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 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Getting your words right…
Choosing a business name
Testimonials for websites and other publicity materials https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/how-to-write-testimonials-examples
How to explain things clearly and with authority https://www.trainingzone.co.uk/content/how-to-create-content-that-doesnt-sound-like-gobbledegook?
Mind your language https://www.articulatemarketing.com/blog/spot-sucky-writing
How to write headlines that grab attention https://silxdigital.com/look-over-here
Enterprise essentials – 21 tips for starting a business https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/enterprise-essentials-21-tips-from-startup-2018
A photographer’s guide to making the most of your business https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/nov/21/photographers-guide-raising-your-business-profile
Your business premises options http://www.startupdonut.co.uk/business-premises/your-premises-options-home-office-rent-or-buy
What goes in a marketing plan? https://ffb.co.uk/blog/81-business-blog/580-have-you-got-your-2018-marketing-plan-in-place
One of many great free tips on effective communication from Andy Bounds http://www.andybounds.com/84/section.aspx/82/the_best_way_to_prepare__talk_to_yourself
Coping with the solitude of self-employment https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/may/10/home-alone-dealing-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 www.jengale.co.uk/one-simple-tool-for-changemakers-to-help-beat-overwhelm
Breaking down procrastination habits https://thinkproductive.co.uk/breaking-down-procrastination-habits
Choosing without deciding http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/12/choosing-with-out-deciding.html
Inside the mind of a procrastinator https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator (a funny TED Talk that rings true for many!)
Productivity Apps assessed https://thinkproductive.co.uk/category/productivity-apps-in-test
Best productivity hacks of 2017 https://thinkproductive.co.uk/best-productivity-hacks-of-2017
Kelly Hoppen’s productivity tips https://www.theguardian.com/business-to-business/2017/dec/04/dragons-den-star-kelly-hoppens-top-seven-productivity-tips
Seven apps to make you more productive https://www.theguardian.com/business-made-simple-with-vodafone/2017/nov/03/seven-apps-that-will-make-you-more-productive
How to regain your motivation http://www.jengale.co.uk/episode-21
Selling for Start-ups special
The experts’ guide to selling ideas https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/nov/22/pitch-perfect-the-experts-guide-to-selling-an-idea
The art of persuasion in 1 minute https://vimeo.com/226897918/f3c310d4ab
Sales and selling – training and techniques http://businessballs.com/salestraining.htm
Selling the benefits of your product or service https://www.startupdonut.co.uk/sales-and-marketing/sales-techniques/q-a-selling-the-benefits-and-dealing-with-objections
How to write a winning sales proposal www.valuablecontent.co.uk/blog/how-to-write-persuasive-sales-winning-proposals much the same principles apply whether it’s a written or verbal pitch.
Selling overseas – a guide http://www.startupdonut.co.uk/hub/export-essentials/selling-to-customers-overseas-free-guide
Selling in a digitally transformed world https://www.jillkonrath.com/sales-blog/interview-with-donal-daly
How independents are competing with the chains https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/why-independent-bookstores-haved-thrived-in-spite-of-amazon-com
Website content checklist for small businesses https://gillandrews.com/website-content-checklist-small-business/
New free Business to Business information service https://www.theguardian.com/info/2017/oct/03/the-guardian-b2b-sign-up-for-the-regular-business-to-business-email
21 podcasts on work-life balance https://blog.todoist.com/2015/03/04/21-podcasts-to-listen-to-productivity-work-life-balance-pursuit-of-happiness
Business Model Canvas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoAOzMTLP5sfavoured 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 http://blog.invoiceberry.com/2017/07/stop-making-10-email-marketing-mistakes-drastically-improve-traffic good general advice as well
How to improve your presentation skills www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/sep/12/want-to-win-over-an-audience-how-to-improve-your-presentation-skills
Thinking about a business card? https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/oct/16/theyll-be-around-as-long-as-people-shake-hands-why-business-cards-wont-die plus https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/small-card-big-message
The British Library IP and Business Centre www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-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 https://bitly.im/0RgNR
Ten online marketing ideas anyone can do http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/blog/16/11/ten-online-marketing-ideas-anyone-can-do
Online surveys: You can get free help with design, distribution and analysis from SurveyMonkey www.surveymonkey.co.uk and Google Forms www.google.com/forms/about (both free, but Google give you more questions and analysis)
Join 25 million other people in enjoying this very funny promotional video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI A good ‘explainer video’ on your website is worth thinking about…
Published to mark World Mental Health Day 2017 http://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
Use of healthcare apps for employers and employees http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/healthcare-apps-revolutionising-employee-wellbeing _______________________________________________________________________
- 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 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 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
- Some interesting-looking workshops for October Free Herts Growth Hub business skills events https://www.hertsgrowthhub.com/events Check out http://eventpilot.evolutive.co.uk/events.aspx?siteID=278 if you’re in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
- Notes from an online marketing masterclass run by www.wearegrow.com E-mail email@example.com for a copy.
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
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
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
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
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 avoid… www.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 ?
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
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
Watch this space for new items every 2 weeks