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Idea Store Business

Looking for business information? Starting up a small business? Changing your career?

Find the answers with Idea Store Business online services, available free to Idea Store members.


A programme of free events takes place at Idea Store Whitechapel throughout the year. 





How COBRA can help you

COBRA offers easy to understand and comprehensive factsheets and guides for anyone thinking about starting a small business or working in one.

The 'Business Opportunity Profiles' are ideal for the job seeker and for interview preparation, with detailed information on qualifications and skills, market and trading issues and useful contacts. The 'Business Information Factsheets' and 'Business Legal Library' cover trading issues such as raising and managing finance, marketing and trading abroad and trading legally.

How to use COBRA

COBRA is easy to use with a simple search and a keyword search. Factsheets and guides can be viewed as a text file or downloaded as a PDF.

COBRA can be accessed at your local Idea Store library or from home or work.

View the User Guide as a PDF

View the brief introduction to COBRA video

eBooks - free to download for Idea Store library members

The Lowdown: Business Etiquette - China, India, Japan and Russia

The must have guides to doing business abroad. We live and work in a global environment; knowing how to behave with courtesy in other countries allows us to make a great impression and maximise our potential.

Topics covered include: how to navigate your first business meeting, what to do and what not to do and how to cope with social invitations and understand their critical importance in a business relationship.

A list of useful phrases is also included.

Business Plans For Dummies

Business Plans For Dummies features new and updated information on formulating a solid business plan to build a secure business. Complete with a brand new business plan template to get you started, this expert guide offers fresh advice on reading the competitive marketplace and assessing your business in the current economic climate. It walks you step-by-step through every aspect of planning achievable business goals and diversification strategies, identifying trends, exploring new technologies and advertising routes and predicting your business' commercial future.

Essential Business Finance

A hands-on guide that does not make assumptions about prior knowledge; Essential Business Finance is suitable for the average business owner. Topics covered include: raising start-up finance and early funding, arranging growth finance, raising money through public offerings, finding, negotiating, buying and funding acquisitions and selling the business.

Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day

This popular guide is packed with up-to-date information to help you develop, implement, measure and maintain a successful Facebook marketing program.

This bestselling guide is now completely updated to cover all of the latest tools including Deals, sponsored stories, the Send button and more. It explains how to develop a winning strategy, implement a campaign, measure results and produce usable reports. Case studies, step-by-step directions and hands-on tutorials in the popular Hour-a-Day format make this the perfect handbook for maximizing marketing efforts on Facebook.

At Your Service: How to Attract New Customers, Increase Sales and Grow Your Business Using Simple Customer Service Techniques

At Your Service explains the importance of refocusing your business on your customers and your employees, and just how to do it.

It explains how to create a culture of empowered employees who understand the value of a great customer experience and advises on the need to communicate that experience to their customers and potential customers.

The Smart Entrepreneur: How to Build for a Successful Business

The ideal companion for anyone starting out on a new venture. The Smart Entrepreneur features real-life case studies and is divided into twelve chapters that can also be read separately as mini-manuals. Each section offers practical advice and guidance to cover all aspects of your new venture, from building a smart business proposition to assembling a dynamic team, carrying out affordable yet effective market research and seeking investment.

The Smart Entrepreneur will guide you through your decision-making process and show you how to turn your initial idea into a comprehensive, credible and investable proposition.

Starting an Online Business All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies

This second edition of Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies covers everything from creating a business plan and building a customer-friendly site to marketing with Facebook and MySpace. There's even a section about setting up shop in the virtual world of Second Life.

Eleven handy minibooks cover; online business basics, legal and accounting, Web site design, online and operating, Internet security, boosting sales, retail to e-tail, storefront selling, fundraising sites, niche e-commerce, and e-commerce advanced.

Idea Store Learning Courses

Business Planning - Beginners

Run Your Own Small Business - Beginners

HM Revenue & Customs Guidance and Support

Take a look at HM Revenue and Customs guidance and support to help people in business get their tax affairs right.  Unlike traditional classroom learning, you can access this modern, simplistic education at a time convenient to you, either from the comfort of your own home or on the move.  You won’t have the stress of worrying about running late or finding a parking space - you can access all this information at your fingertips from the internet at home, at work or anywhere and you can revisit this learning as many times as you need. HMRC’s aim is to build your confidence on tax matters by providing easily accessible support in a variety of different formats.  Look below now to find one that suits you.

HMRC have some fantastic e-learning products for people starting in business. 'Starting Your Own Business' covers everything you need to know about starting and running a business. You can work through this at your own pace and dip in and out to suit your own needs.  Thousands of businesses have already used these and found they are a great way of learning.           

HMRC run a wide variety of webinars (online presentations) which will help you get things right for your business from the start.  Webinars last less than an hour and you can either choose between a prerecorded webinar available at any time or a live and interactive webinar where you also get the opportunity to ask questions.     One of HMRC’s most popular webinars is ‘Record Keeping for the Self-Employed’.

Sign up for HMRC’s free email service. Receive a series of tax related emails at specific times to let you know what you need to do to keep your tax affairs in order.  These emails remind you when you need to submit your tax returns, make payments to HMRC and what records you need to keep.  
Sign up to the free email service 

Record Keeping Mobile Apps
There are a range of Smart phone Record Keeping Apps supplied by third parties to help you run your business.  Take a look at what’s available

Tax Help Fact Sheets
Have a look at HMRC’s Tax Help Fact Sheets.  They cover a range of subjects such as Self-Assessment, Expenses and Allowances for the Self-Employed, Employing someone for the first time, VAT and Limited Companies to name a few.  Take a look to see what’s available.

If you are looking for ‘bite-sized- chunks of information on a range of tax matters, why not access HMRC’s YouTube channel.  There are numerous YouTube clips to help you, some lasting for less than one minute!