Category Archives: grants

TRY THESE TOP 10 DISRUPTIVE SME BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES FOR 2022

Every New Year I have always checked for the top business growth tips and trends.

This year I have decided to present my own because we the business community are still living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, fear, transformation, deception, confusion, and outright disruption of the old ways of doing business.

I am Diane Shawe founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd (which I gave birth to during the first lockdown) and author of ‘Answer 77 Questions about your business to avoid business failure’ shares her top small business growth strategies for the year ahead.

2021 has been a year of rapid transformation across all industries as the business community has dealt with shifting customer buying activities and economic challenges, as well as mitigating hot-button issues such as the pandemic and people’s changing conception of work life balance. In a year filled with change, there are some trends which are going to be firmly fixed into 2022 that you and your business should seriously build into your growth plans.

To lead your business in the right direction as we head into 2022, here are my humble 10 small business growth strategies.[

1. Prioritise your business culture

Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been dealing with “The Great Resignation” as workers are quitting their jobs at record-high rates. One of the reasons for this is that people are changing their definitions of what they consider a healthy work-life balance and what they want in a company culture.

“The pandemic has shifted the way people incorporate work into their life, whether it’s moving to another county for cheaper housing or not going into the office every day and getting the opportunity to do remote or hybrid work,” Diane states.

Diane goes on further to state that “Not all solutions are made equal, and culture is now a part of that. “A big factor for employees, in addition to salary and benefits, is culture, so have a culture strategy in place.”

2. Consider hiring more freelance workers

The number of gig workers, freelancers and contractors has grown exponentially over the last few years and they make up a large portion of workers within the current market.

“Small business owners will now be able to bring in more specialised freelance workers to carry out tasks without having to deal with the hiring and training costs that are often associated with recruiting a full-time employee,” said Diane. “With the importance of being agile in today’s economic environment … as well as the rise of remote work, … skilled outsource

Peopleperhour.com and fiverr.com are great places to start.

3. Work with micro-influencers

While small businesses may be competing against larger businesses to work with online influencers, collaborating with micro-influencers is an option to consider.

“As influencer marketing is becoming more popular than ever… micro-influencers are going to be the best option for small businesses because they don’t cost as much and they are more open to collaborating with small businesses too,” explained Diane. “With a couple of these small influencers helping [your business] reach specific audiences, growth will not be an impossible feat in 2022.”

4. Leverage the way you supply your products and services.

Distributors and businesses across the country dealt with supply chain issues with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic disruptions. In 2022, businesses must be aware of scarcities within the supply chain and get ahead of manufacturing and transportation challenges by working collaboratively with their suppliers.

Checkout companies like Amazon who can provide a fulfillment service for your orders. Consider moving to a drop shipping manufacturer or warehouse so as to reduce your cash investment in slow moving stock.

5. Educate client and  partners your new paradigms

It’s important to inform your clients and partners about changes you’re making to better benefit your business across a shifting economic landscape. If the changes don’t land, it may be time to consider other options,

Many businesses are painfully aware how much the talent pool has changed. Working with potential employees, client partners to educate them on the new management styles needed, increased compensation packages and other aspects of recruitment and retention is very important.

6. Prepare for potential contracting opportunities

Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to research by iwoca – one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.

Analysis of Companies House data reveals that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32% from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.

London dominates list of areas to start a business

iwoca’s Small Business HotSpots UK 2021 reveals that Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than four and a half new firms every hour.

The second largest number of new businesses were registered in Hackney (13,646) followed by 10,151 in Westminster. London’s local authorities make up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504 businesses.

London saw over one third of the new registrations with 120,338, followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640). The capital city also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 of 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).

Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO and co-founder, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year, they are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.

“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cashflow. At iwoca we turn cashflow into a superpower enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”-

Why is such a growth happening?

A survey I read stated that 39% of people in current jobs are going to quit within the next 12 months, which is not great for an employer, but suggests a start of a business revolution is happening.

What advice would I give to somebody looking to start a business?

There is never a good time to do it and you just must go for it.  It’s all encompassing and it’s a phenomenon. I just decided to go for it in 2000 and have never looked back. However you can be clever about it though – can you cut down your hours in your current role or could you work part-time initially? Explore your options wisely.

7. Get creative on sales and marketing opportunities

The digital marketing landscape has become increasingly challenging due to congestion and evolving regulations, said Diane Shawe of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd

“This is forcing many traditionally digital companies to explore other sales channels and marketing strategies,” she said.

To mitigate these challenges, Shawe said her company is getting creative by helping other companies engage with A.I. Conversational Marketing Technologies with its engaging methods.

8. Widen your business’s online footprint

Small businesses must adapt and be “practical” when it comes to sales, as consumers continue to favor online and mobile shopping.

“Businesses need to widen their online footprint to gain a significant proportion of customers from the current market,” said Diane. “A simple way to sell products is to have a sellers account on your popular social media or estore platforms.  To sell services, … list [your company] on freelance and contract websites.” Also create a blog and YouTube website for reviewing products, testimonials, advice and tips. Become the expert in your field. Entry competitions, exhibitions, network meetings.

9. Learn video SEO strategies to rank higher on search engines

Video marketing has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy with the rise of live videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s estimated that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all consumer traffic. That’s why video SEO should be a top priority for businesses in 2022.

“Small businesses that incorporate short-form videos into their website posts will see more organic traffic coming from search engines,” explained Gilmour. “As TikTok continues to grow, search engine algorithms will shift to articles and posts that include short-form videos. Short-form videos from TikTok and YouTube may even become the main point of ‘how to’ searches.”

10. Utilise partnership marketing to reach a broader audience

Partnership marketing is a strategic collaboration that gives you and your partner company a chance to reach a wider audience together, explained Diane Shawe, founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd.

“Collaboration with another company can aid in the development of better marketing initiatives that benefit both parties, If your target clients are similar, you may pool your resources to better your marketing techniques, build your brands and expand your audience reach.”

Start to use smart customer acquisition techniques such as collaborating with discount giants such as wowcher, groupon or discount voucher websites to help get your business name, brand or services directly into potential customers mobile.

“Another example, if a consumer purchases a product from you, you can provide a discount coupon that they can use to purchase discounted products from your business partner,” said Diane. “Co-branding of a product or project can also boost both companies’ marketing power.”

Virtual Speedy Services Ltd is set up to provide a suite of services for Small and Medium size businesses to help them efficiently and quickly Setup or expand their business. Our core service is A.I technology by designing conversational marketing chatbots to generate quality business leads or engage online visitors in real time.   We populate and generate impressive business plan and 5 years projections for focus, raising finance along with smart eCommerce website, streamlined social media tools and an effective google verified website. We think of ourselves as your Virtual Personal Assistance who will help streamline your business development and growth without all the drama.

Let’s have a chat https://try-chatbots.virtualspeedyservices.uk

How to Avoid Business Startup Scams by Diane Shawe

Ten tips to prevent being scammed out of your money online when trying to setup a Business

Dont be afraid to start over again

It is now more than ever that anyone intending to set up a business must have built into the Business Startup DNA 7 disciplines.

1. Identify proper business advice or support
2. Take a short but credible Business Entrepreneur Course
3. Prepare a Business Plan and Cashflow Projections.
4. Setup Proper Legal Status, Bank and Merchant Account
5. Identify where you can apply for business startup funds and apply
6. Established Google verified Website & Social Media Links
7. Invest in effective Customer Aquisition online A.I technology

If you want to bypass these 7 disciplines, then you might be setting yourself up for failure and an empty bank account.

I have been in business for over 15 years. It is hard work, it takes resilience, the ability to adapt to change and short, medium and long term goal setting.  (Not forgetting stress, the losses and wins).

I use to help individuals and partners establish their business startup when I worked for the DTI Business Development department back in 1986. The government engaged in a big national campaign to get unemployment down and increase small business startups. We were very busy.

I learnt a lot about the challenges facing business owners and I can confirm that there is no shortcut, no quick rich route to establishing a solid business

Now everytime you switch on your phone, click on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram to name but a few, there is someone telling you how they made 5 or 6 figure income each month by just doing a few clicks and 3 hours a week work!  I suspect the reason most of them do this is because they are selling a replicatable business platform and each person who want to get involved needs to pay them several hundred pounds after you have been exhausted and convienced by a pretend training video which is just a long sales pitch! There I said it!

Even if you wanted to set up a online business, even if its a replicatable business, a amazon, ebay or spotify store I still beilieve that the 7 Business Startup DNA is essential so that you know where your going and not just sat there waiting for someone to come buy from your store.

According to a large Domain Name Registration Company there are over 9 million websites in the UK. Just let that sink in….and you would need to get people to it.

So my next point is how do you keep your hard earn money safe until you are really sure your making the right investment?

Study these ten simple tips to reduce the risk of being scams or fraudulently hoodwinked out of your finances just because your eager to start a business.

1. Be sceptical

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thoroughly question all:

Online or offline deals, propositions or
Quick money spinning Opportunities
Presented Documents
Request for or photo evidence of money transactions
Information and the source

Anything can be pulled up, designed, prepared and recommended to make something look impressive.

If you want more qualified leads test this online tool for free! https://bit.ly/34f9dNC

2. A Business Plan will help you know your business inside out

Have a thorough understanding of your business so you know:

How it will operates
What manpower or collaborators you will need
The products and services it provides
Your target market and your business SWOT
Your legal and regulatory obligations
Your financial Projections

This will help you realise immediately when something isn’t right when you talk to other businesses. If they cannot answer indept questions about their business and spend a lot of time blagging, don’t part with your money.

3. Find out about  suppliers and how they work

When you understand who you do business with you can spot any business request or transaction that looks wrong for that customer or supplier and may be fraudulent.

Conduct due diligence using a risk-based approach, such as checking the customer or supplier details you have on file, as well as online searches. Check the website links, don’t be drawn in by glossy spotify websites for instance, anyone can set one up in minutes, which is good for the industry, but also very helpful to dishonest people.

http://www.virtualpersonalassistance.com

4. Identify your vulnerability to fraud

Imagine how a fraudster might target you, both emotionally and motivationally. If you are desperate for instance to start making money, will that sway your judgement to be more risky? A business or marketing plan with your own financial projection will help keep you focused, on pointand strategic.

5. Develop a personal development strategy

It is easy to assum that if you have been working for a company for many years, or have just completed your degree, or you have had a hobby for years that setting up a business might be the next logical step especially if you want to change caeers or create work for yourself.

This is all fine, but it might be a good idea to take a credible short course in Business Management, Marketing, Social media, etc to increase your knowledge base and get up to date.

6. Take extra care against cyber attacks and data loss

With increasing threats from cybercrime, protect your mobile phone, tablet and computer. Try not to post your mobile number across the internet. For instance buy a skype number. Also if your working on projects make sure you back up your systems in the cloud in case things get lost or corrupted.

7. Protect your finances

Understand how money leaves your bank account and how hard it is to replace. A few thousand pounds in your bank account might seem like a lot, but when incorrectly invested or spent will have you kicking yourself after te event try to:

place the bulk of your money in a 30 days request account. This may help slow down any implusive purchases.

take time to study and understand the concept of Return on Investment. 

Take great care with anything offering continued electronic growth like bitcoin in exvhange for real cash and flashy websites with sophisticated algorhymes.

Invstigate if you can borrow money first and keep your cash for backup and liquidity. There is a saying, ‘Us other peoples money’

Try to use a different debit visa mastercard that you have to load up online from your bank account, this will help protect your own credit and debit card numbers from fraudsters.

Always check your bank statements.

8. Secure and protect your mobile and intellectual property

This includes laptops, computers, smartphones and intellectual property. Factor in home or business insurance to cover these items if they’re compromised, damaged or stolen.

It is also worth copy righting any itellectual property that you have designed or created. This can be for instance putting logos or watermarks, saving and sendind as pdf, taking videos with you working on your project or design etc.

9. Develop an action plan

Consider when you might need professional or legal advice. While prevention is better than cure, it’s important for you to design an action plan.

10. Avoid Duplicating, copying or forwarding anything online that is not your copyright

Cybercrime is real and you could find yourself accidentially committing or participating in a crime or even become a victim. Criminals are aware that word of mouth, recommendations and reviews achieved in your excitment can act as strong validation and are the best way to legitamise their criminal activity.

If you are asked to share, copy or forward something that requires people to commit to any payments, familiarise yourself with the website copyright, privacy and legal status.

You should report and share any links to the police. Call the police cybercrime department if you suspect or have been a victim.

Remember if it sounds or reads to good to be true then the odds are you need to dig deeper.

In a business plan template we will cover

Coronavirus Lockdown Drives Rise in Online Micro Start-ups Amid Fears For Job Security

It’s hard to be excited when talking about today’s coronavirus pandemic, when millions of people have been infected. 

However, various research around the UK like GoDaddy shows the coronavirus pandemic has been a massive boon to entrepreneurship. And this could help our economy both recover and thrive for years to come.

But while jobs have suffered, new micro business startups have skyrocketed.

The government commendably offered a number of startups and etablished busiesses a lifeline at the peak of the crisis, but despite the slowly improving funding picture, we are now starting to see the pent-up effect of the pandemic on UK businesses.

Government support has artificially kept companies afloat and delayed the true impact. but with the second lockdown to non essential businesses we are only now starting to see more severe damage to UK businesses that could puts the survival of an entire bricks and mortar business generation of innovative companies at risk.

Learn how to start a online business properly

Will the Start Up Trends in 2020 continue through 2021?

A survey of 1,000 GoDaddy customers found 15 per cent of new UK entrepreneurs had made the leap due to job loss or furlough

UK workers have been turning to starting their own companies in unprecedented numbers as fears over job security have spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs.

The “State of the Nation” review, compiled by the group GoDaddy, showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in micro-businesses, start-ups with nine or fewer employees. They have experienced a 62 per cent increase in new UK customers and this is only one domain provider.

How many people actually have any desire at all to become the start ups of tomorrow?

There are, on average, 18,100 searches per month in Google UK for “how to start a business” based on data from kwfinder.com

This has surged in recent months with Google Trends predicting that January 2020 will demonstrate the highest number of searches since records began in 2004 for this query in the UK (by quite some way)

Click to enrol http://bit.ly/3fc4nnR

So what’s are we witnessing happening?

We are witnessing a few interesting events. “First, we are seeing unemployed workers starting their own businesses. Realising they need to be responsible for their own financial destinies, these micro entrepreneurs are opting out of the traditional workforce to start their own companies. Secondly, we are seeing virtual employees launching their own businesses.”

With 96 per cent of all UK enterprises identified as “micro-businesses” this sector could play a key role supporting an economic recovery.

With regards to the latter trend, Diane says “I think the mindset for many has become ‘if I’m going to ditch the office, why not ditch the boss too?” And many new work-from-home employees have now gained one to three hours per day as their commutes have been eliminated. Some have been using this time to develop their business plans and launch their own online companies.”

The GoDaddy Figures also revealed encouraging levels of confidence and resilience – 85 per cent were confident that their businesses would continue, with third of these expecting their businesses to thrive.

This was supported by 70 per cent who believed their businesses would recover fully within 12 months.

This was despite 38 per cent of the UK’s smallest businesses being forced to close on temporarily, and almost three-quarters having lost revenue (72 per cent), due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Micro-businesses also still planned to keep up business spending, with 29 per cent confirming that they would continue to invest in their ventures and one in 10 planning to invest more in the companies over the next three to five years

“Government initiatives alone are not sufficient to support startups most in need of funding and cashflow in the current economic climate. It’s possibly the growth of micro businesses that will provide the innovation and jobs that will drive the UK’s economic recovery, and they need urgent support.”

You can use Laybuy to pay for your courses

So How Can We Help and What is our Advice?

Don’t rush into anything because you could possible Get Scammed! If you want to start and grow a profitable online  business then we recommend you take a quick course on ‘Starting a Online Business’. Without going over board you NEED to consume and LEARN every page of this work book.

Within the pages of this work book is the blueprint to building an online  business from scratch…Its CPD accredited so this is proof!

And we’ve laid it out as easy as possible…even 11 year olds can follow along! (and by the way there is a growing number of online child millionaires)

So if you want to


• learn the correct way,
• Explode your knowledge,
• Learn how to Find a niche,
• Learn how to Evaluate market viability,
• Learn how to Conduct market research,
• Learn how to Conduct competitive analysis,
• Learn online business laws,
• Learn how to Analyse your target market,
• Learn how to source products
• Learn how to choose the right ecommerce platform
And more…

By following the strategy outlined in each module – you’ll learn how to launch and grow an organic profitable online business with minimal risk!

I know it sounds too good to be true…

But you’ll see why once you devour our work book course, (Which has to be done in 4 weeks with an accredited certificate to follow)
you can begin setting up a website, mobile presence, and storefront and give your visiting clients confidence that you truly prepared for your new micro business. Click to enrol http://bit.ly/3fc4nnR

So if your thinking of setting up a online business, learn everything you need to know Plan to succeed so you don’t end up in the online business startup graveyard.

ABOUT VIRTUAL PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SERVICE

We provide a suite of services for Small and Medium size businesses to help them Setup or expand by  learning,  executing a business plan for focus, raising finance and market tools like an effective google verified website and introducing artificial intelligence chatbots to generate quality business leads. We think of ourselves as your Virtual Personal Assistance who will help streamline your business development.

Looking for help to get a job or promotion, start a business or market your business effectively. check out our range of services http://bit.ly/3jObWBL

About Diane Shawe

Get my books on Amazon or Google Books

Diane Shawe is author of several books on Amazon and Google Books.

The traditional belief that we must prepare ourselves to be ‘employable’ is under threat. The counter argument encourages us to ‘gear up’ for earning our own money, rather than seeing income as someone else’s responsibility. Get your copy today.
http://amzn.to/3945Njd

Covid 19 is changing the way many think about work