Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pop Up Enterprise

Welcome back to Write Away, the blog for small businesses, freelancers, start-ups and budding entrepreneurs.

Our latest post is about a new revolution for start-up businesses that already have an online presence, but would also like to try out a bricks and mortar, high street presence, without having to commit to long leases and thousands of pounds in rent and refitting.
The concept has enabled a number of businesses, in Richmond in Surrey, where the flagship store opened, to co-work with other small retailers for two weeks at a time.

Further stores are planned in Victoria and Shropshire, and the beauty of the concept is that it enables unused retail premises to be bought back to life showcasing new British brands.

Popup Britain is backed by Start Up Britain, a national campaign started by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, to inspire enterprise throughout the UK.
The campaign is also looking to go nationwide in a bid to present small businesses across the country with the opportunity to benefit from this concept.

So if your business is looking at raising its retail presence, this could be just the ticket.

As usual, the link to the Popup Britain website is below, we hope you find it useful.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Dragon as Your Mentor?

Hello again, welcome back to Write Away, the blog for small businesses, freelancers or anyone interested in working for themselves.

Mentoring has long being heralded as a great way for small businesses to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of successful business people or entrepreneurs, without having to pay for the privilege.
I’ve read many comments, from small business owners, on the value a mentor has added to their business, as well as the personal benefit they have drawn from the experience.

If mentoring is something you’ve considered for your business, fear not, here is your chance to have Deborah Meaden, star of the BBC show “Dragons Den”, as your business mentor for 12 months.

A competition, run by an initiative called Local Business Accelerators (LBA), is giving UK businesses who are between one and five years old, the chance to win this prize, plus £10,000 cash and an IPad.

The link to where you can enter is at the end of this post, and this gives eligible businesses the opportunity to explain where they are currently, and pitch their vision for growth and where they want to be in future.

Remember, someone has to win, and why shouldn’t it be your business – just think what benefits you would gain from having a Dragon as a mentor – without having to stand in front of them and pitch your idea!

Good luck!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Need Inspiration?

Hello again, welcome back to Write Away, the blog for small business owners, freelancers and those looking to start their own business.

Today I want to talk about ideas and inspiration for starting a business, and where you might find it.

Whilst many people who want to work for themselves, have a business idea that is an extension of their hobby or very specific to their employment, a large number of would-be entrepreneurs love the idea of working for themselves but are not sure what they would do if they took the plunge.

As a writer, I carry a notebook with me everywhere, as I never know when inspiration might strike. If you’re looking for a business idea, this could be a useful tool for you too – when you visit other businesses, keep asking yourself if some aspect of the service or product could be improved and make a note of your thoughts.
Additionally, when you are looking for a specific product, and can’t find it, think about if there is a gap in the market, many a successful business have been started in this way in the past.
Don’t worry about what goes into your notebook – nobody’s going to read it but you, and two completely separate or random thoughts or notes could combine to provide real inspiration.

However, enough of my suggestions, if you would like to look at something a bit more tangible then the website has a whole section dedicated to business ideas, even having a top 10 businesses to start up in 2012.
There are a range of resources on offer here, all free, and it might only take one suggestion to crystallise an idea that you can work on and develop.

As usual, the link is below, if you’re looking for some inspiration I hope it delivers, but don’t forget, your great idea might be waiting to be discovered when you’re out and about tomorrow.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Small Business Advice on a Beermat

Hello again.

Today's post is about the co-author of a well known business start up guide called “The Beermat Entrepreneur”.
Mike Southon is both an entrepreneur and business mentor and also writes regularly for the Mail on Sunday  and the Financial Times about small businesses and entrepreneurship.
The Beermat Entrepreneur is a business self-help book aimed at people who have an idea for a business and need to know how to take it to the next stage and turn the idea into a viable business.
Whilst the book is a recommended read for aspiring entrepreneurs, this post seeks to guide you to some useful resources on Mike Southon’s own website.

If you so desire (and can afford to!) you can book Mike for a personal appearance from here, but there are a number of other free resources that may be of more interest.

There are a number of free guides to download, some linked to the “Beermat” series but others, such as the useful “Sales pipeline simple spreadsheet”, that are good tools.
The site also contains a business E-zine  and blogs, that answer a range of small business related questions in a concise format. The blogs cover areas such as investment, finance, internet marketing, sales and creativity and are written by a number of guest “experts” as well as by Mike himself.
You can register to receive some further freebies and weekly business articles should you wish to.

The fact that Mike is a business mentor shows through on the site, which gathers some interesting information together and delivers them in easy to read, bite-size chunks.

In an age of information overload, particularly for small business wannabees, that makes a refreshing change!

The link is below, I hope it provides some inspiration!

Until next time.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Is There a Business in You?

Hello again.

You may already know the answer to the above question, having proved your ability to start a small business, and if that's the case, fantastic, well done you.
However, for a lot of would-be entrepreneurs, the answer might be a resounding “I’m not quite sure!”.

This post takes a look at a new initiative, which is a partnership between the government and private enterprise,  which, in it’s own words, aims to “highlight support for start-ups and growing businesses and encourage entrepreneurial spirit in 2012”.

The website (as usual, the link is at the end of the post) is split into four sections, covering:

  • ·         Inspiration – featuring a number of case studies on people who have taken the plunge and started successful businesses - different sectors and different backgrounds make for some interesting stories.
  •  ·         Finance – this section takes you straight to the Business Link Finance Finder where you can search for potential sources of funding using key word searches, depending on the stage you are at and the sector you are in.
  •  ·         Mentoring – links to a site, called Mentorsme, that aims to connect those looking to find a mentor with experienced professionals offering support.
  •  ·         Advice – this final section features a wealth of articles and resources to help you whatever stage you are in starting or running your business.

You can also sign up to receive business ideas, via e:mail, that are tailored towards the stage you are at with your new venture.

This site might just provide you with the inspiration or motivation you need to get started on that business idea or put your idea into action, either way, I think it’s worth checking out.

May inspiration be with you!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

An Online Freelance Community

Welcome back to Write Away.

Our latest post is about a website that is aiming to create a massive online community for freelancers, writers and anyone running a home business.

Ihubbub aims to replicate the “hubbub” heard when home workers get together and network. It wants users, who often work isolation, to feel part of a buzzing community of people who are in the same situation as them. It also wants to create a market place for businesses to use each other’s skills and grow together.

First impressions are that it does this very well, the look and feel of the site are good, it is easy to navigate and there are a host of resources and information aimed at those working from home, whatever your business.

There are three levels of membership, which allow you to pitch and interact with other users to different degrees, but the basic level is free enabling you to create a build a profile before starting to pitch for work or develop your online contacts and networks.
You can register as an individual or a business, and this then gives you a unique URL for you to build a profile of your own. You can post your own blog or join relevant groups and connect with other members.

This looks like an excellent resource for freelancers and Home Business owners, and one which is sure to grow, so check it out, it could be a source of new clients and great way to meet your online colleagues.

As usual, the web address is below, until next time…

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Elevator Pitch

Hi again, and welcome back to Write Away, the blog for freelancers, small businesses, start-ups, and anybody interested in working for themselves.

This post, I’m going to pick up on a theme I’ve written about before, how to sell yourself effectively.
Being able to describe what you do, or the service you offer, concisely, and in an interesting and memorable way, is a skill that anybody working for themselves should perfect.

A well-known method for doing this is to produce what is known as an “Elevator Pitch”.
The website describes this as:
“A short and to the point snippet of a service or product your company provides”.

The idea of an elevator pitch comes from the premise of what you would say to a stranger, who got into the lift with you, that would leave a positive, lasting impression of you, in the time it takes to get to their floor.
In those few short seconds, you need to convey a professional manner and attract the other persons interest enough to remember you or to pass on your contact details.

If you have a well planned and rehearsed elevator pitch, you are in a position to take advantage of chance meetings with potential customers or clients, wherever you might be.

A link to the website is below where you can sign up to see some examples of other peoples elevator pitches and to receive some tips in writing your own.

Be prepared is the motto!

Until next time.