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VZi Small Business Forum Volkszone has many entrepreneurs, self-employed and those who run their own companies. Please use this forum to ask (and answer) any small business related questions - employment law, tax laws, insurance, marketing, council rates, etc. Please DO NOT use it to tout for business or to plug your own company (please use the Yellow Pages forum for this) - any blatant 'plug' posts will be deleted and the posters may be reprimanded further. This is the ONLY warning you will receive - the idea is to help each others' businesses, not to take advantage - so please play nice.

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Old 30-12-2013, 11:26 AM   #11
HairyYeti
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Keep up to date on your knowledge and don't be afraid to branch out into new areas to test the water.
The pies may be small but us humans have many fingers.
Occasionally you get to stick a digit into a big one.

Doing what I do I often find I have a six month lead on a new idea before some "me too" guy spots that there is a couple of quid in it and then copies it.
It's happened with the bolt kits and even with CAD designs that I've slaved over for days/weeks to perfect. Numpties with laser scanners can quickly replicate a design once they see it works.
Many years of trying to educate people into the virtues of R9 fuel hose has resulted mostly in other firms jumping in to the scene selling the cheap stuff.

You just have to keep innovating. Give good customer service. Oh, and know your subject....if you can advise technically with authority then people will trust you and give you trade.
And don't sell crap....stick to the good stuff. Same with quality of workmanship.!

On accounting - know what is deductible as overheads - there's more leeway here than most people think.
Car Park tickets from town being one most forgotten. You were there to drop a cheque at the Bank or check the balance on the machine.!
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:10 PM   #12
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The single biggest problem i have as do many sole traders is the only thing i sell is my time. there is only a finite amount of that you can sell. actually billing for all of the hours you do is also very difficult and would soon have most of the customers going else where if you did.
I was once told if you can invoice 50% of the hours you work then you are doing very well.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:47 PM   #13
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Judgie, is there anything else you can sell as well as your time? A complimentary service/product eg. a car polish that you also use yourself?

Hairy Yeti has it right that it's good to look at other avenues. I think this is one of the best/most exciting parts of being self employed - you can try any business if you want (can get training etc. etc.). I speak to quite a few people who do one job eg. an accountant. I can't think of anything more boring tbh, doing the same job day in day out until retirement?

Flexibility is the game and it can make things much more interesting.
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:00 AM   #14
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I started my company in 2008 just as the so called recession kicked in, since then we have moved from a partnership to a limited company, strict business plans and branching out in to other areas have seen nothing but growth luckily, I'm not saying it has not been a ball ache but for some reason we keep on growing, still only two of us but progress takes time.
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