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

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  Another jargon-buster for entrepreneurs _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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


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
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 chris.lee@princes-trust 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