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Top Tips For Launching A Successful Business

Although entrepreneurship is at the heart of the US economy, business fail rates seem to be increasing and are currently 30 percent higher than they were in the late 1970s. There are other figures that confirm this trend: the latest US census shows that the annual business creation / business fail ratio is 400,000 / 470,000; and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only half of all new businesses survive their initial 5 years, whereas the 10-year survival rate is even lower at 33 percent.

In this article we offer seven tips that can help US entrepreneurs launch a successful business.

1. Focus on strategic planning

Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of investing most of their time and resources into planning and running successful operations. However, concentrating all efforts on the day-to-day running of a business often leads to missing the forest for the trees. To avoid that, you should ensure business strategy (whereby mid and long-term goals and action plans are defined) is a top priority and underpins all business operations.

2. Create and nurture an organizational culture

When it comes to achieving long-term business success, a strong organizational culture is as important as strategic planning. Contrary to popular belief, organizational culture is not the exclusive prerogative of large firms, as it also plays a key role in the success of small businesses by permeating every aspect of their operations with motivating values and a compelling mission.

3. Look after existing customers

Although this may seem an obvious suggestion, the truth is that many new businesses tend to focus their efforts on acquiring new clients, and sometimes do so at the expense of existing ones. A 2015 Customer Experience Index revealed that as few as 1 percent of all US companies deliver customer service that is rated as excellent, therefore missing an opportunity to turn existing customers into loyal advocates who generate new leads on their behalf.

4. Build a winning team

To put it simply: your team should be as strong as your overall business plan. Team building should be done in the initial stages of a business operation instead of as an afterthought. Moreover, it should guide the recruiting process to ensure that the personalities and skill set of team members are a perfect match to the company’s organizational culture. Don’t limit yourself to recruiting staff who have the right experience, but also look for those who enthusiastically share your vision and believe in your business concept. Read more »



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Is Corporate Culture Still Relevant Today?

The notion of corporate culture and its impact on the business world have been discussed since the 1980s, but despite its popularity among businesspeople and academics, the concept remains hard to define given its abstract character.

Corporate culture could be defined as the set of behaviours, beliefs, corporate strategies, attitudes, practices, processes, and standards shared by members of an organisation. It could be said that corporate culture is “the way things are done” within an organisation, usually as a reflection of the company’s mission, vision, and values. Corporate culture may even be embodied in a logo, but often goes beyond that and encompasses staff and executives’ feelings, expectations, and thought processes.

However, some are sceptical about the role that corporate culture plays in organisations, claiming that it can be double-edged sword used as a control mechanism to stifle individuality. This begs the question “Is corporate culture still relevant today?”

The answer is yes, for two main reasons:

1- Corporate culture evolves over time as a result of the cumulative actions and characteristics of the individuals that make up a company, building on the company’s history and developing as a reflection of the company’s identity. This means it cannot simply fade in the background, as it will always remain a crucial part of a business raison d’etre. Moreover, a well-defined organisational culture can help build a stronger brand image and reinforce the idea that a company is committed to high quality standards that are coherent with its identity.

2- Corporate culture plays a key role in a company’s success. A 2015 survey showed that more than more than 50% of  top executives believed corporate culture had a direct effect on productivity, growth, value, and profitability. Improved staff morale and retention are typically higher in businesses with a healthy culture. In the UK, the 2016 Great Place To Work report highlighted how workplaces with a strong corporate culture score higher in terms of employee well-being, since in these companies there are clear strategies in place to ensure the working environment is conducive to satisfaction and productivity. Read more »



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Top Ten Small Business Ideas for 2017

Small businesses account for over 99 per cent of the UK’s private sector. 2017 presents some attractive small business opportunities to discerning entrepreneurs, here we give you some of the top ten small business ideas for this year.

 

1. Brexit Consultancy

Regardless of which form Brexit eventually takes, it is clear that the move will affect multiple aspects of the country’s social, legal, and economic life. Businesses of all types and sizes will certainly welcome sound advice about how best to tackle the ramifications of Brexit, so professional Brexit consultancy firms are likely to become one of the most in-demand industry sectors in the coming years.

 

2. Social Media Consultancy

Entrepreneurs with knowledge of digital marketing, social media, and business can take advantage of the unparalleled growth of these sectors with minimal investment. Social media consultancies can focus on delivering training, providing management services, or both, and can easily be run from home or remotely.

 

3. Co-Working Spaces

The rise in the number of start-ups, remote workers, and freelancers has translated into a need for suitable working spaces that offer flexibility and first-class business services. Co-working spaces are popping up all over the UK as an alternative to traditional offices and their popularity is only expected to grow, both in London and in other regions.

 

4. Shared Living Spaces

Shared living spaces offer the convenience and quality standards of a hotel along with a convivial and homely atmosphere. This is an attractive proposition for certain segments of the population (particularly millennials, young professionals, and digital nomads) who may find that accessing the traditional housing market is difficult or not suited to their needs and lifestyle.

 

5. Meal Subscription Services

Not only British consumers are becoming more aware and knowledgeable about their food choices, but they are also increasingly requiring convenience when it comes to their meals. Meal subscription services are an interesting and versatile niche that can cater to the demands of savvy consumers. For higher chances of success, you could choose to focus on specialty meal delivery (e.g. gluten-free, vegan, Japanese, organic, etc.).

 

6. Craft Alcoholic Beverages

The UK’s craft beer market has been experiencing important growth for over seven years, and the prospects for independent brewers continue to look good. Breweries, microbreweries, and craft beer subscription clubs are some options worth exploring, but don’t feel you should limit yourself to beer. The production of craft liqueurs and spirits are also a business idea with much potential for success.

 

7. Sugar-Free Drinks

The UK’s controversial sugar tax will be implemented in 2018, and this presents a wealth of business opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to capitalise on alternative and / or sugar-free drinks. Parallel to the introduction of the sugar tax is an increase in the number of health-conscious consumers, and both factors can contribute to the success of businesses that focus on the production of healthy sugar-free beverages.

 

8. Jive Dancing Lessons

Search engine statistics reveal that over the past two years there has been a surge in the number of people interested in taking jive lessons. This dance style is definitely experiencing a revival thanks to its ability to combine opportunities for socialising with chances to get fit and build confidence in a leisurely way.

 

9. Big Data Analytics

Businesses today have a wealth of online data at their disposal, but finding ways of making sense of huge volumes of data is not always easy. This is precisely why offering big data analytics solutions and applications to companies involved in finance, insurance, and retail can be a highly profitable business opportunity.

 

10. InsurTech

Providing technology solutions tailored to insurance companies is another potentially successful business idea for tech-minded entrepreneurs with a passion for innovation and a thorough understanding of how to connect consumers with insurance firms.

 

 

 



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Future Proofing your Business Model – Small and Medium Sized Business in UK

Small and medium-sized businesses are an important component of the UK’s industrial structure. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, their numbers have been growing steadily over the past two decades, reaching a record high of 5.4 million in early 2015. In recent years there has been a shift in the focus of business activity within the UK economy, whereby the country’s default organisational forms in the private sector gravitates towards SME’s.

However, and despite the obvious rise in the percentage of SMEs operating throughout the country, these businesses face major challenges when it comes to staying competitive in the long term. This is why one can never underestimate the importance of having a solid business model that is capable of bringing long-term value to your business.

A bullet-proof business model can help create and maintain value and define how a company will relate to its clients. This article offers some useful considerations regarding the best ways of future-proofing your SME business model.

Make It Innovative

In a recent study, researchers at the IESE Business School and at the University of Pennsylvania found that on the whole, novelty-driven business models yielded better results than efficiency, service, and cost-oriented models, in particular when innovation was specifically applied to business exchanges. Researchers also found that there still is room for improvement in the UK context, as the study referenced above revealed that only 25 per cent of interviewed firms could indeed be defined as innovation-driven. Read more »



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Regeneration Projects: London

Regeneration projects are designed to improve living standards, lifestyle opportunities, transport links and business investment in areas of London. Current regeneration projects scheduled to begin between 2016 and 2018 are expected to boost the London economic outlook by providing jobs, business floorspace and improved public transport.

Six key regeneration projects include:

Old Oak Common: located within the Park Royal Opportunity Area, Old Oak Common is in West London near Vauxhall Nine Elms, White City, Park Royal and Earls Court. With residential housing and business commercial spaces to secure, the site will benefit from a new transport super-hub station combining London Overground stations with HS2 and Cross-rail. Investors will be interested in the sale of the development upon completion and lettings income.

New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms: 115,000 sq ft of commercial accommodation within this mixed-use development is designed to act as a gateway to the Battersea opportunity area. Property values (predicted to grow by 140 per cent) include commercial property next to the coveted Northern Line extension – vastly improving the speed and efficacy of transport links to central London. The development is due to start in late 2015, early 2016, and complete in 2017. With the nearby New Covent Garden Market trading fresh produce close by, this area is also bound to attract restaurant and hotel investment.

The Silvertown, Royal Docks – London: The Silvertown Partnership commercial building zone will be completed in 2018. Offering over 50 acres of commercial space the area is sure to be popular with businesses seeking purchase near the world-class Excel Centre, the London City Airport and The Royal Dock. The new Crossrail station (and links to HS2) for the Excel Centre will be a 5 minute walk away (when completed), making The Silvertown a choice business spot within the buzzing financial area comprising Canary Wharf and Greenwich. For larger investors, there is still the chance to become a major equity partner in this £1.8 billion pound development.

Alexandra Palace – For smaller investors the iconic Alexandra Palace is in need of regeneration and requires around 50% of the building funding to restore the Palace to commercial glory, once again. For approximately £100 million this Grade II listed property, originally opened in 1873, is to be converted into a four storey hotel. Famous for the south-westerly views which take in almost all of London, the hotel is expected to attract top clientele, providing an excellent, regular turnover. For a chance to own the ‘People’s Palace’ and a slice of history, a small investor might see this regeneration project as a worthwhile investment. Read more »



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Top Cities to Start a Business: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Countless factors influence the success of a new start-up. When starting a business, location can be just as important as the type of service or product being sold. Cities provide different environments to help entrepreneurs and businesses succeed, as well as a range of supports. A state’s business environment including access to skills and business-friendly tax policies also play a major role. The following are just some of the best cities to start a business in the Western United States.

One of the best cities to start a new business is Chattanooga, Tennessee. The city places fourth on WalletHub’s 2015 list of the Best Cities to Start a Business, and ranked second in terms of access to essential resources for start-ups including skills, affordable office space, financing and other business supports. The study used 13 unique metrics that ranged from the average five-year survival rate of businesses and educational attainment of the available labor force to the affordability of office space and access to business financing. Access to high-speed broadband internet, business incubators, educated employees and government incentives helped make Chattanooga one of the best places for start-ups to succeed, according to WalletHub.

Chattanooga is Tennessee’s fourth largest city and is located in the state’s southeast. The city is strategically located close to major economic centers in the U.S South. It is within 120 miles (190 kilometres) of Atlanta and Knoxville, and is also within a day’s drive Nashville and Birmingham, Alabama. Chattanooga also sits close to three major interstates – I-25, I-75 and I-59. The city is the home of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Community College, and has a diverse economy that includes manufacturing and service industries. Several major companies have a presence in and around Chattanooga, including Amazon.com, DuPont, BASF, Norfolk Southern, Coca-Cola, and Volkswagen. Read more »



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Regeneration Projects in Central England Boost Economy

Regeneration Projects: Central England

A 2015 study carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research revealed that the UK is on its way to becoming the second largest economy in Europe, with key indicators including total GDP and purchasing power continue to rise. Moreover, economists at the Centre for Economic and Business Research have predicted that by 2028, the United Kingdom could rank among the world’s top three largest economies, ahead of giants like Germany and Japan. This level of economic growth is partly the result of a long-term development strategy that has been designed by the UK Department for Trade & Investment and implemented by the Regeneration Investment Organisation. Regeneration projects are a fundamental part of the UK’s growth and development strategy, and this article looks at some of the key projects that are currently underway in Central England.

Worcester Growth Corridor


In the near future, Worcester will offer world class investment opportunities thanks to the £300-million regeneration project known as the Worcester Growth Corridor. This initiative aims to redevelop nearly 300 hectares of space along the M5, creating opportunities for investment in commercial, residential, and mixed-use real estate. A total of 8 sites will be redeveloped, the first being the Worcester Technology Park, which will primarily provide first-class business accommodation to companies in the advanced manufacturing, clean technologies, and agri-food sectors.

Overall, it is expected that this project will help create more than 6,800 permanent jobs in the local area. This regeneration project will be carried out in various phases over a period of 15 years, and its estimated delivery date is Q4 2024.

Priors Hall Park, Corby


With a GDV of over £1,200 million, the Priors Hall Park project is one of the most ambitious regeneration projects currently taking place in Central England. The project covers an area of more than 500 hectares in Northamptonshire, and will result in the construction of over 5,000 sustainable homes and of commercial premises, including office and industrial space. This project capitalises on Corby’s strategic location, as the town offers access to 75 per cent of the country’s population with just a 2-hour drive. Read more »



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Top Cities to Start a Business: Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi’s capital and largest city, Jackson is also the largest economic center in the state. Home to major electrical equipment and machinery, processed food, and metal product industries, with numerous major companies based in the city including Ergon, Cal-Maine Foods and Trustmark.

Offering affordable business premises, excellent business services and easy access to financing, Jackson is one of the best places to do business in the United States. The city also provides businesses with excellent transportation links, including one of just two international airports in Mississippi. It is also at the cross-roads of major railway lines and interstate highways, including the I-20 and I-55. According to WalletHub’s 2015 list of best cities in the U.S. to start a business, Jackson ranks fifth out of 150 cities across the country. In the same national ranking, Jackson was fourth in terms of access to resources including office affordability, employee availability and financing accessibility. Mississippi also ranks high for doing business. The state ranked in the top 10 states for doing business, as well as sixth in terms of overall cost of doing business and third for competitive labor costs by the Area Development Magazine in 2014.  Read more »



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Top Cities for Business: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the country and is known as the entertainment hub of California. While technology companies and the entertainment industry receive a large amount of well deserved of credit for bolstering the economy of Los Angeles, it’s important to note that these industries aren’t the only ones employing Angelinos. In fact, the largest industry in Los Angeles by far is the manufacturing industry, followed closely by steel fabrication and shipping. There are a lot of factors that contribute toward the constant growth and development of the myriad industries of Los Angeles.

Major Industries and Economic Drivers in Los Angeles

According to Forbes, the creative industries in Los Angeles account for around 1/6 of all the employment in the city. Manufacturing is perhaps the largest industry in the city, with jobs in the manufacturing sector accounting for over 500,000 manufacturing jobs in Los Angeles. Among the most commonly manufactured goods in Los Angeles are sheet metal, consumer electronics and aerospace technologies. Large tracts of land are set aside throughout the city that are either currently being used by manufacturing companies or set aside for industrial use.

In addition to the manufacturing and creative industries, shipping is a large industry in Los Angeles. The Port of Los Angeles is the largest commercial port in the United States, with more shipping going through that port than anywhere on either the Pacific or Atlantic coasts. Its proximity to major shipping lanes connecting to Japan and China have been a huge part of this growth, though there have also been a large number of government incentives developed to protect and nurture this industry.

Government Programs and Incentives for Business in Los Angeles

Integral to growing a thriving and robust economy are developing incentives that both draw business to the city and nurture its growth. Every aspect of the business generation chain from development to operations and growth have some form of government support scheme to gather support from. This means that new businesses can find help in land use, land development, zoning assistance, seed funding and even legal assistance. Also, tax breaks and tax incentives are a popular way to push growth throughout the greater Los Angeles metro area. Read more »



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Top Cities for Business: New York

As the world’s undisputed financial and commercial hub, New York is considered a prestigious location for businesses in all industry areas. Companies large and small choose to be base their businesses in this thriving US city, which serves as a springboard for further expansion. This article takes a look at some key figures that demonstrate how New York is a top choice for business and startups.

Economic overview

New York’s prosperous economy is characterised by its focus on diversity and innovation. This global business city has a healthy balance between public and private sector jobs and between small, medium, and large-sized companies. In 2015, the state’s GDP was estimated at $1.3 billion.

According to the Economist, New York ranks first in terms of its Global Competitiveness Index, and commercial think-tank Z/Yen lists the city as the number one global financial centre. A United Nations report shows that New York is second in the global prosperity index ratings, whereas the NYCEDC reports that the city’s innovation index is marked by a constant upward trend in six key areas: finance, R&D, human capital, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and high-tech gross product. Federal Reserve data shows that job growth is slightly below the national average, although still well within an acceptable range at 1.8 per cent. As of March 2015, the local unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent.

Major industries

According to the latest data set released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most important industry sectors across the state of New York are education and health services, finance, trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, the public sector, leisure and hospitality. Read more »



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