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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

TONIGHT! Want to start your own business or already run one? Join webchat with panel of experts including Mumsnet CEO JUSTINE ROBERTS, Thursday 17 October 8-9pm.

(101 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 07-Oct-13 17:43:15

For the next two weeks Barclays are running an Online Business Fortnight. It's a collection of the tools, tips and know-how you need to take your business to the next level online, gathered together and brought to you by experts, from networking wizards to social media gurus.
At 8pm on Thursday 17 October, we'll be joined by Dan Posner who is Head of Innovation Optimisation & Performance at Barclays Business, Justine Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Mumsnet and Chris Spurr, Web design and User Experience expert at Redwood, the leading content and marketing agency. 
They'll be on hand to answer any business related questions you might have. So add your questions below and be sure to check back on the 17th.

Here's a reminder of our webchat guidelines

VelvetStrider Thu 10-Oct-13 19:36:17

What is the best strategy for marketing to small, creative businesses? In the last decade, email marketing has generally been the preferred method, with rising postage costs and a backlash against high volumes of 'junk' mail. However I'm wondering if things are now coming full circle? I get a huge amount of marketing emails, most of which I don't even open, yet the postman puts very little through my letterbox. Is it now worth the extra cost to send information to potential customers by snail mail? Also, if I do send marketing by email, what sort of wording should I put in the subject line to tempt people to open and read the message?

IsleOfRight Fri 11-Oct-13 08:38:25

How do I find out everything I need to know. Eg what forms to fill in, what info needs to be in public domain etc. I know vague areas I can look up but there may be areas I don't even know I don't know (known unknowns v unknown unknowns if you like)

kotinka Fri 11-Oct-13 20:21:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InMySpareTime Fri 11-Oct-13 20:57:38

I've been a freelance storyteller for almost a year, the business is doing well, though it's been a steep learning curve most of the time.
My question is:
How can small business people make decent returns when so much these days is given away for free?
I keep being invited to tell stories at events (which charge admission) but expected to work for free because others do.

JillinSwindon Sun 13-Oct-13 15:06:07

My question concerns Working Tax Credits: between us my husband (working for himself as a limited company) and I have an income well below the statutory £15,000 (or thereabouts) level to receive WTC. I'm giving up my 10 hrs a week job at Christmas to concentrate on developing a creative business, but it's only recently dawned on me that I need to clarify things under the WTC system. So - please - will I still be entitled to this benefit, and what is the procedure I need to go through to set it up properly?

paulapg Tue 15-Oct-13 12:45:39

I have an idea to provide information to the public. As this would be online and I would not be selling any products, how do I make money from my website?
I could possibly sell items that related to the area in which I will provide information but I dont really want to have an online shop and hold stock and it would not be a large number of products.
The information on my website is about products so some form of advertising could be an option. I dont want to make the website too complicated but would obviously
like a good financial return.

Yiska Tue 15-Oct-13 17:23:52

I'm in the process of putting together a business plan to try to secure investment but it feels like a bit of a Catch 22 situation. No one wants to invest before I've got a product that has a track record and I can't launch the product without any investment!
Have you any advice on getting over that first hurdle and convincing someone to invest in what I think will be a fantastically brilliant product wink

noidles Tue 15-Oct-13 17:26:03

My question is really about motivation, and I suppose it's really for Justine. I'm trying to start my own online business, and I am having to do this alongside my full time job.

How do you force yourself to be disciplined enough to dedicate enough time for your idea to really take off?

davidbowieisinside Tue 15-Oct-13 17:34:37

I have designed a product (childrenswear) with a patent pending, and after lengthy troubleshooting am about to start production. The next step is building the website and selling online, so my question is, how do I go about marketing from scratch with no marketing budget or experience? What's the quickest way to get noticed by parents?

fatedtopretend Tue 15-Oct-13 20:38:09

I am looking to start a business that would conflict with my current employment, I know I can't bring the idea to fruition until I leave my job, how can I go about gaining support for my idea in the meantime?

bubbles3563 Tue 15-Oct-13 21:55:08

I have literally just gone self-employed in the last couple of weeks; do you have any must-have advice/tips to help me get started with it all?

swallowedAfly Wed 16-Oct-13 09:09:01

if you were looking at going into consultancy and training would you bother to start a business or just do it freelance - what's the difference and the pros and cons of each please?

RubyRR Wed 16-Oct-13 09:57:21

In the process of developing a hobby into a business as it has grown and is taking up more and more time. We have had several questions re advertising on the website, how do we price this?

ThePennineWay Wed 16-Oct-13 10:10:17

We own a small hotel and so far have not used Facebook or Twitter to market ourselves.
How useful are social media to businesses like ours? Our average guest is probably 40+ - would you recommend we get involved and if so can you recommend any useful guides to help us get started?

I have a couple of questions if that is ok:

The first one is about expanding? DH is self employed and quite successful but very in demand. He is umming and aahing about taking someone on but there is always the worry that the demand could drop off. How did you/do you take that next step?

The second question is about social media. How often should you be tweeting and Facebooking a day? And what content should I be sharing to encourage people to interact? I'm finding I am getting more interaction on Twitter with other businesses but Facebook is quiet. Is that normal?

Sorry that was more than 2 questions. blush

katelouc Wed 16-Oct-13 15:42:22

I have a business idea but not sure how I can actually turn it into a profitable business. Are there any advisory services out there? I don't know where to start!
I need to feel confident about the idea and have a clear pathway to follow in order to succeed.

HRHLadyG Wed 16-Oct-13 17:48:20

Where/ who is the best place to get sound financial advise regarding possible loan to invest in property for a business?

NatashaBee Wed 16-Oct-13 19:24:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thanks NatashaBee, I will have a google.

farrowandbawl Wed 16-Oct-13 19:55:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

farrowandbawl Wed 16-Oct-13 20:14:18

Thank you

Right, try again.

When you first started up, what was the thing that helped you the most? What is that you know now that you wish you knew then to make things easier for yourself?

A friend of mine has a great idea for a business and it's starting to take off already, but she's scared and I am too for her and we both know this can be big nad long lasting if we do it right.

SacreBlue Wed 16-Oct-13 21:38:03

My work is a specialised service and I have pitched myself at the higher end - which clients old & new respect so I have an established brand within the local end of the industry.

I am in NI and have expanded into three counties so far, now I want to expand into the South - any advice on moving into new markets like this (including the difference in currency) ?

I am working til 8 tomorrow but will try to be straight on iphone as soon as I finish <keen to get in a supplementary Q in> grin

nobutreally Wed 16-Oct-13 23:55:29

Hi :-)
I'm SE/running my own business for over 9 years (B2B/consultancy area) and currently looking to partner up with a couple of long term mate/partners to set up more of a real brand/identity

What would be your advice ito what business format to look at (we're thinking informal partnership - but people keep trying to push us towards Ltd Company); and what do you think are the advantages & disadvantages of going into business with people you like....


johnworf Thu 17-Oct-13 09:27:00

Do you think that paying to promote posts on Facebook works and if so, what is the average ROI?

Also, I'm interested in any tips to be a better (business) blogger. What would you say are the key elements to engaging your customers? (this could also apply to Pinterest content)

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