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It’s the end of another turbulent year, in which we’ve seen two Brexit delays, no Budget, and the first December election since 1923. But at the same time, it feels almost as if any real business change has been put on hold in 2019.
Several planned changes to legislation have either been cancelled or delayed, political uncertainty has made it difficult for many to plan and invest, and high street chains have continued to struggle.
Here on UKBF, those challenges have been met with our members’ usual practical, no-nonsense approach – and I’m sure we can expect more of the same in the year to come.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the forums this year, whether you posted to share your business knowledge, give advice, offer gambling tips or talk us through making the perfect cup of coffee.
Here’s a collection of our favourite comments from the last year.
Mark T Jones on dealing with negativity: “There will be people who doubt you and there will be people who want to destroy your business, some for personal gain and some just for the fun of it. You need to be able to take this in your stride, and to separate constructive criticism from plain negativity.”
Webgeek on finding a niche: “Whether it's hot rolls or hot dogs, doughnuts or dog food, find something that you can do bigger, better, faster, cheaper. You need a product line and an angle. You don't have to be everything to everyone – find a niche and go deep.”
mhall on running a food business: “Of all the different aspects of retail, I honestly believe that catering – be it pubs, restaurants, greasy spoons or coffee shops – is the hardest. There might be great profit margins on drinks, but the hassle, the regulations and the whole customer experience means this is the last type of business I would consider retiring to.”
I_DO_MARKETING on cold calling: “Properly targeted 'cold calls' don't feel like cold calls to the recipient. It feels like you've read their mind, the call is the call they wanted to receive just at that moment; and you calling them has saved them the trouble of picking up the phone themselves to start shopping around.”
AllUpHere on marketing: “Don't even think about promotional marketing until you have the strategic stuff sorted. What advantage do you have over the competition? What angle can you use?”
fisicx on SEO strategies: “SEO has been evolving for years but the core techniques work the way they always have. And backlinks do help improve ranking. They just need to be the right sort of backlinks. No need to cheat, you just need to do it properly.”
WebshopMechanic on ending a client relationship: “What's the point of treading water with someone? You want to be helping them to grow and be a success. If you're not moving forward then the relationship is just dying.”
Mr D on caution when buying a business: “It’s often very easy, even for experienced business owners, to talk themselves into spending money on buying when they should be running away. Watch out for that, regret is not a great feeling.”
MY OFFICE IN CHINA on valuing family: “Value your family relationships more than potential business collaboration and profit. In the long run it will benefit everyone, especially your mother.”
WeddingsInWales on choosing a business idea: “Ideally find something you are interested in and like doing, and the profits will come later. You’ll become excellent at doing what you enjoy and love, and only average at doing what you don’t enjoy.”
Chris Ashdown on managing employees: “It’s easy to give orders to staff, but far better in most cases to have a quiet word and offer an alternative way forward. If staff are not respected by management, why do you expect them to be interested in the job?”
cjd on living like a millionaire: “You don't need to live like stereotypical millionaire to feel happy – in fact, that seems to be a sure way to unhappiness. If you can find ways to give something back to the community you live in, you'll find that feels good too.”
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!