Archive for SEC

Running a home business?

Working in the garden - a picture of a shed

The Guardian have recently begun a new small business forum for the small business that is based at home. You can see the pages of the home business hub here.

The first edition offers insights into people who have started a business in their garden shed. No, really. Research in the article shows that garden based businesses contributed £6.1bn pounds to the UK economy in 2012.

If you thought the shed was the sole domain of middle aged men and their rusty lawn mowers, you couldn’t be more wrong. Female entrepreneurs have started jewelry design businesses and online vintage shops from their sheds.

The home business hub also has a feature article on meeting clients in ‘third party’ places. Some successful businesses meet their customers in some very different places, form Garden Centres to dedicated meeting spaces in stationery shop chains.

You can start your enterprise wherever you are, using the resources to hand when you start and as you grow, you can still be imaginative about keeping those costs down.

Food for thought – especially for a garden based business. See The Guardian home business hub here.

Community business planning tool

canYouPlanItButtonThe organisation Community Matters have just released a new social business planning tool – Can You Plan It.

This interactive tool is not the usual dry, spread sheet based business tool kit you so often come across. This great resource involves the use of ideas cards, consultation processes and how to plan together.

It offers any sort of community business a way to explore an idea, or development opportunity, in a way that fosters creativity, clear thinking and an understanding on how to achieve your aims that is not delivered through ‘text heavy’ frameworks.

You can download a quick pdf leaflet for the tool here.

If you would like to see all the elements of the toolkit online you can visit the Community Matters web site page here.

You can find the main secBEANS main website here…

Start your Social Enterprise

You can access useful information for your start-up in this publication from Social Enterprise UK, a booklet sponsored by Unity Trust Bank.

This guide, which is a short version of Craig Deardon-Phillips’s book Your Chance to Change the World, presents the key elements which need to be considered to help every social enterprise become a reality.

There is a lot of information for budding social entrepreneurs available, but we liked the easily digestible ‘main points’ approach of this publication.

It also offers some useful case histories, issues which will be recognisable to community groups who have started any project, whether a community business or not.

From planning your business plan, through working out what your social enterprise mission is and how to work best in partnership with others. The section of governance and legal forms is also clear and useful.

You can download this free pdf booklet here.

If you would like the whole book and really get into the ‘no-fibbing’ guide to Social Enterprise, you can find it on the secBEANS bookshop page (…and donate a small amount to SEC when you buy!)

Facebook Timeline for business

timelineBookletPic3In another of our occasional series of new media advice and information – get to grips with the Facebook Timeline and your enterprise.

This useful booklet from HubSpot, as always, offers you highlights about how to feature your enterprise activity to best advantage on Facebook.

Timeline layout is now automatic for new registrations on Facebook business, with this booklet illustrating how best to use images, when and how to post and and enable messages.

Alongside best practice notes there are some great examples of enterprise timelines for you to draw inspiration from.

You can download this booklet as a pdf file here.

secBEANS – helping you get the best from your new media involvement.

beansBOOKS pages just launched

beansBooksBluescreenPicWe have just launched the beansBOOKS pages for the secBEANS network.

This online bookshop, powered by Amazon.co.uk, provides everyone who visits us with access to carefully chosen titles to help establish, develop or manage your community enterprise.

You can buy with confidence from Amazon, book distribution you can trust.

(We never see your personal or financial details…ever).

We have a regular monthly selection of useful resources, along with strong sections on being a female entrepreneur, small business finance and marketing ideas for smaller enterprises.

We also have sections on community business specifically, explaining how sustainable community enterprises can change the vitality and view of community landscapes – philosophically speaking.

Have a look at beansBOOKS – every purchase you complete using the links on our pages sends 5% of the transaction directly to SEC to help with our charitable activity.

The business bookshop – a service from the secBEANS network and its members.

Could you be a community entrepreneur?

pileofLearningPicStanford University in the USA is committed to putting learning online for free. Offering you access to great thinkers (…and doers), to help get your enterprise idea started.

In February 2012 Steve Blank, a serial starter of successful companies will, as part of his teaching duties at Stanford be launching an online Lean Start-up course.

You can register with your email address here.

Don’t be put off by the technical content of the course, or the fact that it comes from a prestigious university. Simple business ideas, clearly expressed, will be the source of your community enterprise success.

The course is free, built around a series of online videos, which you can watch at your leisure and supported by some interesting quizzes.

Why not do the course before you start your enterprise, or begin to expand your existing enterprise idea.

You never know what might happen. Good luck if you do try out something new.

The beans team.

(Watch out for the new secLEARNING web pages too – access to free knowledge, learning and skills from a variety of providers – coming soon).

Why ethical community enterprise?

Below is a short film – delivered by Richard Wilkinson, who is co-author of the book The Spirit Level – talking about inequality and economic activity in communities.

For figures and chart fans there is much to enjoy, but if this is not your thing don’t be put off. Listen to the story – it stresses how important, as we believe at SEC, that ethical economic activity in communities can be.

Driving better health for children, better mental health for adults and improving social relations and human capital across a community.

Richard’s argument is that national income or factors of economic growth which we read in the national press or from central government are not, in the end, of essential importance to our human well being.

It is the nature of local economic activity, driving creativity, generating additional income and creating feelings of trust and community capital that will enable those communities to be both resilient and durable.

Great message!

Follow your heart, pivot with your instincts!

handsPic4The Independent Small Business Service recently ran an article entitled Follow Your Heart, featuring the experiences of Ronke Ige, the founder of Emi & Ben Skin Care Products.

The article highlights some of the great satisfactions that Inge has found running her own business, but also shines a light on some of the drivers for innovation and flexibility that really matter when you start, no matter what size your enterprise.

‘Focus on tasks that follow the money, rather than follow strict processes…’

Not crudely follow the money, as in only pursue cash as a driver for enterprise, but rather be prepared to pivot your business in directions that truly reflect your market or operating area – only truthfully understood once you have made or delivered something to a paying customer. Learn from every transaction and experience.

‘Be passionate, delegate and espouse trust…’

For us this is the heart of your transaction. Have faith in your product and service, but share that glow with others…even those who wouldn’t go into business in a century of opportunity. Nay-sayers wouldn’t go into business in the first place perhaps, but you have.

‘Branding is a pivotal part of any business…’

Absolutely, whatever your size, product or service. Make contact with someone who can do graphic design for you, or a photographer who can photograph your product or create a telling image to hang your business identity on. It will pay results…

You can read the fuller article on the web pages of The Independent here.

Why not join beans and talk to someone who can do just these things in your local area?

Pay your tax faster?

moneyTrollyPic2The tax man now accepts transfers using the Faster Payments process from your bank.

What this means is that you can now pay your tax liability and other commitments to HMRC via internet banking or telephone banking services.

You can find a complete list of HMRC liabilities that you can pay using Faster Payments here.

Traders and the self-employed should take care to ensure that they pay electronically into the appropriate HMRC bank account and use the relevant reference number for the payment. Read more here…

As always, if you already have a professional adviser or accountant supporting you do discuss this important change with them too!

secBEANS – supporting enterprise in your community

Welcome to the beansBLOG

This is the new blog for beans. 

An enterprise and community business initiative from the charity SEC Ltd. We work with members, partners and our volunteers to generate enterprise ideas and delivery – which add positively to the economic and social wellbeing of our community in Marham, Norfolk.

You can join beans here. A simple email sign on.

We’ll keep you updated as to the development of this free network, send you information about our events and keep you posted on business opportunities through our Directory, training opportunities and social events.

We need volunteers to co-ordinate the beans project. 

Do you have a view on the business usefulness of LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter? Can you write blog articles, or share you business knowledge with beans members?

Do you have a problem or query we can help solve? Our volunteer trustees and partners have huge amounts of experience business management, funding, practice and delivery.

beans and SEC, here to help if we can.

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