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If you’re starting a business, or you’ve already started one, this is four minutes worth investing.  The video below features some of this country’s most successful entrepreneurs.  Their words of wisdom could save you a lot of time and money – or even your business!

What do you think of the advice they give?  Please share your thoughts.

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Fifteen per cent of hiring managers in the UK said they either currently use social networking sites to recruit potential candidates or plan to do so by the end of the year. Using social networking is an effective and economical way to source new talent, especially for startups. They are a great way to communicate to a targeted group of people, who are linked to your industry or interested in your business or to reach out to a wider audience. For startups who don’t have a big brand, sourcing candidates is sometimes difficult. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all rich in talent and can give your company a presence.

Here’s how to leverage them to your advantage:

LinkedIn

Search for potential employees by past or current employer, such as a possible direct or indirect competitor who may have employed people with the skills and experience you need. Use the recommendation feature to ask people for recommendations and provide recommendations to others. Your name will appear on the profile page of the person you have recommended and more people will connect to you as a result. Ask your employees to activate their networks to reach out to passive candidates. You could offer staff incentives to source successful candidates through social networks.

Facebook

It is worth it – because it’s free! You can create a recruitment-oriented home page on Facebook. It should give facts about your company, the jobs available, the company culture and how to apply. Pictures and videos can go a long way toward selling your company. You can use competitions to get candidates’ contact information. You can also search for candidates by skills or by company or by job title and it will take you straight to the candidate. I have found Facebook works best as a place to set up groups and advertise them.

Twitter

Send a tweet that says you have current opportunities and link it to your web site. If the person reading the tweet isn’t a fit, they may know of just the right person! Twitter is a great place to broadcast jobs and build talent networks. You can ‘re-tweet’ which gets your followers to spread the word to their followers. Offer your opinion on news, industry happenings and seminars. Share news, industry tips or links to interesting websites and blogs. Oh yeah, also great for recruiting great candidates.

Guest post by Nikki, founder of CV writing company www.mycvandme.co.uk

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Firstly, I guess I should tell you about my break for entrepreneurial freedom…

My brother and I left the security of good professional careers in June 1997 to buy a pub. Why? Well – it seemed like a good idea at the time, despite the fact that neither of us had even worked behind a bar in our lives! Despite a lack of experience, we raised equity from friends and family, got a loan from the bank and about a year later, bought and refurbished a pub.

Over the course of the next few years, we turned it into one of the most successful pubs in the area and in the process, more than quadrupled the turnover that the previous owners had achieved.

A big part of the original plan had been to produce our own beer; and once we had the pub operating well and a good operational team in place, we turned our attention to opening a micr0-brewery. Again, having no direct experience in the industry, we tracked down a consultant who advised us on brewery design and recipes. We converted an industrial unit in Battersea and started brewing. The beers we produced tasted great and sold well, even winning the occasional award! Sadly, the London market was not an easy market for brewers at that time, many pubs were tied and would not accept guest beers and the costs of distributing in London traffic meant that the brewery never did much more than wash its face.

One of our best sellers in the pub was a shot-sized vodka jelly product, until one day, our supplier stopped delivering. A (pre-Google) search on the internet did not reveal any alternatives, so we set about making our own. I got a recipe from an old friend, eventually sourced the pot and lid and started making vodka jellies in the pub kitchen. They sold well and after a while, we started getting calls from other bars wondering where we got the product from. One thing lead to another and we started selling nationally. Soon, we were attracting the interest of the big pub chains and it became clear that if we were going to have a proper go at it, a strategic investment was required. Nine months later we had a new round of investors, a new patented pot and lid, a manufacturing line in Wales, a storage unit in Liverpool and a full sales and marketing operation in place!

Over the next couple of years, we sold around 5 million vodka jellies. Sadly though, it wasn’t enough. The pub chains were demanding increasingly competitive prices and the big players in the drinks industry (and boy are they protective of their markets) muscled us out. The impact was sufficient to leave our whole business in trouble and we had to sell the pub to clear the decks financially.

Licking our wounds with no interest in returning to corporate life, I was contemplating what we might do next when I took a call from a friend, asking if we knew of any good accountants. She ran a PR agency in the area and was looking for a new solution. The door to the new business opportunity opened before my eyes and we jumped in! For a start my brother and I are both trained accountants, plus we had spent the last 8 years running 3 small businesses – I think we had a good mix of technical grounds and commercial experience to make an accounting practice for small businesses work. Haggards Crowther, as it is now called, is now well-established and looks after over 600 clients.

The entrepreneurial fires have continued to burn brightly, more in me than my brother. He has been keen to keep the accounting practice focused on core products, whereas I wanted to expand into new areas. Thus, whilst I remain heavily involved in Haggards Crowther, I have started work on Start-up venture number 5 – My Bookkeeping Online.

Launching in autumn, this is an online platform designed to help small businesses keep on top of their bookkeeping. From the outset, it has been really important to me that owners of the smallest businesses with no bookkeeping knowledge can use it…and designing it accordingly has been a challenge! It is under development as I write and it is coming together well.

Watch this space as I’ll be blogging and tweeting about the progress.

Other than that, this blog is going to be about small business. No doubt my focus will head off in many tangents in the coming weeks and months, but the primary purpose is to talk about small businesses that are starting up, help with some broad advice and talk about the issues small business owners face in specific industries. Please forgive the occasional rant too!

Tim

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