this section we have:
'home business'. Define.
To Run A Business From Home?
Or become self-employed;
or freelance; or be a sub-contractor; or a 'lifestyler';
or just become your own boss.
The banks don't recognise any boundaries between
these definitions; neither should you.
Plus other old - and new - chestnuts about home
(Why should I have anything
to say on the subject?)
I. Do Your Sums, Then Get Out!
things to consider; 'must-haves' and 'nice-to-haves'
of home business ideas
and franchise research)
II. 'Finding The Bacon'
(Preparing to do business; marketing
and publicity on a budget)
III. 'Bringing Home The Bacon'
(Your first business or sales
101 Home & Small Business Marketing Ideas
Top Ten Networking Tips
'home business.' Define.
A 'home business' is 'a business or trade which
performs its work, or is registered for trade
or as a business, from a base which also serves
as a home.'
the 20 years during which the Home Business Alliance
has been working with home businesses or dealing
with home business issues, we have been asked
on numerous occasions by the media, politicians
and academics particularly, to define 'home business'.
The version we use and which has evolved historically
over tens of thousands of years, is given above.
has nothing to do with being a 'small' business
restricted to a 'home office' as defined in Wikipedia.
We have members whose businesses and homes are
literally their castles for example, and who have
a footfall of tens of thousands of visitors a
year and multi-million £ turnovers. Or international
haulage contractors whose back yards are filled
with lorries and warehouses. Building contractors.
Farmers. Salvage yards. Boatbuilders. Even deep-sea
fishermen and contract pilots, whose workplaces
are the oceans and the skies but whose businesses
are registered from home. The list goes on and
is a 'home business' an infant of the internet.
The internet, computers and smartphones are just
the latest business tools and that should always
be borne in mind. Whereas 'home businesses' have
been in existence since potters, smiths, carpenters
and stonemasons first began to ply their trade.
Indeed, take away the internet from a skilled
tradesman and he or she will still be able to
earn a profitable living.
is however, much confusion in the media especially,
with the various terms associated with home-based
employment activity. So here are some more definitions.
term 'homeworker' traditionally covers any person
over the age of 18 years, who works in domestic
premises, and is provided with work which is returned
when completed to the provider or some third person.
In short, although the homeworker might not always
be classed as an employee, there are very close
similarities. Typically, the homeworker must work
to rules laid down by the company, must work to
a specified standard, and is liable to be terminated
if standards fall short of those expected.
to the homeworker include: working the hours one
chooses; freedom to attend to other commitments;
flexible hours to fit around family, holidays,
illnesses, and so on.
are also plentiful, and include notoriously low
pay for homeworkers, usually low earnings potential
(most tasks are long and boring), little or no
employee protection, and unscrupulous employers
are a common feature of many homeworking schemes.
Also bear in mind that very low wages are illegal,
although very few homeworkers would risk jeopardising
their position by complaining, however low the
rewards. Complaints are therefore few, and very
rarely is a homework dispute brought before the
the disadvantages, many people are looking for
genuine homework whereas the trend for larger
companies especially, to allow certain staff to
operate from their homes usually as part of a
flexi-working policy, is well-established.
and teleworking (below) are frequently referred
to in the media as one-and-the-same.
technology-based homeworking frequently, but not
exclusively, falls into the category of teleworking.
This is officially defined as working at
a distance from your employer, either at home,
on the road, or at a locally-based centre. Teleworkers
use computers, telephones and faxes to keep in
contact with their employers or customers.
Freelance activities include writing, consultancy,
research, typing and secretarial work, proof-reading
and copy-editing. The main common denominator
is that the freelancer, despite being self-employed,
frequently feels he is 'working' for someone else,
namely the person who ultimately pays his fee.
That someone might be a publisher or editor, the
manager of a firm whose business documents you
type, the principal of a college whose theses
you mark, or the manager of a mail order company
whose direct mailshots you process.
.....In almost all
cases, the freelancer relies on regular business
from established clients. Lose one major client
and your business could suffer dramatically. Moreover,
the freelancer is frequently controlled to a larger
extent by clients than most self-employed people.
For the freelancer, the client usually has a greater
say in how the business is run, what standard
is expected, how work is processed, how payment
is made and when.
usually sell and earn commission on all orders
generated by them. You might be selling insurance
or airline tickets, cosmetics or household goods,
jewellery or typesetting services. The list is
endless, so too the amount and range of rewards
a variety of forms, from door-to-door retailing,
direct mail, to advertisements in newspapers and
magazines, party plan, and so on. Consequently,
with a number of marketing styles to choose from,
there is almost certainly one that is best suited
to you and your lifestyle. You can even combine
a range of agencies into your overall business
portfolio, concentrating on those that suit you
best at any point in time.
proprietor runs his own business, as indeed do
agents, franchisees, freelancers, and sometimes
homeworkers. The main difference is that usually
the proprietor works independently of other businesses,
with the exception of business customers. Proprietors
decide what to sell, how to sell it, where to
advertise, how much to charge, whether to ask
for cash in advance or to offer credit facilities
.....Most small businesses
run under this banner, from taxi firms to secretarial
bureaux, animal boarding kennels to mail order
companies, direct mail specialists to home publishers,
newsletter publishers to traders at car boot fairs.
a home business context 'proprietors' are the
most common form of operator, together with 'sole
traders' and the 'self-employed'; in which case,
the implications generally are full-time businesses
with no employees. On the other hand, there are
plenty of successful home businesses which are
only part-time and plenty of others who are employers,
franchisee works as part of an already established
business. The latter, the parent company, licenses
out rights to work under the company name, in
return for which the individual pays certain start-up
fees and sometimes ongoing royalties and other
fees to the parent company.
.....The parent company
is the 'franchisor'; the person who buys into
the business is the 'franchisee'. Many major household
names operate in the franchise sector including
Prontaprint, McDonald's and Chem-Dry.
offers a variety of benefits including backing
from a recognised company, access to tried and
tested marketing materials and processes, ongoing
guidance and support from the parent company,
training, product orientation, and much more.
On the debit side, franchisees frequently report
feelings of dependency on the parent company,
and many express similarities to working for someone
else rather than being masters of their own ship.
..... A vast array
of information is available to anyone considering
starting up in the franchise sector, much of it
from special franchising publications available
on newsagents' shelves, from regular national
and international franchising exhibitions, books
and information products, franchise consultancies
and the industry's main representative, the British
Franchise Association. (See also our section below
on choosing a franchise and Useful Addresses.)
employment status definitions: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/employment-status/
To Run A Business From Home?
am not a qualified business adviser. Consequently, if you are seriously contemplating
launching a full-time, profit-making business from home then I would wish to stress
the importance of using the services of an experienced business adviser as part
of the due diligence needed for this kind of venture. By
all means take a look at other 'home business' websites, forums and blogs. But
don't confuse the objectives of webbies punting advertisers' interests with those
of your own. They will rarely run along the same line. And don't for one moment
believe that in the world of business, there is ever a free lunch.
the other hand, I have been steeped in running businesses from home since I was
eight years old when my parents decided to become their own boss -
not for lots of money or an easy lifestyle (these were not valid considerations
just after the Second World War) but because they wanted to be independent. It
then became a simple case of the whole family pulling together in pursuit of that
as a common goal. (Plus they didnt speak English well enough to be able
to get a decent job.)
I have been selling for over 50 years and during that time I have
also interviewed thousands, if not tens of thousands of people trying to sell
themselves to me and my various colleagues.
I would like to emphasise is that I want to write about running a business
from home full-time rather than part-time, as a hobby or as a learning curve.
Part-time home business activity is a completely different ball game.
am also going to address those issues which are business considerations rather
than issues which might impact on a teleworker, outworker, or quite often, a freelancer.
point I would like to emphasise is that the following
guidelines are for people wishing to start
a home business in the United Kingdom/Great Britain.
We have a lot of visitors from all over the world
but the US, China, Russia, France and .eu domains
particularly and so anyone who is not from the
UK should use this article accordingly. Contrary
to the claims advanced on Anglo-Saxon business
'weener' websites, etc, the entire world does
NOT speak English and it certainly doesn't subscribe
to all the same values - or lack of them - as
the west. Laws, regulations, customs and practices
vary enormously from country to country, even
within the European Union (EU) which despite its
ostensible pursuit of harmonisation, has yet to
agree on anything other than the endorsement of
its MEP's (Member/s of the European Parliament)
will also try to keep my distance from examining
lifestyle home business issues which although
not entirely another subject in their own right
do often have a completely different set of priorities.
(I examine lifestyle home business issues in
detail in my book, Home Business Survival
which will be available for sale from December
would like to share with you some of my accumulated experiences in the hope that
some of them might help you to make a successful go of a home-based business.
To avoid some pitfalls and common misconceptions. I am not going to propose anything
new or try to re-invent the wheel but simply to remind you of the hoops that have
to be thought of and usually jumped through, to get the necessary results.
ideas certainly arent going to work for all of you; whereas there are others
who already know it all, anyway. A business adviser will tell you that 9 out of
10 businesses know all there is to know about running their business and cant
and wont be helped any further. And that was before the internet came along.
Now, that figure has risen to 99 out of 100.
Make that 999 out of 1,000.
To Run A Business From Home?
Part I. Do Your Sums, Then Get Out!
to consider; 'must-haves' and 'nice-to-haves'
including sources of home business ideas
and franchise research)
Part II. 'Finding The Bacon'
(Preparing to do business; marketing
and publicity on a budget)
Part III. 'Bringing Home The Bacon'
(Your first business or sales
I. Do Your Sums, Then Get Out!
those of you who have come straight in to this
section, I would suggest that you at least take
a quick look at my Preamble just
above and our definition of a 'home
business' just above that. Thank you.)
Groundwork OR Preparation.
recent BAD News reporting, a significant
number of established businesses suggested they would shun trading with a start-up;
if you are a start-up AND visibly running your business from home, matters become
a lot worse. The trick is to get your foot in the door, to make that trip from
your home to sitting in front of your future client. What befalls most home businesses
is that they wont even be offered a chance, not even receive a second thought,
let alone an invitation to pitch their wares.
and appearances therefore, become primordial. At the risk of over-simplifying,
how about this for a home business preparation check list? (Offered in
a rough order of priority).
YOU fit for purpose?
lot of emphasis is placed on business tools for
the job; of advice, technology and finance. However,
it takes a certain type of person just to survive
in business. You have to like people; and people
have to like you. You need to be able to handle
stress while avoiding ever becoming ill - because
you won't have the time; to have the ability to
bounce back, over and over again. You will automatically
work long hours and not bat an eyelid. You will
need patience and stickability. You will need
to handle rejection and disappointment. Be able
to invite a mountain of debt in the pursuit of
your convictions. Alcoholism frequently rears
its ugly head. I have seen families and homes
break up when businesses go wrong. The closest
of partners and friends can stab you in the back,
usually, when the money really starts to come
in and you think you've finally made it. Then,
there are the subtleties and the intangibles.
A lot has been written about the subject and I
only wish I had the magic potion to sell - or
sometimes give - to others. There are lots of
authoratitive reports and books you can read and
tests you can take. Finally however, you are likely
to end up making an extremely subjective decision
to give it a go, anyway, and after that, only
time will tell.
classic business assessment tool is called a SWOT
analysis. For a comprehensive look at what this
entails, try this link: http://sbinformation.about.com/od/marketingsales/a/small-business-swot-analysis.htm?nl=1
Or, you can download some free diagram analysis
software here: http://www.smartdraw.com/specials/ppc/swotanalysis.htm?id=340717&gclid=COTEucHKkbICFQfKtAodqyYA3Q
typical online assessment tool can be found here: http://www.emincubation.co.uk/main/DOC/935
(Registration, which is free, is required to use the assessor.) Whereas a very
extensive check-list and series of parameters can be found here: http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/becominganentrepreneur/Becoming_an_Entrepreneur.htm
I know but the Yanks take a helluva lot of beating when it comes to running a
American link for you which suggests all the classical steps to take in setting
up a home business, can be found here: http://homebusiness.about.com/od/Setting-Up-Your-Business/tp/How-To-Start-A-Home-Biz-Guide-10Steps.htm
(Apply also below, to Mind Set and What Business?)
try this link for 10
Questions To Ask Yourself or, if you prefer
a quiz format, go here: http://sbinformation.about.com/library/startup/blbizreadyquiz.htm
professionals and educated will tell you of course,
that business is a science. Like a casino programming
the odds for a one-armed bandit. And they'd be
right. On the other hand, the vast majority of
successful, even wealthy business-people I have
seen wouldn't be classed as 'educated' or 'professionals'
other than by the greatest stretch of the imagination
- unless you count what they have learned on their
path to success, so to speak. Otherwise, they
all started out as 'ordinary' people. (If you
don't believe me, take a look at this article
and link for Britain's Skillionaires' Club: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/an-unqualified-success-multimillionaires-who-prove-you-can-prosper-without-a-degree-2334149.html
This link is repeated again in Part II as evidence
of non-internet based success, as well.)
just as any successful bank robber will tell you,
the first and most important aspect of planning
a job is to prepare your escape route. In business
terms, that means contemplating and planning for
failure as a fundamental part of your preparation
to succeed. Otherwise known as contingency
planning, here is an article which contains
numerous additional links, just to emphasise how
important this. http://sbinformation.about.com/od/creditloans/a/small-business-financial-setback.htm
in the end, you do succeed, you will be
a statistical rarity, albeit a very satisfied
rarity. For the majority, there is often little
more reward than that; for many self-employed
and home businesses, money isn't the main issue.
Which is just as well!
wish you luck. If you're like me, you'll need it. With a fair wind, go well.
that you can SURVIVE the vicissitudes of starting and running your own business?
Then the next step is having the right frame of mind to SUCCEED in business and
for this to be evident in your transactions with your potential suppliers, clients
and general entourage. You have to become a business professional, if you will.
If you are lucky, you might meet someone in the early days who you respect and
admire as a business figure and you will hang on their words of advice and the
way in which they behave. If you are really lucky, you might find this person
is willing to become your mentor.
present Government has recently launched a nationwide
small business mentoring service which has provoked
an extremely mixed reaction - not least of all
from ourselves. Still, it is far too early to
judge and there well may be some precious nuggets
out there. For further details, go to the website
However. The concept of mentoring has been around
for thousands of years and was first introduced
'officially' to the UK's business community way
back in the early 1980s. If it's going to work
- and that's a very big IF - the quality of the
mentor/pupil relationship cannot just be turned
on like a tap. Both sides have to work at the
relationship and it can take a lot of time.
not, you might become attached to a particular
motivational author. This is certainly the most
common scenario and it's worth a punt. Even household
names like Anthony Robbins occassionally do 'free
youre not even that lucky, you could try giving yourself a credo. Business
is just a game. Or Play the game. A profit a day keeps
the debts away. Or, more specifically, Effective selling is effectively,
just making friends.
not underestimate thinking like a businessman/woman.
It will be critical to your success and until
such time you think the part, youll never
make it; no more so than anyone who thinks they
can immediately start running a business from
home doing just 37 hours a week at £25+
those of you who wonder what there is to think
about just running a business from home, take
a quick look at this link, called 'Things
You Say',where I post a selection of potentially
useful items ranging from news to mailings which
I receive on a daily basis. You don't have to
agree with my perspective by any means; but a
potential client might be surprised, for want
of a better word, if you weren't aware of a similar
spectrum of issues if posing as a serious (home)
'business' player - rather than just an anonymous
poster on a website for weeners.
business? Do you know what you are going to do? Sources of home business
amazing how many people think that years of experience
of working for somebody else, a company or the
local council, will translate into a viable business
or even the competence to run a business. It doesn't.
Or very rarely. You should be fine if you're
a tradesman, somebody with a recognisable skill.
But if your background is more along the lines
of public service, large corporation (same thing
as public service only worse), or the forces,
be prepared for a struggle. Running your own business,
especially a home business means a lot more than
selling what you think has made you useful for
the past few years. People or customers have preconceived
ideas about what they will pay for; they may not
know it; it may not be written across their foreheads
and in any case, that doesn't really matter. What
is important is that YOU know, or are prepared
to learn, what will and won't sell.
you're not too sure, may I suggest just a couple
of real world, quick fixes for a fast getaway?
Firstly, over the past twenty years or so we have
been researching the ready-made business opportunity
marketplace to produce a directory of the best
fifty or so (currently 44, actually) business
ideas which have proved themselves over the passage
of time. It's not free but if you can't afford
the £19.95 which the publication costs,
you ain't ready to get started. http://www.homebusiness.org.uk/BestHomeBusiness.htm
This is not a scammers' directory which corresponds
to what YOU might like to do. It lists working
businesses which are actually out there, making
money; it is not a wish list. Nor are there are
any betting or gaming schemes as those do not
have proper business templates.
for a quick, free scan of business opportunities
and ideas, the following links will give you some
food for further thought. http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/businessideas/Business_Ideas_Business_Opportunities.htm
Among these links you will find one for Springwise
and specifically, business ideas by industrial
sector (latest count) at this link - http://www.springwise.com/access-about/
- which are both favourite sources of mine. Whereas
for another recent round-up of business ideas
try this: http://specials.about.com/service/newsletters/sbinformation/1345042800.htm
And just in, another package of 120 ideas just
one of the most overlooked sources of business
intelligence these days is a telephone directory.
The Yellow Pages are, by definition, a list of
business ideas which have been put into practice.
The other advantage of Yellow Pages is that it
immediately shows you what's going on in your
area, what the competiton is, etc. Just a personal
note: look at a hard copy of the directory and
not online. It gives you a more panoramic view
than a computer screen. Goes well with a nice
cup of coffee and a relaxed read on the balcony
or out on the garden seat.
for more than 600 reports and guides which are
regularly updated and accurately compiled, go
here (although these are not free): http://www.scavenger.net/home.php?&partner=enterprisequest&xid=f45a958ae1b5df41992d6edb9eddd61d
for ready-made business ideas which are (should
be) proven, working business models, there are
two, obligatory ports of call: The Direct Selling
And The British Franchise Association:
However, as with any business opportunity, due
diligence must always be exercised.
are lots and lots of other sources but do tread
carefully, especially if you start venturing into
the business opportunity marketplace, which
is notoriously dangerous. Be particularly suspicious
of opportunities presenting themselves as ready-to-go
packages or kits, Top Tips, all-in-one guides,
successful formulae for making loadsa money running
a business from home or the overt suggestion that
a home business is straightforward or simple.
These are often the telltale signs of a scam.
home or house.
you have established you are fit for purpose and
you know what kind of business you want to run
(bearing in mind you may have to, or wish to change
direction several times before becoming established
or successful), the home becomes an essential
component. (We are talking here of a 'home
will all have different expectations but for me,
the home is where I will find at least, part of
my workforce; the capital resources to finance
the business - even if it's just a big sell-out
of unwanted items on eBay or at the car boot.
Office accommodation. Storage. Then, if you don't
live in battery housing, a free or very cheap
source of food, water, fuel and fun.
unless you own a corner shop with accommodation
above (for example) and your home becomes a place
which customers come to regularly, precise arrangements
aren't important. What does count for a lot however,
is being able to bring down the costs of running
your home to allow your home business to have
as much chance as possible of getting off the
ground and growing.
home business and lifestyle criteria for choosing
to live where I do at the moment, were:
relatively high elevation, naturally sheltered,
to provide protection from the winds and to avoid
flooding problems not just to the house but also
to infrastructure such as electricity and phones;
sewage; transport; stocks and supplies
and storage; lots and lots for my machine
tools, wood, building materials and general elbow
room. I need a lot of elbow room.
Well, pond and/or river access
Woods or access to a forest to supply wood
for fuel as well as construction
Spacious house to accommodate visitors
At least one, open fireplace or chimney
Pantry or larder
A field for the horses which provide transport,
work and friendship (I've gone a bit like Gulliver
over the years).
Useful neighbours -
leading to a highly personalised and supremely
valuable, word-of-mouth network of supporters,
advisers and friends. Forget
Facebook and Twitter. THIS will be your 'good
will' or your bona fides as a successful
Low crime rate. I'm not quite sure if this
shouldn't be right at the top of the list but
if your business is also your home then the last
thing you need to contend with is a burglary or
- even thinking about the possibility of theft
or a burglary. One of the aspects of my business
activities is that I carry very large amounts
of 'stock' which can only be kept outdoors, easily
accessible to all and sundry. From my point of
view, I need to live somewhere where the people
are fundamentally honest and won't steal your
4x4 for example, simply because you've left your
keys in the ignition. It's different strokes for
different folks but for me certainly, being able
to trust my neighbours to even look after my property,
my interests, (as I do for them), is an absolute
Within walking distance of amenities and transport
outcome of my selection is that taxes and an internet/telephone
connection apart, plus a bit of fuel for the engines,
I can get by quite happily on zero expenditure
per day and enjoy a better lifestyle than
a lot of business owners with turnovers in excess
of £1 million a year. (Which I know for
a fact because some of the scratters keep coming
around here regularly for my barbecues!) On a
more simple level though, how much do you spend
on vegetables, fruit and eggs? Add to that the
- £700 of food wasted each year, most
of which is simply bad household management and
which you can control all the better if you are
home-based during the day; then, add heating (and
cooking) costs which can easily be brought down
by another couple of thousand or so if you take
a bit of time to source a supply of free wood.
(For example; although you could also install
a wind turbine and/or solar or photovoltaic panels,
a solar oven, a smoker, improve your insulation
still further; the list goes on.) I make that
around £5000 pa. Or, put another way, an
amount equivalent to that which many home businesses
look for as a business loan or an overdraft facility.
this recent link for a living cost health check:
The above is an extreme example for many people
(although just a garden, a shed/garage and a chimney
and you're already well on the way!) but I do
want to illustrate a point which is often forgotten.
A 'home + business' is a dual operation.
The 'home' being the qualifying and larger of
the two parts; and your business aspirations and
activity should always be considered in that context.
an awful lot of websites offering advice on starting
a business suggesting that running a business
from home is a low-cost, low-risk, soft touch
option. That is extremely stupid and dangerous
advice - if not the sign of a potential scam.
(And never mind my personal setup in the paragraph
above, which took decades of hard work and savings
from the rest of the headed, main list below, do bear in mind that you will also
need to consider paying for the following:
home business equipment and professional surroundings;
assuming you already have a suitable computer
and printer, add professional phone (with an extension/s
maybe?), lighting, long-haul seating, decor generally,
filing cabinets, stationery stocks, additional
or spot heating. (Your
heating bills are likely to go through the roof
when it starts getting cold and you are sitting
by a computer; not the same thing as turning your
thermostat down to background heating only when
going out to work regularly. Your electricity
and water consumption will go up. You will almost
always do more running around in the car. And
so on.) This link will give you a good overall
view of possible requirements: http://sbinformation.about.com/od/office/Office_Design_Leasing.htm
beware of becoming a home business trendy or tecchy
type, however. Home business/start-up marketing
has become increasingly conspicuous over the years
and it's not there to do you, in the first
place, a favour. Thin out what you need to start
making some money. Then, spoil yourself once the
business - not you - can afford it.
you are still determined to appear a 'modern'
business and have the time and money to throw
around, then this fairly recent article (April
2012) is a useful checklist for what is going
However, I have often seen start-ups spending
so much effort on preparing to do business that
they never actually get around to doing what a
business is all about. Selling.
lots of courses from lots of providers which could be deemed desirable if not
essential to the successful development of a home business. Take your pick from
subjects ranging from book-keeping to website design. A lot of courses are available
free of charge from local colleges, official government agencies and private training
providers and it's a wise home business start-up which considers the gaps in its
education and does something about them BEFORE starting to trade.
the majority of home businesses will try to patch over their shortcomings as they
go along - a bit like Microsoft, for example, although YOU on the other hand,
aren't going to benefit from unlimited 'governmental' funding. Yet, it's the vast
majority which usually needs training the most, starting with a return to school
to learn how to 'reed and rite' followed hopefully, by a few life and social skills.
opinion is largely agreed that the vast majority of business start-up failures
(think 2 in 3) are down to a lack of education.
a shame when you think that most business courses
can be obtained for nothing or at very low cost;
obviously, there will be exceptions - so you may
have to dip into your war chest quite early on.
added bonus is that a course is also a good way
to start getting a feel for networking and making
new and useful friends.
you are going to be asking clients to come around or you are going to stock goods,
add not only suitable surroundings but also . . .
business insurance. (Go to an independent broker at least initially, if you
business rates. Business rates become increasingly inevitable if you have
an appreciable footfall of visitors, regular deliveries and collections, a significant
part of your home premises is dedicated to your business activities, hold stock
and/or your home address is visibly advertised as a place of trading. Consequently,
if you're not sure, add . . .
initial consultation may be free; if not, don't
try to avoid taking advice; budget for it, instead.
solicitor will also prove invaluable when you
are ready for a set of adapted trading Terms &
Conditions. The practice of 'borrowing' terms
from the back of another business's invoice for
example, is well known. Or maybe a 'lift' from
the internet. What isn't discussed so often is
the 'double jeopardy' of putting your foot in
it one day and an opposing solicitor finding you've
got nothing more than a 'copy and paste' with
which to defend yourself. It's not expensive to
have a set of terms drafted just for you; so think
about it very seriously. Setting yourself up is
all about other peoples' and businesses' perception
of your professionalism.
this point, may I offer particular words of caution to anyone contemplating a
franchise especially one which isn't (yet) a household name, for example. Do not
underestimate the amount of due diligence required. Solicitors' and accountants'
advice are essential. The following links should help.
'classic' read for evaluating a franchise is here: http://www.thebfa.org/shop/how-to-evaluate-a-franchise
of the firms of franchise solicitors act mainly for franchisors, but here's
one which specialises in helping franchisees - http://www.wjm.co.uk
- Wright, Johnson and Mackenzie LLP
a link to their report on the many questions a prospective franchisee should ask
a franchisor: http://www.wjm.co.uk/.../Franchisees_-_Key_Questions_to_ask_a_Franchisor.pdf
another firm of solicitors which says they offer commercial advice in addition
to legal advice: http://www.batchelor-myddelton.co.uk/franchising/franchise-solicitors-guide.html
advice. (You knew about working
from home and private residence relief for
example, didn't you?) Once
more, initial advice may well be free. The Home
Business Alliance for example, has a professional
relationship for the benefit of its members with
AIMS, a national
group of accountants. But again, if circumstances
require it, don't try to cut corners or save a
few pounds by not seeking professional advice.
also the paragraph below referring to company
formation, VAT registration and self-employed
banking. This area of activity is much more involved than simply opening a
business bank account and possibly, a PayPal
or other online account, etc, (more reading on the subject here
and in your February 2011 issue of eBOSS for HBA Members) if you want to take
money online. Excellent though PayPal is, we have found that taking payment by
credit card whether over the internet, over the phone or face-to-face, remains
a significant 'must have' business tool if only to cater for people who aren't
familiar with internet banking developments or have an objection to 'non-standard'
banking transactions. (Think mail order, direct selling variants from party plan
to market stalls, and peoples' preferences and prejudices; and yes, I know
that PayPal allow people to pay with a credit card but they have to hit that PayPal
button first and a lot of folk simply neither know that or want to do that.)
apart, credit card authorisation from a traditional bank will not come cheaply
or easily for a home business or a start-up, especially if you have yet to demonstrate
any kind of turnover or your transactions are likely to be of low value. Quite
a few hoops to jump through here and if allied to a business overdraft and/or
business loan as well, this whole area of expenditure is likely to cost you an
appreciable amount of money, regularly. (That's one of the reasons why banks always
make a lot of money and businesses frequently go bust.)
you don't have to travel any further than across to the other side of the Channel
before it becomes clear that once outside of the UK - and the States - the majority
of your potential customers haven't even heard of PayPal and prefer to pay by
cash, cheque or even bank transfer!
Do whatever you can to ensure that your customers
are able to part with their money in your direction
as comprehensively and conveniently as possible.
In exchange - based on our own experience over
the past fifteenyears or so and from what we've
heard elsewhere - you could double your online
takings over a PayPal arrangement alone. The only
downside here is that for a number of years the
fixed fees for these arrangements have been driven
up to the extent that it will probably cost you
from around £50/£60 a month PLUS an
additional fee per item to use a High Street bank
whereas PayPal and to a lesser extent, Worldpay,
are becoming increasingly the norm for online
transactions and are much more affordable and
user-friendly, especially for a home business
or a start-up.
do check out the following updated links for the
latest deals and card processing technology.
processing provider PaymentSense - free processing
rate review. http://links.paymentsense.mkt5663.com/servlet/MailView?ms=NDEzOTYxNzES1&r=NDY4NDI1NjQzNjkS1&j=MTg2MTk0Mjg4S0&mt=1&rt=0
Do check out this latest chin and pin development
from PayPal however. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9887451/PayPal-launches-smartphone-linked-chip-and-pin-machine.html
PayPal Here mobile transaction service. https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/credit-card-reader
WorldPay mobile 'Pay As You Go' Service: https://mobile.worldpay.com/
the other hand, setting up more traditional business banking arrangements could
also bring you into contact with another professional who should be able to give
you not only good banking advice but also point you in a worthwhile direction
for setting up your home business generally, including some good local contacts.
Assuming you manage to open an account with a bank which offers a personal level
of service and which isn't just an internet facility, for example. Sadly,
business banking relations management is becoming increasingly rare.
more, very important thing. While going about opening a, or one, business
bank account, open at least another, second business bank account either at the
same time or as soon as possible afterwards. Then, keep both accounts active even
if you will also be doubling your bank charges, of course; however, shop around
and these may not be too onerous.
are many reasons for two accounts - or even more under certain circumstances.
Firstly, the old proverb that you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket; business
banking and lending policies can change overnight, requiring you to suddenly repay
an overdraft or a loan, for example, which you have relied upon for years thus
exposing you to the risk of foreclosure if you can't quickly do so. Terms, conditions,
rates of interest etc will vary all the time and so you need to be able to access
the best possible deal for your business when YOU CHOOSE to do so and not when
the bank tells you to. You may simply fall out with your bank and suddenly want
to go elsewhere. The bank may even call in a facility secured against your family
home, for heaven's sake. But above all, the majority of banks have proven in recent
years that they are the worst possible guardians of your money and business interests
and should be treated with the greatest of caution at best - if not outright contempt.
cannot afford to jeopardise the survival of YOUR business by relying on institutional
serial offenders who deliberately run up trillions of pounds/dollars/euros
of toxic debt to sustain their cancerous bonus culture. In fact, with a Prime
Minister (David Cameron) whose family fortune comes from banking and who predictably
hasn't made the slightest attempt to even bring UK banking controls in line with
his European counterparts, the best advice I could give you is to use banks for
their services only, buy gold and keep it buried in a hole at the bottom of the
garden. That way, when the world's financial system finally collapses, you should
be OK. (Depending upon a few other home business survival factors as well.)
the mundane meantime, having a couple of banks in the bag means that you should
be able to ride out most specific banking service problems seamlessly and quickly
with a minimum of, or no inconvenience to your customers.
are some very good banks, of course, which do not fall into the above category.
We have used the ethical Co-Operative
Bank for many, many years and are absolutely delighted with their business
banking. And there are others. (Try this link for more info: http://www.ethical-company-organisation.org/154-183-GSG09-money.pdf)
But do make your choice very carefully and remember that your money is YOURS
- so keep it that way.
little N.B. Personal credit cards. I don't know anyone who doesn't or hasn't
used a personal credit or debit card for business spending. I'm not going to try
and change the flow other than to suggest that from a book-keeping point of view,
make sure this kind of borrowing and spending stays transparent and accounted
for. One of the objectives of any business is to develop something of value,
something which you could sell at a later date. So make sure it all adds up.
course, you wouldn't offer your family home as security against a bit of placcy,
you do find yourself in debt, the best way to
avoid any problems is to bone up on the consequences
beforehand. (Eh?) A couple of HBA members, Jill
Bray and Steven Maoudis, have written some excellent
excellent work on the subject and Jill's guide
was serialised in The BOSS.
in the same 'bracket' as banking arrangements
we have pensions, accident and sickness cover.
With the latest predictions suggesting there will
be no more pensions by the year 2050 - http://money.aol.co.uk/2012/12/27/no-more-pensions-by-2050/
- this is a particularly serious matter for anyone
contemplating self-employment or running their
own business. When you are young and fit these
aren't issues which seem important but it's a
wise head which budgets and puts aside business
income for not only the end of one's working life
but any nasty surprises along the way.
everything is up in the air these days. When I
started in business, pension planning and saving
was a sure-fire bet; I knew that at the age of
60, certainly by 65, I could expect to put up
my feet. I reckon I've just about got away with
it but fortunately, I put most of my savings into
property, land, tools, kit, and a comfortable
lifestyle which I could sustain without a lot
of money. A lot of businessfolk I know put their
regular contributions into drawing large pensions
- and even today, they are in trouble with things
looking to get worse, much worse, as the current
economic climate continues to degenerate.
this whole subject an awful lot of thought. But
do put aside something or the other to be able
to cope with your older years, especially as the
state is looking less and likely to do that for
Data Protection registration.
It may or may not
affect you as a home business but check out the official website and at least
get in the know.
to and from clients/networking/other business meetings which
you may - or may not - be able to tie in with the need to buy in family shopping
as well as trips for supplies for your business. In our experience, many
trips for domestic purposes, taking children to school or the childminder, for
example, can be combined with the daily routine of going to and from work. When
working from home, business trips usually become specific and therefore, have
a significant impact on your budget.
would be surprised if running the average business
from home does actually - as is often suggested
- equate to a more planet-friendly option or prove
to be more economical than simply travelling to
and from work every day. It depends. Individual
circumstances can be very different. There are
plenty of people commuting in and out of London
who pay £5000 a year for the privilege of
standing up in a rolling shit-pit for a couple
of hours a day. But when I see millions of cars
circulating with just one driver behind the wheel,
moving backwards and forwards at the same time
morning and evening every day, topped off by widescale
throwing of food into dustbins, then there is
still a lot of scope for planet-friendliness before
appealing to everyone to work from home - in which
case, the utilities wouldn't be able to cope,
if you want to run a business from home, don't be under any illusions that it's
going to save you money. It's possible but . . .
. . now that that's the 'due diligence' part covered, read on for some more typical
home business expenditure.
it is common for start-ups to fail and coping with that possibility should be
a fundamental part of your short to medium-term business strategy. What is much
more important than failure is the ability to recover so its critical for
example, that you dont re-mortgage your house or borrow too much money or
make a start with something which seems like a good idea but which you havent
as with the right kind of mind set, your ability to prospect for business will
be markedly improved if youre not sweating cobs at a sales meeting because
you have absolutely GOT to get the deal done as otherwise you wont make
your next mortgage payment. In which case, it will have been the seventh time
you will have struggled this year, your lenders are pressing and the wife and
children are threatening to leave, etc, etc. YOU may think you can poker-play
these situations. The guy or gal facing you, wont necessarily have the same
your war chest or financial cushion, call it what
you will, remains critical. Not just to pay your
bills in the interim as you establish your business
activities but because you need to invest in your
home business shop front to help you
get your foot in the door. ONCE AGAIN, try
to avoid an overdraft or business loan at least
until you have got some kind of trading activity
behind you and you can see how the money flows.
(Grants for home businesses being quasi-non-existent
although the present Government recently re-introduced
the Enterprise Allowance, more details of which
can be found here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/employment/jobseekers/lookingforwork/dg_173931).
Start Up Loan scheme has also been officially
introduced recently: http://www.startupbritain.org/loans
However, do not be tempted to 'pump prime'
your business if you don't even have one yet,
only to find that in a few months' time you will
be back at square one, having to stand on your
own two feet again PLUS having to find a significant
amount of extra money each month to pay off what
if you still want to persist, this is the link
to the Government's one-stop guide to finance
for businesses: https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder
and the following article from a business magazine
(30.08.2013) also offers a round-up of
loans for start-ups: http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/finance/20759/analysis-types-funding-available-start-ups/
money to finance your enterprise is OK if you
know what you are doing, if you have plenty of
business experience and you are SURE your business
idea (or you've got a trade) is going to work.
Otherwise, you will end up doing what the vast
majority of business amateurs end up doing - ploughing
back what little you do manage to earn into other
peoples' pockets. With knobs on. The self-employed
business sector is notorious for its high levels
of debt, both personal and business and recent
independent findings confirm this. http://www.stepchange.org/Mediacentre/Pressreleases/selfemployeddebtproblems.aspx
will find that a business adviser may suggest
that your pricing should be high enough to include
the cost of loan and interest repayment; which
unfortunately, will leave you uncompetitive if
you are trading against businesses which don't
have these extra overheads - and believe you me,
on a typical home business turnover, banking charges
will usually be your highest, single outgoing.
ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS FOR RUNNING A BUSINESS
FROM HOME IS TO KEEP YOUR COSTS DOWN. So don't
immediately go and louse up the formula by borrowing
money from the very sources which will usually
cause you to go bust.
you really do need some extra money for
your home business then try to develop a regular,
extra income stream, instead. A twilight shift
at a local warehouse or factory, perhaps; a bit
of odd-jobbing; seasonal land work; there are
lots of possibilities. Second best is to borrow
from family or friends. But exercise this option
with the greatest caution. Nothing but nothing
causes friendship and family strain and bust-ups
like owing money.
back to your shop front which will
usually include an assortment (if not everything)
from the following list and are items which you
SHOULD pay out for BEFORE you can start prospecting
confidently; otherwise you are going to risk giving
a bad or at best, mediocre impression from the
very outset when you should in fact, be arriving
on the scene with a very favourable, 'big bang'.
my personal experience and that of my business friends and colleagues is anything
to go by, this category would be right at the top of the list taking priority
over everything else. Needless to say, coming up with a good name which describes
what you do, is memorable and has the scope to become a brand name, takes a lot
of brain power. If you've got the money, you can use an agency. It's much more
normal however, to rely on those mainstays of the vast majority of home businesses
- family and friends. Not that using an agency is infallible by any means; when
I was in the rag trade I infamously turned down the name 'Zap' for my leisure-wear
here are some ideas for you: http://specials.about.com/service/newsletters/sbinformation/1320850800.htm
you could try a 'business name generator'
website. Here are some free ones: http://sbinformation.about.com/od/startingabusiness/tp/Free-Business-Name-Generators.htm
whatever you do, try to resist that practice favoured
so much by the UK tradesman - a couple of initials
Ltd - however good a job the signwriter might
make of it on the side of your van. (Or the magnetic
sign might cost, etc, etc.)
club/Chamber of Commerce/association membership.
this day and age of the internet, paid-up membership of the business community
is a highly underestimated primary stage not only of doing the diligence
but also, of establishing yourself in that community. It is an essential part
of the learning curve and a highly likely source of business from other like-minded
people. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking media are absolutely no
substitute for real-time belonging. They are not as time-efficient, they are not
so instinctive and they are almost certainly not as potentially profitable.
can do a lot of diligence for free on the internet (assuming you can
wade through and even discern all the rubbish) but in playing the game properly,
you finally need to pay your subs. Dont hesitate and in fact, funds permitting,
join up whatever and wherever you might think its appropriate to do so.
(Although I could easily tell you some horror stories about some business clubs
so DO ask around to see what your peer group thinks.)
said that dont forget that membership of
a business club or association is, or should be,
a pro-active and interactive step. What it gives
you will be the sum of what you put in. If you
prefer to stay at home watching The Apprentice
or Dragons' Den then dont expect a membership
to give you a return nor expect your home business
first glance this might seem totally excessive
but just stop and think for a minute. Where are
you going to meet with potential clients? We have
members who live in mansions, chateaux and castles
which is more than OK for a business venue but
what about you?
those of you who belong to professional or career
institutions, prestigious premises are often part
of the deal. The Institute of Directors, for example.
OK is you qualify for membership. OK if you are
going to meet in London. OK if youre not
too picky about your food.
for the majority of folk, private members
clubs are much more accessible (unless you live
in a smaller town or rural area, in which case
it will depend on where your client is to be found
rather than where you live) and unless you want
to put a quick end to your home business prospects
by arranging a meeting in your living room over
a can of Fosters, give a LOT of thought to where
you are going to have your meetings. It goes without
saying that somewhere with a bit of cachet is
always a lot better than a pub bar or tax-dodgers,
Starbucks. Especially if you want a decent cup
of coffee. There are other options as well, of
course, but it all depends on location and accessibility.
A client will go the extra mile to see you at
a private club; he may not budge if you suggest
vary but you may be pleasantly surprised at just
how affordable some clubs can be. (Although do
try to avoid private clubs which are fashionable
or current. You are looking for a
venue which is quiet, comfortable and discreet
and not somewhere to rub shoulders with loud-mouthed
limited company will always create a better impression
than someone who is a sole trader/self-employed,
just as will VAT registration, voluntary or otherwise.
(A link to a fairly current article on the subject
There are a number of critical, additional considerations
such as personal liability as well as profits
to take into account and this is one of those
times where it is essential to get the best advice,
heed it and pay for that advice if necessary;
circumstances can be highly individual and there
are no short-cuts I for one, would want to take.
Not in this case. So, ask around at your business
club/s, take a couple of hundred at least, out
of the kitty, and go and speak to a good book-keeper
or accountant and/or solicitor. Then, lay your
cards on the table and be honest. Dont dream
may be the case that you will be able to get an initial consultation for free;
so much the better. (See above also, under Accountant's advice). But if
the local consensus of business opinion is firmly behind a professional who does
not offer a free initial meeting then dont baulk at taking out your wallet.
said that, there is no doubt that the large majority of home businesses choose
to trade as 'self-employed'; once upon a time, this was no more complicated than
simply deciding to do so but nowadays, HMRC registration is required for self-employed
newbies and for information on how to go about this the Business
Links section on starting up is as good a bet as any. Beware of non-official
websites giving start-up advice where information and links are less than comprehensive,
frequently out of date or dead. (Even the British Library's 'Business Essentials
Wiki' which we looked at recently, is seriously unfit for purpose.)
you decide to form a company it is often the case that your official address will
not be your home address. Accountants or solicitors chambers for example,
are just fine.
you are still lumbered with an unsuitable home address (depending
once again, on your type of activity), you will want to find a more impressive
accommodation address. Not just to stick on your stationery and website but to
have your business mail sent to, as well. This will only come at a price. Rates
vary enormously but be guided by recommendation rather than price, if possible.
other option is to have a pre-paid business reply or Freepost service but that
can prove to be more expensive than an address of convenience. That
notwithstanding, I have always found that business reply services are well worth
paying for; once again, its a business facility which sends out the right
you are going to be trading mainly locally, you
might be lucky enough to come to an arrangement
with an established business which has a spare
room or whose professional facilities you can
share on an ad hoc basis. I once managed to negotiate
a deal with some local architects along these
lines. They had a desirable address and the eminently
affordable arrangement worked very well for a
N.B. for 'internet-only' businesses and online
slobs. In an online world where - if you're
lucky - only 95% of the messages you receive will
be spam or scam, one of the things a lot of potential
clients will be doing is applying filtering mechanisms
to weed through their mail on its way to their
of the best ways of identifying spammers and scammers
is to see if they've used a footer or not. That
is, an official address and contact details at
the base of the message. Apart from being a legal
requirement - http://www.out-law.com/page-5536
- we and a lot of people like us, will not even
give a second glance to a message which arrives
without a footer. Let alone do business with its
it's amazing just how many online slobs send out
sales messages ending only with a simple christian
name, either unaware of what is needed or what
is business - NOT internet - etiquette or just
following the pack. We even received a message
a few weeks ago from a perfectly genuine firm
of solicitors offering their online defamation
services yet - without any kind of footer whatsoever,
just a blind link back to their company. So, on
the basis that you shouldn't be clicking blind
links either, we certainly won't be passing
on details of this firm to anyone else.
business message is not an email to some fake
friends on Facebook; just as a business card,
it tells someone something about you before they
even look at the message. That is why you need
an official address and once you've got one, why
you should be using it. As I emphasised in my
Preamble, what we're talking
about here is projecting the image of a serious,
full-time (home) business run by a business PROFESSIONAL;
not a hobby, nor a try-it-and-see dabble, nor
just a little earner on the side.
telephone number and telephone answering service.
about using your personal mobile number for clients,
either potential or existing, to call you on a
regular or first-time basis. Despite the growth
in mobile communications, you will need a land
line and a human being to answer the phone for
you when it rings and youre not there IF
you want to give the best possible impression.
Hopefully, very often indeed because you are always
out drumming up business. A typical telecommunications
overview can be found at this link (sponsored):
the basis that family or friends are the last people you want fielding your professional
calls for you and that the answerphone should only come into use very rarely indeed,
you will need to think about a personal PA. I know you can use call diverts to
your mobile, etc but to give any kind of dimension to your home business activity,
you will need to be able to offer your clients a PROPER call answering service
for your very own business telephone number.
good service however, is like gold dust. One which
knows you, your business, can handle customers
yet remaining affordable, is to die for. I think
it took me six years to find such a service at
one stage. And it didnt come cheap, although
a suitable business address and mail handling
service were included so the final solution was
more than satisfactory. After doing a LOT of asking
at your local business club or Chamber of Commerce,
divvy up some more funds out of the kitty.
you have got your trading name, official address
and phone number sorted, it's time to put yourself
into a directory or two. Once upon a time it was
as simple as the White and Yellow pages and job
done! You were on the business scene. Now it's
a lot more complicated not only because the internet
offers a lot of additional choices and variations
but because business start-ups themselves often
do things on the cheap and in the short-term and
change their official addresses, phone numbers,
emails etc as often as a normal person would change
you are not going to be able to guarantee your contact details for at least a
couple of years (as best you can, anyway) then there's no point in trying to get
yourself into a business directory, even on the internet. In fact, you might even
ask yourself the question if you are being serious about getting going in business.
other hand, it's amazing how many people get suckered into paying to appear in
'European' or 'International' trade directories which they have never seen before
in their lives and which take usually, around £100 off you for your stupidity.
Holland used to be the main source for bogus business directory scams although
I've seen offers coming from Russia and Spain as well.
said that, perfectly genuine local, trade and specialist directories do
exist and you will have to pay for an entry. But do your research
first; ask your trade association or Chamber of Commerce if you aren't sure.
we have already said, business, address and telephone
directories are an excellent way of telling at
a glance, who is doing what in your area, who
the competition is or might be and where there
are some potential gaps in the marketplace. Whether
or not directories these days are a useful source
of business referral may be a moot point; on the
other hand, there is no doubt that they are an
excellent source of business intelligence.
maketh the man. (That's me in the pic, by the way. Ahem.) And I would emphasise
the man because I dont remember ever having seen a woman turn
up at a business meeting badly dressed.
are some men unfortunately, who feel they have to look modern. Currently, that
seems to be a cheap double-breasted jacket tailored in Rumania, pre-stressed jeans
courtesy of child labour in Pakistan and North Africa, perhaps a v-necked jumper
hinting at a pallid chest, bottomed-out with a pair of pointy brothel-creepers
manufactured in a Chinese sweat shop.
very simple, really. Business meetings are the moment to show and reinforce the
notion that you are a business professional and NOT to make a dubious fashion
impression you create will have its maximum effect for (schools of thought vary)
twenty seconds or so? In which case, dont complicate your chances. Without
knowing who you are going to be talking to, its more than likely it will
be someone like me. A bit old-fashioned, ideas and trains of thought already well
established by the passage of time. Knows what he/she knows and knows what he/she
does and doesnt like.
stay conventional. Not necessarily a suit. A dark jacket, plain shirt and tie
and good quality trousers with a pair of normal-looking shoes will more than do.
can afford to pay the extra, get the best jacket possible. One which is light
and with plenty of movement because it is important to feel comfortable in a wide
range of positions. If your clothing is a bad fit, you will start to struggle
and once again, it just shows you to be an ill-prepared amateur.
can spend a fortune on what I would describe as your business uniform/s.
On the other hand, I have seen top-quality Italian suits in charity shops, of
all places, costing next to nothing. If you are of an average size, you shouldnt
have to spend too much. The problems start with people like me!
have also referred to your business clothes as a uniform because these
are clothes which should be kept and used for the purpose of, only. (If at all
possible.) At some stage, you may receive a late-afternoon call to go along to
a meeting in London first thing the next day. Full of hope and expectation, you
set your alarm to go off at 5am the following morning whereupon you get out your
clothes. And you find a stain on your jacket lapel; crumpled white-ish shirt with
a dirty collar; the trouser belt is missing; and you havent got any clean
pairs of socks left. The shops are shut that early and you wont have time
to get anything done after you get off the train. Your better half seems asleep
and anxious for you to get gone so she can carry on sleeping. Roll on!
And the watch. I have seen so many Dell-Boy Rolexes on wrists since the internet
came along that Ive developed a lurking suspicion that the original factory
may have had more than a hand in the matter. So to speak.
someone who has the money to pay for your business services or goods is also likely
to have the money to buy a decent, genuine watch. And to spot a decent, genuine
watch. Or otherwise. If you cant afford the real thing dont tempt
fate. Better not to wear a watch at all. I never do and I cant say Ive
noticed it affecting my conversion rates too much.
going to do a computer presentation, right? Just like everyone else. Trouble is,
I have seen as many computer presentations go wrong or have problems as I have
seenthem go smoothly. Most people simply dont know what they are doing.
Theyve got Microsoft Office and thats it. End of.
dont check to see if their batteries are fully charged. They find they cant
get a wi-fi signal so they have to ask their client for an internet connection.
Unless the meeting is taking place at a hotel and there isnt a socket available
where youre sitting - and all of a sudden you havent got a presentation
to make at all. The screens desktop is overloaded with icons and so it takes
ages for pages to load and move forward. There are four people facing you and
only one of them at a time can really see what is happening on your screen because
of reflection and poor lighting angles.
all means prepare a computer presentation even if PowerPoint is now considered
to belong to the Stone Age - if it is really going to help. But research your
methodology well. Keep it snappy and simple. Keep the graphics and images nice
and big so that they can be seen and read from a distance. Practice your show
a few times on friends and family, first.
at the end of the day, do you even need a computer for a presentation? What about
a simple portfolio approach, instead? Prepare a master, A4 sized at least and
once youve got something which looks the job, produce several smart copies
to pull out of your briefcase at will during your meeting, depending on how many
people are there and whether or not it is appropriate to leave something behind
- in addition to your classy business card.
portfolio is much more flexible than a computer. Once in his or her hands, a client
has control of what he or she wants to see, dwell on or return to. You dont
have to make that choice, leaving you free to expand on your clients questions,
taking the pressure off you to lead the sale all the time. Several different people
can also be looking at different pages at the same time if they want to. (Not
to be encouraged from a purists selling point of view but you know what
people are like!) Its also much easier and cheaper to leave behind a file
than a laptop! Once youve gone, the client can go back to your presentation
whenever they feel like it and your portfolio is working for you, even if youre
the other hand, although a portfolio has every possible advantage, it is something
which once again, has to be prepared carefully, thoroughly and professionally.
Use good quality, thick paper; number your pages; add an index; personalise the
cover if possible; make sure everything is nicely bound. If in doubt, get a local
print shop to help. On the other hand, if you want to do it all yourself there
are endless sites on the internet which are full of good advice and ideas. Click
on the image aside for just one of them.
are business sectors which have their own peculiarities. If youre turning
widgets on a lathe in your garden shed, you may want to prepare a sample for a
potential buyer. Dont do what British manufacturing (R.I.P.) used to do
and offer up a hastily-prepared, unpolished lump of metal presented in a Tesco
carrier bag with the excuse, Well get that properly sorted for the
production run. Make it the finest piece of work youve ever done.
Put it in a custom-made box with a printed label on the lid. If youre a
clothes designer, adopt the same approach. Dont just drape your sample across
the back of a chair. Check every stitch; steam it; fold it impeccably; box it;
again, it's going to cost a little bit extra. But itll be well worth it.
if you have been astute and very lucky youre probably only up to around
fifteen hundred pounds or so out of the kitty at this stage. Next however, is
that element which a lot of people consider to be essential these days. The website.
And this is where you can blow your budget to pieces.
this day and age, your home business armoury must try to include a website. They
say. It does depend very much on your sector of activity. There are many which
dont NEED a website to start prospecting and selling. No more so than a
computer. You must be the judge but if on a tight startup budget, a website can
prove an expensive luxury.
are not the experts here even though we manage our own websites and have been
at the top of the search engine rankings, both co.uk and .com, for over a decade.
However, there are people who know a lot more than we do about the internet and
so in this case, do by all means, take their advice. A lot of advice. With our
best wishes on finding someone who knows what they are talking about, can deliver
the right quality on time and is affordable for a home business.
is a UK scheme called the Get
British Business Online initiative which
will supposedly get you going with a website for
free. However, I have never received any feedback
on this service so I leave you to have a poke-around
at your own discretion. Here is the link: http://www.gbbo.co.uk
to put things into context for you, a survey conducted
as recently as April 2012, found that a quarter
of firms have no website http://www.companiesmadesimple.com/online-savvy-survey.html?pdf=1
and that a third of those have no plans to get
one - according to new research by the Made Simple
Group. The survey also revealed that although
over half of those with a website received fewer
than 500 hits per month, a third do not take any
steps to drive traffic to their website, and a
further third do not try to improve their search
research also found that 60% of firms do not accept
if you do end up getting a website, do keep it
regularly updated, otherwise after a few months
there really isn't much point in having got one
in the first place. Try to learn the basics of
doing this yourself. It really isn't difficult.
Assuming you are going to use a designer to produce
a website for you in the first place, he/she will
probably be happy to show you how to make basic
changes and uploads yourself. If your approach
is going to be totally d.i.y then there's a wealth
of information out there on the subject - all
you have to do is make an effort.
the same you will need to assess the value of
social media to your business and an introductory
guide can be found here: http://sbinformation.about.com/od/marketingsales/tp/social-media-for-small-business.htm?nl=1
stationery/business cards/business logo.
all done and dusted? Got a few pages which actually work? In other words, your
url doesnt produce Site Under Construction plastered across
the home page? Good. Almost the final stage, then. You can now sort out the business
there are some very impressive online or electronic stationery packages available,
don't forget to have something prepared for face-to-face business, as well. But
please, do it properly. If ever I have seen an amateur in the world of business,
its someone who offers me a curled, flimsy business ticket spat
out by a cheap desktop inkjet printer. You might as well turn up at a meeting
with cheapskate written across your forehead
what it costs these days, do make the effort - and its really not much of
one - to have your business stationery designed and printed by a professional.
We for example, have a whole bank of top-end laser printers costing several thousands
of pounds each and could do a better job at producing our own stationery than
the vast majority of people but when it comes to the crunch, we cant for
example, feed over 300 gsm+ card, which is what you will need for a decent business
until you know your stationery specs, dont try to buy for the first time
on the internet. You need to feel the stationery and judge its weight to get it
right. Feel is every bit as important as appearance. Then, look at your samples
in varying shades of light.
might think that stationery these days is a bit old hat, that e-mail has taken
over. The trouble with email is that a lot of design work, let alone the entire
message, might get chopped by the spam, key word and image filters your client
has running on his Inbox; and of course, all the sheep and lemmings use email
these days. If you want to make a statement, be different, a cut above the common
herd, dont hesitate to send out a good ole fashioned letter every
so often, especially if youre quoting or confirming a deal. Itll make
you more memorable, maybe just different enough to get the business ahead of the
competition or to get a second bite at the cherry.
when youre face-to-face with someone, its nice to be able to leave
them with something which appeals. The business card culture isnt at all
developed in Britain but assuming you will want to expand your horizons at some
stage do be aware that the business card is a fundamental part of establishing
yourself. Dont forget you will only have a few seconds in which to make
an initial impression. Dont louse it up with a crappy business card.
are always lots of promotional offers for business stationery doing the rounds
but if you want a pukka job, budget once again, a couple of hundred pounds where
the design element will be the most costly. At the same time however, aim to be
getting a business logo, a masthead out of the deal in which case, it would be
money very well spent, indeed.
make sure that when the job is done, the printer will let you have all the design
elements on a CD because that is what you have paid for and its YOUR property.
more and more professionals work from home, so
more and more home businesses are becoming increasingly
high value and high liability, making professional
indemnity insurance a very important consideration.
Some sectors wont even touch you if you
dont have this kind of cover.
you have any questions at all, speak to an independent or specialist insurance
broker. (If PI is recommended, then its very serious kitty time again.)
Ready now? Everything has come together. ALL
the components are in place? ie Youre not
going to try and prepare a portfolio while keeping
your customer waiting a few days? Or need to find
the money for a day return on the train to London?
you may wish to formally pull all these components
together and produce that good old classic, a
business plan. It seems to be the trend to
knock business plans these days whereas when I
started out, you would need one just to get a
modest overdraft facility at the bank. Furthermore,
if you are going to ask the bank for a few thousand
pounds or more, either as a loan or an overdraft,
then not having a business plan will almost
guarantee a refusal. My view is that it's not
a bad discipline anyway, although it depends on
your scale of intended operations and what your
ambitions are just as much as any external requirements.
At the very least, look at formal business planning
as part of your due diligence. There are a huge
number of resources and links for business planning
available; this is just one: http://sbinformation.about.com/lr/business_planning/1699536/4/
article which discusses financial planning specifically
for a home business, can be read here: http://www.netplaces.com/home-business/writing-your-business-plan/financial-plan.htm
the break or, getting out.
the basis that you have decided on what kind of business you would like to run
- and that can be a marathon in itself - you will eventually need to decide to
take the plunge, leave your regular job and commit to a business full-time. IF
that is what you want to do. On paper, its possible to taper into full-time
business activity from part-time or while holding down a full-time job but in
practice, Ive rarely seen it done. Money which you set aside from part-time
business sales will usually go on helping pay day-to-day bills; had some good
sales? Then it's only natural to 'treat' yourself or the family rather than invest
in business development. And so on. If you have got the will-power to separate
out the two activities and keep them separated, then congratulations. Youve
got more self-control than me.
can work well is a big, all-the family-together-now, sell-out at a car boot or
on eBay to raise some working capital. It's surprising how much can be lurking
in the garage or the loft which can be converted into a few bob and it's all a
good exercise for raising awareness among the entire family that this home business
idea of yours, is serious.
apart, do then bear in mind that you will not be able to juggle your new customer
priorities with the demands of full-time employment. Once or twice, maybe, but
not in the long run.
you can make a gradual shift towards a full-time
home business with direct selling opportunities,
but there you usually have a tried and tested
formula and structure to guide and support you.
The other formula which will usually work is that
the other half continues to go to
work and assumes the lions share of the
familys financial responsibilities. But
it is normally a long haul. Think in terms of
three years or longer to become established. If
you can make it faster, congratulations again.
addition, once established then the long-term
goal of your hard work should be something called
'good will'. This is rarely mentioned on business
weener websites largely because it's a favourable
trading condition which takes years, maybe even
a generation or more, to evolve, and cannot be
sold 'ready to go'. You will need to stay put,
to produce the right work at the right price,
making your customers feel they are the best thing
since sliced bread, year in and year out before
arriving at a state of affairs where word-of-mouth
recommendation and loyalty will make your business
successful, come what may. (Almost!) It will NOT
be achieved by updating your Facebook profile
every week, changing your email address every
six months and selling your home or climbing the
housing ladder every couple of years.
at anything between a couple and several thousand pounds already spent on the
preparatory business trimmings, you will now need a lot more than that to pay
your way until your home business starts bringing in some serious money. But it
wont start bringing in serious money until you take the plunge, start getting
out and working at your business double, even treble-time. So its Catch
ball is in your court.
a final think about whether or not that spare bedroom you want to turn into a
home office might be more productive let out as lodgings or B&B.
the same time, take a look at what your local or a nearby authority might be offering
as business or start-up workspace where, if my own experience is anything to go
by, the cost of an all-inclusive package can easily be MUCH cheaper than setting
up at home. (Homes are not designed after all, for running a business.) Perhaps
your priorities are more lifestyle and not purely down to running a profitable
business: but very often I come across start-ups who think that a logical progression
is getting going from home and then moving on to bespoke business premises. That
COULD be putting a dog-leg into the straightest possible path.
determined to have a go from home? Well, once
you've lashed out for all the necessary bits listed
above, the next stage is getting out to
drum up the business. Seriously. It's not going
to happen if you are going to sit at home.
Almost forgot. Registration with HMRC if
you are about to become self-employed (which will
generally be the case with most home business
start-ups). It's compulsory nowadays and it's
all explained here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/register-selfemp.htm#1
It's the final 'cold shower' before launching
yourself into your brave new world. No more anonymous
posts on forums, hiding behind a stupid pseudo.
It's time to get real.
II. Finding The Bacon.
those of you who have come straight in to Part II, I would suggest that you at
least take a quick look at my Preamble. Thank you.)
that you are well prepared and committed to go out
to drum up some business, the rest is quite easy;
you just have to decide how you are going to attract
your customers and then persuade them to give you
their money in return for your goods or services.
Its no more
complicated than that so never mind the detail. The devil is in the detail. As
well as a lot of your money heading for other peoples' pockets.
You may be someone lucky enough to start a home business with a few existing (ex-employers?)
clients in tow. Maybe a successful eBayer or car-booter who wants to go full-time.
Or perhaps youre a freelancer or a sub-contractor looking for just one,
major long-term contract. Or, a recently qualified professional such as a consulting
engineer or an architect who can almost work from where they choose and expect
business to beat a path to their doorstep. But for the majority of home businesses
identifying and then trying to win over new clients on a regular basis is a tough
routine AND its a routine which needs to be learned as a skill in its own
right. None of this get marketing followed by get the sales
rep. onto it nonsense you get from a clueless big company director. As a
home business, YOU have to learn these skills yourself and until you do, you wont
generation or, bacon-finding.
a question. How many basic ways of lead generation do YOU know? (EXCLUDING
know 72. (Seventy-two.) Maybe even a couple more. (We provide a list for Home
Business Alliance members; if not, any worthy business advisor should be able
to give you something suitable.)
have excluded the internet from this count because in my experience, the internet
is one of the worst lead-generating mediums I have ever seen, having evolved with
a completely different set of expectations and performance criteria to those required
by the majority of successful, professional home businesses. I am well aware of
the returns which can be obtained from social network marketing for example, but
by the time you have paid for all the whistles and bells to profit from a sophisticated
online campaign, what kind of investment are we talking about? Me, I'm talking
about a home business start-up for who the immediate priority, especially for
the critical first three years or so, is SURVIVAL.
what you need to be looking for is rapid, efficient and economic access to people
who will PAY you for your home business activities - not just time wasters and
parasites pursuing the internets free lunch philosophy. Home businesses
simply have too many pressing things to do to be able to sit around waiting for
the occasional result. A company business with employees may have the means to
designate someone to tweet, make faces or goggle. (Its got to be a joke,
all this. You couldnt make it up if you tried. How many of you can imagine
any of this taking off just ten or fifteen years ago?)
all means, if youve got the time on your hands and you want to do the job
properly, have a go at internet marketing; if your business lends itself to selling
online then I would certainly agree that an efficient, commercial website for
example, is indispensable even if it is just one of billions. But whereas a typical
emailing campaign will produce results which range from microscopic to invisible,
an hour or so of networking face to face will produce concrete results from people
who are not only there to sell but who play the game and are prepared to do some
buying as well. In which case they will automatically buy from someone they have
already seen and talked to and who also plays the game. YOU.
again, much is being said about social media for marketing your business. By people
who are trying to go with their perception of the flow (sheep) or make some money
from saying that. On the other hand, numerous surveys of real, 'Joe Public' businesspeople
suggests that social media as a business tool, sucks. OK, I accept that the vast
majority of people who dabble with making money from an internet business probably
aren't going about it properly. Or they are being scammed. But that, nonetheless,
is the reality. Otherwise, you might as well say that if people drove respectfully
and skillfully there wouldn't be any more road accidents.
been kicking around earning money from home business activity for over 50 years
and during that time, I've met a lot of seriously wealthy people. Although such
folk are generally very modest and discreet, I do know that not one of them has
made any money mainly from the internet. OK, I suppose it is a relatively recent
business medium; on the other hand, with fifteen years' worth of water under the
bridge, I would have expected to have come across at least one genuine, internet
success story by now! You know - someone who actually exists and who's made enough
money to buy their own pot to piss in - and not just some anonymous illiterate
on a forum.)
those of you who still believe that the internet is paved with gold, you may wish
to take a quick look at the following article which was published on 09/08/2011,
over a year after I first drafted this guide.
Just announced. Britain's richest 100 businessmen who didn't get any academic
richest 'skillionaire' is the chairman of the yellow digger maker JCB. Sir Anthony
Bamford, whose wealth is valued at £2.15bn, started his working life with
a two-year apprenticeship at Massey Ferguson in France in the early 1960s. JCB
itself is valued at £2bn, but Sir Anthony's family also has private assets
including a 4,500-acre Staffordshire estate and a 1,500-acre estate in Gloucestershire.'
had a quick look at the first twenty names on the list and would you believe it
- not a single fortune made from the internet! Well, I never.
Its also about time. I try to schedule three meetings a week to bring
home the bacon. Half a day per meeting to include travel to and from; one
and a half days in total. I personally work on a 75% conversion rate. It can often
be 100% because for quite a while now, I have only taken meetings which I knew
would put business my way.
even a very modest 25% conversion rate is astronomically higher than anything
you will get out of the internet and yet totally realistic face-to-face because
if all your preparations have been up to speed, youll be going along to
a customer who is already predisposed to doing business with you.
then leaves me - or you - five days a week (yes, dont forget to include
Sundays for the first couple of years at least) to produce or develop your wares,
up to one day a week preparing for meetings and then, at least 2 days per week
to get more leads. You could go to church on Sunday, of course. Its very
good for networking as well, practised religiously by all the leading ethnic traders.
Then, half to one day a week socialising or doing charitable or voluntary work
or playing some kind of sport or going to the gym, which are all ways of generating
and reinforcing leads for your business, at the same time. And time for the family?
You may well ask.
cant plan that way with the internet. Thats
why the REAL landscape of successful home businesses
in the UK consists of Polish landlords, Asian
shopkeepers (living accommodation above and to
rear) and Chinese takeaways (ditto for living
accommodation) and NOT self-styled website designers
who cant even write code, looking at plastic
SAID ALL THAT - and bearing in mind that successful businesspeople don't make
a lot of money from being followers of fashion (they create fashion) - we do at
the Home Business Alliance nonetheless, give regular updates and postings on free
or low-cost courses which would be suitable for learning the basics. (Here,
or above all, on eBOSS (members
try this link for a 'modern' comprehensive list of all-inclusive, 101
small business marketing activities.
let this be a reminder of the earlier section
referring to training: check with your local official
business support sector, colleges and training
providers to see what is being offered. As the
internet has become such a vast subject, a short,
half or one-day course, usually available for
free through to £100 or so, is a good way
of rapidly getting yourself up to speed without
wasting days or even weeks, trawling through Forums
for Morons and ending up none the wiser. Then,
if you find that 2 + 2 = 4 or better, then go
ahead and bone up some more. But don't waste your
time by going straight into lemming mode. There
are no successful lemmings in the business world.
more consideration. The media and even business
websites are full of disjointed, trending advice
and recommendations that all businesses should
be using social media. Generally speaking,
the professional view is that it comes down to
the kind of exposure you want and if, once you
have the ball rolling, you will be able to find
the time and the commitment to manage your social
media effectively and consistently. In the real
world, you will find that if you are a one-man
band successfully running a business, the customer,
the work you do, invoicing, chasing and managing
your money will take absolute priority. Even acknowledging
emails for many small businesses seems to be too
much of an effort dealing as one does, with 99%
trash and possibly, just one or two genuine enquiries
or leads. And of all the tradesmen and business
services I use, for example, I don't know
of a single one which benefits from social media
as a significant business tool. Yet they all seem
to be doing very nicely indeed!
this guide will help give an overview of the social
media scene for small businesses. http://sbinformation.about.com/od/marketingsales/tp/social-media-for-small-business.htm?nl=1
from the internet, there are two other popular forms of lead generation where
I would also urge caution. Direct mail and newspaper or magazine advertising.
because they dont perform but because like the internet they dont
perform well enough for the money which they cost. I have used them both; even
won Royal Mail Best Mailshot awards. However, a good response rate
from a mailing campaign will only be 3% or less; OK, I have heard of and had much
higher than that, especially with lists Ive generated myself or to existing
customers. Ive also seen and heard of 0% response rates. But when you have
got limited funds in your kitty and youre not (yet) a direct mail expert
then even a modest mailing of 1000 or so, isnt go to pay for your first
Roller and yet itll take a hefty slice out of your budget. In fact, youll
be lucky to break even at any point if Royal Mail are still experiencing a 5%
shrinkage rate on deliveries as at one stage.
just as with the internet, this is a sector which has a substantial learning curve
attached. You wont learn writing good copy from illiterate, lower-case postings
on a weener business forum. Itll work and work well but its mainly
for professionals rather than a home business just starting out.
other classical area for lead generation is newspaper advertising or similar -
school magazines, specialist magazines, etc. Once again, the medium is - or can
be - effective but its all about budget. To make an impact with this kind
of advertising, it has to be done regularly and supported with as much editorial
as possible. (The editorial is more important than the advertising). YOU might
think you can write killer copy; but is a readership, mentally swamped
by generations of advertising messages going to be sufficiently impressed by your
first-time effort to get in touch with you in preference to everyone else - just
to explore the possibility of giving you some money? I dont think so.
you have got the money in your kitty for a sustained media advertising campaign,
then OK but I doubt that you would be trading as a home business and so, reading
this. There are LOTS of other ways of lead generation which cost very little and
are infinitely more effective.
to the List of 72. Print it off, sit down with family and friends again (non-Facebook
types) and tick off the lead-generating possibilities which suit you and your
home business activity. Budget continues to rule so I dont imagine youll
be launching a TV advertising campaign. On the other hand, if youre looking
to do business locally then a few thousand letterbox flyers, hand-delivered by
yourself, family and friends might work wonders and cost very little, indeed.
(It is no coincidence that leading, household name UK companies continue to favour
this method despite everything which is claimed for internet-based marketing;
a current business news story for you here.)
Even in rural areas, you can easily target a lot of people this way and the only
constraint might be, how many flyers can you afford to print?
you find yourself asking this question then do look at printing your own. Black
and white is normally very cheap but if youre going to start spreading your
message to car windscreens and leaving little piles in newsagents, grocers, charity
shops, markets, fairs, you can easily be looking at repeat print runs of thousands.
a look on eBay for a second-hand workhorse printer. Stick to black and white (or
if you want to spend a bit more consider colour by all means but its the
consumables which will cost you an arm and a leg subsequently) and for a couple
of hundred pounds you should be able to pick up a real work-horse laser like a
Ricoh Aficio. (As
I write there is actually a Ricoh Aficio, as pictured, on eBay with just 11,000
copies on the counter going at £99 with just over 1 day of bidding left!)
are A4/A3 printers and will normally duplex as well. Its worth paying the
extra for those two features because you will then be able to print double-sided
much more quickly and (almost!) eliminate feed problems. In addition heavy duty
machines like these operate at a fraction of the cost of desktop inkjets/lasers.
duty printers have a life cycle of a million plus copies and usually, you should
be able to get one which has only done around 100,000 to 150,000 quite easily.
In addition, models which are several years old will have consumables and parts
readily available on eBay and at very reasonable prices. A bit of patience is
all thats needed and then you should be able to do your advertising printing
for next to nothing AND have the capacity to do a bit of printing for your friends
AND, affordably add some glossy brochures to your home business portfolio as well!
BUT. Time to dip into the war chest again. (What are we up to now?)
very careful about buying ANY new printer. For
the past few years, printer manufacturers have
been making the lion's share of their money from
the sale of consumables - and that means a lot
more than just ink or toner. A typical modern
laser printer will require you to change colour
drums, imaging units, transfer belts, fuser units
and even waste toner containers at frighteningly
regular intervals usually at a cost of hundreds
at a time. And, as all modern printer consumables
are electronically 'chipped' as well, the customer
has absolutely no say whatsoever in the matter
once the machine has turned over a predetermined
number of times - irrespective of quality, waste
and any other technical problems. In addition,
the benefit of manufacturer service contracts
is highly dubious involving pretty much the same
kind of selling scam as extended warranty contracts
on most new consumer goods. Finally, we all know
about built-in redundancy, don't we? No more than
5 years for an inkjet, I'd say, before a chip
cuts in and knocks out the machine, manifesting
itself usually, as a major ink leak.
THE manufacturer to avoid in the small business sector is Xerox in general
and Xerox (France) and Xerox (India) particularly. From spoof websites mocking
the company's approach to customer service, through to a lawsuit brought by the
SEC in the USA, consumer complaints about Xerox's scams abound. Here are just
a few links for you:
Xerox's latest scam: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/the-photocopy-that-really-is-a-fake-machines-have-been-altering-numbers-8749076.html
a couple of other points about printing and distributing your own.
DO NOT print on coloured paper. It's
amateurish, it is difficult to read, especially if you are printing on a dark-coloured
paper and the usual reaction from your intended client will be to chuck the thing
in the bin without even trying
message. Black on white, as any graphic designer will tell you, has the most effect
or impact and of course, it's also the cheapest colour paper you can buy. (Newspapers
haven't been printed black on white for centuries simply by chance.)
DO MAKE AN EFFORT to produce a tidy, easy-to-read flyer. There are so many
free publication templates available these days that there really isn't any excuse.
Do resist the temptation to overcrowd your message; 'white space' is as important
as the message itself. And if you want to use a bit of clip-art try to avoid using
the same image everyone else has used before you. Then, when the flyers come off
the printer, REJECT any which aren't perfect. Don't leave your customer with the
impression that you are just a cheap slob.
At the risk of being of being dragged before a court for making inflammatory and
discriminatory remarks (as if I ever would), it's common business knowledge
that certain demographic groups are better targets for your publicity than others.
Council estates are the gnat's nadgers; the tenants are usually hard-working and
honest, especially the older generations. 'Desirable' postcode areas on the other
hand, are best avoided unless you have a very particular service to offer or you
know what you are doing. As the saying goes, you don't 'make it' in Britain by
being honest or hard-working. Consequently, general opinion is that well-off neighbourhoods
are largely populated by successful crooks - in which case you might struggle
to get paid, if at all. (There you go; that'll get me an OBE.) But it's
what they say. So once again. Be mindful of who you target; don't just distribute
your publicity willy-nilly.
now, to prospecting. If its a national service you are offering - technical
translations, perhaps - then precision lead generation will be the order of the
day although this time, you will need to identify potential clients around the
country who will need to be addressed by name. Typically, this is where Chambers
of Commerce, import/export clubs, technical journals and directories, trade visits
and exhibitions come in but all of a sudden, although it might have seemed a good
idea at first, reaching out to do this kind of business can unexpectedly become
expensive and complicated. Once again that is usually the last thing you want
when starting a business from home, however potentially lucrative the business
idea might be.
is one reason - and a very good reason - why the vast majority of businesses are
local. It's interesting to note that even online business activity
which can easily be enabled to trade internationally, (i.e. online payments, eBay,
etc) often stipulate national sales ONLY and by implication frequently, local
sales only. i.e. the insistence that goods are collected and paid for in person,
won't take PayPal because the transaction charge is too high, hasn't got an alternative
means of taking payment online, vague 'problems' experienced in the past with
overseas postage, cost of overseas postage and so on.
fact, when you come to sitting down at this stage to examine how you are going
to go about selling your wares, you may well ask the question, Is this
what I should be selling at all?! Its a good question to ask.
One of the most important lessons to learn about success in business is that you
give the client what he or she thinks they want. Not needs; or what
you think they want. Then, if you havent got it right, be prepared to change
or adapt your offerings to provide exactly what will sell and then, what you
are able to DELIVER.
forget that one of the main advantages of a home business is that you will be
supremely flexible and much more sensitive to your customers wishes than
a larger company, where there will be an information chain, conceptual and physical
constraints. Budget as well, very often. As a home business your overheads should
normally be low so for small to medium-sized orders, you should have the upper
hand on pricing. That said, you must actually do something, fast, whenever appropriate
and not just gaze at A Round Tuit!
this stage I feel compelled to comment on an email I received from the professional
business advisory sector a few weeks ago. The subject was British companies going
after new business for which their preferred criteria were:
who are as profitable as possible
Buy high-margin products
without negotiating discounts
Place a small number of large orders rather
than a larger number of small orders
Do not cancel or amend orders or otherwise
add time and complications to their orders
Pay on time without being chased
Do not require extensive after-sales service
and Im after a mistress who looks like Ursula Undress, has Steven Hawkings
brain, unlimited access to George Soross bank account and can drink like
a Russian soldier. If ever I have seen an epitaph to the demise of British industry
then this is it. Im normally OK for a laugh but the fact that this came
from the official business support sector leaves me wondering what other fantasies
they have up their sleeves.
lets get this straight. As a home business, your wish list will be pretty
much the same as that of any other business. But dont expect for one minute
to get anywhere near these kinds of expectations. If you get paid within 90 days
for example, celebrate. Its better than not getting paid at all which is
a daily occupational hazard of running a business. If you get a small order, celebrate
again. Its a lot better than no order at all. And its probably from
another small or home business like yourself, which needs to breathe in order
to grow. They cant afford a big order even if they wanted to order more.
And so on.
a home business starting out, in practice you will accept what business you are
offered and you will be ever so umble and say Thank You
and later you will go back and say, May I ave some more, please,
will be exceptions. For example. If the word at your local Chamber of Commerce
or business club (your subs working for you again) is that Firm X are very bad
payers or in danger of winding up then you will take note and try to find business
dont be under the illusion that as a home business starting out YOU can
pick and choose. Not to begin with, you cant. Get yourself established and
THEN . . . (think of it as your own version of loss-leading.)
just one last thought and its very important.
not that unusual to get such a good response from your lead generation, especially
when starting out and pinpointing a service which is unique to the area, that
you end up with more leads than you can quickly or reasonably handle. This is
an extremely undesirable situation because it usually leaves you having to make
one of two choices. Either, decline some of the potential business altogether,
politely fobbing off the potential customer and risk losing him/her for life.
OR, hastily phone and ask around to see if someone else can step in to take up
this kind of situation yourselves with lead generating. Make sure youve
got the capacity handle the business you are going after. Do the necessary BEFORE
you start prospecting.
III: Bringing Home The Bacon
those of you who have come straight in to Part III, I would suggest that you at
least take a quick look at my Preamble. Parts I and II precede.Thank
youre under way. Your professional PA has emailed and left a phone message
for you with an enquiry. You will usually get these first thing in the morning
which is perfect. Youre feeling fresh and sharp. You get onto calling back
by no later than mid-morning unless the caller has suggested a specific time.
The message had arrived the previous afternoon but although its important
to get back quickly on enquiries its also a good idea to let people get
into their offices comfortably first thing in the morning, have a coffee, read
their mail and have a look at the newspaper. You will have had a quick look at
a newspaper as well, even if only online. For me, getting back to someone just
after 10am is favourites.
another tiny bit of preparation before touching base with your first phone call.
Just register the enquirers address in your mind and ask yourself how easily
could you make an appointment and by what time of day or during the week. If necessary,
quickly check your journey times.
if a time and a place is proposed, you will (should) already know how that fits
in with travelling and you will be able to make a decision and give your answer
straight away. WITHOUT I hope, some stupid pregnant pause as you pretend to look
in your diary to see if you are free that day. For pitys sake!
you DONT do this and the conversation steers
quickly towards you accepting an appointment which
ends up becoming very difficult for you to get
to on time, you will be faced with the embarrassment
of calling back a second time to re-arrange the
meeting OR, to get to the venue the day before,
which will cost you a lot of extra time and money.
Either way, its the height of amateurism.
what information you need to know from the call to give yourself a picture but
dont let the initial conversation drag on. Ensure the enquirer has seen
your website, which if so, is where most information is to be had already. (Although
it's amazing just how many people don't actually LOOK AT and READ website content;
all they tend to see is if it looks pretty or not; whereas just as many websites
don't have information where it should be in a manner which is easy to follow
and understand; advertising and popups slow down the pages loading and leave your
visitors irritated and critical; many websites don't comply with the law. So,
your website can be as much a kiss of death as a beneficial tool - if you don't
get it right. What's yours like? Have you asked anyone?)
if Yes (your website has done the necessary), you will be trying
to fill in any missing pieces and if its still going well, trying to get
an appointment. Its usually yes all the way by the time someone
has called. Business-people dont waste time making phone calls. They are
made for a purpose.
you have some flexibility of choice in arranging your appointment, I for one,
have a marked preference for late morning (11-ish); I dont like travelling
by car (too much like a stressful waste of time) so I use the train whenever I
can despite the UKs and France's deteriorating quality of service.
rail is also ferociously expensive unless you
have a few days grace to book over the internet
and choose off-peak services, in which case its
not that bad at all. Really. On the other hand,
you may not have the luxury of a few days
notice to get to a meeting and so you will be
paying out some silly money to a train operator
and possibly, for a taxi, too. In which case,
its a good job you have got that war chest,
the logic behind an appointment at around 11am. It usually gives you ample time
to get to the meeting while avoiding the early morning rush hour; about an hour
is right for a typical meeting, which takes you nicely up to lunchtime; if on
the other hand, you find yourself getting on like a house of fire, then you can
spill over into lunchtime if necessary, whereupon you will offer to pick up the
tab; (oh, yes); meeting over, you can get back home in a relaxed fashion and once
again, before all the 9-5 sheeple are ready to make their return journey; people
are generally fresher and more alert in the mornings - discussions proceed more
snappily. After lunch, appointments can be delayed or even waylaid by more important
matters which have cropped up in the meantime. That can be unsettling as well
as playing havoc with your own timetable.
course, you can throw all these timings and preferences in the bin once you are
contemplating longer journeys and trips of 2/3 days or to other countries. Despite
current talk and reports of the future lying in exporting, the average Brit is
only likely to go abroad for a one-week vomiting holiday in Torremolinos. Flying
is favourites although increasingly unreliable and respectful of the laws of gravity,
whereas train travel which should be less disruptive and more productive, is rife
with timetable delays, strikes, filthy carriages, standing-only and poor to non-existent
communications. Even in France, which until four or five years ago had one of
the best rail services in the world, standards have dropped to such an extent
that if you are able to complete a trip according to a journey plan made a few
weeks earlier, then you will be in luck!
Having escaped the clutches of the UK's rail franchises and the French SNCF though,
matters do get far better as you head north, south, and east, all the way
to Mongolia and beyond. The worst possible scenario there is that public transport
doesn't reach all parts of the Asian continent - in which case you simply fall
back on a 30 year-old Lada still running strong which, even in the unlikely event
of a breakdown, can be fixed almost immediately with a 2lb hammer. (Pic
aside - an unbreakable 4wd Lada for going and working where bloated Hummers
and Range Rovers can't and don't go. Ultimate retro-chic and practicality for
lifestyle and land-working home businesses. But all that is another story.)
come the time you want to do business outside your own country's back yard and
a crap internet connection, start worrying. However, within a radius of a couple
of hundred of miles of your home business, you should fare better. Which, mind
you, is still a lot of potential custom.
preparation and the internet again
you have the basic details about who wants to see you and why, it seems logical
to use the internet to find out more about your potential client. This can be
a Damoclean sword.
you use the internet as well as a bit of insider
information (Chamber of Commerce or business club
again; maybe Companies House) you are likely to
go along to your meeting armed with all that you
will need to know to make a tidy impression and
to arrive at a balanced decision if the next step
looks like a deal. Dont push your research
into your clients face; just one or two
facts which come out discreetly in the conversation
will be enough to hint at your thoroughness and
if you can find out about your client, he can
find out about you, too. It is becoming increasingly
commonplace for companies to Google personal and
company histories on the internet and use those
findings to influence their decisions. Just ten
years ago, that wouldnt have happened and
if you were a home business recently starting
out and you had a VA a couple of years before
that, it was possible that with a fair wind, life
could have given you a welcome, fresh start. That
is no longer the case.
still, the arrival of social networking sites
has complicated matters still further. A couple
of postings which may have seemed just a laugh
at the time or someones rant, a pack of
lies or not, and all of a sudden, doing business
isnt quite as straightforward as it used
to be - especially if you were hoping to get away
with the odd white lie or two here, and a stone
left unturned, there.
fortunately, the future is B.R.I.C. (Brazil, Russia,
India, China.) We will all have to learn a new
business language; the internet will finally be
policed; sensible laws introduced and enforced;
security measures applied and constraints will
be placed on the abuse of integrity and freedom.
For the time being however, there is more than
a problem. (I'd be among the first to defend human
rights and liberties. That doesn't mean defending
in going to your meeting, it would be prudent
to assume that your background has been laid bare
and any temptation to pretend you are NOT a home
business or that your business experience goes
back no more than 40 days, should be avoided.
I would be surprised if someone actually had the
gall to invite you to come along to a meeting
only to throw facts like these in your face. But
if in the meantime they have come across pictures
of you exposing your arse on Facebook (however
appropriate) dont expect to land a contract
as a Public Relations consultant to a member of
the Saudi royal family.
course, much of this is allied to being a 'new
kid on the block'. If you already have a few clients
on your books, a decent portfolio and you're a
limited company trading from a 'business' address
rather than as 'John Hopeful, 27 Primrose Close',
then you are very likely to be accepted at face
value. But as I emphasised at the beginning, it's
all about getting your foot in the door.
good home business opportunity here, though. Deleting histories and records held
on the internet. I've received a few contacts already from people offering their
services in this field and I would expect this to be a good punt for the next
ready for the meeting; to take list.
may not seem it but I suffer from nerves quite badly before a big event. I keep
telling myself that after all these years its a nonsense but that doesnt
seem to make any difference. If you are the same as me, Im sorry but I cant
give you any advice although there are a myriad books on the subject. The best
I can ever do is go along and keep my mental fingers crossed.
the event - 99% of the time - its OK on the day. Its the night before
I lose sleep just when I need the exact opposite. So, I get out my clothes; polish
my shoes; check my travel tickets are in my top, inside pocket which is where
I instinctively hope to find them; (I almost never travel by car; too time-consuming
and you cant work or relax while driving.)
check the mobile phone to make sure its fully charged and that I know how
much calling credit is left; (for the purpose of business trips I only use my
mobile phone for emergencies such as last-minute changes to plan); make sure Ive
got at least two credit cards with enough money behind them to pay for the cost
of another journey just in case I lose my tickets at the last minute; plus enough
for a taxi plus a meal for up to three or four people.
also check Ive got the equivalent amount in cash. This check and facility
is absolutely essential. I and people I have seen, trying to slide under a table
to hide their embarrassment when trying to pay for a business lunch with a card
which didnt work - is not a pretty sight. Funny. But certainly not dignified.
money is pretty tough but things can go wrong, not least of all damage to the
magnetic strip or as with some cards, youve forgotten to instruct your bank
to authorise foreign transactions. I once lost a card, reported it missing for
it to be cancelled, found it again and instead of destroying it immediately, absent-mindedly
put it back in my wallet. Later, I pulled out the identical replacement card and
destroyed that by mistake, instead. You know the rest.
is good. Bullet-proof. (In the pic, a genuine
and typical member's 'pile' to take on a business
trip; moleskin wallet, bits inside and £200
in cash to the left; small moleskin notepad and
pens - Pilot V5 Tech Points; I use a classic,
Manager, myself; then, a ubiquitous, unpretentious
but perfectly effective Acer laptop; Olympus Ferrari
digital camera. At the back, choice of music if
you are taking along a device for making sound;
Tony Bennet in this member's case. Good stuff.
On the other hand, I just eavesdrop on fellow-passengers'
conversations. I learn something every time. Finally,
that modern-day technological codpiece, the mobile
phone. In this case, an eight-year-old Nokia on
a Vodafone Pay As You Go tariff with international
roaming, kept in the coat pocket so that it doesn't
the way. Dont try to impress your clients by paying with a gold,
platinum, black or American Express card. Just an ordinary Visa will do. Or cash.
Youre NOT supposed to be giving the client the impression that you can afford
him, rather than vice versa.
important of all, I make sure I have my piece of paper with the meeting venue,
client names and contact details. This will usually go in the briefcase although
not before Ive memorised the name and address so that I can quickly hop
into a taxi if running late and give instructions to the driver without having
to fumble about.
briefcase will also contain of course, the portfolio/presentation
and/or any samples or further promotional or research
material. By the way. Try to get a decent briefcase
for your meetings. eBay has a wonderful selection
of good quality, used leather briefcases and for
£20 or even less, you should be able to
do the business. This is also one of those 'cases'
where you don't want something which is
brand, spanking new. You're an experienced businessman,
right (?), and your briefcase should give the
impression that you've done a lot of meetings.
try to avoid taking along a computer if I can unless I have a lot of work I could
profitably do on the train. However, everyone but everyone, including the captains
monkey is sprawled out with their laptops and notepads on trains these days and
being able to do some work yourself isnt always practical.
also take some paper hankies or kitchen roll, an energy bar or a couple of home-made
flapjacks and a bottle of still mineral water. Then, if the train breaks down
(almost guaranteed if its a Eurostar) you should be OK for the 24 hours
or so itll take for them to get the thing moving again. Some people pack
a good book as well but I find I can amuse myself simply by looking at what isnt
happening or once again, listening to what people around me are saying.
much the same kit bag when travelling by coach, especially along the western half
of Britain or anywhere in general, which is allegedly served by Virgin Rail. (Although
a recent survey suggests that Virgin Rail is the UK's most improved rail service.)
then. Bottom line. Get everything ready the night before so that come the day
of your meeting you can be like Eric Cantona. COOL.
at the meeting.
to get there about 15 minutes early.
you have chosen to drive, its not a good
idea to turn up in something which looks and/or
is more expensive than your clients car.
He or she may think you dont need or deserve
the business. If you are going to arrive in something
which conforms to a British-manufactured average
family saloon or estate, then fine. If its
a Japanese 4wd pickup which only goes off-road
when it mounts the kerb - or anything similar
normally driven by East European body part smugglers
- then park out of sight and take a short walk
to your appointment. Seriously. Going to meet
someone to discuss business for the first time
is a VERY subjective affair, believe me.
the mobile. Turn it off, off, off. If you can
leave it in the car, do so. If not, leave it in
your coat pocket in the reception area. Nothing
is a bigger turn-off to your client than a mobile/smart
phone going off half-way through the conversation.
if the meeting is largely concluded DO NOT go looking for your latest bit of plastic
to see if there are any messages for you. Its a modern form of social inadequacy
or attention-seeking. If you cant last an hour or so with a customer without
looking at a bit of plastic, you dont belong there in the first place.
yourself in a mirror. If you can. Especially if youve been eating or its
a windy day, etc. If you arrive early, you can ask the receptionist if you can
use the toilets. Thats the time for a final check.
we part company. Time to do the business on your own. Now that you have arrived,
the job is over half done. Usually, you will get the business simply by avoiding
any disasters or making a fool of yourself. If you've never done any selling before
then the closest analogy is, I suppose, like going for a job interview.
that, I am reminded of the advice I once received from Britains most acclaimed
salesman at the time: Selling is just about making friends.
afterwards, in a highly mediatised story, this guy was sacked by his company's
MD for making more money from sales commissions than he (the MD) was earning in
salary. This same MD, who was also credited with popularising that corporate profit-making
device politely referred to as 'creative accountacy' and sending thousands of
small suppliers and sub-contractors to the wall, then went on to be knighted by
Margaret Thatcher's government for 'services to industry'.
that time, British industry has either died or been bought for peanuts by furreners.
Whereas more recent knighted
British industry 'luminaries' face disqualification from holding directorships
by getting involved in outright scams.
so, a classic element of home or any small business survival remains. If you can
possibly avoid it, don't do business with just one, major customer. Or a large
company. Then again, if the wolf is at the door . . .)
yer bike, then.
Almost forgot A posting I saw on a Forum For A Moron recently, has just reminded
the real world, you do not get brownie points , or contracts, for rubbishing your
competition. It might seem like a good idea to a keyboard warrior with a few Carlsberg
Specials down their neck, cowering behind a suitably stupid pseudonym trying to
talk up their online presence.
the real business world however, you will need to explain, convincingly, why YOU
deserve to get the work and not why someone else, such as an existing supplier,
ever forget that. At any time. It's one of the most unprofessional things you
article is an excerpt from the book, 'Home Business Survival' by Len Tondel, Copyright
Home & Small Business Marketing Ideas
Gregory, About.com Guide
universal small business goal is to sell the business's products and services.
This is usually best accomplished by positioning the business in front of the
target audience, and offering something they can't refuse or find elsewhere.
this end, one of the smartest things a small business owner can do for their business
is take the time to develop a small business marketing plan that will set them
apart from the competition. A marketing plan clearly outlines how you will reach
your ideal customers by effectively implementing your marketing strategy.
are thousands of ways you can promote your small business. With the right mix
of activities, you can identify and focus on the most effective marketing tactics
for your small business. Here is a list of 101 small business marketing ideas
to get you thinking about all of the different ways you can promote your business.
you have an idea of your own not listed here? Add it to the list.
Update or create a marketing
plan for your business.
2. Revisit or start your market
3. Conduct a focus
4. Write a unique
selling proposition (USP).
5. Refine your target audience and niche.
6. Expand your product and service offerings.
Update your business
8. Make your business card stand out from the rest.
or update your brochure.
10. Create a digital version of your brochure for your website.
12. Get creative with promotional
products and give them away at the next networking event you attend.
Write an elevator
14. Register for a conference.
15. Introduce yourself to other
local business owners.
16. Plan a local business
17. Join your local chamber of commerce.
18. Rent a booth
at a trade
Launch a multi-piece direct
20. Create multiple approaches, and split test your mailings
to measure impact.
21. Include a clear and enticing call
to action on every direct mail piece.
22. Use tear cards, inserts, props
and attention-getting envelopes to make an impact with your mailings.
Send past customers free samples and other incentives
to regain their business.
Advertise on the radio.
25. Advertise in the Yellow
26. Advertise on a billboard.
27. Use stickers or magnets to
advertise on your car.
28. Take out an ad in your local newspaper.
Advertise on a local cable TV station.
30. Advertise on Facebook.
31. Advertise on LinkedIn.
32. Buy ad space on a relevant website.
33. Use a sidewalk
sign to promote your specials.
Get started with social
media for business.
35. Create a Facebook
36. Get a vanity
URL or username for your Facebook page.
37. Create a Twitter
38. Reply or retweet
someone else on Twitter.
39. Setup a Foursquare account for your business.
40. List your business on Google Places.
41. Start a business
42. Write blog posts on a regular basis.
43. Start social bookmarking
your online content.
44. Create a Groupon.
Start a Google
Adwords pay-per-click campaign.
46. Start a Microsoft
adCenter pay-per-click campaign.
47. Comment on a blog post.
a video blog post.
49. Upload a video to YouTube.
50. Check your online directory listings and get listed in desirable directories.
51. Set up Google
Analytics on your website and blog.
52. Review and measure your Google
53. Register a new
domain name for a marketing campaign or a new product or service.
Learn more about local
55. Track your online reputation.
56. Sign up for
a Reporter Out (HARO) email list.
Create an email
opt-in on your website or blog.
58. Offer a free download or free gift
to make people willing to add their email address to your list.
59. Send regular
emails to your list.
60. Start a free monthly email newsletter.
testing to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
63. Add audio, video and social sharing functionality to your
Coupons and Incentives
Start a contest.
65. Create a coupon.
66. Create a "frequent buyer"
67. Start a client
68. Create a customer of the month program.
69. Give away a free sample.
70. Start an affiliate
Send out a customer
72. Ask for referrals.
73. Make a referral.
74. Help promote or volunteer your time for a charity event.
75. Sponsor a
local sports team.
your products and services with other local businesses.
77. Join a professional
78. Plan your next holiday promotion.
79. Plan holiday
gifts for your best customers.
80. Send birthday cards to your clients.
81. Approach a colleague about a collaboration.
82. Donate branded prizes for local fundraisers.
83. Become a mentor.
Plan a free teleconference
85. Record a podcast.
86. Write a press
87. Submit your press release to various distribution channels.
88. Rewrite your sales copy with a storytelling
89. Start writing a book.
Hire a marketing
91. Hire a public relations professional.
92. Hire a professional
93. Hire a search
engine marketing firm.
94. Hire an intern to help with daily marketing
95. Hire a sales coach or salesperson.
Get a branded tattoo.
97. Create a business
mascot to help promote your brand.
98. Take a controversial stance on
a hot industry topic.
99. Pay for wearable
100. Get a full-body branded paint job done on your company
101. Sign up for online
business training to revamp, expand and fine tune all of your marketable skills.
are many more than 101 small business marketing ideas. Do you have an idea not
listed here? Add your small business marketing idea to the list.
Ten Networking Tips
From the SFEDI Enterprise Network Builders
of the Year 2010
Release Date: 3 June 2010
Contact:s: Duncan Cheatle
079 9057 0393
Andrew Ferguson 020 7473 5544
very different Enterprise Networks have won the first SFEDI* Awards for this category
of Business Support for 2010.
Supper Club, who won the top award, creates connections between million pound
businesses. Founder Duncan Cheatle says 85% of our members believe The
Supper Club has helped them grow their business, and 40% have found strategic
partners through our events.
winner of the runner-up award, is an online forum where professionals and enterprises
of any size meet, network and answer each others questions. Founder Andrew
Ferguson says We have deliberately removed all the clutter which plagues
other networking websites; so www.BreakthroughNetwork.Net is simple to use and
puts connectivity first.
the annual awards to recognise the stars of enterprise support, Tony Robinson,
Executive Director/Founder of SFEDI said With the new government gradually
taking shape, there is concern about what small business support policy will look
like. SFEDI Award Winners Duncan Cheatle with the Supper Club and Andrew Ferguson
with the Breakthrough Network show that in reality most small business owners
learn how to succeed, and support each other, in their own brilliant networks.
They do it for themselves. Government agencies and support personnel are
not as credible - you learn to survive, thrive and develop far more from problem
solving and talking to fellow small business owners. Government should enable
rather than meddle in enterprise. They would get far better bang for the business
support buck by enabling networks like Breakthrough and The Supper Club to do
more and reach more new and existing enterprising people.
and Andrew have put their heads together to compile Ten Top Networking Tips. Andrew
Ferguson sums it up in one word Give. Put your own agenda to
one side, he says, and give your full attention to being useful to
others ... unconditionally. Andrew and Duncan both demonstrate this by giving
at least half their coaching time free of charge. Duncan Cheatles Top Tip
is Focus: time is your most precious asset, so mixing with the right people
in the right way is crucial.
Andrew Ferguson Duncan Cheatle
The Breakthrough Centre The Supper
29 Adine Road, London E13 8LL 19-20 Dufferin Street, London EC1Y 8PD
t: 020 7473 5544 t: 084 5359 9888
* SFEDI originally stood for Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative. SFEDI
describes the skills and know-how required to survive and thrive for those thinking
about, preparing for and starting their own business. These 'standards' are used
in training and support programmes and all recognised enterprise qualifications
in the UK. SFEDI also sets standards, accredits and recognises best practice
for all those supporting prospective and existing small business owners.
photos and digital images available
Andrew and Duncan are available for interview,
radio and television.
and Andrews Top Ten Networking Tips
From the SFEDI Enterprise
Network Builders of the Year 2010
Duncan Cheatle of The Supper Club and Andrew
Ferguson of www.BreakthroughNetwork.Net
Put your own needs to one side and give your full attention to being useful
to others ... unconditionally. You are far more likely to make a good impression
time is your most precious asset, so selecting the right people to mix with,
and productive methods and places, is crucial.
Dont hide your light. Dont deprive people of your extraordinary
gifts. Its OK to be seen, and known, liked, valued and respected
(arch networker Roy Sheppards formula for successful networking). Then even
more people will seek you out. The best way to benefit from a network is to be
generously and visibly helpful in its forum, because its not just who you
know, its who knows, and remembers, you.
Show you genuinely care by listening and responding intelligently. This takes
you into their world. Working the room, importuning others with your
agenda creates a referral-free zone around you! Listening is an incredibly rare
Dont be flaky follow up when you say you will, and dont
promise what you wont or cant deliver promptly. Dont let your
Yes be submerged by your inability to say No. Commitment is memorable.
Prepare some interesting questions, relevant to the group/venue. Be ready to explain
succinctly what you do - few will take you seriously if you waffle vaguely, so
be really clear what result your business gives people, and also what youre
looking for right now ... just in case they ask.
Dont be dismissive or rude to anyone. Whether they appear valuable to
you or not, its wrong, and they may be best friends with your next prospect!
If youre being helped, you make the running ... and the phonecalls; and
after youve been helped, always ask ... and what are you looking
for that I might be able to help you find? A Thank-You wouldnt go
You will be judged by the introductions you make, so make sure there is real
value to both parties. Only refer people you genuinely believe are ready and able
to benefit from each other. Are they at an adequate level of skill/development?
Do they have the time?
Even though the core principle of networking is to give and facilitate things
for others, it does make sense to do your networking where your own niche market
congregates. Not least because you need to be able to speak the same language
at the same level. This is where youre most likely to find joint venturers
for mutual benefit.
To network effectively the main requirement is to be a fully functioning human
being with a deep understanding of relationship. Personal development is the main
training to undertake.
have we missed?! Whats your key networking tip?
Ferguson; Duncan Cheatle
www.BreakthroughNetwork.Net; The Supper Club
t: 020 7473 5544; t: 084 5359 9888
e: Andrew.Ferguson@LifeShift.co.uk e: Duncan@Supper-Club.Net