- Business and Employment
Small Business Bites – Easy guides to help out entrepreneurs
My name is Paul Maplesden and I've been a small business owner for the last few years. In that time, I've collected and tried to make sense of a lot of information, and I've distilled what I have learned so far in this series of articles. I'm writing and sharing them because I think it's important to help out other entrepreneurs and to make everyone's lives a little bit easier.
Simple guides to give you the information you need
Whether you're thinking about starting your first business, or you're already involved in running one, you know how much there is to do!
Because of the constant demands on your time and energy, you need to quickly and easily find the right information to get stuff done. That's why I created this set of free guides for small business owners, aimed at giving you the expert advice you need.
Each article covers one particular aspect of running a business. They've been designed to be easy to read and use, breaking things down into bite-sized chunks, supported by practical diagrams, tables and videos.
I'm also aware of how important it is to keep costs down. That's why many of the guides also feature links to free or inexpensive software to help you out.
Table of contents
Please click on the relevant title below to be taken straight to the articles you need.
- Creating business ideas - How to build new products & services and create a successful business
- Getting things done - Advice on brainstorming, tasks, projects, notes and more to get stuff done
- Promotion & marketing - Writing a marketing plan, driving traffic to your website and creating great multimedia content
- Supporting your customers - Customer service, relationship management and customer feedback
- Securing your business - Finding an accountant, backing up your data and IT security
- Improving your business - Advice, hints & tips, work/life balance and website measurement
- Make money blogging - Useful tips on the foundations and how to monetize a blog
Creating business ideas
- Creating a business idea from solving people's problems - Fixing the problems that other people have can be a great basis for a useful product or service. This guide explains how to analyse what's going on around you to find the right opportunities.
- Build a business idea from your existing skills & interests - You may already have the skills and interests right now that you can develop into a successful business idea. This guide shows you how.
Getting things done in business
- Brainstorming & mind mapping - How to use mind mapping software and brain storming to understand, visualize and manage what you need to do to move your business in the right direction, including some good software to get you started.
- Project management for small business - Project management doesn't have to be a 'dark art' - In this article, I cover the basics of what project management is and how you can apply it to your own small business, together with sharing some helpful project management software.
- Note taking & why it's important to business - A guide to how to take effective notes in business plus some great software that can make the whole process much, much easier.
- The perfect task management & outliner tools - With all of the things you have to do, having a tool to keep track of all your tasks and actions is essential. This guide explores and compares many of the popular software options that are out there.
- Quickly and easily install and update your software - A guide to using Ninite, an excellent software installation and update utility to save you time, effort and money.
Promoting & marketing your business
- Create a great marketing plan - Marketing doesn't have to be difficult; build a marketing plan that does what you need - Attracts new customers - by asking yourself these ten simple questions.
- How to create great audio & video content for your business - A guide to how you can use audio and video content to promote your business, plus links to some of the best free software to get your creative juices flowing.
Supporting your customers
- Manage your customers with CRM software - Customer relationship management software can help you manage your customers, workflow, finances and more in an easy and effective way. This guide includes examples of good, free CRM software.
- How to deliver the best customer service you can - A guide to providing awesome customer service, covering the 'moment of truth' and providing helpful, practical advice on how you can turn customer problems into benefits for your business.
- Fixing customer problems & learning to communicate - Problems are going to happen in business, and they are going to happen to your customers. Here's a practical guide to solving those problems in the most effective way and rebuilding trust with your audience.
- Find out what your customers really think - One of the most important ways to understand our customers is to ask them. This simple guide lets you know the most effective ways to do that and understand what they do, and don't, like about your business.
Securing your business
- Backing up your business data - It's vital to the health and success of your business that you backup your data and keep it safe. This guide explores some of your backup options and provides a guide to some of the more popular backup solutions.
- IT security - Antivirus, firewalls & password management - Perhaps not the most exciting of topics, antivirus and firewall software is a necessity to any modern business. This guide lets you know the basics and includes links to some free online security software.
Understanding & improving your business
- Find out how well your website is working with Google Analytics - Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for finding out exactly how people behave on your website. This article lets you know about the most important measures, and what to do with them.
What's been the most useful set of guides for you?
Useful books from Amazon
Advice for entrepreneurs from Richard Branson
The very best of luck to you! Are there any further guides you'd like to see? Let me know in the comments.