Tag Archives: business tips

How to optimise ChatGPT and other AI for your small business


As technology advances, businesses have started exploring new ways to improve their processes using AI, the latest tech trend. AI (Artificial Intelligence) refers to the simulation of human intelligence, speech, writing, art, in machines. You may have heard of ChatGPT, a popular AI which seems to be everywhere in the media. ChatGPT is an AI model which is capable of generating human-like responses. Whilst it has its limitations; the free version only has data till 2021, it’s sensitive to phrasing input, and can be repetitive, it can be a great tool to have in your business toolkit. 

This blog will explore the uses of ChatGPT, and other chatbot AI models, and how to get the most out of such AI. 


Why should you use ChatGPT for your business

In the early stages of owning a business, you will find yourself doing everything. Unlike large companies, you do not have a team behind you to support you on certain processes. Using a tool like ChatGPT can help you. Stuck on an Instagram caption? Ask ChatGPT to draft one. Need a sensitive but friendly reply to a client email? ChatGPT can write it for you. Need the starting point for a presentation? Run it through ChatGPT. By no means is ChatGPT or any other AI system a replacement for human talent, despite what you may hear in the news, but as a small business owner it can take some of the strain out of decision making and ideation. 

In essence, you can save precious time using tools like ChatGPT. Reserve that brainpower to think about more pressing matters for your business over wasting it trying to put an email reply together. 

Other ways you can use AI systems for your business are: 

  • Brainstorm ideas 
  • Customer support chat 
  • Lead generation 
  • Content creation 
  • Data Analysis 
  • Research 
  • Social media management

There is, of course, the danger of over relying on AI. Make sure you are maintaining a human-AI balance. Always proofread and fact check what AI generates for you, as an AI it cannot replicate empathy, nuance and judgement the way humans do. And AI can be incorrect (due to user input, outdated information etc) think about the infamous 6-7 fingers on AI Art. It is not a perfect model, and you need to treat AI generated information as a starting point and not the final product. 

Overall, using AI can be timesaving, efficient and smart which are all essential for small businesses. 


How to use ChatGPT for your business

If you’re a business owner looking to use AI like ChatGPT for your business, here are a few ways to optimise its performance: 

1. Define Your objectives 

Before using ChatGPT, it is important to define your objectives. In other words, what are you using the tool for? You need to determine what kind of queries your chatbot will be handling. This will help you tailor the responses generated by Chat GPT according to the customer’s needs. For example, if you are an Italian restaurant in need of social media marketing help, you would ask ChatGPT to create some instagram captions for a small Italian restaurant based in Liverpool, or wherever you may be. 

2. Train Chat GPT for Your Specific Use Case

After defining your use case, you need to train Chat GPT for your specific use case. This involves providing the chatbot with relevant data related to your business. The more data you provide, the more accurate and personalised the responses will be. For instance, as the Italian restaurant, you can provide Chat GPT with data related to the products you offer, their prices, and the type of produce you use.

3. Test and Refine

Once you have trained Chat GPT, it is important to test it thoroughly to ensure that it is generating accurate responses. You can do this by conducting a series of tests with different scenarios and queries. This will help you identify any gaps in the chatbot’s knowledge and refine its responses accordingly.

When ChatGPT creates a scenario for you, you can ask it to refine the text including certain phrases or improving on certain points. Say you require an instagram caption but ChatGPT is too formal, you can ask it to ‘refine the above with a friendlier tone and use emojis’. 


In conclusion, AI can be a useful tool for businesses looking to save time and improve their business processes. For small businesses embracing technology like AI can be key for taking your business to the next level. However, it is important to remember to constantly check your AI generated content. Remember to use it as a first draft and not your final.

If you want to learn more about how to improve business practices read our blog here. Or perhaps you’re ready to start your business journey? We can help you create your company today. 


When is the right time to start a business?


First thing’s first: as any entrepreneur will tell you, there’s never a right time to start a business.

You’ll always have reasons to delay your project. Maybe you find the thought of losing financial security too daunting, or perhaps you’re struggling to get to grips with how the company creation process works.

But if you wait for the perfect moment, the opportunity might pass you by entirely.

That said, the trick to launching a start-up or small business successfully is creating a strong brand story and purpose; offering something your customers need, and something your industry isn’t expecting.

There are also other factors to consider, such as how confident you feel in your abilities, and how comfortable you feel with your decision to go it alone.

Here, we’ve listed a few things you’ll need to think about before you quit the 9 to 5 and start something new.


Aspects to consider when starting a small business in the UK


Are you knowledgeable enough?

You don’t need to have 30 years’ experience in your field to start your own company – but you should have a solid understanding of your products or services, and your industry as a whole. 


Is there a demand for your product or services?

If it’s already been done, you’ll struggle to compete – but if you’ve come up with a completely new concept, your idea is much more likely to gain traction. Before you take the plunge, make sure what you’re planning to offer will fill a gap in your market and satisfy a very real demand within a specific demographic. In many cases, the more you can niche down, the better! 


How will you fund your start-up?

Every new business needs capital. Bear in mind that, if you want to raise funds from external investors, you’ll need to put together a sound business plan with clear financial projections. There are also many available grants and bank loans created specifically for small businesses. 

You may also consider trying crowdfunding as an alternative to the traditional channels of funding. Many start-ups found their funds on websites such as Kickstarter.Crowdfunding is a successful and exciting way to engage with a future audience and have a community feel to your enterprise. 

However, crowdfunding can be time consuming and requires a lot of forethought. You’ll need to decide what you may give to your crowdfunders as an incentive, how long it may take to reach a funding goal, and whether your idea is something which people will support. 

Of course, you don’t need millions and millions to begin a business, starting a new venture with limited start-up capital is doable, and in the long run can be super profitable. 


Where will you be based?

Plenty of successful start-ups and even more established businesses are run from home. Amazon was famously founded in Jeff Bezos’ garage. Most small companies can function perfectly from home, but if you plan to host client meetings or prefer to work outside of your home, you may choose to use a co-working space or rentable meeting rooms as a day office

There are many things to consider when deciding on basing your business from home. Firstly, do you have the budget to afford renting an office? Do you have space and the discipline to work from home? Do you hope to employ staff from the start? And more.

 If all you need to run your business is WiFi, a laptop and yourself, then maybe home is the best venue. However, you can register a virtual office for your company to keep your residential address out of the public eye and give you the professionalism of an office address. 


Are you truly ready to become self-employed?

Self-employment is incredibly liberating and rewarding – but it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted! From promoting your business through to managing your tax affairs, the buck stops with you when you’re running your own organisation – and you’ll almost certainly be working long hours, at least while you’re finding your feet. Make sure you’re ready to embrace all the ups and downs that will come with your new situation before you commit to creating a company.

However, by leaning on all available resources such as using an accountant or a company formation agent (like us!) can help you take the hassle out of registering your company and starting your business from scratch.  We offer a range of solutions designed to support new business owners, plus plenty of additional services and resources to guide you along your way. Explore our packages here.


The pros and cons of using a virtual office address


What is a virtual office?

If you’re in the process of starting your own business, you’ll soon need to think about where you want to be located.

Traditionally, as a new company owner, you will look to rent an office in the area you want to serve. But this can be a costly option, especially if you’re a new start-up with limited capital.

Cash-conscious entrepreneurs are increasingly choosing virtual offices over physical offices, as it allows them to work remotely – often from home – while still having an ‘official’ local business address to their name. 

Remember, a virtual office address shouldn’t be confused with a service address.

The case for getting a virtual office address

All the features of a physical office with fewer costs

One of the biggest reasons to get a virtual address is, you can get all the benefits of having a physical location, without paying additional overheads.

As well as being provided with a mailing address – which allows you to send and receive post at a secure location – you can often choose to pay for additional phone and voicemail services, printing services, and even a shared receptionist, who will be trained to answer calls as if they are a part of your company. All these features will make your company appear much more professional and credible from day one. 

Some virtual address providers host co-working and meeting room spaces, too, so you’ll have somewhere you can hire for chats with colleagues, suppliers, and clients.


No daily commute

Forget jumping on a jam-packed train first thing in the morning or battling through rush-hour traffic every day of your working week. As long as you have the right equipment and a good WiFi connection to hand, you can work from wherever you like when you have a virtual office address – even the comfort of your own living room, if you want to. You’ll save a lot of money on fuel or public transport, and you may find that you’re more productive when you have the flexibility to switch up your working environment as you please.


Expand into new markets with ease

If you want to find new customers in a different area, purchasing a virtual office address can allow you to start building a presence in this region without setting up shop miles away from your HQ.


The downsides of running a virtual office

 No space for staff or clients

If you don’t rent your own physical office, you will never have a permanent base for your team. Even though fully remote working is increasingly becoming the norm, it’s no secret that remote staff take longer to bond, which means you may struggle to create strong relationships and develop that all-important company culture. You could of course combat this by arranging regular team socials in different venues – but it’s often difficult to keep staff wholly engaged without regular face-to-face interactions.

You’ll also need to consider how far you may need to travel for meetings if you can’t invite your clients to your own premises. You’ll need to pay for the journey, plus other related expenses, such as accommodation and food.


An unsettled work/life balance

In our view, this is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Living and working in the same location can blur the lines somewhat, resulting in fewer boundaries in terms of how many hours you are willing to work, and leading to longer working days. Plus, you may benefit from having time to get into ‘work mode’ during your morning commute and decompress after a hectic day on the way back.


Home distractions

Some people thrive when they’re working from home, while others struggle to separate their professional life from their home life or feel too isolated when they’re away from the typical office environment. If you know you’re someone who would rather clean the kitchen than tackle that tricky project, you may want to invest in a dedicated workspace instead of setting up in your spare room.


Contact Companies MadeSimple for more information on the benefits of getting a virtual office address. We offer virtual office addresses and other services as part of our company formation packages.

Inspiration: Take the Plunge! Why you should start your small business journey today.




Small and medium businesses account for 99.9% of the UK’s business population, they are the backbone of the UK economy. With advances in digital technology, global connectivity and a changing consumer consciousness, there has never been a better suited time to start your business. 

If you’re a wannabe future entrepreneur and need that final push to take the plunge and start your own business, read on. 

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The Flat Rate VAT Scheme Explained




If you are a business owner in the UK, you might be familiar with the concept of Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is a tax on the value added to goods and services, as a business owner, you are required to register for VAT if your taxable turnover exceeds a certain threshold. 

While VAT can be a complex subject for many small businesses, the UK government has introduced the Flat Rate VAT Scheme as a way to simplify the process of VAT Return for small businesses. 

But what is the Flat Rate VAT Scheme, and who can benefit from it?


What is the Flat Rate VAT Scheme?

The Flat Rate VAT Scheme is an alternative way for small businesses to calculate and pay VAT to HMRC. Under this scheme, instead of calculating the VAT owed on every sale and purchase, you apply a fixed rate percentage to your gross turnover. The rate is determined by your business sector, i.e. photography or catering, and takes into account the average VAT incurred by businesses in your sector.


How does the Flat Rate VAT Scheme work?

To join the Flat Rate VAT Scheme your business must: 

  • Be VAT registered
  • Have an annual turnover below £150,000 per year (excluding VAT). 

Unlike other VAT services, you must apply to the flat rate scheme. It is recommended you speak with an accountant or professional before joining the scheme. You can use a formation agent to assist you with your application to the scheme.

You can not join the scheme if your business:

  • Has left the scheme within the last 12 months 
  • Has committed a VAT offence within the past year, such as VAT evasion
  • Are closely associated with (close financial or organisational ties) to another business. 
  • Has joined (or was eligible to join) a VAT group in the last 24 months 
  • You’ve joined a margin or capital goods VAT scheme

You also can not use the scheme with the Cash Accounting Scheme. 


Example for how the Flat Rate VAT Scheme works:

If you are a software developer and your sector rate is 10%, and your gross turnover for a quarter is £10,000, you would calculate your VAT as follows:

  • Gross turnover: £10,000
  • VAT at 20%: £2,000
  • Flat rate VAT at 10%: £1,000
  • Total VAT owed to HMRC: £1,000

As you can see from the example above, under the Flat Rate VAT Scheme, you pay a lower amount of VAT than the standard 20% rate. This is because the percentage you apply already takes into account the average VAT incurred by businesses in your sector.

It’s important to note that under the Flat Rate VAT Scheme, you cannot reclaim VAT on your purchases, except for certain capital assets over £2,000 (including VAT). This is because the fixed rate percentage you apply already includes the VAT you incur on your purchases.


Cons of the Flat Rate VAT Scheme

Your business may not benefit from the Flat Rate Scheme for a few reasons. Many service led businesses, such as contractors, spend little on goods. Therefore, VAT may not be a big expense for you. 

Secondly, if your business buys or sells goods from outside of the UK, such as a drop shipping business, the scheme will be more complex for you. 


Disclaimer: This blog is for general information about the Flat Rate VAT scheme, and is based on our understanding of the laws at time of writing. As tax laws are subject to revisions we recommend you consult a professional before making any tax related decisions or if you require any further information in the contents. 


3 Ways To Optimise TikTok for your Business



How to form your freelance writing business

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms out there. With over 30 million daily users and a hyper-curated user algorithm, it’s a great place to promote your small business. 

However, getting started on TikTok can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the platform or any social media. In this blog post, we’ll go through three key tips on how to optimise TikTok for your small business.

Before beginning, you may want to claim your username, even if you are planning to start later. Just like making sure your business’ name is claimed and free for use before forming your company. 


1. Understand your audience, understand their trends.

The first question to ask yourself is, who is your audience, what kind of videos would pop up on their FYP (For You Page). TikTok curates a feed based on the user, this is why you might hear terms like ‘BookTok’ or ‘I’m on the F1 side of TikTok’. 

If your business sells high end scented candles, perhaps your audience is engaging with the ‘self-care’ side of TikTok. Once you’ve determined an audience, look at the kind of sounds and video formats trending under ‘Self-Care’ and start building a strategy from there. 


2. Consistency

TikTok is all about consistency. To optimise your TikTok account, you need to post often. This may sound daunting, but not every video has to be high quality or even clever. As long as you make use of sounds and trends, even a short 3-6 second video has the potential to reach thousands. 

Make sure your video content is relevant to your services or products, but have fun with it. The audience on TikTok do not require 4K, professionally lit videos, as long as you show authenticity and personality, your videos have the potential to go viral. 


3. Engage your audience

Engaging with your followers is a great way to optimise your TikTok account. When someone comments on your video, respond to them. If someone tags you in a post, thank them. By engaging with your followers, you’ll build a loyal fan base that will help promote your business. It is a great way to receive feedback on your products and services, conduct market research before launching and cultivate a loyal fanbase for your business. 

There are many ways to ensure the success of your business, by utilising TikTok you are sure to start your marketing plan on the right foot. Read our blog for more advice on how to create, own and operate a successful business.


Advantages of using a co-working space


WorkHub, Central London Co-Woking space, displaying a pink meeting room and a long work bench

In recent years, co-working spaces have become increasingly popular among professionals seeking a flexible and collaborative work environment. 

A co-working space is a shared workspace where individuals from different companies and industries work alongside each other. 

If you are a smaller company, or just yourself, you may want to consider a co-working space. 

Here are some of the advantages of using a co-working space:

  1. Cost-effective: Co-working spaces are typically more cost-effective than traditional office spaces. Rent, utilities, and other expenses are covered through your booking/membership, making it more affordable for individuals or small businesses.
  2. Networking opportunities: Co-working spaces provide an opportunity to meet and connect with other professionals from different industries. This can lead to potential collaborations, partnerships, and even new clients.
  3. Flexibility: Co-working spaces offer a flexible work environment where individuals can choose to work whenever they want. This is particularly useful for freelancers, remote workers, or those who have irregular work schedules.
  4. Productivity: Working in a co-working space can boost productivity by providing a structured and professional work environment. Co-working spaces are designed to facilitate work, with amenities such as high-speed internet, printing, and meeting rooms.
  5. Credibility: Co-working spaces often have meeting rooms, which you can book to host your clients or suppliers. This can add a level of professionalism to your company operations. Secondly, having a quiet and well equipped space for meetings is more productive than using a noisy cafe or your home. 

Another additional benefit to using a co-working space with meeting rooms is being able to rent a room as a ‘day office’. By renting a ‘day office’ you can host a collaborative day with your team, a workshop or seminar for your clients and network. By using a co-working space you know you’ll have state of the art equipment, adequate space and a good location for a fraction of the cost. It is an easy way to level up your business or treat your employees. 

Overall, co-working spaces offer a cost-effective, flexible, and collaborative work environment, with numerous benefits for individuals and small businesses. For Companies Made Simple clients, our ultimate package gives you free access to our modern state of the art WorkHub, based near Old Street Station in London, UK. 



5 ways to set up your small business for success.



A lady on a business phone call in her small business workshop

Starting a small business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavour, but it also requires careful planning and a strong strategy to achieve success. As a small business owner, it’s important to set your business up for success from the very beginning. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

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6 ways to reduce your company’s energy bills this winter


Times are tough for many UK companies, not least because rising energy costs are leaving many of us with eye-watering gas and electricity bills.

Although the government has brought in temporary support to see organisations through the next few months, the onus is still on us, as business owners, to do everything we can to reduce our energy consumption and keep our overheads to a minimum.

Here are our top 6 tips for saving energy in any business, in any sector.

Make sure you’re on the cheapest possible deal

Thanks to the current state of the market, most energy providers are beholden to sky-high unit rates and standing charges, and many of them aren’t taking on new customers for the foreseeable future. However, there are still opportunities out there, and you could save money by switching to a different provider. Use a comparison website, enlist the help of an energy broker, or speak to companies directly to find out what else is available, and whether it’s worth making the move.

Ask your provider for a payment plan, if you need one

If you are struggling to pay your bills in the short term, get in touch with your supplier to arrange a payment plan that will help you get back on track. Most energy companies will be open to helping you spread the cost.

The worst thing you can possibly do is refuse to pay what you owe – even if you’re in dispute with your supplier – as you may risk being disconnected from your utilities altogether. Plus, you’ll often face further disconnection and reconnection fees, which are added expenses you could do without.

Make small changes that could lead to bigger savings

Simple adjustments will help to keep more cash in the bank. For example, energy-saving LED light bulbs are known to be up to 80% more efficient than incandescent lighting, so it’s well worth installing these throughout your building (or even in your own property, if you regularly work from home). Have an honest conversation with your staff about ways you can conserve energy as a collective, even if it’s simply by turning equipment off when it’s not in use.

Heat-proof your building

Heating systems are notoriously expensive to run – so make sure you’re keeping as much hard-won warm air in your premises as you can. Ask your staff to keep windows and doors closed during colder months and install draught excluders and door seals if necessary. You could even go one step further by making sure the water tanks, pipes and radiators within your building are suitably insulated.

Invest in new equipment

It might seem counterintuitive to spend more at a time when you want to tighten your purse strings – but newer equipment usually runs more energy-efficiently than machinery that was manufactured several years (or decades!) ago. If you really don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront, do make sure your equipment is regularly serviced, as this will keep it performing at its best and running as energy efficiently as possible. Regular maintenance is especially important if you’re operating power-hungry appliances like air conditioning systems or commercial extraction systems.

Get a smart metre

As much as you might not want to know just how much you’re spending on your energy bills right now, having a smart metre to hand can help you spot any spikes in consumption that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. If you can see what’s drawing the most energy, you can take steps to reduce your usage of the hardware and appliances that are the most expensive to run.

Aside from implementing these energy saving tips, make sure you do a little research into the support that’s available to you as a small business owner. For example, you can click to learn more about the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which is designed to apply discounts on energy usage for non-domestic customers between 1st October 2022 and 31st March 2023.