Bizwiki Blog

Archive for the 'SME’s' Category


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 »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Female Entrepreneurs in the UK – How Things Are Changing

In honour of International Women’s Day we would like to celebrate the great strides women have made in the business world. Across the UK, successful female entrepreneurs are making headlines for the role they play in transforming their respective industry sectors. Names like Alice Hall, Brynne Hebert, or Rachel Bell are often used as examples of the transformational current that has been sweeping the business world for a while. However, the fact remains that the entrepreneurial scene is largely dominated by men. According to a Centre for Entrepreneurs report, only 19 per cent of successful serial entrepreneurs are female, despite fact that women account for over 50 per cent of the country’s population. But how exactly is the female entrepreneurial scene changing, and what can we expect in the near future?

Female Entrepreneurs: Signs of Change

The UK’s female entrepreneurship scene has changed along five main dimensions:

- Higher participation in labour market that has nevertheless not been matched by higher entrepreneurial rates.

- Entrepreneurial activity is twice as likely among men, but things have been improving in favour of female entrepreneurs since 2001. Currently, entrepreneurial activity rates are 4.7 per cent for female’s vs 9.5 per cent for males.

- Female-led businesses experience higher churn rates and the female share of business ownership has not changed significantly since the mid 1990s.

- Female entrepreneurs are more likely to be involved in management consultancy services, events organising, and PR, although the number of female-led ventures involving technology, science and engineering is on the rise.

- An increase in the number of female-led firms that make a significant contribution to the local economy. For instance, the sales volume generated by female-led mid-sized firms has increased by more than £2bn in just 12 months.

Challenges and Solutions

The key challenges affecting female entrepreneurs relate to support, funding, mentoring, training and skills development, work-life balance, and access to new markets. Over the last decade, several initiatives have been launched to address these issues. Examples of policy initiatives created to increase the relatively low numbers of female entrepreneurs across the UK include:

- The establishment of the National Association for the Promotion of Women’s Enterprise (2002)

- The Women’s Business Council (2012) Read more »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

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 »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

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.

 

 

 



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Top Cities to Start a Business: Shreveport, LA

A number of factors make a location an ideal place for a start-up, including the local cost of living and taxes. Access to resources like financing and talent are also important variables. Shreveport has been recognized as a city with many of these key elements to making a successful start for a new company. In WalletHub’s 2015 ranking of the best and worst places to start a business in the United States, Shreveport came on top (1). In 2016, Shreveport ranked eighteenth in WalletHub’s list of the best large cities to start a business (2). The same study found that Shreveport has the fifth highest rate of growth for small businesses.

Shreveport is Louisiana’s third largest city. The city is a major commercial center in the Ark-La-Tex region where Louisiana meets with Arkansas and Texas. Interstates 20 and 49 link the city to nearby states, while Shreveport Regional Airport offers direct flights to major economic centers in the South including Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. Founded in 1836, Shreveport is home to nearly 200,000 people (3). A major business hub for the oil industry until the 1980s, the city is now home to a strong service-based economy. Major commercial developments include the Louisiana Boardwalk, a large shopping and entertainment complex in neighboring Bossier City. Downtown is the home of the 350,000 square foot Shreveport Convention Center.

Businesses in Shreveport benefit from several tax incentive programs at the local and state level. Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone Program provides tax credits and sales and use tax refunds for businesses hiring from targeted groups, while the local Caddo-Bossier Foreign Trade Zone allows for the import of materials and components without paying duties until they enter the U.S. market. With the Louisiana Quality Jobs Program, an annual rebate is available for up to ten years for employers that meet minimum hourly wage rates and offer a basic health plan. Motion picture and television production companies also benefit from refunds on sales and use taxes. Read more »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

How will the 2016 Budget affect UK Businesses?

The UK’s 2016-2017 Budget was unveiled on 16 March. On the whole, British businesses welcomed the new measures outlined in this year’s Budget, as it was clear that the key changes were made in an attempt to stimulate the economy from bottom to top and to facilitate job creation while providing solid incentives for entrepreneurial activities nationwide. Approximately £24 billion have allocated to industry, agriculture, and employment, which have become top priorities given the crucial role that they play in driving economic growth in the country. This article provides an overview of how the new measures outlined in this year’s Budget will affect UK businesses.

UK Budget 2016: What large companies need to know

Read more »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Sustainable Business Practices

How to introduce sustainable business practices in your organization

Sustainability involves considering environmental sustainability in all aspects of an organization’s operations. It also involves considering social sustainability and how an organization’s actions might affect the local community and people in general. Also known as environmental and social responsibility, considering sustainability of every business decision and activity may not be possible or feasible for some companies. At the same time, there are several ways to introduce sustainable business practices in your company or organization.

The Benefits of Being Sustainable

One of the main reasons to adopt sustainable business practices is the advantage it can give an organization. In many cases, sustainable practices lead to greater efficiency. This in turn can help reduce operating costs. Sustainable practices also attract and retain employees that want to work for an organization that encourages and embraces sustainable practices. They also attract new clients, customers, investors and other partners looking for environmentally and socially responsible organizations. In turn, being sustainable might encourage your partners, suppliers, clients and customers to also be more environmentally and socially responsible.

Ways to Make Operational Changes

An organization can become more environmentally and socially sustainable or responsible through operational changes. Part of this involves being a ‘good’ employer. This means being committed to your employees and how they feel about working for your organization. A good employer cares about how satisfied employees as well as their development and well-being. This might involve encouraging good work-life balance with, for example, flexible work arrangements and on-site fitness centres and childcare. It also involves promoting equality and fairness where there is no tolerance for workplace discrimination and harassment. Promoting a healthy and safe work environment for employees is a vital part of being a socially sustainable organization as well as a good employer. Read more »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

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 »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

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 »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

What Businesses in the US Need To Know About Preparing For the Holidays

The Holiday season is often the busiest time of year for a lot of businesses. From shipping deadlines to taxable and non-taxable gift guidelines, there is a lot of  things to bear in mind to ensure that your business is ready for the Holidays.

Christmas 2015: Dates and Deadlines for US Businesses

Official Holiday Dates

In 2015, Christmas Day will be Friday, December 25th. The vast majority of businesses (with the exception of restaurant chains and some convenience stores) will be closed on Christmas Day, and many will operate a reduced schedule on Christmas Eve too. Banks will be closed across the United States, and some financial institutions will also close early on December 24th.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Every year, the United States Postal Service publishes its Holiday posting and shipping deadlines. Domestic letters and parcels sent via Standard Post service must be posted by December 15th if they are to arrive on December 24th at the latest. Letters and parcels sent within the United States using First Class mail service must be posted by December 19th. Domestic items sent via Priority Mail should be on their way by December 21st, whereas letters and parcels sent to US addresses using Priority Mail Express can be posted as late as December 23rd.

The following deadlines apply to items sent to military or diplomatic addresses:

  • November 7th for items sent via Standard Post
  • November 25th for items sent via Space Available Mail
  • December 3rd for items sent via Parcel Airlift Mail
  • December 10th for items sent via Priority Mail and First Class Mail
  • December 17th for items sent via Priority Mail Express – Military service

The deadlines for letters and parcels addressed to international destinations vary from country to country, with last shipping dates ranging between December 1st for First Class International mail to December 21st for items sent via Global Express Guaranteed. For a full list of international destinations and their applicable deadlines, please visit the USPS site at https://www.usps.com/holiday. Read more »



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Next Page »