Tag: Advice:

Small Business Ideas, Advice – Resources #low #cost #business #ideas

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Small Business Advice Program #small #business #administration

#small business advice

#

Small Business Advice Programme

This project is a voluntary response by the business community to the challenges that recession brings for small business across the country. We have assembled a panel of people, with significant business experience, who are volunteering their time to give practical advice to small businesses. Your business can benefit from tapping into this pool of knowledge by applying for an advice meeting through this site.

No cost.

No hassle.

No long application process.

Just practical advice from experienced people who are volunteering to help keep your business in business.

Tuesday, March 27 2012

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into The Dublin Region

On 28th March 2012, John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business will lauch the programme in the Dublin region.

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into Mid-West Region

‘Minister Peter Power launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’

A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the Mid West Region (Clare, Limerick and Tipperary), it was announced last night in Thomond Park, Limerick.

The move follows the success of the programme in Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford over recent months. More than 60 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 150 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launched in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.

Tuesday, May 11 2010

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into South-East Region

‘Minister O’Keeffe launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’

A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the South East Region (Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow), it was announced last night (Monday, May 10) in Waterford.

The move follows the success of the pilot in the Cork region over the past six months. More than 35 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 70 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launch in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.





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The 5 Worst Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners #small #scale #business

#small business advice

#

Mashable

The 5 Worst Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners

When you’re starting a business, there’s no shortage of people eager to hand out advice. It seems that everyone, even someone you’ve just met, has an opinion on how you should be developing your product, running your marketing, handling your finances and much more.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve met some very smart people and have had great mentors over the years. Their contributions have been invaluable to my success. Yet after launching two companies over two decades, I’ve come across some terrible advice.

Below are the top five bits of advice that I could have done without.

1. “Hire people you know.”

I’ve had countless people tell me that it’s always better to assemble a team of “known quantities” — friends, colleagues or former employees whom you know and trust. But I’ve discovered that for me, the best hiring decisions are based on the specific positions I need to fill at that moment in time. In other words, I need to focus on the specific expertise and skill sets the company needs, rather than trying to piece together how Jill, Sally and Joe will fit into the new business.

In addition, if things aren’t working out between an employee and your company, you need to part ways (and usually, the sooner the better). You may be more reluctant to let friends go, even if you know they aren’t good fits.

2. “There’s no room for you in the market.”

When my husband and I launched a legal document filing company the second time around, the field was quite crowded, with several big names and established players. Many people told us to find a new space because there simply wasn’t room for us to compete.

However, the key to business success doesn’t always hinge on finding a completely empty field; rather, it’s how you define your company and its place in the market. Starbucks wasn’t the first company to sell coffee, but they did revolutionize the coffee shop by selling an experience along with a caffeine fix. Still, numerous boutique coffee shops are able to open and thrive today, even though there’s a Starbucks around the corner.

Rather than struggling to come up with a brand new idea, take a look at your target industry and see where there’s a void to be filled. Figure out the best possible way to fill that need and run with it. You don’t always have to blaze a new trail, but you need to know who you are.

3. “You have to be cheaper than the other guys.”

I admit that my husband and I fell into this pricing trap with our company. We felt that the only way we could compete with the “big guys” was to undercut them on price. So, we dropped our prices. Our business grew, customers were happy, more customers came in, yet we were nearly losing money with every new order.

Many young companies feel the pressure to discount their prices heavily in order to win business. While customer acquisition is important, attracting customers at unsustainable price levels will just result in a race to the bottom. I’ve learned that you’re better off in the long run to focus on how to bring more value to customers, rather than simply slashing your prices. After all, someone will always be able (or willing) to absorb a lower cost than you. You’ll need to find a new way to stand out, and then work as hard as you can to be exceptional in those differentiating areas.

4. “Social media is free.”

Over the past several years, I’ve had people tell me that starting a small business today is much easier than a decade ago, because of all the free marketing on Facebook. Twitter and Yelp. Sure, you don’t have to spend a dime to join Facebook, create a Twitter account or start a blog. But, I think a more apt comparison is that social media is free like a puppy. It may not cost much to bring a shelter puppy home, but from day one, it’s an endless whirlwind of training, toys and treats.

Likewise, social media is far from free once you factor in the blood, sweat and tears it demands. From developing fresh content to keeping up conversations, social media requires nonstop commitment once you start. Unless you consider your time (or the time of your employees) worthless, then there’s a significant cost involved with social media.

5. “You have to spend money to make money.”

This cliché never applied to our business, particularly at the beginning. We set up shop in our apartment and did everything we could to keep expenses down. Sometimes we thought things would be better if we just had the money for X, Y or Z. But it’s risky to think that throwing money at a problem is your silver bullet. Sometimes, creative thinking and strategy work far better than a checkbook.

We had to learn the difference between spending money and investing in the business. Certainly, money can scale a business faster, but only when you spend money on those things that will produce more money in return.

Final Thoughts

People will always give you advice — some good, some bad. The key is to never forget that you are running the show. Other people’s opinions should always be viewed through the context of your own experiences, convictions and value system.

Final decisions are always up to you, so there’s no blaming someone else for bad advice.

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Where can you go for the best business advice? #best #online #business

#small business advice

#

Where can you go for the best business advice?

Starting a business is an exhilarating experience but can also be quite treacherous, if you’re really sure where you’re going. Luckily there is a wealth of information out there to help you prepare. The only issue is, where to start?

Ever on the pilgrimage to make your business endeavors easier, we have collated a list of the best places to look for startup and small business advice. The best part is, most of them are completely free.

1. Startup advice

Gov.uk provides a range of business and financial support options, including advice on writing a business plan. help with finance and support, loans and Growth Voucher opportunities.

The government’s Growth Accelerator scheme is also well worth checking out. Eligible small businesses can access coaching and advice, as well as up to £2,000 of match funding per senior manager involved in the strategic direction of the business.

The government isn’t the only place you can find funding for your business more funding info here .

Startup Britain is characterised as a “national campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs” and provides free events and advice for budding businesses. They also work with the government in order to create better initiatives and funding options for startups, which aims to give small businesses the opportunity to have their say.

99u is online portfolio company, Behance’s effort to “make ideas happen”. The site offers a selection of articles, videos and advice on innovation and creative thinking. If you’re feeling a little depleted and you need some business motivation, 99u is a great place to start.

2. HR advice for small business

ACAS provides information, advice, training and other services for employers and employees relating to employment and HR issues. As well as advice and training, ACAS also offers online modules to help you achieve the ‘model workplace’ and get to grips with employment law.

Early conciliation is a particularly useful section of the ACAS site if you find yourself in a workplace dispute. The free service offers the opportunity to resolve issues without having to go to an employment tribunal.

HR Zone has a decent mix of informative blog posts, white papers and employment law features. They also have a library and online resource centre, which offers a 14 day free trial for all new members. It is free to join and you will be alerted of all up-and-coming events near your area.

Human Resource Solutions support small businesses who may not have the capital or need to hire HR professionals. The website offers professionally written free resources, as well as downloadable HR policies and procedures templates.

3. Accounting advice

J4b provides funding and grant information to startups and small businesses. The site also offers advice and guidance on relevant awards and tax relief and is easier to navigate than HMRC.

HMRC is the almighty ruler of all British tax issues and has all of the financial information required to set up your business and manage your finances. It is not the easiest website to navigate so here are some of the most useful areas for you:

  • Starting a business Help and support for new businesses, including what you need to register to get set up, limited company, VAT, PAYE for employers, record keeping ect.
  • Corporation tax Information on how to register, calculate and manage your corporation tax.
  • Import and export Tax laws on international trade, import control system and how to apply.

The new HMRC section on the gov.uk website is much more user friendly.

4. Business mentoring services

Horsesmouth describes itself as “the social network for informal mentoring” and offers the opportunity to sign up to have or be a mentor. They have a specific section on starting a business where you can search for mentors on a variety of subjects including, interviewing, managing people, business plan and investment.

Mentorsme is designed to help you find a business mentor as quickly and easily as possible. You can also find a range of useful resources on their website, including accounting a business advice, better financial control and how to complete a lending request.





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How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps: Starting a business advice

#dog walking business

#

How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps

With recent figures showing that Brits spent more than £4bn on their beloved pets in 2015, you’d be barking mad to think the recession has impacted on the UK’s pet spend.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Marking a 10% increase on pooch spending from 2010, it’s not only large retailers benefitting, with many entrepreneurs realising there’s opportunities to be had in the pet industry.

The average dog walker now earns 20% more than the average UK salary. so it’s clearly a viable and potentially profitable business opportunity.

Of course you’ll need to have a genuine interest in dogs as well as a good knowledge of the various rules and regulations surrounding the industry – and it’s a fairly business marketplace.

However, with plenty of doting pet owners out there, finding a good niche can still present great opportunities.

Sound interesting? Then read our four simple steps to help you become top dog in the industry.

1. Experience is essential

While it’s not imperative to have a career background with animals, you should at least be confident around dogs and at the very least have experience in walking a family or friend’s pet.

The Kennel Club’s guidelines for people working with dogs advises “strong interpersonal and communication skills”, as well as “a high level of fitness” and, naturally, “an affinity with, and understanding of dogs” for anyone wishing to pursue a career with man’s best friend.

If you’re in need of experience in handling dogs, you might want to consider volunteering at your local kennels or rescue centre. They’ll often house a good range of dogs of various sizes, age and temperament, so you’ll be fit to face whatever comes your way.

Consider attending courses in animal first aid, pet medication or even animal psychology as gaining a diploma or certificate in any of these would showcase your commitment to the dog’s welfare and impress clients.

2. Remember, it’s a business

While any animal lover might feel like they’ve died and gone to doggy heaven, remind yourself that your dog walking business is just that – a business. As such, you’ll need to possess all the regular entrepreneurial skills required for founding and running a successful company.

Having a basic understanding of bookkeeping is important as you’ll need to be able to balance your own books and fill in your self-assessment tax return. Remember that this is your livelihood and not a hobby, your income should reflect this.

Similarly, a good understanding of marketing and self-promotion will be needed to get your business off the ground.

Finally, an ability to network and negotiate with both your customers and local animal industry is key. Never underestimate the potential for clients to try and negotiate price or you could find yourself working for substantially less than you might have hoped.

3. Be aware of the rules and regulations

Although there are relatively few regulations specifically targeted at dog walkers, businesses providing a service must get public liability insurance.

If this is the start-up business idea for you, be aware you may have to deal with dogs injuring other dogs or people while in your charge.

It’s vital to have the right insurance cover to deal with legal claims, should they arise.

They can help provide you with support and advice on dog walkers insurance and training, plus your membership will give your clients confidence.

To ensure you abide by key regulations, Narps suggest you should:

  • Meet owners prior to the first booking
  • Restrict the number of dogs walked to no more than four at a time
  • Keep records of all work undertaken
  • Protect clients’ personal information

All dogs in public must wear a collar with the owners name and address on it and you could be fined up to £1,000 if you fail to clean up its faeces.

While not the most exciting element of running your own business, it’s crucial you keep abreast of the latest rules and regulations to ensure you’re not jeopardising the safety of others or the reputation of your business.

4. Find a niche in the market

Given the popularity of setting up a dog walking business, it’s very probable you’ll have to find a niche to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Above all else, carry out market research and see if there’s actually room in your area for another dog walker.

A simple google search or contacting NarpsUK will help a lot in this regard.

Consider offering pet sitting as well as dog walking. Much like babysitting, you’ll mind your client’s pets at their home while they are away, as well as feeding them and attending to any medical needs such as medication or fulfilling dietary requirements.

Having a diploma in pet medication would be advantageous in this instance as it would allow you to cater to a specific group of dogs.

Provided you are properly trained, you could also offer grooming services such as hair cutting or washing.

Offering one-to-one intense sessions with larger dogs could also widen your appeal.

Some dogs simply won’t be satisfied by a trip around the block and will require a more strenuous workout.

For more information on starting a dog walking business, take a look atour in-depth guide to help you prepare for the launch of your start-up.

Comments

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What business to start in 2015: Starting a business advice and business ideas #business

#businesses to start

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What business to start in 2015

The desire to become your own boss and work for yourself is growing and in election year the economy will inevitably be a key policy battleground, meaning small business-friendly pledges will be made.

With signs of revival and chancellor George Osborne’s recent promises of renewed business support and an extra £1bn funding for regional growth some might argue the climate for starting a business has never been better, making 2015 a great time to take the plunge.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

This appetite for starting a business isn’t just hype; StartUp Britain reported a record 581,173 new businesses for 2014. markedly higher than 2013 and 2012, and the UK’s eco-system appears to be in good health with ONS figures showing a 6% drop in the number of British firms leaving the Companies House register.

Britain is expected to be the fastest growing G7 economy in 2015 – the IMF has predicted a 3.2% overall rise – and while London remains the start-up capital. regional start-up hubs are beginning to flourish with Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow fast gaining reputations as top cities to start a business in .

It’s on the back of these positive indicators that we look to the coming months and the hot sectors and businesses opportunities that could prove fruitful for those looking to start a new venture. We’ve studied and assessed businesses which are gaining market traction, sought insight from leading research bodies such as Mintel, and analysed consumer trends to bring you our predictions of 14 top businesses to start in 2015.

From foods and fitness to technology, cycling, and even cafes with a twist, there’s a host of start-up prospects to suit a range of skills and backgrounds and this extends to part-time businesses that can offer supplementary income such as starting a niche social network .

With the freelance workforce now over four million strong and more firms than ever before looking to hire freelance talent, we’ve also identified opportunities for freelancers and “solopreneurs”. This includes starting up as a growth hacker ; a combination of smart marketing and tech development which is becoming increasingly sought after in the start-up world.

While several of the business opportunities listed aren’t new, the potential to innovate and target an established market with a disruptive new solution – take protein products for instance – are plentiful.

Follow the buttons above and below to find out what business you should start in 2015…

Comments

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The 5 Worst Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners #business #promotional #products

#small business advice

#

Mashable

The 5 Worst Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners

When you’re starting a business, there’s no shortage of people eager to hand out advice. It seems that everyone, even someone you’ve just met, has an opinion on how you should be developing your product, running your marketing, handling your finances and much more.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve met some very smart people and have had great mentors over the years. Their contributions have been invaluable to my success. Yet after launching two companies over two decades, I’ve come across some terrible advice.

Below are the top five bits of advice that I could have done without.

1. “Hire people you know.”

I’ve had countless people tell me that it’s always better to assemble a team of “known quantities” — friends, colleagues or former employees whom you know and trust. But I’ve discovered that for me, the best hiring decisions are based on the specific positions I need to fill at that moment in time. In other words, I need to focus on the specific expertise and skill sets the company needs, rather than trying to piece together how Jill, Sally and Joe will fit into the new business.

In addition, if things aren’t working out between an employee and your company, you need to part ways (and usually, the sooner the better). You may be more reluctant to let friends go, even if you know they aren’t good fits.

2. “There’s no room for you in the market.”

When my husband and I launched a legal document filing company the second time around, the field was quite crowded, with several big names and established players. Many people told us to find a new space because there simply wasn’t room for us to compete.

However, the key to business success doesn’t always hinge on finding a completely empty field; rather, it’s how you define your company and its place in the market. Starbucks wasn’t the first company to sell coffee, but they did revolutionize the coffee shop by selling an experience along with a caffeine fix. Still, numerous boutique coffee shops are able to open and thrive today, even though there’s a Starbucks around the corner.

Rather than struggling to come up with a brand new idea, take a look at your target industry and see where there’s a void to be filled. Figure out the best possible way to fill that need and run with it. You don’t always have to blaze a new trail, but you need to know who you are.

3. “You have to be cheaper than the other guys.”

I admit that my husband and I fell into this pricing trap with our company. We felt that the only way we could compete with the “big guys” was to undercut them on price. So, we dropped our prices. Our business grew, customers were happy, more customers came in, yet we were nearly losing money with every new order.

Many young companies feel the pressure to discount their prices heavily in order to win business. While customer acquisition is important, attracting customers at unsustainable price levels will just result in a race to the bottom. I’ve learned that you’re better off in the long run to focus on how to bring more value to customers, rather than simply slashing your prices. After all, someone will always be able (or willing) to absorb a lower cost than you. You’ll need to find a new way to stand out, and then work as hard as you can to be exceptional in those differentiating areas.

4. “Social media is free.”

Over the past several years, I’ve had people tell me that starting a small business today is much easier than a decade ago, because of all the free marketing on Facebook. Twitter and Yelp. Sure, you don’t have to spend a dime to join Facebook, create a Twitter account or start a blog. But, I think a more apt comparison is that social media is free like a puppy. It may not cost much to bring a shelter puppy home, but from day one, it’s an endless whirlwind of training, toys and treats.

Likewise, social media is far from free once you factor in the blood, sweat and tears it demands. From developing fresh content to keeping up conversations, social media requires nonstop commitment once you start. Unless you consider your time (or the time of your employees) worthless, then there’s a significant cost involved with social media.

5. “You have to spend money to make money.”

This cliché never applied to our business, particularly at the beginning. We set up shop in our apartment and did everything we could to keep expenses down. Sometimes we thought things would be better if we just had the money for X, Y or Z. But it’s risky to think that throwing money at a problem is your silver bullet. Sometimes, creative thinking and strategy work far better than a checkbook.

We had to learn the difference between spending money and investing in the business. Certainly, money can scale a business faster, but only when you spend money on those things that will produce more money in return.

Final Thoughts

People will always give you advice — some good, some bad. The key is to never forget that you are running the show. Other people’s opinions should always be viewed through the context of your own experiences, convictions and value system.

Final decisions are always up to you, so there’s no blaming someone else for bad advice.

What’s New

What’s Rising

What’s Hot





Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

Small Business Advice Program #types #of #business

#small business advice

#

Small Business Advice Programme

This project is a voluntary response by the business community to the challenges that recession brings for small business across the country. We have assembled a panel of people, with significant business experience, who are volunteering their time to give practical advice to small businesses. Your business can benefit from tapping into this pool of knowledge by applying for an advice meeting through this site.

No cost.

No hassle.

No long application process.

Just practical advice from experienced people who are volunteering to help keep your business in business.

Tuesday, March 27 2012

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into The Dublin Region

On 28th March 2012, John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business will lauch the programme in the Dublin region.

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into Mid-West Region

‘Minister Peter Power launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’

A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the Mid West Region (Clare, Limerick and Tipperary), it was announced last night in Thomond Park, Limerick.

The move follows the success of the programme in Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford over recent months. More than 60 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 150 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launched in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.

Tuesday, May 11 2010

Small Business Support Programme Expands Into South-East Region

‘Minister O’Keeffe launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’

A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the South East Region (Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow), it was announced last night (Monday, May 10) in Waterford.

The move follows the success of the pilot in the Cork region over the past six months. More than 35 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 70 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launch in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.





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A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow – Ever #small #business

#business advice

#

A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow Ever

There’s plenty of advice out there for how to start and run a business. But not all of it is good. In fact, there are some common sayings that are actually some of the worst business advice out there. The following includes some of the worst business advice you can follow.

The Worst Business Advice

Do What You Love

Although it may seem like a nice notion, this popular saying is widely considered one of the worst pieces of business advice out there. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean that others will find it helpful or necessary. And if no one buys what you’re selling, then doing what you love won’t really get you anywhere.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Likewise, simply building an offering doesn’t mean that you’ll actually attract any customers. This saying implies that if you put in the work, there are customers out there who will support your business. But if you don’t do the research and find a market for your product or service, you very well could be in for a rude awakening.

The Customer is Always Right

This popular saying is meant to encourage business owners and employees to work hard to accommodate customers. And while customers and their opinions are generally important to the success of businesses, they’re not always right. If you’re constantly giving discounts or changing your offerings every time a customer makes a demand, you could be hurting your brand and your bottom line.

Never Turn Down a Paying Customer

Likewise, you shouldn’t assume that every customer you get will help your business. Especially if you have a consulting business or provide some other service where it can be necessary for you to work with someone over the long-term, it may very well be in your best interest to only take on a few very select clients.

Don t Quit Your Day Job

This is some of the worst business advice out there because there’s no right path for every entrepreneur. If you’re just starting out, it may very well be in your best interest to keep your full-time job while building a business. But then again you might be better off quitting and putting all your time and effort into your new venture. When it comes to making this decision, each entrepreneur has to decide based on his or her own set of circumstances, and not listen to a single one-size-fits-all recommendation.

Stay Away From Established Markets

Some experts claim that in order to start a successful business, you need to find a brand new niche or a huge gap in the market. But that’s not always true. You can start a business in an established market as long as you have at least one small thing that customers will appreciate to set you apart.

If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do It Yourself

Too many business owners try to do everything themselves because they have a hard time trusting anyone else with their business. But the fact is there are experts and great potential employees out there who can help you do things better than you could all by yourself.

It s All About Who You Know

Personal connections can certainly be helpful when it comes to running a successful business. But putting such a huge emphasis on them can discourage some people who aren’t well connected from starting businesses. You can always build connections as you go.

Stick to Your Plan

A business plan is a helpful tool. But it shouldn’t be the ultimate, unchanging guide for your business. Sometimes things change, and you should be able to adapt your plan to those changes.

Follow an Established Path to Success

Some experts think that there are just one or two ways to make it in the business world. But young, innovative entrepreneurs are forging their own paths every day. So don’t let anyone tell you that there’s one path you HAVE TO take in order to succeed.

Keep Your Business and Personal Life Separate

While there can be some merit to this piece of advice in certain situations, it’s no longer an absolute rule. Some small businesses actually thrive because the owner or the team shares their personality with customers. You don’t need to air all of your personal drama on social media. But being a little bit open and personable with your customers can be a good thing.

All Attention is Good Attention

Drawing attention to your business, especially during the early stages, can be difficult. So when you get any type of attention or press it might seem like a good thing. But if that attention isn’t in line with your brand and the image you want to portray, it could be doing more harm than good.

Hire the Most Experienced People

Experience can be a very good quality when looking to build your team. But it shouldn’t be the only quality you look for. Finding people who are enthusiastic, talented, creative and who share your vision for your business can be just as important if not more so.

Offer the Lowest Prices

Plenty of new businesses fall into the trap of trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering the lowest prices. But that isn’t always sustainable depending upon your costs and your business model. And it could damage your reputation moving forward.

Work Hard and Success Will Come

Hard work is certainly important when it comes to running a successful business. But it is not the only thing that matters. Don’t think that just because you’re putting in long hours and trying your best that success will eventually come. Sometimes it s more important to work smart than to work hard. Ultimately, the results you get are what matter.

Don t Try New Things

If you’ve found one or two things that work in your business, it can seem like a safe bet to stick with what works. But doing that won’t allow your business to grow as quickly as you might like. Trying new things can be risky, but it can also be rewarding.

Never Say No

Saying no to new clients, partnerships or opportunities may seem like a bad business strategy. But if you say yes to everything, you could be spreading yourself too thin or taking your business in too many different directions. You need to be very intentional when making those decisions so you can be sure that they’re going to benefit your business in the long run.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

This can be true in some circumstances. But you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that making big investments in new equipment, employees, training or other resources, will magically make your business better. You need to be smart about how you spend. And besides, many entrepreneurs have built highly successful businesses with very few or almost no resources at all .

Never Stop Working

You have to work hard to run a successful business. But you also need to find a balance, or else you’ll burn yourself out and find yourself too uninspired to run your business successful. The risk of burnout is one reason work-life balance is an absolute must.

Give Up

Not all businesses succeed. In fact, most don’t. But this is still some of the worst business advice you could ever receive. It’s never up to someone else whether you give up or not. If that’s a decision you need to make, it should be based on more than just outside opinions. Never let others decide when it is time for you to throw in the towel.

What are some of the worst pieces of business advice you have ever heard?

Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird. and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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How to start a cleaning company: 8 simple steps: Starting a business advice and

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How to start a cleaning company: 8 simple steps

If you’re looking for a low-cost business idea that you can get off the ground fairly quickly with minimal outlays then starting a cleaning business could be the perfect option for you.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

However – bear in mind – because it’s a fairly simple business to start, competition is rife, with the industry dominated by lots of small organisations.

You’ll need to have a clear vision about where you plan to position your cleaning business in this somewhat crowded market and carve a niche for yourself to ensure your start-up stands out.

Read our eight simple steps to get your cleaning venture on the path to success.

1. Determine what type of cleaning business you’re going to specialise in

There are three main types of cleaning company:

  • Domestic – domestic cleaning will involve cleaning people’s homes (normally while they’re at work) and can be undertaken by you as soon as you secure some clients. You may eventually take on staff as your client-base builds.
  • Commercial – in order to clean commercial properties you’ll need a team of people (the properties will be tend to be large office buildings) and it may be that your role is more managerial than on the ground cleaning.
  • Specialised – there are lots of niches to explore, from window cleaning to schools to vehicle cleaning.

Bear in mind your skills set (are you prepared to clean every day or are you more suited to the administrative side of a cleaning business) and where there’s the best market opportunity in your desired area.

2. Research, research, research

As mentioned above – researching the potential market and local demographic will be key in determining the type of cleaning business you should start. If you’re planning on running a domestic cleaning venture you’ll need to ensure that people in the local area are financially able to pay for someone else to do their domestic chores, likewise for a commercial business are there enough viable contracts to win? Market research will also be key in determining your prices (try posing as a prospective client and ringing around the local competition to ensure your pricing point is competitive).

3. Decide on your business model (could franchising be an option?)

From the outset it’s important to think about your long-term plans for your cleaning business. If you’re looking for a business that you can grow slowly and organically and that you can keep control of in the long-run then going it alone is probably sensible. However, to hit the ground running (and if you’re nervous about some of the elements of setting up a business) you could consider franchising. There’s lots of franchises in the cleaning industry with average upfront costs of around £12,000.

4. Budget appropriately for your equipment

Cleaning equipment costs can vary considerably. For domestic cleaners, more often than not the equipment is provided by the households, but if you’re thinking of launching a commercial cleaning company there’s some basic equipment you’ll need to invest in:

  • Equipment trolleys: £250-£400 each
  • Professional vacuum cleaner – £100 upwards
  • Sweeping machine – £200-£2,000
  • Van – £3,000 upwards

It’s important that you ensure any outlays you have to spend on equipment will be counteracted in profits.

5. Create a marketing plan

As well as some initial spend on equipment – it may be necessary to allocate some budget for marketing. One of the hardest elements of starting a cleaning company (and in fact any service business) is building up a client list. Depending on the nature of your business some traditional advertising such as classified listings and flyers could be the best place to start – although it’s worth considering investing in some online advertising as well, such as pay-per-click. particularly if you are offering a niche service (and can therefore go for a specific search term such as ‘Brentwood carpet cleaner’). And don’t be afraid to go out and knock on some doors – cleaning can be a personal business and prospective clients may be more likely to sign up if they meet you face-to-face!

6. Develop a strong brand and build a reputation

Once your business gets underway and starts to gain momentum it’s important to build a brand that you can be proud of – as apart from any marketing spend – you’ll mainly be reliant on gaining customers via word of mouth and personal recommendations. To build a brand identity it’s a good idea to have a logo designed and to have a uniform for any staff with clear branding on it. Subscribing to trade organisations which have a compulsory standard for membership can also help create a professional reputation, as well as getting satisfied clients to provide testimonials. Try to create a USP that isn’t just about price – something that clearly defines your brand as a cleaning business that won’t be forgotten.

7. Managing cashflow and getting paid

As with any new business, cashflow can be sporadic initially – but particularly for domestic cleaners as clients can be somewhat unreliable in terms of how regularly they’ll want you, bearing in mind holidays, sicknesses etc. In addition you’ll need to work out a payment system with clients that works for you. Typically people expect to pay their cleaner cash-in-hand per job but for your cashflow you may want to insist on an advance payment system.

8. Training and regulations

You do not need a license to run a cleaning business but obtaining a criminal records check from the CRB can only improve your image (and that of your staff) as trusted professionals. Training is also not a prerequisite but some basic training such as an NVQ or Cleaning Operatives Proficiency Certificate could give your business credibility.

If you’re going to be taking on staff there’s a number of regulations you’ll need to bear in mind. Typically cleaning work is not well paid – it’s likely that your staff will receive the minimum wage (currently £6.31) so you’ll need to keep on top of annual rises. You’ll also be responsible for employer’s liability insurance and if you’re taking on commercial cleaning jobs you’ll need to adhere to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations – which state that when you take on a cleaning contract with an office or other business premises you must use their existing staff. Lastly, there’s a number of health and safety regulations to consider, as cleaning often involves working with potentially harmful chemicals.

For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to start a cleaning business read our comprehensive guide here .

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