How Much DIY Is Safe When Launching Your Solo Business?


How Much DIY Is Safe When Launching Your Solo Business?

Starting your first business is an adventure that takes you to a new level. Whether you’ve been offering your expertise as a company employee in the past or you’re turning your passion into a side hustle business, solo entrepreneurs understand the importance of doing almost everything themselves. Ultimately, then you’re new in the business world, you don’t have a team to support your progress. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why most new entrepreneurs take a DIY approach to building their business. However, you need to be realistic. Nobody can be an expert at everything. It’s fair to say that there may be many things about running a business that you don’t know. While there’s nothing wrong about learning new skills, you should also be realistic. You can’t always make it work all by yourself. Defining how much DIY is safe for your solo enterprise is a delicate balancing act.

There’s a sense of excitement

Do you remember the days when you would make creatures and shapes out of Play-Doh and clay as a child? Of course, it was exciting! You could build your own world. Running your business taps into the same Pygmalion’s sensation. As such, it’s a wonderful experience and you, of course, want to be the one who makes it happen. With the right tools and tips, you can take control of your brand, such as by creating your designs. Indeed, not only can you ensure that your online presence remains professional – as you can manage every piece of content you share online –, but you get to give life to your ideas.

But excitement doesn’t replace expertise

Admittedly, excitement is no replacement for quality and know-how. While you are likely to get better, you can’t compete against professionals who have the appropriate equipment and training to build a business presence. You can’t build a professional presence online without the input of experts. Mass Appeal, a digital marketing agency, shares a clear message with potential clients; there is no company too small for professional services. More often than not, digital management is the key to secure your position on a crowded market.

When should you consult a pro?

When you’re at the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey, it can be challenging to figure out when you need to ask for support. After all, it is tempting to build your business alone. You’re not only in charge of what happens, but you can also make a tight budget work. However, the DIY approach can only save you money if you know what you’re doing. If you lack the necessary marketing skills, for instance, you’re unlikely to achieve any positive result. Additionally, failing to receive sufficient organic traffic or to drive your sales is a warning sign that you should invest in professional support.

Ok, but how bad is bad?

I’m new here; I don’t know how much traffic is good or bad. Launching a new business is not easy, especially if you don’t have any reference you can use for guidance. However, as a rule of thumb, a business that doesn’t grow is at risk of collapsing. A marketing agency can help you to build growth.

In conclusion, while it can be exciting to build your presence, solo-entrepreneurs need to recognise warning signs of poor DIY. Indeed, your enthusiasm doesn’t replace expert knowledge. As such, you need to be quick to react if you notice a lack of growth or a drop in your sales.

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Mistakes to avoid when starting a business


Thousands of thoughts and ideas for your new business, going through your mind. But unfortunately steaming ahead and rushing can lead to making mistakes, and some of those possible mistakes can be costly. In this video, I’m going to cover 3 mistakes to avoid when starting a business.

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How Graphic Design DIY Tools Will Make Your Life Easier


How Graphic Design DIY Tools Will Make Your Life Easier

Running a business is a balancing act; on the one hand, when you are focused on your clients and the products or services you provide, you feel confident and in control. On the other hand, when it comes to getting services to help market, promote and run your business, you can feel resentful and annoyed that you haven’t the skills to get everything done. Thankfully there are a ton of tools out there to help you with everything from designing your own website to keeping your personal accounts on track, and even graphic design. 

Eye-Catching Graphics

There is no doubt that having good quality images, from snapshots of your work to professional looking logos can really help when it comes to establishing your brand and getting your name out and about. But if you cannot draw for toffee and have no eye for design, this can be really tricky. Paying someone else to do the job for you might make the most sense, but it tends to eat into the budget and can feel counterproductive. With the explosion of new tools, many of which are free, you can do some serious graphic design work without having to spend a penny.

Things to Consider

The biggest thing to consider is that graphics used in business should be unique, stock images, those are images that are sold or offered for free on the internet are not particularly friendly when it comes to search engine rankings. It is always better to have something unique. Tools like Canva are great because they allow you to combine your own images with extra features like text and graphics to create anything from newsletters to social media posts and everything in between. It is also intuitive and easy to use. There is a lot you can do for free, you don’t have to spend money, but if you choose to subscribe, you can get access to more features. They offer a monthly type subscription which provides a lot more content, or you can work on a pay as you go system where you can purchase images and graphics that are not offered to free users.

Premium Services

So, whether you need a premium service or not is really up to you. The best advice is to explore all the tools on offer and see whether they are going to allow you to create the things you feel would work for your business. Pic Monkey is another similar offering to Canva but with unique features. Adobe Spark offers you the chance to be creative, but as with all Adobe products, there is minimal content on offer without a subscription. Fotor gives you the opportunity to hone your professional graphic design skills without having any experience. There are loads more out there, but if you want to save yourself some money, and brand your company with a professional outlook, then DIY design tools are certainly worth a look before you get the company credit card out to pay an expert.

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The Most Common Problems Faced By Businesses


The Most Common Problems Faced By Businesses

All businesses face some problems at some point, which can be very challenging for a business owner. The difficulties that businesses hit tend to be the same, meaning you can learn from other businesses to help you recover from or avoid some of these classic business issues.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty can cause a lot of problems for any business. Whether there is uncertainty in the economy, in the credit markets, over a competitor or how new technology will impact business, not being sure can cause profits to dry up when you can’t make decisions. If you are unsure of something, you can end up focussing on the short-term. Long-term planning is essential for any business, so shying away from this will cause you issues. The key is to balance the need for reactive focus with long-term strategies.

Technology

Technology is improving and changing at an incredibly rapid pace. While technology improvements can, of course, be a huge asset to a company, keeping up can also be a challenge. You might fall behind a competitor because they’ve invested in next-generation technology before you’re able to. Stay on top of relevant developments, so you know what to invest in and when.

Of course, the technology itself also cause issues, as any business who has experienced any of these top 10 IT support issues will know. Technology problems can bring work to a halt, causing damage to your profits and your reputation.

Globalisation

If your company trades internationally, globalisation might be a concern. If you’re going to work in another country, you will need to understand foreign countries. This allows you to penetrate new markets with existing products, design new products for these markets and recognise emerging competitors. You can solve this problem with information gathering and analysis.

Government Policy And Regulations

In certain industries, a change to regulations can be a real concern. If policies on energy, environment and finances are changing, this can make decision making more difficult. It’s important to keep up with policy, but changes in regulation can also change how your customers feel. For example, the average consumer now wants the companies they deal with to be greener, meaning you have to respond to these demands and show what you’re doing.

Diversity

Diversity is important in a business, but it does bring with it some unique challenges. With a mix of people in the company, it’s likely that you will also get more disagreement, which can make business very difficult. However, a lack of diversity, especially in leadership teams, can lead to a narrow world-view and a stale company culture. There is a balance to be found to keep fresh ideas in the company, without slowing down business decisions.

Complexity

Business has become more complex in recent years, despite the technology that makes some tasks easier. The global economy is more and more connected, creating a larger and more diverse range of customers and suppliers. Manufacturing and services are more often targeted at smaller, more specialised markets, which can make designing business models, processes, products and services more challenging. Prioritise simplifying your business to combat this.

Information Overload

Information is changing fast. A staggering amount of data is created every day, which can cause an overload. A business needs to consume and make sense of a huge amount of information. You need to sift through all this information to find what is useful and needed and use it to make good business decisions. You need a combination of technology and human knowledge to make sense of all this information and turn it into something valuable for your business.

Supply Chains

Uncertainty of demand and the need to slay lean means that most companies carry a much smaller inventory than in the past. Supply chain management can also be made more difficult by uncertainty in supply, changing commodity prices, weather-related disruptions and an increase in competition for raw materials. For small suppliers, there can also be a struggle to get credit, which can make it hard to keep up with demand from larger customers. Your supply chain should be developed to ensure low costs, but also with minimal risk of disruption.

Problem Solving

One big disadvantage for a business can be a lack of a sophisticated approach to information acquisition and analysis. The lack of development of unique insight leaves a company at a disadvantage. Without this, you lack a long-term strategy.

Good leadership means the ability to solve problems, without jumping from one fire to another. You and your leadership team must develop strong skills in strategic thinking and problem solving, or your company will struggle to flourish.

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How To Balance Event Advertising With Family Life


How to balance event advertising with family life

It doesn’t matter if you are starting a brand new business or you are trying to boost sales for an existing product, it’s important to attend events. Advertising at events is a great way to get the name of the brand out there, to market a product or service face to face and it’s an excellent opportunity to reach out to a broader audience. However, event advertising does take up a lot of time if you give it your all. This includes preparing for the event by designing artwork and gathering materials, as well as attending the event itself and following up on leads. It’s something that can take away from the time you spend with family if you don’t find the right balance. Luckily, finding a balance is possible.

Balancing Event Advertising With Home Life Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

A lot of people assume that balancing event advertising with home and family life is out of the question, but it doesn’t need to be. Rather than becoming overwhelmed with the amount of time that event advertising often requires, do everything that you can to find a balance. This will leave you with more time to relax at home and enjoy family life. Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Use a Professional Printing Service – A lot of hard work goes into designing a fantastic banner for an event, but there are ways to make the entire process a lot easier. Once you have the design sorted, enlist the help of a professional printing service. Not only can you rest assured, knowing that the printing process is being taken care of by an experienced and skilled team, but you will also have more time to focus on family life. Rather than worrying about whether or not the banner will be printed to a high standard, you can spend time unwinding at home with loved ones. There are some printers that offer a quick turnaround, such as pull up banners | 24-hour turnaround available, meaning that you don’t need to worry about anything too far in advance. Though you will want to avoid leaving things until the last minute and risk being without any advertising materials, you can rely on a professional printing service even when the event is right around the corner. There’s really no need to take on everything yourself and miss out on family life, not when there are professional printers offering affordable and high-quality services.
  • Design Artwork Using Banner Templates – There are a lot of things to think about when you are designing advertising artwork, which can make the process a lengthy one. Not only do you need to think about the design itself and what you want to include on a banner or poster, but you also need to think about the layout and colours. This can be a difficult task for someone with design experience, let alone someone who is trying it out for the first time and is unsure of what to do. To speed up the process and to have more free time for family, use a banner template. A banner template makes designing artwork for advertising a lot quicker and simpler, as there is no need to worry about getting the dimensions or sizing wrongs. With a template, you have a lot more creative freedom, and you don’t need to worry about getting the design wrong. You’ll be able to submit it to the printers, knowing that it will work and look great. You can turn your rough ideas into a fantastic design, knowing that an artwork template will stop you from going too far off course. There is a tonne of templates to choose from, which means that there’s something for every designer and every business.
  • Only Attend Important and Relevant EventsThere’s no shortage of events for you to attend as a business, regardless of the industry that you are in. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to attend them all. It’s challenging to balance event advertising with family life, but this only increases when you attend more events than you need to. There are a lot of benefits that come with attending events, such as raising brand awareness and networking. Saying that this is only worthwhile if you are attending events that are relevant to your business and what you are offering. There is very little point in attending an event that focuses on a different industry or an event where your potential customers are unlikely to be. It’s a lot easier to balance event advertising with family life if you are only making time for the events that really matter.
  • Don’t Take Advertising, Events and Networking Home With YouThough it can be difficult to leave a task unfinished and to switch off at the end of a busy day, it’s an important part of finding the right balance between work life and home life. Even if you are spending time at home and with your family, this time is only quality time if you leave the stresses and strains of event advertising at work. In order to balance everything, you need to set aside time and dedicate yourself to family life. This could involve unwinding at home, or going out for a delicious dinner or heading off on a day trip somewhere local. There’s very little point in making time for family, only to spend that time networking on LinkedIn or tweaking artwork.

As you can see, balancing event advertising with family life is not easy, but it is definitely possible. There is a lot of help out there – such as enlisting professional printing services, only attending important events and using a design template – and so finding a balance is doable. Event advertising is an important part of operating a successful business, and it’s a fantastic way to gain customers, but it’s not something that needs to impact the time you spend with family.

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What Does It Cost To Start A Home Business?


What Does It Cost To Start A Home Business?

A home business can be very pricey on your limited budget; if you’re running a company out of your own home, it’s because of the flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. But even then, things can easily go over budget if you’re not prepared or if you have the wrong idea about your finances.

But you don’t always have to be caught off guard. You deserve to walk into your new enterprise with your eyes wide open, and plenty of resources on your side. So, in order to help smooth this process through a little more, here are some questions to keep in mind while you do your research.

More Than You Expected?

Of course, it varies from business to business. Depending on the kind of company you want to set up, there’s going to be different kinds of fees and agents involved, and who knows how long you’ll be paying them off, damaging your bottom line.

You’ll have to register your business first of all, which could range from about £10 upwards. Sure, that doesn’t seem like much at all in the moment, but the ensuing costs can really add up – make sure you look into these as well. You might have to use a private office to do this, and that’s where the costs start to stack up.

More Than You’ve Gathered in Investments?

If you’re going to be running a business of your own, even out of your own home, it might be worth looking into capital (in the form of both venture capital and angel investors, etc.) to back you up. After all, if you can engage an investor’s interest, there’s a good chance your ideas will work well on the market.

But what should you ask for? When you’ve piqued someone’s interest, and they’re ready to open their chequebook, what figure should you quote? It all depends on how much you’re already worth, and what kind of company you’re running. You also have the option to try out a Fast Loan, if you fancy running a little more independently.

More Than is in Your Savings?

And finally, you’ve always got your own savings account to back you up. There’s always going to be a little bit of money in there, for a rainy day or otherwise, and you might be able to put it to good use here.

But how much? Try to keep at least a safety net of £3000 in there, if you have the money to do that, and use the rest of the money to fund your home business. Otherwise, you could always use a low-interest loan from a close source to help bridge the gap, and use what you have in your savings to make sure you can make the repayments down the line. You keep your savings for now and get more money on top which you know you’ll be able to deal with.

Prepare for your home business costs, because they do really add up.

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How to overcome the fear of starting your own business


Many people dream of starting a business, but let the fear of failure stop them turning their ideas into a business preferring to stay in a job they don’t enjoy or a job that offers no flexibility around their family rather than following their dreams and passions because fear holding them back.

In this video, we discuss ways to overcome and conquer fear.

 

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4 Ways to Avoid Business Money Worries


Running a business can be stressful, and one area that often causes us anxiety and sleepless nights is the financial side. Entrepreneurs have the freedom that comes with not being employed, but there is no financial security of a payslip each month, paid holiday and time off when sick. Here are four ways to put that stress monster to sleep and avoid business money worries.

  1. Get Insurance

This is the basic one; most people have some form of indemnity insurance in case a customer raises a serious complaint, but what about you? Loss of earnings from sickness can be really unbalanced, and you need to be mitigated against this happening. Life insurance and critical illness is one thing, but what if you have a smaller medical issue that stops you working? Look into the different policies and if needs be seek advice from a financial advisor. There are ways to replace monthly income if the worst happens and you need to stop working for a while.

Book recommendation You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

  1. Know Your Books

An accountant is great and worth their weight in gold, but you need to understand what is going on. Knowing your cash flow as it comes and goes will help you feel more in control of your financial status. So, don’t just blindly hand things over, ask for monthly reports, understand when money arrives and what invoices you have to pay. This gives you the opportunity to plan for drier spells and make arrangements with creditors if needed, which in turn can help you save penalties if you need to make a payment late occasionally. People prefer and open dialogue to staunch silence and no money coming in, so make sure you act as you would wish to be treated.

Book recommendation Profit First Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

  1. Save Money

Does your business really need an external premise? Many people save thousands by working from home. If you have a virtual presence and rarely meet your clients in person having an office space could well be a waste. Coffee shop meetings are perfectly normal, and no one will question your reasons. Working from home also saves on the temptation to go and buy lunch or expensive takeaway coffees which can soon rack up the spend. It may only be little, but everything you can save will help. Consider making your own website or trading services with a web designer to get a better deal. The only limit to saving money is your imagination and creativity.

  1. Consider a Side Gig

There are lots of ways to bring in a little more cash in a passive way, or even in an active way, and we call these side gigs. With an entrepreneurial brain, you are likely to be able to turn your hand to more than one thing. Passive solutions include renting your driveway as parking, pet sitting or selling on eBay. There are plenty of others, so you are bound to be able to find something that appeals, and it can be useful to have a change and focus on something different for a while.

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How To Retain A Great Team


How To Retain A Great Team

If there is one thing that your business needs, that is people. Having the best employees at the heart of everything that you do can make the difference between success and failure. But when it comes to getting staff in to do the job, you will want to know that anything that you put into their training and development will not be wasted if they choose to take their skills elsewhere. Staff retention is something that every company should keep in mind. Although some companies have honed their business model to a point where it doesn’t matter who is doing the job, as long as someone is; having an approach to your business that appreciates the members of your team will ultimately save you money in the long run.

There are many ways that you can improve staff retention in your business, and this is something that you should develop a strategy for as, in most cases, poor retention can be costly. You can calculate the ROI of performance management software in order to understand the true cost of hiring new staff has on your business, and the difference in spending more time on your team can help. Here are a number of ways that you can improve the retention of staff in your business.

Make Your Business Somewhere That Staff Are Appreciated

If you create a happy place for people to work, then they will want to work there. You can do this by ensuring that everything is dealt with in a positive way. Have all of your management teams learn how to give positive reinforcement. Encourage them to thank their workers as many times as possible throughout the day.

Know-How To Incentivise Your Staff

Everyone is different, and you should be finding as many ways as possible to motivate your staff. Work out what types of incentives your teamwork well with, and create achievable targets that will provide them with the opportunity to earn something extra. This may come in the form of a cash bonus, vouchers, time-off in lieu, or in other prizes. You may need to mix it up, and make sure that it is inclusive and not something that is designed for just a select few to achieve.

Encourage Growth And Development

Every few months you should sit down with your team members and review their performance. Make sure you focus on the positives, and where improvement is needed; that feedback is constructive and supportive.

If your staff can progress in any way, this will motivate them to stay. This may mean the opportunity for progression, either through promotion, or additional responsibilities. Reviewing your team members’ pay is also going to help them to want to stay too.

Pay Them What They Deserve

Everyone deserves to earn enough money that they can survive. Often, the minimum wage does not really cut it in terms of providing a suitable livable income. By providing an income that shows your staff that you respect them and that you care for them, you are likely to be able to keep them.

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