While it is perfectly normal for a business owner to want to focus on the most essential processes that contribute to the success and growth of its small business or startup, paying attention to the legal aspects of running a business is also very important. Statutory compliance, staff employment, terms of service and supplier contracts are the areas where professional legal advice services can help secure your business and save money in the long term.

According to a recent report published by the UK Legal Services Board, called In Need of Advice? and based on a YouGov survey of over 9000 British small businesses, 38% of surveyed small businesses experienced one or more legal problems in the past year, out of which employment law issues were second most common situations business owners had to face, right after issues concerning trading. While 45% of surveyed small business owners considered that legal problems have a tangible impact on their business operations and growth, in the majority of cases they dealt with problems entirely on their own (52%), with only 16% of legal problems being solved through professional legal services.

Prepare your small business for future employment law situations

As businesses grow, its almost inevitable that small business owners will have to deal with the occasional difficult employment scenario, the most common issues revolving around employee gross misconduct, unfair dismissal and redundancy. These employment issues can have a negative impact on the overall performance of the business and can quickly escalate and generate loss if the correct legal steps are not followed. This is why seeking employment law advice from the outset helps a small business be prepared to handle any employment situation correctly .

Employment law advice directly from the experts

It is good business practice to seek employment legal advice not only when employee grievances arise or legal action is required, but from the very beginning of your business setup.

Other than offering employment law advice and support in cases of gross misconduct, redundancy and dismissals, an employment law solicitor can play a preventive role, by helping small business owners set up the correct employment contracts, prepare employee handbooks and other essential employment procedures and keep the business up to date on employment legislation.

Affordable employment legal advice

There are many ways in which small businesses that cannot afford a dedicated HR and employment service can still benefit from expert employment legal advice. While engaging a high street employment firm of solicitors on matters requiring legal action in court can prove to be an expensive exercise, small business owners can seek employment law advice with local professional associations and groups, which offer a series of online legal advice resources that any small business can easily access. Another route to take is to engage independent accounting and tax consultants that often include employment solicitors and offer employment law advice and guidance on a retainer arrangement, which is usually the most cost-effective solution for small businesses.

As February rushes by, those New Year resolutions may be turning into distant memories if not forgotten dreams. Except for that one significant promise, to become master of your own destiny and invest in your own business.

If you are dreaming of owning your own business, there are some trends in your favour. Slow to moderate overall economic growth in many countries hard hit by the recession is forecast to continue through 2011. In the US, the small business sector remained in recession in 2010, lagging in recovery, and is now predicted to see stronger demand and better business conditions this coming year. Key trends seen as driving the growth of small business are
small manufacturing businesses in niche markets aided by technology making barriers to entry lower,
the weak dollar aiding US manufacturing cost competitiveness,
the internet becoming more widely known to small business as a low cost way of sourcing and selling goods and services.
Small business growing more familiar with and making greater use of social media in their local marketing efforts -think Groupon Inc and its highly successful coupon business supporting local deals!

When time is not on your side, the resilient and proven franchise business model allows you a faster and often comparatively risk adverse track to generating positive cash flow. Although its your own business, you don`t have to go it alone making a proven franchise operation a smart choice. Strong viable franchise opportunities are there for the qualified buyer, so how to join that select group?

Access to financing from traditional sources is expected to remain tight in the US throughout 2011, in spite of the Governments continuing efforts to support small business through tough times. We recommend that potential franchise buyers be cautious when selecting companies to do their 401(k) rollovers or when selecting a financing company with all of the fraud that has occurred in the banking sector over the last several years, finding a reputable company to provide your financing is more important than ever and a winning point in your favor with franchisors.

MatchPoint Franchise Consulting Network was founded in 2006 with a mission of helping companies expand their franchise networks and improve their system. The advice offered freely to franchise buyers by MatchPoint consultants is vital to the buyer in making a better, prudent, buying decision. The advice offered by our consultants does not make us lawyers; it is there to help the investor with a high quality due diligence process.

MatchPoint consultants know the red flags in the investment field. It takes the very few promoters that practice business fraud to taint the dream of the franchisee and their family.

That`s where seeking the independent advice of an expert franchising consultant is prudent and invaluable.

Small businesses owners often find that there are certain times of the year when cash flow is not as healthy as it could be. This could be due to the fact that the business has seasonal customers, money being spent wastefully or through outmoded business practices. Regardless of the reason as to why money is being lost one thing is for certain good business owners and managers are all looking for a way to save the business money.

One way to save money in a small business is to implement small business management software. Software such as this enables a business with less than 50 employees to be operated via one software application. By being able to switch to one application a small business owner can save thousands every year as all other applications that require a monthly or annual fee to be discontinued.

As soon as they see just what small business management software can do many business owners and managers are keen to start using it. Not only can small business management software save a business money in terms of slashing the number of applications a business has to pay for it also saves money in other ways such as:

Increasing the number of leads that are converted into sales with ease. When using small business management software an employee can create a quote and save this to a customers file. This will contain their contact details and other relevant information. If this quote is not accepted within a certain period of time, this lead can then be chased up by the sales department.

By ensuring that projects are always completed on time a business will not lose customers. With small business management software projects can be assigned and tracked in real time. Managers and owners can quickly and easily check on projects that are nearing their due date in order to ensure that they are progressing as they should be. By utilizing this feature projects should never be behind schedule ever again, which means that money will be saved in the long run through customer retention.

Small business management software also allows employee calendars to be seen by owners and managers at a glance. This means that projects and so on can be planned with regard to staffing numbers. Money is therefore saved by ensuring that all employees are working to capacity and not being diverted to projects which are already fully subscribed.

As small business management software is web based it means that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. So if a manager or owner is away from the office on business they can access the application and get any information that they need. This saves business money as laptops and mobile internet is not required when an owner or manager visits potential customers.

These are just a few of the ways in which small business management software can save a business money each month.

The bank a small business owner chooses to bank with is critical to the success of a business. Choose a bank that takes too many fees out, or one that doesnt offer the services a small business needs, and the success of the business is on the line. Conducting research before choosing which bank you use for your small business banking is critical. If you are in the beginning stages of your bank research, the following questions can help you determine if a bank is right for your small business.

The first question you should ask is what banking options the bank provides your small business. Every small business is different, and the banking options one business needs will vary from another. Determining what features are offered, and how they help your small business can help you determine if a certain bank is right for your small business banking needs. Some questions to consider asking include if a bank provides online access to bank accounts, the ability to choose remote checking, and the option to directly deposit checks and money remotely. Once you have determined what features and banking options are being offered to your small business, you can determine what bank offers you the most.

The second question you should ask is what, if any, potential is there for accessing small business loans. Some banks include in their small business banking features the ability to easily gain access to small business loans. If there is reason to believe that your small business may need to apply for a loan sometime in the future, then a bank that offers easy access to a small business loan might be beneficial. If a small business loan is not on the horizon, then the small business loan feature doesnt affect your decision on which bank to use.

The third question you should ask is what bank fees will your small business occur over time. Small businesses will sometimes incur thousands in bank fees over a period of time. Asking what bank fees are can help you assess whether a particular bank is right for your small business banking needs. Banks fees to consider include account holding fees, fees to access online accounts, transaction fees, debit card fees, and remote banking fees. Once you have determined what fees are being assessed by which bank, you can determine which bank is the best choice for your small business.

Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.

Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.

Here are some tips on using a small business blog:

1. Write Naturally and Honestly

Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.

As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.

2. Post often and Respond to Comments

Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.

Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.

3. Promote your business, Promote yourself

A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.

A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.

Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.

4. Be Informed and Informative

Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.

Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.

5. Search Engines

For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.

Plowing through endless piles of websites is something that most people do not want to do, especially when they have a specific product in mind. In order to eliminate some of the stress, individuals should use small business search engines. What are the benefits of using a site such as Feedster for your shopping needs?

It’s No Nonsense
Sometimes, when you are using other search engines, you wind up with a bunch of scams and phony websites shown on your page. Through small business search engines, the information presented takes you right to the source. No useless junk sits in your way, which allows you to find what you are looking for in no time.

A Brief Preview
Another issue that occurs is when you have no idea what specifically a website is about. By using small business search engines, you’ll see a little snippet under the link to the site. As a result, you, and other consumers, will have a sneak preview as to what the content of the website is about. Instead of clicking on ten different sites only to find out they do not meet your needs, you’ll be able to immediately choose the best site for you.

Connecting with the Seller
Major businesses and companies are often difficult entities with which to communicate. Fortunately, such search engines literally bring you right to the source. When you want to buy a product from a small business, you have the added benefit of receiving personalized attention. Maybe you see something on the site that you like but have an idea as to how it can be customized to suit your specific needs. You need not wonder for long. The sites presented to you on this search engine generally provide much ease for the customer to business communications.

It’s Simple
Fancy and flashy are words to which some people flock. However, when it comes to websites and search engines, most individuals want something that is easy to read and navigate. This search engine lays all of the results out in a simple format. Ads are not flying out in front of the user’s line of vision, and annoying pop-ups are not causing the website to become convoluted.

Essentially, small business search engines are an easy and helpful way for consumers to find the products that they need and to navigate the websites without any sort of difficulty.

As giveaways at job fairs: with the economy the way it is, businesses need as much exposure as they could acquire, as well as exactly what better place than through a job fair. Even if you’re not planning on employing a lots of individuals, personalized Koozies still make a good promotional giveaway product that attendees may take along with them. This is particularly beneficial if you’re a service kind of company, and may keep your name right in front of their minds for some time to come.

2. Charity happenings: whenever charities are trying to boost money, the first to be approached are local businesses in your community exactly where they will be holding their fundraising affair. By including personalized Koozies with your logo along with name on them, you not just practice good local community assistance through assisting the charity with their fund raising, you get nice publicity and also advertising for your business at the same time. Designing them to replicate the charitys concept as well as colors makes them a collectible, too.

3. As sales giveaways: in case your business endures sales, then providing personalized Koozies in your sales agents for use as part of their own personal promotional deals is a great idea. Whenever they contact a new customer, they are able to leave one or more with them as being a gift for being attentive to the presentation. At product sales seminars for your enterprise niche, they generate great gifts for your prime sales staff, customized with their accomplishments, or as a free gift throughout the meeting.

4. When sponsoring local sports clubs: lots of companies today will support local sports teams as part of their promotion efforts. Precisely why stop at just supplying jerseys for any Little League team, when you could give personalized Koozies also? You may have them imprinted up with the team name, their logo, and also the season or perhaps year. They will show how much you care about the kids, and provide them, and their guardians, something to remember your sponsorship as well as your small business.

5. At welcome centres or even chambers of commerce: When individuals move into a new community, they generally check with local workplaces for names of organizations they may have need of in the foreseeable future. Chambers of commerce would gladly supply space for giveaways to new people, as well as handy stuff like personalized Koozies will always be delightful. The Welcome Wagon will always be searching for new gift items to incorporate in their welcome deals, also. Exactly why not provide them with a few cases of Koozies along with your logo, name as well as contact information to encouraged newbies with?

Many small businesses often ignore the minor glitches which cause major problems in their small businesses. There are people or situations which we often get used to and ignore, without realizing that they may be the main cause of a crisis situation. You could be strangling your small business growth without even realizing it.

Organizational growth demands updated strategies every quarter. It does not matter whether you are self-employed, running a home-based business or an employer. Leaders have to implement organizational updates every now and then in order to enhance growth strategies and speed up the entire growth process. Some hire help, while others acquire business cash advance in order to progress and expand.

We have created a list of how you can upgrade your growth strategies and take your small business to the next level. Firstly, you should

Remove the outlived
There might be services being offered and products being produced which may not be of any value to your business. You need to make a list of such services which no longer add value to your small business growth and have outlived the market demand.

Re-organize and strategize companys strategic goals
Reevaluate whether your mission statement matches your goals or not. You will know how much work being done is irrelevant to your small business needs and market demand. Redefine your objectives in pragmatic measureable terms.

Distractions and competitions among your employees is another point which should be considered. Other issues may have distracted them from your small business goals. There may be continuous concerns hampering growth among the employees and creating problems in their professional relationship and everyday work.

Create different ways to leverage employee talents
Work efficiency can only be improved by leveraging employee talent in different areas. Set meetings with them; ask them what they want to do and how they can add value to your companys goals. Help them review their skills in order to sharpen them. There might be unproductive or negative employees, but firing them may not be the solution. Hence, move them to positions and projects where their skills can be utilized effectively.

Check the Budget Lists
In many cases you subscribe, acquire business loans, purchase and hire help which may not be required by the company anymore. And all these might be charging you a lot of cash without you even realizing it. To save your working capital, these budgetary leaks should be evaluated and diminished. Conducting a quarterly review is extremely useful, knowing where your money is going will help you fight the unnecessary charges involved and will help you improve your credit score. Check your taxes and be ready for the upcoming TAX season.

Starting a small business online

How to take the first steps to starting a small business online. Today you can easily access anything from online shopping to job information online with just a click of your mouse.

If you already have an idea of the kind of business you plan to start you can begin by researching on the internet to see if this is something people are really searching to buy. You need to establish there is a demand for your idea. If not, however good you think it is, it is not likely to be successful.

If you are not sure exactly what your business will be you can browse the internet to find ideas. You can also visit your local bookstore and look for books and magazines on topics of interest to you. Again you should make sure there is a large group of people, or market, for this product or service.

By browsing the internet and clicking on a few sites of interest to you, it is easy to start an avalanche of information flowing into your email inbox. If you are venturing online for the first time and you have no previous experience it is very easy to feel overwhelmed very quickly. Most people seem to experience what is now referred to as “information overload” at some time.

One way round this problem is to look for an online marketing offer which will help starting a small business online a little easier. There are many online marketers offering a solution to your problem but how can you choose a good fit for you? Beginners in the online business field are often referred to as “newbies” so this is a good place to start.

You should look for an offer that concentrates on the basics for any online business rather than the latest trend at this time. If you can find a course that will take you step by step from the creation of your website, setting up your offer and getting visitors to your website this will reduce the time it takes. Why start from scratch when there are plenty of proven systems that work already.
I highly recommend you stick to one method to start with.

Enjoy the 5 minute video

Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.

These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.

One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.

Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.

Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.

This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.

Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.

Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.

You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.

Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.