Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

6 posts from May 2014

30 May 2014

Book review - How to get your product to market by Louise Guinda

How-to-get-your-product-to-market“The biggest problem most people with great ideas have is just not knowing where to start and what to do. I think that’s the greatest barrier to market” - Patrick Mathews, Breffo

This is a quote from page 109 of How to get your product to market by Louise Guinda, which nicely sums up the purpose of this book

This book goes a long way to solving this problem. It is a step by step guide which can assist an entrepreneur in taking the idea in their head and turning it into a reality in the market place.

Written in easily digestible chapters covering topics such as ensuring that the idea is new, checking that a market for the product actually exists, and manufacturing and prototypes, the book takes the reader on a journey through the process of becoming an entrepreneur.

Each chapter includes a tip, based on the subject of the chapter, and a handy ‘Chapter Wrap-up’ reiterating the main points of the chapter.

It helps that the writer herself is an inventor and entrepreneur and has been there, done that, and has now written the book.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has come up with a product idea, and who wants to bring it to the market.

Maria Lampert on behalf of Business & IP Centre

You can read a free PDF sample of How to get your product to market here.

Amazon review by Karen Wilson - Being someone with an good idea but no clue of what to do next, this book was extremely helpful and packed with information and great advice. It was easy to read and make notes and really gave me the inspirational push I needed to continue with my product idea.

23 May 2014

Celebrating a year of boosting the North East Economy at Business & IP Centre Newcastle

130514A_024The Business & IP Centre Newcastle at Newcastle City Library today celebrates its first birthday. The Centre is part of the British Library Business & IP Centre National Network and was the first to open outside of London.

In pilot stage before, it officially launched as a Business & IP Centre on 23 May 2013, the Centre offers North East entrepreneurs and SMEs free access to a wealth of databases, market research, company data, journals, directories and reports. It hosts a programme of free and low-cost one-to-one advice and workshops delivered by trained staff and business experts on a range of topics including starting up, business planning, marketing and intellectual property.

A vital part of the North East’s economic growth agenda, the Centre has been a resounding success, helping to launch new North East businesses and help established businesses grow to the next level.

Highlights from the past year include:

  • 2489 helped with business and intellectual property enquiries 
  • 220 intellectual property surgeries held
  • 53 events held
  • 929 event attendees

Join the team on Monday 2 June to celebrate at Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Going Global. The event will encourage businesses to expand by looking beyond their traditional markets and think internationally to survive and thrive.

SageAfter hearing from local success story, Jules Quinn, founder of The *Teashed and taking part in a live, interactive webcast with Lord Bilimoria (founder of Cobra Beer), Sian Sutherland (Founding Partner & CEO of Mama Mio and Mio Skincare) and Will Butler-Adams (Managing Director of Brompton Bicycle), you  will be able to network with other local businesses and entrepreneurs and raise a toast to the Centre.  

Jules Quinn, The *Teashed

Book your free place at Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Going Global

Congratulations to the brilliant Business & IP Centre Newcastle team on such a fantastic first year!

Aaron Hussey on behalf of Business & IP Centre

16 May 2014

Book Review - Copywriting: Successful writing for design, advertising and marketing

Copywriting: Successful writing for design, advertising and marketing book coverI came across this book, written by Mark Shaw, while I was browsing the Small Business Help shelf in the Business & IP Centre, looking for a more recent book on the same topic, which hasn’t arrived yet. 

Copywriting: Successful writing for design, advertising and marketing, published by Laurence King Publishing Ltd in 2009, is a practical guide on how to use creative writing in business for the following purposes:

•    Advertising and direct marketing
•    Retailing and products
•    Catalogues
•    Company magazines and newsletters
•    Websites and digital formats
•    Brand, marketing and internal communications

Even though the plain book cover does not imply it, the most interesting parts of the book are the numerous visual examples, based on real cases, which the author uses to illustrate every point he makes.

He also presents interesting interviews with creative directors, and case studies of companies and other organisations on their approach to creative writing in business.

  Amnesty International flyer created by Different Kettle

The above illustration is one of the examples presented in the book. In the case study on direct marketing, the creative director of the graphic design agency Different Kettle explains how he created this hard-hitting leaflet for Amnesty International.

Another interesting feature of the book are the practical tips that the author gives at the end of each chapter, including:

•    A checklist, with the main tasks to be done
•    A practical exercise
•    A round-up of the main points of the chapter

Overall, the book is comprehensive and well structured as a practical guide, with a lot of illustrations. If the text was made a little easier to read it would be better. Nevertheless, even though the book is not very recent most of the suggested techniques and tips apply regardless of time.  

Irini Efthimiadou on behalf of Business & IP Centre

15 May 2014

Book review - Cook Wrap Sell: A guide to starting and running a successful food business from your kitchen

Gail Mitchell reviews Cook Wrap Sell: A guide to starting and running a successful food business from your kitchen By Bruce McMichael.

This book written in partnership with Country Living magazine aims to help you turn your love of food into a thriving small business, with the right idea and a watertight business plan.

It has chapters covering costs and funding, tax and insurance, branding and packaging and much more. As well as general business start up information it also contains information on food allergies and intolerance. It has a diary of events and festivals. Gives tips on blogging and lists food blogging groups. And how to get involved with food festivals and farmers markets as well as how to run a successful stall.

It also has case studies throughout the book and websites for further information within each chapter.

Hopefully a recipe for success!


Gail Mitchell on behalf of Business & IP Centre

13 May 2014

Act Local, Think Global

Jules QuinnOur Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Going Global local Newcastle entrepreneur, Jules Quinn from The *Teashed shares some of her stories about cracking global markets.

You can hear more from Jules at the Newcastle screening of Going Global on 2 June. Find out more and book your Newcastle ticket.



With 7 out of 10 of us in the UK owning a smart phone, we all literally have the world at our finger tips. A quick jump onto Google search and we can land at the shop of a potential supplier in Asia, who within 24 hours has sent you quote and samples are in the post. Skype allows us free face in front of face conversations across the world, whilst simultaneously being able to refer to websites, email each other files or share via Dropbox. To have a chat with Tim in Timbuktu is just as easy as chatting to Sheila in Sheffield. Exception of course being time difference and language barriers.

But we are lucky, we have English as our mother tongue and it is common across the globe to find people, especially in business, who speak English. Having travelled extensively for business, I have not yet faced a language barrier that has meant we couldn't do business. And with time difference, well, if you are running your own business you will be up working all night anyway so it doesn’t matter!

I found all potential tea suppliers for The *TeaShed through Google and only two years later did I have the time and money to go and visit them. Language has not been a problem as our suppliers all speak English and time difference is only 5 hours. Global suppliers = simple.

Importing and exporting is also not as scary as you think. Yes, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, boxes to tick and fees to pay, but all in all it’s a pretty simple process and you normally will have agents who deal with it for you. I did once hear about a man who lost 1 million dollars worth of TVs out at sea and didn’t have any insurance though! Make sure you insure freight.

So once you have your international suppliers sorted and your logistics then you need to start attracting overseas customers. There are various ways through trade shows, agents, distributors but again the easiest is right in front of you now; the internet.

Search international competitors – into which stores in their country do they sell and then contact them directly. Search types of shops in particular areas. Perhaps the easiest place to start is British shops abroad. Often these shops will regularly import from the UK and so will have consolidation somewhere in the UK anyway.

Social media is an excellent way of creating international brand awareness. You may have to change platforms for some countries but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest are all a great start.

The one thing to really do your research on, are the different laws for each country, for example in regards to packaging, IP, import/export and agents. UKTI can give a lot of advice on these topics and often have workshops you can attend. 

One area we looked closely at and indeed had guidance from Business & IP Centre Newcastle was to trademark or not to trademark. We went ahead and applied for a UK trademark straight away for The TeaShed and got advice on a community trademark (European).

They have a great deal of knowledge, which can be used to help protect yourself when selling abroad. IP will most probably be of huge importance to your company and therefore putting safety nets in place early on is recommended.

With research and precautions in place, the world is your oyster. The UK is undoubtedly a great market to target but it is also only a tiny part of the world. We have such fantastic infrastructure here, built upon hundreds of years of international trading, that you can import and export in a click of your button and wake up to an inbox bursting with orders.

Don’t just see what is in front of you. Look for what you can’t see.

Jules Quinn on behalf of Business & IP Centre

Our next Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Going Global will be held in London and screened live in Newcastle as well as live webcast. Tickets are going fast so book yours now!

09 May 2014

Business book reviews from Dr Stephen Fear

Ambassador Stephen
Dr Stephen Fear, our Entrepreneur in Residence and one of the Centre's Ambassadors shares the latest about his series of business book reviews held in the Centre.


Books have always formed a big part of my life. Growing up I was a voracious reader, something that has never left me.

Last year, it was suggested to me that I should consider hosting a book review located at the Business & IP Centre, focused on business books.

I started to think about how to do this in a way which would benefit entrepreneurs and small business owners using the Centre, and possibly a much wider worldwide audience online.

My first attempt at getting it right had its challenges due to the UK being hit by heavy snow! Our film crew couldn't get into London so we ended up doing the practice run in a penthouse apartment I own in Bristol with a hand held camera. It was all very much a practice run, but we put it on YouTube anyway, exactly as it was. Clearly it was much too long and the sound was poor but it was our first try so I hope we can be forgiven for that.

Thankfully we have progressed, and the review is evolving into something that I hope will assist the huge community of UK entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

Each month I intend to review two books which I have read and which I feel are relevant to the SME community. Where possible I will have a guest author on the show. In March 2014 I interviewed Susan Gunelius, successful author of many books including, The Dummies Guide to Blogging and Social Media.

So what's next! Well, in July I will be focusing on two more books, the first is essentially a work manual written by chartered accountant Johnny Martin which explains how to raise capital and manage cashflow for SMEs and is called 'Understanding Your Business Finances" and the second is a book by Rasheed Ogunlaru, called 'Soul Trader' which focuses on getting your mindset right for success.

Although very different, in that one concentrates on hard facts, and the other on a rather more spiritual aspect, both are important for anyone seeking success in business. Unless you can clear your mind and focus, absorbing the information from Johnny Martin will be tougher to take in.

Have a look at some of the previous reviews and make sure you keep an eye out for the next one!

If you have a favourite business book that you would like included in a future review, let us know via Twitter or Facebook.  I will do my best to read it and review it in future programmes.