Ten years of top content - and a few Donuts

By: Fiona Prior

Date: 16 April 2019

Desk with a laptop computer, cup of coffee and a plate of doughnuts on it They say time flies when you're having fun and that's certainly true for the team here at Donut HQ. Over the last ten years, we have worked with many inspiring people and have been lucky enough to receive hundreds of pieces of great advice from numerous experts all of whom have been there, seen it and got the badge.

When we launched the first Donut site - Marketing Donut - back in 2009, we had more than just a plan; we had a vision. Although we started with one site, we always knew there was a real gap in the market for practical, no-nonsense advice for anyone taking their first steps as an entrepreneur.

We also knew the country was jam-packed with business experts who were willing to share their knowledge and experience to fill the Donuts with tasty titbits. Since 2009, we have launched five more Donut sites and now our family of Donut sites includes: Start Up, Marketing, Tech, Money, Law, Sectors.

To celebrate our milestone Donut birthday, here are some of the most popular content items from the last ten years.

13 things you should know about being a sole trader

This piece by Mark Williams, the original brains behind Start Up Donut, has been perennially popular with our Start Up Donut visitors. It has racked up more than 60,000 views since it was originally written! Covering everything from how to register with Companies House and HMRC to the financial risks you face as a sole trader, this piece is invaluable if you are thinking of striking out on your own.

Writing a business plan

So, you have a great idea for a new business. You've done your market research and now you need to get your thoughts straight and to find the money to get it off the ground. This is when you need a business plan. Your plan should outline your business idea, what you will make or sell or the service you will offer, who your customers are and how you will reach them, and the funding you need and how you will pay it back. This factsheet walks you through the process of writing your own business plan.

Seven ways to price your product

Charge too much and customers will simply look elsewhere. Charge too little and you risk throwing away potential profits or - in the worst scenario - you fail to cover your costs putting the survival of your business at risk. This great little article looks at the different pricing models you can use and explains how to calculate your costs and breakeven points.

11 cheap (or free) advertising methods to grow your business

Who doesn't love a bargain? We all do. But when you're running a small business, cutting costs is not just a virtue it can be a necessity. That said, if people don't know your business exists, you will never turn any of them into paying customers. That's the beauty of this piece by Rachel Miller. She shares some great, low-cost ways you can advertise your business to gain the attention of your would-be customers.

Free IT policy templates

Do you know what your employees are up to? Are they doing their online grocery shopping or messaging their mates via social media? Are they protecting your precious company data? Introducing simple IT policies can help you ensure your employees are using your IT properly. We have you covered with our range of free IT policies.

Gross misconduct FAQs

If you're a small business owner with limited HR experience, how do you handle a serious disciplinary issue? It is a process fraught with problems and getting it wrong could result in an expensive employment tribunal. It is clearly a problem many small businesses struggle with, judging by the popularity of this article (in excess of 30,000 page views in the last year alone). We answer your most frequent questions on gross misconduct.

Ten ways to keep ahead of the competition

Nothing ever stays the same and this is especially true in business. Rival businesses and new products pop up all the time. Keeping abreast of all the changes in your market can be tricky when you are busy managing your own business day-to-day. So how do you keep ahead of your competition? These ten tips will help.

Employer's National Insurance contributions

We are not at all surprised how popular this seemingly dull topic is. Once you take on your first employee, you are suddenly faced with a whole set of complex compliance issues including employment contracts, working hours, holiday entitlement, and, of course, payroll. Getting your employee's pay, tax and national insurance right is essential. No employee will tolerate mistakes so this article could save you a whole heap of trouble.

Probate and estate administration FAQs

No sooner had we created Law Donut – with its huge coverage of legal issues for businesses – than our users asked us to help them out with issues they faced in their personal lives. So, we added coverage of personal law. Covering everything from divorce to buying a property and setting up a trust, the personal law section has you covered. Sadly, as Benjamin Franklin reputedly said, "in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes", which helps explain why these probate FAQs are so well read. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a bereavement, this content is just the answer.

Top 20 questions that research could help you answer

Market research can help you answer a myriad of questions, from who is buying your product to what new products your customers would like to see next. Seeking feedback from your customers and engaging in market research helps you keep your finger on the pulse, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Over the last ten years, we have published thousands of articles, blogs, news stories, case studies and FAQs and have produced a range of free, downloadable guides. We have grown our suite of Donut sites from one to six and we have seen enormous change in the small business world.

We are looking forward to the next ten years and would love you to share your memories of the last ten years and your hopes for the next ten years. #tenyearsofdonut

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