Tag: Small Business

Support for Small Business From Federation of Small Businesses UK

Support for Small Business From Federation of Small Businesses UK

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is the largest organisation that actively campaigns on behalf of the millions of small owner-managed organisations across Britain.

Membership of this non-profit organisation is only open to business owners who are actively involved in running their own commercial operations, whether as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. Set up in the mid-1970s the FSB had grown to over 213,000 members by mid-2010.

Every member of the FSB is entitled to a number of direct benefits, such as free services or discounts. They are also supporting a body who lobby central and local government on their behalf.

Benefits Available to FSB Members

The FSB operates through over 200 branches spread across the UK. Those joining the FSB are automatically assigned to a branch based on their geography, although they are free to get involved other other branches if they choose to.

The FSB offers its members networking opportunities through a schedule of events, such as breakfast meetings, presentations on specific subjects, and annual celebrations. They also get involved in local event, providing a focal point for business owners.

In addition to networking, the FSB operates a members’ directory on its website. The directory can be searched by anyone looking for a specific business, even if they are not a member themselves.

Anyone taking out or renewing annual membership of the FSB also enjoys a number of other advantages. Owners of small businesses in the UK have to comply with a wide regal of legal and bureaucratic requirements and the FSB helps by offering legal support for free. They provide a wide range of documents online, in the members only section of their website, and they also operate a telephone advice service that is available 24 hours a day all year round.

Another significant benefits to members is support for those with serious health conditions. Membership of the FSB includes entitlement to access to a personal nurse advisor. These provide practical advice, emotional support and can help organise appropriate therapy.

How the FSB Promotes Small Business Success

As the UK’s leading business organisation the FSB are active in promoting the interests of small enterprises. They sponsor Celebrate Success, annual awards made by The Prince’s Trust in recognition of the efforts of young people in their local community.

The FSB also lobbies government on issues that affect the small business community. One significant achievement was the establishment of a partnership with the UK government to enable students to gain work experience through subsidised internships.

Local government is encouraged to use small businesses and to sign the FSB’s Small Business Engagement Accord, demonstrating their support for local firms.

The Federation of Small Businesses is a not-for-profit organisation that exists solely for the benefit of its members. It helps the millions of tiny businesses in the UK to have a voice at national level and to access many of the benefits more easily available to major organisations.

Barriers to Starting a Small Business: Obstacles Holding Back the Entrepreneur

Barriers to Starting a Small Business

Inherently, business is risky. Often, fear is the sole factor that holds back small business owners from pursuing dreams and mighty plans. If they’ve been reluctant to go on their own, it’s time to consider some of these obstacles that block their path, along with practical solutions to get past them.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Some people are overwhelmed by their new business idea thinking they’ll have to go for it all at once and there are too many things to do. The big picture should be broken into manageable tasks. For those currently employed, they need to hold on to their jobs, slowly scale down to a part-time job or as a contract worker, get the feel of more flexibility in schedule. Some small business owners enlist their skills to create multiple sources in income as they build their business.

Focus on the Negative

As long as the potentials of the new business ideas have been studied and researched, plans should not be blocked. People who dampen enthusiasm unnecessarily should be avoided. Instead, those who encourage and offer support should be seek out, for example, some business owners may want to share their success story.

Insecurity in Product and Service

The nagging feeling that the product and service in mind may not work can be daunting. When this happens, waters can be tested by conducting a pilot test to solicit feedback. Since this is a test, it is done freely. Honest feedback is solicited from the participants of the test.

Lack of Money and Time

A solid business plan is necessary. Focus is how to get more time and space for the new business. Unnecessary things, pending obligations, toxic relationships and unhealthy habits should be taken out of the way. As regards any money matter, a plan is worked out to reduce unnecessary personal spending to give way to business needs.

Lack of Business Management and Technical Competence

Established small business owners are good sources of information. Online research and local libraries are handy resources that should be used. Topics include how to start a small business, writing business plans, small business marketing, new business ideas and easy to follow software programs. It is important to create a business plan. It doesn’t have to be too complicated at the start. As knowledge builds up, so does confidence.

Loss of Benefits

Leaving the corporate world to start a small business is daunting as one loses a safety net. It is easier for a younger and healthy worker to give-up health benefits. For older start-up entrepreneurs, health benefits remain a major concern. Certain options like health savings is a good one.

Lack of Support from Family and Friends

Without the support of family and friends, going solo is a challenge. Business plans must be properly explained. Usually, family and friends are supportive once the new business ideas are properly explained.

Fear of Isolation

Going solo isolates. It is a concern to some people, most especially those who plan to work from home. The solution is to build a network. Time should be set aside to connect with other business owners, as well as friends, former colleagues and any potential person. The network is a source of support, advice and information.

Once these barriers are addressed accordingly, a good feeling develops and renewed confidence sets in. With commitment, dedication and guts, it’s just a matter of time when the small business owner or entrepreneur takes the plunge.

Bookkeeping Basics – Accounting Methods for Small Business

Bookkeeping Basics - Accounting Methods for Small Business

Accounting or bookkeeping is one of the most fundamental parts of a successful business. Choosing an accounting method should be one of the first decisions when beginning a business and should be appropriate to the type of business as well as goals of the business in the future. Four important terms to learn whether beginning a business or just learning about bookkeeping are, Cash Method, Accrual Method, Single Entry and Double Entry.

Cash Method

Under the cash method of accounting money is accounted for on the books only when it is actually received or paid out. A payment is recorded when the actual payment is received by the company, not when the transaction is made or shipment occurs.

(Most appropriate for sole proprietors, businesses with no inventory, small service companies.)

Accrual Method

Under the accrual method, the records of expenses and receipts are recorded on the transaction date, not the date that actual cash or compensation changes hands. Sales would be entered on the books when the invoice is generated, regardless of whether payment has been received. Expense payments would be recorded on the date that product or services are ordered.

(Most appropriate for large businesses, corporations, businesses with inventory and businesses that sell on credit.)

Single Entry

Single entry is a simple record of transactions where the bookkeeper enters only one entry for each transaction. Transactions are entered either as revenue or expense.

Examples of single entry accounting:

  • A personal checkbook register
  • A single column or double column spreadsheet for a business listing only revenue or expenses

Single entry accounting is mostly used for individuals, sole proprietors, or small businesses accounting models where only tax records and profit analysis is required.

Double Entry

The double entry system provides a more complete financial picture to a business. In addition to revenue and expenses, debits and credits are also recorded. The additional records allow for reconciliation and balancing transactions. When recorded together, debits and credits must equal out in order to reconcile.

Benefits of Double Entry

  • Double entry is the standard in business accounting
  • Can be used with both the cash method and the accrual method
  • Double Entry is the method utilized by most accounting software
  • Provides a more accurate picture of sales and expenses for reporting purposes

A Simple System for Small Business Marketing: Duct Tape Marketing’s System Ideal for Solopreneurs, Startups

A Simple System for Small Business Marketing

John Jantsch named his book Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide because his ideas promise to be as effective (sticky), simple, and affordable as duct tape. The fact that so much of the book is devoted to explaining the name suggests that, like Neil “No Compromise Leadership” Ducoff, that it wasn’t the best moniker for the concept. However, the ideas Jantsch has to offer are clear and simple, have methods built in to test their effectiveness, and can be used by businesses of any size.

Elements of the Duct Tape Marketing System

The book recognizes that most businesses do not have the resources for expensive branding campaigns, and posits that these are not terribly effective. Instead, Jantsch encourages readers to identify the ideal client based upon various factors, and develop marketing strategies that target those prospects with laser-focus. This long tail marketing requires that a business owner clearly articulate his company’s purpose, and otherwise includes:

  • Educational marketing through blogging, article writing, and developing an expert reputation;
  • Advertising that invites ideal prospects to respond for more information;
  • A “Systematic Referral Machine” to capitalize on referral marketing; and
  • Tips for implementing this marketing plan

Jantsch covers questions about cultivating relationships with journalists to become an information source, strategies for using a blog to educate and entice ideal prospects, and writing advertising copy that gets responses.

Testing Marketing Ideas and Tracking Results

One point the book hammers home is the value of testing and tracking in all marketing efforts. Any advertisement, blog post, news release, podcast, or article should include a call to action (“click here for a special report on weasel breeding”) and a trackable way to receive responses. If the offer is on the web, a unique response link should be included. Similarly, an ad with a phone number should use a number or extension that can be used to track responses to a specific offer. The same can be said of mail responses (no need for a separate address; add a “Attn: Offer XYZ” to the mailing information). The emphasis on tracking results so that different wording and media can be tested against one another is the most important lesson that this book has to offer. Its mastery will set any business apart from its competitors, and the techniques are laid out plainly enough that a solopreneur can learn what’s necessary to succeed at them.

What’s In a Name: Parsing Duct Tape Marketing

The name “Duct Tape Marketing” is intended to convey the key points of Jantsch’s system of identifying ideal customers and getting them into the sales cycle early in their own decision-making process by evoking admirable qualities of duct tape. Although not all of these qualities are specifically named in the book, they all are suitable parallels:

  • Simplicity of use
  • Reusability
  • Stickiness
  • Affordability
  • Versatility
  • Universal recognition

In practice, this writer has observed various misunderstandings, including associations with cheapness, carelessness, and even one instance in which the listener assumed that it was a method for more effectively selling duct tape. Granted, the name is confusing, but its architect has used his own techniques to overcome the fogginess of the name and emerge in the forefront of book on marketing that target small business. Business leaders Michael Gerber and Guy Kawasaki provide the foreword and afterword, respectively, and these respected luminaries are neither sparing with their praise nor shallow in their understanding of Jantsch’s work.

Like any marketing system, this one will take no small amount of time to utilize fully. Duct Tape Marketing, however, is simple and complete enough that any serious small business owner should be able to implement it and see the results themselves by tracking and testing them.

Stock Control Administration in a Small Business

Stock Control Administration in a Small Business

Proper stock control administration is an essential requisite for any small business.

Stock control plays a crucial role in the daily operation of a small business. There are a number of administrative tasks associated with stock control which, depending upon the size and complexity of the business, are either part of an administrator’s duties or carried out by a dedicated stock controller.

Why is Stock Control Important?

When it comes to small businesses, many of them sell products which are either made in house or supplied from elsewhere. There is a risk here of losing track of the stock available, which can lead to missed orders if sufficient stock isn’t at the immediate disposal of the business.

The role of stock control shows how much stock you have at any given time, and provides details of the system employed to keep track of stock at every stage of the production process.

 How is Stock Control Implemented?

When it comes to administration of stock control, it is important to have different staff responsible for stock than the ones responsible for finance. This is for security reasons and serves as a preventive measure against fraud.

A range of paperwork associated with stock needs to be processed in order to properly maintain a stock control system. This typically includes delivery and supplier notes for incoming goods, and requisitions and issue notes for any outgoing goods. Further, purchase orders, receipts, credit notes and return notes also need to be maintained and processed.

Methods of Stock Control

There are a variety of systems available for the purpose of stock control in a small business. The most commonly used is the traditional paper based system. This can be very time consuming and provides records which are inflexible and lack the level of information a computer-based system can provide.

If the stock control system is simple, it can be built simply on spreadsheets or some other computer database. For more complex systems, a computer software purchase might be required. These can be bought off the shelf, but the software generally costs thousands of dollars and might be too expensive for a small business.

An alternative to computer software is online systems which are not only more cost-effective, but also allow small businesses to access and monitor their stock information from anywhere they want.

Maintenance of Stock Control

Once any of these stock control systems has been set up, it is important for the figures to be checked systematically. This can be done through “stocktaking,” whereby an audit of stock is conducted on a regular basis. Alternatively, “rolling stocktake” can be employed through an ongoing programme of checking stock.

This is to be constantly on the lookout for any instance where the figures do not add up. Any such event might be indicative of security problems or a failure in the system and needs to be properly investigated.