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BCS sets up an online advice service forsmall businesses

An online news and information service designed specifically for small businesses is being launched by the BCS, writes John Kavanagh.

The service, which is being run in conjunction with Business Europe, a specialist in online resources for small firms, aims to help companies save time and money and enable them to concentrate on their core business.

"Running your own business can be one of the most rewarding ventures - and also one of the most frustrating," the partners say. "To survive and grow, small businesses have to be well briefed on a range of issues to keep overheads down, increase revenues and reach their markets effectively. But all this can be extremely time-consuming and labour-intensive and detract from the core focus of the business.

"With content provided by Business Europe, the new site will help small businesses solve problems such as cutting through red tape, finding new leads, taking advantage of e-commerce and running the business more effectively.
"Small businesses share common challenges based on their size, rather than their particular industry. The new site offers simple, straightforward advice on tackling everyday business tasks."

Twice a day the site will be updated with news of legislation, events and other developments - all reported from the point of view of small and medium-sized businesses. In-depth articles will cover topical issues.

The advice focuses on five key areas: technology, e-commerce, sales and marketing, finance, and people. Each area includes a glossary of terms and easily understood "how to" guides. There are also case studies of companies so that owner-managers can get insights into real-life success stories.

Topics range from security management to online payment systems, attracting Web site visitors through affiliate programmes, and tracking customer orders online.

The BCS stresses that the guides are not cut-down versions of advice for big companies - many are accredited as best practice by the Small Firms Development Initiative, backed by the Department of Trade & Industry. They all include an action checklist.

BCS marketing director Jeremy Comley says, "For the BCS it is important that we engage with the small businesses of today who will become the big businesses of tomorrow. Our new site will enable us to do this."
www.bcs.org

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