The Epson Business Council was launched in late 2010 as a platform to provide tips, advice and insight for start-ups and small businesses. The council is made up of four of the top business experts in Europe: UK: Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Black’s premium confectionery range France: Alain Bosetti, multi-entrepreneur and founder and President of the “Micro Enterprise Show” Germany: Dr Hasso Kaempfe, former chairman of the board of Mast Jägermeister AG, micro business consultant and member of Board of the German Brands Association Italy: Marco Montemagno, co-founder of Internet and social enterprise companies including Augmendy and Codice Internet Epson invited the four entrepreneurs to a hotel in Berlin to discuss key business advice, insider tips and ideas including social media, idea generation, networking benefits, marketing strategy and more. The following series of videos are some of the highlights from their first gathering. (pic: http://www.brecklandorchard.co.uk) Top tips for starting a small business Each of the business experts give us their top three tips on setting up a business; whether large or small including: Finding a niche in the market Using both social media and PR for publicity Concentrating on what you do best and having willingness to fight! International expansion The Council raise issues and give advice on problems that may face online businesses when considering European expansion. Jo Fairley raises both the lingual and cultural difficulties to consider when implementing website-translation Marco Montemagno advises small businesses to start-off with an English only website and then later on investing in costly website translations Business networking tips & advice Here they discuss the pros and cons of networking, questions answered include: How important is networking Can you save time when you have the right contacts? Jo Fairley talks about the emotional support and encouragement that can come from networking Alain Bosetti discusses the idea of ‘karma’ in networking: being generous when sharing ideas and contacts Employee engagement The entrepreneurs talk about the do’s and don’ts when dealing with employees and about best ways to motivate employees. Answers include: Team-building days Enabling employees to grow and setting clear objectives for both the employee and the company. Project management ‘How does effective project management work?’. Alain Bosetti suggests having regular progress reviews to discuss whether tasks and objectives have been met Marco Montemagno raises the importance of knowing each person’s role within the project Idea generation The Council are asked ‘What are your thoughts on the best way to generate new ideas?’. Dr Hasso Kaempfe discusses how important it is to listen to others when generating ideas Alain Bosetti says new environments are key to idea generation Jo Fairley raises the importance of rewarding new ideas Marketing strategy The entrepreneurs discuss small business marketing strategies and what the best way is to build a successful sales channel. Jo Fairley advises the use of sales agents in order to tap into a bigger network of sales Alain Bosetti raises how important it is for sales people to be engaging with clients face-to-face Social media marketing Here, they talk about the importance of social media in business. Jo Fairley discusses the importance of everyone having a presence in social media – especially Facebook and Twitter Dr Hasso Kaempfe talks about the negative impact of not having a social media presence Marco Montemagno raises the importance of persistence and consistency when initiating a social media presence Subscribe to Epson Europe’s Youtube Channel to keep up to date with future videos and key entrepreneur insider tips.