All posts tagged sme

Entrepreneurs And Business Owners Head To Downing Street For The Launch Of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday UK

This week sees the first ever Small Business Saturday in the UK, a campaign to get shoppers supporting smaller local companies.

Already a huge success in the US, Small Business Saturday is launching this side of the pond on this weekend on the 7th December. The campaign coincides with one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the run up to Christmas. Read more…

Concept Cupboard meets the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss SME lending

Mark Carney SME Lending

Following on from an open letter to Mark Carney, the new Governor of the Bank of England,  a group of journalists and entrepreneurs (including Adam Ball, General Manager of Concept Cupboard) were invited along to the Bank of England to carry on the conversation about funding for SMEs.
Read more…

Why every startup should own a MiFi device

MiFi device

Spending money on shiny new gadgets isn’t normally something I’d recommend that small businesses do, but this handy little device is worth the investment. That and it is only about £65 so it won’t break the bank. In fact it should save you money in the long run.


What is a MiFi?
Basically it turns a 3G signal into a WiFi network allowing you to connect up to 5 x devices. That means you could even let a colleague (or four) get on your network.

MiFi device



How is it different to a dongle?
With an internet dongle you have to plug it into your USB device (laptop), but with a MiFi you don’t have to plug it in. Best of all you can connect multiple devices or let colleagues access the network at the same time.


Why is it so handy?
Free WiFi hotspots are growing in number, but they aren’t everywhere & you can’t always find one when you need one. So when you do have downtime in between meetings or are travelling it is incredibly useful to be able to jump online and work as if you are at your desk.

If you spend time in hotels you may be aware that some hotels charge crazy prices for data. Why get ripped off when you can create your own WiFi network for around £2 per day?


Running costs?
The great thing is you can actually pay & go. I only top up when I need it and if i know I am going to be needing data on the move over a few weeks I’ll just buy a month’s access as opposed to a days worth.


Issues
Only once have I not been able to get a signal with my MiFi device. It was in a hotel that could have doubled as a nuclear fall out shelter as I couldn’t get a phone signal on my iPhone either. So it really does get my vote of confidence. You may also experience a few dropouts on certain train journeys, but it is better than relying on the train’s own WiFi networks. I say that from experience.


Where can you get one?
You can buy unlocked MiFi devices from Amazon, but I bought mine from Three. To find out more about getting one visit Three’s site. You can also get them in white now. Wonder where they got that idea from?

If you’ve got any thoughts or opinions on MiFis or technology for small business in general then get please leave a comment.

New O2 store with dedicated workspace for business

o2store1

A new O2 Store has opened on Tottenham Court Road, complete with a walk-in workspace for 75 people. It’s an awesome idea & shows how committed O2 is to its business customers. We’ve posted in the past about innovative new work spaces like Central Working & Co-Work and it is great to see another option pop up for startups to take advantage of.

The new store, located at 229 Tottenham Court Road, is a split level store. The ground level has all of the latest devices on display comfy consultation areas and an express till. The Workshop – at basement level – offers drop-in and bookable work spaces for up to 75 people and three O2 Gurus on hand offering free help and advice.

Here’s the full list on what is on offer:

  • Open Work Stations for up to 10 people with access to power and wireless printers
  • Customer Lounge with soft seating, tablet devices for browsing and free hot and cold refreshments
  • 4 x Semi-Private Meeting Rooms each able to hold up to 4 people with access to LCD screens for presentations
  • Seminar Room for up to 30 people in lecture format, featuring interactive white boards for presentations and seminars
  • Private Conference Room with interactive white board facilities for up to 10 people
  • Concierge Bar for customer enquiries and booking workspaces
  • O2 Guru Bar for support and advice, complete with product showcase area
  • O2 Wifi which will be free and open for all customers

O2Store2

O2 Store

Meeting space

It is intended that the seminar room will play host to weekly events designed to support and encourage local entrepreneurs and small businesses, working in partnership with organisations such as Start-Up Britain and Enterprise Nation. Hopefully Concept Cupboard too at some point.

The space really does look incredible & it certainly makes choosing a telecoms provider for your business a whole lot easier. O2 have gone all out to add value to their business customers & even though this is just one store in London I am sure other stores are planned in the near future.

It is definitely worth a visit. Not only for the facilities, but the networking opportunities & events. To find out more go to O2 ‘s Business website.

The importance of marketing in a recession

Andrew Cave from the FSB

A few weeks ago we spoke to Andrew Cave, Head of Policy at the Federation of Small Business, about quite a few things. You can find out more on our YouTube channel. But one of the key takeouts was the need for businesses both big and small to continue their marketing efforts during the economic downturn.


Now this isn’t to say that businesses should pile lots of money into marketing. As a small business you don’t have the budget, but their are so many ways of marketing to customers both old and new on a shoestring. Take us for instance. We have yet to spend one penny on marketing and we have only been live for 3 and a half weeks. To date we have had well over 4,000 visitors to the site and 17,000 page views and the vast majority of that traffic has come from Social Media. Twitter to be precise.

Using my network, the board’s network, the network of our respective networks we have been able to spread a message and engage an ever growing audience. It is very much a snow ball effect. It starts small and if you keep going it starts to get bigger and bigger.

We’ll write more on this in the future, but my advice for now would be to set-up a Twitter account if you haven’t already. You can find loads of great resources on Twitter’s business site and just get the ball rolling. It takes time and effort, but fast forward a few months and it could be an important new business tool for you.

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