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A getting-started guide to Twitter for small and medium business

business advice in Hertfordshire, twitterAs a small business owner, you probably hear the words ‘digital marketing’ and ‘social media marketing’ thrown about. The importance of getting your brand out there on the internet is key to any business growth, but really all you need to know is how using Twitter can get you more referrals, leads and, in the end, how can it get you more customers?

We’re going to explain why using Twitter is so integral to your marketing strategy but also offer XXX tips on how to make Twitter work especially well for your small or medium business.

Looking back to move forward

A mere 30 years ago, your loyal customers would be built through word-of-mouth recommendations, or a well-crafted advert placed in the local newspaper.

As time went on technology advanced, bringing with it new marketing methods such as direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows. These were very successful, and still can be today, but as consumer’s became wise to these methods they also became very good at avoiding traditional attempts to get their attention.

Today, social media and the use of digital marketing is the way that small businesses can get noticed online.

We can’t escape social media, it is everywhere, so ignoring the rise and rise of this form of communication would be a big mistake for any business. As the old saying goes; if you can’t beat them, join them!

Connecting with customers

Never before has there been a more immediate and intimate way to connect with customers, especially when you consider that 62% of adults worldwide use some form of social media. This could be through computers, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and much more. Take, for example, these statistics:

twitter,business help in Hertfordshire• One billion people actively use Facebook every month;
• 500,000 people use Twitter every month;
• Google’s +1 button is used 2+ billion times each day;
• 5 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every hour;
• 3,600 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every hour.

So, if you’re not already tapping into this goldmine of marketing opportunities by utilising social media, you could be doing your small business out of brand new customers. If this is you, don’t worry, we’ve got the tips to get you started on Twitter today.

Why Twitter?

Whilst having a social media strategy that extends over many platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram is a brilliant idea, Twitter is the ideal place to start out.

No other medium gets you inside a business or brand quite like Twitter. This is because rather than potential customers seeking out your specific business, you may be found simply because somebody searched for ‘#smallbusiness’ or ‘#personalassistant #london’.

This instant accessibility, without the need for adding connections, or approving posts, makes Twitter the perfect practice ground for your social media strategy.

How to get started

Firstly, before you’ve even created a Twitter account, remember to stay brand loyal. You may be Joe Bloggs, CEO of Bloggs Paper Inc, but nobody else knows that.

Therefore, your Twitter handle shouldn’t be @JoeBloggs, but instead @BloggsPaperInc – remember you are tweeting as the business, not as yourself. Likewise, the profile photo should reflect the business, usually the business logo, not yourself.

Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to complete your profile. Each section of your Twitter profile can give potential leads more details about your business, so making sure you fill in the location website and bio is principal.

Then it’s time to start following people! It’s all very exciting but you need to take it slow because Twitter has strict rules about what they call ‘aggressive following’. But, in general, you should start by following those in the following categories:

follow me,twitter,business help in Hertfordshire• Your customers;
• Your business partners;
• Your competitors or peers;
• Trade organisations or professional organisations for your industry;
• Businesses in your neighbourhood;
• Businesses run by people you know.

Twitter can actually help with these initial stages by scanning your address book to see who is already on Twitter.

Finally, you can start interacting with Tweeters. Exactly what you want to tweet about will be unique to your business and your business alone, but in general you’ll find that a balance between interesting things that engage your audience and promotion of your business is the best way to go.

Make sure that you are giving out useful information and answering any questions you might get, this is how you will begin to become a valuable member of the community.

Over to you….

Naturally, these are just suggestions and the direction your digital marketing takes could differ greatly.

But, once you have Twitter under your belt, you can expand on how you are interacting on social media in a vast variety of ways, including using other media and actively driving traffic to your website or blog.

Are you using social media already? Or is this your first entrance to the world of social media? Let us know in the comments! Whether you’re looking to reboot, or just get started with social media and digital marketing, DAA Consulting can help make sure you’re on the right track!

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Top Tips for 2015 from Business Leaders

This is the perfect time of year to begin to shape your business exactly how you want it. Set goals, take some tips on board and learn what the best in business are saying. We’ve rounded up top tips to get your business in shape for 2015, inspired by business leaders.

Be charitable

Did you know that customers are likely to buy a product that benefits a great cause. Aside from the obvious fact that being involved with a charity does something good, it can also establish positive attention for your organisation. It need not be something large scale. If you are a micro business, why not choose a local charity to team up with? Run an event, get your staff involved. Increasing awareness and sales is a win-win situation.

Thought inspired by Dan McCabe, Director of

Slow down and reassess

Running a business can be hectic. With seemingly hundreds of tasks, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Make use of time-tracking software such as Toggl to check if you’re spending a reasonable time on particular tasks. Emails, for example, can be a massive time-suck. Are there things that you could outsource, or put to the bottom of your list?

Use ‘S.T.O.P’ to help you to reassess and get things back in order.

S – ‘slow down’

T – take deep breaths

O – observe your tasks

P – proceed


Thought and ‘S.T.O.P’ inspired by Scott Eblin, author of Overworked and Overwhelmed

Keep an eye on industry trends

Who are the leaders in your industry? Follow them on social media. Set some time aside to catch up on what they’re saying. Are there any key dates that you should observe, or industry events that you could attend. Keep an ear to the ground for conversations that may shake up the way you offer your service and sell your product. Deloitte, Accenture and others offer insightful industry reports for varying sectors.

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Get a mentor

It can be difficult to navigate the world of business but there’s never an excuse to be alone in it all. The internet has a wealth of resources out there but there is nothing like one-to-one coaching. This is where a mentor can come in. They offer tailored advice and guidance. Look for a mentor who is seasoned and successful in business, who is willing to spend time helping you and your business to develop. (If you need a business mentor in Hertfordshire you know who you can talk to!)

Embrace cloud technology

The digital age has done businesses major favours. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting but cloud software is making it easier than ever to add a whole new dynamic to the way your company works. Having all of your documents and correspondence on one handy system makes remote working easier than ever. Your location will no longer be a hinderance, as long as you have a wifi connection.

Business moves fast. Your diary can be synced with that of your clients and colleagues. That doc that needs to be updated? Do it on the move. Cloud technology is here to stay. If you haven’t embraced it already, now is the time.

Thought inspired by Jason Richelson, founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS

Invest in yourself

That conference you want to go to? Those books that you haven’t got round to reading? Create the budget and the time for them. Is there a course or qualification that would help you to excel and become more of an expert in your field? Make 2015 the year that you accomplish those goals and set yourself the targets. Maybe it will cost you along the way but the biggest success stories have had to invest in themselves along the way.

It may be as simple as reading a book every month but no harm can come from spending the time to learn from people who are ahead of you.

Remember your purpose

Stopping to refocus every so often and look at the reason you started out on your business journey is a fantastic way to keep you on track. If what you are doing does not match up with your objectives, look at tweaking your strategy and doing things differently. That way, when it gets tough, you can remind yourself of your ‘why’. Every great company has a ‘why’. Write down your mission statement and put it somewhere visible. It will give you and your team something to work towards. Do you have a team? Make sure that they are working towards the same thing as you. Set the culture of your business and make sure it’s enforced, every time someone new comes along. Communicating it internally means that your customers and clients will quickly grasp it too.

If you would like to discuss your goals for 2015, feel free to speak with a business advisor in Hertfordshire.
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How Businesses Benefit From Mentors

Starting and running a business can be one of the most exciting and stressful times in the life of an entrepreneur. There are all sorts of things to consider from niche, to finance, staffing and even where the business will be based. Staying on top of things isn’t easy. This is where the role of a mentor comes in handy.

What do mentors do for businesses?

A mentor is a seasoned and successful businessperson. Choosing a mentor depends on the needs of the company. So assess your situation. Are you in need of financial expertise or direction with your marketing? Deciding on the areas of your business idea that need the most work will help you to a) make the right choice and b) get the most out of your mentorship.
Business mentors are on hand to encourage, inspire and motivate. Accountability in business is a great thing to spur entrepreneurs on to meet their goals. A mentor will sit down with you and look at your business and ideas from an objective perspective. Next, there will be an element of troubleshooting. Be prepared for constructive criticism. Remember that they are there to help you. Next, you put together a bespoke plan. No business problem is solved, without some sort of strategy. A mentor will not only help you to come up with the plan but will also guide you in implementing it (if you need a business mentor in Hertfordshire, give us a call!)

Do I need a business mentor? 

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If you have a seed of an idea but don’t know what you should do next, you will benefit from a business mentor.

Businesses can benefit from mentors, even when they are set up and running smoothly. Mentors don’t always come on board at the beginning of a business; they can be appointed at any time.

Working with a mentor can help your business to grow and expand. You may have started alone but are now ready to move on to the next stage of growth. Expansion, employment and even implement new ideas can usually do with the help of a mentor who has been there and done that.

What do mentors have to offer?

Working with a business mentor means that you can solve all sorts of different problems in your business. You may need guidance with funding. Maybe you’re not sure of how to work the logistical day-to-day running of your business. A mentor can help you with this.

Mentors bring years of experience. Something that may look like a major problem to a businessperson who is just starting out may look minor to a mentor who has already been in that situation and overcome it.

Working with a mentor also brings a wealth of knowledge. They will have learnt things that you may need in the future. You can also learn from their mistakes. Any successful entrepreneur will have made a few mistakes along the way. If they can see that you’re headed for

Successfully working with a mentor

There are a few key habits to practise, when working with a mentor:

  • Be responsive. A great working relationship will take good communication from both parties. Be respectful of your mentor’s time and respond in a timely fashion to their correspondence.
  • Be proactive. The best results come when you put their advice into action. Never stop generating ideas for your business. Take them to your mentor for feedback. It makes the whole process much more enjoyable and productive.
  • Stay enthusiastic. It can be difficult to hear where there are improvements to be made in your business and ideas but keep the end goal in mind: success. Remind yourself of your goals.

Famous entreprenebusiness mentors in Hertfordshireurs and their mentors

The likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerburg are all successful business people who count their mentors as integral parts of their personal development. We all know that no success is made overnight and it’s mentors behind-the-scenes that see the potential in an individual or business and help to drive that forward.

Time to find a mentor

DAA Consulting offer excellent business mentoring packages which are free and tremendously benefit people who are thinking of starting from their business. There is no one-size-fits all approach to business mentoring. Businesses can expect tailored advice face-to-face meetings and even a set of telephone conferences. If you are looking for a business mentor in Hertfordshire or even further afield, DAA Consulting can accommodate your needs.

Business mentoring can help to find solutions, set attainable goals and create streamlined strategies; the aim is to improve on existing businesses and to see new businesses reach their full potential in all areas.
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7 things that make a startup thrive

Ever find that when you finally figure out a simple solution to a big problem, you think: “why didn’t anyone tell me that in the first place?

It’s the same way when you’re setting out on the journey of your startup. So we wondered what tips our business consultants in Hertfordshire would have liked to have been given when we started out.

Use these tips to stand out from the crowd and allow your business to thrive!

  1. Under-promise and over-deliver

Promising to do too much at once is a sure-fire way to lose the trust and respect of customers and clients. You’re much better off at developing an agile way of working, in which you deliver in phases.The quality of what you deliver should be higher than satisfactory, so your client knows they can come back to you again.

2. Find a good sounding board outside the business 

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Photo: Flickr

Some of the best business owners are also some of the best listeners, and you shouldn’t be above seeking advice.

Think about how refreshing it can be to step away from a problem and cast new eyes on it after a break. By presenting your issues to someone completely unassociated with your business, you can open yourself up to new ideas.

It gets lonely at the top, so developing a close circle of people whose business acumen you trust, or gaining support from a business consultant, can be a vital asset.

3. Invest in training and skills development

A great idea is nothing but a great idea, and that doesn’t make a great company. To get your business off the ground you will need solid foundations.Although training will vary between industries, there are some areas that almost all startup CEOs should train in. Examples include systems-based thinking, managing yourself and driving execution. In short, how to make your dream a reality.

4. Focus on you customer’s success

Have you done your research? No, we mean really done your research? Because there is little point in trying to combat the market if you don’t understand the sector you’re going in to.There are lots of important questions to ask before you start selling your product or service, but many of them can be answered by looking at the ways in which your customer succeeds.

The more you can help show customers that they can succeed with your product or service, the more closely your can associate your brand with happy customers. This, in turn, builds your reputation as an essential vendor.

5. Hire for your company’s style

There’s a reason that the staff of a small business often feel like a family. Because a team spends a lot of time working closely with each other, especially at the outset, you need to like your employees. But more than that, your company needs to like your employees.In order for someone to fit your company culture, you don’t only look at whether they’ll get the office joke. You should be looking to hire people who are more highly skilled in their area than you are, this way you can have specific roles within your organisation for these people and they will feel valued and fit in.

6. Lead with reason, not reaction 

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Photo: Wikimedia

It’s natural, and often helpful, to express passion for your business – we know it feels like your child! But this is often where entrepreneurs go wrong and lead with their emotions.

Any decision you make should be made with data and understanding. To achieve this difficult balance you can utilise technology to provide performance analytics, this way you can measure your pre-determined goals.

Once you are used to making fact-based decisions, you’ll be able to better understand what works (or doesn’t!) and why, and take corrective action if necessary.

7. Don’t be afraid to fall

Dwelling on past failures – or the possibility of failure again – will only stop you moving on to bigger and better things. The important part of failure is assessing what went wrong and learning from it.The most important part when it comes to failure, however, is balancing your conviction with outside input.

Many people will tell you that you are going to fail, they are not necessarily correct, but you need to know when you might need some input and suggestions from somewhere else.

These are just a few things that are useful to know when you’re starting out in the world of business.

There are plenty of other tips and tricks that you’ll pick up along the way and embrace into your business strategy, and even more than you can pick up from our business consultants in Hertfordshire. Just make sure you pay it forward and pass on your pearls of wisdom to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow – they could one day be you!
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7 ways to promote your small business that you haven’t tried yet

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Index, the world hit 52% of its entrepreneurial capacity in 2014. This is the delicate ecosystem of small businesses that continues to grow and thrive every single year.

What does this mean for your small business?

In terms of getting noticed, standing out from the crowd may become an increasingly difficult challenge. But, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

As an entrepreneur, you are creative. Therefore, we’ve given you some ideas of how to promote your small business in Hertfordshire that you probably haven’t tried yet.

All you have to do is give each idea a personal touch!

Online demos

promote your small business

Photo: Sketchport

Whilst your budget may not stretch to the thousands of pounds paid for television and radio advertising, the internet has made it possible for the start-up owner to promote their business for a fraction of the price.

Having a company-specific YouTube channel is already a good step for digital marketing – especially if it’s linked up to your Google+ page too – however the real challenge is creating engaging content.

It costs nothing to upload a video, but the return could be phenomenal if your video was to go viral, potentially reaching millions of people worldwide.

Embrace the freebie

The lure of a ‘free gift’ is often enough to peak the interest of the public, as well as getting your brand noticed. Even better is that gifts don’t need to be extravagant. In fact, your brand is more likely to be remembered if the gift is funny, than if it is expensive.

Gifts aren’t the only thing you can give away, as you can also share your knowledge! Free workshops and seminars, whether these are given to customers or fellow business leaders, will make sure your reputation as an industry authority is upheld.

Giveaways – both items and knowledge – can be given online to keep costs down.

Become a blogger

If blogging isn’t already part of your digital marketing strategy, then you’ve been missing a trick. Whilst this concept isn’t new, it’s often the case that startups don’t have the time or resources to keep up with a regular blog.

However, with search engine rankings at stake, as well as promoting your wider brand, a company blog is worth the time and effort. Combined with a well-implemented social media strategy, the leads will roll in.

Offer a holistic package

Do you now of a non-competing business whose ethos fits yours? Teaming up to offer a package deal for both of your sets of customers could give the edge against your competitors.

Customers love to feel as if they are getting value for money, and if it makes getting to their final destination with less effort a possibility, there will surely be interest.

For you, this means you will have access to a new stream of customers, as well as other connections, whilst possibly getting one up on the competition.

promote your small business,business advice Hertfordshire

Photo: Flickr

Be the awards

Of course you want your business to win industry awards, but have you ever considered sponsoring them?

Annual award shows give you the opportunity to get your brand out there by becoming a sponsor, as well as networking with the wider industry. Plus these events regularly gain column inches, so you’ll be picking up free publicity too!

An added bonus is that by associating your name with well-known awards, you automatically become a trusted name for the customer.

Use smartphone technology

In 2014, app analytics provider Flurry reported that app usage on smartphones continued to grow, to the detriment of mobile web.

With this in mind, if your business would lend itself well to an app platform, why not invest in the development of one?

Incorporate buzzwords

Embracing current trends and popular culture could be the way that your company breaks through a marketing dead end. This means looking outside your own industry and doing some research into what is going on in the wider world.

Ever heard of a selfie? Not up to date on the latest superfood? Getting the lowdown on what is trending could earn you serious points with potential customers.

These are just a few ways you can get started with alternative marketing strategies.

All it really takes is a little inspiration and some thinking out of the box to come up with new and innovative ways to get the word out about your business and what you have to offer.

The real importance comes with injecting the same passion you have for your business into your marketing. For more information on how to translate that into progress, get in touch with our business consultants in Hertfordshire and we’d be happy to help.

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What is a business analysis?

There can be many costs involved in creating, running and maintaining your business. With so much involvement in the day-to-day upkeep, it can be difficult to see how you can run things more smoothly or where you can improve on your operations. This is where business analysis comes in.

business analysis

Analysing a business involves a specific set of activities, which allows owners and stakeholders to look objectively at the needs of an organisation, its problems and most importantly, find solutions for it, very often before its too late.

Business analysis examines the processes of a business and sets about implementing change that will streamline the infrastructure of a company. In turn, this will add value to a company, as they change processes that are not working and analyse ways that work can be done more effectively.

Do only large businesses need business analysis?

It is a myth that only large businesses can make use of a analyst. Whether it is a government organisation, not-for-profit or a for-profit business, all will benefit from the work of a business analyst.

For a very large organisation, an in-house analyst may be more useful, as the company operates on a larger scale in terms of turnover, project scope, clients and finance.

Can’t I just be my own business analyst?

Business analysis is best performed by an outside individual. Why?

  • an expert has a set of skills
  • your company will be viewed objectively, from an unbiased perspective
  • you are free to begin to implement change, rather than strategise it

I can’t afford a business analyst

It is an even bigger myth that business analysis must be a costly process. In fact, you can obtain a free analysis for your business. Often, your initial report will provide you with vital changes that can be implemented quickly and will show you where you may have strayed from the initial vision and mission of your business. The choice to then invest more time into implementing the recommendations from the business analysis is completely left to you.

Why not make it a goal to have your business analysed and implement change for the better?

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Business Start Up Loans

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The first steps into business can be exciting and scary. They can also be the point where most get lost or give up. You have the idea, you have the skill, you have the time but do you have the finance?

Not every business will need a business start-up loan but if you have established that it will, don’t get lost in the options or overwhelmed with where to begin. There are many options.

How do I know if I qualify for a government start-up loan?

If you’re about to launch a business or have been trading for 12 months, you may qualify for one of the government start up loans.  In 2013, over 500,000 businesses registered with Companies House. This number is set to rise and many started their journey with the help of a business start-up loan.

In order to get started, a business plan will need to be put into place. This is something that most entrepreneurs can begin by themselves but with the help of a business consultant in Hertfordshire  it can simplify the process and offer expertise, where required around obtaining one of the start up loans.

Why does a start-up need a business plan?

A business plan will help an idea come to life, as it helps to predict figures, set goals and make a plan of action as to how they can be met. Businesses and lenders need solid figures to work towards. It also helps to establish whether an idea has legs and can make back the money that it borrowed from a business start up loan and operate in profit.

When do businesses repay their start-up loan?

Typically, the terms of repayment of the start up loans are over five years, with an interest of 6%. Once a business has been approved for a business start up loan, following the business plan through is the next step.

How can I keep my small business costs to a minimum?

The more careful you can be about your business finances, the greater your chance of securing funding of one of the business start up loans (and the less you will have to pay back)

Consider the following:

  • Do I need brand new equipment?
  • Have I found the best supplier, with the best prices?
  • Do I need a business premises? If so, is it flexible for growth?

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The Beginnings of Business

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Starting a business is a big undertaking and the fact is that most fail within the first year. Here are some of the crucial steps to think about in the very early days:

Market Validation

It almost goes without saying, but the key starting point for creating a business is an idea. However, not all good ideas become good businesses. You must ask yourself, is there a market for this idea? The tried and tested way to find this out is research. Not only do you need to know if a market exists, you need to work out what type of marketing, pricing and business model will best attract your target customers.

Business Model

With your idea and research in tow and before starting a business, you need to decide which business structure to opt for. Again, research is required to find out what are the pros and cons of the relevant structures in relation to your idea. The choice of structure will inform your future growth; therefore, picking the best-suited structure is an imperative.

Business Planning

The next step in starting a business, is creating your business plan: this is how you can map how your business is going to get to where you wish in three to five years. Without a clear vision, a business will not succeed, and, in addition, a comprehensive plan is needed to persuade other people to provide funding if required. Starting a business will almost certainly need some form of funding.


At this point, you need to consider the image of your business; for example the name and logo. These need to stand out and be unique in the increasingly globalised and crowded market. Before starting a business, this image needs to be displayed on a well designed website, and all this needs to be fully completed before your business goes live. Your website is where most people will come across your business and decide whether to use your services. All very important issues when starting a business.

Cash Flow Management

Finally, you need to make sure your finances are all in order. Cashflow is the number one reason why so many businesses do fail so quickly. So this means you need to get an accounting and cashflow system running ASAP, so that you don’t get buried in invoices and receipts, and lose sight of the viability of your fledgling business.

Finally, it is important to remember that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate of those who don’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for business mentoring from DAA Consulting, especially if you’re starting a business in Hertfordshire.

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