Small Business Saturday Blog

SmallBiz100 Mooch revive the local high street

Wednesday, July 11 at 21:39

We caught up with Jon May of Mooch Gifts & Home, to talk how to advertise without a budget, why big business is struggling more than small, and the impact of being a part of last year’s Small Biz 100. Mooch Gifts & Home took part in the Amex Shop Small offer in 2017.
Fed up of working long hours to earn money for others, Jon May and Luke Jacks decided that, if they were to be throwing themselves head first into a business, it should be their own. In 2015 the pair took the plunge and opened their first Mooch Gifts & Home store in their hometown of Stourport.It was an immediate success. Jon says: “We worked out what our worst-case scenario would be - the fewest number of customers we could have each day to survive. And we absolutely smashed through that.”With no advertising budget, Jon puts this quick-fire success down to their impressive social media reach. Focusing their customer outreach on Facebook and their brand-to-brand marketing on Twitter, they have seen strong, organic growth. They’re also getting by with a little help from their friends. Mooch have utilised the support of other Facebook pages such as we love stourport-on-severn past and present day, whose 12,000 likes gave Mooch a great platform to advertise.Jon and Luke are returning the favour to small businesses in Bewdley, the home of their second store, with their own Facebook page. Shop, Eat, Sleep Bewdley has helped bring life to what had been a struggling shopping town. “We look after them, they look after us.”This is an attitude that Jon says is vital to the survival of small businesses. When opening in Bewdley, other gift shops feared the competition, but they’ve become close allies. “There was definitely a sense of ‘oh no we don’t need another gift shop’ when we moved into the area, but we work closely together now,” says Jon. “At the end of the day, it’s not about competition. If we don’t have an item, we would much rather guide a customer to another gift store in the town, so they spend the money here rather than in the big city.Unique products, a community-focused outlook, and the warmth Mooch staff show to their customers has led to numerous award nominations including at last month’s Small Awards, as well as a place in 2017’s SmallBiz100. This recognition has allowed Mooch to build up a closer relationship with media outlets in their area, and has seen them featured in national newspapers and websites, including the Telegraph, Independent and the Sun.“Being able to say publicly that we were named one of the best 100 small companies in the country by Small Business Saturday has been brilliant for us. We’ve seen more customers on the shop floor, and more online traffic than ever before,” says Jon. “It’s great to know that we are bringing more revenue and recognition to Stourport and Bewdley, with orders from across the country.”The growing base of ‘moochers’ in the last year has meant Jon and Luke have been able to open up in larger premises in Stourport, set-up over three floors. The company has gone from a penniless start-up to one of the town’s high street landmarks.The message from Jon to any small business owner thinking of taking part in Small Business Saturday is to go for it: “If you’re passionate about what you do, if you fly the flag for your sector, then why not? Anyone who has found a gap in the market and put their job security on the line to create a business they believe in deserves recognition.“Customers are returning to the high-street, appreciating their better prices and personal service. Now we are seeing that small is mighty.”Click here to visit Mooch Gifts & HomeFor more information on Amex Shop Small please see here

Why apply to be a SmallBiz100 2018?

Thursday, June 28 at 10:15
Smallbiz100

With just two days to go until applications close for this year’s SmallBiz100, we look at the benefits of taking part.
First things first – what is the SmallBiz100? In a nutshell, we choose 100 brilliant small businesses and celebrate one every day in the run up to Small Business Saturday, which takes place in December each year.Clearly it’s a great opportunity to showcase your small business and raise awareness both locally and nationally. On your allocated day, your business will be celebrated across Small Business Saturday’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. It’s a fantastic way to make a big impact.
Outside of your allocated day, there are plenty of PR opportunities within the media. Local press love to get involved and feature local businesses which have been selected to join SmallBiz100, and Small Business Saturday will support you all the way by preparing press releases for your local papers.If you want still more exposure, there are opportunities to feature in Small Business Saturday’s case studies series – find previous articles on our website here – or even to increase your impact longer term by becoming one of our Small Business Champions. It’s entirely up to you how far you want to take it.
When we speak to our previous SmallBiz100 participants, the one benefit which comes up time and time again is the support network which it provides. Running your own small business can be lonely at times, and it can be hard to know where to turn for help and advice from those who really know what you’re experiencing. Taking part in SmallBiz100 provides you with a fantastic community and a readymade support network of small businesses just like yours, all at different stages of growth. You’ll get access to a private alumni Facebook group for sharing tips, asking for advice, providing support and celebrating your success.
There are also plenty of opportunities to collaborate, with businesses who have been there and done it sharing their experiences. And finally, if you prefer your networking done in person rather than online, the fabulous blue tie ball takes place every year and is open to all SmallBiz100 participants, alumni and newbies alike.Michelle from Pink Spaghetti, who was one of the SmallBiz100 in 2017, says “As a business that operates from home and employs home workers, it is sometimes difficult to be seen or be taken seriously in the local business community. Being chosen to be a SmallBiz100 has not only given me amazing opportunities to network, collaborate and grow my business, but has also put me on the map locally. The increased exposure from Small Business Saturday has really made a difference to the way my small business is perceived; and the local press releases highlighting my involvement with SmallBiz100 has not only promoted my business but also validated it: we are no longer seen as a “hobby” business but as a worthy member of the business community.”All this and taking part is completely free! Sounds good? Applying to take part in SmallBiz100 2018 is quick and easy – just click here to register and start your journey. Already registered? Click here to apply to SmallBiz100.
Even if you feel that your business is not yet ready for SmallBiz100 or you’re not selected as part of the 100, there are still numerous benefits to getting involved.
Simply registering with Small Business Saturday can improve your business’s visibility, making you searchable via the Small Business Saturday app and via the business finder on the Small Business Saturday website, which is regularly promoted across social media. It’s also a great place to promote special offers, and to pick up tips and advice from other small businesses via our blog.
The standard of entrants for SmallBiz100 has already been phenomenal this year and we can’t wait to present the SmallBiz100 2018 later in the year! In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Make 2018 the year that you take your small business to the next level and take part in something amazing: apply now for SmallBiz100 2018.

SmallBiz100 Julu on design, manufacturing, and building an online business with friends

Thursday, June 21 at 09:00

When many friends and family admired a wall hanging airer which Lucie Savidge had designed for her home, she asked her school friend, Julia Adams, to help her to develop it into a product and start a business, Julu Laundry Ladders. Both were involved with the design and development, taking Lucie’s concept idea and making it the Laundry Ladder with many unique selling points. Lucie now runs the day to day shipping of the product to customers and Julia manages the accounts and marketing. The Laundry Ladder is now an award-winning product at the FSB West Midlands Awards, where they won the category for Business and Product Innovation. 
Julia has a background in sales and selling to retailers, and this knowledge has been helpful as it gave them the understanding of pricing a product with wholesale margins included. However, with no previous experience of running a business or developing a product, both directors have had lots to learn along the way.
 
Once they had their intellectual property rights and Trade Marks pending, Lucie and Julia set about the task of finding reliable and trustworthy manufacturers. Their first manufacturer came through a contact which helped open that first door, and once they had one manufacturer here in the UK, they were then able to start the process of looking for one in Poland. They have also found that having a sales history helps with negotiations, making the approach to manufacturers a little easier.
Lucie and Julia say that they are still learning a lot about business but have some great tools:
  • Cloud based accounting and other Cloud based systems help them easily access accounts and files from any location, allowing them to work from home but share files and information easily with each other and keep up to date with their financial position.
  • They have found great support in groups like FSB/Chamber of Commerce in technical and legal aspects of the business, plus networking.
  • Their website developers also keep up to date with regulations and help them to renew their website, keeping it fresh and continually improving the SEO of the site. The internet is a constantly changing beast, so having a team who know what’s changing and how to adapt to those changes keeps their site high up in the searches, which is crucial for an ecommerce business.
  • Through MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) they received a grant plus one of the contacts which eventually helped them to find their first manufacturer. The grant was given through a gateway process which gave them the encouragement that as they passed each gateway their business idea/product was worthy of production. Part of the gateway grant was used to commission a business case study report which highlighted that the clothes airer market is competitive and largely dominated by big high street names at middle to lower price point, leaving a gap in the market at the higher end. They then set out to design the Laundry Ladder to be stylish and functional, giving it many USPs to place it at this gap in the market, where it stands strong and unchallenged. Their customer reviews prove that they have succeeded to create a well-received, innovative and needed product.
  • The internet has levelled the playing field for small business to compete: now with one’s own website, you can reach a vast and wide audience from your home. With good SEO which is regularly maintained, you can keep your business profile in view. The use of websites such as Amazon help improve your SEO and social media, and support you to grow your brand. Julu only market here in the UK but sell all over the world, and this can only be done due to their presence on other platforms.

Lucie’s top tips:

1. Being on other websites, even little known ones, can assist your SEO.
2. Lifestyle images are a must when selling a product for the home. Even on a limited budget, Lucie and Julia managed to create different looks within their own homes in order to produce images for their website. They borrowed furniture, pictures and props from local retailers who they then linked to from their website by way of thanks, which added to their SEO as well as creating powerful lifestyle images to market their product.

Lucie’s best advice:

Keep asking, whatever it is you need. A manufacturer? Platforms to sell on? An accounts system? Consumer shows to attend? You will receive many different answers but the right one will come along eventually. Don’t give up.
Lucie says that she is looking forward to the Julu Laundry Ladder becoming a piece of must have furniture in every home, and a successful business of which she and Julia can both be proud.
About the author: Lucie Savidge is co-founder of Julu Laundry Ladder. Find out more on their website here.

Small Business Champion Series From Rich Brady ... Setting Business Goals

Monday, June 18 at 09:10
Inspire Series | Small Business Saturday Uk Champion

When you’re your own boss, in many ways you are never not at work, and it can be all too easy to slip into working on your business every possible hour; yet for many of us, a more positive life-work balance and being able to spend more time with family and friends was one of our main reasons for starting our own small business in the first place. How do you get back on track? Rich Brady, SmallBiz100 alumni and MD of Brady Global Ltd, is a passionate advocate for putting family time back into family business. As a Champion for Small Business, he’ll be sharing a series of blogs and videos with hints and tips on how you can find a more positive balance in your life. In this blog, the second in the series, he discusses the importance of creating priorities and setting business goals.

Setting business goals

It's really important to have a direction, something to aim for or a goal that you want to achieve: if we don't have a target, a plan, a place where we want to be, then we end up turning up every day and not really knowing what to prioritise. If you don't know what to let go of and what to drill down on, you are wasting lots of time.
I'd like to talk to you about how I set goals and how I try to get my team to set goals too. Going through this process is hugely beneficial and it will, I hope, radicalise how you start operating within your company.
The first thing I suggest you do is to go away and have a think about your personal goals or your life's ambition. Ask yourself this question: Where do I want to be in five years’ time? Think purely personal and forget about business for now. Where do you live? What are your family and friends doing? What do you do in your free time? Picture yourself in five years' time!
This could take some time, but once you've identified your personal goals you then need to work backwards. Say to yourself "Right, if that's where I want to be in my personal life in five years, what does my business look like to achieve that?" What does it need to be producing? What systems need to be in place? How does my company fit in with my personal goals? That's the way to do it.

In the beginning …

We start these companies because we've got an idea and a passion. We want to have the flexibility to run things the way we want to run things. That's a personal choice.
However, you're likely to see a mismatch, a disparity. Your current trajectory may be completely at odds with what your personal ambition is. If so, then there needs to be some quite significant changes. It's okay: you've got time.
You can do a lot in five years, but unless you go through this process, you're not going to realise what things you should be doing within your business and what things you shouldn't. Imagine waking up in 5 years’ time with a business that's doing well, but you're unhappy. That wasn't the plan!
It won't be because you haven't worked hard, it's tough running a company. Without goals we react to decisions coming in: Yes, I'm going to focus on that. That looks interesting, I want to work with those people. With no real idea of where your focus should be, you run the risk of ending up miles from where you hoped.

A better place

Once you've got those personal goals bottomed out, you're then in a much better position to say "Well, actually, I shouldn't even be looking at that." or "We need to stop doing that." or "That's an interesting opportunity. Yeah, it fits in with where the business needs to be for me to facilitate that personal goal. Let's spend a bit more time on that."
Setting goals now is a great way to plan. It's a great way of filtering out noise and distraction, which is hugely important for us as business owners. Distraction eats away our time and that's one thing we cannot buy more of, especially if it's just you. If you're on your own, there's even more pressure on you to be super-efficient. Distractions are really going to slow you down.

Go on, get cracking

I want you to take some time to think about your future.
You might find that you can sit down solidly for a couple of hours and really, really work things out. More likely, you'll need to go away and process this. Let the idea drip-feed into you over the next week or so. I highly recommend going away and talk to your family too, and make sure that your personal goals fit in with their vision of the future. Family comes first and that is fundamental.
Ensure that you are on the same path, and you'll be invincible.
Rich Brady will be posting regularly with his hints and tips - do keep an eye on social media and here on the blog for more Rich-ness. To hear directly from Rich, pop over to our Facebook page now for his first video.
About the Author: Rich Brady is Managing Director of Brady Global Ltd, and a Champion for Small Businesses both in his home of North Wales and across the UK. Rich is a SmallBiz100 Alumni and a passionate advocate for putting the family into family business.

SmallBiz100 Techsixtyfour on how to successfully build an online business

Wednesday, June 13 at 12:28

My name is Colleen Wong and the founder of Techsixtyfour's My Gator Watch. I am also a mum of 2 small humans. The Gator watch is a wearable mobile phone and tracker made for children in primary school. It can make and receive calls from only up to 13 trusted family and friends and it is a tracker using GPS outdoors and WIFI indoors. It has no internet, social media or games and works almost anywhere in the world.

I was at Bockett's farm with my kids in 2015 and saw a mum running around looking for her young child. It really hit me as a young mum as kids are FAST. So I thought of a way of staying connected with our young children but without giving them a smartphone.

The biggest challenge was getting people to know my product exists. I started with very little money and had virtually no marketing budget. I would just wear my Gator watch everyday and go to as many networking events as I could while managing the daily activities of my 2 children.

I signed up for Amazon Launchpad which is a great platform for startups as it tells my story. Selling on Amazon is the key to success of any consumer electronics business and for my business specifically, Amazon was one of the first places customers would go to search for a wearable or watch for children. We have just recently received an Amazon's Choice badge for our Gator watch and this is a major pat on the back for us! Also as my customer base grows, we are getting a lot of referrals which is amazing.

We use Amazon to sell alongside our own website. We use Amazon Marketing Services and Facebook to market the Gator watch as it is really important to look at the metrics behind our marketing spend. We are very active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also to generate awareness of our product.

My Top Tips:

  1. Make sure you are solving a problem with your product. There are so many consumer electronics out there that are just nice to haves but cost a fortune to build.
  2. Prove that people are willing to part with their hard earned money for your product. This is really not easy as ideas are great and people will say that often but the key is will they buy it.
  3. There is no need to start everything from scratch or reinvent a wheel. A great way to test out a product is to take an existing one but making it 10x better.
  4. Sell your product online using Amazon or your own website. Traditional retail costs are extremely high and as a small business, this is not a risk you should take at the start.

My Best advice:

Know your numbers. Don't be daunted by numbers as it is the only way you will know how to make decision with your company. The best idea or business will fail if financial management is not a priority.

I am looking forward to finding new and exciting but low cost ways to market the Gator watch to parents. To working with my amazing team of flexible working staff most of whom are mums of young children. To spending more time with my family as starting a business has taken time away from them but my team is brilliant and I am able to take more time off as a result.

About the author:

Colleen Wong is founder of Techsixtyfour and the Gator Watch - see here for more details.

SmallBiz100 Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, June 07 at 09:40

We are delighted to have once again opened applications for the Small Biz 100! It’s a unique opportunity for you to celebrate and promote your small business, to learn from other small business owners, and to join our growing Small Biz 100 alumni family.
Here are some answers to common questions about the Small Biz 100.
What is the Small Biz 100?
Small Business Saturday chooses 100 amazing small businesses from the thousands of applications we receive, and then highlight one small business every day for the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday on 1st December 2018. The 100 receive exposure on our social media channels and in local and national press, and also have the opportunity to meet and work with other small businesses, creating a valuable network and support system.
Who can apply to be in Small Biz 100?
Any kind of small business based in the UK can apply, whether it's retail or online, professional services to personal training.
When and how can I apply?
Applications opened on 1st June and will close on 30th June. Successful applicants will be notified by email in August. Click here to start the application process.
I get an error message when I try to register with my email address.
Please make sure that your email address is right (it's happened to all of us!) and that you have both read the T&Cs and checked the little box to say you are happy with them.
If it's still not working, please send a screen shot of the error to comms@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and we will help you from there.
I registered with my email address but didn't receive an email.
Please check your spam folders – it's quite likely that we're hiding in there. If it's been a couple of hours and you haven't received an email, please let us know via comms@smallbusinesssaurdayuk.com.
I can't log in with the email address and password that I used to register.
Please ensure your password is correct. Our password system is case sensitive.
I finished my application to be in Small Biz 100, but want to change something. Is this possible?
Yes - you can change your application right up to the deadline at midnight on the 30th June. 
What is My Small Business Finder?
My Small Business Finder is a tool for consumers and small businesses to use on Small Business Saturday and the run up to it which will enable you to enter a postcode and see the small businesses in that area. It is available on the campaign website and mobile app (do make sure you have downloaded the app to find great small businesses in your area!).
In addition, it will also allow you, as a small business, to enter a promotion, deal or offer available to celebrate Small Business Saturday. It's just our way of trying to connect more customers with small businesses, and of course more small businesses getting to know each other. Nearer the time, we will let all our networks know via social media when they should be thinking about My Small Business Finder.
Ready to begin? Click here to start your application. Please note that if you aren’t already registered with Small Business Saturday, you’ll need to register before you start (it only takes a minute). Once you’ve registered, you can complete the application process – look out for our blog post coming soon that will talk you through it. Good luck!

Small Business Champion Series from Rich Brady...Putting the Family into Family Business

Tuesday, May 22 at 15:54

So, I’m here to talk to you about why I want to be a small business champion. I truly believe that everybody should be able to put their family first and not be a slave to their business.
When you first start out, embarking on that business owner journey, you kind of think, “Well, yeah, I have to put some hard hours in initially”. You work tons and tons of hours, but it’s okay. Eventually, you’ll be so successful that you’ll have lots and lots of free time to with your partner, the kids, parents. Even the dog!
That’s not what happens.
You start off on that journey, and you put all those hours in, and then the business reaches critical mass. You’re generating revenue, but you spend almost every waking hour on it.
When you’re not in the office or doing the thing that you do, you’re thinking about it. All the time. Then add in social media, emails, networking and accountancy…
It never stops!
There’s money coming in, but not enough for help. You're thinking “I’m not going to spend 200 quid on outsourcing this, I’m can do that myself.” You’re saving cash, but losing time. The one thing you cannot buy! I see this happen to quite a lot… My parents still do it. Now you’re just busy all the time, you’re getting stressed and maybe a little scared. Ultimately, you’re not spending the quality time with loved ones. The very reason you started on this journey.
What is my role as a small business champion?
I want to help you put your family first. It’s something that I do for myself. I help my team do it and we are doing it more and more for our clients and customers. I’m taking my passion for putting families first and partnering with Small Business Saturday UK. We’re going to help you. We are working on a series of videos and blogs that are going to free up some of your time, so you can prioritise your family again.
Imagine the future
I want you to think about how it would feel to spend more quality time with the people that you love. At the same time, you are going to grow a successful business. Can you picture it? That’s the ultimate aim, right? That is what I’m going to help you with.
What’s the trick?
We will go into specific details as the weeks unfold, but basically, you’ve gotta be more organized. Laser-focused! By being more organised and scheduling my time I’ve been able to prioritize my family. I’ve also cut a lot of meaningless distraction out of my life too. I was able to do that long before I had a team working with me. In fact, I had to. I’m a natural magpie. Flitting from one new idea to another and it means the business coasted for a while. These techniques can be used by everyone. Even if it is just you. You don’t need a big team around you to start spending more time with your family.Rich Brady will be posting regularly with his hints and tips - do keep an eye on social media and here on the blog for more Rich-ness.To hear directly from Rich, pop over to our Facebook page now for his first video.About the Author:Rich Brady is Managing Director of Brady Global Ltd, and a Champion for Small Businesses both in his home of North Wales and across the UK. Rich is a SmallBiz100 Alumni and a passionate advocate for putting the family into family business.

Exporting - not just for the big!

Wednesday, May 09 at 13:26

Exporting. It sounds big. Freight containers, customs, overseas buyers and the unknown. It all sounds daunting and expensive. Little wonder only 11% of UK businesses sell outside the UK.  Why would you do it when it takes so much time and effort? Why not just do more business here at home?
Because there are huge opportunities for small businesses too!
Here’s the skinny. Research shows that exporting not only makes your business more productive, innovative and profitable, but it can also make it more resilient to downturns*. That’s because accessing new markets allows you to generate new sources of revenue, new opportunities and new challenges. It also allows a business to maximise its production capability, generates jobs and helps keep a surplus in the UK’s balance of trade – all of which contributes to a healthier economy.
Admittedly exporting isn’t for everyone. You need to be ready, willing and able. Even then it doesn’t come without its challenges. You might need to modify your product or packaging, you’ll have to identify the best route to market and perhaps adapt to new distributions channels. You might also need new quality accreditations.
The following also represents some of the big things to get in place before you start:
Finance
Exporting will have an impact on your time and capital, so making sure these are available is vital. Ideally you’ll already have a budget that can be allocated to export-led growth activities, but chances are as an SME you’ll need to find an additional source of finance. Options include grant funding, equity finance (seed investment, angel investment and venture capital), debt finance (business loans), trade and cash flow finance (letter of credit, bank guarantees, performance bonds, invoice and purchase order finance), tax credits and crowdfunding.
Plans and research
Failing to plan is planning to ….yes, we all know the saying… but it’s important:
i. Make sure you have a solid business plan
ii. Prioritise your export markets - it’s one of the first steps to developing a successful export strategy. It means doing a proper market selection study so you can focus your resources on markets most likely to give you the strongest return.
iii. Finally, once you’ve identified your target market, you need to research and analyse it. Look at your competitors, business challenges and your company’s competitive differentiators. Your market research should contain your best and most clear description of the current state of the marketplace you are targeting.
Finding customers
This can be one of the most challenging aspects of exporting. It involves trawling business directories and lists of exhibitors at relevant trade shows, as well as going to trade shows and networking events.
There’s a lot to do, but you can get advice from your bank, accountant or lawyer or your local Chambers of Commerce. The Department forInternational Trade (DIT) can also help with all of it. DIT has a dedicated team of International Trade Advisers (ITAs) who will help you throughout your export journey. From helping with your export strategy through to pointing you in the direction of key market and sector information. They’ll help you find overseas partners, understand e-commerce and even sometimes help with the cost of exporting by giving access to funding.
Exporting is definitely a journey. It’s a way to grow and strengthen your business. But it’s not something you have to do on your own. In fact, the more help you can get, the better.
Marco Simon is an International Trade Adviser (ITA) for The Department for International Trade East of England office. Find out about how an ITA in your region could help you by contacting your regional DIT office
*Source: Harris, R., Li, Q.C. (2007)

Can Giving Really Be Good for a Small Business? Spoiler: Yes!

Wednesday, May 02 at 10:08

Reputation is everything when it comes to making a business work, and nobody knows that better than a small business.  If your customer sees you in a good light, then you are halfway there.  Larger corporations are moving rapidly down the ‘purpose-driven’ route, and using Corporate Social Responsibility as a marketing tool to attract and retain customers who want to spend with brands that align with their own values.  Businesses with a clear ‘Brand Purpose’, those seen as making lives better, grew three times faster in value on average over the past 12 years. Many smaller businesses do want to give to back to society and make a difference, but it’s not always easy without designated CSR resource. Everyday pressures take over. And when time and money are tight, good intentions can fall by the wayside.
But what if all sizes of businesses could give to charity in a way that’s good for their business too?
We wanted to find out directly from the very businesses and charities themselves why charitable giving seemed to be the preserve of the large enterprise, so we surveyed people from both businesses and charities to see where the disconnect was.
Firstly, one in four businesses surveyed have yet to give, with a failure to see the benefits being a significant factor in their decision.
Increasing your bottom line, elevating customer perception and retaining and attracting staff are just a few of the fundamental aims all companies have, and have many tactics to achieve, but charitable giving may not be considered as one of those tactics or credited with helping to drive any of those success measures.  Yet out of the businesses who do give regularly to charities, two thirds saw noticeable positive impacts on their profitability, and the more they give, the more benefits they report. Those that donate over 0.5% of turnover were twice as likely to report enhancements in company reputation and nearly 50% more likely to see it help recruit and retain staff.  
For most, giving doesn’t seem to be all that regular. Aside from the occasional charity bake-sale or ad-hoc donations, giving is often not part of company strategy, especially in small to medium business where margins can be tight and overheads prohibitive. However, it doesn’t require big bucks to make a difference.  Alone, small business may feel just that….small. Yet small businesses make up 99% of the 5.7million businesses in the UK and have huge potential to be a force for good, and enabling every business to donate in manageable increments when revenue allows could lead to a ‘give to grow’ movement that could really change things.
So we can see the benefits to business giving, but what are the other barriers? With only 2% of charities’ income coming from the business sector, something is amiss. Well for starters; regular giving is a pain. 
For a business to donate off the back of their sales, there must be a Commercial Participation Agreement (CPA) in place which involves negotiations, admin and legal issues. This can actually result in charities turning down donations under a certain threshold, because it’s just not viable for the amount of time spent (average of ten hours to secure one donation from an SME) and businesses have enough on their plate without philanthropic efforts actually costing them time and therefore money. What a waste. Charities lose out on vital funding and businesses lose out on long term benefits of valuable PR, reputation building and profits.
So out of this, we created another small business to add to the UK’s 5.7 million in order to solve the problem.  The Work for Good platform was created to make giving easy, flexible and beneficial to SMEs and the charities they choose to support.
BTE Automotive is a family run garage service business based in Hampshire. Started by husband and wife team Jan and David Parker 27 years ago, day-to-day operations are now run by their son Barry. BTE Automotive have recently signed up with Work for Good and are building giving into their business in a serious way.
Barry comments, “As a family run business, our values are at the heart of what we do.  As well as offering our customers the best possible service, we also want to give back to the community we serve and the causes close to our heart. By donating a £1 for each MOT undertaken this year, we’ll raise more than £3500. And that’s just the start. We’re looking at giving through product sales and ways to get customers involved in choosing which charities we support. It’s a great way to develop trust and develop relationships.
Work for Good makes it easy for us to build giving into our business.  They connect with the charity and take out the legal and admin hassle. We can focus more time on doing what we do best – serving our customers, supporting our team and growing our business."
Download our full survey results and learn how your business can do well by doing good, at workforgood.co.uk/research
If you’d like to hear more visit www.workforgood.co.uk. 
The Small Business Saturday community can receive a 50% discount to first year membership using code:  DOGOOD18.

Let's get organised....

Wednesday, April 25 at 15:26

Is a Better Organised Home Office the Key to Improving Your Productivity?
Do you find it difficult to give appropriate attention to the opportunities and challenges that come up in your business?
Perhaps your car is an extension of your office and you can’t face sitting at your desk when you get home but unopened envelopes and out of date files are taking over your workspace, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, stressed and distracted.
The effect of this disorganisation is often financial — interest or fees are being incurred, or money is being left on the table as invoices remain unprocessed.
Decluttering and organising your office might seem like a tedious and time-consuming task, but your home office is a reflection of you and your business. Putting a simple system in place for managing paperwork means you can lay your hands on documents quickly, be current on your priorities and clearly focus on goals.
You will need:
A shredder and a bin
Separate zones for recycling, shredding or filing
Transparent files and sticky labels
A progress tray — for items that need an action or are awaiting a response
Space — the floor, dining table or kitchen worktop
A lockable, fireproof filing cabinet and suspension files
A rough idea of what categories you want to set up going forward i.e. business travel, insurance, registrations. Others will naturally emerge as you go through the process
Break the task down into bite-sized chunks over a few sessions. Just set aside some time, grab a drink and snack and put on some motivational tunes!
Organising Paperwork
Gather every piece of paper relating to your business, including any from attics or garages
Separate items into piles for shredding, recycling and filing.
Roughly group the ‘filing’ papers by category i.e. financial, travel etc., and label suspension files. Ideally, set aside a drawer of the filing cabinet for archived paperwork
Quickly shred/recycle
Go through the remaining items; group related papers together in transparent files with a label on the front i.e. insurance policy, car documents etc.
Items that need an action/response should be placed in your progress tray
Put everything else in the appropriate sections within the filing cabinet, ensuring it is all stored securely — this includes archived paperwork.
“For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned.” Benjamin Franklin
Progress Not Perfection
Going forward, aim to deal with paperwork on a daily basis;
Dispose of junk mail. Check and action bills and invoices. Place pending items in the progress tray
File or shred everything else
Conduct a weekly review of your progress tray and schedule/action any next steps
Once the above system is in place and routinely managed, you will find that rather than searching for documents or trying to recall what is next on your to-do list, your time and attention is freed up to concentrate on business growth and client contact.
About the Author: 
Kate Galbally is a Glasgow-based member of the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) and the founder of Better Organised. With over twenty years' experience in PA & administrative support roles, she now works alongside clients to streamline their homes and offices so that their lives run more smoothly. www.betterorganised.uk

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