Helpful Tips for Business Startups Like Service Providers

Beginning a business is always a great feat for one due to several reasons. At the onset, the challenge is not about how much money the business gives in return but how the owner can achieve specific goals and intentions. The goals and intentions are the motivation behind the tools and techniques the business may use to get their good business experience.

Eventually, the business would give a good return if quality and effective tools are used to achieve the business goals. Without much ado, anyone can recognize a great company that produces good services. Also, it is a matter of time for their fame to spread around their business region for new customers to patronize such businesses.

Nevertheless, every success story of the business begins with certain characteristics. These characteristics are helpful tips every service provider should know to attain their set goals and intentions.

 

What are the characteristics of a good service provider?

 

1. Proper research

It is important to carry out the necessary research your business needs before going all out to start. A major reason for this is to have good customer perception. Customers are those who will patronize your business, and hence, you should want to live for them by providing the service they want.

Market research is key not only because it makes you know your customers’ needs but it also makes you know your competitors. Since you have the necessary information, you can have an idea of what to build and how you want your company to look like.

You can get information about other companies on the internet. You can check out what they do best and think of other things you can add to pitch yourself better to customers. For example, if you are an automobile engineer and you are just starting. You can plan to add carwash services to your business such that customers can easily clean their cars after repairs.

Customers would patronize you to clean their cars. Some would patronize for a fix. Definitely, some would patronize you for both services. You know what that means – more automobiles to add to your portfolio.

 

2. Employ great marketing skills

Marketing is important in any business. Thanks to the internet today, you can carry out proper business marketing all with your phone. You can write blogs to make readers interested or know more about your services. Ensure the blogs are about them first, and then add clickbait that brings them to you. Examples of your blogs could be ”QUICK TRICKS FOR YOUR CAR’S DAILY NEEDS.”

You can also bank on the individual marketing skills of your workers. You can give them targets at the beginning. Once you have acquired enough customers, the next focus should be on how to keep them for your brand.

 

3. Have a business website

We are in a digital age, and the least you can do for your business is to have a website. The advantage of a website is limitless. It makes it easy for people to find you and patronize you. Some people may not reside close to your business and have no idea about what you do. They may just be in your community and need your service.

The internet is their best guess to search for service providers. You can create a website yourself if you are internet savvy. If you are not, you can consult professionals for a good website.

 

4. Prioritize advertising

Advertising is the fuel of business. Every business needs to advertise because they want to increase sales. There are different ways to advertise. The use of social media platforms, billboards, flyers, TV, and radio jingles are still valid means. You can also offer promo or price slash at the start of your business (if you can afford it).

However, there is no greater way to advertise your business than quality service. It helps customers to refer you to others who will patronize you.

 

5. Build and cherish customer relationship

Building and cherishing customer relationships determines how long your business will survive in the market world. It would help if you created a portfolio for customers to feel valued and that they are a part of your brand. You can get their contact to send them messages on their birthdays, festive periods, and at the start of a new month.

 

Conclusion

Starting a business will always appear as a great feat. However, with the rightful tips, you are always good to go. You can get additional information about these tips.

How to Avoid the Top 5 Reasons for ERP Failure

Growth for any company is always a healthy sign. As your business grows, the process to centralize all systems, procedures, and communications between departments becomes increasingly complex. This might negatively impact your operations and cause a major financial loss in the long run. 

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is designed to help you efficiently streamline your company’s processes. However, implementing this system is extremely complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, many major companies have chosen to engage with the help of SAP consulting services due to their expertise in this field. 

A Brief Introduction to ERP

What exactly is an ERP system? Simply put, it’s a centralized system that connects all the different computer systems within an organization together. This usually ranges from the finance, IT, marketing, human resources, production to distribution departments. 

By sharing a singular platform, different departments within the company can retrieve data in real-time. This increases work efficiency, cuts down miscommunications, and improves accuracy. 

For example, if you run a retail company with five stores across the country, an ERP system enables your store managers to log their inventory, which can then be accessed by the purchasing department in real-time. This will help the purchaser to decide when to place a new order and prompt the logistics department to make arrangements for delivery. 

How to Avoid ERP Failure

So, your business is growing very quickly, and you have decided that implementing the ERP system will help to expand your business further. Indeed, it can do that. But without proper planning, this might end up being very costly. 

To avoid ERP failure, here are five things you can do: 

  • Get the Executives Onboard

This should be the first and most crucial step. As the ERP system will affect your entire organization, you will want buy-ins from your executive team. 

Present to them the benefits of having a centralized system and how it can help each of their departments to thrive. When you align your goals with your executives’ vision, they will be more willing to collaborate with you to ensure that the timeline is met when the project starts. 

The executives also play a big role in influencing their team members. Their conviction will encourage the team members to be on board too. 

  • Get the Right ERP Tools

For a successful ERP implementation, the needs of every department must be taken into account. Hold multiple sessions with your managers from different departments and find out what their pain points are. 

Also, ask them what their future plans are and how the ERP system can help them to achieve that. These are important information that will help you to decide on finding the right tools for your operations. 

There are a few essential questions to ask when choosing the right tools for your system. 

  1. Can the system unify the works of several departments easily with the controlled access put in place? 
  2. Is it easy to navigate around the interface? 
  3. Are the search and reporting functions user-friendly? 
  4. Can the system be scaled and customized for extra modules to be added when needed? 
  • Consult An Experienced Consultant

When you invest in an ERP system, it’s assumed that you will be using it for the next eight to 10 years. Most ERP vendors will convince you that their software can solve all your problems. If you are new to setting up this system, consulting an experienced consultant may help you to evaluate your needs and provide the necessary suggestions for the right purchase. 

  • Proper Data Migration and Configuration

For the new system to function, it will need data to run. Before data migration can happen, you will need to clean up the existing data set. This is a great opportunity for you to look into the data and consider which information is still relevant to your company. 

It will be wise not to migrate all the data at once. Configure your data settings and run a few pilot tests to see whether the system runs as intended.  

Migrating data from the old system to the new system can be a tedious job. It pays to be patient during this phase, for it can help to prevent unneeded disruptions when the system goes live. 

  • Prepare Your People

Change can be difficult for most people. When a company-wide change takes place, anticipate that there will be some push-back from your people, especially those from the rank-and-file position. This is where change management can help to lessen the impact of resistance. 

  • Communicate

Start by communicating with your people even before the setting-up of ERP takes place. Make them feel like they are on this journey together with you. 

It’s important to hear them out at this point. If your team members are willing to share with you the challenges they face with the current system, this gives you a greater advantage to convince them that the new ERP system may work to their benefit. 

  • Training And Testing

To increase adoption rates, it’s paramount that every staff member who will be using the system goes through sufficient training sessions. Ideally, several training programs should take place before the system goes live. 

While test piloting, it may reveal issues with data migration or some other backend issues. Your members will be able to give you valuable feedback that can help you improve the system further before it goes live. 

Piloting sessions should be taken into accounts and set into your project timeline. Without proper testing, you run the risk of releasing a subpar system that will frustrate your team members. This will set your effort back by a few steps when the staff members choose to revert back to the system. 

Conclusion

Implementing the ERP system for your growing company is a great way to set yourself up for future expansion. It works toward increasing productivity, streamlining processes, and improving communication. 

For great success in setting up your ERP system, it’s important to look into the details. Following the above guidelines is a good way, to begin with.

Overlooked Employee Issues When Acquiring a New Company

Following the acquisition of a new company, there are tons of things that managers and human resources need to think about and do. In turn, that can mean many employee issues become overlooked.

Don’t forget that employees are the backbone of your company. You need to ensure they have all of their questions answered and that they receive the help they need during an acquisition.

A Lack of Communication and Systematic Planning

Existing employees from both companies need to be kept in the loop during the entire changeover period.

They are sure to have lots of questions, so ensure answers are provided. Your employees need to be supported at every step of the way.

By putting a system in place, from the top down, you ensure all members of staff know precisely what is happening and when, and what actions they need to take.

If you fail to put a structure in place, your business is sure to experience problems in the initial days of the acquisition, such as a drop in employee efficiency and productivity.

One of the best ways of ensuring everything runs smoothly is to work with a professional employer organisation that can handle important HR tasks, communicate with employees, and make sure regulation compliance is happening. Employee issues won’t be overlooked .

Employees Who Don’t Like Change

When your business acquires a new company, some ways of doing things are sure to change. Employees need to be updated about any changes that directly or indirectly affect them.

Furthermore, a common issue that could be overlooked is the fact that some employees are sure to kick back against your new protocols.

Whether it’s something simple like how timesheets are submitted or something more important like having to learn how new technologies work, if employees are disgruntled during the time of change, it’s sure to affect morale and productivity.

To nip such problems in the bud, ensure you are open and communicative with all employees and you provide training sessions for new operations and equipment.

A Change in Employee Pay and Benefits

It depends on the type of employee contracts you use and what your new direction is after acquiring a new company, but in some circumstances, employees could be given a reduction in pay and benefits.

Workers could get a new time-off policy, receive adjusted pay, or be expected to work different schedules after an acquisition.

Such things can dramatically affect employees’ lives, so you need to carefully consider any changes to employee pay, benefits, and things like retirement plans.

A Change in Stock Options

If employees hold stock options with your company, things can get complicated during and after the new company acquisition period.

For example, if an existing employee holds stocks with a vesting schedule, it means the employee needs to stay with the company for a set amount of time in order to earn the right to purchase shares. But if those shares are not yet vested, the options could potentially be cancelled.

Employees with stock options will want to know where they stand, so make decisions about stocks early on and ensure you communicate well with the employees about any changes that are occurring.

Losing Long-term Employees

If you have long-term employees who are eligible for retirement, it’s likely you’ll see many of them go when an acquisition happens.

It’s often easier for those employees to retire early on in the changeover rather than having to put a lot of effort into learning new processes and technologies only to retire soon after.

So, be ready for long-term workers to leave when you acquire a new company and make sure you have candidates lined up to take their places and ensure operations and productivity continue to run efficiently and smoothly.

Dragging Out Layoffs

An acquisitioncan often mean employees need to be laid off. If you need to let some employees go, make sure you do it as early on as possible.

Workers who are waiting to find out if their jobs are in danger will be tense, stressed, and less productive, and it will have a knock-on effect on the morale of the whole workforce.

So, don’t drag out laying off employees if you need to do that.

How Temporary Offices Can Change the Landscape of Workspaces

In recent years, the definition of what constitutes a workspace has been shifting. As such, business owners are becoming more aware of the alternatives to traditional office space.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have embraced the benefits of socially distanced working. According to a study by the Office of National Statistics, 69.6 per cent of employees in 2020 were completing duties at home. Working at home has been useful for some industries, however, others could not rely on this adjustment. For example, only 14.9 per cent of workers in sectors such as care and leisure worked from home.

Service, hospitality, and entertainment businesses have instead been searching for alternative workspaces that can accommodate their needs and save on cash. Storage containers have long been reliably used in the shipping industry, and now more industries are discovering their varied uses. This article will investigate the unique ways that storage containers are being used as workspaces across the country.

Somewhere to eat

Across the UK’s cities, there has been an emerging trend of storage container retail parks. These parks offer compact, affordable workspaces for business owners, often within the heart of the city centre, and all for a fraction of the price of permanent buildings.

Many of these container retail parks are focused not only on independent businesses but food and drink venues too. The concentration of storage containers as a venue is a unique, industrial sight in the cityscape, whether it is Manchester’s ‘The Hatch’ or Newcastle’s ‘STACK’. These containers are self-contained, and despite their industrial façade, act as communities that feel more like a rustic marketplace than a hectic city-centre location.

Using storage containers as the accommodation for these units saves on hefty long-term construction bills. In turn, these savings allow for smaller businesses to take advantage of lower rent costs, whereas they might be priced out of other workspaces.

Somewhere to stay

After a lengthy lockdown, holiday-goers are keen to do just that: go on holiday. Unfortunately, Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has predicted that the price of holidays is going to be “dramatically higher” next year.

In response, Brits are increasingly opting for a staycation rather than travelling abroad, with enquiries for 2022 staycations up by 74 per cent. It’s clear that holidaymakers are very conscious of finding a good deal on their holidays. Converted storage containers offer a cheap, stylish option for lodgings.

British holiday accommodation businesses can take advantage of this increased interest in staycations by expanding their capacity. However, constructing new accommodation can be a costly affair.

‘Glamping’ (glam camping) has been on the rise, and storage containers offer an affordable alternative for businesses looking to expand. Not only that, but a storage container stay in the British countryside can be a unique holiday destination for vacationers.

Somewhere to work

Storage container office space can give a great first impression to customers and onlookers. If you want your workplace to give off sleek, modern energy, then storage containers are a great choice.

Aside from being a cost-effective alternative, storage container workspaces have other advantages. First of all, storage containers are easily adaptable to the needs of your business. You can modify your container to reflect the style of your business and set it out from others.

Similarly, storage containers are entirely modular. If your workforce grows, you can adapt your space to accommodate your employees. As long as you have ground space to cover, storage containers can continue to be added.

Alternatively, your business might only require a workspace during busier periods, such as Christmas or summer. In these cases, temporary accommodation might be beneficial. A storage container can be hired if you’re looking for accommodation without a long-term commitment.

Somewhere to entertain

While many businesses require a consistent hub of activity all year round, this is not true of all companies. A business may thrive in certain seasons or regularly work from home, but a physical presence can still be beneficial.

For independent companies, a permanent office space may not be financially feasible. Pop-up events and temporary workspaces are an affordable way for brands to avoid costly year-long lease obligations and maintain a street presence. Storage containers can be hired temporarily as an affordable workspace alternative.

Pop-up events can be a bit of a risk for small and independent businesses, but the affordability of storage containers as venues can minimise this risk. In particular, entertainment brands and businesses could capitalise on the use of storage containers.

A storage container could act as a stage for a gig, performance, or festival. It could house a short-term art installation for local artists to showcase their work.

As businesses continue to seek alternative solutions to workspaces, we’re bound to see more ideas for how companies can adapt their spaces. Given their affordable prices, style, and compact spacing, it’s no surprise that temporary workspaces have been chosen by independent businesses as a fashionable and useful choice.

7 Misconceptions About Workers’ Comp Insurance

Workers’ compensation is an important right, yet too many people are unaware of exactly what workers’ comp is or what you’re entitled to. To set the record straight, take a look at these seven misconceptions about workers’ comp insurance now:

 

1. Workers’ Comp Never Pays Out

Making a workers’ compensation claim might seem like an unnecessary hassle, but it can certainly be worthwhile. Statistics show that workers’ comp claims pay out more than $62 billion each year, so why miss out on the funds you’re entitled to?

 

2. Getting Injured at Work in Atlanta is Rare

Sadly, millions of people sustain workplace injuries every year. In fact, in private industry, 2.2 instances of workplace injuries per 100 full-time equivalent workers were reported in 2020 alone. With so many people sustaining work-related harm in Atlanta, it’s vital that everyone knows their rights when it comes to claiming workers’ compensation.

 

3. You Can Only Claim If Your Employer Was Negligent

Workers’ comp is designed to pay out regardless of who was at fault, so don’t hesitate to start your claim, even if you’re not sure who is technically liable for the incident. While you may be eligible to take other types of legal action if your employer was negligent, you don’t need to prove who was at fault to successfully obtain workers’ compensation.

 

4. You Can’t Claim for Illnesses

Workers’ compensation can be paid out for work-related illnesses, as well as injuries. Throughout 2020, private industries saw a sharp rise in the number of reported illnesses with more than 500,000 million cases being recorded.

 

5. You Won’t Get Much Compensation

When you make a successful workers’ comp claim, the amount you receive will depend on various factors, including the severity of your injury, the impact it has on your day-to-day life, and the cost of your medical treatment. Compensation often ranges from $18,000 to $27,000, with the average payout being recorded as $21,800. However, statistics also show that claimants tend to receive more compensation if they hire a lawyer to assist them with their workers’ comp claim.

 

6. There’s No Time Limit on How Long You’ve Got to Claim

Many people are unaware that there are strict deadlines in relation to claiming workers’ compensation, which means they are missing out on their chance to obtain the compensation they’re entitled to. If you’ve been hurt at work or contracted a work-related illness, check the workers’ comp regulations in your area to determine how long you’ve got to make a claim.

 

7. Making a Claim is Easy

Making a claim should be simple and straightforward, but it rarely is. From figuring out what type of compensation you’re entitled to and submitting the right documentation, obtaining compensation can be trickier than you think. With help from a workers’ comp attorney, however, you can increase your chances of making a successful claim and ensure that you meet the regulatory requirements for a timely payout.

 

Taking Action After a Workplace Accident

If you’ve been hurt at work or you’ve lost income because of a work-related illness, it’s vital to find out what your rights are. With the right professional advice, you can simplify the claims process and get the workers’ comp you deserve.

Are UK Businesses Right to Consider International Expansion Beyond the EU?

By Atul Bhakta, CEO of One World Express

 

Brexit upended many businesses’ operations within both the EU and the UK. Even the agreement of an eleventh-hour deal, just one week before the Brexit deadline, gave organisations too little time to develop and implement the appropriate measures to counteract potential disruption.

Consequently, traders on both sides of the channel experienced issues with additional customs checks, complex administrative rules, and visa problems for members of the workforce. It comes as little wonder, therefore, that trade between UK and EU countries declined dramatically in the immediate aftermath of the UK leaving the EU.

Indeed, figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlighted the extend of the issue; the UK’s exports to the EU throughout January 2021 suffered a 40.7% decline, compared to the previous year.

The decline is certainly striking. After all, the EU was one of the UK’s largest trading partners, and such a significant decline inevitably dented the confidence of many EU companies. A survey conducted by One World Express in January 2021 captured this national concern, revealing that a quarter (25%) of UK businesses feared that they would not be capable of surviving until the end of the year.

Of course, given the unknowns of Brexit, at least from the UK’s side, such a dip in confidence was to be expected. However, as the year progressed, organisations noticed scope for potentially lucrative opportunities further afield.

Wider international demand

As stated earlier, the UK saw a significant dip in trade immediately following its exit from the EU. And whilst trade with EU countries is starting to recover, it should be noted that trade with non-EU countries has remained, for the most part, stable throughout the year.

For example, the ONS’ aforementioned figures saw UK exports to non-EU countries experience a year-on-year increase of 1.7% in January 2021. Whilst a modest figure, it suggested a glimmer of hope for UK businesses that, despite the turmoil of Brexit, international trading remained a viable possibility.

Consequently, in the months that followed, UK businesses became more open to exploring opportunities further afield. Indeed, One World Express’ most recent survey amongst 752 decision makers within UK businesses – 61% of which were either already operating abroad or planning to do so within the coming twelve months – revealed that more than six in ten (62%) felt Brexit had prompted them to expand their organisation beyond the EU.

Evidence also suggests that plans for expansion were not just based on moderately positive trading uplifts. One World Express’ aforementioned research also found that over two thirds (68%) of exporters have experienced increased international demand for their goods or services throughout the previous year. A further 63% claim that markets outside of the EU were more willing to pay a premium for their goods.

Interestingly, it seems that this growing international demand for UK products has been largely driven by branding. For the previous decade, UK products have gained a strong reputation for quality, which has in turn, driven a rapid rise in demand within lucrative markets within South Asia and India. As such, more and more UK businesses have found it easier to start out amongst potential customers. Indeed, One World Express’ survey found that a strong majority (67%) of exporters found that having a British brand, or UK-based operations had enhanced their products or services reputation and demand amongst international audiences.

This is certainly positive news for UK businesses, particularly after such a massive dip in confidence at the beginning of 2021. However, companies can’t afford to base their entire international expansion strategy on “Brand UK” alone. After all, a reputation for quality does not guarantee immediate success within new markets.

Indeed, UK companies must ensure they’ve considered numerous other factors, before they are even able to consider international expansion.

A comprehensive plan

Whilst this may sound like an obvious point, it is surprising how many businesses overlook the importance of planning. For example, almost a third (32%) of exporters do not have a clear international expansion strategy in place. Failure to plan certainly increases the chances of failure within a new market, so it is vital that certain points are addressed.

An important starting point for UK businesses will be research. Understanding the new market and target audiences, as well as the culture and laws within a new country will certainly contribute to a successful trading debut. Doing so will allow a business to effectively appeal to new demographics, and provide substantial building blocks for the company’s international longevity.

Next, businesses should consider forging connections within their target market. This could involve various stakeholders, from mentors who can offer further valuable insight into market activities, and distributors, to eCommerce marketplaces – all of whom could give businesses a platform to getting their product or service to their new audience. Luckily, many companies appear to see the value in this; according to One World Express’ research, 72% of exporters have already done this.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, UK organisations must acknowledge the importance of a sustainable logistics strategy. For example, with their product being shipped across the world, companies must ensure that they have a transparent tracking system, efficient returns process, along with further shipping software, to facilitate a streamline shipping process. Without one, companies risk damaging “Brand UK’s” reputation for quality, as customers will be unlikely to pay a premium if they experience a poor courier service. And vitally, companies must remember that logistics consultants are on hand to help create a tailored logistics strategy, which will meet the specific needs of both the organisation and its clients.

Of course, the EU will remain one of the UK’s most prominent trading partners – it is too large, and too geographically convenient to be overlooked. However, over the next few years, I anticipate more and more businesses to explore opportunities further afield. And with international demand for “Brand UK” growing stronger, there certainly appears scope to do so. And provided that UK companies conduct thorough research, I see no reason why such companies should not enjoy successful expansion.

Atul Bhakta is the CEO of One World Express, a position he has held for over 20 years. He also holds senior titles for other retail companies, underlining his vast experience and expertise in the world of eCommerce, trade and business management.

Keeping Your Elderly Loved Ones Safe Through the Winter

As the shorter and darker winter months slowly replace the brighter summer days, it is only normal to feel your mood dampening. This is particularly true for the elderly, who tend to stay indoors more than usual to avoid catching a cold and spending weeks in bed with a high temperature. Sadly, it is estimated that 20,000 more people aged over 65 pass away in the winter compared to any other time of the year.

That said, not only does the winter season negatively affect the physical well-being of our parents and grandparents, but it also has a significant impact on their mental health. With fewer people around to hug and chat to, they may find it challenging to keep their chin up.

From staying connected to being warm indoors, this article will outline a few tips about how you can keep an eye on the mental and physical health of your elderly relatives and friends this winter.

Keep them warm indoors

Elderly people generally take longer to warm up and tend to lose heat more rapidly. Indeed, blood circulation slows down as our bodies grow older. Therefore, wrapping up warm is fundamental for an older person.  

Apart from relying on their central heating, which may sometimes represent a costly solution, there are other alternative ways in which the elderly can keep warm.

A hot water bottle, for instance, is the perfect option for when they are ready to snuggle down under the covers. It is ideal for those who do not want to sleep with the heating on but fear they may end up feeling cold during the night.

Not only is it a great bed companion, but the hot water bottle can also be used throughout the day. It can rest on their stomach and keep them warm while they watch television or take on the challenge of a crossword.

When moving from the bedroom to the living room, or vice versa, it is easy to be caught out by the dip in temperature. To combat this, indoor heaters provide an ideal solution. Easy to wheel from room to room, indoor heaters come with an array of portable advantages. With a handy indoor heater that follows them around the house, your elderly loved ones will be safe from sudden cold snaps.

Make sure, however, that they are maintained properly. In order to do so, it is recommended to book an appointment with an engineer on a biannual basis to check up on the heater’s state.

Keep their spirits up

An Age UK research shows that every month, over one million elderly people do not get the chance to speak to a friend, neighbour, or even family. In the winter months, when older people have limited opportunities to get out and about, their feeling of loneliness can increase severely.

Therefore, a telephone call can do the world of good to their mental well-being. Indeed, the elderly are not always bothered about receiving help with their housework, but they truly cherish a nice chat with someone. Consider popping over for a cup of tea from time to time too.

Also, if your elderly friend or relative is feeling particularly lonesome, why not introduce them to Silver Line? This charity has a 24/7 phone line that helps people stay connected, with volunteers calling in once a week to have a good old heart-to-heart talk. Moreover, it can also help them get in contact with local services to meet other people and make new friends.

Keep them active

There is no hiding that a daily dose of exercise is crucial for us all – the elderly included. In truth, while some may still maintain a moderate physical ability, others may find it tricky to even manage the stairs. But certain types of exercise can accommodate pretty much anyone.

As outdoor strolls become more prohibitive due to the adverse winter conditions, it is important to find ways in which older people can keep active inside their homes. Encourage them to get up from their armchair every so often to put the kettle on. While not too strenuous, this ‘task’ will ensure that they spend some time on their feet.

If walking from room to room is a challenge in itself, simply shaking and moving their arms and legs can help. Moreover, there are plenty of exercise videos on YouTube for seniors to watch and have a go at. Some include simple sessions that they can try from the comfort of their sofas. This way, they will enjoy some all-important physical activity without tiring themselves out too much!

The winter months can be demoralising for a variety of reasons, and even more so for the elderly, as they may end up spending a lot of time without seeing or talking to anyone. We hope that this article will help you find ways to keep good care of your parents, grandparents, and ‘wiser’ friends, from ensuring that they are warm indoors to inciting them to stay as active as possible.

3 Tips When Remortgaging Your Home

To remortgage means that you essentially replace your existing home loan with a new one, with potentially better terms. The most popular reasons for refinancing are reducing monthly repayments, securing a lower interest rate, consolidating loans, or changing the type of loan you currently have. Before deciding whether it is a good idea to remortgage your home, first consider the following tips. 

Understand Your Credit Score

Why is your credit score important? Most lenders will first check your credit score when deciding if you are eligible for refinancing, so be sure to check your score online before you do anything else. Be thorough and ensure there are no errors on your credit report. If necessary, take some time to improve your score so that you can get the best deal on your mortgage refinancing. Once you have successfully remortgaged, your credit score will likely fall, but you can quickly regain a higher score. To do so, don’t miss any repayments and don’t apply for any more credit for a while after refinancing. 

Find the Best Rate

Of course, it could be convenient to stay with your current lender, but it could save you money to consider other options and compare interest rates. You could switch from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage and get more steady monthly repayments. For example, a mortgage advisor like Trussle gives advice with an online mortgaging calculator, a remortgage guide and tutorial videos. These are fast and straightforward ways to check what your rates and deals could look like. All you need to complete the process is your property’s up-to-date value, the balance on your mortgage, your monthly repayments, and the remaining years left on your current loan. This will give you a general idea of what remortgaging will look like, but it is essential to get expert advice and discuss your personal circumstances. 

Look at the Big Picture

Don’t solely focus on interest rates when considering a remortgage. You should also take into consideration what your long-term objectives are and how long you want to live in your house. The goal of refinancing your home is most likely to save money and anything that saves you money usually means shopping around. Don’t just go with the first rate you are offered, consider what the fees for refinancing will be and add this into your final calculations. What may initially appear to be a good deal could end up costing you more if the fees for remortgaging are high. If you remortgage to reduce monthly repayments, you will most likely also extend the length of your loan. So, consider the potential long-term downsides of extending. 

Nowadays, it is common for homeowners to remortgage at some point during the term of their loan. If you are on a fixed deal, it’s advisable to start shopping around six months before the end of your loan term. However, it could also be beneficial to remortgage sooner. 

What to Consider When Setting Up a Payroll System for Your Small Business

It’s a good idea for any business to have an accurate and up-to-date payroll system. Some people might not think about the need to have a payroll system until they’re ready to hire employees.

Thus, having one in place before you start hiring is much easier than trying to put something together when you already have employees on the books. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the things that can be helpful for your small business’s payroll system to include.

The Size of the Staff

How many employees are your business likely to hire? If you think it will be a small number, you may not even need an incredibly complicated payroll system.
If you plan to hire many people at once or over time, however, having a system that can handle growth and multiple employees and their schedules can make things much easier for you.

What Specific Needs Do You Have?

Do you need to know precisely how much time each of your employees has worked so that you can be sure they’re getting paid correctly during their first couple of weeks on the job?
Would it be helpful if each employee had access to a website where they could view their take-home pay and hours worked every week? What would be easiest for them to use?
You’ll also want to consider whether you need any specialized features such as leave tracking, overtime tracking, or automated reminders so that there’s little chance of an employee forgetting about submitting their time.

Ease of Integration with Other Software

If you’re using other software in your business, it can be convenient if there are ways for that software to work directly with your payroll system.
You’ll also want to ensure that the program you choose integrates well with QuickBooks or any other accounting software. Once again, this will make everything much easier for you.
For instance, when it comes to payroll processing, you may need resources to make everything smooth. You may want to use pay stubs in achieving this.
It’s possible to online these days. After filling in the personal details, the form is ready for download and printing. It’s only an easy-to-integrate system that allows you to use other tools seamlessly.

How Hard Will It Be to Set Up the System?

You’ll want to consider whether you’re paying someone else to set up your payroll system for you or if you’re planning on doing it yourself.
If you’re not very familiar with this sort of thing, then hiring a professional might be your best bet. Keep in mind that there are many things you can do on your own, however. You might be able even to set up most of it yourself if you’re reasonably computer-savvy.

How Much Will It Cost?

The system you choose must be an affordable one for your business. If it’s too expensive, then you may end up frustrated over the fact that you can’t afford to use it for all of your employees.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

What would be easiest for your employees? Do they prefer using a computer or an app on their phone? Would having something online that they can access from any computer be best? You’ll also want to look at the ease with which you can update each employee’s information during the hiring process and anytime you need to make changes.
Once again, you must consider whether your employees would prefer for this system to be extremely simple or if they’d like more detailed reports and features. The easier the system is to use, the happier your employees will be.
All in all, having an efficient and reliable payroll system is essential for any business. Whether you are looking to hire employees or not, it can be helpful to have a system in place that will help your small business grow. Target the systems which are easy to integrate.

What to Do if You Can’t Make Your Business Loan

There are a lot of moving parts to make a loan from your business. You have to meet all of these requirements and you need to do it fast. But not every company manages to obtain a business loan, even if they need it badly. In this article, we will go over some reasons why a business might be denied a loan, what you can do to avoid being denied, and what alternatives to business loans are available for the companies.

Why Can You Be Denied A Business Loan?

Some lenders might not approve your loan if they feel like you don’t have enough experience or collateral to back up the risk on the loan. Other reasons include poor credit score, lack of collateral, too much debt, and low cash flow.

Some loans also require a minimum cash upfront investment before getting funding on a personal note which will take time for some people before they’re able to pay back their loan. Below there are the main reasons why business loans can be denied.

Poor Credit Score

If you have a poor credit score, that is going to make getting a loan really hard. You can look into amending your credit score, but this takes time. You want to have a good credit score for a business loan of any size because of the collateral required and the fact that you need a good relationship with your lending institution.

Lack Of Collateral

You must have some kind of collateral for any type of loan from your business especially if the lender feels like you don’t have enough cash flow or experience in running a business. You can look into other options if you don’t own any assets like borrowing someone else’s assets like a business partner.

Too Much Debt

If you already have a lot of debt, it is going to make getting another loan really hard. You will be expected to make payments on your existing debts and having another could make it impossible for you to do so if the lender feels like you don’t have enough cash flow or experience managing your finances on top of your debts.

You can talk to your lenders about doing a debt restructuring agreement so they will extend the payback period, but the interest might increase on this type of personal loan as well as collateral requirements.

Not Enough Cash

If your business doesn’t have enough cash flow, you might not be able to get funding through a personal note. You can look into other options to improve the cash flow of the business because this is an essential factor in obtaining financing. If you can show that your cash flow will increase, then it is likely that they will approve your application for a business loan.

Improve Your Chances To Make A Business Loan

Improving your chances of getting a business loan includes finding opportunities to increase the business’s cash flow or finding another way to make up for collateral requirements if there are any. You also want to work on your credit score because this is the top reason why people aren’t approved for business loans.

Improve Your Credit Score

You can improve your credit score by making payments on time, making sure you are not late or sending payments to an outdated address, paying off debts, and getting a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). You can also make sure that all of the business assets you have are covered with insurance and have a legal name change if you feel like your name needs to be changed.

Increase Your Cash Flow

The best way to improve your cash flow is by increasing sales or increasing the revenue you get from one existing customer. You can also sell some of the assets that you have to generate additional cash flow, but this will probably cause you to be taken off the active loan borrowers list if your business does not meet their requirements for this type of loan.

Alternatives To Business Loans

You can look into Personal Loans, Merchant Cash Advances (MCA), Equipment Financing, and Bank Loans, in addition to doing a debt restructuring for repayment plans that extend over a more extended period or lower interest rates. Personal loans are commonly given out by banks or other financial institutions that are based on your credit score, income, and collateral, just like business loans.

MCA’s are given out by financial institutions that fund your business with cash advances for future payment to the lender after selling items to customers, just like bank loans. Equipment financing is used for equipment purchases (furniture, computers, or other related purchases), and it is usually backed up by collateral like stock certificates or real estate property.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be obtained from lenders who are usually backed up with your income and employment status (check your credit score). They can also apply for bad credit personal loans $5000 TheGuaranteedLoans. You can also get a personal loan from your bank or credit union for this type of loan.

Merchant Cash Advances

This is like getting a cash advance with credit card benefits, but you need to show that you have enough sales to meet the lender’s requirements in terms of performance requirements. You can borrow money in small chunks, and it’s based on your sales just like bank loans for business owners who have positive cash flow from their businesses.

Equipment Financing

This is a type of financing that is backed up by collateral, just like business loans, but the amount you get is usually less than what a business owner would get from a bank or other financial institution. It allows you to purchase equipment (furniture, computers, etc.) and pay it back with either one-time payments or every month, usually paid in advance with your sales.

The Bottom Line

Business loans are still an option for small business owners, but it is harder to get one than it was a few years ago because of the fact that people took out a lot of personal loans and didn’t pay them back. Some lenders still offer business loans, and they require collateral like real estate properties or stocks and bonds to get one. You can also look into getting a personal loan or MCA if you don’t have enough collateral, but this will cause your interest rates to go up.

5 Smart Ways to Automate Your Packaging Processes

Packaging is an integral component of a manufacturing or distributing business. Regardless of the type of products or goods you’re offering, it’s critical that you pay attention to how you pack your items so that you can provide your customers with the best service possible. To add, an optimal packaging process can do so much in making sure the products remain in their best conditions as they go through transport. 

With several innovations and technological advancements reinventing the way industries do their business, it’s not surprising to know that even the packaging department is yearning for such a transformation. You may not be fully aware of those innovations yet, but it’s not too late to educate yourself. Being informed and updated is one excellent way to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind on the latest trends in the industry. 

Packaging Automation 101 

Among the different workflow processes in a company, the packaging seems to pick up quite a slow pace regarding innovations and technological advancements. Most entrepreneurs seem not to mind if their packaging process isn’t automated enough, which might be one mistake you don’t want to commit. As your business grows, demands are also likely to increase. If you want to keep up with the demand, consider automating your packaging processes to avoid potential issues that might disrupt the overall workflow. 

If you’ve determined that it’s high time to adopt automation in your packaging processes, here are some smart ways you can try to get started: 

  • Tap Into Robotic Packing Systems 

Robotic applications aren’t new in various industries, including manufacturing and distributing. Now, you can take your packaging to the next level by utilizing a robotic packing system that has the ability to handle a mix of items or products, reduce downtime, label and code products, inspect filled displays or cases, and much more. If you’re new to robotic applications, you might be surprised by how much they can change how your packaging processes work. 

The system may be used in different applications and processes. You can decide on the level of automation and integration that you prefer. Not only will the automation lower your operating and labor costs, but, more importantly, it can improve the accuracy and efficiency of your processes. In case you’re wondering where or how to get a robotic packing system, you may check out sites like https://www.tdipacksys.com/  to learn more about it.  

  • Synchronize Packaging Processes Through Motion Control 

Motion control is heavily utilized in packaging consumer goods, such as pharmaceuticals, food, and beverages, where palletizing proves to be a challenge. Since palletizing requires stacking cases or boxes on pallets, it can be tricky to weave together the boxes or cartons. What usually happens is that the stacks turn out to be self-contained, making them prone to tipping over.  

With motion control, you can tailor your machines’ flexibility to allow for effective palletizing. Whether you’re packaging small boxes or heavier products, electronic motion control can make your pallet packing more synchronized and effective. No matter how unique the pack patterns you need for your products, you can count on motion control to accommodate your requirements. 

  • Implement Semi-Automated Pallet Wrappers 

The packaging department will inevitably produce material waste, especially when utilizing manual labor. No matter how you train or educate your workers, there’ll always be room for mistakes, which could lead to waste in materials and other manufacturing and packaging resources. 

If you’re looking for ways to minimize or reduce material waste, you might want to consider implementing semi-automated pallet wrappers. Although not fully automated, the wrappers can significantly improve the precision and consistency of material pre-stretching, may it be films or other wrapping materials that you use for your processes. As a result, you can expect the materials to be maximized, leaving almost no waste at all. Aside from contributing to waste reduction, your overall operating costs can also be significantly reduced. 

  • Package Products Using a Form Fill Seal Machine 

If you manufacture or distribute food products, you might want to consider investing in a form fill seal machine that can automate several packaging processes, including sealing, filling, and forming. The device is efficient enough to make your packaging more reliable and durable. Moreover, it has the technology to notify your operators in cases of improper sealing, therefore, reducing the number of packaging rejects. 

Automating your packaging processes with the help of a form fill seal machine can benefit your business in several ways. Because of the increase in precision and accuracy, the process is essentially made faster, thus, resulting in lower packaging and labor costs. The boost in speed can also be significantly helpful in extending the shelf life of your products since the nitrogen-filling process is also made quicker and more accurate.  

What’s more, form fill seal machines come in a variety of pouch sizes and styles. This means you can take advantage of the automation regardless of the type of products you have. Be it snack foods, pet items, or liquid products, the machine can help level up your packaging processes. 

  • Invest In Smart Equipment Sensors 

Sensors have been widely used in various manufacturing processes, including packaging. They’re mainly used to assist in several functions as products move around your packaging line. Different machines can benefit from intelligent sensors, such as your rinsing machines. The sensors can help with counting containers or bottles as they travel down to other areas of the packaging department. With a smart sensor in place, you can ensure that the correct number of bottles or containers is rinsed and filled with your products.  

To add, the sensors can also detect if any of your machines isn’t functioning as intended. You can identify right away if it needs repair or replacement. In return, you can maximize productivity and can prevent equipment downtimes as much as possible.  

The Bottom Line 

You may think that automation is the future of packaging processes. However, if you look at how various smart applications and innovations are now widely utilized in this department, you’ll realize that automation isn’t the future. The truth is that it’s the now. If you want to keep up with the pace and continue to innovate your packing processes, it might be high time to consider switching from manual to automated.  

You can tap into the potentials of robotic packing systems, smart equipment sensors, and motion controls. You can also utilize different machines, such as form fill seal machines and pallet wrappers. These are just some of the innovative ways you can try to automate and potentially improve your packaging processes for the better. 

Why You Should Despose Of Your IT Equipment Correctly & Safely

Dispose your Computing Hardware & Protect the environment.

At Concept Management both your security and the environment matter to us and we are passionate about helping our customers to recycle and dispose of their computer ware responsibly. Proper disposal of computers is important for several reasons including keeping your used computer hard drive content private and releasing the recycling potential from your devices. The potential for recycling components and raw materials in computer hardware is huge and contributes to us collectively reducing the negative impacts of tech waste in the UK.

Why are computers so important?

Computers are an integral part of the modern world. They are electrical devices which work by processing information and data. The likely hood is you are reading this from your own computer, tablet device, phone or maybe even a wearable tech so you may know about some of the many other things computers are good for. Besides surfing the internet, on a computer you can type documents, create spreadsheets, make images, edit film or music and even play games. Computers are made all over the world and there are major brands such as Apple, PC, Windows and Lenovo that make vast ranges of computers internationally.

What should you do with an aging computer?

When computers age they can become slower and less reliable. This can cause problems if a computer is relied upon heavily for work or personal use. As your computer ages it may become unfit for purpose, and you may therefore seek an upgrade. Here at Concept Management we care deeply about giving our clients the power of choice that this stage. It is important that you dispose of your computer and hard drive safely and correctly. Safe recycling or disposal of computer equipment is very important for both security and the environment. Whether you are needing to take care of personal or , we have some key information to help you do it well.

Follow WEEE Legislation correctly

Where recycling is not possible, responsible computer equipment disposal is also crucial as it can affect the environment and disposal services in the UK if you don’t correctly follow WEEE legislation and guidance. Along with your computer itself we also offer responsible recycling and disposal of other hardware including your keyboard, mouse, cables, monitors, laptops and external storage drives.

What do Concept Management offer?

At Concept Management we offer a full range of services in computer equipment disposal where recycling is at the centre and disposal is kept to the minimum. Where we can recycle, we will, as reusing precious raw materials in newer models is a great way to reduce the amount we mine the earth’s resources. Working ethically and ecologically is a priority for us as we want our customers to benefit from updating their technology in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We have fully trained and vetted staff who can assist you or your business with meeting your computer ware disposal needs which surpass the WEEE Directive.

An expert service you can trust

If you do need to completely start again with your computer equipment, we recommend that you use an expert service you can trust to ensure that your computer is effectively cleaned of any sensitive data before it is disposed of. Concept Management offers an ethically and efficiently minded service with onsite destruction of physical kit, hard drive erasure and other options for your obsolete computer ware at our HQ site.

Pioneering recycling service

The tech industry and culture is moving at a faster and faster rate and the demand for rapid renewal of devices is becoming a world waste issue. Where possible, reusing precious raw materials from older computers and devices and repurposing them in new ones is key in closing the production cycle. Disposing of your computer without proper content erasure or approved disposal methods is dangerous and illegal. But, at Concept Management we encourage our customers to go one step further than following the regulatory computer disposal guidelines as we offer a comprehensive and pioneering recycling service.

Highly trained staff

With highly trained staff, schooled in the practical and ethical issues around safe data sanitizing processes, we can confidently offer you a safe and hassle-free computer disposal service. So, whether you need information on the process of how to destroy your hard drive from your computer before recycling it or simply would like a quote for the job you need doing we are happy to help. You can rely on our expertise and experience for all of your computer recycling and data disposal needs.

What are the advantages of IT Recycling?

There are so many advantages to choosing to recycle your computer. From Macs to PCs, we want to have the opportunity to reuse the precious elements found in your old model and repurpose them again and again. Entrusting your computer to an accredited service provider such as Concept Management is also a way to avoid harsh and toxic chemical being released into the environment and polluting our treasured planet. We work beyond the WEEE directive standards which means you have the added benefit of being assured that your data and hardware are being dealt with properly. Improper disposal of computers can leave both you and the environment vulnerable, so we take every step to make your experience with us is safe. We work with each customer to offer a bespoke service for the needs of your job and offering our expert advice all the way so you can make informed choices about your computer recycling and disposal options.

Why should you choose Concept Management?

At Concept Management, we work to be leaders in the responsible and ecologically focused approach to computer recycling and disposal. Our HQ is based in Manchester and due to the substantial demand and our ability to meet it, we have a large team of brilliant staff that offer a 24 hour a day service during the 5-day working week.

BUSINESS PUNS; HOW TO USE HUMOR TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS

Introduction

Laughter is the best medicine. Everyone loves to smile, chuckle, or laugh because of your posts. Sometimes, they could just see your brand, and they are all cracked up because you have delivered great humor.

You do not have to create a comedy show where customers will gather and have a good time. No, that is not the idea. Instead, the scope is to engage customers and attract new ones to what you offer.

Does it work for everyone?

No, some people are not encouraged as they can feel differently about humorous posts. Therefore, rather than such engagements attracting them to your business, they are turned off, and they become uninterested. Also, its translations can be different based on varying cultures. Hence, using humor to attract customers will only work best if you are target customers globally.

On the other hand, some brands have become famous due to their humorous posts. There are several benefits business puns can offer. They include;

Free promotion

There is a lot of publicity, reputability, and promotion for different businesses and the puns to their name. However, the efforts might not be properly appreciated for some while it is free promotion for many others.

The truth is that it is easy for people to share every funny post with their friends and family. Such images can end up on the internet and even trend in magazines, newspapers, or daily articles. You want to get enough reputation for your business, and puns will do in this case.

You can take advantage of the promotion by adding your business details and the contact us section. As people enjoy the funny parts of the post, they can see your number and can be interested. Use the business puns to get the attention of people to your services.

Create a memorable moment from every post

This fact is the most valuable and important part of your business pun. Since the posts will make people smile or laugh or chuckle, make it a memorable one that can be easier for them to remember. However, be careful of what you put out in a bid to be humorous.

You may need to do some research before putting out that post. However, there is a safe way to create a memorable moment from your business’s funny posts. You can do this by jumping on the trends in the world.

For example, there is a movie that is making the world skip – that is the show is on everyone’s lips. Take Game of Thrones or Squid Games as an example. You can create posts with them such that many people can easily relate when they see such posts. You do not have to think out of the box about this. You can use special characters in the movie.

The funnier your pun, the more assured it is because many people will repost the same.

The effect of multiple meanings

As a clever business owner, you can make one post have multiple meanings to different people. However, ensure your choice of words is harmless and cannot be an offense to anyone.

Creating multiple meanings may not be the situation at all times, but an intelligent person can create some for your brand. You can put out a word that could attract a potential customer as they are motivated to patronize you.

The truth is that a pun is a wordplay with underlying meanings. There are always points to discover – an extra meaning. Just make people happy with whatever post or extra meaning you are giving them. Such a post will not go out of their minds anytime soon.

Creating awareness

Do you know that you are creating awareness with those types of posts? Yes, you are.  It could begin like it is all fun until you see more people engage the post and, in turn, your brand. You don’t have to force the joke. You can only push it by engaging people as they react to your pun.

Conclusion

Business is a lot of work as it requires being strategic most time. You may need to think well for a post that will project your brand, and when you’ve successfully found one, then the joke is on your competitors. We’ve got more informative pieces to keep your business soaring. Visit the site to learn more.

Hemp Highlighted as Stepping Stone to Carbon-Neutral Future

This year’s Q4 report by Canxchange looked at the state and prospects of the global market for hemp products. Canxchange provides industry analyses to professionals in the sector, and in their latest report, they highlighted the role of the industrial use of the cannabis plant in the future eco-friendly and sustainable economy.

In an appendage to the report, Laura Herschlag, one of the collaborators, explained why hemp is an ideal source of biomaterial for the world that has committed to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Hemp is known for its exceptional versatility. Farmers all around the world have cultivated it for centuries. It served as raw material for ropes, cloths, and canvasses, while its seeds were used for oil and food. There is also a long tradition of the plant’s medical use as Cannabis Sativa and its derivatives were a part of Western pharmacopeia before the 20th century.

Unfortunately, the plant was stigmatized as a dangerous drug in the modern era. Today, the stigma persists, and when people think of cannabis cultivation, they mostly picture something like growing psychoactive varieties of the species from autoflowering feminised seeds. While this is indeed a big, bustling, and fast-growing sector, cultivating non-psychoactive hemp varieties is even a more promising niche, one that can be potentially disrupting for the global economy.

One of the most interesting features of hemp is that it has a negative CO2 footprint. What it means is that the cultivation of this species for raw materials binds more atmospheric CO2 than is released. This feature can play a huge role in construction where you can replace concrete with ‘hempcrete’. While concrete is known as one of the top sources of carbon dioxide emissions, mixing it with hemp results in a first-rate construction material with a lesser carbon footprint.

Another way hemp can help achieve a carbon-neutral future is its use for biodiesel. Instead of burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide that was taken from the atmosphere in previous geological epochs, we can grow plants that bind CO2 within one season and then release back the same amount.

The plant can contribute to the recultivation of soils, too. Studies have shown that hemp is able to absorb heavy metals from contaminated soil. It can also return important nutrients to soils that have been depleted by industrial agriculture.

However, the cultivation of hemp is still by no means widespread. According to the Canxchange benchmark report, the plant is currently grown mostly for the needs of the pharmaceutical and wellness industry. Here, it serves as a source of CBD and other, rare cannabinoids, as well as whole-plant extracts and isolates, or seeds and dried flowers.

Despite its many potential uses in other industries, there are a lot of hurdles that should be overcome before growing hemp becomes economically viable. As Laura Herschlag pointed, there is a general lack of infrastructure that could make the cultivation and processing scalable. Fileds of hemp will be useless if there are no factories—either built from scratch or retrofitted—that could later process the harvested plants.

She said that it’s very hard to change the status quo because it requires global thinking and a lot of investments. And this is where governments and rich philanthropists can make a difference.

Or there may be a totally different type of incentive. If businesses are increasingly required by law to be more ‘green’, it will be only natural for them to incorporate hemp as part of new eco-friendly and carbon-neutral practices. After all, it’s hard to imagine a crop that better suits this purpose.

Everything You Need To Know About Head MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging is used as a first-line diagnostic method for injuries, diseases, and a variety of other conditions. Continue reading this article for what to expect in an MRI for the head and the brain

The brain is the most complex organ of the human body because of its connection to all of the body’s systems. That is why the examination of the brain is carried out using the most high-tech diagnostic devices. For example, magnetic resonance imaging is considered to be one of the best methods of brain diagnostics. It is characterized by painlessness and has a very short list of contraindications. Importantly, MRI does not involve radiation exposure, which is extremely important for such a delicate and sensitive organ as the brain.

What is an MRI and how is it done?

Magnetic resonance imaging is a method of research that allows you to get a detailed picture of the state of human organs without internal interference.

To know how to prepare for a head MRI, it is necessary to understand the intricacies of the procedure. During the examination, the magnetic field of the machine affects the hydrogen atoms present in the body. Tomograph sensors record pulses that are modeling images of the examined organ with the help of software.

MRI allows early detection of brain diseases, detection of neoplasms and inflammatory processes, visualization of vessels, etc. With the use of a contrast agent, it is possible to measure the tumor, determine the exact localization of the focus, and the presence of metastasis.

The most common application of an MRI is for examining the spine and central nervous system. The method allows you to accurately assess the structure of the organs, identify existing pathologies, tumors, traumatic changes, etc.

Magnetic resonance imaging is absolutely painless and safe, has no adverse effects on the body, so it can be performed repeatedly, even on pregnant women and children.

Head MRI indications

Magnetic resonance imaging is one of the highly effective diagnostic procedures often used to assess the condition of the brain and cerebral vessels. Major indications for MRIs include patient complaints such as:

  • Frequent and/or severe headaches
  • Fainting and/or dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Memory impairment
  • Numbness and weakness in the arms or legs
  • Seizures
  • Impaired coordination and spatial orientation.

You should also make an appointment for an MRI scan if:

  • There is a head injury with a suspected concussion
  • There are diseases of the inner ear or eyes
  • There is suspicion of multiple sclerosis, inflammatory processes in the brain, vascular pathologies.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and head vessels is recommended once a year for preventive purposes. MRI can detect malignant tumours, inflammatory and vascular pathologies at an early stage.

Contraindications to MRI: absolute and relative

The method of magnetic resonance imaging is based on the use of high-frequency radio waves and high-power magnetic fields. The presence of electronic or metal objects in the patient’s body leads to distortions in the images, and as a result, the procedure will be useless. In addition, there is a risk that the magnet will change the position of the metal object in the body, resulting in internal bleeding. Therefore, if there are pins, artificial joints, dental implants, pacemakers, and similar objects in the patient’s body, magnetic resonance imaging is not performed.

There are a number of relative contraindications under which the tomography is performed if the risk to the patient is less than the potential benefit of the examination:

  1. The first trimester of pregnancy
  2. A patient weighing more than 120 kg
  3. Any tattoos on the body with iron in the dye – usually 20 years old tattoos or older.
  4. Chronic kidney disease

Preparing for a head MRI

As noted above, magnetic resonance imaging is an effective and safe examination of the body. In addition, this type of diagnosis requires almost no preparation, which distinguishes it from other options.

  • First of all, you need to select the medical centre where you will be examined. Among the many options choose the most suitable – MRI near you, with a wide range of services and positive feedback from customers.
  • Next, you should make sure that there are no metal or electronic elements in the body. You should remember if you have had any surgeries in your life—laparoscopic or neurosurgical surgeries in which metal clips may have been used. If you know that there is an implant in the body, but you don’t remember what material it is made of, tell the doctor this information and he will refer you for an X-ray.
  • Dress appropriately for the procedure. Do not take any gadgets with you. Choose clothes that don’t have metal buttons, zippers, or inserts. Women should carefully review their underwear for metal closures or boning. Some MRI clinics offer hospital shirts to eliminate the slightest risk of metal in the MRI scanner.
  • There is no need for a special diet before a head MRI. You can have breakfast and go to the examination at ease. The exception is contrast tomography: in order to alleviate the condition during the introduction of contrast and fasten its clearance, you should avoid eating and drinking 4-6 hours before the procedure. And after MRI scanning you should drink water as often as possible, in small portions.

When an MRI with contrast is needed

Usually, the characteristics of the MRI signal from different tissues allow clear distinguishing between normal and abnormal. But sometimes affected tissues look almost the same as healthy ones. This is especially common in cases of inflammation and some tumors. In order to increase the ability of the method to distinguish such pathologies, contrast enhancement is used.

Main indications for head MRI with contrast:

  • Tumors of the brain and spinal cord
  • Follow-up study after brain surgery
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Search for metastases to the brain
  • Determination of multiple sclerosis activity

How does the MRI procedure go?

The procedure itself is extremely simple: the patient is required to lie still during the entire examination. If this is not done, the images will show motion artifacts, which reduce the diagnostic value of the MRI scanning. The duration of the examination depends on the area and varies from 15 to 40 minutes. The use of contrast will add another 15 minutes to any procedure.

The MRI unit is quite noisy during the examination. For this reason, it is recommended to use special headphones – so the procedure will be more comfortable. In addition, music and the operator’s instructions are transmitted through them.

The patient may be asked to hold his/her breath or take a deep breath, tense his/her abdomen, etc.

Be sure to warn the medical staff if you have any contraindications to the examination. Inform them if you suffer from allergic reactions to medications, have had an injury or surgical intervention, or any chronic diseases.

It makes sense to take the images you received from past tests with you when you repeat the examination.

After completing the examination, you must wait 15-20 minutes until the interpretation of the images is completed.

Image Interpretation

The MRI examination allows obtaining a series of layer-by-layer images taken in steps of a couple of millimetres. In the course of decoding the images obtained, the radiologist examines the normal structure of the body, detects deviations from the norm, and identifies signs of a particular disease. Special attention is paid to the description of the pathology – location, size, nature, shape, and extent, connection with surrounding organs and tissues.

The images are analysed by a radiologist, who examines the obtained material and draws a conclusion. The results of the examination are sent to the attending physician. The patient can receive them in any form – printed or recorded on a disc, but many modern clinics offer a more convenient option – to receive the results in a personal online profile.

The high imaging speed of MRI combined with the absence of radiological burden on the body has made this method the most important one in brain research. In many cases, magnetic resonance imaging can serve as a first-line diagnostic method, i.e., it can be the only method that can answer all clinical questions.

5 healthy ways to include cannabis into your diet

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Marijuana is a beautifully complex and full-spectrum plant, there’s no way around that. Over the past decade, while cannabis became a substance that’s no longer socially rejected and it grew into the hearts of even those who once were completely against its use, the doors were opened for this plant to prove the wide range of benefits it can provide. As many countries have made way for scientific studies and research on cannabis to be led, everyday new uses are found for these plants’ products.

In the beginning, cannabis was mostly associated with its benefits from the medical field, either for its anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties, but there’s so much more to marijuana use than that. And while smoking weed may not be the healthiest of them consumption methods, there are indeed other healthy ways of ingesting it and benefiting from its great qualities. Here are 5 different ways in which including cannabis to your diet can result in amazing health benefits that don’t involve smoking it.

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1. Vaping Cannabis
One of the best ways of consuming cannabis and feeling the effects almost immediately is by vaporizing it. When it comes to vaporizers, there are oil or concentrate vaporizers and dry herb vapes, so feel free to try out which option you like best.
Although you’re not necessarily eating it, this way you’ll be able to note CBD \’s great health effects, such as better skin health, lower stress levels and more.

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2. Adding Fresh Herbs and Seeds to Your Recipes
While eating skittles everyday may not be the best for a healthy diet, perhaps adding zkittlez seeds to your favorite recipes is a better choice. By doing so, you’ll definitely not feel the usual high associated with marijuana, but you’ll get the benefits that eating it provides. Marijuana seeds, just like many other seeds and nuts are a great source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. Eat raw cannabis or seeds and you’ll also get amazing antioxidant benefits.

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3. Eating Edibles
Another great way of adding cannabis to your diet is eating edibles, of course!
Not only edibles taste great, and there are infinite options when it comes to recipes, but they also skip the negative effects of smoking. Besides, you can actually get high from consuming edibles, if that’s what you’re aiming for, or overall dodge that by consuming CBD-infused edibles. And furthermore, edibles provide a much longer effect than any of the other cannabis products, given that they’re absorbed through our digestive system.

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4. Adding cannabis oil to your daily routine
Cannabis oil is one of the most versatile cannabis consumption methods, and one of the healthiest too. Adding canna oil to your salads, tea, or even applying it directly onto your skin is already enough for it to start working its magic. Besides, making your own cannabis oil at home is extremely easy, and you can even experiment a little and add other complementary herbs such as lavender or chamomile to enhance its use.

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5. Making Marijuana Infused Smoothies
One last great way of adding cannabis to your diet is by making green smoothies with it!
If you’re searching for good detox recipes, why not sparkle some fresh weed buds to your favorite smoothie recipes. Besides, contrary to common belief, consuming marijuana could actually help you lose weight. How come, you wonder. Well, there’s a component in the weed family called THCv, which is, lets say, one of THC’s cousins. This dude is not as famous as its cousin but it definitely should be. Turns out, this component is found in raw cannabis, which is marijuana that hasn’t yet been curated, and again, which means that THC hasn’t yet been fully evolved. Shortly explained, THC comes after buds are stored for a short period of time, drying and curating. But, if you consume it raw, shortly after the plant is harvested, you’ll be ingesting the raw form of cannabis compounds, including among them, THCV. This component isn\’t; only great for aiding in weight loss but it also showed to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD patients, as well as ease panic attacks. Furthermore, this compound can help with tremors, improve motor control and slow brain damage associated with Alzheimer\’s disease.

And that’s it for now! Time to try out some of these alternative cannabis consumption methods and find out which one you enjoy the most!

5 Healthy Ways to Include Cannabis in Your Diet

Marijuana is a beautifully complex and full-spectrum plant, there’s no way around that. Over the past decade, while cannabis became a substance that’s no longer socially rejected and it grew into the hearts of even those who once were completely against its use, the doors were opened for this plant to prove the wide range of benefits it can provide. As many countries have made way for scientific studies and research on cannabis to be led, everyday new uses are found for these plants’ products.

In the beginning, cannabis was mostly associated with its benefits from the medical field, either for its anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties, but there’s so much more to marijuana use than that. And while smoking weed may not be the healthiest of them consumption methods, there are indeed other healthy ways of ingesting it and benefiting from its great qualities. Here are 5 different ways in which including cannabis to your diet can result in amazing health benefits that don’t involve smoking it.

1. Vaping Cannabis

One of the best ways of consuming cannabis and feeling the effects almost immediately is by vaporizing it. When it comes to vaporizers, there are oil or concentrate vaporizers and dry herb vapes, so feel free to try out which option you like best.
Although you’re not necessarily eating it, this way you’ll be able to note CBD’s great health effects, such as better skin health, lower stress levels and more.

 

2. Adding Fresh Herbs and Seeds to Your Recipes

While eating skittles every day may not be the best for a healthy diet, perhaps adding zkittlez seeds to your favorite recipes is a better choice. By doing so, you’ll definitely not feel the usual high associated with marijuana, but you’ll get the benefits that eating it provides. Marijuana seeds, just like many other seeds and nuts are a great source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. Eat raw cannabis or seeds and you’ll also get amazing antioxidant benefits.

 

3. Eating Edibles

Another great way of adding cannabis to your diet is eating edibles, of course!
Not only do edibles taste great, and there are infinite options when it comes to recipes, but they also skip the negative effects of smoking. Besides, you can actually get high from consuming edibles, if that’s what you’re aiming for, or overall dodge that by consuming CBD-infused edibles. And furthermore, edibles provide a much longer effect than any of the other cannabis products, given that they’re absorbed through our digestive system.

 

4. Adding cannabis oil to your daily routine

Cannabis oil is one of the most versatile cannabis consumption methods and one of the healthiest too. Adding canna-oil to your salads, tea, or even applying it directly onto your skin is already enough for it to start working its magic. Besides, making your own cannabis oil at home is extremely easy, and you can even experiment a little and add other complementary herbs such as lavender or chamomile to enhance its use.

5. Making Marijuana-Infused Smoothies

One last great way of adding cannabis to your diet is by making green smoothies with it! If you’re searching for good detox recipes, why not sprinkle some fresh weed buds to your favorite smoothie recipes. Besides, contrary to common belief, consuming marijuana could actually help you lose weight. “How come?”, you wonder. Well, there’s a component in the weed family called THCv, which is, let’s say, one of THC’s cousins. This dude is not as famous as its cousin but it definitely should be. Turns out, this component is found in raw cannabis, which is marijuana that hasn’t yet been curated, and again, which means that THC hasn’t yet been fully evolved. Shortly explained, THC comes after buds are stored for a short period of time, drying and curating. But, if you consume it raw, shortly after the plant is harvested, you’ll be ingesting the raw form of cannabis compounds, including among them, THCV. This component isn’t; only great for aiding in weight loss but it also showed to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD patients, as well as ease panic attacks. Furthermore, this compound can help with tremors, improve motor control, and slow brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

And that’s it for now! Time to try out some of these alternative cannabis consumption methods and find out which one you enjoy the most!

Improving Customer Service in Health and Human Services Through Technology

Customer service is one of the most important departments in the daily operations of every business today, especially in the health and human services industry. With poor customer service, health and human service providers would find it difficult to acquire new customers or even retain the ones that they currently have.

Most service providers fail to invest enough time and money in the enhancement of their customer service departments, forgetting that up to 78% of customers leave transactions due to poor customer service. This leads to loss of business and might have a negative impact on an entire organization.

Today, health and human service providers are trying as much as they can to stay up to date with technological innovations. These innovations are playing a major role in how they improve their customer service. The smart ones are offering modern and convenient services that their customers need and connect with.

There are different ways health and human service providers are connecting with customers through technology, key among them being;

Using the Right Human Services Software

Technology has made it possible for health and human service providers to build software applications that address the requirements of their customers. These applications can gather information from the customers and through machine learning and artificial intelligence, predict any changes in the demands of the customers.

However, health and human service providers need to make sure that they are using the right human services software. This can be achieved through companies such as Radicle Health that build functional, modern, and easy-to-use software applications. With such software, health and human service providers will be able to improve customer service and make sure that they acquire and retain all their customers.

Employing the Right Modes of Communication

Technology has made sure that there are multiple ways through which organizations can communicate with their customers. This leaves health and human service providers with no option but to ensure that they have employed the right modes of communication when it comes to their customers.

With this, health and human service providers should use different modes of communication depending on what their customers prefer. For instance, you will find that older people communicate through email and phone calls while the younger ones use social media applications and messaging. Others prefer having a live chat with a customer care agent.

Customer Service Availability

Today, the traditional customer service that operated during the day from 9 am to 5 pm is no longer effective. Organizations that are still working this way have been left behind and are losing customers every time a customer cannot access a customer care agent whenever they need to.

Technology has made sure that health and human service providers can be available anytime throughout the day and night. With different forms of communication, such as social media platforms, forms, emails, phone calls, chat boxes, and SMS messaging among others, health and human service providers have the capacity to be available across the world and at all times. This has helped improve customer service.

Social media platforms

Social media platforms are one of the most amazing technological innovations playing a major role in the customer service industry. Today, health and human service providers are able to connect with their customers anytime without any issue.

The providers can create webinars, blog posts, how-to guides, infographics, and social media posts addressing different things that their customers need and connecting with them through the platforms.

They can also address any concerns through comments on their posts, limiting one on one interaction between the customers and themselves.

Creating Customers Who are Self-Reliant

Finally, technology has made it possible for health and human service providers to create self-reliance among their customers. There are people who find it difficult to seek help. Such people like learning things on their own.

To improve customer service, health and human service providers should use technology to create avenues through which their customers can access all the information that they need. They can create mobile applications and functional websites with all the information that their customers might need when accessing their services.

With such innovations, health and human service providers are going to have exemplary customer service departments that will contribute a lot to the success of their business operations.

4 Essential Components of Power Plant Maintenance

Power plant maintenance aims at supporting a smooth workflow in a power plant. It involves procedures such as routine inspection, equipment adjustment, repair or replacement, and general systems integration and monitoring.

If you work in a power plant, you could recognize the significance of all the plant’s assets.  It works in ensuring that the primary goal of electric production is realized. For this reason, you should implement maintenance strategies that comprise most of the requisite components.

Read below to learn more about the essential components of maintaining a power plant.

1. Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

As a power plant comprises many components, it’s difficult for you to single-handedly oversee their maintenance. This is even more strenuous if you’re doing it manually. On this account, you may bring computer systems into play.

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) comprises software and its main function is to oversee the maintenance operations in a facility. The perk of having CMMS is that it can be customized to meet the needs of any industry, including the power production industry. 

Therefore, you can source power plant-related CMMS like the power plant asset management software solutions by 60Hertz Energy and other solutions to run the maintenance processes in your power station. One of the strengths of using this software is its inbuilt database system, This is responsible for organizing information about the assets in the station that require maintenance. It also offers learning resources and standard procedures to conduct maintenance.

Being computerized, CMMSs are significantly efficient. Thus, they’re an essential tool you can use to run maintenance operations in your power plant.

2. Predictive Maintenance (PdM) Tools

These are tools that use the Internet of Things (IoT) predictive technology to manage assets by monitoring their condition and assessing their reliability. This way, it makes the use of already existing assets more efficient.  PdM tools can carry out a predictive test on the machines in your plant, determine the possibility of their failure, and formulate a plan to handle the issue if it arises. In the long run, these tools significantly reduce the general costs of power plant maintenance. 

They’re wired to a software, such as CMMS, wherein they report the findings of the asset analysis. A bonus of PdM tools is that they continuously report their findings. Hence, the CMMS can quickly spot the assets that require maintenance and schedule their repair.

The main PdM tools include:

  • Vibration analysis (VA): This analysis tool uses sensors to detect an asset’s vibration velocity, displacement, and frequency. These parameters are then measured alongside standard vibration signals, and the outcome will determine whether the specific component requires maintenance or not.
  • Ultrasonic analysis (UA): This tool uses a sensitive microphone to capture high-frequency sounds from an asset. It then turns these sounds into audio and digital data that can be analyzed by the human plant operators or computer software. The analysis is done by comparing the sounds to other existing known sounds. This then indicates if there’s a problem with an asset and if it requires maintenance.
  • Infrared analysis (IR): This technique uses infrared technology to compare the temperature difference in assets over time and under different conditions. The difference indicates the state of an asset and whether it needs maintenance. IR is used to provide information such as temperature changes in mechanical assets like bearings, system temperature, insulation conditions, and solar panel conditions, among others.
  • Oil analysis: The purity condition of the lubricating oil is analyzed to determine its suitability in the protection of equipment from wear.
  • Laser-shaft alignment: This analysis technique ensures that the various types of equipment in a power plant are properly aligned to prevent component mechanical failure. 
  • Motor circuit analysis: This technique uses Electronic Signature Analysis (ESA) to identify potential faults in electric motors and their components in the power plant.  It’s done by assessing the asset’s voltage and operating current.
  • Video analysis: This technique captures equipment vibrations on video. The vibrations indicate whether a maintenance procedure is needed for an asset.

Therefore, if you run a power plant, you can incorporate PdM tools in your operations to have an outlay of how your equipment is functioning. This will also give you a heads up in case there’s any faulty equipment that needs to undergo maintenance and repair. Thus, it minimizes production losses and unnecessary disruptions.

3. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems

These are centralized industrial control systems that use computers and network data communications to monitor plant and machinery conditions. The systems gather data on the processes in the plant and send the commands control to the process. They’re used where human control isn’t a feasible option. 

Some applications of SCADA in power plant maintenance include:

  • Constant monitoring of speed of electrical machines.
  • Monitoring of coal delivery and water treatment processes.
  • Planning of electric generation operations.
  • Controlling active and reactive power.
  • Detecting renewable energy farms. 
  • Scheduling and load planning.
  • Processing of generation parameters data.
  • Supervising safety equipment.

4. Human Input

The above three components of power plant maintenance are based on computer systems. Even though the computerized systems ensure efficiency in the maintenance process, human input is also required to realize an all-encompassing maintenance process. For this reason, power plant workers including plant operators, power distributors, and power dispatchers are needed to manually control the systems. Some of their duties include:

  • Formulating maintenance procedures.
  • Scheduling maintenance processes.
  • Diagnosing and responding to system malfunctions.
  • Supervising staff.
  • Obtaining specialist equipment such as fixtures, bearings, and fittings.
  • Handling stocks of supplies and equipment.
  • Managing the budget.
  • Keeping and maintaining statistical and financial records.
  • Ensuring that health and safety measures are followed.

Conclusion

If you’re a maintenance engineer at a power plant, you should ensure the equipment is properly functioning so that the power production process runs smoothly. To do this, you’d want to combine all the essential components of power plant maintenance. These include Computerized Management Maintenance Systems, Predictive Maintenance tools, Supervisory Control, and Data Acquisition systems.  Lastly, it also covers your effort to oversee the smooth running of all the systems.

Acquisition International Announces the Winners of the 2021 Legal Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Legal Awards.

Acquisition International has designed the Legal Awards programme to recognise and award those firms and professionals who have offered brilliantly personalised legal services, as well as those who have strived to evolve and adapt with the times. The legal sector is one that is constantly evolving which therefore results in lawyers and other legal professional individuals and firms to persistently update their existing skills and knowledge.

Running for several years now, the Acquisition International Legal Awards programme seeks to reward the hard work and dedication of those firms and professionals who have strived for a new level of perfection and professionalism. Our Awards Coordinator, Kaven Cooper, has commented on the success of this year’s Legal Awards: “It was a pleasure hosting the awards programme this year and coordinating with all the winners. I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to all the winners and would like to wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

Acquisition International prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The 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/awards/legal-awards/) 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.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

How Your IT Department Can Save On IT Costs

Businesses are often overwhelmed by IT costs since reliable technological infrastructure and its maintenance are expensive. And with the current pandemic crisis, companies have examined and replanned their budget to reduce, delay, or renegotiate for any potential savings.

To fund business-critical initiatives to compensate for the months of little to no lucrative opportunities, business owners are searching beyond the general ledgers and have started looking at one of their costliest departments for any opportunity to reduce cost.

Keep reading to find out how to reduce the expenses in your IT department.

1. Use Managed Services to Streamline Costs

Some businesses can benefit from using a managed service provider (MSP) for streamlining and reducing IT expenses. This is particularly true when a company doesn’t have the specialized workforce they need in areas such as network security or data storage.

Using an MSP is a cost-effective option when a business only has short-term work to warrant having an IT specialist manage the job part-time. You end up with cost savings from the reduction of manpower and skills while getting access to round-the-clock support and monitoring and a fully equipped team of IT professionals to manage your technology infrastructure.

If you’re looking for managed IT services in Chicago or your current location, the easiest way to find them is to browse online. There are experienced, trustworthy IT support companies out there offering competitive prices without hidden fees.

2. Update Your Technology

If cost reduction is a long-term goal for your IT department and business, then you can’t simply slash cost where you see fit and call it a day. You should take a look at your current spending, track trends, and determine how you can run your operations, data, and infrastructure more efficiently.

Part of this is to determine any major inefficient technology within your IT department. This means replacing slow, outdated devices that consume time. It’s common for businesses to run on a few-years-old network infrastructure that still works but not as efficient as it should be.

Although the price of replacing your outdated technology seems high, you’ll find that it’s more cost-effective to replace old devices with new, higher-performing equipment in the long term.

3. Cut What You Do Not Need

Unneeded services such as surplus phone lines, web hosting, or underutilized T1 lines should be removed. Meanwhile, underutilized servers that eat up energy costs don’t benefit your bottom line, so it only makes sense to eliminate them.

Most businesses and IT professionals waste their budget on software and hardware they don’t use. So check your software licenses and cut down on those you don’t need. Also, make informed decisions on what to keep when you have two or more software and systems doing the same job without any justifiable reason.

4. Make the Switch to the Cloud

The cloud is already a big deal and is expected to keep growing in the future. So why are businesses jumping on the cloud bandwagon? There’s a variety of reasons, but most of it is because of the cost savings.

Moving to the cloud can help reduce your IT expenses and controlling costs. You don’t have to spend on replacing or maintaining hardware for storing data. What’s more, cloud services provide you with a variety of plan options according to your need. You can adjust the cost and usage, paying as you go and as you scale your business.

5. Reduce Turnover

Employee turnover can cost businesses significantly. Companies can spend 6–9 months of a departing employee’s salary to recruit and train a replacement.

That’s why business owners and IT managers are taking steps to reduce turnover in their departments. There are several ways to do this.

For one, improving the company’s culture can make it a more appealing place to work. Promoting work-life balance, offering access to training and opportunities for advancement, or simply showing your team that you appreciate their efforts are enough to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. This makes your IT employees less likely to leave.

 

Conclusion

People outside of IT often view this department as a costly area. IT managers and business owners usually face the difficult task of reducing IT costs to fit their budget. IT teams need to balance between keeping a strict budget and keeping operations running smoothly.

So follow the above tips to help reduce IT expenses and overall expenditures. Regardless of how big or small the saving is, it’ll eventually add up and benefit you and your enterprise in the long run.

6 Ways the Manufacturing Sector Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

As the UK begins to move towards its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050, businesses in all sectors must reduce their CO2 output. According to the March 2021 Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, the manufacturing sector accounts for a sixth of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the work needed in the sector to reduce emissions.

It’s no surprise to see that manufacturing is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK due to the sector’s energy-intensive processes. While it’s not possible for the sector to completely eliminate those emissions, there are ways it can reduce them and balance them out to reach a point of carbon neutrality.

In this article, we’ll explore how using the right machinery and components is key to helping your manufacturing organisation not only reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but also save money in the long run.

Invest in quality machine parts

Many manufacturers will often opt for cheaper machinery and parts to minimise a hefty upfront cost, but this can end up more expensive in the long run. In many cases, cheaper machinery and parts are made with cheaper materials. This means that they’ll have a shorter shelf-life than higher-quality items, so you’ll be required to replace these parts more frequently. This also creates more waste, which has a serious impact on the environment.

Consider the equipment’s energy requirements

Some machines and their component parts run on fossil fuels, which are some of the biggest contributors to climate change. Switching to equipment that runs on renewable energy will save you money in the long run and allow you to dramatically reduce your carbon emissions.

The manufacture of certain materials is also especially energy-intensive, such as the production of liquid silicone rubber, which requires temperatures of 179–198oC. Other materials, like most plastics, are well-known for their reliance on fossil fuels. By reviewing the raw materials you work with and the products you create, you can further cut down your energy requirements and move to renewable sources.

Use multi-tasking equipment

A key way you can cut down on your energy costs and therefore your carbon emissions is to make use of multi-tasking equipment. These machines combine several processes – for example, cutting processes – which would have traditionally been carried out by multiple machines in one solution. This helps you reduce setup and manufacturing time dramatically by getting more processes done in one go.

Having fewer machines on the go for one project will reduce the amount of energy you require to produce materials or items, which has the double benefit of reducing your business’ energy costs and carbon emissions. It also means you’ll require fewer component parts for multiple machines. Fewer machines mean you can also make better use of your factory space and increase your business’ output efficiency.

Maintain your equipment effectively

We know that one of the best ways to extend the life of our manufacturing equipment is to maintain it effectively. Equipment maintenance will vary based on the machinery itself, but generally speaking, maintenance is straightforward. Setting up processes for qualified technicians to regularly review your machinery is essential, but there are steps you can take yourself.

Keeping your equipment and its component parts clean and free from debris is an essential step, because this can heavily impact its efficiency. In the shipping industry, energy-efficiency regulations have come into place that include keeping the propellors and other underwater parts of the ships clean, reducing waste heat production and the need for frequent new replacement parts.

Prevent energy-wasting leaks

One of the most common energy-wasting problems with manufacturing equipment is leakages. While checking your equipment is essential for general maintenance, including leak checks is recommended. This will allow you to spot and fix any leaks before they become a bigger problem. Using the right type of seal on your cylinder parts will help prevent leakages in the long run.

Embed sustainability into your supply chain

You’ve begun to address the sustainability of your business practices, and you’ve taken measures to reduce your carbon emissions. But can the same be said about your suppliers? If the businesses you’re sourcing your machinery and raw materials from aren’t sustainable, you may still be indirectly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Many businesses are now including sustainability as a key requirement in their tender process, with others reviewing their suppliers based on their green credentials. A brand’s sustainability credentials are more important than ever, with research showing customers are seeking companies that are environmentally friendly. But large businesses including Nike and Adidas have come under scrutiny for poor practices in their supply chains. The fashion giants were found to use suppliers that discarded toxic waste in rivers in China, but the backlash was primarily aimed at those brands.

Sustainability and reducing carbon emissions is essential for all businesses in order for the UK to meet its net-zero target by 2050. As one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases in the UK, the manufacturing sector has a large role to play. By addressing the machinery and component parts your business uses, including how and where you source them, how you use them, and how you maintain them, you can reduce your emissions to support important environmental causes.

The 2021/2022 Flu Season – All You Need to Know

By Qured’s Dr Kishan Vithlani

What is the flu and what are the main symptoms?

The flu is a common virus, typically in the population during the colder months. The flu is caused by the Influenza virus. It results in mainly upper respiratory symptoms, affecting the nose and throat, often causing a cough, sore throat, and a runny or blocked nose. It can sometimes cause lower respiratory symptoms which affects the lungs, causing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In addition to the above, it will also cause the symptoms which are common to nearly all viruses; fever, body aches and pains, tiredness and headaches.

Does the flu share symptoms with Covid?

It can be very difficult to distinguish between Flu and Covid based on symptoms alone. 

As they are both viruses, they both cause the common viral symptoms mentioned above in addition to symptoms that affect the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Although the viruses that cause both illnesses are highly contagious, Covid appears to spread more easily and can cause more serious illnesses. It has also been found that Covid appears to take longer before people show symptoms and they can be contagious for longer.

What was the impact of the flu last year?

In the 2020/21 season, there were extremely low levels of influenza across the UK, with an absence of the usual winter spike in rates. Compared to an average over the past 5 years, the most recent levels were at a record low throughout the flu season. This is due to the impact of national lockdowns, social distancing guidance, public health messaging regarding hand hygiene and infection control, and wearing of face coverings along with very little international travel. 

These measures were implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there was also a change in health behaviours that helped reduce the risk of getting the flu. One of the most effective changes in health behaviours to prevent flu was a record high uptake of flu vaccinations. However, due to this record low level of the flu, there is concern around the potential impact this may have on the 2021/22 flu season.  

What does this mean for the 2021/22 flu season?

Due to the very low flu infection rates over the past year, there has been very low virus-induced immunity from influenza strains. This means that we have not had a ‘top up’ of antibodies from natural infection and as a result, we may see more people become infected. In addition to this, we may also see more serious illness and hospitalisation rather than the usual mild illness that most of us have experienced in the past. This same concept applies to most of the other winter respiratory viruses but illness from flu can be reduced by early vaccination.

How does the flu vaccine work?

Flu vaccines work similarly to most other vaccines which is by causing the immune system to mount a response to it and subsequently produce antibodies. These antibodies will help to provide protection against the influenza viruses and therefore help reduce the risk of getting the infection or reduce the severity of the illness when infected. Once vaccinated it takes around two weeks for you to benefit from the vaccination. This is all very similar to that of the Covid vaccine. 

The flu vaccine is given annually as the influenza viruses constantly adapt by making small genetic changes and as a result, the new vaccines have to ensure protection is delivered for the most up to date strain. Vaccinations from previous years are unlikely to provide any protection against the new strains.  

Who should take the flu vaccine? Is it just older and vulnerable people who should take it, or this year should we all look to take the jab? 

Nearly everyone can benefit from having the flu vaccine. With the added risks from diminished immunity to flu from the lack of recent infection, it would be even more beneficial to be vaccinated.  This will provide a higher chance of keeping well in the presence of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses especially in the event of co-existing infections.  

There are however specific groups of people that are routinely encouraged to have a vaccine and are invited by their GP. This includes:

  • Children aged 2 to 11
  • Those aged 65 or over
  • Pregnant women
  • Those living in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers
  • Those aged 6 months to 65 years in at-risk groups which includes people with the below chronic illnesses:
    • Respiratory diseases
    • Heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease
    • Neurological disease including learning disability
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases causing immunosuppression
    • Splenectomy, sickle cell anaemia or coeliac disease
    • Obesity with a BMI of 40 and above

When should we take it to have maximum impact?

The flu vaccine should be taken before outbreaks of flu start. The peak of flu in the UK is usually in November and therefore vaccinations can be taken from September onwards. 

Benefit From Following a Procurement Process

By Adam Thomas, Co-founder of oboloo, a self-service cloud procurement software designed for SMEs who want to work with suppliers who share their values

As we approach the end of the 2021, companies are looking for ways that they can strengthen their finances after Covid and against the threat of inflation and interest rate rises next year. Following on from Cop 26 companies are also beginning to place more importance on sustainability and want to reduce their carbon footprint, which includes working more closely with their suppliers to achieve this.

One way that companies can help to achieve this is by improving their procurement processes; from how they source goods and services to how they manage suppliers and contracts. It’s estimated that effective management of third-party spend can on average release savings of between 7-12%. This means that for every £1 million of supplier spend there is a potential saving of between £70,000 to £120,000 per annum to be made.

Improving consistency, visibility, and control over every part of the procurement process will help companies to save both time and money, reduce fraud and contribute towards sustainability. If there is a lack of resource and high staff turnover a digital procurement solution can help to make this even easier to achieve.

Sourcing

The first part of the sourcing process is to specify exactly what is required. This may be based on what has been purchased previously or may require revised specifications because of changes in circumstances. It’s also an opportunity to learn what’s new and improved as it may help to identify opportunities to reduce consumption and waste that will save time and money and be better for the environment.  

Some of the goods and services purchased are in-direct, such as utilities. Therefore, when sourcing these commodities, the main consideration is getting the best price from a reputable supplier.

Goods and services which have more of an impact on the end user require their preferences to be considered and whenever possible embedded into the specifications. It’s important to be realistic as sometimes there is a fine balance between quality and the budget available, which may result in having to manage the expectations of users. There may be an opportunity for suppliers to suggest alternative products that are of equal quality as preferred products but cost less.

As well as quality and price, Environmental Social & Corporate Governance (ESG) is also becoming increasingly important as a way of differentiating between suppliers. There are many different parts to ESG, such as sustainability, social impact on local communities and supporting SME suppliers and it’s important to remember that everyone may have different objectives.

Having specified the goods or service required, decided upon what criteria are important to compare the suppliers upon, its then a case of selecting the potential suppliers. It’s always best to invite at least three suppliers to respond to a sourcing activity with the incumbent being one of them.

Evaluating the suppliers’ responses against all the selection criteria using an objective scoring system is key to finding the supplier that offers best value. It’s possible going forwards, taking sustainability requirements into account, that price may no longer be the key differentiator.

Once the supplier is selected, negotiations completed, and the contract is signed the new supply can be implemented. Its good practice to run sourcing activities towards the end of every contract or every couple of years to ensure the continued receipt of best value from the suppliers.

Tip: Create a simple sourcing process that everyone can follow and keep permanent records of all activities or use a Sourcing software.

 

Contract Management

On-going contract management is key to continuing to receive best value from the supplier throughout the lifetime of the contract and when done properly provides further opportunities to save time and money.

It’s important to actively manage any notice periods and contract end dates, so that no deadlines are missed as these can prove to be expensive. Some contracts may automatically roll-over meaning price increases or having to pay for goods or services that are no longer delivering value or worse still are no longer required. It also means potentially missing an opportunity to change any requirements or reduce consumption and waste and thus save money.

Having easy access to any contract documents associated with the contract such as Service Level Agreements helps to ensure that users are consistently satisfied and provides a basis on which to rectify any failings with a supplier before it becomes a more serious issue.

Tip: Create an easily accessible contract database that contains all the relevant contract information, key dates, and documents in one place or use a contract management software.

 

Supplier Management

When working with a new supplier, or indeed any supplier, its good practise to have an on-boarding and vetting process to check that the supplier has all the necessary valid documentation as proof that they have what they say they have, e.g., suitable levels of insurance cover, sustainability accreditations etc. The last thing that any company wants is to be put at unnecessary risk by a supplier not having insurance or awarding business under false pretences. The types of documentation and accreditations etc. will vary by industry with some more highly regulated than others.

These documents usually have an expiry date and will require the supplier to renew them, often annually. Its therefore a good idea to monitor that the suppliers continue to renew them to remain compliant and that there’s a record kept of those that are renewed and those that have expired. Any that have expired can then be queried with the supplier directly.   

Far too often supplier performance is not regularly monitored which can mean that both positive and negative experiences are not properly recorded and fed back to suppliers. Suppliers can only respond to issues if they’re made aware of them, and they also appreciate the feedback when they’re doing something well. This is especially important towards the end of a contract when the incumbent is being considered as part of the sourcing process.

Having a Preferred Supplier List means that it’s easy for employees to know which suppliers to go to for different products and services. Sometimes there’s preferred supplier in place and there is leakage to other suppliers because employees either don’t know about the deal or because they have their own favoured suppliers. This is not ideal for the company as it may put them at unnecessary risk due to lack of due diligence on the supplier and compliance and going forward will make carbon reporting more complicated. It’s also not great for the suppliers as they would have entered the contract with the expectation of receiving all the available business. To put it into perspective, how would you feel if your company’s customers were doing the same thing to you and leaking business to competitors?

Tip: Create an easily accessible supplier database that contains all the relevant supplier information, associated compliance documents and records of performance and risk in one place or use a supplier management software.

How Can the Government Provide Support to the Engineering Sector?

The engineering sector has had a torrid time in the past 18 months. From project cancellations to a growing skills gap, the industry is in need of government support.

The Autumn Budget came with mixed news for the sector, with some skills funding announced, but critical R&D spending postponed.

Here, piston rings supplier FPE Seals will explore how the government can support engineering businesses.

Addressing the skills gap

The engineering industry has a pressing skills gap. The sector is experiencing the second-highest rate of vacancies behind the IT/computing sector, highlighting how vital it is to address this shortage sooner rather than later.

The announcement of an additional £3.8 billion in funding to improve apprenticeships and T Levels is welcome news because many engineering qualifications fall into vocational education. However, EngineeringUK expressed disappointment that the government didn’t heed its call for an extra £40 million dedicated to STEM education in schools and further education.

As well as a specific skills gap in a range of engineering roles, the Royal Academy of Engineering has called upon the government to invest in a net-zero skills plan. These skills will be necessary if the UK is to hit its net-zero emissions target by 2050, but currently aren’t being routinely taught in engineering, manufacturing, or construction courses.

The government can support the engineering sector by focusing not only on funding STEM subjects to increase participation but by also mandating a net-zero approach to engineering education. It’s well-established that engineering is essential to the UK’s infrastructure, but a 2021 report also highlighted its effect on boosting social mobility. The report calls on the government to increase provision to maths and science at GCSE level to open up engineering to more young people.

Re-prioritise investment in research and development

The decision to postpone an annual £2 billion spend on research and development (R&D) has been met with criticism from the sector. The Institution of Engineering and Technology commented: “It’s disappointing the government has delayed the important R&D target for two years. If we are to remain globally competitive and achieve our net-zero targets, we must prioritise measures now that encourage businesses to invest in R&D in the UK.”

The commitment to delivering £20 billion of R&D funding by 2025 is positive, but for the UK to remain a leader in R&D on the global stage, funding should be prioritised now. Funding will also be reinstated for the Aerospace Technology Institute, having been frozen previously. This is good news for the rising aerospace sector, whose output increased by 45 per cent between 2010 and 2018.

R&D funding is a mixed bag in the sector at present. While we have future promises of £20 billion in funding and specific grants for important subsectors, we also have delays to a lot of this funding at a time when the engineering industry needs support now. The UK is the second-highest-ranking country in the world for R&D output, and in order for us to maintain our high standards, immediate funding is required.

Committing to infrastructure funding

Transport and city infrastructure is one of the biggest opportunities for the engineering sector in the UK. While we’ve seen many commitments for important rail infrastructure upgrades like HS2 and the Integrated Rail Plan in recent years, these projects are all stalling.

In order to maintain momentum in the sector, government-mandated infrastructure plans need to be prioritised and pushed ahead. These projects provide essential work to engineering firms, but they also highlight the importance of the industry to the UK economy.

In addition to the recently announced funding for vital local infrastructure projects, the government can further support the engineering sector by providing clear action plans on these large infrastructure projects. Forward-planning and considering future infrastructure requirements, especially in the developing area of smart cities, is also important.

As a sector, engineering has had a turbulent couple of years. Now that lockdowns are no longer shutting down onsite projects, engineering businesses are recovering. But with a number of pressing challenges still in play, including delayed R&D funding and a widening skills gap, the industry would certainly benefit from additional government support.

4 Ways to Prevent and Control Illness In the Workplace

Employees spend a lot of their time on business premises. They come in close contact with colleagues and use shared devices in the office. Consequently, this can increase their risk of exposure to harmful pollutants and viruses.

Some office supplies and chemicals can also cause distress to your employees’ health. For example, cleaning agents, aerosol products, insecticides, solvents, and similar harmful substances may trigger certain respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions.

Consequences of Unclean Work Stations

When a team member gets sick, they might be absent for days, resulting in the accumulation of unfinished tasks. If this particular person is a leader in your operations, their absence might disrupt business activities and result in delays. Unfortunately, this may affect your business’ reputation, risk client morale, and harm your bottom line.

Moreover, an unclean work environment can impact your team members’ performance. For instance, if your staff members almost always have concentration problems or feel lethargic most days, these might be signs of a compromised and untidy workspace.

A Clean Workspace Is a Safe Workspace

Some illnesses arise from workplace conditions, exposure intensity, the nature of one’s job, and the employee’s susceptibility to acquiring a particular disease. Some of these hazards might not be eliminated, but they can be minimized to control the spread of illness in the workplace.

For instance, if you have employees who have asthma, investing in a heavy duty air purifier and other air-cleaning devices can help you significantly reduce the allergens and contaminants in your office.

This initiative can potentially prevent asthma attacks, breathing ailments, and airborne illnesses that can be transmitted by inhaling pollutants. In turn, this can keep others safe from constant exposure to respiratory sickness.

Risk Management and Prevention Strategies

Apart from investing in air-cleaning devices, below are other ways to steer clear of and control illness in the workplace.

  • Practice Good Hygiene

Observing basic and proper hygiene is one crucial way to reduce the risk of illness in your workplace. With this, make sure to have personal hygiene posters and reminders around your business premises to remind employees of the importance of regular hand washing. You can also include steps on how to wash their hands properly.

Designate hand washing facilities, and make sure there’s enough water, liquid soap, and tissue available. If you’ve run out of soap, place hand sanitizers in those areas to serve as a backup option. Also, encourage them to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer or alcohol at their desk to keep themselves germ-free if they’ve touched a dirty item or a colleague unexpectedly sneezes in front of them. If it’s impossible to rush to the nearest hand washing area, such alternatives will help them manage the situation.

Apart from implementing hand washing policies, inform your staff about other hygiene practices. For instance, they must refrain from sharing personal items such as towels, hair combs, and clothes.

Educating your team members about proper health measures and reinforcing policies can help them develop good hygiene habits over time. When practiced consistently, this can control and prevent the rise of illnesses in your business.

  • Stock Up On Healthy Snacks

Another way to prevent illness in the workplace is to encourage your employees to make healthier food choices to strengthen their immunity, boost their energy, keep them mentally sharp, and minimize the risk for certain diseases.

While it can be helpful to remind them to eat healthy, doing so can be difficult when processed snacks and sweet treats are available in your company. It can also be quite challenging to prioritize eating healthy when you’re already drained from work.

Because of this, make sure to keep a stash of affordable, tasty, and nutritious snacks in your pantry and vending machines. You can have fruits, nuts, yogurt, dried berries, granola bars, oatmeal, and similar alternatives. Don’t store junk food anywhere in the office. In this manner, your team will be more encouraged to snack up on healthy sources.

Likewise, lead by example by drinking more water, not skipping meals, and opting for healthier food options. If you can display good eating habits to your employees, they’ll be more encouraged to follow the same behavior.

The quality of your team members’ diets can significantly affect their brain function and focus, ultimately influencing their performance and workplace success.

  • Keep Your Stations Clean and Tidy

It’s crucial to keep your workstations in excellent condition. Damp areas and excess moisture can create a suitable environment for mold and bacteria to multiply, increasing the risk for certain airborne illnesses. What’s more, remediating the harm brought by mold and mildew is far more expensive compared to preventing their growth in the first place.

Moreover, a disorganized space can cause distraction and stress, which can result in unproductive work. A New York Times article reported that clutter could negatively impact mental well-being. Apart from keeping an eye on physical illnesses, pay attention to your employees’ mental health, and remind your staff to clear away any mess so they can move freely at their workstations.

Implement work policies such as returning office supplies to where they belong, cleaning as you go, wiping off spilled liquids promptly, and taking out the trash before it starts to smell. Hire a commercial cleaning company to disinfect areas and maintain the cleanliness of your office. All these initiatives can help you ensure that your office is free from mold, dirt, dust, and contaminants that can harm the health of your staff.

  • Check Your Air Conditioning Units

With no adequate ventilation systems, enclosed business areas can trap pollutants, rapidly spreading allergens and infectious diseases. Being exposed to this poor air quality may aggravate allergic reactions.

Because of this, your air conditioning (AC) system should undergo maintenance checks to unclog dirty filters and ensure that it’s circulating clean air. When successful, not only will this help you maintain the operational efficiency of your AC units, but you can also keep your office smelling pleasant.

The Takeaway

Because of the harm posed by pollutants, germs, and clutter in your workspace, it’s important to arm your business with strategies to prevent and control the rise of certain illnesses. By following the methods above, you’ll be able to keep your employees healthy and productive without a problem.

Moreover, when your employees recognize your efforts of maintaining a clean workspace, this can increase their morale, which would boost their commitment to work. 

SEO Tactics that Will Help Boost a Business

If you own a small business, you know how hard it can be to stand out from the crowd. An excellent way to boost your business is through SEO tactics that will help increase online visibility in search engines.

That said, SEO is not cheap. According to the Search Engine Journal, SEO can cost upwards of $500 a month. Since SEO is an asset, you should consider taking on small business loans if you do not have sufficient funds. This article discusses ways of improving your SEO presence using proven tactics.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of improving a business’s visibility in search engines, like using long-tail keywords and having a mobile-friendly website, ensuring your site ranks higher on search engines. 

Search engines like Google use bots to crawl the internet and index new sites. The bots will then use a system of algorithms to rank your site based on various factors such as page titles and keywords in the content.

Benefits of Implementing SEO in Your Small Business

If you’re not into utilizing SEO for your small business, the following benefits may change your mind:

  • According to BrightEdge, organic search accounts for 53% of all web traffic. Appearing amongst the top results on a search engine page increases your business’s visibility and click-through rate.
  • As a small business, ranking high is critical for growth and success. Claiming the top spots on a search engine’s first page helps build credibility and trustworthiness with clients, an invaluable asset for your business.
  • SEO encourages you to improve the user experience. Look at your small business from your customer’s perspective and see if they find the information needed. Having an all-around great user experience encourages visitors to stay and browse your site longer.
  • By employing the right SEO tactics can enhance brand awareness. Even if users don’t click on your website, they’ll still see it highly ranked. The more touchpoints you have, the more users associate your brand with the solutions they seek, and the more it places you ahead of the competition.

Great SEO Tactics to Apply in Your Small Business

Churning out content laced with keywords is not the answer to your ranking. Using these tips should help turbo-charge your SEO marketing campaign:

1. Pay attention to technical SEO

Even as you create content and solutions for visitors, a high ranking also involves impressing the crawlers. Remember the bots discussed earlier? They need to read your site with ease.

From a technical standpoint, this means that your links are working correctly, the site is secure, and pages load fast. You could have fantastic writing skills and valuable content, but your site will struggle to rank if it doesn’t impress the bots.

2. Improve your local SEO

According to HubSpot, 72% of people who searched for a local business visited one within 5 miles of their search. 88% of online local business inquiries resulted in contacting or calling those businesses within 24 hours.

What’s more, 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses. In addition, 78% of all location-centric mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase.

Set up a Google Business Profile that will help your page rank higher when users within your locality search for services or products you offer. That’s because 92% of all searchers pick businesses appearing on the first page of their local search.

3. Hire an SEO expert

Suppose you do not consider yourself tech-savvy, and the whole notion of SEO seems intimidating. In that case, consider hiring an SEO expert who will handle the technical SEO while you focus on growing other aspects of the business. It doesn’t matter if you have the funds to hire an expert, as small business loans can come in handy.

4. Link building

Include several internal (links to existing content on your site) and external (links to a different website) to help show bots that it is a high-quality site. Finding a high-authority website to link back to content on your site can help improve the site’s ranking.

Conclusion

Improving SEO is one of the best things to do for your business. Even if you know nothing about SEO, use small business loans to hire an SEO expert to improve your ranking on search engines. Click on the link in the introduction to find the right loan to fund the SEO tactics you will employ.

6 Strategies to Drive Revenue for B2B Companies

To keep your Business-to-Business (B2B) company running, you’ll need to increase your revenues. What’s more, it also indicates that your business has a good financial condition. 

You must ensure you’re doing everything you can from raising your business reputation to implementing the latest technology trends. But if you notice your strategies or plans aren’t driving revenue or any results, then it is the right time to take another route. Keep on reading to know more about the most important things a B2B company should be doing to drive more revenue. 

1. Improve Digital Presence

Aside from being engaging and informative, your website needs to be discoverable too. And this is possible by implementing technical Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Usually, these include everything from having meta descriptions and viewable image alt-text to website speed and structured data that people can’t view. 

Nevertheless, if you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of SEO, consider working with a B2B SEO agency. Currently, there are lots of agencies offering B2B SEO, but know that not all of them can give you results. So, be sure to choose the right agency thoroughly. If possible, choose one that is reliable and has been in the industry for quite some time.

2. Invest In Content Marketing

Having a website is not enough.  This might be true if you want to increase your revenue. In other words, you need to drive more traffic. 

One great way to generate leads, boost brand awareness, build a trusted customer relationship, and drive traffic is content marketing. Content marketing, on the other hand, could also bring the perk of compounding Return on Investment (ROI). 

When you’re publishing more content, all your materials will be in the search results. Compared to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online marketing, a content marketing strategy will stick around long after you stop compensating for it. This entire self-supporting strategy could offer streams of inbound leads in the long run. 

What this means for B2B companies is to start a blog. Simply write about the things you already know. Remember, if you could give valuable information about the specialization of your business, you will be able to attract customers.  You’ll also be able to engage with the right people as your possible customers, who can bring in more revenue. Additionally, you will offer continuous value to your existing clients. 

On the other hand, aside from writing a blog, you can also start making videos. There are so many reasons this kind of content is a crucial part of B2B sales processes. Videos are known to be entertaining and engaging. They also have higher ROI as some people prefer to watch a certain product than to read it. 

However, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to start vlogging or streamer. In case you do not feel like becoming a vlogger, try sending a personalized email to your prospects.  You may also attach a short video to your blog. 

3. Come Up With a Solid Email Marketing Strategy

An email is one of the best ways to keep existing customers in the loop. They will be able to know about the new updates and features of your B2B company.  Thus, this will lead to increased customer retention. 

Emails could even foster new prospects into acquiring your service or product for the first time. However, when utilizing this technique, be sure your email will not get into the spam folder. By doing so, will badly affect the conversion of B2B sales. To lessen the risk of your message being put in the spam folder, consider sending a personalized email. Also, simply adding their names in the subject line can increase the reliability of the email.

4. Don’t Be Shy to Ask for Referrals 

Unfortunately, some sales representatives ignore asking customers for referrals despite being good at their work.  This may be due to a lack of experience or shyness. Remember this is a big mistake that needs to be addressed. 

Word of the mouth is one of the strongest influencers when it comes to buying decisions. You could use referrals to boost your B2B sales passively in the future. You will be able to cut down the time needed to get the attention of your prospects. Nevertheless, you need to make it a point to ask for referrals when talking to customers at all times. 

5. Choose Proper Marketing and Promotion

Both marketing and promotions could provide customers with a good deal of the existence of the services and products in the market. In most cases, discounts can give customers that chance to try what your company has to offer. Also, promotions might help in attracting more customers while maximizing the number of your existing clients. 

You can also give them a rebate. This is an overdue discount that is allotted after acquiring a percentage of the cost in cash. The known discount could generate additional sales, whereas the lower redemption rate may reduce its cost. 

6. Create Metrics That You Can Use to Measure Marketing Success

Keep in mind if you have to be able to measure your spending as well as results. Failure to do so, indicates you don’t have any idea of what needs improvement and what is working. Therefore, you have to be aware of the channels that bring visitors to your site.  This will tell you something about your marketing strategies and target market audience. 

If you can quantify your customers’ conversion rate, you could safely say it’s a worthy investment. Furthermore, being able to compare it to your more traditional sales strategy can offer perspectives.  This may inform you on how crucial the internet is to the market audience you are targeting. 

So, make sure to determine sales goals, track the Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Also include the total acquisitions, revenue, and customer retention. Afterward, you may also track the initiating source of the lead. 

Conclusion

Driving revenue for your B2B company doesn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully, the above-mentioned strategies have helped you. Keep experimenting with your strategies to determine the ones that will work best for you to see continuous and long-lasting results.

5 Dental Treatments to Reduce the Gap Between Teeth

A gap between two teeth is known as a diastema. It most commonly occurs between upper front teeth, but a gap can appear between any two teeth. There are various reasons why gaps can appear, such as having a mismatch in the size of your jawbone and teeth or regularly sucking your thumb. If you have a gap between your teeth, the good news is there are several dental treatments that can reduce it.

1. Retainers

While retainers are commonly used for aligning teeth, they can also be effective in reducing a gap between two teeth. If you have a gap because of shifting in your teeth, using retainers could be the best solution. Retainers are one of the least expensive options for reducing teeth gaps but it takes a lot longer to see results compared to other treatments.

2. Invisalign Braces

While adult braces can help to reduce the gap between your teeth, they can feel rather invasive, so a better option is invisible braces. Furthermore, these days, you can get invisible braces delivered directly to your door and there is no need for x-rays and dentist appointments. There are lots of different on the market, so be sure to compare different ones to find the right solution for you.

3. Dental Bonding

The fastest and easiest way of reducing the gap between your teeth is to proceed with dental bonding. The procedure involves a resin, which matches your teeth’s colour, being applied and shaped to give a natural look. The resin is then hardened with UV light so that it bonds with the teeth. Dental bonding can completely eliminate the gap between your teeth. The only drawback of dental bonding is it is not a permanent fix. The effects wear off over time due to eating and brushing, so you will need repeat treatment at some point.

4. Veneers

While applying veneers is also a quick way of closing the gap between your teeth, the procedure takes more planning and work than dental bonding. While using veneers is not a permanent solution, the results of the procedure can last for many years. A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain. It is shaped and coloured in a lab to match your teeth before being placed and bonded over your teeth to cover up the gap. Once the veneer is bonded, it is very sturdy. One thing you should know about the veneer procedure is it is impossible to reverse.

5. Implants

If you have a gap between your teeth due to a missing tooth, you could consider getting an implant. Implants are paired with dental crowns and bridges to fill the gap in your smile. Implants can be either permanent or removable, and they can easily be coloured to match the shade of your teeth. The implant procedure involves inserting an implant tooth into your gum or bone, so only highly skilled dentists can perform the task.

A Word of Caution

Some people try to correct the gaps in their teeth themselves by using dubious methods like wrapping elastic bands around two teeth. Never do that! Using such methods is incredibly dangerous and could lead to irreparable damage. And when there are affordable options like invisible braces available, there really is no need to take matters into your own hands. Carefully consider the above dental treatments for gap reduction to find the best solution for you. It could also be worthwhile talking to a dentist to explore the options in more detail.

5 Tips to Develop a Talent Management Strategy for Your Business

Your business’s success depends on a solid talent management framework as it brings in necessary skills and suitable expertise to improve the organization’s productivity and performance.

A thoughtful and successful talent management strategy can truly work wonders as in the case of corporate titans like Hewlett Packard and Google, whose 20% program continues to attract the very best minds. For this reason, investing in a solid TMS is pivotal for the success of any organization and we are here to help you through every step of the way.

From attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining precious human capital, your HR teams can greatly benefit from TMS and recruit the most suitable candidates for the job.

1. Outline Your Organization’s Strategic Priorities

The most crucial step to creating a successful and strong talent management strategy is identifying and outlining your organization’s objectives and strategic priorities. List your present and future goals in a clear order and consider steps for your short- and long-term future.

It is imperative to refer to your company’s goals and overall business strategy when preparing to hire new staff. Note down the implications of any future launches, organizational expansions, or plans to penetrate a new market.

When you have a sense of where your company is headed and what matters the most for it, you can get new talent who can benefit from the process of onboarding and align their vision with your present and future goals.

2. Anticipate Strengths and Future Hurdles

After you have established your company’s goal and strategic direction, it is now time to chart the course forward, list your strengths, and anticipate future hurdles.

In due course, you will begin to face many challenges that will keep you from achieving your goals. These may take the form of legislative changes, policy fluctuations, technological advancements, increasing or decreasing competition, customer satisfaction, changes in the employment market, etc.

Identifying hurdles and stumbling blocks in advance can make creating TMS easy and effective. Depending on the situation and challenges, your organization may have to tweak its benefits package to attract certain sex, age group, or others if the talent pool is limited.

By recognizing these struggles early on, organizations can create culture shifts if the goal is to hire new talent from outside.

 

3. Conduct a Gap Analysis and Evaluate Present Performance

To develop an effective Talent Management Strategy, one essential step is to evaluate your organization’s current state and compare it with future goals and where you would like to see your business in an ideal situation.

Compare and contrast the stark differences between the two realities and note the existing gaps and challenges keeping your organization from reaching its full potential.

If your company’s goal is to rank number one in sales in the next five years, then compare that figure with your current sales figure and how much improvement is required to reach that peak. Identify the factors that are holding you back and how you can improve them.

You should also analyze the risks involved in making these decisions and how you can overcome them in the long run.

 

4. Be Employee-centric

Talent, human capital, etc., call it what you want, but your employees are living and breathing human beings with needs and aspirations.

The most effective talent management strategy is one that is employee-centric and allows sufficient room for growth. If your work plan requires over 50 hours of labor, then it is not a very employee-centric strategy.

It is important to establish how the people in your organization can be best used to achieve the company’s long-term goals and overcome specific challenges. You will need to figure out if additional employees are required, or if there is a requirement for a new benefits program for existing workers.

In addition to this, ask yourself if the change is required for current working patterns and processes. Try to accommodate your employees and create a workable framework that attracts new talent and allows them the chance to develop.

 

5. Chart Your Achievements and Learn from Them

Once an effective talent management strategy is in place and you have successfully established your HR proprieties and goals, you must now track your progress and contrast them with the mistakes of the past and potential hurdles in the future.

Good communication with your employees, HR, hiring teams, and other stakeholders is essential to chart growth and ways to learn from new accomplishments.

This will allow executive buy-in and the opportunity to further better your existing TMS. 

When Is the Right Time to Seek IT Consulting Services?

The rise of the internet and the development of information technology (IT) have enabled businesses to promote their operations from local to international markets. This involves using computer tools and programs to connect with customers, workers, and other stakeholders from all parts of the world.  

Beyond global marketing, there are a host of other benefits that IT solutions can provide any business organization. For instance, IT services can help boost communication, foster strategic thinking, and help store and retrieve information. More importantly, it enables business owners and managers to streamline their operations, which is essential for organizations to realize maximum gains while utilizing fewer resources. 

Although you can work with your employees in dealing with IT-related issues, you could reap more benefits by outsourcing IT services. That’s where IT consulting services come in.  

This article will help you learn more about IT service consulting—what it is, how it can benefit your business, and when you need it. Read on to get enlightened.  

What Is IT Service Consulting? 

IT service consulting involves entrusting your business IT functions to a third-party firm. So, instead of relying on your internal employees to provide IT services, you can hire an IT firm to provide support. 

However, you must ensure you’re working with a reliable firm. This is important because this firm will be responsible for all your business’s IT systems and networks. So, the success of your business can significantly depend on the firm you outsource your IT functions to. Given the crucial role of IT solutions, if you’re looking to grow or boost your business, you can work with IT services and solutions company Tenecom or any other similarly reputable IT service provider in the market.

 

When to Seek IT Service Consulting? 

Today, IT consulting is an in-demand practice because of the immediate benefits it offers to businesses. However, business owners must know when it’s necessary to work with an IT service provider. Unsure if you need to seek IT consulting services? Here are a few tips to help you determine when it’s the right time to outsource your IT functions:

  • You Want to Minimize Your Overall Costs 

If you’re looking to reduce your overall costs, it may be time to seek IT consulting services. There are many ways outsourcing your business IT functions can help reduce your expenses. For instance, it enables you to minimize your labor costs. This is because IT consulting services allow you to work with professionals on a seasonal basis, which means these professionals aren’t paid monthly salaries. Instead, they get a service fee. Simply put, they’re compensated only for the services they’ve rendered.  

On the other hand, working with full-time IT employees means paying them huge monthly salaries, allowances, and other bonuses. This attracts a lot of labor costs. Thus, if you want to avoid maintaining and spending for an in-house IT team, hire an IT consulting service provider. 

Moreover, working with an IT service provider can help minimize other IT-related costs. For instance, IT consulting firms utilize their own infrastructure when providing their services. Therefore, you won’t be required to purchase any IT equipment. This also enables you to reduce your overall business costs.  

  • You Want to Boost Your Online Security 

Once you understand better that your business is prone to cyber security attacks, you’ll realize that the best solution is to work with an IT consulting firm. Note that most IT service providers have qualified employees who can guarantee your network’s online security. Using their skills and expertise, they can secure your business and the data you store and access online. For instance, they can use modern technologies and tools to help safeguard your business enterprise against hackers and other unauthorized people. 

  • You Want to Adopt New Technologies 

Today, any business looking to stay ahead of the competition must adopt new business trends and technologies. This is because modern technologies help simplify business operations, thus increasing their efficiency and productivity. You can achieve this by outsourcing your business IT functions.  

An IT service provider can help you adopt new technologies at ease because they know how to integrate different technologies into your existing business systems. Moreover, IT consulting firms work with various firms in different sectors. For that reason, they know the leading technologies utilized in the industry. Therefore, they can draw from their experiences working with other businesses in developing strategies for your brand, allowing you to remain competitive.  

  • You Need Professional Advice 

As the competition in the market increases, so does the need to work with experts. There are various experts you can consider working with. For instance, your business may need to work with experienced marketers, lawyers, accountants, and others. However, you can’t work effectively with these experts without the help of an IT expert. After all, effective IT systems can help you connect with other professionals.  

Most IT service firms have experienced experts who can advise you on the best course of action when running your business. For instance, they can advise you on the best communication tools to install in your business systems.  

In addition, they can help you understand the most secure network system that best suits your business. So, if you need professional advice when running your business, it may be time to connect with an IT consulting firm.  

  • You Want to Focus On Other Business Core Activities 

It’s no doubt that business owners and managers are endorsed with the responsibilities of running and managing their businesses. This means that they have a lot of activities to attend to. So, if they aren’t careful enough, they can even forget to attend to other important business matters. That’s why there’s a need to outsource IT functions.  

Hiring an information technology consulting firm allows you more time to concentrate on other vital business operations. This is possible because these firms can take care of all your computing systems, leaving you with more time to attend to other core business activities.  

Takeaway 

Working with an IT consulting firm is one of the best ways to boost your business operations. It involves working with a third-party firm to provide IT-related services for your business.  

As mentioned above, there are various circumstances when you’d need to work with an IT consulting firm. This is one of the best routes for you to take when you want to minimize costs, adopt new technologies, boost your online business security, focus on your business, or are looking for professional advice.  

10 Business Benefits of Adopting RFID Technology

The radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has been in use for more than three decades now. It leverages the use of radio waves to identify and track objects. Even with the many years of its use, some businesses are yet to incorporate this amazing technology in their supply chain and management of internal processes.

Regardless of the kind of business you operate, RFID can be used to track and trace assets, products, human resources, and the flow of manufacturing processes. Over the years, this technology has seen tremendous improvement, attracting more adoption from many businesses. It’s believed that it offers more than 97% accuracy compared to other manual processes.  

However, unlike other types of technology, it’s quite intensive to implement and manage. It requires expertise that might not be readily available with your in-house IT professionals. If you’re thinking of adopting RFID technology in your business, you can visit: https://lowrysolutions.com/solutions/rfid-implementation or your local RFID consultants for customized services.  

In this article, you’ll learn 10 advantages that you’re bound to gain by implementing RFID technology in your business: 

1. Managing Inventory and Tracking Assets 

Keeping track of materials and assets is difficult for many businesses, whether its materials in the production queue, finished products waiting to be dispatched, tools, containers returning to the premises, technology equipment, or other valuable items. However, with an RFID system in place, you can have a reliable and fast means of tracking all your items without the need for physical counting.  

In addition, an RFID system can show you the number of each particular item, their stage in the supply chain, and their location. You can also use RFID to locate lost items on the site. Simply put, you can keep track of your items from the time of receipt in the store, when issued for manufacturing, and when used in finished products. With this clear system in place, it becomes easy to manage inventory, control shrinkage, and carry out audits and stock checks.  

2. Saves Time 

Today’s RFID systems are highly advanced; thus, you can automatically track the flow of your items in the supply chain and relay that information to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) or into a financial management system. This eliminates the need for manual filling of information into forms and the need for outdated spreadsheets.  

Fixed readers placed at strategic locations help in saving time and resolve the need for human intervention.  

3. Improved Availability and Data Accuracy 

The automation made possible by RFID technology helps collect and upload information electronically. With the electronic transfer of data, you can avoid errors such as duplication of data, transcription errors, and missed entries when dealing with large volumes of data. Moreover, RFID can be used with cloud technology, which enables real-time updates of data for everyone in the organization on the status and whereabouts of each item.  

Cloud-based information can be accessed by all employees, even those not in the office such as the field employees. Due to the interoperability of cloud services with different devices, you can use any gadget of your choice regardless of the operating system to access your data from anywhere. It’s also easy to share the RFID data with customers using cloud technology.  

4. Improved Safety and Health 

Another benefit of RFID systems is that they can be used to check if your vehicles and other equipment have been inspected or to keep track of when they’re due for inspection. Keeping good records of the inspection of your business’s vehicles and equipment helps prevent their use before meeting certain safety measures. An excellent system can contribute to reporting and inspection, help surrender information to the governing bodies and insurance companies, and provide evidence that safety measures are adhered to. In case of breakdown of certain equipment, some safety insurers may want to know whether the equipment was maintained as recommended or not.  

5. Better Production Control 

With RFID, it’s possible to customize complex manufacturing processes because you can easily identify individual items and components. For instance, in manufacturing, you can keep track of your equipment to ensure that certain molds are filled with the correct amount of liquids and are heated for the recommended amount of time. In addition, RFID can be used to monitor the movement of components to ensure that they end up in the proper line of production. With this level of precision, you can significantly lower the chances of wastage and level up efficiency.  

6. Boosts Quality 

Another advantage of an RFID system is that it can be used to ensure that every item has fulfilled all the necessary checks and processes. For example, before a boiler is delivered to a client, with an RFID, you can ascertain that it has been assembled properly, inspected, and has been approved. With such stringent measures in place, you can ensure that only products that meet quality standards are dispatched from your organization. As a result, quality is maintained and the number of returned goods is reduced.

7. Improves Business Revenues 

The efficiency of RFID technology to control production helps you save on production costs. This then leads to higher profit margins. Additionally, quality products can give you a competitive advantage, leading to improved sales due to good customer satisfaction. More sales translate to more revenues for your business.  

8. Shortened Production Process 

RFID systems can be integrated into other supply and manufacturing technologies such as stock-picking systems or the automated pallet handling system. This helps reduce the procedures you need to follow during production. Shortened production procedures can lead to more output. As a result, your business can benefit from improved sales when there is mass production.  

9. Better Information Management 

RFID technology is efficient in capturing real-time data in all the stages of a product lifecycle. This data can be used for better planning and operational purposes. Moreover, this data can be used for forecasting, which further helps maintain efficiency.  

10. Good Returns On Investment (ROI) 

The RFID application is cost-effective, especially if your company is incredibly busy or has to go through a lot of processes during production. Moreover, the RFID system provides several benefits, as listed in this article. Together, these qualities make it a worthy investment.  

 

Wrapping Up 

RFID technology is a game-changer in the supply chain of many organizations. Whether your organization is a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer enterprise, it can enjoy significant benefits by adopting an RFID system. If you’re thinking about whether to invest in an RFID system or not, this article can serve as your guide on the benefits of this technology.  

4 Small Businesses to Start in Real Estate in 2022

Industry specialists expect to see a cool-off period for the housing market in 2022, but this shouldn’t be taken as a warning. The cool-off is due to the accelerated increase that the market went through this last year (U.S. home prices are up 19.8%!).

This level of growth is not sustainable, but whoever managed to take advantage of the wave, definitely came on top. So, if you are used to a certain level of income that may not happen next year, you can always branch out and get yourself a side business in the real estate world.

After all, this is a highly-competitive market that’s about so much more than just buying and selling houses!

And, if you’re out of ideas, here are some of the most well-received ones:

A Real Estate Brokerage

Well, if you are a successful agent looking to get more customers in the near future, the next step is a brokerage. In this case, you should learn a bit about how to start a real estate brokerage and make sure you have all the documentation required for this step.

Overall, if you’ve been in the industry for quite some time, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand how things work at the broker level. However, it is true that you get heavier responsibilities.

Of course, you can also put together a team of qualified agents to help you deal with the new set of tasks and burdens.

Property Management & Development

Remember how we said it’s not just about buying and selling houses? As a real estate agent (or broker), you can either manage property or start a property development company.

Property Management

This type of business is rather simple and it fits naturally with the tasks of a real estate agent. In a nutshell, the business is about taking care of and managing buildings and other real estate properties for their owners (also known as landlords).

This includes renting and dealing with renters, taking care of the grounds and buildings, and more.

Property Development

This line of business is a bit more complex and requires a bigger investment because it involves developing a property. This can mean anything from buying land and building various properties on it to flipping houses.

In short, your job will be to take ideas and turn them into reality. However, this is not something you can usually do alone, so you will need a few well-skilled collaborators and partners.

Landscaping

If you like working outdoors and have a passion for gardening, a landscaping business may be the perfect fit. This is not the kind of business anyone can start and be successful in because it requires certain planning, designing, and artistic skills.

However, as a real estate agent, you are always looking at different architecture styles and appreciating beautiful gardens.

Plus, real estate agents understand the true value of a well-designed front and back yard. Also, you already have a long list of possible customers who would usually not be happy to entrust their garden to a beginner in the field.

But, because they know your skills, they may as well put your trust in you one more time and let you take care of their garden as well.

Quick tip: If landscaping is too daring for you, why not start smaller and test your skills with a law maintenance business?

Wrap Up

The real estate sector is so diverse and rich in opportunities that it’s difficult to choose only a few. But this is great news for anyone who wants to invest in real estate without being an agent or buying/selling homes!

5 Strategies for Real Estate Agents to Thrive During the Holidays

The winter holidays make you think of home and the comfort of having your own place. As a real estate agent, you could say that this is the perfect time for connection and a bit of well-targeted marketing.

While you may not have that many clients, specialists do say that the holiday season can be a great time for the property. Also, there are plenty of other things to do now that the new year is so close. So, even if there aren’t any new projects for the end of the year, there’s no time to sit around!

Now is the time to set a few useful strategies into action in order to get a head start on the competition. And, to give you a hand, here are a few ideas of what to do:

#1: Stay Close to Customers

There is a special connection between happy homeowners and their realtor(s) and you should do your best to keep it alive for as long as possible. Even if you don’t have an active contract with former buyers & sellers, they are part of your network and can be your strongest supporters whenever someone they know gets on the market.

Plus, this can be a part of your communication strategy. However, in order to convince your contacts that they are close to your heart, you must avoid generic gifts or tokens. Instead, you could send out handwritten cards or letters that remind them of your business (use your logo and/or brand colors).

Handwritten cards are more personal and show you’ve put some thought and effort into your gifts. Also, it’s best to personalize your message, to remind your former customers why they were so happy with your services.

#2: Go Paperless

Nowadays there is a huge debate about the environment and how those in charge are trying to soothe our concerns with nice words. That’s why businesses that truly take action to reduce their footprint get a lot of positive attention from both the media and the customers.

Not to mention that a paperless office can be a lot easier to manage and organize. With the current tools, you can move the entire real estate transaction process online. This saves time (especially when it comes to signing contracts), storage space, and helps show the world we can take a step forward to cleaner and greener office practices.

#3: Support the Community

Get in the holiday spirit and find ways to get involved in the community. Anything from volunteering to the local soup kitchen to helping with keeping the streets clean and decorated will help you connect with the people and get the neighborhood on your side. Of course, you should try to make your brand as visible as possible by wearing either printed shirts or handing out flyers whenever you meet with new crowds.

Another great idea is to host an open house holiday party. What better way to show your latest project than to throw a party and show everyone interested just how cozy it is!

#4: Be Available

Make it clear that you are open for business even if the holiday season isn’t the most lucrative. Use your website, newsletter, and social media channels to let people know you are happy to talk to them and work on new projects.

Of course, if you truly have free time, you can combine business hours with volunteering and supporting the community. The idea is to keep busy and stay as visible as possible.

#5: Stay Connected

Real estate agents move around a lot and need constant access to the database and various files that are usually stored at the office. So, if you plan on making your job easier in the new year, think about implementing a cloud-based computing solution that allows you and the team to stay connected even when working remotely.

Key Takeaways

The holidays are a great time to give back to the local community and show customers you care about your connection. But it can also be a time to place the seeds for new projects or improve your office with advanced tools that are easily accessible.

Overall, you should take advantage of the time you have around the holidays and plan for the future.

Sustainable Dining: How the Food and Drinks Market Is Becoming Eco-Friendly

As things stand, our planet is not in a good shape. With the effects of climate change becoming more and more apparent every year, many are trying to do their bit in a bid to save our run-down environment. In this respect, it is fair to say that the food and drink market is gradually adapting to this new ‘reality’ too.

Indeed, while biting into the cheese and ham sandwich you bought on your way to work, you may notice that its packaging has a green recyclable sign on it. At the same time, you may realise that you are sipping a hot, flavoursome coffee from an eco-friendly wood-pulp paper cup as well.

Electrix, manufacturer of Kabelkanal, explores the topic of sustainability within the food and drinks market. What is this industry doing to ensure it provides green, sustainable products?

Growth of fair trade

As the name suggests, fair trade is an arrangement designed to assist farmers and workers in developing countries through better working conditions and equitable trade relationships. Not only this, but it also strives to support and promote good agricultural practices which – in the long run – encourage environmentally sustainable production.

Indeed, from prohibiting the use of harmful agrochemicals and focusing on the reduction of pesticides, fair trade ensures that farms are limiting their waste while enhancing biodiversity. Stretching from Western Africa to Latin America, fair trade’s positive influence on the food and drink market is constantly growing.

By allowing small farmers from all over the world to implement sustainable agricultural practices, workers are able to mitigate their impact on the environment and ultimately challenge climate change.

 

Eco-friendly packaging

Packaging is crucial in many different ways. Whether we like it or not, first impressions count – and this is particularly true for the food and drinks market. If a product looks good on the outside, the consumer is likely to automatically think it tastes nice too. But design is not the only aspect brands are concerned about.

With the future of our environment in mind, the industry is looking at alternative and innovative methods of making packaging as sustainable as possible. For instance, beer cans are gradually ditching the infamous six-pack plastic rings in favour of eco-friendlier dots of glue, which keep the beverages together just as well.

Moreover, brands are constantly exploring solutions that will help reduce plastic and glass waste. Indeed, wood-pulp paper bottles and sustainable plastic-free food packaging are slowly starting to stack supermarket shelves.

What is more, some food and drinks businesses are opting for sleek carved-in branding on their products as opposed to wrap-around labels. This said, however, most labels nowadays are recyclable and biodegradable anyway.

 

Transport

It is easy to forget that food and drinks often travel hundreds (if not thousands) of miles to get to our local supermarket. As heavy-goods vehicles account for 25% of CO2 emissions from transportation, it becomes clear that the way in which products reach our shelves should be carefully monitored.

In this respect, to contrast the negative impact food and drinks transportation has on our environment, many farmers markets do not allow vendors to sell products that have travelled more than 200 miles. In some cases, the threshold is 50 miles.

Not only is this an excellent way to support the local economy, but it also allows consumers to enjoy fresher products while actively reducing their carbon footprint.

 

Conscious consumers

There is no hiding that buyers play a fundamental role in shaping the way the food and drinks market operates. Ultimately, is it not consumers that brands are trying to appeal to?

For instance, health is an important component in people’s decision-making. As well as considering its environmental benefits, sustainable and organic food is particularly inviting, as it is healthier and safer to eat. Furthermore, by providing buyers with eco-friendly packaging options, brands have the chance to increase consumer interest. Indeed, anybody who has at heart the future of our planet will tendentially opt for a product that has gone out of its way to be as green as possible.

Finally, with the increase in vegetarian and vegan diets, the demand for sustainable alternatives is on the rise – and the food and drinks market will inevitably have to keep pace with people’s new style of living.

With the repercussions of climate change in plain sight, sustainability is the way forward to preserve our planet. To make sure it both plays its part and satisfies people’s new necessities, the food and drinks market is slowly shifting towards an eco-friendlier approach that suits both the environment and its consumers.

Do You Need a Cryptocurrency Wallet to Trade bitcoins?

A lot of people are asking the same question, “Do you need a Cryptocurrency Wallet to trade Bitcoins?” and they are all too common. The reason for this is that the technology behind the trade of bitcoins is incredibly complicated and it takes time to learn how to do it properly. You can’t just open an account like you would with any other investment or money-trading platform. You will also have to download specialized software which offers all kinds of tools for you to make the most out of your investment.

Before you go out and purchase any kind of trading software, you really need to ask yourself whether you really need the software or not. If you’ve already done it online, you will know that this is a common question which many people ask, but let me give you my opinion. Unless you are a millionaire or a multi-millionaire who can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on software, then you don’t need it. The best solution is probably going to be to use a free online service which will enable you to trade using an online account.

However, there are a few things which you should take into consideration before you jump into such an offer. First, the free software won’t actually help you make any profit. It’s not like that. In fact, it will make things even harder for you and will probably end up costing you more money. This is because you will be investing your hard-earned money into a system which may be totally worthless. But on the other hand, if you do your research and get hold of a reliable piece of software which gives you reasonable returns, then you will certainly be in the right direction.

There are many different pieces of software which will enable you to trade using coins. Before you decide on the one you want to use, you have to realize that there are many factors to consider. Do you want to trade only one kind of currency, like US dollars, or do you want to trade several different kinds. Are you planning to make a big profit, or are you just looking to test the waters? These are all questions you must ask yourself before you decide to invest in a software package.

Most of the time, you will find that a software package which offers you to trade different currencies is an investment vehicle which is completely safe and secure. On the other hand, you might get started with this idea without knowing what it is for and see how easy it is to get started. That is perfectly normal. Once you get better acquainted with it, you will soon be able to determine if the software package is really something you want to go ahead with.

There are several types of software packages you can use to trade in the world of bitcoins. Some of these are dedicated to one type of currency, like the US dollar. These programs will automatically trade the coins for you, every time you change the value of your account. Others will offer you different options, like allowing you to buy coins of several different countries and keep their prices separate from yours. Still others will allow you to trade only one type of coins, while allowing you to trade in other currencies as well.

When you are deciding on a software package for your investment in bitcoins, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. You should look into the user interface of the package to ensure that it is easy for you to understand and use. It is also a good idea to check out testimonials or reviews on the site to see what kind of experience other users have had with the company offering the software package. After all, the more reviews you read, the better your chances are of getting the right program.

If you need to know the answer to “do you need a cryptocoin wallet to trade bitcoins?” Hopefully this article has helped you understand a little bit about the way this digital currency works. While it is true that you can buy and sell this virtual currency anytime you want, it is also true that doing so may require you to keep some private information safe. If you want to be extra careful when you trade, you can get a software package that will keep your private information safe from prying eyes.

Can You Get a Loan in Bitcoin

Can you get a loan in bitcoin? It seems like an interesting question, but it bears some interesting answers. If you are curious about this subject, please do read on. In this article, I am going to show you how you can get a loan in bitcoins. By the time you have finished reading this article, you will know if you are able to get funding using the trading currency.

Many people are asking if they can get a loan in bitcoins. There are several reasons for this. One reason is because the banking system is still very unstable. Many people have been fired from their jobs and have lost everything because of the financial meltdown.

As I said before, many people have lost money in this recession. The value of the dollar has dropped by 20% over the last year. This drop has affected many industries. In addition, interest rates on loans have skyrocketed. Many people are asking if they can get help through this rough economy.

To answer the question “can you get a loan in bitcoins?” you first need to look into the business of this virtual currency. You may not know much about it, but it is worth learning more about. The virtual currency is called BitUSD and it works just like any other type of currency.

Many people have started businesses online with BitUSD. One such business is the Forex Trading Machine. They have created websites that help you make money with this business. All you need to do to use this business to get a loan is to open a trading account with them. When you set up your business and put money into your BitUSD trading account, you are given an access code.

This code is needed for you to transact with other people. Most people want to use their credit card to make their purchases. It can be easy to swipe your credit card through the web page of a website. However, since you will have your money tied up with a credit card, you won’t be able to use the money until you have paid off the credit card.

With this service, you don’t have to pay any fees associated with using your credit card to make trades. You can use the money from your account for whatever you want. The best part is that no monthly minimum is required for using this service. Just like any other service, this one requires a small startup fee and you are good to go.

Now that you know that yes, you can get a loan in bitcoins? You may be wondering how you go about doing so. After you sign up with an online broker, they will send the request to all major financial institutions in the world. They are seeking funding for small businesses, and this is where the money comes from. If you are asking yourself “Can you get a loan in bitcoins? “, then there are several places to start looking.

One place to start is online. Many of these lenders work just like traditional banks. There are even some online broker companies that are specifically set up to help people get loans in bitcoins. This may be your best option, if you are looking for a simple and low-cost way to get funding for your trades.

However, many people choose to take their look towards the internet first. This is because this is where many hackers thrive. In fact, there are several services on the internet that will hack into your computer and steal your private information. For this reason, you need to be very careful when you are trying to do this on your own.

In addition, you may need to show proof of income in order to get your loan. This means proving, through either taxes or documents such as pay stubs, that you actually make money. This will help to ensure that you can repay your loan in a timely manner. If you can’t produce these papers, then it may be better for you to wait until you have more money coming in from other sources.

This is a quick guide to help you get a loan in bitcoins! These are some of the ways that you can use to receive funds quickly. When you are looking to get funds quickly, remember to always look for high interest rates as well as fees. You also want to look for a lender that is willing to lend to you. These are all things that you need to keep in mind when you are asking “can you get a loan in bitcoins?”

The Historic Andes Food Storage Techniques Fuelling Modern Day Nutraceuticals

A food storage technique over 700 years old is at the heart of the way we continue to process world’s favourite foods, build safe medicines and prepare for emergencies. As the technology faces a resurgence due to global warming and changing diets, why don’t we know more about freeze drying? Diana Morris from European Freeze Dry explores its history and bright future.

Food processing techniques are generally thought of as new modern methods to ensure food lasts longer, producing higher yields and providing additional nutrients. For most food processors, including European Freeze Dry, these techniques take place using modern equipment with highly detailed monitoring and testing facilities.

However, for freeze drying, its roots go back hundreds of years, before the age of high-tech systems or climate-controlled logistics. The technique traces back to the Incan Empire in the foothills of the Andes, where the potatoes which grew in the harsh climate were too bitter to eat fresh and didn’t store well for the long journey back to settlements.

By learning to expose the potatoes to the freezing overnight temperatures and drying them out during sunlight hours, the result was a dehydrated, more palatable potato which the Incans could transport and store ready for consumption for years. The final product, called chuño, can still be found in traditional meals around Peru and Bolivia to this day.

Today, coffee is the most well-known freeze dried product but the list of consumables which benefit from the technique to seal in flavours and increase their longevity is almost endless.

Modern technology has allowed for much greater precision in applied temperatures, greatly increasing the variety of products which can benefit from the technique and extending the benefits to pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

Technology retains structure, taste and nutritional value

In our freeze drying facilities in Preston, UK and Kirke Hyllinge, Denmark, we process hundreds of tonnes of freeze dried ingredients every year, from meat and fruit products, through to seasonings, ready meals and healthcare products.

Freeze dried products start with a frozen item, which is then loaded into a pressured chamber with a vacuum applied. Under the vacuumed conditions, neither ice or water can exist and when a gentle controlled heat is applied the water leaves each item in a vapour trail which is then captured on an ice condenser at the rear of the chamber.

The process takes approximately 24 hours, carried out in a set of ‘chambers’ which can be controlled at various temperatures and time schedules depending on specific product requirements. Using modern monitoring methods, we can track the variety of heat and time needed which varies from a structure heavy item such as chicken and beef to soft fruits such as strawberries.

The result is a freeze dried product with all the water content removed, whilst retaining the look, structure, taste and nutritional value of the original. The items can then simply be rehydrated with water, sauces or any wet ingredient. In addition, the final product can also be milled or compacted into powders and tablets.

With virtually zero water content in the final processed product, freeze dried ingredients benefit from greater longevity at ambient temperatures. For some products, that can mean a shelf life of up to 25 years and potentially longer, without the need to add any artificial preservatives or additives.

Freeze drying moves beyond food to pharma

Indeed, boundaries are continuing to be pushed when it comes to freeze drying and how the technology can be applied to pharma and nutraceutical products.

First used as a method to maintain the viability and life of vital drugs such as penicillin during the Second World War, freeze drying can also offer great benefits in stabilising pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

Advantages of freeze drying also include the much-reduced potential for micro-organisms existing in such low amounts of water, ensuring that nutraceuticals can stay safe to consume over an extended time period.

We are constantly breaking new ground with our customers and bringing new ideas and products to market to support special dietary requirements and how the natural qualities of certain foods can provide health benefits, from adding a nutritional supplement to a diet, through to targeting more specific benefits such as aiding weight loss or cancer prevention.

Reliable food chains for an uncertain world

As our lives and diets change, the popularity of freeze dried products continues to grow with some investment analysts estimating a Compound Annual Growth Rate for the industry of up to eight per cent by 2026.

While freeze dried meals offer a nutritious meal which can be instantly rehydrated, the possibilities of the technology also allow for long-life products which can distributed and ready to eat in hostile environments, such as those threatened ever more so by climate change, disasters or famine.

As citizens prepare for a less certain food chain due to floods, fire and emergencies, more people are turning to a reliable food backup should the shelves run empty or in more drastic situations people find themselves isolated from food options.

Similarly, as we place an additional focus on the public health of our global society, a greater rise in natural medicines will rely on the rise of preventative and treatment healthcare products that have long life viability.

The Incas were undoubtedly ahead of their time, but not even they could have predicted the impact their potatoes would have on our modern world.

Christmas Staff Shortage: Vacant Roles in Hospitality Jump by Another 26% Month-on-Month

According to new data from the recruitment site, CV Library, job postings in October 2021 were up 26% month-on-month for roles in the hospitality industry, and there was a huge 383% increase compared to the same month last year.

What’s more, a recent report by the online training provider, High Speed Training found that a third (33%) of the public feel that roles in hospitality offer little progression and are not considered ‘careers for life’, with further negative perceptions around low salaries and workplace stress.

With high levels of Covid 19 providing an additional factor to the shortage, business owners are now at breaking point – struggling to fill staff vacancies in order to cater to the huge influx in customer demand resulting in longer hours, lower pay, and poor mental health.

Sharif Uddin, owner of the Kushi chain of Indian restaurants in London and Essex, plus DUSK fine dining fusion restaurant in Brentwood has felt the full impact of the staff shortages and is concerned about the festive season, he comments:

“Staff shortages mean we can not get skilled professional front of house staff so currently we are making do with what is available and filling gaps with students. The impact of this is huge in terms of front of house service, the basics of serving etiquette you can not teach in a day, often by the time you train them they have found better opportunities and unskilled work elsewhere and they move on, so the cycle starts again.

“In terms of kitchen staff, skilled quality chefs aren’t on the market for the salaries that make our restaurants viable.  Trying to recruit young people to train is like trying to locate the proverbial needle in a very large haystack. Most would prefer to be trained at large chains who can offer better starting salaries, offer structured training programmes and career progression with shorter shifts and more desirable working hours.

“These factors mean you can only deliver to the maximum capability with the staff you have, taking on less custom to make sure you are satisfying customers and not overworking staff.

“Christmas will not be the same as it was before the pandemic.  It’s normally the busiest period in the hospitality sector, but with the severe staff shortages we will only be able to operate at half of our usual capacity.”

So with the hospitality industry seriously struggling,  how can business owners attract more applicants for vacant roles? Below, leading industry experts share their top tips on how to recruit, retain, and train staff:

1.Start with a great job ad

Brett Smith, Customer Success Director at the workplace management platform Planday, comments: “Just because your business is a bar, restaurant, cafe or hotel as opposed to an office, doesn’t mean you can’t create a healthy, open culture.

“Make it really clear when sharing a job ad, that by applying for the role – the applicant will be joining a friendly, growing team. Spell out some of the perks that you’re able to offer – whether that be staff social events and team lunches, or giving everyone the opportunity to put forward suggestions on how to grow the business. 

“Could your staff put forward monthly menu suggestions, collaborate with other businesses, or take part in staff social media takeovers for example?” 

Sarah Taylor, expert in hospitality business operations at the leading online training provider, High Speed Training, comments: “If you’re able to provide a  progression path for applicants with as much extra training as necessary, then this is definitely something to state in your job ad. 

“The job will then appeal to those looking for a long-term career with a passion for the food and drink industry rather than those looking for a stop-gap.” 

2.Make retention a priority 

Brett at Planday continues: “Of course, when you have a shift-based rota, the majority of staff won’t have the option to work from home or remotely.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a flexible working model that caters to the needs and preferences of each person.  

“Consider creating a hybrid working model that’s typified by scheduling flexibility, using digital staff rota planners or employee scheduling software. This way, employees can set their own availability and swap shifts among themselves so your operations are not affected by last-minute changes in someone’s schedule.

“Again, you can clearly explain you have a flexible working model in the job advert – to appeal to people who are working around childcare demands or other commitments.”

3.Provide training for new and current staff

Sarah Taylor at High Speed Training comments: “A lot of people may be put off applying for roles if they don’t feel they have the adequate skills or experience. 

“If possible, offer to pay for training courses in food hygiene and safety, or health and safety in the workplace. The majority of courses can be taken online and can be completed in a matter of hours, but are crucial in order to carry out tasks safely whilst adhering to regulations. 

“If an applicant has minimal skills but requires more training, or has very little training in the first place, make it clear that you can help them to upskill. You should also make this clear in the job advert itself, so people are more inclined to apply in the first place.”

Sarah continues: “Not only should you be looking to train new members of staff, it’s also really important to train up  the members of staff you already have in different areas so that they can continue to progress. This eliminates some of the pressures of rehiring and is also a great way to do it as they already know so much about your business and how it’s run.

“There’s already the preconception that hospitality provides little progression, it’s about time we changed that and press reset on the industry after a particularly tough few years.”  

4.Shout out about your culture

Sarah comments: “The ‘stop-gap’ mentality and dismissal of ‘real skills’ from the public overlooks the fact that hospitality can be an amazing industry to work in. Some people see the hospitality industry as an art form, expressing their creativity through food, drink, and vibrant venues – without this industry some of the many amazing experiences we look forward to every day would simply not be possible.

“It’s absolutely necessary that you shout about your culture, your passion for your job, and your team’s great work. Make it clear that whoever joins you will be joining a like-minded community of people who have a passion for the industry. It may take openly stating some of the stereotypes around your job advertisement, such as low pay and unreasonable hours, and showing applicants that this simply isn’t true for your business.” 

Payday Loans vs. Personal Loans: Seven Differences

Payday loans or personal loans could be your place of refuge when you get into an emergency need. They are an excellent way since the application and disbursal don’t take long.

But have you ever known the difference between the two? Well, I’m here today to enlighten you on the difference between the two.

Payday loans may seem similar to personal loans, but that’s not the case. It will be good to know the difference between the two loans before you get into a trap.

So, let’s get into it.

The differences:

1. Definition

Payday loans are the kind of loans that you will get and repay in 14 days. However, they have very high interest rates and lenders. As the name suggests, you will repay the loan on your next payday.

On the other end, personal loans are the loans you apply for as an individual and use for any expense you want. For example, you may need to pay bills, buy a car, or even go for a vacation. Personal loan lenders do not restrict you on how you should spend your money.

2. Interest rates

Generally, Payday loans Australia have very low-interest rates starting from an APR of 190%. The lenders say they charge so because they deal with high-risk clients—who have bad credit histories.

On the other hand, personal loans have fair interest rates ranging from 5% to 25%. However, the lowest APRs are for those with excellent credit scores.

3. Repayment terms

After you take a payday loan, the lender expects you to repay during your next paycheck—usually after 24 days. If you skip the repayment date, the lender will automatically double the interest rates, resulting in defaulting.

In contrast, you can repay the loan in small weekly or monthly installments with personal loans until you fully recover the debt. This strategy makes it easier to manage the loan with a reasonable budget. The repayment terms can go up to 24 months or even five years.

4. Credit checks

Payday loan lenders don’t run credit checks. All you need is permanent employment for you to get the loan. Here the amount of loan you get depends on the salary you earn.

However, to get a personal loan, the lender may run hard credit checks o you before they approve your loan. Therefore, the amount you get depends on your affordability and your credit score.

5. Loan amount

With payday loans, you will only get a small loan to do some shopping or repair your car. The lenders do not risk much of their money with the bad credit borrowers.

On the other hand, you can get lots of money with personal loans. If your credit score is good, you may even get enough cash to buy a house, a car, or another major purchase. So, if you are looking for a considerable loan amount, then a personal loan is the right fit for you.

6. Approval time

With payday loans, you will receive the money in your account within some hours up to 24 hours, makings them suit for emergency needs.

However, personal loan lenders can sometimes be slow. You may get your cash ready for use within a few days.  But not all keep you for that long.

7. Secured or Unsecured

Payday loans are generally unsecured. The lender will not need you to provide any collateral before you get the loan. Like I said earlier, they depend much on your paycheck.

On the other hand, personal loans can either be secured loans or unsecured. In most cases, they would be secured if the borrower has a bad credit score. But if you have good credit scores, then you can get an unsecured personal loan.

Now,

Since you know the difference between payday and personal loans, you can now make the right decisions when borrowing a loan. But, always remember, uncontrolled debt can get you in a bad financial situation.

Mac 101- Why Does Apple Consider them as the Best Choice for Businesses?

Mac devices have been increasing in popularity in business for numerous years. And, that’s the reason why employees choose Mac when provided under the CYOD scheme (Choose your Own Scheme).

Companies like IBM and Axel Springer opt for Mac rather than PCs. There are numerous reasons behind this consideration. Some of which are user satisfaction, employee retention, and productivity. Why do companies opt for Mac? Tech giants have looked into the issue, and some reasons which tend to take the most credit are:

  • Support Costs:

At the start of 2015, IBM made headlines when the company announced its plan of purchasing 50,000 Mac devices by the end of 2015.

Well, the only reason behind this consideration is lower costs. Each Mac device tends to save IBM around $270 in the long term. The lower support costs are a potential reason behind this switch. The Vice President of Workspace as a Service at IBM explained that higher expenses act as pay-offs in the future.

For instance, around 5% of Mac users will require contacting the help desk. However, the figure for PC users is 40%.

  • Intuitive User Experience:

The overall user experience on Mac devices is termed intuitive. It is because it works just in the way users expect it to. The system preferences have a better layout. Users can easily access the commonly used settings like sounds, networks, and displays.

Also, according to a leading tech source, taking actions like freeing storage space, uninstalling apps, and others are pretty easy. The same saying is relevant for tasks like changing the audio input and output devices or ejecting drives.

Also, now that Apple spends a lot of time updating the software response parameters, users are updated on trackpad gestures. Mac’s spotlight feature is a time-saver and provides fast access to user files and applications.

Thus, Mac users tend to experience a clutter-free browser experience while maintaining consistent visuals of their screens- all thanks to dock customization.

  • Built-In Security:

On average, Mac users are less exposed to security threats. It is because malware programs targeting macOS are few. The AppStore apps are sandboxed. Thereby, even if there is a possibility for malware running, it won’t pave a path into the file system.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that users should stop installing anti-virus softwares. Instead, macOS provides users with a blanket of security of being exposed to fewer attacks.

Backups may annoy Mac users. However, these require being carried out, specifically in the business world. When you’re using a Windows PC, there is usually a cap on the limit of free covers. Mac- on the other hand, the built-in software known as Time Machine tends to run backups conveniently and automatically.

You can restore anything, even if there is a change in hardware or deletion of data.

  • Reliability:

Apple is the only computer company that offers hardware and software well-tailored to one another. Know that this is one of the best benefits a company can have in terms of performance.

Mac devices, too, can crash, but research shows them to be more reliable and stable than Windows.

The Bottom Line

Some other reasons that make Mac devices desirable for enterprises all across the globe are battery life and easy up-gradation to newer OS versions. Also, Mac devices come with preloaded apps, which help enhance productivity and performance to unimaginable levels.

Thus, the adoption of Mac devices in the workplace makes all the sense!

Eurovision Sport Engage with Blackbird to Drive Cloud Native Video Production Workflow Efficiencies

Blackbird plc, the technology licensor, developer and seller of the market-leading cloud native video editing platform, Blackbird, announced today that Eurovision Sport has engaged with Blackbird to drive cloud native video production workflow efficiencies for its members in a multi-year deal.

Eurovision Sport is utilising Blackbird for professional, collaborative and scalable cloud native video editing and publishing of sports content. Blackbird has been deployed to enable Eurovision Sport to complement its digital services, providing cloud native editing tools for its members to take advantage of within their media supply chains.

Eurovision Sport – a division of the European Broadcasting Union (“EBU”) – manages the media rights for 17 sports on behalf of its public service media members, delivering up to 30,000 hours of sport a year through agreements with international sports federations.

Blackbird is enabling the Eurovision Sport editorial team and EBU Members to immediately access multiple live streams, seconds behind live, from any location in the world through its browser-based editor. Not only can users perform fast, collaborative clipping in Blackbird, but they can also take advantage of a multi-track non-linear editor with a professional toolset, creating high quality content that would be impossible with any other video editing technology. Content can be rapidly published to media partners and multiple digital endpoints including social, web and OTT platforms for viewers to enjoy.

Blackbird is enabling remote production, removing the need to travel to a facility or event and also eliminating the need to transit material to and from multiple local storage environments. Proven to reduce carbon emissions by up to 91% compared to traditional video editing workflows, Blackbird is playing an active role in supporting Eurovision Sport’s sustainability goals. Blackbird also reduces infrastructure costs by up to 75% due to its cloud native architecture.

Eurovision Sport Head of Content & services, Franck Choquard said: “In this time of Digital Transformation where not only EBU members but also all our Federations’ partners are aiming at publishing more content on their various platforms, having the possibility to quickly turn around content and enrich it through the Blackbird solution is really effective for us. We are now able to reach more fans in a more effective way and are aiming at developing our ecosystem further within the coming months. Last but not least for the EBU community, we are aiming at being more sustainable within our workflow and Blackbird is definitely a great partner in this journey.”

Blackbird plc CEO, Ian McDonough, added: “As part of the European Broadcast Union, with Members in over 50 countries, Eurovision Sport is a giant in sports broadcasting. In its role in helping stakeholders navigate technological innovation in sports production, Blackbird is delighted to be playing a part as a central hub for cloud native video editing. We are really excited to add Eurovision to our growing roster of large global OEM partners and to be directly enabling their members in efficient cloud migration.”

Blackbird drives awareness, monetization and efficiencies for brands in the sports, news, entertainment and enterprise sectors. Customers include Univision, Tata Communications, EVS, IMG, Deltatre, Sky News Arabia, A+E Networks, BT, NHL, Eleven Sports, Cheddar News, Riot Games, the U.S Department of State and 75 local US news stations with TownNews.

What Are the Best Cryptocurrencies to Invest In?

Which will be the best Cryptocurrency to invest in 2021? The answer will come from a careful assessment of each distinct asset and its suitability for investing in the global marketplace. This article examines some of the top cryptos including Forex, Gold, S&P 500, E-mini, and Nasdaq. We’ll break these down and determine which is best to use in your portfolio.

Currency trading software is a great way to manage one’s own money. It automates the process of recording buying and selling transactions as well as analyzing trends in the market. This type of software can also make recommendations on which currencies to buy based on statistical analysis of price movements within certain time frames. The largest benefit of this is that all profits are made automatically by the program.

Investing in Cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be complicated. The main point to consider is what market is being tracked. If the market is very volatile, then a different type of trading software might be more suitable. These applications are generally more targeted and can provide higher returns in smaller time frames.

When you are deciding which type of market trading software to use, it is important to remember that they are usually ranked according to the difficulty of the application. The higher the ranking, the more difficult it will be to use. It may also take longer to generate return on investment.

There are several factors which will determine which is the best Cryptocurrency to invest in. These include profitability, risk reward, speed of payouts and ease of entry. The best ones out there are based on a combination of factors which gives them the highest profit potential. They also offer the fastest payouts and ease in accessing their market. The best Cryptocurrency to invest in 2150 will be determined by how well the underlying asset will perform.

If you are planning to start an investment, the best Cryptocurrency to invest in is likely to be the one that is simple and easy to use. The popular ones are usually based on major currencies. These include the US dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs and the Australian Dollar. With an increase in popularity, there will be a corresponding increase in trading software applications which are made for these particular markets.

Some applications offer a wide range of choices which is great because it allows you to diversify. A common mistake with novice investors is to only look at the trading software which offers the best returns. This means that they miss out on other less profitable markets. To be profitable, you need to be investing in a variety of assets and market sectors.

Another important factor that will determine the best Cryptocurrency to invest in is its potential profit and loss. Many people choose the best items based on their personal preferences. They do this by looking at how much it costs to buy each of the items, how much the gas or airline fares cost and what it would cost to drive to the location to purchase it. If you are only going to buy the item once then it makes sense to select the best item because it will be less expensive, making it the best investment.

In addition to choosing the best market, you also need to consider how long it will take to make a profit. The longer the period of time, the greater the profit potential. This is known as the scalability of the market. Although you might lose money on short time frames, the long term should provide a higher return. The best Cryptocurrencies to invest in have a low volatility, high liquidity and high profit potential over a longer period of time. These characteristics are not always present in all markets.

The best Cryptocurrencies to invest in are often chosen based on the investment goal. It is helpful if you can determine how much you plan on spending on your investments. If you plan on spending a small amount, a conservative approach to investing may be best. On the other hand, if you are ready to spend a large amount then you can go ahead and take risks. The best Cryptocurrencies to invest in are those that have a high return on investment, low volatility and high liquidity.

There are several advantages of investing in Cryptocurrency compared to investing in stocks and bonds. The best Cryptocurrency to invest in is one that has high profit potential, low risk, high liquidity and great scalability. In order to find out which is the best Cryptocurrency to invest in, do your research. Check out the investment options available and talk to experts in the field.

Healthy Eating on A Budget: Ingredients for an Affordable Diet

When you sit down at a Michelin-starred restaurant table, the fancy ambience hits you immediately. The waiter brings you an unpronounceable bottle of wine and hands you the first of a long series of miniature, sophisticated dishes that are rich in all sorts of nutritional properties. At the end of the pleasant experience, you are served with the saltiest of puddings: a hefty bill.  

Similarly, in the eyes of most people, healthy meals are often perceived as small portions of natural food that, while doing your body the world of good, will leave your piggy bank in tears. In truth, this is not necessarily the case.

We created a simple guide detailing how you can get on board with a diet without falling into financial despair, therefore debunking the myth for which healthy eating is an unaffordable practice.

 

‘Expensive’ is not synonymous with ‘better’

The temptation of buying a goji berry and spirulina smoothie or a fruit salad of exotic goods is real. Not only does it scream ‘naturalness’ from all sides, but it also provides the perfect shot to showcase your healthy lifestyle on social media.

However, there are many other alternatives that – although not very ‘Instragrammable’ – are cheaper and just as nutritious. A filling oatmeal breakfast or a glass of water, for instance, are inexpensive and serve the goal.

Of course, feel free to enjoy fancier health options from time to time. Make sure that they are seen as a treat rather than as the norm though.

 

Opt for local and seasonal products

While often overlooked and underestimated, this is possibly one of the best actions you can take to both spend less and eat healthier. In fact, by purchasing food that has grown and been picked close to your home, you are consuming more flavoursome products that have not been treated to survive the long journey to reach the supermarket. This means that it is more budget-friendly, as it does not need to travel several miles to be on your plate and is consequently a more sustainable option too.  

Moreover, consider buying seasonal products. In winter, for example, stock up on apples and beetroots, as they are cheaper and more nutritious this time of the year.   

 

Freeze or buy frozen

If you have overstocked your beetroot provisions, pop them in your freezer – they’ll be just as good when you start craving them all of a sudden on a sunny summer afternoon.

As a matter of fact, frozen fruit and vegetables are often underrated. Bags of frozen pre-chopped veggies tend to be cheaper in shops and are equally nutritious, as they have been picked at the peak of freshness and their nutritional properties remain intact.

 

Veg is cheaper than meat and fish

When at the checkout, you will realise that meat and fish are usually the most expensive food products on your shopping receipt. While still a fundamental part of your diet, to cut costs on your food shop, you may want to consider adding a few vegetarian dishes to your weekly menu.

 

Prepare smaller portions

We are not advising you to cook miniature meals in the fashion of Michelin-starred restaurants. On the contrary, it is important to always consume a decent-sized plate of food, but do not go over the top with proportions.   

By weighing your food and eating out of smaller bowls, you will be able to reduce your portions and store what is left for another day. If you are desperate for some extra nutrients, a succulent fruit salad or a handful of tasty nuts will end your balanced meal on a high.

Give cheaper brands a go

High-priced products, usually embellished by good-looking and eye-catching packaging, are not always the most nutritious options on a supermarket shelf. Indeed, store-brand alternatives may be just as good – but simply lack a fancy, attractive box.

Next time you go shopping, take a minute to read the label to both see what is inside and check the quality. If everything meets your standards, throw the cheaper store-brand product inside your basket and save some money.

Develop your green thumb and grow your own herbs

Don’t worry, you do not need hectares of land to grow your own herbs. Some seeds and a few pots, either on your balcony or in your backyard, will do the trick.

By planting your own seeds, you will end up with a long-lasting supply of herbs that will offer your room a fragrant smell and will also – in the long run – reduce your expenses.

By following these simple steps, you will finally be able to start your healthy diet with confidence and with no fear of breaking the bank. By all means, treat yourself from time to time to food that not only is good but ‘looks good’ too. However, this guide will hopefully prove that switching to a healthier menu is not a prohibitive choice and can, ultimately, be for all budgets.

Is Bitcoins a Good Investment? 4 Ways to Make Serious Money in Online Trading

Many people have asked the question: is Bitcoin a good investment? This is a simple question to answer, as Bitcoin has become the talk of town. This virtual currency is not governed by any government and it functions through the network of computers across the Internet. You don’t need to have a third party backing up your transactions, unlike paper money. You can make a trade anywhere worldwide with no restrictions. This is what makes this currency so appealing.

However, there are also some risks involved with this form of currency. Hacking and attacks on virtual currencies can be very common. You need to make sure you use the right tools and techniques to trade with virtual currencies. You should invest in trading software that will allow you to make the most of this industry. These are the things you need to consider when looking for the best trading software.

The first thing that you should look for is the security feature of the software. Hackers and other unscrupulous elements may want to use your valuable funds and destroy the value of your investment. You can avoid this by ensuring that the trading software you purchase will provide the highest level of security.

A thorough knowledge about the trading software is also vital. This is because there are various types of currencies being traded in the market. It is important to understand everything about the market so you can accurately predict the trends and movements of each currency. This will help you make informed decisions and avoid huge losses. You can benefit from its trading possibilities if you are familiar with its functions.

You should also check the support system provided by the software. Most experienced traders and investors recommend that you use one that is developed and maintained by professionals. Since you are dealing with highly volatile currencies, it is important to know that you are safe from hackers. If the developers offer technical support, they will be able to assist you whenever you have difficulties trading.

How simple is the software to use? This is a crucial question because you want the software to be simple to use. The best type of software is the one that does not require too much time for configuration. This is perfect for a person who is always on the go. You should ensure that the software works while you’re away.

The last thing to consider is how easy it is to use. Your choice should be based on whether you are going to trade regularly or if you are just trading to meet friends. If you plan to use the software for regular currency trading, you may need to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. It is best to select a currency trading software that is easy to use. In addition, the software that is created by a well-known developer may also be easier to use.

There are many options for making a good investment. As long as you can find a good investment guide with good information and safe trading software, you will have a great chance of earning profits. You may even earn big if you have a good trading strategy. There are many ways to invest. It all depends on what your goals are and how much time you have to invest in your venture.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Car with Cryptocurrency

The advantages and pros of buying a car with Cryptocurrency are very much the same as with any other vehicle. This is because the main purpose of Cryptocurrency trading software or other automated trading robots is to match the amount of money coming in with the amount of money going out. And this is very important, especially in the current economic times. This is because currency rates can fluctuate and one moment can see your account balance plunge to a low as well as the next. And so you need an automated trading software program to match up this fluctuation and prevent you from incurring a loss.

So just what are some of the pros and cons of buying a car with Cryptocurrency? Here we shall go through each of them so that by the time you have finished reading this you would know which are the best for you. Buying a car when you have Cryptocurrency tied up in it obviously is a good option. This way you can have a test drive without worrying about losing money. So, here are some of the pros and cons of buying a car with Cryptocurrency.

Firstly, a car gives you the freedom of not having to keep track of your money. You can leave it as it is and relax and enjoy the ride. Or you can buy it and make sure that the price goes up and down depending on the market conditions. This would mean that you are also making some profit from the sale.

Also, when buying a car with Cryptocurrency you can set the cost that you want to pay. Of course the lower the cost the less money that will leave your pocket. But if you want the maximum amount of money leave it at the top of the page. The high cost will be reflected on the paper work and on the cost of the fuel that you use.

Another pro is that you can be assured that the car will be kept in good condition. This is because if the seller has nothing to hide then they will be open to answering questions. If you have any concerns then they will be addressed. If you see any problems with the car then you can ask the seller to have it repaired or to simply have it checked. This will help you avoid wasting time and money on something that could just get fixed.

On the other hand, when buying a car with Cryptocurrency there are a few cons as well. One of the main reasons why people tend to shy away from this type of financing is the cost. When you compare the cost of buying a regular car loan with the cost of buying a car with Cryptocurrency the cost can be quite a bit higher. Therefore, you need to weigh the cost of Cryptocurrency against the cost of regular financing.

It is also important to remember that this type of financing does not cover every aspect of your car purchase. You will have to make your car payments with Cryptocurrency instead of using cash. As such, you must be aware of the risks involved in carrying heavy amounts of Cryptocurrency with you. Fortunately, most countries have laws that prevent people from driving around with large sums of Cryptocurrency in their vehicles.

This is one of the pros and cons of buying a car with crypto that you should keep in mind before you make your decision. Make sure that you take the time to find out all about Cryptocurrency before you decide to buy a car with it. You will be able to enjoy more benefits than you might realize.

Learn How to Trade Crypto

What’s behind cryptocoins trading? Learning what is behind cryptocoins trading so that you could trade crypto coins effectively, profitably. Taking full responsibility for all your trades, both gain, and loss, is probably the most important trait of successful Cryptocurrency traders. This article will show you how to learn how to trade with a Forex trading bot, and profit from the largest daily increase in the world of digital currency exchange. This trading strategy is used by many traders, but few truly understand its powerful abilities. There is a lot of hype surrounding this trading system, some of it questionable at best.

You may be asking yourself, how does this trading plan work? The way it works, is very simple. All of the trades that are performed through your Forex robot are made with the intention of turning a profit. This is why some traders choose not to do any manual trading, or have someone else do it for them. This system takes the emotion out of trading, which makes it much easier for inexperienced traders.

One major benefit of Cryptocurrency trading which some people aren’t aware of, is the use of a software program. These software programs are known as “Forex robots”. They are specially designed to analyze market data, and make decisions on whether or not to trade. They are designed to take advantage of technical indicators such as “Wicks Effect”, “Doves Effect”, “Lambda Curve” and “SPD Matrix”.

Many of the better quality Forex software programs will use more than just one indicator. This allows for greater accuracy in predicting future market trends. As well, good quality software will make use of more than one strategy. For instance, they may decide to use a combination of technical indicators, support indicators and moving averages together. Because the best software will use as many different strategies as possible to analyze the market, your chances of coming across a good trading bot increase.

The best programs, as well as ones which cost nothing, will also be able to make money on their own. They don’t rely on you to perform continuous manual trades. Instead, they let you trade independently, making money the moment they find a profitable trade. It is important to make sure that your chosen software has a high success rate. Because, if you lose a trade, then you have no way of getting out of the losing streak.

Another important factor in how to trade with the currencies of the world, which must be considered, is risk management. When you participate in day trading, you run a high risk of investing more money than you are able to afford to lose. A good trading software will help you understand the risks involved in each trade. It will also provide you with recommendations regarding how to minimize your losses and maximize your wins.

One last thing to look for in how to trade with the cryptosurfs is a systematic trading system. A systematic trading system takes into consideration all of the factors which affect the value of the currency being traded. The best programs will be able to predict precisely what value will be achieved next. Because your trades are being managed by a systematic trading system, it is very unlikely for you to suffer losses.

There are many ways to improve your chance of making profit when you learn how to trade with the currencies of the world. Learning how to trade with the best software is just the first step in the process. You want to be able to set up your stop-limit orders properly, choose your trading signals in order to maximize your profits, and manage your risk to make sure that your losses are as minimal as possible. Once you do all that, you will discover that a systematic trading system is the one of the easiest and most profitable ways to make money with your chosen platform.

How Much Will Bitcoin Be Worth in 2030

In the next few years, one of the hottest commodities on the planet will be bitcoins. This will be an interesting topic for discussion when you read this: How much will bitcoins worth in 2030 report that was written by traders and investors. You will also find it interesting to know how much the value will be when they decide to fork over their virtual money for real world cash. Many investors are curious about how the trading software works. This article will help you understand how the system works and what kind of profits can be expected in the future.

There are many theories out there about how the future currency markets will evolve. One popular theory is that the United States will have a hard time keeping their currency because of the currency problems that they are having right now. Other experts have indicated that the United Kingdom might have a hard time with its European counterparts. Other experts have indicated that the United States will not have a very difficult time trading thanks to their dollar status. All of these theories are possible because no one knows what the future holds for the market. However, all of these things are suppositions and the truth is that no one knows for sure what will happen.

The secret of any futures market is a good trading software. A good trading software program can make profits for you even when the market is having a bad day. The trading software can analyze the market and make predictions about how it is going to behave. By using these predictions, you can make a good decision about how much bitcoins will be worth in the future.

There are many factors that will determine how much bitcoins will be worth in the future. One of those factors is how well the United States will do economically. If the United States becomes stronger than it was in the past, then the value of the dollar will go up. This means that someone who owns ten thousand dollars in dollars now will be able to buy ten thousand dollars worth of dollars in the future. On the other hand, if the United States does not perform as well as it should, then the value of the dollar will go down.

Another factor about how much bitcoins will be worth in the future is how well the United States government will perform during their next presidential term. If the United States goes into a major recession, then the value of the future currency will go down. On the other hand, if the United States does not go into a recession, then the value of the future currency will go up. This is because more people will have money to spend in the future. Even though there is a lot of uncertainty in regards to how the economy of the United States will perform, people are still very interested in knowing how much bitcoins will be worth in the future.

The last factor about how much bitcoins will be worth in the future involves how well the Chinese government will manage their future currency. Right now, the Chinese government controls about forty percent of the world’s market and they use a centrally controlled system to keep the value of their future currency up. If the Chinese government starts fixing the value of their currency then the world’s future currency value will go down. People may worry about how much bitcoins will be worth in the future because they will lose confidence in the future currency.

People are still trying to figure out how much bitcoins will be priced in the future because they do not know if the Chinese government will fix the value of their currency. Since there is a lot of uncertainty in regards to how much bitcoins will be priced in the future, people are more interested in how much they will have to pay for a car in the future. If they get a really good deal then they will be happy and if they get a really bad deal then they will be sad. People need to be happy and they need to know how much bitcoins will be priced in the future. Otherwise they will be completely upset and they will be looking for ways to get rid of their bitcoins before they sell them.

People who are interested in how much bitcoin’s price will be in the future should think about how much they would have to give up in order to gain ten times their current investment. If they were to try and sell all of their future currency they would only get one tenth of the value of their investment. This is why people are so interested in how much bitcoins will be priced in the future. They want to make ten times their money and they are willing to give up nearly everything in order to get that amount. This is how you can make money on the Internet with digital currencies like bitcoins. It is possible for you to make money using these currencies in the future and you will be able to know how much will be worth when the time comes because you will have a constant supply and the price of bitcoins never goes down.

As Part of COP26, NCH Europe Releases a Guide to Industrial Products Highlighting the Sustainable Changes Needed Across the Modern Industrial Landscape to Combat the Ecological Factors of Climate Change

NCH Europe today released a sustainable guide to industrial products, highlighting the company’s continuing drive towards better products for a healthier planet.

Across industrial operations, there are many products and processes that contribute to ecological decline. Whether it’s the type of waste they create, the energy and resources that they use or the suboptimal performance of a product that creates waste, industrial products have an associated ecological cost.

Realistically, no product of human industry can be truly sustainable in the natural sense, NCH’s team of chemists are committed to the continual optimisation of products to minimise their ecological cost. Whether it’s optimisation to remove harmful components from formulations, or finding better formats for those formulations, continual improvements made by industry leaders such as NCH allow customers to make more sustainable choices.

The guide examines several common industrial products and highlights the dangerous components to be avoided that pose a threat to workers and the ecology such as:

  • Dichloromethane (DCM) in paint removal processes
  • Harsh acids used for the removal of rust from parts
  • Lithium in lubrication products
  • Corrosive components used to clear blockages in water treatment
  • Move away from solvents to water based parts cleaning

The guide also addresses how changes in format, such a concentrating water treatment products to be smaller solids, can be an effective way of reducing production and transport pollution as well as more responsible with the use of global resources like water.

John Paul Surdo, Chief Operating Officer at NCH Europe said, “A number of the goals for this years COP26 conference are collaboration, adaptation and mitigation as means to reducing climate change with a core rooted in sustainability.”

“Collaboration, adaptation and mitigation are reflected in NCH Europe’s work to constantly develop what we do to make the incremental sustainable changes that are needed to address the ecological threats our planet faces.”

“Our team of over 40 chemists collaborate to ensure that changes in one product can feed into the formulation of another. When we adjust a lubricant used for parts, we work to make sure our detergents are effective at removing that lubricant, without an unacceptable ecological cost.”

“This process of continually adapting the products we sell and those we develop don’t just mitigate our impact on resources and the environment, but those of our customers too. Whether it’s corporate procurement, or supermarket consumers, better products create better, more sustainable choices.”

“NCH Europe is committed to always finding new ways to improve our work, because that is the true sense of sustainability, constant improvement.”

As COP26 plays out over the coming days, many interested organisations will be looking to see what they can do better, to create better outcomes for people and planets. NCH is proud of the part it plays in helping industrial organisations improve the sustainability of their facilities and their operations.

The NCH guide to industrial products is available for download from the NCH Europe website.

The Timeline of Cannabis Laws in the U.S.

When we take a look at the legal status of marijuana in the US today, things look greatly promising, with only 12 states left to make a move towards legal cannabis, while the remaining of the 50 states have already turned their laws towards more flexible measures, including full legalization, legalization for medical use or decriminalization.
However, and as we all know, things weren’t always as promising as they look today, and we sure know that getting up to this point took years and years of work and efforts to actually make the people in charge of making such decisions change their perspective on cannabis.

The timeline of cannabis laws in the United States started with its criminalization at a state level in the early 20th century. It began in 1937 when the Marijuana Tax Act was enacted, making effective the prohibition of marijuana at a federal level. Medical marijuana was however still allowed but with the establishment of fees and new regulatory requirements. Things got heavier by 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act sanctioned, classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, considering it a highly potential for abuse drug and banning its use, either for recreational or medical purposes. It was at this same time that other countries around the world, following the measures adopted by the US began with the prohibition of marijuana use as well.

However, not too far later, in 1973, slow decriminalization started to take place in the country, in the state of Texas, where they declared that the possession of four ounces of cannabis, or less, should be considered a misdemeanour. In that same year, the state of Oregon becomes the first in US history to effectively decriminalize marijuana, making way for other states to follow the initiative by 1975, including Alaska, Maine, Colorado, California, and Ohio, and Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Nebraska by 1978.

Until 2001, that was it as for decriminalization, but the slow medical legalization started taking place by the end of the 20th century, and by 1996 California successfully became the first US state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes with the approval of Proposition 215. This then led to more than 15 other states to move in the same direction, including Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, which was the first state to legalize it through the state legislature, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont, Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, New Jersey, Arizona, Delaware and lastly Connecticut by 2012.

So, now that a big majority of the states had gotten in line with their measures on medical cannabis, one last step was left, recreational legalization. The pioneers of legal recreational marijuana were the states of Washington and Colorado in 2012. Along with their initiative, so started the rest of the states to make way for more liberal laws concerning recreational cannabis use in their territory, making way for this new industry to grow and new businesses to emerge. And it was this way that the cannabis evolution began taking place. The world that once prohibited any sort of cannabis-derived products had now become one where crazy new genetics such as Strawberry Banana seeds or the famous Bruce Banner are created.

Now only the states of Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are the only states in the US left to turn the country into a fully pro-cannabis territory. It’s only a matter of time until this starts taking place. For starters, more than half of the listed states already consider cannabis as a misdemeanour.

5 Ways to Scale Your Delivery Operations

As demand for delivery services grows, lots of businesses need to find ways to keep pace with the pressures of meeting customer expectations.

Thankfully there are plenty of strategies and solutions you can put into practice to scale up and achieve success in what is an undeniably competitive market.

To that end, here are some potential tactics to try out that will let you take your delivery operations to the next level without overstretching your resources.

Deploy the best software solutions to improve efficiency

Optimizations can be tough to achieve if you are having to do everything from route planning to customer communications manually. The good news is that there are all sorts of game-changing software platforms built to ramp up the efficiency and consistency of delivery services.

Whether you are wondering how to deliver packages with your car as a self-employed courier, or whether you run a whole fleet of trucks, software services can streamline your day-to-day operations in all sorts of ways.

The aforementioned route planning potential of delivery apps will let you set realistic schedules that customers will appreciate, while also being able to account for the impact of unexpected disruption, be that congestion on the roads or any other kind of courier conundrum.

Such services will not only make your operations more scalable, encompassing additional scheduled drop-off points without taking more time to hit deadlines, but also more affordable. Better planned routes means less money wasted on fuel, and these optimizations will allow you to re-invest in further growth and expansion.

Embrace outsourcing

You might be very protective of your delivery operations, in which case you could feel cautious about working with anyone else because of the fear that this will make your brand vulnerable to elements outside of your control.

However, this state of mind can be restrictive, since it is only through taking risks and leveraging external resources that you do not currently have available to you in-house that real scalability can be achieved.

For example, during seasonal peaks in demand, you could choose to outsource a proportion of your delivery duties to third parties. This could be a major national brand, or it could be a local provider.

The point is that by swallowing your pride and recognizing the business benefits of outsourcing, your delivery operations can flourish, rather than being held back without good reason.

Keep customers in the loop

Word of mouth recommendations remain a powerful tool for any business, and if you have delivery operations as part of your offerings, then you need to make sure customer satisfaction is right up there with the best of them.

This is where frequent and consistent communication comes into play. We already touched on how taxing this can be to do manually, but it is worth reiterating that letting people know where their goods are can now be automated affordably, and moreover should be done by organizations that want to grow.

Live tracking through a combination of GPS and delivery management software is an option, although you can opt for simpler solutions, such as SMS alerts sent out at key points in the journey.

Whatever the angle adopted, realizing that customer expectations are higher than ever and upping your game to meet them will bring untold branding benefits, and help you sidestep some of the more commonplace stumbling blocks in this area.

Consider accelerating the delivery cycle

If you put together the right infrastructure to support it, you could look into catalyzing your entire delivery operations and getting orders to customers in less time than you do at the moment. This type of scaling will not necessarily increase volumes overnight, but might make you more competitive, especially when stacked up against much larger rivals.

Same-day delivery is a good example of this, although it only really applies to businesses that are based in large urban areas where transport links are reliable and distribution resources are adequate to ensure orders can be fulfilled in the desired timeframe.

This is where trialing big changes before you roll them out to all customers is a life-saver. You can determine how well your accelerated delivery cycle works out based on a small number of orders, and then decide how to proceed according to the results of the test scheme.

Monitor performance to highlight issues

Even if you feel like your delivery operations are running like a well oiled machine, there is always room for improvement and you just need to be willing to look for weak links.

This is made much easier thanks to all of the software that is made for wrangling delivery services, with modern platforms offering impressive analytical abilities. As such you can see how different team members are performing, providing an indication of who is excelling and who is not pulling their weight.

This also eliminates the need for using guesswork when deciding which members of staff might be in need of additional support and training to fulfil their potential. Performance monitoring is not all about weeding out problem employees and sending them on their way, but should instead be seen as a means of managing teams with care and compassion, while still focusing on the need for productivity improvements.

Wrapping up

Most importantly, you need to get away from the temptation of thinking that your delivery operations will scale naturally as your order book fills up and demand increases.

Instead you have to be proactive about stimulating growth, satisfying customers and taking your business to the next level. There are the tools out there to help you achieve this; you just need to reach out and grab them.

How Does Bitcoin Work

Many people have heard about the idea of how does bitcoins work but many still do not know how they will be able to benefit from it. Basically, there is a group of people who started the idea of a new kind of virtual currency but they were actually only aiming to provide a platform for trading. There are now more than thirteen million bitcoins in circulation and they are predicted to go past twenty seven million by the end of the year. By using a trading bot, it is possible for anyone to take advantage of this revolutionary way to buy and sell coins.

It may seem very complicated for someone who has never heard about how does cryptosystem work before. Luckily, you do not need to be a computer genius to understand how it works. All you need is the right attitude and a little bit of knowledge. In addition to these two essential ingredients, you should also have the help of a good and reliable provider of virtual currency wallet like Bitfinex.

When you want to learn how does bitcoin work, the first thing you need to know is what all are the currencies that are included in the mix. The most well known currencies that you will find are the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Australian dollar and the Japanese yen. With these currencies, you will be able to get started securing your investment as soon as possible. If you want to get started safely and securely, you should consider trading in the major currencies that are mentioned above.

Once you get started with this form of investing, you should also think about how does bitcoin work with its mining process. In the early days of this revolutionary form of investing, people were afraid that it would be difficult to mine and profit from this kind of industry. However, this is not true anymore and there are now a lot of profitable miners in the world. This is how does cryptosystem work in general.

Another thing that you should also understand when you want to learn how does bitcoin work is how does it affect the international monetary system. When you start trading, you will immediately notice that the worldwide market is trading at a very high rate of speed. This is due to the fact that the decentralized nature of the ledger is very useful to many people. Because it is kept online and protected from manipulation, you can be sure that the rates that you will be able to trade will be fair and transparent. This is why you will find a lot of potentials for investors all over the world.

There is no doubt that many new investors are flocking to the world of this new type of trading. One of the reasons for this is the fact that this trading has been designed in such a way that will allow anyone to get started without having to spend thousands of dollars on advertising. For example, if you are an investor who does not have thousands of dollars to invest, you can use the power of the internet as a platform for trading. In order to get the full benefit of how bitcoin works, you will need to read up on the various news regarding the currency. In this way, you will be able to learn about its ups and downs, and this will help you decide how to go about investing in the future.

The good thing about this form of trading is that you will find lots of information about it in the media. This includes a 1 minute review etoro. If you do not have time to read through all the content that this company provides, you can follow the links below to read some insightful information about the subject. In this video, they discuss how does bitcoin work, as well as how their platform can help you invest in the most appropriate currencies. If you are an investor who is interested in learning more about how does bitcoin work, you may consider looking into this particular social trading website.

The background of how does bitcoin work comes from the collaboration between ledger, a computer network, and bitcoin, which is a decentralized database that allows anyone to run it. This kind of work has been done before in the realm of finance, but the innovation of ledger and the subsequent popularity of bitcoin changed how we do business today. You may also want to look further into the fascinating subject of the future of finance if you are planning on using the technologies behind it such as the bitcoin protocol.

How to Buy Bitcoin

Learning how to buy bitcoins involves learning how to buy them in the first place. You can either get it online or from a broker, but learning how to buy them both involve different approaches and methods. Buying digital currencies isn’t as simple as buying shares of stock on the New York Stock Exchange, after all. But the same fundamental principles are at work when you trade in stocks and bonds. It is all a matter of understanding risk factors, knowing when to buy and when to sell, and using software to make the transition between long and short positions and shorting and longing as well.

One of the first steps to learn how to buy bitcoins is to become familiar with how they are valued. This is accomplished by reading up on how to buy digital currencies, as well as how they are traded on the Forex and other exchanges. Learn what the indicators mean, how margin requirements work, and how to determine whether or not an investment is a good fit. Take the time to study how different markets operate, how they are influenced by macroeconomic factors, and how to evaluate a potential purchase. A solid understanding of how to buy bitcoins is imperative if you want to get the best out of this exciting new way of investing.

Another thing you need to know before you can begin your foray into how to buy bitcoins is how to buy a digital currency using a trading platform. There are many popular platforms out there, such as Gox, Gemini, and many others, but the most popular is probably Metatrader. Getting familiar with how the platform works is necessary if you want to make the most of your investment decisions. There are many tutorials available that walk you through the process step-by-step.

Next, you need to figure out which exchanges to choose when you want to learn how to buy digital currency. These exchanges offer many different options for users, such as trading in just a few select currencies, trading in several different ones, and investing in an array of assets. There are many advantages to choosing these types of trading venues, such as low costs and liquidity. You also have to decide which ones you want to use, since there is no shortage of them. The two major exchanges that most people go for are Bitstamp and Gdna.

If you want to learn how to buy bitcoins, it’s important to find a brokerage firm that specializes in trading in this particular asset. Brokerage firms specialize in helping individuals buy and sell money, so it makes sense that they would have information on all of the various ways to buy and sell this form of currency. The top brokerages all have their own websites where you can look up their services. However, some of the lesser-known and less popular firms do not offer the same benefits and services to their clients. This means that you may have to find a new brokerage firm based on the price, your needs, and the opportunity that you see around you.

Many of the top exchanges, including Gdna and Bitstamp, are located in Europe. Therefore, if you live outside of the United States, you will have to take your business elsewhere. Fortunately, many of the exchanges will still allow you to buy and sell using the currency you have at home. You should also consider the fees that each firm charges. Some will be far more reasonable than others, so be sure to shop around and ask questions before buying.

There are also quite a few different ways to acquire cryptofresh. The most popular way is by purchasing a piece of software and learning how to buy it through the digital currency exchange. The two best such software programs are the Wal Mart and MT4 WalMart wallets. Both of these programs cost about forty dollars, so it may be worth your while to invest in them.

In conclusion, this brief article has given you a few starting points for learning how to buy bitcoin through a legitimate digital currency exchange. If you’re an American living in Europe, you won’t have to look far to find a number of legit trading platforms. If you happen to be from Spain, Canada, or Australia, however, you will need to look deeper into the various trading options available on the platform you choose. The important thing is to be sure that you educate yourself and become a knowledgeable trader before investing money in the market.

3 Tips for Providing Home Care to a Loved One with Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia can often be as frustrating for you as it is for the person suffering from an impaired ability to think, make decisions or even remember small things. They get easily frustrated trying to communicate their needs and as their caregiver, you can get as easily worried over whether or not you are understanding them. This can lead to further complications and this is why it’s so important to learn a few tips on providing what they need.

 

1. Limit Frustrations

Quite often, when someone is suffering from dementia, they are unable to do the simple tasks they once handled routinely with ease. Even eating can become problematic and they are likely to dribble food down their face and onto their clothes. This is often the case when dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease where a person loses fine motor movements. Frustration can lead to agitation and that’s what you want to avoid at all costs. It helps to get washable clothing covers, commonly known as an adult bib, where you can easily tell them it’s no problem. They haven’t spotted their clothes, and all is well. Once you learn the things that cause them to become frustrated or agitated, you can take steps to avoid those situations.

 

 2. Stay Calm

This leads to the second most important thing you can do when caring for a loved one with dementia. When you see that they are not in control and are about to become agitated, stay calm. Reassure them that all is well and that it’s something easily fixed. If you get agitated, that will feed their frustration and it can soon get out of control. It is imperative that you maintain your composure at all times so that your loved one doesn’t feel less than normal. There is nothing quite as dehumanizing to a person suffering from dementia and still having enough of their faculties to know that they are unable to do the simple things they once did easily. Sometimes it’s worse asking for help than it is needing that help in the first place, so stay calm and reassure them that all is well.

 

3. Keep It Simple

Finally, it is important to give them simple structure in their life. Stick to a routine so that nothing comes as a surprise. Mealtimes will be at the same time every day and they will have activities planned routinely. For example, after breakfast every day they go out to the patio to watch the birds feeding at the feeders you’ve place around the lawn. Or maybe there’s a time when their favorite game show is on the television or perhaps you walk around the block with them. No matter what it is you do, keep it simple and make it a routine so that they know what to expect at any given moment. The easier and more structured you make their lives, the happier they will be.

One thing you may want to do is find relief for yourself. Get a sitter or perhaps in-home healthcare for a few hours a week so that you can get out as well. There may come a time when more help is needed, especially when a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but for as long as your aging loved one is in your care, these tips should make life better for everyone involved.

New Report Reveals Growing Belonging Crisis Amongst UK Employees

  • 16 million UK office workers don’t feel as though they belong within their current company
  • 72 percent of these individuals are considering leaving their role in the next 12 months
  • This means 11.5 million workers are seriously reconsidering their roles
  • The belonging crisis is 10 times bigger and twice as important than is being realised

The Belonging Crisis

New research has revealed a looming HR crisis amongst British businesses, with just a third of UK office workers feeling as though they belong within a company. This means that as many at 16 million employees are currently suffering from a feeling of isolation in the workplace.

This is set to have serious consequences for UK employers, with almost three quarters (72 percent) of those who don’t feel as though they belong considering leaving their job in the next 12 months. This equates to an incredible 11.5 million people thinking about imminently walking out of their current roles.

The research, conducted amongst UK office workers and HR professionals by Connectr, the leading HR tech platform for building businesses where people belong, reveals that the pandemic has changed employees’ priorities significantly, with emotional support and a sense of belonging valued more highly than ever before.

Whilst salary remains the number one priority for employees, only 63 percent of workers now view this as key to their happiness at work, seven percent less than in February 2020. This is making way for cultural benefits, with feeling valued being cited as the second most important workplace perk for UK office staff, overtaking the likes of annual bonuses and health insurance.

Similarly, 20 percent of workers now believe that having their individuality recognised is one of the most important workplace benefits. This has more than doubled since February 2020. Other benefits that have become more important to employees since the pandemic include being proud of the company they work for, having their opinions listened to, and being part of a supportive and inclusive team.

Millennials and Gen Z employees were found to be the driving force behind these workplace trends. Just 44 percent of 16-24-year-olds consider salary as the most important workplace benefit. With Millennials set to make up over 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, this demonstrates a significant shift that employers will need to actively respond to in order to attract and retain talented and diverse individuals.

Challenges Being Overlooked by Employers

The research, published in a new report that explores the UK’s growing belonging crisis, demonstrates that this shift in priorities is going largely unnoticed by business heads, which is compounding the crisis. Just 14 percent of HR heads believe not fitting in is a key reason why employees leave a business, demonstrating a clear misunderstanding of the scale of the problem.

Even for those businesses which do want to focus on belonging, resource is preventing them from doing so. Four in five HR heads say they don’t have time to prioritise building a sense of inclusion, whilst a staggering 92 percent struggle to get buy-in from senior leadership. The pandemic has worsened the situation, with 89 percent admitting that belonging has become less of a focus as a result of COVID-19.

As well as increasing staff turnover, this oversight could also be having an impact on a business’s productivity, reputation, level of diversity and inclusion, and ultimately its bottom line. The research found that a strong sense of belonging makes employees more motivated, loyal, engaged, and ambitious, which has a huge impact on productivity.

Building a Sense of Belonging

When it comes to building a sense of belonging, nearly half of office workers state that feeling valued is crucial, with a third claiming that clear progression opportunities are essential if they are to feel as though they belong. A significant number of employees also cited access to digital employee engagement platforms and mentoring schemes as key to cultivating a sense of belonging. These digital tools are particularly important for employees who are working from home. Almost half (44 percent) of remote workers who managed to maintain a sense of belonging during the pandemic put this down to online support platforms or mentoring schemes.

Despite clear demand from UK workers for digital platforms designed to support staff, just a third of organisations use them, whilst only 28 percent offer mentoring schemes. This demonstrates a clear disparity when it comes to employees’ needs and the provisions being offered by employers.

What the Experts Say

Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director at Connectr, comments: “The research demonstrates a huge imbalance between employee demands and businesses’ priorities. What’s more, the growing belonging crisis amongst British employees is going largely unnoticed, with many employers still failing to recognise the importance of building a sense of inclusion. In fact, the belonging crisis is 10 times bigger and twice as important than is being realised. If this isn’t addressed quickly, UK businesses are set to face a huge resourcing challenge which could be catastrophic for many who are still coping with financial impact of the pandemic.

“The good news is, there are solutions to the challenge. Our research clearly shows the important role that online employee engagement tools and mentoring platforms can have in building a vital sense of belonging amongst staff. The digital nature of these platforms makes them accessible to all and easy to roll out at scale, meaning that all employees can benefit, regardless of their background, level of seniority or where they are based. More needs to be done to tackle the UK workforce’s belonging crisis, and it’s the businesses that make a conscious and active effort to truly engage, support and nurture their staff that will come out on top.”  

3 Ways to Be Environmentally Friendly At Work

More of us are being made aware of global warming and the negative effects our daily actions have on the environment. Although we can do so many things at home to offset some of these adverse effects, there is so much we can be doing whilst at work, too.

Fletchers Waste Management, who provide Skip Hire Sheffield as well as many other waste management services, has put together three easy ways we can all make small changes whilst at work to help improve our carbon footprint from the office.

1. Change to green cleaning products
If you are the decision-maker for what cleaning products are being used in the office, have you thought about looking into eco-friendly options? Although it has become common for many of us to choose the cheapest options when it comes to bleach and other cleaning products, it is not always made clear just how costly this can then be to the environment.

Standard cleaning products, although affordable, are made of very harsh chemicals that affect both the indoor and outdoor environment. Commercial buildings are cleaned so regularly, especially since the pandemic, it increases the chances of air pollution and increased plastic waste and water pollution. Now more than ever, it’s essential to look into green cleaning alternatives.

As these products are naturally derived, they are much safer for the environment and your staff. These greener alternative products come at a slightly higher cost; however, some cleaning companies may only choose to use these products, so they may be able to offer better deals because of this. Although somewhat more expensive, these environmentally friendly cleaning products are naturally derived, meaning they are much safer for your staff and the environment.

If you do not make the decisions, it may be worth still sharing your concerns with your manager or cleaning company to see if anything can be done.

2. Turn off those lights

When working in an office environment, it’s sometimes easy to forget the importance of still turning lights and other electrical items off at the switch when they’re no longer in use. A great way to enforce this and encourage saving electricity is with a Switch Off Policy.

These can be easily implemented in the workplace by sending emails to remind people to turn lights off when leaving empty rooms and make sure items that can be safely unplugged when going for the day are done so daily.

Posts can also be put on walls near switches as an extra reminder if needed!

3. Switch to green energy
In the UK, it is still predominantly fossil fuels that are used for our electricity and gas, which is not great for the environment as they release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

There is a better alternative, though, and that is green energy suppliers. Green energy is created by renewable sources, which can include solar panels and turbines. Sounds expensive, though, right? Well, green energy is actually very competitive in its prices and can be compared using most energy comparison websites.

Like with choosing your cleaning products, you may not always be able to make these changes quickly, but by speaking with your manager or your office landlord, they might say yes if they weren’t aware of the benefits before.

Ultimately, we can all make lots of small changes when going to work, and these are just 3 of them. There are many other suggestions online, and remember, to make a positive change, you just have to start small!

How to Choose the Right Managed IT Services Provider

In today’s highly competitive market, businesses owners like you should look for ways to streamline their operations and maximize productivity. Since your organization can’t operate without technology, networks, and digital data, having a functional and updated IT (information technology) infrastructure is crucial to its growth and success.  

Working with a managed IT service provider can be an excellent idea to boost your IT system. With them at your side, you can free your company from several IT responsibilities and problems, helping it to focus more on its core operations. However, the process of picking an IT partner can be challenging. Since there are several companies to choose from, it’s essential to select one who meets your business requirements.  

Here are some ways to choose the right managed IT service provider:

Understand Your Business Needs  

When searching for the perfect managed IT service provider, it’s essential to understand your business needs. Since not all service providers are equal in terms of offered services and expertise, you need to figure out what your company requires for your IT infrastructure.  

For example, if your company deals with healthcare IT, you need to look for a provider specializing in that industry to meet your business needs. By choosing an IT partner like the Seattle managed IT services provider Executech and others who know and understand the ins and outs of your business, you can ensure your networks and systems are in safe hands.  

Familiarize the Services They Offer  

This is another way of choosing the proper managed IT service provider for your business. By knowing what they can offer, you’ll figure out whether they’re perfect for your needs. Typically, there are different types of IT services available in the market. These can include: 

  • Budget planning for IT expenditures; 
  • Data backup and migration; 
  • Disaster recovery planning, firewall protection, and other cybersecurity measures; 
  • Electronics repair; 
  • Website monitoring; 
  • Cloud storage management; 
  • Mobile device management, and many more.  

Whatever IT services your business needs, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with what your potential service provider can offer. For example, if you need an IT partner to handle cybersecurity, you should check first whether they provide such services to businesses like yours. That way, you’d be able to pick the right one that suits your needs, saving yourself from headaches down the line.  

Conduct a Thorough Background Check  

With several options to choose from, it can’t be easy to find a managed IT service provider that can satisfy your IT requirements. As such, it’s crucial to perform a thorough background check when choosing the right one. 

When conducting a background check, the following factors should be taken into consideration: 

  • Location: Although hiring an offshore IT company can be a good idea, partnering with a local service provider can offer many benefits to your business. When your IT partner is located in your area, it would be much easier and faster to provide on-site support for network installations or address technical issues. 

Given the location’s proximity, you can take advantage of personalized and more hands-on IT services from a local company. So, if you operate a business in Seattle or wherever you may be located, getting managed IT services in Seattle would make a lot of sense.

  • Expertise and experience: These are two other important things to look for in an IT company. Generally, the best service providers in the market have been in the business for many years. They usually have a dedicated team of IT experts specializing in various fields, including cybersecurity, network management, and many more. 

Also, most experienced companies know how to adapt to new trends and market demands. To check your prospect’s level of expertise and experience, you can check their certifications and training as well as accreditations.

  • Reputation: It’s also vital to search for a reputable service provider for your business. An excellent reputation means they’re reliable and trustworthy. So, they offer superior quality IT services to their clients. 

To ensure you hire an IT partner to entrust your company with, look for referrals. Consider some recommendations from family and friends and customer testimonials to know whether you can trust your prospect for handling your networks and systems. 

  • Availability: There would be instances when your business would have to deal with unexpected software bugs, Internet connection troubles, cybersecurity threats, and other technical issues. Hence, it’s important to check your prospective managed IT service provider’s availability for addressing problems. 

If you want full assistance, you should work with a 24/7 company to handle all issues quickly and without delays. For example, you may need an IT partner who can ensure uptime for your website to maximize productivity and profitability.

  • Customer service: You should also check how quickly your prospective IT service provider can respond to your calls. When you’re calling for any queries, they should be able to answer you right away as part of their excellent customer service efforts. Refrain from working with companies that put customers on hold for a long time or direct your call to a call center representative. These partners can’t guarantee a quick response time, so opt for those who can do otherwise.
  • Pricing: Another thing to keep in mind when doing a background check is the pricing. Although maintaining an IT infrastructure can be costly, you can save some money by partnering with a managed IT service provider that offers flexible rates. 

However, depending on your budget, you can choose from various pricing options. These can include a la carte pricing, which covers the specific IT service you need, per-user pricing, which covers all the devices your employees use, and the all-inclusive package, which charges your company with the comprehensive service through a flat monthly subscription plan.

Final Thoughts   

Partnering with a managed IT service provider can be a significant investment for your company. This is because they have a team of professionals who can make your business operations more efficient by providing IT solutions that work best for your needs. They also have the resources in the form of tools and equipment to support your company in the long run.   

Because of this, it’s crucial to pick the right service provider for your business. By keeping these ways in mind, you can make the hiring process more seamless and trustworthy. Consequently, you’ll become more confident knowing your IT infrastructure is well-taken care of.

The Surprising Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is a fun and exhilarating activity that’s been around for centuries. It’s something the whole family can enjoy, and it has a wide array of benefits. It also doesn’t discriminate; all kinds of people of all ages, all cultures, from all walks of life, can easily learn to ride a bike.

Cycling has become extremely popular over the last 50 years, for a multitude of reasons. More and more people are trading their non-environmentally friendly cars in for bicycles for their daily commute to work. In the wake of the pandemic, the UK predicted that 14 million people were ready to swap their driving for pedal power. There’s also been an increase in people taking up cycling as a sport and it’s a popular way to spend your leisure time too. You can explore all kinds of places, and it’s a far faster mode of transport than traveling by foot.

There are so many amazing benefits of cycling. But now, we’re going to look at a few of the benefits of cycling that are a little more unusual.

Before we dive in, here are some interesting and lesser-known facts about cycling:

  • According to the WHO, 30 minutes of cycling a day reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%. 1 hour of cycling per day decreases your risk of death by 35%.
  • The aerobic exercise from cycling releases endorphins and other happy hormones, which helps to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Cycling improves your circulation, which in turn helps to reduce arthritis and speeds up the recovery time if you’ve gotten cut or bruised.

And finally, here are 7 surprising and unexpected benefits of cycling that will change the way you view this age-old activity.

1. Sleeping Better

Who would have thought that cycling every day could affect your sleep routine? A study conducted on healthy older women shows that just 1 hour of cycling in a day improved their quality and duration of sleep.

Cycling is a freeing and de-stressing activity. An evening ride to wind down your day could have some surprising benefits for your sleep health and quality.

2. Improves Awareness, Concentration, and Problem-Solving

Whether you are riding on the open road, a busy highway in peak hour traffic, or on a forest trail, cycling requires attention to detail and situational awareness. When a sport always requires that you’re in a state of full concentration and totally aware, it stretches your abilities to the maximum.

If you make a wrong turn or aren’t concentrating properly, you can put your life and possibly someone else’s in danger. Some of the unexpected and surprising benefits of cycling are the wonderful way in which it challenges you to become more aware, to concentrate harder on your surroundings, and to think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving.

You need to be quick on your feet (or in this case, on the pedals) and make fast decisions to ensure your safety and the safety of other vehicles or people around you.

3. Improves Your Balance and Strengthen Your Core

Keeping yourself upright on a two-wheel contraption whilst pedaling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re on rough terrain. But cycling every day helps you to improve your balance and build the core strength needed to keep yourself and the bike upright at all times.

When you’re staying balanced whilst looking behind you to change lanes or grabbing your water bottle for a quick drink, your core muscles and balance intuition are called to work in full force.

4. Give Your Bowels a Boost

Cycling provides a unique combination of adrenalin-fueled cardio and an extensive core workout. It’s an aerobic exercise that stimulates the heart rate and breathing and combining this with the core exercise that happens whilst balancing on a bike does wonders for the stomach and intestines.

Every time you contract your core muscles whilst cycling, you’re helping your bowels to avoid any sluggish behavior. If you struggle to stay regular, then perhaps cycling is just the sport for you.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Cycling is an eco-friendly way to get around and get some fresh air and exercise. Not only are you working on your fitness and stamina levels while getting from one place to another, but you are not emitting anything harmful into our atmosphere whilst doing so.

Cycling as your chosen form of transport means you’ll emit less pollution, less noise, and less carbon emissions.

6. Cycling Can Improve Your Sex Life

Any exercise will go a long way to improving your sex life, but cycling is specifically great for this topic. It’s proven to boost sex drive in women and is associated with a lower risk of erectile issues in men.

Additionally, cycling activates, works, and strengthens a specific set of muscles that are all vital to a healthy sex life. The muscles that get worked and strengthened whilst riding a bike are the same muscles used during sex. The more developed and stronger these muscles are, the more athletic and longer-lasting intercourse will be.

7. Cycling is Eco-Friendly

Cycling is one of the few popular sports that have almost no negative impact on the environment. The only place where there’s any impact is the energy and materials used to construct bicycles and biking accessories, such as helmets and sportswear. Even in saying this, the materials and energy used for the biking industry have a significantly lower impact on the environment than most other popular sports and leisure activities.

Another way in which cycling is supportive of the environment is that cycling doesn’t require any electricity. It also requires no gasoline, no building or building maintenance, no outdoor maintenance or watering of fields, parks, or grounds. You can cycle anywhere, on just about any terrain, without any accommodations required.

Suffice to say, the benefits of cycling run far deeper than you may have initially thought. This type of exercise is hugely beneficial to you and the planet, and it’s affordable and enjoyable too.

7 Factors to Consider Before Launching a New Marketing Campaign

A marketing campaign is vital for any business to reach out to potential clients and gain leads. Creating one from scratch could be a daunting task. If it’s your first attempt at creating a marketing campaign for your business, there are several considerations worth reflecting on before taking any steps.  

It could be easy to start planning but most people tend to give up halfway, this shouldn’t always be the case. If you want to boost your business to a whole new level, you need to have grit in generating a unique and effective marketing campaign.  This is needed to stand out from possible competitions.  

The critical element in creating an effective marketing campaign is proper planning.  If you fail to fully establish your strategy, it will lead to stress and frustration. On the other hand, a firm grasp of your vision for the campaign might ensure success.  

Here are several factors to consider before launching a new marketing campaign for your business. 

1. Look for Ways to Amass Funds

It could be challenging to look for options to finance a new marketing campaign for your start-up business. In most cases, it might take some time before your business could gain profits. If you have a tight budget, there are options worth checking out.  

  • Save money: It might seem impossible to have savings for marketing expenses when you have operating costs to think about. Although, keeping even a small amount set aside cash can make a difference over time.  
  • Try crowdfunding:  This involves presenting your business to eager investors. If these investors favor what you’re offering, you’re likely to gain decent funding. 
  • Borrow money: Loans can help business owners accomplish several goals, such as marketing and advertising. You can consider taking a small business loan online or through the nearest bank to gain funds for your upcoming marketing campaigns.  

2. Know Your Audience 

To prepare for a new marketing campaign, you need to thoroughly know your audience. If you fail to create information for your targeted audience, you might not be able to attract their attention.   

You may also gather data through the following steps:

  • Do your research about who often buys your products or services,
  • Determine other possible groups of consumers that your business could also cater to,
  • Identify what they’re both searching for online,
  • Answer how your business could provide it.

After figuring out their wants and needs, you may then answer how to reach your target audience. One way to effectively entice and bring customers to your website is by providing specific content for them. 

Then, you can think of a set of objectives to help you set up the foundation of your marketing campaign.  Learning more about your audience will ensure your marketing strategy focuses on them.

3. Deciding On Your Objectives 

Although the main objective of your marketing strategy is to sell your products or services, it might not be a simple process. Bear in mind, you need to come up with one primary focus for your marketing campaign.

It would be best to decide what your new main goal wants to accomplish.  You may choose goals such as gaining more followers, selling a specific product, or attracting visitors to your blog. Depending on your particular vision, you need to focus on these points and collaborate with your team.  

4. Utilize the Suitable Marketing Strategy 

You can utilize many tactics, but one approach worth considering is Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing. This is done through companies offering products or services to other businesses Generally, it involves providing valuable skills and relevant content from one business to another. If you want an effective way for your business to engage with other businesses and potential prospects, you may utilize this strategy.

This may improve productivity and revenue; thus, it might eventually establish your business as one of the reliable experts in the industry.  If you want to learn more about this marketing tactic, checking out the best b2b digital marketing agencies would be a good start. 

5. Follow a Content Calendar 

When you’re sharing content on different platforms, it could be hard to keep track of everything.  It might be detrimental to your marketing campaign if you fall behind, overlook a platform, or miss out on a post.

Also, it could be challenging to remember what, when, and where to post the content without a content calendar. Sending out unpredictable messages or infrequent posts will make your customers think you don’t value your online presence.  

Always remember that in any marketing campaign, consistency is vital. A content calendar will keep your posts organized and stay on the right track. Additionally, a content calendar will allow you to have a better perspective of the entire marketing process. Thus, you can readily trace how every content works hand in hand with the campaign. 

Don’t forget to avoid cramming your calendar. It’s better to take slow and steady steps for your marketing campaign. 

6. Measure the Results 

One way to assess the success of your marketing campaign is to measure the outcome. Depending on the objectives you want to achieve during the planning phase, you need to pinpoint the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you wish to measure. 

Make sure the indicators identify the type of content your targeted audience prefers, the most robust ads, and if you’re effectively reaching out to your audience.  Take note that these KPIs could provide you with a viewpoint on whether you’re attaining your objectives.

7. Make the Appropriate Changes 

After figuring out your marketing campaign’s strengths and weaknesses, you need to reevaluate and weigh possible options. Always be mindful of how your target audience is responding. Also, be ready to shift your strategy if it seems to be heading in the wrong way. If it does seem like it’s not yielding many results, don’t hesitate to make any necessary alterations. The information during your current marketing stint will serve as a basis to improve your next marketing campaign.

Final Thoughts  

A successful marketing campaign for your business requires careful planning to ensure the best results. This usually depends on how well you know your targeted audience and how you allot time for preparations. It would be best if you were systematic, especially when delivering the content to gain attention. You’ll have a successful marketing campaign over time by considering these factors before launching a digital marketing campaign for your business.

Outsourcing the Pharmaceutical Product Lifecycle

By Timm Pauli, senior director and head of global regulatory informatics and operations at PharmaLex. Dr. Marie-Charlotte von Brevern, associate director of global program management at PharmaLex.

How to improve efficiency and drive innovation with limited resources

Ongoing lifecycle maintenance of medium or large portfolios puts a tremendous resource strain on pharmaceutical companies. These activities are crucial to keeping your products on the market but can stretch teams thin, making it harder for companies to focus on new product development, line extensions and further global roll-out activities.

At the same time, both product maintenance and product development are becoming more complex. Ever-changing regulations across global markets, specific CMC requirements for special product categories, a move toward innovative clinical approaches (such as decentralized clinical trials, adopting Bayesian models for trial designs, and applying digital tools for electronic patient reported outcomes), and increased digitization of many regulatory processes all require specific expertise that might be unavailable in-house.

Outsourcing can provide needed relief for management in numerous ways. In-house teams can regain time to focus on value-added tasks. Leadership can save on the budget by avoiding costly staffing and technical infrastructure upgrades. External expertise and perspectives can support teams in innovative ways, offering new, more efficient approaches and methods to support product lifecycle activities.

Taking a strategic approach

However, if such outsourcing projects are carried out piecemeal, most of your management and oversight activities will still fall to internal resources. Instead, outsourcing programs that adopt a strategic approach are more likely to give internal teams the support and flexibility they need to focus on new projects. Truly transformational outsourcing should combine operational activities for any product portfolio with state-of-the-art program management and coordination, KPI and reporting measures, as well as ad-hoc support for any additional one-off projects, and would also involve the outsourcing partner taking full responsibility, or ownership, of the program.

Typical reasons mid- to large-sized pharma companies choose to outsource:

  • Enable internal resources to focus on value-added, strategic activities
  • Reduce complexity for in-house teams
  • Foster scalable and flexible resource models
  • Quickly connect with a large pool of external expertise in flexible and cost-effective ways
  • Gain access to the latest technology solutions without having to make changes to existing on-site infrastructure, saving the company time and money
  • More seamlessly manage new technical requirements (based on new or changed technical requirements from health authorities)
  • Tap into operational excellence across different therapeutic and functional domains as well as process expertise and technology innovation

A primary consideration for companies is how to achieve cost-effective and flexible portfolio maintenance, while not jeopardizing quality and compliance. There are different ways in which a comprehensive portfolio maintenance outsourcing program can benefit pharmaceutical companies.

The first is that outsourcing allows companies to leverage strategic, expert-driven support to streamline maintenance operations across all regulated functions, both at a central and local affiliate level, all backed up with quality measures, KPIs and reporting tools.

Another reason companies seek outsourcing support is if they need more information about regulatory requirements in certain markets, but lack the in-house expertise on the topic or process. Alternatively, sometimes companies have a workload peak and need short-term support to supplement their internal resources.

Other increasingly important considerations today are that technology solutions are becoming ubiquitous throughout the business and must be regularly updated and improved to keep pace with new developments, requirements and specifications. This has become an even greater priority with the move to advanced technologies, such as automation and natural language processing as companies embrace the digital transformation. What makes the process more complex is that most pharmaceutical systems require appropriate quality management testing and validation, further increasing the administrative burden. Outsourcing the pre-configuration, testing and validation to experts helps companies to stay on top of the digital transformation.

Considered partnerships

Regardless of where you seek to leverage support, when choosing to outsource it’s important to select a partner that will take responsibility for your process or portfolio. After all, your marketed product portfolio is your most valuable intellectual property and the basis of your success. At its best, an outsourcing partnership can provide you with a new level of support and insight. This opens the door for a wide range of opportunities, including:

  • Switching your focus to innovation. By removing the burden of handling the regulatory maintenance of your company’s mature product portfolio, your internal team of experts can turn their attention to new products and processes.
  • Access to an expert pool of external resources, including specific knowledge around product types, technologies and processes that may not be available in-house. These might include:
    • Therapeutic areas
    • Technology capabilities, including expertise in implementing, validating and maintaining regulatory solutions such as regulatory information management systems; deep knowledge of new data standards such as Identification of Medicinal Products; as well as experience with leveraging innovative technologies to support operational excellence, such as robot process automation (RPA), natural language processing (NLP)  and machine learning.)
    • Market access and real-world evidence
    • Local or regional regulatory intelligence
    • Strategic advice during development, initial filing, and lifecycle maintenance
  • Having access to local regulatory support for global maintenance of a mature product portfolio to meet ongoing compliance requirements.
  • Expanding local presence by partnering with external staff based in markets where you do not have on-site operations.
  • Addressing resource gaps when your in-house team is working at maximum capacity.
  • Adopting a cost-effective solution rather than investing in additional full-time specialist staff.
  • Reducing technical and administrative burden and alleviating the pressure to keep up with the digital transformation pace by shifting system ownership to outside vendors.

Stay current, stay compliant

The pharmaceutical industry is faced with mounting pressures amid ever-changing requirements around pharmaceutical product development and lifecycle maintenance. As a result, companies must stay current to ensure compliance. This can best be achieved by looking to external partners for support, ensuring workload flexibility for your internal teams and the opportunity to focus on value-adding activities without compromising compliance. It’s important that your outsourcing partner is willing and able to take ownership of the programs or projects they manage. Furthermore, with innovation now intrinsically entwined with technology advancements, any outsourcing partner should have demonstrated expertise with supporting the digital transformation, for example, by helping to streamline processes through automation and by leveraging capabilities such as NLP and RPA to support innovation.

Gaining access to specialist expertise, flexible global work forces and innovative state-of-the-art technology solutions provides long-term value for pharma companies across multiple areas of the business.  Strategic, well-considered outsourcing ensures you focus on and build upon innovation; it gives you access to the type of dedicated and specific expertise that you are unlikely to have internally; it allows you to expand into new and emerging markets while ensuring you understand and meet local requirements; it allows you to leverage support during peaks; and it ensures you keep pace with the latest digital developments. Importantly, as the article explores, all these opportunities can be gained through outsourcing based on partnership, collaboration, trust and demonstrated expertise.

GHP Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Fitness and Nutrition Awards

United Kingdom, Nov 2021 – GHP Magazine has announced the winners of the Fitness and Nutrition Awards 2021.

The year 2021 has been about recovering from multiple lockdowns while also adapting to live with Covid-19 virus. The pandemic has had a huge impact on our bodies and the way we look after our overall health which has led to a rise in demand for exceptionally high-quality fitness and nutrition products and services.

Our Fitness and Nutrition Awards programme seeks to recognise businesses and professional individuals who have stayed consistently driven and dedicated to help their clients to achieve their health-related goals. GHP appreciates how certain businesses and individuals have not allowed the pandemic to hinder their business but rather have used their experience and expertise to amend their products and services to cater to their customers.

GHP Magazine, as always, endeavours to recognise those that are going above and beyond, or indeed, the businesses that are making meaningful steps forward, no matter how small they might seem on the greater landscape. That’s why we launched our awards programme, and why we continue to spotlight the work of exceptional companies and individuals.

Our Awards Coordinator Jessie Wilson has commented on the success of the awards programme which is now running in its third year: “Our bodies have been through a lot through the past year and I’m glad that we are finally beginning to come to normalcy. With that in mind, I would like to congratulate all the businesses and professionals who have won this year as they have been brilliant in providing high-quality products and services to people when they have needed it the most. It was a pleasure hosting the awards programme this year and I would like to wish all the winner’s good luck for all of their future endeavours!”

To find out more about these leading lights and discover what has led them to becoming who they are today, please visit https://www.ghp-news.com/awards/fitness-and-nutrition-awards/ to access our winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About GHP Magazine, a publication under AI Global Media

Global Health and Pharma magazine is a global information sharing platform & a multi-disciplinary member’s community. The publication was established to enhance communication networks & collaboration across all themes and disciplines within three main categories: Human, Animal & Environmental Health.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

IT Consulting 101: How It Works and Why Your Business Needs It

Any business that wants to remain relevant and competitive must utilize information technology (IT). IT involves the use of modern tools and applications to promote business efficiency. Though a business can work with an in-house IT service team, working with an IT support firm can provide more benefits. That is where IT consulting comes in.

This article will walk you through all you need to know about IT consulting—how it works and why your business needs it.

An Overview of IT Consulting

IT consulting is essentially the practice of seeking help from specialists to ensure that you’re maximizing your company’s IT infrastructure well and to decide what other technologies or strategies you could use for your business. In other words, it involves entrusting a third-party firm with all your IT concerns and questions. Some of the major aspects you can discuss with an IT consulting firm include information security, web development, computer systems analysis, and much more.

This may go hand in hand with hiring IT service providers. So, rather than working with an in-house IT team, you could hire an IT firm on a seasonal basis. For instance, you could consider working with a Boston IT services company like NENS or other similar companies once you’ve gathered enough information and advice from your consulting firm.   

Reasons Why You Should Work With an IT Consulting Firm 

There are several benefits to working with an IT consulting firm. Some of these include the following. 

1. Helps Minimize Costs 

One of the major benefits of working with an IT consulting firm is that it can help minimize your overall business costs. Minimizing costs is essential, especially for businesses operating under a tight budget.  

With that said, IT consulting can help you reduce business costs in several ways. For instance, it can help reduce your labour costs. Working with an IT consulting firm means you can hire a few professionals on a seasonal basis or when needed. You won’t need to work with a full in-house IT team. Thus, you avoid paying huge monthly salaries, allowances, and other bonuses.

In addition, if you outsource your IT services, the IT firm will utilize its own infrastructure, and it often ensures that it has the latest tech available to be able to provide the best service. This means that you won’t need to spend on expensive computing systems and equipment yourself. This results in a significant reduction of costs that your business might have had otherwise. That being said, you could check out https://www.cloudsecuretech.com/1/managed-it/boston/ for options on which IT service provider could give you the best deal.

2. Allows You to Focus On Other Core Business Functions 

There’s no doubt that most business owners aren’t IT experts. They’d make better use of their time if their sole focus was on managing their business. This is easily achievable if they outsource their business’s IT functions. 

Outsourcing your IT functions can give you more time to focus on other vital business operations, which allows you to maximize what you can do to help your business operate better. You will no longer have to spend time trying to understand or fix problems in your business’s infrastructure, as IT consulting firms will have a ready answer for you straightaway. 

3. Helps Boost Productivity 

Most IT consulting firms work with qualified and experienced workers. For that reason, they’re able to implement new technologies into your business, thus streamlining most of your operations. This is a good way to promote your business’s efficiency. This means using fewer resources and time to produce maximum outputs. 

4. Allows You to Get Professional Advice Easily

If you want to take your business to the next level, you should work with experts. An IT consulting firm can give you several of them, most of which may have different areas of specialty. Working with an IT consulting firm can allow you to acquire new knowledge and experiences to boost your business performance. You can get tips and advice from their team on how to improve your computing systems.  

In addition, the IT professionals of the firm can advise you on the best modern business trends and technologies to implement. This will go a long way in helping to promote the growth of your business.  

5. Helps Enhance Your Online Security 

Another reason you may want to work with an IT consulting firm is to enhance your business’s online security. Promoting security is essential, especially in the digital world, where most businesses are prone to cyberattacks and other online threats.  

If you want to protect your business against these threats, it would be a good idea to work with an IT consulting firm. They can utilize modern tools to safeguard your business and conduct assessments to analyse which areas of your infrastructure may be prone to attacks. Since most IT consulting firms have extensive knowledge about the threats that might face your firm, they can advise you on the best security measures to implement to protect your business. 

6. Provides Ease of Scalability 

One of the major challenges facing most businesses today is the lack of resources.  Some of these include capital, human, equipment, and other essentials. This is especially true for business enterprises looking to grow or expand.  

The good news is that, in the aspect of IT at least, businesses can solve this problem by working with an IT service provider. If you’re going to be outsourcing your IT functions, you will be working with a readily scalable firm. Thus, you won’t have to be worried about the lack of IT resources even when your business expands.  

7. Reduces Downtime 

Reduced downtime is another major reason to work with an IT service provider. These firms work around the clock, maintaining and updating business systems, to ensure that your computing infrastructure is always working, thus reducing any chance of downtime. In effect, this helps promote your business efficiency and productivity.  

8. Gives You a Competitive Edge 

Any business that wants to remain relevant and competitive must adopt new business trends and technologies. Though there are several ways of achieving this, one of the best ways is by working with an IT consulting firm.  

The IT firm can keep you updated on the latest technologies and trends, and they will know how to integrate these new technologies into your business’s systems, thus promoting efficiency. This will enable your business to gain a competitive edge in the market. 

 

Takeaway 

No business can go against current market competition without using information technology. Because there are so many new technologies, it’s possible you may get overwhelmed and not know where to start. In that case, the best option would be to work with an IT consulting firm. As mentioned above, there are several benefits to making this move and, ultimately, one end result—the betterment of your company’s systems.

7 Ways to Cut Business Costs Through Cloud Computing

Various businesses all over the globe are eager to find ways to minimize their operating costs. With the advancements in the industry, a steadily increasing number of companies are turning to the cloud.  Cloud-based technologies are becoming a popular choice by businesses in various industries as they can help reduce costs due to multiple reasons, such as the current financial condition and the need to modernize data.  

Managing a business entails hard work and a steady stream of funds. The advancements in technology, specifically the cloud, can help take your business to greater heights. One of the advantages of cloud technology is significantly lowering operating costs.

If you want your business to have lower operational costs, here are several ways to make it happen with cloud computing. 

1. Lessen Spending On Software And Maintenance

With the help of Intellicomp’s managed IT services in Baltimore or any reputable service provider in your area, you’ll gain a drop in the overall operational costs, especially on support and maintenance. Software is an expensive resource for businesses. An approach worth considering is to subscribe to cloud-based software and services. Doing so will prevent your business from spending and maintaining separate software packages for every computer unit in your company.  

The majority of the cloud solutions by reliable providers come at a low monthly fee to help cut down on the operational costs of these infrastructures. Additionally, once you reduce routine maintenance, your IT personnel will have more time to focus on important initiatives and development. In some instances, it might even allow you to cut down on the staff size. 

Companies that lack the resources to accommodate an in-house IT department should consider cloud solutions to eliminate third-party hardware repair fees. 

2. Affordable Initial Capital Investment

Generally, cloud solutions are available in a ‘pay-as-you-go’ price scheme. The method can provide your business with better savings and flexibility in various ways.  

For instance, your business doesn’t have to spend on software or service not being used. Additionally, you can cancel a pay-as-you-go software or service at any time, reducing any financial risk on those that don’t work best for your business. The up-front cost of cloud solutions is also affordable than in-house solutions.  

Additionally, cloud computing can help cut down costs in other aspects. Since data and applications are on the cloud, employees can access them in any location, helping improve work-from-home capabilities. In the long run, your business will need less office space and help reduce rental and utility payments.  

3. Data Security and Backup

Losing critical data and applications can be detrimental to any company. Unforeseen events can damage the infrastructure in various ways, such as power outages, network failures, human errors, data breaches, and many more. If you cannot access your data and applications even for a day, it can spell disaster or even put it at risk for bankruptcy. 

With cloud solutions, your business can conveniently retrieve the latest versions of data in case a disaster or on-site system failure occurs. Hence, it might be best to consider cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) to backup crucial data automatically to a safe location and minimize disruptions when the unexpected occurs.

Having secure data backup in the cloud can effectively prevent expenses on repairing your business after a breach. With that said, visit https://www.cloudsecuretech.com/1/managed-it/baltimore/ or other service providers to ensure the security of your business.   

4. Widen Reach or Coverage

Collaboration in a workplace is only efficient if the entire team is working in the same place. It was the situation before remote work considerably evolved to a whole new level. Fortunately, cloud-based solutions can significantly improve the level of remote work, allowing your business to expand its coverage. For one, the cloud allowed real-time updates and better communications, enabling you to decentralize your workforce.

Additionally, cloud computing will enable your business to access technical talent without employing full-time. Doing so will allow you to allot finances to core employees. 

5. Boost the Productivity

Cloud computing solutions can be an advantage for businesses since they can boost workforce productivity levels. Once you decide to integrate cloud software and services, the deployment is relatively faster than a conventional installation. With this in mind, employees will spend less time waiting and continue with their tasks.  

There’s also a drop in the length of adoption time since employees can readily access any software as a service (SaaS) application. Additionally, the majority of cloud-based solutions are available anywhere with an Internet connection. 

6. Update the Infrastructure

Cloud computing will allow your business to adopt a new approach to technological infrastructure.  

While the necessary adjustments are crucial in getting your system on the cloud, consider it a step in developing a cloud-based architecture that allows your business to utilize capabilities that aren’t possible with traditional frameworks.  

One of these aspects is no other than system security. A cloud environment ensures highly secure facilities that allow specific access levels to different areas. 

When you rely on a dependable managed IT service provider to handle the infrastructure, your employees can focus on the core work of your company. In the long run, it ensures better productivity in creating solutions to gain more clients and leads. 

7. Growth Management

If you have a small business, incorporating cloud technology is a practical approach in facing challenges along the way. Cloud technology will provide your business with a better chance for further growth. This is because one of the best aspects of cloud services is allowing convenient expansion. Thus, you no longer need to worry about buying extra equipment since vendors will take responsibility when handling any hardware concerns.  

For those working in an industry with seasons of expansion and contraction, cloud computing will significantly help. Proper growth management can significantly cut down your overall costs. 

Conclusion

With the convenience brought about by cloud technology, you should consider what it can do for your business. If your main objective is to maximize your budget, cloud computing is worth the try.  

Taking an initial step in migrating to the cloud can be intimidating, but all the benefits your business will gain are worth the time and effort. Aside from saving money on operating costs, your business will enjoy other advantages in the long run. Make the right move by integrating cloud computing to help your business reach better heights.

Could the Interim Save Christmas?

By Leigh Anderson, Managing Director at Bis Henderson Recruitment

As supply chains struggle to meet the challenges of a fast-recovering economy, labour scarcity and post- Brexit trading complexity, fears are growing of empty shelves leading into peak season. Rising ecommerce volumes and the driver shortage are creating the perfect storm. Interim managers can provide the skills needed to save Christmas, but firms need to act now to secure the best talent.


At almost every point in every supply chain, companies are facing unprecedented levels of change and uncertainty. Challenges from Covid to Brexit, driver shortages to microchip shortages, eCommerce to ethical consumerism, mean that businesses are having to learn, change and adapt their logistics operations at great speed, and often in areas where they lack high-level skills and expertise.

Existing managers and executives may be highly competent within business models that have evolved over decades with clear goals, but they aren’t necessarily well suited to drive through rapid and radical changes, or to identify and implement viable solutions to multiple crises.

Critically, companies need to access the talents of individuals with quite unique skill sets and experience, often at a level that would be considered unaffordable and unjustifiable when stability returns. Nor indeed are these talents possessed by the sort of people who settle down for the long term. In these conditions the professional ‘interim’ manager, executive or technologist comes into his or her own. While pre-Covid, this had been a market in decline; in the past year Bis Henderson Recruitment has seen a very significant uplift in requests by companies seeking our help in making short-term appointments. This is even more pronounced now as supply chains enter the run-up to the crucial Christmas season, with every day bringing a new challenge.

Demand for interim assistance is up by around 500% – and there is a clear correlation with a comparable collapse in responses to advertisements for conventional, long-term employment.

In particular, we are fielding urgent requirements for Warehouse and Operations Managers, Transport Managers and Planners, and Shift Managers to plan and execute additional pick and delivery volumes through the peak.

However, we find that many companies, small and large, are cautious, even fearful about going down the interim route to meet their short-term skill needs. In this paper we explore the reasons for this, and reveal our poll findings that refute some of the myths and misconceptions around interims.

What is an Interim?

Firstly, let’s be clear what we mean by an interim manager or executive. This is not a catch-all term for any short or fixed term employment: indeed, technically, it isn’t employment at all.

An interim is someone who brings a particular and rare combination of skills and experience to bear on a specific task, well-defined by goals and duration, typically of a project nature – although the approach can be applied to short-term senior management cover, or in ‘disaster recovery’ situations.

The emphasis is usually on successful implementation on time and to budget, rather than strategic planning and evaluation of options, which is more the realm of a consultancy. In our field the task may be bringing a new DC into operation, or implementing a new WMS, or, very topically, reconfiguring the transport network to make better use of available drivers.

Often, the appointment is additional to, rather than replacing, existing management – the latter of course still have the challenges of the day-to-day running of the business. There is often an expectation of significant skills transfer, to enable the permanent staff to successfully operate the new arrangements after the interim has moved on. Typically, an interim assignment will be for six months or less.

We say ‘assignment’ not ‘employment’ because the interim is not an employee – the relationship is that of a contract for services, not a contract of employment. The interim may be contracted with directly as a self-employed individual or via their own personal service company, or through an intermediate such as Bis Henderson Recruitment.

However, an interim is not a substitute for what would normally be a payroll position. It isn’t a tax avoidance scheme, for either party, although if appropriately applied, an interim appointment can reduce taxation paid. Nor is its purpose to allow the company to avoid non salary labour costs – a sort of gig economy for the higher paid – although reduced employment costs can also be the result.

Importantly, it isn’t appropriate, or lawful, if for example it is envisaged that the same interim will carry out a whole series of back-to-back projects – which has been a common abuse in IT and other fields. Less clear-cut, but it may also not be appropriate when the appointment is simply to ‘hold the fort’ while the search is on for a long-term employee. In these cases, a short or fixed term contract of employment is the way to go and Bis Henderson Recruitment can help here too.

What Our Survey Reveals

Although our in-box is full with enquiries about interims, we know many companies still have reservations. To better understand the reasons for this we recently ran a survey among our contacts on LinkedIn, with interesting results. Four particular concerns stood out.

Cultural Alignment

Nearly a fifth of our respondents cited concerns over the linked themes of ‘Slow Integration’ and ‘Cultural Alignment’.

Worries about the speed at which the interim can be integrated into the organisation are misplaced – one of the virtues of appointing an interim is precisely that these are people who expect to hit the ground running from hour one, day one. This is how they make their reputations. In practice it may be the interim who is more concerned about how quickly the permanent staff that he or she will be working with can come up to the required sense of urgency.

Cultural alignment can be somewhat more problematic, especially since one of the reasons for bringing an interim in may be precisely to over-ride ‘not invented here’, ‘we’ve always done it this way’ attitudes. A lot depends on the ability of the company’s managers and directors to pave the way, explaining why the interim is being brought in and what it is intended should be achieved. This has to be done skillfully, without suggesting that existing staff have in any way failed or are in some sense inferior – after all, they will still be with the business long after the interim has moved on to their next assignment.

The Dreaded IR35

Some 25% of our respondents voiced concerns about their liabilities under the famous ‘IR35’ rules, which were finally introduced for larger private companies in April this year, after a long period of controversy and, some might say, scaremongering.

Bis Henderson has worked hard to create a seamless process for recruiting interim managers and has taken the hard work and risk out of ensuring that contracts are ‘IR35 proof’.

The rules exist to prevent individuals and companies evading tax, especially National Insurance, by falsely claiming self-employed or contractor status. The rules themselves haven’t changed much – what is new is that whereas it used to be for the individual to assert their self-employed status, for larger companies the onus is now on them to show that they have considered each case and that the self-employed/ contractor status is genuinely ‘outside IR35’ and therefore off the payroll.

Consequently, some businesses have panicked and placed a blanket ban on off-payroll appointments. This is quite unnecessary and, in so far as it denies them access to the skills they need, positively harmful. We can help businesses who are unsure how to navigate the legislation, and find that in practice most cases are fairly obvious. If the assignment is tightly defined, of limited duration and unlikely to be renewed or extended, and it requires skills and experience at a level the company wouldn’t normally need, or can’t maintain in-house, then that should be safely outside IR35.

On the other hand, if it is contemplated that the interim will be tackling a series of back-to-back assignments of a similar nature, or the timescale is open-ended, or a significant part of the task is normally carried out by a salaried employee, then that may well attract the attention of HMRC, which can involve payment of back taxes, penalties, possibly retrospective benefit payments to the ‘employee’ and general unpleasantness. If you really have to go through hoops to justify off-payroll status, then you probably shouldn’t.

In our experience, though, it is a mistake to think just in terms of IR35. If the requirement is indeed ongoing, regular, or recurrent, surely it is a core element of the business – why wouldn’t you make every effort to bring that in house rather than relying on external parties (interims or consultants or various third-party support services) at considerable extra-long term cost.

 

Cost and Value

Which brings us to our clients’ principal concern around interims – that of cost: a worry for 39% of our sample – and therefore, a far bigger concern than the IR35 issue.

Of course, an interim will expect a day rate equating to significantly more than the salary of a full-time employee in a similar role. However, any comparison should consider all the costs.

In the first place, a comparison assumes that similar skills are readily and immediately available on the conventional jobs market, which is less than likely. And the extra money is limited to the short duration of the contract, usually just a few months. It should have no impact on future employment costs once the interim has moved on. In the end, the client company is paying a premium for instant access to high-grade skills. Is it worth making that investment? Is it worth taking the risk of not making the investment?

Your Call

And when we look at the bottom line, the cost difference, while still real, is substantially less. As every company director knows, there is a lot more to employment costs than annual salary, and a lot of these disappear under an interim contract for service.

Most obviously, there is no employer’s National Insurance to pay, which would be £30,429 extra on a £140,000 salary. There is no holiday pay. There is no employer contribution to pension schemes. There may be savings on a range of other employment benefits, depending on what the company offers, but these might include bonus schemes, healthcare plans, gym memberships, stock options. The company isn’t paying for a laptop or a company car, or unless otherwise agreed a range of business expenses. Being off payroll, the contract doesn’t increase the firm’s Apprenticeship Levy payments.

Taken all together, the difference in employment cost between an interim and a permanent staffer of comparable abilities, if such were available, looks not unreasonable.

There are other less tangible benefits. There are no extra HR, Payroll and other admin costs (the interim is paid by Bis Henderson Recruitment, and we invoice the client for our services). There should be no training or on-boarding costs. A large part of the recruitment costs, from scoping the requirement to conducting interviews and assessments, are included in our service charge as are necessary background checks, verification of adequate Professional Indemnity insurance, work permits if relevant, and so forth.

Crucially, the interim route delivers results fast – we average seven days from initial client contact to a contract being signed, and there is a negligible learning curve: interims start making a contribution on their first day.

In the current climate and with a Christmas peak looming that may be quite unlike previous years, firms need to be asking themselves some critical questions:

1. What could possibly go wrong?

2. Do we have a full management team in place for the peak, with the support they will need?

3. Are they all battle-ready and war- gamed?

4. Are we confident that our plan is robust?

5. Do we have contingencies in place for most eventualities?

 

If this reveals vulnerabilities, discuss with us the potential for appointing interim managers to reinforce the team.

In Summary

We don’t claim that the interim route is the way to go for every situation – we can offer objective advice and indeed, we can help with your short or fixed term employment requirements as well. But in twenty years we have made more than 2,000 very successful high-level appointments, with repeat business from our clients and our interims.

In these turbulent times, logistics and supply chain companies need motivated individuals with the right skills who can quickly understand and augment a rapid response to a given challenge. Interim appointments offer a keyway of achieving the necessary agility quickly – and for many businesses, if they can see past some of the perceived barriers, they might just save Christmas.

Bis Henderson has seen the supply chain sector through numerous stages of its evolution; from high street to internet, from paper to handheld, from spreadsheets to blockchain. This next era whilst daunting, may just herald the most exciting changes in supply chain recruitment since the emergence of the Web.

If you need an Interim to support you during the upcoming Peak Period, someone who can hit the ground running and bring value from day one – our interim recruiters have access to a pool of hand-picked, personally vetted specialists. Act now to secure the top talent you need.

7 Business Benefits of Hiring Managed IT Services

Besides accounting, one of the most outsourced jobs is managed information technology (IT) services. And for a good reason. Hiring managed IT services involves hiring third-party specialists to take charge of a business’ needs. As such, entities can focus on running their business without worrying about IT downtimes or a significant cyberattack. 

If you’re on the fence about getting one, here’s a curated list of benefits a business is entitled to when hiring managed IT services:

1. Minimizes Business Disruptions  

All businesses, whether large companies or small entities, experience IT downtimes. While reasons vary, it can both be an internal or external hardware and software problem. However, the fact remains that any business disruption will impact the brand. 

IT outages cause product-making and service interruptions, taking a toll on your online and in-person sales or payment facilities. Furthermore, having frequent downtimes can lead to reliability issues and clients’ distrust of your business—no matter what type of business you operate and wherever you may be in the world.

For instance, if you’re in Canada, a Toronto-managed IT service from Buchanan Technologies will be on top of your IT needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Similar IT firms will also make sure your systems are up-to-date, making them more resilient to online attacks. And, in the event of a significant disaster or massive system failure, a managed IT service takes a proactive approach to protect all your business assets and minimize downtimes.  

2. Cost-Effective 

Hiring managed IT services entail costs, but one that, in most cases, is cheaper than maintaining an in-house IT team. Before signing a contract, an IT service provider will send you a quote for various services included in a specific service package. 

Compare these costs with what your business needs to spend for the same period on monthly salaries, overtime pay, paid time offs, office spaces, computer equipment, training, and other legally mandated employee benefits, and you’ll be surprised to find the difference. 

Your business will have predictable spending with managed services, unlike hiring IT firms on a break-fix basis. When opting for the latter, you may think that you’ll save on costs. But considering that you’re only hiring experts when something happens, your organization may not have the type of online and data management protection it direly needs. 

Since you know how much you’re going to spend monthly, you can align your budget better—and use it for essential activities, such as product research and development. This means you can have extra money to spend on other essential things.    

3. Proactive Defense Against Cyber Threats

In a highly competitive business environment, enterprises must use technology to survive and thrive. Cyberattacks happen several times daily. Hackers have become more sophisticated and are less picky when it comes to their victims. That’s why businesses must take a proactive approach to prevent cyber threats from infiltrating their systems and inflicting costly damages. 

With a managed service provider, your business will have the protection it needs through preventive maintenance methods, robust data protection, software, and security updates. Managed IT services also train your organization on cyber security and help you develop a disaster recovery plan.          

4. Ensures Compliance to Regulations 

Various governments have acknowledged the role of digital technology in making business operations seamless. At the same time, regulations are in place to protect data privacy, safeguarding consumers against cyber hacking, unauthorized information use, and improper handling. 

Businesses have local and national laws requiring firms to have policies and proper tools to ensure these are upheld. If you don’t know these rules or don’t have someone who can help you comply with specific IT requirements, you’re exposing your business to a potential lawsuit and hefty penalties for non-compliance

Hiring a managed IT service ensures that your business is compliant with government regulations. Doing so can improve your brand’s reputation on the market, as consumers choose to transact with you over other companies with less IT protection. 

5. Access to IT Experts

If you’re not IT-savvy yourself or can’t afford to pay an IT expert’s standard salary rate, it’ll be challenging to hire a staff to take care of your business needs. Simply put, you won’t have access to an IT expert if you can’t afford one. 

On the other hand, an IT managed service provider has stringent rules in screening and accepting its pool of experts. Additionally, they make sure that these professionals have updated training and certifications to tackle the latest and emerging trends in cyber security and then the IT field in general.     

Hiring a managed IT service means you’ll have access to these highly qualified professionals even if you run a small business. This allows you to enjoy the services of experts that typically only large corporations can afford to hire.     

6. Time-Saving 

In addition to saving money, hiring a managed service provider can save a business venture time by taking over IT activities that otherwise take several working hours to complete. Creating a cyber security and risk awareness training or program, for instance, takes careful planning. So does the drafting of a disaster recovery plan. With the help of these services providers, businesses can be more confident of their capacities to perform them or outsource the work to an IT firm.   

When something goes wrong, organizations don’t need to wait long to have the issue addressed. A representative will be online to respond to your concerns quickly. Besides, service provider representatives are available all the time, unlike your in-house staff, who may not like to be bothered during non-working hours.  

7. Focus on Your Business

Instead of spending your time calling and waiting for an IT service to fix system errors or wondering which topics your cyber security training must contain, you can delegate all these tasks to your managed service provider.

Not having to worry about vital IT activities, you and your colleagues will have more time thinking about your next big product launch. Without worrying too much about whether you have enough tools to protect your business from cybercriminals, you’ll have more time thinking about how to improve your business processes or manufacturing workflows.

Final Thoughts 

Boosting your business’ cybersecurity requires professional help—one that either an in-house IT staff or a managed IT services provider can provide. These IT professionals know the most efficient strategies and software to defend your business from digital risks.

An IT managed services provider can help ensure that your business’s network, systems, and data are protected from potential cyberattacks. These professionals are your first line of defense against costly damages such as potential lawsuits and hefty non-compliance fees.