Self-employment: seven steps to success


Self employed need public liability insurance

  • By Rosie Beasley | simplybusiness.co.uk

Self employed entrepreneurs need the right business insurance

Climbing out of your comfort zone is always a big step, but the rewards of setting up as self-employed persuade thousands every year to go it alone.

Autonomy, hours to suit and the chance to steer your own career are just part of the attraction. Success however needs a firm foundation, so before you take on the big boys, make sure you’ve crossed your ‘t’s, covered your back and polished up your permits.

1. Plan for perfection

Even if you plan to work alone on a freelance basis, you should still treat your new situation as a business – therefore a good business plan is essential. Setting out exactly what you’ll be doing, who your target customers and competitors are, how you’ll promote yourself and where you hope to be in five years time will help you think strategically, and address any weaknesses in your plan before they become problems. You should also try and forecast what your expenses will be and how much revenue you’ll need to turn a profit.

Bank managers or other investors will need to see this business plan if you want to raise money – and in this case you should also detail exactly how much money you’ll need, what it will be used for, and how quickly they can either have it back or start to see returns.

2. Brand yourself (…) Leer más “Self-employment: seven steps to success”

How to reduce innovation risk

Align innovation to strategic goals. Far too often, innovation activities jump the tracks, pursuing interesting ideas that aren’t in line with corporate goals and strategies. This is an especially damaging result: good money and resources spent on poor outcomes. A clear strategic goal and documented scope provides a framework for innovators, increasing their chance of success.
Executives clearly committed to innovation. Rather than propound the need for innovation, executives need to provide the best resources, provide funding and stay engaged in early innovation efforts. Otherwise innovation is viewed as the flavor of the month and slowly withers from a lack of engagement and a dearth of resources.
People who understand what to do. Many innovation teams are simply going through the motions of innovation, pantomiming their way to an acceptable idea. They aren’t trained in innovation tools or techniques, and, more importantly, aren’t open to really big ideas. They haven’t changed their perspectives, still encumbered by the risk profiles of the business. Only when the best people are on innovation teams, have released their thinking anchors and have received training on the best innovation methods and tools can innovation succeed regularly.
Clear insights into customer wants and needs. Far too often innovation teams review existing market research and suggest ideas that extend existing products and services. It’s rare that an innovation team meets a real customer, much less explores new unmet or unarticulated needs. Identifying and validating new needs and creating ideas based on these needs will greatly reduce the risk of innovation.
Doing innovation at speed. Most innovation teams struggle with the culture, which is resistant to innovation, focused on the status quo, stuck in meetings. Most innovation teams lack sufficient resources and pull people on a part-time basis from their day jobs. Most innovation teams have to invent their innovation processes, which delays the work and forces the people around them to question they ability to innovate. The longer an innovation project drags on, the less likely it is to be successful. And the longer a project drags on, the less valuable any needs or insights that were spotted become. Innovators can reduce risk by creating educated teams following defined workflow and working quickly to ascertain needs, generate ideas and validate those ideas in the marketplace. Instead of slow and steady, move fast and steady.

By the way, while we are on the subject, there are several ways of reducing risk that don’t work well:

Reducing the scope of the idea. Many, many ideas start life as interesting and disruptive concepts, and over time are reduced, shrunk and rounded off to become incremental at best. Yes, this reduces the risk but also eliminates much of the differentiation and the reward
Fast follower. Many organizations believe that they can wait for others to innovate, then quickly copy the product or service. The fast follower model works if 1) your development teams are truly fast (which most aren’t) and 2) you understand what the customer values in the product you are copying (many times firms don’t understand the customer value proposition). As product cycles shrink and customers become ever more discerning, fast followers are left with less and less margin. Again, little risk but little reward.

There are many more ways to reduce innovation risk, but we don’t have time or space for them in a blog post. This should be the first order of business for any innovator – trying to define the types and nature of risk that innovation presents, and understanding how to eliminate or reduce risk. It’s strange actually – everything about business is a risk/reward tradeoff, yet in many organizations we’ve lost the ability to balance the two, and seek only opportunities with no risk and little reward.


posted by Jeffrey Phillips
http://innovateonpurpose.blogspot.com

Every day when I come to work I scan my Twitter stream and get insights from hundreds of people who have excellent perspectives on innovation.  There are people who write about open innovation.  There are people who write about business model innovation.  There are people who write about new products, innovations in specific industries and topics like reverse innovation.  The diversity of insights and range of topics demonstrates how valuable innovation can be.  But while there is great diversity of opportunity, there also remains a great distribution of success and failure, which creates innovation risk.  And while there are many types of innovation, one common factor in all innovation efforts is risk.As I’ve written in Relentless Innovation, innovation is fraught with risk.  There is risk that an innovator won’t identify important needs.  Risks that innovation teams disrupt the regular operations of a business.  Risks that even a promising idea isn’t accepted by the customerswhose need it was meant to address.  Instead of the scarlet “A” from Hawthorne’s novel, every innovator and every innovative idea wears the black “R” for risk.  And in the modern business model, risk is to be avoided at all costs.Risk introduces uncertainty, costs, variability and unpredictability.  These factors run in opposition to business as usual – the work most firms have done to streamline operations, create predictable short term results, eliminate unnecessary costs and reduce or eliminate variability.  Innovation introduces the snake of risk back into the garden of efficient, effective business operations.  And yes, that snake whispers sweetly to some executives about the mythical risk/reward tradeoffs.

Clearly, if our highly efficient, productive business models are to become more innovative, they need to believe that innovation risk can be reduced or controlled.  Either that or the operating models must become far more comfortable with risk and its costs and variances.  I suspect the latter requires far more cultural change than many firms will sustain.  If the tradeoff is trying to reduce innovation risk or reduce the resistance of the culture to risk, I think the former is the place to start.

How does a firm reduce or eliminate innovation risk?  I think there are at least five actions that can dramatically reduce innovation risk.  Note that I didn’t say eliminate risk.  I doubt that is possible, but I do believe innovation risk can be dramatically reduced through the following actions… Leer más “How to reduce innovation risk”

Small Business Strategy Tips

I don’t know what the name of your small business is, nor do I know what product or service you are selling. What I do know is that if you start small business plans without a strategy, you will fail. All successful business plans have a good strategy behind them. And when it comes to small business ideas and strategies, there are several aspects that you will want to consider. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Leadership

Before you even start small business plans, you need to develop good leadership abilities. You need to be able to create small business ideas and enforce them. After all, what good are ideas if there is no one to put them in place? If you have staff, you also need to know how to direct them while at the same time making them excited to work for you. To be a boss is one thing – to be a boss that your employees respect will take your company to a whole new level. In small business, it is also important to remember that leadership does not just involve leading others, it also involves listening. Listening to the needs of your staff and clients will help you to better your business and increase your sales.


I don’t know what the name of your small business is, nor do I know what product or service you are selling. What I do know is that if you start small business plans without a strategy, you will fail. All successful business plans have a good strategy behind them. And when it comes to small business ideas and strategies, there are several aspects that you will want to consider. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Leadership

Before you even start small business plans, you need to develop good leadership abilities. You need to be able to create small business ideas and enforce them. After all, what good are ideas if there is no one to put them in place? If you have staff, you also need to know how to direct them while at the same time making them excited to work for you. To be a boss is one thing – to be a boss that your employees respect will take your company to a whole new level. In small business, it is also important to remember that leadership does not just involve leading others, it also involves listening. Listening to the needs of your staff and clients will help you to better your business and increase your sales. Leer más “Small Business Strategy Tips”

Ad brings newspapers to life


Ad brings newspapers to life

October 5th, 2010 by Lauren Fisher in Advertising

AXA have created an excellent newspaper ad, that shows the new age of advertising at its best. I’m a big fan of interactive advertising, and what happens when ads meet social and this is an excellent example of that. The video below shows the AXA ad in action, which directed the reader to place their iPhone over an empty space on the page :

Given that AXA was Belgium’s first insurance company to launch an iPhone app, it’s fitting that they would use such a unique method to announce it. This is one of the first ads of this kind that I’ve seen, where you see a real consideration of the user journey. They haven’t just added on an element to integrate with mobiles, but have actually built it into the story of the ad itself.

Full article Ad brings newspapers to life.

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Aviva campaign offers customers five minutes of fame

– Warsaw: Intercontinental hotel cityscape

The outdoor campaign, “You are the Big Picture”, created by Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV BBDO), features real stories of Aviva customers, employees, business partners and communities, to convey their value to the business.

One building in six cities across the world including London, Warsaw, Paris, Singapore, Delhi and Mumbai, will project pictures of the public. Buildings will include The National Theatre in London, Ave Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Hotel Intercontinental in Warsaw.

The campaign was booked by Publicis Group media agency ZenithOptimedia with its Aegis joint venture specialist Meridian Outdoor and Aegis out-of-home agency Posterscope.

Booked through outdoor media owner JCDecaux, activoty includes wall and tunnel wraps in radio stations, digital 6-sheets, Transvision, banners, pennants, floor media and 6-sheets across major stations in London.


Aviva is offering customers five minutes of fame by projecting their pictures on landmark buildings across the world as part of its first global brand campaign.

– Warsaw: Intercontinental hotel cityscape

The outdoor campaign, “You are the Big Picture”, created by Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV BBDO), features real stories of Aviva customers, employees, business partners and communities, to convey their value to the business.

One building in six cities across the world including London, Warsaw, Paris, Singapore, Delhi and Mumbai, will project pictures of the public. Buildings will include The National Theatre in London, Ave Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Hotel Intercontinental in Warsaw.

The campaign was booked by Publicis Group media agency ZenithOptimedia with its Aegis joint venture specialist Meridian Outdoor and Aegis out-of-home agency Posterscope.

Booked through outdoor media owner JCDecaux, activoty includes wall and tunnel wraps in radio stations, digital 6-sheets, Transvision, banners, pennants, floor media and 6-sheets across major stations in London. Leer más “Aviva campaign offers customers five minutes of fame”

Launch your dream career in ‘retirement’

So while it might not be possible to completely stop work at 55 (an age when many women would like to retire, Fitzhardinge says), at least she might be able to reduce her hours at work and transition into a role that excites her. Fitzhardinge says often these roles aren’t as lucrative as the salaries women have enjoyed earlier in their career, but they provide a top-up to income into retirement, and can be merged with lifestyle as much as possible.

As part of this strategy, Fitzhardinge works with women to add skills development into their financial plan so they can begin to build the skills they will need in their new ‘passion’ career.


An assortment of United States coins, includin...

For many of us dreams of retirement include visions of finally having the time to do all those things we’ve never had the time to do. But did you ever imagine your ‘retirement’ planning might include a way to finally embark on a business idea you are passionate about?

Linda Fitzhardinge is an empowerment coach at the organisation Women Building Wealth. She gives women financial advice and encourages them to take an holistic approach to their health, wealth and spirit – and says all three elements are closely inter-related.

Fitzhardinge says there are times when she has met with a client to discuss her retirement plans and the session has ended in tears because dreams do not align with financial reality.

But instead of focussing on the negatives of such a realisation, Fitzhardinge has been working with older women to draw out their ideas for earning income from ideas they are passionate about. Leer más “Launch your dream career in ‘retirement’”

Freelancing: The Basics of Survival

Anna Debenham shares her experiences of freelancing by equating them to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

While I was writing my talk about freelancing for FOWD London 2010, I was surprised to find that almost half of freelancers do not feel secure in their career.[1] I thought for a while about why this is and was reminded of studying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs during my A-Levels.

Maslow’s Hireachy of Needs

The hierarchy of needs model is based on the idea that you have to meet all the basic human needs like food, water and shelter before the higher needs can be fulfilled, such as confidence and belonging.

The hierarchy of needs is over 60 years old (that’s older than the Internet!) so I’ve created an updated version for freelance web designers.


by Anna Debenham

Anna Debenham shares her experiences of freelancing by equating them to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

While I was writing my talk about freelancing for FOWD London 2010, I was surprised to find that almost half of freelancers do not feel secure in their career.[1] I thought for a while about why this is and was reminded of studying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs during my A-Levels.

Maslow’s Hireachy of Needs

The hierarchy of needs model is based on the idea that you have to meet all the basic human needs like food, water and shelter before the higher needs can be fulfilled, such as confidence and belonging.

The hierarchy of needs is over 60 years old (that’s older than the Internet!) so I’ve created an updated version for freelance web designers. Leer más “Freelancing: The Basics of Survival”