The End Of Free Business Banking for SMEs?

May 19, 2012 in Finance, Money, Small Business, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

I was disappointed to learn recently that Santander has stopped offering its free business banking service.

Luckily for me, existing Santander business accounts are still free, it is new account holders that now have to pay the usual bank charges. As I have three separate Santander accounts for my three separate streams of income (Small Business Network, chocolate making and reflexology/massage), this is a relief! (19/7/12 update: Santander has since gone back on its verbal assurance to me that my accounts would continue to be free – one very unhappy and soon to be ex customer!)

However, I am still rather aggrieved that the banks can’t pull out the stops a little more in these tough economic times, in order to help small businesses by offering free or very affordable banking. After all, SMEs are meant to be the life blood of the economy and one of the major keys to its recovery. Unlike many of us, banks do still seem to be doing rather well (if you discount those in Greece, Spain and Italy perhaps), but bank charges are yet another drain on what can be very meagre small business resources right now.

The good news…there is still one way in which you can get free business banking, and this is with the Co-Op via The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

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Small Business Network Muswell Hill Meeting Report April 2012

April 23, 2012 in Business Networking, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Small Business Advice, Social Media by lizbygrave

With just over 20 people at this meeting there was more of a mellow vibe than usual, which offered the chance to soak up the lovely community feel of SBN. As I am one of the many small business owners who works at home on my own, this monthly chance to engage with a great bunch of people is always welcome, and I so often find that it enhances my mood and refreshes my motivation for my work.

A couple of people were displaying products at this month’s meeting: Sarah Montgomery of Forever Living products was giving away samples of aloe vera juice and Vicky Williams of Jewels of Distinction had a table showing her beautiful jewellery, which I personally love (and am busy saving up for!)

Chocolatier Paul Eagles from Kokoa Collection, also brought along some samples – delicious Madagascan fine chocolate buttons. I was lucky enough to get a whole bag which lasted till about five minutes after I got home…

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Think You Don’t Need Employer’s Liability Insurance? Think Again!

February 24, 2012 in Business Insurance, Small Business, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

Guest Blog by PolicyBee

Employers’ liability insurance is the type of insurance that concerns your staff.

We can’t compare it to anything else (because there’s nothing else like it), so we’ll just stick to explaining what it’s all about instead. It’s worth us taking a look because it’s the only business insurance that’s required by law.


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Report on the 17 October Muswell Hill Meeting

October 25, 2011 in Business Support CIrcles, Marketing, Meetings, Muswell Hill Meetings, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

About 18 people pitched up on this month, including Nichola Charalambou of Creative Writes, Sarah Montgomery of Forever Living, nutritional therapist/kinesiologist Ella Owen, Rebekah Hillman of Hillman Legal Partnerships David Roth of North London IT Support and Louise Exeter of Reflexology Plus.We also had Elena Logara-Panteli of Finchley language school Lexis London (where I currently do a fabulous French class!).

The first timers included artist Gillian Beagley, marketing and website expert Anita Brookes, and natural toiletries maker Jacalyn. Jacalyn’s products were gorgeous, I was toying with the idea of buying the lemongrass scented handcream but Debby beat me to it! Watch out for Jacalyn outside the Crouch End Budgens where she regularly has a stall. Also present was Norman Bailey who has recently opened an art gallery in Avenue Mews just off Muswell Hill Broadway and has an exhibition starting up soon in Sable D’Or (our meeting venue) itself.

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Become A Key Person of Influence By Finding Your Microniche

October 11, 2011 in Small Business, Small Business Advice by lizbygrave

by Liz Bygrave

Last Saturday (8.10.11) I went to the Key Person Of Influence event in central London, run by Daniel Priestley of Triumphant Events.

The central message of these events, which take place every 6 months, is that you are may find that you are forever struggling in your business unless you follow a particular set steps that will turn you into someone regarded as a key expert in your field. This in turn will attract income and opportunities that only go to – you guessed it – key people of influence.

One of the first things you need to do according to this method is to find not only your niche, but your microniche – a niche within a niche. This will enable people to quickly figure out what you do and pass the right opportunities to you. For example I met a woman at the event who is an image consultant who specialises in helping people who have lost weight through following a diet and/or exercise regime to find the right clothes for their new look. I also met someone who is not just a food photographer, but a food photographer who ONLY works for the big supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsburys.

Other examples of microniches might be an accountant whose niche might be small business owners, but whose microniche might be non-retail businesses with no shop front; a nutritional therapist who specialises in one day detox retreats; socks with motivational quotes on them; a carpenter/joiner who specialises in building cupboards etc. Just mentioning your microniche immediately establishes you in people’s minds as an expert in this particular field. You can then take the further steps necessary to build your influence in your chosen microniche.

An interesting idea eh? What would be your chosen microniche?

For more info, visit