Marketing 101 640x600 - Marketing 101: The Basics of Creating Your Own Successful Marketing Strategy for Your Startup
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Marketing 101: The Basics of Creating Your Own Successful Marketing Strategy for Your Startup

Let’s face it, marketing plays a big roll in the success of your small business. Of course, you need to do some market research and work on other aspects too, but having an effective marketing strategy in place will set you apart from competitors and get your product or service right in front of yourRead More

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Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By 640x600 - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By
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Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By

If you are an entrepreneur running your own startup or business, you should know that it is a bit of a juggle to keep everything, as well as yourself, afloat. Keeping up with finances, ensuring your marketing is done and that you are attracting enough clients, making sure that you make a profit and thatRead More

READ MORE
4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know 640x600 - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know
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4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know

As an entrepreneur, having a sense of what the stats say about small businesses and startups is important. It is also important to keep improving your general knowledge and focus on personal growth while running your own business. Juggling all these things and a balanced life can be a bit difficult, though. And, somewhere inRead More

READ MORE
Business 101 640x600 - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
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Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business

Are you in two minds whether you should or not jump in at the deep end and start your own business? Do you feel like you don’t have the skills or know-how to and you feel somewhat intimidated? Starting your own business for the first time can be daunting and stressful. The security of earningRead More

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Non-Disclosure Agreements – Do Today’s Tech Entrepreneurs Need Them?

nda non disclosure agreement og ff8a4e6a3adda79a4764cc4bba21443e3f54c5722165e06d51425ea923157310 1170x600 - Non-Disclosure Agreements – Do Today’s Tech Entrepreneurs Need Them?

Tech entrepreneurs will be faced with many legal issues and questions when setting up their business. Yes, it can be long and tiring getting them all worked out but that’s just business isn’t it? If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

But while many of these legal issues will be compulsory things you’ll need to actually do and work out before you can legally set-up your business there are other more optional legal areas. Non-disclosure agreements or NDAs as they are commonly known are one of these areas.

If you don’t already know let me explain exactly when a non-disclosure agreement is, to be brief it’s a legal agreement that outlines any confidential material or information that is not to be shared with anyone else but the people who sign the agreement.

By signing the non-disclosure agreement, the other party agrees to not share or divulge any information that is outlined in the agreement. They are sometimes referred to by other names like a secrecy agreement (SA) or a confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) but whatever name they go by the rules are the same.

A non-disclosure agreement is usually always going to be between two separate parties this can be individuals, businesses or one of each. While it’s uncommon a non-disclosure agreement can be between more than two people, however in many entrepreneurs cases, it will likely be between two people.

Non-disclosure agreements can also be part of employment contracts and in the technology industry, this is usually very common. So, now you know what non-disclosure agreements are and how they work you have to ask yourself whether they are worth pursuing?

Do I Need An NDA?

Non-disclosure agreements aren’t used in every industry, but they are more common in certain fields, in the tech industry non-disclosure agreements of one form or another are relatively commonplace. When you consider how secretive much of the work in technology is a non-disclosure agreement just makes sense doesn’t it?

According to Joney Whyte who are also experienced family lawyers in Glasgow whether you’re working on a new product or are working on a new way of using existing technology the need for secrecy in the technology industry is very important. So, getting your employees or partners to sign a non-disclosure agreement is going to be very useful.

In fact, many business professionals do recommend using non-disclosure agreements even if you are not currently working on new technology or products. However, you could also utilise non-disclosure agreements on a need to know basis.

This means you will only use them when you actually think you will need them, for example when selecting a team to work on a new product you could then ask your employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But do entrepreneurs need to even bother with a non-disclosure agreement today?

Well opinion is split a quick Google search will bring up plenty of opinions, some people will claim they are invaluable certainly in industries like technology. While others will say they are mostly useless and unnecessary.

The main benefit of a non-disclosure agreement is that it is a legally binding document, however, that doesn’t mean that you will be protected from every eventually. Even if you get all your employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement it doesn’t mean they still can’t break the contract.

However, that is something all entrepreneurs likely know already and are prepared to deal with no legal document is an absolute deterrent, is it?  The problem with non-disclosure agreements is that even when someone does break them, proving that they have can be difficult.

The difficulty of actually proving someone has breached a non-disclosure agreement is one of the reasons some business professionals don’t see them as worth their time to write up. Plus, if you work with freelancers or consultants then even getting some people to sign one can be difficult.

This can be for a wide range of reasons from job complications to the fact that some people will just not like signing them. Some people (perhaps understandably) will see a non-disclosure agreement as a sign that you think they aren’t trustworthy and therefore won’t sign them on principle.

So, the question remains, doesn’t it? Do you need non-disclosure agreements today? Only you can really answer that, it can’t be denied that when you work in an industry like technology that a non-disclosure agreement can seem to offer some great benefits. But they are not infallible by any means and you shouldn’t expect everyone to be happy with signing one.

But as an entrepreneur with their own still developing start-up taking these extra security steps will usually still be worth it. But if you are going to use a non-disclosure agreement you have to make sure it is written carefully. Non-disclosure agreements and complicated documents so take your time crafting one.

Designing The Perfect NDA 

If you do decide to use non-disclosure agreements, then you need to ensure you have the time to write a high-quality one. Many entrepreneurs fall back on using templates when it comes to writing a non-disclosure agreement but for complicated matters (which you will see often in the tech field) these templates will not be up to the job.

You need to be very careful when writing a non-disclosure agreement, you need to ensure the scope isn’t too broad while also ensuring that everything that needs to be covered is still detailed in the agreement.

You also need to take other matters into account like compelled disclosures and ensure that no confidential information is disclosed prior to the signing. Writing a non-disclosure agreement isn’t as simple as you might think you can’t just list some basic details about what things the other party can’t talk about.

You also need to ensure that anyone who does sign your non-disclosure agreement fully understands what they are agreeing to. If you take the time to handle the drafting of your non-disclosure agreement, then you will likely be able to avoid making any mistakes. This will be able to help ensure your non-disclosure agreement is fit for purpose. 

Finding finance for your business – without the need for investors

assets images site sb lending quiz module quiz coffeeshopguy 1800x840 CSX9a5accdd 1170x600 - Finding finance for your business – without the need for investors

The idea behind starting up your own business is likely to be an exciting one – breaking away from the 9am to 5pm routine can be a thrill, even if it does mean your days will become 8am-10pm instead!

It’s often less of a thrill to think about finding investment though – you’re bringing someone into your business who might not know you – and might not share the same hopes and dreams you have for your new venture.

The good news is, whether your a small company that offers commercial cleaning services in Glasgow or a new online retailer there are lots of alternative ways of finding captial.

We’ll walk you through the most common options, as well pointing out some pros and cons of each.

Bank finance

Despite issues that still hangover from the 2008 banking crisis, banks are normally the number one source of new business finance.

Be warned though, banks won’t just lend to any new startup business – they’ll want to see a detailed business plan before they even consider issuing any credit facilities. There are a host of business plan formats available – and banks will sometimes even issue their own to ensure you’re providing all the relevant information.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re applying for bank finance with an untested business model – the bank might insist on credit checks for all the company directors involved. Although setting up a limited company won’t impact your personal finances, consulting with credit referencing agencies does give the bank an indication of your financial conduct.

Assuming the bank is happy extending credit – it will normally come in the form of two products – a loan or an overdraft.

A business loan will normally be offered over anything from 2 to 10 years. Typically, loans will either track the current base rate – or be a fixed rate. Fixed rate products are often favoured as it offers your business a predictable monthly sum that will be repaid – and, assuming this payment is adhered to, a predictable timescale in which your company will be free from debt.

On the other hand, a business overdraft is seen as a slightly more flexible solution. Rather than taking a chunk of money upfront, you need only borrow what you require – and since you only borrow what you need, you only pay interest on what you need. This flexibility isn’t without risk though – with no contracted repayment schedule you bank can potentially withdraw the facility at any time – meaning a loan can often be a more dependable option.

Finance from friends and family

Although the old adage claims you should never mix business with pleasure – research conducted early in 2017 found that over 60% of new small businesses relied on finance from friends or family to get themselves out of the starting blocks.

There are some significant advantages that go with borrowing money from your nearest and dearest – not least the interest rates that are typically charged – often 0% – with just the understanding that money will be returned in due course.

It’s not only favourable rates that make borrowing from family so attractive though, where with a bank you’re expected to submit detailed plans and can expect credit checks, family and friends are far more likely to lend based on existing trust, both in your creditworthiness and your business plans.

While borrowing from people you know is likely to offer some significant advantages over using a bank, it is important that you borrow on a completely understood and transparent basis. You might be told ‘not to worry’ about creating a payment schedule or putting pen to paper with the conditions of the loan – but without this, unforeseen disputes can become tricky – with the truth around the initial arrangement becoming confused or twisted.

Insisting on some formality keeps everyone protected – and avoids any unexpected claim for part of the business when you start making your millions!

Peer to peer and crowdfunding

Websites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Crowdfunder have seen an explosion in the popularity of peer-to-peer financing. The criteria of whether or not you can apply for funding differs from site to site – but generally speaking, virtually any company can look for funding this way.

Like borrowing from friends or family – you have the advantage of not having to go through the sometimes-arduous process of dealing with a bank – however, that’s not to say that you won’t be free from charges. The most popular websites that facilitate peer-to-peer funding charge anywhere between 4% and 7% of the money raised – which can be a sting if you haven’t accounted for it from the very beginning.

Repayment of peer-to-peer lending also depends on the type of site you’re using. On occasion, you may be able to avoid repayment altogether (and in a perfectly ethical way!) by offering the lenders a product or service in return for their investment. If instead your lenders will be expecting a return on their cash – the rates are traditionally very low.

Government grants and loans

While he idea of ‘free’ money from the government might seem completely alien – there are many of these grants available, servicing different niches in the market.

Although, if you think the process of applying for a grant or a low-cost loan is going to be easy – you’ve got another thing coming! Grants do not have to be paid back – but you can expect an extremely long process before you see any cash – and in some instances, a wait that can go on for months.

The application for both a grant and a loan is likely to involve an extremely in-depth business plan being required – so if you’re going to look toward the government for some capital, you’re also going to need to dedicate a lot of time to seeing the process through properly.

Finding government grants and loans is typically a lot easier if you’re younger – with numerous initiatives in place to ensure 18-30-year olds are given every opportunity to launch their small business with the maximum amount of support. It’s not easy working out what you’re entitled to apply for though – so if you’re not sure, consider using an online service or consulting the .Gov website to begin your search.

Marketing 101: The Basics of Creating Your Own Successful Marketing Strategy for Your Startup

Marketing 101 800x600 - Marketing 101: The Basics of Creating Your Own Successful Marketing Strategy for Your Startup

Let’s face it, marketing plays a big roll in the success of your small business. Of course, you need to do some market research and work on other aspects too, but having an effective marketing strategy in place will set you apart from competitors and get your product or service right in front of your potential customers or clients.

There are plenty case studies available out there that prove how crucial having an effective marketing strategy is if you need some convincing on the value of marketing, have a look at these case studies here. In the meantime, we will tell you all you need to know the basics of creating a kick-ass marketing strategy for your startup.

 

Identify your Goals

First, you need to know what it is that you want to accomplish. Identifying goals should be specific, so don’t be vague by thinking a good goal to set is selling more. Think more in terms of percentage growth in sales. This is applicable even for digital marketing streams such as social media platforms. If you would like to increase brand visibility, a great goal would be to see a growth in followers or fans of up to 100 new likes per week.

 

Know your Customer

Next, you would need to know exactly who you are selling to, where they live, what type of jobs they have, where they do their shopping, their likes and dislikes as well as their needs. Identifying a need that you can resolve is key here, and specifying how you would solve the customer’s need.

 

Invest in Marketing

Even if you are going to take care of your marketing channels yourself and not hire professionals, you would have to have a budget specifically for marketing, and this should fit in with your overall budget. Whether you want to feature an ad in the local newspaper’s smalls or run a digital campaign on Google Ads or Facebook, you need to set aside some funds to cover this.

 

Get a Great Website

An encompassing strategy would include a strategy for digital as well. This should go hand-in-hand with your social media marketing campaigns and all your channels should complement one another. Make sure you get a great website that is user-friendly and does not leave customers wondering what it is they are looking at or what they should do. Include acall to actions that are clear, and make sure your site specifically states the solution your product or service offers. Your website is the essential tool to generate leads and get newsletter signups.

 

Newsletters and Blogs

Now that you have an idea of who your customers are, what your goals and budget is, and you have an awesome website, you should start publishing your startups own unique content and sharing it to your clients via a newsletter, blog,and social media.

 

Networking and Feedback

Get in there and connect with your customers and other startup owners. Building a solid network is key to a successful marketing strategy and ensures you and your startup stays relevant in the industry but also boosts word of mouth and referrals. Encouraging your clients to provide feedback will also give you unique insights on how you can improve your product or service.

These are but a few handy tips to get you started and create your own marketing strategy that will complement your startup. We hope the information will help you with your marketing efforts. For more tips on running a small business, read this article.

 

 

Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth

Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth 800x600 - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth

Life is all about learning, going through levels, overcoming obstacles, changing and ultimately growing. Sometimes, personal growth is achieved when we don’t even realize it. Other times, we have to actively work towards becoming better human beings, better entrepreneurs, or simply better than what we are currently.

In life and business in general, there is no class for self-insight and growth, there are, but there is no better way to learn these things than experiencing, reflecting and coming to a realization which naturally leads to self-growth. There is nowhere, thus where you can register or signup, but, you can ‘register’ here for our own mini-class in the process of self-growth.

 

#1 Greater Awareness of the Self

Greater Awareness of the Self - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
If you become more aware of who you are, and who you want to be, you are able to envision the steps you need to take to become a better you. A great way to accomplish this is to start thinking about and writing down a list of your strengths and your weaknesses, noting where there is room for improvement.

 

#2 Accepting Change to Move Forward

Accepting Change to Move Forward - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
Once you have done a bit of soul-searching and reflecting, you should have a good idea of the areas of yourself you need to develop. Start focusing on these identified areas, identify specific goals, and work at it. If you want to be more fit, schedule time for exercise. If you want to be more knowledgeable, read more.

 

#3 Get Organized

Get Organized - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
Pinpoint all the things you have discovered you want to change and all the new things you want to achieve. Setup goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable. A good tip is to write all your goals down, stipulate how you aim to achieve them, and then simply keep abook of what you have accomplished as you go along.

 

#4 Work at It

Work at It - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
So, now you know what you want to change, and what you want to achieve otherwise. You’ve got a plan, and you are motivated to get started. Here comes the tricky part. A lot of people get discouraged very easily even after a couple of days. Achieving growth takes some hard work and effort. Anything in life worth working towards takes dedication and perseverance.

 

#5 Achieve Growth

Achieve Growth - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
As you work your way through all your goals, jotting down your achievements, you will notice the sense of accomplishment brings you a lot of joy. But it is not theonly accomplishment you will have achieved, it is also self-growth.

Remember pushing your own boundaries, get yourself out there and try learning new things that you never imagined doing. You will soon learn that self-growth is key to not only a more fulfilled life but also to a successful one. We hope our steps have provided you with sufficient information to get you started on your own journey on personal growth. For an interesting look at personal growth, be sure to have a look at this article.

Infographic Tips Entrepreneurs Can Use to Cultivate Their Personal Growth - Achieve Ultimate Success by Learning the Different Steps of Personal Growth
Infographic by: www.myannapolisoffice.com

Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By

Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By 800x600 - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By

If you are an entrepreneur running your own startup or business, you should know that it is a bit of a juggle to keep everything, as well as yourself, afloat. Keeping up with finances, ensuring your marketing is done and that you are attracting enough clients, making sure that you make a profit and that the business is thriving, and still have time to spare for exercise and the family. Yes, it can be a bit difficult to keep up.

Here at SDG Business Forum, we believe in the power of community and sharing of wisdom gathered through experiences. Some good, but mostly bad experiences teach us all lessons that others can benefit from. In this article we look at some handy tips you can use to add to your next meeting’s agenda and get the success ball on the roll.

 

Top tip #1: Charge Upfront

Charge Upfront - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By
You just had a meeting with a potential client, the pitch went well, the client is impressed. The client could be a great one for future or even retainer purposes. So, you trust them when you send them a cost estimate and quote when they say that they accept and will pay when the job is completed. Months go by, the job is done, the client was happy, yet the account is still to be settled. This is a quick way to lose your business. Charge clients upfront to ensure you have a cash flow, and that you don’t sit around and wait for payments on jobs done months ago. You can even ask them to pay a deposit of a certain percentage.

 

Top tip #2: Branding is Key

Branding is Key - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By
To get your business noticed and out there where your potential clients are, you should have a visible brand. Get a designer to work out a corporate identity that suits the business values and persona, and a logo that fits. These images should be used on all your communications, whether on or offline, to ensure potential clients notice and later recognize your brand.

 

Top tip #3: Shut out Cheapies

Shut out Cheapies - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By
For that matter, shut out those who do not settle the bill on time too. Never lower your rate just to get a customer, always charge what you and your product are worth. If you do allow clients to get you to give them a special discount, it may cause costly problems in the future, with others demanding to get the same discounts or even them wanting to pay even less. Your professional rate or price for your handcrafted product should not be negotiable.

 

Top tip #4: Nurture Customer Relations

Nurture Customer Relations - Top 4 Startup Tips to Live By
The best marketing tool ever? Word of mouth. Never underestimate the power of great customer service. Some people would even argue that bad customer service would make them avoid a brand or service completely. Touch base with clients, and if you have employees, touch base with them too. Ensure they have the skills to ensure customers are taken care of in the best possible way.

We hope you found this article with top tips to add to your next meeting’s agenda helpful and that you will start implementing at least one of them today. For another interesting read on lessons learned during the first year of a startup, read this article here. We wish you all the best with your new business.

4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know

4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know 800x600 - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know

As an entrepreneur, having a sense of what the stats say about small businesses and startups is important. It is also important to keep improving your general knowledge and focus on personal growth while running your own business. Juggling all these things and a balanced life can be a bit difficult, though. And, somewhere in between you still need to make time to attend important business meetings, conferences, workshops,and sessions.

Luckily, SDG Business Forum aims to make that all a little bit easier for you by providing all the latest developments and news in one spot. In this article, we’ll take a look at some interesting facts on startups and businesses, that you should be aware of. Let’s get started.

 

1. Partnerships make Perfect

Partnerships make Perfect - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know
The majority of startups who has at least two or more founders are more likely to succeed than those with one founder. Having a dedicated team of qualified employees also makes a difference when starting your own business, and startups who stick to this structure tend to do better as well.

 

2. Working 9-5

Working 9 5 - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know
The majority of all entrepreneurs used to work for a corporate company for up to or more than at least 6 years. Stats also show that more than 70% of startup owners and entrepreneurs are over 40, have a Bachelors degree, and are married.

 

3. Three is Not the Loneliest Number

Three is Not the Loneliest Number - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Did you know, that there are at least 3 new startups established every second? Sounds crazy, we know. But the stats won’t lie. If you do your calculations correctly, you would see that it comes to about 11 000 new startups being launched per hour. Astonishingly, only 10% of new startups make it.

 

4. Most Startups Fail

Most Startups Fail - 4 Interesting Facts About Startups Every Entrepreneur Should Know
It is estimated that a mere 10% of all startups survive and succeed. This can be due to many things, but speculation says that it is due to a lack of market research. The stat to back this up? A recent survey suggests that 42% of startup owners say that there was no need for the product or service they offered. The solution? Make sure you get your ducks in a row and do the necessary research.

We hope these facts have helped and that you are a little bit wiser than before. Perhaps it will enable you to make better decisions for your own startup. For more interesting facts on entrepreneurs and startups, read this article. Want to know how to start your own small business? Read our article on different steps to achieve this.

Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business

Business 101 800x600 - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business

Are you in two minds whether you should or not jump in at the deep end and start your own business? Do you feel like you don’t have the skills or know-how to and you feel somewhat intimidated? Starting your own business for the first time can be daunting and stressful. The security of earning a paycheck at the end of the month or the stress of not knowing whether your business will make it can be off-putting for a lot of people.

We are going to show you in this post that all it takes is a bit of careful planning and strategizing, and that anyone can really do it.

 

#1 Do the Groundwork

Do the Groundwork - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
After you have decided what exactly it is you want to do, it’s best to start doing some homework and get your facts before jumping in and getting started. Things to consider is whether your product or service has a place in the market, whether it is unique or if you will have some competition, and what the competition is doing.

 

#2 Do some Planning

Do some Planning - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
The best way to do this is to draw up a business plan. If you don’t have enough capital to start your business, you would need a business plan to pitch to a financial service provider or investor. A business plan traditionally includes your vision for the company, a description of the company including geographical location, product information, ownership, finances, and goals.

 

#3 Take Care of Money matters

Take Care of Money matters - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
Next, you should start planning your finances. The best starting point for this would be to draw up a budget that stipulates all your expenses, even if they are just estimates. Things to include in the budget is setup costs, overheads, rentals, and so on. This should give you an indication of whether you will need financial assistance.

 

#4 Get Registered

Get Registered - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
Now, you need to register your new small business, and you will need a name for it. Remember to pick something relatable and something unique. Keep in mind that you will have to get a website for your small business, so check that the domain is available before registering your company.

 

#5 Promote, Promote, Promote

Promote - Business 101: Complete Step-by-Step Programme on How to Start Your Own Business
Once your company is set up, and you’ve got your accounts and everything in order, you should start focusing your efforts on getting the word out and getting some customers. There are many ways of doing this without breaking the bank or hiring experts. Read this article for some handy tips on how to promote your business easily and economically.

Now that you’ve got the basics, we bet you are eager to get started with building your own business. We trust that this programme has given you all the necessary information on the initial steps you need to take before starting your own small business. We wish you all the best of luck.

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