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Business TV Inspires Entrepreneurial Spirit

New research shows that the rise in TV shows such as The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den have encouraged people in the UK to start their own business.
An amazing 17 million of us have a business idea in our minds and one in three plan to turn that idea into reality. 26% of those questioned are planning to start their business in the next year.
The primary desire for entrepreneurs was to be their own boss and escape the corporate environment. 77% wanted a more flexible working environment and 70% wanted the freedom and independence of being their own boss.
The report by NatWest showed that one in five entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 34 who have setup in the last five years had been inspired by the new generation of business TV shows. Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice and Working Lunch are now household favourites and show that anybody is capable of starting their own business.
Of course there is also a high failure rate of small businesses and of those surveyed 45% agreed that the TV shows over-glamorise entrepreneurialism and 32% said it made starting up look too easy. Any business owner will tell you that it takes commitment and sheer determination to succeed at running a small business.
Of those who have started a business in the last five years almost 23% were tempted to give up the dream due to two main factors; cash-flow problems and poor marketing knowledge. The first is a common problem in a small business but the second doesn’t have to be. The web provides many valuable sources of information. A good website and some online advertising can go a long way!
Steve Pateman, Chief Exec of Business Banking at NatWest said “TV shows like Dragons Den are very new, so it’s no surprise that their influence is strongest for young people. But while the TV might be new, the desire to go it alone has been there for a long time.”
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the UK. From inventors to dot com startups it seems we are a nation of small business wannabes. Long may it continue!

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How do you stop Junk Mail?

There are some practical things you can do to stop receiving junk mail to your business or home.
1. Register with the Royal Mail opt-out scheme.
This will stop all mail that does not have the recipients address on. The so-called door-to-door leaflet drops that Royal Mail perform. It will not unfortunately stop mail addressed to ‘The Occupier’ and mail from local and central goverment will be ok. This will help though.
To unsubscribe send an email or via regular mail:
Door to Door Opt Outs
Royal Mail
Kingsmead House
Oxpens Road
2. Opt out with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS).
This is a system run by the Direct Mail Association and amounts to self-regulation. All companies who send out advertising literature are required to screen their mailing lists against the database help by the MPS. A violation of this can lead to a fine of £5000 which is a great incentive for companies to do the right thing.
Click here to Register with the MPS
3. Put up a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your door
This one tends to do the trick for the local papers and freebies. Simply put up a sign on your letterbox asking for ‘No Junk Mail’ and it will make a difference.
Simple No Junk Mail Sign - £1.99 + Postage

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Use an RSS reader instead of bookmarking blogs

There is a new piece of software that will become standard for all of us, and you need to know about it! Currently we all use an Email Client (Outlook, Entourage, etc) and a Web Browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc).
The new piece of software is called an ‘RSS Reader’ and allows us to subscribe to blogs and news websites. The advantage is that when you want to catch up on the latest news you don’t have to open a handful of websites and wait for them all to load. You simply open your RSS Reader and all your news is downloaded from the various sites that you have visited.
A popular RSS Reader for Mac users is NetNewsWire
A popular RSS Reader for Windows users is FeedDemon
There is also an online Google RSS Reader
Once you have downloaded the software you can subscribe to any blog or website by clicking on the orange RSS button on many websites.

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Last week Apple launched their much anticipated iPhone. Overall the reviews have been very positive and the devices have sold out in many stores. Why are Apple able to make such a big splash and how will the iPhone affect the market?
The whole process has been a big risk for Apple. They are moving into an already crowded market with Nokia and Sony Ericsson leading the way. A quick headcount on the Sony Ericsson Website shows they have about 650 different models of phone! There are many different manufacturers who have all been in the game for a few years and Apple is a complete newbie.
The closest they have been before was their failed Newton Palmtop:

The iPhone is perhaps the modern day re-incarnation of the Newton. But this time they have done it right. They have done it the Steve Jobs way. The design is of top Apple calibre. They have included some clever patented trickery to get around the problem of a software keypad and they have made it a fully integrated device. This phone really does sum up ‘convergence’. It’s a phone, camera, video player, ipod, organiser, and much more.
Apple was not the first with an MP3 Player but when the iPod came it changed everything. The device has already started to affect the market and the other manufacturers are quickly trying to keep up. Some devices are already coming out looking very similar.
My prediction is that the iPhone is just version 1.0 and that we will see a whole range of iPhone’s released within a year. For me the ideal iPhone would be even smaller, thinner and with a few less functions. Everyone will want a slightly different version. And of course they’ll soon be out in Apple’s trademark candy colours - bright pink, lime green and electric blue!
I’m looking forward to seeing how the iPhone develops. For now I’ll need to stay with my Sony Ericsson k800i until the iPhone is released in the UK

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Google Settings: Save time when searching

If you are searching for something in Google it can be frustrating to keep clicking onto the next page of results; next.. next… next.
There is a really simple solution to this as follows:
  1. Go to Google
  2. Click on ‘Preferences’ (to the right of the search box)
  3. Scroll down to the section called ‘Number of Results’
  4. Change the drop-down menu to ‘100′ Results per page
  5. Click ‘Save Preferences’
This will give you 100 search results instead of the normal 10. You can then scroll through the first ten pages of results instead of clicking next.
Happy Searching!

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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Only 35% of UK small businesses have an Internet Connection!

This really is an incredible statistic. A recent report by Dynamic Markets for the ISP UK Online (owned by BSkyB) surveyed 580 small businesses (with 1-10 staff) and only 200 had Internet access. Of those even fewer had a functioning website and email address that they gave out to customers.
Chris Stenning, who is the managing director of UK Online, said: “I was surprised by the low level of Internet use. I was expecting the figure to be nearer 70-80 per cent. It does show that the smallest businesses have not grasped the benefits of the Internet.”
To me this report has one clear message; the Internet is still young. We have been through the dot com boom and bust. Many businesses are now thriving online and e-commerce has become a part of everyday life. Small shops are starting to transfer online and big shops are making it work. But the Internet is still young and small businesses are taking time to catch up.
The time and cost involved in getting online and then setting up email and a new website have been prohibitive for some small companies. Larger businesses and online ventures have led the way, spent the money, made the mistakes, set the ground-rules and been the early adopters.
Today plumbers, lawyers, life coaches, driving instructors and other independent small businesses are finally able to take advantage of the web at an affordable price. High speed broadband for as little as £15 per month has become commonplace and now businesses can also get a website custom designed, built and hosted for just £100 and £10pm.
Over the next few years access to the web will continue to increase among these small businesses. Services to help small businesses with getting online and getting setup with email and a website will continue to grow and evolve to provide for the specific needs of this sector of the market.

Find out more about Toolkit Websites, Web Design in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and how they can help your business grow.
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