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The day to day reality of business start-up

5 May

Starting self-employment as a sole trader, whether it’s as a window cleaner or dog groomer is a long process but completely worth it! It can be hard to know what to expect in the early days so we have spoken to Ritchie, a self-employed car valeter to give us some tips.  


Raising funds:
Your new venture may require specific equipment or start-up essentials and you need to find a way to raise the funds. You might start off by selling unwanted personal goods (I’d recommend your games console as you’ll have less time to play it if you’re committed!) or by asking family and friends for support. There are always start-up loans and banks but I was pleasantly surprised by the help I received from those around me.

Gaining new custosprayingmers: No matter what kind of day you’re having or what mood you’re in you must remain polite and presentable with customers. Those first impressions are critical to spreading news of your business and building your customer base.  Never let a customer down by arriving late and remember there are always competitor’s ready to fill your place if you don’t give good service!

Constant commitment: When I’ve finished valeting a car I can’t just make my way down to the pub. I’ve got to think about completing my paper work, meeting new customers, replacing stock and cleaning my equipment. Then there are other duties that might not have been thought of such as visiting the bank, training, buying new equipment and keeping up with industry trends. Just stay on top of your tasks and you will see great reward.

Getting support: It’s ok to not know some aspects of business start-up and there is plenty of support available out there. There are sites such as the HMRC site or organisations like Opportunity Plus (www.opsw.co.uk) that can offer advice or guidance.

It may seem like a lot of work but I LOVE working for myself. I get to meet people from all walks of life, earn my own money and see my business grow. I’m constantly learning new skills and surprising myself without dreading Monday morning!

You get what you put in, persevere through the start-up phase and you will succeed!

Check out Ritchie’s website at http://www.carcareplus.co.uk/

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How will the National Living Wage increase benefit you?

8 Mar

In April 2016 the National Living Wage law will be enforced, so if you’re 25 or over you could be seeing an increase of 50p hour in your wage slip! It makes no difference if you’re paid weekly, monthly, part-time, full-time, by cash, by BACS or by cheque – you are entitled.

Previously employees over 25 were entitled to a minimum wage of £6.70 per but with the new rules in place your employer is required by law to pay you at-least £7.20 per hour. In a recent Government survey 70% of workers have said they will feel more positive with the wage increase and 59% agreed they would be more motivated whilst at work.

Although this is the biggest minimum wage increase in several years it can be hard to picture the impact it will have on your life, so to make things easier we’ve made a list of what the extra income could get you over a year if you were working 35 hours a week.

  • An all inclusive 4* week long holiday to Majorca for a family of four

  • A brand new 64gb Iphone 6s Plus

  • 2 x GT 27.5 Aggressor Mountain Bikes

  • 1,216 Chocolate bars

  • £880 towards the deposit of a house using a help to buy ISA

  • A Louis Vuitton classic Speedy 40 Handbag

  • 6,083 Bananas

  • A Samsung UE50JU6400 Smart Ultra HD 4K 50” LED TV

  • 3,650 Nappies

Whether it’s going to go towards a luxury treat or help towards your monthly bills the increase is going to benefit households all across the UK with only just over 3 weeks until it takes effect.

Prices and figures are based on market searches as of March 2016 and may vary.

Opportunity Plus have escaped!

17 Dec

The Opportunity Plus team have been on our Christmas celebration. Although we stuck with a more traditional festive meal in the evening we kicked it off in Opportunity Plus style with a visit to Red House Mysteries to ‘Escape the Room’.

Red House Mysteries is based in Exeter and their new mystery room had only been open for a month, with several teams attempting to escape. The project itself was successfully funded by crowdfunding, with the campaign exceeding its target. Without a clue of what to expect we walked down to a secluded door on King Street Exeter to begin our journey. After going through the usual health and safety protocols (including removing our shoes) we were plunged into darkness, locked in and ready to commence the fun.

The aim of the game was simple, we had to solve the mystery of a detective who had been falsely framed for a murder and we needed to prove his innocence. I will not indulge too much in the story as not to ruin the plot for future investigators but it was extremely well thought out.  The room contained several clues, puzzles and keys which seemed to be of no use until you least expect it. We were forced to work as a team to beat the hour clock ticking away – using our individual skills and organisation to crack the evidence, all whilst being watched on CCTV by our host.

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Susan, Michelle, Ritchie, Jenny, Jude, Catt and Ann – a success!

Despite moments of panic and incorrect ideas we succeeded and managed to escape the room in 49 minutes! The experience was fantastic and all involved thoroughly enjoyed it. A massive thank you to everyone at Red House Mysteries, Ben was a great host. We spent the rest of the evening pretending we were detectives and looking at everything twice incase it was a clue. I think it’s safe to say we will be visiting your new room as soon as it opens!

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Thanks Ben!

The Work within Wonderland

3 Dec

There are often jobs and businesses that we don’t even think of when looking for work or business ideas, so as we are entering the Christmas season let’s take a look at a well known Christmas song, just to see how many different jobs we can find within the lyrics.

 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

You need a good carpenter or two to make the sleigh from Scandinavian Ash, lumberjacks to cut down the trees and groundsman and land owners to grow them. Paint and varnish manufacturers and wholesalers for these would also be involved, plus a few delivery drivers.

The sleigh bells would be made from metal by a manufacturer, but the metal would be mined, transported and amalgamated. There would also be delivery drivers involved here too, and they may need some mechanics.

In order to listen our ears need to be working. This could involve chemists, nurses, GP’s, receptionists, hearing aid manufacturers, scientists, whole university research departments, government departments for NHS funding, admin, and of course, delivery drivers again. It’s worth mentioning that drivers need roads, so town planners, road workers, highway maintenance, police, electricity workers for lights, power plant workers, cable layers, drainage, etc.

In the lane, snow is glistening

Well, we’ve already looked at the lane and the road workers etc, but now we have snow, so there’s snow plough drivers and their managers, the trainers who teach them to drive it, the awarding body staff who issue the qualification, all the admin staff, internal and external verifiers, the postman who delivers the licence, the sorting office workers, paper mill workers to make the paper the licences come on, ink manufacturers, computer engineers, programmers, website developers, etc. There may also be gritter drivers, wholesalers, producers of sand and grit, makers of sacks for the postman and the grit, people who produce the material for the sacks, cotton growers, the people who sweep the factory floor, forklift drivers.

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight

Here our medical staff may come into play again, including opticians, lens manufacturers, glass manufacturers, receptionists, advertising agencies, designers, graphic designers.

Walking in a winter wonderland

On come all our medical staff and their support staff, plus shoe manufacturers, leather manufacturers, retailers, designers, farmers, distributers, plastic manufacturers, health and safety officials, clothes manufacturers. Clothes and shoes need to be paid for, so bank staff, card manufacturers, on line security specialists, security officers, wallet and purse manufacturers, people who work in the mint, government officials.

All of these workers need to eat, so farmers, butchers, fruit growers, importers, exporters, chefs, food production factories, packaging manufacturers, gas engineers, stove and fridge manufacturers, waiting staff, kitchen porters. Some of the workers mentioned above may have a few overnight stays, so this will involve chamber maids, hotel receptionists, bar tenders, night porters.

All of the businesses will need a building, so this will involve construction workers, architects, planners, plasterers, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators, roofers, scaffolders, stone masons, quarry workers, steel workers, hard hat manufacturers, work boot manufacturers, people who make eye protection equipment and high visibility jackets, and all the people who make the materials to make these things. Logistic people.

Workers have to get to work, so there are the bus drivers, timetablers, manufacturers of bus stops, bus manufacturers, uniform manufacturers and retailers, upholsterers, ticket machine makers, ticket makers, accountants, Train drivers and all the workers involved in making train travel possible, including track layers and buffet workers.

Car manufacturers, car salesmen, driving instructors, driving test examiners, road sign manufacturers, highway code workers, car part manufacturers, in car air freshener designers.

How many others can you think of?

Sales for your start-up

4 Sep

There are many ways to sell your product or service, whether that’s online, over the phone or face to face and you need to make sure you’re getting the right message across to your potential customers.

Although sometimes you may want to shy away from direct selling, it is extremely effective if you can engage them in your product. Selling and sales techniques can be found call over the internet and in various books. There is no set way to sell something though and it really does come down to you as a person and the way you interact with others. Some will choose a more pushy approach where ‘no’ will not be accepted where as others will be more laid back and let their personalities do the selling. It’s your business and therefore you choose the approach you want take.

A good way of thinking about your sales tactics is to picture the scenario if the roles were reversed. If someone approached you with this product what would grab your attention? Another approach is to think about what NOT to do. There are certain actions which can jeopardize your chances of making a sale and it would be best to avoid them.

As an alternative way of preparing your strategy we have made a quiz – where for the most part, we want you to think about the worst ways to sell and use this is a ground step for creating your sales pitch.

https://www.onlineexambuilder.com/selling-your-product-or-service/exam-35665

If you would like more information or are thinking about coming self-employed please get in touch on info@opsw.co.uk or 0800 043 2440