Creating a start-up always involves plenty of challenges, comprehensive planning and risk taking, and this is never truer than in London. The UK capital may be renowned for being a financial hub and hotbed for businesses, but it is also associated with high costs and competition, which can be damaging for start-ups. However, research has found that London has better business survival rates than Berlin, Paris and Brussels. Ensure your start-up continues this trend, survives and thrives with the following advice.
“You need money to make money,” as the old saying goes. When starting a business, plenty of capital is required to cover various essential costs such as:
- Office space
- Equipment (computers, printers etc.)
- Staff salaries
- Insurance and legal fees
- Website design/hosting
In London, such costs can be higher than other areas of the country, especially when it comes to buying or renting office space. There are various grants, loans and funding opportunities available to start-ups which can cover or partially help with these vital costs. The UK government offers start-up grants and loans, often dependent on the sector in which the business is based. Grants are the best option, where possible, as they do not have to be repaid.
Setting up a start-up doesn’t mean you have to buy or rent overpriced office space. Many businesses use virtual offices, providing them with the professionalism of an esteemed London address but without all the extortionate costs. Then they either work from home or use office space on a pay as they use basis.
However, when it comes to meeting clients, investors and others, to maintain a professional image you need somewhere to hold your meetings. citizenM offer some high quality meeting rooms in the heart of London with excellent views, free Wi-Fi, food and drink, so you can really impress future staff, clients and investors.
In the early stages it is important to cut back on costs where possible, without damaging the quality of the products or services your business is creating. As well as avoiding expensive office space, other overheads can be acquired in a cost-effective manner.
For computers and electronic equipment, seek it out second hand rather than purchasing everything brand new. Alternatively, as everyone has a laptop nowadays, ask your staff to bring in their own (by offering an incentive). Only pay for overheads which you are going to use too, a start-up with five staff doesn’t need more than one printer, for example.
Build a Strong Team
London is home to over eight million inhabitants, and while they are definitely not all of working age, it provides a huge pool of talent to help build an excellent team. Advertising in the right places can ensure you discover the best staff who are passionate about your business.
Depending on the industry, you may also be able to make use of free or cheap interns, especially given the vast number of students, universities and colleges there are in the capital. This is by no means a long-term solution, but it can be cost-effective in the first few months.
Prepare for Volatility
Be prepared. Especially with the ongoing Brexit negotiations, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding London’s future. While every industry goes through ups and downs, so you need to be financially and mentally prepared for future challenges. Create a back-up plan in the event that you lose significant customers or clients, both to deal with such a blow financially and on a day-to-day basis.
If you follow these snippets of advice then creating a start-up that survives the competitive, unpredictable yet potentially rewarding London landscape is definitely achievable.
How to Develop Your Leadership Skills
Leadership is a valuable skills in business, the workplace, and a great skill to have on your CV as well. It can never hurt to develop these skills, and improve your yourself and your prospects too. There are loads of ways you can develop the skills you have, and there are lots of skills you can start to develop immediately. Whatever strength of weaknesses you have, you can improve these and develop so many more skills. Having better leadership skills can benefit you in so many ways. Anything from improving your relations at work, to improving your chances of getting a job you really want. Developing these skills can lead to many kinds of opportunities too, you never know where it might lead. Whether you are starting your own business, or you want to motivate young people, there is so much to learn and utilize when it comes to your leadership skills. Here are just a few ideas to get you started, and get you thinking about how you can go about improving your skill set. Whoever you are, and however many leadership skills you possess, there are ideas here for everyone. Read on to find out how you can become a better leader, and how you can do that today, because there are so many benefits for you and the people around you.
Get Inspired By Leadership
There will definitely be someone you know, or maybe even a celebrity, that is a good leader and you look up to. Knowing what a good leader is, and figuring out how they are a good leader as well, can be really useful when trying to develop your own leadership skills. There are so many great leaders, and many come in the form of politicians. Why not look up people like Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi, or even Barack Obama. Looking up interviews and researching people that you find inspiring and emotive, are great ways to get started.
There are so many talks by leaders on youtube, and you can watch back and analyze their skills, and at what point the crowd felt their words. The best way to develop your own leadership skills is to find out what kind of leaders inspire you, and learn from their skills. Take your time to research and see what you find inspiring, and work on these skills to develop your own leadership. It is also great to have someone to look up to, and that can remind you of the goals you have in mind for yourself. This constant reminder can be a great help when you feel particularly challenged, or you want to stop learning about leadership for whatever reason. Inspirational leaders can always benefit your own leadership skills.
Become a Part of a Team
Before you can start thinking about being a good leader, you have to learn about what it is like to be part of a team. Being a team member has a lot of transferable skills to leadership, and understanding how to be part of a team can help you to understand team mentality. You can start by doing something as simple as volunteering at your local soup kitchen, or clean up the environment in your local area. Team sports are great as well, because the teams morale and leader, play a key part in how the team can play, and how they can bounce back from defeats.
Once you learn how to be part of a team, you will get to experience leadership first hand. All kinds of leadership is valuable, whether that be good or bad leaders. Bad leadership can teach you what effect this can have on a team, and ways in which you could handle things differently. Maybe a coach was too critical when helping a player improve their performance, and should have given motivating and positive. Learning from experiences like this gives you an idea of what it is to be a good leader, and how you can go about achieving these things.
Once you learn how to be a good team player, you will be well on your way to being a successful leader. So many things like supporting teammates, communicating effectively, and knowing how to function as part of a team, you will be well on your way to being a great leader. Understanding how a team works, is valuable when wanting to lead one, and when you want to learn how to motivate and unite people.
Everyone is Different
Although there are a few key skills that leaders have, like communication, emotive speaking, and a genuine concern for others, everyone’s style of leadership is different. Once you develop your skill set, you will start to figure out what style of leadership works best for you and those around. Of course this might change from situation to situation, and can depend on who you are leading too. Developing your own style, and utilizing your strengths is a great place to start. Things that you might consider your weaknesses, will soon turn out to be your strengths. Perhaps public speaking is something you find difficult, so you keep working on this. If you work on thins time and time again, with practise this skill will develop and soon you will be doing it with ease. The things you overcome on your way to becoming a better leader makes you human, and can be great for people to relate to, and a reason people will look up to you as well.
There are so many benefits to developing your leadership skills, and doing so can open many doors for you. It can improve your chances of getting that job you want, or improve relations with your own employees. It is great to start with looking at great leaders with fantastic skills, that can inspire you, and give you ideas of some skills and techniques you can try out. There are many styles, so try out different skills and see what works for you. There are many styles out there, and many of them could work for you.
Dropshipping: How to start a hands-free online business
No inventory, no headaches. This is the basic fonament of dropshipping selling model, so If you are thinking to start a new business from home, in this article we analyze the main advantages and disadvantage of drop shipping.
Dropshipping can be a real way to make a little bit of money on the side, all you have to do is work hard and choose a product of your interest as health and beauty, video games, wholesale gadget parts, music, candles or whatever you like yourself.
But, how dropshipping works? There are three different parts to this business model, the suppliers, the e-commerce store or dropshipper and the final customer. And four steps to make it all work together.
In the first place, you will have to list the supplier product on your e-commerce store for customers to buy. Afterwards and in second place, the customer can purchase something from your e-commerce store. The third step comes when you order that same exact product that the customer paid for, from your supplier. So finally your drop shipping supplier will ship this product directly to your final customer, and they will receive the item that they have ordered from your e-commerce store.
Easy right? You will receive the money you sold your product for and the supplier will charge you the wholesale price. So your profit will be the difference between the retail price and the wholesale price that you will pay to your dropshipping suppliers.
How to find products to sell online?
It is time to find products to sell and push for those items you think will succeed and customers will purchase. A good way to start is by importing items from China which will translate into better profits for your e-commerce.
China brands and chinese dropshippers are becoming very popular because they wholesale products with high-profit potential, as a double stereo Bluetooth with DSP for 27.62 dollars, that it can be sold for the retail price of 46.95 dollars. The benefit will be huge.
Or a popular set of knives ship free, a good opportunity to increase your earnings and avoid to invest in shipping. This little opportunity will make the difference in your new e-commerce. Millions of people buy knives every day as they are incredibly useful in the kitchen and required for many outdoor activities like trekking, camping or scuba diving.
Disadvantages and advantages of Drop Shipping
Even If the high-profit opportunities exist, they are not common. In general, low margins are the biggest disadvantage of operating in a highly competitive niche. E-commerce stores need so little in getting the business started, that they can afford to operate in such a low margins.
The inventory issues are another disadvantage of drop shipping. When you are sourcing from multiples suppliers, inventory changes on a daily basis, but to mitigate this problem you can start stocking some of your items. Shipping complexities If you work with multiple warehouses and supplier errors fulfilling the orders can be also tricky to face.
However, the benefits can be very good If you want to make it work and you have the time to invest. The biggest advantage of drop shipping is that you can launch an e-commerce store without having to invest much money in front. With this business model, you don’t have to purchase an item unless you already made the sale and the final customer has paid.
It is possible to work from anywhere as long as you have the internet connection, so make sure you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily. Another big advantage is that is easy to scale, as most of the work to process additional orders will be borne by the suppliers, allowing you to expand and create a better customer service and build the base of a good marketing strategy. So as the popular saying proclaims, If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
Managing A Renovation Project
Starting a renovation project can be a big challenge. It is not as simple as the shows you see on TV, a huge amount of planning, legal stuff and sourcing goes on before the work even begins.
Managing a project like this can be a complex affair which is why you need to make sure you know exactly what to do at every stage, and leave no stone unturned.
Assess the Building’s Condition
Before you start to plan a renovation project you will need to know exactly what you are dealing with. You will need to visit the site and run a full check to see if the building is structurally sound, if the foundations are stable and what cosmetic touches you will need to do.
When you have assessed the current situation of the property you intend to work on, you will also want to make sure that no further damage occurs as you prepare for starting work on the project. You may need to put up scaffolding to keep the building supported or board out floors and the roof to prevent damp getting in.
Check for Grants
It is not likely that you will get a grant for your restoration project, but it is certainly worth looking into. If the building you are working on is listed you may be given funding to carry out the work and make sure that the building’s integrity is kept.
Apply for Permission
One of the most boring and long winded parts of renovation is getting the permission to carry out the work in the first place. As soon as you know you want to start a project, get your application for planning permission, listed building consent and any other things in. It may take a few weeks for the results to come back so it is always worth doing it as soon as you can.
The first thing you will need to do in terms of working on the property is making sure that the building has water, electrics and gas supplies- as well as being weatherproof. It may take some installation, plastering and insulating to get the building ready for the rest of the work you plan to do.
There may be certain parts of the building that you plan on knocking down and salvaging, so once you’ve stabilised the main structure you can go ahead and do the groundwork.
Issues with Damp
If you are working on an old building, you will find that it is much more likely to be damp than a more modern one. This is because older buildings are made with solid walls. Because of this there is no airflow going through the bricks and therefore condensation builds up much more easily causing damp and mould to grow. To get rid of the damp you may need to call someone in to help you identify the source and to seal up any potential holes for water to enter the home.
Sometimes you may find that the drainage around the property is damaged or blocked- and this can be another cause of damp in the home due to water becoming logged underneath the foundations. You will also want to check what’s connected to which part of the house, and you can do this by putting different coloured food dye down the sink and having someone inside a manhole seeing where the water comes out. It will show you whether your drains are in working order or if they are blocked.
With a large project like this you will need lots of heavy equipment and machinery. Make sure that you have the ability to get the large diggers and other machines to the site without being an inconvenience to the surrounding public.
It is not easy to manage a full group of trade people, but it will be required if you are to work on a large project. If you are going to be overseeing the development of a home extension or a large row of homes, you will need to make sure that before the work begins you lay out the guidelines, safety laws and provide training to your workers. If anyone gets injured during the construction they could go to a lawyer like Hofmann & Schweitzer if you do not take the time to write down every regulation. It could be worth going over it with a lawyer before your employees sign it.
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