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Mark Williams

Mark Williams Communications Limited

Freelance editor, writer and SME content expert

51

Contributions

Mark Williams Communications Limited

Bath

About the company

I'm a content strategist, writer and editor with 20 years' experience. I've worked for many leading agencies and some of the world's most successful brands. I specialise in writing for and about SMEs. My words enable brands to engage this key audience. I contribute to The Guardian's Small Business Network and I planned and wrote the Start Up Donut website. My SME blogs appear on the HSBC's Knowledge Centre and KPMG's small-business website.

About Mark Williams

I'm an SME content strategist, writer and editor with 20 years' experience. I've produced a huge volume of content aimed at start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs. I'm known for my imaginative content ideas and high-quality, engaging, value-rich content. I contribute to The Guardian Small Business Network and wrote the Start Up Donut website. I've interviewed thousands of business owners and few writers can match my SME knowledge. My work enables organisations to speak to small businesses about things that matter in a language they can relate to. Business content doesn't have to be boring. No, really...

MARK'S CONTRIBUTIONS

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"And so this is Christmas… What have we done?"

It's been a fabulous second year for the Donut. We've been steadily building things and now, each month, tens of thousands of UK businesses visit our websites for advice, free resources and offers. So what have been our other key achievements?... ...

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10 important lessons our Q&As can teach you

"Buying an existing business can be less risky than creating one from scratch. If the business has customers, it has income. Risk is also easier to assess because you can calculate costs, turnover and profit – and thereby predict cashflow"... ...

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10 more reasons why start-ups fail

So what are the other key reasons why many new businesses fail to survive their first two years of trading and why do more established businesses go under? Once again, in no particular order…... ...

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10 reasons why start-ups fail

Opinions differ greatly over the exact survival rate of new businesses in the UK, but without doubt the failure rate remains depressingly high. Some claim that more than half of small businesses fail in their first year, while 90% don’t last two years. So what are the key reasons why they don... ...

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10 things you need to know about starting a business

About half a million people in the UK start a business each year, although this number could be significantly higher in 2012, because of high numbers of redundancies and a shortage of jobs. Most new ventures fail within a year or two, but according to government figures there are about 4.8m business... ...

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10-step business survival guide

You won't be able to create a survival plan unless you know how much of a problem your business faces. Assess your cashflow for the next 12 months. How do your costs compare with your likely income? Are there any times when your business will face serious cash shortages? If your business is to survi... ...

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13 things you could have learned from our blog in 2013

1. "Ensuring that your target market can find your website is essential to making your new business work and SEO [search engine optimization] is core to that"... ...

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15 Things you could have learnt from our blogs in 2011

This year the Start Up Donut has published the best part of 200 blogs. Many thanks to everyone who has produced content – we appreciate your willingness to share you knowledge, experience and opinions and look forward to receiving more in 2012. A bewildering array of topics have been covered on... ...

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20 important lessons you can learn from the real experts...

There's no doubt that the best way to learn about business is from the real experts – people who actually run their own successful small firms. Here is a selection of insightful quotes cut from just some of the businesses featured in our case studies… ... ...

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2015 - the year you finally start your own business?

Why do so many of us bother with New Year's resolutions, especially as so few of us ever stick to them?... ...

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Are start-up business plans a total waste of time?

A recent survey carried out by business software provider Exact suggests that more than a third of the UK's 4.9m SMEs don't have a business plan and "they could be missing out on an extra 20% of profit as a result". ...

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British talent unites to support Small Business Saturday

According to American Express: “Godfather of Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake, one of Britain’s best-recognised supermodels, Daisy Lowe, and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Heidi Greensmith have come together to encourage the public to shop small on Small Business Saturday, 6 December 2014.”... ...

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Budget 2012 - will it help small businesses?

On Wednesday, 21 March, George Osborne will deliver his third Budget as Chancellor. It comes against a backdrop of rising overheads and ongoing tough trading conditions, wider economic woes and depressingly high unemployment, partially a result of deep cuts to public spending as the government seeks... ...

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Budget 2012 small business coverage on the Donuts

Throughout the day Start Up Donut will be covering the key points from Budget 2012 affecting small businesses:... ...

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Budget 2014: Twitter has its say

The Start Up Donut and Tax Donut were busy this afternoon Tweeting the main announcements from today's budget. But elsewhere in Twitterland, this is how Twitter reacted to announcements made in the Chancellor’s #Budget2014 speech... ...

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Christmas cheer

Another year over, eh? How did that happen? Seems like only yesterday we were enduring one of the wettest summers on record. Hopefully, it was a great year for you and your business (despite the weather). ...

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Does 'business' have a serious image problem?

The Apprentice is back for its tenth series and up for grabs is investment worth £250k and the chance to go into business with Lord (formerly ‘S’ralan’) Sugar. ...

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Exercise your democratic right – vote Donut

Here at Donut Towers we don’t normally go in for self-congratulation. We enjoy our work, prefer to get on with it quietly and take seriously the responsibility we have to help new and established businesses, which, at the end of the day, is what it’s all about. ...

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Get connected during Global Entrepreneurship Week

According to its organisers: “Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship. Each year, it plays a critical role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to consider starting their own business.”... ...

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Get involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013

From 18-24 November events to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will be taking place throughout the UK and you or your business are welcome to get involved. ...

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How to survive your first two years in business (part 1)

With low two-year survival rates for new firms, we speak to business owners who have made it past this important threshold and ask what words of advice they offer…... ...

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How to survive your first two years in business (part 2)

With few new UK businesses surviving to reach their second birthday, we asked followers of @StartUpDonut, @MarketingDonut, @TaxDonut, @LawDonut and @ITDonut on Twitter and members of our Facebook network for their advice about how to make it through your first two years in business…... ...

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I blame Simon Cowell

So the new series of Dragons’ Den starts on 14 July on BBC2. Well, let me tell you where I am… I’m out, if I’m honest. ...

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I'd just like to say...

It's been another memorable year for the Start Up Donut and its sister sites (Marketing, Law, Tech and Money). Time certainly flies. I can't believe it's little more than three years since we set out on this road aiming to create genuinely groundbreaking and inspiring websites packed with reliable, ... ...

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IP funding competition

Enterprising university students who enter the StudentshIP Enterprise Awards 2014 could win funding for their projects thanks to a competition launched in October, but the deadline for entry is fast approaching. ...

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Introducing the Five Per Cent Plan

I once interviewed a highly successful and experienced business owner from Northern Ireland. He was a lovely, intelligent man, senior in years, who swore by his “Five Per Cent Plan” – something he said could make a tremendous difference to the profitability of any business. It goes so... ...

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Is laziness holding your business back?

Research commissioned by British bank Aldermore suggests that laziness costs the average Brit almost £17,000 over the course of their lifetime, because too many of us have become used to taking the easier option. ...

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Join the fight against youth unemployment

It’s hardly the greatest time to be a young British adult, trying to make your way in the cruel new world in which we find ourselves. ...

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Keep it in the family?

So that's it then, Manchester Brit Pop icons Oasis have finally called it a day, following an alleged violent "altercation" back stage between singer Liam and guitarist Noel, only moments before they were due to play at a show in Paris recently. ...

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Mama knows best

Many regular Start Up Donut blog visitors enjoyed following the story of Marcela Flores-Newburn of Rico Mexican Kitchen, Nottingham-based maker of salsas, beans and cooking sauces, as told on the inafishbowl business reality website. ...

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Not all graduates dream of a job with a large corporate in London

“More than ever, students go to college [university] because they want to get jobs – good jobs,” states Navneet Kapur (“Product Innovator, Higher Ed Data Vigilante at LinkedIn, San Francisco Bay Area”), writing on the LinkedIn Official Blog. “To that end, students an... ...

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Should the focus be on ‘scale-ups’ rather than start-ups?

A new report commissioned by the Information Economy Council (a joint initiative between the Government and the private sector) argues that resources should be focused on helping “scale-ups”, because this could “contribute a million new jobs and an additional £1 trillion to UK econ... ...

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Small businesses respond to the 2012 Budget

We spoke to a range of small firms throughout the country to find out their reaction to announcements made in the 2012 Budget. Here's what they said…... ...

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Small firms have a "remote relationship" with their bank

A new report by “workforce management and SME support specialist” Optionis, based on a survey of more than 500 small-business owners, contractors and freelancers, suggests that only one-in-five small firms has received help and advice from their bank, with only one-in-ten regularly receivi... ...

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Sole traders and micro-firms: the true Credit Crunch victims?

It’s a familiar criticism and one with which I have more than a measure of sympathy. Those nasty, greedy banks, eh? After all we’ve done for them, letting them off scot-free for the mess we’ve all ended up in, even bailing out some of the worst offenders with obscene amounts of taxpay... ...

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Start Up Britain Tour

Start Up Britain is a new campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It was launched in March 2011 with the backing of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. ...

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Summit for nothing?

So the coalition government set out its stall this week by outlining measures it believes will aid the UK’s five million or so small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). ...

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Surge in UK self-employment - despite average earnings plummeting by 20%

The recent publication of Just the job - or a working compromise? The changing nature of self-employment in the UK by the Resolution Foundation (RF) offered a revealing glimpse into the world of self-employment in post-recession Britain. ...

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Ten more things you could have learned from our blog in 2014

1 “It’s natural to see your competitors as the enemy. In reality, they’re not  (ignorance and blindness-to-change are what you should really be watching out for). We’ve found that building relationships with our competitors has been invaluable in terms of support and knowledge... ...

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Ten things you could have learned from our blog in 2014

1. "Devise a simple 'unexpected circumstances' plan. Detail who does what, when and where, should things go awry. Prepare a temporary office in advance if there's a risk you can't get to your usual one. Make sure employees can work from home if necessary. Send your people home early if conditions wo... ...

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The unsung heroes of the UK economy?

Today is National Freelancers Day and according to event organisers PCG (“the Voice of Freelancing”) it’s “a day to celebrate the value of independent workers to the UK economy.” And what value my fellow freelances and I (about 1.4m souls and counting) contribute to UK GDP (... ...

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Two weeks to start a business? Nonsense…

Why do people who should know better continue to give credence to the myth that it’s difficult to start a business?... ...

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University challenge

Research published by StartUp Britain, carried out during its recent tour of Britain's universities and further education colleges, suggests 63% of students "are now looking to start a business". More freedom (29%) and wanting to "be their own boss" (29%) are the key reasons. ...

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Where do Scotland's business groups stand on independence: 'och aye' or 'och no'?

So, the second televised Scottish independence debate has aired and many commentators awarded a clear points victory to Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond over ‘Better Together’ figurehead Alistair Darling. According to the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson: “From the sta... ...

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Who’d be a working mum, eh?

Research published recently by office-space provider Regus suggests the number of UK businesses who would take on working mums if they were recruiting has fallen significantly in the past year. ...

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Why don't more people from ethnic minority backgrounds start businesses?

The recent publication of A Portrait of Modern Britain had some commentators questioning the motivation of its publishers – right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, which was founded by current Tory ministers Michael Gove, Nick Boles and Francis Maude. ...

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Why don’t more women start businesses?

Research commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians suggests that women who leave their chosen profession to have a baby face a pay cut of up to £20,000 a year when they return to work. ...

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Why isn’t your business selling to overseas customers?

Sacré bleu. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages has asked all political parties to include a new “framework for national recovery in language learning” in their 2015 general election manifestos. ...

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Why you should spare a thought for Surinamese entrepreneurs

Some would have you believe that registering a company (“incorporation” – as opposed to simply starting a sole trader business) is an unnecessarily drawn-out ordeal in the UK. But, in fact, you can form a company in a day if you use the Companies House fast-track service. Otherwise, i... ...

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Would your business employ any of the main political leaders?

According to a recent survey, based on responses from 500 freelancers and SMEs, 27% "would not hire any of our party leaders" if they wanted a job! ...

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Your chance to win £3k worth of start-up kit

Would-be entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and existing small-business owners with a clear vision for business growth are being called on to enter the Enterprise Now competition, for a chance to win a £3,000 prize. ...