Buying a Car? Here’s Some Things You’ll Need to Know

So you’re planning to buy a car? Let me stop you right there! It’s not as simple as just racing down to the nearest dealership, handing over cash, and driving away. That’s More »

5 Things To Know Before Launching Your Startup

Okay, so you have come up with a fantastic idea for a new business, but now what? Don’t just dive straight in – that is the most important thing to know.  Instead, More »

National Business Awards’ New Partner Gets People Talking

Now entering their 13th year, the National Business Awards get underway in November this year to celebrate Britain’s most promising entrepreneurs and outstanding businesses. Helping to connect UK business leaders, big, small, More »

What sort of jobs are available in the IT industry?

There are many benefits to moving into the IT industry; firstly it is a booming sector with myriad job opportunities, then there is the fact that it encompasses such a wide variety More »

Worried About Cash Flow? Follow These 3 Tips

Cash flow is the very life blood of a business. Even if you’re managing to turn a profit poor cash flow can scupper your company before you know it. And it’s the More »

Buying a Car? Here’s Some Things You’ll Need to Know

So you’re planning to buy a car? Let me stop you right there! It’s not as simple as just racing down to the nearest dealership, handing over cash, and driving away. That’s sure to be a recipe for disaster. Believe me. You’ve heard the phrase fools rush in, right? Well, this is the perfect scenario to apply that saying.

Buying a car’s a big step for anybody. And, before you part with your hard-earned dollars you need know a few things. Not everything of course, but there are key elements you’ve got to be aware of when you’re planning to buy a car. The points I’m going to list for you here are some of the most important things you need to know about.

 

Prepare for Running Costs

Okay, first up we’ve got running costs. Now you might have thought I was going to start with buying a car as the first point. But no, running costs can account for more in the long run. So you need to bear in mind that running costs are expensive. Once you have a car, you need to prepare for having no money. Or at least, considerably less money than you had before. Fuel prices seem to be forever on the rise, and it’s difficult for any of us to make ends meet. A car’s an added expense some of us could do without. But make sure you account for the additional costs before buying.

 

Don’t Get Ripped Off

It’s easy these days to get ripped off by unscrupulous dealers. Unless you know a lot about cars you’re always going to be at risk of being sold a dud. The good news is that this is exactly what the Lemon Law is there to protect. You need to make yourself aware of the Lemon Law resources available to you, so you don’t get ripped off. Or if you do get ripped off, at least you know how to react to it. Try to find out as much as you can about the car you want to buy and the dealership you want to visit too. And you could even take a friend or family member with you who’s knowledgeable about cars.

 

You Need Regular Maintenance Checks

Bear in mind that your car’s going to need regular maintenance checks. Cars can be a right pain in the proverbial because they soon develop problems. Some are quicker to develop issues than others, of course. But I think you need to prepare yourself for the fact you might need to get quite a lot of work done on your car. Just make sure you find a service garage that you trust. And make sure you account for maintenance work when you budget for your vehicles running costs.

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Congratulations, You’re Now a Taxi

One of the more annoying facets of buying a car is that you’ll instantly transform into a taxi service. Your friends and family members will be expecting rides everywhere. I know you don’t think this will be the case, but trust me, it will. You’ll need to get used to being a glorified taxi service. You should also prepare for being the designated driver on night’s out. It can get frustrating, but it’s part of the process, unfortunately. You might want to think about asking for petrol money from your friends, as the costs will soon mount up otherwise.

5 Things To Know Before Launching Your Startup

Okay, so you have come up with a fantastic idea for a new business, but now what? Don’t just dive straight in – that is the most important thing to know.  Instead, take the time to do some research and find out everything that you need to know.

Did you know that within three years, three-quarters of all business startups fail? To give yourself the best possible chance of success, it is essential that you take your time doing your research. As well as, assessing the competition and defining your target audience, before launching your new venture.

Starting your own business is a big step, it requires a lot of hard work, effort and commitment, as well as a lot of time and money. So it is important that before your launch your business, you give yourself every chance of success.

 

To help you do this, we have put together a guide to five things you need to know before starting your own business.

  1. Research is essential

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So, you’ve come up with what you think is an amazing idea, but before taking it any further, start doing some research.

Look into your idea more and find out whether anyone else is already offering a similar service or product. Think about what it is that makes your product or service different from anything else already on the market and how you can make your company stand out.

Spend some time researching who your local competition will be, look at what they offer and how you can top that. By studying your competitors, you can learn from their mistakes and get an idea of what works well and what doesn’t.

 

  1. Defining your target audience is a must

Before you can launch your product or service, the most important thing you will need to do is define your target audience.

Aiming your product at anyone, regardless of their age, gender, likes and dislikes, etc. is hopeless. To make a success out of your new venture, it is crucial that you effectively define your target audience

Once you have worked out your target audience, you then need to focus everything, from the product and website to the advertising campaign and pricing, around them. To ensure that you are targeting the right audience, you can produce questionnaires, hold focus groups and host specialist events.

 

  1. A good business plan is crucial

Any successful business owner knows that business plans are absolutely crucial to success. Don’t see creating your business plan as a chore, instead look at it as a map to your success, which if created properly, is what it is.

You business plan will contain all the important information you need to make your new business venture successful.

 

  1. There will be unexpected costs

One of the most important things you can understand when launching your business is that you will have many unexpected costs. That’s why it is important to budget more funds than you need to get your new business up and running.

From advertising and marketing costs to the cost of your company car and office equipment, starting a business isn’t cheap. For example, although you may have set aside enough for your car, you may not have budgeted enough for business car insurance?

Many business owners make the mistake of failing to budget for vehicle expenses, such as tax and insurance, don’t be one of these business owners. Visit www.insure-fleet.co.uk to get a quote for your business vehicle insurance.

 

  1. You will need a mentor

Don’t make the mistake of not getting a mentor to help you through the first few months as a business owner. Mentors can offer you help and advice for your new venture, and can help you to make the best decisions for success.

Having someone to bounce ideas off who has been where you are and come out the other side, is invaluable and an absolute must.

National Business Awards’ New Partner Gets People Talking

Now entering their 13th year, the National Business Awards get underway in November this year to celebrate Britain’s most promising entrepreneurs and outstanding businesses. Helping to connect UK business leaders, big, small, private and public, it’s fitting that the awards’ newly announced partner is Vonage, a service that helps businesses do just that – connect.

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Vonage is in the business of communication, worldwide, helping friends, family and businesses keep in touch for less all over the globe with clever VoIP services. Itself a business that’s gone from strength to strength, now boasting over 2.4million users, Vonage is doing its bit to help other businesses get a foot up the ladder, not just in its partnership with the The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award, but also in it products that help small and home businesses slash the costs of local, national and international calls.

 

Any company within the UK can enter the National Business Awards, be it private, public or third sector. The size of the business doesn’t matter, and nor does the industry – this is a truly cross-industry accolade that sets out to celebrate British business as a whole. There is a range of award categories that highlight all aspects of business best practices, including New Business of the Year, Employer of the Year, International Growth Business of the Year, and the Customer Focus Award. Promising start-ups are given just as much of the limelight as established SMEs and large private companies, and the awards also run a year-round thought leadership programme to inform and inspire.

 

This year the National Business Awards’ live judging event takes place as part of the International Festival for Business in Liverpool and will be staged at St George’s Hall. Each entrant gets to present a three-minute pitch on their business model, key achievements and their plans for future growth, with a panel of judges and a public vote deciding the winner who’ll be presented with their award at the NBA ceremony on 11 November.

 

If you’re a new entrepreneur and would like to be considered for the award, you can enter online at the National Business Awards site, before 23 May 2014.

What sort of jobs are available in the IT industry?

There are many benefits to moving into the IT industry; firstly it is a booming sector with myriad job opportunities, then there is the fact that it encompasses such a wide variety of job roles.

If you are a student looking for some advice on where an apprenticeship in IT could lead you, then this guide to the different careers within the ICT sector may help you.

Computer programmer

This is most definitely a desk-based role and requires you to write code to create software programmes. The job would therefore suit you if you enjoy working on your own, as well as occasionally being required to work as part of a team.

A software developer will write code and your job as a computer programmer would be to turn that into instructions that can be followed by a machine.

There are many emerging technologies that require programmers and so you could end up working in interactive television or games development, for instance.

From this type of role you may be able to graduate to team leader, project manager or even production manager.

If you have a logical mind, can work in a methodical manner and enjoy resolving problems, then this could be the right type of job for you.

Network architect

A network architect is responsible for designing and building a data communication network.

This could involve developing a local area network, wide area network or intranet. The scope for projects within this role is huge. You could find yourself responsible for building a small connection between two offices, or a series of globally distributed communications systems – it depends on the company and their needs.

As companies grow, they will require more mobile and wireless networks and so this is a good role to look into if you are searching for job security.

Systems analyst 

If you love analysing how something works and dreaming up ways of making it more efficient, then systems analyst could be the perfect role for you. It requires you to look at a company’s existing IT infrastructure and procedures, you will then be required to work out how they can operate in a more effective and efficient way. This means it is your responsibility to design information systems solutions that solve problems.

To be good at this type of role, you need a passion for both business and IT and how they can work together.

A boom in IT areas such as cloud computing, mobile networks and cybersecurity will mean these types of roles will become increasingly in demand.

Web developer

If you have ever harboured an ambition to design and build a website or have already done so, then this is the role for you. In addition to being responsible for the look of a site, you will also have to work out its performance, database aspects of the sire and you may be responsible for content.

This role is an ideal mix of technical and creative and would suit you if you think you have a logical mind, but can also look at the bigger picture.