National Business Awards: ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ Finalists Announced

national business awardsThere are several awards in the UK dedicated to celebrating the work of Britain’s aspiring entrepreneurs, but none more prestigious than the National Business Awards. The awards themselves have been running for 13 years, but this year the inaugural ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, sponsored by Vonage, has been launched to find the UK’s best aspiring entrepreneur.

This award celebrates the potential in the leaders of the UK’s most promising start-ups established over the last 18 months.  Following an event held at St George’s Hall in Liverpool last month, where entrants had to present their business ideas to a panel of expert judges the five finalists for the award have been announced as:

  1. Emma Cerrone, Free:Formers
  2. Alistair Smit, The Magic Thermodynamic Box
  3. Ben Weaver, Outlook Publishing Ltd
  4. Kathryn Birch, Translive Global
  5. Jay Radia, Yieldify

The overall winner will be announced on 11th November 2014 at the National Business Awards event in London, where over 1,000 of the UK’s business leaders and influencers will gather celebrate the nation’s business achievements.


A word about the sponsors

Vonage is a VoIP service provider that has been helping small and home businesses and entrepreneurs get their companies up and running all over the world. By providing low cost calls for businesses both in the UK and internationally, they’ve seen to it that Britain’s brightest entrepreneurs have as much capital in their pockets as possible by keeping the costs associated with popular business communication methods to a minimum.

With 2.4 million customers, Vonage certainly knows a thing or two about business growth, and they’re happy to share their enthusiasm for small businesses, as well as their knowledge and expertise through the National Business Awards.

For more information about Vonage and their low cost international calling plans please visit

Make Space for Your Business to be Successful

business successThere can be few places offering commercial premises to small businesses as iconic as the Mansion House. Not only is it home to the Lord Mayor of the City of London, but it also houses his offices and provides spectacular space for conferences and business meetings.

It is a truly magnificent setting, with neighbours such as the Bank of England opposite and other blue chip companies. Other institutions such as Bloomberg have also set up business nearby in what is a unique business area.

Somewhere to Meet

The most successful fundraisers and charity events get their venue spot on. Choosing the right venue could be the difference between a good night and a great one. It is a popular choice with cabinet ministers for receptions, too, and many visiting heads of state are taken to the Mansion House as part of their visit. They are among some 50,000 people to visit every year.

Do Business at the Mansion House

There is space available as commercial property Mansion House London and a chance to put your own business on the map. Location is crucial to the success of your business. Getting it right requires careful planning and execution, but managed well, can put your business on the right track and reduce your own stress levels!

Where you choose to do business affects your staff and your suppliers as well as potential customers, so be sure to consider them all when choosing your premises. Naturally, you must think about profitability and running costs, but for your employees, there is more to the place they work than how to get there or where to park; it’s about the facilities and environment as well.

It’s no secret that happy staff members are more productive, and retention is better in companies where employees enjoy coming to work. Recruitment and training can be a significant cost to a business and one that can be higher than it needs to be if your turnover is being affected by the working environment.


Choosing iconic space, such as the Mansion House, can be a great idea, depending on your business and whether or not it is realistic to aim for it. If you only need the occasional wow factor, it might be more appropriate to base your business elsewhere and use the Mansion House for functions or other events. Clients might appreciate the quirky appeal, and it could prove to be the differentiating factor that sets you apart from your competitors.

Set a Budget

Ultimately, business space comes down to money, and if your business cannot afford fancy space, don’t rent it. It might impress your customers, but if the business folds, there will be no customers left to impress. If your brand ‘requires’ impressive premises, it might be that you need to look carefully at your space requirements; with more and more people able to work flexibly, could you consider hot desks and save money that way? Set your budget and stick to it.

Many agents and surveyors will be able to advise on available space that could suit your requirements.

Supply Side Secrets of Entrepreneurs

supply secretsThe success of any business venture depends on many great things from the initial idea, capital investment, sound management and all the other things that go into starting and running a business. A failure in any area usually means doom for the business.

Some areas are even more difficult for the novice business person to get used to. One place that many can learn to take advantage of is business supply sources. Finding a quality vendor can mean the difference between success and failure in many businesses. Lower costs and higher margins as well as a steady supply stream is worth its weight in gold to a new business.

What is a Business Supplier?

The problem with most business supply sources is that they do not advertise on the local television and newspaper as a rule so finding them is the first trick. An internet search for wholesale and business supplier quickly leaves you understanding these are common retail terms now and that the sources easily found like that are more retail oriented in reality.

The best source of real business suppliers will be trade shows and expos made for businesses. It is the use of these sources and carefully crafted relationships that true resources are found and nurtured into a healthy business relationship that can withstand a bad month or quarter.

Why are Business Supplies Different?

While some stores do cater to both retail customers and other businesses (as an example might be Staples Office Supplies) the difference in typical business and industrial supplies is large. It is more than bulk buying and less fancy packages.

You are able to buy concentrates that cannot be sold to the public and purchase qualities of product that are actually too good for public sale. While that may be counter intuitive, in a business everything is about durability.

A vacuum used to clean a home of a few hundred square feet of carpet a week is not the same durability as one made to work for thousands of yards of carpet a month and the home buyer has no need for the additional cost and quality.

There is also a matter of warranty. Items made for use by businesses carry a commercial warranty. Buying non-commercial products and using in a commercial environment renders the warranty worthless. As an example, furniture used in student housing purchased from a local retailer would never stand up to the test of time and would have no warranty, however a business supplier like Peel Mount specialises in university furniture. By looking to commercial and business suppliers you are able to save costs in both long and short term.

Negotiating the Pitfalls of Setting Up Your Own Business

pitfalls of businessIf you’re interested in setting up your own business, it’s important to be realistic about the cost and the hard work involved. Of course, it helps to have that famed entrepreneurial streak, but this alone won’t turn your business idea into a profitable enterprise.

The economic climate can be very tough on small start-ups, and you will have a great deal of competition from similar businesses. However, setting up a successful business is achievable and can be highly rewarding, as long as you’re informed and aware when it comes to recognising the potential pitfalls.

Getting Started

The first thing you will need to set up a business, is a practical idea that can be turned into a product or a service. This idea should be properly thought through before it can be registered. It’s also important to do your research to determine whether there is a market for your business idea.

Find out whether your target audience will be willing to pay for the product or service you’re proposing to offer. You should gather as much information about your competitors and their business models as possible. Talk about your idea with potential customers and get as much feedback as you can.

Constructing a Business Plan

Don’t be afraid to make changes in the early stages, as this may save you a massive amount of money further down the line. When writing up a business plan, make sure that you include the results of your customer research and explain how you can turn your idea into a profitable enterprise.

You need to be able to show this comprehensive business plan to the bank when you’re applying for funding and to potential partners, investors and suppliers. You should always do your research on suppliers in order to determine which ones are reliable and trustworthy. It’s essential that you build good relationships with suppliers so that you will be in a position to negotiate prices.

Financial Planning

You will need good financial advisors in order to set up your own business.

They should include an accountant and a lawyer, and some firms including Gibson Hewitt provide comprehensive new business financial planning services. Even if you come from a financial or entrepreneurial background, it’s always better to have specialist assistance. It’s important to be prepared to deal with paperwork and have a keen eye for detail. You will be required to make National Insurance Contributions, apply for VAT and pay Corporation Tax once your business is operational. If your profits are below £300,000 you will pay 20 percent Corporation Tax and if they are above, 21 per cent tax.

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

grow your business with linkedinLinkedIn is a powerful social media platform that is still untapped by many.

Contrary to popular belief LinkedIn is not just a social media platform setup for job seekers. Instead it’s a way you can connect with like-minded individuals and grow your brand.

If you’ve yet to utilize the power of LinkedIn here’s how you can get started.

Set Up a Business Page

The first thing you’re going to need to do is set up a company page for your business.

You can do this by going to LinkedIn, clicking “Companies”, and then clicking “Add Company.” From there follow the directions to setup your account.

It’s important to note though that you do need an email address with your domain name in it rather than a free email address from Google or Yahoo.

You should be able to complete your company listing in thirty minutes or less.

Connect with Others

The first thing you want to do on LinkedIn is form connections with others. Start by adding friends, family, and other professionals that you may know.

Join LinkedIn Groups and actively answer questions others have on topics you know. The more you make it a point to connect with others and prove that you’re an expert in your area the more connections you will form.

Share Useful Content

In order to increase ecommerce sales with LinkedIn you need to share relevant content.

Start by sharing useful information regarding products or services that you sell. This information should be a good mixture of articles from across the web as well as your own blog posts.

Also be sure to link to your products.

If you’ve established authority on your topic people will naturally want to do business with you so your products should be easy to find.


If you’re consistently active on LinkedIn you should be able to make powerful connections and increase your sales.

Remember though, nothing happens immediately. You need to spend time on the network every day. With time your efforts will pay off.

Do you use LinkedIn to grow your business?