Free Lunch – business support

Free Lunch signposts free sources of information and support for entrepreneurs starting and growing their businesses.

As regards the name, you may well know the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. This originates from the past practice of saloons in the USA offering free (salty and dry) snacks on the principle that customers will then buy drinks and make the incentive cost-effective.

In reality there’s a wealth of free quality advice and support out there for entrepreneurs – with no strings attached – so why increase your costs when getting your business off the ground?

Jargon-buster: If you’re starting a business, you’ll need to know the language. This is a good jargon-buster to get you started  Another jargon-buster for entrepreneurs ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

What does it take to start a successful business?

The four elements of entrepreneurship

Is self-employment for you?

Four things you need to know about self-employment 

The problem with modern day entrepreneurs

How to run a side business alongside a fulltime job

5 hobbies to make you a smarter entrepreneur

Learning to switch off


8 steps to a healthy business

How to manage and reduce your stress

 Smart ways to improve your work-life balance

Wellbeing at work

How to work all the time and avoid burnout

How to have a phone detox

Wellbeing and small business—how-you-can-help.pdf

Ten apps for stressed out entrepreneurs

Your health – a help guide


What is GDPR?

A checklist from Federation of Small Businesses

How to ensure GDPR doesn’t damage your customer base?

GDPR Guide

50-minute online learning module on GDPR


13 tips to grow your small business

Trade secrets – what they don’t tell you about starting a business

Learning to love networking

Time-saving tips for small businesses

Entrepreneurs must invest in themselves

Interesting article on the importance of ‘purpose’ in your business


‘Selling to the right people’ special

Great ideas for using social media for market research

Princes Trust guidance on market research

Online mystery shopping For an example of how you can do market research on the NextDoor social platform, e-mail

Are you marketing your products and services to the right people?

How to build your buyer persona [ideal/typical customer]

Building your list (for e-mail marketing) 


“I find the ‘Free Lunch’ e-mails really helpful. They’re packed full of useful information such as business tips, social media help, and networking events that I otherwise wouldn’t know about.” Lisa ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

9 signs you’re successful (even if it doesn’t feel like it!)

How independent coffee shops can compete with the high street chains

Product photography tips

How to conquer networking nerves

NatWest Legal Nutshells Guides 2-pagers on: Data Protection; Confidentiality Agreements; Commercial Contracts; Intellectual Property; Business Trading Entities; Competition Law. Not available direct from NatWest, so e-mail for a copy

Winning the sale without dropping the price


“The ‘Free Lunch’ mailings help me keep my focus on the goals that I have set out for myself.” Tina ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Branding & Design special

What makes a great logo?

The key ingredients of a strong brand or

Where to find free images for your website and social media pages and

Freelance designer’s marketing playbook

Thinking about a business card?  plus

Copyright, design and patents – COBRA Reports available from

Not free, but recommended by a Prince’s Trust entrepreneur…

How to style your brand–Everything-You-Need-to-Know-to-C/20872208 a book to help you understand design, typography and the use of colour to build your business’s personality


A great series of short guides for business start-ups (includes premises, tax, business plans, legal structures, managing cash flow)

Digital toolbox: apps and other technology for keeping your business running smoothly. Including this advice on customer relationship management (CRM)

What does it take to succeed? The hard work vs talent debate

7 investments to make in yourself


Getting your words right…

Choosing a business name



Testimonials for websites and other publicity materials

How to explain things clearly and with authority

Mind your language

How to write headlines that grab attention

Good and bad ways to close an e-mail and other written communications


Enterprise essentials – 21 tips for starting a business

A photographer’s guide to making the most of your business

Your business premises options

What goes in a marketing plan?

One of many great free tips on effective communication from Andy Bounds

Coping with the solitude of self-employment


Overcoming procrastination and increasing your productivity…

Sometimes getting your business started is knowing how to get started! Here’s some advice to help you avoid overload

Breaking down procrastination habits

Choosing without deciding

Inside the mind of a procrastinator (a funny TED Talk that rings true for many!)

Productivity Apps assessed

Best productivity hacks of 2017

Kelly Hoppen’s productivity tips

Seven apps to make you more productive

How to regain your motivation


Selling for Start-ups special

The experts’ guide to selling ideas

The art of persuasion in 1 minute

Sales and selling – training and techniques

Selling the benefits of your product or service

How to write a winning sales proposal much the same principles apply whether it’s a written or verbal pitch.

Selling overseas – a guide

E-commerce sites – one of the best known online selling platforms for your small business store is probably but has also been recommended

Selling in a digitally transformed world

How independents are competing with the chains


Website content checklist for small businesses

New free Business to Business information service

21 podcasts on work-life balance

Business Model Canvas by some as a simplified (it can fit on one sheet of paper) ‘starter’ on the business planning menu.

10 e-mail marketing mistakes to avoid good general advice as well

How to improve your presentation skills

Thinking about a business card?  plus


How to be charismatic:

The British Library IP and Business Centre is a great source of useful articles and advice. IP stands for Intellectual Property but there’s much more than just advice about protecting your ideas. Also some useful free Industry Guides here

Ten online marketing ideas anyone can do

Online surveys: You can get free help with design, distribution and analysis from SurveyMonkey and Google Forms (both free, but Google give you more questions and analysis)

E-commerce sites – one of the best known online selling platforms for your small business store is probably but has also been recommended

Join 25 million other people in enjoying this very funny promotional video A good ‘explainer video’ on your website is worth thinking about…


Published to mark World Mental Health Day 2017

Eight low-cost apps to help make your life a little easier

Run your business the mindful way

A guide to mental health services


Use of healthcare apps for employers and employees _______________________________________________________________________

Let’s get this out of the way first…Why there’s no shame in second time entrepreneurship

If you’re wanting to research the market for your industry sector you can sign up for a free trial to Cobweb Information and/or Princes Trust can do a free search for PT-supported businesses.

There is a half-way between your home and your office. How to benefit from a co-working space

And having premises doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’ … Creative ways to cut the cost of premises  And when the time is right…

Advice on when a pop-up or mobile start-up might put down roots

Notes from an online marketing masterclass run by E-mail for a copy.



Following on from the ‘market stalls’ piece below …. Why craft-based businesses should attend fairs It applies to other businesses as well

Does working with spreadsheets fill you with dread? Try these 14 simple tips, tricks and shortcuts for using Excel

We bang on about pitching your business – but you should never stop polishing. Try these 5 tips for pitching and are a great source of business information (for social enterprises but equally relevant for small enterprises)

A guide to Google and Facebook ads for small businesses

Following the piece below on taking credit card payments, try this Useful guide to chip and pin machines

How to fail at crowdfunding


Free online tutorials from Google

Some marketing tips – with an emphasis on digital

Four reasons to set up a Facebook page for your business (if you don’t have one already)

The art of persuasion in 1 minute a neat film clip from an expert in public speaking

6 pricing strategies to increase sales

See the Guardian’s Small Business ‘How to guides’


Market stalls are good for market research and test-trading in a low-cost pop-up context. There are lots of market and fairs that could provide suitable opportunities. One way to find them is by using this search facility Search by ‘county’ then ‘food’ ‘crafts’ ‘vintage’ etc

 Top tips for pitching your business   Written for social businesses but useful for all

How to live within your means (personal survival budgets and all that)

Productivity problems? Do you have trouble with getting things done and time management? If so, this is a great source for getting help

A bit about crowdfunding: You launch a campaign to raise small amount of money from a large number of people. Find out how it Note: there are lots of crowdfunding platforms – Crowdfunder is just one of them. For a great podcast on the basics of crowdfunding go to

A guide to maternity leave for self-employed workers


Marketing Donut: A useful website with marketing resources and tools for businesses, including a section on online marketing

Free lunch: a series of blogs on themes inspired by Princes Trust entrepreneurs starting their own businesses

Freegle/Freecycle: You don’t need to pay hard cash for much of your office equipment. Go online, find your local Freegle or Freecycle Group (they’re both pretty much the same and you can join more than one group), sign up for free, and away you go


29 ways to get found on social media

FutureLearn – first of 6 x 2 week courses (3 hours per week) around starting a business.

Making videos? Tips on things to about charity videos but good advice for everyone.

Finance basics for small businesses

Pricing your products: We know that pricing is not a science so useful advice is welcome. Here is some and Written for an American readership but still relevant.

Great tips on home-based business start-up ?  


A ‘first 100 days’ checklist for business start-ups OK, some of you may be past your ‘first 100 days’ but it’s never too late to learn.

Businessballs is a wonderfully comprehensive online source of information on many aspects of the business world. Check it out at (use the index on the left hand side of the screen).

You can get stressed out doing things you love. So even if your business is going well, you need to make sure you keep that work/life balance – attend to the things that really matter. And if the stress gets out of hand you might like to check out some of these free apps to re-balance

For useful information sheets on different aspects of starting/running a business take a look here There are useful answers to questions about costing and pricing products.

Taking card payments: There are various providers offering services with a range of charges. Two that claim to be designed for easy access are iZettle and a new kid on the block, Square


Watch this space for new items every 2 weeks