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 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 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

What does it take to start a successful business?

The four elements of entrepreneurship http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2018/01/the-three-elements-of-entrepreneurship.html

Is self-employment for you? https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/02/20/how-to-decide-whether-you-should-be-your-own-boss-or-work-for-someone-else/#4f5c742e78b8

Four things you need to know about self-employment https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/04/real-story-of-self-employment.html 

The problem with modern day entrepreneurs https://theascent.pub/the-problems-with-the-modern-day-entrepreneurship-culture-31282f3be6cd

How to run a side business alongside a fulltime job https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/05/balancing-side-hustles.html

5 hobbies to make you a smarter entrepreneur https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/05/hobbies-that-make-you-smarter.html?tr=s-ep

Learning to switch off https://realbusiness.co.uk/hr-and-management/2018/05/08/being-driven-is-blessing-but-entrepreneurs-should-learn-to-switch-off

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8 steps to a healthy business

How to manage and reduce your stress https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-manage-and-reduce-stress

 Smart ways to improve your work-life balance  https://www.startupdonut.co.uk/start-up-business-ideas/is-running-a-business-really-for-you/smart-ways-to-improve-your-work-life-balance

Wellbeing at work https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/oct/11/six-steps-to-improving-mental-wellbeing-work

How to work all the time and avoid burnout https://blog.aha.io/the-founders-paradox-how-to-always-work-and-avoid-burnout

How to have a phone detox https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/13/how-to-quit-your-tech-phone-digital-detox

Wellbeing and small business http://www.fsb.org.uk/docs/default-source/fsb-org-uk/well-being-and-small-business—how-you-can-help.pdf

Ten apps for stressed out entrepreneurs https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/03/best-meditation-apps-small-business.html

Your health – a help guide https://www.helpguide.org

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What is GDPR?

A checklist from Federation of Small Businesses https://www.fsb.org.uk/standing-up-for-you/our-campaigns/fsbedataready/gdpr-preperation-checklist

How to ensure GDPR doesn’t damage your customer base?   https://www.hertsgrowthhub.com/post?post_id=341

GDPR Guide http://www.mailmen.co.uk/sites/default/files/GDPR_Guide.pdf

50-minute online learning module on GDPR https://www.cobwebinfo.com/gdpr-in-practice

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13 tips to grow your small business https://www.wenta.co.uk/articles-insights/articles/13-tips-to-grow-your-small-business

Trade secrets – what they don’t tell you about starting a business https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/trade-secrets

Learning to love networking https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2018/feb/28/work-room-psychologists-career-tips-reluctant-networker

Time-saving tips for small businesses https://www.enterprisenation.com/blog/posts/top-time-saving-tips-for-small-businesses

Entrepreneurs must invest in themselves https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/entrepreneurs-must-invest-themselves-not-just-their-business

Interesting article on the importance of ‘purpose’ in your business https://corporate-rebels.com/purpose-in-business

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‘Selling to the right people’ special

Great ideas for using social media for market research http://www.socialfish.org/2018/01/5-ideas-for-your-2018-social-media-editorial-calendar

Princes Trust guidance on market research https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/tools-resources/business-tools/marketing

Online mystery shopping For an example of how you can do market research on the NextDoor social platform, e-mail chris.lee@princes-trust.org.uk

Are you marketing your products and services to the right people? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-marketing-your-services-right-people-annette-welsford

How to build your buyer persona [ideal/typical customer] https://www.evergreenfeed.com/blog/how-to-define-buyer-persona-for-your-content-strategy

Building your list (for e-mail marketing) http://commonsensemarketing.com.au/building-your-list 

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“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!) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nine-signs-youre-successfuleven-doesnt-feel-like-dr-travis-bradberry

How independent coffee shops can compete with the high street chains https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2015/may/14/how-to-start-coffee-shop-business

Product photography tips https://www.diyphotography.net/7-functional-tips-better-product-photography

How to conquer networking nerves http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/exhibitions-and-events/networking/how-i-conquered-my-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 chris.lee@princes-trust.org.uk for a copy

Winning the sale without dropping the price https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/sales/sales-techniques-and-negotiations/winning-the-sale-without-dropping-the-price

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“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? https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/jul/20/from-nikes-swoosh-to-amazons-smile-power-of-logos-design-branding

The key ingredients of a strong brand http://bit.ly/2BcA8rs or https://www.enterprisenation.com/blog/posts/the-key-ingredients-of-a-strong-brand-report-download?mc_cid=cfd00a9904&mc_eid=c48592cb57

Where to find free images for your website and social media pages http://snip.ly/e1tb8 and https://www.evergreenfeed.com/blog/websites-find-images-blog-social-media

Freelance designer’s marketing playbook https://www.route1print.co.uk/freelancers-marketing-playbook

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

Copyright, design and patents – COBRA Reports available from chris.lee@princes-trust.org.uk

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

How to style your brand www.hive.co.uk/Product/Fiona-Humberstone/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

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A great series of short guides for business start-ups  http://www.businessadviceservice.com/all-business-guides/startups/ (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) www.pioneerspost.com/business-school/20170802/digital-toobox-sales-how-keep-track-of-your-customers

What does it take to succeed? http://www.lifehack.org/652055/why-hard-work-is-better-than-talent The hard work vs talent debate

7 investments to make in yourself https://medium.com/the-mission/you-dont-deserve-what-you-want-until-you-make-these-7-investments-in-yourself-841c716a0dcf

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Getting your words right…

Choosing a business name

http://blog.invoiceberry.com/2017/01/26-expert-choosing-perfect-business-name

also www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/aug/22/longer-is-better-and-dont-invent-words-picking-the-right-name-for-your-business

and http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-best-and-worst-business-names_n_917489

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

Good and bad ways to close an e-mail http://justwrite.info/how-to-close-an-email and other written communications http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09plwxh

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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

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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

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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

E-commerce sites – one of the best known online selling platforms for your small business store is probably https://www.shopify.co.uk buthttps://woocommerce.com has also been recommended

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

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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

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How to be charismatic: https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/mar/03/charisma-train-yourself-magnetic-entrepreneurs-win-customers

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)

E-commerce sites – one of the best known online selling platforms for your small business store is probably https://www.shopify.co.uk but https://woocommerce.com has also been recommended

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…

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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

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 _______________________________________________________________________

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

Notes from an online marketing masterclass run by www.wearegrow.com E-mail chris.lee@princes-trust.org.uk 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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