Market Insights

In these uncertain times it is more important than ever to learn best practise from other entrepreneurial businesses and market experts. We’ve interviewed some fascinating people who share their thoughts and experiences here.

How to bid for a new contract

How to bid for a new contract

Understanding how to bid for a new contract can spell the difference between success and failure, says David Gray, managing director of B2B bid consultants AM Bid.

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How to use your existing customers to attract new business

How to use your existing customers to attract new business

If you are smart you can get your existing customers to do a lot of the hard work of bringing new customers to your business, says Debbie Gainsford, a marketing and career coach who works with SMEs.

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How to get better at selling

How to get better at selling

Many small business owners shy away from the idea of selling, but without sales your business would not exist so it is time to get better at it, says sales expert Charlie Day

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How to improve your chances of attracting early-stage investing

How to improve your chances of attracting early-stage investing

There is much you can do to improve the likelihood of your business attracting early-stage investing, says Miruna Girtu, venture partner at SyndicateRoom, an early stage venture fund.

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How to implement a wellbeing programme

How to implement a wellbeing programme

Introducing a wellbeing programme can help your business as well as your employees by boosting productivity and attracting new talent, says business coach James Davis, founder of The Midlife Mentors, an online coaching business.

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How to have difficult conversations with employees

How to have difficult conversations with employees

No business leader wants to have difficult conversations with their employees but learning how to conduct them in a timely and effective way makes it better for everyone, says Nicole Posner, a communication and conflict specialist.

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How to make the most of your tax situation

How to make the most of your tax situation

Understanding your tax situation at each stage of your business life cycle can make a big difference to your fortunes, says Mark Kearsley, tax partner at DSG Chartered Accountants.

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How to improve your chances of getting venture capital funding

How to improve your chances of getting venture capital funding

Getting funding can be hard, especially for female founders, but there is support available, says Helen Oldham, Co-founder of Fund Her North, an organisation which helps female business founders in the North of England access finance.

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How to protect your business idea

How to protect your business idea

When you are starting out in business it is important to take steps to ensure that your big idea does not become someone else’s big idea, says Shireen Smith, an intellectual property lawyer and founder of Azrights, an IP consultancy.

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How to create a website that brings in more business

How to create a website that brings in more business

Making a few small tweaks to your website can significantly improve your sales from customers if you do it in the right way, says website designer Marie Brown.

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How to use voice tech to communicate better with customers

How to use voice tech to communicate better with customers

A growing number of SMEs are switching to cloud-based phone systems because it enables them to communicate better with their customers, says cloud expert Chris Steele at telecoms company T2k.

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How to use technology to automate your business

How to use technology to automate your business

Using technology to automate repetitive business processes will give you more time to focus on areas that actually make you money and help your business grow faster, says business improvement consultant Elle Baldry.

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How to incorporate tech into your business

How to incorporate tech into your business

Technology can be a great tool to help you grow your business, but you need to incorporate it properly otherwise you won’t reap the benefits, says Marilyn Devonish, founder of coaching and training business TranceFormationstm.com.

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How to make your marketing more effective

How to make your marketing more effective

There are several simple steps you can take to improve your marketing and help your business grow faster, says Sophie Badoux, a marketing consultant who helps small businesses.

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How to land a retail deal

How to land a retail deal

It's easier to persuade a retailer to stock your product if you do your homework first, says Rebecca Saunders, a former buyer at John Lewis who now runs Seekology, which sells independent beauty and wellbeing brands online and in pop up shops.

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How to increase your prices

How to increase your prices

Many SMEs charge too little for their products and services but you need to make good profits to be able to grow your business so it might be time to put up your prices, says business coach Robin Waite.

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How to be an ethically responsible business

How to be an ethically responsible business

Customers and employees are increasingly looking to align themselves with businesses that are doing the right thing, says Danielle Thompson, founder of Sustainablee, a consultancy helping small businesses become ethically responsible.

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How to manage younger employees

How to manage younger employees

Younger employees demand different things from employers than older workers so it is critical that you create a great working environment for them otherwise they will leave, says public relations expert Mark Borkowski.

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How to network effectively

How to network effectively

Networking can be daunting, particularly as we are out of practise at meeting in person, but it can pay dividends for your business growth, says Laurel Alper, founder of Laurel Leaf Networking.

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How to create diversity of thought

How to create diversity of thought

Groupthink is a trap and businesses do far better when there is diversity of thought, says Neil Bradbrook, managing director of Ahead Business Consulting.

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How to get the legal stuff right

How to get the legal stuff right

Getting the legal foundations in place can save you time, headaches and money - and help your business grow faster, says Laura Brunnen, former City lawyer and founder of The Legal Strategist, a legal consultancy for small businesses.

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How to differentiate your business from its competitors

How to differentiate your business from its competitors

There are several simple steps you can take to make your business stand out from the crowd, says Lidia Rumley, brand consultant and founder of The Brand Storyteller.

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How to create a culture that drives growth

How to create a culture that drives growth

Creating the right culture in your business can have a huge impact on its ability to grow, says Annabelle Beckwith, founder of business coaching business Yara Journeys.

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How to be an effective leader

How to be an effective leader

Anyone has the potential to become an effective leader but you need to go about it in the right way in order to get the best results, says empowerment coach Nicola Harker.

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How to develop your team

How to develop your team

No matter how busy you and your business are, it is important to make time to train and develop your team, says leadership coach Lauren Paton, founder of Unleashed Coaching + Reprogramming

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How to recruit well

How to recruit well

Recruiting the right people to your team will make an enormous difference to your ability to grow your business, says inclusive leadership specialist and former recruiter Jackie Handy.

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How to see the bigger picture

How to see the bigger picture

It is vital to take the time to regularly step out of your business so you can work on it as well as in it, because that will enable your business to grow, says business mentor and entrepreneur Emma Warren.

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How to use your time better

How to use your time better

Squeezing more out your day will help your business grow faster, says Lucinda Bray, a business mentor and founder of Future Simple, an online software business which helps business owners manage their time better.

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Jo Britton, PACE development

Jo Britton, PACE development

SME Leaders need to take active steps to avoid burnout in these challenging times, says Jo Britton, a coach who works with entrepreneurs and business leaders through her consultancy PACE Development.

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James Davis, Positive Momentum

James Davis, Positive Momentum

Selling your business can be a stressful experience but there are ways to make the process go more smoothly and maximise the value, says James Davis, a former private equity-backed CFO who is now advisor to venture capital investor BGF and partner at Positive Momentum, a management consultancy.

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Stuart James, MM&K

Stuart James, MM&K

Bringing an outsider in to run the business that you have lovingly created from scratch can be really stressful – and that’s before you have worked out how much you need to pay them to get them on board. Stuart James of remuneration specialists MM&K explains how to deal with the process.

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How to structure your tax affairs effectively to enable your business to grow

How to structure your tax affairs effectively to enable your business to grow

Structuring your business tax affairs in the right way can not only save your business thousands of pounds, it can also be a catalyst for growth, says Praveen Gupta, National Head of Tax at Azets, the UK's largest regional SME Accounting and Business Advisory firm.

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Alex Read, VGC Partners

Alex Read, VGC Partners

The pandemic is inspiring and driving greater innovation amongst entrepreneurial businesses, says Alex Read, Director of New Investments at private equity firm VGC Partners.

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Phil Adams, GCA Altium

Phil Adams, GCA Altium

Understanding the data that your business generates can pay big dividends, says Phil Adams, CEO of GCA Altium, a global advisory business.

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Heather Astbury, The Reputation People

Heather Astbury, The Reputation People

Keep communicating with your customers even if you don’t have much to say, says Heather Astbury, Managing Director and Co-founder of The Reputation People, a reputation management and communications agency.

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Mark Sellers, TalkTalk Business Direct

Mark Sellers, TalkTalk Business Direct

Many businesses are likely to adopt a permanent hybrid model for how their employees work as we emerge from the pandemic, says Mark Sellers, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business Direct.

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Drew Ellis, Founder of Like Minds

Drew Ellis, Founder of Like Minds

Online networking will never be as effective as networking in-person and SME leaders should throw themselves back into it as soon as they are able to, says Drew Ellis, Founder of Like Minds, an events business which runs online and live networking and thought leadership events.

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How to use technology to grow your business

How to use technology to grow your business

Technology is faster, cheaper and easier to implement that ever before and ambitious businesses should be constantly looking at how it can help them power ahead, says Fraser Campbell, UK Head of Accounts and Business Advisory Services at Azets, the UK's largest regional SME Accounting and Business Advisory firm.

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Aman Behzad, Royal Park Partners

Aman Behzad, Royal Park Partners

If you have an exciting and ambitious financial technology business then equity investors are queueing up to back you, says Aman Behzad, Managing Partner of Royal Park Partners, a corporate finance advisory firm which focuses on helping fintech companies find equity funding.

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Stuart Ross, High Growth

Stuart Ross, High Growth

Businesses should act now to prepare for the transition out of the Covid pandemic, says Stuart Ross, CEO of High Growth, a coaching business which helps high growth SMEs scale up.

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How to determine and obtain the right type of finance to support growth

How to determine and obtain the right type of finance to support growth

There are more funding options available to SMEs than ever before so it is important you choose the right one for your business, says Nick Parrett, partner at Azets, the UK's largest regional SME Accounting and Business Advisory firm.

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Rosemarie Diegnan, co-Founder of Wazoku

Rosemarie Diegnan, co-Founder of Wazoku

The best ideas about how to grow your business could be sitting right in front of you, says Rosemarie Diegnan, co-Founder and Chief Strategy & Product Officer at Wazoku, an idea management and open innovation software company.

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How to build the right team to support growth

How to build the right team to support growth

When you are growing a business it is vital to recruit a team that will continue to help you to achieve success, says Hannah-Jane Dobbie, Head of HR Consultancy at Azets, the UK's largest regional SME Accounting and Advisory firm.

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John Spencer, BizSpace

John Spencer, BizSpace

SMEs are increasingly looking local to build their supply chains and customer base in the wake of Covid and Brexit, says John Spencer, Chief Executive of BizSpace, a provider of flexible workshop and office space for SMEs.

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Ben O’Brien, ID Card Centre

Ben O’Brien, ID Card Centre

Businesses should harness the power of technology to help ensure the safety of their employees when they return to the workplace, says Ben O’Brien, Managing Director of ID Card Centre, an access control provider.

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Rupa Shinh, Tech investor

Rupa Shinh, Tech investor

Businesses which can provide technology-led solutions to the challenges of a post-Covid world are of great interest to investors right now, says Rupa Shinh, a serial entrepreneur, established board advisor and an investor in technology businesses.

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John Wood, Kitchen CUT

John Wood, Kitchen CUT

Technology looks set to be the hospitality industry’s new best friend as it cautiously feels its way through and out of the Covid pandemic, says John Wood, Co-Founder of Kitchen CUT, which provides management software to the hospitality industry.

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Fran Quilty, Conjura

Fran Quilty, Conjura

Businesses that fail to establish a strong online presence are really going to suffer as newcomers disrupt their markets in the wake of the Covid pandemic, says Fran Quilty, the CEO and co-founder of Conjura, a customer data analytics business.

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Richard Alberg, MWS Technology

Richard Alberg, MWS Technology

The Covid pandemic will create amazing business opportunities for entrepreneurs as markets adapt to new demands from customers, says serial entrepreneur Richard Alberg, CEO and Founder of MWS Technology, which provides technology to training providers.

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Victoria Williams, terptree

Victoria Williams, terptree

The Covid pandemic has caused firms to be more understanding of their customers’ disabilities and think harder about how they can serve them better, says Victoria Williams, Founder and CEO of terptree, which advises businesses on deaf employee and customer experience.

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Julia Langkraehr, Bold Clarity

Julia Langkraehr, Bold Clarity

Businesses need to make faster decisions even if they are not 100% sure they are right because markets and sectors are changing very quickly during the pandemic, says Julia Langkraehr, Founder of Bold Clarity, which provides support for entrepreneurial firms.

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Tom Raymond, Armstrong

Tom Raymond, Armstrong

The private equity market is the busiest it has been for 20 years as investors seek out businesses with potential, says Tom Raymond, the Founder and Chair of Armstrong, which provides commercial due diligence for private equity investors.

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Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation

Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation

The businesses which are surviving the Covid pandemic best are those which are financially fit, have good digital awareness and a strong support network, says Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, a small business network.

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Christian Vaughan, Disguise

Christian Vaughan, Disguise

The best way for a business to survive the pandemic is to rip up any plans they previously had, says Christian Vaughan, the Chief Marketing Officer at Disguise, which makes technology for live and virtual shows.

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Scott English, CEMG

Scott English, CEMG

The last few months have been tough but there are several key steps entrepreneurial businesses can take right now to stay on track, says Scott English, Brand Director of CEMG, a publishing company which provides publications and events for entrepreneurs.

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Philip Newborough, Bridges Fund Management

Philip Newborough, Bridges Fund Management

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the importance of purpose-led businesses in driving positive change in our society, says Philip Newborough, co-Founder and co-CEO of Bridges Fund Management, the impact investment firm.

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Sean Williams, Corndel

Sean Williams, Corndel

Entrepreneurs are inherent problem solvers, says Sean Williams, the Founder and CEO of Corndel, a leadership and technology training company whose clients include a third of the FTSE100. He shares his thoughts on the outlook for growing businesses.

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Sean Longsdale, Santander

Sean Longsdale, Santander

Sean Longsdale is Managing Director of the Structured Finance Group at Santander Corporate & Commercial. He shares his thoughts about how businesses of all sizes can stay ahead during these challenging times.

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Vic Miller, Brandwatch

Vic Miller, Brandwatch

Vic Miller is Vice President of Global Comms at Brandwatch, a digital consumer intelligence company that helps brands listen to and understand what is being said about them and their markets online. She speaks to businesses of all sizes every day and shares her insights.

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Mayank Patel

Mayank Patel

Mayank Patel OBE is Founder of Currencies Direct, a finance business which he sold for more than £200 million. He now helps budding student entrepreneurs as Leadership Mentor in Residence at Birmingham University and is on the advisory board at Cranfield University.

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Tom Ricca-McCarthy, Lucidity

Tom Ricca-McCarthy, Lucidity

Tom Ricca-McCarthy is co-Founder of Lucidity, a software platform which helps SMEs build and execute their growth strategy. He mentors early-stage businesses and is well placed to understand the impact the pandemic is having on small businesses.

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