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Gardening leave: why are offices turning into botanical spaces?

Amazon has built treehouses in its offices and Microsoft employees work in the woods. Companies reveal why they are using plants to boost productivity Most offices have a few plants dotted around the place. Some companies, however, like to take things to extremes. Amazon has treehouses inside its offices, Microsoft employees work in treehouses in the woods; while Timberland’s headquarters has gardens with orchards. The benefits of bringing plants in workspaces are well documented. Researchers have found that as well as brightening up the office environment, plants can reduce sick days and stress. Danica-Lea Larcombe from Australia’s Edith Cowan University wrote in the online publication The Conversation that indoor plants can “scrub” the air of bacteria; remove harmful chemical compounds released by cleaning products; and improve people’s moods. Continue reading…

What makes you a disruptor? ‘Not knowing the rules’

The founders of Brompton Bikes, WAH Nails, Unruly, Inkpact and Doddle reveal how to shake up an industry Founders of businesses that shake up an industry are seen as future gazers, innovators, one step ahead of everyone else. But for many, being a disruptor is an accident; a by-product of following an idea or chasing a dream. For Sarah Wood, co-founder of video ad-tech company Unruly, the name of her business is enough to mark it out as disruptive, but that was never the aim. “In fact we just didn’t know how things were done,” she says. “I think with disruptors you often have that. They can appear to be disruptive not because they set out to be, but because they don’t know the rules.” Continue reading…

‘A strong brand will get you through a crisis’: Meet the Mentors with Cobra beer’s founder

In the final podcast of the series, Lord Karan Bilimoria advises the founders of tech startup Zipabout on everything from marketing to investment Subscribe and review on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and Mixcloud, and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter. Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra beer, shares his tips for success in the final episode in our podcast series for budding entrepreneurs. Continue reading…

How can my small business prepare for Brexit?

Experts discuss how SMEs can navigate unpredictable times, and futureproof their companies against Brexit uncertainty For small businesses, uncertainty is often one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. And it doesn’t get much more uncertain than Brexit. With tariffs, taxes and immigration all yet to be decided, companies are faced with little surety around their staff, supply chain and finances. But while the UK finds itself in a unique situation, there have been uncertain times before, and there are practical steps businesses can take to protect themselves, according to experts speaking at the solving the solvable seminar for small businesses. Continue reading…

Stop saying yes to everything: how to set boundaries for your business

Get paid on time, take a day before responding to emails, and say no to clients who aren’t a good fit – clear boundaries can help you succeed I like helping people. The vast majority of entrepreneurs do. As a coach and strategist I spend my days troubleshooting with clients, mapping out strategies and giving advice and support. I also have a web design business. At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey in 2012, I was overly excited. I said yes to all kind of projects, even ones I didn’t really enjoy but that paid an income. I worked all the time, worked with anyone, never took any time out and struggled to recharge properly. Needless to say juggling this with a full-time job, a young family and a partner often working away, I didn’t last long. This went on for close to a year, until I had to take a six-week hiatus while I regrouped. Continue reading…

Charisma isn’t elusive, train yourself to become magnetic

Charm and self-belief comes easily to some, but all entrepreneurs can teach themselves to win over clients and attract new customers What do entrepreneurs Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Elon Musk have in common? Apart from their huge net worth, they are all highly charismatic. But what exactly is charisma? The charismatic can infect others with their own enthusiasm. They convince us, not only of their own self-belief, but make us feel more confident in ourselves too. As an entrepreneur, charisma is a winning formula for your personal brand. If you exude self-belief, angel investors, prospective clients and the press will see your potential and be more inclined to invest in your story. Continue reading…

Eight dos and don’ts for launching a successful business

Many small businesses struggle to find their feet in their first year. Nick Leech looks back at his past failures and describes what he’d do differently Despite the internet making it easier than ever for small businesses to take on the big guys and win, the fact is that the first year of business can be difficult. Any successful entrepreneur is likely to have experienced failure more than once – myself included. I’ve succeeded a couple of times but I also have a nice back catalogue of flops. But, as American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.” Continue reading…

How to juggle babies and business

Launching a business while looking after a newborn is exhausting but rewarding, say these entrepreneurs Julie O’Leary had been working tirelessly for two years to get her luxury watch brand ready for launch. During the day she held down a full-time job and in the evenings worked at turning the dream of running her own business into reality. But a few months before she aimed to go live with Told & Co, she discovered the project wasn’t the only new arrival that year – she was pregnant with a baby boy. The former PR and marketing professional says she found out she was expecting in February 2015, gave birth that September, and oversaw the launch of the company in November the same year. She says that while the first trimester was exhausting, it wasn’t until her child arrived that she realised how much of an upheaval it would be. Continue reading…

‘The journey is nothing but extraordinary’ – Confessions of a Startup

In our last podcast of the series, entrepreneurs at our Confessions of a Startup seminar shared their tales of overcoming obstacles while starting a business. They agreed it’s important to have people around who support your vision Subscribe and review on iTunes, Soundcloud & Mixcloud and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter. On 6 March, 50 entrepreneurs attended a seminar hosted by the Guardian Small Business Network to discuss pushing through the challenges that come with starting a business. Continue reading…

‘Embrace adversity’ – Confessions of a Small Business

If you don’t experience tough times, you’re not putting yourself out there enough. That was the verdict of the entrepreneurs at our first Confessions of a Small Business seminar. Catch up with what you missed Subscribe and review on iTunes, Soundcloud & Mixcloud and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter. On 6 February, 50 entrepreneurs attended a seminar run by the Guardian Small Business Network about overcoming adversity in business. Continue reading…

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