in computer technology and
desktop design have made it very tempting
to create your business stationery and
marketing materials yourself.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Starting up in business can be expensive and it
is tempting to cut corners. Producing a logo and
promotional material are the areas where this is
probably the most common - but be aware that it
can be detrimental to your sales.
Equally, one font can imply the idea that a business
is quality, or established, but another that it is old
fashioned.
As you can see, there are a variety of factors
to consider when putting together a logo and
branding, or producing a piece of promotional
literature. The bottom line is, what do you want
your customers to think of you? How well you
communicate that message will determine how they
respond.
WHY DO YOU NEED A LOGO?
Therefore, good logo in a print
and web design needs to be
memorable. Your customers
need to be able to picture
your logo easily when thinking
about your company.
The logo also needs to work
in black and white. Will it
be distinctive enough if the
customer prints off something
from the website in black and
white?
Your company logo needs to
be easily scalable. How good
will that squiggle look as a
favicon in the address bar of a
Having a really good logo will
enhance every aspect of your
marketing and help you stand
out from the crowd.
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web browser, or on the side of
a biro? How good will the logo
look on the main page of the
plumber’s website, or on the
side of his van?
WEB/ONLINE
Firstly, a logo promotes your
business in the market. It
gives a unique identity to
your business. The best logo
designs are so unique and
easily recognisable that the
name of the business springs
to mind even when displayed
with out text. They act as ways
of establishing credibility with
your customers and building a
brand identity.
MARKETING
So whether you are considering producing a logo,
flyer, brochure, folder or some other form of
marketing material it is worth using a professional
design company.
Today, we live in a brand conscious world and it
is more important than ever to make a good and
lasting impression.
BUSINESS SET UP
The general perception seems to be that graphic
design is all about making something look pretty
and that anyone can do it. In truth, graphic design
is about communication - getting the right message
to the right people. Promotional material and,
yes, even your logo will say something about your
business, good or bad. The choice of fonts, colors,
images, copy and even the paper your marketing
material is printed on all have a bearing on how
your business is perceived.
STEP BY STEP
We all make split second assumptions based on
conditioned perceptions and these influence how
we see things and respond to them, often on a
subconscious level. Where this is particularly true
is with the use of color. There is psychology to it.
What that means in business is that colors evoke an
emotional response and therefore certain colors are
suited to some industries more than others.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
GRAPHIC DESIGN
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
BUSINESS SET UP
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
www.amberdesignandmarketing.co.uk
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for more information please call 01992 534394
email: [email protected]
or visit
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
PRINT
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
If so, this page could be yours!
BUSINESS SET UP
For more details, please visit
syob.co.uk/localguide.php
STEP BY STEP
Are you a printer who can help
local new business start ups?
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
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START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
MARKETING
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
of running a business and not concentrating on
planning the business on a higher, strategic level.
Before you know it, you’re too busy working on the
details of your business to see the bigger picture
and take stock of where you are.
The good news is that the most important parts
of marketing are completely free, and the even
better news is that there’s a strong likelihood that –
surprisingly – many of your competitors won’t have
exploited these critical keys to successful marketing.
Investing the time to focus on these seven areas will
pay huge dividends when it comes to implementing
ongoing marketing activities for your fledgling
business.
Step 2. Know your customers
Step 1. Know where you want to go
It’s easy to fall into the trap of having a business
idea and going ahead with it without really thinking
about exactly where you want to take it (I know
because I’ve done it myself in the past!). You
can very quickly get carried away with the idea
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You simply can’t market your business effectively
unless you first know exactly who you want to talk
to. Understand that “everyone” is never a viable
target market, so make sure you have a very clear
picture of your ideal client before you start any
marketing at all.
WEB/ONLINE
So whatever stage of business you’re at, take the
time to work out exactly where you want the
business to go. As the saying goes, if you don’t
know where you’re going, any road will take you
there…and you may just find that the place you
end up just isn’t where you really want to be.
Having goals and objectives for the future of your
business is one of the most important factors for
creating a business that will help you realize your
own personal concept of success.
MARKETING
You’re starting a business…and you know you
that getting the word out about your business
through effective marketing is the only thing that’s
going to bring in the customers and sales. But
where to start, and how to prevent marketing costs
from getting out of control?
BUSINESS SET UP
7 Steps To Marketing Utopia
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
MARKETING
Once you have narrowed down a couple of key
ideas, prioritise them in order of importance and
relevance to your customers, then write out a short
paragraph clarifying and describing what your
competitive advantage is. Getting this down in
writing will really help to focus your efforts, and
you’ll be able to refer to this in any marketing that
you undertake.
Once you’ve established those four things in your
ideal target market, create a clear profile of your
ideal customers. This profile could include things
such as their likes, dislikes, location, age, family
situation, business type and size, what they read,
where they can be found online, problems that keep
them awake at night, etc.
STEP BY STEP
Your decision as to which target market to focus on
will be based on your own preferences, experience
and skillset. Whichever target group you choose,
they’ll need to have four things in common to be
viable prospects for you: a specific need, access to
your product or service, enough money to buy it
and the authority to make the buying decision.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Do you make it easier for your customers to do
business with you thanks to free/reduced-cost
introductory consultations, more information,
bonuses and incentives, better terms, longer hours,
better customer service and follow-up? - Is your
customer service better than the competition? (E.g.
more value added service, volume discount pricing,
special systems for resolving customer complaints,
more information and longer-term relationships
with customers)
INDEX
For example, a virtual assistant (VA) working from
home might want to target SMEs in the business-tobusiness sector, with between 5 and 20 employees,
within a 20-mile radius of her base. Or, as VAs
aren’t necessarily bound by a specific geographic
area, she might decide to focus on a specific niche
(such as professional speakers or business coaches,
for example) and offer a targeted range of services
tailored to the needs of that specific group.
Step 4. Know your marketing message
Step 3. Competitive advantage
When working on your �benefits list’ for your
business, bear in mind that the top ten motivators
are: saving time, saving money, making money,
avoiding effort, increasing happiness, finding
success, being pain free, having fun, feeling safe and
secure, and feeling liked or loved.
- Do you or your business have any special
expertise, credentials or awards? - Do you have any
specific abilities in the areas of production, delivery,
your product lines, quality, your guarantee or
pricing?
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All the answers you come up with here will
be hugely valuable when it comes to getting a
compelling marketing message across to your best
potential customers. So it’s worth investing the time
on this to create a powerful list of reasons for your
ideal customers to buy from you.
WEB/ONLINE
So create at least one clear differentiating factor
in your business that will make you the more
appealing choice in relation to your competitors.
(Note that I’ve called this your competitive
advantage, not your USP or Unique Selling
Proposition; these days it’s pretty tricky to be
completely unique, so simply focus on establishing
something that makes it easy for your customers
to choose you over anyone else.) Here are some
questions to get your ideas flowing as to what your
competitive advantage could be:
MARKETING
You need to know exactly why people should want
to do business with you instead of the many other
options your target market is presented with. The
harsh reality is that if you’re not 100% sure why
somebody should buy from you, your customers
won’t be either.
BUSINESS SET UP
Whenever you do anything to promote your
business, always consider things from the
customer’s perspective. For example, you need to
be able to clearly describe the benefits you offer
customers, who only care about “what’s in it for
me”. Make a list of the features of your products
and services, then convert those features into
benefits to the customer by asking yourself �which
means that...’ until you reach the ultimate benefit
that your customers receive. Also consider the
pressing problems that your customers experience
and which are resolved by using your product or
service. Remember that even for business purchases,
people tend to buy for emotional reasons, then
justify their decision with logic.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
MARKETING
Networking - Remember to be targeted in the
events that you go to, and bear in mind that it’s
not about handing out as many business cards as
you possibly can, but rather about creating and
nurturing relationships.
Step 6. Use low-cost marketing techniques
There are literally dozens of free and low-cost
marketing tools that you can use to get the word
out about your business. Here is a choice selection
of just five top low-cost marketing techniques:
Step 7. Avoid being a one-hit wonder
Online article and press releases – Build
credibility, create valuable inbound links to your
website, and potentially spread the word far and
wide, by writing and submitting useful articles
relating to your business and/or target market. Two
great places to start submitting your articles are
ezinearticles.com and prweb.com, but search on the
web and you’ll find plenty more.
Most of all, remember to keep in touch with your
best customers on a regular basis…you’ve no doubt
already invested considerable time and money
in acquiring that customer, so don’t let that go to
waste. Set up a system for keeping in touch with
existing clients by whatever means are appropriate.
by Louisa Bird
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Follow these seven basic principles in your
business always…and you’ll be well on your way to
marketing utopia in no time.
WEB/ONLINE
Referrals – This technique alone has the potential
to double your customer base in a relatively short
space of time. Recommendations from people we
know and trust are hugely powerful, and leads
generated from referrals have very high conversion
rates. If you’re starting out and you’ve only just got
your first customer, do everything you can to make
them a happy customer and ask for five referrals
(you might not actually get the full five, but you’ll
probably get more than the usual one referral). Use
an �ethical bribe’ if appropriate, and above all; don’t
stop asking!
MARKETING
Research shows that your customers and prospects
need to hear from you seven to ten times before
they really hear what your message is and respond.
The bad news is that most companies I encounter
do not have a follow up strategy at all. Most people
follow up two or three times at best, and then
stop. Remember to focus on this �seven to ten rule’
and create a strategy for following up with your
potential customers multiple times, with messages
that are useful and relevant to them.
BUSINESS SET UP
Testimonials / case studies - Nothing beats
genuine endorsements from third parties in
building trust and credibility in what you’re offering
to the marketplace. We might not like to admit
it, but we tend to have a �herd’ mentality and we
want to know that others have benefited from a
product or service already. So don’t be afraid to ask
your customers for feedback and comments, and
always ask for permission to use favorable customer
comments. And if you haven’t yet started trading,
look to people who can comment on you or your
services from a previous job or voluntary position.
STEP BY STEP
Things to include on your plan could be: Specific,
measurable goals, your marketing message (benefits
to the customer), a description of your target
market and ideal customer, your competitive
advantage, action steps to follow with target dates
for completion, financial objectives/budget, and
last but not least, tracking mechanisms: Without
measuring your progress, it’s easy to waste time and
money and get discouraged. Your plan must include
ways of measuring how you are progressing towards
your stated goal(s).
LOCAL CONTACTS
Fusion marketing – Create marketing alliances with
non-competing businesses serving the same target
market as you. Send endorsements of one another’s
services to each other’s lists, hand out flyers or
discount cards to one another’s customers….the
options are many and varied, so get creative and
start making proposals to likely partners.
Marketing is most definitely not about taking action
when you can fit it in between other business
activities. To get the best results, you need to
move beyond �hit or miss’ actions and develop a
deliberate, systematic approach, ideally setting aside
specific times each week to work on marketing.
Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be a 50-page
epic, though. Use whatever format works best
for you. I recommend creating a practical, short
document that you can easily refer to and use.
INDEX
Step 5. Have a plan
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SALES & SELLING
INDEX
Follow this up with direct mail and telephone
contact.
Mailing lists can be purchased from www.yell.com,
www.thomsonweb.co.uk or www.corpdata.co.uk
LOCAL CONTACTS
Did you know? Your new customers will generally
come from at least one of the following groups:
Recommended to you, responded to your
advertising, solicited (you approached them),
passers by, or former customers. Plan your approach
accordingly!
Look after them
Keep them
BUSINESS SET UP
If you are constantly spending your time finding
new customers it will be extremely hard to build
a stable and expanding concern (although a few
trades do rely on one off sales only). A client BASE
should be exactly that – a foundation upon which
to build.
MARKETING
Selling for Small Business
& New Business Start Ups.
Top tip! Most major companies recognise the
importance of looking after their customers
Whether you like the thought or not, the
having ability to sell will prove to be a
distinct advantage.
–
hence the vast amount of money spent on corporate
�entertaining’!
However, this does not mean that you have to
become hard or pushy – in fact the best salespeople
are often the complete opposite!
Selling is the art of finding out what a customer
needs and satisfying those needs with the benefits of
your product or service.
STEP BY STEP
Do not take your existing customers for granted!
Doing the best job that you can is the best way of
retaining business but the more you show that you
care about their needs, the longer they will stay
with you. Keep in regular contact and why not
occasionally surprise them with either a thank you
letter or a small present.
Find more
Regardless of how much competition you face,
there will always be opportunities to acquire new
business. The following client groups are always �up
for grabs’!
Newcomers to the area, emergencies, dissatisfied
customers, infrequent purchasers, competitive
buyers (price is main concern), transient (move
from supplier to supplier).
Find customers
Even if you are doing well, do not become
complacent – these are also the reasons why your
customers may leave you!
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Before customers can buy your wares – they either
have to find you or you have to find them! Once
you have determined the profile of your best/most
profitable customers, use a wide variety of methods
to raise awareness of your service. Your marketing
and publicity should help them find you, but
networking, directories, newspapers, mailing lists,
and the internet can all be used to compile your
own list of potential clients.
WEB/ONLINE
There is a great line in an old John Cleese training
film that is worth remembering– “He may not be a
good salesman, but people do seem to buy from him!”
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
WEB/ONLINE
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
BUSINESS SET UP
1. Getting Online
2. Optimising your Website
3. Online Marketing
4. Social Networking
STEP BY STEP
MAKING THE MOST OF THE WEB
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
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START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
GETTING ONLINE
Fast, easy, cheap communication with your
customers. Why print & post out brochures when
your customers can download them? Offer instant
information and faster communication via your
website and email - much cheaper and faster than
fax or post.
STEP BY STEP
Provide better customer service and value-added
extras that put you above your competitors. You
can offer articles, information, forums, newsletters all of these things add to your customers’ perceived
value of your products or services and build better
relationships.
As with conventional design and print, it is not as
simple as creating some pages on cheap software at
home, uploading them to the web, and hoping that
the world will come knocking on your door.
Why your business should be on the net
Whether you business is going to be small or large,
at some point you need to consider investing in
your own website. The Internet is one of the first
places that your customers and potential customers
a re likely to look - and if you’re not using it, how
will you compete with those that are?
Why use a professional web design agency? Like
doing your own plumbing, it’s more cost effective
to employ a professional so you can concentrate on
what you do best - running your business!
What can a GOOD website do for you?
Your website is open for business 24 hours. Let
your website work for you, giving your customers
what they want when they want it. It’s busy
increasing brand awareness and increasing sales
while you sleep!
Where to start for business on the web?
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Q. What do you really need on your website?
Q. What should you ask a web agency
Q. Which agency should you work with!
Q. How do you spot the hidden costs?
Q. Are you comparing like with like?
These days more and more people want to research
businesses and products on-line and then buy in
the traditional, offline way. If you’re serious about
promoting your business, then a good website is
your virtual shop window.
WEB/ONLINE
Your website should be clean, tidy and modern;
it should portray a professional image and market
your business well. It needs to meet accessibility
guidelines whilst giving your customers a pleasant
experience, encouraging feedback, increasing sales
and increasing brand awareness.
MARKETING
A website gives you the chance to advertise your
business, promote your services, attract new
customers and relay information - why would you
want to limit your potential?
BUSINESS SET UP
With more and more trade being conducted
on the world-wide-web, having a well
designed, effective website has become an
essential requirement for all businesses.
Cost effective advertising. Your website is an online
advertisement, it’s permanent but can be updated
regularly, and can be much more cost-effective than
press advertising if used properly.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Where to start for
business on the web
INDEX
Your website may be as simple as letting people
know your phone number and opening hours an electronic business card - or as complex as a
searchable database of your products. If you’re not
online, you can bet your competition is. If you don’t
have a website, or your customers find your website
difficult to use, they won’t hesitate to click on to
your competitor’s site!
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
GETTING ONLINE
A website should be useful and add value to your
business, give the right impression and make
potential customers want to contact you. You need
your site to be easily found by potential customers,
simple to use and navigate and clear in content and
contact information. If you’re serious about making
the right impression employ the professionals. Self
made sites won’t fill your customers with confidence
about your approach to business.
The more functionality you have the higher the
cost. Start with the basics and add the rest later. If
you get the site built right the first time you should
easily add functions as you grow.
Content.
All web content should be written with both your
audience and the search engines in mind. Your
audience should always be priority, capture your
audience with short bulleted statements that are
quick and easy to read. Use of images should be
limited so as not to clutter the page and increase the
time your page takes to appear.
Getting online step-by-step
Prioritize your content.
The right domain name.
If your exact business name has already been taken
select something close and memorable. Avoid using
dots and dashes in the name as these are easily
forgotten. Ideally you should use .com for business
in the US. All good web agencies will set this up for
you and help you select the right name.
Support for the future.
How do you know if it is working?
Email.
Review monthly statistics showing detailed
information from how many people visited your
site, the most popular pages to the best referrals.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Optimisation will help the search engines to rank
your site appropriately. SEO work along with
keywords in your content and linking between
other websites will all contribute to improving your
positioning on the search results pages.
Design.
There is a strategy behind all good web design,
usability studies have clearly shown that using the
right navigation, images and copy will retain your
audience for longer so therefore more likely to
purchase or contact you.
WEB/ONLINE
Once you have your company domain you can also
set up your email. Again take note from the hosting
section and pay for right support and security levels
suitable for business.
MARKETING
How often will you need to change the content
Business hosting.
of your site? How important is your site to your
Your site needs to be available 24/7; if a potential
business? Getting the right support and hosting
customer visits your site and it is not available it
are the ongoing costs you need to understand at
is unlikely they will return. Hosting can now be
the start. If you have content that will change often
found at very low prices but consider if it really is a have the site built with a content management
saving? Ask where your site will be hosted, if data is system, this will allow you to easily update your
backed up and how the security and upkeep of your content without ongoing charges.
server is managed.
BUSINESS SET UP
Your homepage should have your contact details
clearly shown, the services you offer and links to
the other pages you would most like your audience
to view. Your most lucrative offers should be the
first to be seen! Professional copy can make a real
difference to a site and assist your position in search
results.
STEP BY STEP
Before you start – Research. Review your
competitor’s sites. What do you like? What do you
dislike about them? What do you think is missing
that your customers might need? Knowing your
online competition is essential.
LOCAL CONTACTS
What do you really need on the site?
INDEX
What do you really need?
Use it!
Your home page should allow your customers
to instantly recognize your company, use your
company branding i.e. logo and colors to form a
template and style.
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Don’t have your website as an extra that nobody
mentions. Us it on everything that a potential
customer might see, be it your answer machine,
letterhead, order form, business card or local advert.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
5. Increase Backlink Count - One
With so many sites now
competing for visitors on the
web, how do you you get to
the top of the search results?
6. Make Your Site Linkable
- Sometimes in order to get users
linking to the site, we need to push them
in the right direction (gently of course). By
introducing a social bookmarking plug-in users
could easily share and bookmark your site.
1. Content is king - Original fresh
7. Ensure The Site Loads Quickly - Analyzing
2. Add Complete Metadata - Each page on your
that ensuring site pages load quickly is important
for SEO then ensuring all the pages are working is
even more important.
3. Right Use of Images - Traffic from users
9. Add Full Contact Information - Adding full
searching for images (unlike the normal search
which will fetch text) could benefit your site. To
optimise your images for Google Image search,
make sure you use a descriptive file name, images
are hosted on your site on a folder and always use
alt text to describe the image.
10. Don’t Give Up - There are no shortcuts when
8. Find and Fix Broken Pages - If we said earlier
transparent contact information does not seem
an SEO tip at first, but the search engines use this
information to boost your credibility which in
return will help your ranking.
WEB/ONLINE
site must have relevant metadata based on the
keywords you’re trying to rank for. To optimise
your site for Google, limit the page title (also
known as window title) to 70 characters, the page
description to 140 characters. Once you’ve added or
updated the metadata, use a preview tool to ensure
you haven’t exceeded the number of characters and
that it reads well.
MARKETING
how quickly your site loads is not only important
for SEO, but for user experience as well. When the
search engines crawl your site the pages should load
quickly because you are looking to get all the site’s
pages indexed. Google have publicly stated that this
is now a significant consideration, particularly with
the boom in mobile usage, where download size/
speed is of utmost importance.
BUSINESS SET UP
content in the shape of articles, howto guides and even elaborate FAQs
are the single most important factor for
constantly ranking higher up the search engines. By
posting high quality original content closely related
to your keywords the search engines will associate
your site with the search term and over time it will
become an authority site.
STEP BY STEP
Here are 10 SEO tips that should
give you a better chance:
LOCAL CONTACTS
of the most important factors in
ranking highly is the number of
backlinks (other sites pointing to
your site.). Work to increase this
number by registering with niche
directories, submitting articles,
submitting your work to galleries
etc as long as you keep it within the
search engines guidelines.
Building your backlink profile
takes times and even when
you do get quality links, it
might take some time before
the engines take notice.
INDEX
SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the
process of improving the volume of traffic
to a site from search engines such as
Google, Yahoo and Bing via unpaid
search results. Fundamentally, the
higher your site is ranking for a
particular search term, the
more traffic you’ll get.
it comes to improving your ranking. Be persistent,
work to generate quality content, follow up on the
above tips and with time your ranking will improve.
4. Consolidate Homepage Versions - When users
By Ran Nir, online marketing manager of Inkjet
Cartridges seller Photo Paper Direct.
45
RESOURCES
search for a keyword for which your site ranks for
they will often see your homepage first. The reason
for this is again tied to your authority and because
most other sites will link to your homepage,
therefore you need to get it right.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
Being at the top of Google is
every website owner’s desire but
just how important is it?
• 75 % of users never scroll past
the first page
The Google Keyword Tool can be
used to find which terms people
are searching for, and how much
competition there is. It also offers
suggestions for other keywords
that you might like to focus on.
46
For more information on how
you can get your website found
on Google, contact Wagada:
www.wagada.co.uk
RESOURCES
• 60% of people choose the top
three results to click on in search
engine results
Once you’ve done all this, you’re
ready to start on your linkbuilding strategy. Links into your
website count as points and the
more points you have, the higher
you rank. Links from high profile
websites are worth more points.
Focus on quality links rather than
quantity.
WEB/ONLINE
Keyword Research
Search engines look at the words
on your page to see what your
webpage is about before deciding
which terms to rank you for.
So you need to pick the terms
that your customers are actually
searching for to use in your
website. Are people looking for
removal company or removal
firm? You can find all this out
when you do your keyword
research.
MARKETING
But helping your customers to
find your website is the next
challenge. If you don’t actively
optimise your site for your
keywords and work on your
inbound link strategy you might
find that your customers are
dribbling in rather than flooding
to your carefully designed pages.
To get your search engine
optimisation campaign off the
ground you need to start with
your keyword research.
If you don’t know where to find
the above, you might need to
ask a specialist for help. And
don’t forget to fill out your page
description. This is the content
that Google displays in the
search results list. A persuasive
description will get you many
more clicks.
BUSINESS SET UP
So optimising your website is
about increasing your visibility.
But being at the top of Google
also implies that you are a trusted
brand giving you the sort of
kudos that’s equivalent to many
personal recommendations.
STEP BY STEP
Setting up your website is one
of the first challenges that new
business owners face. Choosing
a domain name, finding a
web designer and deciding
on the look and feel can be an
exhausting process and it is
tempting to think that the work
is done once your website goes
live.
Web-page Changes
Once you’ve selected your
keywords you need to add them
to your website. Focus on one
primary keyword per page and
insert it into the following areas
of the page:
•
<title> tag
•
<h1> tags
•
URLs
•
Page content
•
In bold, italic and in lists
•
Image filenames
LOCAL CONTACTS
If your keywords are highly
competitive, you might look
for some less competitive terms
which would be easier to rank
well for. You’ll have more success
on page one for a less popular
term than you will on page 5 for
a really competitive one.
INDEX
Why your website really needs search engine optimisation
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
INDEX
LOCAL CONTACTS
STEP BY STEP
BUSINESS SET UP
MARKETING
WEB/ONLINE
RESOURCES
47
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ONLINE MARKETING
INDEX
What should I include in my online marketing
activities?
i. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
25 million people search on Google each month in
the UK alone
ii. Pay per Click Advertising (PPC)
Most internet users have used search engines to
find the information they are looking for
That’s a huge market for your products & services
that can’t be ignored.
So what is online marketing & why do it?
iii. Email Marketing
Online marketing ensures your website is found
in online searches, across a wide variety of search
media and it increases the traffic to your website.
However, one of the most important things about
online marketing is that it generates pre-qualified
traffic. People have already made the decision to
search for your products or services before they
arrive at your website, since they are already
actively searching on keywords relating to your
products and services.
iv. Blogs
A blog (or web log) is a website that is updated
regularly with news and articles, a bit like an
online diary but much more than that. Blogs are a
48
RESOURCES
A highly visible website will enhance your
company image online and raise the profile of your
organization, and last but not least, all of your
online marketing activities will generate leads,
enquiries and sales.
WEB/ONLINE
Email is a great way of keeping in touch with your
customers and prospects, and much, much cheaper
than sending out printed newsletters. Emails can
be used in all sorts of ways – to give tips and useful
information, special offers & promotions and to
keep your customers loyal to you. Make sure you
build your list in house rather than buy in lists as
most people view emails they haven’t subscribed
to as spam. A well-crafted email, sent on a regular
basis ensures your prospects don’t forget about
you and makes it easier to cross sell and up sell
products and services.
MARKETING
The most popular PPC providers are Google
Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft
AdCenter. You can set your budget so that you don’t
overspend on clicks.
Online marketing is the marketing of products &
services on the internet. It covers many different
activities, which include search engine optimization
(SEO), pay per click advertising (or �sponsored
links’ such as Google Adwords), email marketing,
blogging and social media.
BUSINESS SET UP
PPC is a great way to kick start your online
marketing activities, particularly if you want quick
results from the search engines and can’t wait the
months it can take to gain high rankings. Businesses
pay for text ads to appear alongside search results
on sites such as Google, Yahoo and MSN and
every time someone clicks on one of the text ads,
a fee is paid. How much you pay depends on how
competitive the keywords are that you sponsor.
STEP BY STEP
Did You Know…
LOCAL CONTACTS
SEO will ensure your website is found in an online
search on sites such as Google and Yahoo, for
keywords relevant to the products and services that
you sell. It’s a long term strategy for your website,
ensuring your web pages are �optimized’ for success
in the search engines. The optimization process
looks at several factors which include keyword
research, the design & structure of a website,
internal and external links and meta tags. It takes
time for a website to rank in the search engines and
search engines are now very fussy about giving sites
high rankings unless they deserve it! Gaining high
rankings is not easy and search is becoming more
and more competitive.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
ONLINE MARKETING
- Some blog platforms are free – so low cost to
experiment with
There are lots of good reasons to start a blog:
- Search engine friendly – posts can be indexed and
be found in searches quickly (a few days)
Common blogging platforms include Blogger.com,
Wordpress and Typepad.
- Allow organizations to interact with their audience
Social media is becoming increasingly popular and
a great way for businesses to interact with their
target market. As social sites explode in popularity,
many businesses are seeing the benefits of finding
the resource to be on them, gain fans, use social
media for PR and find out what people really want
from their products & services.
INDEX
very popular way for businesses and organizations
to add regular content to their website and also
interact with visitors to their website as people can
actually comment on the �blog posts’. Comments
can be moderated so you don’t have to worry about
unsuitable comments being put up.
- Like SEO will raise profile of your organization
online, allows your organization to have a �voice’,
good for publicity & PR.
- Visitors can subscribe to blog posts by email or by
a �feed’
- Gives you the opportunity to put your view on
something, particularly if your organization is in the
news – good for PR
Savvy Marketers (www.savvymarketers.co.uk)
BUSINESS SET UP
The most popular social media site is Facebook and
My Space and Bebo are more popular with younger
audiences. Twitter has really taken off in recent
months too, and LinkedIn is popular with business
professionals. All of these sites are free and allow
businesses to further raise their profile online. But
beware – social networking can be addictive!
- Responsibility of the blog can be split between a
few members of staff, so one person doesn’t have
the worry of keeping it up to date themselves.
STEP BY STEP
- A very easy way of keeping a website up to date
– posts can be put up quickly and easily without
needing any technical expertise
LOCAL CONTACTS
v. Social Media
POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
49
YouTube (youtube.com)
More than 35 million searches
each month for �how to’
videos. That’s at least 35
million opportunities for
businesses to reach people
that may need their product or
service.
RESOURCES
Ecademy (ecademy.com)
Ecademy connects business
people all over the world.
Ecademy’s core intention
is to help business people
to be more successful and
promotes the values of a
business community who no
longer wish to be broadcast
to, but demand engagement
and conversation.
Google+ (plus.google.com)
Google+ integrates social
services such as Google
Profiles and Google Buzz,
Circles, Hangouts and
Sparks. Google+ is available
as a website and on mobile
devices. It is Google’s biggest
attempt to rival Facebook
which has over 800 million
users.
WEB/ONLINE
Linkedin (linkedin.com)
LinkedIn is a contact
network consisting of your
connections. Get in the habit
of connecting with all your
business contacts. When
you get a business card at
an event, find the contact on
LinkedIn and invite them to
join your network.
Facebook (facebook.com)
Facebook Pages allow you
to collect �fans’ the way
celebrities, sports teams,
musicians and politicians
do. Facebook marketing is
now one of the hottest trends
among online entrepreneurs
today.
MARKETING
Twitter (twitter.com)
Twitter is a free service which
allows users to exchange
short updates (up to 140
characters long), termed
�Tweets’ in a way similar to
SMS. Any Twitter user simply
clicks a �follow’ button to
receive another user’s public
messages in their Twitter feed
(becoming a �follower’).
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
SOCIAL NETWORKING
Social Networking - Who Needs It?
You already know you need to get more involved in
marketing your business online, and you can’t have
failed to notice social networks Twitter, YouTube and
Facebook being mentioned on TV and other, more
�traditional’ media.
Here some of the reasons why you need to be
involved in social networking.
Social Networking isn’t going away
The internet has changed
In the early days of the internet only large
corporations with deep pockets could afford a
website. Now there’s no excuse for not having an
online presence – especially with so many free
options available.
This will work just as well for many other local
businesses. Think of hotels, restaurants, florists,
bakers, garages, accountants, solicitors… the list is
limited only by your imagination!
There you have 4 reasons why your business needs
to be involved in online networking. We hope to
have persuaded you of some of the benefits and to
connect with you on the social networks soon!
В© Savvy Marketers, 2012
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Savvy Marketers
Sam McArthur and Louise Barnes-Johnston are �the
Savvy Marketers’! For a free copy of “The Ultimate
Small Business Guide to Marketing via the Internet”
visit: www.savvymarketers.co.uk
50
RESOURCES
The way people buy (and do business) has changed
There was a time when, if you wanted to arrange
a special meal out you’d ask a family member,
friend or neighbour if they could recommend a
�nice’ restaurant. Or you’d look under �restaurants’
in the phone book and take pot luck. Now people
are more likely to search the internet and to read
the online reviews from previous customers before
making their choice.
WEB/ONLINE
As a customer service tool, the social networks are
invaluable. Customers can tell a very large audience
exactly what they think of a service or product –
instantly. Anyone can ask questions on Twitter or
LinkedIn and expect helpful & informed answers.
MARKETING
Imagine you own a local car hire or taxi firm,
you’re on Twitter and monitoring what’s being
tweeted about your local area. Suddenly, a tweet
shows up from someone stuck at the station or
airport because their lift hasn’t turned up. You can
immediately tweet back with an offer to help. Not
only may your firm get the business, but everyone
who follows that person will have seen your offer
too – what great publicity!
BUSINESS SET UP
Social networking works for local businesses too
For the reasons above, local businesses definitely
need to take part in social networking. If you’ve
always relied on word of mouth to get more
business, then social networking is word of mouth
– on steroids!
Do you remember the days before we had Emails?
When we used to rely on posting letters, or sending
faxes? Sending and receiving messages by email
is almost instantaneous, compared to waiting for
the postman to deliver important documents - the
next day! And with social networks we can now
communicate with hundreds and thousands of
people all around the world, simply by typing our
thoughts onto the keyboard of whatever device
we’re using, hitting send and our message is out in
cyberspace, instantly.
STEP BY STEP
Using social networks, companies can spread the
word quickly about, for example, special offers or
new product launches, and drive more interested
traffic to their websites and stores. Loyal and
delighted customers will help by sharing their
experiences on Twitter & Facebook, and perhaps
even on their blogs.
LOCAL CONTACTS
What this all means is prospective customers are
likely to do at least some research using the internet
when they’re looking for the type of products or
services you provide, than to rely on the Yellow
Pages or other printed publications.
INDEX
The major supermarkets are now vying for the
opportunity to deliver the grocery shopping, at a
time that’s convenient to you, and even carry it right
into your kitchen!
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
USEFUL RESOURCES
www.oft.gov.uk
Advice & Support
Business in the
Community
www.bitc.org.uk
Business Link
www.businesslink.gov.uk
Federation of Small
Businesses (FSB)
02380 812699
The FSB is the UK’s largest
campaigning pressure group for
small business.
Horsesmouth
www.horsesmouth.co.uk
Horsesmouth is an online social
network for informal mentoring,
where everyone can give and
gain. You can search for a mentor,
be a mentor, or simply browse
the inspirational profiles and
stories on It’s safe and it’s free.
National Enterprise
Network
(Formerly National Federation
of Enterprise Agencies)
nationalenterprisenetwork.org
NFEA is the national enterprise
network. Members are drawn
from local enterprise agencies
and a wider range of enterprise
51
www.primeinitiative.co.uk
The PRIME Initiative provides
free information, events and
training to help older people get
back into work by starting their
own business - also known as
�becoming self-employed’.
The charity’s activities are needed
because the over-50s face huge
problems of unemployment
and age discrimination in the
conventional job market.
0800 783 1904
School for Start Ups
www.schoolforstartups.co.uk
The inspiration of serial
entrepreneur and angel investor
Doug Richard, School for
Startups is the UK’s leading
provider of business training
for entrepreneurs. They provide
expert tuition on the critical
issues entrepreneurs need to
understand, including how
to start a business, finance
and investment, product
management, managing
successful teams and
entrepreneurial marketing.
___________________________
RESOURCES
www.fsb.org.uk
www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets/se1.pdf
PRIME
WEB/ONLINE
Business Link is government’s
online resource for businesses.
It contains essential information,
support and services for you and
your business – whether you
work for a large organisation or
are on your way to starting up.
HM Revenue & Customs
(HMRC) was formed in 2005,
following the merger of Inland
Revenue and HM Customs and
Excise Departments. They ensure
the correct tax is paid at the right
time and their website contains
all the information that you need
to ensure that you comply with
the legal requirements. If you are
thinking of working for yourself,
there is a very useful leaflet at:
MARKETING
Business in the Community
mobilises business for good. Its
members commit to improve the
way in which they manage their
resources, be that their people or
the planet. 020 7566 8650
www.hmrc.gov.uk
BUSINESS SET UP
Armchair Advice
www.armchairadvice.co.uk
Advice and information regarding
redundancy and job loss.
HMRC
STEP BY STEP
You are not alone! There are plenty of resources designed to
help new business start ups. Here are some of the best...
Understanding the laws that
affect you is an important part
of running a successful business.
This site gives a quick guide to
the main rules covering how
you sell, how you treat your
customers, how you compete,
and how you can protect your
business from scams.
LOCAL CONTACTS
Office of Fair Trading
INDEX
support organisations and
provide an array of services to
new and emerging businesses,
including independent
and impartial advice, training and
mentoring. Search facility allows
you to for your nearest member.
01234 831623
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
USEFUL RESOURCES
Enham Business Ability
www.enham.org.uk
Shaw Trust
www.shaw-trust.org.uk
___________________________
bvca
www.bvca.co.uk
Fredericks Foundation
www.fredericksfoundation.org
Olderpreneur
Loan Scheme
Telegraph Business Club
www.telegraphbusinessclub.co.uk
The Telegraph Business Club
is run by the Daily Telegraph
newspaper and has one simple
aim: to help dynamic
entrepreneurs and ambitious
business professionals to become
more successful. Weekly enewsletter contains case
studies and business information.
__________________________
Co-Operatives
Growing Your Own
Business
growingyourownbusiness.co.uk
Attending Growing Your Own
Business is your opportunity to
learn from experts, network with
your peers and suppliers and find
out how best to develop your
business. Dates can be found
online.
___________________________
Franchises
British Franchise
Association
www.thebfa.org
The association is the self
regulatory body of the industry.
The BFA was set up in 1977
by some of the major franchise
companies to act in the interests
of the industry as a whole and
to promote ethical standards
within franchising. The
Association demands that all
members meet it’s standards and
that the franchise is set up and
operates in an ethical manner.
___________________________
www.primebusinessclub.com
Co-operative Assistance
Network (CAN) Ltd
PRIME has teamed up with Zopa
Ltd and Bank of America to create
a peer-to-peer loan scheme to
help people aged 50+ to raise
the capital to start a business.
The scheme is designed for
people over 50 who are finding
it difficult to raise money directly
C.A.N. aims to be a good example
of a worker co-operative and to
assist in the development of coBad News
operatives.
www.cobwebinfo.com
___________________________ BAD News (Business Advisers’
News), a free weekly bulletin for
business advisers.
WEB/ONLINE
Fredericks Foundation is a
charity that helps disadvantaged
people to
The Federation of Small
Businesses is the largest
campaigning pressure group
promoting and protecting the
interests of the selfemployed and
owners of small firms. Formed in
1974, it now has over 200,000+
members across 33 regions and
230 branches. If you would like
to find out more about being
involved with the activities of
the committee to support local
businesses or you would
like to attend a branch meeting
just to find out what goes on visit
the website at www.fsb.co.uk
The UK �s only show designed
specifically to help people with
an idea for a business, in the
early stages starting a business
or determined to grow your
small business. A FREE huge
exhibition, a seminar programme,
one-to-one advice, informal and
formal networking.
MARKETING
The BVCA is the industry body
and public policy advocate for the
private equity and venture capital
industry in the UK. Our members
come from venture capital,
through mid-market, to private
equity/large buy-out houses from
all over Britain.
020 7420 1800
www.fsb.org.uk
www.bstartup.com
BUSINESS SET UP
Funding & Finance
FSB
Business Start Up
STEP BY STEP
Shaw Trust is a national charity
which supports disabled and
disadvantaged people to prepare
for work, find jobs and live more
independently. 01225 716 300
Clubs/Societies
Exhibitions
LOCAL CONTACTS
Enham’s Business Ability Division
provides a free and confidential
service, which helps people with
disabilities throughout the South
East of England, start their own
businesses. 01264 345800
from a bank. It allows someone to
borrow anything from ВЈ1,000 up
to ВЈ15,000 - as long as they have
a strong, viable business plan and
a clean credit history.
0208 765 7475
___________________________
INDEX
Disabled
& Disadvantaged
www.can.coop
Newsletters
RESOURCES
52
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
USEFUL RESOURCES
www.fpb.org
Headstart
www.startups.co.uk
New Business
www.newbusiness.co.uk
Publications
Better Business
NewBusiness Magazine offers
business advice and the latest
business news for small to
medium size businesses and
entrepreneurs. Subscribe online
or register to receive their
newsletter.
Free online search tool for
business names, trade marks,
domain names.
Business Link
www.businesslink.gov.uk
Businessballs
www.businessballs.com
Free material & ideas
Start Your Own Business
Business Bricks
We started this site in 2005 the
genuine hope that we could help
anyone thinking of setting up on
their own. As you can see there
is a wide range of help available
- but how would you know that
it all exists without having to
undertake lots of research? We
sincerely hope that you find both
this giude and our website useful
and wish you the very best of
luck with your business.
Small Business Newsletter
www.syob.co.uk
Start Your Business
www.sybmagazine.com
www.businessbricks.co.uk
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
www.adviceguide.org.uk
Chambers of Commerce
www.britishchambers.org.uk
Companies House
www.companieshouse.gov.uk
Confederation
of British Industry
www.cbi.org.uk
Recognised as a leading small
business magazine. Readers
include people running
businesses and those planning
to start up. Available by
subscription only and is not
available on news stands.
Daltons Weekly
What Franchise?
www.daltonsbusiness.com
www.whatfranchisemagazine.co.uk
www.hse.gov.uk
Printed version available from
newsagents and is packed
with business opportunities.
The website is the UK’s largest
database of businesses for sale
with over 25,000 businesses
listed.
Is packed with independent
advice and up-to-the-minute
information on the nuts and
bolts of buying a franchise, while
authoritative editorials.
___________________________
Homeworking
www.firstvoice.co.uk
“Business Network” magazine
Health & Safety
Executive
Home of H&S Executive.
Free leaflets available
www.homeworking.com
Running a business from home.
My Business
Websites
www.mybusiness.co.uk
All Business
53
National Enterprise
RESOURCES
www.thefranchisemagazine.net
First Voice
WEB/ONLINE
The Franchise Magazine
www.fpb.co.uk
MARKETING
Forum of
Private Business
Start Your Business Magazine is a
monthly glossy publication that
aims to help businesses start-up,
grow and flourish in every aspect.
Distributed through enterprise
agencies and the news trade, but
you can save up to 30% if you
subscribe from their website.
www.better-business.co.uk
BUSINESS SET UP
Exclusive information from
newbusiness.co.uk Sign up
by simply entering your email
address and clicking the �Sign Up’
button on their site.
___________________________
www.newbusiness.co.uk
www.anewbusiness.co.uk
STEP BY STEP
Free news, views, advice and
inspiration to help your new
business. Headstart is brought to
you by Startups.co.uk, the
UK’s No. 1 resource for people
starting their own business.
New Business Magazine
A New Business
LOCAL CONTACTS
To receive their free eNewsletter
visit website where you can sign
up to receive regular and up-todate information for small and
medium-sized businesses.
www.allbusiness.com
INDEX
Forum of Private
Business
The UK’s best selling franchise
title and is published 8 times a
year. Each edition contains more
than 150 pages.
START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
nationalenterprisenetwork.org
Nomis Web
www.nomisweb.co.uk
Government statistics
www.oft.gov.uk
Prince’s Trust
www.princes-trust.org.uk
Small Business
www.smallbusiness.co.uk
www.ipo.gov.uk
Copyright, Designs, Patents and
Trade Marks in the UK
Small Business
www.smallbusiness.co.uk
Start in Business
www.startinbusiness.co.uk
Start Ups
www.startups.co.uk
Start Your Own Business
www.syob.co.uk
____________________
Women in Business
Prowess
STEP BY STEP
Intellectual Property
Office
www.realbusiness.co.uk
LOCAL CONTACTS
Office of Fair Trading
Real Business
INDEX
Network
www.prowess.org.uk
Young Enterprise
Women’s Wisdom
www.learndirect.co.uk
Hundreds of online courses.
Institute of Directors
www.iod.com
From free business information
and advice. The IoD provides
support in all areas of
professional life
Up My Street
www.upmystreet.com
www.young-enterprise.org.uk
__________________________
Biz Help 24
www.bizhelp24.com
Byte Start
www.womenswisdom.co.uk
Get your new business off to a
flying start by sharing the high’s
and low’s with other startups.
Small groups. Already running
but want to be flying? Call us
now to join a group near you.
02392 412956
WEB/ONLINE
Start Up Portals
MARKETING
Info by postcode area
Prowess is the UK association of
organisations and individuals
who support the growth of
women’s business ownership.
Their work encompasses
raising awareness, sharing of
best practice, advocacy and
information. Prowess has over
300 members who support
100,000 women each year to start
10,000 new businesses which
contribute an additional ВЈ1.5
billion to the economy.
01603 762355
BUSINESS SET UP
Learndirect
www.bytestart.co.uk
RESOURCES
New Business
www.newbusiness.co.uk
Now lets get started
www.nowletsgetstarted.co.uk
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