Profile: The Publicity Queen

If she ever tires of running her hugely successful Gateshead-based vehicle rental business LINGsCARS, Ling Valentine could probably earn a fortune by teaching others how to promote their businesses. You might remember her from an episode of Dragons’ Den in 2007, where famously she rejected investment from two Dragons. You might have seen her in publications ranging from adult comic Viz to…

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Why it’s OK to fail sometimes in business

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of Traf-O-Data. It was a venture started in the early 1970s by a couple of teenagers from Seattle, Washington. Using the Intel 8008 processor, Traf-O-Data analysed traffic data punched into paper rolls, so traffic flow could be improved. The budding tech entrepreneurs tried to market Traf-O-Data to local government.…

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10 Ways to get better results when negotiating

In the months ahead, as Brexit talks gather pace, “negotiations” could be a word that many of us grow tired of hearing. But negotiating is something most of us do every day, whether in our business or personal lives. Negotiating means trying to reach agreement with others. It’s about finding a solution that suits both…

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Are you setting your prices too high, too low or just right?

Of all the challenges you face when starting or running your own business, setting prices is among the most important.  Your prices say much about the value you attach to your business and the things it sells. Get your prices right and you create a platform for success. But get it wrong and the implications…

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What key lessons can small businesses learn from Sir Alex Ferguson?

Even if you’re not a Manchester United fan (and many of us aren’t), you have to respect the club’s success under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Without him, United’s phenomenal achievements simply would not have been possible. Things could have been very different. Had United not won the FA Cup in 1990, months after what…

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How some of the world’s most successful businesses started

From Nike and Adidas to Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, SUBWAY and Ben & Jerry’s… In 1964 University of Oregon athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman started Blue Ribbon Sports as a distributor for Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger, with sales made at track meetings from Knight’s car. Just do it  Business was encouraging that first year, with turnover of…

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How to run a business with your spouse

“The main problem when working with loved ones is linked to relationship intensity,” says psychologist Dr Kathy Marshack, author of Entrepreneurial Couples: making it work at work and at home. “Since we care more about what they think of us and vice versa, the work and home environment can become ripe for conflict.” Marshack agrees that…

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Profile: The Flip-Flop Philanthropist

Rob Forkan has been on an incredible journey. With younger brother Paul he runs Gandys, which uses some of its profits to help orphans in India – just one reason this fast-growing flip-flop brand continues to win admirers. Rob’s amazing story, which includes surviving the 2004 tsunami that claimed his parents’ lives, as told to…

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How Laura Tenison scaled JoJo Maman Bébé

JoJo Maman Bébé is the UK’s leading boutique mother and baby brand. With more than 75 UK stores, 750 staff and trade customers in 50-plus countries, it’s perhaps difficult to believe that its founder and managing director, Laura Tenison MBE (pictured), started her business in 1993 as a classic ‘kitchen table’ enterprise. So, how has…

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