Celebrating the NHS: How Can We Ensure It Remains Available For Future Generations?

The NHS is one of the UK’s most valuable assets, and its widespread significance has become even more apparent throughout the past two years due to its role in the battle against Covid-19.

As it is a complex and multi-bodied entity, the safeguarding of the NHS requires tackling a variety of challenges, but the lessons we learned from the Covid-19 crisis have shown it is vital that this institution maintains its reliability and resilience.

Celebrating the work that’s been done by the NHS and its staff – and not only in the past two years – is essential, and with Thank You Day fast approaching on July 4th, we should spotlight the substantial value of the NHS and its contributions.

Here, Shameet Thakkar, founder and managing director of Unimed Procurement Services, a leading procurement organisation providing lifesaving healthcare and medical resources worldwide, discusses the challenges faced by the NHS and the importance of ensuring the institution remains available for future generations. 

What makes the NHS so valuable?

Having access to essential medical services effectively protects individuals, keeping them safe and healthy, which makes dependable healthcare systems paramount.

Further, when considering that over 100 million individuals are driven into poverty each year due to out-of-pocket healthcare-related expenses, the value of universal healthcare becomes even more evident. And despite the enormous strain the pandemic placed on the NHS, it remains a reliable and efficient service, consistently earning top marks for safety and patient care.

More than that, the NHS plays a significant role within the UK’s society and economy at a national and local level, employing millions of individuals, purchasing a high amount of goods and land and consistently investing in training and education for its existing workforce.

The link between health and wealth is a particularly important one, as having access to a reliable healthcare system allows populations to thrive, becoming more economically active: this makes the NHS an anchor institution capable of influencing the wellbeing of the population.

Preserving the NHS’ role within society and the economy should be a priority for the UK Government, yet the operational pressures it is currently facing may just require more than revisiting the budget dedicated to the institution.

The challenges faced by the NHS

The complexity of the NHS as an entity means there is plenty to be considered in order to create a strategy that improves efficiency.

The NHS’s decentralised model means that it comprises different organisations that operate independently from one another. Issues within its supply chain were the source of the shortage of supplies we experienced during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and though staff – and those working within supply chain operations – were not equipped to deal with such a surge in demand at the time, we can certainly learn from our mistakes.

As NHS Supply Chain – a separate entity – sources, delivers and supplies healthcare products for the NHS – currently managing over eight million orders per year, we can easily imagine how the unexpected extra requirements stemming from the pandemic caused such critical problems for the organisation.

Working with over 930 suppliers naturally means there are extra challenges involved when it comes to quality assurance, product safety and product innovation. And yet, if we are to learn from the Covid-19 equipment shortage crisis, our focus should be on increasing the resilience of the supply chains that serve NHS trusts in order to be prepared for future challenges and preserve the NHS’ strength and influence.

Managing resources efficiently undoubtedly starts with partnering with dependable and trusted suppliers, but it also involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the supply chain’s overall operational model and making improvements as a result. A proactive approach involves being able to promptly deal with supply disruptions or safety complaints and intervene accordingly.

Ultimately, the priority should be on ensuring the NHS can safely and efficiently provide care to patients, as well as developing a stable system that ensures future stability.

How can we keep the NHS available for future generations?

The challenges faced by the NHS go beyond supply chain issues, extending to those deriving from population growth, evolving healthcare needs, the added cost of medical advancements and more.

The NHS’s issues with funding are well-documented, having become a problem long before Covid-19. However, the pandemic significantly exacerbated the backlog of care in England, with the number of individuals on a waiting list for care having gone from 4.43 million people – prior to the pandemic – to over 6.48 million as of April 2022.

As this backlog continues to grow to this day, our aim should be to increase surgical capacity, effectively shortening the long waiting lists for patients requiring lifesaving operations and treatment.

Investing in the NHS is crucial not only to avoid the widespread repercussions that delays in providing healthcare can have, but also to avoid the privatisation of services. Private healthcare has already been discussed as a potential solution, yet the UK Government needs a long-term plan for the NHS that doesn’t involve relying on private entities as a solution.

And with the staffing crisis unlikely to improve any time soon, the institution is under pressure in more than one way, making its recovery a long process that will require a dedicated plan capable of improving its performance and efficiency.

Preserving the NHS as a public entity providing universal health coverage ultimately protects individuals in a variety of ways, avoiding financial hardship and ensuring care is provided in an accessible way, avoiding inequalities.

Tips for Exporting Automotive Goods From the UK to Europe

Tips for Exporting Automotive Goods From the UK to Europe

Whether your firm makes sub-assemblies for car manufacturers or produces accessories for the motor industry, the fact is that selling goods into European markets has become harder for many British entrepreneurs in the sector. This is partly due to the trade restrictions that came into force when the UK departed from the EU’s customs union, of course. However, that’s not the only factor. Some customers in the EU simply assumed that British firms wouldn’t be able to keep up and that their orders would be delayed so they sought alternatives elsewhere even when trading could have quite easily continued.

However, the changing exchange rate between the Euro and the pound has led some Eurozone customers to start placing more orders in the UK automotive goods sector. So, how can British firms seize the opportunity this affords them? Read on to find out.

Ship Door-to-Door Directly

If production lines are stalled because key components are not available to engineers, it costs automotive firms a great deal. Therefore, it is worth spending a bit more when sending goods to European customers and ordering couriers to drive directly from your warehouse or production facility to their goods-in area. This will often involve hiring the services of a skilled freight forwarding firm unless you already have your own logistics department to handle international consignments.

Get Customs Clearances Right

According to one of the leading customs clearance agencies in the UK, Barrington Freight, most problems arise in the automotive sector when suppliers haven’t made the right declarations on their paperwork. This can delay goods in the UK even before they cross the English Channel, causing unnecessary frustration in European supply chains. Even when British exporters have satisfied HMRC with their documents, further delays can always occur when goods arrive in the EU. Turn to customs clearance experts who can ensure both sets of declarations are carried out correctly.

Provide a Responsive Service

When a European customer places an order for automotive goods, they won’t just be looking at price, generally speaking. If they’re buying from an overseas trading entity in the UK, then they are also testing out whether or not the supplier can be trusted to get their shipment to them reliably. The fact is that as soon as an order is placed, you need to be arranging for its transit to your customer. Look for service providers with a national network of drivers and couriers who can begin shipping palletised goods throughout Europe within hours of receiving your call.

Track Order Progress

Finally, it is imperative that high-value items – like most automotive goods – are insured and traceable as they make their way to your client. Many of the firms in the car-making regions of eastern France and western Germany will expect updates about the progress of their orders. The same goes for companies in Spain, the Czech Republic and even further afield, too. Therefore, you should expect to be able to provide order progress updates at any time.

8 Tips For a Budget-Savvy Office Redesign

The office space motivates team members to deliver their best during the workday if the design inspires them. If the office seems dull and dreary, the workers might be too. Realizing the office needs a change is the first step to a beautiful redesign.

Not all companies have a large budget for implementing significant design changes, but not all changes will cost an arm and a leg. Businesses can improvise by using various materials they already have around the office or keep décor to a minimum for a clean look. Still, there are a few things the company may want to work on incorporating into their budget-savvy office redesign. That said, read on to learn eight tips for a budget-savvy office redesign!

1. Bring Nature Indoors

Natural elements like plants and grass bring calm to a busy office, and the good news is it doesn’t cost much. Offices can always do with more oxygen the plants produce and blend in well with the existing décor. Another addition to liven up the space would be to put down some artificial turf to round off the look.

Green is a calming color and would generally go well with other colors. There are many options for indoor plants. Some could hang, some stand in awkward corners, and others display nicely on the desks. The waiting area or reception is perfect for adding more plants and artificial turf.

2. Rearrange the Open Plan Office

An open-plan office is the most budget-savvy way to style the office. The design elements carry through the space with fewer individual areas like offices or cubicles. If there is a limit on the budget, perhaps the team can rearrange the furniture according to how it will suit their needs.

3. Get Creative With Dividers

Those old standing partitions are so outdated, but there are a few ways of sprucing them up to look good as new. Instead of throwing them out, attach some plastic ivy plants to them to cover the entire surface. It will brighten up the design immediately.

4. Repurpose Office Furniture

Some office furniture is solid wood structures that could be timeless if repurposed. Before adding too many new furniture items to the budget for a redesign, see if any items need a coat of paint or sanding instead of replacing them. This is one of the least expensive ways you can implement when redesigning your office.

5. Create a Simplistic Atmosphere

The best solution for cash-strapped offices that want to redesign their space is to adopt a simplistic look for the work area. It isn’t necessary to have many expensive things to make an office stand out from the rest. A minimalistic look is modern and clutter-free, which is conducive to productivity. These changes can happen gradually, and not everything has to happen simultaneously. Companies can focus on one area at a time while leaving the other areas more simplistic for the time being.

6. Decide On a Focal Point

Companies could spend thousands on wall art or fancy design elements, but not all offices need that. The business can choose one signature wall that will be the focal point of the office. Then, paint it a bright color or spend money on a decal representing them as a company.

7. Incorporate the Current Design

Buildings could have some unique features that are often underutilized. Create a new coffee station from the dingy little corner no one uses, or make use of curved walls to bring an exciting element to the office layout. Also, businesses with a wall of windows on one side make for the perfect setting to move team desks up to them. Natural light improves mood and ambiance, so use what the office already has to improve.

8. Do More Research

Before starting any redesign, look around for more ideas that could fit into the company budget. There are many resources available online, interior designers could give some advice or tips, and office furniture suppliers could have free catalogs with beautiful colored pictures of offices already stylized with their furniture.

Rolling It Into One

Businesses shouldn’t stress too much about the expenses of creating an office space their employees will love. Not all changes require enormous spending, especially when taking some of these tips to heart. Simple adjustments and repurposing items can bring a new ambiance to the office and are more budget-savvy than companies may think. A little creativity, teamwork, and a few novelties could transform the office in no time.

5 Strategies to Maximize Commercial Real Estate Revenue

Looking for ways to maximize your revenue if you work in commercial real estate is constant. You can do a lot to boost your income, but it’s also possible to make mistakes that hurt your bottom line.

Owning commercial real estate is a great way to make money. You can earn passively and get the tax benefits of depreciation if managed well. But you could face a few challenges if you want to maximize, which is why people hire asset management companies. Hence, consider a commercial property management service for your Toronto-based properties. To know how to maximize the money you make, here are other strategies:

1. Increase Rent Prices

Remember that many factors are involved in maximizing revenue from your commercial real estate investments. For example, suppose you’re raising rent prices by 3-6% per year. In that case, this can positively impact your bottom line because it encourages existing tenants to stay at their current location and discourages competitors from moving into the area.  

However, rising rent prices too quickly, or not quickly enough, could risk losing money on a deal or even getting sued for breach of contract. To succeed in your business strategy in commercial real estate, you must not let your situation or feelings hinder good decisions about how much to charge for space rentals. For example, one of your properties is located in an area where several new developments are being built by big companies and competitors. In that case, raising prices makes sense if they’re still below market value.

2. Expand Your Tenants

Begin by looking for tenants who are a good fit for your property. If you have a retail property with heavy foot traffic, look for tenants that’ll benefit from the foot traffic and are willing to pay higher rent. This is one of the proven strategies to thrive in the market. For example, suppose you own a grocery store in an urban area. In that case, it may be worth renting a cafe or deli instead of another grocery store because those businesses will also bring more people into the area (thus more revenue).

3. Expand Your Portfolio

Once you’ve mastered the first strategy, it’s time to look for opportunities to expand your portfolio. If you have several commercial real estate properties in one area, consider buying some property in another so that you are not too concentrated in one location. 

Also, buy a larger one instead of several smaller properties and use its revenues to pay off all the small ones if you’ve taken a loan. By leveraging the equity from these bigger assets and using it as leverage against another piece of real estate property, an investor can get two or three times as much return on investment than they would if they had just bought two smaller pieces separately.

4. Explore New Avenues of Income

While it may feel counterintuitive to seek out new avenues of income when you’re struggling to meet your current financial obligations, the reality is that there are many ways in which you can increase your annual revenue without putting yourself at risk. For example, you can explore different leases and charge varying prices based on location and amenities the space being leased offers. This can be as simple as charging more per square foot in areas where the rent cost is higher or offering free parking spaces with certain floor plans or building designs.

5. Raise The Value of Your Properties

The final strategy focuses on the property itself. You can raise the value of your properties by improving them or the surrounding area. For example, if you own a commercial building in a bad part of town, you could improve it by adding amenities and services that might attract more people to the area. Then, add some shops or restaurants nearby. 

Doing so would make it seem less of an undesirable place for businesses—and may even encourage companies previously uninterested in moving there. After all, it’s booming with people due to the new cash flow. You can also find ways to reduce utility costs for your tenants to help you make more profits and reduce maintenance costs.

Conclusion

Real estate is a great business; you can maximize your revenue with some strategies. Your property generates money without doing anything more than managing it. You can also use real estate as a diversifier for your portfolio, building wealth over time as other areas of your life are transitioning. This will make you richer with a financially promising future.

What Visas Are Available for EU Citizens Looking to Work in the UK?

In this article, we explore the different options available for EU citizens looking to work and reside in the UK…

The UK has always been a popular place to live and work for EU citizens, and it used to be that all an EU resident would need to do is pack their suitcase and jump on a plane. Since 2020, however, things have got a little more complicated for those looking to relocate to Great Britain.

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union in January 2020, those looking to work here have to tick a few boxes in terms of requirements. Furthermore, in this article, we’ll run through the ways in which EU residents can work in the UK, including spouse visas and graduate visas.

Keep reading to find out the different types of visas…

 

Right to Work in the UK

Permission to work and live in the UK is granted on a points-based system and, anybody looking to apply will first need to make sure that they meet a specific set of criteria. As well as, undergoing a number of checks including a criminal record check. A person may be able to live and work in the United Kingdom by applying for a visa and, in this section, we’ll take you through the different visas available:

A Spouse Visa

Also known as a Family Visa, this is a form of permission which may be granted if your spouse (husband, wife or civil partner) has already settled in the UK. In this instance, ‘settled’ means that he or she has a settled status, meaning an indefinite leave to remain or evidence of permanent residence.  In order to be eligible for this kind of visa, the UK based spouse must either be a British or Irish citizen or, have been living in the United Kingdom continuously prior to the 1st of January 2021. 

For this kind of visa, both partners must be over the age of 18 and be planning to live together in the UK. While it is possible to apply for this kind of visa, success is not always guaranteed. A spouse visa may be refused on human rights grounds, for example, if the person applying has a criminal record and is considered to be a danger to UK citizens.  If a spouse visa is disapproved, a good immigration solicitor may be able to help the applicant to appeal the decision.

If a decision is approved, the applicant will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge of £470 per year – with the first year’s payment due on application. This surcharge is made to cover the person’s healthcare on the NHS while in the UK.

A Skilled Worker Visa

If an EU citizen has skills and experience which are desirable in the UK and, they have a firm job offer from a Home-Office licensed sponsor (a company or business), they may be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa. In most cases, the employment must pay a salary of £26,500 per year or more and, be able to speak English at a B1 intermediate level (as laid out on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages).  Such jobs may include engineering, IT and senior medical positions. 

EU citizens may also be eligible for a Health and Care Visa as long as they meet the requirements for the Skilled Worker route. With this kind of visa, applicants must have skills and experience in the health sector and have a job offer from an organisation such as the National Health Service (NHS). This kind of visa can be obtained on a fast-track, and, in many cases, these workers will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

A Student Visa

The UK is known for its high standards of education and, as such, many EU residents are keen to study here. In some cases, EU citizens may be eligible for a Student Visa (aged 17 or above) or a Child Student Visa (aged between 4 and 17). In order to be eligible for student visas, the applicant must have a verified offer of a place at a college or institution which is Home-Office licensed. As well as being able to read, write, speak and understand English and, be able to show evidence that they have enough money to support themselves while living and studying in the UK.

A Graduate Visa

If an EU citizen has studied  for and successfully completed a degree at a minimum of undergraduate level in the UK, he or she may be able to gain a Graduate Visa. This  can give them the right to stay and work in the United Kingdom for up to two years (or up to three years for doctoral students) once their studies have been successfully finished.

 

Work Opportunities in the UK

Whether the application is to work within the bright lights of London or take up agricultural research position in the countryside, the UK offers many great opportunities for EU citizens. Since Brexit, there’s no doubt that moving to the UK and working here is a little more complicated but, this is certainly possible for those who have skills to offer UK businesses or, they have a husband, wife or civil partner who already lives here.

 

For the best chance of success, applicants should always read the requirements carefully and make sure that all their ducks are in a row in terms of documentation as this will save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.

7 Ways to Overcome Drug Addiction

When someone is addicted to drugs, it means he or she continues to use one or more substances despite the fact that it harms his or her daily functioning, relationships, or health.

The toughest step for many people who have drug addiction is recognizing they have a problem and deciding to make a change. Once that step has been taken, there are several potential routes to take in order to overcome the addiction. Here are seven.

1. Commit to Change

If you have a drug addiction, the first thing you need to do is commit to changing your behaviour.

You will need to contemplate cutting down, moderating, or eliminating your addictive behaviour. You can then get professional help, identify specific goals to help you overcome your addiction, and follow a plan to help you achieve your goals.

2. Find Support

You can better overcome your addiction if you have people to support you. Ideally, you will have friends and family members who can support your transition to recovery.

But you should also get support from specific support groups. Your doctor can help you explore support group options.

3. Eliminate Triggers

Staying away from people you know who do drugs will go a long way to helping you stick to your plan of cutting down or quitting your addiction. So, avoid friends that you have used drugs with and places where you have done drugs. 

In fact, you should eliminate any triggers that bring up memories of your drug use to help you move on.

4. Complete a Detoxification Programme

Drug addiction is treatable. By taking the first big step of talking to a doctor about your addiction, you can explore treatment options and find the best option for you.

Some treatment plans work better for some kinds of drug addiction than others. One of the best routes for most kinds of addiction is participating in a detoxification program in a safe and controlled environment.

5. Utilise Counselling Services

Counselling is another effective treatment option. Talking about yourself, your problems, and your addiction can help you identify why you began using drugs. In turn, that can help you to quit. Counselling is an umbrella term for various therapy treatments.

One of the most commonly used therapies for drug addiction is cognitive behavioural therapy, which allows you to recognize problematic thinking, behaviours, and patterns to establish healthier ways of coping and develop stronger self-control.

6. Try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a revolutionary, non-invasive treatment that is most commonly used for depression and anxiety, but it can also be used for treating addiction.

TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate your brain’s nerves. You can access the trauma-focused treatment via Roots Through Recovery Addiction Treatment.

The team of compassionate professionals at Roots Through Recovery can also help you to identify the underlying causes of your issues and develop coping skills that you can continue to use after the treatment.

7. Use Medication Alongside Other Treatment Options

For some types of drug addiction, medication can be used as part of a larger treatment plan. Medication is most commonly used to treat opioid use disorder.

By taking prescribed medication, you can potentially control your drug cravings, relieve symptoms of withdrawal, and help to prevent relapses.

The Takeaway

It should now be clear that there are a wide variety of treatment options available to help you overcome your drug addiction. But the first step is often the hardest: admitting you have a problem and seeking help.

Once you have overcome that step, it will be easier to get the right treatment for your specific addiction and situation. Talk to your doctor so that you can explore your options in more detail and get the help you need to overcome your addiction and take back control of your life. 

How to Grow Your Business in 2022: Best Strategies to Use

The business development life cycle is a five-stage process: launch, growth, shake-out, maturity, and decline. When a company comes to the maturity stage, there are only two options left: reorganize the business and move forward with it, or finish its lifecycle and exit the market. In most cases, the right call is to give the business a boost rather than abandon the project and start another.

1. Develop Your Website

Statistics show that about 80% of customers purchase goods online. It’s quite a reason to have a digital environment where customers can learn more about your business and buy your products.

The business value of a corporate website goes beyond providing info about a brand or products and services it offers. It builds a connection between your company and a client and creates a sense of credibility. A corporate website also helps market your products and addresses customer uncertainties.

Your corporate website forms the backbone of the partnership with potential buyers. That’s why such a responsible task as its creation should be performed by a reliable web and mobile development company

2. Get More Customers

Business expansion is closely related to increasing the demand for its products and services. You can do that by expanding the customer base and raising brand awareness. Here are the ways this can be achieved:

Releasing new products and services.
Integrating a referral program so that your customers can bring in even more customers.
Participating in events relevant to your niche.
Offering discounts and other types of incentives to customers.
Re-contacting old customers with a special offer via direct mail or phone call.

3. Expand Your Online Presence

A solid online presence makes your brand and its products well-recognizable and drives sales. In a modern society, advertisements on social media are nearly as effective as the expensive TV commercials.

A recent GWI study demonstrates that 27% of social media users use social platforms to find new products to buy, while 31% of respondents discover brands through television.

Remember that you need to post info regularly. This way, you will keep reminding your followers about your business and its offerings.

4. Search for Partnerships

Expanding your business through strategic partnerships can bring stellar results if done right. In order to form an efficient relationship with a partnering company, you need to do some groundwork. Take some time to answer these questions:

What are you trying to achieve with the help of a partnership? What type of partner are you looking for? Do you want a partner in transportation, distribution, promotion, driving traffic to your website, etc?
What do people need before and after they turn to you for your product or service?
Who can best complement your offering?

Once you have answers to these questions, your search for a partner will be much more effective. Look within your industry and market for influencers, major players, and businesses that may share your values. You can also find useful contacts at networking events, seminars, trade shows, etc.

5. Provide Constant Improvements

There is a concept called the “Kaizen approach,” which implies a cycle of continuous improvement. The main idea here is to make informed decisions regarding small but regular advancements. These ongoing changes undergo the stages of measuring, comparing, innovating, and standardizing, and finally result in the business delivering gradually improved products.

Moreover, you should aim at optimizing business processes. It means reducing the cost per unit of product, for one, or speeding up service delivery. Transportation, management, manufacturing, and other processes can always be streamlined to benefit the price and quality of your end product.

6. Literally Expand Your Business

It may sound vague, but behind the concept, there are some serious measures to try:

Move into new markets. These may be different locations or new market segments.Acquire a business that complements the existing one. You can buy a company that supplies your manufacturing site with raw materials or purchase a consultancy agency if you own a software development business. Claim a niche market. If your products are intended for a broad range of users, you may want to release a new type of goods intended for a very specific type of customer.Add new products. Launch new products or services and offer existing customers to benefit from them. Just remember not to go too far away from the core business. Implementing any of these approaches comes with financial and other risks to the business. It’s better to make sure that your strategic decision is well-justified.

The Top 6 Cities in China to Retire In: Cost of Living and Other Factors

Source: Pexels

As one of the fastest-growing and evolving countries, China offers endless opportunities for soon-to-be retirees. The country’s bustling mega cities, breath-taking natural beauty, and age-old traditions make it a sought-after destination for anyone looking for an adventurous retirement.

At the same time, the country is renowned for its high quality of life, low cost of living, and world-class healthcare, making it an attractive destination for those looking for stability and safety. If you have already made China your preferred country to retire in, let’s pinpoint the best city to move to.

Xiamen

If you are planning your retirement finances and lifestyle, you might be looking for a Chinese city that combines a low cost of living with high standards of life and healthcare. The port city of Xiamen, located in the Fujian province in Southern China might tick all of your boxes.

Xiamen hosts one of the largest international harbours and was once dubbed the “Eastern Hawaii” by former US president Richard Nixon. The city encompasses two islands, is home to 4.3 million people, and it’s renowned nationally and internationally for entertainment, leisure, seafood, and mild climate.

Zhuhai

Located on the south-eastern bank of the Pearl River Delta in the Guangdong province, Zhuhai is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy a tranquil retirement. Historically one of the first Special Economic Zones established in the 1980s, Zhuhai remains one of the top tourist destinations in China and Asia.

Thanks to its mild climate, lush gardens, and tropical beaches, the city offers a great environment for retirement. What’s more, Zhuhai falls within 31% of cities with the lowest cost of living in the world.

Haikou

Haiku is the largest city in the Hainan province, also known as China’s Florida due to the sandy beaches, warm climate, and plenty of entertainment. Haikou welcomes, every winter, over 4.5 million retirees from the other regions of China who are looking to escape the colder months in their hometowns.

In terms of quality of life and cost of living, Haiku offers some of the lowest property prices across China, boasts the highest air quality in the country, and provides retirees with a range of benefits, including discounted travel tickets and community activities.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most thriving places in China to retire, especially due to its high safety levels, world-famous tourist attractions, night markets, and food delicacies. In terms of healthcare, Hong Kong boasts one of the most advanced and affordable systems in the world.

What’s more, as an Introduction to Medical Health Insurance in Hong Kong, today’s policies cover up to 90% of healthcare costs for patients and are accessible even for those with a long-term condition, thus keeping out-of-pocket expenses to a minute and providing great overall coverage.

As the city remains one of the most expensive ones in China for expats, retirees require around $500,000 to maintain their lifestyle in Hong Kong after retirement – which is around half of what’s needed in the US!

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest metropolitan area in China and one of the most sought-after destinations for seasoned professionals looking to continue working after retirement.

Shanghai isn’t just one of the leading financial centre’s of China, it is also one of the country’s safest cities and provides unparalleled living and healthcare standards. The city ranks among the most expensive ones in China, but retirees only need around $1000 to live comfortably in Shanghai.

Suzhou

Looking to enjoy a quainter, more laid-back lifestyle after retirement? Suzhou, in the Jiangsu province, is an enchanted city home to just over 10.7 million people. Suzhou, or the Venice of the East, is known for its pagodas, lush gardens, ornate viewing pavilions, and canals.

The cost of living here is relatively low, and the area falls within 39% of the least expensive cities in the world. Suzhou allows retirees to immerse themselves in the culture of China and enjoy a tight-community feel without having to compromise on healthcare quality and entertainment.

Compliance Risks: 5 Examples and Solutions

Compliance risk, also known in some regions as “integrity risk”, is a business’s potential to be exposed to monetary fines, legal penalties, material losses, etc. All this is caused by a failure to comply with the parameters set by the industry’s best practices and laws and regulations. Compliance risk is present for every type of business, regardless of whether it’s a profit or non-profit or operates in the private or public sector.

All organizations accept that this type of risk is the price of doing business in a regulated and controlled manner. It is the responsibility of the organization to stay cognizant of the industry’s regulatory bodies and stay up to date with the changes made in legislation. There are of course organizations such as https://techumen.com/hipaa-security-risk-assessment/ that deal specifically with making sure that your company avoids any compliance risk issues.

This article will dive into the most common examples of compliance risk and then delve into comprehensive solutions to avoid and mitigate the penalties that might come your way.

1. Data Management

Depending on what type of information your organization deals with, several regulations are in place that stipulates how this data is stored and transferred, and who ultimately has access to it. The types of records most commonly under scrutiny include:

  • Medical history
  • Financial documents
  • Academic records
  • Credit card data

Failure to protect your client’s data will lead to hefty penalties. Small businesses and start-ups, in particular, are prone to data breaches as they don’t usually prioritize their resources toward cybersecurity.

2. Corruption

Corruption is a common malaise found in almost all organizations. It’s the job of the business to create an environment that doesn’t allow for its employees to engage in behavior that could prove harmful to the business’s image and integrity such as fraud.

Ethics training must be conducted on an as-needed basis for all staff to prevent any room for interpretation. Monitoring employee behavior is also a viable option to curtail corruption. It must be noted that your company can be held liable if third-party businesses outside of your company’s control are engaging in corrupt activity and your company is aware of it.

3. Lack of Disaster Preparedness

This refers to the failure to have strategies and plans in place in the event of natural or man-made disasters. It’s a largely overlooked compliance risk as many businesses, particularly smaller ones, would believe this to be an example of external factors out of their control.

That’s why it’s important to examine the different disaster scenarios that could affect businesses’ day-to-day operations.

For business continuity, it must implement IT support systems that will make it possible for a business to function amidst the disaster. An added risk that was discussed in a previous point is the protection of data. A disaster recovery plan that focuses on procedures that will be employed to protect, retrieve, and restore data to ensure basic operating functions as soon as the company can.

A data breach that occurs during this period due to the vulnerability of a company’s systems can be penalized if proper measures weren’t taken to prevent it.

A well-thought-out disaster recovery plan must include details such as:

  • Strategies that minimize the duration of disruption of regular business operations.
  • The development of teams that will be on standby to implement the recovery work.
  • The simplifying of recovery work through performing test drills regularly to ensure the effectiveness of the plan.

4. Health and Safety Protocols

Many laws regulate health and safety compliance across the globe. In the United States, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are present. Their equivalent in Europe would be EU-OSHA (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work) and EMA (European Medicines Agency).

Businesses are legally bound to follow the specific health and safety protocols specific to their region. By adhering to health and safety compliance, an organization can avoid injuries, health-related issues, and even death.

5. Social Responsibility

The impact on and way your organization treats its staff and the surrounding community can create financial risks.

While this final point may not be a regulated compliance risk, no organization is free from the scrutiny of the court of public opinion. Failure to retain a good image for your business will result in a boycott of your service/product which will, in turn, cause you to lose profits.

Conclusion

An organization must run regular compliance risk assessment checks which will help identify the potential risks that will lead to the breaking of compliance regulations. As mentioned in this article, the easiest and most effective way of avoiding breaking compliance is simply complying.

How to Get the Graphic Design You Need on a Budget

Whether you need graphic design for your logo and branding, your website and online channels, a poster or flyer, or any other purpose, you’ll want to find the best graphic designer at the most affordable cost.

But exactly how do you get graphic design that combines professionalism with affordability?

Image Source: Pexels

Connect with a Freelance Graphic Designer

There’s a lot of competition between freelance graphic designers, which means you can find a freelancer for your graphic design needs at a variety of price points. Typically, graphic designers who are just starting out in their careers tend to offer services for cheaper prices as they build up their portfolios.

So, get on to freelancer sites like Upwork and Guru and compare the portfolios and prices of different graphic designers. Make sure the individual you select has a portfolio that contains the kinds of designs you’re looking for, though.

Work with a Professional Graphic Design Agency

The best way to ensure you get the kind of professional design that can help you take your business to the next level is to go with a graphic design agency. However, that can often be one of the pricier options.

You should consider spending more on your graphic design if it means you can enhance your conversions and attain more sales, but make sure you first carefully work out your budget. You could always increase your allocated budget for graphic design by managing your business finances better.

Work with a Student Graphic Designer

You could get graphic design that is just as professional and eye-catching as that offered by design agencies by hiring someone who is currently studying graphic design at college or university.

You can make substantial savings by going down this route but, again, ensure you look through potential candidates’ portfolios to ensure they can provide the professionalism and great designs that you’re looking for.

Colleges and universities can be great resources for accessing affordable top talent. And when the student turns pro, as one of his or her early clients, you could get a good deal over the coming years.

Do It Yourself

One of the easiest ways of getting the graphic design you need when you’re on a budget is to create the designs yourself. The good news is you don’t need much artistic flair or design experience to use online graphic design software that provides you with all the tools you need to create fantastic designs.

And if you’re worried that you have no design skills, you could always first learn some basics by completing a short online course. You can then learn about things like composition, colours that work well together, and proportion before using an online graphic design tool.

But many online platforms are so easy to use and have so many professional tools available, that all you really need to do is spend time trying out different tools and effects, such as a background remover and spot healer.

Furthermore, the best online design software comes with plenty of templates for designing things like posters, banners, flyers, cards, brochures, infographics, and social media posts.

Speaking of the latter, check out these ways in which you can effectively use social media and improve your ecommerce conversion rate. If you’re on a low budget, doing the graphic design yourself is certainly one of the most affordable options.

Summing Up

When your budget is small, you can save a lot of money by creating graphic designs yourself with the aid of online tools. But if you do want to hire a professional graphic designer, you could consider a design agency, a freelancer, or a student graphic designer.

Just make sure that you define what your needs are before you start searching and you look through the portfolios of any potential designer before you hire.

Easy Ways To Improve Your Money Spending Habits

Good management skills are something that is crucial in order to live a hassle-free and organized life, and no one can deny this fact. Management is extremely important in every aspect of your life, and if you don’t manage properly your tasks, you could end up being in problems every day. The same implies to your money spending habits. Management of money is crucial to surviving in this world otherwise you would soon be seeing yourself crushed under debts. Your spending habits reflect your credit score and it is sad to see that people have zero management when it comes to their money, as a result of which, their credit score ruins. 

These days, it is common to see people getting out of their budget within a few days at the start of every month. It is crucial for you to stay within the budget so that you don’t face any financial problems throughout the month. People have no knowledge of budgeting, and trust me, once they are out of budget, their lives become miserable. Most of us have gone out of the budget at least a few times and know what it feels like later, and what kind of problems arise then.

Below are some tips that you can follow to bring a positive change in your spending habits and keep yourself from accumulating debts.

Start With a Budget

As mentioned before, budgeting is extremely important and crucial for your survival if you are someone who doesn’t know how to spend money the right way. Trust me, it wouldn’t even take more than an hour if you sit down with a piece of paper and pencil in your hand, and start writing down your basic expenditures. What budgeting does is, it gives you a clear image of what you have, how much are your monthly bills, and what you are left with. You have to stay within that circle and to keep yourself from getting into problems, you must not step out of your spending circle. It might take you a month or two to adjust to the budgeting system, but once you are adjusted, your life will be much easier than before, and you won’t have to worry about any accumulating debts.

Once you are done with making the budget, stick to it. It is common to see people enthusiastically making a budget at the start of every month, only to ignore it for later. You must refer to your budget every week to get an insight into where you are and what you are left with.

Don’t Assume

One horrible mistake that most of us make on daily basis is that we just assume that we can afford a certain thing, although we can’t. These assumptions are actually put in our minds by our credit cards, and trust me, that one tap you make when buying something which you “think” you can afford, can turn out to be extremely problematic for you. You must understand that the money inside your credit card is not yours and one way or the other, you have to return it. Most of us don’t make credit card payments timely, as a result of which, the interest starts to build up, and we are just stuck in a never-ending debt puddle. Always purchase an item when you have at least 90% of its value cost inside your debit card. Trust me, this single habit can save you from accumulating unnecessary debts. If you are someone who has a bad credit score, you can click on credit restoration and know more about it.

Always Track Your Spending

Tracking your spending has become crucial these days. Most of us don’t even remember where we actually spent the money at the end of the month. The biggest mistake that people make is, that they just focus on their big expenditures, and ignore to count their everyday little expenses. You never know that the spending you are counting as little could add up to a significant amount at the end of the month. For example, the 5$ you spend on McDonald’s every single day can seem negligible to you for the day, but at the end of the month, it can accumulate to a significant amount from your spending. Therefore, always keep track of where you are spending so that you have a clear picture of what you are left with. 

Always Pay for Better Prices

When going out to buy stuff, for example, groceries, it is important that you compare the prices first at different stores, and then buy them. It often happens that we pay for higher prices for absolutely no reason because we haven’t researched before leaving home. Always keep on looking for any discounts, promotions and coupons.

How to Run a Successful Online Clothing Store?

E-commerce has made it easier for many aspiring entrepreneurs to put their dreams into action. If you can not afford to buy a brick-and-mortar store to start a clothing brand, you can use an online platform.

Starting an online clothing store is exciting, but it comes with challenges. Everyone needs clothes, but with that massive consumer base comes a ton of competition.  

To get started, you need a website that provides easy navigation to the customers, a fulfillment center to store the inventory and ship the orders to the customers, and a reliable company to provide you with good quality clothes. 

Each mentioned step has its complexities and challenges, but an online business can be easy if you know what you are doing.

Here is what you can do to run a successful online clothing store in a congested market. 

1. Find the Specific Niche

Before starting a clothing brand, ask yourself, 

  • What kind of market do you want to target? 
  • Do you want to serve all men or women? 
  • Do you want to target a specific age group? 

When you know what you want to do, you can establish a better business plan. If you are starting a new business for the first time then you should take every step cautiously. Start low and gradually build your business. Selecting a specific niche can help you make your business succeed more easily as compared to jumping into various sections at once. Choose a specific niche such as women’s clothing brand, kids’ clothing brand, clothes for men, and such. Also, find out if you will be providing formal or casual clothes or if you are going to be an online sportswear distributor.  

 

2. Formulate a Comprehensive Business Plan

No business can ever be successful without a well-laid plan. If you want to make sure your clothing brand venture succeeds, you should plan everything before stepping into the market. Your business plan should include your brand name, your business strategy, the ways you are going to market your business, and how you are going to manage your finances. 

Every step you will be taking in the next six months, at least, should be discussed clearly with your team or business partners. Without a comprehensive plan, you can not measure your success rate and analyze different strategies. 

3. Spend On Marketing Wisely

Many small businesses spend most of their budget on marketing in earlier days. While this is a smart strategy, it can yield small-scale and short period results. Spend your budget wisely. As digital marketing is gaining popularity more and more, these strategies can be a cost-effective solution to your marketing problems as compared to traditional ways of marketing. 

To formulate an effective marketing plan, look for ways that can provide you with long-term benefits with a single investment. Operating social media accounts and promoting your business through content creators and social media influencers can help you achieve more customers than television and radio advertisements. 

4. Build Customer Loyalty

When it comes to the success of a business, the quality of customers is more important than the number of customers. If you have 100 customers buying from your website in one month, while only a few of them return the next month, then you are not entirely successful in your customer dealings. 

Customer loyalty should be your priority. If your customers are loyal to you, they will return every time they have to buy a clothing item. You can build customer loyalty by providing quality products and services. If your product quality is consistent as your business gets older, your customers are going to be more satisfied and happy with your services. A satisfied customer is almost always a returning customer, and also the one who helps you market your business by suggesting it to their friends and family. 

5. Establish a User-friendly Website 

The biggest mistake small businesses make is not spending enough money on website development. Your website is an online store for your business. Just like you make sure that your brick-and-mortar store is accessible to all your customers, similarly, your website should be user-friendly. If your website is not compatible with different devices and search engines, your business is going to suffer. 

Pay your developer good money to develop an SEO-optimized website that will act as an online store for your clothing business. Provide different filtered search options. You can set filters such as price range, size, type of clothes, etc. The pictures of your products should be clear and described in the description box. 

Final Words

Starting an online clothing business seems like an easy job. You think all you need is a website to display your clothes and some clothes to sell. However, it is more than that. You should have a proper business plan, marketing strategy, and business skills to make your business successful. 

Best Older Adult Philanthropic Support Organization 2022

In terms of funding and government support, the elderly population often fly under the radar. However, the John Knox Village of Florida is on a mission to change this for good – indeed, it hopes to provide retirees with a happy and healthy life post-retirement. As such, 16 years ago, the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation, an organisation that acquires funding and donations for the village and its mission, was established. 

Everyone gets older – it’s inevitable. Therefore, it’s never too early to consider what your retirement plans are, for example, do you plan to stay at home or move into a retirement home or village? Both options offer numerous benefits; however, taking up residence in a retirement village can open you up to a whole host of new experiences.

Indeed, the John Knox Village of Florida offers just this – a resort to retreat to for your retired years. There are a range of residential options available, including comfortable apartments and luxurious bungalows, each coming equipped with security options that always ensure safety. Moreover, for over 50 years the John Knox Village of Florida has been providing a pleasant community for retirees, encapsulating what can only be described as a ‘relaxed, upscale South Florida beach vibe.’

If this is something that appeals to you, then perhaps you will be interested in the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation. Established in 2006, the non-profit was created in order to bolster the wellbeing and lifestyle of the village’s residents. In essence, it has been designed to make a difference. The foundation is fulfilling this goal via a plethora of means, with a primary focus upon funding and supporting programs, services and spaces that impact the seven areas of wellness – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and occupational.

The foundation is wholly committed to the individual care of its residents. This is, of course, a non-negotiable aspect of its work. Consequently, it is this devotion that guides the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation to share the knowledge it has acquired through working with this population in order to change the narrative on ageism. As of now, it is targeting the local area, but the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation hopes to push this mission to a national and potentially international level. Furthermore, its core values act as a basis upon which it strives to attract philanthropists whose interests and passions centre on the seven areas of wellness and the needs of the aging population.

How exactly does the foundation operate? It’s simple – the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation largely relies upon donations. There are a variety of donation methods available, ranging from one-time donations to charitable gift annuities. Planned gifts are a core method that philanthropists opt for when donating to the foundation – for example, one may choose to provide a gift to the foundation via their estate in the form of a bequest. However, there are options available for smaller donations. Cash and cheque donations are accepted, as are payments made via its website.  

For the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation this has been a significant challenge. A spokesperson for the foundation comments, ‘funding aging services can be a challenging opportunity for organizations and communities that either serve this population in structured facilities or in the general communities across our globe. The aging population is assumed to have accomplished it all and are all set in their life’s journey having all their needs met because of their preparation.’ It is safe to say that this is not always the case – they go on to cite isolation, lack of resources, food insecurity, and greater health needs as a selection of challenges that the older generation face. The clear solution for these issues is a government and non-profit shift towards prioritising this area of the population.

On top of this, the world has undergone a turbulent few years thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. For just over two years, human interaction has been limited, forced to adapt to a climate of isolation to protect others. Whilst this approach has been greatly beneficial, it has also paired itself with many challenges. The John Knox Village of Florida Foundation notes that the lack of face-to-face contact had a monumental impact on its community. Technology became more prevalent within the organisation, both within the day-to-day running of the foundation and within its fundraising efforts. Yet this transformation meant that the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation had to educate a generation of individuals who were not as familiar with new technologies.

Two years later, the foundation has successfully combatted the issues created by the pandemic. It has made significant progress and now conducts many of its philanthropic communications via e-mail and Zoom meetings. In fact, the foundation found that, ‘communicating tips on vehicles like Qualified Charitable Donations (QCD’s) through email increased the number year over year because our residents had become very accustomed to receiving important information electronically more often than pre-COVID.’

2022 is set to be a year of great success for the foundation. Recently, the foundation was awarded a million-dollar restricted endowment which has enabled it to fund its Residents Assistance Program – a fund that assures financial support to any resident that outlives their financial resources through no fault of their own. Subsequently, this means that no resident will be forced to leave the community if they cannot pay due to circumstances beyond their control. In addition, the John Knox Village of Florida Foundation is planning to launch a campaign that, over the course of five years, will build an unrestricted endowment that will cover any future unanticipated funding for programs, services, and spaces for its residents.

For further information, please contact Mark Knox Village of Florida Foundation Inc or visit https://jkvfoundation.com 

How To Record a Donation or Charitable Contribution for Bookkeeping in the UK

How To Record a Donation or Charitable Contribution for Bookkeeping in the UK

Donating to a charity is an inherently noble act that serves to increase the total amount of goodness in the world while helping impoverished individuals or people living in inhumane conditions. However, the main objective of any business is to generate profits.

From a purely economic standpoint, giving away resources is an action that is counterproductive to the operations of the company. It is no surprise then that nearly every government in the world has enacted laws or programs to stimulate and encourage businesses to be more charitable. In most cases, the money, goods, or services provided to the charity can be deducted from the company’s taxes.

In order to achieve the maximum benefits from the donation or charitable contribution, businesses must ensure that all related transactions are recorded and filed correctly, submitted on time, and that any mandatory requirements are met. Any deficiencies in the bookkeeping of the donation could lead to missed opportunities and less recognized deductibles.

To avoid such outcomes, it may be necessary to consult with expert accountants that operate within the applicable jurisdiction. Businesses from the UK should look for suitable firms such as reputable accountants in London to handle the financial records and the preparation of the necessary documentation.

Different Types Of Donations

Under UK law, there are different types of donations that can be recognized as applicable for tax relief. Furthermore, the rules also change based on the entity making the donation. As such, there are significant differences if the donation is coming from an individual, a sole trader, and a partnership, or if it is a limited company. Various factors are also influenced by the specific donation, such as the proper way to submit the tax relief or deductibles.

It should also be noted that businesses are not obliged to give donations only in monetary form. If there is a surplus of specific equipment such as office chairs, computer systems, tools, etc., the extra items can be given away, and capital gains allowance claimed against their value. Items produced or sold by the business also fall in this category. Land plots and properties are a form of donation as well. Companies can deduct the estimated market value from their profits, thus reducing the amount of owed Corporation Tax.

Although it may sound strange, the business’ employees may also be considered a donation. Known as ‘secondment,’ it involves companies temporarily transferring an employee to work for a chosen charity. This donation can still be claimed as a business expense. Secondment is applicable even when the employee volunteers for a charity in their work time. Keep in mind that the company must continue paying the involved employees during the duration of the commitment.

Assure Compliance

Numerous parameters are defined within strict thresholds, and compliance with the law is of utmost importance. This is where a professional account’s expertise could prove invaluable, as the records of the donations and their inclusion in the company’s bookkeeping must be exact. For example, you cannot deduct monetary payments that are loans to be repaid by the charity, that come with a commitment from the charity to buy products from the company, or that are distributed as company profits (dividends).

Furthermore, any benefits received in return must be below a certain specified value ranging from 25% of the donation when the total donated amount is less than £100 to 5% (or a maximum of £2,500) when the donated funds surpass £1,001.

When it comes to giving away land or property, it is necessary to obtain a letter of certification from the recipient charity. The document must include:

A description of the land or property.The date of the gift.A statement that the charity is now considered to be the new owner.In turn, donating shares must be accompanied by a stock transfer form that indicates the number of shares taken out of the company’s name and given to the charity. Tax relief may still be claimed even in cases where the charity asks the company to sell the intended donation on its behalf.

Keep Detailed Records

All donations must be backed by detailed documentation to be claimed as tax relief successfully. The related records typically have to be preserved for at least 22 months counted from the end of the applicable tax year. The specific documents vary depending on the type of donation.

British Buyers Discouraged from EU Housing Market Despite Cooling

The UK’s housing market has been soaring for the last two years, with house prices skyrocketing because of a lack of supply, tax breaks, and low interest rates. A similar story has also been seen across the EU, with house prices going up by 9.4 per cent from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021, while in the UK, a record 10.4 per cent in annual house price growth was seen at the end of last year.

Now, halfway through 2022, the rampant house price increases seen across Europe look to be simmering down, if not cooling entirely. For avid homebuyers in the UK, seeing prices at home and abroad settle would usually commence a wave of buying in the likes of Spain and France, but some recent revelations might just mean that they keep their cash in the UK.

Housing market begins to slow down in the UK

As noted above, the UK market has been on a relentless surge over the last couple of years, but the number of buyers still playing looks to be falling. It’s been found by Fortune that the number of mortgages being requested is gradually falling. With the rise in interest rates only just really beginning, it seems unlikely that a complete cooling will happen for a while, with much higher rates predicted for the coming months.

While perhaps not as ravenous as over the last several months, sellers and buyers alike will probably still be seeking good deals and new properties. Easily accessible online tools in the industry are working to keep everything rolling, too, with Trussle offering a free Mortgage in Principle (MIP) to anyone who uses their broker and mortgage comparison platform.

An MIP shows the prospective buyer an accurate reflection of how much they can borrow quickly. This helps to get them on the market quicker, shows real estate agents that they’re serious, and offers a good idea of the affordability of buying a house. With rates only looking likely to rise in the near future, people are looking to secure houses and mortgages sooner rather than later, but soon enough, the momentum will halt.

Brits less likely to look to the EU now

Generations of British people would make a habit of not just holidaying in Europe but eventually buying property, living, working, and even retiring in the EU. Now, as prices start to fall on the continent by about five to ten per cent, according to reports cited by Business Times, it would seem to be an ideal window for Brits to get involved, but times have certainly changed.

In 2021, it was noted that many British owners of EU properties were selling up due to the 90-day rule, and now British Expats have been revoked of the status of being a “citizen of the Union.” The EU Court of Justice, as was foreseeable, has revoked the ability to vote or stand in elections. Furthermore, incomers require a visa to work, either a non-lucrative visa – which forbids participation in economic activity – or a costly golden visa.

None of it comes as a surprise, nor is it wrong of the EU to begin to enforce such restrictions, but it does make buying a house in the EU more arduous for Brits. On top of this, there’s a lot more paperwork, bureaucracy, and many more expenses to get through – which is already bad in the UK, let alone as a Brit seeking to buy abroad.

While housing markets have seen a lot of activity of late, those in the EU and, soon, the UK look to be cooling off, with the window of opportunity for British buyers looking east requiring a lot more work than it used to.

Retail Mapping: Utilizing Contextual Intelligence to Meet Consumers Where They Are

Although online shopping has increased by 300%, 56% of shoppers still visit a physical store before making a purchase, and 30% of direct-to-consumer brands say opening a store is a current priority. However, thriving retail business owners looking to attract customers to in-store purchases need precise mapping to know where their customers are and engage them. 

Retailers need to know where their best customers are and how to reach out to them with relevant products and services—and they can do this successfully with retail mapping. 

This article explains how retail mapping provides the contextual intelligence retailers need to meet their customers where they are. 

What is retail mapping?  

Retail mapping involves visualizing your stores in comparison to other stores in specific locations. It helps you identify the places your retail store will thrive and precisely where your competitors are. It provides the contextual intelligence you need to analyze your consumers’ location and make informed decisions with it. 

Ultimately, you can decide how far you want to be from your competitors, the best on-site location for your retail business, and where your target audience is with retail mapping. 

Why is retail mapping important?

Buyers’ purchase decisions are constantly evolving, and brick-to-mortar shoppers are no exception. 

If buyers aren’t changing how they shop, they are changing where they shop. Research reveals millions of Americans have moved from their location due to the pandemic. Therefore, running a retail business is quite challenging for business owners now more than ever. 

To combat this change, many retail owners are adopting retail mapping and the contextual intelligence it offers to know precisely where their customers have moved to and how to cater to their needs. 

How to utilize retail mapping to meet buyers where they are 

Conducting retail mapping to meet consumers’ expectations in their location involves specific steps. Find out below: 

1. Combine retail mapping with contextual data 

Retail mapping provides the contextual intelligence required to satisfy consumers’ needs where they are. For instance, the detailed location data of customers will supply store owners with the contextual intelligence necessary to drive significant business decisions, including location, supply chain,products, marketing approach, etc. 

If store owners want to discover where their loyal customers are moving to, or if competitors are winning their customers over from a new or similar location, they can examine contextual data to find answers. Sometimes, first-party data may not suffice; they need contextual intelligence from third-party sources to know where their customers are. 

This goes beyond sales records, online orders, catalogs, etc, to external customer data sources, such as third-party ad interactions, credit card transactions, and more. 

 

2. Expand the retail footprint 

After identifying consumers’ locations with the contextual data retail mapping supplies, the next step is to figure out where to reach them. 

For instance, a study shows many people moved from highly populated cities to suburbs during the pandemic. Therefore, if retail owners are to work with this insight, the most apparent strategy would be to launch new stores in the suburbs. 

Additionally, since many consumers now work remotely, another effective strategy would be to open new locations closer to where they live. This increases sales because consumers who value convenience will find retail shops nearby an easier way to shop. 

However, this insight is not enough to open new locations where customers are; retail business owners must harness deeper contextual intelligence from retail mapping to ensure they make the best decisions. This includes average traffic times, previous transaction data, etc. 

 

3. Meet consumers’ needs 

Knowing where consumers are and finding the most suitable location isn’t where it ends. You must also gather contextual intelligence to analyze buyers’ needs and expectations. If your consumers are changing places, their lifestyle, interests, and habits may change too. 

So, rather than use previous data to analyze consumer behavior, conduct new research. Are buyers more inclined to sustainability products? Are they more passionate about patronizing locally made products? Has the location change impacted their purchase decisions in any way? 

Answering these questions can help you catch up with buyers purchasing trends. You can use the insights to structure how to meet their needs and improve their customer experiences. 

4. Consider their “why”

In the process of using contextual intelligence from retail mapping to know consumers’ locations and meet their demands, it’s essential to find out their reasons for residing in a specific area or moving to a new place. Is it due to living conditions, traffic, accessibility, or proximity to work?

The answers to these questions will let you know what to consider when creating your location strategy. It will also help you avoid triggers that may impact their loyalty and relationship with your business. 

Adopting retail mapping software

Functional retail mapping software is a critical aspect to automating the retail mapping process. It allows you to evaluate your data on an interactive map, plot store locations, identify where shoppers shop and competitors’ locations, etc. It supplies the analytics required to set up your store in a place that helps your business thrive. 

Functions of a retail mapping software 

A retail mapping software performs several functions to facilitate the retail mapping process, including:

1. Site selections

One of the most prominent functions of retail mapping software is providing accurate insight to select the correct location. 

So, if you are about to start your new retail business and are looking for the best place to situate your store, you can use retail mapping software to visualize where most of your customers are to find the perfect place. Also, if you are relocating and wondering how to succeed in a new location, a retail mapping tool can help. You will get all the information you need on existing competitors in the area, where prospective customers buy from, and where to locate your store to attract these customers to you. 

For example, you can identify competitions to know if you want to be close to them or find another spot. Rather than choose based on guesswork, retail mapping software will give you the correct data to make the most rewarding decision on location. 

2. Geomarketing 

Retail mapping tools aren’t restricted to choosing the correct location for a new store; you can also use them for marketing campaigns. 

You can evaluate its contextual intelligence to channel your marketing efforts to a specific area. It offers geolocation intelligence to understand where consumers are and analyze their behaviors. 

This way, you can structure your out-of-home marketing to attract audiences and meet their expectations.

Retail mapping software is not limited to on-site marketing campaigns; they can be used for online mobile advertising. They also allow you to visualize and examine mobile advertising campaigns. You will know how their location details affect lead generation, click-through rate, and cost-per-rating point, (CPR).

This insight improves geolocation strategies and lets you target your mobile campaign effectively for the best results. 

3. Customer segmentation

Your target market has diverse interests, behaviors, and goals. Visualizing their data on a retail mapping software allows you to categorize your customers into segments. This prevents you from adopting a generalized approach to marketing and tailoring your business by category. 

You will know the best way to approach them, the right products to recommend, and the right places to situate your business with the data an efficient retail mapping software provides. 

4. Indoor mapping 

Excellent retail mapping software enables indoor mapping. Insights garnered from buyers’ WiFi networks, GPS location, and indoor Apple Maps allow retailers to optimize layouts and get actionable data on pricing, operations, opening hours, etc. 

What to consider when choosing a retail mapping software 

Choosing an effective retail mapping software is critical to getting the best results in on-site location, competition analytics, and consumer behavior when opening a store. 

Below are the essential factors to guide you in choosing the best retail mapping tool. 

 

1. Type of data 

Mapping software offers different data mapping capacities. Therefore, it’s crucial to figure out the type of data you want from your mapping data software. 

Do you want geographical or relational data? Can the mapping software deliver the kind of data you need? What results do you want to achieve with the data provided? Identifying your goals will help you decide type of mapping software you need. 

 

2. Customer base

Most retail mapping software offers both on-site and online retail mapping data. So, identify your customer base before choosing your software. 

Do you have more online customers than on-site, or is it the other way round? It’s best to select a retail mapping software that caters to most of your customers. 

 

3. Ease of use 

The purpose of using retail mapping software is to facilitate the mapping process. So, choosing a complicated tool won’t help you achieve your goal. Therefore, ensure your retail mapping software is user-friendly for an easy user experience.

Conclusion 

Retail mapping provides the best insights on selecting a suitable physical location for sales, targeting effective marketing tactics, and effectively segmenting customers. This article discusses how retail mapping offers contextual data necessary to meet consumers’ where they are. 

Why Study an International Business Management Degree Instead of a Standard Business Course?

You’re studying business at A-Level, and you know that you want to go on to study for a business degree at university. But, with so many options available to you just in the field of business and business management, how do you know which to choose?

You might have heard of international business management degrees, but what does that really mean? And is it really that different to a standard business management degree?

Here, we cover the additional benefits of an international business management degree and why this is a great option for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Understanding business in a global context

An international business management degree will give you an in-depth understanding of businesses against the backdrop of the global context. But what does this mean?

Businesses are facing an increasingly complex environment and events across the globe can have an impact on their operations. A core challenge for businesses that operate globally is navigating these evolving trends, which present both opportunities and risks. Environmental and social concerns from all corners of the world can affect business operations and the ability to evolve in the face of these trends is essential.

Even local businesses are facing increased pressure from global competitors. Monolithic companies, including Amazon, are taking a share of their market and offering services that are difficult to compete with. On the flip side, international businesses must adapt to local conditions to be able to operate successfully in different countries and regions.

Understanding how businesses adapt to shifting trends around the world will truly set you apart when it comes to your career because you’ll be able to apply a wider knowledge set to your business.

Understand how and why global businesses work

Many of the most successful businesses in the world have a global presence. It might seem like global operations are the only way to truly be successful, but that isn’t always the case. Certain sectors dominate globally; seven of the top ten businesses globally are technology companies, while telecoms, financial, energy, and industrial sectors follow behind.

Expanding overseas comes with a huge range of challenges, including language barriers, operating in multiple currencies, and the costs of new office or store locations. The local culture and economic climate have an enormous impact on business operations. Brands that excel in their native countries have had to build unique business models to succeed on an international stage.

An international business management degree will give you a thorough understanding of how global businesses create bespoke business models to adapt to both local contexts and universal trends and processes.

Get ahead of the competition

Learning about business management on an international scale will help set you apart from others when you graduate and begin your career. You’ll develop a keen awareness of the major components of business operation and success, including the importance of accounting, finance, and marketing, before applying your knowledge to a global context.

As well as this, you’ll gain a key competitive advantage in the job market. You’ll not only study some of the most successful businesses in the world, but you’ll get the opportunity to work with them too. If working with a globally established business wasn’t enough, you’ll also get the chance to study and work abroad as part of many international business management degrees. What better way to understand how global circumstances reflect in local business practices than to see and study it first-hand?

Business degrees have long been amongst the most popular to study in the UK. They can also be one of the highest-earning degrees you can take depending on the path you choose. These degrees equip students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in many areas of a business and can open the door to careers in marketing, HR, and management. Understanding the practice of business in a global context will really make you stand out when it comes to your career, so why not consider an international business management degree?

5 Reasons Every Startup Must Calculate Their Market Size

Building a successful startup goes beyond developing a product or service—you must be sure you are diving into a profitable market, and your product can cater to consumers’ needs. 

Calculating your market size helps you know if the market is ready for your product. It also gives insights into the number of potential customers you’ll sell to and how much profit you can make.

Essentially, market size is how to know if your brand will succeed and how to prepare, making it a crucial process for every startup. It’s also one of the important figures your investors and partners need to know before committing to your business.

So, if you are about to launch your startup and unsure if figuring out your market size is the next big step, you are in the right place. 

This article discusses why market size is critical for every startup looking to set out successfully. 

Let’s dive right in. 

What is market size? 

Market size is the number of potential customers to sell your product or service and the total revenue you can generate from these sales. For example, if you sell hiking boots, your potential customers could be the people in a community group of hikers. 

As a fitness trainer, your possible market size could be the number of people jogging on the highway or the number of users searching for fitness trainers in your location online. 

There are two prominent types of market size to keep in mind when learning how to calculate market share. Then, there’s an additional stage that can benefit the process. Let’s examine them below:

  • Total addressable market: Total Addressable Market (TAM) is the first market size to calculate. It evaluates if your potential market is large enough. It is also the total revenue or profit you’ll make if your startup is 100% successful. 
  • Target or available market: Segmented Addressable Market (SAM) is the market size your startup can achieve in the future. It is a fragment of the total addressable market.
  • Expected market share: This is an additional stage of the two market types. It helps in understanding what segment of the market you want and your expectations for your business. It is also called the Expected Share of the Addressable Market (ESAM). 

Major components of a market size 

Below are the essential elements an adequate market size entails. They include:

  • The total potential size of a market
  • The significant competitors in a market by category
  • The composition and profile of a target customer
  • The products/services available in the market
  • The most important trends in the market

 

Top reasons to calculate your market size as a startup 

There are several ways to figure out your market size potential to grow your startup business. Let’s examine the most prominent perks of calculating your new business’s market size. 

1. It helps you develop an effective market strategy

Research reveals that businesses that proactively plan their marketing are 331% more likely to report success than other marketers. The market size provides the essential data required to create a solid marketing strategy before launch, increasing the chances of success. 

Understanding your potential market, how big it is, and how much you can make from it will set you on the right track for your marketing plan. 

The roadmap refers to when making major business decisions, including the type of product to develop, what to improve, and the marketing techniques to attract and sustain consumers’ interest. 

It also enables targeted marketing that produces fast results. Since you know precisely your target audience, you can narrow your efforts to this specific group of people rather than targeting everyone. 

As a result, you’ll experience a quick turnaround with your marketing, allowing you to scale your startup faster. 

It also influences significant choices during the early stage of your startup, including: 

  • Location: Your market sizes will help you know where your potential market is. For example, are they located in the suburbs or urban areas? What social media platforms do they use the most? Etc.
  • Pricing: Understanding the number of customers and income you”ll generate from the products you sell helps you select appropriate pricing for your goals. 
  • Product development: Since you know your market, you’ll know what they need and how to structure your product to suit their needs. 
  • Raising capital: Market size lets you know how much money you must raise to launch your product successfully. You’ll see the amount you need to develop the correct number of products for your market size. 
2. It reveals products’ feasibility 

Many startups fail because they don’t calculate the market size to know how viable their product is. A business idea may be great, but it may not be what a market needs at a particular period. 

If the market is not ready for it, there’s a high probability that the product will fail no matter how good it is. But this is where the market size comes in. It reveals how practical a business idea is before launch. It helps you discover if there are enough people in need of a product and if it’s a worthy investment considering its ROI.

By examining the startup’s market opportunities and profitability, you will know whether to turn your idea into a business or wait till the market is ready. Identifying a “go” or “no-go” decision early through the market size prevents future losses and helps you channel your efforts into what works. 

 

3. It gives you a competitive advantage 

Calculating market size provides critical data that puts you ahead of your competitors. You can work with the insight discovered from calculating your market size to develop strategies that keep you ahead of the game. 

First, it reveals precisely who you should be targeting. So, while competitors without a market size are trying to sell to anyone, you will channel your marketing efforts to a segmented audience, facilitating results. 

Also, it helps you discover the segments of the market your competitors are neglecting, so you can harness the potential. 

Finding these gaps in the market enables you to create unique offerings for a targeted audience, helping you stand out and gain a competitive advantage over other startups. 

You can differentiate your product from your competitors by highlighting your business’s unique features when you know your specific market size. 

For example, if your competitors focus on selling multiple products to the customers, you can distinguish your brand by offering a particular product of the highest quality. This portrays you as an expert in the industry and differentiates you from other businesses vying for attention. 

 

4. It attracts investors

Potential investors and partners want to know if your business is worth their investment, and market size shows how feasible and profitable your startup will be. If investors see the number of customers waiting for your product, they can determine how beneficial it will be. 

Additionally, a market size lets you map out a market plan, allowing you to highlight your goals and how to achieve them. It’s easy to convince your partners and investors your business is their best bet with a working plan. This way, you can win them over and generate enough capital for your business. 

 

5. It enables better accuracy with pricing, supplies, and distribution

Knowing your market size helps you make accurate decisions to get the best results. You will learn the suitable pricing packages to set considering the number of potential customers and their demographics. The same applies to product quantity produced and how you distribute them. 

Accurate pricing, supply, and distribution will help you hit your goals faster. Contrarily, wrong decisions can generate losses and hamper your plans. Therefore, understand your market size to make correct choices that move your business forward.

What to consider before calculating market size 

Here are two significant steps to take before calculating market size:

1. Set questions 

Define your goals before calculating your startup’s market size. The best way to do this is to set specific questions you want the result of the market size to answer. 

These questions may include: 

  • Should we invest in this product or market? 
  • Should we increase or decrease our investment in this business idea?
  • Is the market big enough to generate the profit we desire?
  • Is the market evolving or static? 
  • What does the market look like in the next few years?

These questions will help you set clear goals when calculating your market size. So, you can determine if the market is profitable to venture into by asking these questions. 

 

2. Be objective 

Develop an objective mindset and approach to calculating your market size. Remember, the market size’s result is to identify if the market is worth diving into or not. 

So, be open-minded throughout the process, understanding that the result will help you make the best decision. So, it’s best to retreat and restrategize if the market size shows the business idea won’t be profitable. 

Note that the market is constantly evolving, and the results are not static. There are chances the market will be profitable in the future, even if the current stats aren’t promising. So, sit back, monitor the trends, and identify the best time to launch. 

Conclusion 

Determining your market size is crucial to launching a successful startup. This article discussed why calculating market size is essential for new businesses.

5 Health Benefits of Wearing Japanese Face Masks

Face masks have become commonplace in society today, not only in Japan but worldwide. There are many reasons people don their masks before dashing out of the home, with some ladies even using them to hide their faces when they don’t have time for makeup. 

People have ingenious ways of incorporating their face masks into their daily routine, and there are many adjusted clothing items and gadgets to facilitate wearing masks. So why are so many drawn to wearing the masks?  

Most face mask wearers have varied ideas of why they are keeping themselves healthy, but here are some of the health benefits listed by the Japanese citizens: 

1. Prevents the Spread of Illnesses

As everyone knows, the face mask protects the wearer and those around them from spreading airborne bacteria and viruses. Coughing or sneezing hurls the illness-causing agents into the air, and passers-by then inhale these pathogens. 

Once in the body, the microorganisms start to multiply, and soon, the person carrying them can spread them on to others. To minimize the risk of a sick person or carrier spreading the disease to others, people can wear Japanese-style masks like those from https://masaomask.com.au/ as protection. 

With most flu-like diseases or conditions having an incubation period of a few days, some people may not know they’re infected and some show no signs of illness at all. During this time, the microorganisms can be spread to others much quicker if people don’t take precautions like wearing masks in social settings.

2. Improves Hay Fever Symptoms

Some wearers of the Japanese face masks noted an improvement in their allergies when wearing their masks outside of their homes. The face covers aren’t equally efficient in keeping out pollen, but the Japanese variants seem to bring some extra relief. 

The air quality in big cities is poor because of various pollutants, increasing the likelihood of upper airway infections and hay fever. Although masks are not a surefire way to prevent these conditions, they contribute to a diminished risk for them. 

Japanese masks are known to filter out up to 99% of particles in the air, making them some of the best to buy for someone suffering from hay fever or allergies.

3. Assists Mental Well-being

The Japanese are a hard-working nation known to keep their heads down and mind their business. Many people value their privacy and sometimes need solitude to gather their thoughts. 

For introverts, the face mask has become socially acceptable for use when they feel overwhelmed. Communication hinges on reading people’s facial expressions, so individuals naturally avoid conversations with someone wearing a mask unless needed. 

In the long run, this isn’t a great strategy to prevent interaction, and communication with others is needed. But when the situation calls for some alone time and the person feels their anxiety well up, donning a mask is an easy solution.

4. Keeps the Airways Moist and Warm

The human body relies on the air we breathe to be moist and warm when inhaling it into the lungs. The cold air could cause upper airway and respiratory infections in colder climates because the airways are more susceptible. 

The Japanese face masks keep the mouth, nose, and cheeks warm during the cold, decreasing the possibility of contracting minor or more severe infections. 

5. Could Improve Eating Habits

Although this isn’t an official benefit of the Japanese face masks, people who wear masks said that it prevents them from sticking food into their mouths all day. It has caused people to think more about their actions and plan meals instead of grabbing something on the go. Most people will still eat their meals and snacks, but planning helps them avoid fast food and unhealthy options they could grab without thinking.

The Final Word

Japanese face coverings have been around for more than a hundred years, leading some to believe that their masks are some of the best designs among other options on the market today. After all, they have had a few years to perfect their craft.

Whether the person wears a mask for physical or mental health reasons, they remain one of the top-selling items worldwide. Looking at the benefits of these Japanese-style masks, it isn’t hard to see that they will be around for the next hundred years.

Prevention is always better than cure, no matter the health issue, so remember to grab your mask and contribute to your safety and those of others.

Should Your Company be Issuing 1099 Forms to Independent Contractors?

As soon as your small business starts outsourcing its tasks to independent contractors is the moment you need to consider tax compliance. Independent contractors aren’t supposed to use the same tax forms as employees, but they may not always need certain forms, like 1099.

What Is a 1099 Form?

Knowing what a 1099 form is can help you understand if you need one in the first place. Form 1099 is an information filing form used to report non-employment income to the IRS. There are over 20 variants of this form, but you likely need a 1099-NEC if you’re hiring freelancers.

However, you can use other 1099 forms for other non-salary income, such as interest income, IRA distributions, tax dividends, prize winnings, the sale of personal property, and more.

What Is a 1099-NEC Form?

Form 1099-NEC is what you’ll use to tell the IRS that you paid an independent contractor, freelancer, or self-employed person, for their services. The IRS will use this information to verify a contractor’s income as well as the client’s income (yours) and your federal tax burden.

Independent contractors don’t have to file 1099-NEC themselves; the onus is entirely on the client. Instead, freelancers will report their income on Schedule C, even if it falls under $600.

When Should you Issue a 1099-NEC Form?

As a rule, businesses should issue Form 1099-NEC to a contractor or partnership if they hire them to perform $600 or more worth of work. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Corporations Don’t Need Form 1099-NEC
Some independent contractors will register as S Corporations or C Corporations and therefore don’t need to Form 1099-NEC to file their taxes. You can tell if a contractor is a sole proprietor or a Corp if they put this information on their W-9 or if their Corp\’s name ends with “, inc.”

Employees Don’t Need Form 1099-NEC
Under no circumstance should you file a 1099-NEC form for your employee’s wages. If you do, you’re misclassifying an employee, which could land you in legal trouble. To report employee wages, use Form W-2. If you’re not sure how to report a worker, check out this article.

Freelance Marketplaces Don’t Need Form 1099-NEC
Although freelance marketplaces don’t technically “hire” freelancers and are still independent contractors, you shouldn’t use Form 1099-NEC to report their income. Freelance marketplaces are classified as payment settlement entities and don’t need clients to issue any forms.

How do you File a 1099-NEC Form?

To file Form 1099-NEC, you’ll need two copies. Copy A is for the IRS, and Copy B should be mailed to the contractor. If you have the contractor’s Form W-9, filling out a 1099-NEC is easy.

Fill Out Required Information
Using the contractor’s W-9, find their legal name, address, and SSN or business number and put this information on Form 1099-NEC. The only information you need to locate is the amount you paid the contractor during the tax year. Check your bookkeeping to confirm this amount.

Submit Copy A and Copy B
You must submit Copy A to the IRS by January 31st and Copy B to the contractor by the same date. If you want to submit a physical form of Copy A, you can’t print one off from the website and send it to the IRS. You have to get a physical copy. Copy B can be printed and sent.

Send Copy A and 1096 Together
When sending you 1099-NEC Copy A’s to the IRS, be sure to submit a Form 1096. 1096 tracks every 1099-NEC you sent over the course of the tax year. You must submit this form by January 31st. Keep in mind that you don’t have to claim non-1099-NEC income on Form 1096.

Check State 1099 Requirements
Most states have a 1099-NEC filing requirement, but 11 states don’t. If you live in Alaska, Nevada, Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, or Texas, you don’t have to send a separate 1099-NEC form to your state.

Merger Accounting: A Step-By-Step Guide

Mergers and acquisitions are among the major methods that allow businesses to push forward with their growth, operations, mission, and goals. For the most part, the two processes are quite similar – they involve two, or more, pre-existing business entities combining into a single surviving company. In 2021, the mergers and acquisitions market just in the U.S. reached a record value of $2.9 trillion in transactions. In fact, the country accounted for nearly 60% of the global deals in that year.

Naturally, both processes are extremely complicated, time-consuming, and require a lot of support from experts in the accounting and legal fields. If the involved entities do not have the internal departments to handle the merger’s workload, it is best to find a specialized outside firm. Multiple factors should guide the selection of an external counsel.

The accounting firm must be sufficiently proficient in the process and should operate within the specific jurisdiction. For example, U.K. entities participating in a merger might want to look for accountants London to support the process. Finding accountants that you can trust to deliver outstanding results is paramount as mergers involve rigorous examination of both companies’ financial statements, accounts, activities, and more.

Accounting’s Role In a Merger

The merger process begins with identifying the right targets and initiating negotiations. What follows are multiple rounds of due diligence, analysis of financial reports, past business performance, formulating projections, signing preliminary agreements, doing even more due diligence, and moving towards finalizing the deal. Countless moving parts must all be synchronized in order to deliver the required results.

Obtaining regulatory approval may also be necessary, especially in cases where the merger parties are large businesses with significant market shares in the specific sector. Mergers in the U.S. fall under the dual jurisdiction of the federal government and the laws of the specific state in which the target company is incorporated.

More specifically, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) controls the sales and transfer of securities, while the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) handle antitrust and competition matters. Additional agencies may also get involved if the entities of the merger operate in certain regulated industries. To assure that they are compliant will all the necessary requirements, both businesses will need qualified advice from accounting and legal professionals.

Due Diligence

For a merger to be successfully finalized, both involved parties must compile massive amounts of financial data and provide it to each other. In turn, each party must diligently examine the given reports, data, balance sheets, projection reports, etc., and ensure that all of the numbers are accurate, relevant, and meet their expectations. If the merger involves stock consideration, proxy statements will need to be filed and cleared by the SEC. The company issuing the shares must also register them with the Commission via registration statements.

The accounting specialists must go over both companies’ accounts, sales figures, intellectual property, material contracts, existing commitments, and customers. At the same time, they must confirm that all pending or current legal proceedings involving the chosen entity have been properly disclosed in the provided documentation. The same also applies to any tax infringements, regulatory issues, environmental policies, and current or potential employee and H.R. problems.

Before the deal can be closed, it may also need to pass regulatory approval. The FTC enforces rules pertaining to specific information that cannot be disclosed, particularly regarding certain pricing information and strategic plans. Simultaneously, the FTC might request additional information to be provided during the review process, including internal documents related to the deal or a detailed copy of all the communication that has taken place between the two entities of the merger.

Post-Merger Responsibilities

Even when the merger has been officially announced to the public and subsequently finalized, the expertise provided by the accountants is still necessary. It is more than likely that the merger agreement contains agreed-upon provisions that will require the accountants from both companies to remain active participants for quite a while. One common example is determining the necessary cash settlement of the difference between a specified net working capital value and the final net working capital between the two companies on the closing date.

The post-closing responsibilities may also include facilitating the integration of the accounting systems of the existing entities into the company that will be formed after the merger. This could require migrating all of the current data and functions to new systems. Accounting is also essential in assisting with the implementation of the new internal controls and any governance processes of the surviving entity.

What Is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program that helps small businesses and self-employed individuals borrow money to cover their expenses. This program was created by the U.S. federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP provides loans of up to $10 million for businesses with 500 or fewer employees and up to $5 million for self-employed individuals.

The funds from these loans can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and other expenses. Businesses that borrow money through the PPP can have their loans forgiven if they use the funds for these approved expenses and maintain their staff levels. The amount of money that can be borrowed through the PPP depends on the business’s average monthly payroll expenses. 

For most businesses, the maximum loan amount is 2.5 times their average monthly payroll expenses. Businesses that borrow money through the PPP can have their loans forgiven if they use the funds for these approved expenses and maintain their staff levels. 

If you are thinking of applying for a PPP loan then keep on reading. In this article, we are going to talk about the basics of this loan, who can apply for this program, what the funds can be used for, and how much can an applicant receive.

PPP Data and Report Related to This Program

Last year several reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program by Biden-Harris Administration Increase Equitable Access to Relief were made to make sure small ventures obtain the assistance they need, especially Mom-and-Pop businesses in underserved communities. 

The Biden-Harris Administration launched a comprehensive plan to engage nonprofits and small businesses by concentrating on building trust in underserved communities while also placing equity at the center of its programs and policies.

The cornerstone of these changes comprised a 14-day exclusive period from February 24 to March 9. During this period, only nonprofits and ventures with fewer than 20 employees could apply for PPP loan application. The aim was to give creditors some time to concentrate on helping the smallest businesses left behind in previous rounds.

What Is a PPP Loan?

The Paycheck Protection Program was designed as a loan program for small businesses. It originated from the Economic Security (CARES) Act as well as the Coronavirus Aid. The federal government initiated this law as a $350-billion program to help small ventures in the USA obtain eight weeks of cash-flow aid through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) backs these loans. This program was later reformed and changed, adding $310 billion in financing. Significant changes were made by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. This allowed small businesses to have more time for spending additional funding as well as giving options for the loan to be forgiven.

What Can You Use a PPP Loan For?

Pay attention to the details and requirements before you apply for this lending solution. Is a PPP loan legit? Yes, it’s a credible source of additional funding but at least 60 percent of the sum must be utilized to cover the employee benefits expenses and payroll. The other 40 percent may be spent on:

Utility expenses

Rent or lease payments

Mortgage interest payments

Supplier expenses such as cost of goods

Operations expenses such as accounting needs or software

Property damage expenses

Provided that you follow these rules, you will be able to have 100% of the loan amount forgiven (turning it into a tax-free grant). Keep in mind that you can be charged with a PPP loan fraud loan lookup if you don’t appropriately spend the money. The applicant will be asked to certify that the cash will be spent in the right way during the request process.

Who Is Eligible for a PPP Loan?

Are you eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program loan? If you are a self-employed person, an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a small business owner, you may apply.

Independent contractors may need to submit their Schedule C together with the Form 1099-MISC (1099-NEC since 2020)

Sole proprietors may need to submit their Schedule C from the tax return filed demonstrating the net profit from their work.

Self-employed people may need to submit their payroll tax filings reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

In conclusion, you need to review all the requirements and eligibility criteria of the PPP loan before you decide if this is a suitable lending solution. Independent contractors, small business owners, and sole proprietors may be eligible for this loan. 

CBD and Cancer

CBD and Cancer

Cancer may be initially localized within a single organ or tissue, or it may spread to other organs and tissues. Most often, cancer arises from the cells of the body itself, the skin, and certain glands.

However, some cancers arise only within the body without being caused by anything external to that person’s body. Therefore, most cancers are named for their type histologically rather than their location in the body.

There are several different types of cancer, some of which may be more common in people as they age. These types of cancer include cervical cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and esophageal cancer.

What is CBD?

The cannabis plant contains a substance called cannabidiol (CBD), which has been studied for its medical potential, including anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects suggestive of its use as a treatment for certain diseases.

CBD is made by extracting CBD from either hemp or marijuana and mixing it with a base of either coconut or extra-virgin olive oil. It’s then mixed with whatever dosage you want, typically between 5 and 20 drops per sublingual drip, depending on the brand.

Although details of cannabis-derived products have been found to be highly varied, the acids can be used in many ways: as a foodstuff, in beverages, or even as a medicine.

Benefits of CBD in the cancer treatment

Cannabis is a plant that has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes and recreation. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been widely studied to prevent and treat several health problems. However, it is always advised to use a cannabis consultant for administering dosage.

Nausea and Vomiting

Several synthetic THC medications can help relieve nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. These medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in patients with brain cancers.

Psychological benefits

The benefits of CBD in the cancer treatment, especially if you have developed any psychological disorders or acquired some other adverse side effect of the treatment such as anxiety or depression, those can even be treated by using CBD oil.

Chronic Pain and inflammation

Many people suffer from chronic Pain, especially after cancer treatments. CBD is a cannabinoid that acts on the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which helps to reduce pain and swelling. Although the studies show that using CBD reduces chronic pain outcomes, it may take multiple doses for the effects to be fully seen.

It helps in sound sleep

A recent study has found that CBD may help to increase sleep duration by reducing the level of cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone in the cancer patients.

Stressors such as extended work hours and sleep deprivation are related to increased cancer mortality rates. In addition, more recent studies suggest that certain types of stress – including chronic stress and psychological trauma – may boost cancer risk.

Regulating Appetite

Several patients complained of a decrease in their appetite post chemotherapy. The use of CBD helps in managing the appetite in patients and boosts the immunity that results in dealing with other ailments that may occur during the cancer treatment.

Strategic Partnership Set to Accelerate Transition to Electric Vehicles in the Workplace

Durham-based, Anglo Scottish Asset Finance, is partnering with Diode, an electric vehicle (EV) suitability assessment software platform, to help break down the barriers to EV adoption and drive forward electrification in the workplace.

The partnership has been spearheaded by Charlotte Enright, business development manager and sustainability lead at Anglo Scottish Asset Finance.

Following discussions with Diode, which was established in 2020 in response to the climate change emergency and is a recipient of Innovate UK and Department for Transport grant funding, the two companies are partnering to provide a full circle service for businesses looking to invest in EVs.

Diode, an innovative web-based software platform that provides an all-in-one solution to help businesses, employees and consumers assess their electric vehicle suitability, generate a tailored charge point roll-out plan and purchase charge points through an automated tender process, identified that initial investment for many businesses would require finance and, as such, the relationship between the two companies was agreed.

The partnership coincides with the recent publication of the government’s UK Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy. Included, was a £1.6 billion commitment towards achieving a tenfold increase in charge points by 2030, which will accelerate the government’s aim to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and ensure all new cars and vans are zero-emission by 2035.

With the average driver needing to charge for approximately seven hours per week at a standard 7kW charge point, installing charge points at workplaces will be a critical component if the target is to be achieved.

Established in 2007 and with headquarters in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Anglo Scottish is an independent business finance broker, providing a range of financial services across the UK including asset finance, business loans and vendor and dealer finance, as well as personal vehicle solutions and vehicle sourcing.

Dan Eyre, co-founder and COO, Diode, said: “At current petrol and electricity prices, the cost per mile for electric vehicles is about half that of an equivalent petrol vehicle.

“The high upfront costs of the vehicles and charge points can put businesses and drivers off making the switch and is why finance options are so important, because it means our customers can start taking advantage of low-cost electric driving from day one.

“More than 90% of the drivers that complete our Electric Vehicle Readiness Assessment are in the position to make the switch. For some businesses, they may choose to make a full transition then and there, whilst others may wish to go at a slower pace. Diode can help companies that fit in to both of these groups and with Anglo Scottish as our finance partner, customers will quickly reap the benefits, both in terms of cost savings and accelerating their transition to electric vehicles.”

Charlotte Enright, sustainability lead, Anglo Scottish Asset Finance, said: “Recent figures published by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders highlighted a huge increase in sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2021. In fact, more new battery electric vehicles were registered than over the previous five years combined. Interestingly, there were 190,727 battery electric vehicles and 114,554 plug-in hybrids, meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 could be plugged in.

“As part of the UK’s transition to electric vehicles, Diode has identified the need for a streamlined, simple, data driven platform that requires very little in terms of time investment. Results are quick and the benefits for businesses that work with the platform are huge.

“Once employees have completed their assessments, and businesses have generated their roll-out plans, those seeking finance are directed to Anglo Scottish, where we will find the best possible finance deals for electric vehicles and charging stations, via our vast panel of lenders.

David Foster, managing director, Anglo Scottish Asset Finance, said: “As we continue to strengthen our sustainable finance offering, with the aim of becoming the leading provider in the UK, we need look no further than the current investment taking place within electrification.

“For many, the journey towards making workplace operations sustainable will be on-going and Anglo Scottish aims to make this transition as smooth as possible, both for existing and new customers.”

3 Common Myths About Using Viagra

Viagra has been a popular choice to treat erectile dysfunction because it is effective, and extensive scientific evidence supports its usage. At the same time, various myths and misconceptions are attached to Viagra. If you intend to take this medicine, you need to know the facts before setting unrealistic goals about the results. Here are three common myths people have about using Viagra and why they are wrong:

1. Immediate Results

A common myth about using Viagra is that its results are immediate. However, Viagra can take more than 30 minutes to start affecting the male body. If one takes it along with their food, the digestion of the Viagra tablet will be slowed down: it may take more time than usual to show the results in this case. The drug may also become less effective if it is taken with alcohol or medicines. You should also note that the effectiveness of Viagra will also depend upon sexual stimulation, and Viagra alone is not effective in overcoming erectile dysfunction.

2. It’s Addictive

Many believe that Viagra is an addictive drug, and it makes a person depend on it to achieve an erection. This is a major reason people are afraid of taking Viagra; they believe they will get hooked on it. However, there are no properties or ingredients that can make it addictive.

Viagra pills help achieve and maintain an erection as they relax the blood vessels for a few hours. The drug starts affecting the body within an hour of its intake by improving the blood flow to the penis. There is no addictive element involved in it at all.

3. It Increases Your Libido

Some people assume that Viagra is an aphrodisiac when it just helps develop and maintain an erection once an individual is sexually stimulated.  It does not have any properties that help with arousal in its formation, so it does not affect the sex drive. Your libido will not be affected in any way by the intake of Viagra. However, taking it can help you overcome any confidence issues related to sex by letting you overcome the disorder part. It will only help with blood flow and enhance your sexual ability for a while after you take it, but will not have any effect on your sex drive in the long or short run.

Endnote

Taking Viagra is often associated with feelings of guilt or shame, and this needs to end. People assume all sorts of incorrect concepts about intaking the drug, including its relation to libido and addictiveness. Another common misconception is that taking Viagra will cure erectile dysfunction over time.

It is essential to understand that Viagra is only a temporary solution for erectile dysfunction, not a permanent treatment. It is also important to realize that Viagra may not work for a while. Be patient with the results of this medicine, as you may need to take it a few times for it to start showing desired results.

Now, you can easily purchase Viagra from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is place an order at Viagra online Canada, and the order will be delivered to your doorstep. This will save you from the hesitation of going to a pharmacy or nearby hospital.

What Should Your Business Provide to Improve Worker Safety?

Health and safety are key concerns for businesses, whether they are growing or established. In the EU alone, there were 3048 fatal accidents in the workplace in 2019, with a large proportion of these being within the construction sector. Every country within the EU must ensure that their national laws protect the rights dictated by EU employment laws. As an emerging small business, you may find yourself struggling to understand exactly what is expected of you in terms of workplace health and safety. What follows are some vital provisions you should make for your employees, along with the legal and logistical reasoning for their provision.

Health and Safety Policy

First and foremost, you need to draft a robust and comprehensive health and safety policy. There are certain legal requirements you must fulfil as a business, some of which we will touch upon later, but building an effective health and safety policy is one of them. It does not need to be formally drafted in text format if your business has fewer than five employees, but there must be evidence of a policy for you to be legally compliant.

Health and safety policies can help you navigate more specific requirements, directly address risks in your workplace and reassure employees that their safety is in good hands. One core aspect of your policy is risk assessment, wherein you establish the key risks inherent to certain tasks and areas, before drafting safe solutions to mitigating risk.

Workwear and PPE

Another of your legal responsibilities as a business is to provide appropriate personal protective equipment, or PPE, to your staff with reference to the risks they may face in your workplace. PPE can range in scope, from the simple provision of face masks to kitting them out with protective workwear.

Different items of PPE can be purchased together from suppliers, making the act of providing protective equipment a simple one. Just be sure that the items you purchase are fit for purpose, and of a high enough quality to withstand regular treatment where appropriate. You should also ensure you have adequate safe storage for your PPE, to keep it in safe condition for as long as possible.

Training

Employee training is a crucial arm of any robust health and safety policy. Instituting a regular training schedule ensures that all employees are on the same page regarding basic company procedures, as well as safe working techniques – whether lifting heavy objects or reporting hazards to the company’s designated ‘competent person’ or Health and Safety Officer.

Training also applies to the proper use of your provided PPE, mentioned above. You are legally required to provide adequate training in the use of PPE, to ensure it is used correctly and that injury risks are lessened.

Facilities

Lastly, businesses must provide adequate facilities to their staff, in the form of toilets, rest areas, changing rooms if necessary and running water for drinking. Employers within the EU also need to closely monitor the time and attendance of employees in order to comply with mandatory regulations.

Workers are all legally entitled to a twenty-minute uninterrupted break during shifts longer than six hours in length; further to that, they are entitled to more regular breaks on a health and safety basis if their work is ‘monotonous’, i.e.: repetitive work with machinery. Employees must also be allowed at least 11 consecutive hours between shifts and must not exceed the limit of 48 hours worked per week.

Allocated rest areas ensure that workers can make the most of their break and return to their tasks refreshed and hydrated.

What to Do if your Employee had an Accident with a Company Vehicle

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/car-crash-phone-call-woman-girl-6243099/

After an accident, you may be looking at paying for your medical treatment and damages to the other party, mainly if it results from your fault. While you may not need to pay the injured party out of pocket if you have adequate insurance coverage, the accident may impact your insurance premiums going forward.

Taking such responsibilities is relatively bearable when you know you are to blame for an accident. Unfortunately, there are situations when you could be held liable for an accident you weren\’t actively involved in.

A typical example is when your employee gets involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle.

Liability if an Employee Is in an Accident While Driving a Company Vehicle

An employer is responsible for damages resulting from the actions or inactions of their employees under the vicarious liability doctrine. The doctrine also goes by the name \”respondeat superior,\” Latin for the \”superior should answer.\”

However, vicarious liability is limited to when the employee is engaged in activity within their scope of work. Scope of work refers to any task within the employee\’s job description or one they undertake with authorization from their employer.

For example, if a company delivery person is on the road to and from making a delivery when they cause an accident, their employer will be liable for damages. However, if they decide to take a detour on their way back and get into an accident, they will be personally responsible for the accident.

What to Do if Your Employee Caused an Accident

Never Admit Liability, and Instead Hire a Lawyer
You may not be at the scene of the accident at the time and so may not control what your employee may or may not say. Therefore, it is vital to train employees beforehand never to admit liability after an accident, even when they feel they were at fault.

Proving liability is the work of the investigating agents, your insurer, and the other party\’s insurer or lawyer. After your employee gets in an accident with a company vehicle, the right thing to do is let a car accident lawyer from a reputable company such as Dolman Law handle all the legal aspects of your case.

Determine the Employee’s Classification
Liability resulting from employees is highly dependent on their classification. If the employee is a permanent worker, you will be legally liable for damages resulting from their actions.

However, if they are contractual workers, they will be legally liable for accidents resulting from their actions.

It is important to note that classifying an employee as a contractual worker alone does not mean they are. They have to fit the definition of a contractual worker as stipulated in your state\’s laws.

Call Your Insurance Provider
After getting a report of your employees\’ involvement in an accident, it is possible to have a lot on your mind to the extent you could forget critical things that need quick action. Whatever you do, you should not forget to notify your insurer because they will be responsible for settlement if the other party is successful with their claim.

The earlier you can involve your insurer, the more information they can gather that they could use to build their case. So, it is advisable to notify them as soon as you receive information about the accident.

Get Your Employee Into Action
If the employee involved in the accident isn\’t severely hurt, you could ask them to document the scene. Documenting the scene can help your lawyer recreate the scene during the process of assigning liability.

You could also ask them to gather witness testimonies (audio or written), the other party\’s contact information and identification, their car\’s license plates, etc.

Private Car Ownership is on the Decline – is Leasing Taking Over?

In 2021, London won the unenviable reputation of being the most congested city in the world. As things stand drivers populating the roads of our capital can expect to waste 148 hours at the wheel on average due to blocked-up traffic jams. Not only does this consume motorists’ precious time, but long vehicle queues don’t do the environment any favours either. Mindful of the negative effects of traffic pollution, ministers have plans to decrease these figures in the (not so) long run.

In the meantime, more and more people are opting for different ways to get around. Motorists are starting to realise, in fact, that they do not need to own a car to comfortably move from A to B. Leasing vehicles, for instance, is one of the most prominent alternatives, offering drivers an array of general and eco-friendly benefits.

Here, we delve into the rising popularity of hiring your own car or van, while outlining what actions are being taken to shrink the number of private vehicles.

Tackling private car ownership

Rates of car ownership in London are significantly lower than in the rest of the UK. In the capital, each household owns an average of 0.74 cars. Meanwhile, households in the South East and South West regions of the country possess 1.41 and 1.39 vehicles respectively. Still, Londoners – as well as drivers in large cities across Britain – are being incentivised to limit their car journeys or refrain from buying new vehicles altogether.

The implementation of Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) is contributing to the mission. First launched in London in April 2019, and now extended to populous centres in the UK, ULEZ are areas within cities where residents are required to abide by certain emission standards. Only electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as ones that satisfy Euro 5 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel) standards, are allowed to circulate in these zones for free.

If drivers want to journey through ULEZ with a car that fails to meet these requirements, they have to pay a daily charge of £12.50. For regular commuters, this can soon become a hefty expense. A solution would be to buy an electric car, but there is no hiding that this would be a costly purchase. Leasing an EV, instead, would allow drivers to circulate inside city centres in a sustainable and affordable way without breaking the bank. Hence, it is fair to say that it is an effective green measure to discourage people from purchasing and relying on their own private cars.

Additionally, London mayor Sadiq Khan has unveiled plans to introduce smart road pricing. This means that, from 2024, motorists across the whole of London may be charged every time they jump behind the wheel of their own vehicle. The aim is to minimise carbon emissions and enhance air quality, spurring residents to travel from A to B in more sustainable ways. In this respect, more than one-third of car journeys in London could be walked in less than 25 minutes, and two-thirds could be cycled in under 20 minutes.

What’s more, ministers hope to favour lower private car ownership figures by pushing for more public transport all over the country. The government has set aside £5bn to fund and level up local transport connections across the UK, which can play a significant role in helping Britain achieve its net-zero target by 2050. By investing in efficient public transportation while also supporting ride-sharing platforms and e-scooter services, there is a good chance that pollution levels will gradually drop.

Leasing: an alternative solution

But for those who like the freedom and comfort of driving a vehicle, what is the best and most popular option? Car and van leasing represents a great way for drivers to get around city roads in a more strategic and sustainable fashion.

Leasing benefits do not end here. How can it aid workers and commuters with their day-to-day travels?

One of the main advantages of leasing a vehicle is that you have the opportunity to choose the model that best suits your needs. Do you require a spacious van? Do you care about the well-being of our environment? Electric vehicles can be a pricey investment if you decide to buy one from the outset. Instead, leasing an EV is an affordable alternative that allows you to hit the streets without having to splash out a considerable amount of money.

Another factor that makes car and van leasing an appealing option is that you do not have to commit to a specific vehicle for years and years. Has a greener, more sustainable vehicle made its debut on the market? You can hand back your ‘old’ model and get behind the wheel of a more appropriate alternative. Hence, leasing offers motorists the opportunity to stay on top of attractive updates.

Likewise, if you have reached a stage in which you do not require a vehicle to cater for your business or personal commutes, you do not have to keep a dormant automobile on your driveway. Return the car or van keys, reduce the number of vehicles on the street, and start travelling by bike, by foot, or on public transport.

With specific measures in place, as well as sustainable plans in the pipeline, the future of private car ownership doesn’t seem too bright. In fact, additional commuting fees and increased funding for public transport are favouring more eco-friendly ways of roaming around the roads of British towns and cities.

For those who require a vehicle to carry out their daily duties, however, car and van leasing is becoming a handy, popular solution. From shorter commitments to more affordable and sustainable options, leasing is an appealing alternative that ticks all the right boxes.

The Rise of Bots: Are They the Future of Crypto Trading?

The crypto trading industry is growing and has already gained much attention and fame. Even PayPal has adopted crypto, enabling its users to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency. However, behind this attention and fame, the industry is also facing some serious challenges, chief among these being that you need a lot of time, skill, knowledge, and experience to succeed in crypto trading. 

In today’s world, where people are craving quick results and instant gratification, automation has taken over in many industries, including cryptocurrency trading.

Crypto trading bots are a promising new tool that can make the tedious task of investing in cryptocurrencies a lot more enjoyable. This is because they automate the buying and selling process, so traders don’t need to be on their computers all day. However, there have been some questions about how these bots work and whether the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages.

What are Crypto Trading Bots?

Cryptocurrency automated trading bots are computer programs that use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate the trading of cryptocurrencies. These bots allow traders to increase their chances of making profitable trades while reducing the time and effort required to monitor their portfolios.

There are many different crypto trading bots on the market, each designed for a different purpose. Some bots are designed to help beginners learn about cryptocurrency trading, while others are aimed at experienced traders who want to increase their profits.

There are two main types of crypto trading bots: automatic and manual. Automated bots work with an online exchange or brokerage platform, while manual bots work directly with cryptocurrency wallets.

The best crypto trading bots require minimal input from the trader, meaning they can be used to trade any cryptocurrency. Many of these bots also have built-in risk management features, automatically adjusting their investment strategies as conditions change.

How do Crypto Bots Work?

Crypto bots are computer programs that use algorithms to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Crypto bots have the potential to revolutionize a variety of industries, and their applicability in the financial sector is no exception. With rising interest in investing in cryptocurrencies, here are some examples of how crypto bots could be used:

Momentum TradingThis strategy involves buying assets when they are rising in price and selling them when they are falling. Because the price of an asset can change very quickly, this type of trading is inherently risky. However, with the help of a crypto bot, you can minimize those risks and make big profits.

Arbitrage TradingArbitrage trading is a strategy that involves simultaneously buying and selling an asset to gain a profit. One of the most popular assets to arbitrage is cryptocurrency. You can trade cryptocurrencies on multiple exchanges without worrying about the technical details of crypto bots. This makes it easy to make money by taking advantage of price fluctuations.

Market MakingCrypto bots are a great way to make market-making decisions. They allow you to get an accurate picture of the state of the market and make informed trading decisions. You can also use crypto bots to automate your trading process. 

Grid TradingThis is a type of trading whereby you place your orders on a predetermined schedule, usually daily or weekly. In this way, you can avoid the volatile swings affecting cryptocurrency prices. You can also use bots to automate your grid trading process.

Technical AnalysisThere is a growing trend of people using crypto bots to help them make investment decisions. These bots use various methods to analyze data and make predictions about the future price of cryptocurrencies. They can also be used to find trends and patterns in the data. 

Downsides of Using Cryptocurrency Bots

Cryptocurrency bots are a great way to make quick and easy profits, but there are also some downsides to using them. 

You can get burned quickly. Cryptocurrency bots are designed to make quick and easy profits but are also risky. They can easily take your money and leave you with nothing if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You have to be careful with your investment. Just like with any other form of investment, cryptocurrency investing is speculative. If the market goes down, your bot will go down with it. And if the market goes up, your bot could make a lot of money quickly – but then again, it could also lose everything you invested.

You need to be able to stay focused. Cryptocurrency bots are not easy to use. Many people find them quite challenging. If you lose focus for even a minute, your bot may stop working or produce incorrect results.

There is a learning curve. It would be best if you were willing to spend time learning how to use them properly. Cryptocurrency bots are not intuitive.

Bots and the Future of Cryptocurrency Trading

There is no one answer to the question of whether or not bots are going to revolutionize cryptocurrency trading. However, the potential for bots to improve trading efficiency is obvious. Here’s a look at how bots are changing the landscape of cryptocurrency trading.

Bots are quickly becoming the go-to tool for cryptocurrency traders. They allow traders to execute trades with minimal human input and can save tons of time during volatile market conditions.

As bots become more sophisticated, they will be able to manage more extensive portfolios with greater precision and speed. This will help aspiring investors capitalize on opportunities while averting common mistakes.

Bots also offer transparency that is often missing from human trading activities. By using bots, traders can see all of their relevant data in one place, making it easier to stay on top of their investments.

Overall, bots are changing the landscape of cryptocurrency trading by providing an efficient and transparent platform for investors to thrive in today’s market conditions.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency trading has become very lucrative, and bots play an increasingly important role in this market. As cryptocurrency markets grow more complex, traders need to use the latest tools and technology to succeed. 

Bots are one such tool that can help you make better financial decisions, and they will only become more popular as the market continues to evolve.

Car Insurance And Traveling Around North America

Being financially responsible for damage and injuries that you cause in a car accident is a legal responsibility and requirement not just in the majority of North America but also in the majority of the world. Nearly every state in the United States and provinces of Canada all have its own car insurance requirements for drivers living in them. While everyone follows the law with their own car insurance policies, they still raise the question. If you are driving around North America as a whole in Canada, the United States, or Mexico, will your current car insurance still cover you? The answer is a combination of both yes and no; here’s how.

Car Insurance in North America

Right off the bat, we can tell you that nearly every driver in the whole region of North America has at least general liability car insurance or basic coverage, as it is sometimes known. This is the insurance that will cover damage to another’s car and injuries to another driver if the policyholder is at fault. Fau[*image1*]lt usually determines whose insurance provider will have to pay out. However, there are several car insurance add-ons that can increase coverage to other damages like collision coverage with damage that is caused to your own vehicle in an at-fault accident and comprehensive coverage with criminal or weather damage when your car is parked. Personal injury protection providers insurance for your own injuries in an at-fault accident. This is the case with car insurance in the United States. For the most part, Canada’s car insurance functions exactly the same way but with different terminology. General liability coverage is referred to as third-party liability and direct compensation/property damage coverage. Mexico also has liability coverage requirements for injuries and property damage. So, car insurance all around North America is pretty consistent.

Car Insurance When Traveling Around North America

A car insurance policy from anyone living in any state in the United States is valid in every state they end up driving in or visiting. It’s when you are a resident of the state that things become technical. But for the most part, car insurance from one state will be good in all the others since it\’s impossible to live everywhere at once. The same goes for anyone living in any province of Canada or state in Mexico. Now, that brings us back to the main question of what if you are driving around North America and crossing borders. What if you were to take a road trip to Canada, the United States, or Mexico? Would your car insurance from your home country work?

Car Insurance When Traveling in The United States And Canada The United States and Canada have reciprocal car insurance laws with each other in place. In fact, some major car insurance companies are known to provide services in both countries. So, if you are visiting either country from either one, your car insurance should still be valid. It’s when your stay is more than 180 days or half a year when you may be required to get car insurance in that country, but you are all set for basic travel.

Car Insurance When Traveling to Mexico Traveling to Mexico, meanwhile, is another story. Your American or Canadian car insurance won’t be valid once you arrive. Instead, specialized and temporary Mexico-based car insurance must be obtained. Finding this coverage isn’t hard at all, as there are several insurance companies in Mexico that specialize in this. The same can also be said if you are renting a car –it will still require Mexican car insurance for however long your visit is.

When Someone Else is Driving Your Car Around North America

Of course, you may be traveling with someone. After all, road trips are long and tiring. Since you now know whether you will be covered when traveling cross country, you may be wondering if they will. Here, you have two options of coverage. There is a named driver where you specifically list them in your insurance policy and entitle them to all the coverage it has while they are driving. Inversely, there is permissive use wherein as long as you give whoever is going your car permission, they are also entitled to coverage making a named driver pointless. But be sure to check if your policy includes this. In conclusion, be sure you bring all the proof of your own car insurance and get any necessary coverages if they are required by your destination.

World Well-being Week – Did We Learn Anything About Mental Health From the Pandemic?

With World Well-being Week commencing on 27th June, did we learn anything about prioritising our health at work from the pandemic or are we simply going back to the way things were?  For many, the jury is still out.

The Stevenson/Farmer review, Thriving at Work, in October 2017 highlighted that an estimated 300,000 people lost their jobs each year due to mental ill-health pre-pandemic. Stress has been one of the top work-related factors that affect the health of adults in the UK in the last decade. That is pre-pandemic, the situation is now much worse but how does this translate to the workplace?

Many of us are struggling with poor mental health, burnout and anxiety.  In April 2021 McKinsey stated that at least 49% of respondents to a survey said they feel somewhat burned out. Work-related mental ill-health was costing UK businesses up to £45 billion in 2019, but those numbers are now £56 billion a year according to Deloitte UK, an increase of around 25%. This is likely to be as a result of staff turnover, absenteeism and the negative impact on productivity and profits for staff who are unable to cope due to mental health issues.

Equally according to the Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk) in February 2022, 78% of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work-life balance and 47% also reported improved well-being.  The pandemic taught others to prioritise work/ life balance and re-introduced us to more outdoor pursuits and the importance of community and purpose.

Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership, says we are entering a new era of addressing mental health. “Whilst there has been some success over the last ten years in opening up dialogue about mental health, breaking down the stigma, and some employers are increasingly addressing trauma, anxiety and stress at work, there is a huge way to go. Long gone is the time when businesses were not involved in their team’s health, and employees just came to work, clocked in, did their work and went home again.  It really is time for businesses to understand the importance of well-being and in particular, mental health, because so many more of us are suffering and well-being has never been so important to our lives and livelihoods.

“We need to learn the lessons about well-being that the pandemic taught us and not just try to go back to the way things were.  Going backwards is a losing battle anyway which won’t work as workers have different and greater expectations than they had pre-pandemic, and you will get push back. It is in the business’s interest to help too. We have been resilient, but we need time to heal and be strong for the next lot of upheavals, and the solution is multi-faceted.”

Naomi Glover, an applied neuroscience and brain health specialist, who also runs training, coaching and consultancy company Neuro-Informed Ltd says: “Record numbers of people experienced isolation, increased stress, anxiety, trauma and grief. There are long-term dangers associated with isolation and so the partial return to the office is valuable for many, particularly younger people.  But for employees over 40, the desire to continue working remotely is compelling and may help reduce stress and burnout. One of the issues facing employers is they need to address a spectrum of mental well-being needs because different people have been affected in different ways.”

How can we ensure we are prioritising well-being and good mental health at work?

1. Don’t wait for the tipping point. Responsibility and relationships are at the heart of caring for colleagues. Leaders need to show real empathy and deal with employee uncertainty and health issues with compassion. Look for the signs of burnout, long term anxiety, pressures, trauma and grief.  Start conversations with employees and see how best you can meet their needs. Ensure your work culture does not support long-term working out of hours, holidays not being taken and poor work/life balance.

2. Educate and promote well-being at work. McKinsey stated that 47% of respondents want increased focus to be on employee well-being. The pandemic has provided valuable insights into how we can recover, maintain and even optimise our mental health and well-being through better food choices, meditation, yoga, social connections, exercise, being in nature and life-long learning. What’s more, taking these positive steps doesn’t just improve your mental health and well-being, it also increases your brain performance, cognitive function and helps to futureproof your brain.

 

3. Check for inequality. For example, hypothetically if women want more flexibility and to work from home, businesses need to ensure men are not getting the promotions in the meanwhile because they are more visible physically at work.

4. Pay well to give financial security. The cost of living crisis means many workers are grappling with the rising cost of living and struggling to make ends meet. Leaders must do what they can to ensure a fair, equal wage.

5. Don’t suppress trauma in organisations. A positive mindset can help but doesn’t solve all problems. Trauma, anxiety and fear cannot be left unaddressed. An empathic corporate leadership will put its people first, rather than see looking after them as a distraction.

6. Ensure your managers take time off. Your managers are role models and set the culture in their area of responsibility. If they are not taking holidays, that puts all sorts of pressure on those who report to them and can create a very unhealthy atmosphere. Remember also that a manager who lives alone might have a different view on, and approach to life compared to someone who has children. Both managers need to bring curiosity and an openness to empathy.

7. Ensure psychological safety so people can reach out. This gives individuals permission to talk about what is on their minds because they feel included, supported and safe and encouraged to not suppress themselves. When people feel safe they are more likely to bring their entire self to work (and that’s what we want).

8. Build community relations internally and externally. Encourage full participation, inclusion, and respect, and build mutual understanding, especially across any interpersonal and cultural divides. Define your values, optimise learning from one another, foster connections, organise training and full team events which everyone can attend.

9. According to a McKinsey survey, 30% of respondents say they are likely to switch jobs if returned to full onsite work. Leaders need to think about the needs of the individual as well as the requirements of the business before they lose valuable talent. The main thing is to give everyone a very clear lead which takes in the needs of both.

10. Build resilience by empowering. People with the most resilience find a way to emotionally heal and move forward from stress or trauma. Empowering your team often helps them build resilience. Let people play to their strengths. Have role models, mentors, collaborations, partnerships and a plan that can be continually adapted because resilience is built on life experiences and the world is constantly changing. 

EU Proposal Against Crypto Privacy Fails In Vote

EU Proposal Against Crypto Privacy Fails In Vote: Can Crypto Users Breathe Freely Now?

A Crypto Victory and Defeat in March 2022

The European Parliament voted in mid-March 2022 to reject the amendment to the Markets in Crypto-Assets legislation that would ban cryptocurrencies and crypto transactions that use the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. For crypto enthusiasts, the joy and relief brought by that victory was short-lived. At the end of March 2022, a European committee voted to strip crypto wallets, custodial and non-custodial, of their privacy. Furthermore, since MICA has 126 provisions related to cryptocurrency and crypto transactions, it is likely that the fight to keep the crypto sphere in alignment with Satoshi Nakamoto’s dream of democratic wealth creation has only just begun.

Failed Vote to Ban Tokens Using the Proof of Work Consensus Algorithm

The ban on PoW-based cryptocurrencies and crypto transactions would have effectively banned the legacy tokens, Bitcoin and Ether, in Europe. Bitcoin cannot switch to the less energy-intensive Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which is used by some of the most environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, Ethereum is in the process of switching to the less energy intensive PoS consensus, but some parts of its operations must remain powered by PoW. Therefore, Bitcoin, Ether, and their associated blockchains would have been unable to operate in the European Union and interact with any other crypto technologies approved for operation in the EU.

PoW-Based Crypto Activities Are Environmentally UnsustainableBeing environmentally unfriendly and unsustainable are the most oft-cited arguments used to justify banning PoW-based crypto technology. Critics argue that the energy-guzzling PoW process has a significant negative impact on the environment, uses more energy than many small nations, and is environmentally unsustainable. The crypto world has responded by developing renewable energy sources to power its crypto mining. In addition, it has begun to repurpose the energy (i.e., heat) generated during the mining process in ways beneficial for society (e.g., using the generated heat to heat/warm small greenhouses for farmers). Yet, crypto firms are still assailed by critics who fear that the renewable energy being created to power crypto operations will be preferentially provided to crypto operations instead of used for public consumption. In short, it is clear that any solutions put forth by crypto firms will not be enough to satisfy critics who want to regulate or have some say in how the crypto firms operate.

Stripping Privacy from Crypto Wallets

Voting to strip crypto wallets of their privacy was pushed for three major reasons. The first was that it has been argued that cryptocurrency and the blockchain are being used to conduct illegal transactions and fund terrorism. Secondly, blockchains are not in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. The third is that crypto transactions do not comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) financial regulations that govern wire transactions. Let’s examine more closely the reasons for unmasking anonymous crypto transactions.

Straw Man Arguments: Illegal Transactions, Funding Terrorism, AML, and KYCIt cannot be denied that some people and businesses are using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to conduct illegal activities/transactions and possibly fund terrorism. The industry argues that, at most, it amounts to 0.5% of all crypto transactions. Politicians and the financial sector, however, argue that it’s likely much more than that. The biggest weakness in the position of those who want crypto wallets stripped of privacy is that they have no evidence to support their position. Their argument, namely that after crypto wallet owners and their financial transactions are made available for examination they will have the evidence to support their position, is pure conjecture. Forcing blockchains and centralized crypto exchanges (CEXs) to identify and verify the owners of the wallets that perform transactions on their blockchain (many of whom engage in high-frequency trading using copy trading bots) and report all of their transactions only strips the wallet owners of their privacy, a valued aspect of crypto transactions, and invites the government into their private financial affairs. 

Still, crypto firms have found at least one way for parties in a transaction to perform KYC and AML procedures without involving the government. This solution is not considered acceptable because there is no government oversight of it and outside agencies cannot amass data on them and study it. Arguably, it is as reliable as the government investigating itself. If that is acceptable, why would blockchains and transacting parties policing their transactions not be acceptable? At the other end of the spectrum are a handful of crypto exchanges without KYC.

Blockchains Fail to Comply with GDPR
The remaining argument that blockchain technology does not comply with GDPR, while correct, overlooks the fact that the GDPR was written for Web 2.0. It is inappropriate to try and force Web 3.0 to be in compliance with legislation created to govern Web 2.0 technology. There are vast differences between Web 2.0 and 3.0. As usual, the laws governing the technology lag behind its development because lawmakers have to understand the problems a technology creates (or may create) before they pass legislation on it. There are ways to bring blockchain and Web 3.0 tech into compliance with most of the GDPR articles, but not all of them (e.g., the right to be forgotten, erasure and rectification of information). Why? Blockchains are considered secure and trustworthy because they have immutable records that are strung together in a ‘chain’ that makes it almost impossible to alter the records after they have been created and recorded on the blockchain. The EU’s proposal that the blockchain permit various wallet owners to alter the blockchain’s records that have information pertaining to their blockchain activities undermines the blockchain itself and renders it as reliable as accounting records maintained on a computer. Though, apart from the GDPR, the EU is quite friendly to blockchain technology in general

Government’s Want to Tax and Regulate the Crypto Sphere

Based on the crypto-related legislation being introduced by the EU, USA, and India, it is clear that crypto enthusiasts cannot breathe a sigh of relief, relax, or take their current situation in the crypto world for granted. Given the work being done to unmask crypto transactions, crypto wallet owners, and amass data on crypto transactions, it is more likely that this is the beginning of government taxation of and interference in the crypto world.

Do You Advertise on LinkedIn? Here Are 5 Best Practices for B2B SaaS Businesses

B2B SaaS business can achieve their goals through LinkedIn. For example, the goal could be capturing more leads or promoting the brand. Fortunately, using LinkedIn for advertising is easy to understand and convenient. You also get to do more work with less stress.

Understanding the LinkedIn ads platform is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, you still must follow best practices to reach your goal. In this article, you will learn the best practices for achieving results with LinkedIn ads.

1. Set Up A Free Company Page

Laying a solid foundation for your company on LinkedIn is essential for your company’s success. Because it is the first step in your campaign, it is best to create a company page before starting your LinkedIn advertising campaign. Creating a free company page on LinkedIn establishes your brand presence. In addition, having a company page is handy for specific ad formats.

2. Create Engaging Content

Even before creating LinkedIn ads, understanding LinkedIn ad formats and determining the best for your campaign goals is essential. LinkedIn has three different ad forms: Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Text Ads.

LinkedIn is useful for gaining industry and interest-relevant insights. It is advisable to put yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand the best ad format that catches attention. Furthermore, ensure your language is appealing to the audience, and your copy should be clear and compelling, directing leads to take action.

3. Target Specific Audiences

LinkedIn ads perform better when you link them to specific target audiences. For example, because of the uniqueness of the LinkedIn ads platform, you can target audiences based on their profession. Consequently, you only spend to place ads in front of the strongest prospects.

Furthermore, LinkedIn has different filters for targeting an audience. These filters include job title, industry, job seniority, and company name. You can also target audiences with filters like degrees, skills, and years of experience.

Although LinkedIn provides several targeting options, it is compulsory always to use the location field. This field may be broad or specific. When targeting your audience, it is best to filter them using two or more fields. However, you have to be careful. Using too many target fields or hypertargeting is hurtful to your initial campaign.

Apart from LinkedIn ads, other ways you can reach your target audience on LinkedIn include using website retargeting to reengage your website visitors and contact targeting to nurture prospects. You can follow a LinkedIn retargeting guide and use company targeting to run your account-based marketing campaigns.

Also, LinkedIn is ending the serving of sponsored posts to targeted members in the European Union. By using LinkedIn Campaign Manager, it is no longer possible to send private messages directly to LinkedIn mailboxes if your target includes members of the EU.

4. Test Your Ads

LinkedIn advertising aims to give an audience the content they crave. The best way to do that is to create 2 to 4 ad variations for each campaign. You can create variations by testing different calls to action and ad copy. These small changes hugely impact your ad success, helping you see the most appealing content to your audience.

When you receive clicks on your LinkedIn ads, you will see more of the best-performing ad. Afterwards, you can pause the less-performing ads. Fortunately, you don’t have to discard the ads; you can tweak them to make them more appealing.

5. Set A Competitive Bid

The final best practice discussed in this article is regarding budgets and bidding. And, there is no specific formula for success with bidding. You have to test and take your time to learn what works for your business. Nevertheless, there are some best practices you can follow for LinkedIn ads.

The first step is to set the SMART goals for your LinkedIn ads. First, you must determine your goals and then set and measure a corresponding budget.

After setting the budget, it is best to develop a long-term strategy. Although LinkedIn recommends setting a budget of $100/day minimum and $5000 in total, this cost is a bit high, especially for most SaaS startups. Therefore, setting a budget of $200/week is ideal.

If the goal of your campaign is to be competitive, then you have to set a bid on the high end of LinkedIn’s suggested bid range. The bid range is an estimate of the current advertisers’ bids. Fortunately, LinkedIn discounts your click or impression bid such that you only pay the minimum amount necessary to outbid the next advertiser.

It is important to note that your ad has a lower chance of beating the competition if your bid is not within the suggested bid range.

How Much of Your Income Should You Save Every Month?

Image Source: Unsplash

From luxurious holidays to fancy cars, we all want to live our lives to the fullest while we’re young, but our lifestyles shouldn’t come at the cost of retirement.

Our financial safety nets can also help us prepare for emergencies and other short-term goals, but how much is enough?

How Much Should the Average Person Save?

If saving money is on your mind, you’re not alone. According to a Northwestern Mutual survey, only 10% of Americans are confident that they’ll have enough money for retirement.

While the amount of money you should save each month depends on your short and long-term goals (more on that later), most financial experts will suggest saving 20% of your income. For example, if you make $120,000 per year, you should save $24,000 by the end of the year.

Financial experts also recommend saving up to 6 months\\\’ worth of income just for necessities. For example, $60,000 is half of $120,000 (6 months), but if 50% of $60,000 goes to all of your essentials, you would need to save $30,000, which is $6,000 more than the 20% savings rule.

The majority of financial experts recommend having at least $1 million in savings before retirement, but that amount may rise to $3 million or more depending on lifestyle and location.

How Should the Average Person Allocate Their Savings?

When it comes to savings, there are three timelines to consider: less than a year, less than 10 years, and a lifetime. Here’s how you should save each month based on these categories.

Income Protection InsuranceIt’s common to overlook the benefits of insurance because it’s seen as expensive, especially while we’re young. But, how much is income protection insurance? While costs vary depending on your premiums and insurer, the short answer is “less than what it would cost not to have it.”

Income protection insurance can ensure you’re paid 70-80% of your income should you fall ill and can’t work or become temporarily or permanently disabled. That means you can use your insurance payout instead of your personal savings to support yourself while you recover.

Retirement (401 (k) and Investments)If you have an employer that matches your retirement contributions, you’ll only have to put away 5-7% of your income towards retirement. If you don’t, saving 10-15% of your income is ideal. Put the bulk of your money for retirement in a 401 (k) because you’ll allocate interest over time.

Then, open up a short-term high-interest savings account that builds up a retirement safety net separate from your 401 (k). We also recommend investing some of your income into securities, like stocks, bonds, and dividends, so you’ll have other investments that grow as you work.

Taxes (For Self-Employed Contractors)Independent contractors have to pay self-employment taxes, which come out of their income. Your tax bracket will depend on the amount you make per year, but you should keep 25-30% of your income for taxes as a rule. You can lower your tax burden by using tax deductions.

EmergenciesAs stated, you should create an emergency fund that can cover 6 months\\\’ worth of necessities, which range depending on your lifestyle. Your emergency fund won’t include luxuries like a premium internet package, as it’s recommended you downgrade while you’re unemployed.

Everything ElseYour “everything else” savings account can include major expenses you expect to pay for, like vacations, home repairs, weddings, and more. These expenses may not be a necessary expense right now (replacing the gutters on your house) or ever (throwing a giant wedding).

Either way, most of these expenses will have an upcoming deadline, so they may seem vital at the moment. To make sure you don’t under or overestimate these saving goals, calculate how much you need to cut from your spending habits or whether you need to extend the timeline.

Acquisition International is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2022 Non-Profit Organisation Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Non-Profit Organisation Awards.

Following the success of the inaugural programme last year, Acquisition International launched this year’s programme with the intent of highlighting those Non-Profit Organisations that have weathered innumerable challenges over the last couple of years. After all, Non- Profit Organisations are driven by one goal: to achieve change. To make a difference, despite those challenges. All NPOs deserve to be recognised for the work they do, the progress that they achieve.

Just prior to the announcement, Awards Coordinator Gabrielle Ellis took a moment to comment on the success of the winners: “It has been an absolute delight to interact with everyone listed in the 2022 edition of this programme. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the year ahead.”

Acquisition International prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. All awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Acquisition International website (https://www.acquisition-international.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Acquisition International Magazine

Acquisition International is a monthly magazine brought to you by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting. Its topical news articles make it a valued read, and this readability ensures that advertisers will benefit greatly from their investment.

AI works alongside leading industry analysts to ensure we publish the most up-to-date figures and analysis. The magazine has a global circulation, which brings together all parties involved in deal making and, in an increasingly global deal market, we are uniquely positioned to reach the deal makers that matter.

7 Things Your Hair Can Tell About Your Health

Our hair showcases our style and personality as well as boosting our self-esteem. However, it’s not just a weapon of vanity as  Clip Hair prove. Here, Brenda Lee Intignano at the brand presents the 5 things your hair can tell you about your health.

Shedding some light on your health

The average person sheds around 100 strands of hair when they wash it. If you notice that your hair is shedding a lot more than usual, it may indicate a health condition.

Telogen Effluvium is temporary hair loss that can occur when a person experiences severe stress or trauma. The hair follicles encounter the telogen, otherwise known as the resting phase, of the growth cycle. Telogen Effluvium sees that the hair stays in the resting phase, not entering the next phase. The hair then sheds, without new growth developing.

Hormonal changes, events such as childbirth or persistent stress can lead to Telogen Effluvium. The condition can last several months and usually resolves itself without treatment.

A vitamin ‘dry out’

Just like our skin, our hair adjusts to our environment. The warmers months can lead to dryer strands of hair, that in turn, can lead to breakage. Other external factors can be the use of excessive heat, harsh shampoos, and lots of dying. However, dry hair that rapidly appears and leads to the hair becoming brittle may suggest an internal health condition.

Deficiencies in Vitamin E, Iron or Vitamin C can all lead to brittle hair. Vitamin E is essential for a healthy scalp as it aids in the production of sebum, without iron the hair follicles cannot fully function, and vitamin C ensures that the body produces sufficient collagen which is essential for healthy hair growth.

Earl-y Greying

Grey hair is often part of the ageing process as the hair follicles produce less pigment. Although genetics is a contributing factor to greying of the hair, stress can also play a role. Research shows that consistent stress can manipulate DNA, impacting the cells that produce pigment for the hair. As a result, grey hairs begin to appear. If you notice grey hair appearing at an accelerated rate, this may be the result of severe stress.

A bit of a flake

Dandruff is caused when the scalp sheds its cells at an accelerated rate. However, persistent flaking may not be dandruff, but Psoriasis. The cause of Psoriasis is not fully understood however, it’s thought that it’s the immune system fighting healthy cells by mistake. Genetics and environment play a role in the occurrence of Psoriasis.

Several over-the-counter medicines can remedy Psoriasis. If the condition persists, medical shampoos and ointments can be prescribed.

Splitting up

A strand of hair is 25% water, seeing that if your body is dehydrated, your hair will feel (and show) its occurrence.  When the body is dehydrated, it uses its much-needed to water to help operate its critical organs. The body doesn’t consider hair critical, so will not direct its much-needed moisture its way. As a result, the hair will experience ongoing dryness, leading it to break and incur split ends.

If you notice that your hair is breaking at an unusual rate, it may be time to increase your water intake. Avoid consistently using heat on the hair as this will cause further dryness.

Why Data Analytics Is Crucial For Business Growth

In today’s increasingly competitive business world, data is the new gold. The wide availability of data that businesses generate contains game-changing insights. These may bring relevant information about your customer’s buying behavior, preferences, and the time frame they buy specific products. This fact makes data analytics beneficial in almost every part of your business operations and can be a valuable contributor to your company’s growth and success.

This article will dive deeper into data analytics and how it helps your business thrive. So if you want to learn, read on.

Data Analytics: What Is It?

Data analytics is the process of analyzing raw data to generate insights, conclusions, and informed decisions. It is a broad term encompassing several techniques, tools, and processes to collect, manage and analyze data. Simply put, data analytics can help you make sense of collected data.

Thanks to technology, data analytics has become a lot easier today. You’ll find numerous tools and analytics-as-a-service platforms that use advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to manage the entire data analytics process, from collecting data to identifying and predicting patterns to generating valuable insights.   

In addition to the numerous tools you can invest in today, emerging analytics firms like Elwyn Consulting at elwynconsulting.com and similar companies can help manage your business data. Composed of an expert team of analysts and fully equipped with the necessary analytical tools, these service companies can help you accurately transform your business data into educated insights that bring a high return on investment (ROI).   

Four Benefits of Data Analytics For Your Business

Now that you have a better understanding of data analytics, let’s take a closer look at the numerous benefits it offers to your business.

1. It Helps Personalize Customer Service and Experience

The customer is the lifeblood of any business. Without them, your business won’t exist. Thus, most of your daily operations focus on impressing and keeping them satisfied. Boosting customer experience starts with a deeper understanding of your customers. And you can achieve that with data analytics.   

Businesses collect consumer data from various channels. With data analytics, you can create a comprehensive customer profile and gain valuable insights into customer behavior. Using these insights, your marketers can provide more personalized service and experience that ultimately increase lead generation and conversion.   

2. It Reduces Security Risks

It is perhaps the most critical application of data analytics in your business. As the modern world continues to welcome new technological advancements, business organizations of all sizes are vulnerable to numerous threats.

With security data analytics, you can protect your business’s financial, intellectual, and physical assets from misuse by both external and internal threats. Leveraging efficient data analytics allows you to implement optimum levels of fraud protection strategies, ensuring overall organizational security. It also helps your business to understand security risks and take preventive measures.

Your IT department can also utilize statistical models to help prevent future cyber-attacks. Paired with continuous monitoring and notification systems, data analytics can help deter and mitigate fraudulent and malicious activities while ensuring a timely response to incidents.  

It also ensures an efficient and transparent reporting of fraudulent actions that can help improve your fraud and security risk management process.   

3. It Streamlines Operations and Work Efficiency

Data analytics can also help in improving your overall business operational efficiency. You can gather business operations data and supply chains from your customers or technological tools.

With the collected data, you can analyze and identify where production bottlenecks and delay occurs and may even help predict where future issues can arise.

In addition, data analytics can provide insights into the efficiency and productivity of your staff. You can use data to predict risks and employee behaviors, such as declining productivity or monitoring satisfaction levels.   

A solid data analytics strategy can help you identify issues and improvement areas in your workplace and overall business operations.

4. It Allows You to Innovate

Innovation starts with an idea. And collecting data can provide you with a collection of ideas that you can use to upgrade or innovate new business offerings.

Effective data collection and analysis of thoughts, opinions, or information from third-party sources, including your competitors and the current market trends can help companies recognize new potential innovations.   

It helps businesses stay competitive when a new technology is developed or demand changes while also anticipating market demands to provide services and products before it’s requested.

Takeaway

As you can see, data analytics has proven how powerful a tool it has become for businesses regardless of the industry and size. From personalized customer experience to mitigating cybersecurity risks to your company, data analytics can help business organizations stay relevant and innovative in this increasingly competitive world.

Safe Cycling for Women: What to Wear on the Roads

In 2020, the number of cycling trips made by women in the UK increased by 56%, yet men still cycled twice as much. The pandemic meant less traffic on the roads, which encouraged more women to get on a bike, but the statistics still point to a lower bike usage among the female population.

So, what’s the main cycling concern women have? The answer is safety. According to a survey by bike insurance provider Laka, 41% of female respondents felt apprehensive about riding a bike due to safety concerns and the vulnerability of cycling alone. But it’s not just female cyclists who are vulnerable on the road – men can also be involved in a cycling accident.

Well-lit cycle lanes, cycle lanes separated from main roads, and direct routes can all provide more cycling safety for everyone. But alongside better cycling infrastructure, women can take control of their safety with yet another step – high-visibility clothing.

Together with Ben Mercer from the cycling clothing division at Leisure Lakes Bikes, we explore how female cyclists can dress with safety in mind.

Safety with high-visibility clothing

Most cycling incidents happen at dawn and dusk, when it’s still dark and the visibility isn’t great, especially during the winter. That’s when the chances of ‘Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you” (SMIDSY) incidents are higher.

There are a few reasons why bike riders might remain unnoticed on the road, resulting in hard braking and even accidents. These include peripheral sight limitations, noticing only lateral movement, and blindness by the sun.

One way to mitigate these issues and remain safe on the road is by wearing reflective or high-visibility clothing. Reflective clothing reflects any light that hits it and makes it visible everywhere. It works great in the dark, and it looks like another light is shining, making it perform for riding early in the morning or in the evening. However, it’s not always very visible during the day.

High-visibility clothing, known as high-vis clothing, on the other hand, fuses fluorescent material with reflective tape or shapes, which makes it ideal for all day around.

What colour of high-vis clothing is best?

Reflective and high-visibility clothing is often associated with construction and road traffic workers. It’s also an essential part of a cyclist’s gear, and there are many trendy items to choose from, ranging from waterproof jackets to reflective cycling gloves.

But which colour of high-vis clothing is the best?

Yellow is the brightest colour on the chromaticity scale and is the most used one for high-vis clothing. Orange, on the other hand, is a close second in terms of brightness with another added benefit – it’s associated with caution and danger, meaning that you will be easily recognisable on the road. Orange is easy to spot outside and is also featured in the auto-warning sign.

But picking the right cycling safety clothing isn’t just about the colour, and other factors come into play, such as conspicuity and contrast.

Conspicuity is the ability of an object to come to the attention of an observer, especially in environments with competing objects.

Contrast is also important for optimal results. When a fluorescent colour, such as yellow or orange, is used against a contrasting background within the clothing, such as black, detection is enhanced.

These high-vis and reflective clothing standards can be applied not just to jackets and vests but also gloves, pants, shorts, jerseys, and even shoes.

Feeling safe on the road can encourage more people to cycle, especially women. While developing better infrastructure is vital, there are things we can do to enhance our safety right now, such as investing in high-visibility or reflective cycling clothing.

Research Finds London Dominates in R&D Tax Credit Claim Value

Newly released HMRC figures show London-based companies once again securing a major share of R&D (research and development) tax relief with over £2.3bn paid out in 2019-20. Other strong performing areas include the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, and Surrey where businesses collectively secured almost £1.3bn in tax relief for innovation-focused investment. Other regions securing significant R&D rebates include Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire and Hampshire. (see FIGURE 1 below).

Businesses in Mid Ulster, however, have claimed the top spot in R&D tax claims intensity in the UK according to this year’s UK Innovation Intensity League Table, published by innovation funding specialists ABGI-UK. It shows the leading 20 unitary authority areas (see FIGURE 2 below) which are ranked on the percentage of local businesses making a successful claim for R&D tax relief.

Mid Ulster (which was 3rd two years ago) tops the table with a total of 400 successful claims made by local SMEs and large businesses, representing 6.1% of all enterprises within its unitary authority area. Cambridgeshire placed second in this year’s table (up from 4th) with 5% of its businesses securing a successful claim. Nottingham placed 3rd in the table (up from 7th two years ago) with 4.8%.

Commenting on the rankings, Scott Henderson, Chief Executive at ABGI-UK said: “As our Innovation League Table shows, there many parts of the UK where companies are heavily investing in research and development activities. As our top three areas of Mid Ulster, Cambridgeshire and Nottingham demonstrate, there is a lot of innovation going on outside the M25 corridor.

“Companies within key sectors including manufacturing, engineering and IT/software are mainly behind this strong regional placement in our league table. By securing R&D tax relief for their innovation investment, a significant proportion of companies are benefitting by enhancing competitiveness. More of this investment activity will be critical in kick-starting the UK economy as we emerge from the recent public health crisis.”

 

See the tables:

FIGURE 1

Top 20 UK areas in total amount of R&D tax relief claimed 2019-20 (£m)*

1

Inner London

1,980

11

Northamptonshire

 120

2

West Midlands

 375

12

Essex

 120

3

Cambridgeshire

 365

13

Warwickshire

 110

4

Outer London

 340

14

Kent

 100

5

Oxfordshire

 280

15

City of Edinburgh

 90

6

Surrey

 275

16

West Sussex

 85

7

Greater Manchester

 245

17

Tyne and Wear

 80

8

Hertfordshire

 220

18

Merseyside

 70

9

Hampshire

 195

19

Reading

 65

10

West Yorkshire

 150

20

Lancashire

 60

*Figures in £ millions, rounded to nearest £5m

 

FIGURE 2

The UK R&D Claim Intensity league table

Top 20 unitary authority areas by ‘R&D Claim Intensity’ – the number of claims in relation to overall number of businesses in the area for 2019/20**

1

Mid Ulster

6.1%

11

City of Edinburgh

4.3%

2

Cambridgeshire

5.0%

12

Tyne and Wear

4.2%

3

Nottingham

4.8%

13

Herefordshire

4.2%

4

Aberdeen City

4.7%

14

Warwickshire

4.1%

5

Halton

4.7%

15

Bridgend

4.1%

6

Belfast

4.6%

16

Kingston upon Hull

4.0%

7

Flintshire

4.6%

17

Inner London

3.9%

8

Wrexham

4.6%

18

Oxfordshire

3.9%

9

Blackburn with Darwen

4.5%

19

Cardiff

3.7%

10

Lisburn and Castlereagh

4.4%

20

Staffordshire

3.7%

** Figures are based on the most recent (2019-20) R&D tax relief claim statistics produced by HMRC in relation to the number of enterprises in each UK unitary authority area, based on UK Government statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/corporate-tax-research-and-development-tax-credit

Numbers of claims made are rounded to the nearest £5m, in line with HMRC statistics.

About ABGI

ABGI UK is part of the ABGI Group, sharing a heritage going back over 30 years. ABGI Group secures over £1bn in tax credits and grant funding every year for many of the world’s best-known brands including Hermes, one of the UK’s largest parcel delivery firms, automotive giant Fiat and global digital industrial company General Electric.

Operating throughout the entire value chain of innovation, ABGI Group is dedicated to helping clients accelerate innovation and business expansion around the world from our regional headquarters in the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Established in the UK 15 years ago, with offices in London, Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Belfast and Edinburgh, ABGI UK is an innovation funding specialist, combining an international perspective with local experience and expertise for the benefit of UK-based clients.

Emotion Drives B2C Sales, Logic Drives B2B Sales: How To Approach The Two Differently

There are some key differences between B2C and B2B sales. The main is the buyer – consumers are viewed as individuals, whereas B2B buyers are part of an entire company network. The target demographic for B2C sales can vary dramatically, whereas 73% of buyers involved in the decision-making process for B2B sales are millennials. Despite the differences, 85% of B2B buyers state they want an experience similar to the one they have as a consumer themselves.

With that in mind, how can B2B and B2C brands approach sales differently to suit the target audience? Let’s explore.

The B2B Sales Approach

The B2B sales approach targets logic-based buying habits. Buyers are making purchasing decisions based on the needs of the company and what logically makes sense, rather than the emotion of being drawn to a particular product. B2B sales have higher order values, longer sales cycles, and more people involved in that sales cycle.

Still, despite this, the statistics show that buyers are looking for a more B2C-like sales experience. Gartner attributes this to the growing expectation of self-serve options. 44% of millennials involved in the decision-making process would prefer no contact with sales reps at all. Without the contact between sales reps and buyers, how can B2B brands foster a fruitful working relationship? Revert to B2C sales and marketing strategies that nurture a buyer relationship without being invasive, like incentive programs.

The B2B loyalty platform from Incentivesmart is the perfect example of an incentive programme that creates a long-lasting working relationship without the need for communication – much like the loyalty reward programmes that work so well within the B2C industry.

Sellers should also find ways to make the long sales cycle less arduous for buyers by providing them with the information they need throughout the buying cycle. 77% of buyers thought their last decision-making process was complex and that B2B brands that provide them with the information they need to complete sales will make buyers 2.3 times more likely to spend more – according to Gartner.

The B2C Sales Approach

The B2C sales approach is very personalised and focuses on the masses rather than the individual needs. Personalised ads that guide consumers towards the end sale are a big focus in the B2C industry – and one that the likes of artificial intelligence are making easy to achieve.

B2C is also a hands-off sales approach. Despite personalised ads, consumers rarely contact companies before purchasing a product, whereas most B2B buyers will need to communicate with a brand before making the final purchasing decision.

Then there’s the emotional side of B2C sales that’s completely different to B2B – that’s not to say there isn’t a degree of emotion involved in B2B sales. The Harvard Business Review studied emotion-driven sales and found that 95% of sales start with emotions. The issue is that there’s no set formula for connecting with consumers emotionally, but here are some ways to achieve it:

  • Create emotive stories for consumers to connect to.
  • Create trust and meaningful relationships – reward programmes are great for this.
  • Personalise each individual experience where possible.
  • Identify the emotional triggers of the target audience.

 

How The Two Different Industries Are Merging Sales Expectations

The two industries may target very different demographics, but those two demographics are intertwining more than ever. Because 73% of buyers involved in the decision-making process of B2B sales are millennials, there’s a shift in the way they expect to interact with brands that look very much like a B2C way of operating.

McKinsey & Company released an article titled The New Growth Equation that highlighted how B2B sales are going digital, much like B2C. Two-thirds of buyers in 2021 opted for a self-service, totally digital sales approach. The result benefits the buyer and the business – companies involved in the McKinsey survey were also unanimous that their new digital sales model is better than the pre-pandemic sales model.

That’s not the only way the two industries are merging – B2B buyers and sellers are now embracing the omnichannel experience as the B2C companies and consumers have done for years. In 2016, B2B brands would utilise five different sales channels compared to the ten channels they now use.

The two industries might operate differently, but their sales experience is slowly blending into one. That’s primarily linked to the digitisation of the B2B industry and the buyers involved in purchasing decisions. The is a more streamlined sales cycle for the B2B industry, solving issues that once plagued the B2B supply chain.

Dedicated Developments

Cambridge-based medical device company Medovate – the ‘Best Medical Device Innovation Development Company – 2022’ for the UK, is a business with a unique – and now proven – business model, working closely with clinicians to support the development of NHS-developed innovation. Spun out of the NHS in 2017, Medovate has made a name for itself for its ability to identify and develop high potential innovations into award-winning products which are available for the benefit of patients and clinicians across the globe.

The company is a dedicated medical device development vehicle for the NHS and prides itself on working closely with clinicians to develop valuable medical technology innovations with the potential to improve patient safety. Using its exceptional expertise to help guide them through the entire, and often complex, development pathway – from design, manufacturing, regulation and quality, feasibility testing, and clinical trials, through to product launch, marketing and distribution.

In the space of just four years ago, the company has established a proven platform to bring medical products to market and has pressed ahead with licensing and building a portfolio of medical devices to improve patient safety relating to the specialist areas of anaesthesia, airway management, critical care and surgery.

Today a celebrated, multi-award-winning company, Medovate has achieved a great deal in its first few years and is now confidently looking forward, building on all it has achieved so far, expanding its product portfolio and planning new product launches.

Through its unique medical device development pipeline, the company aims to improve patient care and safety by supplying innovative MedTech solutions to global healthcare systems, which are facing some of the most pressing challenges of the modern era.

The pandemic has indeed created an environment of enhanced safety measures. At the heart of Medovate’s expanding portfolio is its revolutionary technology SAFIRA® (SAFer Injection for Regional Anaesthesia) – its first product to be brought to market. The device – already launched in key markets across the world, from the United States to the UK and Europe, Australia and New Zealand – has been designed to make injection during regional anaesthesia safer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the European and the American Societies of Regional Anaesthesia both produced joint COVID-19 recommendations stating that regional anaesthesia should be preferred over general anaesthesia as the need to minimise aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) took precedence.

The device, which has been designed in collaboration with NHS clinicians, includes a built-in safety mechanism to automatically limit injection pressure, helping to reduce the risk of nerve damage and promote patient safety. As the practice of regional anaesthesia grows globally, the use of SAFIRA® for regional anaesthesia procedures has the potential to make a significant impact on improving patient safety.

The system has since been developed to include the option of using an NRFit® connector, together with either a foot or palm operator, offering greater choice and versatility to clinicians. Medovate has successfully secured CE mark approval and FDA clearance for the SAFIRA® system.

As impressively, the game-changing technology has also been found to have potential to make a difference in veterinary care and this is being explored with partners in global veterinary markets to see how the technology could make regional anaesthesia safer for animals. A male lion at the Five Sisters Zoo (FSZ) in Scotland became the first-ever animal in the world to have dental surgery using SAFIRA® last June.

The technology is fast attracting considerable attention in regional anaesthesia circles and developing a reputation as a device of choice for supporting safer regional anaesthesia practice. SAFIRA® was awarded the prestigious ‘Patient Safety Innovation of the Year’ at the HSJ Awards in September 2021 – a recognition of its capabilities as an outstanding example of healthcare innovation which has clearly improved safety for both patients and staff, and a further stamp of approval for Medovate’s unique business model.

Having successfully launched its first FDA-cleared and CE Mark certificated medical device in multiple international markets, Medovate now has agreements in place to make the technology available in 60+ countries over the next few years. The company also has a number of exciting additional innovations in the pipeline, including their novel HME safety device HUMIDICARE®, a novel heat and moisture exchanger (HME) which has a safety engineered warning system to promptly visually alert staff to a dual humidification error in a ventilation circuit, helping prevent potential harm to patients.

In the field of critical care, the company has developed Glucosave®, a patient safety solution designed to help prevent incidences of unnecessary administration of insulin following blood sampling where a glucose containing flush solution has been inadvertently connected, something which can have serious consequences for patients.

With the wind firmly in their sails, Medovate is also actively pursuing further regulatory approvals and distribution agreements for other key markets across Asia-Pacific, Canada and South Africa. With further regulatory approvals for the promising technologies in the Medovate portfolio imminently anticipated, and additional technologies approaching clinical trials and market launch, this is just the beginning for this fast-growing company, which has grown from an initial team of 2 to a team of 16, including a consultant based in the US – the home of its first product launch.

Medovate now continues to work with distributor partners who are global leaders in their field to bring its innovations to market, such as Vygon in markets including Europe and the UK; and Mercury Medical, through which it is working to distribute SAFIRA® across the whole of the United States.

The company also has a co-promotional partnership agreement with Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. – a world-class provider and market leader in medical diagnostic imaging – to promote best practice in ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia across the US. The partnership was formed to highlight the provision of Ultrasound Guided Regional Anaesthesia’ and how the ground-breaking SAFIRA® can be used in conjunction with Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas’ Inc. range of pioneering ultrasound solutions.

Today Medovate continues to work with partners to uncover further NHS innovations to add to its portfolio, keep the positive cycle of developing NHS innovation going and realising its potential to help support further NHS innovation; while also raising awareness of the amazing innovations generated by the NHS which can benefit clinicians and patients beyond the UK. Through its partners and co-promotional partners, the company continues to work towards its vision to promote patient safety through healthcare innovations arising from the UK’s world leading institution – which, as an additional benefit, remains a key stakeholder for the organisation. The company operates a unique model ensuring the Trusts where its new device ideas originate receive a share of the profits from successful commercialisation, thus helping it to feed into the healthcare innovation cycle in an exceptional way.

For further information, please visit medovate.co.uk

Japanese Yen: Why Is It a Safe Haven Currency?

Japanese Yen: Why Is It a Safe Haven Currency?

The dashboard of the global economy is flashing red. Inflation is skyrocketing, causing consumers to cut back. Stocks are dropping across practically all indices. And avidly watched recessionary signals like US Treasury yields are showing similar, ominous signs to 2007.

In troubling economic times, investors flock to so-called ‘safe havens’ to protect their capital from falling stocks and avoid the reduction in purchasing power that would likely occur if they left it as cash. Traditionally, the US Dollar has been the safe haven of choice for investors and forex traders, but with the dollar weakening, there could be another currency that pips it to the post: the Japanese Yen.

Why is the dollar weakening? What does it mean for the economy? And why is the Yen being looked on as a safe haven?

Why is the dollar weakening?

There are a few reasons behind the dollar’s downward trajectory compared to other major currencies.

First is the loosening of monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve due to the poor state of the economy. Next, US-based investments are no longer as lucrative as they once were due to a mix of falling economic fortunes and high prices. And capital inflows into the country have gone down too during the pandemic, particularly sales of property to foreign people.

What does the weakening US dollar mean for the world economy?

With the dollar worth less, there have been several global economic effects to bear in mind. The first of these has been to reduce import prices for countries that have experienced a strengthening of their currencies – boosting economic activity as a result. Policymakers in the US have welcomed the weakening too, since it boosts the competitiveness of the US industry across the world, as well as makes investing in the country more attractive – from property to stocks.

Having a strong currency and being a safe haven, however, means more economic power in international economic decision-making, currency creation, and financial outsourcing. Arguably these less-concrete benefits are much more worthwhile than a short-term boost to exports or foreign direct investment.

Why is the Yen being seen as a safe haven replacement?

According to Goldman Sachs bank, the Japanese yen shows “significant value” as a hedge against a US recession. The main reason for this is that the currency is currently very cheap compared to the currencies of other major developed economies such as the Euro and Pound Sterling.

Add to that the traditionally dovish Bank of Japan and its high likelihood of supporting the Yen with fiscal measures, and the Yen looks like a sound bet compared to other currencies which will likely come under pressure from interest rate hikes. Inflation is also currently much lower in Japan than in other nations too, meaning Japan is currently exposed to far fewer risks than European and Anglophone economies.

Time will tell whether investors adopt the Yen as a safe haven in masse. What’s for certain though is that the current global economy will see significant shifts in the foreseeable future.

Electric Wheelchairs: What To Know Before Making A Purchase

Electric wheelchairs are a big purchase. You want to ensure you know all the essential aspects before deciding. Electric wheelchairs are excellent mobility aids for those who require help staying active. These devices use battery power that helps to move the wheelchair and travel long distances. Electric wheelchairs are also easy to operate, and many models have features that allow for a comfortable ride.

One of the most important things to remember before making a purchase is understanding what you will be using the chair for most?  Are you someone that travels a lot? If so, finding a portable and lightweight electric wheelchair should be on your list.

For those who want a power wheelchair for home use, you will want a wheelchair that can turn and maneuver in tight spaces.  When considering an electric wheelchair, it is crucial to consider the following factors: weight capacity, seat widths and depths, and price. Doing this will allow you to make the best possible decision and find the best electric wheelchairs for your needs.

What is an electric wheelchair?

An electric wheelchair is a battery-powered chair that uses motors to move the wheels. A joystick controls electric wheelchairs, and voice commands or head movements can operate some models. Electric wheelchairs are different from manual wheelchairs because they do not require the user to push the wheels around. Electric wheelchairs typically have a weight capacity of 250 pounds or more.

Who should use an electric wheelchair

Electric wheelchairs are typically used by people with a disability that makes walking difficult or impossible. Electric wheelchairs can also be used by people who cannot operate a manual wheelchair. In addition, electric wheelchairs are sometimes used by people who have a temporary injury or condition that makes walking difficult.

Understand your needs

Before purchasing an electric wheelchair, it is vital to understand your needs. Electric wheelchairs come in various sizes, and the right size for you will depend on your height and weight and precisely what you plan on doing with the electric wheelchair. Combing these factors will ensure a much better buying experience during and after you get your chair home.

Weight capacity

Every electric wheelchair will have a recommended weight capacity limit. These are in place to ensure the wheelchair can support the user without tipping over. Most electric wheelchairs have a weight capacity of 250 pounds or more. However, some models may be able to accommodate up to 300 and higher. These are heavy-duty electric wheelchairs meant to support more significant users.

Seat widths and depths

When choosing an electric wheelchair, it is vital to ensure that the seat width and depth are appropriate for the user. If the seat is too small, the user may be uncomfortable or unable to use the wheelchair.

If the seat is too large, the user may have difficulty maneuvering the wheelchair. having the proper measurement is crucial for the best experience when using an

Electric wheelchair pricing

Electric wheelchairs vary in price depending on the make, model, and features. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for a basic electric wheelchair. More luxurious models with additional features can cost up to $10,000. Make sure you understand your needs, as this can decrease pricing or more depending on the configuration.

Different types of electric wheelchairs

While all-electric wheelchairs function similarly, different types will meet the need of the user better than others. Below are just some of the more popular models of power wheelchairs.

Lightweight electric wheelchairsLightweight wheelchairs are great for those who travel and need to transport an electric wheelchair to different places. However, many wheelchairs are heavy and require the chair to be dissembled into smaller pieces to transport them. New lightweight models have a single-fold mechanism and can weigh under 40 pounds.

Heavy-duty power chairsHeavy-duty power chairs are best for users that require a durable product because of their weight or because they will be using the wheelchair on rougher terrain. Heavy-duty electric wheelchairs can accommodate up to 700 pounds and have wider seats and more robust motors than a lightweight power chair.

Pediatric power chairsPediatric power chairs are designed for children and have features that make them easier to operate than an adult wheelchair. These features include a joystick positioned closer to the child and smaller wheels. Electric wheelchairs for children also have adjustable seats so they can be used as the child grows.

Final thoughts

Electric wheelchairs can provide a level of independence for those that have difficulty walking. However, it is important to understand your needs before purchasing, as many different electric wheelchairs are available.

Once you understand your needs and match them to the specific power chair you experience, it will be much better both before and after you get the wheelchair.

Almost 9 in 10 UK Adults Don’t Know What the Circular Economy is

  • Almost 90% of UK adults – the equivalent of 47 million people – say they don’t know what the circular economy is 
  • Of the 13% who know what it is, only 38% have given or received an item through the circular economy in the past year
  • The poll of 2,070 people was carried out by YouGov and commissioned by sustainability platform YoungPlanet 

A new survey of over 2,000 people has revealed that 87% of UK adults are unaware of what the circular economy is, showing a lack of understanding around one of the most important consumer behaviours that can help reduce carbon emissions.

 

The majority of UK adults are yet to discover what the Circular Economy is

The circular economy is the practice of sharing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing or recycling existing products, helping to prevent them from going into landfill and reducing the carbon impact of producing new goods. Experts predict that circular economy strategies that reduce our use of resources can cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 39%. But this survey, led by YouGov on behalf of sustainability platform YoungPlanet, showed that the vast majority (87%) of UK adults haven’t heard of the concept or don’t know what it means, highlighting a crucial understanding gap around the term:

  • 68% said they had never heard of the circular economy before
  • 19% of respondents said they had heard of the circular economy but don’t know what it is
  • Only 13% had both heard of the circular economy and know what it is 

These statistics highlight an urgent need to increase awareness around what the term means and the impact the circular economy can have in helping UK families reduce their carbon footprint, redirect waste from landfill, and save money. 

The results come as a recent report warned that the environmental impact of landfill will stop the UK from reaching its target of becoming net-zero by 2050.

 

UK adults who know about the circular economy but aren’t using it

Amongst the small percentage of adults from the UK (13%) who had heard of the circular economy and knew what it is, only 38% had given or received something through it in the last year. 49% confirmed that, despite understanding what the circular economy is, they hadn’t participated in it in the past 12 months.

This is in part due to people being unsure how to give or receive items through the circular economy. Over half of UK adults – 52% – said they were not aware of how they could engage with the circular economy, even if they wanted to, despite charity shops, sites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, and a range of apps being available to help people swap or pass on items rather than add them to landfill.

 

Understanding of climate benefits is high

The survey results do offer one, more positive sign. When provided with an explanation of what the circular economy is, 73% of UK adults said that they believe the practice would have a positive impact on climate change. Only 1% believed it would lead to a negative impact.

This underscores the need to improve education and awareness of how we source new items and get rid of unwanted ones, and what the circular economy means in practice.

 

Regional breakdown: Scotland comes out on top, but Wales lags behind

When the data is broken down by region, Scotland came out on top for being the most circular-aware, with 23% of respondents stating that they know what the circular economy is. Northern Ireland came in second with 20%, followed by London at 16%.

By contrast, the lowest-scoring regions for understanding what the circular economy is were the North East of England, where only 7% of respondents confirmed they knew about it, and Yorkshire and the Humber, with 9%.

Nationally, Wales fared the worst, with 70% of respondents claiming to “never have heard of the circular economy”. This was closely followed by England (69%) Northern Ireland (64%) and Scotland (59%) respectively.

 

Jason Ash, co-founder of YoungPlanet, who commissioned the survey, comments:

“These results highlight the urgent need for all of us to participate meaningfully in the circular economy. It’s all about moving to a simpler, more sustainable model of giving items no longer of use to us, to others, instead of sending goods directly or indirectly to landfill.

“There’s clearly a huge acknowledgement that this would be good for the planet, as evidenced in the survey results. We now need to break up with our unsustainable habits, amplify awareness of what the circular economy is and how people can quite simply engage with it whilst saving money in order to enable and inspire some meaningful action.” 

 

YoungPlanet is a circular economy app for families. It makes it simple for families to pass on good quality items they no longer need, or to source new things. All with the objective of preventing items from going into landfill.

In an effort to highlight just how simple and powerful the circular economy can be, YoungPlanet has launched the CirculaTED campaign. The campaign will see volunteers help pass a teddy bear around Britain to showcase the ease with which pre-loved items can move from family to family. Along the way, he plans to stop at welcoming homes and major landmarks to record his adventures, all trackable via social media, @YoungPlanetApp.

Healthy Eating Week 2022 – Supporting Healthy Eating In Your workplace

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New Material Paves the Way for Remote-Controlled Medication and Electronic Pills

Biomedicines are produced by living cells and are used to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases among other things. One challenge is that the medicines are very expensive to produce, something that limits global access. Now researchers from Chalmers have invented a material that uses electrical signals to capture and release biomolecules. The new and efficient method may have a major impact in the development of biomedicines and pave the way for the development of electronic pills and drug implants.

The new material is a polymer surface* which at an electrical pulse changes state from capturing to releasing biomolecules. This has several possible applications, including use as a tool for the efficient separation of a medicine from the other biomolecules that cells create in the production of biological medicines. The results of the study were recently published in the scientific journal “Angewandte Chemie”.

Biomedicines are very expensive to produce due to the lack of an efficient separation technique, and new techniques with a higher drug yield are required to reduce production costs and ultimately the cost of treating patients.

“Our polymer surfaces offer a new way of separating proteins by using electrical signals to control how they are bound to and released from a surface, while not affecting the structure of the protein,” says Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo, who publicly defended his doctoral thesis in chemistry at Chalmers and is the lead author of the study.

The conventional separation technique – chromatography – binds biomolecules tightly to the surface and strong chemicals are required to make them release, which leads to losses and a poor yield. Many new medicines have proved to be highly sensitive to strong chemicals, which creates a major production problem for the next generation of biomedicines. The lower consumption of chemicals results in a benefit to the environment, while the fact that the surfaces of the new material can also be reused through several cycles is a key property. The process can be repeated hundreds of times without affecting the surface.

Functions in biological fluids

The material also functions in biological fluids with a buffering capacity, in other words fluids with the ability to counteract changes in the pH value. This property is remarkable since it paves the way for the creation of a new technique for implants and electronic “pills” that release the medicine into the body via electronic activation.

“You can imagine a doctor, or a computer program, measuring the need for a new dose of medicine in a patient, and a remote-controlled signal activating the release of the drug from the implant located in the very tissue or organ where it’s needed,” says Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo.

Local, activated drug release is available today in the form of materials that change their state in the event of a change in the surrounding chemical environment. For example, tablets of pH-sensitive material are produced where you want to control the release of a drug in the gastrointestinal tract, which is an environment with natural variations in pH value. But in most of the body’s tissues there are no changes in pH value or other chemical parameters.

“Being able to control the release and uptake of proteins in the body with minimal surgical interventions and without needle injections is, we believe, a unique and useful property. The development of electronic implants is only one of several conceivable applications that are many years into the future. Research that helps us to link electronics with biology at a molecular level is an important piece of the puzzle in such a direction,” says Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo.

Another advantage of the new method is that it does not require large amounts of energy. The low power consumption is due to the fact that the depth of the polymer on the surface of the electrode is very thin, on the nanometre scale, which means that the surface reacts immediately to small electrochemical signals.

“Electronics in biological environments is often limited by the size of the battery and the moving mechanical parts. Activation at a molecular level reduces both the energy requirement and the need for moving parts,” says Gustav Ferrand-Drake del Castillo.

The breakthrough began as a doctoral thesis

The research behind the technique was conducted during the period when Ferrand-Drake del Castillo was a doctoral student in Chalmers professor Andreas Dahlin’s research team in the Division of Applied Surface Chemistry. The project involved polymer surfaces that change state between being neutral and charged depending on the pH value of the surrounding solution. The researchers then succeeded in creating a material that was strong enough to stay on the surface when subject to repeated electrical signals, while also being thin enough to actually change pH value as a result of the electrochemistry on the surface.

“Shortly afterwards we discovered that we could use the electrical signals to control the binding and release of proteins and biomolecules, and that the electrode material works in biological solutions such as serum and centrifuged blood. We believe and hope that our discoveries may be of great benefit in the development of new medicines,” says Andreas Dahlin.

In the past year, the Chalmers researchers’ results have been passed on to product development, carried out by the spin-off company Nyctea Technologies. The company already has customers among leading pharmaceutical researchers and companies.

*Polymers are chemical compounds that consist of very long chains made up of repeated smaller units. Common plastics are a form of polymer.

Advice for Managing International Tax for Multiple Assets

Advice for Managing International Tax for Multiple
Assets

While the fantasy of being a high net-worth individual with multiple assets located across the globe may seem alluring, it can be incredibly complex and challenging to manage these successfully.

This is borne out by the challenges facing Russian oligarch
Roman Abramovich, whose
assets in the UK
(including Chelsea Football Club) were frozen as part of
the government’s sanctions on Russia.

But how can you successfully manage international assets while minimising tax payment lawfully? Let’s find out!

#1. Structure Your Financial Affairs Using Legal Expertise

Before you attempt anything else, we’d recommend liaising with a legal tax expert to ensure that your financial affairs are structured in a compliant and efficient manner.

This way, you can legally mitigate and minimise tax inefficiencies, while capitalising on local and international loopholes (we’ll touch more on a couple of these below) to help those of you with assets dotted across the globe.

This may take time depending on the range of value of your assets, but it’s crucial if you’re to minimise your annual tax burden without falling foul of the necessary laws.

#2. Consider Paying Tax on a Remittance Basis

If you live in the UK but don’t intend to live there permanently and hold a broad range of international assets, you may be able to pay tax strictly on a remittance basis.

In laymen\’s terms, this means that you won’t have to pay tax on your income and returns sourced from overseas, as long as they’re not remitted into the UK.

Interestingly, this was a focus of media attention recently, after it was revealed that Rishi Sunak’s wife had such a tax arrangement after the Chancellor had announced a significant hike in National Insurance for everyone.

Of course, the subsequent media pressure forced Sunak’s partner to subsequently pay full UK tax on her overseas income, but this remains a viable option for other high net-worth individuals with a lower profile!

#3. Claim Main Residence Relief for Foreign Holiday Homes

There also remains nothing in the UK’s body of tax legislation that says an overseas holiday home cannot be listed as a Brit’s main residence for Capital Gains Tax purposes.

In fact, a holiday home can be treated as your main residence by making an election that this effect (usually within two years of you buying the property).

Of course, the property will need to be owned directly by you, while following this process formally will ensure that you’re exempt from some (or maybe all) of any capital gains tax imposed in the UK.

Just remember that you’re only allowed to claim one main residence, while if you’re married, you can only list one between you. So, this should only be considered if you’re not intending to sell your UK home any time soon (or hope to avoid getting divorced in the near term!). 

5 Major Differences Between Hiring CPA

Finding the right financial professional can be difficult. Even once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’re faced with another problem: should you hire a certified management accountant (CMA) or certified public accountant (CPA) to help run your business?

Let’s take a look.

What is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

A certified public accountant (CPA) is a licensed accountant who can practice public accounting duties, like auditing, taxation, and other daily payroll activities. To become certified, they must pass a 4-part exam issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

What is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)?

A certified management accountant (CMA) is someone who is certified to practice corporate financial accounting and business management. To become certified, they must pass a 2-part exam issued by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which isn’t American specific.

5 Key Differences Between a CPA and CMA

The CPA license is the most popular accounting certification, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook a CMA-certified professional.

Here are the key differences between a CPA and a CMA.

1. CPA vs. CMA: Concentration
A CPA works primarily with businesses and individuals, whereas a CMA focuses explicitly on corporate accounting and performance management. A CPA and CMA can handle the same accounting duties, but a CMA looks more at financial statements, taxes, and regulations.

2. CPA vs. CMA: Growth Opportunities
Since a CPA certification is more recognized by employers in the US, a CPA is more likely to get hired for a job than a CMA. CMA’s are typically hired for high-level positions, like corporate controller, CFO, or IRS agent, whereas CPAs attract general positions, like tax accountant.

Keep in mind that some employers will hire a CMA for certain CPA positions, but employers usually prefer to hire a general accountant over a specialist. While a CPA gives a candidate a competitive advantage, a CMA can help them transition into a more senior position faster.

3. CPA vs. CMA: Exam Requirements
To take the CPA exam, a candidate will need a 4-year bachelor’s degree in an accounting field and 30 extra college credit hours. In some states, they’ll need additional work experience. After they get their license, they need to maintain 40 hours of continuing education each year.

For the CMA exam, a candidate needs a bachelor’s degree and 2 years of work experience. After getting the license, they must maintain 30 hours of continuing education each year.

Typically, an accountant who’s looking to pursue the CPA certification will get a master’s degree, as they’re approximately 0-6 credit hours off from getting a master’s in accounting. If the CPA you’re hiring has a master’s degree, you’ll likely pay more to hire them on as an accountant.

4. CPA vs. CMA: Exam Difficulty
The CPA exam pass rate changes each quarter, but the BEC and REG sections have a high pass rate of 55% or higher, whereas the AUD and FAR section pass rates hover below 50%. The pass rate for every section combined is 46-54% depending on the year or test season.

The CMA exam pass rate is much lower than the CPA. According to the latest data, 36.25% of students passed Part 1, whereas 50.5% passed Part 2. The collective pass rate is 43% globally.

While it looks like the CMA exam is harder on paper, it’s more likely that a person writing the test isn’t familiar with general accounting procedures. While you need an accounting-related degree to take the CPA exam, the CMA exam will accept any 4-year bachelor’s degree in any field.

5. CPA vs. CMA: Salary Differences
A CPA can make $70,000 per year but may earn as high as $120,000 on average.

A CMA can make $66,000 per year but may earn as high as $95,000 on average.

The amount a person will make as a CPA or CMA will vary based on their location. While CMAs are less expensive to hire, always consider their experience before placing them in senior roles.

Adapting to a Volatile Trading Market in 2022

Volatility is a common part of the trading landscape for experienced investors, but it’s still something many struggle with when it comes to securing and managing their portfolio. The transition from 2021 and 2022 has been a complex one for new investors and veterans alike. While countless younger generations have abandoned their portfolios completely after the simplicity of the 2021 Bull market disappeared, others have been left scrambling for a solution. According to a recent report from David Rosenberg, the S&P could easily crash a further 17% after dipping into a Bear position this May. Analysts believe we’re on the road to a prolonged Bear market with a similar potential economic impact of the financial crisis in 2008.

The Volatility of a Recessionary Bear Market

Rosenberg says the market today is following a very similar pattern to the recession-led landscape of 2008. By May of that year, the significance of the problems in a sub-prime lending environment had grown increasingly obvious. The S&P 500 had also narrowly averted dropping into a Bear market, after dropping by around 17% at one point from the previous record high in the October of 2007. Though the market did recover temporarily, it quickly transitioned into a free-fall state, dropping by almost 40% by the end of the year.

Rosenberg, with 30 years of experience in the industry, has warned investors repeatedly to prepare for the impact of a Bear market, citing the low dividend yield of the S&P 500 as a reason he’s expecting an increased downtown in the months ahead. For those getting involved with the market for the first time following the Bull market of 2021, as well as investors with a long-standing stake in their portfolio, there are still options available. However, the focus right now must be on building the correct strategy. Right now, the yield on the 10-year treasury is competing better for long-term investor cash at 2.8% than the S&P 500. In fact, the gap between the environments hasn’t been this wide since May 2018. Additionally, while stocks have surged in recent years, thanks to the rising number of new investors in the retail market, they’ve also dropped sharply in 2022.

The Bull Market Wasn’t as Stable as it Seemed

According to Rosenberg, as well as many other experts, the crash of equities towards a Bear market indicates the last two years highlights how fragile the apparent Bull market actually was. Economists have also suggested the pandemic stimulus packages created by the Federal Reserve contributed to relatively unrealistic stock market valuations. This meant the decision to start increasing interest rates quickly led to a crash.

The growing money supply in the trading landscape has suddenly collapsed in the last year, and there’s barely any opportunity left in money velocity. Radical stimulus options have suddenly shifted to a trend of massive restraint among investors. While the S&P rallied slightly in late May, the futures market suggested the index would quickly erase any potential gains. With market volatility leaving everyone in a state of panic, now is the time for many traders to reconsider their options when it comes to securities and money building opportunities. More investors are rapidly beginning to turn to derivative products like CFDs (contract for differences) to capitalize on the potential opportunities in the landscape.

Why CFDs are Beneficial for Volatile Markets

CFDs represent a valuable investment opportunity for trading during volatile times. Increasingly offered by more accessible environments, these tools are pegged to assets like forex, indexes, shares, and commodities. Instead of purchasing and owning underlying assets, users can trade on opening and closing values. With CFDs, it’s possible to take advantage of both falling and rising market prices, rather than just waiting for prices to rise. The opportunity to take advantages of fluctuations by shorting the market, allows for more wealth to be developed through the differences in prices.

Users can also get involved with hedging strategies, off-setting trades with opposite positions to help minimize unwanted losses. Plus, CFDs can be traded using leverage, allowing for boosted market exposure and better volumes with small initial capital expenses. While there are risks with any kind of trading, the CFD environment gives us more freedom to experiment with different positions and strategies for making money, diversifying portfolios and potentially reducing loss. The key to success, of course, is getting a comprehensive view of the market, and making intelligent decisions based on the data available. Now could be the perfect time for many investors to begin transforming their strategy, and paving the way for long-term durability.

Ways to Save Legal Expenses Using Outside Counsel

When you have outside counsel it means you are taking services for which you pay only when you use them. When you engage outside counsel, your goal is likely to be how to manage legal expense control. If you have in-house counsel, you will pay whether you use their services or not.

Everyone wants to save the legal expenses while having outside counsel. In the following article, I will tell you the efficient way you can save your legal expenses.

Choose the right law firm

If you are willing to hire a law firm, make a list of the law firms. You should analyze the law firms’ reviews. Once you have studied the pros and cons of the law firms then choose the firm according to your demand. If you choose right outside general counsel outside counsel, you will have the right benefits at the right time.

There are different law firms, some of them only working on a specific niche. You should choose a law firm for you according to your niche. If you are an investor, then choose the firm which has a team of professional lawyers with corporate and financial expertise. In this way, you can cut the legal expenses. Because if you choose the random outside counsel, they are less bothered about your matters and have general knowledge about all the issues. They can increase your legal expenses.

Analyse yearly cost

You pay for the services of outside counsel. So, whenever you want to hire a law firm, you should examine the yearly cost a firm can charge you. 

Some firms’ counseling fees are very high. So, avoid them and choose the firm with reasonable fees. It would help you to cut your overall legal expenses.

Consider outside legal suggestions

You should decide the billing policy with your outside counsel. If you have no billing policy, then your expenses can increase. You should read all outside counsel guidelines. When you decide on the billing policy, there will be a clear way of payment. 

It makes you clear which things you have to pay or which are excluded from the fees. It can cut your legal expenses. You can read terms and condition of any law firm which will be good for you before choosing.

Organized the information

If you want effective communication with your outside counsel, you should organize all your documents in such a way that a lawyer can easily get the internal information and documents.

You can hand over all the data electronically to your outside counsel. As you know, outside counsel is not dealing only with your matters, they have many other matters in the queue. 

Communicate business strategies in advance 

If you share your business strategies in advance with your outside counsel. They can examine and make some decisions regarding your plans in advance. So, if you face any problem in the future, they will have an advanced solution to your problem. In this way, your expenses can minimize time as well.

Besides it, outside counsel exactly knows its core responsibilities towards your matters.

Standardized approach your approach

You should keep things simple. The right information at the right time avoids many difficulties and uncertainties. 

If you provide clear information to your outside counsel then they will work properly. If you keep things simple and standardize your approach, you can get more predictable results and cut your legal expenses.

You can use e-billing techniques

E-billing is cost-effective even if the smallest legal department is using this billing method. If you use this method, you can track your monthly invoices electronically. The chances of mistakes in payments are less due to this tool. 

It will also help in forecasting the money which outside counsel spend in the current month. You can also examine the track and analyze which issue was being addressed in the specific month at which cost.

For example, you can ask the outside counsel what you will have to spend in a month. because they know the current month’s expenses. They can give an insight into the expense. In this way, you can cut the legal cost to eliminate the extra things which you have done previously.

You should prepare a road map of your matters

As you know, you have many legal matters when you do any business. you should prepare the road map for your matters. An easy and comprehensive matter summary provides clear insights into your matters to your outside counsel.

A good and effective matter summary is necessary if you want to provide accurate knowledge to outside counsel. If you share the matters with your counsel in an ambiguous way, you will see the matter will be addressed not in the proper way and your expense will also be higher. Because there will be a communication gap between you and your counsel.

So, if you want to cut your legal expenses, always provide them with an effective and clear matter summary.

To conclude, if you want to cut your legal expenses on the outside counsel you should follow the above-mentioned techniques.

How does Mortgage Life Insurance Work? A Brief Insight

Are you all set to buy your own home? Congratulations!

It is certainly one of the most important phases of your life and exciting too. The thrill of having your dream fulfilled and the nervousness of making some really challenging decisions is a hard combination to deal with. One of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether you should invest in life insurance when buying a home or not.

Mortgage life insurance is a plan that pays off your debt if you die before the mortgage is paid off. It is often known as mortgage protection insurance as well. This insurance policy is usually great for your family as it secures the home and your family doesn’t lose it. However, is it the best option available? Let’s find out.

How does Mortgage Life Insurance Work?

Mortgage life insurance is invested when you buy your home or right after doing so. The insurance plan will be almost as long as your mortgage duration. 

So how do you get mortgage life insurance? This coverage plan is usually offered to you by the lender himself. Mortgage lenders usually have insurance companies affiliated with them. If your lender does not offer you a mortgage life insurance and you are interested in getting one, you can connect with any well-reputed insurance company to get the details and invest in it. However, they usually find it best that they get the insurance plan through their mortgage lender as the premium gets rolled in the loan. 

For this policy, your beneficiary is your mortgage lender. None of your family members or your partner can be the beneficiary of this insurance policy. What does this mean? This simply means that your mortgage lender will be responsible for paying off the remaining money of your debt if you pass away. No money is passed onto your family or spouse from this policy. It basically helps you keep the home, no matter what. It is yours to keep. 

Benefits of Mortgage Life Insurance 

Now, given that a mortgage life insurance policy secures your home, for you and your family, it does seem advantageous in the long run. This is the biggest perk of it. It gives you and your family a secure feeling and brings peace of mind to you. If something ever happens to you, your mortgage will be taken care of and your family won’t have to make efforts for it. 

However, if you gather knowledge about your normal life insurance policies, you might find out that they also provide you with the same type of peace of mind. They can also bring a similar level of family flexibility.

1. No Medical Exams

Life insurance policies usually require you to pass medical exams. But with mortgage life insurance, you don’t have to worry about it. It does not have any health queries or checkups involved. You can assume it to be an alternative for you, for life insurance, without the need for medical examinations. 

2. Riders

With mortgage life insurance, you get the option of adding riders to your policy. These are life insurance benefits and return of premium. However, it is important that you discuss the rider’s availability and benefits with the mortgage lender beforehand. 

Disadvantages of Mortgage Life Insurance

It is critical to weigh out the pros and cons of a policy before you decide to invest in it. Here are a few downsides of mortgage life insurance:

 

1. Costly

If you are healthy and fit, this is an expensive option to opt for. They usually cost a lot more than your standard life insurance policy. Thus, having knowledge about other options might help you a lot. 

 

2. Accurate Quote is Hard to Find:

When you invest in your own house, you will get various options for mortgage and mortgage life insurance. Comparing each one of them and finding the perfect quotation might be a challenge. It gets confusing as well. Therefore, be very patient throughout the process because it becomes easier to make the wrong choice. 

Conclusion

Keep in mind that home insurance and mortgage life insurance are two different elements. If you are taking out a mortgage to buy your own home, a mortgage lender will definitely try their best to sell you this policy too. If you can manage your budget along with mortgage life insurance, as it is usually costly, you might find it an attractive catch. 

It is best to compare your standard life insurance policies with mortgage life insurance before making a choice. For many, mortgage life insurance is the best bet as there are no medical examinations involved and it is relatively easier to get as well. 

In light of your requirements and needs, you make a decision that suits you the best. 

Supply Chain Chaos: How Long Until They Recover?

Supply chains are struggling to recover from the damaging effects of the pandemic. Couple this with the fact that a mere 6% of brands feel they have full visibility of the supply chain, and it’s easy to see why the pandemic had such a detrimental impact on supply chains. Then you have to consider there has also been a 650% rise in supply chain targeted cyberattacks, and it’s easy to see why supply chains across B2B and B2C networks are scrambling to recover.

The result of a constant barrage on supply chains is damaged buyer-to-business relationships, cost implications, and damaged business reputations. Below, we’ll look at the causes of the supply chain chaos, what brands can do to gain more supply chain visibility, and when it’ll all return to normal order.

Why the Chaos?

It all started with the pandemic. Many supply chains simply shut down due to a lack of trading and a lack of the ability to trade. The result is an estimated $4 trillion in lost revenue for supply chains across the globe. Break that down into individual sectors – like the automotive and transportation that lost up to $100 million in revenue – and it’s easy to see why supply chains are struggling to recover.

Just when everyone thought supply chains were back in business, the new software packages developed to support supply chains at the back-end of the pandemic were heavily flawed. In comes the 650% rise in cyberattacks targeting the software that cost the industry more millions. Factor in staffing issues and product shortages, and it’s easy to see why supply chains across the globe are struggling to recover.

Creating More Supply Chain Visibility

For individual brands, there’s a lack of control and visibility of the supply chain that can cause further disruptions. The software that aimed to create more visibility and control failed, but there are other ways of tracking activity across the supply chain that benefits brands. One example is incentive programs that reward sales, referrals, and even communication.

If you click here, you’ll notice that an incentive program isn’t only for buyers; it’s for vendors and distributors. When offering incentives and using a program that tracks activity, it’s easier to have more supply chain visibility. They also improve collaboration and communication across the entire supply chain.

When Will Supply Chains Return to Normal?

Some experts believe the current operations of supply chains are the new norm but that they will slowly recover somewhat throughout 2022. The recovery refers to the current economy and financial state of supply chains – in terms of how supply chains operate, that’s expected to remain much the same. Supply chains are now relying heavily on software to automate processes. Despite flaws, automation is now a key part of supply chain operations.

Supply chains are battling the ripple effects of the long-lasting pandemic fuelled crisis – the primary issue now is a lack of supplies and an increase in demand that supply chains are struggling to manage. The result is a backlog of orders that are affecting businesses and consumers. Still, we can expect to see it stabilize by Q3 of 2022.

Top Reasons Your Business Isn’t Making Money

Has your business become a financial liability instead of an asset? As more than half of all small businesses fail within the first five years, you can imagine that many people have likely found themselves in this situation. They invested a lot of time, money, and energy into a business venture but can’t seem to make more than a couple of sales. Consequently, their debt increases to the point that they can’t sustain their businesses (or a basic living). 

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the outcome. Many entrepreneurs have struggled with generating profits but found effective ways to turn things around. The first step is evaluating why your business isn’t making money. Below are some of the most common reasons. 

Overspending

Turning a profit boils down to earning more than you spend. You must generate enough sales to cover your overhead costs and associated expenses, and your profits are what’s left. Ultimately, your earning potential decreases when costs increase. That’s why financial management practices like budgeting are essential for businesses. 

A budget enables you to see how much you’re making compared to your expenses. When you create and manage a budget, you can evaluate spending habits and make the necessary changes. Whether you streamline processes, comparison shop for better prices, conserve resources, or reduce or eliminate a spending category, it increases your earnings. 

Inefficient Marketing

How do you expect to generate a profit if no one knows your business exists? While having a company website and social media account is essential, they’re not the only measures you must take to market your business. Building brand awareness, cultivating positive customer relationships, attracting new customers, and boosting sales, come down to effective marketing. 

Entrepreneurs must learn how to use multiple marketing strategies to turn profits. Combining digital and traditional marketing concepts is recommended for online and brick-and-mortar establishments. For instance, placing an ad on bus stop furniture with your social media profiles establishes your brand locally while increasing your digital presence. 

Unwillingness To Evolve

As the landscape of business and the needs of consumers continues to change, entrepreneurs must evolve to remain successful. Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs overlook this concept and become stagnate. Because they no longer meet the needs of their target audience, their earnings potential suffers. 

Change is constant. If your small business is going to survive, you must continually look for ways to enhance your brand, products, services, and customer experiences. Whether that means upgrading your technology, hiring additional staff, consulting experts, integrating new concepts and trends, learning new skills, or improving the quality of your products or services, it must be done to continue making money. 

Overlooking Customer Experience

No business can make money without customers. Be that as it may, some entrepreneurs fail to see the importance of customer experience. They may have an excellent product or service, but if they fail to satisfy the customer, they cannot make sales. Small business owners are encouraged to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. 

Analyze every aspect of your business from the point of contact until the completion of the sale. Was your website easy to find and use? Are your products or services priced competitively? Were you able to find what you wanted without complication? Did anyone offer assistance? Did the representative do their best to help if you had an inquiry or concern? 

As you go through each phase and develop answers to these questions, decide what changes are necessary to improve. Once you start making these improvements, you’ll see that customer satisfaction increases, raising your earnings potential. 
Starting a business can be a significant asset. However, if your expenses exceed your profits or you’re not generating enough to sustain your business and lifestyle, perhaps you’re guilty of one of these mistakes. While these factors commonly lead to the demise of many companies each year, it doesn’t have to be your fate. Once you’ve identified the core issues, use the above advice to make practical changes. Although it make take some time, eventually, you should start to see an improvement in your bottom line.

What works best: HTML email marketing or plain text?

Email marketing is a powerful tool to reach more people, increase engagement, and generate more leads. There are two ways to send an email to your marketing list, one is to spruce it up using HTML and the other is to keep is simple with plain text. Which one works better for generating more engagement? Which one is actually read? First, let’s define what each means. 

HTML 

Hyper Text Mark Up, HTML, is a coding language. It is used in making websites and designing emails. Your internet browser and email client interpret the code to display images, headings and sections the content out.  

Plain text

For an email that gets the information across, you can use plain text. It is simply text; no formatting or no images. Plain text emails are smaller and are also great if the recipient has readability issues, or a slow connection, as it works on all devices.  

Our research 

Recently, we performed an experiment to see which of these email formats works best for marketing correspondence. We used the exact same content substance; one was spruced up with HTML formatting, the other was simply the plain text. The results were surprising, finding that the plain text version was read by more people, but the HTML version had a much better click through rate (CTR). This was due to the call to action being more visible. The content was exactly the same, but they did have different outcomes.  

What should you consider when using HTML email marketing?

Pros

Formatting is important. The use of white space is just as important as the images you use. You can use HTML to frame important parts of the email’s content. A call to action (CTA) needs to be obvious and clear to the reader, which is much easier to achieve with HTML.  

The click through rate is higher. The CTR is how many of the recipients click on a link in the email. You can make the link an image which is easier to see. Getting people to click on your links is usually the ultimate goal of any marketing material. 

Cons 

Some email clients will only display a plain text version of your email. In some cases, it will also include any HTML you added into the text. Which will make it harder for the reader to understand.  

You cannot guarantee the recipient will view the HTML email properly, this is becoming less frequent, but if the email doesn’t display correctly, then people are less likely to read it.

What should you consider when using plain text email marketing?

Pros 

The main benefit of using plain text is that it is more likely to be read. This is down to it working on every device, and that some people just prefer it. Increase your readership by offering a plain text version.  

There is less information sent to the email recipient, it gets to the substance of the content quicker than a HTML email. Some email clients will display the plain text version by default. This can be due to security reasons in a company, requiring expressed permission to load an image. 

Cons 

You have very limited control over the layout and design of the text. Plain text will display as a block of text and cannot be different colours, fonts, styles, or weights. Therefore, it is less eye catching. If someone wants to read it then they will, but it will not grab attention.  

Although the likelihood of reading the content goes up, the engagement does not. As there is no visual trigger to get someone to click, the CTA is lost in the text itself. 

Which is better for your marketing efforts?

The conclusion to the article could be ‘use both of them’ – they both fulfil a different requirement. If you mix the two styles, people tend to like the variance of this. 

People like variety and you cannot satisfy everyone all the time. Using a mixture of both types of email will work to increase your success rate. If you need more people to read the content, plain text works great. If you want more people to engage and click the links, then HTML is better.  

From our research, we can also suggest you use different email types for different types of clients. Business to business, B2B, clients are more likely to engage with plain text. Whereas emails to consumers should be more HTML focused.  

How Fleet Insurance Can Enhance Risk Equations For SMEs?

Fleet insurance is insurance coverage for a business’s vehicles. Instead of getting insurance for individual cars, you can get collective insurance for the fleet. It will save you the hassle of monitoring each vehicle’s separate car insurance policy and reduce the cost of insuring your business’s vehicles.

Small companies face plenty of risks, and fleet insurance is one way to minimize that risk. Risk management is crucial for any organization’s ongoing existence and financial prosperity. The following are ways fleet insurance can enhance risk equations, particularly for SMEs:

Economic And Financial Risk

The most significant way fleet insurance can enhance risk equations for small businesses is by reducing their economic and financial risk. For starters, if anything happens to a vehicle in the fleet without insurance, all the subsequent payments will have to come out of pocket, which would cost the business a lot of money.

The trusted experts at Cheap Insurance will tell you the same thing. Moreover, the cost of insuring every vehicle in a fleet is much more than collective fleet insurance. Therefore, fleet insurance saves the company money and mitigates the financial risk the company would face if their vehicles broke down or were in accidents.

If vehicles in an SME’s fleet are involved in an accident, it increases the premiums they would subsequently have to pay if they had individual insurance. With fleet insurance, the rise is much smaller as only one car in the fleet is affected, and it has a lesser effect on the company’s premiums to cover the entire fleet.

If the driver or employee sustains an injury during the accident, it could cost the company money, but your company can mitigate the financial loss thanks to fleet insurance.

Operational Risk

The vehicles in a company’s fleet must fulfill many requirements to be operational. The cars’ maintenance, fitting, and roadworthiness are crucial to ensuring they serve their purpose in helping the company be operational.

In most cases, the company will lose money if its fleet is not fully functional and ruin its operations. Fleet insurance mitigates operational risk because it ensures the vehicles can be quickly restored to full functionality and contribute to the business’s operations. Otherwise, it could lead to issues with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders that could damage the business.

Legal Risk

When a company car is involved in an accident, there are legal repercussions that the company has to face. Such an accident could result in a lawsuit against the company, which can have dire implications if the company car driver is at fault.

Business insurance will often handle such legal issues and their consequences. However, fleet insurance enhances a company’s risk equation as an added measure that will protect the vehicle and the legal risk that comes with it. Having workers\’ compensation insurance if an employee or driver is injured during an accident will also be a good idea.

Compliance Risk

Every business must comply with various regulations, including those pertaining to its fleet. Moreover, a business must meet different requirements for an insurance company to provide fleet insurance, which will help with compliance.

Driver’s licenses, vehicle maintenance records, permits, and driver’s health records are several of the documents the company will require before offering coverage.

Therefore, fleet insurance can help a business reduce its compliance risk by meeting all the requirements. When authorities conduct audits, the fleet will be in great shape averting the consequences of not meeting regulations.

Fleet insurance is something every small and medium enterprise should consider. It can help reduce compliance, legal, operational, economic, and financial risks. Enhancing your business’s risk equation saves money and ensures its existence.

Why Customer Experience is a Key Differentiator in the Banking Industry & How the Industry Is Set to Change for Consumers

By Jon Brooks, Head of Financial Services UK at Sabio Group

Customer Experience, or CX, is fast becoming the competitive differentiator in the banking industry.

Banks – and financial institutions in general – that invest in CX have on average higher rates of recommendation, greater ‘wallet share’ and are more likely to be in a position to cross-sell and up-sell alternative products and services.

According to a recent study by Gartner, 81% of companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, making strong CX a key competitive differentiator for Banks. Gartner’s research also reveals that the higher a customer’s experience is in terms of quality, the more likely they are to remain loyal to a particular brand or institution – meaning CX has the power to improve customer retention.

So, in short, it’s critical that Banks get their CX strategy right.

With CX playing an ever-increasing role in a Bank’s success, what will the banking landscape for consumers look like in the next five years? And what emerging CX trends will we see introduced in that time?

Embedded Products & Services within Mobile Apps to Provide Personalised Experiences

Customer ‘self-service’ is one of the fastest growing CX trends across the Banking industry today. With the majority of customers using mobile apps for a vast array of other services (such as shopping, utilities etc) it’s almost an expectation that Banks will offer this service too. The teams and associated expertise that are needed to create, manage and optimise those apps are not difficult for enterprise organisations to manage in-house. Ensuring a personalised in-app experience that supports many customers self-serving within their app will help stronger engagement and adoption.

The Evolution of AI

Rather than wait on the phone, customers now have the option to consult AI-enabled chatbots when faced with challenges. These chatbots pull and process information from various sources, such as the Bank’s knowledge-base and CRM customer profiles, to respond to incoming customer service requests. Should a particular request exceed the chatbot’s capabilities, it’s automatically escalated to a live service representative who can help the customer work toward a resolution. Best of all, more and more banking apps are offering chatbot technology as a native functionality, which means customers can quickly resolve issues from anywhere, at any time.

The rise of Digitalization

The pandemic and the impending lockdowns limited, and in some instances completely removed, the ability for customers to physically visit their Banks which often resulted in voice channels being swamped with calls. In order to deliver great CX for customers, it became critical for Banks to offer customers’ alternative digital channels as another method of customer service and support. But this is easier said than done. Deploying an integrated omni-channel communication strategy with end-to-end reporting and data is one thing, providing the tools and support for less tech-savvy customers is another challenge Banks have yet to land.

Humanization of Digital Interactions

Offering customers a range of channels is a good first step to delivering great CX in Banking. However, while many customers may be comfortable interacting with a ‘bot’, there will be just as many struggling with the lack of humanisation across their interactions with the Bank. This is especially the case when those interactions involve the exchanging of sensitive information or data. Therefore, it’s critical that Banks find ways to soften the use of bots, by giving them personas or personalities and allowing that bot service to be joined up with human assisted service.

So, there you have it – the four key trends in CX I expect to see across the banking landscape in the next few years.

What’s clear is that the banking industry is changing and changing rapidly, and CX is a clear differentiator for consumers when choosing who they will continue to bank with.

By not taking CX seriously, some Banking institutions are in danger of falling into the red when it comes to credit among the consumers of tomorrow…

Mercedes-Benz Remains Europe’s Most Valuable Brand Despite Tough Time For European Manufacturers, While Service Brand Grows Quickly

  • MOST VALUABLE: Mercedes-Benz holds on to 1st place, Deutsche Telekom retains second and Shell grows to becomes third most valuable in Europe
  • STRONGEST: Ferrari remains strongest European brand with AAA+ brand rating, EY jumps up to second place
  • FASTEST GROWING: Alstom is Europe’s fastest growing brand with almost tripling of value, British Gas and Sixt more than double in brand value this year

Mercedes-Benz remains most valuable European brand

Mercedes-Benz (brand value up 6% to €52.4 billion) remains the most valuable European brand despite only moderate growth in a tough year for automotive brands. Amid challenging market conditions due to the pandemic and an industrywide semiconductor shortage, the brand prioritized electromobility and has seen great results from it. The German automobile giant confirmed that their electric vehicles sales saw a 90% increase this year.

Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes around 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. Europe’s top 500 most valuable and strongest brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Europe 500 2022 ranking.

This year, Mercedes-Benz launched the sixth generation of the C-class series with a new interior design and is planning to implement autonomous driving features. At the same time, an industry-wide trend to make a transition to electric vehicles and a sustainable approach to production and distribution is on the rise.

A key development to strengthen the Mercedes-Benz brand is the rebrand of Daimler AG to Mercedes-Benz Group AG. The focus of the rebrand is to enhance passenger cars and vans in the luxury segment. The strategic move to rebrand was to fulfil the brand’s objective to focus on financial and mobility services by offering insurance and rental subscriptions and digital fleet management systems.

Other German brands did not fare so well in the ranking this year, with Volkswagen (brand value down 12% to €35.4 billion), BMW (brand value down 5% to €32.7 billion), Porsche (brand value down 1% to €29.1 billion) and Audi (brand value down 18% to €11.9 billion) all seeing losses in brand value. With lockdowns, network contractions in production and the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the industry faces many challenges. Apart from sector wide disruptions, the German automakers who were reliant on diesel-powered vehicles have had to deal with regulatory challenges and the transition to electric mobility and electric production methods, resulting in rolling back on production to meet industry trends.

Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s second most valuable brand, up 44% in value since the start of the pandemic

Deutsche Telekom (brand value up 19% to €51.9 billion) has grown quickly in value to retain its position as the second-most valuable European brand, and to become the second-most valuable telecoms brand in the world. Deutsche Telekom is moving to consolidate its brands globally by introducing a new logo which has the potential to unify its “T” branding across both its T Mobile and Deutsche Telekom divisions internationally. Initially, the letter “T” will dominate digital channels and sponsorships, with the eventual deployment of “T” collateral into physical buildings and retail outlets.

Since 2020, Deutsche Telekom’s brand value has gone up by 44% in total. Successful business performance and high customer growth, especially in the United States, are the main contributors to this significant increase. In addition, the Group again scored points through sustained investments in network quality, digital technologies, and customer service.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“The unification of Deutsche Telekom’s branding internationally offers an opportunity to strengthen the brand amongst different consumer groups. This will allow the T brand to spread across various jurisdictions and benefit from globalized efficiencies – especially as it transitions from a challenger-brand in the US to become an established market leader as it is in Germany and some other European jurisdictions.”

Shell is Europe’s third most valuable brand, valued at €43.1 billion

Shell (brand value up 20% to €43.1 billion) has grown its brand value strongly this year, jumping from 4th place to become the 3rd most valuable European brand (and most valuable brand from the United Kingdom). Shell’s value is growing despite the challenges of COVID, the conflict in Ukraine, and perceptions of corporate sustainability practices in the oil and gas sector increasingly affecting consumer choice.

Shell has placed a large emphasis on their energy transition strategy, and it seems to be making a positive contribution to the strength of their brand. Shell aim to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society’s progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Shell’s efforts to develop new clean energy technologies, including electric vehicle charging, are likely to have a positive impact on the strength of their brand in future.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“The energy transformation is both the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity facing Shell. Shell will be challenged to transform in coming years to simultaneously navigate the recovery from Covid, the conflict in Ukraine, and broader concerns about environmental sustainability in the future.”

STRENGTH: Ferrari remains strongest European brand with AAA+ brand rating, EY jumps up to second place

In addition to calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Compliant with ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 100,000 respondents in more than 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors.

Ferrari (brand value down 12% to €6.9 billion) is the strongest brand in Europe, and the strongest automobile brand in the world with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 90.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ rating.

2021 was Ferrari’s best-ever year in terms of sales, with the company paying bonuses to all employees as a result, and the projected growth for 2022 remains high. The automotive brand’s historic pursuit of controlled growth has helped to preserve its exclusivity within its sector, however, last year Ferrari expanded its target market to a younger demographic by launching a new high-end fashion line. The aim of creating a brand that can cater to Italian luxury lifestyle in the high-end category will help expand and strengthen its brand portfolio into new avenues, whilst enhancing brand awareness amongst the younger generation.

EY (brand value up 16% to €20.0 billion) is Europe’s second-strongest brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.5 out of 100 and a corresponding brand rating of AAA+. The brand strength of EY is boosted by their client focus, with research showing improvements to their already strong customer consideration and satisfaction.

GROWTH: Alstom is Europe’s fastest-growing brand as brand value almost triples, British Gas is second with 157% increase, Sixt third with 118% value growth

Alstom (brand value up 170% to €1.0 billion) is Europe’s fastest-growing brand this year, with the French engineering brand completing the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation this year. The combined brand now has extensive, and complementary, reach globally, with Bombadier’s key customers in northern Europe and North America complementing the customers of Alstom. As a result, the combined brand now has the world’s largest installed base of rail vehicles worldwide, from light-rail and monorail vehicles through to high-speed trains.

British Gas (brand value up 157% to €1.1 billion) is Europe’s second fastest-growing brand this year. Much of the value increase is derived from the addition of over 500,000 new residential energy customers via M&A activity. The switch is likely to affect the way those customers perceive British Gas and may impact future brand strength performance.

Sixt (brand value up 118% to €1.2 billion) is Europe’s third fastest-growing brand, and the world’s fastest-growing car rental brand this year. This year’s increase is the continuation of an impressive growth trend for SIXT, which has seen its brand value more than triple in value over the past five years. The brand has built a strong international growth strategy, expanding rapidly in the United States and entering new markets, such as Australia.

David Haigh, CEO & Chairman of Brand Finance, commented:

“SIXT’s brand value has recorded incredible growth over the past 5 years. Its strategy of international expansion, coupled with fostering strategic partnerships across the automobile, technology, and hospitality sectors, as well as the introduction of new subscription models, is paying clear dividends.”

How to Make Sure Your eCommerce Site is Ready for Google to Remove Third-Party Cookies

If you own, manage or work on an eCommerce site, there’s a high chance you’re already aware of Google’s impending removal of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, the clear market leader. The search engine giant had initially planned to cut third-party cookies in 2021, before delaying the move to 2023 to allow for further consideration with regulators and digital advertisers.

These pieces of code planted in user browsers have allowed advertisers to track website visits and target personalised ads for a long time now. The decision to remove them was taken to improve user privacy, with many people feeling that too much tracking was taking place for too little benefit. However, some analysts have claimed the move to be part of Google’s plan to strengthen their advantage over competitors such as Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox by creating a new ecosystem for digital advertisers.

Regardless of which camp you’re in, the implications for eCommerce stores can’t be ignored. You’ll need to rethink how you drive customer engagement and acquisition, while adapting to changing expectations around data privacy. Starting early, however, could give you a competitive advantage, especially while others lack clarity on what a cookie-less world looks like.

Below, we look at the different ways eCommerce websites can get ahead of the game and prepare for success once this new era dawns.

How to get your eCommerce store ready for the cookie cull

Grow your first-party database

With less third-party data to rely on, it’s time to start building out your first-party database so you still have strong customer insights to work with.

You’ll need to offer compelling rewards that give users a reason to part with their personal information. Potential data generation tactics include competitions, newsletters and members-only benefits.

On a related note, you’ll need to get your first-party data in shape to use it efficiently and effectively. If your data is a little all over the place, now’s the time to make sure it’s clean, accessible and up to date.

Enhance relationships with existing customers

With customer acquisition getting harder, retention should be at the forefront of your mind. Delivering a better user experience is a key driver in securing returning customers. With the help of a specialist agency, developing your eCommerce strategy to bring customer experience to the forefront will help you see your customer base grow.

Speaking directly to them via email or even text is one way to bring everyone closer together. Making existing customers feel valued can directly boost your acquisition through reviews and referrals too.

Create engaging loyalty programmes

We touched on members-only benefits above, and creating engaging reasons for customers to give up their data is a smart way to boost loyalty.

A good online loyalty programme should be multi-faceted, and potential perks to consider range from exclusive discounts to early product access, referral benefits and members-only events.

Don’t neglect the offline world

There’s little doubting that the world has gone digital, but your customers are still living in the offline world too. If they’re appropriate to your products or values, in-person events and experiences are a great way to connect with your audience in 3D.

Event ideas should suit your business and could range from product showcases to workshops and partnerships with other like-minded businesses.

Eliminating third-party cookies poses challenges, no doubt. But building better experiences like those discussed above, now, can give you even smarter insights once the world of cookies crumbles.

Most Dedicated Cultural NPO Funding Organization – USA

The arts are a powerful way to send a message – music, literature, theatre, fine-art, and more, are consumed by people daily. Puffin Foundation West is a non-profit funding organisation that supports cultural and artistic projects, such as prison choirs, dance performances, and the provision of instruments to school children. In operation since 2010, Puffin Foundation West has contributed in abundance to the betterment of society – and it only plans to continue.

The world – especially in recent years – has become an increasingly difficult place to live in. Tactics employed by the divisive media, politics, and financial status have caused a rupture in society, leading to intolerance, hate, and anxiety rearing their heads. However, the world isn’t all like this. Indeed, beneath the vitriol spewed on social media, the fake news, and instability, there is hope. There are people across the globe who are pushing for the betterment of society, who hope to reintroduce community, care, and positivity back into towns and cities.

Non-profit organisations are a primary example of this force for good. Be it advocating for the environment, animals, or the vulnerable, non-profits are centred around improving life and society for no monetary or superficial gain. According to Finances Online, there are nearly two million non-profit organisations and 501(c)(3) charities in the United States, and over 180,000 charities in the United Kingdom. Projects developed by these organisations are typically funded by public donations; however, they can also be supported by non-profit funding organisations. 

Each year, Puffin Foundation West, LTD, a conduit foundation, supplies grants to a range of non-profit applicants. Opening its doors decades ago, the organisation has aided thousands of non-profit organisations in making an impact in driving society towards an enlightened and more peaceful place to live and grow. In essence, Puffin Foundation West embodies hope. Through its work, it is trying to lift people from despair, hunger, fear, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and evils like bullying, ageism, racism, and the many issues that are epidemic in the USA.

Specialising in the arts, Puffin West Foundation focuses primarily upon non-profits that spawn a discussion. Moreover, the organisation opts to deliver grassroots grant awards to non-profits whose purpose is to reach across biases and create dialogues that are peaceably transforming, educational, and forward-thinking. It believes that the arts are a universal language through which change can be implemented, biases can be challenged, and repressed narratives can be heard without interruption. As such, through focusing on this area, Puffin West Foundation is aiding the most marginalised groups in society – allowing them to establish or amplify their own voice. The stories of those who have faced discrimination, violence, and repression deserve to be told.

This is, essentially, what Puffin West Foundation’s mission encompasses. It actively works against the ideas formed by social media, the news, and biases, to rebuild or create new connections between communities. Java Kitrick, the organisation’s director, describes this connection as ‘rainbow-colored fabrics that [bind] us all together.’ Such ideas, over the years, have torn these fabrics apart. Consequently, Puffin West Foundation serves as an egalitarian organisation, believing that in order to move forward, it is imperative for history, culture, and traditions to be shared peacefully, with respect, and without judgement.

In turn, it cannot be an organisation that supports handgun violence, rioting, terrorism, destruction of private property, and gross intolerance. These elements fundamentally go against everything that the company stands for – Puffin Foundation West firmly believes that each upcoming generation should harbour an understanding that oppressing people – no matter their race, gender, or age – is inherently wrong. This believe is abundantly clear throughout the organisation’s work.

Puffin Foundation West has worked with a diverse group of non-profits over the years, ranging from performance companies to state parks. These organisations have found Puffin Foundation West on their own accord, as Puffin Foundation West does not advertise its services. Clients are attracted to the non-profit because of its devotion to its morals – Puffin Foundation West will not deviate from its ethos for anyone, no matter how prestigious the enquirer may be. Therefore, this plays a key role in the organisation’s selective awards process.

When Puffin Foundation West receives an application, it pictures the people that the grant will serve and how its grassroots granting can help. Every application is thoroughly analysed – with both the pros and the cons coming into consideration – prior to their acceptance. Be it a typed document, or a handwritten note in crayon, Puffin Foundation West takes each application seriously. As Java Kitrick states, ‘we are NOT the National Endowment for the ARTS.’ Everyone’s goals, dreams, and ambitions are taken seriously – ‘We have railroaded over the cliff as a people, as people forgot that we all once had a DREAM.’

As a result, Puffin Foundation West’s portfolio is highly diverse, and filled with important organisations. One leading example is that of Photo Voice, a non-profit organisation that originates in the United Kingdom, which gives cameras to particular groups to record their stories. Puffin Foundation West provided the organisation with a grant that enabled the provision of cameras to a number of trafficked young women, which resulted in the women documenting their lives over the course of a few weeks. The project resulted in the arrest of one woman, and many of these photos – with permission – were exhibited in a gallery.

A young girl, aged only 14, was sat on the steps to her house when she witnessed a fatal drive-by shooting. Her school came together and decided to clean up the area, removing litter, and making the street habitable for its residents. In the grand scheme of things, this was a small action; however, it had a notable, positive impact on the street’s residents. Puffin Foundation West was contacted by the local neighbourhood centre who asked for a grant to hire a sculptor. The artist created a wire-mesh, life-sized sculpture of a native, wild buffalo, within which, the garbage collected was placed. This sculpture is one of three in the city that Puffin Foundation West has funded.

In addition, Puffin Foundation West has had a great amount of experience contributing to prison-oriented projects. It is undisputed that the United States’ legal system is flawed – according to the Prison Policy Initiative, the US has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. This is further supported by Statista’s research that shows that as of May 2021, the United States had the highest prisoner rate, with 639 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population. In 2020, 2.12 million people were held in American prisons – in comparison, China’s prison population reached an estimated 1.71 million people that year.

A significant project that Puffin Foundation West funded was centred around former inmates that faced homelessness. The ex-inmates were brought together via a theatre organisation that allowed each man to tell their stories within the framework of a play – not only is this cathartic, but it also provides them with support that they may not have elsewhere. They build skills creating set pieces, lighting, sound, and costumes, and are provided with the opportunity to take part in a performance for a paying audience.

Furthermore, Puffin Foundation West has funded a similar organisation that goes into prisons and establishes choirs. This project was exceptionally beneficial, as music is known to have a great effect on the psyche and is often used as a from of therapy. Cleveland Clinic confirms that music therapy displays a positive impact psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually, cognitively, and socially. It has been shown to improve memory, lower blood pressure, enhance self-regulation, and much more. Additionally, Puffin Foundation West has worked on a project that focuses on dance – the inmates are encouraged to express their emotions through movement, but they are not allowed to touch.

Puffin Foundation West’s most recent venture comes in the form of the 5050USA project, which has been designed to start a virtual movement across the United States. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a project that began in 1985 and has culminated in a 54-ton tapestry that includes nearly 50,000 panels dedicated to more than 110,000 individuals. The 5050USA project hopes to have a similar impact.

‘We want to show the world that the American flag is not just a symbol. Instead, we are a UNITED people who are loving, stalwart, caring, compassionate, empathetic, have integrity, are loving and we are kind. We have forgiveness, respect, we are thoughtful and considerate, responsible, devoted, friendly, warm, and sympathetic, concerned, reverent, faithful, and so on. We are sure you can come up your own words that demonstrate our wonderful qualities as egalitarian people through 50 million stories, be they long or short, drawn or photographed,’ writes Java Kitrick in the projects mission statement. 

The 5050USA project hopes to cultivate a virtual highway that displays positivity, radiating the positive aspects of life across the United States. Additions must be written respectfully; however, they do not need to include names. Simply, all the writers must include is where they are from, be it north, south, east, or west, and share positive news or stories. Java finishes the mission statement by exclaiming that there is ‘strength in numbers.’

Java Kitrick has been mentioned numerous times throughout this article, but who is the woman behind the organisation? Establishing the foundation in 2010, Java strives to integrate the arts into communities, with the overall aim to bolster the conversations surrounding social issues. She is hugely passionate about the organisations cause and has devoted herself to furthering Puffin Foundation West’s work.

In 2019, Finances Online writes, nine organisations from the top non-profits in the US reported investment incomes of more than $100 million. Yet most non-profits do not see this type of income – for example, Puffin Foundation West possesses a corpus of $5 million. Statistics published by The NonProfit Times shows that across the top 100 non-profits in the United States, public donations contributed to approximately $44.6 billion in income. Considering that there are over 1.8 million non-profit organizations in the US, this is a great amount of income for a small handful of charities.

Henceforth, this emphasises the need for organisations such as Puffin Foundation West. The organisation provides non-profits that fly under the radar or receive limited public funding to fulfil their important work. Indeed, it reduces the financial burden on smaller non-profits, allowing them to freely contribute to the communities within which they operate. Puffin Foundation West’s work is vital. The importance of the organisation’s work was further emphasised by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic had an enormous impact across a multitude of industries, forcing many to temporarily – or in some cases, permanently – close their doors. The charitable sector around the globe was shaken by the turbulent period. CAF America conducted a study documenting the Covid-19 crisis’ ramifications across 544 organisations throughout 93 countries, and its findings were telling. 94.84% of the contributors stated that there was an immediate impact on their organisations when restrictions were introduced, which is backed by 96.50% of respondents agreeing that Covid-19 had negative consequences for their organisation.

Financial security was an overwhelming challenge for the organisations, with 97.4% projecting a decrease in their funding between March 2020 and 2021. This was, perhaps, an inevitability considering the redistribution of government funding and the priorities of individuals changing. 41% of the respondents expected their funding to drop more than 21%, with a select few organisations forecasting alarming rates of reduced funding by as much as 50%, 70%, or even 100%.

Going forward, it can be assumed that Puffin Foundation West will be devoting many of its awards to aiding non-profits out of this hole. As of 2022, however, it is only supplying grants to virtual performances or projects that do not involve the gathering of people. It believes in science, noting the fact that vaccination does not guarantee total protection, or mean that the virus cannot be spread. Puffin Foundation West will not contribute to projects that could potentially cause harm or even death. In lieu of this, its work will continue with a focus on digital projects, and Puffin Foundation West will continue to support and promote connection, kindness, and peace.

For further information, please contact Java Kitrick or visit http://puffinwest.org/

5 Signs That Your Business Is Failing

5 Signs That Your Business Is Failing

Image: pexels

As much as being your own boss is super exciting, it doesn’t come without a fair share of unique challenges. Perhaps one of these is the possibility that the business might fail, which is among the worst nightmares for most (if not all) entrepreneurs.

But if you’re keen enough to notice the red flags of a failing business, you might be able to salvage the situation and prevent its downfall.

With this having been said, here are five crucial signs that could mean your business is on its way toward closing shop!

1. Consistent Cash Flow Problems

In the early days of your business, there’s nothing worse than having to pay yourself and your team every single week but lacking enough money to pay everyone. It gets even worse if some bills, expenses, and suppliers often have to go for days or weeks unpaid.

Sometimes, the problem could be in the way you are managing your finances and processes, or perhaps you have little inventory – which consequently affects your sales/revenue. In some cases, you could simply have a major customer yet to clear a big invoice.

Well, cash flow issues are to be expected in any business, and the good thing is that borrowing is often a viable solution in many of these instances. And when shopping for a business loan, the likes of iSelect let you compare deals from different lenders, so you can pick the most suitable loan for your business needs and get things back on track.

2. Sales Are Declining Steadily

When sales are decreasing steadily and you can’t attribute the reasons to a specific factor that’s a sure sign that something’s wrong. The same rule goes for a slight decrease in gross margin.

It could also be a red flag that you’re steadily losing business or clientele, and you might have to do something about your marketing strategy or overall approach!

3. You Are Losing Top Employees to Competitors

Of course, an employee can always get a better deal with another company that might not necessarily be in the same industry as yours. But if most of your experienced staff are leaving the company for your competition, there’s a huge probability they don’t see a future in your organization.

Some of them might even have forecasted a downfall from the current trends and status of your business.

4. You’re No Longer Passionate About It

Anybody who owns a business will want to succeed with it. But this is rarely possible if you just want to keep living it for a couple of months, or if the amount of fun you’re having is largely dwindling.

Patriot Software Founder and CEO, Mike Kappel, highlights the loss of passion as among the biggest signs of a failing business. And if push comes to shove, sadly, it might be time to rethink your business model or venture into something else altogether!

5. Competitors Are Doing Way Much Better Than You

Okay, so you have a great product/service/team, but if the number of clients that made orders or the amount of money you’re earning has dramatically decreased in comparison to other businesses, there’s a high probability that you are facing stiff competition.

But competition is nothing new in today’s world of business, and success demands knowing how to cope with and beat it. If they’re doing incredibly better, then it’s either you need to significantly update your product/service/processes, or find another area to venture into.

Businesses fail for many reasons, and there are several red flags that yours could be taking the downward path.

Whatever it is, before your business is stuck in the hole, you will need to put your act together. Identifying these signs can help you rescue your business from being among the statistics of the many businesses that fail within the first few years.

How to Start Cloud Mining Bitcoin Cash

Cloud mining bitcoin is a valuable alternative to traditional mining. It’s an option that’s better suited to small and mid-size investors since it doesn’t require an initial investment in the equipment used for mining. Instead, the process takes place in a cloud and an investor doesn’t own or control the process from its technical standpoint.

It’s also a simpler process at least from the user’s perspective. It’s therefore easier to start mining Bitcoin cash and earning from it than it would have been with using your own tech.

What’s Cloud Mining?

Cloud mining is the process in which cryptocurrency coins are made with leased equipment owned or operated by a provider and paid for by the investors. It’s a growing market and some of the best cloud mining sites can be found on Truely, where you can compare and contrast different offers.

The technical side of the process remains the same and requires the same amount of power, which is why it’s crowd-funded by the investors in return for a part of the coins produced. Overall, it reduces the initial cost for the investor and makes the process more manageable.

How to Set Up an Account?

Setting up an account used for cloud mining Bitcoin cash is as simple as setting up an account for any other online service. All that an investor needs to do is to enter their email address and connect the account with a card from which they can pay a fee that covers the cloud mining service.

It can be paid in cryptocurrency or in a traditional fiat currency depending on your arrangement and the provider you’re working with. For the most part, such contracts last between one and three years.

Using the Dashboard

A dashboard is an interface offered by cloud mining sites that allow the user to keep track of how much Bitcoin Cash you’ve mined and how much you can withdraw. The dashboard also shows the worth of the coins that you do have, according to their value at the moment.

A dashboard can also display technical properties that can help the user better understand the mining process. This includes fan speed and hash rates, which can be of use to investors with a deeper IT background. The dashboard can also be used to withdraw the coins to an e-wallet.

Setting up a Wallet

An e-wallet is used to store and transfer Bitcoins. It needs to be connected with your cloud mining account in order to transfer the Bitcoin cash that you’ve mined. All e-wallets support Bitcoin since it’s still the most used cryptocurrency. There are so-called cold and hot wallets.

Cold wallets are physical devices on which your crypto coins are stored and hot wallets are software solutions that do the same. Cold wallets are more expensive but they are also considered to be a safer option since they can’t be hacked. The decision is up to you and it should be made after some research.

Volatility

It’s important to note that the value of the Bitcoin cash you can mine from such a contract is volatile and subject to changes in the market. The mining contract guarantees the Bitcoin cash but not the value you can derive from it when you sell it.

There have been a few ups and downs when it comes to Bitcoin value on the markets, but in the longer view of things – it continues to grow. In the last five years, the value of Bitcoin has increased about five times, which makes it a worthy long-term investment.

The Ability to Sell A Contract

One important feature of a cloud mining contract is the ability to sell the contract to another investor. That’s a measure that will allow you to give up on this investment if you’re not satisfied with its progress and still see some profit along the way.

Not all cloud mining sites provide such an option since it’s still a new venture and many providers don’t have a long-term plan. If this is something you’re considering, you’ll need to limit your choices at least somewhat.

Should You Start Cloud Mining Bitcoin Cash?

It’s relatively easy to start mining Bitcoin cash and in the long run, it can be profitable to do so. There are many advantages that come from this mining method since there are no initial investments and you can start earning without knowing much about the equipment used in the mining process.

Debt Consolidation: The Benefits, Options, and How to Get Started

If you’re struggling to keep up with multiple monthly payments from a list of cash advance apps, debt consolidation may be a good option for you. This process involves combining all of your outstanding debts into a single balance that has a lower interest rate.

You then make just one monthly payment to the debt consolidation company. This can help you save money on interest and get out of debt faster. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of debt consolidation, the different options available, and how to get started.

A personal loan can provide a much-needed financial boost when used wisely. But with so many potential uses for a personal loan, it can be tough to decide whether or not one is right for you. A recent study by Bankrate may help to clear things up.

According to the study, which surveyed more than 160,000 applicants, debt consolidation was the most reported reason for getting a personal loan in quarter one, at 38%. An additional 5% of applicants selected credit card refinancing as their main motivation.

While these two reasons were the most popular among respondents, they were far from the only ones. Other popular reasons for taking out a personal loan included home improvement (11%), medical expenses (9%), and major purchases (8%). So, if you’re considering a personal loan, you’re far from alone—and you’re certainly not limited in how you can use the money.

What Is Debt Consolidation?
Debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts into one loan with a lower interest rate. This can help you save money on interest and get out of debt faster. There are several different ways to consolidate debt, including balance transfers, personal loans, and home equity loans.

Balance transfer: A balance transfer is when you move the balance of one debt to another account with a lower interest rate. For example, you could transfer the balance of your credit card to a new card with a 0% introductory APR.

Personal loan: A personal loan is when you borrow a fixed amount of money and repay it over a set period of time, typically two to five years. Personal loans typically have fixed interest rates, which means your monthly payment will stay the same for the life of the loan.

Home equity loan: A home equity loan is when you borrow against the value of your home. Home equity loans usually have lower interest rates than other types of loans, but they do come with the risk of losing your home if you can’t make the payments.

How to Consolidate Debt

If you’re ready to consolidate your debt, there are a few things you need to do:
-Figure out how much debt you have: Make a list of all your debts, including the amount owed, interest rate, and monthly payment. This will help you know how much debt you have and where to start.

-Compare interest rates: Once you know how much debt you have, compare the interest rates of each debt. This will help you decide which debts to consolidate.

-Choose a consolidation method: Choose the consolidation method that makes the most sense for your situation. If you have good credit, a personal loan may be the best option. If you have a lot of debt with high-interest rates, a balance transfer may be the best option.

-Apply for consolidation: Once you’ve chosen a consolidation method, it’s time to apply. You can do this online or in person.

-Start making payments: Once you’ve been approved for consolidation, start making your monthly payments. This will help you get out of debt faster and save money on interest.

The Benefits of Debt Consolidation

There are several benefits of consolidating your debt, including:
-Lower interest rates: When you consolidate your debt, you may be able to get a lower interest rate. This can help you save money on interest and get out of debt faster.

-One monthly payment: When you consolidate your debt, you’ll have one monthly payment instead of multiple payments. This can make it easier to stay on top of your payments and get out of debt.

-Pay off debt faster: When you consolidate your debt, you may be able to get a shorter repayment term. This can help you get out of debt faster and save money on interest.

-Improve your credit score: When you consolidate your debt, you may be able to improve your credit score. This can make it easier to get approved for loans in the future.

The Consequences of Not Consolidating Your Debts

If you don’t consolidate your debts, you may:
-Miss payments: If you have multiple debts, it can be easy to miss a payment. This can damage your credit score and make it harder to get out of debt.

-Pay more interest: If you have high-interest rates on your debts, you may end up paying more interest over time. This can make it harder to get out of debt and may cost you more money in the long run.

-Damage your credit score: If you miss payments or have high-interest rates on your debts, it can damage your credit score. This can make it harder to get approved for loans in the future.

-Stress: If you have a lot of debt, it can be stressful. This stress can affect your mental and physical health. Consolidating your debt can help reduce this stress.

In Conclusion

There are several options for consolidating your debt, and each has its own benefits and risks. Choose the option that makes the most sense for your situation and start working towards getting out of debt.

If you’re struggling with high-interest rates, monthly payments, and the stress of multiple debts, consolidation may be a good option for you. Consolidate your debt with one of these methods: personal loan, balance transfer, or home equity loan. Each method has its own benefits and risks, so choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation. Start working towards getting out of debt and improving your financial situation today.

How to Get Business Finance with a Poor Credit Score

If you have previously dealt with poor credit in your personal life, then getting finance for your business through your bank might be difficult, if not impossible when first starting your company. The good news is that you do not have to let a poor personal credit score hold you back from getting the funding your business needs, with several options for you to consider.

No Credit Check Loans

You can now get short term loans that take your income and expenses, rather than your credit score into account when applying. You can apply loan without credit check now to be in with a chance of getting some funding for getting your business started. While this option is likely to offer you a smaller loan amount compared to others, it’s a good way to ensure you get the funding needed if you are struggling to get accepted elsewhere due to a poor credit score.

Don’t Apply Again After Being Rejected

Being rejected for a loan when you need the money to get your business started can be frustrating, and it can be tempting to just go and apply again elsewhere to anything else that is available. However, doing this can harm your credit rating over time by having too many rejections on your file, which can make it even harder for you to get credit. Instead, wait a few weeks after a rejection before trying again for another loan.

Use Eligibility Checkers

These days, it is easier for you to find out if you are going to be able to get a loan before you go ahead and put in your application for it. Wherever possible, you should use eligibility checking tools that can help you get a better idea of what your chances are and whether or not you should go ahead with the application. Eligibility checkers will not impact your credit rating and are a risk-free way of finding out what your chance of success is likely to be.

Consider a Credit Building Card

If you have a poor personal credit rating, then you might struggle to get a regular business credit card when first starting out. Instead, you might want to consider getting a credit building credit card. This usually has a lower credit limit and allows you to build up your credit rating enough to put you in a better position to apply and be accepted for a business credit card in the future.

Apply for a Small Business Loan

Instead of going straight to the bank, consider alternatives like a small business loan where your credit score may not be checked as stringently. Small business lenders offer financing to all kinds of businesses and business owners, including people with a poor personal credit score who want to start their own business.

Having a poor personal credit rating can stand in your way when it comes to getting the funding you need for your business. But the good news is that there are several alternative options to consider that could help you get the finance that you need.

Creating “Snackable” Assets For Content Syndication – A Complete Guide

Image Source: Pixabay

Digital audiences have shown an almost insatiable affinity for short content perfect for scrolling through when using a device. Snackable content is tiny pieces of content that are easy to share and consume. TikTok is a platform that has quickly risen to become a tech giant due to the popularity of snackable content.

Content marketing is a crucial element of digital marketing that no company can afford to ignore. Therefore, every company should consider creating snackable content for rapid consumption. Here is a complete guide to creating snackable assets for content syndication:

Memes

We live in the age of memes, and they are perfect snackable opportunities for you to reach your audience. Memes have evolved significantly since their creation and are now a prevalent part of our social fabric. If you have a creative and funny team of marketers, they can do wonders with memes online for your brand.

Memes should be relevant and appealing. The picture should immediately capture the audience’s attention and make them read the caption. Use the image to showcase your brand or inform the audience too. Even though it is snackable content, it should still offer some value. Memes should be an essential part of every company’s digital marketing campaign.

One-Liners

Throughout history, every great brand has had a one-liner that was synonymous with the brand. There has never been a better place for one-liners than the internet. A scroll-happy people want to read as little as possible, and it does not get much shorter than a one-liner. Therefore, you should ensure that you have a living list of one-liners if you want your brand to thrive. It is an excellent idea to protect a one-liner with intellectual property rights as it is an asset if it becomes popular. One-liners should be snappy, catchy, and quickly make an impact. They can be great for headlines, captions, slogans, and mottos that make great snackable content.

Videos

The most popular form of snackable content in the world is short-form videos. Instagram and YouTube introduced short-form videos several years ago, and it has become so popular that they birthed TikTok, which now has billions of users. Short-form videos have become so prevalent that they are virtually a form of social currency. These videos have many views and are a fantastic way for companies to market themselves. A TikTok or Instagram page with thousands of followers and valuable content is a digital marketing asset every company should capitalize on, as many great brands have done.

Infographics

Many people find infographics quite engaging as they present information visually in a manner that people can quickly and easily understand. Infographics will add visual appeal to your content, especially if it involves a lot of data. A custom content production company will typically have infographics services. You can quickly captivate readers and ensure they understand the data or point.

Infographics don’t have to be about boring facts or numbers. You can make them attractive and more palatable to your audience. Instead of reading a thousand-word article, the audience can view several infographic representations and get a snapshot of the data.

Mobile optimization

The most significant factor to consider when creating snackable content is mobile optimization. Since most people will be consuming content via their mobile phones and tablets, snackable content should be visible across mobile primarily. Part of running a business is about responding to market conditions. Most people have multiple mobile devices, so you should always create snackable content made for mobile consumption. Ensure pages load quickly, and the resolution is excellent for the best engagement rates when making snackable content.

Creating snackable assets when making content is a crucial part of digital marketing. The above are a few ways to make snackable content that will be income-generating assets for your brand. Ensure it fits nicely into the overall picture of your digital marketing strategy.

Cost-of-Living Crisis Prompting Second-Hand Shopping to Surge

New insights from eBay Ads UK show that rising living costs and climate-consciousness are driving changes in shopping behaviours, creating new opportunities for retailers in the circular economy

As the rising cost-of-living crisis sees energy bills, fuel and food prices continue to climb, more UK consumers are turning to second-hand shopping and upcycling in order to make ends meet – as well as minimise their environmental impact.

That’s according to new research from eBay Ads, which finds that 30% of consumers are having to make more considered purchases in order to get better value for money, and a fifth (19%) are buying more second-hand items in order to save money. One area of fashion driven by online is the resale market, with 25% of UK consumers buying second-hand fashion in 2021.

As consumers increasingly look to get thrifty and responsible with their shopping habits, retailers should be mindful of the evolving demands of customers and showcase their understanding of shopping priorities. 

Coming around to the circular economy 

The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK respondents, found that consumers’ interest in buying second hand is part of a wider growth of the circular economy. Indeed, a quarter (25%) of consumers say that they try to upcycle or repair their current belongings before buying anything new, and one in five (20%) report that they frequently buy second-hand, upcycled or refurbished items.

This is supported by insights from eBay Ads UK, which finds that interest in second-hand items was rising fast at the beginning of this year. In January 2022 searches for ‘upcycled’ rose 40% on ebay.co.uk compared to the month before, and searches for ‘second hand’ and ‘repair kit’ rose 24% and 21% respectively in the same timeframe.

And this trend has been rising consistently year-on-year. For example, searches for ‘pre-owned’ were up 19% in January 2021 compared to January 2020 and increased a further 38% in January 2022.

Sustainability is a selling point for shoppers 

The increasing importance of sustainability to consumers is also contributing to the rise in second-hand shopping and upcycling. The research finds that almost a fifth (19%) of those surveyed say shopping as sustainably as possible is really important to them. In addition, more than one in five (22%) report that they are conscious of discarding and sending items to landfill when they could be repaired, recycled or sold on – and 19% said that they try to avoid fast fashion brands or brands that they consider to be unethical. 

Meanwhile, insights from eBay Ads UK demonstrate that shoppers are actively searching for more environmentally friendly products on the platform – for example searches for the term ‘biodegradable’ rose 59% in January 2022 compared to the previous month on ebay.co.uk.

For retailers looking to improve their sustainability practices, and market to a growing cohort of climate-conscious consumers, it’s clear that packaging, location and recyclability of the product are the three top priorities to take into account. Consumers reported the top factors they consider when trying to limit their environmental impact as:

  • Sustainable packaging (37%)
  • Shopping locally (30%)
  • The recyclability of a product (30%) 
  • Product lifespan (24%)
  • A product’s sustainable credentials (24%)

Elisabeth Rommel, Global GM at eBay Ads, commented: “Between the rising cost-of-living and a growing desire to make more sustainable purchases, UK consumers are increasingly thinking about how they can be savvy with their shopping. With upcycling, buying second-hand, and more sustainably sourced products all rising on shoppers’ agendas, retailers in turn need to be adapting to these evolving preferences in order to engage their customers and contribute to the circular economy. Whether it be offering a repair service, starting a second-hand shop, or making packing and materials more sustainable – retailers must tap into what really matters to consumers today, and communicate sustainability credentials clearly in their marketing and product information.” 

City Car Rental announces new locations at Cancun Airport Terminals 3 and 4

City Car Rental opens the doors to two new branches in Cancun airport, located in terminals 3 and 4. That car rental company offers travellers an excellent alternative to honest and quality car rental for a better transfer throughout Quintana Roo.

City Car Rental offers the best rates in the market without hiding prices, assuring the passenger a good car rental Cancun Airport experience.

The company detected the need of those travellers looking for a safe means of transportation upon arrival at Cancun Airport. That’s why they saw the need to open two new branches due to increased traffic. This was due to the fact that the Cancun International Airport has streamlined its processes and waiting times, all thanks to the increase in personnel.

The Secretary of Tourism Miguel Torruco pointed out that in the January-April period of this year, the airport passed the 3 million passenger mark. 57% came from the USA, 11% from Canada, and the remaining 32% reached from Colombia, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Spain, Germany, and Brazil, among many other countries worldwide.

Terminal 3 achieved a minimum wait time reduction of 15 to 13 minutes and a maximum of 82 to 57 minutes, a record time. On the other hand, the waiting time at Terminal 4 is a minimum of 8 minutes and a maximum time of 56 minutes for what was March and 54 minutes in April. Just as the waiting time is pleasant, so is renting a car. City Car Rental offers the best options to rent a car easily and quickly, with its respective adequate and friendly orientation. Making the best transfer experience for those travellers who set foot on Mexican soil.

ACI (Airports Council International) announced that Cancun’s airport is among the top 10 airports in the world with the highest international passenger traffic. According to its annual report, it reached the tenth place for its significant increase of 94.5%, higher than last year’s figure of 19.7%.

Terminals 3 and 4 have the highest increase in tourism and general traffic; City Car Rental will begin operations in June of this year. It provides car rental services to hundreds of tourists every day. Undoubtedly, this is great news and testimony for local agencies looking to grow in the tourism sector. City Car Rental has been making its way in the industry for less than 5 years internationally.

It is worth mentioning that Cancun’s airport has benefited several locations in Quintana Roo. Cancun International airport is the only one in the state and the second most important in the Mexican Republic. However, Many  Cancun car rental agencies have wanted to benefit from this by increasing the prices of their vehicle reservations per day.

According to recent information on the City Car Rental platform, prices will continue to compete with the agencies that have been at the airport for years. This will mean a decrease or regularization of prices by neighbouring agencies at the Cancun International Airport.

ACI (Airports Council International) announced that Cancun’s airport is among the top 10 airports in the world with the highest international passenger traffic. According to its annual report, it reached the tenth place for its significant increase of 94.5%, higher than last year’s figure of 19.7%.

Terminals 3 and 4 have the highest increase in tourism and general traffic; City Car Rental will begin operations in June of this year. It provides car rental services to hundreds of tourists every day. Undoubtedly, this is great news and testimony for local agencies looking to grow in the tourism sector. City Car Rental has been making its way in the industry for less than 5 years internationally.

Cancun International airport is the only one in the state and the second most important in the Mexican Republic. However, Many  Cancun car rental agencies have wanted to benefit from this by increasing the prices of their vehicle reservations per day.

According to recent information on the City Car Rental platform, prices will continue to compete with the agencies that have been at the airport for years. This will mean a decrease or regularization of prices by neighbouring agencies at the Cancun International Airport.

How to Stay Healthy as a Business Owner

It’s easy to see the appeal of the entrepreneurial road. Beyond the freedom and control it gives you to run and shape the business how you deem fit, it can also be more rewarding when successful. However, it can be a demanding endeavor, especially if you’re just starting out. Moreover, it will affect your health if you let the stress and long hours overwhelm you.

Fortunately, you can keep yourself in excellent shape with preventative and wellness activities even with the colossal demands of being a business owner. This article will cover a few tips that will help you stay healthy.

 

Exercise and diet

You’ve likely heard it many times before—move more, eat less. However, while this may sound like essential advice, making sure that you eat healthily and engage in regular exercise is crucial to keeping a healthy body and mind. And if you think it’s a massive undertaking, you’d be wrong. You don’t necessarily need to do a marathon or eliminate entire food groups from your diet.

For starters, try walking whenever you can instead of using transportation. Doing so will enable you to engage in physical activity without having to adopt an intense workout routine. Try to increase your consumption of vegetables and fruits, too, while reducing meat-based products. Also, look for healthier alternatives when possible. For example, instead of carbonated beverages, you can go for turmeric latte, which has the potential to combat systemic inflammation. If you’re looking for one, click here.

 

Schedule downtime

You may find yourself burned out from running your business if you decide to work non-stop. However, even if you have to wear many different hats as an entrepreneur, you must always try to schedule enough downtime for yourself so you can engage in enjoyable activities, spend some time with loved ones like family and friends, and get enough rest.  

Also, never bring your work back home with you. Instead, keep it at the office. Doing so will ensure that you always get sufficient rest and keep you from turning your home into another workplace. It may sound strange, but you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make in helping you stay healthy.

 

Hire the right people

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to do all of the work themselves. After all, no one is an expert in every single area of a business. Moreover, you’ll only end up exhausted by doing so and become more susceptible to potentially costly mistakes as a result. For this reason, it’s crucial that you hire the right people and trust them to do the work. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it’ll make.

 

Conclusion

When it comes to becoming a business owner, it’s not hard to forget about yourself. However, it would be best if you didn’t let the business run you but rather the other way around. By giving yourself enough time to commit to an exercise regime, adopt a healthier diet, get enough rest, and more, you’ll be able to maintain your health without making any compromises that could ruin your endeavor.

Digital Bank of the Year – Europe

The world is embracing a host of new technologies and the banking industry is no exception. First Investment Bank, Fibank, offers an innovative and customer-oriented solution that has become one of the leading institutions in the country in card business and international payments. Having earned success in Acquisition International’s Worldwide Finance Awards 2022, we caught up with CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board, Nikola Bakalov, to find out more.

Pioneering new ways of working is no easy task, but it lies at the beating heart of how the team at Fibank operate. Their choice of advanced solutions and modern banking has made them very popular amongst customers, offering products and services for individual and corporate clients. The team’s decision to use investment gold and other precious metals with unique for the Bulgarian market products and services is just another reason to turn to the firm, but what other factors have driven their success?

Who better to answer this question than Nikola Bakalov? Mr Bakalov has led Fibank to its current position as a rapidly growing, innovative, customer-oriented bank, challenging the status quo and creating a way of working that stands apart from the crowd. We asked him how his bank stays ahead of the emerging developments in the industry. “Digitization and change in consumer behavior lead to changes,” he tells us. “Many of our customers already prefer to bank remotely, in an online environment, rather than visiting our offices. Therefore, we actively invest in implementing new technological solutions and introducing a number of improvements in digital banking.”

Many of these changes have been accelerated by the pandemic, forcing businesses and individuals to embrace a new way of working in order to survive. “Banks such as ours were among the first to start developing digital financial solutions and offering them to customers,” Mr Bakalov explains. “We can define the pandemic as a catalyst of these processes and as a clear indication of the direction in which modern banking will increasingly move. Our active involvement in digital solutions began long before customers realized the need for them and we were among the first to start implementing them and actively promoting them at the market. That is why, when the pandemic unfolded, we were already prepared and there was no need to build from scratch but only to upgrade our digital products and services.”

Whilst Fibank has achieved success through its digital mindset, we wondered how this shift has impacted the way in which the team interacts with their customers. Mr Bakalov was happy to elaborate: “Due to the advancements in information technology, a significant shift has been observed from traditional banking to the digital environment. Almost all daily banking transactions can now be performed on our remote banking platform. We offer a wide range of services for full-fledged digital banking, while our extensive branch network remains always available for customers who need personal consultation with a banking expert.”

The team has pushed boldly forward into new ways of reaching out to their clients. We wondered what innovations the team have been able to implement that are leading the way for the banking industry. “First Investment Bank launched its Video Consulting service for retail customers, also providing them with the option to apply for consumer loans fully online,” Mr Bakalov informs us. “This service has since been upgraded to include online mortgage loan applications. Customers can submit their electronic applications using the My Fibank website or the mobile app. The platform also enables them to remotely sign all documents relating to granting of consumer loans or issuance of credit cards.”

The development of a mobile app has allowed Fibank clients considerable flexibility in the way that they operate. Operating in the digital space gives them the freedom to bank as they wish and when they need to. “My Fibank mobile app customers can apply for and receive MyCard virtual credit cards,” Mr Bakalov explains. “Those are issued fully online and credit limits are granted automatically within minutes.” These virtual cards can be used with My Fibank, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Garmin and Fitbit, on contactless POS and ATM terminals, or for making payments over the Internet. During 2022, Fibank intends to offer the opportunity to make and receive instant payments in BGN under the Blink Program of the National Card and Payment Scheme (NCPS), part of BORICA. Clients can order Blink instant payments entirely online through My Fibank electronic banking.”

Whilst there has been increased demand for digital solutions, expansion has been challenging for many businesses thanks to the pandemic. The success of Fibank during the last couple of years stands apart from many in the industry. “In 2021, the Group of First Investment Bank reported increased financial results and sustainable development in the context of the ongoing COVID‐19 pandemic and its consequences,” Mr Bakalov says proudly. The Group profit after tax increased to BGN 111 mln. compared to BGN 45,5 mln. a year earlier, as a result of higher operating income and the development of credit policies, as well as optimization of administrative costs. Total income from banking operations increased to BGN  435 mln (2020: BGN 373,7 mln) with an increase in all main sources of income.  The return on equity (after tax) reached 8.85%. This astonishing achievement is a direct result of hard work and effective leadership from the team.

2022 has presented slightly different challenges to 2021, where the global economy was showing that it had the capacity to recover its pre-pandemic momentum. With banking sector revenues almost reaching the record levels of two years ago, the industry as a whole has proven capable of absorbing the complex geopolitical situation of sanctions against Russia. Mr Bakalov’s predictions maintain this positive line, drawing on the way in which the markets are reacting to the events of the day: “My forecast is that lending activity will remain high in terms of demand and supply of loans,” he tells us, “but with a bit added caution given the unusual economic situation. This should logically lead to increased credit risk, which in turn is a component of interest rates on loans. I personally feel optimistic and believe that Bulgaria will quickly overcome the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Whilst Fibank has already established itself as a pioneer of new ideas and bold technologies, we know that all businesses need an effective plan to thrive in the future. To conclude our deepdive into the success of Fibank, we asked Mr Bakalov precisely what he and his team intend to do in the future. “We have the necessary platforms in place that allow us to develop innovative products and services,” he tells us, “And our customers have also proven over time that they are very receptive to innovations that we carefully select and implement in the Bulgarian market. The new trends in the banking sector and the logical consequences of digital transformation in recent years have allowed banks to launch projects that will soon lead to a hundred percent coverage of all banking products and services in the digital environment – and this is certainly the direction we are moving in.”

The decision to embrace the digital landscape even further is not surprising at all, but it is not the endpoint of what the team are doing. “We have a wide branch network staffed with well-trained employees,” Mr Bakalov continues. “Unlike fully digital banks, we operate from over 120 branches and offices throughout the country. This is a significant advantage since there, apart from being able to bank in the traditional way, our customers can also receive advice, including on how to more easily and conveniently use their digital banking. Over time, the industry will become increasingly digitized and physical branches will remain as a point of contact and consultation for customers.”

The success of Fibank comes from an approach to the banking sector that moves with the times. The team’s attitude is one which is always innovating and constantly looking to the future. The triumph of the team in the Worldwide Finance Awards 2022 is a credit to their tireless efforts. We thank Mr Bakalov for updating us on Fibank and its enviable success, as well as looking forward to seeing what the team do next.

For further information, please contact Nikola Bakalov, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Managing Board, or visit www.fibank.bg

Soft Launch Strategy for Your App: Why and How to Do It?

By Emily Rollwitz – Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing

Especially for first-time app developers, a soft launch can be immensely valuable. It enables you to trial your app without going all-out straight away, thereby allowing you to test the waters first.

Considering how crowded the app market is and continues to be, standing out amongst the myriads of competition is crucial. And what better way to do it than with a soft launch that will ensure your app is truly ready to enter the App Store? 

What Is a Soft Launch?

Soft launching an app is all about optimising your game or application before it is released more widely. Before putting it up on the app store and advertising it through the many available channels, the app is given a limited release, usually limited by region. It allows you to observe how a specific audience reacts to what you have made and importantly, whether they like it.

Usually, soft launches involve an audience of up to 100k people. Allowing a restricted audience to trial the app before its scheduled release is a great way of gaining practical user data feedback and upgrading your product before it is made available to a broader audience.

This data feedback is collected through chatbots, reviews, survey maker, data, etc.

Why You Should Do a Soft Launch 

User acquisition: A soft launch strategy enables you to start getting reviews on your app store page. These reviews are invaluable at such an early stage, as positive reviews act as a highly effective form of endorsement that convinces future users to purchase the app. In other words, they act as proof that your app is worth downloading, increasing user acquisition. 

App store optimisation: A soft launch lets you check and ensure your app store pages are optimised correctly. When you soft launch, your app begins to index keywords, thereby highlighting the terms that perform best for your specific app. Making the most of these keywords during your official launch will improve your chances of being recognised by the app store.

User retention: Perhaps one of the main benefits of a soft launch, and a valid reason for doing it, is to increase user retention. How often have you deleted an app within days of downloading it because you lost interest in it quickly? Soft launching enables you to collect valuable data about when people are deleting your application so that you can consider the flaws in design and improve retention accordingly. 

A soft launch essentially allows you to determine whether your app is ready for widespread launch to avoid releasing it to low retention rates. At the soft launch stage, you can fix all the bugs and flaws in your app in preparation for its official release. A great way to collect this essential data is through observability software (what is observability software), which will help you see what’s happening across all the different areas of your application.

Feedback: This leads to the other great benefit of a soft launch: feedback. If multiple users give you the same feedback about an aspect of your app, this is a good indicator that a wider audience would feel the same, and thus, that aspect needs working on, whether to improve or optimise it. Technical feedback will also help you improve the app’s functions, especially in terms of how it works on different devices, which can fluctuate.

Not to mention that a soft launch essentially validates you and your app, telling you whether or not it is ready for market and whether or not it will be received positively by a wider audience. Consider setting up a VoIP call center solution to maximise the feedback you might receive from users testing your app.

How to Employ a Soft Launch Strategy

There are a range of questions you should ask yourself if you are looking to soft launch your app:

Having a clear idea of the answers to these questions will ensure that you go into your soft launch with clearly defined parameters for the desired outcomes of the project. Before any soft launch, conduct sufficient market research, as you must be aware of who the competition is and who their target audience is.

As well as this, you might want to consider recruiting some people to help you, outsourcing to experts who might be more qualified than you to analyse your data.

Then, keep in mind some key recommendations to ensure your soft launch is a success (remember, however, that each soft launch is different and unique).

  1. Your product does NOT need to be completely ready, although it should achieve sufficient functionality. Remember that the closer to completion of the product, the more valuable the feedback and user data will be.
  2. Don’t get carried away trying to achieve huge volumes of users for the testing phasealthough the more data you gain, the better, a smaller test group is easier to manage and will avoid you getting overwhelmed right from the beginning.
  3. Consider your timeframe. The best soft launches usually last between two and three months. Within this timeframe, you should be able to find your chosen audience, roll out the app, analyse insights and then adjust as necessary.
  4. Do not forget to analyse the keywords that rank highest, and then actually remember to adjust the app store page accordingly. It is essential and should not be overlooked. AutoML and other tools can help you make the most of the data you collect.
  5. Ensure that you are inviting relevant users to trial your app during the soft launch so that the data you gather will apply to the results a widespread launch would yield.
  6. Optimise your onboarding mechanics – this is usually the stage where users drop away if functionality is poor or lacks intuition. A soft launch lets you check how long it takes a user to get to your main page, so make sure you use this insight effectively. 
  7. Make sure your app has the power to manage a large audience, as overloaded servers will lead to your application glitching, which in turn will skew your data.
  8. Make the most of reviews and what people are saying about your applicationthis is what soft launching is really for, and you want to exploit this aspect as much as possible. Using test completion software is a great place to offset some of the more laborious work during the testing phase.
  9. Analyse how effective your monetisation model is: an app has to have the right balance between monetization and retention, and the soft launch stage is where you find this balance.
  10. Always keep user retention at the heart of the endeavour; when are people giving up on the game? What aspects of the game are they not engaging with?

You need to stay on top of all these things and more if you want to have a successful soft launch for your app. That’s why productivity is key and a lot of organisation.

What Else Should You Measure During a Soft Launch?

Traction

You can’t analyse data if nobody has downloaded the app in the first place. It is where organic traction comes in. To analyse it, consider the data on the volumes of people visiting your app store page and how many of those downloaded the app once on there.

To get people to make the leap from visitor to downloader, your app store page needs to be highly optimised and aesthetically pleasing. If they can’t find your page in searches, they will never be able to download it, and if they don’t like how it looks, or if it doesn’t look professionally made, they won’t be convinced to buy it.

That’s why demand testing is so valuable, as it allows you to gain test results whenever you need them and at any stage during the soft launch, so that you can continuously monitor organic traction levels.

Value

Understanding the ‘lifetime value’ of your app is incredibly important. Lifetime value is about how much worth each player has, and this is crucial as you will need to determine this, then compare it to your cost-per-install to comprehend how much profit you are likely to make with every new user you gain. 

Without this, you won’t know whether rolling out your app is worth it from a financial perspective. If the numbers don’t quite add up during the soft launch, you know you have some work to do to improve your CPI to lifetime value rates.

Bugs

During the soft launch, it is very likely that a range of bugs, glitches, and flaws in your app will surface as users interact with the different elements of your application. This broad range of technical feedback, where users reflect on where things didn’t work quite as smoothly as they would have liked, will give you the ‘map’ that will guide you to improving your app as much as possible. 

These bugs, such as whether or not hybrid cloud integration is working properly, need to be fixed before you officially launch the app. Otherwise, you will receive an overwhelming amount of ‘this app glitches a lot’ reviews that will turn people away from downloading.

Also, keep in mind that cybercrimes are constantly on the rise, so protecting your business data should always remain a priority, regardless of how big or small your professional endeavours are.

Create a viral loop

A viral loop will enable you to gain more users, as your current users recommend your app to friends and family and in their broader network.

An example of an effective viral loop, for instance, is offering additional features to those who invite friends to download the app or even recommending that users post their high scores on Facebook. With email verification, you can secure addresses that can be later used in your marketing strategy to further promote your app.

This word-of-mouth advertisement has an impact, so ensure you offer social sharing functionality in your app. Ensure you keep track of how many people use it during the soft launch stage, as low engagement might lead you to implement a different kind of viral loop elsewhere. Not all viral loops will be effective for the app you produce, so experimentation during the soft launch stage is critical.

In terms of numbers, you also need a varied marketing strategy, with ecommerce growth strategies that go beyond the soft launch and that will ensure as many people as possible hear about your app and engage with it as you can. Viral loops won’t be enough if you’re serious about making money with your application.

You also want to pick a region that is fairly similar to your target audience. If your target market is America, other English-speaking countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK are good places to soft launch. 

The type of app you are producing also impacts where you should target. Multiplayer games lend well to densely populated regions like the Philippines so that large numbers of players can interact and test the strengths of the application.

Costs are also a factor. Popular regions like Canada have a rising CPI, and places like Australia which are developed countries, English speaking, and with such a large population size are going to be more expensive.

In this post-Covid world, think about how you might integrate remote and virtual events as part of your marketing strategy as well.

The Takeaway

Whatever decisions you make, stick to a predetermined plan and make sure you have a clear idea of your target audience and your competition. 

Work to improve the areas of your app that are flagged by users as problematic, while optimising and developing further all the areas that are most beloved and appreciated by your audience.

Most of all, make the most of the data. It will help you smooth out any wrinkles and improve your app as much as possible before you eventually launch it properly.

Tax Compliance For Influencers – A Comprehensive Guide

Being an influencer can be a full-time job. You need to constantly create content, engage with your audience, and grow your platform. But as your influence grows, so does your responsibility to stay compliant with the law, especially regarding taxes. Tax compliance is a complex and ever-changing area, but there are some basic principles that all influencers should understand.

Be Aware of Your Tax Obligations

The first step in staying compliant is to be aware of your tax obligations. This means understanding the influencers’ tax compliance requirements and when they are due. The most common type of tax for influencers is income tax, which is paid quarterly. Other taxes may include self-employment tax, sales tax, and property tax.

What Counts as Taxable Income?

For influencers, taxable income includes any money you earn from sponsorships, product endorsements, affiliate marketing, and your YouTube or Instagram earnings. It’s important to note that this still counts as taxable income even if you are paid in gifts or services.

So if you receive free products from a brand in exchange for a review on your blog, you will need to report the value of those products as income on your taxes.

Keep Accurate Records of Your Expenses

The most common way to lose money with any business is through inventory shrink. This is especially important for influencers who only count on income from sponsored posts. Lack of accurate inventory tracking can lead to significant penalties and fines from tax authorities.

A good rule of thumb is to keep detailed records for 60 days for tax purposes. If you keep these records for longer, you are highly encouraged. Inventory tracking involves scanning each product you use to create your posts.

You can then make sure you are only using products you have already scanned. You should then track each purchase you make and the date you make the purchase. This will give you a better idea of how much inventory you have left.

How to Report Your Income

Many people are under the impression that if they don’t receive a W-2 or 1099 tax form from an employer, they don’t have to report their income to the IRS. This is simply not true. The IRS requires that everyone report all their income on their tax return, whether or not they receive a tax form.

So how do you go about reporting your income if you’re an influencer?

The first step is to determine what your “income” is. For influencers, this includes any money you receive in exchange for promoting a product or service, either through social media posts, videos, or other means. It also includes any gifts or freebies you receive from businesses in exchange for promotion. Once you have a total figure for your income, you’ll need to report it on your tax return. Receive from businesses in exchange for promotion

If you’re not sure where to report your income, don’t worry – the IRS has a specific section for influencers. Simply list your total income under the “Other Income” section, and include any relevant information such as the name of the company you promoted and the dates of your promotion.

Common Deductions for Influencers

For tax purposes, five common deductions are often taken by influencers.

These include:

Travel and transportation expenses
Business expenses
Professional fees
Miscellaneous deductions
Charitable donations If you are self-employed, you may deduct certain expenses, such as the cost of travel and your business expenses.

While there are many deductions that you may take, keep in mind that there are also certain limitations. For example, you cannot claim deductions specific to your situation, such as travel expenses related to concerts attended by your family.

Likewise, you cannot deduct expenses unrelated to your business. For example, you cannot deduct the cost of your new wardrobe simply because you need it for work.

What About State Taxes?

While federal taxes are the same for everyone in the United States, state taxes can vary significantly. For example, some states have no income tax while others have very high-income taxes.

As an influencer, it’s important to be aware of the tax laws in your state so that you can comply with them. The best way to do this is to speak with a tax professional who can help you determine what you need to do.

Citizenship by Investment – Best Countries to Obtain a Second Passport

More people are now considering citizenship by Investment to obtain a second passport. Many countries are also opening their borders to integrate investors into their societies which, in turn, boost their economies. While this is not a new concept, it is gaining a lot of popularity today. 

A second passport is a great way for people to consider securing the future of their families and businesses, especially considering the wave of trying times many countries have had in recent times.

What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by Investment is a kind of citizenship privilege inferred from an individual after investing a certain amount of money in the country’s local economy, which includes acquiring real estate, job creation, and starting businesses. This approach to receiving a second passport will help you bypass rigorous language tests and also offer the benefits of traveling to more visa-free states.

Having a second passport is like having a plan B for life. Moving to certain countries may help to improve your life and allow you to tap into a new market. So, if you are experiencing tough times in your native country, you can simply migrate to your second country for better opportunities.

Being a dual citizen also offers you wider options for traveling, investing, business activities, and possibly better tax rates. However, in your consideration, carefully choose the place that better helps you to achieve your long-term goals. Many think that only financially buoyant individuals are entitled to a second passport; however, it is not the case. As long as you can meet up with the requirement for obtaining a second passport in a particular state, you’ll get it.

Several countries are offering second passports to people who are willing and can meet up the requirements, however, these are the top on the list:

1. Malta

Malta is one of the best countries offering citizenship by investment programs. It is one of Europe’s most innovative states, is largely an English-speaking country, and is situated in southern Europe. As a new citizen of Malta, you’ll enjoy absolute freedom of movement around the Schengen Area and the whole European Union with either visa-on-arrival or visa-free to 184 countries around the globe.

The process of applying for a passport requires that the applicant is physically available within the country for a minimum period of 12 months.

The applicant must also be able to make a minimum donation of 650,000 Euros to a government national development fund, invest 150,000 Euros in government-approved bonds or stocks, and either acquire real estate for at least 350,000 Euros or commit to a five-year rental lease with at least 16,000 Euros of rent annually.

2. Dominica

Dominica citizenship by investment is another affordable option to consider in the Caribbean region. Even though Dominican citizenship is not popularly considered, it still offers some considerable benefits such as visa-free access to 122 countries of the world including Russia, the Schengen Area, and the UK.

As an investor, you can either choose to invest as a donator or invest in real estate. To donate as a single applicant, you’ll be required to pay $109,600 to the Dominican Economic Diversification Fund (EDF). For the real estate option, Dominican requests just $200,000. Extra fees make it $233,500 for a single applicant while a family of 4 requires $247,500.

3. Nevis And St Kitts 

Nevis and St. Kitts’s second passport program is the oldest, dating back to 1984. They are also known as the “platinum citizenship program” in the region. With it, you’ll be offered visa-free status to 131 countries which include Russia, the EU, and the UK.

To invest via real estate, you’ll be required to purchase at least $200,000 in government-approved real estate. For a single applicant, it totals $242,800 while for a family of 4 is $287,900. For donation, it goes for as low as $150,000 for an applicant with extra charges making the total fee $157,850 for an applicant and $207,700 for a family of 4.

You can also fast-track the process for approval in less than two months with a valid reason. However, some claim that the real estate program is not likely to yield returns on investment, implying that going for donation is a preferred option for many.

4. Grenada

Acquiring a Grenada passport by investment takes just three months. It has two major options which include making donations or investing in government-approved properties.

For donation, a minimum of $150,000 is expected to be paid into Grenada’s National Transformation Fund. For a family of 4, the donation required is $200,000. The investment part requires an investment of $220,000 as a co-owner in a local real estate project for five years. 

During the period of application, an applicant does not have to pay a personal visit to the state. And the applicant is allowed to include parents, spouse, grandparents, and also siblings in the application.

With a Grenada passport, you can get visa-on-arrival or visa-free access to 143 destinations on the planet. These destinations include Hong Kong, Russia, the U.K., Singapore, Europe’s Schengen Area, and China.

Get Your Second Passport Today

Citizenship by investment is a shorter and more convenient approach to having a second passport. Unlike the other conventional routes, this approach is substantially quicker. Instead of the usual 5 to 10 years waiting process to finally receive second citizenship, the investment route will reduce it to just a few months.

Challenges of Doing Business in Europe

In recent years, trade across the English Channel has gotten a little bit more complicated. There has been the Brexit transition to worry about, as well as all of the problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite this, Europe is a vast market that’s well worth tapping into, especially if your business has the potential to be spread across the continent. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges you’ll need to contend with in order to do business in Europe – and overseas in general.

Hurdling political barriers
There can be no doubt that Brexit has produced a sizeable shift in the regulatory environment. If you’re trading overseas, then the chances are that you’ll need to have made a few adjustments to stay on the right side of the rules.

While Brexit might not have created customs tariffs on goods flowing from Britain to Europe, it does mean that you’ll have to present documentation to customs. There have also been changes to the way that VAT is calculated and accounted for, which businesses will need to be aware of.

In Northern Ireland, the situation is slightly more complicated. The country remains part of the customs union when it comes to goods, which is what has helped keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the situation might change, with the government having announced its intention to dispense with the Northern Ireland Protocol and to allow businesses to ignore EU standards for goods being sold in Northern Ireland.

Currency Fluctuations
Exchange rates have a tendency to be volatile over time. For a business, trade-in euros will be vulnerable to fluctuations. If the pound becomes devalued relative to the euro, you might find that your goods become more competitive.

Keeping an eye on the rate when you’re calculating costs in the long-term can be difficult – but it’s worth doing if you want to get your pricing right.

Logistics
Shipping goods from one side of the British Isles to the other can be difficult. But shipping goods across Europe can be even trickier, especially if you’re trading with countries that aren’t part of the customs union. Many of these difficulties can be overcome with the help of the right software and transport technology.

You might find that you have trouble shipping not only goods but personnel. If you need management to make a trip to a foreign territory to supervise a new product launch, for example, you might find that it’s worth the time to arrange your own transport. If you’ve got access to your own air transport, for example, then you won’t be vulnerable to unreliable commercial airliners. Fortunately, you’ll find private jets for hire from reputable firms.

Why Email Marketing Is Still Crucial In 2022?

The rise in social media has shifted many marketers, businesses, and audiences to social media platforms. People can share ads, their business objectives, and their portfolio on their social media profiles to engage customers and increase their reach.

So, why should marketers opt for email marketing campaigns?

This is 2022, and still, more than 4 billion people are using email as a mode of communication, and more than 300 billion emails are sent and received daily.

Marketers use different tools such as Constant Contact to increase the influx of customers, but it gets costly for small or average business owners. Luckily, there are some great Constant Contact alternatives that you can also consider.

After getting these services, the marketers can stop worrying about transactional emails and personalized email strategy as they provide the service of marketing automation, CRM, SMS, signup forms, and push notifications.

Benefits Of Email Marketing

Email marketing is much more than sending promotional emails. Offerings like subscribing to their favorite brands\’ newsletters or getting notified about different activities, sales or products through emails appeal to target customers.

The engaging email campaigns stay in the inbox of target customers, creating a massive change in business statistics.

According to a study, 85% of the retailers in the USA explain email marketing as one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics. Hence, the advantages and effectiveness of email marketing cannot be overshadowed by any other marketing campaign.

Here are some of the major benefits of email marketing:

Better Results And More Customer Engagement

Email marketing has proved to be one of the best strategies for reaching out to more people, especially for startup businesses. Many companies\’ tools and marketing services create data-backed adjustments to the marketing.

The customers engage with the emails through a single click and enjoy several benefits, which makes email marketing forty times more effective.

It is also efficient because it connects with the customers and educates them without being irritating or intrusive.

Email marketing has a 66% conversion rate and convinced more customers to make the purchase after getting advertising emails.

Higher Audience Reach

Marketers need to be fully knowledgeable about their target audience. Knowing the customer\’s psyche, behaviours, and buying patterns through data trackers creates a massive difference in marketing revenue.

Email marketers use automation tools to connect with the customers and create emails with their names and the products or content that the consumers like to engage with.

The advertising content not related to the customers does not gain much attention and results in the ineffectiveness of email marketing.

Cost-Effective Strategy

Email marketing is also one of the most cost-effective ways to generate the best response to promotional messages. Small business owners and brands usually do not have the budget to advertise on a massive scale through any other conventional methods.

The effectiveness of email marketing can be seen through data from 2017, when people spent 72 billion dollars on email marketing alone.  

Through email marketing, people can generate an average 38$ return on investment by spending a dollar. However, the condition is that emails should be professional, appealing, and engaging with multiple graphics and excellent content. Hence, to connect with the maximum audience, it is best to get help from professional email marketing services.

Tips For Better Email Marketing

Email marketing, if done correctly, can generate higher revenue and attract more potential customers than any other marketing channel.

Undoubtedly, the marketers should not put all their eggs in one basket and rely on only one marketing strategy, but rather incorporate different types.

Here are some tips to improve email marketing:

Create mobile phone optimized emails
Keep the content-specific, concise, and attractive
Use a personalization strategy and segment the audience
Use the best format, fonts, and graphics to make the email profound
Include a responsive email template
Connect the emails with the business channel
Ask for customer\’s feedback and recommendations
Get help from professional email marketing services
Key Takeaways

Email marketing is a winning strategy to gain success in the business world, engage a large audience, and collect valuable insights. To increase brand awareness and image, thoughtful and strategically engaging email marketing must be done. To create a successful email marketing campaign, look to well-known email marketing services and take your business to a whole new level.

What to Look for When Hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Expert

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Have you discovered that you really need an SEO expert and are not sure where to start? If so, don’t fret, because many people out there have found themselves in the same spot. Hiring the right search engine optimization is no easy feat, but it often becomes seamless if you know what to look for.

Why Work with An SEO Specialist?

Despite the type and size of your business, it is essential to appear in the first few pages of web search results – that’s if at all your sales and marketing depends on web traffic. But then, this requires a high level of expertise in Search Engine Optimization, considering that you may be facing fierce competition for the same traffic from so many other businesses like yours.

This is where an SEO expert or consultant comes in handy!

And with the many SEO companies out there, the choices can be confusing. Thankfully, you can read on to find out the very crucial things to look for in an SEO professional or agency before hiring them.

So who should you choose for SEO?

Crucial Considerations When Hiring an Expert For SEO

1. Question Their ExperienceWhen hunting for a good SEO consultant, company, or agency, you’d be well advised to be wary of any expert that doesn’t provide any evidence of their experience in SEO. And as we earlier mentioned, marketing with SEO is a complex and competitive journey.

Working with half-baked and self-proclaimed “SEO specialists” can be disastrous to your web visibility, traffic, performance, and everything in-between. So, before hiring one, be sure to dig in some more and find out how long they’ve been in the industry.

2. Consider Working with a Local SEO Expert Working with a local company has several benefits. If you choose a local expert who can work within your budget, e.g. in Melbourne, Australia they are more likely to have the best SEO package to promote your website in Melbourne and its environs where your target market is located.

It also allows you to have direct control over the specific services and deliverables provided, making sure that the team you are dealing with knows exactly what your business requirements are.

3. Proven Results and Reputation: An Expert Who Satisfies Their Clients Again, you will want to ensure you choose an SEO expert who has a track record of proven results. What this means is that they are up to date on SEO and always deliver results that are in line with their client’s goals.

If you are looking at someone who won’t meet their goals or deliverables, then you may want to reconsider your hiring decision. And if they didn’t deliver great SEO results for their previous clients, what makes you think they’ll help your business succeed?

Besides guaranteeing results, the expert should also be well reputable in the industry, especially when it comes to delivery, accessibility, and how they generally handle their customers.

4. A Wide Range of Services To be honest, a successful internet marketing plan takes much more than just SEO. It takes multiple digital marketing strategies for your online business to succeed. If you’re looking for the best SEO expert or firm, it is advisable to consider a firm that offers a wide range of services.

Most renowned SEO experts provide many a range of services related to SEO, including pay-per-click marketing (PPC), SEM, SEO audits, website development, app development, content creation, and much more.

The key thing is that since most of these services can be a bit costly up-front, you want someone who offers what you need at the right price, so you can afford to secure all the services you need in one fell swoop.

Hiring an SEO professional can be a tricky affair, especially for newer businesses looking to maximize their search rankings. However, it doesn’t have to be so. You just need to know exactly what to look for in the SEO expert you’re about to hire, and the above few tips pretty much cover it all.