Advice Points

You’re trying to read through an important document while the kids are having breakfast and then the orange juice goes flying. Your eldest has made paper aeroplanes out of that stack of invoices you were processing, having first been decorated with wax crayons by your toddler. And there’s something very sticky all over your calculator – things just don’t add up any more… Read our article on Setting up a Home Office for more advice on how to work from home without losing your marbles!

BritPack is a long overdue idea, a special UK only marketing site where renowned UK marketers give conference calls on UK time. No more staying up to 3am to listen to important conference calls, or struggling to deal with US bias. They even have a UK conference call number. Completely free to join – check it out at

If you’re anywhere near Guildford, you might like to check out the Independence Network.
The Independent Network is a growing group of people who run their own small businesses, many from home. The central focus of the IN Net is the regular meetings, which offer an informal opportunity to meet as a group, have a meal and a drink and to get to know each other better. There is always an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to the group and to outline your plans for the future. Members are also encouraged to provide ideas for how we can improve the group. They focus primarily on:

* Providing a social network for people mainly working from home
* Developing a pool of expertise and possibilities for mutual support
* Opening up business and social opportunities
* Welcoming anyone into the fold, whatever their profession or industry
* Being relaxed and flexible about regularity of meeting attendance, with no compulsion or pressure to pass business referrals

Vision2learn from Creating Careers offers a range of free interactive courses, all leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Students are able to do all the studying for any one of twelve available courses online, with ongoing support being provided from a fully qualified Further Education tutor. Courses are funded by the Learning and Skills Council, and are accredited through a college local to the student.

Free courses are usually available to any resident over 16 in England, as long as this residency has been for purposes other than full-time study.

My recommendation is to take their free online course about starting a business entitled “Entrepreneurship”, which leads to the accredited qualification NCFE Advanced Certificate in Preparation for Business and demonstrates your professional skill to your bank manager, business associates and customers.

This course is made up of four units, as follows:

* Unit one – You

Find out if you’re emotionally, mentally and financially ready for business start-up. Identify your personal needs and expectations, review your skills needs and evaluate your finances.

* Unit two – Your business idea

Learn how to prepare an excellent business plan, find out how to set achievable goals and select an appropriate legal status for your business.

* Unit three – Your marketplace

You’ll develop practical market research skills and learn how to make the right marketing decisions for your product or service.

* Unit four – Your business operations

Develop your business plan into practical action plans, build a pre start-up timetable and find out how to achieve operational success by matching financial, human and material resources against your business goals.

Click here for more details and to register

DISCIPLINE YOURSELF – AND OTHERS! – FOR HAPPY HOMEWORKING – A report on sucessfully working from home by Clive Simmonds. Be sure to read this report whether you’re already working from home, or are just considering your options. Not sure how to get started, or even which direction to go? Sandy McMillan been helping people to make hard decisions since 1992 for those times when everybody needs to be able to talk with a skilled helper. A Guide for Online Home-Based Businesses. You’ll find good advice on how to start a home-based online business at this site. is the Internet’s Guide to Internet Business Startup, Affiliate Programs, and Work-At-Home-Business. individually reviews each program, helping you find out which programs really work.

Business Information Publications
Interested in doing business with local authorites and the government? This site gives information on tendering for the public sector, , facilitating business with government and a range of information for suppliers and would-be suppliers.

LAW on the WEB – a free legal information, guidance and gateway site for individuals and small businesses – devised, built and maintained by a solicitor formerly in private practice in the UK.

When you work for yourself, finding finance is always more difficult. specialise in finding mortgages for Contractors, Freelancers, and temporary workers. they use their experience and understanding of the contractor mortgage marketplace to have bespoke underwriting arrangements in place allowing you to obtain “prime rate mortgages” and avoid the more expensive self cert route.

if you already have a mortgage, their Proactive Mortgage Management System (PAMM) will check to see if your current scheme is competitive and if not, they will help identify the best mortgage alternative for your needs.

Visit Contractor Mortgages for more details.

Workable UK – A project sponsored by Reading University and business to assist disabled people gain employment.

ENDS – Environmental Database Services – employment and other services in the environment sector – consultancy and short / permanent contracts.

Employment Services and Agencies – go to our homework page for a list of online employment and freelance databases. is the Government-backed home of UK Intellectual Property on the Internet. They hope to bring you all the answers to your questions and all the resources you need to find your way through the IP jungle of Copyright, Designs, Patents and Trade Marks.

J4b is the FREE service that is revolutionising the way that businesses seek funding in the UK. By following 4 easy steps, in just a few moments, you’ll have access to the most comprehensive, up-to-date list of grants available specifically to your type of business.

Association of British Chambers of Commerce
for local contact details Tel: 020 7222 1555

Blind Business Association Tel: 01733 68228
Queensgate Business Centre, Portcullis House, Cromwell Road, Peterborough PE1 2EB

British Franchising Association Tel: 01491 578049
Franchise Chambers, Thames View, Newtown Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1HG

Business Links
for details of your nearest Business Links support centre Freephone 0800 500 200

British Venture Capital Association
Essex House, 12 – 13, Essex Street, London WC2R 3AA Tel: 020 7240 3846

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is a national charity, formed in 1991 on the initiative of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

The Trust exists to make it easier for carers to cope by providing information, support and practical help to carers. The national network of over 100 independently-managed Carers Centres across the UK currently reaches well over 100,000 carers a year.

Companies House Crown Way, Cardiff CF4 3UZ Tel: 01222 380801

Consumer’s Association 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF Tel: 020 7486 5544

Crafts Council 44A Pentonville Road, London N1 9BY Tel: 020 7278 7700. The Crafts Council promotes British contemporary craft and offers a grant (called the Setting Up Grant) for new makers. Please note that people making ‘assembly’ work are not eligible. The council does not provide an individual advice service nor do they hold details of companies offering homeworking programmes.

Data Protection Registrar Tel: 01625 535777
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET Tel: 020 7215 5000

Direct Marketing Association
Haymarket House, 1 Oxenden Street, London SW1Y 4EE Tel: 020 7321 2525

Direct Selling Association
29 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DP Tel: 020 7497 1234

Federation of Small Businesses
140 Lower Marsh, Westminster Bridge, London SE1 7AE Tel: 020 7928 9272

Forum of Private Business Tel: 01565 634467/8/9
Ruskin Chambers, Drury Lane, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6HA

Guild of Disabled Homeworkers
Market Street, Nailsworth, Glos. GL6 0BX Tel/Fax: 01453 835623

HM Customs & Excise Tel: 01702 348944
Alexander House, 21 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS99 1AA

Independent Banking Advisory Service (IBAS) Tel: 01487 843444
North View, North Fen, Somersham, Huntingdon, Cambs PE17 3HW

Inland Revenue
Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2A 1LB Tel: 020 7438 6622

Institute of Export
Export House, 64 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HB Tel: 020 7247 9812

Lawyers For Your Business
for a list of local lawyers participating in this scheme Tel: 020 7405 9075

Livewire Tel: 0191 261 5584
FREEPOST, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE1 1BR

Mail Order Traders Association
100 Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9TD Tel: 0151 227 4181

National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
115 – 123 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LZ Tel: 0120 7833 2181

National Group on Homeworking
Office 26, 30 – 38 Dock Street, Leeds LS10 1JF Tel: 0113 245 4273

Office of Fair Trading Tel: 0120 7242 2858
Field House, 15 – 25 Breams Buildings, London EC4A 1PR

Patent Office Tel: 01633 814000
Concept House, Cardiff Road, Newport, Gwent NP9 1RH

Prince’s Youth Business Trust
5th Floor, 5 Cleveland Place, London SW1Y 6JJ Tel: 020 7321 6500

Rural Development Commission
141 Castle Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3TP Tel: 01722 336255

Training and Enterprise Council
for details of your local branch General Enquiry Point: 0114 259 4776

Women’s Local Employment Initiatives Programme
European Commission, 8 Storey’s Gate, London SW1P 3AT


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