A guide to adaptive driving lessons in the UK for people who have trouble learning

People with learning disabilities face special problems when they try to learn how to drive in the UK. In order to meet these needs, teachers need to come up with flexible ways to teach driving. RegTransfers, a personalised number plate service, offers this lesson that looks at how driving lessons in the UK are changed to fit the needs of students with different ways of learning. The programme is mainly about effective ways to teach and making changes to cars to make driving school easier to get to.

Figuring Out Learning Problems and Driving a Car:

 It is important to understand the complicated link between driving and learning limits in order to come up with personalised solutions that help students learn the most. People who are having trouble learning may find it especially hard to drive in the UK. Restrictions can make it hard to coordinate your movements and understand where you are in space. Research shows that a lot of new drivers who are having trouble learning need special help in order to do well in their jobs.

Specialised ways to teach that help students learn:

Adaptive driving instruction needs special ways to be taught. These answers are made to fit the different ways that people with learning issues learn and the problems they face. UK driving teachers often use mixed teaching methods, which let students learn in a number of different ways. This can include talking, showing how to do something, and showing pictures. To help students fully understand how to drive, lesson plans are tailored to their individual skill levels.

The goal is not just to pass the test, but to become a safe driver for life.

Technology and Making Vehicles Work Better:

Technology and changes to cars that are made for new drivers may help them get better at driving and stay safer. People in the UK can make a number of changes to their cars to suit their tastes. Some changes are simple, like making the mirrors bigger for better vision, while others are more complicated, like giving drivers who have trouble moving their legs hand controls. New technologies like voice-activated tools and touchscreens have made

Technology may make driving easier for people who have trouble learning: 

Laws and rules in the UK protect drivers who have learning problems so they don’t face unfair discrimination. Driving safely requires all drivers to pass both the written and driving tests. These tests are meant to be fair and meet the needs of a wide range of students.

Driving instructors have a lot of training to make sure that students who have trouble learning understand traffic rules and learn basic skills for safe driving. Make sure people understand by giving them short and clear instructions, even if they need to be read again.

In the UK, laws like the Mental Capacity Act of 2005 and the Equality Act of 2010 protect and help people. For people with learning challenges, the government should make changes, like making information easier to find and making improvements ahead of time. Companies in the public sector are required by the Equality Act to plan ahead and change their services so that they can better help people with learning disabilities.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Impairments (UN CRPD) and the Care Act of 2014 make sure that people with learning disabilities’ rights are protected by the law. These rules make sure that people get help with all parts of their lives, like getting a driver’s licence.

Professional teachers and tools for people with special needs are both part of driving school. Professional test help and study tools have been added to driving tests to keep up with current needs, both in terms of theory and practice.

Success stories of people who had trouble learning who were able to learn how to drive are inspiring and useful. With the right help and instruction, students in the UK may be able to get through tough times and become confident drivers. These stories show how strong people can be and how useful modified driving lessons can be. The good comments from teachers and the persistence of the students show that expert-led learning can change lives.

Conclusion: 

The feeling of freedom and independence that comes with getting a licence may be the same for people who have trouble learning. There are systems in the UK that recognise everyone’s ability, even if they have different levels of schooling, difficulty customising cars, or legal issues. Problems with learning should not be seen as a hindrance, but as a unique chance to do well.

 

Floral Fragrance: Exploring the Aromatherapy Benefits of Flowers

Introduction

Welcome to the aromatic wonderland of aromatherapy, where the delightful scents of flowers aren’t just for sniffing pleasure – they’re potent tools for promoting wellness and happiness. In this fragrant journey, we’ll delve into the enchanting world of floral fragrances of blooms, ordered via best international flower delivery, uncovering their therapeutic powers and how they can uplift our spirits and soothe our souls.

Essential Oils: Extracting Fragrance from Flowers

Let’s start with the magic behind the bottle – essential oils. These concentrated essences are the distilled treasures extracted from flowers, capturing their essence in a tiny vial. Through methods like steam distillation or cold pressing, these oils are carefully extracted, preserving the therapeutic properties that make them so special. Lavender, chamomile, and rose – each floral oil boasts a unique blend of compounds that offer a plethora of benefits for body and mind.

But the process of extracting these precious oils isn’t just about mechanics; it’s an art form in itself. Experienced distillers know that the timing, temperature, and even the altitude at which the flowers are grown can influence the final product’s aroma and potency. It’s a delicate dance between science and intuition, where each step is taken with reverence for the plant’s essence. From the gentle steam that coaxes the oils from delicate petals to the meticulous pressing that extracts every drop of liquid gold, the journey from flower to bottle is nothing short of magical. And within those tiny vials lies a world of possibilities – from relieving headaches and soothing skin irritations to uplifting moods and enhancing focus – all waiting to be unlocked with a single drop.

Emotional Healing: The Power of Floral Scents to Uplift Mood and Reduce Stress

Prepare to be amazed by the emotional alchemy of floral scents! Picture this: a stressful day melts away with the soothing aroma of lavender, or a wave of happiness washes over you amidst the scent of fresh roses. The power of floral fragrances to calm the mind, ease anxiety, and lift the spirits is nothing short of miraculous. Whether it’s the serene embrace of chamomile or the euphoric bliss of jasmine, floral aromas have a magical way of soothing the soul and restoring emotional balance.

But the magic doesn’t stop there – floral scents hold the key to unlocking memories and emotions buried deep within our subconscious. A whiff of a certain flower can transport us back to cherished moments, evoking nostalgia and comfort. Furthermore, research suggests that certain floral aromas can stimulate the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions. So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or downcast, reach for the bouquet of floral fragrances and let nature’s remedy uplift your spirits and soothe your soul.

Sensory Pleasures: Enhancing Wellness with Floral Aromatherapy

Now, let’s talk about indulgence – the kind that nourishes both body and soul. Imagine sinking into a fragrant bath infused with the essence of roses or indulging in a soothing massage with lavender oil. From aromatic diffusions to inhalations that transport you to a floral paradise, the sensory delights of floral aromatherapy are endless. It’s not just about smelling good; it’s about feeling good from the inside out. By incorporating floral scents into your daily routine, you invite a symphony of wellness into your life – one breath at a time.

But wait, there’s more to the sensory journey of floral aromatherapy than meets the nose! Beyond the immediate pleasure of inhaling their delightful scents, floral oils also boast remarkable skincare benefits. From hydrating dry skin to soothing inflammation, these botanical elixirs work wonders when applied topically, leaving your skin radiant and rejuvenated. Moreover, the act of engaging with floral aromas can be a form of mindfulness practice, grounding you in the present moment and fostering a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. So, whether you’re treating yourself to a luxurious spa day or simply adding a few drops of floral oil to your diffuser, remember that you’re not just indulging in a sensory experience – you’re nurturing your body, mind, and spirit with the healing power of nature’s botanical treasures.

Conclusion

In the tapestry of holistic wellness, floral aromatherapy is a vibrant thread that weaves together the healing power of nature and the sensory pleasures of scent. Through the therapeutic magic of floral fragrances, we embark on a journey of self-care and emotional renewal, reconnecting with the beauty and abundance of the natural world. So, next time you catch a whiff of a blooming flower, take a moment to inhale deeply and savor the aromatic embrace – for in that fleeting moment, you’re embracing the essence of well-being itself.

How to make room for home insurance in your budget

Rising costs and tight household budgets are a universal concern. We are all looking for ways to trim our expenses without compromising on the quality of life or necessary safeguards. While insurance might initially come across as an expendable luxury when tightening the purse strings, in reality, it is a crucial safety net. Insurance, especially home insurance, doesn’t need to be seen as an expensive monster that eats into your budget. With a clear plan, some discipline, and smart strategies, it’s possible to accommodate home insurance in your budget without becoming a financial burden. 

Rethink and Reallocate 

In budgeting, just as in life, priorities are everything. Analyse your monthly expenditures and identify areas where you could cut back to save. Is your subscription list filled with unnecessary or seldom-used services? Maybe the daily coffee from a pricey café could be swapped for homemade brew. Revisit gym memberships and consider more cost-effective or free fitness alternatives like cycling, running or at-home workouts. 

Once you identify and reduce these non-essential expenses, you’ll find available funds that could be redirected towards safeguarding your home. It’s also advisable to compare home insurance quotes from different providers to ensure you get the coverage you need at the best possible price.

Understanding Your Coverage Needs

Assessing your individual insurance needs is another key factor in managing insurance costs. Every home is different, and the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work in the insurance world. The cost of home insurance can be influenced by various factors such as the age of your home, its location, the type of building, and even any specific features it may have, like a conservatory or loft conversion. 

Seeking Expert Advice

Reaching out to a financial advisor can be a beneficial step in figuring out the specifics of your insurance needs. As professionals in the field, they can help identify the most suitable policies for you, taking into account your lifestyle, risks, assets, and financial goals. They can also help you navigate through the complexities and fine print of policy agreements.

Choosing Comprehensive Over Cheap

While you would naturally be inclined to pick the cheapest insurance available, it’s essential to remember that cheapest is not always best. An insurance policy that does not sufficiently cover your needs can prove to be more expensive in the long run. It is advisable to opt for an insurance policy that offers comprehensive coverage but with reasonable premiums. 

Taking Advantage of Policy Discounts

Many insurance providers offer policy discounts that can significantly reduce your premiums. These could be in the form of loyalty discounts for long-term policyholders, multi-policy discounts for insuring multiple properties, or even discounts for installing specific security devices at home. It’s worth researching and asking providers about such discounts when purchasing a policy.

Annual Review of Policies

An often overlooked but effective strategy in budget management – including home insurance – is to annually review your policies. Circumstances can change within a year, and certain elements of your policy may no longer be necessary or new aspects may need to be included. Regular reviews allow for the adjustments that align your policy with your current situation, ensuring you are not over-insured or under-insured.

Making Home Improvements 

Certain home improvements like installing a burglar alarm, fire alarm, or upgrading your electrical system can lower your premiums because they reduce the risk for the insurer. Although these measures involve upfront costs, they can lead to substantial savings on your insurance premiums over a long period.

Making room for home insurance in your budget is a matter of prioritisation and smart planning. It requires a keen understanding of your needs and budget, diligent research into available options, the wisdom to seek advice, and the discipline to review policies regularly. Home insurance is not a luxury but a necessity that offers peace of mind in these uncertain times. Keep your hard-earned home protected without breaking your budget.

Tips for Saving for a Deposit

Owning a home is a dream for many, but the prospect of saving for a deposit can feel daunting, especially for those on low incomes. However, don’t lose heart! It is possible to save for a deposit with determination and a well-planned approach. This blog post will provide valuable tips and suggestions to help you navigate the often-overwhelming process of saving for a deposit on a limited budget.

One of the first things to consider is where to put your savings. While traditional savings accounts are a safe option, you may want to think about investing in other avenues that offer higher returns. Stocks, bonds, or even a low-risk investment fund can help grow your savings faster than a standard bank account. Of course, it’s essential to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making any investment decisions, as the value of investments can go up and down.

Set Clear Financial Goals

To succeed in saving for a deposit, it’s crucial to have clear financial goals in place. Start by estimating how much you’ll need for a deposit and set a realistic timeframe to achieve it. Break down your overall goal into smaller, manageable targets, such as saving a specific amount each month. Having smaller milestones will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

Budgeting is key to saving for a deposit, particularly for those on low incomes. Begin by listing your monthly income and expenses, identifying areas where you can cut back or eliminate costs. Be honest with yourself about your spending habits and prioritise your needs over your wants. By sticking to a strict budget, you’ll have more money available to put towards your deposit.

Reduce Your Living Expenses

An effective way to save more money for a deposit is to lower your living expenses. Consider downsizing to a smaller, more affordable rental property or moving in with friends or family to share the costs. Other options include reducing your energy bills by using energy-efficient appliances, cutting back on non-essential subscriptions, and shopping at discount stores for groceries.

Eliminate High-Interest Debt

High-interest debt, such as credit cards, can be a significant drain on your finances. Prioritise paying off these debts to free up more money for your deposit. Additionally, eliminating debt will improve your credit score, which can make it easier to secure a mortgage in the future.

Save on Transportation

Transportation is often one of the most significant monthly expenses. Consider ways to save on transportation costs, such as walking or cycling to work, using public transport, or carpooling with friends or colleagues. Reducing the amount you spend on transportation can help free up more funds for your deposit.

Boost Your Income

Explore opportunities to increase your income to make saving for a deposit more achievable. This could include taking on a part-time job, freelancing, or finding ways to monetise a hobby. Every little bit helps, and the extra income can be dedicated solely to your deposit savings.

Take Advantage of Government Schemes

The UK government offers several schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers save for a deposit. The Help to Buy: Equity Loan and Shared Ownership schemes can help you purchase a property with a smaller deposit. Be sure to research these options and see if you’re eligible to take advantage of the

The Complete Guide to Funding Your Start-Up Post-NEA

Since 2011, many small business owners have funded their start-ups using the government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) programme, which granted up to £1,274 over a period of 26 weeks to unemployed people starting a business. However, as of January 2022, the New Enterprise Allowance programme has closed to new participants. 

So, in 2022, what options are available to help you fund your new business? In this article, we’ll discuss the many ways you can raise funding for your start-up post-NEA, including bootstrapping, grants, loans, equity funding and crowdfunding.

Bootstrapping

Often, one of the most significant barriers to funding your start-up is being able to prove the viability of your business idea. Without this proof, you may struggle to attract investors or secure loans.

This is where the concept of ‘bootstrapping’ can be helpful. Bootstrapping refers to “a self-starting process that is supposed to proceed without external input”. In the world of business, this means funding the growth of your start-up using your available cash flows instead of external funding. In essence, you’ll reinvest the profit you gain from customers into your business to boost growth slowly and sustainably.

To start ‘bootstrapping’ successfully, you’ll need to make the most of the money you earn from customers because you’re starting with a minimal amount of capital. Therefore, you should focus on sending high-quality, detailed invoices to your customers to reduce the number of disputes and late payments, as this could interrupt your cash flow and make it harder for you to scale your business. Using an invoice template is the best way to guarantee the quality and consistency of your invoices – here’s a good example for those working in construction.

Once you’ve proven the viability of your business idea through bootstrapping, you’ll find it easier to secure loans and investments in the future. However, you should bear in mind that bootstrapping can be a fairly slow process, and it’s also not suitable for all types of businesses, such as start-ups that require a lot of initial research and development.

Grants

The idea of ‘free money’ can sound too good to be true, but with a business grant, this could become a reality for your start-up. In the UK, there are many grants you could apply for depending on the nature of your business, the region you’re operating in and whether you fit into an underrepresented group in business (e.g., women and ethnic minorities).

Applying for a grant can be rather difficult and time-consuming, but as long as you have a well-presented and comprehensive business plan, you’ll give yourself the best chance of securing the funding you need. To find the right grant for your start-up, check out Innovate UK Smart Grants, The Prince’s Trust, the British Business Bank and the government website.

Loans

The competition is fierce for grant schemes, so if you’re unable to get the funding you need through this avenue, then a business loan may be the best option. Unlike grants, loans must be repaid with interest over an agreed period of time, which means you must ensure that you can afford the monthly repayments.

Your liability for repaying the loan depends on the structure of your business. If you set up your business as a limited company, then you aren’t personally liable for repaying the loan, but sole traders will be personally liable. However, some banks require new limited companies with no track record to sign a personal guarantee, making you personally liable if your business doesn’t pay back the loan.

Overall, getting a loan is a very common strategy for start-ups looking for funding, but it does come with some risks. If you’re hoping to get a loan for your new business, then you could consider the government’s Start Up Loan scheme. By submitting a business plan and cash flow forecast as part of your application, you can borrow between £500 and £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per year and repay the loan over 1-5 years.

Friends and Family

Of course, if you can’t get a loan elsewhere, you could ask for help from friends and family. The people closest to you would be more than happy to help you achieve your dreams, but remember that accepting money from friends and family could spell disaster for your relationships if you end up unable to pay them back.

Generally, it may be best to avoid getting a loan from a friend or family member, but if you do decide to go down this route, then make sure you all understand the risks. You should also put the agreement in writing to help you avoid confusion or disputes.

Equity Funding

Another option for those who can’t get a loan is selling equity to raise funds for your start-up. Equity refers to the value attributable to the owners of a business, so equity funding is all about raising money for your business through the sale of shares (equity). 

As your business begins to make a profit, this money will then have to be shared with your company’s shareholders through the payment of dividends. Therefore, your shareholders will be incentivised to help your company so that they can make money, which means you could receive business advice from professional investors who buy shares in your start-up.

However, be aware that you’re selling part of your company to receive help and funding. This means that if you sell over half of your equity, you will no longer hold majority ownership within your business.

Venture Capital

Venture capital funding involves professional investment companies that fund your start-up by buying shares and providing loan capital. Venture capitalists often take a lot of control over the direction of your company in return for their investment and guidance, so you need to consider if you’re happy with this type of arrangement.

However, venture capital funding is usually only a possibility for start-ups with high growth potential, which means it’s unlikely that you’ll secure this funding unless you’ve already attracted some seed funding due to a particularly innovative business idea.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a popular way to both raise funding for your start-up and gauge people’s interest in your products or services. By writing a strong pitch on a crowdfunding platform and outlining exactly why people should invest in your business, you can generate a lot of funding and publicity for your new start-up.

Seedrs is a crowdfunding website where new start-ups can show their business plan and encourage investors to buy shares in the company. Other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter allow you to raise funds without selling shares in your company. For example, if your business will sell products rather than services, you can secure funding through Kickstarter to manufacture these products. This will allow you to guarantee sales before you start the manufacturing process since investors have already bought your products beforehand.

Conclusion: Becoming a Successful Business Owner

Securing adequate funding is often one of the first (and most difficult) obstacles when starting a new business. Now, with the end of the government’s New Enterprise Allowance programme, it may seem even harder to raise enough money in 2022 and beyond. 

However, even though this scheme is no longer available, this doesn’t mean that you’re left without funding options. By looking into loans, grants, bootstrapping, equity funding and crowdfunding, you’ll be able to find a solution that’s perfect for your start-up.

 

Mobile Contracts for People on Benefits

Wondering whether you can get a phone contract whilst on Universal Credit? Or are you struggling to meet the costs of your mobile bill and need to find a cheaper alternative when your current contract expires? There are some broadband providers who have special contracts for those claiming financial support. However, if you’re on benefits and looking for a cheap mobile phone contract there’s currently only a single network offering a similar deal.

VOXI for Now: the mobile phone plan for people on benefits

If you’re receiving any of the following government benefits:

  • Jobseeker’s allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Personal independence payment

VOXI allows you to sign up for Unlimited 5G-ready data, calls and texts for £10 a month, with the option to change, pause or cancel the contract at any time.

The VOXI For Now plan is available for a maximum of six months to anyone who can prove they’re eligible. After that time the contract switches over to a standard £10 a month plan which includes unlimited calls, texts and social media (rather than unlimited data).

If you’d like to connect up your laptop to your phone to piggyback off its mobile data signal (known as ‘tethering’) you would be able to do this with the VOXI For Now unlimited data contract. 

Remember though, this would only really be suitable for light use such as emailing or browsing the internet rather than downloading large files or streaming. A mobile phone should never be considered a substitute for a broadband router.

What is the cheapest mobile network?

While VOXI is the only dedicated plan for those on benefits there are lots of cheap mobile phone contracts available to keep costs down.

You could pay even less than £10 a month with a bit of browsing. For this price though, you may find you have to compromise on your data, calls and texts and you will be charged extra if you accidentally go over your monthly allowance.

There are some good options for rolling monthly, SIM Only deals and you can make use of some generous allowances on data, UK minutes and texts. The likes of Lebara even bundle in some international minutes.

Here are some examples of cheap mobile phone contracts currently on offer for £5 or less per month.

Lebara (£3.90 a month)

  • Includes 1GB Data
  • 300 UK minutes
  • Unlimited UK texts
  • 50 international minutes (to 41 countries)

TalkMobile (£5 a month)

  • Includes 1GB Data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts

Asda Mobile (£5 a month)

  • 3GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts

Lyca Mobile (£4.75 a month with discount of £1.95 for first three months)

  • Unlimited UK minutes and texts
  • 50 International minutes (to 41 countries)
  • EU Roaming

Do I need to pass a credit check?

Signing up for a mobile phone deal could mean having to pass a credit check. The credit checks for mobiles aren’t as strict as applying for a credit card or loan. However, if you also have a poor credit rating as well as being on benefits you should be aware this may affect the choices available to you. 

Settling for a 1-month contract SIM-only plan with no credit check would be your easiest option. Many providers offer rolling monthly deals including:

  • VOXI
  • Lebara Mobile
  • Smarty
  • giffgaff

What the best way to get a cheap mobile phone?

You won’t get a mobile phone with any SIM Only deal so this is something you’ll have to source yourself. The good news is that phones now come unlocked as standard and there are some very budget-friendly second-hand options available.

There are many reputable sites where you can source excellent used and refurbished mobiles and you can often find very up-to-date models for the fraction of their original selling price.

Some of these devices may have some marks or scratches although all should be in good working order. Keep an eye out for any conditions or gradings the seller provides which will shed some light on the state of the phone. There’s no standardised grading for refurbished phones but it will be along these lines:

  • Excellent (Grade A): as new, or perfect condition with very minor scratches.
  • Very Good (Grade B): Screen in perfect condition but body may have micro scratches or other light cosmetic damage.
  • Good/Fair (Grade C): Screen may have some micro-scratches; body may have chips or dents and would look used.

When purchasing from a reputable refurbished phone seller keep a lookout to make sure the phone includes a guarantee or a returns policy. This way if there’s any issue with the functionality of the device you can easily return it for an easy repair or exchange.

Of course, you can always keep an eye out for cheap second-hand phones on marketplaces such as Ebay, Gumtree or Facebook. However, these won’t come with any protection or warranty and probably will be ‘sold as seen’ so come with more risk.

Written in collaboration with Broadband.co.uk

How to Start a Business Whilst on Universal Credit

When you’re living solely off of universal credit, it can sometimes make you feel stuck. You might think you don’t have the same opportunities that other people have, and that doing something like starting your own business is just a pipedream. But that’s not necessarily the case. Just because you might not have a huge amount of disposable income, doesn’t mean you can’t fulfil your hopes and dreams, you might just have to take a different route. If starting a business is what you desire, this is something you can bring to life, whether you’re on universal credit or not. In this article, we are going to look at some of the things to consider when starting a business as a person on universal credit.

What You Need to Get Started

There’s an incredible amount of resources online that you can’t afford to neglect – many of these are at little to no cost. It’s recommended that you seek business advice (check out the government’s website), as depending on where you are in the UK, you should be able to chat to somebody who can answer any questions you have about starting up your business, free of charge. If you don’t have this opportunity though, you also have the option to scour business forums and articles online to answer any of your startup questions.

As well as this, the innovative software available to businesses starting up can prove to be invaluable, from web building to invoice creation. This is especially important once you start to hire your first employees. For example you can use payroll software designed specifically for small businesses which is totally affordable (£7 a month on the lowest tier). Its easy to use, and will make your accounting process a whole lot easier. When you have so much on your plate already as a new business owner, the assistance of smart technology can really ease the pressure, especially when everything is new to you.

Now, if you do need additional funding to get your business off the ground then you should consider grants, loans, financial support from family and friends, angel investors, crowdfunding or anything similar. If your business idea is viable and there’s a gap in the market for it, then people will want to get on board and support it. With this kind of thing, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – for instance, if you have a connection who is like-minded and wants to join forces, you could create a partnership. Then you’d share costs and workloads, which could work better in the long run.

How to Come Up with a Business Plan

Before you get started it helps if you have an in-depth business plan (check out this primer for more info). Now, this doesn’t have to cost a penny – all you need to put into it is your time and consideration. By doing this thoroughly, you will get a better idea of what you need to do to achieve your aims. You need to list the products and services you plan to provide, your USP, a brand name, brand colours, your goals, a budget plan, who’s involved, how you’re going to market your business, and so on. Although this sounds like a lot to think about, you don’t have to rush it. There are plenty of free business plan templates online you can utilise as a point of reference.

Having all the important information to start you off laid out in front of you will allow you to come up with ideas and make them a reality. With a comprehensive business plan, you can also anticipate any errors that may crop up along the way. If money is a concern, your business plan needs to note any costs involved, if you can get a grant or loan, when you expect to build an income and anything else that is relevant.

Key Steps to Starting a Business

Once you have your business plan in place, how do you actually get started? Well, it depends on your business in question, but these are some of the typical steps startups need to take:

  • Register the business with the government (you’ll need to decide what type of business ownership you want – e.g. a partnership or limited company etc.)
  • Set up a business bank account to track income and outgoings
  • Get everything in place and put your research in – this could be stock, a workplace or venue, all the equipment you need, etc.
  • Market your business – in this day and age, you’re probably going to need a website and social media, or you could try more traditional marketing methods like leaflet handouts or face-to-face networking.
  • Find customers of clients – following on from your marketing, you will hopefully garner some interest. Encourage word-of-mouth recommendations to spread the news about your business. You could offer first-time discounts or welcome events to get your brand name recognised locally.

How to do Market Research

Although you’re aware you need to do your marketing to draw attention to the business, you’ll need to ensure you’re aiming your efforts at the right audience. This calls for market research. There are various methods you consider, such as simple surveys to discover who’s interested in what you have to offer, interviews, or focus groups. You’re going to want to think of insightful questions that will allow you to recognise who exactly would pay for your offerings, how much they’d pay, how often, when and why. This will give you an idea of how you can reel the right people in when it comes to it, meaning you’ll be able to target your marketing accordingly.

All in All…

Starting your own business is an incredible thing to do, and is something that should be an option for everyone, no matter their income. The hard work and effort you put in should pay off eventually if you make smart moves, plan carefully, and make the most of the resources available to you.

Hopefully, a few years down the line, your venture will have paid you back in multiples of what you put in, although you do have to be patient. If it does all work out, the benefits are endless: you’ll be your own boss, you’ll get to see your business grow from strength to strength, you’ll challenge yourself, control your work/life balance, and drive your own success. Although there’s no doubt it’ll be difficult and stressful at times, that’s all part of the package. 

Your Basic Guide to Broadband on Benefits

The world is growing increasingly connected. In many parts of the globe, internet is now classified as a “basic human right.” Yet, despite this, only 51% of households earning between £6,000 and £10,000 per year are likely to have internet access. 

While access to the web might not have seemed essential a few years ago, it’s becoming much more difficult to live without internet. We need the net for everything from communication, to ensuring workplace productivity. Unfortunately, the price of broadband is still making getting online impossible for many people. 

Fortunately, there are options, particularly for those receiving benefits like Job Seekers Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, and Disability Allowance. You could get the internet without spending a fortune.

Are There Broadband Deals for People on Benefits?

Broadband deals do exist for people with a limited income. The following packages are aimed at people receiving specific benefits, so you’ll need to prove you’re getting these benefits to access the deal. Here are your options.

BT Home Essentials

This low-cost phone and broadband package launched in June 2021 to replace the “BT Home Basic” package, which previously offered access to low-cost broadband. The Home Essentials product offers fiber optic broadband with an average speed of between 36 and 67MB. The 36MB deal, with 700 minutes of calls is £15 per month, while the 67MB service with unlimited calls is £20.

A phone line-only service is £10 per month, with unlimited calling. While these packages are more expensive than the older BT Basic service, they’re much cheaper than standard plans. You’ll need one of the following for BT Home Essentials:

  • Universal credit (with 0 earnings)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Pensions credit (Guaranteed credit)
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income support

Hyperoptic Fair Fibre

The Hyperoptic team offers the “fair fibre” packages for discounted broadband when you’re receiving certain benefits. Fair fibre gives you £7 off the 50MB broadband service (which makes it £8), or £10 off the 150MB package (which makes it £15). You can access this if you have:

  • Pension credit
  • Attendance allowance
  • Income-related Jobseekers allowance
  • Care leavers support
  • Housing benefit
  • Personal independence payment
  • Universal credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

The availability of Hyperoptic is limited because it’s a Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) provider, and only a small number of homes currently have access to its network.

KCOM Flex

If you live in a part of the country covered by KCOM (Such as Hull or Yorkshire), KCOM offers cheap Flex packages to eligible customers. You’ll pay £9 per month for ADSL if you don’t have access to fibre. If you do have fibre, you’ll be able to use LightStream Flex at £20 per month. 

There’s a data usage limit on all ADSL packages, while LightStream usage is unlimited, with a 12-month minimum contract. You’ll need one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Pension credit
  • Jobseeker allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Personal independence payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Universal credit (with 0 earnings)
  • Employment and Support Allowance. 

Care Leavers, Care Home Residents, and Lifeline customers can also access these deals. 

Virgin Media Essential

Offered only to existing Virgin Media customers, Essential broadband is an option for users receiving Universal Credit. With Essential, you’ll get a broadband-only service, with download speeds of 15MB for £15 per month. There isn’t a way to add a phone line.

If you’re not a Virgin customer already, you also can’t sign up for the service either. This could be problematic if you’re not with Virgin Media already, as you may have to sign up to a normal package, then switch to Essential. 

TalkTalk for Jobseekers

TalkTalk offers 6 months of free, unlimited fibre-optic broadband to eligible jobseekers. As part of the Flexible Support fund, TalkTalk supplies referral codes to the Department of Work and Pensions, and they’ll give them out based on who needs them most. These codes provide users with 35MB of home broadband free of charge. You can continue on a standard contract after 6 months or cancel the contract.

Will These Deals Provide Good Performance?

The performance you get from free and cheap broadband deals will depend on the provider. Compared to other low-cost broadband deals available for standard customers, the options above can be extremely limited, with caveats like:

  • Data limitations: You may be limited to a daily usage limit, or a monthly limit on your data, with penalties if you exceed the cap. Where possible, an unlimited broadband package will be much more flexible. 
  • Phone lines: Most broadband packages will require an Openreach phone line. Even if a provider doesn’t use BT, a phone line is a common requirement. If this is an issue, you may need to consider wireless broadband. Every broadband deal which requires a phone line needs to include line rental in the price. Hyperoptic and Virgin Media don’t require a phone line, but they don’t offer one either, which means you’d have to pay more if you want a landline.
  • Inclusive calls: most broadband deals offered for people on benefits come with a phone package and some calling allowance. Some bundles are generous, whereas others are more limited. You can consider an inclusive calls package if you use your landline a lot.
  • Slow speeds: Customers on benefits packages will tend to get slower speeds than those with a standard package from the same provider. This might not matter to some people, but slow internet can be quite frustrating. Think about how you’re going to be using your internet, and what kind of speed you need. One or two people with light web browsing usage (web browsing, social media, email) can usually manage with a speed of around 10MB on an ADSL service. Families may require faster, fibre optic broadband.

Do I Need to Pass a Credit Check?

Some broadband providers will require you to pass a credit check, but this isn’t always necessary. Some providers like NOW, Plusnet, and DirectSave Telecom will offer access without a credit check if you’re worried about marks on your financial record. These companies don’t offer deals for those on benefits, however. BT Home Essentials does require a credit check, but you won’t necessarily need a high score to pass. For more information, Broadband Genie have a guide to broadband deals with no credit check.

What happens to my contract if my employment status changes?

When you sign up for a benefits broadband package, your provider will check you’re in receipt of a qualifying benefit. They also need to check this on a regular basis. When you become ineligible for the deal, you’ll usually be moved onto a standard service, so your broadband isn’t disrupted. However, at this point, it’s often best to check your options for a better deal. Click here to compare cheap broadband deals.

Alternative ways to get online

If you’re not eligible for the packages above, there are still a few ways to get online, such as:

  • Public Wi-Fi hotspots: Connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot with your phone at a pub, restaurant, supermarket, café, or even a local Wi-Fi-enabled bus. 
  • Library computers: Libraries often offer access to computers for free. You may need to book a time slot, however.
  • Smartphone tethering: Smartphones can be connected to a PC or laptop over Wi-Fi, so you can use the data on your phone to link to the internet. Be careful to keep track of your data usage and confirm with your network provider if they allow tethering first. 

Little changes you can make to be able to save more for your future

One of the things families on low incomes really struggle with is saving for the future. This is, of course, understandable. But, there are still ways to save.

Consider opening an Individual Savings Account

ISAs are really easy to open. You can start with as little as £1 and there is no obligation to put a set amount away, each month. If you would like to know more then take a look at this ISA from Wealthify. That page explains more about how the account works.

If you have children, it is worth considering opening a Junior ISA. However, you do need to be a bit more careful with this type of account. That is because once the money is in these accounts, it is all but impossible to get back out until your children are 18. So, opening these types of accounts is not a good idea for all families. If there is any chance that you may need the money to cover a family emergency you would not necessarily want it to be tied up and out of reach in this way.

Save up in little ways

Saving is a habit and it is one that you can develop even if you do not have much money in the house. Putting aside a small amount of money each week, so you can enjoy a treat at the end of the month is one way to get into the habit. It feels great when you can open the coin jar and treat everyone to their favourite food. The more you save in this way the better you get at saving. In time, it becomes second nature to put something aside whenever cash comes in.

Keep developing your money-saving skills

Most people, who live on a tight income, learn to live frugally. They don’t waste food, shop around for the best deals and think before they spend.But, we all have a tendency to get a bit stuck in a rut. To do the same things we have always done. As a result, we end up missing new ways of getting things done.

Tap into the power of smartphone apps

One example of this is smartphone apps. Most of us own this type of phone, but few of us realise how easy it is to use them to save us money. That is cash you can put into your savings account.

There are plenty of apps to choose from. Here are just a few examples.

Don’t let life knock you off track

Saving when you do not have much spare cash coming in is not always going to be easy. You will have months where emergencies mean that you cannot save anything. This is going to happen and, usually, there is nothing you can do about it. But, it is very important that you do not let these occasions down hearten yourself to the point where you stop saving anything at all. If you miss a month, the next month put something aside. It may just be a few pounds, it does not matter with saving as the trick is to keep the momentum going so that you do not lose the habit completely.