Here are some products and services which I regularly advise my business clients to use. Some of these products pay me tiny amounts of money for having their link here, or if you buy something from them, and just so you always know what’s going on, I’ve marked these ones with an asterisk. Some of the other businesses I recommend here may buy me cake if you buy from them.
Workspace offers excellent value commercial property to let in prime locations across London. These properties include serviced offices in London, office, light industrial, warehouse and workshop space tailored to meet the needs of new and growing businesses.
Net Lawman *
If you need legal documentation that you can understand, I recommend Net Lawman. They provide a comprehensive library of plain English legal documents, advice and drafting services. Great for the small business.
Payroll Courses *
Make HR and Payroll processes easier and stay on the right side of the law by using dedicated business software from SAGE.
Simon O’Hare at Curve IT provide computer support for The Joy of Business. Simon has sourced new hardware, set it all up beautifully, and was invaluable when there was a loud bang and smoke coming out of one of the PC’s.
Give him a nice cup of tea, and he’ll make it all work for you.
If you’re getting busier, and spending too much time on admin when you could be selling and making the real money, but you’re not sure that you want to take on staff, a good next step is a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant will do all the admin for you, but they’ll do it at their own office. You can use them for an hour (maybe to do your invoicing) or for a day to get your contact list up to date.
They should be someone who is very experienced and accomplished at administration, and is used to getting things done to a tight deadline.
If you’re in Brighton, or beyond, and want a virtual assistant, I can heartily recommend Vicky Townshend for a cost effective and fast service. My tip is to ply her with cake, so you become her favourite customer, and she’ll make everything run smoothly for you.
Peter Jenkins, who is on the committee with me at Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, and a lovely guy, provides a great service which saves you money and makes life easier at the same time, which can’t be bad.
VOIP Advantage is like Skype, so you make your phone calls over the internet, instead of giving your money to BT. However, VOIP Advantage is better for businesses because it’s higher quality (you need people to hear you, after all) and has lots of fancy features which would cost you a small fortune if you used a traditional phone system.
So if you do business while you’re out and about, you can answer your phone as if you’re in the office, even if you’re sitting in a cafe in New York (or Hove, more realistically.)
You can have multiple phone numbers, different messages if you’re out, and pick your own music if you need to put people on hold.
Peter also offers local support, and as he’s a real human being, who actually knows what he’s talking about, that makes a pleasant change.
Have a look at VOIP Advantage – and tell Peter that Julia sent you, so he can send me chocolate when you sign up.
The Essential Business Guide
If you’re setting up a new small business, you should get hold of a copy of the Start Your Business Step by Step workbook.
Julia Chanteray of The Joy of Business wrote the finance section of the workbook, including all the essentials for planning whether your business will make any money.
If you’re already up and running, get hold of the Essential Business Guide, which Julia regularly recommends to clients. In fact, sometimes she recommends that people buy this book instead of coming to see her!
Angie Konrad at Voicewaves
If you ever need to talk to people – making presentations, talking to staff, or selling to potential customers, it would be good to get some help from Angie Konrad at Voicewaves. She can help you to do better presentations, to be more confident about how you use your voice and work on appearing confident through body language.
She’s also a lovely woman with some great skills, which she can pass on to you to make sure that you make a success of your business and career.
I’ve used Angie’s services myself to help me improve my public speaking, and to prepare for doing Risking It All for Channel 4, and I’ve recommended her to several of my clients.
Email us with your recommendations for things the small business owner can’t do without