The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 9
November 20, 2013
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Anyone contemplating the self-employment route or developing ideas for a starting a business will need to consider how they will go about delivering every aspect. An important thing to do is measure the amount of time required for the workload and decide whether your business should be run as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. There are other options too and these sites help you with those important elements of your business plan.

Coddan – This website is great for UK residents who want to form a limited company and take out a package with a bank for a corporate account. There are clear pricing options for you to consider and you don’t have to search through pages of information to find them. Although, there are lots of other pages which provide guides to starting a business, non-profit companies, dissolution and restoration, among others. Also, there is help available for setting up and registering a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

Canada One – This is great resource for Canadian business news, articles and information. Make meaningful contacts with people through networking events, discover the benefits of franchising and read over 900+ business articles. You also have the option of searching the site for other businesses nearby and you can ask the experts for advice. Make the most of the business directory and actively be involved with the site by writing press releases and business plans.

Fab Women in Business – For all motivated entrepreneurs out there, this website promises to make you even more fabulous. You might not feel fabulous working all those long hours being self-employed but here you can find out about UK, US and India events. These are great for putting your business under the spotlight and working out how to make it more efficient. There are also sponsorship and exhibition opportunities through this site.

Look out soon for part 10……..

The OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 8
November 19, 2013
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As a new business or even someone who is looking for work or thinking of self-employment, useful websites are worth noting and so the list continues. During the planning stages of your projects, it’s a great idea to read and soak up as much information as you can. Subscribe to interesting blogs and participate in website forums. Spend time asking questions in online communities to solve a few issues you have.

The Next Women – This online business magazine is a great source of information with good content for entrepreneurs. Their mission is to build the female business brand and advise, inspire and connect a community of entrepreneurial women on their business needs. Whether your business will be specifically local or on a global scale, they provide a solid platform to help you on your self-employment journey. A great magazine to also read on the go with your smartphone or tablet.

West Lothian – Business Gateway is a superb source for new businesses and in West Lothian there is encouraging help and advice to assist you. They hope to bring lifeblood into the area and are passionate about local business. Their list of services includes business planning, financing, workshops and seminars. It’s encouraging to see that over 80% of new businesses assisted by them are still going strong after two years. Read interesting case studies from others to find out their experience and how they overcame early stage problems.

Women Business Owners – This is both a print and online resource that provides relevant, timely information, which focuses on affordable learning opportunities to women entrepreneurs. Websites like this are great for asking your hard questions and you can start new discussions with other like-minded fempreneurs or even discover something new in their online learning portal.

Missouri Women’s Council – If you are local to Missouri then the women’s council is a good place to find key information about things like writing a business plan or finding technical resources. Starting in business can be tough and daunting but they will work collaboratively with you to achieve your goals and make your dream a reality. They also provide a reference guide to starting in Missouri, with links to other useful websites.

Womans Work – This is a fantastic free resource, which provides startups, the self-employed, those wishing to get back into employment or facing redundancy with information about training, opportunities and events. It’s a good website for promoting your own services and job vacancies. Women’s businesses can be so diverse so it’s good to see the variety and be involved in a showcase of female entrepreneurs.

Look out soon for part 9……..

The OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 7
November 18, 2013
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It’s possible to start a business wherever and whenever you like. However, it is still useful to know what help is available on your doorstep. Otherwise, you may find yourself working overtime on something, which could be made much simpler, cost effective and less time consuming with help from a local business or organisation. These websites provide help on getting the best for you in your local area or overseas.

Startup overseas –This is the definitive resource for starting or expanding a business abroad. Many business people emigrate and therefore want to relocate and grow their business in their new country. This website helps with important information regarding emigration and company formation. It’s also a good place to learn about foreign opportunities and laws. Think of it as a personal assistant to guide you through the procedure of starting up, expanding, moving and overseas living.

Start my biz – Canterbury – This website is all about businesses helping other businesses. When you start in business, you may find there are lots to learn but you don’t have time to plough through it with online searching. However, with this site, all the key information and useful details are in one place. It’s been put together by a partnership of organisations in the Canterbury area, with an overall aim to make the city and district a great place to live and work.

Houston Chronicle – For businesses based in the Houston area, this is a great site for catching up on local news from sports to business or lifestyle. The daily e-Newspaper is accessible from any electronic device and so can easily be read while you are commuting to work on a train or bus or perhaps during your lunch break or curled up on sofa in the evening. As a business, you can also look to advertise through them and get your business featured and seen by a large audience.

Scottish Women in Business – Every business person should understand that to succeed, it’s important to communicate, connect and collaborate with others to grow. For many female entrepreneurs, there is a desire to connect with other women in business to share stories and experiences. This site is ideal to join and there are numerous benefits for an annual fee, including being registered in their extensive directory and participating in events to get your business noticed.

Small Business Administration - The U.S. Small Business Administration delivers loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counselling and other assistance to small businesses. It aims to preserve free competition enterprise and strengthen the overall economy. This is particularly relevant right now with the US aiming to grow out of economic slump and putting the power with small businesses is a good strategic plan that will help economic recovery and encourage cashflow.

Look out soon for part 8……..

The OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 6

Starting your own business will be one of the most exciting and challenging things you will ever do. To be successful, you’ll need to be well-prepared for what lies ahead. Careful planning will help you turn a great idea into a profitable reality. To get there takes time but at least you have some useful sites to help along the way.

Small Business – This website helps a great deal with ideas, business planning, financing and generally how to run your business effectively. There are regular blogs of key insights into things like digital marketing and videos to show case studies from others. There are details about franchising and a useful area to get key questions answered. The how-to hub is popular, especially if all you have is an idea and want some insight into how it can be developed.

National Business Register – Starting a business is an exciting time but you need to be clear on how you will structure it. There is some good information and advice on this site regarding registering and protection of business identity, including trademarking. It’s a good site to use to do a free search on all data and business names. Find out how to register your business and a suitable domain name.

Princes Trust – Before you get started in self-employment, it’s important to ask yourself whether it is actually for you or not. You may be inspired to go it alone but you can never be fully prepared for the reality of the lifestyle change. As you get busier, you may find yourself using every bit of free time to get things done and still needing more time. However, this document from the Princes Trust will help you to decide key details, such as how much risk is involved, will it be your only source of income and do you have enough experience? One of the useful nuggets from this is how to research your big idea.

School for Startups – This Launcher website is a unique new business startup finance programme for entrepreneurs. This gives you access to world-class teaching, a supportive community and regular mentoring. Most importantly, get access to some of the easiest startup funding available in the UK. The School for Startups’ programme combines government-backed finance with a one-day bootcamp, online community and mentoring at no cost. It’s worth taking a look at the case studies to hear how others did with a loan.

Startup Donut – This website has a good pool of resources from finance, tax, sales, marketing and business premises. This is a useful place to visit for regular small business news and blogs relating to your field. There are also vouchers and discounts for business owners to take advantage of. Online tools on the site are great for things like financial projection and finding business events.

Look out soon for part 7……..

The OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 5
November 16, 2013
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Running a business is a learning journey so why not get a qualification along the way to recognise new knowledge in your field of work. In the same way, gather as much resources you can to read and use to implement your business plan. These useful sites are credible, accessible sources of news, information, advice and expertise.

Learn Direct – Whether you are confused about your career path or want to gain some professional vocational qualifications, this site enables you to get ‘work-ready’. Any individual may feel the need to learn more in order to take a new path or progress quicker down the one they are on. As a business, you can develop your staff’s functional skills, boost their motivation and ultimately succeed practically.

Live Plan – Everyone wants to start their entrepreneurial journey with an amazing business plan but you may not have the time or knowledge or even money to pay a firm to do it. With Live plan, use the online tool to create the perfect plan that is fast and easy, which makes tracking your financial progress simple. Compare plans to actual results and make sure you are reaching your goals.

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce - As a business in Liverpool, the Chamber of Commerce is great for supporting the development, growth and sustained economic viability of its members and the wider business community. It’s worth considering membership as it provides opportunities to meet, network and interact with business contacts. There is always help on hand to support your business and your objectives, avoiding risk and costs.

New Start Scotland – If you are starting or expanding a business, this website is ideal to find upcoming events, seminars and workshops to increase your knowledge and skills. There is also a regular exhibition in Glasgow with a long list of interesting exhibitors. For your Scottish business, make this connection and provide yourself with a solid base of advice and expertise.

Pittsburgh Women’s Connection – This website is dedicated to providing female entrepreneurs where they can go to find resources and assistance for starting and growing their businesses locally, nationally and internationally. As a woman in business, looking to cultivate your ideas, this website is great for working towards your business goals from funding resources to product development.

Look out soon for part 6……..

The OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 4
November 15, 2013
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These days working from home is easily possible and your work can be flexible. As long as you have a laptop or mobile device with internet access, you can get started. Working from home on a new business saves time and money. It’s also an opportunity for women, who need to be around for childcare. These websites are useful for anyone using the internet from home to grow their business or to learn through online courses.

My Own Business – This website offers free business resources and web-based business courses that focus on business planning to start one successfully and grow it. As an individual, this site will help by nurturing your launch and helping you avoid expensive mistakes or pitfalls along the way. It’s a great opportunity to get signed up for free courses and get certified in key business skills. Each course is done by an expert in that particular field with a wealth of experience.

Home Biz Women – This is an ideal site for women in business who want to receive mentoring and training to fulfil their ambitions. Think of this site like a personal assistant, who will help you discover and build your own unique home based business. The site can also provide inspiration for new business ideas and help you earn an income faster.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) = For any UK business, this should be a familiar website for a mountain of information. It explains in detail everything you need to know about all areas of tax, employer guidelines, VAT and self-employment. HMRC make it easy for you to register for self-assessment so you can deal with your income and expenditure in a simple way, submitting your details online.

Jessica Chivers – Jessica is the thinking woman’s coach and she will help you get started in business. She’s a coach, author and speaker who demonstrates her knowledge and expertise through blogging and workshops. For any woman starting in business, it is worth considering a little coaching time to accelerate performance and smooth out the stress of going it alone. If anything, it will especially help you with time management and business pitching.

High Speed training – This website provides online training courses for businesses and individuals that are easy to use, simple to manage and cost effective. They specialise in areas of compliance, such as health and safety training or food hygiene. E-learning is ideal for learning from any location, at any time and you can receive the certificates through the post to put up in your workplace or show to customers.

Look out soon for part 5……..

the OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 3
November 14, 2013
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Part of making a business work and enabling growth is to attend networking events. This is not only an opportunity to learn how you can improve your skills, knowledge or business cashflow but also a chance to meet like-minded business people. Many of these sites provide regular free events, which are fantastic for startups to find their feet and get the ball rolling.

Canada Business Ontario – This site is worth joining for business information and networking events, with representatives from government and non-profit organisations. There are information officers who are willing to help with your query easily over the phone and there is access to secondary market research. This is ideal for demographic data, essential for business plan resources that are right at your fingertips.

City Local – This is a UK business directory and guidance website. It’s ideal for finding businesses in your local area and connecting with them. If you are looking to get your business seen, then you can register it on here and get it featured with your latest promotions. City Local is also a franchise and it’s a good business opportunity for anyone looking to increase their income and help local businesses.

ECA Business Services – This is essential for anyone wanting to register a limited company in a simple way. On this site, it’s possible to use a name check service to see what’s available and then choose a package with optional products and services before completing the process. This site makes it easy, fast and efficient to get your company name filed at companies’ house.

The Emigration Group – Those of us that are planning on a new life down under should make use of the resources within this site before you pack your bags. Emigration can provide you with an amazing new life but to make it a reality, contact The Emigration Group about gaining a visa or finding work in Australia or New Zealand. They have offices in the UK too and provide services that are tailored to your circumstances.

Enterprising women – As a woman in business, there is fantastic help and support from others out there. Enterprising women is one of those sites that supports, connects and empowers women in business. They aim to inspire, share good practice and help you promote yourself. It’s good to belong to a site like this that cares about you and collaborates with you on ideas. It’s also good to read success stories from others in similar circumstances.

Look out soon for part 4……..

the OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 2
November 13, 2013
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In today’s digital world, getting started in business is a lot easier than it used to be. The internet has opened up the world as a marketplace and for some businesses anyone can be a customer, worldwide. The internet also allows us to access information rapidly so that we can dedicate time elsewhere and grow at a quicker rate. Despite this, there are still regulations and procedures to follow in each country, which the sites below will help you with.

Business Wales – Wales is a beautiful country but even in the most remote places, as a business you will require a helpful local resource. This provides help with starting up from funding to government initiatives and loans. This site will be beneficial to all Wales business owners, especially if you are interested in information, guidance and advice on starting, growing or simply running your business effectively. The site is full of useful articles but you can also arrange a time to meet them face to face.

Auckland Business – Auckland is a great city for business and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is Auckland’s economic growth agency, who basically makes it easy to run your business. They help with startup and growth in key industries. This site is useful for reviewing case studies from others in a similar line of work to you and catching up on local news, which you could share via social media. There are also upcoming events, which are excellent for networking with others, increasing your knowledge and finding potential customers.

Canada Business – If your business is based in Canada then you’ll be relieved to know that help is close by. In terms of starting, planning, financing, managing and growing your business in Canada, this network will be a great resource. It provides regular shareable content, which informs you of latest business developments and government initiatives and regulations.

Alberta Business – For those in Alberta, this site, supported by the local Business Link has many useful tools for businesses. There are interesting links to articles on things like creating videos, podcasts, or Facebook pages for your business. There is also an area to share your input within an integrated, collaborative and client focused community network.

New Zealand, Ministry of Business - This site is valuable for anyone wanting to get started in business in New Zealand. There are excellent resources to download such as business plan templates, infographics and pdf documents or fact sheets. This is particularly good if you want to manage employees effectively and deal with tax or government regulations. There are also details for those who want to leave or sell a business, with a clear guide for the process.

Look out soon for part 3……..

the OM Team

The a2z of useful websites for Startups – Part 1
November 12, 2013
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As a business startup, you should be embracing self-help opportunities wherever and whenever you can. Running a business can be a big learning curve and some of the most successful entrepreneurs have had to learn from their mistakes and grow stronger. There is a mountain of information and help out there for startups and so we have compiled this list of 100 of the most useful websites.

Citizens’ advice bureau – The Citizens Advice Bureau provides self-help information to help you solve problems. This site is recommended for free, confidential, and impartial advice, with quick easy-to-print fact sheets on a range of topics. Be aware of what you need to think about if you are starting your own business. Find out about training, how to trade, managing money, premises, health and safety and employing people.

Santander – Managing your money doesn’t have to be a problem within your business. Santander offer advice about starting in business with free guides on a variety of topics including how to create a business plan, calculating costs and marketing your business. They also have deals on mobile card readers to make it easy for customers to pay you when you are out and about.

Association of Scottish business women – The ASB supports business and professional women throughout Scotland. There are many national events for linking and connecting with other women in business and there are opportunities for national recognition through their awards. A great opportunity for startups to voice their opinions for your industry and strengthen working relationships with others in similar organisations.

Barclays Bank – Barclays offer great price plans for business customers. Their business banking is shaped around you and  your needs. Whether it’s taking card payments face to face, through your website or via a mobile phone app, they’ve got it covered. You can even join an online community of like-minded business owners and even find customers.

Business Gateway – A wealth of resources to get your startup mind focused. Deepen your understanding about what is required for starting up in business, how to find funding and most importantly how to grow and improve. The site is excellent for reading case studies about other business owners in your industry and there are regular free event workshops to cover everything you need to know about key elements of business planning.

It is worth spending time looking at each of these websites, particularly in the early stages of your business planning. Therefore you can be as prepared as possible when it comes to hitting the ground running when you are ready to promote your products or services.

Look out soon for part 2……..

the OM Team