Business Gateway workshops in Argyll and Bute

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Further information about our workshops and the trainers

Find out about procurement courses

Find out about the Supplier Development Programme

Planning to start your own business?

Designed for those moving into self-employment, this workshop will help you turn your ideas into a practical and effective plan to start your business. It covers three key areas: marketing, business planning and finance.

Getting the marketing right for your business is crucial to its success.  This workshop will help you to understand your competitors, identify your customers and how to reach them effectively.

Planning is essential when you're starting up a business. This workshop shows you what you need to think about how to create a robust business plan.

Good financial management is essential and this workshop will help you learn how to manage a profit and loss account, produce a cashflow statement,  understand your working capital requirements and identify your main sources of finance.

The “Practical Basic Book-keeping” workshop

Book-keeping is a core business skill, and, even if someone else does it for you, you still need to understand and value the process. If you want to know the starting point for good record-keeping, this is the course for you. Those new to business and with little or no formal training in book-keeping will particularly benefit. You will learn how to:

  • keep accurate financial records
  • understand the key components of book-keeping including sales ledger, purchase ledger and cashbook
  • produce a bank reconciliation
  • understand VAT

Both of these workshops are delivered by our Business Gateway team.

    Principles of Customer Service

    Train your front-line staff to deliver a great customer experience that will leave your customers raring to return. The WorldHost Principles of Customer Service workshop will give your staff the skills and knowledge to deliver excellent customer service that will give your business a great reputation.

    Through this interactive programme, your staff will get to think about their own experiences of good and bad service, understand why their role has such an impact on your customers’ experience, and learn vital communication and listening skills that will set them up for success.  What will delegates learn?

      • Why customer service is such an important part of their role
      • How to make an excellent first impression and make customers feel welcome
      • How using customers’ names can help to create a good rapport, and techniques for remembering names
      • Communication skills for success
      • How to empathise with customers, and why handling their concerns is so important
      • Why listening is an essential part of the customer service process, and how to do it effectively
      • The value of tourism, and the important role they play in generating revenue for your business and the wider tourism economy
      • How to ‘go the extra mile’ – including making five commitments on how they will do this in your business

      This workshop is delivered by Ann Scott, an accredited World Host Trainer and Business Gateway adviser.

      Becoming an Employer

      This workshop will help you understand the process of employing people. It covers your legal obligations as an employer and gives an insight into good practice recruitment.

      Managing and Developing Staff

      A half day workshop helping businesses to recruit, induct, manage and develop staff in a way that supports their growth. It will cover the skills and processes required to get the best out of staff, rather than the legal aspects and include recruiting and retaining the right staff, induction and training, managing performance and how a business can growth through developing its people. By the end of the workshop, attendees will be able to create a plan for managing and developing the staff within their business.

      This workshop will help you to recruit, induct, manage and develop your staff in a way that helps your business to grow. It focuses on the skills and processes needed to get the best out of your staff, rather than the legal aspects. By the end of the workshop, you will be to create a plan for managing and developing the staff within your business.

      These two workshops will be delivered for Business Gateway by Karen Morrill, Morrill PMC Ltd

      Developing your business skills

      This workshop will help you develop the skills needed to successfully run your own business.  It is aimed at those new to self employment or looking to  improve their business skills.  It covers the key skills you will need and how you can develop them.  It will guide you through how to analyse your own skills and to identify your training needs.

      Selling with Confidence

      This workshops will help you learn how to feel more confident selling and  promote your business and yourself effectively to customers.  You will learn some top selling tips, how to identify your customer needs and match them with your products. Find out why people buy and learn how to highlight the features and benefits of your products or services. The workshop also covers how to overcome customer objections, deal with queries and feedback and identify the buying signals to help you close a sale.

      These two workshops will be delivered for Business Gateway by Jill Connell 

      Improve your Marketing

      This workshop is aimed at  business owners wanting to improve their marketing.   It will help you review the impact of your current marketing activity, analyse your markets, customers and competitors, and strengthen your USPs. It will help you set realistic marketing goals and a clear plan to achieve them within your budget, using the right marketing mix for you.

      Pricing for Profit

      “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity”.  This workshop is aimed at those looking to increase the profitability of their business. It will help you understand the different pricing strategies available to you, how to review your costs, know your break-even point and manage your profitability.

      These two workshops will be delivered for Business Gateway by Alastair Kennedy, Lornal Ltd

      Reaching More Customers – Craft Business Development

      This one day workshop will help small craft businesses develop and reach more customers profitably. It will help you to increase the scale of your business and widen your markets.

      It covers understanding your market and competitors, pricing, choosing where to sell, using social media, making an impact at craft fairs, building networks and collaborating with other craft businesses.

      This workshop will be delivered for Business Gateway by Jack Redpath, Redpath Marketing 

      Get your Business Noticed (PR on a budget)

      This workshop is about getting your business noticed without spending money. It's about getting your business featured in newspapers and on radio and television, understanding how the media works, finding the stories in your business that journalists will want to tell and understanding how to make contact with them so that you enjoy the benefits of free publicity.

      By the end of the workshop, you will understand how to plan and deliver your own PR campaigns to meet your business objectives.

      This workshop will be delivered for Business Gateway by Colin Kelly 

      Funding your Business

      This workshop will help you confirm the funding needs of your business, identify relevant potential sources of external funding  (such as loan finance, grant funding, or crowd funding) and take you through what your business will need to provide to be able to access the funding.

      This workshop will be delivered for Business Gateway by John Allan, The Roberts Partnership Ltd 

        Build your own business website

        This practical workshop will take you step by step through how to develop your own business website and maintain it, using a free content management tool. It is designed for businesses which don’t have their own website yet, or for those which do but want to take control of managing it themselves. No prior knowledge or skills other than basic web browsing and text editing skills are required.

        This workshop will be delivered for Business Gateway by John Paterson, Evolutio Ltd 

        Better Business Websites

        What makes a good website? What does your design say about your business? Is your website content appropriate for your audience? And can people even find it in the first place? These are just some of the questions we cover in this half day workshop for businesses already live online.  We'll examine how to make your existing website better through its' design, content, usability and Search Engine Optimisation. We'll cover this and more:

        • The importance of design – good AND bad!
        • Best practice usability and accessibility
        • SEO and how to get more traffic from Google

        Just having a website on the internet is no guarantee of online success.  Having the “right” website, which is planned, designed, optimised and managed to match your business objectives will set you apart from your competition, and help deliver real measurable results.

        Introduction to Online Trading

        A workshop of 2 halves, the first session will focus on some of the basics required for trading online, and will look at the various tools, platforms and payment options available to everyone.  We'll include some information of the legal requirements and discuss the impact of online ecommerce versus bricks and mortar. Specifically you will learn how to:

        • Plan for a successful ecommerce site
        • Decide on a strategy for “how” to sell (shopping cart and payment options etc)
        • Understand the rules and regulations
        • Make it easy for your visitors to buy from you
        • Engage your buyers and turn them into Champions!

        The second session will focus on a hugely untapped opportunity for small Scottish retailers - trading on Online Marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. We'll cover:

        • Choosing the right Marketplace - a look at trading on Ebay, Amazon and Etsy
        • Understanding Profit Margins and how Marketplace fees affect them
        • After Sales and Customer Service (how to stand out from the competition)
        • Trading internationally - is it for you, and what's possible?

        These workshops will be delivered for Business Gateway by Gary Ennis, NSDesign Ltd 

        Introduction to Social Media

        Are you curious about social media marketing and what it can do for your business? Do you think of yourself as a bit of a digital dinosaur? Then this is the workshop for you. It is designed for people who haven’t used social media for their business before and would like to learn more . The workshop will cover: 

        • An introduction to how social media marketing can benefit your business
        • Who is using social media and which platforms are they on
        • Using Facebook for your business and how to set up a business page
        • Using Twitter for your business and how to get started
        • An overview of the business network LinkedIn
        • The importance of reviews and customer interaction
        • Understanding how to protect your online reputation
        • The need for a mobile friendly website
        • Recommendations of online tools to help build your online presence.

        Throughout we will draw your attention to the benefits and pitfalls of using social media and how to harness the good and avoid the bad.

        Doing More with Social Media

        Are you looking to take your social media marketing to the next level?

        If you’ve already got a Facebook Business Page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn profile then this is the session for you. The workshop is specifically designed for people who have been using social media marketing for a while but would like to grow their presence, improve their reach and become more effective and efficient in social media marketing. The workshop will cover:

        • Latest trends and new developments in social media marketing
        • Knowing what you want your social media marketing to do for your business
        • How to create impact on social media and listening to your customers
        • Linking your online and offline marketing strategies
        • Monitoring your social media success and understanding analytics data
        • Tools for managing multiple social media platforms and your time more effectively.

        Throughout the session we will draw your attention to best practice and relevant case studies on how businesses use social media marketing. There will also be a practical exercise designed to get you thinking about a social media marketing strategy for your business.

        These workshops will be delivered for Business Gateway by Rene Looper, Tuminds Ltd

        If you are interested in finding out more about any of the above workshops please contact the Business Gateway team on 01546 604555 or
        To book online visit

        HM Revenue & Customs workshops

        HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a series of online presentations or webinars giving help on tax to businesses and the self employed.

        The webinars are free but you must register in advance. The presentations last approximately 30 minutes. There are two types - live webinars on set dates, which allow a further 30 minutes for live Q&A; and pre-recorded webinars, available round the clock.

        The webinars will cover many different topics, including:

        • Business expenses and capital allowances
        • First steps as an employer
        • The Construction Industry Scheme
        • Self Assessment online
        • Limited companies, an overview
        • How VAT works

        The webinars allow businesses and the self-employed to participate in the live seminars and ask questions. These will then be available on the HMRC website to view. The pre-recorded series of webinars will be accessible to watch at any time of day or night.

        To find out more or register at

        Courses coming up

        Find a course

        Downloadable list of courses for 2016 - coming soon

        To book a place please call the Business Gateway team on 01546 604555 or email