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 

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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