How to start a side business while working full time


Are you working full or part-time and have dreams of running your own business? Not sure that you can stop working while you get your dream business off the ground? There is a way that you can set up your own business while looking after your family and continuing to work.

In this video, I discuss how to start a side business while working full time

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3 Ways to Reduce Costs in Your Business


3 Ways to Reduce Costs in Your Business

Keeping a close eye on costs is essential to keep your business healthy. Spiralling costs are sometimes out of your control, as they can be dependent on external factors. However, taking charge of the expenses that you can control is vital for the long term success of your company.

Many businesses get into financial difficulty because their outgoings have not been monitored. Taking a proactive approach will ensure that every penny is accounted for and that you have a clear idea of how further savings could be made.

Compare Suppliers

Are you getting the best deals from your suppliers? If not, it may be time to renegotiate your agreements with them or adapt your orders to make them more cost-effective. Don’t compromise on quality in your quest to save money; it is essential to achieve a balance between quality and value to maintain the quality of your products. It is helpful to use suppliers that specialise in a specific product, as they often offer both quality and value. companies such as Gas Oil Drums specialise in gas oil which means that your business can benefit from their professional service, quality, and value.

It is beneficial to nurture relationships with your suppliers. Make sure that you pay supplier invoices on time to maintain your relationship, and also prevent your business from incurring late payment penalties.

Re-Evaluate Your Premises

The cost of renting and maintaining business premises is one of the most significant expenses faced by companies. Make sure that your building provides everything that you need to keep your business running as it should. There is no point in paying a significant amount of money each month for a building that no longer works for you.

If you have lots of space in the building that you do not use, then it may be worth moving to smaller premises. Paying for square footage that you don’t use is a drain on your business, as you will be paying more in rent, heating, and other running costs.

Re-locating your business can sometimes be a useful way to cut costs. Moving to a building that is closer to main transport routes can lessen fuel costs and reduce the mileage travelled by company vehicles.

Reduce Waste

Reducing waste in your business is not only good for the environment, but it also makes good business sense too. Encouraging staff to only print when they need to is excellent for reducing the amount of paper, ink, and toner used by your business.

Re-examining your manufacturing processes can also help you to spot areas where waste can be reduced. Are your employees getting the most out of the materials provided? Is the equipment being turned off when it is not in use to save electricity?

There’s no need to wait until cash flow issues hit your business before you start to look at ways of reducing waste and cutting costs. Making cost assessments a regular activity will help to save you far more in the long term.

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3 Top Tips For Regaining Control Of Your Finances


3 Top Tips For Regaining Control Of Your Finances

If you are someone who dreads looking at the online banking balance or your bank statement, then chances are it is largely due to the fact that you don’t feel as though you have the tightest control over money.

You’re probably not alone though, because many people also worry about their income and outgoings constantly, and often it seems that cash flow is always moving in the wrong direction.

There are simple ways that you can fix your financial situation, and very often, with a bit of work you can start to see the back of nagging money worries. If you have debts too, eventually, you may also see the light at the end of the tunnel for these by putting some simple practices in place.

Go Through Your Finances

Often, when we ignore our finances, we end out paying for things that we don’t even need. Because we are not paying attention to our money, we don’t notice regular bills going up, and we miss out on cancelling services we no longer need.

Go through your bank statement on online banking with a fine-tooth comb. Work out what you have to pay out, and look for things that are not essential.

Some services such as insurance products, or energy and phone bills may be cheaper elsewhere if you switch to a different provider. Start looking at contracts for services that you are using, and see if there is anything that can be cancelled.

Often, by switching to a new supplier on everything that you possibly can, you will free up quite a bit of money.

Consolidate Your Debts

If you have multiple loans and credit cards, you may find that your debt never really goes down. Sometimes payments will only cover the interest, and the overall balance never drops.

By consolidating your debts into one loan, you will only have one set of interest to pay and one loan. This will make things easier to manage, save you money, and set a definite end date for you to have cleared your debt by.

If you have a poor financial history, you may want to look at guarantor loans for bad credit as a way of managing your debt.

Be Strict On Spending

By creating a budget based on what you have to spend each month after bills, rent, mortgage, and loan repayments have all gone will mean that you can be stricter with yourself in terms of spending money.

Work out a budget for important areas such as food and transport first. Try and keep your weekly food shop within that budget. Avoid expensive branded foods and eating takeout, and focus on homecooked meals that are more cost-effective.

If you have any additional money left each month, make sure that you only spend within this limit. If you cannot afford to buy something, be strict with yourself and save up for it. Avoid impulse buys that push you back into unmanageable financial situations.

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Starting a New Business? Don’t Forget These Costs!


Starting a New Business? Don't Forget These Costs!

Have you been thinking about taking the plunge and starting up a new business? There is a lot to consider when it comes to taking the step from being an employee to being your own boss.

It makes sense that you should put your new enthusiasm to work to find out exactly what setting up on your own entails. Do some digging first and make sure you are going into this with your eyes open. Of course, each business is different and depending on the sector you are setting up in, you will need to make sure you are planning and preparing for what lies ahead.

So what exactly should you consider when it comes to starting up your own business? The best place to start is to check out how much you will need to get yourself up and running.

Did you know it is recommended that all businesses who employ staff have enough funds to cover wages for the first 12 months? This ensures you can pay your staff without having to rely on making a profit from day one.

How Much Money Will You Need?

Many startups these days can be done on a shoestring budget. But not all of them. Whether you are looking at turning your hobby into a work from home business, you need to set up an office and recruit staff, or you need to source merchandise to sell. Do your research and find out exactly how much you will need to get started.

There can be many options to consider when it comes to financing your new venture. From using your savings to taking out loans, making sure you know what you will need to hit the ground running before you start or apply for funding is essential.

If you need to apply for funding, you need to come up with a solid business plan so you can show how you plan to build your business and what the market is like for what you are offering.

What Will you Need to Buy? 

Look at materials you will need, any wages you will have to pay, rents, or rentals for machinery or vehicles. If you need a car to get around from client to client or from home to a place of work, then you can look at Vauxhall SUV models at Drive Vauxhall to find something that will not only match your professionalism but also help you get from A to B when you need to.

Factor in costs for bills such as electric, water rates, and all the equipment you need to buy to be able to do your job and run your business. Things such as stationery supplies and any staff training courses you will need to enrol on.

Don’t forget about any insurances you will need, especially if employing staff members or you have a physical building, either an office or a shop, which accepts customers or clients onto the property.

As long as you do your homework and you know what to expect when it comes to how much your new company will cost, you will be able to start as you mean to go on with no nasty surprises.

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4 Ways To Make Your Home Business More Efficient


4 Ways To Make Your Home Business More Efficient

As you already know, working from is rewarding. It’s one of the most amazing ways to become more accomplished at what you are doing for your career as well as what you are doing in life. Working remotely is turning out to be one of the biggest trends in business, but the biggest worries for the companies that are still behind the times when it comes to remote working is whether it will be efficient enough. Fortunately for you, you don’t have a boss: you’re your own boss, and you have chosen to have a home business.

Efficiency is still a big flashing light above your head, though, and you do need to be as efficient a possible to ensure that you are offering a balanced service. You work from home, but that means that you must keep your home and business life separate while they’re in the same space. Still, there are ways and means to ensure that your business is running smoothly, and we’ve put together four ways to be efficient:

Remove Distractions

This is possibly the most difficult thing to do when you are working from home. You have a blurred line between work and life when you work from home, and interruptions can be a problem. So, you need to create a limit and enforce it. When you are working, do so in an office separate from the rest of the family so that you can work quietly and calmly without the distractions of the family. Plan your work around those at home, and you can limit the distractions and make sure that you can keep up with your working day without a problem.

Invest In Software

Efficiency comes down to working as quickly and smoothly as possible, and that means investing correctly in the right software. Whether this is cloud computing or survey software that you need, you should invest wisely. The better the software, the more efficient you can be in your business. Software and technology are big spends as part of your budget, and you shouldn’t skimp on these to save a buck or two.

Set The Scene

The setting of your office is so important for you to be able to work quickly and efficiently. Your desk and set-up should be conducive to a positive working environment. It’s not always possible to have an office space that works away from the rest of the family, but you can still establish it as YOUR space. Your scene should also include things that you do as part of your morning ritual; so, if you always get a coffee and water before work, keep doing that to be consistent and ready for your day.

Embrace Commuting

You may not go further than the bottom floor of the house for work, but you still must create a “commute” to be able to clear your head and get ready for the day. So, get to your workspace and give yourself ten minutes to think and plan your day, or listen to music, or stretch. Get ready for your day and you’ll work far better than if you skipped this step!

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3 Positive Ways to Stay Driven When You Are Your Own Boss


3 Positive Ways to Stay Driven When You Are Your Own Boss

For many people being your own boss is the dream; however, on a day to day basis, there can be times when it starts to feel a little isolating and gets you down. Positivity is the aim for life generally. Still, with so much going on, it is inevitable that sometimes you feel a little downhearted, and occasionally disenchanted with being the head of everything. So how do you stay driven when the daily grind gets you down, and you don’t have a boss to intervene or colleagues in the office to chat to?

  1. Use the Five Minute Rule 

The aim is to get one thing completed on the to-do list in a five-minute window. So, you need to be realistic; this isn’t about rushing your work and making mistakes or doing it badly; this is a sense of achievement task. Doing something that helps you be able to tick a box that completes a task. So, go for something small that has been waiting around. Reschedule that meeting, post that contract, order more business cards. The psychology of a to-do list is two-fold, first, it helps to be able to see everything you need to do laid out in a neat list, but secondly, the list shrinking gives you motivation and the buoyancy to continue.

Recommend book

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

  1. Keep a Check on Your Goals

I love lists, so whether at work or at home, I use a checklist to store and organise my goals. In the office, I have a yearly overview and a monthly breakdown of where I want to go and what I want to achieve. I reassess them frequently and shift things around when needed. Take time to add notes to help you plot a route from A-B or from dream to goal. It helps to visualise the steps required to get there, so if needs be draw pictures or add some images from magazines and create a goal board. Again like a to-do list, it helps if you can see progress and be able to cross some of these off you will feel like you are going forward and find that driven feeling.

Recommend book

Self Made: The definitive guide to business startup success

  1. Find Daily Inspiration 

Another great way to stay motivated is to draw on other peoples positivity. There are numerous authors who write on the subject of success and offer tips and wisdom. The internet is full of stories of the underdog winning big. Use these to your advantage and allow yourself a short time each day to recharge your positivity. If you aren’t already subscribed have a look at TEDTalks, there is so much wisdom and guidance to be found in these live events, that even watching the recordings at a later day can lift even the flattest of days. If you can ever find one in your area and get a seat in the audience, you will absorb so much upbeat and forward-thinking energy that you will be recharged for weeks.

Parents in Biz hub

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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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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