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It is estimated that there are currently 3.7 million active businesses in the UK.
Of these firms, a massive 99.8 per cent are classified as either small (fewer
than 50 employees) or medium-sized (50–249 employees); in fact, approximately
2.6 million of these businesses comprise only a self-employed owner-manager.
Together, these companies employ more than half (55 per cent) of UK plc’s non-
government workforce and account for 45 per cent of its turnover – contributing
significantly to the UK’s GDP and to employment.
It is clear that, despite the lion’s share of media publicity and credit going to big
business where the UK economy is concerned, small and medium-sized companies
are at least as important as their FTSE peers.
However, one-third of businesses fail within three years of start-up. That is a
stark statistic, but not one by which aspiring and current entrepreneurs should
feel enslaved. Business is a tough game, piled high with challenges, obstacles,
problems and, of course, rewards. Owner-managers and founding directors face
major dilemmas throughout both the start-up and growth phases of their businesses,
such as how to write an effective business plan that allows initial finance to be
raised; constructing a business and marketing strategy to drive business growth;
how to find, hire and retain the best talent on the market; and how to manage a
business’s finances effectively and aid its survival and growth beyond the initial two
years of trading.
Many entrepreneurs may not have the entire requisite reservoir of skills and
experience to meet these challenges; as a rule, few people do. The key to avoid
becoming another statistic or being another failed business is to augment your
skills – to be smarter. Taking appropriate, relevant and practical advice is therefore
a keystone in achieving commercial success.
That is why I am delighted that this book has been written specifically for
growth-stage business owners and their key managers who are striving to build a
successful business. The book aims to help entrepreneurs achieve business success
through providing fundamental skills and knowledge – enhancing the ability of
business people to overcome obstacles and make the most of the opportunities
that present themselves. It contains the lessons that Peter Wilson and Sue Bates
of The Enterprise Partnership have learned from working with businesses at this
stage of development over the years. It is a great manual for the time-pressed
owner-manager and I am sure you will find it valuable.
Once you have read the book, you may wish to receive a more personalized
and in-depth level of advice that cannot be imparted by the written word alone.
For those who wish to take this step, there are numerous options on the market.

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