Free Lunch – business support

Free Lunch signposts free sources of information and support for entrepreneurs starting and growing 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. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_ain%27t_no_such_thing_as_a_free_lunch

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 (other than your time) 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 http://www.startupdonut.co.uk/business-planning/start-up-business-jargon-buster 

Another jargon-buster for entrepreneurs https://www.theguardian.com/barclays-lets-go-forward/2017/aug/14/how-to-be-an-entrepreneur-the-jargon-buster-youll-need-to-succeed

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Diary dates

Local and national business events can be a great opportunity for coming in on the coat-tails of a bigger promotion. If you can offer a profile of you and your business (+ photos and quotes) you can often reach places you wouldn’t be able to in media terms, and think about possible promotional events – market stalls for sales and networking. Check out      

Global Entrepreneurship Week – 13 – 19 November http://gew.co                                               Small Business Saturday – 2 December https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com

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Published to mark World Mental Health Day 2017http://www.wfmh.global/wmh-day/wmhd-theme-2017

Eight low-cost apps to help make your life a little easier https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/06/8-apps-to-hack-your-life-sex-sleep-stuart-heritage

Run your business the mindful way https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/jul/10/calm-under-pressure-run-your-business-the-mindful-way?CMP=share_btn_tw

A guide to mental health services https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/your-guide-to-support/guide-to-camhs

Apps: https://www.mindcharity.co.uk/advice-information/how-to-look-after-your-mental-health/apps-for-wellbeing-and-mental-health

Use of healthcare apps for employers and employees http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/healthcare-apps-revolutionising-employee-wellbeing

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Let’s get this out of the way first…Why there’s no shame in second time entrepreneurship https://www.businesszone.co.uk/deep-dive/future/why-theres-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 https://www.cobwebinfo.com/about
There is a half-way between your home and your office. How to benefit from a co-working space http://newworker.co/mag/how-to-utilize-your-coworking-space-for-worklife-balance
And having premises doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’ … Creative ways to cut the cost of premises www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/aug/25/pop-up-deliveroo-firms-bricks-mortar-business-rates?CMP=share_btn_tw
And when the time is right… Advice on when a pop-up or mobile start-up might put down roots www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/kia-fleet-partner-zone/2017/mar/15/mobile-business-when-should-you-commit-to-bricks-and-mortar
Notes from an online marketing masterclass run by www.wearegrow.com E-mail chris.lee@princes-trust for a copy.

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Following on from the ‘market stalls’ piece below …. Why craft-based businesses should attend fairshttps://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/may/02/run-craft-business-fair-craft-month-price-market 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 Excelhttps://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-use-excel-tips

We bang on about pitching your business – but you should never stop polishing. Try these 5 tips for pitching http://inspire2enterprise.org/pitch-social-enterprises-big-idea-not-lose-room-coffee-shop and www.inpire2enterprise.org 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 http://blog.invoiceberry.com/2017/02/easy-guide-facebook-ads-google-adwords-small-businesses

Following the piece below on taking credit card payments, try this Useful guide to chip and pin machines http://startups.co.uk/how-much-is-a-chip-and-pin-machine

How to fail at crowdfunding https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/20/how-to-fail-at-kickstarter-even-if-you-get-funded

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Free online tutorials from Google https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage

Some marketing tips – with an emphasis on digital https://wearegrow.com/15-marketing-ideas-that-will-boost-your-business-growth

Four reasons to set up a Facebook page for your business (if you don’t have one already) www.myoutsourcedmarketingteam.com/4-myths-about-facebook-pages-for-small-business

The art of persuasion in 1 minute https://vimeo.com/226897918/f3c310d4ab a neat film clip from an expert in public speaking

6 pricing strategies to increase sales https://wearegrow.com/pricing-strategies

See the Guardian’s Small Business ‘How to guides’ www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/series/how-to

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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 www.stallfinder.com/search/event Search by ‘county’ then ‘food’ ‘crafts’ ‘vintage’ etc

 Top tips for pitching your business www.the-sse.org/resources/idea/communicating-your-idea/?utm_sq=fhnj4s5aht   Written for social businesses but useful for all

How to live within your means (personal survival budgets and all that)   www.wikihow.com/Live-Within-Your-Means

Productivity problems? Do you have trouble with getting things done and time management? If so, this is a great source for getting helphttp://academy.thinkproductive.com

A bit about crowdfunding: You launch a campaign to raise small amount of money from a large number of people. Find out how it workswww.crowdfunder.co.uk/how-it-works Note: there are lots of crowdfunding platforms – Crowdfunder is just one of them. For a great podcast on the basics of crowdfunding go to www.jengale.co.uk/016-using-crowdfunding-ethical-social-business/?utm_sq=fhz4mczhjv

A guide to maternity leave for self-employed workers www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/aug/07/advice-maternity-leave-freelancer-self-employed

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Marketing Donut: A useful website www.marketingdonut.co.uk 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 https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/free-lunch-start-up-tips

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   www.ilovefreegle.org/groups    www.freecycle.org/browse/UK

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29 ways to get found on social media http://watertightmarketing.com/2017/03/16/29-ways-to-make-sure-your-business-gets-found-in-social-media

FutureLearn  www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-1 – first of 6 x 2 week courses (3 hours per week) around starting a business.

Making videos? Tips on things to avoidwww.charitycomms.org.uk/articles/the-five-villains-of-charity-video-production-and-how-to-defeat-them?utm_source=eNews%2015%20Mar%202017&utm_campaign=Villains%20charity%20video%20Tom%20Tapper&utm_medium=EmailTalking about charity videos but good advice for everyone.

Finance basics for small businesses https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/dec/06/beginners-guide-business-money-maths-gross-profit-margins

Pricing your products: We know that pricing is not a science so useful advice is welcome. Here is some http://firstround.com/review/our-6-must-reads-on-pricing-a-product and http://firstround.com/review/the-price-is-right-essential-tips-for-nailing-your-pricing-strategy Written for an American readership but still relevant.

Great tips on home-based business start-up www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/may/27/home-based-food-business-starting-up ?  

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A ‘first 100 days’ checklist for business start-ups http://startups.co.uk/first-100-days-the-start-up-checklist-every-new-business-needs 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 www.businessballs.com/index.htm (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 www.mindcharity.co.uk/advice-information/how-to-look-after-your-mental-health/apps-for-wellbeing-and-mental-health

For useful information sheets on different aspects of starting/running a business take a look here www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/free-resource 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 www.izettle.com/gb and a new kid on the block, Squarehttps://squareup.com/gb

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Watch this space for new items every 2 weeks

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