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Setting up a small business? Read this!

Here at FSB, we’re 100 per cent committed to helping your small business get off to a flying start, so make a note of these tips to give yourself the maximum chance of success.

You’re going to need a computer - actually, it’s not even so much the computer, it’s the software you need. You don’t want your business seizing up before it’s started, because your PC has been hacked by a virus and you’ve lost your invoices. You need anti-virus software, and an up-to-date operating system to keep the nasties at bay.

For vital information, such as invoicing and your financial records, you may need a proper small business accounts package, rather than just Excel. Again, that’s going to need an up-to-date operating system on your PC. The cost of the computer will be repaid many times over by the efficiency gains that are possible with modern software, not to mention the apps that are available.

Setting up a small business? Read this!

Many small business owners are out and about during the day, staying in touch with their base by mobile - or in some cases these days not actually having a base apart from their home. The mobile phone is becoming the portable business office, with email as the key link. You can write a document in Word or Excel, mail it to yourself and you’ve got it available all day on your smart phone. 

In fact many phones can now give you direct access to professional office apps. Customers can mail you photos of what they want, you can mail them photos of what you offer. The phone’s Gallery can be a superb pocket-sized brochure at nil cost to you. 

And consider trademarking your business name, to protect your unique business identity.

It’s not surprising, given the variety of communication methods available, that customers expect equal flexibility when it comes to payments. A mobile payment terminal is a must for most businesses now. In fact a mobile credit card terminal can increase your customer base, speed up transactions and reduce cumbersome processing of cash and cheques. Mobile card payment terminals are by no means as expensive as they used to be. Check out FSB’s offer, specially adapted for small businesses.

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram aren't just for the celebrity-mad. Facebook is primarily an advertising medium, and for many people today, Facebook is the internet. They only go online via Facebook. So even if you don’t want to post pictures of yourself, do set up a page for your business, and do start linking to other pages. This will build up your network of potential customers and other business relations. 

Twitter is ideal for building engagement, which is incredibly important! You can use those short messages to keep in touch with your customers, and to let them know about special offers, new products and so on. Those in the fashion and restaurant business will already be familiar with Instagram, but if your business depends on visual appeal rather than words, think about trying to build an Instagram following. 

Similarly, Pinterest is loved by the creative industries. So think about where to put your social networking effort, stay focused, and you could well find a whole new way of contacting potential customers.

At the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), we give our members the opportunity to meet other like-minded business owners. We regularly hold networking events throughout the 33 regions across the UK. This could give you the chance to make the valuable business connections that you've been looking for. Take a look at our comprehensive member benefits or sign up using our online portal and become a member today. 

Start-up Business Advice from FSB

Got a question you can't answer? Our Start-up Business Advice line agents will answer a whole range of business questions through our dedicated, unlimited use helpline.

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