How to do Business
HowtodoBusiness.com is my website for Business Advice and support.
One thing that I’ve learned in over 30 years at the coalface is that running even a small business is quite a complex matter. You need to have good products that people want to buy, you need to have robust systems manned by willing people, you need to promote yourself effectively and you need to keep solvent. Not forgetting all the compliance and accreditation issues you need to start trading with larger organisations as your business grows.
Most of the advice that’s available comes from specialists but what you need first is an integrated overview of the business so you can set priorities. We specialise in giving you the MD’s view of the world based on starting up and building 4 successful businesses backed up with an extensive research programme carried out with University Business Schools, Government agencies and major IT corporates over the last 15 years.
The How to do Business site sets out help you overcome the common barriers that all small businesses face as they grow.
You need to answer 5 key questions in order to launch a successful business. These are
- Does anyone want to buy it?
- Can we deliver it?
- Will it make money?
- How will we scale it?
- How are we going to change behaviours between entrepreneur and manager modes as the business grows?
Then you have the issues that naturally develop with success
- How to cope with providing just enough structure to manage compliance
- How to build a scalable II infrastructure
- How to run an effective marketing campaign
- How to safely recruit salespeople
- How to reinvent the product range
- How to keep the staff motivated
- How to take cost out of the business model
If you need any help on any of these issues some funded support may be available via the Growth Accelerator programme (I am an accredited coach) or via the Be the Business programme if you live in West Sussex.
For initial support please visit or ask a question via this form
Books and Courses by Alan Rae
Several books and courses are available based on extensive research on how growing businesses actually network, use the internet for cost reduction and for promotion. Here is a quick list.
Social Media for Real Businesses
Workbook that explains how small companies can get their sales and marketing in sync. For most of us our web presence via
blogs, social media and other online activities is the scenery for the play of our face to face networking and selling. This workbook takes you step by step through the processes needed to create an effective digital marketing campaign.
1 Man brand
1 Man Brand is made up of about 6 hours of video material which takes the Social Media for Real Businesses workbook and takes you step by step through the process of implementing it.
Because of recent EU legislation on VAT it includes two half hour tutorial sessions carried out as a webinar and is supplied with the workbook as hardcopy. It will be also be available fully electronically in due course.
Currently being finalised is our future flagship product, Entrepreneurial Marketing. Its been developed from material used to teach the subject at the Business Schools in Southampton and Toulouse. It recognises that entrepreneurial businesses do not plan or market themselves in quite the same way that corporates do. In practice rather than start from where they want to be in 5 years and work backwards its much more usual to start with what you’ve got, co-create some offers with customers and work forwards by following the money. The techical term for this turns out to be effectuation.
By the same token most business plan templates have been developed to convince funders that you can make money. They’re not much use for actually running the business on a day to day level. That’s why we developed an entrepreneur’s business plan that makes you come up with all the answers about HOW you are actually going to develop the business.
If you would like a copy please contact me through this form.
You may also enjoy this introduction to the subject recorded last year at the Caledonian club in London
Growing Jobs – Managing Staff in small businesses.
Growing jobs is a book that was produced from a study commissioned by SEEDA to look at how the UK horticultural industry could develop a world class workforce. However the findings can be applied in small businesses generally as it includes a basic guide to HR practice and identifies what you need to do get high performance out of your staff.
The book is in three sections
- Simple good practice guide identifying 6 guiding principles
- Case studies taken from several production horticulture companies
- Theoretical basics plus review of high performance work practices and how they relate to practical business issues.
If you have a problem with how your business or industry is operating, maybe we can help you.
Remember if you need any help on any of these issues please ring me on 0845 094 0407