Sharing the World’s Natural Beauty

As 2021’s Award winners for ‘Excellence in Innovation’ in Sweden, Skogen’s naturally cultivated, and environmentally friendly skincare products are granting it significant notoriety. As its name might imply, its business model is intrinsically tied to caring for the world around it, something it hopes to foster more of in its industry as the market segment begins to pivot.

At Skogen Cosmetics, there is a prevailing drive towards betterment that has prevailed since its inception. As a company, it is based in both New York and Stockholm, and manufactures industry leading beauty products that intend to lead by example, showing its industry how the future could look – and innovating a path towards a more environmentally friendly tomorrow. Additionally, with over a decade of experience, it boasts ingenuity and past knowledge of its industry that will allow it to make the best choices for its future, having kept its finger on the pulse of new developments and discoveries.

Initially, its journey started with the manufacture of luxury-grade cosmetics. This allowed it to serve a multitude of high-end brands and private labels all across the world, utilising its excellence in development and creation to pioneer new lines that impress and inspire end users across a multitude of products. After multiple years of doing this work, it realised that it could ply this trade for itself. Thus, it began to move away from creating its client’s products, and towards developing its own lines.

This decision, fundamentally, was driven by Skogen’s commitment to luxury grade cosmetics that cultivate elegance, sophistication, and beauty, all underpinned by a dedication to sustainability and to caring for the earth. In sharing this with its industry and market segment it hopes to be a trail blazer as it joins the trend of a turning tide in the beauty industry, one of more conscientious customers looking for more environmentally friendly cosmetics that are ethical as well as effective in creating the look they want. Furthermore, Skogen’s strong belief in healthy living drove them to funnel significant effort into creating products that push the admiration for nature’s ability to provide for humanity.

Due to this, it chose the name Skogen. The word itself in Swedish means ‘forest’, and it is here that it found its inspiration for all of its product lines, with a philosophy of encouraging better health for both its end users and the world in the macro scale. It is from this that its pride in its products comes from. Skogen, above all else, wishes to make its clients feel like their best self with brilliant and extraordinary products, sourcing the finest ingredients which are heavily vetted before it uses them – similarly, all of its products undergo rigorous quality control before being allowed to leave the facility.

Moreover, the Skogen way is one of results. Its skincare systems deliver visible results for its customers by way of biomimetism, using elixirs from nature in their most true form with effective and optimised formulas that allow the ingredients to shine in the way they do best, promoting healthy, luxurious, high-quality skincare that a client will love. Its dedication to consistent innovation also promises clients that it will never stagnate, too, always pushing towards the next greatest product and the next step towards environmental harmony; this has led to incorporation of natural multi-vitamins into its products, as well as hyaluronic acids and peptide enrichment. Skogen also promises its clients that each product is cruelty free, with high levels of dermatological testing, an active FDA registration that its facility operates under, and no artificial ingredients, GMO, or parabens. All of the aforementioned elements have come together to make Skogen a darling of its industry and a household name with increasing momentum, something it is excited to continue growing into over the course of the next few years.

For more information, please contact David Johansson or visit www.skogen.shop

Breaking Down Barriers to Procurement

Cloudscene is a cloud-based platform for sourcing and selling network services. It caters for all businesses that need to purchase connectivity, colocation, or cloud services. The company’s core value is making sure the user is number one in everything it does, a principle it has carried through from inception and which will continue to play a key role in how it operates in the future. Company CEO, Belle Lajoie has been crowned Most Influential CEO 2021 – Australia by CEO Monthly, so we take a closer look at Cloudscene and how Belle earned this title.

Transforming the way businesses buy and sell network services, Cloudscene began as a start-up in Brisbane, Australia. Since its humble beginnings, it has expanded across the world, dedicated to creating a solution for network buyers and service providers. The company has purpose-built its digital procurement platform to simplify sourcing and selling for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Because no matter how big or small the business is, nobody wants to have to put up with yesterday’s problems of lengthy phone calls, back-and-forth emails, and mountains of paperwork, just to get their job done. Cloudscene is breaking down the barriers to procurement and empowering businesses to connect.

The company’s customer base is made up of a wide range of businesses, from some of the largest companies in the world such as Google, Oracle, and IBM, as well as SMEs looking to start-up or scale. Cloudscene works with any business that requires network connectivity and differentiates itself by using the most comprehensive industry data to fuel its marketplace, which means sourcing teams can make stronger, more informed business decisions, and save valuable time and money, giving them the tools to buy more effectively and for a lower cost.

An interesting time for Cloudscene was the COVID-19 pandemic as its marketplace was created on the basis of not needing to have in-person meetings and changing the entire process of how people procure services in order to consolidate their communication and tasks on a single cloud-based platform. Fortunately, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for Cloudscene’s Marketplace platform due to the large surge in remote workers using these services for daily productivity and communications, which has been great for the company’s growth and overall engagement.

None of Cloudscene’s success could happen without its staff, who are the heart of the organisation. The company is fortunate to have such dedicated and experienced colleagues, and its internal culture is a lot of fun and full of passion, with a focus on high performance. The crew is always very energetic and keep Belle on her toes!

The qualities that Belle looks for when recruiting new talent are passion, drive, hunger, and ownership. The rest is coachable. An individual who has the hunger and drive to completely own something from inception to execution is the kind of person that Belle wants on her team.

Belle Lajoie stepped into her current role as CEO back in April 2019, and since then, she has done an incredible amount of work in the way of transforming Cloudscene as a business, and cultivated a rich team culture which thrives today. It’s her years of diverse experience and her drive which encourage everyone to keep stepping up their game. She inspires everyone at the company.

She has a leadership style which involves being passionate about the team and everything it does. She encourages a safe space for having a strategic voice and cultivating innovation, and of course, focusing on execution. The company’s people are the single most important asset and making them feel valued is a key metric Belle holds for herself.

Speaking about her success at Cloudscene, Belle said, “My success is a shared success. I never sought a “big career”, I always sought out value for my employer and my leaders throughout my entire working life. When you continue to deliver value, your employer, leadership team, and board usually reciprocate that value. So, my focus is on the success of both Cloudscene and IntelliHR (as a board member) and their users.”

For further infromation, please contact Belle Lajoie or visit www.cloudscene.com

The Perfect Winter Warmer

Inspired by the ingredients used in homemade mulled wines, this gin can be enjoyed hot or cold, and has a wonderful blend of mandarin and cinnamon flavours. The flavour profile can be broken down by the nose, palate, and finish.

Nose

Intense mandarin flavour with a warm and complex background and notes of cinnamon.

Palate

The first taste is cinnamon: sweet on the tip of the tongue. After that the spicy and sweet notes from cardamom start to appear.

Finish

The long aftertaste clearly delivers the mandarin: refreshing citrus balanced with the complexity of spices.

Here are some recipes to help you on your mixology journey:

Recipe 1 – Mulled Cranberry (served hot)

Ingredients:

  • Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin: 50ml
  • Red wine: 125ml
  • Simple syrup or honey
  • Juice of One lemon or orange per serving
  • Licor 43: 50ml
  • Garnish to taste: cinnamon stick & orange wedge

Preparation:

For a punch format pour ingredients multiplied by the number of servings, into a saucepan. Don’t boil. Bring to simmer and reduce to desired taste and concentration.

 

Recipe 2 – G&T (served over ice)

Ingredients:

  • Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin: 50ml
  • Spiced tonic: 200ml
  • Optional garnish to taste: cinnamon stick or orange wheel

Preparation:

Gently pour your gin measure into a highball glass over ice. Top up with your tonic and add the suggested garnish to taste. Sip and enjoy!

 

Recipe 3 – Gin Flip (shaken over ice)

Ingredients:

  • Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin: 50ml
  • Ginger syrup: 20ml
  • Double cream: 12.5ml
  • On egg
  • Garnish to taste: Grated nutmeg & cinnamon

Preparation:

Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake well until condensation appears on the outside. Strain into a coupe glass and add garnish to taste.

We hope these three recipes inspired you to get mixing and try something new. With the festive season approaching, now is a great time to enjoy Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin, especially before Dry January starts! Chin-chin!

Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin is available to buy from Waitrose for £27.99.

LUXlife Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Food & Drink Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – LUXlife magazine announces the winners of the 2021 Food & Drink Awards.

During another year of uncertainty and doubt, many industries have struggled to adapt their businesses while others have found new opportunities. The Food & Drink Awards aim to commend those who strive to offer the best products, services, and experiences ion their respective industry. With this in mind, small, large, or any size in between business is eligible for nomination.

Now in its sixth year, the Food & Drink Awards is happy to showcase the best of the best, highlighting their success in these difficult times. While there are still significant challenges to be faced in this current climate, bringing fresh ideas and innovative products to the table is cause for celebration!

Commenting on the winners of this year’s awards programme, Coordinator Katherine Benton stated: “It’s been a difficult year in the food and drinks industry, but there’s been a light at the end of the tunnel with bars and restaurants reopening. We offer our sincere congratulations to all the winners, and good luck in the year ahead.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated establishments that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.lux-review.com/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About LUXlife

Published quarterly, LUXlife informs readers on all aspects of high end lifestyle, including the finest food and drink, hotels and resorts, health and beauty, automotive, jewellery, art and technology from around the world.

LUXlife is bought to you by AI Global Media, a digital publishing group founded in 2010. The group currently has 13 brands within its portfolio that include luxury lifestyle, construction, healthcare, and small business focused publications. AI Global Media is dedicated to delivering content you can trust.

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.

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.

5 Things Shoppers Need to Know When Using Klarna for Their Christmas Shopping

The Buy Now Pay Later sector has grown rapidly in the last year with millions of people across the UK using firms such as Klarna and Clearpay to spread the cost of their online shopping. While they can be a useful tool for those who want to manage payments, they can form a very slippery slope for those who don’t fully understand what they’re getting into.

Although it has been in talks for the last few months, the sector still remains unregulated so consumers have little protection when compared to regulated products such as credit cards and overdrafts.

Holly Andrews, Managing Director at KIS Finance and personal finance expert, outlines five things that shoppers need to know about the UK’s biggest BNPL service, Klarna, while using it for Christmas shopping this year.

You will pay interest with their financing option

There are different payment options when it comes to using Klarna, and it’s very important to fully understand which method you’re using and the implications of doing so.

Klarna will often be advertised as interest-free, which is true if you use their ‘pay in 30 days’ option. This is a form of invoice which gives you 30 days to pay off the full balance, and for this you won’t be charged any interest or fees. This is also true of their ‘instalments’ option which allows you to pay in 3 equal instalments over 60 days.

However, if you use their financing option to pay in monthly instalments, then you will be charged interest on this. If you are eligible for this option, you can pay for your shopping in equal instalments over 6 to 36 months, and you will be charged a maximum APR of 18.9%.

Before you purchase anything using Klarna, you must read the terms and conditions so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Make sure you also take the interest into account when you’re calculating how much you can afford to borrow and pay back.

It can affect your credit score

If you use either Klarna’s ‘pay in 30 days’ or ‘instalments’ option, only a soft credit check will be carried out. This will not affect your credit score and other lenders will not be able to see this on your report. Klarna says that your credit score will not be affected even if you fail to pay within the specified timeframe.

However, using Klarna’s financing option will mean that a full credit check will be undertaken. This can affect your credit score as it will be classed as a ‘hard search’ and other lenders will be able to see this on your report when you make future credit applications. Your credit score may also be negatively affected if you fail to keep up with the monthly payments.
Again, make sure you read the terms and conditions so you know the full implications of which option you’re taking out.

Debt collectors can be called

Whichever payment option you use, debt collectors can be called upon if you repeatedly fail to pay under the specified payment terms.

Klarna says that they will do everything they can to avoid this. They will send you multiple reminders about your payments and they will do what they can to find an alternative payment arrangement. But if you ignore their reminders and the debt remains unpaid after several months then this will be passed to a debt collection agency.

You must remember that when you use a BNPL service, you are entering into a legally binding credit agreement. If you do not take it seriously and continue to let your debt build up then there can be very damaging consequences, including affecting your ability to obtain a mortgage in the future.

You may be charged fees for using a credit card with BNPL

Some users have been charged fees by their bank when using a credit card with Klarna’s ‘instalments’ option. Tesco Bank, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland have been named specifically for doing this.

This is likely because the bank is classing the Klarna transaction as a cash advance, and therefore applying cash advance fees. This is because you’re not paying the retailer directly.

This fee is not charged by Klarna and they are unable to prevent it, so it’s important that you watch out for this and change the card that you’re using if you are charged fees.

What to do if something is wrong with your order

If you receive a product that you didn’t order, or a product that is faulty or broken then you can pause your Klarna instalments. You need to sort the issue with the retailer, but you also need to let Klarna know that there has been a problem. You can do this on the Klarna app.

By doing this, your payment plan will be paused until you resolve the issue with the retailer, and then they will inform Klarna if any refunds need to be made.
If you are unable to resolve the issue with the retailer directly, then you can provide the information to Klarna who will then investigate further. This can take 30 to 50 days before a decision is reached.

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.

4 Pieces of Clothing That Increase Your Level of Comfort Significantly

Sometimes, it appears that it is not possible to find comfy clothes and look chic. All comfortable clothing and shoes are usually made of materials and fabrics that are either too tight or contain traces of non-natural fabrics. It is quite demanding to choose your outfit if you want to maintain a perfect image, be comfortable and make those long hours at least bearable. Sometimes it is enough to have just some pieces of clothing that will add some spice to your outfit and make it much comfier. Here is a suggestion of four pieces of clothing that will bring your outfit to a whole new level when it comes to comfort.

Tights

Tights are the number one comfiest pants. They are stretchy, made of stretchy materials, and are available for sporty, cozy, casual, elegant, urban outfits. The best thing with tights, aside from being easy to combine, is that they offer you a whole range of different patterns and fabrics used and you can easily choose and look for the ones that suit you the most. Apart from being a fantastic workout combination and the best piece of clothing for functioning, they can facilitate fat burn and help you get better results since there are some designs that keep the heat of your body and increase caloric burn.

Some models are made especially for winter conditions and offer some extra heat due to their design and usage of the term fabrics. The best thing about these is that they are very durable and can give you a hand for a couple of seasons. It is a smart option to have two or three pairs of this comfortable clothing you can wear at home, at the job, while taking a casual walk with your friends, in some cute outfit at the coffee date, etc. 

Stockings

It may appear as a weird option, but stockings bring next-level comfort. You must wonder how. Stockings, either cotton, wool, or compressive ones will fulfill the entire image. For instance, if you are doing sports or have some problems with veins then buying compression stockings will make your life easier. Stockings are keeping you warm and nowadays they became a perfect fashion detail. They came in various colors and patterns which are both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

 

Hoodies and Sweatshirts 

Either you wear them in some new, urban classic outfit combinations with a coat and unicolor beanie, or in a sporty outfit for some quick workout rounds and walks, hoodies, and sweatshirts have the ability to give you the extra comfort you have been looking for. The flexibility of the current fashion trends gave them so much credit for some of the best outfit combinations you have a chance to rock and slay. They can be combined and worn with literally everything. Oversized hoodies with some long stockings can give you an urban rebel look. You can go with a classic and hit the gym with your hood and spicing the things up with a pinch of mystery. Sweatshirts on the other hand can be used as a piece of formal clothing when combined with a shirt with a nice fashionista touch. The latest trends give you enough space to wear these pieces in all sizes that are good for you and are the most comfortable for you as well. There is no need to put yourself in a tight piece just because the trends say so. You can go for the size plus and look equally good. 

Shorts 

There is nothing as comfortable as shorts. The best thing about them is the scope of different models and the ways you can combine them. Firstly, sporty shorts are great for workouts because they are stretchy and are made of very good materials. These models are great for comfy stay-ins and even sleeping during the summer season. Denim shorts are great for everyday outfits and are a great solution for hot summer days. Shorts do not always need to be too short and uncomfortable for wearing. There is a whole range of different lengths. Therefore, biker shorts are usually right above your knees and are extra comfortable and trendy. Shorts can be combined with literally everything, from a tank top to a hoodie. This piece of clothing is great because it offers some additional mobility, especially if you are doing sports or something that requires unbothered moving. 

The list of the comfiest pieces of clothing is long and individual. Different pieces work for different people and situations. The essential thing is to always wear the things that will not restrain you from doing your daily actions and to always feel happy in what and with what you are wearing.

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.

Rewarding Loyalty

What makes Prosper² Rewards so unique is that it is an innovative open-loop rewards programme that allows businesses to reward their most valuable customers with points, which can be redeemed directly to a multi-currency Prosper² Rewards Mastercard, allowing them to be spent wherever and on whatever they want. This generates brand loyalty and improved customer satisfaction. Prosper² has been recognised by SME News as the winner of the Best in Rewards Programmes for SMEs 2021 award – Join us as we explore how the company achieved this.

Most loyalty programmes are closed-loop, meaning that the company treats their rewards points like store credits to its loyal customers, only allowing those points to be used in their own shops or websites. Prosper² Rewards does not restrict where its customers spend their earned points. Its unique pre-paid Mastercard rewards card allows redeemed points to be used anywhere, in any shop, for any company, that accept Mastercard for payment, giving business’ customers the freedom to use their points for anything they need or want. And as each Prosper² Point can be redeemed for £1, its easy for cardholders to enjoy their reward.

Optimising loyalty from valuable customers should be a key strategic objective for all companies; Prosper² helps by monetising its rewards programme. This delivers greater customer value, enhanced engagement, and improved customer intelligence.

Prosper² Rewards can be easily accessed through the Prosper² Business Club, a business members club exclusively available for SMEs, their directors and owners. The membership delivers unique business benefits designed to help businesses grow and promote their offering, connecting them with like-minded people and generate loyalty with clients and suppliers.

Businesses who join Prosper² have access to a wealth of specialist services, and through Prosper²’s own loyalty programme, are rewarded with exclusive membership benefits including Prosper² Rewards Points, all through a monthly subscription fee. Prosper² offers a choice of membership levels to suit the client’s business which start at only £100!

Prosper² is a community-driven business that supports the UK’s SME market and facilitates relationships between likeminded, hardworking business owners, to expand their network and collaborate with potential partners and clients. It is a club that embraces people from all walks of business life, with members ranging from solicitors to architects to physiotherapists. It wants its members to take an active role in building the community they want, so it has a range of options for people to refer friends for membership packages or recommend their customers to Prosper² services – all rewarded with Prosper² Points.

Several multinational technology clients have in recent years incorporated the Prosper² reward system and approach into their marketing and rewards strategy with incredible but measurable returns on/in both ROI and engagement. 

A full range of white labelling options are available, allowing larger clients to have their own branded loyalty programme without the costs and difficulties associated with setting up a rewards programme from scratch.  White labelling offers a cost effective, out of the box solution, which is flexible and adaptable to businesses aiming for improved customer loyalty and engagement. Prosper² can set up a business’ own branded card, cardholders, and computer systems or they can assist in the design of a card from scratch, ensuring it stands out in the market.

Prosper²’s core values are authenticity, practicality, creativity, and community. It is true to its own personality, values, and spirit. It strives to provide services and benefits that are genuinely useful for members and clients, to improve their lifestyle, grow their business, and foster relationships with other entrepreneurs.

For further information please visit www.prosper2.co.uk

Animal Welfare Charity Done Right

CaliCoin is the world’s first and only cryptocurrency dedicated to helping what is termed “Animals of Determination” (AODs) around the world. Company CEO, Caroline Lafferty has been recognised by CEO Monthly as Most Influential CEO 2021 – the United Arab Emirates. We delve deeper to learn why.

The easiest way to describe CaliCoin is it’s a “marriage” of differing vectors. Firstly, it is the marriage of CEO Caroline Lafferty’s love of animal and charity work, coupled with her passion for the cryptocurrency space. Secondly, it is a marriage of two general characteristics of the Millennial generation – a passion for social causes and in particular, animal welfare, and a high level of know-how and preference for virtual currencies.

Put all this together and CaliCoin is a unique concept: A charity token and donation platform, enabling donors who wish to donate to animal welfare organisations the opportunity to do so, with high trust that their donations will be put to good use, and leveraging the transparency and seamless transactions a virtual currency provides. CaliCoin’s focus is on the less well-funded charities with low exposure and in more need of funding. It is a means to expand the donor base for very needy charities; and also gives donors  peace of mind that their money goes to good use; and that the charities have been properly vetted. It is a win-win-win all the way around. The animals win. The charities win. And the donors win!

Noting the rising incidence of scandals and questionable use of donations among charities, CaliCoin starts by performing rigorous due diligence on prospective charity organisations worldwide that cater to AODs. Once a charity is fully qualified, it is added to the CaliCoin platform and assigned its own wallet. Prospective donors can then peruse the charities, choose one or more for a donation, and purchase and deposit CaliCoins seamlessly into the wallets of their choice. CaliCoin is 100% non-profit and takes no commission or added fees – the money goes directly to help the animals. Recipient charities may use CaliCoin for veterinary services, they may hold CaliCoins for future use, or they may convert it into fiat to pay other operating expenses.

Caroline Lafferty grew up in an entrepreneurial household as her parents always ran their own companies. So, starting up her own business is, in a sense, “in her blood”. CaliCoin is Caroline’s third successful start-up, and she would say that everything she has done to date has prepared her well to launch and lead CaliCoin. The key difference is, this is the first time she has coupled the entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for giving back and for animals. She firmly believes it is a moral obligation to help those less fortunate. There is nothing more noble than helping a disabled or homeless animal, or AODs. In this sense, Caroline’s CEO role is different and tugs at the heartstrings. She must do this job well as needy animals all over the world are counting on her!

She believes the only way a start-up can survive and thrive is behind a “Leadership from the front” approach. The leader has to be into every area and be willing to lead by example and pick up the broom and do the sweeping if necessary. She is hands on, and no work is beneath her as CEO, and she believes her team appreciates this. It is one team, one dream, and this is an important facet for inclusive leadership.

A firm believer in the power of a team, Caroline personally recruits everyone within her company. She’s always loved the quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and she tries to embody this within her organisation. She is Chinese-Canadian, her parents were immigrants from Hong Kong, and she comes from modest roots. She believes in old-fashioned values of discipline, honour, work ethic, respect and dignity for the individual. She looks for people who embody these values and she trains the rest. As someone who embraces diversity, she doesn’t care about someone’s “résumé” or who they know. She hires people, not diplomas or labels. And she strongly believes this is why the company is successful. This is a committed team, unified by a common set of values.

Meanwhile, as a cryptocurrency, CaliCoin faces the normal challenges anyone in this space faces. Whilst the world of cryptocurrency is truly “taking off” and news about Bitcoin, for example, is seemingly a daily occurrence, relatively speaking, the market for virtual currency enthusiasts is still quite small. But it is a future trend that is definitely here to stay, and the company only sees the upside as growth and adoption continues. Many of its member charities on the ground in places like India and South Africa have faced funding challenges through the pandemic, as many of their sources of funds dried up. CaliCoin has been very grateful to be able to step in and provide a new source of funding for these amazing operations which are doing so much good in the world.

CaliCoin prides itself on how, since its launch, it has been a model of sustainability and consistent growth. The cryptocurrency space has been known for its volatility and wild swings in coin valuations. By virtue of being a charity token, and its discipline in a controlled “do it right” expansion, CaliCoin has seen a near-perfect linear progression in token values, despite the ups and downs of the overall cryptocurrency market. This illustrates the validity of the charity coin concept, and also validates the company’s approach of doing things right; as opposed to doing things solely for the sake of speed.

Ultimately, the company feels a huge sense of responsibility to its prospective donors to carefully vet all charities to ensure they operate at the highest standards; so, it can reassure donors that their donations of CaliCoins to these charities are put to good use and are fully utilised in a responsible manner. CaliCoins’ due diligence on charities is massive and it is constantly adding new ones and dropping current ones who won’t uphold its standards and values. It currently has nine different charities who are all doing such amazing work for animals! CaliCoins’ goal across 2021 is to eventually reach a critical mass of 50 charities across the globe – all upholding the high standards and values that are embraced at the company. If readers wish to donate, they can do so by visiting https://calicoin.me/.

Jumeirah Group Makes Ten New Appointments to Bolster Culinary Expansion

Exceptional new talent to join Jumeirah Group and elevate the dining experience across its iconic beachfront properties

United Arab Emirates, Dubai : Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, has announced a raft of new appointments as the expansion of its world-class culinary portfolio ramps up.

Following the earlier announcement of 13 new and re-imagined concepts set to open over the next two months, the innovative new chefs and mixologists will further strengthen the Jumeirah Restaurants team and support in transforming the Group’s stunning beachfront into a vibrant culinary hotspot.

Mr. Jose Silva, Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group, said: “Exceptional dining is a core focus for Jumeirah Group and central to our expansion. At the heart of this is the recruitment of high calibre and well-known chefs to strengthen the incredible collection of restaurants and bars in our portfolio and enhance the guest experience.We are immensely proud to have a world-class line-up of talent joining our Jumeirah Restaurants team, who will no doubt help make the launch of our enhanced and new restaurant concepts a resounding success.”  

At the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Chef Saverio Sbaragli takes on the role of Head Chef at Al Muntaha, bringing Michelin star expertise in French fine-dining cuisine with Italian influences, to create one of Dubai’s most authentic and exquisite culinary experiences. Chef Tom Koll also joins the world-famous hotel as Executive Pastry Chef, showcasing his in-depth industry knowledge and Michelin starred experience to bring guests new and reimagined offerings. Chef Andrea Migliaccio steps into the role of Executive Chef at Al Mahara, joining from Capri Palace Jumeirah’s Michelin starred restaurants L’Olivo and Il Riccio. He will enhance the menu with his modern re-interpretation of seafood gastronomy as part of its reinvention as a decadent ‘fish club’. Rounding off the new team is acclaimed mixologist Thibault Mequignon as Bar Manager of glittering nightspot Gilt, which will transform into a beverage apothecary. Having worked in some of the world’s best bars across London and Paris, Mequignon will serve up a world-class selection of innovative drinks.

At Jumeirah Al Naseem, Chef Marco Acquaroli joins Rockfish as the Executive Sous Chef, with over 10 years of experience in Michelin starred restaurants across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Remy Marquignon also joins the team as Sous Chef, bringing his invaluable Michelin star experience to the role.  At Rockfish, Acquaroli and Marquignon create exquisite delicacies that are reflective in every dish brought to the table, transporting guests to the coasts of Italy. Stepping into the role of Pastry Chef for the hotel is Chef Julien Jacob, bringing over 16 years of experience in the art of pastry and baking techniques to serve an exceptional selection of desserts across the hotel’s restaurants and lounges.

Heading up the F&B operations at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Charles-Antoine Chaudron joins as Director of F&B. Having previously worked at luxury hotels across France and England, including the Peninsula Paris, Chaudron will oversee and strengthen the hotel’s existing and upcoming culinary offerings. At Zheng He’s, Chef Wong Lian You takes on the role of Executive Chef where he will bring to life the reimagined Dubai institution, with the best of traditional Chinese flavours and handcrafted Dim Sum.

Taking on the role as Outlet Manager of Pierchic, one of the UAE coastline’s most distinctive dining destinations located at Jumeirah Al Qasr, is Andrea Gerli. Gerli brings over eight years of hospitality experience in the Middle East and Europe to the role where he will oversee the daily operations.    

Lastly, Sebastien Torres joins Jumeirah Beach Hotel as Executive Chef. Torres has had operational oversight of a variety of specialty restaurants ranging from brasserie style to fine dining establishments with two Michelin stars. At Dubai’s family favourite hotel, he is set to elevate the culinary experience across the new and existing outlets.

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.

How Technology Improves Freight Party Relationships

Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions have evolved tremendously in recent years. The need to adopt a more sophisticated technology to meet the demands of improving processes has become relevant. Moving freight by land, air, and sea can be complex and labor-intensive but could be managed easily with the help of technology. If you have a freight business, using technology could also improve your relationship with your clients. 

Here are five ways how technology can improve freight party relationships.

1. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID effectively tracks shipments, including their condition, without the need of scanning them.  It stores unique identifying data on a tag with information such as product information, manufacturing date, sell-by date, origin and destination location, and batch number. It automates distribution and simplifies management, ensuring accuracy in freight movement.

Accuracy and efficiency in freight movement are the top services clients look for in a freight mover.

2. Load Board 

A load board is an online source that houses posting for freight loads in real-time. It shows available load that freight owners can grab from the system with consideration on quantity, quality, and rate. Thus, ensuring you maximize the cost of doing business while streamlining your operations. You may know more about load boards on this page. 

Businesses that sign up on the load board are carefully vetted, therefore assuring the security of parties partaking in delivering quality service to their clients. 

Load boards ensure you maximize your capital by always keeping your truck full. In the course of a delivery fulfillment, flatbeds can proceed to take another load. Of course, this should be within the proximity that needs moving. Getting another load from the system reduces the cost of fuel and increases productivity. Instead of going back and forth or sitting idle, you’re increasing your profit.

3. Machine Learning

Machine learning has become increasingly popular since it has significantly revolutionized supply chain operations in recent years. Documentation in the supply chain business could be a tedious task that takes a lot of legwork. Currently, machine learning automates the process from data capturing up to reporting insights. This fast and efficient method eliminates repetitive duties such as data encoding, verification, and writing analysis.

Conventional supply chains follow specific predetermined workflows. Even if not followed incrementally, the integration of machine learning in the system will not disrupt the rhythm. Machine learning excels in analyzing an astonishing amount of information, discovering patterns, and using pattern recognition to make optimal business decisions.  

Using it will give your business the most accurate and optimal insights you may employ in improving processes within your enterprise. Clients might see that you value progress in meeting the demands of the industry you’re in.

4. Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS now dominates the business sector by allowing accurate determination of geographical locations of just about anything in the world.  

GPS helps drivers navigate locations, effectively plan route assignments, and monitor driver behavior.  The mobility solution provided by GPS guarantees freight owners make informed decisions that the business will benefit from.

When delays are inevitable, freight owners can accurately justify using the GPS, thus improving client trust. This also elevates the quality of drivers since their driving behavior will be monitored, as reckless driving will be eschewed.  Drivers will be more conscious of their driving skills and would want to show top performance.

The rising cost of fuel in the world market is hurting many businesses especially the logistics industry. Using GPS identifies the shortest and most efficient route for moving. Thus, it’s maximizing fuel efficiency, improving speed in delivery, and lowering cost. 

5. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is a database ledger that holds the history of ownership of a digital asset in the system that technically can’t be modified.  Everyone may be given access to the data but only those authorized to do so can make changes.  This is very promising as this eliminates fraud with the use of smart contracts. 

Moving freight transfers goods across several channels and all transfers are susceptible to fraud and corruption. Using blockchain technology ensures data is incorruptible.

Conclusion

Modern technology has paved the way for the development of a lot of things that surround us. To say that technology is inevitable is an understatement.

As an entrepreneur, you need to best deliver quality service to your clients. You should incorporate technology to meet the demands of your business.  This takes a lot of calculated risks but the benefits you will reap will be in abundance.  

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. 

Why Is It Important to Know Your Own Net Worth?

For most people, figuring out their net worth doesn’t seem particularly essential. As long as you know you can afford your bills, you might not be too worried about how much you’re deemed to be worth from a financial planning perspective. However, the reality is that knowing your net worth could be more important than you realize.

More than just a descriptor of what you have in your wallet and your bank account, your net worth refers to the amount by which your assets exceed any liabilities you have. In other words, it’s the difference between how much you own, and how much you owe. If your assets are more valuable than your liabilities, this means you have a positive net worth. Alternatively, if you owe more than you have in assets, your net worth is negative. This can be more common than most people realize.

 

What Does Net Worth Actually Tell You?

Calculating your net worth isn’t just about seeing how much debt you’re in or making yourself feel bad about your current financial situation. Rather, your net worth gives you an overview of your financial situation at any point in time. If you calculate your net worth now, you’ll be able to see the full result of what you’ve earned and spent until now.

Sometimes, the figure you get when you calculate your net worth is a shock, and this could mean you need to take note of your current budget and figure out how you’re going to improve your financial standing going forward. Alternatively, if you’re doing well, you might find that you can confidently continue living in a way similar to what you know now. When you calculate it on a regular basis, your net worth can essentially be seen as a financial report card which allows you to check how you’re doing from a financial perspective.

 

What Are Assets and Liabilities

To calculate your own net worth, you’ll need to consider the full value of your liabilities, or your loans, and what you owe, and the full value of the things you have. For a lot of people, assets can be difficult to define. For instance, if you found yourself in a difficult financial situation and you needed to access money fast, would you be able to figure out where you can look for money?

While some people will immediately consider things like bank accounts, investments, and brokerage accounts as assets, there are other things to consider too. You can check out a full guide here on how to choose the right life settlement company for selling your life insurance. If you’ve already paid a significant amount of cash into your life insurance policy, then that policy is an asset to utilize that also contributes to your net worth.

Your liabilities, on the other hand, can fluctuate, including everything you owe money on. This includes both ‘good debt’ like mortgages, and other loans, like personal lending, credit cards, loans for your vehicles, and so on. Sometimes it can take a lot of time and effort to understand your entire net worth completely. Remember, even your student loans are included.

 

Knowing Makes You More Mindful

Although calculating your net worth can take some time and effort, it’s actually quite valuable in the eyes of most financial advisors. Regardless of what your financial situation looks like now, knowing your net worth can help you to build wealth throughout your life, plan for your future, and improve your standing long-term. Ultimately, as you get older, and pay off more of the liabilities connected to your name, the value of your net worth should grow. The most important thing to remember is knowing where you stand financially should help you to become more mindful of your spending, so you’re better prepared to make sound decisions with your finances.

Once you know your net worth, if it’s negative, your aim should be to get rid of your loans as quickly as possible. A negative net worth doesn’t mean you need to buy more valuable assets. Rather, you should look to get out of debt as soon as you can, so your assets begin to outweigh what you owe. If your net worth is positive, you can begin to think about other ways of continuing that growth trajectory in a positive way. Either way, this could mean you decide to talk to a financial advisor.

The Ultimate Luxury Christmas Gift Guide

December is upon us which means that Christmas is right around the corner and people have started shopping for their Christmas presents. We know how stressful this time of year can be and how daunting buying the right present for the right person can be. So, we have decided to lift some of the pressure off your shoulders and have rounded up some of the best luxury gifts ideas so all you have to do is read on and choose your favourites!

So, whether your search is for some new electronics, a variety of fancy beverages or some luxurious skincare & beauty items for your loved ones, our gift guide has you covered. Our LUXlife Christmas gift guide will be covering everything you need to make your gift buying process a lot smoother!

Beauty

Starting right off with the most popular and most-selling department during Christmas, beauty & skincare! The products we have curated this year have sustainability and luxury at their core which means your loved ones are in for a treat.

RÉDUIT | UNI Device available in four colours £87.35

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.

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.

6 Buying Tips to Help You Choose the Ideal Sunglasses

You wear sunglasses every day, but do you ever really think about why? Sunglasses are an essential accessory to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They also help reduce glare and boost contrast for a clearer view of the world around you. Most importantly, they can prevent damage to your eyes that could lead to vision problems later in life. But with so many options on the market these days, how do you know which ones are right for you? In this guide, we’ll cover all of the features and considerations when buying sunglasses – from material types to frame shapes – so that finding your perfect pair is as easy as 1-2-3!  

Frame Material

If you’re considering what sunglasses to purchase, the material of the frame is an important feature to keep in mind. It often impacts the price and durability of the sunglasses you’re looking at, and it can also affect how they fit on your face. Even among wholesale sunglasses, it is important to pay attention to the product description and materials mentioned. The two most common materials are plastic and metal. 

Plastic Sunglasses

Plastic frames are often made from nylon blends or polycarbonate resins like TR-90, which makes them durable yet lightweight. They scratch less easily than metal but are more prone to damage if dropped. 

Metal Sunglasses

Metal framed sunglasses are often made from stainless steel or titanium. They are usually lightweight, durable, and less likely to scratch than plastic lenses. However, they are more susceptible to dents if dropped.

Frame Shape

When choosing sunglasses it is important to consider the frame shape. There are several different frame shapes including Wayfarer, Aviator, Clubmaster, and Rectangle.

Aviator/Wayfarer

The Aviator is an iconic shape of sunglasses that quickly made its debut in pop culture after being used by the military in the 20th century. They come in two styles – the Aviator and Wayfarer. The key difference is the curvature of the lenses. The Aviator style has a more dramatic curve to its lens, resulting in more coverage, while the Wayfarer style is flatter, with tapered edges that leave more exposure around your eyes. 

Rectangle/Clubmaster

The Rectangle frame shape is perfect for men with a square jawline. It gives a sharp, masculine look and is often worn by politicians and business people alike. 

The Clubmaster is similar to the Rectangle shape but has rounded edges that add a more casual feel. They come in many different metal finishes including silver, gold, gunmetal, & black nickel.

Style

Aside from the material and shape you choose, it is important to consider what styles are available in your size. Sunglasses come in three main sizes-small, medium, and large. Small sunglasses are best suited for smaller face shapes while large sunglasses offer more coverage around the eyes when worn by people with larger features. 

Price

You may also want to consider the price of your sunglasses. There is a wide range of prices depending on the brand and what you plan to use them for. More expensive brands tend to be more durable and polarized, allowing better protection from UV rays and glare, while less expensive glasses tend to scratch more easily and may not block as much harmful light.

Lenses

Sunglasses typically come with either polarized or non-polarized lenses that will impact the amount of light that enters your eyes. Non-polarized lenses allow more light than polarized lenses but are not as effective at blocking glare and harmful UV rays. If you plan on driving while wearing your sunglasses, polarized lenses are recommended to reduce glare which can cause eye strain and fatigue.

Color

Finally, you’ll want to look into the color of your sunglasses. This is a personal choice that depends on your personal style and what you plan to use them for. If they’re only used during bright daylight hours, nearly any color will work. However, if you plan to also use them at night or in low-light conditions it’s best to choose a darker color. You should also consider other accessories you might wear such as hats and shirts so that your sunglasses coordinate with other items in your outfit.

Sunglasses are an important fashion accessory that can be used to complete your look. They protect the eyes from harmful UV rays while also adding character to your appearance. To create a flattering look, it’s best to consider several factors when choosing the perfect pair of sunglasses for your style, fit, and price. When you’re choosing sunglasses, it’s more than just “looks.” You need to find a pair that fits your lifestyle and taste. 

Once you’ve considered the type of lenses, frame material, style, and fit, you should have a better idea about what sunglasses to purchase. Now all that’s left is to get out there and try on some shades!

Setting the Bar as a Trusted Brand

By Cyrus Gilbert-Rolf, Managing Director, EMEA & Oceania, EVRYTHNG

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is a tough one. Highly competitive, crowded, and frequently driven by price. Now producers are being put under even greater pressure, as consumers increasingly only want to buy from brands that they feel align with their own values.

With people becoming more aware of what they are putting into their bodies the focus on health issues is intensifying, coupled with sustainability and inclusivity being taken more seriously (particularly by millennials and Gen Z). This means that brands that want to retain, or even gain, a share of the market need to be seen visibly contributing to these causes.

Consumers are increasingly holding brands to account, wanting more information than can be delivered on a label or billboard. Businesses must now be able to show that their products have been sourced, produced, even transported, in a safe and sustainable way – along every step of the supply chain. 

These demands for data are too important to ignore, with 99% of consumers saying that transparency is important in fresh food products, and 75% of consumers stating they would switch to brands offering more complete information. 

With the addition of regulators requiring enhanced transparency and accuracy around Environmental Social and Governance (ESG), it’s more important than ever that companies seek to establish a reputation of trust. 

True transparency

It’s no longer enough to simply state that a product is Fairtrade/organic/non-GMO. Consumers want to see the proof of this. They want evidence that a brand is treating its workers fairly and behaving in an ethical and safe manner – and this expectation extends across the entire supply chain. As younger generations gain more buying power this demand for rich information will increase, and brands need to adapt to this market now. 

So far gaining this full visibility across the whole supply chain has been difficult, with data being disparate and inconsistent across suppliers. However, with the ability to mass serialise products, digitally print unique identities onto goods on a mass scale is becoming more affordable. Coupled with the computing power and cloud capacity to share, process and store of these massive amounts of data from each product, true end to end visibility is within reach.

This stands to revolutionise the CPG industry – enabling consumers and businesses to access all the information around a product’s life cycle by simply scanning a code – delivering true end to end visibility for the first time. It also provides businesses with both the challenge and opportunity of finally being able to meet customer expectations of transparency. Consumers will expect it, and it will be up to businesses to ensure they deliver it – or risk losing market share to those that do. Done successfully, this provides a chance to build trust, even generate loyalty, across a customer base that can be engaged with both pre and post purchase on an ongoing basis. 

Maximising engagement to build trust

Up until now opportunities to directly engage with consumers across the CPG market have been limited due to the lack of product registrations in this arena. Product digital identity stands to change all that, as consumers are able to scan a code pre-purchase – giving a line of communication to potential purchasers, and further opportunities to engage post purchase – all with the aim of encouraging repeat or further purchases from the same brand. 

Of course, this all depends on the consumer liking what they see when they access that information. As the market matures there is no doubt that there will be an increasing expectation of richer data and superior levels of transparency and authenticity. 

Changing the game on product recalls

The benefits of this new technology go beyond meeting consumer demands for information on how a product is produced. It will also make a significant difference to the tricky area of product recalls. 

No matter how focused a company is on safety, recalls are commonplace. How this is managed can have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation and the trust its customers place in it. In the CPG arena recalls are frequently done via in-store posters, social media, and email. There is very little opportunity for direct-to-consumer engagement, purely because the nature of the market means that product registration is rare (for example, a consumer would not register a bottle of shampoo, or a tin of beans).

As well as enabling companies to maximise both pre and post purchase engagement, it will also provide a direct channel to issue safety alerts should the need arise. Managing crisis points in this way will go even further in protecting, if not building, that all important consumer trust. 

Plan now for the consumer of the future

There is no doubt in my mind that product digital identities are the future. In addition to meeting the ever-growing demands for data from the consumer, it also plays into the ESG movement by providing information on product life cycle, highlighting opportunities to enhance sustainability.

Businesses must start to plan now for the consumer of the future and consider how they will meet customer expectations but also maximise the potential opportunities and establish themselves as a trusted brand. This means:

  • Starting to gather information across the entire product and consumer journey 
  • Unifying data from supplier, internal, and consumer facing applications around a unique and cloud enabled product identity 
  • Enabling each point of contact with the product to read and write contextually relevant data
  • Let customers know. Highlighting the fact that they are fully transparent, and that consumers can easily access the product life cycle and a full suite of information about its origins
  • The industry as a whole must work together to fully embed this new technology so that everyone can benefit. 

It is essential that businesses start taking these steps sooner rather than later and use the plentiful opportunities that end to end visibility and product digital identities offer in order to build a reputation as a trusted brand – ensuring that they are the ones that consumers are switching to, not from.

5 Qualities Every Good Leader Has

Being a leader is more than just knowing how to delegate responsibilities and motivate others. Your job is to serve as a role model and embody the best qualities of your field’s professionals. Leadership is something people develop over time, and it only gets better with experience. If you aspire to one day be a leader, then there are some ways you can start cultivating a leader mindset now. Rather than focusing on the higher pay grade, take this time to think about what a leader represents. These five qualities are all about awakening the confidence and courage necessary to be an effective leader. Nurturing them now will help you perform better in your current role while preparing for a bright future.

 

Visionary

Leaders have to be able to visualize their goals so they can achieve them. Visionaries are people who are able to think about the future from a position of possibility. In other words, they focus on what could happen and believe in themselves and others to make that idea a reality. Their thinking isn’t confined to the present moment, which allows them to empower and engage their teams, especially during periods of hardship. True visionaries know that challenges are all part of the process, and they recognize perseverance as the catapult for growth.

 

Emotionally Intelligent

Leaders know how to read others’ emotions, assert their boundaries in a non-aggressive way and regulate their own moods. They have healthy ways of coping with stress, and they respect others’ limits as well as their own. Becoming emotionally intelligent is not always easy, and it takes conscious effort as an adult to truly evolve. Some leaders go so far as to study psychology in order to better help themselves and those around them. Earning your master’s in industrial psychology would prepare you to guide people in the workforce, helping them realize their greatest potential. If you’re interested in earning your graduate degree, you can pay for college while still working. Taking advantage of Earnest graduate student loans allow professionals to budget for their futures without compromising their current stability.

 

Honesty

Telling the truth is one part of honesty, but it goes farther than that. The do’s and don’ts of being an honest leader means owning up to your own flaws and striving to grow from your mistakes. Good leaders know they aren’t perfect, and they don’t get angry or blame others for their own faults. Sometimes, they make the wrong call. They may offer guidance that backfires, or they take a course of action that leads to poor outcomes.

Being honest means letting yourself accept your flaws and inspiring others to do the same. If you struggle with perfectionism, you may find that honesty and acceptance are tough pills to swallow together. Honesty for many people often comes at the expense of self-love, but this needn’t be the case. You can embrace who you are, mistakes, flaws and all, and still respect and accept yourself.

 

Honorable

True leaders act with integrity. They always strive to make sure people around them feel respected and heard. They do not participate in gossip, and they would never be caught saying something behind someone’s back that they wouldn’t tell them to their face. Trust is earned, but leaders also create room for it to grow. They expect the best from others without demanding it or using cheap manipulation tactics to get what they want. In order to keep integrity strong, good leaders work hard to build healthy relationships and promote a healthy company culture.

 

Passion

Passion is the lifeforce of purpose. Striving for money and a title only gets you so far, especially in a leadership role. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and recognize the higher purpose of everyone else’s actions. Many people can find themselves in a job slump, believing that their roles are ultimately worthless. It is a passionate leader’s job to remind people that they count and give them chances to show why their work matters.

If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing, it’s time to pause and take inventory of your life. What are you compromising for your own happiness and purpose? The sooner you release limiting beliefs, the sooner you can start working toward your own higher cause. Passion waxes and wanes with time, but a leader takes action to keep the fire burning. They know that even during periods of demotivation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel worth striving toward.

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. 

Hidden Costs When Investing and How Not to Get Hit


By Annie Charalambous, Head of Communications at
ETX Capital

According to recent figures, Brits plan to increase their investments by almost a fifth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – with Gen-Z traders most keen to jump on the markets.

But are those looking to boost their profits paying over the odds without realising? A recent study claims UK investors often pay up to six times more in fees than advertised, costing some traders up to tens of thousands of pounds long-term.

ETX Capital is committed to shining a light on common hidden fees that can trip up new traders. Here’s how you can avoid feeling the pinch.

Taxing times

New traders are often unaware that profits made on their stocks and shares are subject to tax, in the same way they pay tax on salary earnings.

If your investment earnings are over £12,300 in a single year, you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax. This will either be 10 or 20 percent, depending on your annual income tax band.

However, married couples can ‘pool’ their tax-free allowance – meaning they can collectively earn up to £24,600 in trading profits each year without contributing Capital Gains Tax.

Some alternative savings vehicles also offer a larger tax-free allowance. For example, you can stash up to £20,000 each year in an ISA and earn interest on your cash.

For those looking to diversify their portfolio, many gold and silver coins are also exempt from Capital Gains Tax as they are technically legal British currency.

Commission costs

As with any commercial service, fund managers and platform providers that help traders set up and manage their investments will charge fees for their service.

However, the size of these costs can catch out unsuspecting investors. According to research, commission costs average 1.03 percent in the UK – around double the equivalent fees in the US.

While these costs are unavoidable for those who need support managing their investment funds, it is possible to reduce them. Research investment platforms and fund managers to ensure you find the most cost-effective commissions for your assets.

Alternatively, you may be able to avoid commission if you have the knowledge of the markets and are comfortable with the risk. If so, there are plenty of accessible platforms that will educate you on how to manage your stocks, forex, commodities and more. Although, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay fees to trade on these platforms.

Not that Stamp Duty

All stocks bought in the UK valued at £1,000 and over are subject to Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT). At 0.5 percent of the asset price, this can soon add up.

This tax is usually absorbed as part of a total fee charged by a fund manager. However, if you manage your own investments, you’ll need to submit details of your assets to the government in good time to skip late payment fines.

While SDRT marks a relatively small fee compared to the rewards on offer for successful investors, many may still wish to diversify their portfolios to avoid mounting tax bills. A common example is adding corporate bonds, which are exempt from SDRT.

Farewell feels

Many budding investors starting their trading journey simply aren’t thinking about what happens when you withdraw funds or transfer them to another platform. And for some, this means getting hit with unexpected ‘exit fees’.

These charges are typically written into the terms and conditions of an investment service and while many platforms and brokers have recently agreed to waive exit fees, there are still plenty leaving traders with a shock when the time comes to withdraw cash.

Exit fees are usually charged as a percentage fee of the withdrawn sum, which can represent a significant cost for longer-term investors.

It’s important to check for exit fees, which may also be referred to as ‘redemption fees’, before signing up for a platform or partnering with a fund manager. And those looking to escape these charges should look for providers that simply don’t apply them in the first place – or at least check the expiry date.

How to Choose the Perfect Gift For Toddlers

When it comes to toddlers, there are a lot of things you should know before buying them a gift. Not only do they enjoy different toys and gifts than adults, but they also need certain items to grow and develop properly. It is important to think about their stage in life when choosing the perfect present for a child because it goes through many stages!

 

Think: useful and fun

Choosing the perfect gift can be challenging because there are so many stages to get through. It’s important to look at the age of a child when shopping for them and buy something they will be able to play with. A good gift guide for babies can help you with finding a gift that will be useful for them as they grow. If you have a friend or loved one who is expecting, why not pick out an item that can grow with the baby? Look for gifts such as clothes, bags, and items that will be useful once the child is born and grows. 

Here we will discuss what you need to look for while shopping for toddlers during each stage of life, from their first months all the way to preschoolers. 

First-Year of a child’s life (Birth-14 Months)

During the first year of a baby’s life, they are growing into what will be their personalities as they grow up. During this time, babies need basic necessities such as clothes, diapers, bottles, formula, etc. but also love playing with toys! At this age, it is really hard to choose between toys and essentials because they have both in different ways. So why not buy something that can help them develop? Buying gifts for babies at this age can be more challenging than buying things like clothes or accessories because it is important to buy something that can help them learn. Look for gifts such as books, puzzles, and toys that have different textures! Babies tend to enjoy playing with different sensory things so why not give them a gift they can touch?

Two-year-olds love to walk  (15-24 Months)

During the next stage of a toddler’s life, they are learning how to walk. This age group enjoys playing games outside or going on walks. They also love playing with other kids by going on dates or using their imagination by creating songs together. Around this time it is important to think about buying gifts that encourage socializing and learning. For example, you could buy your child a board game because it encourages them to spend time with other kids and learn how to take turns! Or you could buy them a set of blocks because it promotes creative play between children. Another idea would be to buy them a book like “Pat the Bunny” or another touch-and-feel book because they will enjoy learning about different textures as they read together with their parents.

The third year of a child’s life (25-36 Months)

As toddlers become older, you can see them becoming more independent. They may still need help with brushing their teeth and getting dressed, but they love doing things themselves! 

This age group loves playing with other children and using their imagination. They also love doing crafts and other activities that require concentration, problem-solving skills, and patience. This age group is ready for more complex toy-like puzzles! Puzzles are a great gift because it helps them to think logically as they put pieces together. Other great gifts include anything that encourages sharing or helping others such as stuffed animals that say things like “I love you” or dolls that can be played with together (i.e., baby dolls). 

4 is a preschooler (37-48 Months)

At this stage of life, toddlers begin to understand right from wrong and what is expected of them by adults around them. They will love learning how to do new tasks by themselves, including brushing their teeth or making their bed. This age range loves exploring new things around them and will love gifts that encourage creativity, building, exploration, etc. For example, you could buy your child a set of binoculars to help teach them about the world by allowing them to explore what’s around the house! Or you could get them a pair of roller skates because wearing shoes can cause blisters-and they are expensive to replace.

Almost six – 49-60 Months

This stage is all about learning how to handle new challenges as children begin pre-school. They are learning how to interact with other people without close supervision from adults. This age group will enjoy gaining independence while trying new things on their own. They will also enjoy learning how to do new things so why not get them a gift that will encourage this? For example, you can buy your child an art set because, or if they are becoming more active, you could buy them rollerblades or a scooter because they teach coordination and balance!

Young person – 61-72 Months

This is the age group when children begin school. They enjoy playing with friends but may need encouragement to stay interested in something without any distractions. How about buying your child a gift that encourages reading and following directions? For example, you could buy them a kit to make their own slime, which is a fun activity for both children and adults!

This article has provided some great ideas on what types of presents can be given at different stages in life and how they may benefit children as they grow up. We hope this helps you think outside the box when looking for something new and exciting for someone special this holiday season!

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.

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.

Want to Learn a Language That Could Really Benefit Your Business? Choose Spanish

Ask any SME owner what their key priorities are in the years ahead and the chances are that getting more business will be high on the list. However, for many small businesses who may have exhausted possibilities in the UK, this will mean it’s necessary to start looking a little further afield. Communications with other countries will inevitably throw up some obstacles, one of which could be a language barrier. Yet this issue could be easily overcome with just a little work and dedication.

When choosing which language could be most useful to learn, Spanish is an obvious choice. There are a number of reasons for this: the first is that it’s a relatively easy language to learn, certainly when compared with others like German or Chinese.

In addition, there are numerous ways you can brush up on your Spanish skills, regardless of whether you’re refining existing knowledge or learning the language for the first time. For example, you could utilise online language portals, which allow users to learn both conversational Spanish or written form and provide one-on-one tuition from highly-experienced tutors at times of your convenience. The flexibility to take lessons that fit around your working day means that you can tailor the learning experience to your daily commitments.

Another key reason to choose Spanish is that it comes first in the list issued by the British Council of “Languages for the Future”, beating even the likes of Mandarin and French. It ranks so high mainly because of the sheer number of countries in which it is the first or second language – around 20 in all.

Also, for anyone wanting to do business in the US, Hispanic businesses consist of a fast-growing sector so speaking their language could be a good way to start developing successful relationships. After all, showing potential clients that you are dedicated to offering them a personalised service will act as a great incentive to take discussions further and what could be more personal than speaking in their mother tongue?

Often it’s also different levels of miscommunication that can get in the way of effective professional relationships being forged. Nonetheless, by speaking the same language these can easily be avoided, smoothing the way to successful collaboration. Then again, it may be that you are looking to appoint agents or even employees to work in a Spanish-speaking country.  There are several ways that this can be achieved relatively quickly and easily but being able to speak Spanish will make it an even more straightforward process, both in interviewing potential employees and negotiating the administrative requirements for taking them on.

It’s also important to mention Latin America here. No less an authority than the London School of Economics has identified the whole continent as being open for business and primed to set up numerous post-Brexit trade deals. With a total population of over 640 million people, that’s quite a market to go for.

It all adds up to make speaking Spanish just one more way to enhance your professional appearance and one that is sure to leave a lasting impression. So now really could be the moment to say “ola!” to a whole new world of business opportunities.

Time for Heroes

The role of the media has never been more important, especially when it comes to telling stories of important historical events. Context Productions is a media publishing company, focused on creating non-fiction 9/11 content for kids, raising awareness of these events as well as the heroism involved. The firm has achieved success under the leadership of Kristie Kiernan Bouryal who has now been recognized as the Most Influential CEO, 2021 – New York, the USA. We take a closer look to find out more.

For more than twenty-five years, Kristie Kiernan Bouryal has been working in building brands, demand and revenue generation across multiple industries, but it is with Context Productions that she has achieved her biggest success. The role draws on years of expertise in marketing and communications to tell invaluable stories of bravery and heroism to a new generation.

Kristie’s entire life has been built around helping others, and the heroic acts that people perform to protect from harm. The daughter of a retired nurse and a Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Officer, she knows what it means to be on the front line. Her father, former FDNY Lieutenant John Kiernan, was one of many people who helped to rescue the last man out alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center. Today, they and thousands of others suffer with multiple World Trade Center related illnesses. Telling the stories of that day to those who have never heard them is intended to make a difference to the future.

Kristie’s business is built on real people and real events. Her business is telling not only the story of one of America’s darkest days, but how the people who were there overcame the odds to achieve the remarkable. The story of how everyday people transformed immense evil into something good is one that is not only timeless, but can be told time and time again.

So far, she has been involved in the publication of three books on the topic through Context Productions, and the first “My Buddy’s a Hero — And I Didn’t Even Know It” tells the story of when Kristie’s father shared his 9/11 experience with his grandchildren for the first time. It contains incredible messages for kids that go beyond the bravery of those involved and into valuable lessons of active listening and asking questions of those who were there because real heroes need prompting to tell their stories.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only supported the release of these books as the values and lessons they teach prove to be eternally valuable. The pandemic has left many in education struggling with the day-to-day challenges of maintaining safe environments, securing resources and engaging students. The lessons from 9/11 that apply to COVID-19, or any time of national or global tragedy such as courage, perseverance, resilience, leadership and the fortitude of our American spirit can be found in the pages of the books that Kristie has published.

Throughout her career, Kristie has built brand names for others. She has acted as chief marketing and communications officer of a global healthcare diagnostics company, a global financial and professional services firm, as well as working in senior executive roles for a global information measurement company, dozens of top trade publications and multiple network news organizations. The work she does at Context Productions allows her to put all of this experience into 9/11 remembrance, a cause she feels passionately about. Her success is not just something to be celebrated, but is inspiration to remember those everyday heroes now and in the future.

For business enquiries contact Kristie Kiernan Bouryal at Context Productions via email at [email protected] or online through contextproductions.com.

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.

Tips for Creating the Ideal Wedding Invitation

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s expected that you want it to be as perfect as possible. You want things to go as planned, and every detail has to look great on the day. However, you won’t achieve such a successful event if you don’t plan your wedding carefully. As a soon-to-be bride, tradition dictates that the majority of the preparation will fall squarely on your shoulders.

There are a million things to do once you decide on getting yourselves hitched. Aside from the location choice and logistics, you still have to consider the wedding invites, photoshoots, souvenirs and related concerns. It can be overwhelming, but you’ll have to soldier on because it’s your big day!
Aside from the wedding dress, the invitations are among the most important considerations you have to work on. Whether you’re planning an intimate occasion or a huge celebration with your family and friends in attendance, you still need to entice them with beautiful invitations. This can set the tone of what they should expect on your special day. Of course, you don’t want to let them know over the phone or just through social media. So, read on and let’s explore how you can create your ideal wedding invitation.

Choose a style that suits you

One of the things you have to look for is the style of your wedding invitation. It has to reflect your personality, and it also has to hint at the formality or the fun you intend to have during the celebration. Consider luxury wedding stationery which you can find at Text of the linkhttps://www.pemberlyfox.com/collections/luxury-wedding-invitations to go with your style to make it even more unique. You’ll have to decide on your colours, so you can choose which stationery will go best with your designs and layout.

1. Don’t forget the details
Among the things you need to include would be the event particulars. Never forget them as they’re the first things your recipient will look for when they see the invitation. Therefore, you need to place them where your friends can see them clearly.

2. Make it legible
We know you’d want it to look as special and unique as possible, but you must not compromise on the legibility of the message. Don’t make it hard to read the contents of your invitation.

3. Focus on the layout
Decide whether you want the invitation in landscape or portrait orientation. What are the dimensions and accessories you want to include in the invitation? Will you incorporate pictures in the design, or will you go full-blown traditional? Remember to think about these things when you’re planning for your invitation.

4. Decide on the wording
Be creative. You can mix and match the way you would phrase the invitation to suit your needs. It will make your invitation pretty unique. Just make sure you don’t forget any details.

5. Hire a bespoke wedding invitation designer
Once you’ve decided on the details, save yourself the stress and speak with a bespoke invitation designer. Hand over your ideas and let them work their magic. You’ll have the best wedding invitation that you could ever wish for.

Final words
Creating the ideal wedding invitation means you’ll have to consider a lot of factors. It is an essential part of the occasion, after all, so you must not fret about the details. Consider working with professionals to help you get the best one done for your big day.
Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/hands-writting-invitation-typography-2110452/

5 Ways to Travel Europe in Style

A lot of people dream of travelling to Europe to visit the many beautiful countries and experience the region’s rich culture and history. But visiting Europe is not like visiting any other place in the world. It is a totally unique experience and one that you will surely remember for the rest of your life!

If you want to get around Europe in style, there are so many ways to do this. Some are more adventurous, while others are more relaxing. Regardless of which option you will go for, you are guaranteed to have a fun and memorable experience. So, here are some ways to travel Europe in style.

1. Drive through Germany

Germany in itself is a great country to discover. But if you want a more exciting way to get around the country, road tripping can be a great idea. The German freeway, also known as the Autobahn, is sprawled across the country, giving you quick and easy access to all the major German cities. And with incredible sceneries along the way, driving around Germany is the best way to enjoy your European holiday.

One of the most scenic routes you can take for your German road trip is the Mosel Valley route, which kicks off in Koblenz and ends in Trier, close to the Luxembourg border. Along the way, you’ll come across soaring medieval castles with a beautiful river snaking through the road as you pass through the Mosel Valley, one of the most picturesque places in the country. The breath-taking valley is famous for the many quaint villages dotting its riverbank.

To make the most of your journey, take some time to explore the many gorgeous places you’ll pass along the way. This route covers a distance of 172 km. Consider staying overnight in the towns of Cochem, Traben Trarbach, and Trier.

2. Scooter around Italy

Italy’s varied landscape lends itself a perfect place to explore by scooter. You can best appreciate its gorgeous cities, scenic coastal roads, and lush mountains on two wheels, giving you the freedom to stop along the highway to soak up the views and take as many pictures as you can. 

Home to the most beautiful Italian cities, Tuscany often tops the list of the most scenic regions in the country, making it an excellent destination for your scooter holiday. With lots of small roads snaking through the Tuscan countryside, getting around by scooter is the perfect way to navigate this beautiful Italian region. Drive through the hilltop towns of Montepulciano to sample the most exquisite wines and make a stop at Pitigliano, an ancient village whose houses are built on top of a rocky outcrop.

If you are adventurous enough, drive through the stretch of road along the Amalfi Coast. This road offers an exhilarating combination of dizzying views, dramatic seascapes, and challenging turns, not to mention having to share the road with local buses careening along at terrifying speeds! After your exhilarating journey, stay in a luxury Italian holiday rental overlooking the gorgeous coast. Spend a night or two before heading off to your next journey.

3. Yacht around Spain

Spain is a wonderful destination for yachting in Europe. The yachting season here is never-ending, and the conditions are ideal for both beginners and experienced sailors. With a coastline of almost 6,000 km shared between the country’s Balearic Islands, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Canary Islands, Spain offers the perfect opportunity for sailors to discover Europe in style.

As the largest island of the Balearic, Majorca is an unmissable stop during your yachting tour of the Mediterranean. Palma is the sailing hub of the Balearic. Here, you can rent catamarans and boats all year round. Check out the smaller ports of Pollenca, Portocolom, and Can Pastilla, before heading inland to explore the tiny stone pathways of Alcudia. 

Located at the heart of Costa Brava, Gulf of Roses, a calm natural bay, is a favourite stopover for sailors yachting around the Spanish Coast. It’s only a stone’s throw from the French border. From here, you can explore the Aiguamolls Natural Park, scuba dive at Cap de Creus, or swim at the Blue Flag beaches.

4. Motorhome Across Croatia

There’s no denying how the motorhome movement has become very popular over the recent years, there are plenty of campsites in Europe for motorhomes. So, if you’re looking to explore Croatia in style, doing it in a motorhome would be fun! This incredibly beautiful country has a little bit of everything – sandy beaches, fantastic coastlines, beautiful islands, and lots of sunshine!

With so many beautiful places to see in Croatia, deciding which route to take can be confusing, especially if you only have a limited time. A couple of weeks should be ideal for exploring a good part of the country but expect to be doing lots of driving unless you stick only to the Northern region. Plan your route in such a way that you can visit the highlights of Croatia, such as the Plitvice Lakes, Zadar and the sea organ, Krka Lakes, hidden shipwreck cove, and of course, the charming old town of Dubrovnik.

5. Train across Switzerland

Switzerland has one of the longest rail networks in the world and offers the most punctual service. But the reason why many visitors to Switzerland would travel by train is mainly because of the spectacular scenery that they will see along the way, from shimmering lakes to snow-capped mountains!

The Glacier Express is probably the most popular train route in Switzerland, and it’s easy to see why. This train will take you on a panoramic journey through the unspoilt natural landscapes of ancient forests, glaciers, mountain streams, and valleys. The journey will take around eight hours between St. Moritz & Zermatt.

The Luzern-Interlaken Express is another extraordinary train journey in Switzerland that will take you on a panoramic journey of breath-taking mountain sceneries. This journey departs from the historic town of Lucerne before travelling through Switzerland’s scenic countryside and passing along the fabulous Brünig Pass, before finally reaching Interlaken.

When travelling on a train throughout Switzerland, take advantage of the Swiss Travel Pass to enjoy unlimited travel on almost all forms of transportation and pay only a flat rate.

5 Alternative Luxury Vacations for Couples

Most people think of a couple’s getaway as going to luxury beachside retreats or taking a romantic trip to cities like New York and Paris. But nowadays, more and more couples are opting for alternative vacations for their luxury getaway. 

Instead of going on a relaxing beach holiday as most couples do, some would visit adventurous destinations like Tanzania and Borneo. And, why not? After all, this is the perfect time to unwind and spend some quality time with each other. So, why don’t you take this opportunity to visit exciting destinations and partake in some fun, adventurous activities instead? Below, we’ve rounded up the top five alternative destinations where couples can go on a luxury vacation.

1. Borneo

Borneo would be a great alternative destination for couples who are drawn to nature and wildlife and are ready to tackle outdoor adventures. This giant, rugged island in Southeast Asia is home to interesting wildlife species, including orangutans and clouded leopards. Here, adventurous couples can climb Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest peak, explore the lush tropical jungles, and visit the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, home to the endangered orangutans.

Borneo’s thick rainforest is the only place where you can have a close encounter with the orangutans in the wild. But spotting them can be tricky since they are usually at a distance. But at Sepilok, you can get close to an orangutan at almost an arm’s length. This sanctuary is a rehabilitation centre for the orangutans that have been rescued after being injured or orphaned. They are fed and cared for before being taken back to the wild.

Spend the rest of your days relaxing on Gaya Island at the Gayana Eco Resort. With its vast stretches of fine white sand beaches, the island is a great choice for snorkelling, diving, and swimming.

2. Alaska

Alaska offers plenty of activities for loved up couples looking to relax and spend some quality time away from the hustle and bustle. This massive state is famous for its incredible nature and landscapes, world-class accommodations, and delicious cuisines.  

Alaska has two main travel seasons, summer, and winter. Summer is usually the peak season where visitors can take advantage of the many hours of daylight and easy access to national parks for a scenic hike. It’s also a great time to cruise near the glaciers, discover wildlife, and cosy up in a private chalet in the wild. In winter, couples can snuggle up in a glass-roofed igloo and marvel at the dancing northern lights! If you are the adventurous type, then skiing is a must!

For couples who seek luxury, stay at the Sheldon Chalet, perched on top of North America’s highest mountain, Mount Denali. This chalet is a true marvel for couples looking for an unparalleled holiday experience. Just south of Denali National Park is the charming Chelatna Lake Lodge, an epitome of rustic luxury. It’s the perfect setting for an ultimate Alaskan wildlife experience where you can marvel at the radiant colours of the Northern Lights on winter nights!

3. Abu Dhabi 

Take your partner on a romantic adventure in UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi. The city offers plenty of activities for couples to relax while enjoying some quality time. Experience the island way of life at the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island and cosy up at the adults-only pool and swim-up bar. When evening comes, treat yourself to a private couple’s spa treatment, and end the day strolling around the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

For couples who love fast cars, schedule your visit during the Abu Dhabi F1. This prestigious Formula One motor racing event takes place at the impressive Yas Marina Circuit. And if you want to explore outside of Abu Dhabi and visit other beautiful places in the UAE, you should go for a fun driving holiday. There are lots of beautiful places within Abu Dhabi’s three-hour radius, so if you feel the urge to discover the other side of the country, rent a car, turn on your GPS, and drive to anywhere you want!

The UAE has some of the best quality roads in the world, so driving here should be comfortable and safe. The highways all around the country, including in Abu Dhabi, is smooth and well-developed.

4. Tanzania

When it comes to romantic getaways, most couples would prefer to go on a beach holiday, either in the Maldives or the Caribbean islands. But if you are tired of the usual, Tanzania would be a great alternative. Although the country is famous for its national parks and wildlife, it also has gorgeous beaches home to five-star luxury resorts and hotels.

The Lazy Lagoon Island Lodge is an excellent option for couples who want to relax in seclusion. Here, you can enjoy a private beach experience with personalised butler service. The lagoon has a dozen spacious beach bungalows with a balcony that opens to the gorgeous views of the seas. For a beach honeymoon coupled with world-class luxury, check out The Residence in Zanzibar. Sitting on a 32-hectare tropical land surrounded by the Muyuni Forest, this fancy resort has 60 luxury villas, each with its own swimming pool and terrace.

5. The Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are the perfect destination for adventurous and wildlife loving couples. Few places on Earth have as much to offer when it comes to rare wildlife species and natural beauty as the Galapagos. Here, you and your loved one can go on an island-hopping adventure onboard a luxurious catamaran. And as you explore the Galapagos National Park, be enchanted by the unique wildlife, and learn about the ground-breaking conservation projects happening within the park.

End the day enjoying romantic sunset dinners before retreating to your luxury cabin. Despite the natural atmosphere of the Galapagos, the archipelago is home to a variety of five-star resorts offering high-quality service, world-class accommodation, and top-notch comfort. If you want to sleep in comfort and luxury while surrounded by nature, check out the Pikaia Lodge. This eco-resort is designed for environmentally conscious couples. During the day, guests will have the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of their own private Tortoise Reserve.

Top 5 Destinations for Luxury Baby Moons

Some people might cringe at the idea of going on a “babymoon,” a trip that couples take when expecting a baby. But as any parent would understand, welcoming a new baby does not come easy. While being a new parent is a truly wonderful experience, it can also be stressful. So, before the big day comes, why don’t you go on a luxury vacation to unwind? 

There are various destinations around the world that offer luxurious amenities for a relaxing babymoon experience. From the overwater villas of Moorea to the luxury resorts of the Maldives or a charming villa in Tuscany, check out these top five destinations for luxury babymoons.

1. Moorea 

Moorea is a gorgeous island in French Polynesia known for its powder-like sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and swaying palm trees. If you’re looking for a luxury babymoon holiday, Moorea is a great place to consider. The accommodation here is diverse, ranging from stylish bungalows to decadent Moorea overwater villas.

Located about ten nautical miles from Tahiti, Moorea can be accessed by plane or ferry from Papeete. This proximity, along with the island’s welcoming and friendly nature, makes Moorea a favourite destination for couples and families. Despite its popularity, the island was able to maintain its laidback vibe, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing babymoon holiday.

Moorea also offers plenty of interesting sights to explore in between relaxation. The island is home to eight voluminous mountain peaks rising from its crystal-clear lagoon, which creates a distinctive and rugged silhouette. Moorea is also home to two symmetrical bays, Opunohu Bay and Cooks Bay.

2. Roatan

Home to the longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, Roatan is a haven for underwater adventures. But even if you don’t plan to participate in any activities, you will still have a great time on your babymoon to Roatan. Here, you can relax in tropical surroundings, away from the hustle and bustle.

Located 65 km north of mainland Honduras, Roatan is home to resorts offering luxury accommodation options. For instance, the Mayan Princess Beach and Dive Resort feature luxurious Spanish-style villas elegantly furnished with a flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen. On the south shore of Roatan, you will find the Barefoot Cay Resort, built around a privately owned cay. To get to the resort, you will be travelling on a boat. You can choose from a one or two-bedroom villa fitted with sophisticated furnishings and open to the glistening Caribbean waters.

When you aren’t relaxing in your villa or exploring the underwater world, you can indulge in relaxing spa treatments or feast at the gourmet-style restaurants on the island.

3. Maldives 

The Maldives is a luxury destination on everyone’s bucket lists and a perfect island getaway for expectant parents. In fact, the Maldives is also home to some child-friendly resorts, so even if you are taking some kids with you, you can guarantee a fun and relaxing luxury Maldives family holiday in this archipelagic country.

If you are travelling to the Maldives with your kids, you definitely want to stay at one of the child-friendly resorts with its own kid’s club and children’s pool. Contrary to what many people thought, the Maldives does not solely appeal to honeymooners. As a popular beach holiday destination, the Maldives also offer an abundance of family-friendly activities, from snorkelling to cruising, parasailing, and fishing.

The Maldives is famous for its overwater villas. Resorts such as the Kanuhura have overwater villas spacious enough for families. These villas are fitted with everything you need, from giant flat-screen TVs to private plunge pools. For families who prefer something more adventurous on their babymoon, check out Soneva Jani, whose overwater bungalows have the option of a slide straight into the lagoon.

4. Iceland

Home to majestic volcanoes, deep fjords, and vast glaciers, Iceland has long been a beloved destination for the more intrepid travellers. Nowadays, this Nordic country is home to a new wave of luxury hotels and posh restaurants, elevating the experience to a whole new level. So, when it comes to your luxury babymoon in Iceland, you should believe the hype!

Iceland may be a country made for adventures, but it also offers plenty of opportunities for relaxing activities. Melt away your worries in the warm pools of the Blue Lagoon, a manmade lagoon where the powers of geothermal seawater create a transformational spa experience. Check out the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, a modern building architecturally inspired by the Icelandic nature of volcanoes and Arctic lights.

To make the most of your Icelandic babymoon, check into a five-star property without ever slipping off your plush white robe. Stay in a suite at a luxury hotel in Reykjavík, where you will have your own private sauna to relax after a day filled with adventures. End your day indulging in a sumptuous feast from the country’s best fine dining restaurants.

5. Italy

If you are longing for a luxury babymoon in Italy, head to Tuscany, where five-star hotels and luxury villas rest amid picturesque vineyards and quiet coastlines. Aside from relaxing in your suite, your babymoon in Tuscany will be spent exploring charming villages and frolicking at the warm summer seas.

Tuscany is also home to castle hotels, a testament to the region’s historical past. These accommodations offer a fascinating option for couples seeking luxury accommodation options while getting a glimpse of Tuscan’s colourful history. The most popular option would be to stay at luxury villas where you can spend a relaxing babymoon in total privacy while being surrounded by the stunning views of the Tuscan countryside.

If you’re looking for accommodation with a bit of character, there are also luxury boutique hotels in the region. These are small and medium-sized hotels located in the secluded part of the region and fitted with unique features, far better than the classic hotel standards. Often run by locals, these hotels are known for their warm hospitality, incredible attention to detail, and tailor-made luxury experience.

Representing Working Mums: How Data Can Create a Workplace Revolution

Anna Whitehouse, founder of the Flex Appeal campaign, has spent the last several years campaigning for women and working mums to be hired and treated without bias in the workplace. And with good reason. In 2019, a widely-shared survey revealed that one in eight employers would be reluctant to hire women who might have children.

Becca Guinchard, Global Account Director at behavioural and motivational assessment company AssessFirst, believes that progress for working women, mums and minorities too often relies on tireless campaigns driven by individuals like Anna. Instead, she believes that a data-driven approach is the only way to eradicate the biases that lead to the overlooking of competent candidates.

Anna’s research – in partnership with Nationwide – during the pandemic, highlighted the great difficulty many working mothers face. Of those surveyed, 42% of respondents reported that they felt undue pressure to perform from employers without regard to their parenting responsibilities. This is why we at AssessFirst have been investing in research and development for so many years in objective people and behavioural analytics – to eradicate biases throughout the talent management lifecycle in work.

As Whitehouse has consistently underlined, employers have a bias – unconscious or otherwise – that disadvantages mothers, or women that may have children in the near future. At the same time as Whitehouse launched her latest campaign concerning flexible working for mothers, the journal Demography published its study where in over 2,210 fictitious identical job applications, the ‘candidates’ without children received consistently higher rates of call-backs across all sectors. In no sector did mothers receive more or equal call-backs. 

After this year’s delay to gender pay gap reporting, some workplaces have not yet implemented adjustments to encourage women back into the workplace post-maternity or facilitate childcare with flexible working policies. The rate of progress is still far too slow.

But this goes beyond gender and maternal responsibilities. The biases that discriminate against mothers can be logically applied to other underrepresented groups. We must stop focusing on the results of bias, turning attention instead to the bias present in recruitment and management itself.

I believe that a systemised process of recruitment, supported by objective data and fairly implemented artificial intelligence, will enable working mothers and the underrepresented to be more included. Applied as standard across all business sectors, this would provide a truly equal workplace, where value is attributed to motivation, potential and ability rather than only experience.

Removing bias 

Conventional methods of hiring and recruitment often rely on the CV to indicate candidate ability.

As humans, we can never be sure that we are making decisions that best meet the objectivity of a given task. This is especially true during the hiring process, where we are potentially making hundreds of decisions and judgments in a narrow timeframe based on the information contained within a CV and one or more limited interview encounters.

This is not about bad recruiters and good recruiters. Taking the example of working mothers and the Demography article, did all 2,210 companies consciously discriminate against working mums? It seems unlikely. I would suggest that the biases are deeply hidden, causing the alarming discrimination uncovered through the report.

A data-driven approach to hiring removes bias and provides opportunities for individuals regardless of age, gender, religion, social status and education, disability, or skin colour.

One of the biggest criticisms of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives that I encounter from the general population, especially in areas of high unemployment, is that these policies have become synonymous with ‘box ticking’: ensuring minorities are favoured during hiring campaigns – which leaves many working families feeling disenfranchised and disadvantaged. We must change the narrative to be less about equality and more about performance so that we can simultaneously drive diversity without undermining the value of the demographics that will benefit the most. 

Focusing on behavioural data, businesses will be able to confidently predict the performance of their new recruits and better manage their workforces. Working with companies who leverage technology in this way, I see that performance levels increase; diversity levels increase as a natural consequence. Embedding science into this process rather than instinct is a more sustainable way to tackle this issue.

Developing diversity and inclusion

Consider that the largest demographic in the workforce, Millennials want companies to align with their values. And Gen Z, entering the workforce now, believe good company values are the most important element of the workplace – and those values include diversity and representation.

If businesses are looking to the future and looking to secure new talent, they must focus on their culture now.

Implementing a technology-led recruitment process means businesses and candidates know that they are operating on a fair playing field: where people strategies do not discriminate against a single demographic; that they were hired due to their ability, skillset, and personality.

When you think about the future of work in these terms, the considerations of a woman’s present or future family life seems almost inconsequential in regard to her ability to be hired and developed in a role.  

7 Important Factors That Affect Your Business Growth

Growing and expanding a business is undoubtedly one of the main goals of every entrepreneur. Profitable growth usually means that you’re succeeding in your efforts, and the hard work is finally paying off. Unfortunately, for many diverse reasons, not every business can thrive. When looking for the causes, it’s essential to realize that in many cases, simply coming up with a groundbreaking idea is not enough for a positive outcome.

Businesses have to be nourished constantly. If you want to achieve your goals as an entrepreneur, you need to work around the clock. Among particular aspects that need to be considered to ensure your business’s constant and steady growth are business structure and management. Capitalizing on social media marketing might be a good idea while adopting sustainable and green practices will help attract more customers. Things like online presence, credibility, openness to new ideas, and clear articulation of goals will also prove beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at these things.

 

Openness to New Ideas

One of the most effective ways to grow your business is by taking advantage of opportunities. When setting up a business, there are certain things you can expect from it, but some are and will remain, like the economy or political situation in your country. Due to this uncertain air, every entrepreneur needs to keep an open mind to make the right decision when required. Recognizing patterns earlier than your competitors is one of the most critical factors determining whether you’ll achieve success.

New ideas can also mean services provided by others, which can make running your business easier. If you’re working with international companies, for example, hiring a translation company that owns proper translation equipment might be suitable for your needs. While transactions keep the world moving, brands don’t have time to focus on language challenges getting in the way of their funds.

 

Budgeting and Finances

How you spend your money determines whether or not you’ll achieve your goals for the next quarter or year or even five years down the road. You need to make sure that you have a solid financial plan that has been appropriately implemented into your operations. Your first step should be creating a budget – outlining your expected profits for the next six months along with possible expenditures related to marketing, advertising, payroll, office space, utilities, etc.

The second step would be deciding how much money is going towards each category as well as writing down some basic financial principles such as using a free check stub maker to write checks as soon as possible and avoid losing track of them. Paying bills immediately after they arrive is also crucial, so you don’t rack up late fees. Another thing is being organized to avoid unnecessary spendings. An organized office will save you a great deal of money over time because you won’t lose any documents or information that might be useful later on during tax season or when trying to figure out what happened with finances during a certain time.

 

Business Structure and Management

The organizational structure consists of hierarchical levels, departments, and divisions that contribute to the business operations. As a business owner, you will need to determine how you want it to look and who will do what. A good structure will focus on the common goals and aims of particular departments while empowering them to take decisions on their own. The key is to ensure that all parts of the business work in harmony while being efficient and effective.

In order to achieve success, you will need the right kind of people on board. This can be done through good recruitment practices, but the ongoing training and development of your people is also an essential factor to bear in mind.

 

Marketing

A successful marketing strategy is a must if you want your company to get more recognition and push it ahead of competitors. To get the most out of your marketing efforts, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. If you’re not getting the desired results from your campaigns, you might want to reassess your strategy and try something else.

One of the most efficient ways to get more customers is by implementing a solid digital marketing strategy. Social media marketing is an excellent way of getting more exposure for your business. Regularly posting short promotional videos and visually interesting photos or interacting with people in the comments will boost engagement and help create a bond with your customers.

Moreover, you will need to consider the overall look of your website and its usability. The fact that you have a good product is not enough; you need to make sure potential customers will be able to find it. Pay close attention to the design of your website, the mobile version, and the way you’re using social media. Confusing text, banners, pop-ups, and calls to action that don’t engage users will only send them away.

 

Sustainable and Green Practices

More and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues and are making conscious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s essential for every business that wants to grow to adopt sustainable practices. By increasing awareness, you will be able to reach new customers – and build their loyalty.

Moreover, eco-friendly solutions can help you cut costs while gaining profit in the long run. You could even turn these eco-friendly practices into an opportunity for business growth by offering products and services that promote sustainability or making it a part of your brand image. Whether it’s a small thing like using less printing paper or focusing on creating a more energy-efficient office space, it’s always great to do something for the environment.

 

Clear Articulation of Goals

Every business owner has specific goals that they want to achieve. Having clear objectives is essential if you want your company to grow and expand its horizons. It would be best to make sure that everyone in the company understands what you want them to do to understand their roles and responsibilities.

You can achieve it through working on your communication skills and organizing meetings with professionals who will help lead you and your workers. It will also allow for better cooperation between employees and other companies involved in your business operations. If you want to achieve the best results, you must remain realistic about your goals and expectations. This way, you will know for sure what should be done to fulfill your intentions.

 

Brand Image

Creating a recognizable brand image will help you connect with the customers, and it’s essential for businesses that want to grow and expand. By working on your brand image, you will be able to boost your business, attract new customers, create a name for yourself, and make more sales.

As an entrepreneur, you need to make sure that the company’s brand identity is consistent across all of its marketing channels. This applies to both online and offline marketing efforts. By maintaining a particular look and feel of the brand, you will maximize your business growth and create a strong reputation.

 

Conclusion

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to make sure that you’re focusing on the right areas. While coming up with a business idea is key, it’s not enough. You have to work hard to maintain it, provide your workers with the right tools, and make sure that you get more customers. Not every business can succeed, but that doesn’t mean that yours won’t. With the right approach, dedication, work ethic, and determination, you might just be able to get exactly what you want!

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!

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 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.

5 Iconic Engagement Rings That Will Inspire You to Go for Something a Bit Different

Engagement rings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From traditional diamonds to sparkling sapphires, in a variety of settings and styles, the options are limitless! Of course, the charm and elegance of traditional engagement ring styles is undeniable. However, there are some truly unusual options out there, and some historical examples that stand out from the crowd.

According to Neil Dutta of engagement ring retailer, Angelic Diamonds, unique engagement rings are a wonderful option. He says, “Our customers often come to us on the hunt for something a little different; something that is unique yet still full of romantic symbolism.”

With unusual styles on the rise, we’re diving into the dazzling world of unique engagement rings. Today, we’re taking a trip back through history to fawn over some iconic and unusual engagement rings worn by the rich and famous.

Princess Diana’s sapphire cluster ring

There are few engagement rings more iconic than the sapphire and diamond cluster ring first worn by Princess Diana. Later, it would be given to Kate Middleton. The ring consists of a cluster style setting, featuring a blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by fourteen diamonds. The large ring is certainly eye-catching, and if you’re looking for an engagement ring with a pop of colour, a sapphire and diamond cluster is a great option. This particular piece was chosen by Diana herself and then passed down to her son, Prince William.

Queen Victoria’s serpent wrap

Queen Victoria is a true trendsetter when it comes to wedding traditions. Her husband, Prince Albert, gifted her with an 18-carat gold serpent wrap engagement ring adorned in rubies, diamonds, and a spectacular emerald. In ancient Rome, the serpent symbolised everlasting love, and, indeed, Albert and Victoria’s unity is an example of the perfect marriage. During the wedding ceremony, Queen Victoria wore a white dress, a wreath, and a five-meter-long veil, which contrasted with the royal tradition. If you’re looking for an alternative ring, go for one embedded with a sacred symbol and dazzling diamonds, such as the serpent.

Katy Perry’s flower power

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom got engaged on the most special celebration of all – Valentine’s Day. That’s probably why her iconic engagement ring has love and sentiment written all over it. The ring features a padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds to recreate the shape of a blooming flower in pinkish-orange hues. The ring perfectly matches the star’s extravagant style, and there has been speculation that it’s a replica of Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring featuring a rare sapphire. For a blossoming marriage, look for a flower-shaped ring accented with bright-coloured diamonds.

Jennifer Lopez’s dazzling diamonds

Jennifer Lopez has received an array of dazzling engagement rings worthy of fashion history. Two particular rings stand out. First is the stunning 6.10-carat radiant-cut pink diamond engagement ring presented to her by Ben Affleck in 2002. Second is the showstopping 15-carat emerald-cut diamond ring from Alex Rodriguez in 2019. The latter is believed to have cost between $1 million to $3 million. Get one of these fabulous looks by exploring geometric emerald-cut diamonds or venturing into the realms of coloured diamonds for a bold twist.  

Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ iconic twist ring

Combining diamonds and gemstones is a sure way to make sure your engagement ring has an impact. In the case of the ring given to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier from former president John F. Kennedy, diamonds and emeralds were a winning combination. This ring featured a 2.84-carat emerald paired with a 2.87-carat diamond, complemented by leaf decoration and a yellow gold band.  

Jackie was first gifted the ring in 1953 but there aren’t many photos showing her wearing it. In 1961 she decided to redesign it just in time for the renovation of the White House. The new design featured fancier marquise shape diamonds in place of the sleek baguettes. The new gems resemble a laurel wreath surrounding the two main stones. The other half of the band is covered in round diamonds. To replicate this stunning look, take a look at twist-style rings, and don’t be afraid to go for brightly coloured gems as well as diamonds!

Each one of these incredible engagement rings is as iconic as the last. Let this range of statement engagement rings encourage you to explore something more unusual.

6 Expert Design Tips for a More Efficient Kitchen

You know what they say about the kitchen: it’s where we prepare food, and also where we spend much of our day. It’s a place to gather with friends and family, to eat and drink together as one. It’s a space that should be both beautiful and functional—a place that is as beautiful as it is useful. Below are six expert tips for designing your dream kitchen!

1) Realize You Don’t Need Everything

First and foremost, you need to realize that your kitchen does not need everything. You can’t have all of the gadgets and gizmos that you see on TV or in catalogs. You need to evaluate your kitchen’s needs, and then purchase the necessary items for those needs. Make sure that you only purchase a few items that need to fit on your countertop, to keep the space as open as possible. You’ll be more organized this way!

According to celebrity designers, hiring an expert will help you realize what really matters in your kitchen design.  A designer will be able to see your kitchen for what it is, and they can advise you on the most efficient use of counter space. Rather than trying to stick with your set of kitchen appliances and cookware, take a step back and give yourself time to discover what you really need in place of all these items. Get bigger appliances that do multiple things that can be packed away in a box in a cupboard with ease.

2) Lighting

In the past few years, there have been huge advances in lighting technology when it comes to kitchen design. Light is a fundamental part of any space, and light plays a significant role in the functionality of your kitchen. Just as you wouldn’t want to walk into a dark room to do homework, you shouldn’t have to feel like cooking or baking is an obstacle course. Equipping your kitchen with lighting from the bottom up (adding under-cabinet lighting alongside your counters, for example) will make doing your daily cooking tasks much easier.

3) Measure the Space You Want to Fill

Before you start filling the space with furniture or other items, first measure how much storage you need to accommodate. For example, do you need a small 6-foot island or two 3-foot islands? Make sure your platform is large enough to support your needs so you don’t run into any problems when it comes time to reassemble your kitchen.

4) Group Things Together

You don’t need to have everything out, on display. A design tip from celebrity interior designers says that rather than shoving all of your cookware into a cabinet and then digging around for that one pot you need at the moment, make your life easier by grouping together items with similar functions. This is especially important if you have a smaller kitchen because it allows for more efficient use of space. Have a drawer for utensils, a cupboard for pots and pans, and a cupboard for baking goods. It’s no good to have a tidy-looking kitchen with messy cupboards.

5) Use Every Inch of Space You Have Wisely

In most homes, the space above your cabinets is going to be wasted. However, according to stylists, this dead space is perfect for installing pullout shelves or cabinets. If you can get into that area, it’s like another storage unit and can add another few inches of storage space. This tip will greatly help make your kitchen more functional and will create more space for everything to go. When your countertops are free of clutter, it makes it a lot easier to move around and work on whatever meal you are putting together.

6) Avoid a Sprawling Design

One of the most important things in any kitchen is planning. You need to make sure your appliances and cabinets are spaced properly so you can actually move around without hitting anything! Along with this, don’t try to put everything in one place. Break up your cooking and preparation areas into smaller zones. Your kitchen doesn’t need to be an aesthetically unappealing sea of islands.

The kitchen is a space that should be both beautiful and functional. It’s the place where we prepare food, eat together with friends and family, or just take a break from a busy day to wind down in front of the TV after finishing up some chores. Below are six expert tips for designing your dream kitchen! Whether you want to make more efficient use of storage space, add under-cabinet lighting above counters, measure how much workspace you need before purchasing furniture or appliances—these design ideas will help ensure your new kitchen meets all your needs while also looking stunningly gorgeous.

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.

CEO 100 2021

Welcome to this special edition supplement, CEO 100. This list has been created to look beyond a celebrity-driven or rich-list inspired group of people who typically dominate, but to give credit to the real world CEO’s. These are the people who have been at the forefront of change and steered their companies through difficult times of transition over the past two years.

It has been more important than ever to successfully navigate their teams with timely decision making and inspiring leadership, all while demonstrating a calculated manner. This supplement recognises these chosen CEO’s for their relentless passion and realising the value of crafting the perfect team to lead to success.

The profiled CEO’s are from different industries and from different countries around the world but all share drive an determination to achieve their own personal corporate mission.

Hungry For Change

Based in the US, Innoviom Inc is a global food and beverage company that analyses market trends and utilizes its findings to bring innovative new products to life. Specializing in functional wellness beverages and foods that are great tasting and proven to be beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing, Innoviom Inc has cutting-edge innovation embedded into the very fabric of its company culture. CEO and Chairman, Ahmed El Aziz tells us more, as he celebrates his recent recognition as Most Influential CEO 2021 of the USA.

Innoviom Inc is a dynamic food and beverage start-up that builds on consumer market trends and delivers innovative product solutions to global consumers.

Situated in the US and operating across the globe, Innoviom creates, produces and markets its own products that are purposefully designed to enhance wellbeing while also being delicious and nutritious. The team of global experts analyze market trends and uses more than a hundred years of combined business experience and success to create products that will meet global demand. When combined with the fresh, innovative ideas of those starting out in the industry who are in need of a platform from which to make themselves known in the global markets, Innoviom is able to create product lines that are guaranteed to meet international demand and exceed consumers’ expectation.

For instance, one of Innoviom’s most recent products to launch is Wowie™, a delicious, low-calorie, adaptogen-containing relaxation beverage that contains 20mg of hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, per can. Made using all-natural ingredients such as lavender, lemon balm, chamomile and green tea, Wowie™ is designed to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and enhance mood without causing drowsiness, making it the perfect accompaniment to working in high stress environments that enables relaxation while being active. As such, with public feelings of stress and anxiety heightened during the Covid-19 pandemic, and other key political and social factors also taking a toll on mental wellbeing, Innoviom released Wowie™ at a time when demand for relaxation and anxiety-reducing aids was at a peak.

Profound knowledge of consumer market trends in the food and industry has been a key element of the Innoviom culture since its inception, having been founded by Chairman and CEO Ahmed El Azizi, who has over twenty-five years of experience in the beverage industry. Former Global VP of Functional Beverages at Pepsico with extensive expertise acquired from his work with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups across four continents, Ahmed is well-acquainted with the industry, as are the other members of his Senior Management team. Group CFO, Christine Morcos for instance, boasts more than thirty years of experience at P&G, Gillette and Pfizer. Chief Growth Officer, Julia Trofimova, has over twenty-five years of experience with Coca Cola, Red Bull, Diageo and Tranquini, while Chief Operations & Supply Chain Officer, Jorge Canizares has several years of experience at Pepsico to his name, in addition to major brands of other industries, such as Xerox and Hughes Helicopters.

The diversity and varied expertise of his team is a key feature in Ahmed’s guiding principles of leadership. “Ensure you have a team that is better than you at the things you are not strong at – and have courage to hire such a team, listen to them and embrace the diversity of thinking,” he says, when asked about his leadership style. After all, ‘you are only as good as the people you choose to surround yourself with.’ This to Ahmed is key to the success of any leader and is a philosophy that has served him well throughout his career.

Ahmed also advocates for hands-on leadership, that knows the business well and when to listen to the team. By actively listening to colleagues, as well as consumers and the market, a leader is able to understand without being swayed by certain opinions in order to make the right, well-informed decisions that they can put their name to with pride. As such, it is also important to involve other people in thought processes, both for their own development but for the development and refinement of an idea. The final principle of Ahmed’s ethos for leadership may be simple, but it is significant: to lead by doing, not just by saying.

With people at the center of Ahmed’s keys to success, recruitment is therefore a meticulous process championed by Innoviom. “We look for people who believe in our core values, who believe in diversity of thought, courage to speak their mind and most important of all, like to operate in an environment of constant change – our business, our consumer and our markets are always changing and we need to be just as flexible,” says Ahmed.

He continues: “We look for people who are hungry to make a difference, who want to have fun, who feel they own the business – and they do, as all our employees have stock in Innoviom and, most important of all, respect one another.”

The flexibility and adaptability of the Innoviom team is vital for the start-up as it manages costs without impeding or affecting the high levels of service or high quality of products. To do so, Ahmed and his team often have to ‘wear multiple hats’, a concept which has been “exciting, exhausting, but satisfying” for Ahmed, and has enabled the company to not only sustain business but grow revenue and manage cash and bottom lines, despite all the macros and challenges of the past year.

“The biggest challenge for our business was reaching our consumer,” says Ahmed. “This is where we pivoted very quickly to DTC (Direct to Consumer) and we have steadily built our business month on month [from there].” The new model allows Innoviom to engage directly with its consumers, learning from them so as to shape innovation strategies for future products as they are developed. Now, as the world reopens following Covid-19 lockdown, Innoviom is faced with the challenge of maintaining this dialogue with consumers who may consider returning to traditional retail shopping. By prioritizing the development of its DTC model, Innoviom aims to maintain consistency in its consumer engagement, with the ultimate objective of developing innovation as the company as a whole grows.

After all, there is no doubt that Innoviom as a company is growing, with plans to expand its geographic footprint into the UK, EU and Canada as it introduces ingenious new beverages and products to its product lines throughout 2021. It is an exciting period of evolution for Innoviom, and one that Ahmed is taking great pride in as he makes plans for the future. When asked what these are, he is succinct and clear in his aspirations: “to continue to build Innoviom into a world class food and beverage company, to have fun along the way, and to enjoy the ride.”

For business enquiries contact Ahmed El Azizi at Innoviom Inc via www.innoviom.com.

SME News Reveals the 2021 Winners of the Energy & Power Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – SME News is thrilled to announce the winners of the Energy & Power Awards.

SME News has devised the Energy & Power Awards programme to recognise and reward certain business firms and individuals who strive to provide sustainable energy to their consumers and clients. The Awards programme has acknowledged firms who have further provided services within the gas and electricity sector, whether it is providing products and services or transmitting and distributing the supply of energy within the UK.

SME News applauds the dedication and perseverance it takes to supply electricity and energy to innumerable homes in the UK and we would like to reward these businesses, irrespective of how big or small the business is.

Our Awards Coordinator, Harwinder Pawar has spoken on the success of the awards programme: “I would firstly like to congratulate all of the winners of the programme this year. I am incredibly proud of all that has been achieved by these businesses in this very difficult year and would like to wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.sme-news.co.uk/awards/uk-energy-and-power-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

About SME News

SME News draws on our UK wide network of industry insiders to provide you with the latest news, cutting edge features and latest deals from across the UK SME landscape.

Alongside our quarterly publication we also offer an easy-to-use website, newsletter, and a series of awards programmes, making SME News much more than just a magazine, but instead a vital resource.

Bought to you by AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, this unique magazine is the perfect resource for the CEOs, leaders and decision makers in the UK based SMEs looking to keep their finger on the pulse and stay ahead of the competition.

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.

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.

Hybrid Selling: How to Provide a Blended Retail Experience for Your Customers

The pandemic encouraged business owners to rethink their methods of operation. One of the ways businesses adapted to the growing online market was hybrid selling, where you sell products both online and in-store. This switch has been a stark wake-up call for some British companies, as the UK is considered to be five years behind Chinese e-commerce, which achieves 80% of all its sales through online mobile apps.

This article will explore the benefits of hybrid selling. We will also cover the ways that you can provide your customers with a blended retail experience. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar shop owner looking to expand online or an e-commerce store considering opening a pop-up shop, here’s how you can benefit from hybrid selling.

Set up an online shop

Online retail has never been more important. The value of online retail sales has steadily increased over the past decade, from £52.25 billion in 2015 to £76.04 billion in 2019. However, during the pandemic, the value increased dramatically to £99.31 billion in 2020. This shows a direct correlation between the economic standstill of lockdown and online retail sales.

However, in the aftermath of the pandemic, the number of people choosing to shop online continues to rise. According to a survey conducted in July, 70% of shoppers prefer to buy goods online or on their mobile phones, compared to less than 50% before the pandemic.

Therefore, if you’re a business owner without an online shop, it would be beneficial to set one up in the post-pandemic world. Your e-commerce store could be on a third-party platform, such as Etsy or Amazon. Depending on your budget, you could even create your own e-commerce site using a content management system, such as Shopify. This will provide your customers with a blended retail experience that will accommodate the growing demand for online shopping options.

Invest in digital marketing

It is important to make the most out of digital marketing. This is true whether you’re considering opening an online shop or you already have an established e-commerce store. Digital marketing will boost your online presence and draw customers to your business.

Digital marketing is imperative to the commercial success of online businesses. It will allow you to build lasting relationships with your customers and enable you to showcase your services or products. These products and services can then be shown to the largest and most appropriate audience possible. This marketing can come in the form of search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, and much more.

This means that digital marketing is a lot more than creating online adverts! Your business can work with professional marketers to utilise data and create customer engagement plans. According to one study, 67% of marketers that use customer engagement platforms enjoyed it. Your business can make use of these platforms to communicate with each of your customers in a unique and personalised way.

Make a pop-up shop for your online store

If you own an online business, it may be time for you to consider opening a brick-and-mortar store – even if it is temporary. There are still demographics of shoppers that prefer to buy goods or services in person. Although online shopping allows your business to reach the growing online market, it’s important to have a street presence too.

In fact, research shows there is a direct correlation between in-person shopping and age. Members of younger generations are more likely to shop online, with 99% of 25-34 year-olds and 65% of over-65s making online purchases in 2020. Whether this is due to mobility issues or knowledge of technology, providing a blended retail experience caters to all customers.

A great way to achieve this balance is to open up a pop-up storage container shop. This will allow you to display your products or services for a short amount of time while avoiding paying long-term rent on shopfronts. Entice your customers with discounted rates and decorative displays in person. This way, you could solidify a new demographic of customers!

The world of retail and business is constantly evolving. Whether your business sells macramé crafts or custom stationery, you should continue to be mindful of shopping trends. Strive to provide your customers with a blended retail experience. This could be in the form of opening up an online shop or making a pop-up store. Regardless of your methods, you’ll be sure to see the benefits of hybrid selling, so how will you start?

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. 

Best UHNW Family Office Legal Advisor 2021: Olivia Cooper

Having made a name for itself in the eyes of a worldwide clientele by ensuring the financial future of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and institutions, Axiom DWFM is making itself the go-to family office legal firm for the modern elite. Led by prestigious voices and knowledge within the legal industry, its previous success has made way for an even brighter future.

Founded by Victor Mischon – subsequently Baron Mischon – in 1959, Axiom Stone, now Axiom DWFM, has become a trusted legal firm for a worldwide prestigious clientele. Its operation began in its Holborn office in London; and using that as a springboard it has become known as a trusted advisor to many successful people and businesses that have taken the firm through the numerous growth phases of the UK and global economy. More recently they have reached yet another milestone in the firm’s success to date, merging with DWFM Bekman to form Axiom DWFM. The merger creates a combined team of over 150 staff – including 19 partners, located across offices in London and Birmingham.

Axiom DWFM builds on its antecedent’s established reputation as a leading firm in multiple practice areas in the Legal 500, creating a more comprehensive offering. The firm has a strong international reach, with extensive knowledge and wide-ranging experience in multiple disciplines including Family Office and Private Wealth, Corporate, Real Estate, Litigation and Corporate Recovery.

Axiom DWFM look after clients and their reputations internationally, these include large corporations, family businesses, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrities. Clients benefit from their membership of the International Practice Group, a global association of independent lawyers and other professional advisers at their disposal. Axiom DWFM has considerable expertise in serving both the Chinese and Indian markets, ensuring it is well-placed to handle the needs of clients in South East Asia as well as UK clients looking to move into those markets.

The worldwide contact base of Axiom DWFM allows it to provide comprehensive advice to clients across multiple jurisdictions, navigating strategic decisions that impact both businesses and personal lives.

Axiom DWFM exhibits a global mind-set that celebrates their geographic diversity and works seamlessly across borders. They are future-orientated and strategic, valuing new ideas and perspectives listening attentively to ensure they deliver the highest standard of legal advice and exceed client service expectations. Axiom DWFM pride themselves on the pragmatic legal knowledge they bring to clients along with geopolitical insight, commercial acumen and flair to ensure its advice can be successfully applied by clients in the real world providing a positive contribution to its local and global communities. In tandem with this, its services for ultra-high-net-worth individuals specifically have become renowned for excellence.

Olivia Cooper leads the Axiom DWFM Family Office and Private Wealth Team serving clients and institutions worldwide.

Axiom DWFM acknowledges that, now more than ever, wealth management and strategic life planning is a constantly evolving industry with increasingly numerous challenges and opportunities along the way; driven first and foremost by the changing needs of today’s UHNW individuals with successful businesses and families.

One such evolution has been the advent of the virtual single-family office – bringing the benefits of the traditional single family office but delivering them in a contemporary manner befitting todays technological age and planning for beyond. This allows a wide range of wealthy families and businesses to enjoy the key benefit of a single family office, being a synergistic approach and extensive expertise in wealth preservation and succession planning.

Overall, Axiom DWFM provides wealthy families and businesses with coordinated solutions for protecting their wealth, maintaining personal control over assets and ensuring the education and development of future generations. Axiom DWFM’s strong commitment to learning and development along with its inclusive culture shows why legal professionals of all levels are keen to join them. They are very proud of their paralegals and trainee solicitors and delighted that Axiom DWFM was able to keep hiring throughout the pandemic in order to provide opportunity to its industry’s growing pool of young talent.

Some legal firms have struggled with Brexit and where the UK is heading outside of the EU, however Axiom DWFM do not see this as a challenge, but more of an opportunity as it helps clients unlock the potential of Global Britain. The wider legal professional will be grappling with the retained law snapshot of the EU, incorporated into domestic law in 2018, but Axiom DWFM foresees this as being merely a short-term concern. However, the main task now for the legislators and the legal professionals will be determining what retained law is relevant and how the UK amends any post-Brexit legislation to suit the nation’s global position.

Axiom DWFM noted at the onset of the pandemic the significant challenges presented to law firms on how to manage staff safely while continuing to deliver high quality legal advice to clients. It found that younger lawyers struggled to work from home, and in response worked hard to ensure that its offices could stay open during the pandemic as both Partners and other staff worked on the basis of being stronger together.

Olivia Cooper’s Family Office Team pride themselves on keeping up to date with trends, geopolitical developments worldwide and current affairs. They actively engage within these key business areas to ensure their advice is always up to date, relevant and immediately available for clients worldwide.

When Olivia Cooper herself was asked what about the legal profession she found the most rewarding, she informed us implementing strategies to the benefit of the client and watching businesses thrive. Likewise she takes immense pride in seeing trainees within her firm and wider legal profession grow in both knowledge and confidence.

The Family Office Team will continue to grow and Olivia Cooper confirmed she will be launching a number of new initiatives to develop and expand the firm’s client base via increased engagement. Additionally, Olivia Cooper will be returning to speak at TEDx later in the year around the time of COP26 in Glasgow and she will also be following developments of the UK joining CPTPP to ensure Axiom DWFM are at the forefront of opportunities to help clients.

For business enquiries contact Olivia Cooper via:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44(0) 203 827 6100
Website: axiomdwfm.com

4 Payments Industry Predictions – What Will Disrupt the Market in 2022?

 
The most prominent disruptive forces, that are going to impact the payments industry in the upcoming year.

Having dealt with the initial pandemic aftershock, this year the key areas of focus for businesses were building economic resilience and improving customer experience. With the new year just around the corner, Marius Galdikas, CEO at ConnectPay, has commented on the main forces that will be shaping the payments market in 2022 as well as what payments market players should keep an eye on.

Internet of Payments

It is estimated that by 2025, there will likely be more than 27 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connections. The growing number of IoT devices is rapidly shaping the everyday habits of consumers, including the way they choose to pay. This led the financial world to coin a new term—Internet of Payments (IoP)—which refers to a phenomenon that enables payment processing over IoT devices, for example, smart home assistants, like Amazon Alexa, or smaller everyday accessories, such as Apple Watch. IoP is currently at a nascent stage, however, as the market is becoming more saturated with IoT-driven devices, payments market players need to develop a blueprint on how to take advantage of this disruptive force.

“The merge of IoT and payments brings consumers extraordinary convenience with reduced friction,” commented Galdikas. “As Open Banking enables third-party providers and fintechs take on the roles of IoP providers, this opens up an entirely new area for innovation. Also, IoT creates the opportunity for businesses to gather more data about the consumers, which will help to elevate user experiences.”

BaaS continuing to thrive

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) allows embedding financial services into any company. This gave rise to a number of new market players, which took advantage of the Application Programming Interface (API) driven platforms to enter the financial services industry. The BaaS market, valued at $356.26 Billion in 2020, is now projected to reach $2,299.26 billion by 2028.

“BaaS enables companies to leverage market-tested infrastructure without the regulatory overhang, saving a significant amount of organization’s resources. As the pandemic led many to redistribute their budget, outsourcing banking infrastructure became an even more appealing choice—leveraging banking-as-a-service enables them to direct more resources towards product innovation, rather than framework building. Therefore, BaaS providers will continue to fly high,” Galdikas commented.

Hyper-personalization

The need for personalized experiences followed consumers to the online space. While process automation will remain one of the top priorities for fintechs, the key will be finding the balance between providing efficient service and not losing ‘the human touch’. To secure future success, industry experts have emphasized leveraging real-time consumer data to provide personally tailored insights and proactive advice.

“With practically every business pouring investments into upgrading their tech framework, hyper-personalization becomes the main driver helping banking service providers differentiate from their competitors. That’s why refining their approach to be primarily customer-centric as well as proving it at scale will allow gaining a competitive edge,” the expert explained.

Focus on CBDCs

Throughout the year, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been gaining momentum, with countries all around the globe, such as Sweden, Norway, South Korea, China, and others pushing the rollout and testing their application in the real world. The interest in government-backed e-money is not wavering, rather the opposite, it spurred new ideas, such as launching multiple CBDC systems, that could potentially cut off billions of transaction fees annually.

“CBDCs could provide a range of benefits, for example, lowering the cost of cross-border transactions, increasing financial inclusivity, and enhancing economic resilience of domestic payments systems. This is a tool that, if implemented thoroughly, could outweigh the offerings of payment service providers, which will have to immensely step up their game,” Galdikas noted. “As for the multiple CBDC network, the main question of ‘how long will it take?’ remains, as developing a united framework seems like a Herculean task, with each countries’ efforts moving at a different pace.”

The payments market is evolving as rapidly as ever, despite some of the challenges it had to face throughout 2021. The upcoming year is looking to bring more efficiency, personalization, and tech synergy, fueling the sector’s growth even further.

8 Ways to Lower Your Home Insurance Costs

If you own a home, you want to protect it by taking out an insurance policy. While your insurance costs may be a necessary expense, there is no reason to pay the highest prices. Not all insurance companies are created equally, so it’s essential to know all of your options to find the best coverage.

There are many factors that are considered in the calculation of your insurance premiums. Your insurance company will assess the risks of your home and property and quote you an estimate on your insurance costs. There are several actions that you can take to reduce your costs and still get the best protection.

From shopping around for several home insurance quotes to upgrading your home security system, there are many ways to save on your premiums. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways to lower your home insurance costs.

Raise Your Deductible

Your deductible amount is the cost that you are obligated to pay out of your pocket to fix damage to your home prior to your coverage kicking in. Most homeowners believe that keeping a lower deductible will save them money, but that’s not the truth.

On average, most policyholders set their deductible at $500. This is a generally affordable amount to have to pay. However, if you can afford to bump your deductible up to $1,000, you can save up to 25% on your premium costs. If you don’t have to make a claim on your insurance, you will save a bundle throughout the year. Keep in mind, if you raise your deductible, it’s a good idea to set that amount aside in your emergency fund so that you will have it available when needed.

Improve Your Home Security

When the insurance company considers where to set your premiums, they are trying to manage the risk of the probability of having to pay a claim. If you can upgrade your home security, you are reducing the risk and will likely end up paying cheaper premiums. Ensuring that you have fire alarms in all rooms, upgrading your locks, and installing a monitored security system can help you to bring down your insurance premiums.

Shop Around

Every insurance company is different and will offer different rates. If you are buying a home, you need to do your research into finding the most affordable coverage that suits your needs. You can start with an online search and check out a few companies. It’s a good idea to go beyond comparing bottom-line prices. Each policy will offer different coverage so it’s important to know what is included in the policies. Once you have settled on the type of coverage that you need, request quotes and use them to compare prices.

Consider Rebuilding Costs

If your home is destroyed by fire or other means, you will have to make a claim on your insurance policy for rebuilding costs. When you take out your policy, you will be asked to estimate this cost. It’s important to remember that the higher you set your replacement costs, the more you will pay for your monthly premiums.

It’s important to know that the purchase price of your home is not the same as your replacement costs. The land that your home is on cannot be destroyed but will account for a portion of the price that you pay for your home. For example, if your home sits on several acres, you will pay a price that combines the cost of the land and the cost of your home. When you file a claim for rebuilding your home, you need to only consider the actual costs of building your house structure. Setting a rebuilding price that only accounts for home construction can help to keep your premiums down.

Disaster Proofing

You never know when disaster can strike. It may come in the form of a severe hail storm, a tornado, a hurricane, or a wildfire, and the lengths that you go to protect your home can be crucial to your home’s protection. Upgrading to a steel roof that will protect your home from fire embers or adding hurricane-proof windows can help you to minimize your disaster damage and reduce your premiums.

Ask About Discounts

Most insurance companies do not advertise the discounts that they offer. It will be up to you to make a request about any savings for which you qualify. Common insurance discounts include:

– Loyalty discount
– Military discount
– Senior discount
– Safe driving discount
– Defensive driving course discount
– Multiple policy discount

Bundle Your Policies

Taking out your auto and life insurance with the same company that holds your home policy can save you on your premiums. Insurance companies would prefer to hold all of your policies and are willing to hand out considerable discounts for bundling your policies. You could save up to 25% on your insurance costs when you bundle your policies with one insurance provider.

Annual Review

Over time, your insurance needs will change. It’s a good idea to review your home policy annually to determine whether it is still meeting your needs. You may have a number of riders added to your policy to protect your special belongings; a review could save you money on your premiums if they are still needed. You will need to consider if you are getting the right price with your current provider or if you should start shopping around for a new policy.

Home insurance is an essential expense that homeowners can’t avoid. If you want to get the best protection at the most affordable cost, you need to follow these tips to save you on your home insurance costs.

Growing a Retail Business: How Improving Your Delivery System Helps

Whether you operate an eCommerce retail business or you own a high street shop, there are several steps you can take to improve your delivery system. And with a better delivery system, you will be able to more easily grow your business. Let us find out how.

Providing the Delivery Options Your Customers Want Increases Sales

You are sure to have a website where customers can place orders, regardless of whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop or you only operate within the digital sphere. So, you need to look at ways of improving the order process for the customer.

Firstly, you need to make the process as straightforward and simple as possible. Secondly, you need to provide several delivery options.

By doing so, you will attain new customers and get repeat custom, and therefore grow your business. Why? Because customer demand is changing. Consumers want to be able to place same-day and next-day orders, choose morning or afternoon slots, and have the option of doing click-and-collect at shops.

Ensuring You Provide a Quality Service Creates Customer Loyalty

To grow your retail business, you need your customers to be happy, buy from you time and time again, and recommend your business to their friends and colleagues. To achieve that, you need to provide quality service.

While quality customer service should be a priority of any business, too many retail companies overlook how important providing quality customer service is at the delivery stage.

You should consider handling deliveries in-house instead of outsourcing to a third party to ensure your couriers are trained in how to best represent your company. You can even add personal touches that go a long way when you deal with your own deliveries.

Using Route Planning Software Leads to Better Efficiency and Increased Productivity

Quality customer service is all good and well, but unless you always ensure deliveries are made on time, you will not be able to grow your retail business. Indeed, you will end up losing customers.

Thankfully, it is easy to maintain an efficient delivery service that always delivers goods on time via using GPS to locate addresses and route planners to automatically find the most optimal routes.

Once you gain a reputation for delivering on time, you will attract more customers.

Furthermore, when you use route optimization software, drivers can deliver items quicker. That means you can expand the number of deliveries you make each day, thus enabling you to increase your productivity and profits.

Expanding Your Delivery Coverage Enables You to Reach More Customers

If you own a small physical retail business, you may only deliver items in the local vicinity at present. If that is the case, consider expanding your area of coverage.

Although using an in-house delivery system could mean you need to hire more drivers and you will need more outgoings for fuel, those costs can be more than worth it.

By expanding your delivery area, you can reach more customers and grow your business further. Simple.

Even if you operate an online retail business, you could consider expanding your delivery range by partnering with third party delivery companies to ship your products to countries all over the world.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the precise steps you take to improve your delivery system and grow your business must be based on your specific situation.

For instance, some retail businesses are better off outsourcing their delivery systems while others find in-house delivery to be the best option.

The important thing is that you consider the above methods for improving your delivery system and spend time working out which options are best for you.

SME News Reveals the 2021 Winners of the British Made Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – SME News is thrilled to announce the winners of the British Made Awards.

SME News designed the British Made Awards programme in order to recognise British manufacturers who have remained resilient and persevered despite the turbulences that have followed since Brexit and now with Covid-19. The Awards programme is dedicated to award those manufacturing firms and businesses who have shown consistence while striving for innovation and outstanding quality in their products.

Our Awards Coordinator, Emma Pridmore, has commented on the success of the British Made Award programme’s debut: “I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to all the winners. It has been a delight hosting this awards programme and acknowledging those who have demonstrated continuous strength during this difficult period. I would like to wish all the winners all the best for all of their future endeavours.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.sme-news.co.uk/awards/british-made-awards/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

About SME News

SME News draws on our UK wide network of industry insiders to provide you with the latest news, cutting edge features and latest deals from across the UK SME landscape.

Alongside our quarterly publication we also offer an easy-to-use website, newsletter, and a series of awards programmes, making SME News much more than just a magazine, but instead a vital resource.

Bought to you by AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, this unique magazine is the perfect resource for the CEOs, leaders and decision makers in the UK based SMEs looking to keep their finger on the pulse and stay ahead of the competition.

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.

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.

Big Data, Big City Transformations: Transport and Well-Being

As the world changes, so do our priorities. We are now needing to place human needs before technical needs when designing urban areas for the future. Sustainability is at the heart of these considerations as we look to include green spaces, utilise big data effectively, and introduce efficient travel. Technology is central to these ideas, particularly for the use of big data in smart cities.

In today’s society, governments and leaders are given a plethora of insights and data that improve how we live. Gathering such rich and useful information about built-up areas like cities is not only efficient and relatively quick but can work towards providing the best living conditions for residents as well as the environment and other species that inhabit it.

What are smart cities?

Smart cities are a relatively new concept that use technology to gather data and insights to improve services and solve problems. Cities only account for two per cent of our planet’s total surface area. However, data from the UN reports that cities will house 68 per cent of the global population by 2050. The need for cities that can safely house a high population creates challenges like mobility issues, traffic congestion, and pollution, among many more we already face in our everyday lives.

Smart cities can help solve societal challenges we are facing from an ever-increasing human population. City data provides an in-depth and accurate look into what we need without breaching earth’s ecological boundaries.

Successful smart cities

Amsterdam was one of the first smart cities, using data to ensure the city’s roads, housing, services, and quality of life continue to improve. The city manages all this while becoming more sustainable to avoid air pollution too.

Plus, the city is making use of a unique asset to gather data – its bridges. Amsterdam has more bridges than any other city in the world at 1,800 in total. These bridges can communicate information to other infrastructures in order to optimise travel – the MX3D bridge is equipped with sensors to visualise information about traffic on bridges, the neighbourhood, environment, and its structural integrity. Maintenance will automatically be alerted when it needs work on it. It can even communicate with traffic lights to change timing to reduce congestion when it’s busy.

Efficient transport

Railways have always been key spaces within cities and maintain connectivity between neighbourhoods. Trains are the optimum mode of transport in busy cities and will continue to be in the future – for example, transport in London would be near enough impossible without the intricate underground and overground train system. With a population expected to reach around 10 billion by 2050, smart rail systems will be needed more than ever to evolve with the rapidly growing urbanisation.

In today’s world, smart trains use data for passenger information systems to inform on live news, connecting information, time tables, as well as real-time data to inform engineers of predictive maintenance to keep services running smoothly and regulate trains. Machine-to-machine communication with input from the cloud enables passengers to seek the fastest route and find out which trains are the busiest, keeping footfall smooth and reducing congestion in built-up areas.

Dubai’s new ways of travel

Dubai’s pollution is hitting high levels, risking vulnerable groups like young children, older people, pregnant mothers, and the ill. This is contributed to by the high number of personal vehicles emitting noxious pollution as well as heavy-duty vehicles.

Last year, Dubai engineered an entirely new transport system to the city, named Sky Pods.

These will travel alongside the Dubai Metro, transporting two to five people around set routes to meet their mobility targets.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, the director-general and chairman of the RTA, commented: “The signing of the agreement is part of RTA’s efforts to deploy autonomous transit means in line with the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at diverting 25 per cent of total mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transit means by 2030.”

Similarly, the city is looking for ways to cut down rush hour for commuters. The new Virgin Hyperloop took its first travellers in November last year and can travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes, transporting 10,000 passengers each hour both ways.

Integrating green spaces

Recent research suggests that while we should integrate technological features into our cities, a lot of focus needs to be shifted towards environmental sustainability.

Smart cities are also being designed for public health and well-being. Satellites can identify how much greenery exists in a city and areas to improve. This can enhance air quality and support ecosystems as well as offer pedestrians places to wind down and relax in nature. Smart parks can ensure lawns and plants are watered in response to weather changes, making plant maintenance an automated process.

These considerations are becoming increasingly important. For example, in the UK, 54,000 acres of green space were turned into artificial surfaces between 2006 and 2012, which is equivalent to an area twice as large as the city of Liverpool.

The technology involved in smart cities can not only help transportation and efficiency but improve the quality of life and emotional well-being of those who live among it.

10 Christmas Crafts Your Children Will Love

Christmas is a magical festivity that all kids look forward to. Why not make the build up to the coveted 25th December just as exciting?

With plenty of creative activities to choose from, we have picked our favourite Christmas crafts for you and your children to truly enjoy. Full of handy tips and step-to-step guides, this article will help you travel with your imagination as you wait for Santa Claus to slide down the chimney!

Classic Christmas bow

A simple yet effective way to get into the Christmas spirit is to decorate your house with festive, red, ribbon bows. With very few materials required and with easy steps for you and your little ones to follow, here is how to make bows for Christmas!

What you need:

  • Ribbon
  • Floral wire (optional)

Instructions – Cut strips of ribbon according to your preferred length for the tail of your bow. To make it more visually appealing, cut the ends of the bow in a V shape. Then, create three loops – two facing upwards and the middle one facing downwards. Cross the right loop over the left one, allowing the side with the tail to hang down. Finally, fold the right loop down through the centre loop. There you have it – a wonderful Christmas bow!

Lovely paper Christmas tree

Christmas trees are arguably the emblem of the festive season. Your children may still be too little and short to be able to help with decorating a ‘real’ fir tree. Instead, why not let them create their own colourful paper-cone Christmas tree?

What you need:

  • Green paper
  • Plastic and glitter stickers (i.e. stars, jewels, etc.)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Double-sided tape or glue

Instructions – Trace a large circle on your coloured paper and cut it out. Fold it in half to make two semi-circles and fold them round again into a cone. Once complete, secure it with tape or glue. It will then be time for your kids to decorate their very own tree with their multicoloured stickers!

Small decorations for your Christmas tree

It may well be difficult for your kids to personally garnish the Christmas tree, but they can certainly get involved by creating their own decorations. Fetch twigs and get to work – you and your little ones will love making them!

What you need:

  • Twigs (large and small)
  • String or twine
  • Glue
  • Paint and glitter

Instructions – Head outdoors and find as many long and short twigs as you can. The longer sticks will act as your base, and you will glue the shorter ones to this as you keep moving up. In the meantime, tie your string or twine into a loop that is big enough for your Christmas tree’s branches. Attach it to your twig-made tree and complete your piece of art with glitter or paint!

Snowflake decorations

Wrapped up in warm coats or kids’ waterproofs, children love to chase and catch snowflakes on winter days. With their beautifully unique patterns, wouldn’t it be great to create your own? Here is a short guide on how to make snowflake decorations.

What you need:

  • White paper
  • A pair of scissors
  • Glue (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)

Instructions – Start with larger sheets of paper as bigger snowflakes are easier to cut out. Once your children have become pros, you can move on to smaller flakes. Fold your piece of paper in half to make a triangle. Fold it in half again and then into thirds. Get creative with your scissors as you cut around the edges. Finally, open up your folded snowflake and admire your creation! If you want to make it look extra special, dab glue on the tips and sprinkle some glitter.

Sock snowmen

No snow so far? Buy both white and colourful socks and build your own snowmen indoors. Wondering how to make a sock snowman? We have you covered!  

What you need:

  • White socks
  • Colourful, fuzzy socks
  • Buttons
  • Black sharpie
  • Black and orange pipe cleaners
  • Twine

Instructions – Cut the white sock just above where the heel goes and fill it with rice, then tie a knot at the top. Tie a piece of twine around the sock to create the upper and lower portions of your snowman. Cut the fuzzy sock so that it fits over the snowman’s head and tie twine around it to fashion a colourful hat. You can use what you have cut off as its scarf. Finally, cut the pipe cleaners into tiny pieces and glue them onto the white sock to make its eyes, mouth and nose. Why not attach buttons on the snowman’s torso too?

Festive Christmas wreath

Want a stunning wreath for your front door? Let your kids help you produce your own special one!

What you need:

  • Wreath base
  • A pair of scissors
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Evergreen branches (i.e. fir, holly, ivy)
  • Florists wire
  • Various decorations

Instructions – Start by securing the evergreen boughs to your wreath base. Wrap the wire around the stems a few times and overlap the greenery to fill all the gaps. Once you’re happy, tie off the wire and cut it. Then, use the twine to bind everything to your base. Now the fun bit: decorate your wreath with cinnamon sticks, sparkly stars, or whatever you fancy!

Tree topper

Missing a star on top of your Christmas tree? You and your little ones can make one yourselves – and it will look brighter and more special than ever! Here is how to make a tree topper to be proud of.

What you need:

  • White paper
  • Paint
  • A pair of scissors
  • Glue
  • Glitter

Instructions – Make a paper cone as illustrated above (i.e. paper cone Christmas tree). Draw a star on another sheet of paper and cut it out. Attach it to the cone, paint them both and then leave them to dry. When ready, cover your topper with glue and sprinkle glitter all over it. There you have it – A new star to shine proudly on top of your Christmas tree!

Christmassy table centrepiece

Family reunions and Christmas lunch with kids, parents, and grandparents are one of the highlights of the winter season. For such a special occasion, your dining table may need to liven up too. Not sure how to make a Christmas table centrepiece? Read ahead!

What you need:

  • Pinecones
  • White paint
  • Hot glue
  • Various decorations

Instructions – Pick up pinecones from your backyard or your local park to create the perfect DIY centrepiece. All you need to do is to let your kids decorate the pinecones with white paint and then affix the decorations (i.e. berries, stars, etc.) using hot glue. You can also add a touch of glitter or silver spray to make them even more visually attractive!

Handprint cards

Homemade Christmas cards are the perfect way to keep your kids busy and entertained as they excitedly count down the days till Christmas. These handprint Christmas cards are lovely, personal, and truly easy to create!

What you need:

  • Paper sheet as a greeting card
  • Colourful paper (green, brown, and more)
  • Plastic jewels
  • A pair of scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue

Instructions – Place your kid’s hand on a green sheet of paper and draw around it, then cut out the hand shape. Use a brown piece of paper to make a tree trunk and another coloured sheet for its pot. Glue them all on the greeting card and create a hand-shaped Christmas tree. Finally, Add plastic jewels and a star on top, and your card is ready! Get your child to sign it and send it to your loved ones.

Fragrant potpourri

Want to bring the scent and fragrance of Christmas inside your house to get into the festive spirit? Try this Christmas potpourri and experiment with smells as you go along!

What you need:

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Pinecones
  • Star anise
  • Ribbon
  • Cellophane bag
  • Oranges

Instructions – Slice up your oranges and put them in the oven on the lowest setting for about four hours. Take them out when they are completely dried out and mix them with pinecones, a couple of cinnamon sticks and a bunch of star anises. If your little ones want to gift it to someone, fill a cellophane bag and tie it with a festive ribbon for decoration. The lucky receiver will love their unique and handmade present!

Christmas is a joyous time for every kid. To satiate their excitement, encourage them to get creative with some Christmas-themed activities. We hope that this list of crafts will help you come up with some fun ideas and keep your little ones busy and festive!

Why CRM is a Crucial Sales Tool for Businesses

By Jessica Day – Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad

In business, very few things come in more black-and-white than sales. You’re either making them, or not. 

In this environment, the tools that you use to carry out your work need to be similarly simple and efficient. This is where CRM (customer relationship management) software can come in handy..

What Is CRM?

Before we take a look at the why we need to make sure we’re all clear on the what. There’s no point in analysing why a CRM is so fundamental to your business if you don’t know what it is.

Simply put, CRM software is a tool that hosts a lot of data relevant to your sales team. It is a place for you to store details about potential and current leads, data on sales that have happened, and information about past interactions. Expanded across different departments, it also allows for proactive customer service and progressive marketing campaigns.

Now that we’re all clear on what CRM is, let’s share some thoughts on why it is proving so crucial for so many organisations.

 

1. Time Management

First and foremost, CRM is a tool that allows sales teams to better manage their time. By reducing the time wasted looking through more difficult-to-use data storage systems, CRM allows team members to arrive at conclusions and make decisions about how to proceed in a more timely manner.

It, therefore, allows salespeople more time to do what they do best: talk to their customers. They have all the information they need right at their fingertips, and can refer back to it with ease throughout the call. Customers love personalisation, and CRM helps your agents excel.

 

2. Customer Insight

Not only does CRM software provide a quick way to access information, it means that information is incredibly comprehensive. By centralising the intelligence of the entire sales wing, it provides companies with the best opportunity possible to maintain comprehensive customer records.

As a means with which to gain insight into customer behaviour, and a tool to help you with how to improve customer experience, it simply doesn’t get better than that. With this tool in place, agents can start calls with a clear picture of who their customer is, what their past interactions have involved, and how to capture their interest.

Understanding this information can help your agents convert customers to a sale. However, that’s not the only benefit – if they’re not immediately interested, you still have more data to add to your CRM for future interactions.

3. Cost Savings

You might be thinking: okay, so this CRM software is great because it enables a sales team to work more efficiently than they would otherwise be able to. That’s great, but it must cost a ridiculous amount, right?

Luckily, the answer is no! Many CRM and CRM integrations operate on a SaaS basis, meaning monthly fees and no infrastructure investment required. Not to mention, that it can boost your revenue and help you hit your sales quota, so that initial investment will be outweighed by the increased profits.

 

4. Healthy Competition

The final reason that we’re going to discuss today is less to do with what CRM contains and more to do with the effect it has on your sales team. By allowing them access to real-time statistics around the performance of their team, they’ll also be able to see how they compare on an individual level.

By their very nature, salespeople rank among the most competitive members of an organisation. It’s one of the main reasons that sales process automation is so difficult to get right. No one can do sales like salespeople. 

Now, allowing this to boil over into a toxic environment is definitely something to avoid. And operating as a team with very little competitive spirit is equally disastrous in the world of sales.

Finding a balance between these two is crucial, and this is something CRM, with the aid of management, can help with. By providing colleagues with both small and big picture statistics at their fingertips, it helps them to stay on track – pushing themselves to achieve more, but celebrating their successes.

What now?

Throughout this article, we’ve taken a look at both what a CRM is and why it is a crucial sales tool for businesses. Whether you operate with a B2C or B2B model, sales remains vital. CRM enables scalable growth and improves performance, and, the more you use it, the more helpful its data becomes.

So, if you haven’t invested in one yet, get started – and you’ll soon see the benefits.

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.

ADDX Tokenises First Private Credit Fund, Lowers Minimum from US$5m to US$20,000

Managed by Temasek-owned SeaTown, the fund with committed capital of more than US$1 billion is raising external capital for the first time

Private market exchange ADDX has enabled rare fractional access to a private credit fund with more than US$1 billion in committed capital, reducing the fund’s minimum investment size for individual accredited investors from US$5 million to US$20,000. The move helps diversify the investor base of private credit funds, which have traditionally been designed to serve institutional capital. This is also the first private credit fund to be tokenised on the ADDX platform.

The lowering of the investment threshold was made possible through the issuance of security tokens with an exposure to the SeaTown Private Credit Feeder Fund LP (“SeaTown Private Credit Fund”). Also known as digital securities, these tokens are more efficient to administer because they make use of blockchain and smart contracts to overcome manual processes at different stages of their life cycle – including custody, ownership tracking, fund earnings distribution and secondary trading. The use of security tokens also eliminates the need for multiple intermediaries, which brings down costs further for both issuers and investors.

Fund manager SeaTown is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seviora Holdings, and is indirectly owned by Temasek Holdings. SeaTown has been investing in private credit since 2012, with US$2.1 billion of investments to date. In all, SeaTown manages five funds with US$6 billion in total AUM as of 30 June 2021.

Private credit funds are funds that make direct loans to companies or buy such loans from the secondary market. Technology is enabling the entry of non-institutional capital a time of significant expansion for private credit – also known as private debt – as an asset class. According to Preqin, private debt assets under management (AUM) have more than doubled in the past decade, from US$315 billion in 2010 to US$848 billion in 2020. Preqin is projecting private credit AUM to increase further, to $1.46 trillion by 2025.

SeaTown Private Credit Fund is raising capital from external limited partners (LPs) for the first time. The close-ended, four-year fund is focused on extending private credit to companies in the Asia-Pacific region.  To date, the SeaTown fund has deployed more than US$500 million in investments. Over half of the fund’s portfolio of deployed investments is in secured loans or bonds, while the remainder is in second-lien loans and preferred shares. The offering on the ADDX platform was completed last month, with individual accredited investors subscribing to US$7 million in tokens. The tokens are now listed for secondary trading on the ADDX exchange, which allows other accredited investors to take part.

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of ADDX, said: “SeaTown is a distinguished name in the world of private capital. SeaTown’s link to the Temasek group of portfolio companies and its extensive deal sourcing network across the Asia-Pacific region enable the fund manager to be more selective in executing deals with a good risk-return profile.”

She added: “In the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, the growth of private credit funds has accelerated in part because traditional lenders such as banks have taken a more conservative stance on lending. Amid this expansion, we can see the private credit fund space maturing and attracting a deep pool of professional talent. Giving individual investors access to this burgeoning asset class resonates strongly with ADDX’s mission of democratising the private markets. It is not feasible for an investor with a net worth between US$2 million and US$20 million to enter a private credit fund with a minimum ticket size of US$5 million. But at a US$20,000 minimum, that same investor is able to take part in this previously-inaccessible asset and benefit from the enhanced portfolio diversification.”

Founded in 2017, ADDX, previously known as iSTOX, is a full-service capital markets platform with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licenses for the issuance, custody and secondary trading of digital securities. The financial technology company raised US$50 million in its Series A round in January 2021. Its shareholders include Singapore Exchange (SGX), Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital and Japanese investors JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ). Individual accredited investors using the ADDX platform today come from 27 countries, spanning Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas (excluding the US).

Why You Need Good Boot Room Design

A boot room is a quintessential feature of British country living. Ultra functional, a boot room possesses a lot of storage space to keep heavy-duty shoes, hunting equipment or sports gear ready for action when you venture outside. The chances are that you will spend a lot more time in your boot room than you expected. After all, it is the last room you will use before leaving your home and the first one you see when you come back in. Good boot room design considers its role as a valve between the outside elements and the clean, warm interior of the house. Boot room design must of course allow for mud and water, as well as take into consideration your hobbies and favourite pastimes to make your life easier. Artichoke, experts in period architectural joinery and seasoned bespoke boot room designers, give their recommendations on boot room utility features. From a handy sink, to warmed seating, and clever storage solutions, keep on reading to discover some clever boot room design features.

The top boot room design features

Boot room utility idea #1: A sink

Smart boot room design should take your hobbies into consideration. For those with a  green finger, a boot room is often the main point of access to and from a vegetable patch or the flower garden. A counter space with a sink will enable you to immediately clean your homegrown produce or trim piles of fresh cut flowers without making a mess elsewhere in the house.

If you don’t enjoy gardening, a sink will still maximise your boot room utility. It will make it easy to grab a drink of water before or after a day filled with exercise and quickly clean minor stains. It can also serve as a place to wash muddy boots – or even your dog’s muddy paws. Plus, an antique faucet or sleek stone sink adds a very elegant touch to your boot room design. Make sure you choose a sink that is hard wearing and sufficiently large enough to manage all the tasks it will be used for. And, don’t forget to choose your tap carefully – for example, one with a spray function can make cleaning muddy boots effortless.

Boot room utility idea #2: Warmed seating

It is no secret that English weather is often rainy, windy or cold. Having a heated bench awaiting you is a handy way to quickly warm yourself up after a trip outside and it is an inviting boot room utility feature your guests will love and appreciate. It also allows your damp coats, hats, gloves and any other item of clothing to dry quicker, and they’ll be toasty by the time you’ll need them again.

In a recent boot room project, Artichoke chose to position a marble bench over a radiator – a perfect way to incorporate functional but luxurious seating to their boot room design. Marble is a beautiful material with natural properties that withstands heat and transfers warmth quickly from one place to another, meaning you’ll be warmed up in no time after a day out in the cold and rain.

Boot room utility idea #3: A drain

A drainage hole in the floor is an invaluable boot room design feature. You will inevitably drag in mud, tiny pieces of gravel and grass back into the house – a drain will make it so much easier to clean up the mess. Just a bit of soapy water will go a long way to clean paw prints and mud-stained surfaces. Your floors will be sparkling clean and dry in no time thanks to this boot room utility idea.

Boot room utility idea #4: A washing machine

Finally, our last tip for top boot room utility is integrating a washing machine into your boot room. Whether you are coming back from a rainy stroll or a muddy activity, you will be able to throw a dirty jumper or grass stained trousers immediately into the wash rather than risk bringing the mess into your home’s main living quarters.

No need to worry about a washing machine not fitting in with your boot room’s design. It is easily concealed by bespoke wood panelling or hidden in clever custom cupboards. Explore Artichoke’s boot room design ideas to see how you can combine elegance with practicality.

Boot room utility idea #5: Plenty of storage

To keep your boot room utility tidy, consider plenty of clever storage options, such as custom built-in cupboards, open shelving, and plenty of hooks for neatly hanging up coats and hats. Boots, coats, hats, bags and walking accessories, including umbrellas and walking sticks, can all take up room and require different storage solutions. Custom built cupboards can easily accommodate these different sized items, ensuring effortless storage solutions for a neat and tidy boot room where everything has its place.

Boot room utility idea #6: Practical flooring

A boot room, by its very nature, will see its fair share of mud and dirt, so make sure you plump for a practical floor that is easy to keep clean when considering your boot room design. Stone or tile is often the first choice for a boot room floor as it is hardwearing and easy to clean, plus it can also offer timeless appeal. Cheaper alternatives could include vinyl, which comes in a range of fun colours and designs for those seeking to inject some personality into their boot room.

Which of these handy boot room design features is your favourite?

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.