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entrepreneur INSIDE – Secrets to succeeding in London

NOVEMBER 2010

Media Partner

A guide to creating your own future

INTERVIEW SPECIAL

LORD SUGAR TOP TIPS – Rachel Bridge explains how to be a millionaire before lunch

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PP2166 28pg Entrepreneur guide:Layout 1 08/11/2010 18:29 Page 3

entrepreneur A guide to creating your own future

CONTENTS ISSUE 1

FOREWORD Welcome to the brand new publication Entrepreneur ,brought to you by Precision Press. This issue is packed full with useful advice to help make your start up business a success. It is essential reading for any entrepreneur, with insight from some of the UK’s top professionals. It will also show you how to use London’s many resources to start up your business as costeffectively and as efficiently as possible. Times are tough in the UK economy. The recession hit us hard and unemployment has soared. This doesn’t seem to have put off British entrepreneurs however; in fact it seems to have been a contributing factor for the recent increase in micro businesses. According to business data collected by Experian plc, in the last five years London has seen a 105 per cent growth of one and two man businesses. After all who hasn’t dreamt of starting up their own company? You’ve got a good idea and you want to be your own boss, surely that’s all you need right? Wrong. It’s not always as simple as that. To run your own business you have to have experience, passion, drive and determination. In this first issue of Entrepreneur London we explore exactly what you need, not just to be your own boss, but to succeed in your chosen field. We meet top entrepreneurs and business people including Lord Alan Sugar, who is one of the most well respected businessmen in the UK. We talk to Lord Sugar to find out what advice he has to offer and he is adamant that it’s not all just about having a good idea. “An idea is one thing but it’s more important to have a good business plan and a good idea in which you are very experienced,” Lord Sugar advices, “and then you can start a business.” Lord Alan Sugar’s autobiography has recently been released and it offers a useful insight for any prospective entrepreneur. We also speak to experts in their fields who shed light on all aspects of launching and running a company; from Rachel Bridge, Enterprise Editor of the Sunday Times, to Martin Timbrell, Dean of Business and Management at Regent’s College. Whether you have already started your own business, or are looking into the possibilities of going self-employed, the Entrepreneur London guide will have help, advice and inspiration for everyone.

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How to create the ultimate Business Plan

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The best kept secret - being virtual

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How to get the best office deal

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How to be a Million before lunch

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Why attitude is everything

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How to get the necessary funding

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Lord Sugar gives his advice

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7 Steps to self promotion

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Why knowledge is power

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How to make it

Good luck and you never know, this time next year......

PRECISION PUBLICATIONS Editor, Rowena Sait

Project Manager - Debbie Street Editor - Rowena Sait Publishing Director - James Ellard

Design - www.point-creative.com Cover Image - Terry O’Neil

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“It is very important for a start up to produce a quality business plan, to demonstrate that there is a commercially viable business opportunity that they intend to exploit”

Alan Gleeson

business plan

HOW TO WRITE A WINNING BUSINESS PLAN Why write it, what should be in it, and how to write it. We speak to Alan Gleeson of Palo Alto Software, to find out exactly why a business plan is so important.

A business plan may be the make or break of your start up company and should never be overlooked. You have a great idea for a business, but do you have a clear understanding of how to move your business forward, what decisions need to be made, and how to secure the financial success of your company? Firstly, why should you write a business plan at all? “It is very important for a start up to produce a quality business plan, to demonstrate that there is a commercially viable business opportunity that they intend to exploit,” Alan Gleeson tells me, “Given that a start up is not yet trading, all financial projections are hence based on certain assumptions which may or may not materialize. A quality business plan will distinguish you from those start ups who focus myopically on their product or service to the neglect of areas like cash flow forecasts or customer acquisition costs.” Format and content are key factors. As a startup company you should include within your business plan an executive summary (a brief summary of your business plan), the key points to the success of your company, a market analysis (i.e. who your customers are, who your competitors are), and a financial analysis (cash flow forecast, analysis of costs, sales forecast, etc). So how do you know what to include, and where can you go to find out how to write the best business plan? “There are numerous resources that entrepreneurs can consult when they look to write a great business plan,” Alan advices, “Our website

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Bplans (www.bplans.co.uk) is devoted exclusively to business plans and contains a whole range of articles, free sample business plans and videos. Within London, the British Library IP Center is also an excellent resource for entrepreneurs looking to research their market as they write their business plans.”

Top Tips for writing a winning business plan: • Keep it realistic Don’t exaggerate. Make sure your business plan is credible and your figures can be justified. • Make it short and concise It needs to be accessible to time pressed readers. A standard start up business plan should normally be between 20 to 40 pages. Make sure it’s easy to read with well spaced text. Include illustrations such as charts and tables. • Market research Make sure your business plan shows you clearly understand the market you will be operating in. • Sell yourself and your business What can you bring to the business? What are your key strengths and skills? What will your business do that is better than your competitors? • Seek professional help/advice If you’re uncertain about what to include there is help available. Ensure you obtain independent impartial advice. Palo Alto Software Ltd offer business planning software to help you write the perfect business plan. For more information please visit www.paloalto.co.uk


the virtual office group

SIZE DOES MATTER Well not always anyway.

We speak to The Virtual Office Group to find out from the experts how a virtual office will help project a professional corporate image for your start up business. You’ve decided you want to start up your own business but you have one major concern - the size of your company. Like many successful entrepreneurs, you may initially have to start your business with no, or very few, employees. You need office support, you don’t want to use your home address, plus you want to convey to your customers (and potential customers) that you’re a professional organisation. It’s very likely you will be out and about, networking and meeting potential clients, so no matter how brilliant your business is, when you’re constantly on the move you won’t always be able to answer all calls. Having a virtual office will mean you receive the support that is so vital to operate a successful company. A virtual office will provide you with daily management and keep your business running smoothly whilst you concentrate on the important needs of your customers and your business. But with the success of your business possibly dependent on your virtual office set up, what should you take into consideration when choosing a provider? The Virtual Office Group in Piccadilly, tell us their top tips to help you choose the best virtual office for your business.

“A virtual office will provide you with daily management and keep your business running smoothly whilst you concentrate on the important needs of your customers and your business.” 06

1. Will a virtual office benefit your business from the outset? Make sure initially that having a virtual office will actually benefit your company. Things you should consider: Do you need telephone support? Will you be hosting conferences and meetings? Would you like to use a London city office address? Will you ever need desk space? 2. Find the best virtual office for your business needs. Research your potential provider carefully. Different providers will offer different services. Everyone’s business has different requirements so it’s important to be able to tailor the services you need. The Virtual Office Group will let you choose the options you require for your business and if your needs change you can speak to us to find out how we can help. 3. Meet the staff and visit the premises. Unfortunately some virtual offices outsource their address and call centre services. You need to make sure you know who is actually speaking to your customers and handling your post. Also check the premises to make sure they meet the needs of your business. 4. Check the charges carefully. Before you commit to a virtual office provider make sure you have a clear understanding of how the services offered will be charged. There may be hidden costs, make sure you know what they are so you don’t get any nasty surprises. 5. Don’t compromise on the service you deserve. This is your business and it’s important to have access to quality services, as well as the best relevant technology available. Make sure you can fully trust your virtual office provider. Visit the Virtual Office Group for further information: www.voffice.com


business startup - advertorial

BUSINESS STARTUP November 30 – December 1, Earls Court 2, London

Business Startup is the UK's biggest show for anyone starting, growing or expanding a business. With over 200 exhibitors, 140 seminars, one-to-one advice and networking, it's the perfect opportunity to find all the tools and information to help your business thrive. What's more, it's completely FREE! More speakers, more exhibitors, more workshops, more advice, and of course, more opportunities, Business Startup is the number-one place for any discerning entrepreneur. But don't take our word for it. Richard Reed, founder of one of the UK’s most-loved brands, Innocent, had this to say: “It is great being around other entrepreneurs, you get great insights and there’s a lot of energy.” “I have invested in more than 70 companies in the UK,” says ExDragons' Den panelist Richard Farleigh, who will also be speaking at the show. “Some failed, some found success, but I would helped my chances a lot better if I'd gone to Business Startup.”

“I have invested in more than 70 companies in the UK,” says Ex-Dragons' Den panelist Richard Farleigh, who will also be speaking at the show

Other speakers include: Julie Meyer (Dragons' Den Online), Shaf Rasul (Dragons’ Den Online), Caroline Marsh (Secret Millionaire), Penny Power (Ecademy) Rachel Elnaugh, Doug Richard, and David Gold (West Ham FC). Midas Touch Would your business benefit from a substantial financial input? What if that investment also came with a guarantee of ongoing support from a successful and dynamic entrepreneur? Visitors are welcome to participate or watch, as aspiring entrepreneurs barter

ideas for equity in this emotionally-charged and often jaw-dropping event! Speed Networking Best described as a series of minimeetings, Speed Networking puts entrepreneurs together for 2 minutes to talk, learn and exchange ideas. Speed Networking has firmly secured itself as one of Business Startup's most popular live attractions. Taking place on both days of the show, we ask that you book your place early to avoid disappointment. One-to-One Advice Business Startup offers an unprecedented opportunity for you to acquire free, personalised and objective advice from industry experts. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses – this is a chance to weigh yours up. Spaces are limited, so book your 15-minute session today! Workshops Mr. Site, Lloyds and Sage will all be staging their own workshops, designed to impart all the expert knowledge to help you succeed in web design, business planning and CRM, respectively.

AND DON’T FORGET, ALL THESE EVENTS ARE FREE! It's shaping up to be the greatest Business Startup of all time. Britain needs business and business needs you, and there is no better way to learn the secrets of the trade than from the experts themselves. So, why not come to the event circled in every entrepreneur's diary: Business Startup, Earls Court 2, November 30 – December 1! 07


Support & Events in London Global Entrepreneur Week - 15-21 Nov - the worldwide entrepreneurial movement\ is back and London is harnessing its power, so get involved! www.gew.org.uk/events

TOP TIPS WHEN NEGOTIATING YOUR OFFICE TERMS

The British Library Business & IP Centre Library is giving aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to meet the people that can help them take that idea to the next level, and grow a successful business. www.bl.uk

1. Term - Ask whether there a minimum term and if so how long is it?

City Business Library - Down a leafy lane in the City of London lurks the City Business Library. Tucked away next to a row of 'Boris bikes' is an amazing treasure trove of business information, plus an astonishing array of workshops and talks. And it's all completely free! www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/cbl Business Link in London provide free and impartial information for anyone starting a business. See our events at www.businesslink.gov.uk/london/isitforme

Dates for the Diary: 17 Nov - Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time for Entrepreneurs Business & IP Centre, The British Library Conference Centre, 18:15 - 21:00 £10 (£7.5 concessions) 17 Nov - Women in Enterprise Islington Chamber of Commerce www.bl.uk/bipc/workevents/global/wednesday/womensday.html 17 Nov - The Entrepreneur's Exhibition (E2) www.thee2live.com 17 Nov - National everywoman Conference everywoman - advice, tools and networking for business success. www.bl.uk/bipc/workevents/global/wednesday/womensday.html 18 Nov - Social enterprise day - take inspiration from a host of experts on ethical business. www.bl.uk/bipc/workevents/global/thursday/socialday.html 19 Nov - Boost your business day - features experts in advanced techniques to help you grow your business. www.bl.uk/bipc/workevents/global/friday/boostbus.html 30 Nov & 1st Dec Business Start Up Show - the UK’s biggest business event for anyone starting a business or expanding a business. www.bstartup.com

2. Break clause - This is important for any business. Is there an option to terminate your lease agreement during the term? Is there a financial penalty for leaving your lease early? How many months notice do you have to give? 3. Flexibility - Look for a landlord with a varied office portfolio so your business can up and downsize with greater ease when required. 4. Explore all the costs - Don’t get caught out with hidden costs. What does the service charge include and what will your business be responsible for both during your tenancy and when you vacate? How much deposit does the landlord ask for and how far in advance is the rent payable? What repairs will you need to make at the end of your term? 5. Support - Who looks after the building for the landlord? Do they have a help desk for reporting problems with your office? Are services 24 hours? Do you have to use the landlord’s suppliers for telecoms, broadband? 6. Incentives - Does you landlord offer any rent free periods or time for you to access the office to fit your telecoms and furniture? 7. Legal - Ask the landlord if they have a plain English version of their lease. Always ensure you get a solicitor to look over any lease before signing.

BE CAUTIOUS OF… 1. Being trapped into long leases with no break clauses or landlord only break clauses 2. Rising & uncapped service charges 3. Upward rent increases 4. Taking or sharing space with no formal contract

Entrepreneurs hidden gem Discover: • free access to resources both for UK and worldwide • free market research and company information • free seminars, workshops and events to help support businesses • free help from expert staff No membership required. Open 9.30-5pm Mon-Sat. City Business Library, Guildhall, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH T: 020 7332 1812 E: cbl@cityoflondon.gov.uk W: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/cbl 08


“When a customer joins us we get to know them and their business. We have many customers who have grown from a one-person office to now having an office of 10 or more staff.” office space - advertorial

Conventional offices need not be expensive and you do not have to go to serviced offices to get the flexibility required for your business.

OFFICE SPACE AT AFFORDABLE RENTS IN REGENT STREET LONDON If you are a start-up or small business serviced offices are not your only option.

www.regentstreetoffice.com

Over the last few years many landlords have responded to requests from occupiers to offer more flexible terms and lease lengths, meaning a conventional office lease no longer means expensive costs or being trapped into a 10 year term with rising service charges and rent. The Crown Estate, as owners of Regent Street, W1 support the changes required to business leasing and in 2003 launched the direct lettings brand Regent Street Office to deliver solutions to customers requiring flexible and affordable office space at the heart of London's West End. Over the last seven years Regent Street has been transformed with Regent Street Office marketing over 500, small to medium sized offices. Behind our elegantly carved Portland stone buildings there is now a thriving business community of more than 10,000 people. Our flexible lease offers you a term as short as 6 months, one easy payment every quarter, no rent or service charge increases for the length of your lease, plain English documentation, free space planning, and discounts from a variety of suppliers who can help you set up your dream

office cost effectively. When the time comes for you to expand, we will help you find another office and move you as quickly as you need to be it 1 day or 1 month. We want to encourage success not slow it down! Rachel Hanniquet-Brooking, Director of Regent Street Office says ‘Regent Street is a unique market, and it has become its own highly sought after linear business district. Regent Street has changed and not only is it an iconic and world class retail destination it has become one of the world’s most exciting business environments that small and medium companies want to be a part of”. Regent Street Office works with many organisations to look after the needs of small businesses, providing them with efficient and effective space and offering them support to help them to grow. “When a customer joins us we get to know them and their business. We have many customers who have grown from a one-person office to now having an office of 10 or more staff. Our customers remain loyal to us, which we are very proud of.” says Rachel. The team at Regent Street Office look forward to hearing from you to discuss any questions or requirements you may have. You can find us at: www.regentstreetoffice.com or call our enquiry line on 020 7152 5818 09


five top tips

5 TOP TIPS by Rachel Bridge Rachel Bridge is the Enterprise Editor for The Sunday Times and the author of ‘How to Make a Million before Lunch’ which is published by Virgin Books, price £11.99. Below are her five top tips on how to make the most money from your business in the fastest possible time.

4. Ask for help When you are running a small business, it is tempting to think you can and should do everything yourself. There is an enduring image of the lone entrepreneur striding forth single-handedly, but this is a myth. Every successful entrepreneur has a strong team of people around them, and you need to create one too. It can be hard to admit you need help, but it can make all the difference in the world to your chances of success.

1. Structure your business in a way that will make it easy to sell Your business does not necessarily need to be making profits to entice a buyer, but it does need to show that it has bags of potential. There are three rules for creating a business that someone might actually want to buy. First, find yourself a niche. Second, show there is potential for substantial future growth. And third, take yourself out of the business. Delegate all your tasks to show that it can and does run successfully without you.

5. Break the rules One of the most compelling reasons to run your own business is knowing that this is the one area in life where you really can do it your way. Rules are not there to be blindly followed, they are there to guide and to suggest – and then possibly to completely ignore.The secret is to approach everything with a completely open mind, read as widely as you can and listen to as many people as you can. And then make your own mind up about things.

2. Love (most of) your customers It pays to try and be nice to your customers, even if it is sometimes through gritted teeth. But sometimes customers really are more trouble than they are worth. Those are the ones you need to get rid of. It can feel unthinkable but the wrong sort of customer can sap your energy and do irreparable harm to your business by diverting your attention away from the good customers who might have been willing to spend a lot more money. 3. Set tangible goals Setting goals are the key to growing a successful business, as they mark out a distinct path. You need to have a strong idea of what your ultimate goal is - selling your business, for example, or growing your business to a point where it can provide a steady income for you - as well as smaller, regular tangible goals to meet along the way. Remember to reassess your goals frequently. Continuing to think about what you’re doing - and why can often stop you making wrong decisions.

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WIN a signed copy of ‘How to Make a Million before Lunch’ To enter, simply email competition@precisionpress.co.uk your name, address & phone number


five top tips

SHOW BUSINESS: This downturn has become quite a drama. For its principal actors it is a tough story of pain, poverty and panic. But this stage is set for its hero; the star that turns pain into prosperity, oblivion into opportunity. It is the entrepreneur that turns a general downturn into their own personal upturn. Fuelled by an unflinching sense of self-belief and optimism in the face of adversity they bring truth to George Bernard Shaw’s maxim that “progress depends on the unreasonable man”. It is this attitude that makes successful entrepreneurs easier to recognise than to define. It is also this attitude that makes entrepreneurs such an admired and important group of people. In his recent speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, David Cameron praised the spirit of British entrepreneurs. “It will be the doers and grafters, the inventors and the entrepreneurs who get this economy going,” he said. This recession has created a new generation of lean entrepreneurs, who achieve impact and influence with comparatively little capital. Just as the US recession of the 1970s helped spawn the likes of Apple and Microsoft, similar conditions will lead to the creation of tomorrow’s business giants.

Why The Best Story Wins

But there is a difference. This time it is not capital or even perhaps innovation that presents the barriers to entry. This time round, awareness is the new scarce resource. To put it another way, no reputation equals no chance. The biggest foe of any business is indifference. The biggest friend is want. If people want you, want your services, want your brand, you have your chance. Having something to say as well as something to sell; being different and standing apart are now critical assets. That takes a campaigning approach to bring life to what you do, a commitment to inspiring communication, and creating connections to spread the word. Common themes emerge between successful entrepreneurs. Consistently, what makes many stand out is the power of their story and their commitment to telling it. Entrepreneurs’ stories are often an integral part of the businesses they lead, providing context for them and their people and reasons to buy for their customers. It’s easy to see why. In today’s world we suffer from a form of attention deficit disorder and it is the brands that stand out that we remember. In no small way the best story wins and you need to invest in the telling of it. A great story, simply told and powerfully communicated. It’s a scarce asset and why in today’s world you need a script to sell, a stage to communicate, and an audience to reach. It’s why business today is show business. About the authors: Michael Hayman and Nick Giles are co-founders of the campaigning communications consultancy Seven Hills. The firm is the choice of some the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and admired brands. For more information go to wearesevenhills.com

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funding

GAINING FUNDING Top tips on ensuring success!

“Remember that a proposal should contain a good use of language with minimal-tozero errors.�

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Millions of pounds worth of funding is made available every year for businesses across a wide range of sectors. Funding is an attractive proposition for businesses, as opposed to other sources of finance, in that it is generally non-refundable and therefore preferable to loan or equity finance. Provided your proposal is tailored to the specific funding stream, the rest is down to applying some key tips and techniques to ensure success. Admittedly, the process of applying for funding may be long and arduous, but success guarantees the promotion of your product or service. 1. Make sure your proposal is clearly constructed First and foremost, proposals should be analytical, yet concise and should clearly display the objectives of the project as well as a very comprehensive methodology of how these objectives will be met. For European funding, compliance of the project with the policies and trends of the European Commission should be clearly demonstrated i.e. does a proposal for the creation of a new renewable energy plant meet European targets on energy saving? 2. Establish an effective partnership When appropriate, it is important to establish an effective partnership in order that each partner has a clear understanding of its role and what it will be required to deliver; request that a representative from each organisation participates in the proposal writing, and form a team of at least three professionals to write the proposal. In developing this partnership, it is important to share roles and delivery equally and to ensure there are no significant differences in budget distribution amongst partners. In addition, it is important to seek references and the track record of a potential partner organisation prior to including them in a consortium.

3. Attention to detail! Remember that a proposal should contain a good use of language with minimal-to-zero errors (spelling, grammar, syntax, etc.). Proposal assessors have limited time to perform a detailed assessment so each error will be raised cumulatively – to counteract this, ensure that proof reading is undertaken. 4. Provide the required information If you do not submit the sufficient additional information i.e. CVs, accounts, evidence of track record, you will automatically be disqualified. It is important to do a checklist and go through this at least twice, preferably with partners and colleagues to ensure nothing has been omitted. 5. Be aware of the award criteria and weighting Allocate the appropriate amount of time to the appropriate question, if one section contains 50 per cent of the overall mark, allocate most time and resource to answering this section, as opposed to another section which contains 10 per cent of the marks. 6. Seek advice! Enterprise Europe Network London can help your business to identify the appropriate funding stream for your sector, from media and the environment to research and development. As part of the largest network supporting businesses in the world, we provide practical, hands-on support and information for London businesses seeking funding, hoping to expand their business into Europe, or wishing to develop technology partnerships. For more information on how you can access our free services, visit www.een-london.co.uk or contact innovation@gle.co.uk 020 7940 1512


FINDING FUNDING If you want to launch or expand your company you may need to obtain finance for your business. We look at three entrepreneurs who have all managed to get a business loan via the Lambeth Business Loan Fund. 1. Company: Veronique Designs Business Loan: £7,000 Veronique Gautherot has been selling her jewellery in Brixton Market for 10 years. Her business was well established but she saw opportunities to expand and needed investment. After being refused a bank loan, a GLE oneLondon business advisor told Veronique about the Lambeth Business Loan Fund. Receiving a loan from the fund, along with free support and advice, has allowed Veronique Designs to increase its jewellery and fashion trade and hire a part-time employee. The business is growing in confidence and Veronique is hopeful that it will continue to move forwards. She says: “We would definitely encourage businesses to take advantage of the free advice. We had straight-talking advisors, which is exactly what we needed.”

2. Company: Walker Brother Fitness Business Loan: £10,000 Stephen and Tim Walker started their fitness training business in January 2010. To help fulfil their dream of a successful fitness company, they realised they needed the right image and equipment – and that this would mean more financing. Having seen a poster advertising the Lambeth Business Loan Fund, they contacted the Lambeth Business Desk. The £10,000 loan received in July will be used to create a logo and buy a van. They are confident about the future and their business offers something unique and affordable. Stephen Walker says: “I would absolutely recommend it. Let’s face it how often do you actually get something useful for your taxes?”

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3. Company: Simply Smiley Productions Business Loan: £15,000 Shannon McNabb began Simply Smiley Productions five years ago and was financed through personal credit. The company writes and produces original touring Christmas shows for children aged 3 to 12 years and also offers bespoke drama workshops and children’s birthday parties. High interest rates led Shannon to look for additional business financing this year, but her high street bank of ten years refused her loan application. Through contacting the Lambeth Business Desk, Shannon was teamed up with a Business Champion from GLE oneLondon who worked with her on understanding the business’s finances and how to apply for a loan. A loan has enabled Simply Smiley Productions to create the 2010 Christmas show, to consolidate high interest payments and to improve marketing. Many local small businesses currently find themselves unable to access cash to help with growth or cash-flow problems so Lambeth Council, with funding from Lambeth First, set up the Lambeth Business Loan Fund to help plug this gap. The Lambeth Business Loan Fund was set up at the start of the year to help local firms struggling to get loans as banks scaled back their lending during the recession. Businesses that want to apply for a loan should contact the Lambeth Business Desk on 020 7926 3032. The loan fund is administered through the council’s partner, GLE oneLondon, who can also provide financial advice and support.

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“SEP takes optimisation to a new level, focussing on your company’s core message and how this needs to be conveyed to your target audience for greater business benefit.” seo - advertorial

SEP THE NEW SEO Helping you to dominate the search engine’s rankings SEP takes optimisation to a new level, focussing on your company's core message and how this needs to be conveyed and focussed more precisely to your target audience for greater business benefit. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is something that every start-up company with a product or service to promote is aware of. In theory, optimising key words and phrases should improve your positioning in major search engines such as Google and Bing. The only problem is; everyone’s doing it. If you were the only company in your industry to optimise your website, then you would of course always be number one on the search pages. That’s great, but when most businesses are optimising their websites....well that means that both you and your competitors may all simply remain much as you were, possibly trading a few places. You still won’t stand out from the crowd. Therefore your company’s optimisation doesn’t just have to be good, it has to be exceptional and in a competitive context. So how do you differentiate your business from your competitors? That’s where Search Engine Performance (SEP) comes into play. SEP looks at optimisation on a more granular level, allowing you to elevate your business profile. I wanted to speak to an SEP expert so I got in touch with Kevin Barton of Deep Design to find out more about SEP and how it works. Deep Design is an award winning company that offers high quality web design and optimisation. I was interested in speaking with Kevin Barton because Deep Design are a rare breed, SEP specialists; transforming their customers businesses through performance optimisation. 14

Over the last few years alone Deep Design has created innovative websites for over 200 companies, from government and corporate organisations, to business start ups. They have acknowledged that SEO is no longer as effective in these difficult and challenging economic times and therefore have developed SEP to a new level altogether, to ensure the continued and heightened success of their customer’s online presence. “You need to ensure that as many potential customers as possible can find your website. This has become increasingly more important in the current competitive market,” Kevin tells me. “In today’s market there are fewer customers, more suppliers, and margins are being squeezed. “People look for differences not similarities. We all notice things that are different and that’s how SEP works. SEP takes optimisation to a new level. It focuses on your company’s core message and how this needs to be conveyed to your target audience across the internet, including many other more unique aspects of your business. We look at how our client’s business is different to their competitors and how SEP with our help will enable our client’s to dominate the search engine landscape.” SEP through Deep Design will deliver a larger return on your investment and surprisingly the costs are comparable to traditional SEO charges. It really is a case of working smarter, not harder. For more information, please call Deep Design on 01983 864000, or visit their website www.deepdesign.co.uk


interview

For many entrepreneurs he is the ultimate inspiration. Well known for his straight talking practical approach to business, I was keen to find out what advice he had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. Lord Sugar gives us his opinion on the key attributes required to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

LORD ALAN SUGAR We speak to Lord Sugar to find out his top advice for entrepreneurs.

“I have come all the way from Clapton and Hackney as a youngster, right the way to Lord Clapton in the House of Lords.” 16

How has the current financial climate affected entrepreneurs? Well I personally don’t believe that the current climate has got anything to do with entrepreneurs. For example, I started my business in the so called ‘depressed’ time in 1968. A good idea of which you are expert in, and of which you have some knowledge, really has got nothing at all to do with a particular climate. You can still succeed at anytime really. I think it’s when the so called ‘buoyant’ times are around that it creates a false market, in the sense that people who are not really entrepreneurs, and don’t really have a good business, seem to be able to do something. When things get tougher it’s often those businesses that have to shut down first. So regardless of the financial climate, if you have a good idea, should you start a business? More to the point, it’s if you’ve got experience. It’s not just simply a good idea. Too many people think because they just have a good idea that suddenly they can go into business, but this is totally wrong. My advice to people here is that when they decide what they want to do in their lives by way of a job, they have to enjoy it. When they take a job and they amass some kind of experience, it’s from that experience that you see opportunities. The concept of leaping out of bed one Monday

morning because you’ve got a good idea, and then suddenly starting a business because you fancy it, is absolutely flawed. Your Autobiography is out now. What made you decide to put your life into words? I have been asked many times to do a book for the various things I’ve been involved with but I’ve always turned it down. I think the turning point was that I was made a Lord last year. I have come all the way from Clapton and Hackney as a youngster, right the way to Lord Clapton in the House of Lords. That was what made me think, it’s time for me to put pen to paper and put it all down. What was the driving force for your success? To become self-sufficient and never have to rely upon anybody other than myself. What do you consider to be an important aspect of successfully running a business? I think it’s important to keep your feet firmly on the ground, do not over trade, do not borrow money that you can’t pay back, and that every time you move into something that requires financing, you have to consider that money as if it is yours. Don’t try to run before you can walk. You have to focus all the time. If things are going well do more of it, and if things are not going that well, analyse what’s going wrong and fix it. Lord Alan Sugar’s Autobiography, What You See Is What You Get, is out now. Interview by Rowena Sait


professional speaking - advertorial

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING Maximise your income and get your company noticed

“Becoming a professional speaker can significantly benefit you and help drive the success of your company.”

There are many reasons why people become professional business speakers. Some are experts in their field, looking to enhance income through their knowledge. Others are looking for a change of career; perhaps growing tired of working conventional hours, not being in control of their career or recently made redundant. Some may already be engaged as business speakers but are looking to take this to a new level of opportunity and maximise their potential. In these more challenging economic times, who wouldn’t want to enhance their income or be in greater control of their future career? If you’re an entrepreneur with a start up business however, becoming a professional speaker can significantly benefit you and help drive the success of your company. It has long been recognised by many successful business leaders that speaking at conferences and business events is a great promotional tool, but few take full advantage of the opportunity that exists to win the confidence of a captive audience and in doing so develop opportunities and improve the professional standing of their business. There are countless opportunities for business speakers in the UK and Internationally. From conferences and exhibitions, to seminars, events and after dinner speaking. Business speaking also offers the opportunity to travel, whether to simply see more of the world or to develop business opportunities overseas. There are many agencies offering the services of business speakers. The main issue has been that these largely specialise in promoting celebrities or more famous business leaders. With an ever increasing number of

celebrities, professional business speakers have found it difficult to get exposure and support. In addition, many conventional agencies charge a commission for each booking and rarely put you directly in-touch with the client engaging you, until the event. One way to get around these problems, and to also get noticed as a business speaker, is to find a specialist agency created specifically for business and professional speakers, who understand the needs of both their speakers and the clients they represent. ProSpeke International’s sole purpose is to make business speakers more successful. ProSpeke provides a level of exposure and presence that rivals other agencies. They are proactive and in direct contact with thousands of what they refer to as ‘members’; all with a genuine interest in finding the right speakers for their next event. Members include business and trade associations, embassies, trade missions, venues, conference managers and event organisers. There are over 8,000 venues alone that have access to the service provided by ProSpeke. Two years in the making, ProSpeke’s approach is fresh and puts you in control. No commission is payable against any work you receive, instead speakers pay a simple annual subscription fee (which speakers can pay on a monthly basis). The annual fee is in-fact typically less than the income a speaker can expect from just one engagement and unlike other agencies, with ProSpeke you are put in direct contact with prospective clients. To find out more about becoming a speaker with ProSpeke visit: www.prospeke.com 17


self-promotion

7 STEPS TO SELF-PROMOTION by Alison Branagan Author of ‘Making Sense of Business’ and ‘The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers’ With Illustrations by Tim Bradford

2. Building Networks There has been an explosion of online social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Ecademy, the value of which should not be underestimated. However, you should be aware that a laptop or iphone screen is no substitute for social interaction. Talk to anyone in business and you will find that opportunities often arise through word or mouth, from industry 18

5. Press Releases and Marketing Copy In all forms of marketing it is vital to have well drafted content for websites, a biography or company profile and concise copy for use in advertisements, editorial features, e-news listings, flyers, leaflets or brochures. Always remember when drafting a media release to write in the third person. 6. e-Promotion It is vital you get to grips with emarketing. Any fledgling start up must realise the importance of a professionally designed website. Having an enewsletter service, downloadable PDF brochures, order forms, press releases, links to online showcasing spaces on your website and email signature are all standard practice.

Whether you have just registered as self-employed or have been running a business for a few years, developing eye-catching promotional materials and strategies are essential. Before you can market a business to potential clients or customers you need to think through what is required. This seven step plan is suitable for all sole traders or micro enterprises. 1. Self-presentation Appearance and presentation are important. People can make up their mind about someone in just a few seconds. Much of business in all industry sectors is built on trust. Having a professional email (i.e. not a free web service) ringing clients, arriving to appointments on time and being reasonably well groomed will increase the likelihood of success even before the first handshake.

cutting by machines. Never design your own cards unless you are a graphic designer or print them in bulk on home printers. Though we live in a cybernaut age having professionally designed and printed cards is still an absolute must.

contacts, or from customers recommending your products or services to others. 3. Photography If planning to charge substantial sums of money for high quality products or services then it is essential to hire the services of a professional photographer. You will also require photographs of yourself or team in your workplace, e.g. office, shop, studio, workshop or factory. If trying to gain exposure in any form of printed media, such as catalogues, industry periodicals, or glossy magazines it is crucial that you submit good quality high resolution images. 4. Business and Postcards Make business cards a standard size which is 5.5.cm x 8.5cm after

7. Publicity Stunts Creative marketing takes many forms, from sending out promotional merchandise such as branded Post-it® notes, badges and pens to spoof adverts on You Tube. If you examine the history of any established entrepreneur or innovative business, all have used publicity stunts to generate media interest in their event or product.

Alison Branagan Creative Industries Consultant www.alisonbranagan.com/books.php www.makingsenseofbusiness.com


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Martin Timbrell

interview

A BUSINESS EDUCATION Learn the essential business skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur. We interview Martin Timbrell, Dean of Business and Management at Regent’s College, to discover the importance and benefits of education for SME start ups. What are the advantages to an entrepreneur of having an educational background in business? Lots of keen young entrepreneurs study a business degree in order to gain the knowledge needed to start up their own business. A business degree at Regent’s College will give students a broad training in international business. It also offers the opportunity to work with mentors to receive guidance and advice. In the third year of the course students get to work in real businesses, gaining valuable experiences and tackling real problems that arise, setting them up for their future careers. What benefits can a business course at Regent’s college offer to entrepreneurs? At Regent’s College we encourage our students to enter both regional and international competitions. For example, we have won the San Diego Competition two times in the last four years. We like to encourage our students to work in a team. Each student brings different skills to the group and they learn to work and interact together. Students gain the knowledge to make important business decisions, and they learn how to delegate and solve problems. Professionals who are already in business can learn the latest practices and explore new technologies, ideas and techniques. Students will also gain help and advice for important issues that they will encounter in business, such as legal and financial matters.

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Our school is international and students get to interact with people of varying ages and cultures. One of the most valuable things in business is networking. Our students get to meet real business people and likeminded students. They get to discuss their ideas, share their experience and gain valuable feedback. The contacts that the students make here they tend to keep over the years. Our location is another major advantage. London is one of the world’s leading business and financial centres. Many of our students come to us because they want to study and work here in London, and you can’t get much more central than Regent’s College. Are the business courses at Regent’s College varied? We have courses right through to foundation programmes, up to a wide range of management International degrees. We have master’s programmes which specialise in HR, Finance and International Business. We do actually have one particular programme which is a master’s degree in entrepreneurial business. What interaction do past students have with Regent’s college? We like for our students to continue to work with us. We encourage past students to still be involved and act as mentors to the next generation. For example, we have a student who has launched a successful company with a high turnover, who came to address the students at the graduation ceremony. We find that many of our students want to give something back. To learn more about business and management courses at Regent’s College please visit www.regents.ac.uk


EIGHT CLUB: A sublime setting for business and fine dining Global Entrepreneurship Week is a busy week for London’s businesses. So if you are in search of a luxurious hideaway in the centre of London, step out of your office and into Eight Club. This new kind of private member’s club is a haven of calm in the heart of the City. Its sumptuous surroundings mean that the clamour outside seems a million miles away. Eight Club gives members space to think. Located in the heart of London, but tucked away from the noise and commotion, it is the place to focus, dine on fine food or simply relax. Set in two central locations, at Moorgate and Bank, it is a hub for likeminded people to talk business, in an atmosphere of privacy and exclusivity. At Eight Club you will be in good company. But if you need to disappear,

you can. Sink into an armchair in the library or one of the private rooms to read, work and concentrate. Eight Club’s facilities, like high speed broadband throughout, means that the club is ideal for entrepreneurs. But Eight Club is also the ideal space to network or just unwind. Relax by playing pool on one of the championship Brunswick tables, or even visit the club’s private cinema at the Eight Club, Bank. And as for superior dining, no other club in the City comes close. Eight Club’s world-class restaurants serve delicious French cuisine against a stunning backdrop. From light snacks to a decadent sevencourse tasting menu, Eight Club can cater for every appetite.

And whilst you’re there, enjoy the view. Eight Moorgate’s private roof terrace overlooks the spectacular London skyline for a memorable dining experience for you, your contacts and clients. Eight Club is the best kept secret of the City’s high flyers and entrepreneurs, a sanctuary in the Square Mile. Whether you are looking for inspiration, connections or relaxation, you are sure to find it there. www.eightclub.co.uk Tel: 0808 1801 858

HOW TO MASTER

The Most Crucial Entrepreneurial Skill

By Patrick Powers, author of “Turn Your Contacts Into Cash”

Of all the skills necessary for success the most important is networking. Why? Because when all things are equal people will buy from people they know, like and trust. Now more than ever, the size of your network will determine the size of your NET WORTH. Whether you want to develop leads or get funding for a startup networking is a necessary skill. Here are just a few ways you can create trust. 1. Do your homework. The more you know about people the easier it is to create trust. 2. Find out what you have in common and use this early in your conversation. 3. Identify their biggest challenges and find ways to help them with overcome them. 4. Give them value before you have asked anything of them. 5. Be consistent. You will often have to meet a person 3-4 times before real trust appears, but its worth putting in this effort. The right connections can open otherwise closed doors and lead to massive orders and special favours. To get a free sample from “Turn your Contacts into Cash” and a free video training go to www.NewNetworkingTips.com 21


making it

Mairead Fanning, Managing Director of The English Studio and TEFL Lab, tells us how she used her experience and knowledge to become a successful entrepreneur.

HOW I MADE IT

“TEFL Lab works really well and is mutually convenient. It’s great for us, as we get really good teachers.

After studying and earning a degree in English Literature, Mairead Fanning started working as a language teacher, firstly in Madrid and then back in the UK in London. She really enjoyed her occupation but found the way the language schools were set up frustrating. She had an understanding of how the courses could run better and wanted to help students successfully learn the English language, but the only way she could implement her ideas was to start up her own school. She also realised that starting her own business would enable her to be self employed, and ultimately she could create a better working environment. Mairead opened the English Studio in 1997 in West London. Initially the English Studio consisted of just herself and two students. Mairead was having to work very hard to run the company successfully, “It felt like I was working 24 hours a day,” she tells me, “I was teaching and doing everything else involved with running a business. I was even cleaning the toilets!” The hard work paid off though. The English Studio now has six campuses, with approximately 3,000 students in the last summer season. In fact this summer Mairead employed almost 100 staff members, and had an annual turnover of £3.5 million. But Mairead didn’t stop there. She realised how important it was to employ good

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teaching staff. Many schools added a teaching course as a tag on, but Mairead knew it deserved its own entity. She wanted to create courses designed for students looking to teach English as a foreign language, so in 2010 she launched TEFL Lab, a dedicated teacher training centre. “TEFL Lab works really well and is mutually convenient. It’s great for us, as we get really good teachers. It’s also great for the students studying at TEFL Lab as it means that they have a good chance of getting a job after completing the course. In some cases we can even guarantee a job placement.” TEFL Lab is fully accredited to the Trinity College of London (one of only three bodies recognised by the British Council), and The College of Teachers (an internationally recognised accreditation body that awards qualifications under Royal Charter of 1849 and 1998). TEFL has already proven to be a success with a variety of options available to its students, including a 4 week course and a part time course, as well as distance learning, and taster and introduction courses. When asked if she has any tips for prospective entrepreneurs Mairead is very honest and forthcoming, “You have to work twice as hard as before and you have to do everything speedily and quickly,” she tells me, “It’s scary at first but you have to dive in there and just do it!” www.tefllab.co.uk www.englishstudio.com



Entrepreneur Guide 2010