I understand that some people find it really difficult to say “No”, especially if it means turning down work. On the other hand, if you say “Yes” to everyone you leave yourself wide open to all sorts of problems.

You can soon find yourself bogged down with too many tasks to do, not able to prioritise them and ending up making a poor job of most of them. In the short term you may make plenty of money that month but longer term your clients and customers will be taking their business elsewhere.

Think about these four ways of turning away work while knowing that you are doing the right thing in the longer term:

• An existing client asks you to do “just one more small job”. You already have a heap of work on for them. Say you’d love to do the extra job but ask which of the other jobs you are doing for them it can replace as you just don’t have the time to do them all equally well.

I know it is still August, the sun is still shining and the kids are still on their summer break but it is time to think about some important dates and interesting anniversaries for your promotions over the next three months:

Mon 3rd Sept School term begins*
Tue 4th Sept Google was founded 20 years ago by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Sun 23rd Sept September Equinox
Thu 11th Oct 60 years ago the first edition of BBC sports programme Grandstand aired
Fri 19th Oct School half term holiday begins*

If you are just starting up in business you will be looking at getting a stationery pack together. In my view the most important item is a business card and here are the reasons why:

• Professional stationery makes you look like a professional business. It is what people expect of you.

• It is an opportunity to get some information across quickly and easily. The name of your business is a must, of course, together with a contact number.

If you have social media presence (eg a Facebook page) include that too.


I read the other day that nearly a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. That’s a huge potential market and while I don’t expect you to reach those figures it shows the potential audience social media has.

So what can you do to increase your share of the social media market? Here are 10 tips to get you thinking:

1. Outsource. You’ve got plenty on your plate already without adding the time needed to market successfully on social media. You need a specialist to help you. You could hire someone to dedicate themselves to your social media marketing but it might make more sense to hire someone who is an expert, such as an agency or freelancer.


Despite the bitterly cold current weather, Spring is definitely on its way. I always think that it’s an ideal time for a promotion tied in with one of the many notable dates.

Here is a brief schedule of some of those coming up in the next three months:

Thu 1st March St David’s Day
Sun 11th March Mother’s Day
Fri 17th March St Patrick’s Day

I know that if you are working for yourself one of your most valuable commodities is time. Why is it, then, that there never seems to be enough of it?

If you want to create more time for yourself you have to learn to work harder, faster or smarter. The chances are that you are already working flat out so that rules out both harder and faster.

Instead you can use these four simple tips to work smarter and save time into the bargain.

If you are still debating your New Year’s resolution, I have a suggestion for you.  Why not switch to Direct Debit payments for our services?  

You will find there are plenty of benefits when using Direct Debits:

•    It helps you spread the cost.  Rather than having to pay a large sum up front you can instead spread the payments over a period of several months.

•    Your payments are guaranteed.  Your bank will give you an immediate money back guarantee in the event of them making an error in your Direct Debit payment.  You will also receive advance notification of any changes to the payment date or amount and have the right to cancel at any time.

At last we have seen some sunshine! If you are starting to think about summer promotions, here are some of the important dates you need to remember:

Mon 4th June Schools first day of term*
Fri 15th June Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival weekend
Hu 14th June Football World Cup starts
Sun 17th June Father’s Day
Thu 21st June Summer Solstice
Mon 2nd July Wimbledon Tennis begins

I am always being asked for ways that small businesses can improve their marketing.  Here are five that are simple and straightforward and can help you grow your business in 2018.

1.    Keep it Local.  The further afield you go the greater the risk you run of spreading your marketing too thinly.  Local marketing keeps costs manageable and allows you to react quickly to any new localised trends or fluctuations.

2.    Access Free Marketing.  Yes, I’m talking about social media.  Every small business needs to engage with these.  It will take up some time thinking what to write but don’t forget it doesn’t cost you a penny.  Make friends on Facebook and Twitter and let them spread the word, doing your marketing for you.


I am convinced that word of mouth recommendations are the lifeblood of most small businesses.

Potential customers want to believe they are making the right choice by buying your product or services. Hearing people say good things about your company increases their confidence in you and helps persuade them they haven’t made a mistake.

Here are 10 really easy ways to provide good customer service and get people saying good things about you and making recommendations.

1. Provide excellent value. It should go without saying that your product or service should be first class and competitively priced.

It won’t be long before that Coca Cola truck is rolling and the John Lewis ad is tugging at our heart (and purse!) strings: Christmas is coming!  

Here are some of the important dates to think about for your promotions over the next three months:

Fri 15th Dec        Schools break up for Xmas*
Thu 21st Dec         Winter Solstice
Sun 24th Dec        Xmas Eve
Mon 25th Dec        Xmas Day
Tue 26th Dec        Boxing Day
Sun 31st Dec        New Year’s Eve
Mon 1st Jan        New Year’s Day
Tue 2nd Jan        New school term begins*
Sat 6th Jan        FA Cup Third Round weekend

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