The Startups 100 businesses helping others get started

From taking care of your taxes to opening up new business opportunities, a bunch of this year’s Startups 100 businesses are focused on helping other startups.

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Running a startup can feel like keeping a thousand plates spinning, as you try to keep the business going, keep track of all those vital documents, deal with suppliers or clients and maybe, just maybe, get some semblance of a work-life balance.

Help is at hand, however, as some of the companies ranking in this year’s Startups 100 want to help other startups to succeed.

From simplifying the madness of the public sector contract tender process, to making ecommerce easy, or even helping with filing business taxes, this year’s list sees a bevy of businesses looking to help others succeed.

See our full list of businesses who ranked in the 2021 Startups 100

Taking the pain out of tax returns

TaxScouts product

Self-assessment. A phrase that makes most small business owners shudder and causes countless sleepless nights and stressful days, as you try to navigate the complexities of the UK tax system and run your business.

However, with Tax Scouts (No. 11 in this year’s Startups 100), there’s an easier way, a much much easier way. You pay £119 all in (including VAT) and they take care of almost everything, including filing your return to HMRC. You just answer a few questions online, and Tax Scouts pairs you with an expert, certified friendly accountant that takes care of the whole process.

And, whatever happens and no matter how complicated your situation is, you won’t pay more than £119 and you’ll get all the support you need from an expert accountant. This approach has earnt them rave writeups – with a seriously impressive 4.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot from over 2,000 reviews.

An Etsy for SMEs

Creoate product

Creoate (No. 25 in the Startups 100 2021) has built a thriving business by helping retail SMEs find the most distinctive, original and interesting products to sell.

Recognising that the likes of Instagram are flooded with products from countless brands, and that small business owners have neither the time nor the desire to trawl through them all to find the good stuff, Creoate’s expert UK-based team connects high-quality vetted retailers and wholesalers all over the world.

Once they’ve signed up, retailers can simply browse the Creoate website to find rare and one-of-a-kind products that will appeal to their customers, or they can search by values like eco friendly products or minority owned businesses to find sellers that match their beliefs. Think Etsy, but for businesses.

Payment terms depend on a business’ particular circumstances but Creoate understands the cash flow pressures SMEs face and offers great features like ‘buy now, pay later’ for qualifying retailers and free returns of unsold stock. One thing’s for sure, retailers are spoilt for choice – Creoate stocks over 100,000 products from more than 3,000 brands that cover over 100 categories. In short, it’s a one-stop-shop to supercharging your retail business.

One resource library to rule them all

There are lots of businesses that will help you with one specific aspect of running your business but, to our knowledge at least, only Farillio (No. 36 in this year’s list) will help you with almost every part of running your business.

For a modest monthly subscription (£18 +VAT), you get access to a huge library of small business resources created by people who really know what they’re talking about. This covers everything from how to get started in the first place to onboarding new staff, tackling sales and marketing, and ensuring your business’s data is secure, as well as countless other tricky aspects of management, HR, marketing, sales, tax, legal, finance, and admin.

There are also loads of interactive document templates that can easily be shared and e-signed with your team, and already have your basic info filled in to save time. If you do need 1:1 advice from an expert practitioner, then Farillio can arrange that too, on a fixed fee basis that’s easy to understand.

If you need them to, these experts can even create and review your business documents for you. Farillio is quite simply an indispensable resource for anyone running a small business.

The Tinder for tenders

Opportuni product

Finally, we delve into the mysterious, maddening and mind-bogglingly complex world of public sector contracts. Or rather we won’t have to, as OPPORTUNI (No. 42 in the 2021 Startups 100) has cleared it all up for us.

As this North East startup points out, the structure of this system can feel insane – there are over 3,000 portals in the UK and to visit them all for just one minute each would take 58 hours. Even if you do find a good opportunity, it’s difficult and time consuming to write a bid that’s in the required format and has any chance of winning.

As you’d expect, the majority of SMEs therefore simply avoid this route altogether, with the result that big companies monopolise these contracts and small businesses miss out on potentially huge opportunities.

The ‘Tinder for tenders’, OPPORTUNI has a great solution to these problems – a subscription service that alerts you when contracts that match your business’ skills are available, plus resources that will teach you how to write professional bids or a way to easily hire a professional, experienced bid writer that will do it for you.

The standard cost for all this is either £150 +VAT per month or £1,500 +VAT for an annual subscription, while paying for a bid writer’s services costs extra. Obviously, this won’t be affordable for all small businesses, but it’s pretty reasonable when compared to the £30k plus you’d pay to hire a bid coordinator. In return, you get easy access to opportunities that could really help your business take flight.

We love to see startups helping other startups, so it’s great that this theme emerged so strongly in this year’s Startups 100.

Whether you’re running a small business or just thinking of making the leap and becoming your own boss, know that there’s plenty of assistance out there and some great services that can really help you achieve your business goals.

Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.

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