The Future of Work Dichotomy in a Digital World

Any business leader hoping to return to ‘traditional’ ways of working is on a fast-track to failure. That horse has bolted. Not only have employees re-evaluated the concept of work, but they have the experience that proves digital technologies enable a fundamental change in workplace model that is both beneficial and efficient. How does mandating that reluctant employees return to the office therefore fit with the need for increased productivity to counter the impact of inflation? How is imposing office attendance helping to improve retention and reduce the excessive costs associated with recruitment and on-boarding? 

Companies need to look hard at the bottom line. Employees’ values have changed. They want hybrid working and a digital experience that works from both a cultural and technology perspective, irrespective of how often they are in the office. Failure to invest in the quality of that digital employee experience is costing businesses not only in reduced productivity but plummeting morale, employee loss and reputational damage. 

The ‘office versus hybrid’ debate is irrelevant. Moreover, it sits in contrast to business leaders’ priorities for 2023 and beyond. As the Future of Work evolves, Dave Page, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Actual Experience, insists that true competitive differentiation is being achieved by companies investing in understanding and improving each employee’s unique digital experience of their working environment. 

Destructive Disconnect

Are companies really hoping that a recession will reset the employment model, remove the need to ‘pander’ to employee desires for hybrid working and compel everyone to be in the office five days a week? A lack of access to talent and the problems with recruitment and retention have been headline issues for years – and talent attraction remains the Number One priority for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHRO) for at least the next 24 months according to Lace Partners.  However, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) has changed: it is no longer limited to pay and benefits. Rather, the fact that 51% of UK adults have embraced work-life flexibility and want to work from home more frequently, according to Savanta ComRes – as opposed to only 8% who want to do so less – should be inspiring businesses to create a compelling digital experience and culture that boosts morale, productivity and talent retention.

Yet there are clear signs that some businesses are still failing to read the room. Recent figures from LinkedIn show that the number of remote opportunities may have passed its peak, with remote listings on its jobs site falling from 16% at the start of the year to 12% in December 2022. Research from Microsoft also shows managers are increasingly concerned about the performance of remote workers – arguably, though, without any empirical evidence to support this. 

This disconnect between employee expectations and employer commitment is hugely damaging to long term business prospects. By ignoring the inevitable hybrid Future of Work, companies are overlooking the importance of creating a digital environment that truly supports the needs and desires of the workforce. How many businesses know which of their employees’ productivity is being hindered by poor Wi-Fi and by how much? What is the bottom-line cost of employees’ varying digital experiences? Essentially, employees want a hybrid experience but they don’t want to simply swap the stress of the commute for the stress of remote technology problems. Do companies know which employees are poised to jump ship as a result?

Digital Experience

In 2022, the Harvard Business Review said, “Technology defines the employee experience” in the hybrid digital workplace. The problem for every business is that the experience is inconsistent. Every employee has a different home set up, different ways of embracing remote working tools, even a different preference for the number of days at home and in the office. But who knows how well each individual’s digital experience is helping – or hindering – their day to day ability to perform to the best of their capabilities? 

Businesses are operating blind. In a hybrid environment, CHROs have no insight into the human work experience – the subjective satisfaction that employees gain from their work. Workplace surveys are too generic and no longer representative of an employee’s unique work experience, meaning HR leaders have no way of measuring satisfaction or productivity. What, for example, is the impact of the technology problems suffered by 89% of staff when working remotely? 

When 46% say these technology problems are very or fairly stressful and over 50% say these issues affect productivity, there is clearly a problem. But businesses have no visibility of who is struggling, when and why. They don’t know how much productivity is being lost. How much stress is caused. The impact on morale, commitment or engagement. With IT environments set up to gather engineering data rather than valuable subjective insight, it is increasingly clear that the digital workplace is not fit for the Future of Work.

Employee Value Proposition

It is now imperative that HR and IT come together to understand every employee’s digital experience. By identifying how each individual feels about their digital workplace, in detail and continuously, a company gains an extraordinary depth of knowledge. They can quickly identify individuals who are struggling because they feel isolated within the digital environment due to sound or video problems during client and/or colleague calls. They can identify pockets of digital inequality and assess the impact on each individual.

For HR, there is immediate insight into which employees need support to minimise their stress and prevent burnout, simply to remain on par with colleagues who have a better digital experience. Combining the information with payroll, time in the business or demographics can highlight issues with diversity. For IT, understanding the day-to-day experience can highlight the number of days productivity lost each year – information that can be combined with payroll to reveal the bottom-line impact and support a business case for investment, by employee, team, department or the entire business.

Furthermore, by understanding in detail how the home and office blend of hybrid work evolves over time, employee by employee, office by office, a company can continually fine tune its digital employee experience. Whether that is providing dedicated IT support to specific home working employees, evolving the culture to improve motivation and job satisfaction or building a strong employer brand value, continuous visibility of every employee’s digital experience provides the foundation for creating an EVP that truly meets the Future of Work.

Conclusion

Businesses need to act now. Just as companies had to adapt or die in response to the technology driven disruption of Amazon, Uber, Google and Airbnb, so technology is fundamentally disrupting the digital employee experience. Great employees are not satisfied with a generous salary and benefits. They want an employer that embraces digital technology and adapts to create a business culture based on more than just turning up to an office. 

Right now, this is still a work in progress. There is no consensus around what ‘good’ looks like which means laggard companies have time to catch up.  But those businesses that are proactively investing in understanding the digital experience are transforming the Future of Work.  They are committed to optimising the employee experience and rewriting the EVP. And, as a result, they are best placed to attract talent and boost productivity. 

The contrast between these innovators and those still harking after ‘traditional’ working is already stark. In 12 months, it could be too late. This is a once in a generation for CHROs and CIOs to come together and deliver a transformative digital employee experience.

The Legal Implications of Co-Owning a Family Business

Frequently, owners and shareholders of family firms can balance their professional and personal obligations. It could be challenging to maintain peace and advance as a civilization simultaneously. It is essential to let legal firms like Prime Lawyers assist you in juggling these obligations alongside you. Family businesses are founded on longevity, ingenuity, and the ability to leave a lasting impression. Our relationship with you is analogous to that of a parent and a child. They will provide you with guidance on how to set up your firm for maximum success while always keeping an eye on the big picture. Here are some of the matters that require legal action in family businesses.

Family affairs

Courts are increasingly willing to uphold prenuptial agreements if they are fair, reasonable, and forthright about their financial consequences, not coerced, and promote the interests of both parties after the marriage has ended. The courts with divorce jurisdiction have a vested interest in safeguarding the long-term financial stability of family-owned enterprises. It is customary for business owners going through a divorce to commission a company valuation to determine its financial health and continued viability.

Durable family business

Prime lawyers have extensive experience providing legal counsel to owner-managed and family-owned businesses. Family Lawyers are familiar with the unique challenges that arise as businesses are passed down from generation to generation. Families’ obligations and internal dynamics are accounted for in our in-depth structural recommendations. In addition, prime lawyers assist businesses in preparing to be sold or passed down through the family.

Discussing the family business details

Family-owned firms face challenges distinct from those faced by other types of enterprises. Your professional life can substantially impact your relationships and vice versa. When one generation transfers authority to the next or when ownership of a business changes hands, these scenarios may give rise to succession issues.

Even though family enterprises are mandated to have a succession plan, it is still possible for tensions to grow inside the organization. There is the potential for dispute and conflict when deciding which family members should administer the firm, which should work there, and how the profits should be allocated.

For a business to be successful, operations must be constant. As part of the services prime lawyers offer to family-owned businesses, they supply shareholder and partnership agreements. This may be helpful in the future for both corporate operations management and estate or retirement planning.

Future-proofing

There is a separation between family and work obligations. Even though this may appear to be an impossible task, our years of expertise working with both individuals and businesses have armed us with a unique perspective on the most commonly encountered obstacles. We would be grateful if you would allow us to help you organize both your household and your wealth;

Have confidence in the power of your own will. You can protect your wealth by establishing a trust that will sometimes be referred to as a “Bloodline Will”. Costs associated with acquiring long-term care, changing a last will, or getting married. Claims Against the Inheritance Tax Due to the Beneficiary’s Dissolution, Declaring Bankruptcy, or Disability.

Business relief-IHT Business Relief may be given to private limited company shareholders (BR). Don’t hesitate to contact prime lawyers if you need assistance creating Wills that will optimise BR even after selling the business.

Households who make investments. It is possible to minimise your tax burden by organizing your estate and IHT arrangements, including Family Investment Companies (FICs). FICs cannot only protect and exert control over the assets they have been awarded, but they can also leave significant riches to future generations.

You are making arrangements for grandchildren’s college costs. Providing the next generation with access to the highest possible primary, secondary, and higher education is expensive but essential. If you use trusts and handle your estate tax liabilities sensibly, you may be able to provide your children with the best possible start in life without incurring large debt.

Family constitution-Due to the expansion of both families and enterprises, personal relationships may experience strain. Consequently, every member of your family must be aware of your goals. The Family Constitution is a written document that encompasses the company’s guiding principles, objectives, and culture. Foreign investment entities are also possible (FICs). The Constitution mandates that different family branches maintain a “balance” regarding their wealth and how it is administered.

Why Call-Transcription is Essential for Business Success

In today’s business environment, staying ahead of the competition is more important than ever. The ability to quickly respond to customer inquiries and requests can make or break a business. That’s why call transcription technology has become an essential tool for businesses looking to stay competitive in their industry.

In this article, we’ll look at the key benefits of call transcription technology and explain why it’s so important for businesses to utilise this powerful tool.

What is Call Transcription?

Call transcription is the process of taking audio recordings of phone conversations and converting them into text. This technology has been around for a few years, but it’s only recently become more widely used in the business world. Transcribe conference calls, customer service calls, and other audio recordings into text with the help of cutting-edge speech-to-text technology.

Is it legal?

Yes, it is legal to use call transcription technology with consent from both parties involved in the conversation. It’s important to make sure that both parties are aware of the transcription and agree to the recording before beginning.

Why is Call Transcription Essential for Businesses

Call transcription technology offers a wide range of benefits for businesses. Here are just a few of the key advantages:

1. Increased Efficiency

By transcribing calls, businesses can save time and effort by quickly reviewing conversations without having to listen to the entire recording and taking notes. This helps companies get more done in less time.

2. Improved Accuracy

Transcription technology can lead to more accurate records of conversations, which helps businesses better understand customer needs and requirements as well as follow up on important conversations.

3. Enhanced Analysis

By transcribing calls into text, businesses can use the data for further analysis. This includes analysing customer service issues, tracking trends in customer feedback, and identifying areas where improvements can be made.

4. Cost Savings

The cost of transcription technology is often lower than alternative options, making it a great way to save money while still getting the most out of customer interactions. For companies that handle a large number of calls, this can add up to significant savings over time.

5. Improved Compliance

Call transcription ensures businesses adhere to relevant regulations and maintain accurate records. This helps protect companies from potential legal problems in the future.

6. Greater Insights

Transcribing phone calls into a text gives businesses an opportunity to gain greater insights into their customers. By analysing conversations and customer feedback, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences.

7. Can Assist Marketing Efforts

Call transcripts can be used to gain valuable insights into customer needs, preferences, and interests. This information can then be used in marketing efforts, helping businesses create more effective campaigns and better target their audiences.

8. Transcripts Can Be Used as Posts or Articles

Call transcripts can be used to create posts, articles, and other content. This provides businesses with an extra avenue for marketing their products or services and engaging with their customers.

9. Great for Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents can use call transcription technology to quickly transcribe property tours and track customer interactions. This helps ensure agents are providing the best service possible to their clients.

How Do You Transcribe a Phone Call?

In the past, manually transcribing a phone call was tedious and time-consuming for anyone who wasn’t an experienced transcriber. They would have to painstakingly rewind and replay audio recordings in order to accurately capture every spoken word. Thankfully, that has changed with technological advancements!

Phone call transcription services are now the easiest way to transcribe phone conversations. For example, phone call transcription software provides a simple and speedy solution for transcripts.

This software is designed to be compatible with any system, allowing users to either receive transcripts in real time or within a few hours of the call. If desired, people can also upload their audio and video files directly into the platform.

Conclusion

Transcribing phone calls is an invaluable tool for businesses of all sizes. It helps streamline customer interactions, improve accuracy and efficiency, and gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences. By using modern transcription technology, businesses can quickly and easily transcribe phone conversations without sacrificing quality or accuracy. With the right transcription software, businesses can save time and money while gaining valuable insights into their customers. By using call transcriptions, businesses can ensure they are providing the best service possible to their customers.

Offsite Team Building: Does Your Company Need It?

Team building is, in the broad sense of the term, the process of forming and improving a team. Ideally, this is a complex of diverse activities aimed at forming an effective team, competent distribution of roles, and productive interaction of team members. In the process of team building, the regularity and diversity of events play a role.

In addition to specially thought-out team-building activities in the office, and at the workplace, there is a practice of offsite team-building. The option is not cheap as it also includes charter bus rental but it gives good results.

Let’s look at this method of working with the team and figure out when it is appropriate, why it is needed, how to choose coach bus rental, and what to do to make it most effective.

When is offsite team building using a charter bus appropriate?

Offsite team building is a way to reboot the team:

  • before working on a new project;
  • when new rules of interaction are introduced;
  • when it is necessary to prepare the team for new working conditions;
  • when you need to see the work of the team and each individual in an unbiased way;
  • when it is necessary to assess the personal competencies and psychological qualities of each team member in practice.

Goals and objectives of field team building

Offsite team building in nature is not identical to going out with a team for kebabs, you usually meet in the early morning and go outside the city for the whole day on coach buses. A weekend with colleagues can be a pleasant pastime, a good rest, but it will hardly help to reset the collective mind.

Team building in nature involves:

  • setting a measurable goal;
  • decomposition of a goal into micro-tasks;
  • a well-thought-out route to achieve the goal;
  • as an option, immersion in the light version of real conditions.

How to rent a bus for a corporate party

Choosing a bus charter for a corporate event should be guided not only by personal preferences but also by the requirements for the bus established by the norms of legislation. In addition to the serviceable technical condition and the availability of a certificate of conformity, it is necessary to check the travel pass, which must contain a note on the permission to carry out road traffic. You should check the first aid kit. It should contain medicines and equipment for first aid.

If a rented bus for transporting people to a corporate event meets all the requirements, this indicates that the charter bus company is ready to act in the interests of the customer and its business.

While choosing a bus rental consider the number of people to choose the appropriate vehicle and remember that safety is first so this is not the point where it is possible to save money. Choose only trusted service providers like BCS Bus Charter rental.

Methods of organising field team building

At the place of organization, team building can be held in the city or outdoors, indoors or outdoors.

In terms of duration, it can be one day or two days. If the goal of organizing team building is to increase the loyalty of employees and family members to the company, two-day weekends with families, and corporate trips to nature make sense, but it is also important to carefully consider the program of the event.

Offsite team building for the weekend: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

  • You can work out large-scale goals.
  • Restarts employees well.
  • Allows you to look at the team in action not only in combat conditions but also in an informal setting.
  • You can consider the problems that exist in the team, which cannot be considered at a one-day training.
  • You can consider the potential of new employees.

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than the local team building + banquet format.
  • It is required to solve the issue of overnight accommodation.
  • On weekends, most employees prefer to be with their families and go about their business.
  • Negative attitude on the part of employees if the corporate culture is not well developed enough.
  • The necessity to pay for the bus rentals.
  • It is up to you to decide whether to use offsite team building in your company.
  • It is important to formulate the goals of team building, identify problems and find their solution.
  • Invest in the team, shape the corporate culture following the goals and values of the company, and then you will be successful, close in scale to the success of the largest companies.

How Does Your Workspace Impact Your Performance And Success?

As an employee, you spend a significant portion of your life in the workplace. You may think it’s just a place where you report for work, time in, eat meals, attend meetings, and time out at the end of the day. But there’s more to it than just a cubicle.

In reality, your cognitive and emotional states, concentration, behavior, actions, and abilities are influenced by your work environment. It has a significant impact on both your performance and success as a team member. This is why it’s crucial to maintain your office setup to maintain productivity.

Your workspace impacts your performance and success in more ways than one. How? Take a look at this list below.

1. By Hindering Growth Due To Inefficient Processes

Inefficient processes in the workplace can be the reason behind hindered growth as a team member. They set you back from your professional goals. Sometimes, management and staff will accept a procedure based solely on the claim that ‘this is how it’s always been done.’ But times change, especially in recent years. And so do the demands of your work.

Management should determine which workflow problems are slowing their employees down. Doing this lets it find ways to improve processes and make the workflow more efficient. It’s incredible how much can change with just a few minor adjustments and the automation of some methods.

2. By Ruining Engagement Through A Toxic Workplace Culture

Workplace culture affects engagement and productivity among employees. If it doesn’t meet their expectations, most of today’s workforce will decide to move on to a new position.

When toxicity and negativity surround you at work, you’re less likely to engage, collaborate, and work with the team. This leads you away from your targets, which are better performance and success.

A toxic or negative company culture is contagious and can significantly impact employee performance. However, it’s worth noting that fostering a positive workplace culture involves more than just offering fantastic benefits and holding fun activities. The leadership team must establish strong core values and emphasize them across the organization, getting everyone on board.

3. By Making You Feel Constantly Tired, Uncomfortable, And Distracted

It’s not only the company culture or the processes that can affect your performance and success at work. You’ll be surprised to know that the physical attributes of the office can make your working conditions uncomfortable, tiring, and distracting.

Unfavorable working conditions cause sluggishness and lack of motivation in more ways than one.

Poor lighting, for instance, can lead to fatigue and eye strain. An intelligent blend of artificial, decorative, and natural office lighting creates the ideal environment for productivity, happiness, and satisfaction at work. Another factor is the need for more utilization of office space. You can’t fully function if you don’t have the room and tools to perform at your best. 

To work comfortably and efficiently, employees need the right configuration of space. They require access to communal areas intended for collaboration and quiet rooms where they can focus on in-depth work. A workplace that provides these significantly raises employee morale and productivity.

4. By Not Having Enough Flexibility In The Workplace

Times are changing, and the idea of a workspace is no longer constricted to the four walls of an office. Organizations all over the globe are aware of the value of an excellent work-life balance in guaranteeing satisfaction and retention. If you have flexibility at work, you’re more likely to perform better and contribute continuously to a company’s success.

Employers can aid workers in achieving a better work-life balance by providing flexible work schedules whenever applicable. Ensure workloads are reasonable and encourage staff to take advantage of their paid time off. The more ways businesses can support employee wellness, the better.

5. By Not Offering Professional Development

Being in a company that doesn’t see the value of professional growth and development won’t help you improve your performance as an employee. So, next time you’re looking for a job, find a company that offers mentoring programs, training, and career advancement options. You’ll see how these things can lead to improved job satisfaction, better performance, lower turnover, and greater career success.

Where You Work Changes How You Work

You are more likely to find opportunities to advance in your career when driven to succeed in your current role. Therefore, it’s essential to work in an environment that positively impacts your performance and success.

Both employers and employees should take this into account. Conscious workplace choices dictate a business’s success. Reach out for more information.

Avoid These 6 Intellectual Property ‘Business Killers’

Myths and mistakes that can undermine your IP endeavors and short-circuit your valuations

By Merilee Kern, MBA

Three hundred seventy-four thousand six. That’s the total number of patents Statista.com cites were granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) in fiscal year 2021, up from 352,066 in fiscal year 2020. This despite the pandemic’s adverse impacts on the global economy.

“The filing and issuing of patents continues to rise because companies and organizations are better understanding the significance of patents on value, and valuation, for their businesses,” says patent attorney and IP authority JiNan Glasgow George. “Indeed, crafting an efficient IP portfolio is vital to high valuation, making companies attractive to investors.”

According to JiNan, understanding patent trends can drastically protect existing intellectual property and increase valuation as businesses develop that which is new. However, she cautions that there are a few specific “business killing” myths and mistakes to be aware—and wary—of. Here are her top six.

1. Filing for Everything

Business owners who learn about IP for the first time often experience the pendulum effect: “Let’s file for everything!” You might have felt that when you picked up a book on IP strategy. By virtue of your reading this article, you’ve probably got excellent ideas that do warrant patents. But, don’t try to patent everything in your idea or prototype cache just yet, as not everything is worth patenting. It’s first imperative to discern where your best chance of ROI exists. Also, while cliché, it’s true in the IP realm: Quality beats quantity. It is better to have one huge filing with lots of detail, data and use cases rather than a dozen failed filings of just five to 10 pages each. Minimum filing requirements are not those needed to secure a patent. Even if you manage to secure a patent or trademark with a five- or 10-page filing, you may learn too late that it doesn’t cover what you’d hoped in terms of exclusivity, your company valuation, enforcement and other mission critical benchmarks. 

* Do this instead: Triage what you believe to be patent-worthy IP and file judiciously based on ROI modeling. What you initially think may be most valuable IP may reveal itself to be one of lesser monetization value than other ideas in your cache.

2. Waiting Too Long to File

Make no mistake: IP filing is a race. The first person to file and get accepted wins and can shut others down, even those who had the idea in the first place. Waiting too long to file usually means the patent won’t be gained. Too many companies hedge and needlessly suffer this opportunity loss. In most cases, it’s not too late to file the patent for your new idea unless you’ve gone to market, as anything already being bought and sold is ineligible for a patent. However, not receiving a patent doesn’t have to be the end. Chances are you already have new IP candidates related to the initial concept. Asking yourself questions like, “What’s the next generation of my idea?” and “What new features and functions have been planned but not deployed?” can spur fresh IP contenders.

* Do this instead:Get all of your “ducks in a row” and file as soon as possible. This to avoid the completion and better navigate unforeseen obstacles that can delay, or entirely derail, an approval. If investor funding is relevant to the project, note that you carry a fiduciary responsibility to be prudent.

3. Do-It-Yourself “DIY” Filing

Even for someone as expert in this field as myself, I don’t even do my own contracts and securities work. While I certainly can, I don’t. Instead, I choose to do this work through a law firm because the stakes are high. In short, it’s just too important for me to risk missing an important line and lose everything. If you’re going to take other people’s money at some point, get a lawyer. Beyond the risk of severe loss, without an IP attorney you may still waste your time and money—even for something as seemingly fundamental as starting an IP filing yourself. I’ve been privy to insights from lawyers revealing that each time a new IP client comes in and states, “I wrote and filed this myself,” the law firm has to charge double just to undo what’s already been done. Plenty of great writers connect with me to fix their mistakes, but all too often it’s when their patents or trademarks have been rejected. Wasted time, wasted money. What’s more, responding to a rejection isn’t usually enough as, most often, a complete redo is required. Such delays and overhauls cost extra time and money.

* Do this instead:Secure apt representation. Hiring a lawyer with extreme process knowledge can save you time, money and thwart avoidable opportunity loss.

4. The Ownership Assumption

Who owns your intellectual property? It seems reasonable to assume that, if you create it, you should own it. But what if you hire someone—an employee, contractor or vendor—who also works on your invention prototype? Who built your app? Who designed your company website? Assuming IP is inherently “yours” may land you in a sticky situation, as happed with a high-tech life science data company that reached out to me for assistance. The company developed testing protocols and algorithms unique to their business. The technology served to automate the way they did things: Streamlining employee workflow; improving productivity; and, as a result, increase revenue and profit. They hired a third party to develop the necessary software, but they failed to ask an IP attorney to review the contract. The executive team assumed that, by paying for the software development, the company owned the deliverable. Unfortunately, once the software was finished and deployed, the company caught a rumor that their vendor tried to license the software to their competition. In reviewing the development contract, I found that they had failed to include an “assignment” clause. Though they had conceived it and had it built from scratch, this client had, in writing, simply agreed to purchase a license to the finished software they had commissioned. All they got was a license. While some would regard this as sneaky and unscrupulous on the developer’s part, it’s also a failure on the part of the party who contracted that work for a lack of due diligence. All terms must be read and wholly understood before signing on the dotted line. Otherwise, what’s yours may become theirs—even if you conceived and paid for it.

* Do this instead: Do extreme diligence on contract review and, optimally, seek legal assistance to assist with agreement provision vetting. Making assumptions on what may seem to be a common-sense engagement can prove to be fatally flawed thinking—and legally binding mandate related thereto.

5. The Get-Rich-Quick Patent Fantasy

What if one patent resulted in $1 million in revenue? Many people have that quick hit fantasy and treat patents like million-dollar lottery tickets, erroneously thinking that if they file, they’ll automatically “win.” As with the actual lottery, however, the odds are stacked against this. Within most companies, creating a product or service that enjoys exclusive rights or IP licensing to others fails to earn any notable level of ROI some percent of the time. Not all patents or IP assets are quality enough to have value in the marketplace. In truth, most patents are half-baked and poorly researched, if at all, and not well filed. The invention may also not be perceived as valuable in the marketplace.

* Do this instead: Stay realistic. While it may be patentable, it may not be profitable because there isn’t an addressable market willing to pay for that solution. Even the best inventors must often go through multiple iterations before they find the right idea that is both patentable and will serve a demonstrated marketplace need.

6. Assuming Patents Alone Protect

Did you know that having a patent does not prevent competitors from suing you for infringement? Most inventors don’t know or fully understand this risk, often finding out only when they’re the one receiving the dreaded Cease and Desist letter. It’s key to conduct clearance research to identify other companies’ patents that should be considered in the design process to ensure your own products or services avoid infringing on the claims and IP protections of others. If you’re in a highly competitive space where many companies obtain and flex IP, you need to be aware of clearance—even if you don’t pursue patents.

* Do this instead: Execute clearance research forthwith. The earlier in the product development timeline you conduct this clearance research, the easier it will be to design around other patents. It’s much harder to resolve an issue once you’ve launched your product, perhaps with the financial backing of other third parties, and then receive a legal notice. 

According to JiNan, one of the most significant areas of opportunity loss for inventors, entrepreneurs and corporate executives is a lack of understanding of patent filing strategy and dynamics. Since patents are often the highest value intellectual property assets, she asserts that taking a measured, professionally advised and risk-averse track can is best.

Said to serve as “the lifeblood of innovation,” aptly procured patents can proffer a remarkable return on investment—especially when facilitating market, category or process exclusivity. Heeding these warnings above can be a powerfully effective means toward this end.

Can’t Make Your Loan Payments? Here’s What to Do

Usually, when people take out a loan, they fully intend to keep their commitment to pay it. They don’t expect to default on it because they assume they will always be in the same or better financial situation they’re in when they apply for the loan. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially when the economy tanks and you lose your job or are forced to take a pay cut. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you can no longer make your loan payments, the credit experts at Tayne Law offer these suggestions to help.

Pay Late

Certainly, it’s always better to make your loan payments on time if you can. But, if you’re unable to make a payment because you’re not getting your own pay check for a few days, it’s acceptable to pay late. In many cases, if you get your payment to your lender within 30 days of your payment date, the lender doesn’t even report the late payment to the credit bureaus. Your loan will stay current and you won’t damage your credit rating, so if paying late is an option, take it.

Contact Your Lender

Communication with your lender is always the best way to confront the issue of not being able to pay. Explain that you aren’t able to make the payments and ask them what options they have available to you. They might be able to change your payment due date, freeze your account so you can skip some payments (interest will continue to accrue), or even provide a refinance option that will lower your payment amounts.

Debt settlement is also sometimes an option, especially if you can prove to your lender that you can’t make the payments now and are unlikely to be able to make them in the future. The lender would rather get what they can from you instead of nothing at all. They also don’t want to go through a protracted legal process only to get a lesser amount in the long run. You might need the assistance of a credit expert to help you settle your debt, but it can be a great way to get out from under high monthly payments.

Prioritise Payments

Sometimes, we’re forced to make difficult decisions on which bills to pay in a month. Clearly, do everything you can to stay current on your house and auto loans, but if you have to skip a credit card or unsecured loan payment, it’s not the end of the world. You will start getting calls from your lender as soon as you’re 30 days late (maybe sooner), interest and penalties will apply, and your credit will take a hit, but as long as it’s just one payment every so often, it’s not going to destroy you.

Again, communication is the key. If you’re going to miss a payment, contact your lender and let them know the situation. They will do everything they can to get your money, so they will likely work with you to come up with a solution that is acceptable to you both.

Conclusion

It’s disheartening and frustrating when you find yourself unable to make a loan payment that you promised you’d make. But you’re not the first person to be in this situation and you won’t be the last. What matters now is how you respond to the problem and what action you take to resolve the problem.

5 AI Trends Profoundly Benefiting Business Bottom Lines

Expert cites machine learning advancements creating immediate, actionable value to drive data literacy, elevate cognitive insights and increase profitability in kind

By Merilee Kern, MBA

In today’s tumultuous business-scape amid increasingly intricate, and often vexing, marketplace conditions, curating and mining data to drive analytics-based decision making is just no longer enough. For competing with maximum, sustained impact and mitigated opportunity loss, it’s rapidly monetizing data that’s now the name of the game—particularly when spurred by artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, emerging AI methodologies are helping forward-thinking companies achieve and sustain true agility, fuel growth and compete far more aggressively than ever before.

AI is critical as a means toward those ends and also certainly with respect to aptly predicting, preparing and responding to prospective crises as with the COVID-19 pandemic the globe is currently immersed in. In fact, Gartner recently cited the need for “smarter, faster, more responsible AI” as its No. 1 top trend that data and analytics leaders should focus on—particularly those looking to “make essential investments to prepare for a post-pandemic reset.” Novel coronavirus matters aside, Gartner underscored just how impactful AI will become, predicting that, “by the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI, driving a 5X increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures.”

“To innovate their way beyond the post-COVID-19 world, data and analytics leaders require an ever-increasing velocity and scale of analysis in terms of processing and access to succeed in the face of unprecedented market shifts,” said Rita Sallam, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner.

However, employing AI techniques like machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to glean insights and render projections is simply no longer “enough” to get the job done—especially for organizations seeking to compete efficiently on a national, multi-national or global scale. Today’s organizations must endeavor toward a culture of AI-driven data literacy that directly and positively influences their top and bottom lines.

“To help data monetization-minded enterprises better future-proof their operations and asset-amplify their data value chain, there are a few key ways to implement and elevate machine intelligence so that it’s far smarter, faster and more accountable than protocols past,” said Microsoft alum Irfan Khan, founder and CEO of CLOUDSUFI—an AI solutions firm automating data supply chains to propel and actualize data monetization.

Below, Khan details five benefits of leveraging AI data-driven insights and technology in a way that will create actual and actionable value right now—the kind of insights that enable new and evolved business models and empower companies to increase both revenue and profitability.

Manifesting new market opportunities
Today’s machine learning capabilities allow people to sift through data that previously could not be accessed, all at speeds faster than ever before. Present technology offers the opportunity to wholly analyze image, spoken or written inputs rather than just numerical, helping companies better find connections across these diverse data sets. This generates and maximizes value in a number of ways. Relative to the bottom and top lines, not only can it significantly reduce expenses, but it can also create new market opportunities. With COVID-19 as one recent example, algorithms speedily sifted through an extraordinary amount of data to identify diseases and potential cures that presented as similar, which allowed those methodologies to be readily tested against the coronavirus.

Machine learning advancements also help companies better monetize their data and establish new revenue streams. In the above example, of course patient information would not be shared or sold in any way, but other highly valuable data points can be gleaned. This includes determining that a certain drug is only effective on woman between certain ages—critical insights for pharmaceutical developers and physicians.  

Emerging AI data processing protocols are far more rapid than prior iterations of machine learning technology, as are the resulting solutions, discoveries and profit-producing results thereof. 

Reconcile emotions with actualities

Data generates value, which leads to the generation of money. It’s that simple. Previously, it was difficult, if not humanly impossible, to sift through mass amounts of data and pinpoint relationships. There existed very rudimentary tools like regression and correlation, but today’s analytics call for gaining a true understanding of what extracted data actually means. How do you convert data into a story you can actually tell? Often, decisions are made based on emotional foundations. Leaders are using data to either validate their gut or disagree with their instincts. Now, they are getting quicker insights that decisively validate or invalidate their thinking, while also prompting them to ask new questions. So, garnering meaning out of a company’s own data provides tremendous advantages.

“Human nature is such that unless we can see it touch it feel it, it’s hard to understand it,” Khan says. “We as data scientists haven’t done a really great job of explaining AI-driven data technology in simple terms. Telling a story with data or demonstrating actual results is where real power and understanding lies.”

Scale statistical models for actionable models

We often separate our data as factuals, asserting “this is what happened.” Neural networks connect the “human decision-making process” to those factuals—a simulation practice that helps us make better decisions. Previously, we would look at data sets like demographics, customer behaviors and such in silos. But when these multiple data sets are connected, it becomes quite evident that no two humans—or customers—are exactly alike.

Technology is now allowing us to understand trends on a factual level and then project outward. In the health realm, some companies are using this key learning to project whether or not a person is likely to suffer a certain affliction. It’s also allowing for far more efficacious “if this then what?” scenarios. If a diabetic person takes insulin controls, then their diet the treatment protocol will change. This is enabling highly personalized medicine. But the same processes, principles and benefits hold true in non-health categories as well—encompassing all industries, across the board.

Future-proof, anti-fragile data supply chains

From data connectors to pipelines; data lakes to statistical models; AI to Quantum; visual storyboards to data driven automation; ML to NLP to Neural Networks and more, there are highly effective methods for future-proofing your data value chain. The data supply chain is quite complex and, to make it future-proof and non-fragile, it requires thoughtful processing from the point of creation to the point of consumption of actionable insights.

It starts with data acquisition—garnering a wide variety and volume of data from a number of internal and external sources where data is being generated by the millisecond. Once the data is identified and ingested, it needs to brought to a central point where it can be explored, cleansed, transformed, augmented and enriched and finally modelled for use toward a purpose. Then comes statistical and heuristic modeling. These models can be of different types using different algorithms yielding different levels of accuracy in different scenarios. Models then need to be tuned and provided and environment for continuous feedback, learning and monitoring. Finally, is the visualization of outcomes—an explanation demonstrated by drawing cause-effect relationships that highlight where the most impact happens. This leads to a conclusion on how a set of problems can be solved or opportunities uncovered.

“Most organizations have some data and drive different levels of business process improvement and strategic decisions with it,” Khan notes. “However, few use data to the fullest. The right approach to data valuation and monetization can uncover limitless possibilities, including customer centricity, operational efficiency, competitive advantage, strategic partnerships, efficient operations, improved profitability and new revenue streams.”

Multimedia monetization

Up to now, we have been able to write algorithms, generate immense amounts of numerical or written data and make sense of it. However, there is a significant amount of data that comes as images or voice, which has not been easy to process and manage until recent developments. The applications for the processing of visual and auditory inputs are endless.  In fact, retail and finance industries have been early adopters of this technology—and with good reason. They’ve seen costs go down, engagement go up, sales increase and benefitted from other highly substantial points of monetization.

Now, a large department store can digitize their video data every night and determine that “X” amount of people saw “X” number of jeans, but they had to walk further to get to it.  As a result, the department store can put those items closer to the door and walkways to determine if sales increase in kind.

Even the education realm is tapping AI-driven data. The technology is tracking retina movement to discern if kids are engaged amid the remote learning paradigm ushered in by the pandemic. They’re exploring how to measure the retina to determine whether or not a child is actually engaged in the lesson. 

In radiology, they are starting to convert visual data and track it to gain a deeper understanding of digital images and video. MRIs are better able to track brain tumors—whether they are growing or shrinking and at what rate and if they are getting darker or lighter in terms of the regions. This kind of AI-driven learning is helping doctors better detect cancer and treat it more rapidly. Video data processing of the human eye can also be used to determine if a person is drunk, fatigued or even has a disease. Voice machine learning has also keenly evolved. Originally, voice recognition was being utilized to discern if a person was actually suicidal, which could be accurately predicted by inflection points in a person’s voice. Now, if that person can be captured on video, it is deemed to be about 20 times more accurate.

“All of this possibly had previously demanded a hefty price tag using systems and solutions of yore,” Khan notes. “Today, integrating multiple processes across hybrid multi-cloud environments has made data processing and analytics much more accessible and outsourceable. This negates the need for companies to purchase cost-prohibitive servers and other machine hardware.”

As one of the world’s leading experts on building transparency into supply chains, Khan doesn’t just talk the talk, he’s walked the walk. As a revered marketplace change agent, he’s known for driving business transformation and customer-centric turnaround growth strategies in a multitude of environments. In addition to engineering partnerships with MIT, Khan has successfully led organizational changes and process improvement in markets across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

“New AI solutions and trends will eliminate patchwork processes that cause data, and interpretations thereof, to get lost in translation or, even worse, remain entirely undiscovered,” Khan says. “Next-Gen platforms are solving such problems by executing all functions required to create and govern AI products— single-source systems that pull data, transform, model, tunes and recommend actions with cause-effect transparency.”

For niche players, today’s leading-edge AI technology also aptly provides for vertical industry specialization. “Emerging solutions enable common data models, compliance and interoperability requirements that, in turn, accelerate model validation, refinement and implementation that’s specific to a given sector or marketplace,” notes Khan. “All of this ultimately drives speed to insights on previously unsolved problems, which reveals untapped opportunities and automates workflow integrated cognitive solutions.”

“Overall, AI is ushering in a new and more sophisticated era of data literacy,” he continues. “It’s a new paradigm founded on automated, comprehensive and holistic data discovery, which is fostering elevated cognitive insights and actionable strategies that positively impact the top and bottom line.”

Perhaps the future mandate for AI should not only focus on becoming smarter, faster and more accountable than predecessors, but actually bridge the gap between human intuition and data-backed decisions. Doing so will assuredly advance an organization’s ability to transact with utmost trust.

Entrepreneurship Strategies for the Risk Averse

By Merilee Kern, MBA

Given that a reported 9 out of 10 businesses fail, with “no market need,” “ran out of cash” and “got outcompeted” paramount among the reasons why, it begs the question: is there a better, more sure-fire way to realize entrepreneurial success?  Does any approach exist that can thwart the gut-wrenching 90% chance of failure?  One expert, Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC) founder Ken Courtright, says “yes!” He emphatically asserts the answer is establishing an “authority website.”

Just what exactly is an authority website, who can benefit from one and why does Courtright contend it proffers near guaranteed profitability? I caught up with him to ask these questions and more. Here’s what he had to say.

Merilee Kern: I’ve heard that authority websites can provide authentic thought leadership and value to its visitors while serving as a legitimate investment-oriented credibility engine for the owner. Can you elaborate on this idea?

Ken Courtright: Yes, an authority website is a trusted, industry-dominating asset that offers flexibility in a way that other investment vehicles might not, and is an approach that will continue to grow an individual’s net worth through one or more ancillary income streams. The first is the initial and veritably immediate return on the investment of an already pre-established income-generating website. The second and third areas focus on the content produced on the website.  With as little as one to three hours per week, the “thought leader” investor, being positioned as an expert in his or her field, can continue to offer valuable wisdom to a target audience through a professional and credibility-inducing platform. When enough content has been produced, that is when multiple potential income streams can be established through the strategic compilation of the content into books, white papers and other such assets on a recurring schedule, and through social networking to foster demand for paid presentations and live speaking events. Other opportunities can include invitations for podcasts, radio programs, Skype interviews and the like. Whatever the individual is looking to do to achieve the level of success desired, nothing can move that brand better than an authoritative website.

MK: What about the wealthy individual who already enjoys freedom and doesn’t want to be tied down to a schedule?

KC: A managed authority website offers an alternative option for the individual who has enough capital to make a substantial investment but is not looking to be overly involved in the process. This option is perfect for someone who would like to pursue something unique instead of the normal investment routes. The same benefit holds true for those who’ve yet to make their first million but have aspirations to earn at that level or better. Authoritative websites are a unique, passive, alternative form of investing similar to rental property that allow the individual to enjoy third party management to a large degree.

MK: Are there currently any networking opportunities specifically created for authority website investors?  

KC: Yes. For example, our own company’s clients have the opportunity to attend one of two yearly conferences that occur in the west coast in the fall and in the east coast in the spring. A lot of times we will get our primary site partners together and the end result is major networking opportunities as well as the chance to be part of a community with some of the greatest minds in the U.S. It’s a great way to keep business connections alive and it gives everyone a chance to meet, greet and commiserate on a social level. Such relationships can factor in to increasing the return on the initial investment to continually build a legacy for future generations.

MK: Besides networking, what are a few specific strategies to increase ROI on an authority website?

KC: Content creation is a critical component for an effective authority website. Content created either by or for the investor, who receives regular reports, can show steady growth by 0.05% to 1% every month. Within the last few years, this strategy has been regarded as a solid place to diversify a portfolio. Content creation doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Two examples of this are user-generated content—posts written by guest contributors—and editorialized content. Editorialized content is a great way to quickly become recognized as a thought leader in your industry by, in a field expert capacity, giving valuable insight on a particular newsworthy, relevant topic. Of course, if you’re procured the article from a third party author, you have to give full credit to that individual so as to respect the intellectual property rights.

MK: Any final thoughts to share with investors considering an authority website?

KC: Whether you are newly retired or just beginning to plan your eventual retirement, authoritative websites have been proven to be a great investment in your overall plan at any state in your investment cycle. And, one need not already be an established speaker, author, consultant or other voice of authority to commence with this strategy. Indeed, an authority website can certainly be a means toward these ends and much more.

It’s clear that Courtright is on to something. Since he founded Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC) in 1992, the company has twice been named an Inc. 5000 designee and has doubled revenues in the last five years. It’s now a multi-million dollar international enterprise that has worked with over 3,300 companies in 49 states, including McDonald’s, Cadillac, First National Bank, Harrah’s Casino, MCI WorldCom, GM, Chevy and the Chicago Bulls Organization.  Capitalizing on this sustained success, in 2012 Courtright’s TGC launched “Income Store” to help individuals, companies and private equity firms pursue, buy, develop and manage revenue-generating websites at two times earnings. The company’s portfolio currently boasts over 600 websites that are seen approximately 150 million times each year. 

As with other investing strategies, it seems this authority website approach may very well be perfect for those who seek the benefits of increasing their asset base and net worth while allowing a third party field expert manage the daily functions of that growth. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Corporate Social Responsibility: 6 Tips for a Sustainable Business

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business approach involving direct action to improve the environment, society, and economy. It can lead to higher profitability as socially responsible companies tend to attract more customers who are willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly products.

There are various measures companies can take to reduce their environmental impact, such as reducing energy consumption, waste management, and water usage while also investing in renewable sources of energy.

Another way to promote sustainability is by offering green products or services that prioritise the use of natural resources over synthetic materials.

By following the tips outlined below, companies can create lasting sustainability initiatives that will benefit both their business objectives and society at large.

Educate Your Employees on Sustainable Practices

Businesses need to ensure that their employees understand the importance of sustainability and how it affects their daily operations. They should provide training programs that focus on eco-friendly practices, such as reducing energy consumption, water usage, waste management, etc.

Whether it’s about proper recycling, metaverse news, or a switch to solar power, by educating your staff about sustainable practices and providing incentives for those who adopt them successfully into their work and personal lives, you will be able to create a culture within your business where sustainability becomes second nature.

Develop a Clear CSR Strategy (Include It in Your Business Plan)

Creating a clear and detailed CSR strategy is essential for ensuring that initiatives are aligned with corporate objectives. When developing the plan, include an overview of the company’s sustainability targets, as well as its approach to environmental protection, social responsibility, and economic development.

The strategy should include specific goals over different time frames; this will help keep track of progress toward meeting those goals while also providing guidance if changes are needed along the way.

It is crucial to communicate the strategy internally so that employees know how it affects them as well as externally so that customers know about your commitment to sustainability. Plus, by including CSR objectives in your business plan, you can easily measure its impact on performance which helps you adjust strategies accordingly.

Invest in Renewable Energy Sources and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

One of the most significant ways businesses can reduce their environmental impact is by investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal power. These investments not only help to reduce carbon emissions but also decrease operational costs in the long run.

Moreover, socially responsible companies ought to consider replacing traditional fuel sources with biofuels wherever appropriate; this will help further reduce their carbon footprint while providing more sustainable resources.

Engage Your Stakeholders and Community

In order to maximize the impact of your CSR initiatives, it is crucial to engage with stakeholders, partners, customers, and local communities. Companies should take steps to create an open dialogue between all parties so that everyone can understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to sustainability.

Make Sure You Have Control Over Every Part of Your Supply Chain

It’s vital for businesses to know for sure their entire supply chain is ethical and socially responsible. Companies ought to do thorough research into the sourcing practices of their suppliers so that they meet industry standards regarding labour rights, environmental protection, and health and safety regulations.

Businesses should strive to work with partners who share similar values when it comes to sustainability or are willing to commit to making changes to meet these standards. This way, companies can ensure that their products are not contributing to climate change or other environmental issues while also protecting the rights of workers involved in the production process.

Conclusion

By following the tips discussed above, businesses can not only improve their sustainability initiatives but also benefit their local communities. It is essential that companies have a clear CSR strategy in place, as this will provide guidance and help keep track of progress toward meeting sustainability goals.

Moreover, businesses should make sure to educate employees on sustainable practices and engage with stakeholders and local communities to spread the message. Finally, having control over every part of their supply chain helps ensure that all products or services comply with industry standards for responsible sourcing.

All these measures will help companies create lasting social responsibility initiatives while helping them reach business objectives as well.

Top Business Events in Frankfurt February 2023 You Should Attend

In terms of business, Frankfurt occupies one of the central places in all of Europe. Not only do a huge number of businesses open here, but businessmen also come here in search of new partners, deals, and clients. So many people who want to start their businesses come here to gain experience and knowledge.

If you want to start your own business or want to improve your business and make it more efficient, then you will want to get knowledge from professionals in their field. Frankfurt is famous for hosting a huge number of business events, which are attended by both novice businessmen and company leaders from all over the world.

Here you will find many business fairs, workshops, and conventions where you will receive unique insights, as well as extensive knowledge on the topic of interest to you. Every month is filled with valuable events and February 2023 is no exception.

Therefore, if you want to come here to gain experience and knowledge, we will suggest which events deserve your attention.

Chauffeur service in Frankfurt

Before we get into the main events you might be interested in visiting, we’ll talk about the best way to get around the city. This city is filled with various business centres, complexes, and arenas, where the most important events of the business world take place.

If you are planning to come here, then it is unlikely that you will come here for one event. In Frankfurt, even in a short period, you have the opportunity to attend many valuable business events. Thus, having a busy schedule, you should take advantage of the chauffeur service Frankfurt so that you don’t miss out on your schedule.

You can use the limo service Frankfurt if you are not only planning an educational trip but also planning to meet your potential clients or partners here. Thus, using the limousine service in Frankfurt, you will save yourself the trouble of researching public transport routes. In addition, this is a great way to emphasize your status.

Main business events

Blockchain, Crypto, Web3, NFT The beginning of the month will be quite busy, as for many, a long-awaited event will take place, where industry leaders will share their thoughts, ideas, and predictions about the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain with everyone.

You will learn the latest developments in this area to keep abreast of everything that is happening. In addition, you will hear from many expert speakers and opinion leaders, whose knowledge will be extremely valuable to you.

When planning your trip to this event, you can use the Frankfurt airport limousine service to comfortably get to your hotel upon arrival, and then enjoy the sights of the city. Thus, you will have time to combine business with pleasure.

Startup Mentorship Program Many start ups appear all over the world every day. However, some close due to wrong strategies, insufficient funding, or a poorly designed prototype. If you want to open your startup, you will want to prepare carefully. Therefore, you should attend this event, which is suitable for start ups, prototype developers and brand owners.

This event will become valuable for a huge number of people aimed at success. During the event, you have the opportunity to find new partners, clients, as well as investors that you can attract.

freelancers & friends: Frühstück in Frankfurt A huge number of people in the modern world are freelancers. Everyone who has chosen this path understands how important contacts are in such a professional environment. If you have good acquaintances, you will always have a job. However, this is a great way to grow professionally as you will be faced with a variety of tasks.

This event is aimed at ensuring that all interested freelancers, regardless of their field of activity.

Conclusion

No matter what business you run, you need to grow. The events taking place in the leading capital of the business world are valuable for those who strive for continuous growth. Thanks to your one trip to Frankfurt, you can attend a huge number of business events and gain valuable knowledge. Make sure you use the Frankfurt limousine service to ensure that your stay here is first class.

Tips For Businesses to Improve Cybersecurity

With most modern businesses spending a lot of time online, there has been a significant change in the way that companies need to protect themselves. The number and severity of cyber attacks has exploded over the last two decades. Multinational companies and countries around the world are dealing with all kinds of different threats online. Therefore, the response has been to improve information technology (IT) and cybersecurity. Luckily, as tech progresses there are more ways to do this. When you run a business, below are some tips to improve cybersecurity.

Hiring Experience IT Staff

One of the things every modern business should do—whether they are in technology or not—is to hire experienced and educated IT professionals. There are a few options. You can hire an IT staff yourself and have them on your payroll, or you can outsource these needs to a company that specializes in IT support. No matter what you choose to do, it’s necessary to have IT workers working with you to protect your business, internet network, devices, employees, and data.

Utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a technology that is changing nearly all of human life. AI will augment just about every aspect of civilization, but business is one area that will be changed the most. AI will enable businesses of all kinds to protect themselves online and in the digital space. AI can improve cybersecurity in ways humans cannot. Recorded Future has made a whole business model based on this. It can code more effectively, program more efficiently, and find threats humans may not have ever seen. AI is one of the technologies that is already changing humanity and society in untold ways. Cybersecurity can be greatly improved by AI.

Outsourcing Cloud Storage & Protection

Like you can outsource IT, it is also an option to outsource Cloud storage and protection. If you work with Cloud professionals, they will organize, analyse, and protect your data. Not only are these servers kept off-site, they will be encrypted more carefully and stored in a physical space free of risk that comes with physical damage. Outsourcing Cloud services will free your mind and open up the possibility to focus on other things. If this isn’t your strong suit, outsourcing is an option you should consider. Cloud storage, analysis, and protection could lead to large sets of uncorrupted data that could change the game when it comes to your business.

Using Encrypted Channels

It doesn’t matter if you are in tech or not, using encrypted channels is a huge benefit to your business and employees. First, you should use encrypted email. You should also use encrypted messaging services. What’sApp is not fully encrypted. There are other options though. Another encrypted channel that is a must is the web browser. 

Even private or incognito mode won’t cut it. You need fully encrypted web browsers so that no one can see what you are doing on the internet, your information is protected, and your business secrets are kept. Whatever the channel, making sure that everything is encrypted on every level is one of the most important and helpful things you can do to ward off cyber attacks and keep your company information safe.

Create Response Plans

No matter what you do, whether you outsource, hire employees, or use AI and encrypted channels, you should always make sure to create response plans to cyberattacks. Whether you are working with AI or a hired IT team, having a plan when there is ransomware, phishing, malware, identity theft, or something else, it is necessary to have an established plan of response. If you don’t, you will regret it. It’s vital to know how your company, employees, and devices will be protected should an attack occur.

Businesses always need to worry about many problems they will encounter, but nowadays the cyber attack is one of the most important things to protect yourself, your business, and your staff against. We live in a world where hackers, viruses, malware, and many other cyber risks exist.

Everyone needs to personally take care of their identities, their information, and their devices, but businesses need to do even more to protect the company and everyone involved with it. When you are running a business, think about doubling down on cybersecurity.

The Influence of AI on Social Media

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere nowadays, and it’s changing the way we interact with each other online. But it’s not a bad thing – used right, AI will become an extremely powerful tool for businesses and individuals who make a living online.

For instance, AI makes it easier to understand and connect with your audience. It also helps organizations up their game and become more effective, which means less time and energy spent with data analysis and good-old guesswork.

Still, AI can be scary if you don’t know how it works or what it can do. Therefore, in this blog post, we’ll explore how AI is influencing social media and what this could mean for the future of online marketing.

AI in Social Media Marketing

One thing AI does really well is processing huge amounts of data without missing a bit. This is how social media platforms manage to target ads so accurately and even how Google can return relevant results based on your search pattern and intent.

Therefore, AI can be your most reliable marketing partner, especially when it comes to social media. You can use it to automate redundant tasks, such as scheduling posts, sending messages, keeping track of your goals, and more.

Plus, you can use AI-based tools to analyse the trends and find which topics are more likely to catch your audience’s attention. Overall, it can make social media less time-consuming and more fun for the creators.

Also, businesses everywhere have many more chances to increase brand awareness through social media.

AI and Content Creation

Yes, we’ve reached a point where we can use AI tools to generate content. And no, it does not replace humans; it just helps them come up with better ideas and create unique content even when they hit a wall.

For instance, you can put your artistic creativity to the test with the BeFunky picture editing tool and turn regular pictures into pieces of art. Tools like this are enhanced by AI algorithms that make editing a lot easier, even for unskilled graphic editors or people who are complete beginners.

Moreover, you can use AI tools to generate short snippets of text which you can use for social media posts or to make image captions much more interesting and engaging.

Virtual Influencers

You don’t have to be on social media for too long to come across an influencer. Regardless of niche and preferences, you’ll find several accounts that garner all the attention. These accounts are managed by human creators and their teams, but AI’s recent developments gave birth to a new trend – virtual influencers.

Virtual influencers use the image of an AI-created character that does mostly what a human creator does, but without revealing the team behind them. The audience connects with an avatar representing a person, a team of individuals, or a brand.

The trend is huge right now and has reached an international level. The best thing about this is that virtual influencers can do a lot of things without going through the same hassles and difficulties real influencers do.

For instance, you can dress an avatar with anything you want, from luxury clothing to brand-sponsored merch, as long as you have the graphic skills to create it in digital format.

In Summary

In today’s digital age, Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing the way we interact with each other on social media. AI is everywhere, starting with our smartphones and ending with our search engines, so there’s no wonder it has taken over social media.

Moving forward, it will become increasingly difficult to be an online creator or a brand on social media without using AI-based tools. So, the best thing to do right now is to jump on the AI bandwagon and enjoy the ride!

A Guide to Battery Holders

If you’re going to be designing circuits which rely on battery power, then it’s worth acquainting yourself with the range of different battery holders available, and their respective strengths and weaknesses. These range from the surface-mounted devices which might hold the coin cell to a computer motherboard, right up to the battery rack that might contain the double-As in your TV remote.

What are they?

Most battery-powered devices in the modern home come with a battery holder. A battery holder, simply put, is a structure designed to hold a battery.

Without a battery, they don’t perform any function at all – but from a circuit design point of view, they can be thought of as performing the same function as the battery itself. In other words, a battery holder is a structure which adjoins the terminals of a battery with two traces on the circuit board.

In most cases, this means a plastic receptacle and a spring to fix the battery in place.

Battery holder uses

These are, in most cases, preferable to soldering the battery directly to the circuit board, since they allow for batteries to be replaced easily when they approach the end of their life. You’ll find them on every kind of device, from games console controllers to TV remotes to smoke alarms.

Types of battery holder

There are at least as many kinds of battery holder as there are kinds of battery. AAs and AAAs might be the most popular, but you’ll also find more obscure formats like N and AAAA batteries, which might make a better fit for certain devices. Generally, if the batteries are going to be replaced by the end-user, it makes sense to use a battery that can be easily sourced from the local convenience store.

Battery holders can be soldered straight onto the circuit board, or they can come with wires. The latter is
usually the more popular design choice, as it allows more freedom from a design perspective. The batteries in a television remote should be positioned where they can be easily accessed, without consideration of where the circuit board is.

When it comes to materials, moulded plastic represents the most economical option, but we might also use metal clips to hold the battery in place. In the case of rectangular 9V batteries, the battery is always fixed in place using snap terminals, whose design prevents the battery from being inserted the wrong way round.

Why So Many More Businesses Are Making the Choice to Become More Eco-conscious

Now more than ever we are hearing of businesses taking a more eco-conscious route when it comes to their daily practices. This could be the energy they use, employee and customer incentives, recycling, planting greenery, and so on. These steps and more can all lead to a happier, healthier planet which is extremely important with the way things have been going. So, in this article we are going to take a dive into the main reasons why so many businesses are making the choice to operate with the environment in mind – it goes far past just helping the planet. Let’s get into it.

More Evidence of Climate Change

As the impact of climate change is more prominent than ever, with forest fires spreading across the globe and endangered species reaching extinction, the time for rapid action is now imperative. A lot of countries are listening up and taking the necessary steps to become more eco-friendly through renewable energy sources, as we can see from an overview of the PPA prices in Europe. When businesses choose to use solar power, for example, they are greatly reducing their carbon footprint. If all the businesses in the world took these steps, then this would massively slow down the negative effects of the excessive usage of harmful fossil fuels.

Long-term Financial Savings

Once set up and ready to go, many eco-conscious ways of working can actually help businesses financially. This could be automated lighting that turns off when nobody is in the room, going paperless, or recycling in-office. These are relatively straightforward to arrange, and once they’re in place you’ll quickly adapt and start seeing the benefits in the business bank account.

Net Zero Target

A number of the richest countries in the world have agreed to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The first target is drawing ever nearer each year, so many governments offer businesses incentives, grants and schemes to become more eco-friendly. It’s a good idea to look into this to see if you could be eligible. Governments want to encourage and reward businesses that help them to reach their own decreased emission goals.

To Have the Edge on Competitors

If you are a green company, you will appeal more to people who value sustainability. This goes for investors, customers, employees, and so on. It will give you an edge on your competitors who don’t go the extra mile in regards to being eco-conscious. Every little helps.

Technological Advancements

These days, there’s no excuse not to go down the sustainability route. Eco-conscious technology is better than ever and can not only do good for the planet, but also your business. For instance, there are plenty of benefits to opting for solar or wind power options over fossil fuels. The energy industry and blockchain may even be able to go hand in hand in the future, which would prevent the chance of renewable energy fraud, whilst creating a peer-to-peer energy marketplace. Renewable energy is the future!

Accelerating New FinTech Products With Modular Front End Technology by Velmie

Front end and UX always become a challenge and key success factor when building new tech products. In the FinTech space, it plays an even more important role considering high CAC costs and the average CLV metrics. Therefore, companies have to invest over 60% of their engineering budgets to build apps and experiences pursuing their target acquisition and retention goals.

The importance of front end & UX

A well-designed front end is essential for any FinTech company. It’s the face of your product, and it’s what customers see and interact with. Good front-end design can help attracting new customers and keep those you already have.

Looking at the most successful FinTech companies in the US and Europe, you can notice that the key value proposition lies within the experiences they provide. It has always been a key differentiator between legacy institutions and modern FinTechs but its importance and complexity were often underestimated. Front end experiences still remain the biggest success factor for many of the fintechs and a blocker for others who didn’t manage to get it right.

A good front end solution must not only look nice and deliver your brand message but also interact with the clients, be clear, intuitive and responsive. Furthermore, UX is directly connected to other pieces of your product such as back end APIs, business and compliance processes, marketing tactics, etc.

At Velmie, we understand the importance of front-end design and that’s why built modular front-end technology that makes it easy to create custom experiences for your product. Our white-label banking apps for iOS and Android are fully customizable, and the back office solution comes with extensive tools to manage engagement and conversations with your customers.

Costs of building FinTech apps

Building a great front end experience for your FinTech product can be costly and time-consuming. Companies often have to spend a significant amount of effort to build and run various UX tests until they come to the target. That’s where Velmie comes in.

With the modular white-label front end our customers can compile different components to get their unique products and experiences delivered to the audience. This approach allows to significantly reduce the go-to-market time from around 1 year to just 1-2 months, leading to CAPEX savings as well. On average, FinTech startups pay USD 0,5 million to build their MVP applications, with the white-label tech the app investments can be just a fraction of the above costs.

With over 30+ modules and components such as cards, crypto, Fx, QR payments, invoices, portfolio management and others, the front end tech can be a fit for the majority of FinTech products.

The advantages of white-label apps

When you’re looking to launch a new FinTech product, you need a technology partner that can help you speed things up. Finding and retaining experienced app designers and developers with relevant background in the FinTech space may be a bit of a challenge for early-stage companies.

At Velmie we not only provide a toolkit but also do end-to-end delivery, bringing hassle-free service to companies that don’t have in-house tech expertise. Founders can stay focused on their business, customers, and partners while we deliver perfectly crafted apps and experiences with our unique tech.

What’s more, our API middleware technology provides fast connectivity to partner banks, so you can get your product into the market faster than ever before.

Over 35 Years of Sensational Success

Complex litigation law can be extremely challenging to navigate however, with a strong, level-headed load of experience, we find ourselves in good hands with Marc J. Bern & Partners LLP. Let us find out more as its Founding Partner, Marc Bern, wins Leading Complex Litigation Lawyer of the Year 2022, New York, from Acquisition International.

Complex litigation cases contain many parties. From multiple individuals to a selection of lawyers, and often several geographical locations, these cases can take months, and even years, to be settled. Many cases face problems that add insult to injury, but we’ve found a law firm, and a reputable lawyer, which knows how to tackle anything.

Marc J. Bern & Partners LLP is a dedicated complex litigation law firm that has grown at an immense rate. Marc J. Bern & Partners provides its support in New York, and around the country, to ensure its clients receive the best help imaginable when it comes to personal injury, medical malpractice, construction accident, defective product, dangerous medication, consumer fraud, and product liability cases.

For 9/11 victim compensation funds, abuse claims, opioid crisis aid, FELA railroad claims, and much more, Marc J. Bern & Partners has a lawyer for every area of complex litigation. The case turnaround time is rapid, but there are no details missed or swept under the rug. Marc J. Bern & Partners is committed to helping anyone who is in a difficult situation, and it does so with empathy, concern, and care.

“Dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients.”

Striving to understand and solve every case that is presented to them, each lawyer is steeped in years of experience that give them the edge on the competition. With over 60 years of combined experience, including working as legal attorneys and mass tort lawyers, each person on the team has something to bring to the table.

There for us 24/7, Marc J. Bern & Partners has the experience needed to look after numerous cases of all sizes and issues. Always taking the right approach to each case, the firm promises, and delivers, the highest quality of service – every time.

Supporting individuals, and their families, Marc J. Bern & Partners provides the help that it knows they deserve. It works seamlessly to provide its undivided attention to each case and, despite its large size, it still serves incredible assistance with a personal touch.

Its Founding Partner, Marc Bern, created Marc J. Bern & Partners to help a wide variety of people through some of the most difficult cases imaginable. He has been with the firm for over seven years, and he is leading the way for the entire industry.

Graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972, with a degree in Political Science and Government, Marc has always shown his passion for what he now does. Building Marc J. Bern & Partners from the ground up is a huge achievement worth celebrating, and we know that this remarkable business is set to receive even more recognition for its hard work.

Resulting in excess of 3 billion in settlements and many awards such as The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Lawyers of distinction, and more, Marc J. Bern & Partners has become a name we won’t forget.

By being entirely client-focused, the team provides the best possible client experience no matter the case – the size, or the complexity. It gives free consultations to anyone in need of its expert services, and it is easily reached by telephone any time of day or night. No matter the issue – from personal injury to medical malpractice, dangerous drug, or defective product help – Marc and the team have solutions that will support its clients’ legal rights.

Marc has become extremely respected, and for good reason. He has a huge repertoire of experience with “plaintiffs’ catastrophic injury cases, Pharmaceutical Products Liability, Environmental and other Toxic Torts including MTBE gasoline contamination, Cresote, MGP (manufactured gas plants), PCB, and Mass Torts.”

We have learned a lot about Marc, and the whole team at Acquisition International is impressed with his work. He is a nationally recognised trial attorney, with over 35 years of experience, and it’s clear to see why people flock to him. This is due to his client-focused attitude, compassionate aid, and track record for trying more than 100 cases to jury verdict – with hundreds more settled, amassing to over $1,000,000.

As the Co-Liaison Counsel in the World Trade Center Disaster Litigation, Marc helped to settle “over $800,000,000 for police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders injured by toxic smoke and dust at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 clean-up efforts.” He is dedicated to helping others and is delighted to be able to do that on a daily basis.

Marc Bern has now won Leading Complex Litigation Lawyer of the Year 2022 in New York, and he shows no signs of slowing down as he reaches new heights within his career. Congratulations, Marc!

For business enquiries, contact Kelly Carson from Marc J. Bern & Partners LLP on their website – https://bernllp.com/ or call at 1-800-LAW-5432

The Power of Partnership 

A shared services organisation, U.S. Oral Surgery Management (USOSM) collaborates with premier oral and maxillofacial surgeons to offer a partnership solution for continued and accelerated practice success. It provides operational, marketing, and administrative support services, reinvests resources, and applies best practices to improve clinical and financial performance and produce steadier, more profitable growth for all. Recognised as ‘Best Oral Surgery Management Company – USA’ in this issue of Acquisition International magazine, we learn more.

U.S. Oral Surgery Management puts oral and maxillofacial surgeons and their patients first – a core value that the company was founded on and which continues to be a vital part of its culture.

With a focus that remains on clinical excellence and exceptional patient care, USOSM has been extremely selective about the surgeons with whom its partners. It only selects board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons who are considered to be the best of the best. As a result, it has formed an elite network of well-established, highly skilled, highly trained, and highly experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

USOSM also prides itself on its equity model. When oral and maxillofacial surgeons partner with it, they receive a substantial equity stake in the entire USOSM network. This means all 180+ of USOSM’s surgeon partners are working together toward shared financial success. Also, throughout a surgeon’s partnership with USOSM, they retain 100% clinical autonomy. Boasting a 100% surgeon partner retention rate, this reflects the outstanding quality of USOSM’s offering and the satisfaction of its partners.

Under its model, USOSM’s partner practices all consistently receive a net promoter score (NPS) of 80 or above, which is considered world-class by Bain & Company, one of the NPS founders. The average NPS for the healthcare industry as a whole is 58, and the average NPS for healthcare providers in general is about 38. USOSM’s significantly high NPS speaks for itself.

Undeniably, USOSM leads the industry today as the largest and fastest growing company of its kind. Not only does it have a unique private equity model, and a shared dedication to clinical excellence and exceptional patient care, but also a strong and experienced executive management team comprised of seasoned industry leaders. Their wisdom, skill, and expertise are invaluable to the company’s current and continued success. Additionally, because clinical excellence is its top priority, USOSM established a Clinical Governance Board to advise partner practices on important clinical issues that are encountered by surgeons.

This cutting-edge company also stands out with the high quality of services it provides to surgeon partners, as well as its solid financial backing, in addition to clear vision, mission, and values. The vision for USOSM is to become the oral and maxillofacial surgery management firm that is best known for its people, paradigm, partnerships, and performance. Its mission is the everyday extension of this vision: to partner with premier oral maxillofacial surgeons to help them enhance their clinical missions and their successes – both today and tomorrow.

President and CEO of USOSM, Richard Hall tells us, “Our partners’ expertise is in patient care. Our expertise is in business. USOSM takes care of all the behind-the-scenes business details, freeing up our surgeon partners so they can focus on patient care. This can result in better patient care, increased patient satisfaction, improved cashflow, better work-life balance, and much more.”

Now, USOSM anticipates the rise of more shared-services organisations just like itself. When the company was established six years ago, it was the only of its kind, a distinction it held for several years. However, a few competitors have joined the space, and USOSM believes more of these organisations will follow. However, it has seen tremendous growth in related fields, such as dental services organisations (DSOs), and there is a lot of demand in the oral and maxillofacial surgery space for the kinds of service it provides.

The company also expects an increase in technological advancements, both clinically and administratively. To stay competitive, oral and maxillofacial surgery practices will need to have strong IT leadership in place, like that which USOSM provides. Strong IT leadership can help thwart rising cybersecurity threats, keep everyone up-to-date on and compatible with the latest technology, and create and install custom-designed software to drive value.

However, one of the biggest trends that USOSM foresees is increased costs associated with running a practice. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons will need to find innovative ways to reduce costs. This is one of the company’s specialties. It helps reduce costs through operational and financial improvements, inventory management, vendor negotiation, and much more.

Ultimately, USOSM itself has had an incredible year of growth, adding $100 million in acquired revenue in 2022, and having recently closed a new round of funding of a $125 million credit expansion with its existing lenders.

Richard shares, “Given the state of the economy, credit markets are particularly tight right now. Only companies with well-established track records and exceptional performance will have access to capital at reasonable terms. We’re proud that USOSM’s performance provided our lenders the confidence to expand their commitment. This additional dry powder and our track record of timely closings will give future partners confidence to close, enabling us to continue our growth trajectory.”

For business enquiries, contact Richard Hall, USOSM President and CEO from U.S. Oral Surgery Management on their website – www.usosm.com

Lloyds Blueprint Two: How Third-Party Data and Software Providers Can Help the Insurance Sector to Release This Value

Lindsay Lucas, CEO, Software Solved

However, these industry-wide changes are worthless unless insurance organisations are ready to engage, consume it and unlock the benefits it presents

The Lloyds of London insurance market is inarguably one of the world’s oldest and least modernised groups and it is having to re-think the way it interacts with customers and turning to digital. This is a prime example for the rest of the sector that it is time to wake up, especially in light of Lloyds Blueprint Two– Lloyd’s marketplace transformation programme.

The insurance industry relies heavily on legacy systems and has been slower than some industries to adopt modern technologies. This makes it difficult to stay competitive and offer an experience on par with the expectations of their customers. Many insurers are functioning on outdated legacy systems, like old technology stacks and neglected architecture. While some national insurance companies have followed the direct-to-consumer trend, many insurers haven’t begun modernising or don’t know where to start.

The longer they wait, the harder they’ve found it to support these legacy systems and attract and retain large market segments with higher product expectations. Insurtech start-ups who have fully embraced a personalised digital experience are taking advantage and rapidly acquiring market share. New markets in other countries are also directly competing with the Lloyds market and like new insurance firms, these markets come digital first.

The need to modernise the insurance industry is critical. However, several challenges can prevent these companies from jumpstarting the modernisation of their legacy systems.

The Challenges

Talent Acquisition: To migrate from a legacy system to a more modern infrastructure, organisations that understand the legacy technology and are aware of the business logic embedded into these systems are critical. Access to talent with experience in legacy systems can pose a serious obstacle as people retire.

Failure to Adopt Remote Working: Compounding the talent acquisition problem is the fact that many legacy insurance companies are not well equipped to support remote workers, particularly since the pandemic. Because of the prevalence of on-premises legacy systems, it is difficult to securely provide seamless remote access. Moving to cloud-based systems will ease these pain points.

Hesitancy to Embrace Cloud Computing: Legacy insurance companies rarely have staff with experience and expertise in cloud computing, and therefore are hesitant to embrace it. Typically, they often believe that cloud computing cannot be properly secured or meet regulatory requirements, which usually is not true.

The impact of legacy systems

The impact of not modernising means insurers’ project deadlines will not be met. Had insurers migrated to a modern architecture earlier, these risks could have been mitigated and thereby significant increasing the odds of projects being successful. More technological challenges will arise the longer insurance companies wait to modernise, and the broad impacts of these obstacles will continue to grow.

Lloyds Blueprint Two is the third instalment in Lloyd’s marketplace transformation programme. It is expected that in two years’ time Lloyd’s and the London Insurance Market will be looking at the new beginnings of a digitally enabled marketplace, integrating risk placement with automated premium accounting and claim settlement. This is a big step towards a data-first market and huge milestone in this ambitious end-to-end transformation programme

However, since the announcement of Blueprint Two, Lloyd’s has postponed two open market milestones scheduled for Q3 – the provision of API specifications for a new digital gateway and the build of a proportional treaty system. Even though necessary, this still causes further delays.

Third-party data and software providers can help the industry to engage

Furthermore, all these industry-wide changes are worthless unless insurance organisations are ready to engage, consume it and unlock the benefits it presents, critically, in collaboration with one another. Third-party data and software providers can help release this value. Third parties are becoming a fundamental component of the sector, creating room for insurance institutions to focus on strategy, innovation, growth and development, operational efficiencies and living up to the growing demand from customers.

The whole of the finance sector needs to look at third-party software providers that focus on an adaptable approach to change so that value is released on an incremental basis, helping finance companies to tap into their full potential to remain and gain relevance in the future. The right tools, using the right third-party support, can create a new foundation of extensible data on which a new stack of flexible, agile services and tools can be purpose-built for what the insurance sector needs to do today.

Third-party data and software providers are able to help the sector to adapt to the Lloyds Blueprint Two transformation quickly, helping them to understand what their customers want and provide a trusted service ensuring that they prosper.

How to Create a Positive Work Environment for Your Employees

A positive work environment is essential for the success of any business. Not only does it create a more pleasant atmosphere for employees, but it also helps to increase productivity and morale. Creating a positive work environment can be achieved in several ways, such as offering flexible hours, providing meaningful rewards and recognition, encouraging open communication between staff members, and creating opportunities for collaboration. 

Not all people operate the same in the workplace. Some enjoy things that others may not like. As an employer, you might want to create an environment that is suitable for every person working in the organizations. For instance, you can come up with smoking zones in break rooms where employees can use products like those offered by ezee-e without bothering non-smokers. With such work environment, you can ensure that the needs of all employees are catered for. This article discusses more about creating a positive work environment.

How can employers ensure their employees feel valued and appreciated?

Employers should strive to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. This can be done by providing recognition for good work, offering competitive salaries and benefits, and creating opportunities for professional development. Employers should ensure their employees have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. This includes providing adequate training, access to technology, and support from management. 

Employers should also make sure their employees are given the opportunity to provide feedback on their job performance and suggest ways in which the company can improve its operations. Employers should take time out of their day to show appreciation for their employees’ hard work through small gestures such as thank-you notes or gift cards. By taking these steps, employers can ensure that their employees feel valued and appreciated in the workplace.

How can employers foster an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork?

Employers can foster an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork by creating a culture of open communication. Encourage employees to share ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback in a respectful manner. Employers should create opportunities for team building activities that allow employees to get to know each other better and build relationships. This could include things like group lunches or outings, team sports or games, or even just having regular meetings where everyone is encouraged to participate. Employers should also recognize the importance of individual contributions while emphasizing the value of working together as a team.

Strategies for Managing Stress and Improving Mental Health in the Workplace

There are some strategies that can help in managing stress and improving mental health in the workplace. First, it’s important to create an environment that is conducive to good mental health. This means providing employees with access to resources like counseling services, support groups, and other forms of assistance. Employers should strive to create a culture of openness and acceptance where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health issues without fear of judgment or repercussions. 

It’s also important for employers to recognize the signs of stress and take steps to address them before they become more serious problems. This could include offering flexible work schedules or allowing employees time off when needed. Employers should also provide regular breaks throughout the day so that employees have time away from their desks to relax and recharge. 

It is important for employers to encourage healthy habits among their staff by providing nutritious snacks in the break room or organizing team activities like yoga classes or walking meetings. These activities can help reduce stress and promote physical activity which has been linked with improved mental wellbeing.

How to Identify and Prevent a Cyber Attack

Cyber threats and risks are evolving at an increasingly rapid scale. Businesses everywhere are failing to react quickly enough to malicious cyber attacks, and as such, they can suffer irreparable damage to finances, systems, data and reputation.

The evolving threat landscape also makes it much more difficult for companies to anticipate and prevent cyber attacks. Recent statistics show that the average detection time for a cyber attack is 287 days. Who knows what kind of harm can be done in that time frame before a hacker or threat actor is even noticed?

This guide serves as a crucial reminder for businesses to understand cyber-attacks, and implement correct, stable cybersecurity measures. 

What is a Cyber Attack?

Films and television have often overexaggerated the idea of cyber attacks. In reality, cybercrime can be conducted much more covertly, depending on the scale of the business that’s falling victim to an attack.

Some industries may be more vulnerable than others. For example, financial institutions and healthcare providers are more ‘at-risk’ than most other industries, due to the sensitive information held on their networks and systems. However, that’s not to suggest that any industry is completely risk-free.

A cyber attack is defined as a deliberate exploitation of a computer network or system. This blanket definition merely scrapes the surface of the density and proficiency of cyber attacks that can take shape. Below are some of the most well-known types of cybercrime that can permeate a company’s network or system, regardless of industry.

Types of Cyber Attacks

  • Phishing – Dangerous links or attachments can be sent through email or messaging applications, where attackers can gain access to confidential information or credentials. From this point on, they can install malware.
  • Malware – Malicious software viruses are often disguised as legitimate software, which the user – often unsuspectingly – downloads or opens. Malware can also refer to ransomware, trojans, worms or spyware.
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) – This involves an attacker intercepting a communication exchange between two different parties, in which they steal or manipulate data.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – These attacks often involve the simultaneous flooding of systems, networks or servers with traffic to restrict bandwidth. For example, a server can become overwhelmed with requests and slow to the point where it goes down. This leaves vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit more easily.
  • SQL injection – Structured Query Language injections occur within a database when standard queries are manipulated. In other words, code can be entered into search boxes on vulnerable sites, which prompts the hosting server to unveil vital data and give the attacker the impetus to edit the user permissions and information stored in that database.
  • Watering hole – This refers to a cyberattack in which malware is installed on regular websites that particular organizations visit, in order to infect their systems.
  • Password hacks – These refer to attacks when passwords are uncovered and possibly changed without the user’s knowledge.
  • Rogue software – This is a form of malware which tricks victims into believing their device or computer has been hacked or infected with a virus, which lures them into a false sense of security.
  • Social engineering – This refers to a wide range of malicious activity that involves human interaction, such as manipulating people into breaking normal security procedures.

These are just some of the possible cyber attacks that could cause problems for an organization. However, the real-world types of attacks will likely be more sophisticated and complex than what is described above. This list is purely here to give you food for thought about how your systems or networks could potentially fall into the wrong hands.

20 Ways to Detect a Cyber Attack

The real question is how these types of cyber threats can be detected before it’s too late. While these threats are growing harder to detect and contain, the good news is that you don’t have to be particularly technically minded to protect your organization sufficiently.

Below are some of the signs you can spot which could indicate a looming or imminent cyber attack.

  1. Suspicious emails
  2. Slowed computer speed
  3. Compromised or disabled security software
  4. Browser or software add-ons that were installed mysteriously
  5. Random restarts or shutdowns
  6. Repeated pop-ups
  7. Lost access to accounts
  8. Missing or altered files
  9. Notifications of unexpected access locations or logins
  10. Suspicious admin activity
  11. Multiple requests for files or databases
  12. Unusual outbound network traffic
  13. Ransomware messages
  14. Programs continually crashing or opening and closing automatically
  15. Network bandwidth becomes very slow
  16. Constant browser redirects
  17. Sudden lack of storage space
  18. Computers function without local input
  19. Suspicious phone calls
  20. Ad-hoc demands or threats from unknown senders

 

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

There are numerous safety measures you can take that will help you monitor threats more easily and prevent your business and data from falling victim to an attack. All of this can be done without affecting your company’s productivity.

  • Invest in penetration testing – One of the most crucial steps to securing your critical IT infrastructure is to think like a hacker or cybercriminal. Unpatched software, network vulnerabilities, insecure passwords, and authentication errors, all can be exploited. To get a comprehensive understanding of your cybersecurity posture, you need to conduct regular penetration tests. This allows vulnerabilities to be exploited in an ethical way, informing you of the preventative measures you need to take to ensure complete protection. 
  • Enterprise-grade antivirus software – Most modern full-service antivirus software programmes don’t just feature virus scanning features; most come with built-in firewalls and internet security protection tools. These mechanisms can work in synchronicity to detect malware, ransomware and malicious files, allowing you to identify potential threats, contain them, and remove them from your infrastructure. Which has outlined the most recommended antivirus software programs to consider for 2023.
  • Secure password policies – It’s easy to use familiar passwords for multiple logins or systems. However, this is a bad idea. Creating a secure and memorable password is therefore vital, using a variety of letters (in lower and uppercase), numbers, and special characters, makes a password that is much more difficult to exploit. Using password generator tools like BitWarden or LastPass can also be a more manageable solution, where you can generate highly secure, unique passwords for each login, all of which are stored securely. All you’ll need to remember is a master password to authenticate the app’s usage.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)MFA (often called two-factor authentication, or TFA) is an additional security step by requesting verification from you before granting access to a system, database, or network. For example, MFA could include SMS or email security codes to input, facial or biometric verification, notifications or prompts on trusted devices, etc. While this might seem long-winded, it’s crucial to ensure access is only granted to verified and trusted individuals.
  • Take regular local and server-side backups – Whether you’re using a public or a private server, taking backups of your systems, applications and data is vital. Keep multiple copies of critical information and credentials so you can quickly restore them in the event of an attack. Back up data on a local server in an office using external hard drives or devices, as well as through a cloud infrastructure, offsite, hosted by a public or private cloud provider. For advice on choosing the right cloud service provider, refer to this guide.
  • Keep software and applications up-to-date – Installing security patches and updates to system software ensures sufficient, adequate protection of all your apps and critical software and hardware. Out-of-date programs are increasingly prone to vulnerabilities and cyber attacks, so if you’re prompted to download and install updates, don’t ignore them.

It’s not easy to detect and mitigate the constantly-evolving complexity and presence of cyber threats. Your organization needs to implement structure and policies that define what your employees do to ensure sufficient and adequate cybersecurity. 

One breach, however minor, can spell disaster for the company. However, learning as much as you can about correct, proper system and network protection will ensure your company, data and infrastructure are best protected in the long run. 

A Goliath in Management Consultancy

Advisory Group AG offers a wide range of strategic change advisory services from strategy design to successful implementation and transformation. Following the firm’s recognition in the 2022 AI Leading Advisor Awards as the ‘Leading Boutique Management Consultancy Firm of the Year’ for Switzerland, we spoke with Managing Partner Dr. Wladimir Kovacic to find out more.

Management consultancy is an immensely difficult landscape to navigate and secure enduring success. Yet, Advisory Group AG has certainly cultivated an impressive portfolio of work and reputation in the sphere through its dedication to strong solutions that, simply, achieve observable results. For Wladimir, Advisory Group AG is in the business of transformation, metamorphosis, growth, momentum – revitalising their clients through expert services.

Here, Wladimir speaks on the ethos of the firm and how it has strengthened its impressive image since its establishment. “We see ourselves as more than Advisors as we share transformational risks with our clients. Sharing risks relates to our core values to support our customers to create innovations, growth and improve quality and efficiencies. Our specialities are: Strategic change, business design and transformation, compliance and risk management, operational excellence and similar pursuits. These tie fundamentally into our core values such as a strong dedication to customer orientation, trust, and creating excitement to take positive action.”

This approach has certainly proven to be successful, as – since 2005 – Advisory Group AG primarily builds its client base through referrals, references and past engagement experiences. Wladimir is keen to emphasise the role of the firm’s staff in driving this reputation to greater heights. “Our staff is a key factor of our success. when we recruit new talent, we look to their achievements: did they finish and how they finished their jobs and project engagements. Furthermore, we look for people who wants to have the freedom to bring in their own opinion and have the freedom to solve problems in their way and being team players at the same time. We look for people who can integrate and enhance our current teams and capabilities. People who have personalities rather than just nice CVs.

“Our internal culture is built on strong trust. we trust each other and support each other where possible. furthermore, we allow our people to make mistakes and encourage them to take risks. this is the only way to grow and this is one of our real differentiators.”

As for the future, Wladimir is keen to grow the firm with scalability in mind – that is to say, growing in a way that doesn’t impact the quality of the services it produces. “We face the challenge that we have more client requests than Advisory Group teams to fulfil our growing demand. Nevertheless, we believe that our boutique character and setup is the baseline for our USPs and therefore we are defensive to grow. We want to grow in quality not in quantity. This is where we see our future.

“We also plan to hire new talent. People who want to make the difference, personalities with interesting (non-linear / not streamlined) carrier paths. Finally, we would like to increase awareness for new and innovative nearshoring opportunities at our nearshore centre in Tunis.”

For further information, please contact Dr. Wladimir Kovacic, Managing Partner via email at [email protected] or visit www.advisorygroup.ch

How Entrepreneurs Become Leaders

There are millions of entrepreneurs, but only a tiny percentage of them ever become true leaders within their respective fields. What qualities and practices make it possible for owners of small businesses to develop leadership potential? While there’s no set formula for achieving such a high-level goal, anyone who starts a company can make a solid effort to maximize their chances of reaching the heights of their chosen industry.

It’s no coincidence that most of the visible, successful owners and entrepreneurs in every industry are heavily involved in community service projects, not just as participants but as motivators who spearhead efforts of various kinds. They also cosign for student loans when promising employees need help paying for college. Other effective approaches to building leadership skills include joining speakers’ bureaus and professional organizations. Consider using one or more of the following tactics if you want to become a leader within your segment of the business community.

Champion Community Service Projects

Pick one or two community service programs in your local area and get behind them 100%. It helps to select causes you believe in and are willing to devote time to. It’s not about giving loads of cash to charities. Instead, become personally involved as a board member, volunteer leader, or fundraiser. The goal is to get your company’s name and brand in the public eye, support a worthy charitable organisation, and acquire a few valuable skills along the way. Down the road this is also a great way to invest in employee development because you can bring your team in with you when you work to support the causes of your choice.

Co-sign for Student Loans

Co-signing for a student loan can change someone’s life. Without a co-signer, some applicants don’t stand a chance of being approved or getting a competitive interest rate. Be selective with your choices in this regard. It’s wise to limit the field of potential candidates to your top employees who need the financial boost to get funding for higher education. Your signature gives them a chance to attend college on a part-time or full-time basis, in person or remotely, while continuing to work for your business on a scaled-back basis. It’s a fact that owners who co-sign for their employees’ education loans tend to have the most loyal workforces.

Sign Up with a Speakers’ Bureau

Write at least two presentations and sign up with a local speakers’ service. Expect to do at least one audition for the bureau before they send you out on assignments, some of which are paid. Your goal here is to establish your business as a leader in the industry and build your personal brand as an expert.

Take Continuing Education Courses

It’s imperative to stay ahead of the information curve within your chosen field. If your company offers tax preparation services, take timely courses and seminars that cover the latest laws, auditing procedures, and filing guidelines. Seek out the best continuing education courses available. If there are none in your local area, travel to the closest cities to acquire fresh, relevant knowledge that will set you apart from most of your competitors. If you have an idea for a course, take the time to develop a pertinent syllabus and offer it, for a fee, to prospective attendees who can benefit from your unique knowledge and experience.

What Are Commercial Cross-Border Disputes and How Can You Resolve Them?

A legal dispute of any kind can be stressful and damaging for each party involved, more so when a claim is brought against your business in a cross-border dispute. At the very minimum, there will be two jurisdictions and various international laws to contend with.

Your law firm may not be able to comply with legal matters in other jurisdictions. If you find yourself stuck in a cross-border dispute, you should seek advice from established litigation lawyers who are specially trained to handle these cases.

This guide will explore how cross-border disputes arise and some of the ways that these can be resolved.

What is a cross-border dispute?

Disputes can occur between two companies or a company and an individual. This is usually due to disagreements between shareholders, breaches of contract, insolvency and trade issues to name but a few.

A cross-border dispute can transpire if you have expanded your business overseas and a legal dispute occurs between you and a company in a different country. Difficulties can also result from cultural differences and expectations from foreign clients. Understanding how to work with clientele from other countries can help to offset the potential for disputes.

What factors must be considered during cross-border disputes?

Legal Representation

When faced with a dispute brought against you from a business overseas, you must attain legal advice from a firm that relates to the jurisdiction in which the matter could be litigated. If you decide to go with a UK-based law firm, they may also instruct a foreign law firm to aid with the dispute.

Having to deal with several law firms can lead to a plethora of issues, including misunderstandings and time delays. This is why it’s important to choose a multi-jurisdictional and multi-lingual law firm to assist you in your cross-border dispute.

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the term to describe the particular laws that apply in the country where the dispute is created. It can also refer to the authority given to the court to enact justice. The laws within each jurisdiction can vary significantly.

Commercial contracts will often integrate jurisdiction clauses that state where a dispute will be litigated if the dispute cannot be resolved. This means that the relevant parties involved will be informed of the jurisdiction and laws under which the dispute will be negotiated. It can also prevent one of the parties from commencing legal proceedings in an unfamiliar jurisdiction.

How can cross-border disputes be resolved?

Cross-border disputes are best left with experienced cross-border and litigation lawyers, who can easily help to settle the dispute. They can identify whether your contract has a jurisdiction clause or if a strategy needs to be created to navigate the different laws of the country where the dispute is taking place.

You could also try settling the dispute via alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before things escalate. Whether this is through arbitration or mediation, these steps can prevent matters from becoming hostile. Again, the law firm you decide to go with can help to build your case so that the dispute can be resolved as efficiently as possible.

What is Phishing and How to Guard Against it

Maybe you’ve heard or read the term “phishing” before and have wondered what, exactly, it was referring to. In the below article, we are going to discuss phishing, some of the most common ways cybercriminals attempt to use phishing tactics and how to guard against them.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of online fraud in which criminals impersonate a legitimate business to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. It is typically done through email or text messages that contain links to malicious websites or attachments containing malware, but it can also be done through social media and other online channels.

Phishing attacks usually target a wide range of victims and are often very sophisticated, making them difficult to detect. The best defence against phishing, whether you’re an individual or a business, is to remain vigilant and educate yourself about the different types of phishing attacks.

Below are some of the most common ways cybercriminals try to “phish” for sensitive information and gain unauthorised access.

Vishing

Vishing is a form of phishing that uses voice messages sent over the phone, with the goal of obtaining sensitive information. It typically involves a caller pretending to be from a legitimate business or government agency and asking the victim to provide personal information such as passwords or banking details.

To guard yourself against vishing attacks, never give out personal information over the phone and always verify who is calling by asking for contact details.

If you are in doubt, hang up immediately and call the company or agency at a number you know to be legitimate. To play it even safer, there are helpful phone number ID tools that let you see where the number is coming from before you decide to pick up or call back.

Email Phishing

Email phishing is where criminals send emails that appear to be from legitimate sources, such as banks or other financial institutions. The goal is to get users to click on malicious links or open attachments that contain malware or keyloggers.

Often, these emails will include a sense of urgency to increase the likelihood that users will respond. Examples of email phishing messages may include requests for personal information, passwords or security questions and answers.

To guard yourself against email phishing, it’s important to be aware of the tell-tale signs. These include messages that contain spelling and grammar mistakes, have generic salutations (such as “Dear Customer”), or ask for personal information.

It’s also important to never open attachments from suspicious emails and never click on any links contained in them.

Social Media Phishing

Social media phishing is when criminals pose as legitimate companies or individuals on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. They use these platforms to gain access to personal information and passwords and they are increasingly common.

To protect yourself from social media phishing attacks, be sure to only accept friend requests from people you know, never give out personal information in response to messages or posts and be aware of any suspicious activity on your account.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a more targeted form of phishing attack, in which criminals target specific individuals or organisations. The criminals create a message that appears to come from someone the victim knows or trusts, such as a colleague or acquaintance. The goal is to get the victim to click on a malicious link or open an attachment that contains malware.

Be aware of spear phishing by never clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources, and always double-check the email address of the sender before taking any action.

Conclusion

Overall, phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, making it difficult to recognize them. The best defense against phishing is to remain vigilant, educate yourself about the different types of attacks and take precautions to protect yourself. Be aware of the tell-tale signs and never give out personal information or click on suspicious links or attachments. Taking these steps can help you minimise your risk of falling victim to a phishing attack.

How to Lower Your Car Insurance Payments Fast

Everyone would like to lower the cost of their car insurance payments. However, not everybody actually looks at active ways to reduce the cost of their auto insurance.

If that’s you, it’s time to change your ways. So, check out the following helpful advice on how to quickly lower the cost of your car insurance.

Carefully Consider the Car You Drive

If you haven’t yet bought the car that you will be insuring, you should bear the cost of insurance in mind before deciding on the model you want to get as some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others.

For instance, sports cars will cost more to insure than sedans.

If the cost of insurance is one of your top priorities and you want to make savings quickly, you should consider changing the car you drive.

Park Your Car in a Safe Place

It might not be possible for you to keep your car in a safer place, but if it is possible, you could potentially make substantial savings on your car insurance. Vehicles that are kept off the road, such as in garages, cost less to insure because they won’t be as likely to be stolen by thieves or damaged by vandals.

So, if you have off-road parking available and aren’t making the most of it, change your ways. You can then lower your car insurance payments fast and ensure your car is kept safe.

Compare Quotes and Choose the Cheapest One

Often, the best way to lower the cost of your car insurance quickly is to shop around for your insurance. By comparing multiple insurance companies and getting quotes from different ones, you should be able to find cheaper auto insurance.

Furthermore, you don’t have to spend countless hours searching for the best deals. Instead, you can use a quick and easy-to-use online comparison site.

So, before you simply get your insurance from Progressive because the insurance company is one of the leading insurers around, for instance, make sure you compare other insurance company quotes.

Make Your Car Insurance Payments on an Annual Basis

While some costs can be cheaper to pay each month, you’ll typically pay more for your car insurance if you make payments on a monthly basis rather than paying for your insurance annually.

Paying one lump sum is often the cheaper option, so make sure you ask your insurer how much you could save by switching to an annual payment.

Get Black Box Insurance

Another option you’ll want to carefully consider in order to lower your car insurance payments is installing a telematics device in your car. With a black box policy, your insurance company will install a GPS-enabled device in your car or require you to download a smartphone app to monitor how safely you drive.

It can show insurance companies how fast you drive, how sharply you brake, what times of day or night you drive, and more. As long as you always drive safely, by installing a telematics device or using a telematics app, you can potentially significantly lower your insurance premium. So, ask your insurer about options for black box insurance.

Drive Less

If you drive your car a lot, this option won’t be useful. But if you only use your car now and then, you could get cheaper insurance.

The reason is drivers who drive fewer miles are less likely to be involved in road accidents. Therefore, they pose less of a risk.

Make sure you don’t lie about how many miles you drive to get cheaper insurance. If you do, your insurer might not pay out when you need to make a claim.

Depending on your personal circumstances, you could even consider driving less by switching to public transport or ride shares so that you drive fewer miles and can qualify for lower insurance costs.

Improve Your Credit Score

Many people don’t realise that their credit scores can make a difference in the cost of their car insurance. Whatever the reason, insurance companies tend to think people with poor credit scores are more at risk behind the wheels of their cars.

So, if you’re able to improve your credit score quickly, you could get cheaper auto insurance. Just make sure you then keep your credit score high.

How Can Insurance Protect Businesses During Daily Operations?

What type of business do you run? Is it small or large? Are you self-employed? Whatever your business looks like, it’s worth thinking about the type of cover you’ll need in order to protect you, your employees and your company from any unexpected costs that may arise.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to take out the insurance you need in order to be legally compliant. It’s also worth considering cover that’s tailored to the sector or niche you work in. This article will explain how you can protect your business as it operates on a daily basis.

Why is insurance important for your business?

Running a business can be extremely rewarding, but there’s always the possibility that you’ll face some risks along the way. Ensuring you have the relevant business insurance policy in place could help to protect both you and your business operations against these risks and potentially damaging incidents. 

For instance, you may face the issue of stock damage, interruption with your suppliers or various legal fees that have been charged by a customer making a claim.

If you do experience a surprising setback, at least you’ll receive a little peace of mind knowing that you’ve implemented the appropriate cover and protection to help keep your business safe.

In addition, if you regularly work with clients and you have suitable business insurance in place, this can help make you seem more credible and appear to be a trustworthy and reliable business to work with.

Overall, business insurance will give you and your employees the confidence in knowing that everyone is protected should any unforeseen circumstances occur.

Am I required by law to take out insurance?

If you’re an employer, you are certainly required by law to take out the appropriate insurance. You must have employers’ liability insurance to cover any costs for your employees should they become injured while at work on your premises.

Plus, if you use vehicles to support the nature of your business, you’ll need to take out commercial motor insurance. If you have employees that drive company vehicles to transport, carry or deliver goods, you’ll need to ensure they are covered.

What other types of insurance can be useful?

To protect your office building or warehouse, commercial property insurance could be useful to cover any fees required to take care of any damage, repair, or regular maintenance.

You may also need to take out additional insurance to cover any compensation claims made by your clients or customers if they believe they are owed money from you as a result of negligence, for instance.

Protecting your IT equipment and software will also be incredibly useful. Whether you’ll need to cover repair or damage costs, or if someone unlawfully gains access to your business’ records – you’ll feel more prepared having the fees to cover anything unexpected happening.

Take the time to work out what policies could apply to you and your business. Weigh up the risks and decide on the cover that fits the bill.

Why Do Students Pay for Essays?

In the Western educational system, including universities in the United States, essays are considered to be one of the most common types of written assignments. Such papers teach high school students to reason, draw conclusions, and make their points of view. However, only some have writing skills, and for many, it is quite challenging to cope with the stress that comes with the learning process.

Quality Papers

A good research paper meets the requirements of the instructor. The student must fully disclose each question included in the prompt. In addition, a quality research paper includes required sections and many other nuances.

The structure of the essay should be easy to understand. The sentences should be coherent and understandable. Most importantly, all statements in the text should be supported by facts. This is very important, especially since you need to be careful if the topic of the paper is related to the exact sciences. Finally, spelling and grammar should also be flawless. It is not uncommon for students to lack knowledge in some subjects. If they feel they can’t handle research for a professional essay, they order one.

Many students pay for essays at Papersowl to guarantee a good result. They choose this service for the entirely original texts and because the quality is not compromised by the deadlines.

To Get More Time

In American colleges and universities, essays are assigned throughout the school year, and submitting the assignment on time is mandatory. However, not all students manage to write such works well, and others simply do not have time for it — there are sports sections, part-time jobs after classes, or even just leisure time with friends. In both cases, an assisted best essay writing service comes to the aid of students.

Today there is a wide range of services for writing texts. It is better to choose exclusively proven platforms. Pay attention to the rating from Guardian, which can improve the search for an author to create your essay. The resource evaluates all the sites’ advantages, allowing you to find the best paper writing service. Entrusting an assignment with professionals is sometimes the only way to turn in your work on time and get a good grade, instead of getting problems and accumulating bad grades.

Getting Better Grades

The most obvious reason why students order papers and essays is to get good grades. It won’t be a secret that a text written by a professional writer guarantees a student’s success. Getting a good grade by doing the work yourself is not as easy as it seems. The student doesn’t have the skills of a professional author and much free time.

There is no denying that essays are more difficult than other academic assignments. If you write an essay on your own, the teacher may not be satisfied with the quality of the work done. The reason may be the professor’s attitude or simply too demanding rules imposed on the text. Since such nuances directly affect the grades, you should be hedged. Essay writing services will do an excellent job. The teacher won’t be able to find anything to complain about when you have a perfectly written paper.

Dealing With Stress And Anxiety

Many students don’t consider essays their favourite task for many reasons. Such an assignment is quite long and complicated. Students also dislike research papers because they are important. Such assignments significantly affect students’ final grades, making texts unavoidable.

Creating a research paper can be a daunting task. Like any other writing assignment, an essay requires a certain set of steps to make your work comprehensive and striking. This and similar tasks can be a burden for the student. College life should be fun and relaxed, with plenty of leisure time. By taking advantage of professional writers, you can relieve yourself of the boredom and anxiety that writing difficult work causes. The nervous system is no joke, so don’t neglect it and underestimate the importance of mental health.

To Sum Up

Learning to create essays or papers competently and bringing your writing skills to perfection is significant. But sometimes, it’s necessary to have a plan to save time and get out of a jam. And you can’t do without the service if you can’t write papers quickly and well in stressful situations. In that case, pay for essay composed by professionals.

6 Tips To Enhance Commercial Fleet Sustainability

More and more, the idea of making business socially responsible has become urgent in light of the looming crisis. As the push to become eco-friendly intensifies, making commercial fleets sustainable is becoming the norm, especially for those of a considerable size. As a fleet manager, you must think about this while hiring and training drivers, monitoring fuel usage, performing fleet vehicle maintenance, and tracking all your expenditures.

If you’re figuring out how to manage your fleet sustainably, here are six tips you can take as a fleet manager:

1. Maintain Your Fleet

While it’s true that trucks are built to last, that doesn’t mean they can do without routine maintenance, especially diesel-powered engines.

Diesel-powered vehicles have aftertreatment systems that regulate the amount of greenhouse gases released by fuel combustion. These systems require regular maintenance, which can be challenging if your fleet is large. Moreover, the aftertreatment system steps can be complicated to handle for small crews. Fortunately, you can hire professional technicians to cover maintenance needs.

2. Screen All Drivers

Sustainable commercial fleet management may involve thoroughly screening all your drivers before hiring them. Since they’ll handle your trucks for most of your operational time, they must be trustworthy.

You’ll need to confirm their driving license, conduct background checks, and validate their driving skills. If they don’t match your standards, you may have to train them or keep looking for those that qualify. Remember, unqualified drivers may affect the cost of your insurance coverage and set you back on your sustainability goals.

3. Equip Each Truck With The Latest Technology

Managing your fleet involves more than buying the latest trucks, getting qualified drivers, and letting them drive independently. You must also ensure that each vehicle is installed with proper technology before it hits the road.

For instance, installing an electronic logging device (ELD) helps you get details about your truck before, during, and after use. Smart usage of technology has allowed companies to roll back their energy consumption. This may be a significant factor in furthering your efforts for greening your operations. Consider talking with experts to see how you can best equip your fleet for optimal fuel usage.

4. Go Paperless

Drivers find it hard to keep up with paperwork during long shifts. It’s not uncommon to end up with incorrect or incomplete reports that lead to compliance issues. Therefore, as a fleet manager, consider using virtual logging systems to reduce administrative costs, track drivers’ reporting time quickly, and maximize uptime.

With these digitalised recording systems, you give contracted drivers a way to better manage their driving time and mileage by accurately recording their performance.

5. Use Efficient Routes

Optimising your fleet’s routes is another way to increase fuel efficiency and enhance productivity. Therefore, you should always keep track of what’s happening on your preferred roads to increase the yield for every haul.

Using appropriate tracking systems such as GPS can help you gather information about your drivers’ routes, identify the problems they encounter, and find possible remedies or alternatives. For example, it may help your fleet discover a shorter, more reliable course if some trips need to be combined, and whether there’s any fuel wastage. This will help reduce fuel expenditure, reduce carbon emissions, and keep you on track with your sustainability goals.

6. Choose Eco-Friendly Vehicles

If you plan to expand your fleet or replace your existing trucks with the latest models, consider investing in ones that match your sustainability goals.

The best choice is to invest in eco-friendly vehicles such as electric trucks. These don’t emit greenhouse gases as long as they’re charged with energy from renewable sources. Therefore, going electric can shrink your entire fleet’s total emissions during your business’s lifetime. Investing in electric trucks will also cut operational spending, help you adapt to changes in the market, and grant you more resources and funding to direct to other important aspects of your business.

Sustainability Is The Path Forward

Making commercial fleet management eco-friendly requires commitment and determination, juggling compliance needs, customer service, and green goals. Fortunately, these tips should provide fleet managers like you with clear starting points for building a sustainability strategy that also promises growth. Start by outlining your objectives, such as reducing your carbon footprint or upgrading your fleet in a year. Then, craft strategies to meet these objectives.

Sustainability will require a considerable amount of investment. But in light of the benefits for everyone in the globe overall, the effort and resources you put in are worthwhile. Take the first steps to greener fleet management today.

Why Companies Are Switching To Virtual Payment Cards

Technological advancements led to the evolution of payment options, specifically virtual payment cards. Many companies have recently started incorporating virtual payment cards into their operations. Most consider it a way to streamline the purchasing process while maintaining control over the organisation. 

What Is A Virtual Payment Card?

A virtual payment card works in the same manner as a conventional payment card, but the only difference is that it’s an online card. It’s a simple, safe alternative that makes electronic-based payments more efficient. 

A virtual payment card, whether you have a virtual debit card or credit card, only exists online and is linked to your actual bank card via a 16-digit number you generate at random. Depending on your card, you can specify a spending limitation plus an expiration date. Making the right configurations keeps your main bank card account safe while preventing fraudulent purchases. 

Reasons Why Companies Are Switching To Virtual Payment Cards

The streamlined payment process and convenience that virtual payment cards provide make them a worthwhile addition to any company. Below are reasons why it may be time to jump in with the transition.  

1. Makes The Accounts Payable Operations Efficient 

Switching to virtual payment cards is one of the best ways to avoid potential inconsistencies when using paper checks. If the accounts payable department in your organisation is struggling with the processing task, the transition to virtual payment cards will help streamline the process. 

This can help the department save time on writing checks or metering envelopes. Additionally, it lessens the possibility of human error.

2. Provides A Better Level Of Security 

Over the years, the conventional methods of using physical cards have brought about various cases of cybersecurity threats, such as payment fraud. Due to the increasing cases of fraudulent payments, companies need to implement better online payment practices. It’s one of the reasons why switching to virtual payment cards is safer and more secure. Moreover, it’s possible since you can pre-configure a specific maximum spending limit.  

With virtual payment cards, you can terminate the account. It may be a wise move to make if there’s a possible data breach. Every transaction involving virtual payment cards has a one-time use bank number for every payment instead of utilizing the same bank numbers for third parties all the time. 

3. Streamlines E-Commerce Processes

Another advantage is that they work around the clock, making it easier to do various transactions, including international ones. It’s one of the reasons it stands out from traditional banks.

Going to a physical branch can be a hassle. But with virtual payment cards, everything becomes more efficient. It only takes a few clicks on a computer or phone to work out transactions online to ensure all business operations flow efficiently. Virtual payment cards eliminate the need for cumbersome paperwork and manual errors.

4. Cuts Down On Unnecessary Company Spending 

A virtual payment card may be worth considering to limit company spending. The feature of the card that allows setting spending limits will ensure employees have boundaries when it comes to spending. Depending on the card, an employee can receive notifications if they have reached the set limit or will be declined based on the controls in place. This allows you to maintain a strong hold on the budget during payments and lets your employees know how much they have to spend.

5. Improves Employee Trust And Independence

Switching to virtual payment cards has several benefits. This includes enabling businesses to empower their workforce, building trust, enhancing overall transparency, and increasing efficiency. It’s one way to authorize and monitor employee spending in real time via a computer or mobile application. This way, you can provide your employees with a better level of control while at the same time boosting their confidence to do their best.

6. Earns Cash-Back Rebates For Transactions

When a company makes payments to vendors, it allows them to earn cash-back rebates. Generally, it’s considered free money that requires no effort to obtain. As your company uses virtual payment cards, the overall rebate grows and eventually accumulates a decent sum you can reinvest.   

Final Thoughts

As business operations continue to evolve and become more streamlined in delivering efficiency, your company must maintain an edge, which may be possible by switching to virtual payment cards. Working with the right provider will ensure the efficiency of your business. With the benefits a virtual payment card offers, the transition may be worth it to boost efficiency and streamline operations to a whole new level.

Is Call Tracking Your Marketing Saviour?

If you’re looking to revitalise your company’s marketing and boost your business success, there’s one tool that’s perfect for the job — call tracking software.

Read on to find out what call tracking is and how it can rescue your marketing in a variety of ways.

For more information on where to find the best software for you, visit https://www.mediahawk.co.uk/features/call-tracking/.

What is call tracking software?

Call tracking is a unique analytics tool that enables you to track all your incoming and outgoing customer calls. It also provides crucial data surrounding your marketing performance, giving you the means to analyse and adjust your activities where necessary.

You’ll receive essential data on each of your customer calls, including things such as:

  • Ring duration
  • Caller phone numbers
  • Call abandonment rate
  • Caller area code

You’ll also have access to a variety of important metrics to help you analyse your marketing. Some of these include:

Calls from your pay per click (PPC) activity – This will reveal all the calls you receive from customers who funnel through your pay-per-click ads.

Marketing activities that deliver inbound enquiries – This will show which of your activities are driving customers to enquire about your product or service.

Website visits from each marketing source – Using dynamic phone numbers, the software will show you which marketing sources led customers to visit your website

Relevant keywords mentioned in calls – You’ll be able to establish a range of important keywords which are important to your business, and see when they’re mentioned in customer calls.

You can also receive a range of detailed insights and reports on customer engagement, which you can then use to create customer journey maps.

This will show you every marketing touchpoint visited by each customer as they interact with your business, showing you a complete overview of where they journeyed to before, during, and after they called.

You’ll also see the journeys of customers who didn’t call, for a more in-depth picture of your customer engagement.

How can call tracking rescue your marketing?

There are many different ways you can use call tracking to revamp your marketing. This includes, but is not limited to:

Full visibility on marketing performance

One of the key benefits of call tracking is that it gives you total visibility on your marketing performance, which is important for boosting your leads and sales.

To make the most impactful changes to your marketing, you need to first have the clearest overview of how it’s performing, and how every customer is interacting with your marketing activity.

These insights and reports will help you track the journeys of each customer, covering every area of your marketing – from each activity, to different campaigns and channels.

Enhanced marketing activities

You can also use the software to enhance your marketing activities. With a clear insight into your marketing performance, you’ll know which areas are delivering the highest number of leads and sales.

For instance, you might discover that your social media ads are producing the most leads and sales, such as inbound enquiries from phone calls you receive.

As a result, you can direct more of your marketing efforts towards social media ads – or content similar to it – since this is evidently the strongest type of activity for your business.

This way, you can increase the number of leads and sales being generated across your marketing, and only invest in strategies which are proven to be successful.

Now you know how call tracking can save your marketing, make sure you find the best software for your business and implement it now.

Five Things to Outsource for Your Business

With running a business, there’s a balance between overhead and profit. Your overhead needs to be low enough to maximise profit, but you also need to invest enough back into your company to grow. One method a lot of businesses use to strike this balance is outsourcing.

Outsourcing is when you pay someone else to perform a task for you. There are a lot of options for outsourcing, but if you invest in the right relationships with other companies, it can help grow both businesses and help you focus on what matters. Whatever field you’re involved in, below are five things to outsource for your business.

Information Technology (IT)

One popular part of business to outsource is information technology (IT). IT is how you keep your network, devices, and information safe. If you can’t afford to hire a full IT staff, you can hire a professional IT firm to do it for you. If you aren’t a technology company, outsourcing your IT needs might be the right move. It will eliminate stress and keep your overhead lower by having less employees. Tech companies typically have their own IT staff, but if you want to protect your network, data, and devices but aren’t involved in tech you can outsource these services.

Risk Management

Like IT, risk management is not a part of every company. It is a specialised industry that a lot of businesses don’t do themselves. It’s no surprise that a lot of people opt for third party risk management. In business, there is a lot of risk. It’s imperative to manage a lot of risks. For example, you might not know all the financial laws and regulations.

You might not understand financial crimes and all the due diligence involved in complying to federal, state, and local regulations. Risk managers provide answers to your questions and consulting on how to avoid fees, high taxes, and other problems for businesses. When it comes to risk, unless you are a huge company you are probably outsourcing to a third party.

Cloud Storage

Another task you can outsource is Cloud storage. Any business has a lot of data, files, and information they need to keep safe. Whatever field you are in, it’s important to properly store data. If you have your servers on-site, you are also putting all this information at risk for physical damage. A flood or an earthquake could damage the servers, possibly resulting in loss of extremely important data. Data is valuable. Even if you aren’t in tech, Cloud storage is necessary. If you don’t know what you are doing and can’t afford to hire staff to help, you should outsource Cloud storage.

Delivery & Shipping

Are you spending too much on deliveries and shipping services? You don’t need to have all that infrastructure in place to run a successful business. In fact, other businesses are already better at it than you are. If you are spending a fortune on delivery and shipping costs, striking a deal with a big company for all your needs could end up benefiting you both. It depends on the products that you are selling, but if you don’t need to do the shipping yourself you might be able to lay off those drivers, sell those trucks, and make a reasonable deal by outsourcing.

Administration

Gone are the days where you need to have an admin, or a receptionist seated at the front desk. Fewer and fewer people are coming into the office anyway. These days, there are companies that specialise in administrative work. With advanced software and tech that organises information better than humans, a lot of the work isn’t even done by employees. When you are looking to lower your overhead, try outsourcing administrative services.

You don’t need to always hire employees full-time for specific jobs. Instead, there are a lot of things that you can outsource to other companies and create good deals that benefit you and your business. Whatever field you are in, outsourcing is a good option.

The way that society is progressing leads to fewer jobs for human beings and more jobs for machines. What will humans do? This is a larger question than we can answer, but if you are trying to make a better life for you and your family by increasing profit and lowering overhead, outsourcing is one of the ways you can do it.

How Can Digital Business Cards Affect The Business World?

In the digital age, traditional business cards have taken a back seat to newer and more efficient methods of exchanging contact information. As businesses begin to explore digital options for their business cards, it’s clear that these technological upgrades can change the business world in ways beyond just making people look more cutting-edge.

Introducing digital business cards can affect how quickly individuals and companies establish new connections with potential partners while improving the quality of connectivity. This article looks at how digital business cards are shaking up the business world, providing new avenues to create quality connections.

1. They Are More Accessible And User-Friendly

To start with, e business cards are more accessible and user-friendly than traditional ones. For individuals who don’t have access to printing services at work, it can be challenging to create physical business cards if they need them urgently. Similarly, if someone is using a phone or tablet instead of a computer with access to printing facilities, having a printed card can be impractical.

With the accessibility of digital business cards, information can be easily shared with multiple people at one time, quickly establishing connections between different individuals within and outside the company.

2. They Are Cost-Effective

Adopting a digital business card is an excellent way for businesses to cut costs since it eliminates the expenses associated with printing physical cards. For example, when you print traditional business cards, you often have to pay for printing services, graphic design services, and postage.

However, going digital eliminates these costs as your company can create QR codes or signatures free of charge. Additionally, digital business cards are stored in the cloud on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter rather than in folders in desk drawers, so they are less likely to get lost or damaged over time. This means that the cost savings from adopting a digital format only increases over time as businesses realize the benefits of going digital.

3. They Increase The Speed And Quality Of Connections

In addition to being cost-effective, digital business cards significantly impact how quickly businesses can form meaningful connections with potential customers. It allows individuals to connect instantly by scanning a QR code or searching someone’s social media profile. This eliminates the time investment required in exchanging traditional business cards and the need to trade contact information over email or phone.

Additionally, since these connections are typically made through platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, there is often far more detail available about a company than what can be gleaned from its physical business card alone. This means that you can access not only the company’s contact information but also its work history and skillset. This allows you to quickly vet a potential partnership before deciding whether or not to pursue it. In the end, it helps businesses make more informed decisions.

4. They Are Easier To Update

Another reason why digital business cards are becoming increasingly popular is that they are easier to update. For example, if you need to add additional contact information like a phone number or an updated address, all you have to do is log into your account and make the necessary changes.

Errors in your contact details are less likely to be encountered with digital business cards, saving you from dealing with issues like unanswered calls or misdirected mail. Additionally, since these updates are typically made in real-time, people who receive your digital business card are constantly updated with accurate information about you and your company.

5. They Are Eco-Friendly

Making your business sustainable also means doing your part to care for the environment. Digital business cards are far more environmentally friendly than their physical counterparts because they do not require printing services and produce fewer waste materials. Additionally, if you link your digital business card to a social media profile like LinkedIn, that too has a positive impact on the environment since it requires less paper for upkeep due to its online presence.

This is especially true for businesses that typically use large amounts of paper. Adopting digital business cards can make a significant difference in terms of resource consumption and environmental impact. Therefore, if you’re looking for an innovative business improvement, this is it.

Final Words

Digital business cards are shaking up the business world by providing ways to form new and meaningful connections more quickly and more cost-effectively. Whether it’s through social media platforms or innovative QR codes, there are many different methods for businesses to go digital and reap the benefits of improved quality of connectivity. If you’re looking for ways to stay ahead of your competitors, consider adopting a digital business card today!

Tips on How to Keep Your Data Safe for Corporate Business

 

Data breaches can even lead to business shutdowns. Shocking, isn’t it? Even if an enterprise is thriving and leading the competition every day, everything can go in vain with a single cyber-attack. With customer trust lost, the organisation’s secrets out, and a bad reputation, it is almost impossible to reach the same position in the market.

Therefore, it is crucial to improve your company’s data security and keep your consumers’ trust intact. Any lapses in this regard can cost dearly to companies in the long run. It is what this post is all about. Stay with us as we shed light on how to keep your data safe for a long time.

Professional Service

Companies that want 100% data security should seek SalvageData recovery professionals assistance. They have a team of highly qualified and experienced technicians who are proficient in corporate data safety measures. Businesses, especially small businesses, should hire these services to safeguard their sensitive information from hackers.

Use Strong Passwords

First of all, businesses should consider using strong passwords to protect their company data. With advanced cyber-attack techniques, hackers can crack weak passwords within no time. So, ensure you use long, complex, hard-to-guess passwords for all your corporate databases.

Companies can also consider investing in password manager software programs. It can save all the passwords and keep them safe using advanced encryption. Authorised employees can access this program to get relevant usernames and passwords. Consult an expert to learn how a strong password protects from data breaches?

Raise Awareness

It is high time companies start raising awareness about the phishing and hacking activities going on in the corporate world. Professionals should be hired to explain the ABCs of cybersecurity to the company employees. Regular training and workshops can prepare employees to combat security threats. You should also discuss the common phishing schemes targeted to extract sensitive data from systems.

Invest in Anti-Malware Tools

Next in line is the anti-malware tools. Companies, especially into healthcare interoperability, should definitely consider investing in antivirus tools. These tools create a protective shield around the corporate data system. They are effective enough to diffuse any phishing attempts made by hackers.

Therefore, every gadget connected to the office network should have antivirus and firewall software. These tools will make it impossible for hackers to reach sensitive business and customer data. Companies can also hire professionals to learn about privacy risks and data security considerations for healthcare interoperability.

Use Encryption

What is encryption? It is an advanced cyber safety technology that ensures your business and consumer data remains safe from external threats. First of all, make sure all your company’s gadgets are encrypted. Apart from this, emails should also be encrypted to offer supreme data security. Secondly, set up a VPN – Virtual Private Network on all the business devices.

And how can VPN help? For instance, an employee uses a restaurant’s Wi-Fi to operate his smartphone. Such networks usually don’t offer encryption. A VPN will safeguard the information stored on the smartphone. Hackers will not be able to access this data at any cost. You can consult an expert to learn about it.

Take a Backup

Last but not least, companies should regularly take a backup of their data. Because losing a crucial customer or business data can cripple an enterprise. Several data backup software are available in the market. Companies should choose the one that can provide them with the best data protection.

Bottom Line

So, this was all about how to keep your corporate data safe in these highly volatile times. With the rate at which cybercrime is increasing every day, you never know when its clutches will reach your enterprise. With these security tips, you can minimise the data breach risk and ensure seamless business continuity.

Handling Fleet Accidents: A Field Guide For Managers & Operators

Accidents are a part and parcel of managing a large and active fleet, and is something that fleet managers and operators should be ready for at all times. Apart from affecting the safety, security and morale of drivers, accidents can be fairly disruptive to modern fleets, requiring substantial time and effort to assess the situation, investigate, and deal with the legal issues that are set to arise.

Being largely inevitable in this business, fleet managers and operators should focus on developing an appropriate response system for dealing with such events, with the objective of maximising driver and vehicle safety, followed by minimal disruptions to operations, in this exact order.

In this article, we will guide you through certain standard procedures and best practices to deal with this effectively.

Stay Calm & Assess The Situation

The first thing to do in such cases is to stay calm and assess the situation on hand, by getting in touch with the driver, passenger, or other parties on the ground. Once you’ve ascertained the safety and wellbeing of all the parties, you can then call 911 to report any injuries.

If it was a minor accident, and there are no injuries, you can take down the details and then file a report with the police at a later point in time once all the facts are clear.

Document The Accident

Following the initial response, it is then time to gather and document as much information regarding the incident as possible. This includes the names and contact details of all the parties involved, along with the make and model of the vehicles, and the details of any witnesses, along with their statements.

Make sure to take extensive photographs of the accident scene, along with any skid marks, and damages incurred by the vehicles and other property. It is also recommended to record the road, traffic, and weather conditions at the time of the accident.

Notify The Relevant Parties

Once you’ve gathered all the relevant information, it’s time to inform the relevant parties, including the insurance company, the police, and other relevant stakeholders.

It is also recommended to keep your fleet management software provider in the loop, as they might help in managing and fast-tracking the claims process.

Have A Lawyer On Retainer

Most large fleet owners and companies have in-house counsel to deal with accidents and the various legal issues that come with the same. Smaller fleets can have experienced car accident attorneys on retainer, as part of the best practices recommended by https://www.daveabels.com/

Experienced legal counsel will help take the matter forward, and after going through your initial findings, they can help in investigating further to ascertain where the blame lies, along with ways in which legal claims can be avoided by the company.

Conduct A Thorough Investigation

In order to understand the true cause of the accident, while also minimizing such risks in the future, it is essential to conduct a thorough internal investigation. This includes going through the vehicle’s maintenance records, drivers logs, and other relevant documentation in search for anything that may point towards the actual cause.

Once the cause is arrived at, the necessary preventative measures can be taken to minimize such incidents in the future. The outcome of the investigation can be used to review and update the fleet’s policies and procedures accordingly.

Conclusion

Accidents are often an inevitable part of fleet management, and the only way to deal with them is by preparing for them. With clear policies, procedures, and communications, an accident shouldn’t result in any major harm to personnel, customers, drivers, or operations.

Acquisition International Reveals the Winners of the 2022 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards

For many, 2022 was a year of recovery and strength, but, for all, it was also an opportunity to build more experience within a plethora of sectors. Here we see a selection of businesses that stretch from solid CSR training solutions to excellent ESG consulting, and innovative digital financial crime technologies to fabulous luxury architecture.

These accolades are truly testament to their hard work and ability to apply experience, knowledge, and passion to business – for the greater good of our future. Keeping things fresh, these companies provide peace of mind, assistance, and dedicated care so that we can all flourish.

Celebrating the astonishing achievements of this year’s winners, Awards Coordinator, Kaven Cooper, commented: “The Corporate Social Responsibility Awards have been a great opportunity to praise those making a difference in their industries, and Acquisition International is proud to present our awardees. We wish them all the very best for the future.”

A bright new year is upon us and we’re excited to see what it brings for all of these businesses, and many more. Acquisition International is excited to see 2023 unfold, and we look forward to your perusal of this issue – we wish you a very happy and prosperous new year!

To learn more about our winners, and to gain great insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Acquisition International Magazine website https://www.acquisition-international.com/awards/corporate-social-responsibility-awards/ where you can access the award 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 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 14 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.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences, and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

How to Start Trading Binary Options In 7 Easy Steps

Many people find binary options trading complicated; the majority don’t even know where to start. Well, this is true if you don’t have the right information and the necessary tools to equip you when betting on these types of investments. Binary trading can be very profitable if done correctly. Unlike traditional forex trading, binary options trading is much simpler and quicker to understand.

With this type of investment, it is easy to make a lot of money in a very short time, but it is also easy to lose a lot of money over the same short period. This guide will show you how to open a binary account, start trading binary options, and make money in seven simple steps. Keep reading.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Trading Successfully

Trading binary options is not a market you should toy with. You need to get a good broker and develop a binary strategy before you stake any real money.

1. Find a good broker

One of the top things you need to note on your to-do list is to find a good broker. There are two types of brokers, there are those that are high-risk takers and those that like to manage their risk to a minimum. You need to determine where your preferences lie before investing. You should also look into their reviews and only work with the most well-known and trustworthy brokers.

2. Create an account

Before you can begin trading binary options, you need to open an account with a broker. Opening an account is usually easy, below are the steps to follow when opening a binary options account:

● Get internet access

Connect your preferred device to a stable internet connection. Unstable Internet speeds
up the process and can cause you to lose money if you trade in real time.

● Pick a trusted broker

Learn the advantages and drawbacks of the brokers you wish to work with. Choose one that suits your needs best.

● Open and activate your account

Once you pick a trusted broker, you can create an account with them. You must provide your information in order to sign up with them. These include your name, email, password, country, currency, еtс.

● Start using your trading account

Once you have registered with the broker, they provide you with two accounts: a demo account and a live account. You are required to activate the latter by placing real funds in it. A demo account enables you to learn how to trade using dummy funds.

3. Pick an asset to trade

Binary options trading offers traders multiple assets to trade with. The variety and number of assets available vary from broker to broker. However, most brokers have a list of popular assets displayed on their sites. These popular markets include currency pairs, commodities, stocks and indices.

4. Select the closure time

The time of closure, also referred to as the expiry time, is the period at which the contract is executed and closed. Initially, the binary market only permitted short expiry dates. However, over the years, the growth of the market has enabled a wide range of expiry dates that go up to a full year. Closure time is generally classified into three groups: short-term, normal time, and long-term.

5. Determining the size of your trade

At this point, you need to determine the type of lot you wish to buy or sell. You need to consider the size or percentage you are willing to risk. Seasoned traders understand the risks involved and only stake 1% to 2% of their 100% investment.

6. Buy or sell

Binary options trading allows traders to predict whether the price of an asset will go up or down by the time set. If the price of the asset is expected to rise above the strike price, you buy the asset; if its price is expected to fall below the strike price, you sell the asset.

7. Confirm your trade

Before you confirm your trade for it to go through, ensure that you check if all the details are correct. If there are changes to be made, they should be rectified before confirming the trade.

Conclusion

If you are looking forward to trading binary options, we hope this article will help you start. Binary options trading is very simple because it focuses on price and time. Having the right strategies to read market conditions will help you make correct predictions. 

WillScot Mobile Mini Holdings Announces Agreement to Divest UK Storage Segment

Container hire specialist Mobile Mini UK has announced that Modulaire Group, the parent company of Algeco, Europe’s leading modular solutions brand, is acquiring Mobile Mini UK Holdings Limited (Mobile Mini UK) from Mobile Mini, Inc.

With a national network of 16 locations in the UK, Mobile Mini UK is one of the leading suppliers of steel storage units and anti-vandal portable offices and toilets. It operates a fleet of over 42,000 units for customers across sectors including construction, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. The product offering is homogenous with the existing Algeco range. Together Algeco and Mobile Mini UK will create the UK’s largest accommodation hire fleet with 82,000 units.

The two organisations are closely aligned in their values too. They have shared commitments to market leading health and safety standards, as well as equality, diversion and inclusivity. Ethics play an important role in the way both do business, so customers and stakeholders can trust Algeco and Mobile Mini UK to do the right thing at all times.

Expansion in container solutions, which have seen strong growth in the last two years despite market conditions, will add strength to the Algeco organisation and continue to broaden and improve services to customers, who demand quality available accommodation, delivered quickly.

This acquisition further demonstrates the Algeco commitment to its strategy of building a sustainable future that is focused on its three core pillars of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), with circularity, adaptability, and leasing at the core.

Tom Bruyea, Managing Director, Mobile Mini UK, said: “Mobile Mini UK has made tremendous progress over the past decade, which all our people should be very proud of. I’m certain that the business will continue to go from strength to strength under Algeco stewardship.”

Mark Higson, Group Chief Executive Officer of Modulaire Group, added: “Mobile Mini is a strong, strategic fit for Algeco and the combination of the two companies will drive significant value for both customers and stakeholders. It will help us further deliver the Algeco Vision to be the market leader in modular and temporary accommodation, operating as a trusted solutions adviser to customers.”

To discover more about Algeco: www.algeco.co.uk

For more information on Mobile Mini UK, visit: www.mobilemini.co.uk

Out There: Reasons To Use Promotional Products In Your Marketing Strategy

Promotional products are a great way for businesses to get their message out to potential customers. They are an important tool in any marketing strategy, as they can be used to build brand awareness, increase visibility and engage customers. From pens and mugs to hats and t-shirts, there’s a wide range of promotional products available that can be used to promote your business. With the right product and message, you can create a lasting impression among customers and drive more sales. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why promotional products are key in marketing and how you can use them to your advantage.

You Can Customise Your Promotional Products

Not only are promotional products easy to order and customise, but they are also easy to order in bulk. I’m not talking about the “standard” promotional products like pens, key chains, and t-shirts. I’m talking about promotional products that are custom-made.

You can create custom reusable cups, pens, key chains, and t-shirts that have your company logo on them. You can create custom pens that have your company logo printed on them. You can create custom t-shirts that have your company logo printed on them. You can create custom key chains that have your company logo printed on them.

All of these promotional products can be customised to your liking. They can be made for a specific event or for a specific promotion.

You can create a custom pen that has your company logo on it and then you can hand it out at events or you can give it away as a gift to customers.

They Are Cost-Effective

When you order promotional products from an online source, you are saving money. There are no shipping costs involved with ordering promotional products from an online source. Plus, you are also saving money on printing costs because you’re not printing the promotional product yourself.

You’re printing the promotional product, but the company that is making the promotional product is printing your logo on it and then they are shipping it to you. This is a much cheaper way to get your brand out there than if you were to print it yourself and ship it yourself.

They Create Brand Recognition

Promotional products are a great way to build brand recognition for your business because they give people a reason to talk about your business when they receive them. When you give someone a pen or a key chain that has your company logo on it, they will talk about it and share it with others. They will talk about your company and how much they like your company. This is great for building brand recognition and building customer loyalty.

They Work With Media Outlets

Media outlets love promotional products because they are easy to write about and promote. Just give them the item(s) and the media outlet will write about it. It doesn’t cost anything to get media coverage with promotional products because there is no cost associated with it. The reporter or the editor can write about the item(s) without any additional cost.

Promotional products are also great for online media outlets because they are easy to write about and promote online. You can give someone a pen or a key chain that has your logo on it and then they can share that with their social media followers or they can share that with their friends in their office through email or through text messages on their phone.

Promotional Products Are Easy To Use

Promotional products are an effective and easy marketing tool to use for businesses looking to increase visibility and brand recognition. Promotional products can be customised to fit your specific needs and budget, making them a great cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes. This flexibility makes it easy to reach a wide variety of audiences and increases your visibility quickly.

Additionally, promotional products can be used as part of an integrated marketing campaign, allowing you to further expand your reach. By combining promotional products with other marketing channels, you can create a comprehensive marketing strategy that reaches a wide variety of audiences and strengthens your overall marketing efforts.

Promotional products are an effective and cost-effective way to increase visibility and brand recognition for your business. By using promotional products, you can easily customise them to fit your specific needs and budget, generate media coverage, build customer loyalty, and strengthen your overall marketing efforts.

How Fintech Can Help Your Business

In the UK, there are 5.5 million businesses, so it’s important to make sure that you can run your business to the best of your ability. From making efficiency savings to ensuring your operations run smoothly, as business owners, there’s plenty to think about.

If you’re wondering about ways you can help your business thrive, you should be considering investing in fintech.

To learn all about fintech and how it can help your business, read on.

What is fintech?

Fintech (or financial technology) is where finance and technology are combined to rejuvenate traditional financial processes and systems to make them more accessible. This is all done with clever software such as AI, machine learning and blockchain technology.

Why is fintech important?

As well as challenging the financial industry to keep on their toes to improve customer experience, fintech companies are excellent for businesses too. For example, by using technology to automate tasks, fintech can help you make efficiency savings and drive profit.

Fintech also makes life simple – which is a huge bonus for any business owner!

How can fintech help?

Here are just some of the ways fintech might be able to help your business:

Payment processing – As we are transitioning towards a cashless society, even small businesses need to be able to facilitate card payments. Instead of a bulky point-of-sale machine, fintech has allowed the expansion of easy-to-transport, plug-and-pay options. This is especially helpful for businesses that move around, like pop-up shops or street food vendors.

E-commerce – Fintech has allowed small businesses to set up online shops with ease. With plenty of platforms to choose from including Shopify and BigCommerce, small businesses can take payment how they wish for goods. For example, in some places, Bitcoin can be used to purchase goods so that the business doesn’t incur fees.

Accounting – Fintech has made the tracking and monitoring of cash flow a doddle thanks to plenty of expenses and invoicing apps.

Customer insights and engagements – One of the main benefits of fintech is that it provides businesses with insights into their customers. By using data to understand customer patterns, interests, wants and needs, businesses can try and find a solution to customer problems. For example, if data suggests poor customer service is an issue, businesses can address this. So, to put it bluntly, there are plenty of reasons you should be considering fintech solutions. If you’re looking at making the switch and incorporating fintech into your business model, specialist fintech law firms can help you make the transition.

Final thoughts…

Businesses of all sizes must embrace technology to survive in an increasingly competitive landscape. However, the good news is that by embracing fintech, you can not only become tech savvy but ensure you’re improving your business processes and making efficiency savings.

If you haven’t already made the switch, what’s stopping you?

Team Building – is Sailing the Answer?

No matter how big or small your organisation is, there is always a call for creating a better team environment. This aids not only better communication between departments (which can make for faster and better solutions to business issues) but also increased respect and responsibility between staff in the same departments – and ultimately and increase in stff retention.

Which company away-days are nothing new, there is a growing trend towards doing something outside of your comfort zone, and going on a short sailing expedition is fast becoming one of the most popular team-building activities.

Many tour and travel operators that previous specialised in yacht charter holidays (such as PlainSailing.com) are starting to offer team-building sailing expedition packages that can take as short as a few days and as long as a week, and are goal-orientated.

Before you head off to organise your own company away-day, it is important to choose the right package that can meet your needs.

The boat

The boat is the most important component of the package and you can’t deny its impact on the entire sailing trip. If you have the sailing qualifications across your team you can take it bareboat, but more common is taking the boat with a skipper.

You can opt for a yacht (better sailing experience, and closer working environment) or catamaran (bigger and more spacious, and allows for better socialising in the evenings, when you’re not sailing). It’s also dependent on the number of people who want to go. If you have a large number of people then it is best to hire a catamaran that can accommodate all these people together.

There are also trimarans that are advanced and more spacious compared to any other version of catamarans.

While choosing the package, you have options available to choose the food and drinks that are being provided by the company itself. If you have opted for a big enough boats like a catamaran, you have plenty of chances to have an onboard kitchen that can perfectly outstandingly meet your needs, and you can even have a hostess and chef on board to help out too – so your team can concentrate on making memories together.

Other sailing vacation packages also include several gears for the aqua activities that offer a splendid option to enjoy the time with the adventure activities. You could add scuba diving and snorkelling to your itinerary, for the best possible chance to enjoy the blue waters.

Sailing is the best way to unlock the beauty of several locations like the Caribbean islands, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaiian, Greece, the Coast of Australia and New Zealand, and the Caribbean Sea. All of these locations are meant to offer you a great experience and an unexpected and unlimited excitement that people want to get during their vacation those not land-based vacation destinations can offer.

The next time you’re looking to book a team-building experience for your company, sailing is definitely one to be considered. No more waiting around or playing games in stuffy hotel conference rooms, but actually making a boat sail, by working together and pushing new boundaries.

How to Cut Energy Costs for Your Business

The energy crisis has impacted British households and companies massively so everyone is looking to make some savings on their energy bills where they can. With 53% of small companies expecting to downsize or fold in the next year, it’s important to keep an eye on your energy efficiency and move it up to the top of your to-do list.

Reducing your energy usage can create some significant savings and free up money to invest in other areas of your business. Here’s how you can cut energy costs:

Switch your energy supplier

There’s no right or wrong way to pick an energy supplier but it’s possible that you’re missing out on better-value deals. With 40 different energy providers of varying sizes active in the UK, it’s worth checking out the competition and seeing if they can offer you better saving opportunities.

Currently, Octopus Energy was top-rated for the best value tariffs and customer service compared to bigger energy companies such as British Gas. Switching to the right provider could end up making you some extreme savings.

Carry out an energy audit

Putting your energy spending under a microscope and analysing where you could make some cutbacks is a great way to make some meaningful changes in your company. An energy audit determines where your energy is being spent and can verify the effectiveness of any energy-efficiency projects you implement.

Once you have the information you can use this to improve efficiency and reduce your energy costs. This frees up money to invest in other sectors of your company and optimise any future spending.

Keep the office warm and your bills low

Keeping your workspaces warm is great for worker morale but the matching energy bill isn’t good for your finances. There are, however, plenty of ways of insulating offices and workspaces that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

For example, loading bays are often chilly but you can keep employees toasty by installing PVC strip curtains. These act as the perfect barrier between the building and the outside elements, and even better – you won’t be whacked with a bill every single month for using them.

Switch off computers and other equipment

It can be difficult to enforce rules about switching out equipment overnight but doing so can prevent energy wastage. This is money straight out of your pocket which could be better spent elsewhere in your business.

Prevent overspending by installing fluorescent bulbs, motion-sensor lighting, and energy-efficient equipment. This includes anything with an A+ rating that will not only lead to cheaper energy bills but offset the initial cost of the equipment.

In Data We Trust: Possible Career Opportunities With a Degree in Data Science

Data science is the process of using scientific methods and systems to extract key information from various forms of data. Data science is one of the most sought-after fields in the United Kingdom, meaning this is a perfect time for budding data scientists to enter the industry.

To ensure the best possible start in a sector as complex and competitive as this, first, candidates must ensure they’re fully equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills – both of which can come most effectively from data science university courses. Once you’ve secured your undergraduate degree, you could consider building upon your skills by gaining a postgraduate diploma in data science.

You’ll be demonstrating a willingness to go above and beyond by choosing to further your education, which is something that should impress prospective employers. In addition, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the industry and exactly what’s necessary to produce fantastic results. In theory, this should give you an edge over other candidates applying for the same job roles.

But what job roles are out there? Here we explore the top available opportunities in the world of data science.

Data scientist

Of course, with a degree in data science, you could become a data scientist. In this role, you’ll be expected to collect and analyse large quantities of data with the aim of using your findings to improve business performance.

While each specific process will be dependent on the business you’re delving into, you’ll be able to draw upon the knowledge and skills accumulated during your university studies to carry out the best possible job. Technical skills you’ll need a firm grasp on include data visualisation, statistical analysis, and mathematics.

How much could I earn?

The entry salary for this job role can be anywhere between £25,000 and £30,000 per annum, which is a fantastic place to start! You can expect £40,000 to £60,000 per year once more experience has been gained, and anything upwards of £60,000 once you reach lead/chief data scientist status.

Data Engineer

As a data engineer, your responsibilities will include designing and building systems that can effectively store, manage, and convert data sets. The work you produce should be at a standard strong enough for data scientists and analysts to interpret this data and use their findings to create or improve a business plan.

In this job role, you’ll lean heavily on your knowledge of operating systems as well as have a basic understanding of machine learning. In addition, you’ll need to be confident in your communication and critical thinking skills.

How much could I earn?

The average yearly salary for someone in this job role is around £50,000, depending on your location, experience, and sector. A data engineer on the lower end of the scale could expect at least £31,000 per year, and those at the peak of their career could achieve up to £80,000 per year.

Data analytics manager

If you’d like to go down the route of data analytics and become a data analytics manager, you’ll need strong team leadership, management, and critical thinking skills on top of your data visualisation and programming language skills.

Your job will be to coordinate your team and their tasks to carry out a successful data project. Within this, you could be responsible for researching and creating the best methods to collect data, as well as analysing important information.

How much could I earn?

In the United Kingdom, the average base pay for a data analytics manager is £58,000 per year. At the very least, you can expect £40,000 per year, and at the most, £80,000 per year. Again, this will depend on your specific circumstances, but this should give you a rough idea of what you could look forward to if you enter this career.

 

Machine learning scientist

To be a successful machine learning scientist, you must be certain of your capabilities in researching complex algorithms and building models to assist machine learning engineers. Similarly to a data scientist, you will need to carry out some data analytics to aid your projects, verify data quality, and pick suitable data sets.

Skills you’ll need to utilise may include data modelling and evaluation, applied mathematics, computer science fundamentals and programming. If this sounds like the right job role for you, it’s important you prioritise the development of these skills.

How much could I earn?

Based on 1,260 salaries, Talent.com found that the average yearly salary of a machine learning scientist is £57,733. At the higher end of the scale sits a figure of £80,000 per year, which you could be awarded after dedicating many years to the subject. Entry-level positions start at £42,092. That’s not a bad place to start your career in data science!

An exciting, rewarding career awaits you

If you’re willing to put in the work at the education level – first securing your undergraduate degree and then postgraduate – you should receive the best opportunities in terms of a relevant career. There’s so much demand for data scientists, which is likely to increase even further as the world moves closer to digitalisation.

Studying for a data science degree will improve your employment opportunities and create many different career paths. The hard work now will indeed pay off. We wish you the very best of luck in your studies and your future career!

How Business Owners Shop for Vehicles

Those who own and operate companies the use vehicles must decide on a reliable way to evaluate trucks, automobiles, vans, buses, and other products before buying them. Some organisations spend most of their money on a single expense category: new vehicles. Whether those new items are 18-wheelers or tiny forklifts, it’s imperative to do extensive research and price comparisons first.

Not only does price play a role in the decision-making process, but so do safety and reliability. With few exceptions, the same level of due diligence is required, no matter whether the product is a fleet of small passenger cars, delivery trucks, cargo vans, or anything else. Consider the following categories to see how owners of various kinds of companies shop for what they need.

Fleet Trucks

Fleet managers have to make dozens of important decisions every day to keep deliveries on time and drivers safe. That means identifying and purchasing the best makes and models for their businesses is a highly crucial job. In general, it can take many hours of exhaustive research just to narrow the choices down to a few trucks that meet the minimum requirements. Supervisors and owners are keenly aware that the process of buying new trucks has a profound impact on not only profits but also overall productivity. Performance is the central area of concern, which is the reason so many transport firms do extensive test-driving before making final purchases.

Company Cars

For company cars used for carrying passengers, making sales calls, or delivering small goods, owners need to consider fuel efficiency, total price, potential years of service, reliability, ongoing maintenance expenses, and more. Depending on the use and needs of the organisation, some owners will opt for EVs (electric vehicles) or PHEVs (plug-in EVs) in order to minimize fuel usage. Fuel and maintenance are the two greatest ongoing operating expenses associated with automobiles.

Small Vans & Buses

Management teams use the same decision-making processes for buying buses and small vans. However, there is a difference in the general evaluation technique because so many of these assets are leased instead of directly purchased. Leasing is most common for smaller businesses that can’t afford to make outright purchases of large numbers of buses and vans. For entities that don’t want to use leases exclusively, there are options like lease-to-buy that make it easier for organisations with limited funds to get the assets they need to earn a profit.

On-Site Equipment

There’s another category of vehicles that many organisations use, namely things like forklifts, golf cart type conveyances, and e-bikes. However, depending on the kind of company, the expense for these miscellaneous kinds of moving devices can be quite substantial. How do owners decide how to purchase the most reliable and fairly-priced items in this category? When it comes to forklifts and other units used on a typical factory floor, it makes good sense to take advantage of trials. Many manufacturers of lifts, carts, and other assorted small vehicles allow commercial buyers up to a full month to try out the units. Alternatively, some businesses prefer to lease all their in-house forklifts and electric carts.

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Acquisition International Reveals the 2022 Winners of the M&A Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – Acquisition International is proud to announce the winners of the M&A Awards.

As the sixth M&A Awards programme unfolds, we would like to take a moment to reflect upon the achievements of the year gone by. We can appreciate how far we’ve all come and, for the future ahead, we can count on this experience to guide our way through any new challenge.

This year has been brimming with developments and growth for businesses within the sectors of technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and more. Here we take a closer look at a plethora of companies harnessing their skills, responding to trends, and utilising teams bursting with invigorating passion.

After a difficult period of time, it is astonishing how far these businesses have managed to develop even in the face of adversity. Now it’s time for them to bask in their glory!

Our Awards Coordinator, Holly Blackwood, commented on the magnificent success of the winners in this supplement: “I am very pleased to announce the winners of this awards programme. They have done an outstanding job this year and we look forward to seeing where their success takes them in the future.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated enterprises that have been selected for them, please visit https://www.acquisition-international.com/awards/ma-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 14 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.

Is It Worth Investing In Trademarks When Expanding Your Business Globally?

Most business owners want to ensure that their products resonate with their local consumers before expanding globally. If your product or service has become a success and you know there is a market outside Canada, going global is a good idea.

While expanding your business to reach a global market is great and every business person’s dream, it comes with challenges, such as product imitation, which could negatively impact your brand’s reputation. The good news is that you can solve this problem if you invest in trademarks.

But What Are Trademarks?

Trademarks are part of intellectual property rights that consist of recognisable brand names, logos, slogans, symbols, and sometimes even sounds. Their main purpose is to distinguish one company’s products from its competition.

If you are consistent with quality, your customers will associate your trademarks with quality, which can positively impact your brand’s reputation. A positive brand reputation can attract unscrupulous business people who may want to capitalise on your success to sell their products using your trademarks.

Besides eating into your profits, such business people can significantly damage your brand’s reputation since they may not be as careful about quality. If your customers buy such products believing they are genuine only to get disappointed, your brand’s reputation takes a hit.

Registering Your Trademarks

There is no way of guaranteeing that other businesses will not use your trademarks to sell their products. But you stand a better chance of protecting your brand by registering your trademarks.

In Canada, registering your trademarks starts with conducting an extensive search on the CIPO’s database to ensure that your trademarks are unique, a requirement for registration. You may also need to search the database to ensure that no business or entity can claim your trademark registration application on a first-to-use basis.

This process can be complicated, so you may need an IP expert to help you. After establishing your trademark is unique, the next step will be applying for registration on CIPO’s website.

You could also visit their office in person for registration, but online registration is much simpler. Trademarks registration will result in some costs. Applicable fees for trademarks include official fees, professional fees, and taxes which may vary depending on industry and the products on which you intend to use your trademarks.

Is it Worth Investing in Trademarks?

In Canada, you can expect to pay up to CAD 5,000 in trademark fees if you engage an expert. This figure may sound too high for a startup, but not if you consider its benefits.

The most significant benefit of registering your trademark is getting an exclusive right to use it. Having exclusive rights means you can stop others from using your trademarks, including suing them for damages caused by their infringement of your trademark rights.

If your market reach is significant, CAD 5,000 may not be much, considering the reputational damage and loss of revenue that an infringement on your trademarks can cause.

Global Trademark Protections

Canadian trademark protections may not offer protection in the global market. If you want to enjoy the same protections in other countries, you will also need to register your trademarks in those countries, which can be expensive.

But you can cut that cost by registering your trademarks under the Madrid Protocol administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Once registered under WIPO, your trademarks enjoy protection in countries that are party to the Madrid Protocol.

The cost of registering your trademark with WIPO will depend on various factors. These include the type of trademark, the number of goods or services you wish to market with the trademark, and handling fees applied by the office of origin, such as CIPO, if you are filing from Canada.

Like registering trademarks in your country, international trademark registrations give you exclusive rights to your trademarks, which is 100% worth it.

Festive Philanthropy: Five Tips to Gift Well

In the midst of the plethora of challenges facing us all, those who are fortunate to have something to spare may be seeking ways to support causes close to their hearts this Christmas, the peak time for charitable giving. But with so many worthy causes, how do you go about gifting in the most effective way? 

Philanthropy is a longer-term, more strategic approach to giving, aimed at addressing the underlying causes of problems facing our communities and wider society. It focuses on effective giving and maximising the impact of donations to ensure they are making a real difference for the organisations, as well as fulfilling the wishes of those giving the gifts.

Here, Andrew Evans, Philanthropy Adviser at Equilibrium Financial Planning shares his top tips for getting started with philanthropy and gifting well.

1. Identify the causes that matter most to you

With more than 170,000 registered charities in the UK and Wales alone, it’s not possible to support every cause. These charities do amazing work, which means that giving begins with identifying the causes that matter most to you and the organisations in which you feel your money is likely to have the greatest impact.

If you’re unsure of how to narrow down your areas of interest, think about what you want to achieve through giving and identify your objectives. You could also consider working with a philanthropy adviser who will help you to identify charities that align with your passions, interests and goals.

 

2. Do your research

Once you have compiled a list of organisations or causes that you’d like to support, take some time to do your research. This should include elements such as ensuring the organisation has a Charity Registration number. If it does you can visit the Charity Commission’s website to find out information such as who the charity’s trustees are, how muchsenior staff are paid and their published accounts.

It’s also worthwhile considering the size of the charity you want to donate to. Whilst gifting to large charities will make a difference, it’s important not to overlook smaller or newer charities that may be championing just as worthy causes. Your donation could make a much larger impact in a smaller charity with less scope for advertising budgets and fewer donors.

Similarly, you could research organisations nearby that are helping causes in your local area, enabling you to stay in regular contact and even see first-hand the difference that your money is making.

3. Consider a Donor Advised Fund

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a charity that distributes funds in accordance with the wishes of those who make donations. It is simpler than setting up your own charitable foundation and allows you to plan donations over a prolonged period.

The money does not have to be donated straight away and can be invested by the DAF for capital growth or income, but it does attract relevant tax relief immediately. When you are ready to make a charitable gift from the fund, you ask the trustees of the DAF to make the donation. It is important to note that you cannot get the money back once it is placed into a DAF.

4. Know your tax benefits

Whilst the main goal of giving is to make a positive difference, it’s important to be aware of the benefits that gifting can provide to you as well. Charitable giving and philanthropy facilitate a range of tax benefits, including those related to inheritance tax.

Given the continued freeze of allowances, this is a consideration that is becoming relevant to an increasing number of households in the UK. This is because when you give money to charity your taxable income is reduced by the amount you chose to gift. For those earning between £50,000 – £60,000 or over £100,000, a charitable donation may mean your income falls below the tax threshold, meaning that valuable benefits can be retained or reinstated.

5. Go for Gift Aid

Gift Aid also has benefits for your tax bill, as well as for your chosen cause. For every £1 that you give, charities can claim 25p back from the government. If you are a higher-rate or additional-rate taxpayer, you can also claim back 20% or 25% of the donation respectively via a tax return.

Why More Female Founders Are Turning to Crowdfunding and Tips from a Female Founder on How to Raise Funds

FAACE the fuss-free, ethical skincare brand for all faaces is set to launch its first Seedrs crowdfunding campaign to support global expansion plans and help tackle investing inequality

It’s widely reported that female founded businesses get less funding than male, and while venture capital boomed in 2021, women-led start-ups didn’t reap the benefits. Research from the European Investment Bank revealed that female entrepreneurs secured only 1% of venture capital investment last year. This is despite the fact that women-led businesses generate more gross sales, deliver double the return on investment, and fail less often than male-led businesses.

This is why Faace, the multi award-winning skincare brand, is launching its first crowdfunding campaign via Seedrs this December.

“Crowdfunding doesn’t just help address investing inequity; it also helps even the odds for female founders. Female entrepreneurs are typically less likely than men to get investment for their ventures, however female-led campaigns on crowdfunding platforms were found to be 32% more successful at reaching their funding target than male-led campaigns”, says Faace founder, Jasmine Wicks-Stephens.

 “We’ve been inspired by fellow female-led brands in the ethical beauty and fem-care spaces like DAME and Upcircle who have experienced great success with overfunded crowdfunding campaigns and so we are excited to now invite everyone to share in our future successes as well, with investments starting from just £11”.

Taking Investing into Your Skincare to the Next Level

Born out of Jasmine’s need as a new mum for easy and effective beauty products, Faace set out to disrupt the £13billion UK beauty industry in 2020 with fuss-free, ethical skincare designed to look after your skin, when you don’t have the time or energy to do so.

In just two and half years, Jasmine’s passion project is now an award-winning (Elle, Marie Claire, Telegraph + more), results-driven skincare brand with thousands of customers around the globe. Available in 23 countries and 59 retailers from Harrods to LookFantastic, the brand has received prominent industry features from press and influencers with reach into the millions, gained a strong social and CRM community, and earned an excellent Trustpilot rating.

As a female focused brand, Jasmine is also dedicated to opening up the conversation and destigmatising topics like menopause and period, whilst supporting organisations in these sectors addressing period poverty and menopause (Hey Girls and The Menopause Charity).

To date, Faace has been largely self-funded, with investment from angel investors and a £150,000 investment awarded from the SFC Capital x The Red Tree beauty accelerator as part of a year-long collaborative partnership to help accelerate growth.

Jasmine and the team are now looking to raise upwards of £150K via crowdfunding platform Seedrs. “We’re really excited to offer shares in our business and build a larger team of cheerleaders who can support our growth and potentially benefit from it in the future”, says Jasmine. And with the next year set to be their most exciting year yet with four new products in the pipeline as well as launching into new countries and retail spaces like Selfridges and Zalando it’s an incredibly exciting time to join Faace.

If you’re thinking of creating your own start-up, these are Jasmine’s top tips on how female founders can fund their business:

Confidence is key

When pitching for investment female founders have been found to be notoriously more conservative in their revenue forecast than men, which can result in a “thanks but no thanks” from potential investors. It’s really important to be confident in yourself and your business, and while you don’t want to swing the other way and over promise on sales projections, don’t underestimate your trajectory either.

 

Shout about your business

Don’t be shy about your accomplishments and don’t look at shouting about your business as bragging or sharing goals as ‘desperate’ – it’s not. You’d be surprised by how many opportunities can come your way just by sharing with your network what you’re up to. LinkedIn is a really useful (and often underutilised) platform when it comes to sharing about your business – namely because you’re getting the right eyes on your posts, i.e., people in your industry who can help the growth of your business.

Network with other founders

Build a network of founders and consider them your teammates rather than rivals – even those you’re in direct competition with. Share your experiences and help people out when you can – you’ll discover that as founders you go through similar challenges, and it can be invaluable to get advice and support from one another – remember there is room for everyone!

Be strategic with your fundraising

You need to have a really good handle on your financials when it’s time to look for investors. You don’t want to start desperately pitching for funding because you’ve run out of money, it doesn’t help your cause one bit as investors will want to know you can manage your finances. Be strategic and keep assessing where you are, and where you want to be, so that when you present your figures to potential investors, they can see you’re following a well thought out expansion strategy.

Be opened minded about where investment will come from

It’s really easy to underestimate how much a product or business launch will cost. So, while you might have some money saved, it’s worth looking into other ways to help get your business up and running. Check out The Angel Investment Network, crowdfunding platforms like Seedrs, and investigate any accelerator programmes with monetary prizes attached.

The Faace crowdfund pre-registration is open now at https://www.seedrs.com/faace/coming-soon.

The Basic Principles of a Business’ Customer Acquisition and Retention

Research shows that increasing the retention rate, even by 5%, can lead to an increase in profit by up to 95%. Similarly, businesses are also 60-70% likely to sell the product or service to an existing customer.

This shows that companies must focus on customer acquisition and customer retention to ensure growth and profit. To understand how to build a customer acquisition plan and retain potential buyers, firms must understand the following principles:

Research the Audience

Identify the Target Market

Identifying a target market and understanding its needs are essential to customer acquisition and customer retention. Companies need to determine what type of clients they want to acquire, how they can reach them, and what services or products they should offer tailored to the target audiences.

Understand their Requirements

Once a target market has been identified, companies can understand their requirements. For example, a business may need to research its target market’s buying habits, preferences, and demographics to determine what product or service it should offer. Companies can also use surveys and other feedback forms to gain insight into their target purchasers’ needs.

Tailor Business Offerings

Moreover, businesses can further create customer acquisition marketing strategies that are tailored to the audience’s preferences. This will help them acquire new consumers more effectively by targeting individuals most likely to be interested in their products or services. It will also help them retain existing clients by offering a product or service that exclusively meets the market’s demand. For instance, identity marketing can be beneficial for businesses to identify their target audience and develop a plan tailored to their needs.

Use Reward Programs

Reward programs are an effective way of encouraging buyers to stay loyal to a business. They can help with acquisition and retention by offering incentives to join and stay with a company.

For instance, a loyalty program might offer discounts after reaching a certain number of purchases or give points that can be redeemed for rewards. This encourages people to keep returning and making more purchases from the brand. It also enables potential buyers who may need to become more familiar with the business to try out the services. For acquisition, sign-up rewards are ideal.

Provide a Personalised Customer Experience

Personalised experiences create a better first impression and make people feel valued. Individuals are more likely to continue engaging with brands that show they care about their individual needs and preferences. Furthermore, it leads to higher satisfaction levels, increasing the likelihood of repeated business opportunities from existing customers and referrals from satisfied customers.

Additionally, it saves time and resources by reducing the effort needed for marketing and sales activities such as lead generation, onboarding, and support, making it easier to reach a larger audience.

From an analytical perspective, personalisation helps identify the consumers that should be prioritized for product or service upgrades and other opportunities to increase their lifetime value. Additionally, it helps businesses better understand their buyers’ interests and needs, so they can make more informed decisions about how to engage with them in the future.

Offer Excellent Customer Support

A good customer service experience helps to create a positive brand image that can attract new clientele and ensure existing ones remain loyal. This approach can help businesses build trust with their buyers by providing helpful advice, resolving queries quickly, and offering personalised solutions. It also helps in building a lasting relationship between the company and its customers.

Consumers who know they will be supported if they have problems or need assistance are more likely to stay with the company for extended periods. Besides, potential customers tend to trust companies that respond to both positive and negative reviews. This is especially true for businesses in highly competitive industries, as buyers tend to look for companies that show a commitment to customer service.

Wrapping Up

By understanding and applying the basic principles, businesses can create a customer acquisition strategy that will bring in new business and maintain existing customers. Firms must remember that every business is different and will require its unique approach, but if they keep these general tips in mind, they’re well on their way to success.

What to Think About When Leaving Part of a Death Benefit to a Charity or Organisation whole Life Insurance

Did you know you can leave part (or all) of your death benefit from a life insurance policy as a donation to a charity or nonprofit organisation? Permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life insurance and universal life insurance, with their guaranteed death benefit, are perfect candidates for charitable giving.

Leaving a gift to charity can be a great way to continue supporting a cause even after you’re gone. If you’re thinking of leaving part of your death benefit to an organisation, here are some aspects to consider:

Which organisation to donate to

The first step is to choose which charity or organization you want to donate to. Is there an organisation you’ve been contributing to or working with throughout your life? Maybe you’ve been fostering for a particular animal shelter for years. Is there a cause that’s particularly important to you? Perhaps you survived a particular type of cancer and want to ensure other people have access to the same level of care as you did.

How much to leave

Once you know which organisation you want to donate to the next step is to decide how much you want to leave. When designating beneficiaries, you can choose what percentage of the total death benefit to leave them. You may want to consider your other financial obligations when making this decision. For example, if your children are still dependents, you may want to leave a larger portion of the death benefit to your spouse. You may choose to change how much you leave to charity later, after your kids are out of the house and living independently and you have fewer financial responsibilities.

Leaving a gift to more than one organization

You can choose to leave gifts to multiple charities or organisations the same way you can leave your death benefit to more than one person. This can be a great option if multiple organisations have been important to you.

If you choose to leave part of your death benefit to multiple organizations, you’ll want to consider how much to leave to each one. You may leave a larger gift to an organization you’ve been more involved with or choose to give more to a bigger organization that requires more funding in general. Or, you may simply decide to divide the amount evenly.

Letting your other beneficiaries know

If you choose to leave part of your death benefit to a charity or organisation, you may want to let your other beneficiaries know. Letting them know now can help them understand your wishes and may help avoid any confusion in the future.

In Debt for the First Time – How Your Business Needs to Treat the New Wave of Debtors

Ian Haddon, COO at ContactEngine

As interest rates are hiked by ratios not seen in decades, the fallout from slowing economies across the world is likely to hit middle income earners as much, or more, as those on lower incomes. While those at the poorest ends of society are well-versed in being able to make a little go a long way, those on middle incomes have less experience here.

In the UK, only the richest 10% of households are expected to add to their savings in the next 12 months. The group taking the biggest hit will be middle income earners. Currently 58% of this group have at least three months’ worth of essential expenses in savings, but within a year that is likely to fall to 48%. The middle class is existing on a knife edge.

This is a group that has done all the right things in their careers, but they have either been unable or unwilling to compromise on the lifestyles they work hard to maintain to build up savings. A mortgage hike, utilities increase, an extra £50 a week on groceries will all add up. For businesses that rely on monthly payments, there may well be plenty of perfectly ‘successful’ people who suddenly find that they owe debts that they cannot immediately pay.

Businesses need to prepare for a new type of debtor, which need to be treated in the right way. The old way of thinking – that those who end up in hard times are somehow morally or spiritually bereft – is dead. Covid, war in Europe, impending recession, these are not the faults of individuals and so debt collection operations that operate punitively will find themselves acutely out of touch with what people expect.

You can already tell the shift in the public mood. People are shocked and outraged when debt collectors are even used. ‘Water Company to use debt collectors against customers boycotting payment’ a recent Guardian headline read, indignantly, mirroring sentiment that a company would dare use such measures to retrieve money it is owed. 

How AI can build on human judgment

69% of people who are in debt don’t talk about it with anyone. The main reason why people avoid this is because they feel ‘embarrassed’. Just under half of people who don’t want to discuss debt say that they do not want to ‘burden’ anyone else, while 39% said it is because they did not want people to think badly of them.

When we talk about AI communications, we often talk about the need for machines to do the legwork, processing the data and asking the simple questions, so that a human can come in over the top and provide the emotions that customers really value. While this works well in cases of grief or in service where the customer needs to feel valued, there are reasons to believe that in intimate issues where there may be feelings of guilt or shame, this may be turned on its head.

Whether they mean to or not, humans can give off subtle tones of judgment in their speech and their own experiences can make them prejudiced. By contrast, a machine can be consistent, fair, and logical – qualities that are essential when discussing financial solutions. They do not get bored; they do not get distracted. Machines can have the difficult conversations humans can’t.

How AI can give debtors a personalised experience

A machine can only be an effective communicator with affluent debtors if they communicate in the ways they expect. This is a demographic that is busy – busy with working late and starting early, busy with commuting, busy with mid-week socialising, weekend brunching and morning exercise. Long, continuous forms of communication, such as phone calls, are out. Similarly, letters – long serious prose that demands attention in the evening after a hectic day – are also not suitable. You need to reach this demographic in bitesize chunks, such as with instant message over text and WhatsApp.

You also need to speak to them in the way they will expect. For most people who find themselves in this unfortunate situation, they will genuinely want to pay the money back. They won’t see themselves as ‘criminal’ and will switch off entirely if they are chastised or threatened, resulting in a much more expensive process for you. The tone needs to be one of understanding and reassurance. It needs to be serious, without being downbeat.

Fortunately, machine learning algorithms have become finally tuned over years of millions of conversations with people, reflecting a user’s language, resulting in a natural, warm, and engaging dialogue.

What the benefits are for debt collection

Sending debt collectors round and taking cases to court comes with a cost. This cost can be more than the debt itself, making it a more astute business decision to drop the case altogether than to go through the process. That all changes if you can put those with high earnings – or high-earning potential when they find employment again – onto a sensible plan with automated, tailored AI communication.

If done well, the way you handle debt collection can not only recover what you are owed, it could also work as something of a customer sales tool – keeping that customer with you as their finances restabilise.

Your company needs to treat its new wave of debtors as the valued customers they were and as they will see themselves as capable of being again. Harnessing AI to have millions of light-touch, automated conversations, is certainly a step in the right direction.

What are the Most Effective Ways to Advertise Your Business Online?

For business owners, the ways in which you can promote your company have changed dramatically over the last decade. The majority of marketing now takes place online, particularly since the start of the pandemic.

It’s imperative that you understand how to advertise your business online amidst competition from big names out there and garner the attention of new customers. Executing an advertising strategy can be an
expensive ordeal depending on what you plan to achieve, therefore you may wish to consider a quick business loan to help get you started on your marketing journey.

When implemented correctly, you can increase sales, develop your business and expand into new markets. But first, let’s take a look at some of the different options for how you can effectively advertise your business online.

Public Relations (PR)

PR is simply about getting your business in publications and other online sites – this might be if your business has recently won an award or launched a new service that you want people to be aware of.

It’s important that PR targets the relevant audience and your niche; for example, if you run a business development company, it’s ideal to focus on being seen in business magazines or select trade publications.

Digital PR can be great for diverting traffic to your website and brand. By working with high-authority sites and getting links back to your website, you can improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking, and ultimately, your online presence.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Google is a hub for advertisements and can often seem to be providing you with helpful information. It is actually doing so in the hopes that you see these advertisements, which is where the majority of Google’s
revenue originates from.

PPC is an online advertising model where your business pays a publisher each time one of your advertisement links is clicked on – essentially, you’re paying for targeted visits to your site. You can even bid for ad placements on search engines, meaning someone is presented with your site should they search for keywords relevant to your offerings.

What is useful about this method is that you only pay for what consumers click on, providing you with a low-cost strategy and an efficient way to attract new customers.

Social Media

Social media plays a vital role in a business’s marketing efforts, particularly given the average person
spends around two hours per day on social media
. This opportunity to reach and engage with such a large audience is highly beneficial for your business and should not be overlooked.

You must first decide on what you plan to achieve and whether you want to generate traffic to your website or increase product sales. Figuring out your target audience is also useful to understand what social media platform to target.

Posting regular updates about your brand and products will help to keep your followers and customers up to date with your services. Your followers may even share the content with their followers or leave comments, which is free marketing in itself.

LLC vs S-Corp: What’s the Difference and Which Will Help Your Business Grow Faster?

When forming a business, the number of pivotal decisions you need to make is eye-watering. And yet if you choose correctly at this stage, it’ll be a much smoother ride to success.

Picking a structure for your fledgling company is particularly important, with the main sticking point being whether you form an LLC or an S-Corp.

If you’re new to these concepts and you don’t know which is right, read on as we dismantle and demystify each in turn.

LLCs explained

Limited liability companies are legal entities created by entrepreneurs who want to build businesses without leaving their personal assets hanging in the balance.

For instance, with an LLC you won’t be beholden to any debts that the organization accrues. You’ll also be able to report income and losses made by an LLC as part of your tax return, rather than having to file separately for the business.

LLCs can be owned by an individual, or by a partnership of several people, in which case the aforementioned pass-through taxation process would still apply.

How to form an LLC, e.g. in Florida

There are a few things you need to do to form an LLC in Florida, and you can either choose to handle this yourself or make use of an LLC formation service to take care of all the complex admin instead.

Every newly launched business needs a name, a registered agent, articles of organization, an operating agreement, and an employer identification number.

S-Corps considered

From a liability perspective, S-corporations are identical to LLCs, which gives founders a means of innovating without taking too many risks with their personal financial situation.

When it comes to taxation, S-corps make their income and losses taxable through the people who own shares in the organization. IRS rules on what qualifies as an S-corp are stringent, and the main requisite is that a maximum of 100 shareholders are allowable.

Another important factor for those who want to turn their business into an S-corp is that it has to be registered as an LLC or a C-corp beforehand.

In fact, a business can be both an LLC and an S-corp simultaneously, because these are not mutually exclusive states.

Which one is right for you?

Speaking generally, LLCs are subject to fewer rules and restrictions regarding things like ownership structures and operational requirements than full-blown corporations, whether of the S or C variety.

For example, there’s no cap on how many owners can hold a slice of an LLC, while the 100 shareholder cap on an S-corp is just the start of the obligations and standards to which this type of business must adhere.

Having things like a board of directors, and scheduling shareholder meetings, as well as issuing stock and creating corporate bylaws, will all be a necessity if you go the S-corp route.

For entrepreneurs who are just getting started with a new business project, setting up an LLC is the obvious choice. If it makes sense to move it to an S-corp further down the line in order to optimize your taxation situation, then that’s perfectly possible without needing to also incur any additional liabilities as an individual.

What about growth?

The growth of a business is not just contingent on its structure, and you don’t need to get too bogged down in deciding between LLC and S-corp status early on.

When you eventually do get to the stage that your company is enjoying sustained growth, getting experts in taxation and legal matters involved to advise on and oversee any structural transition is wise.

Journey To The Future

The customer journey is one which can have a transformative effect on a business’s success, with new technologies opening the door to exciting opportunities. The team at Hevolus are leading the way to a bold future in this regard. Recognised in Acquisition International’s Global Excellence Awards as Most Innovative Classroom Education Technology Provider 2022, we thought this the ideal time to dig a little deeper to uncover some of the secrets of the team’s success.

Customer experience makes up an enormous part of the purchasing process. No matter how good the product is, the experience is what most people take away from buying. As such, it pays not only to invest in the customer journey, but to continually be looking at how to improve it.

Based in Italy, the team at Hevolus are ideally equipped to assist businesses of all shapes and sizes to do precisely that. Their focus on a hybrid customer experience, which combines the physical world and the digital work into what they call phygical. This has been achieved through the use of webXR, which has allowed the team to help companies around the world to transform the way in which their business models and process work. The aim is always to provide an engaging and emotional experience, tailored to the specific requirements of the organisation.

Since opening their doors, Hevolus has stood apart from the crowd thanks to constant investment in &D. The team are leaders when it comes to the world of technologies for phygital experiences and for the metaverse, including blockchain, digital twins, NFT, virtual and augmented reality, Artificial Intelligence, IoT and cloud computing. These innovative ways of working have been at the core of the methods used by the Hevolus team to transform the user experience and business strategies of businesses in a host of different sectors.

The strategies that are offered to clients include the study of the customer journey, the R&D of IT platforms, and operational tests, meaning they are “ready to go” without the need for massive development. That the team have been able to achieve such success whilst retaining their innovative streak is a testament to their hard work and commitment to the intentions that have made the company since its inception.

Many impressive brand names have turned to Hevolus to support them in the development of new ideas and concepts, including Ferroli, Würth, Natuzzi, the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Ferragamo and Vodafone Business to name but a few. This truly international selection of the team’s clients has turned to Hevolus primarily because of the firm’s renowned customisation which allows them to develop bespoke solutions as well as the completeness and scalability of their ecosystems. No matter what industry the team work in, they are able to adapt to suit their needs with ease.

Building a business of innovative thought has not been an easy task, and the Hevolus team have has to ensure such bold ambition is woven into the very fabric of how they work. Innovation is the core of every decision made by the team. An area where the team focus especially is that of human resources. Hevolus thrives through the careful interception and nurturing of young talents. With well-defined processes and work plans available, the Hevolus team have built a solid internal organisation, where senior resources can help to train the talents of the next generation.

Like many organisations, Hevolus was impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic. Having made the active decision to follow market behavioural trends and help customers sell better by involving the consumer more, they were fully ready for the crisis precipitated by the pandemic. The team had already designed and implemented augmented and mixed reality stores for Natuzzi in pre-Covid times, and could apply what they had learned to a host of new businesses in short order. The pandemic acted as a massive accelerator on progress. Hevolus was required to react swiftly to support their clients across a range of different industries and sectors.

The solutions that the team have always championed, namely hybrid working and ways forward such as Cloud Computing, AI and Mixed Reality technologies were immensely popular. They could guarantee shared, collaborative and highly engaging experiences, even from a distance.

For many businesses, turning to Hevolus proved to be the turning point at which they could revitalise their success. Some companies would stop developing and growing at this point, with demand for their services at an all-time high. This certainly wasn’t true for Hevolus. In 2022, the team were among the early adopters worldwide of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces platform for the creation of metaversic 3D environments.

The potential of digital technology is one which every business can see the potential of, but few truly understand. When it comes to creating a world which is more sustainable and inclusive, the Hevolus team see new technological innovations as playing a crucial role in addressing wider societal challenges and helping to contain the impact that large-scale industrial change is generating. Digital transformation, focused on technologies including augmented and virtual reality, additive manufacturing, digital twins, artificial intelligence, internet of things and blockchain, can offer an evident contribution to properly implement all 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Implemented correctly, technology can help to overcome the distinction between able-bodied users and disabled users. The Hevolus team have adopted inclusive design for precisely this reason, with apps that are developed according to the criteria of the User eXperience Design. This means that output can be closer to the habits, expectations and needs of the majority of users, creating ways for people to live positive, unique and memorable experiences.

With their eyes always looking directly ahead, it’s little wonder that the team at Hevolus has managed to achieve such tremendous success. We cannot wait to see how their innovative streak serves them and their customers in the months and years to come as businesses continue to embrace the immense power that technology can bring.

For business enquiries, contact Antonio Squeo from Hevolus via email –  [email protected] or on their website – www.hevolus.com

Safer, Healthier Air

iatrixAir is a healthtech start-up that provides mission critical products and services using sensor fusion and machine learning that detects and destroys airborne pathogens and biothreats in near real-time for commercial and public buildings. It’s a huge opportunity and a huge problem to solve. But this company has nailed it – making it deserving of being named Best AI-Based Air Quality Control Solutions Developer – North America.

Like the water we drink, we shouldn’t have to concern ourselves with the quality of our indoor air. iatrixAir’s technology makes the indoor air quality of commercial and public buildings safe and healthy, so it is clear of airborne pathogens and biothreats, in near real-time. This comes in the form of smart, efficient, medical grade filtration and air exchange products that monitor air quality 24/7/365. iatrixAir’s “Air Quality as a Service” business model delivers absolute performance with a low-cost monthly fee, and white-glove, never-touch installation by professional contractors.

The company builds relationships with independent representative firms that recruit and train building contractors to install its products and deliver its services to building owners and operators.  The key difference from competitors is that its approach is mission-critical and near real-time, with fast detection using sensors that run every ten seconds; machine learning which uses a predictive and automated approach; fast-first pass disinfection using only proven enclosed, intense UVC light; and real-time visual information via mobile and desktop apps or digital signage. Thanks to iatrixAir, a building operator or owner can now rest assured that their buildings are providing safe, healthy air to employees and visitors.

iatrixAir is on a mission to salvage the air quality industry from being full of misinformation and pseudoscience, and industry standards are also ineffective to stop airborne pathogens such as COVID-19. The rate of ventilation of air in a space should be double the current standards. It’s not so much a technology challenge but rather an education-marketing challenge backed up by improved test methods and standards.

COVID-19 cost the US economy upwards of $200b in 2021 and some reports estimate that the total costs could be up to $16T. What didn’t help in this was that at first, the experts and scientists could not agree on the mechanism of COVID-19, however they now all agree that these airborne pathogens go further and linger in the air for longer than previously thought. It took over a year for the WHO and CDC to provide guidance on the real root cause of COVID-19. Now the root cause is known, iatrixAir is speeding to the market a mission-critical solution of fast detection, fast remediation, and fast information.

The US White House has released the Indoor Air Quality Building Challenge in which a pledge is provided along with steps that a business can take in order to improve their indoor air quality, plus realise tax credits for installing indoor air quality solutions. The spotlight is on indoor air quality. A recent comment by an industry observer indicated that perhaps the building operator or owner has a bigger impact on your health than your doctor! We now spend over 90% of our time indoors so safe and healthy air is very important.

Indeed, iatrixAir continues to see an enormous opportunity with many companies needing better air quality solutions, whether workplaces, schools, shopping malls, or restaurants. Indoor air quality should not be something we have to think about. The key is understanding the air quality in the space and its air flows. iatrixAir will over the coming years have huge amounts of data in the cloud that it can use to make its products more effective and efficient using the latest AI machine learning.

Now, it is working on creating discreet products which can’t be seen or heard but still keep the air quality safe and healthy. The company is filling its patents on this approach and has licensed other patents to place these products on the market in the new two to three years.

Because UVC is a very proven science. And iatrixAir is showing the industry how it’s done. And just in time as RSV, the annual flu and a resurgence of CV-19 is occurring or what is called the tri-pandemic. The spread of airborne pathogens can be reduced with existing technology re-purposed, combined with new technologies such as machine learning.

For business enquiries, contact Marc McConnaughey from iatrixAir, Inc. via email – [email protected] or on their website – www.iatrixair.com

Driven By Efficiency

For businesses looking to elevate themselves in any area, they must completely understand their clients’ demands as well as how to meet them. Consulting businesses must find their feet in this extremely competitive industry and Hahnelt Consulting has done just that – and beyond. Here we learn more from CFO, Michael Hahnelt, as it wins the prestigious award of Leading Private Equity Post-Merger Consultancy of the Year 2022 – Germany.

Michael Hahnelt founded Hahnelt Consulting and, as CFO in the board and management position, he brings 34 years of international operational experience – and 20 of which are from the process-oriented automotive supply industry.

Today, thanks to his leadership, Hahnelt Consulting stands for qualified management consulting and interim management – from concept development to implementation. Driven by ensuring efficient commercial structures, the firm strengthens the competitiveness of its SME clients sustainably – from the short-term individual measures increasing efficiency through the long-term interim projects, e.g., the assumption of a mandate as managing director or CFO.

After all, in the current business market, recognizing and implementing optimization approaches is one of the key competencies for increasing the value and competitiveness of medium-sized companies.

To develop a company’s success that is clearly recognizable in just a few months, the practice-oriented view of numbers, facts and strategies is of key importance: the targeted, rapid realization of all necessary measures.

With its expertise in finance, business processes, and knowledge gained from around 35 years of international work experience, at top-level addresses in small and medium-sized manufacturing, Hahnelt Consulting works alongside their clients to realize their goals.

Together, the teamwork towards success for their clients, which in turn leads to success for Hahnelt Consulting. Due to this high production affinity, Hahnelt Consulting is remarkably familiar with the success factors of production companies. Many years of best practice experience guarantee that its clients enjoy the benefit of the firm’s eye for the essentials of their corporate affairs.

The firm’s projects differ in their scope of securing commercial functions and CFO services in post-merger activities, at PE portfolio companies, increasing efficiency and operational realignment. The transitions are often fluid and change during the project. Implementation takes place through interim management. Hahnelt Consulting’s focus on excellence drives the team to success. 

Specialist and management functions as a member of the board and shareholders, as well as awards as CFO Award for Excellence stand for international professionalism in finance, accounting, controlling, materials management, IT, supply chain, and production planning. 

As a consultant and implementer, Hahnelt Consulting is a business partner of private equity companies but also of independent SME companies. The firm’s vast team of interim managers is the perfect interface between the SMEs and the private equity world.

Interim managers may be involved in all phases of a business cycle, such as business start-up, growth phase, stabilization, stagnation and working in a crisis and on its potential impact.

In almost all these entrepreneurial phases, reorganizations, restructurings, realignments, mergers, splits, changes of shareholders, purchases, and sales or partial sales of companies lays a result. Due to their mostly international activities, interim managers speak several languages and are familiar with diverse cultures, which makes them so attractive to many companies.

That is why the private equity firm often uses the right specialist for the company and its situation: reorganizer, M & A or post-merger integration (PMI) expert and generalist. The prerequisite for a successful implementation of the task in cooperation with the company, the PEG, its management team and the interim manager is a detailed analysis of the current company situation. This is an essential aspect of the “positive chemistry” between the participants.

Using interim managers in these situations can support the participants in their projects and be a major success factor. Once the appropriate decision-makers have experienced a successful interim assignment, other tasks are often assigned to the interim manager in addition. The enormous treasure of experience of a carefully designed interim manager from Hahnelt Consulting can cover all management tasks of an organization and master challenges.

Overall, Hahnelt Consulting manages projects in various branches of industry and penetrates deeply into every task, and this will remain the firm’s focus as it looks towards a bright and exciting future.

For business enquiries, contact Hahnelt Consulting on their website – www.hahnelt.com

Address: Aschaffenburg, Germany

Make Platform Payments Your Superpower

Vertical market software is particularly niche, and it should be tailored to each business – as well as across every industry. From practice management to field service business software, property management to gym/fitness facility software, and non-profit/charity software or other verticals, Payrix has solutions that we can’t refuse. Here we explore its values and aims as it wins the exciting accolade of Best Mobile Commerce Solutions Provider – Southeast USA.

A great example of vertical market software is a point of sale (POS) system which is a combination of hardware and software that allows merchants to receive payments from customers, instantaneously – the communication between banks and payment processors is made possible by POS hardware and software.

There are many benefits to POS systems such as increased sales, better cash flow management, lower chances of theft, and customer convenience. When a customer buys things, they want the payment to go through instantly so that they may receive their goods right away.

Cash flow management is improved for businesses through POS systems because the money is usually transferred to the bank at the end of the working day. Alongside this, these electronic payments are easy to account for and resolve. As a bonus, since the reconciliation process can be automated, costs for businesses can be lowered.

Customer convenience plays a huge part in the benefits of POS systems as they wish to carry less cash. Also, by offering great POS systems, businesses can actually make more money as customers impulsively buy more. The ROI of the company then skyrockets as a result of this.

Also, a plethora of businesses are more likely to suffer theft and, therefore, it is great for them to be able to reduce the presence of cash on the premises. In the same vein, companies can save a substantial amount of money from security services by using POS systems, as there is less cash around. Also, when money is transferred electronically, we can guarantee less spread of viruses such as Covid-19 that has rippled throughout the world.

Introducing Payrix, we take a moment to look at how it is changing the world of mobile commerce solutions for intricate and innovative POS software. As a dedicated and intelligent team of payments and software experts, Payrix offers vertical software companies with a full-service platform where they can grow their business for the long run. This passion for easy payments to transmogrify a business puts Payrix in good stead, increases its success, and nurtures its network of business cooperation.

Payrix is on a mission to be the preeminent provider of embedded payment solutions for software businesses who want to monetize their platforms and eliminate friction. It’s why we combine expertise, quality and innovation with a flexible, all-in-one platform to empower our clients to focus on growth and pursuing their passion.

With strong ethics and values, Payrix lives by its desire to support its customers in a sustainable and fair way. With its product roadmap and customer experience entwined, Payrix “can unleash our possibilities”. Guaranteeing a streamlined service, and relationships that are nurtured from the beginning, Payrix has a surplus of customer and hiring experience that has allowed it to flourish.

Its values are integrity and accountability, client experience, innovation, continuous improvement, and teamwork – all of which have boosted it forward in the competitive industry. Staying true to its word and by being committed to its customers, Payrix is clear, honest, and understanding. In this way, Payrix is flourishing from all of the connections it has made – and kept – over its time.

Building solid relationships with its clients is the number one priority for such a provider. Always searching for ways to perfect and innovate its products, it empowers its customers and constructs a relationship that will stand the test of time. Not only this, but Payrix is devoted to sustaining the relationships within its team. Working side by side, the entire team have compassion for one another – and the end results truly show it.

Payrix ensures green to fuel growth, property management software, higher growth and returns, simplified processes, and much more. For example, field service business software can hugely benefit from Payrix’s solutions. Due to the fact that Payrix has the perfect set up to allow quick payments with simple billing and fee models, and better maintenance, a field service business can get paid via web, mobile, or ACH.

As a new vertical software platform supporting a plethora of industries and services, Payrix promises – and delivers – the best user experience possible. This is due to the launch of its product with an embedded payment solution that is compatible with all different payment types. Payrix knows that it is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution – which is exactly why it tailors its services to fit each business, never-mind each varying industry.

Dealing with underwriting, risk, and liability processes, Payrix analyses data so that its customers can have peace of mind and the smoothest experience. Manually and automatically collecting data is no small feat, however, Payrix has solutions that make it all swift and successful every time. This analysis contributed towards risk management of any business, and allows for breathing space when it comes to compliance regulations.

Charities can also hugely benefit from Payrix’s aid as it helps registered payment facilitators to switch over to a single platform for all of their payments needs. By doing so, each charity can severely reduce the costs of multiple software tools and vendors whilst keeping the same user experience throughout every service.

For the future, Payrix is going to become a giant in its industry, spreading around the world at a quick and unstoppable rate. It is already well on its way to this. The possibilities are endless with Payrix as it continues to invent easier and more effective solutions, and this is exactly why Payrix has won Best Mobile Commerce Solutions Provider – Southeast USA. We look forward to seeing what it does next.

For business enquiries, contact Billie-Anna Maher from Payrix on their website –  https://www.payrix.com/

Intellectual Property Rights – Four Top Tips

The protection and maintenance of a business’ intellectual property (IP) is often overlooked and misunderstood by business owners. The IP of a business is a valuable asset, and in the correct circumstances can be utilised to help generate additional income with relatively minimal effort through licensing. 

Pete Konieczko-Hansom, Head of Intellectual Property at Blacks Solicitors, shares an overview of matters that business owners should consider when it comes to protecting their IP.

What are intellectual property rights

Intellectual property is something that is created using the mind – for example, a story, an invention, an artistic work or a symbol. This typically gives the creator exclusive rights over the use of the creation for a certain period of time. Copyrights, patents, designs and trademarks are all types of IP protection and these can be used to protect the unique creation of names of products and brands, inventions, the design or appearance of a product and things written or produced.

Protecting a brand name

It’s important for a brand name or logo  to be protected by seeking to register it as a trademark. A trademark is a sign, design, logo or expression that is capable of identifying a product or service from a particular enterprise2. 

Once a brand name is trademarked it will be easier for businesses or individuals to stop others from copying their brand. This can be seen with licensed sporting goods, for example, if a product bears a football team’s logo the customer will know that they  are purchasing the official merchandise of the team. 

Protecting unique inventions

If a business or individual creates unique or innovative processes or ways of operating, it may be worth protecting  this process with a patent. There are very strict rules and regulations in place to obtain a patent, and so businesses should seek advice from a professional sooner rather than later. Obtaining a patent presents many benefits, whether this is through passive income through licensing out the invention or restricting your competitors by forcing them to use inferior materials or products. 

A patent is a type of IP  that gives the owner the legal right to stop others, for a limited period, from making, using or selling the invention without their permission.

Protecting confidential information

If a business’ process or procedure isn’t capable of being patented, this can still be protected  by restricting access to essential and confidential information. There may be several reasons why a business chooses not to patent its product, particularly  as a patent only protects an invention for a limited time, after which anyone else may use, sell or create the patent. 

The protection of information can be secured in a variety of ways, from confidentiality agreements to physically limiting the number of individuals who have access to the relevant information. An example of this is the closely guarded secret regarding the Coca-Cola recipe. Whilst it is potentially capable of being patented for a limited time, the company chose against divulging the recipe to the public and instead chose to rely on contract law. This has therefore allowed the Coca-Cola recipe to remain a secret since its invention in 1886 by simply restricting the number of individuals who have knowledge of the key ingredients. 

Obtaining licensing

For anyone with a well established brand name, there is always the option of expanding into new areas that they do not already operate in via licensing. This can be related to different geographic areas, or to different areas in terms of products, services and sectors. An example of this is Games Workshop which  has a variety of licensed products from candles, to clothing, to an escape room. 

Issue 12 2022

Welcome to the December edition of Acquisition International Magazine, bringing you the latest news, features, and success stories from businesses all over the world.

As 2022 soon draws to a close, there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate the successes of our businesses who have been rebuilding and thriving after a tough few years due to the pandemic. From a healthtech start-up solving the huge problem that is airborne pathogens and biothreats, to a world-first company simplifying corporate risk profiling data management, they have truly been showing their industries how it is done – and are nearing the end of a highly successful year.

The weather might be getting colder, but these businesses are on fire as they continue to defy the odds and exceed expectations. They’re making lives easier, and some are even saving them. In this issue, we explore the ground-breaking work being done with next-level expertise and resilience in what have been some of the toughest times, where business are putting their clients above themselves and are devoted to providing only the very best service.

We hope you find this issue informative and motivational, and we look forward to seeing you again for a next edition in the new year.

What to Look for When You Are Switching to a New Credit Card

According to a May 2021 Federal Reserve report, as many as 83% of Americans have at least one credit card, leaving approximately 17% that currently don’t have a line of credit. But it’s becoming more complicated to live without a credit card, given how often the average person does business with online companies, as well as local companies which are improving their online presence.

If you’re considering getting a new credit card, switching to a new credit card, or reapplying for a card after the “seven year swipe”, read on for some suggestions.

1. Choose a big, reputable credit card provider

Try to avoid smaller credit card companies if you can. By applying to some of the biggest credit card companies out there, like Chase Bank, American Express, Citibank, Capital One, Bank of America, Discover Card, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, you’re more likely to receive quality customer service and support.

You will also be getting a highly flexible card that can be used almost everywhere.

2. Figure out what kind of card best suits you

Ask yourself: What do I want from a credit card? For some, cash back cards are best, where you earn cash back for things like groceries and gas. But first you will have to make sure that you can get cash back from your local stores and gas stations.

If you would prefer a travel or international card and want to charge purchases abroad or redeem miles, you will have to figure out if it’s worth it for how much you travel and if these cards are accepted at the airlines you want to fly with.

3. If you’re planning on buying a house or a car soon, don’t apply for a new card

If you’re planning on making a big purchase like a car or house within the next 12 months, you should hold off on applying for a new credit card. This is because the credit card company will do a hard inquiry on your credit, which will hit your credit score and cause some damage there.

However, if you have better than fair to good credit, a credit check may knock off only a few points off your credit score. Refresh your memory on what can push a credit score down.

4. Diversify your applications in case you get turned down

There are many different uses for a new credit card, including funding a new business, or even refinancing an old debt. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

Just like with anything you apply for, like a job or a gig, make sure when applying for a credit card that you don’t just go with one company. After all, they might turn you down, especially if you have a large credit limit with another company.

Focus on how much you’re using off of your card every month. This is called the credit utilization ratio, and it should be kept as low as possible before you start applying.

5. Search for better introductory rates are temporary

Many favourable introductory rates are temporary. If the interest rate on a card looks low, that’s what is commonly known as a teaser rate.

It is federally required by law that credit card companies may allow a teaser rate to go on for as long as 6 months, but it can be withdrawn even earlier than that if you’re more than 60 days late on paying off your bill.

Be sure to ask up front if the rate provided is a teaser rate and what you’re really expected to pay once the grace period is over. For more on the subject, read about the rights of credit card providers and common practices.

6. Analyse all of your older accounts

True, closing your old accounts will keep you safe from identity fraud, especially if you don’t plan on checking it regularly.

However, keep in mind that closing multiple credit accounts will often lead to a dip in your credit score. Be mindful of this before closing all of your accounts that you could still use periodically for better credit.

Tips on Using Your New Card

One of the best feelings after applying for a card (at multiple locations, ideally) is being approved for a new card. But when activating your card and getting it all set up, consider setting it up to accept direct deposit with your job to make sure there are no barriers to you getting your money.

You can also set up autopay for your credit card bills so you never forget to make a payment on time. Also, if you’re transferring a balance from one of your old cards, you will usually have your provider work that out on their side so it should be in your account by the time you officially open it.

As life goes on, you might find yourself in need of more than one credit card. You may also find yourself in the market for a new credit card if your previous creditor just isn’t cutting it for what you need.

It’s always a big decision to open a new credit card account, but hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to make a sound decision that works for you and your situation.

How to Choose the Right BI Consulting Provider

As the volume and variety of data soar, enterprises require more advanced analytics tools. Therefore, increasingly more organizations upscale their investments in business intelligence (BI). According to Industry Research, the global BI market will reach $35,380 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 5.6% during 2022-2028.

Despite the growing demand for advanced analytics, not every organization is ready to initiate BI-related projects. After all, BI development is no easy task, which implies the integration of different data sources and assuring data quality. 

For this reason, those who decide to initiate business intelligence projects usually fall back on BI advisory and utilize third-party expertise to mitigate the development challenges. This article discusses why the choice of a BI consultant plays a critical role in project success and provides tips on finding the best service provider.

Why is the choice of a BI consultant essential?

Typically, consultants are involved in BI projects at multiple levels. For example, a consultant first provides business and technical advice to validate a client’s idea, concurrently helping to draw up the requirements and project plan. Then the same consultant participates in BI development and implementation and is involved in coding, design, testing, and optimization.

Apparently, such a wide range of tasks requires a broad set of skills and proficiency in BI development from both business and technical perspectives. In addition, a consultant must have relevant industry expertise – after all, developing BI for logistics, telecommunications, and healthcare would slightly differ.

Suppose a consultant does not meet these requirements. In that case, an enterprise risks deploying a useless or defective BI solution and ineffective budget spending. On the contrary, choosing the right BI consultant with relevant skills and domain expertise increases the chances of project success.

How to find the best BI consultant?

To increase the chances of finding the best BI consultant, we would recommend corporate decision-makers the following algorithm:

Step 1. Preparation

If an organization considers initiating a BI project and starts looking for a consultant, we would recommend doing a little preparatory work in advance. In particular, decision-makers should elaborate on their business requirements and define the project goals, as this information may come in handy while searching for a BI consultant.

Decision-makers may initiate meetings with linear managers and enterprise IT experts to discuss relevant questions:

  • What pain points do we want to solve with business intelligence?
  • What kind of BI software do we need? What features and capabilities should it provide?
  • Are there examples of similar BI solutions on the market?
  • What technologies and tools will we use during the development?
  • What budget and resources are we ready to allocate?
  • What assistance do we require from a BI consultant? What skills and expertise do we need in the first place?

Based on the answers, decision-makers can formulate their requirements for a potential consultant. For example, an organization plans to utilize a microservices architecture. In this case, it goes to a consultant with a deep knowledge of a microservices concept. 

Step 2. Researching

After an organization has determined the basic requirements for a BI consultant, it can proceed to gather a pool of candidates. At this stage, decision-makers should try to collect all relevant information about each potential consultant. 

To start with, they may look at the consultants’ websites. There they can find general information about consultants, their services, domain expertise descriptions, and specific certificates.

Also, it is advisable to look through the portfolio section. First, the portfolio highlights a consultant’s expertise. Second, it helps understand whether a consultant had experience with similar BI projects. In addition, a portfolio may provide insight into how a consultant approaches BI software development.

The research stage should imply visiting directories (such as Clutch, G2C, etc.) and reading reviews of the consultant’s clients. Both good and bad reviews can provide a lot of valuable info – whether customers are generally satisfied with the services, what they say about a consultant regarding data and project management, communication, and meeting deadlines.

Among other things, decision-makers may try to reach out to the consultant’s clients directly and ask some questions about their past interactions. On completing all these steps, an organization can gain a comprehensive view of a particular BI consultant and decide if it deserves further consideration.

Step 3. Filtering

At this stage, an organization should already have a pool of candidates potentially suitable for the role of a BI consultant. Now an organization should filter out consultants to determine the most worthy ones.

For convenience, decision-makers may create a table in Excel or Google Spreadsheets and fill it with the research results. This way, they can compare all the relevant parameters – the relevance of experience, company location, and the ratio of good to bad reviews – and identify the leaders. 

Step 4. Communicating

After an organization has filtered out the most relevant candidates, it is time to contact them and start discussing the project idea. At this stage, it is critical to analyze the communication with BI consultants, as it will help to make a more confident final choice.

Here are some communication aspects that are worth considering:

  • Does a consultant show interest in our idea? Is a consultant committed to answering our questions?
  • Is a consultant open and transparent about its expertise?
  • Is a consultant ready to share contacts of its clients?
  • Can a consultant’s team explain why we should prefer them over competitors?
  • Does a consultant make a good impression?

If a candidate has passed all the filters, the organization can choose it for providing BI advisory. However, if none of the candidates meets the requirements, corporate decision-makers may consider initiating a new search cycle and searching for other providers.

Final thoughts

Today, implementing BI technology may be considered a natural step for any growing enterprise aiming at enhanced decision-making and competitiveness. Since BI development is very challenging, many organizations prefer to engage third-party BI consultants, who can validate ideas, create project plans, and, if necessary, take over the BI implementation. 

However, an organization should not contact the first BI consultant it comes across, as it may lead to project failure. A clear understanding of business objectives and a comprehensive candidate analysis are the keys to choosing the right BI consultant.

How To Choose A Cloud Service For Your Small Business

Running a small business nowadays requires careful consideration, especially with the technology used. If you want to maintain an edge in your industry, cloud technology is something to keep in mind. Cloud services allow convenient accessibility of data. Keep in mind that all it takes for your company to fail is a power outage, a cyber threat, or a technological malfunction.

The cloud will ensure your daily business operations flow seamlessly, ensuring better productivity and security. Today, you have an array of cloud services available at your disposal, which can make the selection process a challenging one. To streamline your company’s daily operations, consider checking out kissingerassoc.com/software/acumatica-cloud-erp/ and other reliable online sources to centralize all data into a simple interface. 

What Is Cloud Service?

The increasing availability of cloud services allows a wide range of options for storing databases, files, and servers. With cloud services, you know that all sensitive business data are safe. Generally, the service is cost-effective and includes several convenient features. 

Additionally, cloud services ensure seamless accessibility of data from any location. The feature makes the collaboration process among the workforce convenient.

In simple terms, cloud service allows businesses to have dedicated fixed storage in a secure place. It also allows access to data in a remote server. Today, there are various types of cloud services available, and the most popular include cloud backup, cloud hosting, and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Knowing more about cloud services is one way to ensure a head start. Consider checking out snowflake cloud services and similar providers to understand better what they can do for your small business.

Considerations When Choosing A Cloud Service For A Small Business

If you want to ensure your small business maintains an edge, cloud services are worth considering. Another advantage of the service is helping cut down costs since it minimises the need to maintain an in-house IT team and on-premise hardware.  

Today, the abundant providers of cloud services can make it challenging to choose the right one for your small business. Luckily, there are valuable pointers to remember to help you make the right choice.  

1. Determine The Specific Needs Of Your Business

A common mistake by many business owners you must avoid is diving headfirst into researching cloud computing without figuring out the specific needs.  

It’s crucial to remember that cloud services can meet the various needs of the business. With this in mind, prioritise your business needs.  

Nowadays, you can find cloud-based team collaboration tools, cloud Customer relationship management (CRM) or Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and cloud file storage options. As your business grows, consider more advanced cloud services that meet your growing IT needs. 

2. Learn About The Certifications And Standards 

Cloud service providers capable of complying with the recognised standards and quality frameworks clearly adhere to the industry’s best practices and standards. Although the standards will not determine which service you’ll choose, they’ll go a long way in helping you shortlist potential options.  

During the selection, you should look for effective data management, structured processes, visibility of services, and superior knowledge management. It would be best to determine how the provider you’re considering plans to resource and sustain strict compliance with the standards. 

3. Know The Quality Of Customer Support 

A key consideration when selecting a cloud service is the quality of customer support. The ideal way to know is to check out online reviews. Good customer support is crucial to making the utilization of the technology manageable. Try to shortlist providers capable of providing technical support 24/7 via chat, phone, or email.   

4. Look For Proper Documentation

Good documentation is one of the key indicators to watch out for when selecting a cloud service. Consider it a positive sign if a provider offers straightforward documentation on its website about using the service. Today, some trustworthy service providers offer in-depth guides for their products.

If you want to avoid the hassle and ensure your business operations run seamlessly in the cloud, proper documentation will help ensure you stay on the right path.

5. Scrutinize The Service Level Agreement (SLA) 

The service level agreement (SLA) should be an important consideration when selecting a cloud service. Generally, it’s an agreement that establishes the minimum level of service to expect. While assessing the capability of a cloud service provider, thoroughly read the SLA and check out the essential elements, such as what the provider can do in case of unforeseen events such as power outages or data loss, security practices, and potential downtime.   

Final Thoughts 

For small businesses, investing in the right technology, such as the cloud, is worth considering. Cloud technology plays a key role in streamlining operations by saving time and money, especially with the technical aspect of running your business. These valuable insights will guide you in choosing the right cloud service for your small business.

6 Reasons To Register Your Business Trademark

When entrepreneurs start their businesses, they don’t always consider trademarking them. However, having one has several benefits for your business. Your trade name is a valuable asset that might make you a fortune. A trademark is also an excellent way to protect your company. As a result, irrespective of how big or small your business is, it’s a worthwhile investment. 

In a world where entrepreneurship is booming, small businesses are abundant. Businesses all over the globe are creating products and services intending to get a share of the market. While you could differentiate yourself based on product or service features, differentiating your brand may be far more important. All companies have trade names. However, no two companies should be registered under the same name. You can check the Intellectual Property Laws in your country to learn more about the significance of trademarks.  

That said, below are some of the reasons why you should register your business trademark.

1. It’s Inexpensive To Obtain 

Unlike other forms of intellectual property, trademarks are usually inexpensive to obtain. You can use platforms such as Trademark Engine to create one from the comfort of your home.

A trademark protects your brand name, but it’ll also save you money if there’s a legal conflict. If you have legitimate proof that you have the trademark for your business, it puts you at a vantage point in legal proceedings. Consequently, it also makes it harder for you to get sued.  

2. It Adds Value To Your Business

Registering your business trademark may increase your business value. In this competitive world, businesses realize the power of branding and image. How people perceive your brand is important and may directly correlate to profitability. Brands carry value because they communicate what your company is about. The goal is to create a company perceived as valuable and credible. One way of achieving that is by obtaining a trademark. A trademark may make your business more recognizable and trustworthy.  

Your brand name is an intangible asset. It’s hard to measure how much a brand is worth. But a credible trademark could boost your business value as the brand grows. This is good for business because a valuable trademark could increase the selling price if you want to sell your business. It may also help you gain leverage in negotiations if you’re undergoing a merger.

3. Provides Legal Protection 

Obtaining a trademark provides legal protection for your business or brand name. A trademark signifies that a specific name, brand, product, or service is legally registered in your name. So, no one else is allowed to use it, or it may be deemed intellectual property infringement. Also, depending on your region or jurisdiction, you may have the option to make your trademark incontestable after a certain period. This adds to the protection of your trademark.  

Should any conflicts arise because of your legally registered trademark, you’ll have the law on your side. This also means that if you prevail in a court case, you’ll be able to sue the other company or person for damages.  

4. Gives You Operational Freedom  

Once you have a trademark, you now have the liberty to conduct business freely. If you don’t have a trademark, there’s a chance that conflicts may arise. Someone in a foreign country could register the exact name (or a similar one) before you do. In such an instance, you may not have leverage should legal proceedings arise because, technically, they legally registered the name.  

Most legal disputes unfold in this manner and it’s hardly intentional. Keep in mind that all over the world, hundreds, if not thousands, of trademark applications are submitted daily. You may be shocked to find that the name you had in mind is already taken. This happens often but you’ll be free to operate without worry if you have a distinct registered trademark.  

5. Creates Better Relationships  

Trademarking your business may increase its credibility. Certain cultures could see you more favorably if your company has a trademark. Prospective partners may be concerned about this because they’ll also be investing in your company. Since they’ll be introducing your products or services into their country, their reputation is also at stake. They also want to be protected. For example, if your product is defective, it may help to have a warranty on your branded products because it shows that you’re accountable for the defect. So don’t underestimate the value of having a trademark.   

6. Good For Marketing  

The trademark sign is also useful in marketing. You may be familiar with several well-known companies in your area that carry the “R” sign, which represents a trademark. That emblem is useful in marketing since it conveys credibility. This may improve consumer trust and encourage the general public to take your company seriously. 

Conclusion 

The most significant benefit of registering your company’s trademark is its legal protection. Legal disputes arising from trademarks are often unintentional. But it’s also caused by entrepreneurs that don’t prioritize the legal process of trademarking. If you haven’t registered yet, consider obtaining a trademark for your brand or business as soon as possible. That way, you can operate your business without much worry.  

Using Technology to Protect Your Finances in 2023

Businesses and individuals across the globe are facing difficulties due to rising inflammation levels in the current geopolitical situation. People are already beginning to make adjustments to combat these difficulties. Here, we will discuss how using technology to its full potential can help you to protect your finances in 2023.

Artificial Intelligence

The level at which you use technology varies greatly depending on what you do and the size of your business. You may be an entrepreneur, an investor, or have a growing business. Whatever the case may be, you need a strategy. Carefully analyse your technology needs and how you can make the most of what you already have at hand. When you think of artificial intelligence, you might think of it as being inaccessible and expensive; however, AI takes many forms and, depending on your requirements, can now be incredibly accessible. For example, thanks to AI, getting approval on a loan or other types of credit can be processed within a matter of hours. You can also easily track your finances and stick to budget goals thanks to AI-powered algorithms. 

Automation

Don’t underestimate the power of automation. It is an incredibly simple tool that can be used over a wide variety of tasks and mediums. Automation can prove invaluable for businesses of all sizes, helping streamline operations and improve efficiency. But also, on a personal level, having a manageable and realistic budget is vital going into the new year, and having automated savings and payments set up will massively help to keep your spending in check. Ensuring that you have automated savings in place will be the most beneficial, as it means you will have an emergency fund to fall back on if necessary. Another benefit of automation is setting up minimum payment amounts to your credit cards, meaning that you don’t have costly penalties and late fees. 

Apps

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, including AI and machine learning, there are now endless apps and platforms that can help you better manage all your assets, including everything from monthly budgeting, shopping, pensions and investments. For example, for investors, apps and trading platforms allow you to buy and sell a wide range of assets, including Bonds, ETFs, Options, Futures and CFDs, using the latest tech, including robo advisors. The newest investment apps also allow you to put in place automatic stop-loss orders, which protects you from excessive losses. Data analytics for investments are also set to improve further in the coming years, offering even greater visibility of asset performance. You can also find apps that will help you to monitor your expenses, use coupons, track payments, and categorise your spending. With mentions of an economic downturn, it could be easy to panic, but keeping a clear head and making small changes will help you prepare effectively. There is no way to see into the future, but taking some simple steps and utilising the latest technology we have at hand could make a difference over the coming year. 

6 Ways RPA Can Transform Your Small Business

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a hot topic among businesses for many reasons. It increases productivity, which in turn increases profit. Business efficiency is another area where RPA can do wonders.

While RPA can impact a company positively, many business owners still need to be wary about adopting the technology. However, the whole point of robotic process automation is to free workers’ time and energy to focus on more vital activities.

This article aims to provide information about the commercial advantages of RPA so you can start adopting it. As you read on, you’ll understand how investing in RPA for your company is money well spent.  

Ways RPA Can Improve Your Small Business

Say you’re looking to implement RPA in your business. The first thing you must do is look for a reliable IT company to provide and give you the necessary adjustments for your specific business. Online resources like https://www.1rivet.com/rpa-finance/ and others give you insight about companies that can help you find a service provider to help you implement this tool.

That said, here are several ways a small business can benefit from RPA:

1. Potential To Save More Money

When combined with workflow tools, robotic process automation solutions can significantly benefit businesses. Contrary to popular belief, the two methods complement each other rather than compete.

To complete a task, the program looks for instructions from the workflow tool. It then carries them out and reports its progress back to the workflow tool once it receives those instructions. In a nutshell, RPA and workflow tools complement each other and form the necessary circuit for efficiency at a reasonable cost.

2. Enables Staff To Focus On Higher-Priority Tasks

When you automate routine process, you can also improve employee morale. Some experts found a correlation between job satisfaction and the amount of effort put in by an individual. For instance, when workers succeed in their roles, they want to be recognized for it. This expectation is an active motivator, helping businesses attract and retain ambitious workers.

A secondary advantage of workers’ happiness is that they’re less likely to look for other opportunities when they’re happy and fulfilled in their occupations. This can improve your retention rates significantly and attract

3. Increases Opportunities In Expanding And Scaling Your Business

When entrepreneurs are ready to take their company to the next level, they frequently face challenging choices. Oftentimes, there’s a lack of adaptability in a company due to the ever-increasing number of tasks and responsibilities. As a result, business owners fail due to inflexibility even though the demand is there.

At this point, RPA can help you with various processes to get you closer to your goals. In addition to the monetary aspects of your business, you can also use RPA for any mundane jobs that need accomplishing. Because of RPA, even small businesses can stand toe to toe with their larger counterparts, responding to shifting market demands quickly.

4. Provides Additional Analytics

When robots do the work, situations like data leaks, outdated information, and wrong analytics are less likely to happen. RPA allows businesses to see through their data and obtain verified, actionable insights with little human error. Businesses can also utilize RPAs in places where human data collection might be impractical.

As a result, businesses can achieve a deeper and more complete understanding about their operations, industry, etc., by collecting and analyzing data from various sources. Meanwhile, workers have more time to devote to advanced analytics, ultimately improving overall decision-making.

5. Improves Communication Within The Company

Switching to RPA is ideal for businesses because its intelligence can better handle your essential communication procedures. Workers don’t have to worry about updating files or making small changes because RPA can change single documents with triggers and procedures and make these changes in other documents. Thanks to these procedures, all team members will always be privy to the most recent data.

6. Enhances Customer Satisfaction

RPA may streamline your back-end processes and boost customer satisfaction when appropriately used. Because automation software handles routine jobs, human workers have more time to engage with consumers and increase revenue through cross-selling and up-selling. Your teams also have more time to address customer feedback and queries, improving customer loyalty to your business.

Takeaway

When a company adopts RPA solutions, it gains valuable insight into its most important objectives. With efficient business processes and IT in place, RPA is a straightforward model for a business to achieve their automation goals. RPA can also fix problems regardless of how old a procedure, platform, or program is, which is crucial for businesses to provide a healthy workplace in the digital era.

How to Run Successful Linked In Ad Campaigns

LinkedIn has established its presence in the professional world. The platform has over 750 million users globally. The purpose of LinkedIn is to serve as a professional network for business-minded people. In addition, many LinkedIn users are decision-makers in their companies. Consequently, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B marketing campaigns.

Because of the several features available on LinkedIn, it is easy to test locations and target demographics to obtain the best results. This article discusses LinkedIn paid advertising and how to set it up

#1 – Choose an Objective

Before running ads, you need to know why you want to run the ads. For example, do you want to increase site traffic or do you want to sell your good or service, or you want to increase brand awareness? LinkedIn offers several objectives for increasing conversions and awareness.

·      Lead generation objective

This objective uses lead generation forms on the platform. The forms have prefilled fields and multiple-choice questions. So, without leaving the platform, LinkedIn users can submit their information and be converted in a few clicks

·      Website conversion objective

This objective optimises for website actions you consider essential. For example, these actions could include downloading a whitepaper, completing a purchase, or starting a trial.

#2 – Choose Your Targeting Option

After setting an objective and choosing an ad format, you must choose your target audience. Your LinkedIn ads performance depends on the target audience. Fortunately, there are several ways to target an audience on LinkedIn, including  LinkedIn audience network, matched audiences, and demographic targeting.

·      Demographic targeting

LinkedIn demographic targeting is accurate because users provide up-to-date information due to the platform’s incentives. Consequently, your ads can reach a high-intent audience. With this feature, you can target your audience based on several demographics, including industry, job function, seniority, and skills

·      Matched audiences

You can target specific users with matched audiences beyond those that fit certain criteria. To use this feature, you must create audiences within LinkedIn or retarget website visitors. The audience could be a list of companies or email contacts

·      LinkedIn Audience Network

The LinkedIn Audience Network feature allows you to target users beyond the platform. With this feature, you can also target users from several partner websites and applications. Consequently, you can expand your audiences and increase spend.

#3 – Choose Ad Format

There are several LinkedIn ad formats depending on your chosen objective for your campaigns. Some of the most popular ad formats on LinkedIn include;

·      Single image ad

Single-image ads are on LinkedIn feeds for both desktop and mobile devices. These ads consist of one image, an introduction, a headline, a description (optional), and a call to action

·      Carousel image ad

Carousel ads are similar yet different from single ads. These ads consist of 2 to 10 images, an introduction, and a specific headline for each image. These ads are great for telling your brand’s story.

·      Message ad

Message ads are unique ads that show in the message inboxes of LinkedIn users. These ads contain a subject, footer, text, and call to action. In addition, these ad format has a personalised feel since they show up in the inbox appearing like a direct message from a LinkedIn user on behalf of a company

#4 – Set Up A Budget

All campaigns on LinkedIn need a budget, ensuring that you spend enough for the desired results and not overspend. You can set daily, lifetime, and campaign group budgets on the platform. Furthermore, it is essential to understand how you are charged for budget setting. LinkedIn charges you through objective-based pricing. Consequently, each objective and placement has a different setup cost.

·      Lifetime budget

A lifetime budget is the total campaign budget within a start and end date. With a lifetime budget, the platform will not exceed your overall budget, but there may be varying daily spends

·      Daily budget

You must set a daily budget at the campaign level and use a set or continuous schedule.

·      Campaign group budget

Campaign group budgets limit the campaign spend within a single group. Therefore, when setting up a daily budget, you can also use the group budget.

To wrap things Up,

Setting up LinkedIn paid advertising is not limited to the options discussed in this article. You still have to set a bidding strategy and optimise your ads for the best results. Setting up and optimising your ads properly can help you achieve your KPIs

Is Facebook Advertising the Right Choice for your Business?

No matter the industry in which your business operates, social media can act as an extremely powerful marketing tool, allowing you to expand your reach and connect with customers who may not have known about your brand otherwise. Currently, Facebook is one of the biggest social media sites that there is, providing the businesses that use its platform with a vast array of advertising options to take advantage of. Many businesses operating online will be able to yield great results through the use of such social media advertising alongside their other marketing campaigns, but is Facebook advertising the right choice for you and your company?

In the article below, we will discuss the benefits that advertising with Facebook can bring to your business, helping you to make the decision that best aligns with your business goals.

Reach A Wider Target Audience

Social media sites such as Facebook provide the businesses utilising their platforms with a great way to connect with their customer base and reach the users who may not have known about their brand otherwise. With over 2.6 billion individuals currently using Facebook, the social site is able to provide business worldwide with the opportunity to place the products and services that they offer in front of their target audience. No matter the industry in which you operate, Facebook will place your ads in front of the right people, allowing you to market your brand to a diverse and expansive user base.

Remarket your Products to Potential Customers

Remarketing provides a great advertising alternative for businesses that are still unsure as to whether marketing their products and services with Facebook’s platform is the best step for them. Remarketing is a more cost effective marketing option when compared to standard Facebook advertising options, working by targeting those users who have been seen to visit your website and show and interest In your brand in the past. This helps to keep your products and services in the minds of the customers who are most likely to complete a purchase, extending the sales funnel and helping to increase the likelihood that your site visitors return to make a sale at a later date.

Overall, there are a number of great benefits readily available to those who choose to use Facebook’s platform to market their brand to their target audience, allowing them to reach a wider customer base and boost their online visibility. If you decide that Facebook advertising is the right step for your business but find yourself unsure of where to start, what should you do?

There are a number of great online business courses made readily available for entrepreneurs worldwide, providing the vital information that they need in order to achieve their goals and reach success. With the help of a quality online Facebook Advertising Course, you could learn more about how to run your own ads across the Facebook social platform, helping you to showcase your brand and the services that you provide to an expanded target audience.

What are the Potential Issues with Mergers and Acquisitions?

When two companies combine, it can help the new entity boost its market share and profits. The two main ways of achieving this are through mergers and acquisitions. Mergers occur when separate companies combine to form one company. While an acquisition is the takeover of one company by another. There are many complications that can occur during this process, which is why you should always seek expert advice from specialists in mergers and acquisitions. Below, we explore some of the potential issues you might encounter.

Overpaying

One of the most common issues is that you overpay during the merger or acquisition. Calculating a valuation for a business is complex work and involves projections and estimations that might not be accurate – especially when the business you’re buying won’t tell you if you’re overpaying. One way to try and avoid this is by being conservative with your offers: set yourself a suitable value for your acquisition target as a limit rather than an aim. This can ensure that you don’t overspend.

Incomplete due diligence

During the acquisition or merger process, it’s vital that you investigate your target in forensic detail. Incomplete due diligence can result in your missing a crucial detail that comes back to haunt you. To avoid any mishaps, you should ensure a complete check is carried out beforehand and that you have the appropriate seller representations and warranties documented in your agreement.

Staff retention

Even once an acquisition or merger has gone through, there are potential issues that can arise. Staff retention is one area you should prioritise. You’ll need to quickly structure the business in a way that boosts staff morale and retains the best talent in the business. Employees can often feel under threat following a merger or acquisition. You should allay fears by communicating clearly with employees and by building trust. By improving morale in your business, you can boost productivity and staff retention.

Security threats

Mergers and acquisitions can also present security threats to your business. To complete the deal, both parties will be sharing sensitive information. The danger here is that a cyberattack could leave this confidential information vulnerable. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a security plan in place or the right training for your staff, you could end up with crucial data leaks. During the process, you should prioritise your data security to ensure that all parties remain safe during a merger or acquisition.

Mergers and acquisitions can prove to be incredibly beneficial, but they’re also complex to finalise. But by prioritising avoiding the issues above, you’ll be in an excellent position to try and complete a smooth deal.

How To Protect Your Business from Modern Threats

The dangers facing businesses are ever evolving and becoming more and more deadly as times goes on. As many blessings has technology has brought, it has brought with it an element of malice for those intending to use it for the wrong purpose. Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated, dangerous, and conspicuous so it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to put up the defences that will protect their people, their data, and their productivity. Every year, threats are emerging and developing. If this a growing concern for you and your business, you may not know where to start in implementing the changes needed to adapt to developing threats.

What are the best practises for business protection? What are the tips for cybersecurity? What software is available to build up your business’s virtual defences? You may feel powerless against the intelligent attacks that are surfacing today and daunted by the prospect of building secure barriers against them. Therefore, research is so valuable and hopefully through the information and suggestions that have been collected in the following article, you can begin your journey of education and start considering the changes you can implement to improve the security of your business.

Tips for Building a Strong Defence for Cyber Security

As the dangers change, so do the suggestions for building a defence. However, these basic principles should stand you in good stead to be prepared for cyberattacks when they occur.

Stay up to date. This principle applies to various areas of business practises. Software updates are essential to add new features, fix bugs and upgrade software. Since vulnerabilities in software will be one key way that attacks can creep in, it’s vital that you do all you can to keep software at is most up to date version. The same things applies when it comes to hardware. To support the most up to date software, you need to have up to date hardware. If not, older machines are slower to respond to cyber-attacks and could leave the system weak to threats. A major aspect of staying up to date is in education and training. Users are a vulnerability in your defences, especially if they don’t know what to look out for when it comes to cyber threats. One mistake from an untrained employee could bring cyber disaster for the whole system. Evidently training is essential, and this training needs to be constant, up to date and in line with the most relevant practises.

Think before you click. It may sound like an obvious suggestion, but so many threats gain access to system from people opening emails and clicking links and attachments without thinking about it before hand. It’s important to be on the lookout for phishing scams that cleverly impersonate a reputable source, but danger lies within. Don’t open suspicious emails, don’t download attachments from unknown sources, don’t respond to unverified requests for information. Try hovering over a link to see the destination URL before you click on it. Basically, think about things before you do them and you’re less likely to fall victim to a cyberattack that exploit your naivety.

Make the most of software. If you need to share confidential information, use a secure file-sharing software solution instead of emails that can be intercepted and sent to mistaken address. Using a secure file-sharing solution will guarantee the encryption of the information and the need for authentication for the file to opened on the receiving end. Furthermore, look for anti-virus and anti-malware software that you can implement to build up your defences against these threats. While it’s impossible to eliminate the threat completely, you can reduce your vulnerability with this kind of protective software.

Consider the strength of your network connections. Avoid using public networks which you share with everyone else that is connected to it. In these situations, any files or information you share is vulnerable to attack. Instead, secure your network and privatise the information you share by using a virtual private network, or VPN. This will protect the private data and encrypt your connection and will provide such a strong defence that even your internet service provider can’t access it.

Improve your authentication techniques. Don’t become lazy with your passwords, using easy to guess combinations on many different logins. Put more effort in to create unique passwords that add another layer of protection. Furthermore, many platforms allow you to enable a double factor authentication procedure to double up the security for your accounts. 

Ponder before you plug in. External devices, such as storage devices, can be infected with malware that can spread to your own devices if you plug them in. To avoid this danger, make sure you know exactly where the external device has come from and ensure they are scanned for malware before you plug them in and access them.

Making the Investment

It will surely take investments of time, energy, and money to implement the security upgrades you need to empower your business and its employees to be able to face cyber threats. However, it’s vital that these investments are made in order to protect your business from the consequences that arise from a security breach. The loss of data, money and reputation can be devastating if a cyber-attack is successful, so though it may feel like a big investment, it is a necessary one. Educate yourself with the guidelines and best practises that you can implement and the unique strategies that your business can introduce to protect itself from danger.

Why Moderating Your Social Media is Important as a Business

Sadly, even the most useful tool can quickly become a destructive weapon when it is placed in the wrong hands.

This fact of life permeates every industry, every family, every community. Something designed to valuable and beneficial can be used to cause harm when in the wrong hands and moved by the wrong motives. An example of such a tool is that of social media.

On the one hand, social media is a blessing. It connects people over great distances, it opens the doors to communication for people of all backgrounds, and it provides a platform for education and the sharing of knowledge and experience. Social media is a great tool for businesses and marketers, allowing companies to increase their visibility, promote their content and products, and manage their reputation. 72 per cent of adults use at least one social network, over 10 million advertised on Facebook, and in 2020, the ad spend on social media in the United States was a staggering 40.3 billion dollars. Evidently, social media can be an invaluable innovation.

However, there is a dark side to social media that is becoming more and more apparent in recent times. It has been reported that social media increases people’s stress, affects user’s mood and encourages a feeling of anxiety and depression through the comparison it generates between people. It can be a dangerous method of spreading misinformation that has devastating consequences, and it can also be a platform for cyberbullying, offensive content, privacy invasions and even identify theft. Evidently, caution is needed when it comes to the use of social media.

As a business, there is a special effort needed to make sure that this tool is used in the best way for the benefit of your customers and your organisation. It can be such a minefield that it feels difficult to navigate. It can be so daunting, that businesses become reluctant to use it at all and give up on it completely. However, being limited by this fear of the unknown will mean missing out on a world of opportunity. Clearly, moderation is needed. Therefore social media moderation is quite a hot topic at the moment and there are more and more organisations offering this as a useful service for other businesses. We will now go on to learn more about what social media moderation involves and why it is so important especially in this day in age.

What is Social Media Moderation?

As the saying goes, “everything in moderation”. This phrase portrays the simplicity of the term in general – that even good things need to be controlled. Moderation is the process of controlling the content that is posted by a business on social media. If offensive or inappropriate content is posted, a team of content moderators work tirelessly to monitor the content and remove it before it becomes viral and accessible to the wrong audience. The activities of users on social media platforms are managed and regulated by social media moderation teams to make sure that the content is in line with the platforms rules and in keeping with a brands aesthetics. While you can control the content you put out, you can’t control the user generated content that others on social media may put out there. This is where social media moderation comes into play, managing the quality of the content while working to maintain your brands reputation.

Reasons Why You Need to Moderate Your Social Media

Evidently, moderation is a basic necessity of responsible social media use. We will outline a few specific reasons why social media moderation is so important for businesses to encourage you to put the right policies and procedures in place to protect your organisation in this regard.

Effective social media moderation will…

…Improve your businesses online presence. Social media platforms are a great place to gather new customers and keep an eye on the competition. While social media promotion gives customers an opportunity to communicate, the views they share are not always positive and may not meet the guidelines of the community. In this situation, social media moderation will reduce the amount of profane or offensive comments. This makes the platform safer for everyone and improves the online presence of your brand.

…Restrict the amount of spam content. There is a lot of valid, useful information on social media, but there is also a lot of spam. In an attempt to boost their profile, some users will pot fake news or commercial spam to the pages of popular brands to get attention. Social media moderation will remove these comments, reducing spam, improving the safety for other users, and helping visitors to a page to find genuine comments and reviews.

…Protect the image of your brand. Any campaign on social media has the goal of encouraging customer engagement, boosting website traffic, and increasing profit as a result. Unfortunately, the content generated by other users can start messy conversations and deviate from the purpose of the campaign. Social media moderation will again come into play, removing unwanted content to improve your company aesthetic, and maintain the image of your brand.

…Increase traffic on your website. A negative buzz around something you post on social media will likely detract people from your website, making them less likely to check out your page and investigate what you offer. Moderating such comments will help to induce a toxic-free environment and encouraging users to look at your website and thus improve your reputation and drive sales.

Drive sales. On the topic of sales, genuine user generated content can be a great way of driving them as people are more likely to respond to objective third party reviews than self-promotion. Social media moderation will ensure that people see these recommendations and allow you to provide personalised offers and services to your audience.

In-House Legal Team: Should You Invest or Continue With Outside Help?

There is no hiding from the fact that companies, both large and small, need to invest in legal aid to help with the smooth running of their operations. And, with more than 90% of legal and tax professionals saying their work provides them with a significant sense of professional purpose, it would appear their contributions are meaningful and essential.

The list of legal help available to businesses is exhaustive, so it begs the question of whether it’s better to bite the bullet and hire an in-house legal team or to export help to a third party. Both approaches have their good and bad points, so it can be a difficult decision for business leaders to make.

From reviews and housekeeping to informed advice, due diligence and regulatory compliance, corporate lawyers must wear many hats. But which is better, in-house or third-party corporate lawyers and legal aid?

In-house lawyers: Why choose them?

Companies and organisations considering an in-house legal team will need to be aware that it will require a significant outlay to acquire one. However, with that increased investment comes improved efficiencies and wider benefits to the business.

Time savings and efficiency improvements

One of the key targets for companies around the world is to improve efficiency and save time on their processes and admin. While an in-house lawyer might not be able to improve any technical aspects of your business, they can certainly speed up any legal processes and market changes.

From understanding the intricacies of your intellectual property and how best to protect it, to delivering tailored advice to a demanding business, internal lawyers and solicitors. 

External lawyers won’t necessarily understand the business-specific requirements of your company, which can cause delays in decisions as they need to be brought up to speed. An internal legal professional will have no such delays and can help to anticipate, resolve and identify laws and regulations before they become an issue.

Reducing costs

Deciding to bring an in-house lawyer into your team does represent a significant initial outlay, with significant expenses in the first year including recruitment fees and employment costs. But with the costs of external lawyers regularly costing over £500 per hour, those costs quickly rack up.

An internal legal professional can provide their expertise on corporate, commercial and finance or regulatory matters swiftly and with a tailored focus on growing the business.

While an external lawyer can also do those things, they take longer to become familiar with the specific needs of the business, and at a significant hourly rate, costs can quickly escalate. For growing businesses, perhaps seeking acquisitions, and subsequent reorganisation efforts, outside legal help begins to make less cost sense. 

Greater accountability

Using your own legal team means you don’t have to give up control of your projects to a law firm that may not be as committed to your success as you are. Your projects will be completed to your company standards without the need for constant back-and-forth guidance, which can be time-consuming with outside assistance. For hands-on guidance, it’s best to trust an in-house team that already has a detailed understanding of the inner workings of your company.

What are the benefits of third-party legal assistance?

All leadership teams must seek legal advice from time to time, whether that is frequent or not. But it’s not always black and white whether you should opt for your own legal assistance or whether a third party is the safer approach. While often more expensive, there are clear reasons why businesses should choose outside legal help rather than in-house options.

Specialist knowledge and experience

While it’s great to have your own legal representative within the company, by nature they must have a more broad understanding of the law. Opting for a third-party lawyer means you can hire specialists in their field, often with many years of experience in their particular niche. Not only do they have the talent but they also have the contacts, network and resources to make a special project as watertight and legally compliant as possible.

It’s important to ask yourself whether you believe your existing team and framework have the capability to complete quality work in the areas required for any project. If you think the answer is a ‘no’ then it’s better to reach out to a specialist to ensure the right boxes are ticked throughout the process.

Gaining outside perspective

An in-house legal representative is a great choice because they are familiar with your processes and needs but that does mean they are at risk of losing some perspective. Particularly during busy times and intense projects, it can be hard for them to see the wood for the trees.

This is where an outside legal representative can come to the fore. They will provide an unbiased opinion and perspective, helping to deliver outside-of-the-box thinking which can help find solutions to problems in a much faster timeline.

Internal or outside legal help – which is better?

Ultimately, there is no one approach that is overall better than the other. Internal legal teams are great for more efficient processes and accountability while third-party lawyers can offer a depth of knowledge your company lacks. With commercial law and intellectual property law ranking highly in the most sought-after law fields, it’s clear that this area of the legal process is an essential one.

To ensure your business remains competitive, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons in each scenario your business finds itself in, remaining flexible to ensure you choose the right solution for your budget and time constraints.

What You Should Know About Ethereum Before Purchasing It

Cryptocurrency has seen a huge increase in popularity over the past few years, something that has been heavily influenced by the pandemic. During the pandemic, people had a lot more time on their hands and could also not spend their money on things like shopping or eating. This led to a lot of people investing in cryptocurrency, as they could spend their money wisely. One type of cryptocurrency that has seen a rise in popularity is Ethereum, which is what we are going to discuss in this article.

Cryptocurrency is considered a high-risk investment, which is why it is important to know what you are getting into before you invest. So, if you are considering investing in Ethereum, then this article is for you. Keep on reading to find out more.

Understand The Basics Of Cryptocurrency

Before you invest in Ethereum, you must first have a clear understanding of the basics of cryptocurrency. If you are new to the world of investing and cryptocurrency, then it would be a good idea to do some reason into how cryptocurrency works, so that you know how to invest your money wisely. As mentioned in the introduction, investing in cryptocurrency can be risky, but if you understand the basics and recognise when it is the right time to invest, you should end up with a successful investment.

Manage Your Expectations

Another thing to be aware of before you purchase Ethereum is managing your expectations. The crypto market can be volatile, so you need to have reasonable expectations of what money you will make. Although keeping an eye on the markets will be helpful, starting off your investment with a sensible expectation will help you make smarter investment choices. Before you invest, you should do some research into how to securely sell Ethereum as this will give you a good guideline of what to expect if you do choose to sell in the future.

Keep An Eye On The Market

When investing in any sort of cryptocurrency, it is important to keep an eye on the market. The financial market can be volatile, and cryptocurrency is no exception. Keeping your eye on the market will be useful throughout your investment as it means you can recognise when prices are changing, and you can make any adjustments to your investments as you see fit. It would perhaps be a good idea to download an app that helps you manage your investment, as the app will be able to tell you when prices are changing. Additionally, keeping up to date with financial news will be helpful, as you can get daily updates on what is happening to your investment.

Be Wary Of Scams

Although cryptocurrency is secure, there is still the potential to be scammed when buying Ethereum. It could be that one site is offering a particularly good deal and that draws you in or they are promising you a high return on your investment. The best way to avoid a scam is to research the website well and check that they are a legitimate seller of Ethereum. It could also be beneficial to read some reviews and see if people have had a positive experience dealing with the site.

Cybersecurity Awareness 101: How To Educate Your Employees To Stay Safe

Cybersecurity is becoming a critical issue globally, given the heavy Internet usage for businesses. Hackers find it easy to crack into your system and acquire sensitive information. In fact, during the second quarter of 2022, there were approximately 52 million data breaches. This is a significant figure, and cybersecurity awareness training is one of the best ways to prevent and lower instances of data breaches in your organization.

Essentially, you’d want your employees to know what cyber threats are, their possible effects on your company, and what they can do to prevent such attacks. With that, here are five tips for educating your employees to stay safe:  

1. Provide clear guidelines

Be specific when training employees and describe the guidelines they must observe to stay safe online. As much as possible, avoid giving them vague clues or instructions on what they should do. Instead, present detailed information to enable them to understand better what you expect of them.

Some technology regulations you can impose include the following:

  • Always use strong passwords

Teach your employees the qualities of strong passwords and their benefits. For instance, passwords should be at least eight characters, have a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, and include numbers and special characters. Ideally, the longer and more complex the password, the harder it can be for hackers to crack.

  • Never give out login data

Emphasise to your employees the importance of not sharing any login information, even if the message they receive looks like it came from someone within the organisation. Ensure to establish strong protocols for detecting and reporting suspicious messages as well.

  • Scan computers for viruses frequently

Train your workers to turn on scanning and automatic updates. This can help ensure they get informed in case a threat is detected.

Whether you have employees working on-site or remotely, creating a secure workspace is essential. Doing so not only helps safeguard your business’s critical data but also allows your employees to perform their tasks in the digital workspace safely and efficiently.

2. Orient employees on the various types of cybersecurity threats

One of the best ways your employees can stay safe online is by knowing the different types of cyber threats. If they’re well-informed, they’ll be in a better position to take the right steps should a cyber-attack happen.

In addition, cybersecurity breaches take any form, and one strategy that hackers use to obtain your passwords, login information, and sensitive organisation data is to target your employees. Therefore, you can prevent your company from being a victim of cyberattacks by educating your staff about the most common threats like:

  • Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where a hacker sends you an email that appears to be from a person or organisation you know, convincing you to click on the link. This makes it one of the most common forms of cyber threats. According to Forbes, over 90% of cyberattacks infiltrate a company through emails. An FBI report also reveals at least a 400% increase in phishing attacks yearly. For this reason, you’d want your employees to be much more vigilant and report any suspicious emails.     

  • Ransomware

This is a form of malware where attackers obtain access to your devices and then lock and encrypt the stored data. It denies you access to your documents, and you may have to pay the attackers ransom to regain access.

  • Password Attack

In this type of threat, an attacker cracks your password by using different programs and password-cracking tools.

With appropriate training and knowledge, your employees can be more aware of and easily recognise attacks that can put your system and critical business data at risk.

3. Highlight The Effects Of Cybersecurity Breaches

Cyberattacks can significantly affect your company, and one of the severe risks is financial losses. In fact, cybersecurity breaches can yield an average loss of USD$ 200,000 for businesses of any size.

Aside from the financial impact, a cybersecurity breach could disrupt your operations. Your system and network could be compromised and experience glitches that can lead to loss of productivity or total failure of all company activities.

Furthermore, it can also damage the reputation of your business. A cyberattack could make you lose the trust of your loyal customers and partners. Clients who previously trusted you with their data may turn away, and trying to persuade them won’t be a walk in the park.

That said, you can minimize such instances when your employees understand the severe effects of breaches. As they become more aware, they can be more vigilant and cautious not to click links from untrusted sources.

4. Educate Employees On How They Can Identify Distrustful Activities

In 2021, the mean number of data breaches and cyberattacks increased by 15.1% from the preceding year. This number keeps on rising as hackers discover more creative and intelligent ways to use to access your system.

For this reason, it’s crucial for your employees to know how to spot any suspicious activities and how to handle them. Let them observe the following signs:

  • Unexpected display of new programs and apps on their devices
  • Devices slowing down
  • Inability to control their keyboards or mouses
  • Unusual pop-ups during booting, shutdown, or usual activities.

Motivate all your workers to report any distrustful or suspicious signs straightaway. Even though the threats may not be significant, prompt alerts can help prevent issues that may lead to adverse effects.  

5. Include Cybersecurity Awareness In Onboarding

Onboarding is a vital part of growing a company. When you include cybersecurity awareness training during this process, new hires can quickly understand their roles in cybersecurity from day one. Let them know the kind of data that requires protection and how they can do it.

Additionally, you can set cybersecurity expectations for them and the penalties they may face for failing to adhere to the organisation’s cybersecurity policies. According to an Egress report, approximately 74% of businesses have been breached due to internal team members breaking security rules. Thus, it may be good to set penalties for your employees to be keen on security policies.   

Aside from the awareness, train your new employees on what they should do when a cyberattack occurs. Doing so introduces your workers to your culture and makes them feel like a part of the larger team. It also shows them you care about their safety, which can encourage them to stay safe from the first day onwards. 

Conclusion

Hackers can obtain your company’s sensitive information in various ways. Educating your employees about cybersecurity awareness enables them to get an insight into how they play significant roles in protecting your organisation against malicious attacks. Above are some tips that you can consider when training your employees. You can also maximise tools and software for further protection, especially if you have a remote team to avoid cyberattack risks.

How To Secure Your Company Data During A Cloud Migration

Moving digital assets into the cloud is a common trend for businesses nowadays. More of them find the convenience of organising and retrieval it affords highly advantageous to their operations.

Sadly, there are certain risks with the cloud migration process. Some of them include possible data loss or alteration, which can expose important information to data breaches. 

As cybersecurity threats continue to skyrocket, it’s crucial to implement protocols throughout the migration process to ensure security. Here are some valuable insights into protecting sensitive data during a cloud migration: 

1. Know The Current Status Of Your Data 

Many companies tend to overlook the data being stored in various databases. Yet, failure to thoroughly assess and categorise data can only make asset retrieval harder, a threat not even hackers can hope to cause on their own. With this in mind, assessing your company data should be the first step in the cloud migration process.

Not doing so can increase the risk of losing data. So, start by separating assets you need to keep for pending and those that can come later. An assessment will ensure only useful and critical data will remain while categorising ensures convenient monitoring. 

To determine the status of your data accurately and ensure optimal security during cloud migration, consider checking out the best IT support in Santa Fe and other similar providers in your area.

2. Limit Accessibility 

One of the ways to improve data security during the cloud migration process is by limiting end-user access to data.

During data migration to the cloud, you don’t want the wrong personnel tampering with any assets. So, give end users access to only what they need to carry out their tasks. You can implement a two or multi-factor authentication (MFA) control. Either option adds an extra layer of security. 

You also have the option to dedupe your company’s data. This deletes unnecessary copies of your data, compressing the amount for transferring and maximizing your storage. In the long run, this results in lower operational costs and better data security. 

3. Make It Phased Or Step-By-Step

If you’re planning to transfer data to the cloud soon, it may be best to do it in a phased manner. Avoid the urge to fast-track it at once. Doing it in phases gives your handling team the time and leeway to monitor each asset being transferred.

Begin with low-priority data so you can minimise potential risk. Once all of that is covered, you can then move on to transferring more critical data. You should conduct testing on how the configuration goes and pinpoint security inconsistencies before taking this step.

4. Determine Compliance Requirements 

Another crucial factor to keep in mind during cloud migration is compliance. So, learn the regulatory protocols applicable to your company data. You should know the specific backup, storage, encryption, and transfer requirements.

For example, financial companies must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in dealing with sensitive customer data. Knowing these stipulations allows your business to stay on the good side of regulatory boards.

5. Use Data Encryption 

During data migration, perform data encryption to ensure security before, during, and after transit. Remember that data is susceptible to sabotage or breaches in between databases. One way to boost security is to utilise secure transport protocols such as hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS).

6. Determine The Impact Of Migration To The Remaining Data Center 

Once you transfer your company data to the cloud, you still need to consider the remaining devices in your data center, such as your company drives or storage servers. Decide on what you’ll do with the storage equipment left behind after the migration. You have the option to reuse or liquidate them.

7. Review The Security Level Of Your Cloud Service 

After successfully migrating your company data to the cloud and clearing out your old storage, the final step is re-evaluating overall security and possible limitations. Although the cloud is relatively safe, it has its share of weak points. Watch out for the latest vulnerabilities and ensure that you apply the latest patches or adjust the settings immediately.

Final Thoughts

Migrating your company’s data to the cloud requires a high level of security and some thorough planning. This can seem daunting on paper. But with these steps, you can ensure your company data stays safe throughout the process. Remember to cover all bases when handling something as important to your business as your digital assets.

7 Tips For Resilient Manufacturing Operations

Disruptions happen daily at factories around the globe, causing significant damage to production processes. According to Statista, there’s an estimated loss of $184USD million in 2021 due to supply chain disruptions globally.

No manufacturing business is immune from these issues, but you can take steps to mitigate them and ensure resilient operations. The manufacturing space is constantly evolving, and manufacturers need to stay on top of new technologies and innovations to improve their efficiency and productivity.

Here are some tips for resilient manufacturing operations:

1. Use an inventory management system (IMS)

Inventory management in manufacturing is complex, especially when you have multiple locations with different resources and suppliers. An inventory management system helps eliminate errors by automating manual tasks and providing visibility into where products are located and how much stock remains. It also provides real-time data about product availability and lets you know if any items need replenishing before they run out.

Statistics revealed a total of $71.4USD billion loss due to insufficient inventory levels, wherein products sold or promoted are products that are actually not in stock. These numbers imply that having an effective inventory management system is crucial for maintaining efficient operations.

2. Optimise your IT infrastructure

Manufacturing companies often rely heavily on technology to keep their operations running smoothly. However, outdated IT systems can lead to downtime and slow down productivity. To avoid this, optimize your IT infrastructure to support all your needs. Optimization includes upgrading hardware and software, as well as implementing cloud solutions.

Cloud computing has become increasingly popular among manufacturers. Forbes reported a 92% increase in businesses relying on the cloud over the past decade because it allows them to access information and applications anytime, anywhere.

With cloud solutions, you can maximize virtualization to create a single operating system instance across multiple servers, reducing costs and improving performance.

3. Implement a quality control program

Quality control programs are essential for ensuring the safety and reliability of manufactured goods. They provide detailed documentation of each step involved in the manufacturing process, including materials, procedures, and equipment. Quality control programs also include inspections to verify that standards are being met throughout the operation.

Implementing a good quality control program that meets your specific requirements saves you from costly mistakes by identifying issues early on and preventing them from becoming major complications later on.

4. Use data analytics to make informed decisions

Data analytics provides valuable insights into how well your company is performing. With this information, you can make informed decisions that improve productivity and profitability.

Manufacturing operations are complex. They involve multiple steps and different types of equipment. Data analytics can help you track every aspect of your operation to make smart, timely decisions.

5. Keep up with regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance is a critical aspect of manufacturing. Manufacturers must comply with various regulations to protect consumers and employees. Some examples of these regulations include those from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These rules govern everything from workplace safety to environmental protection. If a manufacturer fails to meet these requirements, it could face fines and penalties. Therefore, manufacturers must stay abreast of new laws and regulations.

6. Train your workforce

Training plays a vital role in improving employee skills and knowledge. Trained employees tend to perform better than those who don’t. When employees understand what they’re doing, they’ll work more efficiently and produce higher quality results.

A 2019 report by Statista reveals that manufacturing companies spend an average of $1308USD per worker annually on training because they know that investing in training will improve their bottom line. It’s not just about providing technical knowledge; workforce training should also focus on soft skills like leadership, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and teamwork.

7. Develop a strong relationship with suppliers

Lastly, suppliers play a crucial role in manufacturing processes. Without them, there’d be no products or services available. As such, manufacturers must build long-term relationships with their suppliers.

It means establishing trust between both parties by communicating openly and honestly. It also involves knowing your supplier’s business model, strengths, weaknesses, and culture. By building a solid foundation with your suppliers, you can achieve mutual success.

Final thoughts

To run a flawless and successful manufacturing operation, you must consider these tips. You may have heard or used some of these before, but it’s always good to review them. Remember, creating a detailed plan and sticking to it is the best way to ensure a resilient manufacturing operation.

4 Basics Of Boosting Employee Morale

Behind any organisation and company’s success is a team of happy, healthy, and satisfied employees. Any business with high employee morale tends to enjoy a healthy work culture and well-engaged employees and won’t have any problem sourcing or attracting the best talents in the industry.

Employee morale says a lot about how a business is towards its staff, and if you want to build or grow your empire, you should invest more in it. There’s a positive ripple effect in boosting employee morale in the office. Once you keep your employees happy and satisfied, they contribute more of their passion and commitment to the company, yielding an increase in sales and a thriving workplace.

Consider these basics to start improving employee morale in your organization.

1. Provide Promotional Or Growth Opportunities

Giving your employees a sense of purpose will boost their morale and motivate them to work towards your company’s goals. As a worker stays in the company for a longer time, ensure to provide them room for growth, such as getting promoted or transferred to more challenging roles. Your employees will feel more valued by caring about their professional and personal growth. Now’s the best time to invest in employee development.  

You can launch a mentorship program or provide training, so employees will not get stuck with their existing skills and abilities. Always offer opportunities for them to improve their professional skills. Motivation comes from feeling that you are growing and developing as an employee. After all, your company can ultimately take advantage of employees with increasing talent and skills.

2. Organise Team-Building Activities

Team-building activities that bring employees closer together are crucial to fostering positive morale. A large part of a thriving workplace is because of the strong professional relationships between all team members. Fortunately, there are many team-building ideas that you can apply to nurture relationships. Finally, when working relationships are sturdy and effective, the overall productivity of the company will also improve.

Organise team lunches and happy hours if you work in the same office. Remote teams, however, may have a challenging time organizing these kinds of events. But you can always use remote work tools, where people can conduct conferences and hold fun virtual team-building activities together. What’s important is to schedule these activities frequently, so everyone feels unified as a family in the organisation.

3. Implement A Rewards And Recognition System

A good and positive workplace should always dwell on the positive side of things. Therefore, it’s important to have recognition and reward systems. Employees are more productive when they feel appreciated. The best way to boost employee morale is to recognize them. Not only does recognition boost employee engagement, but it also increases productivity and loyalty, which leads to higher retention.

Contrary to what other business leaders expect, employee recognition doesn’t have to cost a lot. Even sending out thank you notes for their job well done can already significantly impact employee motivation.

Employee recognition is very effective and has a long-lasting effect. You can create reward programs in different departments that pick out an employee of the month and give them perks such as free coffee coupons or branded merchandise from the company. These small investments can boost employee morale a lot.

4. Make Communication A Priority

Your company must facilitate and encourage communication. Its importance can’t be overstated. Everyone wants to work in a transparent company where they can express and show their real feelings and thoughts. It will allow them to showcase their creativity and help the company achieve its goals.

It should be easy for employees to ask questions, speak up in meetings, and collaborate with colleagues. Even when your business operates remotely, make communication convenient and accessible for everyone.

Managers should schedule one-on-one meetings with employees to encourage them to share problems and create resolutions. It allows them to nurture, build, motivate, and maintain happy and satisfied workers. When communication is open and convenient, the workplace becomes a better place for everyone.

Conclusion

Many companies no longer prioritize checking with their employees in this busy world. There are many causes of low employee morale, including burnout, poor communication, mistrust, lack of recognition, and a lack of growth opportunities. However, you can prevent these when you implement effective employee morale strategies. The more support and encouragement your employees receive, the more confident they will feel about doing their best work. Therefore, apply the tips in this article, and you’ll see positive results in your business.

The Importance of 5G Backup Internet For Businesses

Today’s business models depend on internet connectivity, and network outages are costly. Business systems and applications rely on the internet for optimal functioning. And even the slightest disruption in connection can have a detrimental impact on an enterprise. As such, it is critical to have a reliable internet failover option for your business.

Enterprises need a wireless internet backup to ensure continuity of operations when an outage happens. To this end, 5G has become a popular internet connectivity redundancy option for businesses. 

This article explores the importance of the 5G network as backup internet for businesses.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless connectivity. It is the next step in mobile technology, designed to transform the world. The new standard offers faster data speeds (upto 100 times), lower latency, and greater capacity for handling traffic compared with 4G LTE.

But what does that mean for businesses?

In a world where remote working is becoming the norm, 5G creates unlimited opportunities for people and businesses. Specifically, 5g backup internet is ideal for businesses to connect with remote employees and branches in case fiber cables fail.

The Importance of 5G Backup for Business Internet

So, what happens when your internet goes down? You could have a backup plan that allows you to continue operating as usual while your connection is restored. Solutions include secondary fixed lines and cellular network redundancy options.

But if you’re looking for an alternative approach that offers higher speeds, 5g backup internet can be an excellent choice! Below are the reasons why your enterprise should consider 5G as a backup internet connection:

Ideal for Temporary Use Cases

A 5G connection is ideal for businesses with temporary use cases. This includes retail outlets and branch locations that need a temporary internet connection until dedicated access is installed. Since 5G is a wireless solution, installation is quick and easy. You don’t need to wait for days to install your own network. Indeed, 5G allows for a new level of flexibility to help you get your business online faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Network Availability

Wired failover solutions don’t always ensure the uninterrupted network availability that businesses need. Mostly, network cables enter the premises via the same trench when installing the fixed lines. And when accidents occur, they might interrupt the primary and secondary connections. Such occurrences can cause unprecedented network outages, and the business will incur losses. That can be worse if the enterprise applications require 100% internet uptime.

Thankfully, the 5G network offers a less invasive and high-performance wireless option to ensure continuity of operations when internet failure occurs. It is a secondary internet source that can’t be affected by physical interruptions.

Network Reliability

Businesses have a lot of different needs, but one of the most important is network reliability.

5G network delivers the most reliable and consistent connection possible. With 5G backup internet, your business can be sure that your customers won’t have to deal with signal drops or data congestion.

With 5G, you can rest assured that you’ll have a strong network connection no matter the location of your employees and customers. Also, the enhanced reliability provided by 5G means you don’t have to worry about dropped calls or canceled transitions.

Network Bandwidth

When there is a network failure, enterprises still need sufficient bandwidth to run applications. And with the 5G failover option, retail outlets and branches can switch connections without compromising network bandwidth. It promises to deliver faster speeds and increased capacity for more devices than ever.

The 5G network can support many users and applications while delivering high-quality connections. You don’t need your IT support team to configure systems to give priority to critical applications.

The wireless connection allows all data to flow seamlessly without affecting the user experience. With 5G, you can count on greater bandwidth and higher speeds, even when your company’s critical systems are in use. You can expect faster download times, so your employees will be able to get the information they need more quickly.

Does 5G Replace Fiber?

When it comes to mobile connectivity, 5G is the only option that can work at par with fiber. It offers high data speeds, great capacity, and lower latency than 4G LTE. However, 5G doesn’t replace fiber by any means.

Instead, 5G compliments fiber by enhancing mobility. It makes it more convenient for enterprises to stay connected when there are interruptions in fiber connections. 5G  is the best wireless option for businesses that need high-capacity connections and low latency for internet failover.

But fiber remains essential for connecting the world and businesses. It should be your primary internet option if you want to ensure enough optimal capacity and application performance for your enterprise.

Final Thoughts

5G backup internet offers availability, reliability, and bandwidth – vital capabilities of a perfect internet backup for businesses. The wireless connection overcomes the challenges of wired failover options to keep an enterprise running when the primary network outage strikes. So, you should consider deploying 5G connectivity to keep your business up and running in the case of the primary network hitches.

AI and Metaverse Technologies Boost Training and Streamline Onboarding for Employees

By Rehan Haque, CEO of metatalent.ai

We live in a world where businesses constantly reinvent themselves to remain competitive. Automation and digitisation goals feature in well over half of all today’s businesses’ long-term corporate strategies, according to PwC’s most recent annual Global CEO Survey. Which is why artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual worlds or ‘metaverse’ related technologies and tools have risen to prominence, particularly in relation to improving on-the-job training and upskilling new talent.

In 2022, many businesses are now starting to benefit from the application of AI and metaverse technologies in providing streamlined training and onboarding for employees. Combining AI and metaverse technologies affords companies an incredible new opportunity to train and equip people with the necessary skills to navigate the future of work.

Indeed, the very nature of the future of work across a multitude of different sectors will be hugely impacted by new AI and metaverse technologies. It’s estimated that over 23 million jobs will be impacted by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by 2030, and that these technologies have the potential to deliver a £1.4 trillion boost to the global economy over the next eight years, according to recent PwC forecasts.

The real value of AI and metaverse training

AI and metaverse-based tools are benefitting both new, younger staff entering the workforce for the very first time, as well as established employees with a need to constantly upskill, advance existing aptitudes, or go through certain compliance training.

In addition to this, due to the huge increase in remote and hybrid working, post-pandemic, in-person training has become far more challenging. That’s why leveraging the latest virtual and augmented reality technologies can provide businesses in with lucrative advantages. For example, employees that train in VR simulations learn twice as fast as e-learners and four times faster than classroom learners, according to the PwC 2022 US Metaverse Survey.

Utilising the capabilities of the metaverse means that training can be conducted that activates employees’ senses. It promotes interactive engagement methods via immersive VR, AR, and extended reality (XR) training. Virtual metaverse training environments can also be made to feel more lifelike using tactile, haptic technology, enabling individuals to learn by doing lifelike activities, and co-learning with their colleagues.

Most importantly, these new virtual training environments allow the creation of a fully realised world that can be manipulated to appeal to the learning style of a specific individual. Which means that learners not only absorb and retain information faster, they get far more pleasure and enjoyment from the process. So it’s little surprise that metaverse learners are 3.75 times more emotionally connected to content than classroom learners and four times more focused than their traditional e-learning peers, according to PwC’s study.

Safe, secure and flexible learning environments

As the metaverse delivers a real-time setting for individuals to train in, they can immerse themselves in an environment that simulates any kind of real-world workplace situation, including high-pressure scenarios. Plus, as the environment is a virtual version of reality, it means that the learner can make mistakes without jeopardising the safety of themselves or others.

Virtual training on the latest operational processes in manufacturing, for example, can be optimised through the metaverse to perfect business processes, with huge increases in efficiency, staff productivity and noticeable increases in the elimination of waste materials and resources.

In addition to improving on-the-job training processes, metaverse training environments enable far more effective onboarding processes for new employees. When done well, the use of AI and metaverse technologies to boost onboarding has the potential to contribute positively to staff retention rate. In turn, this will have an impact on overall satisfaction and thus productivity, as an employee settles in over time.

Overall, the use of AI and metaverse technologies for training current staff and onboarding new employees contributes positively to the recruitment process. As it can reduce training time, whilst simultaneously increasing employee motivation and willingness to participate. Essentially, the metaverse can show employees what their job would be like before they even join.

Metaverse training improves employee engagement

Consider, for example, the fascinating experiment recently carried out by MGM Resorts, in partnership with the VR firm, Strivr, to allow job seekers try out roles using virtual reality to reduce employee churn. Not only did this pilot study show how metaverse training can improve employee engagement, Strivr CEO Derek Belch also noted that the data gathered from using VR “can be very powerful for both the employee, as part of their candidacy for a role, as well as for the employer to make better data-driven decisions”.

Time and money (through training and resources) can be saved on both ends if an employee isn’t suitable for a role. Now, more than ever, we have the power to connect candidates with roles they’re suited for and passionate about. This is key, considering, during the recent so-called ‘great resignation’ many people quit jobs with which they were not enthralled about. The metaverse allows job candidates to try careers they’re likely to excel in, leading to greater job satisfaction, and therefore higher levels of productivity.

With hands-on simulated training and exposure into a new setting, the latest AI and metaverse training technologies can provide businesses and employees alike the best tools to succeed. Equipping employees with the necessary skills they need in order to navigate the future of work.

How to Write a Grant Proposal For Non-Profit Projects

By Yauhen Zaremba – Director of Demand Generation

Grant writing can be a daunting task.  If you’ve never written a grant proposal before the idea of putting one together can be overwhelming. This article will cover the proposal writing process from start to finish, with tips and best practices along the way. By the time you’re finished with this advice, you’ll be confident you’re putting your best foot forward when approaching organizations for funding.

What is a non-profit grant proposal?

A grant proposal is any document sent to a funding body to convince them to support a project or organization. This is how organizations fund everything from science projects, to charity work, to new startup companies.

For non-profits, knowing how to write a good grant proposal is essential to their survival. Particularly as grants are often a primary source of income. 

A non-profit grant proposal should cover the following bases:

  • The introduction should briefly describe the organization and its mission. It should also state what the proposed project is and why it is needed.  
  • The statement of need should explain the problem that the project will address and be backed up by data and statistics.
  • The project description should give more details about what will be done to solve the problem. It should include information about who will benefit from the project and how they will be helped.  
  • The budget should show how much money is needed to fund the project. It should itemize all expenses and there should be a clear justification for each item.
  • The concluding statements should reiterate the importance of the project and summarize what has been presented in the proposal.

 

How to write an effective grant proposal for a non-profit project

Writing a successful grant proposal requires preparation and research. You’ll need to identify potential donors and consider the work they’re interested in funding, as well as craft a compelling case for your project. Follow these tips to learn how to write an effective grant proposal for your non-profit project.

Know your audience and connect with them

Before you start writing, think about who will be reading your proposal. What kind of information do they need or want to know? What would grab their attention and make them want to support your project? You should research the organization and submission guidelines thoroughly; only send your proposal to funds or donors you’re qualified for.

Slightly personalize your proposal to each new body you’re sending it to, making sure that you connect with each one individually. You can also use concrete examples and stories to make your mission relatable, by bringing these people and issues to life. 

Keep it focused

A good story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. In other words, don’t try to cram too much information into your proposal. Stick to the most essential points and tell them in a way that is easy to follow. A successful grant proposal won’t be your last point of contact with a funding body, so you can always give more information on a call later on.

Be honest

Don’t try to gloss over any challenges or potential risks associated with your project. Reviewers will see through this and it will hurt your credibility. Instead, show that you’re aware of these issues and have a plan for addressing them. In the non-profit world, it is more important to show that your organization reflects on potential issues, acknowledges complexities, and, in doing so, is able to provide unique solutions. 

Write a strong cover letter

Your cover letter is your first chance to make a good impression on a prospective funder. It should be concise, convincing, and personalized to the specific funder you’re pitching to.

Your cover letter should be no more than one page. Get to the point and demonstrate the necessity of your project. Be sure to also mention any previous grants you have received from this funder and how those funds made a positive difference. Alternatively, mention similar (successful!) projects they’ve funded that covered similar ground.

Introduce your organization

After your cover letter, start by introducing your organization and any previous successes you’ve had. Be sure to clearly state how your work aligns with the funding source’s goals and priorities. Then, you can move on to a short executive summary detailing project activities, expected outcomes, and budget.

Start with a short executive summary

Funding bodies look at grant proposals like yours all day. To stand out, you need to make your pitch on the first page or two. It’s the same reason academic papers always start with an abstract: the reader can decide within a couple of minutes whether this is worth reading in full.

To write an effective executive summary, you need to cover the following points:

  • Outline the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Briefly explain why your solution is novel or is reliably proven to work.
  • Demonstrate that your organization has the experience and skills for this project.
  • Outline the budget you’re asking for, and how you’re going to evaluate success.

It might be that the reader is only interested in a particular section, or needs to see your budget section before they read anything else, so consider using an online free PDF editor to add a hyperlinked Table of Contents. This should help them to easily navigate your proposal. 

Set clear goals and achievable milestones

Once you’ve provided a brief summary, you can move on to your project properly. Start by telling the story of the problem people are having, and how your project is going to solve it. Make this convincing with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) and a few clear milestones which you’ll use to measure progress.

Outline your project

Now that you’ve outlined your goals, it’s time to detail how you’ll achieve them. The focus should be on demonstrating your expertise as well as how innovative and necessary your project is. Describe any resources you’ll need to buy to complete this work, the expected ROI and if possible the partners you’re going to work with to get them.

Where possible, tie your project back to work you’ve seen succeed before. Those could be examples you’ve found in your research, past similar projects, or your own previous achievements.

Set your budget and justify it

Applying for grants and funding is often very competitive. With this in mind, you need to clearly demonstrate why you need this much money, and you need to demonstrate that you’re prepared for funding. Your budget should be intrinsically linked to the other sections of the proposal and, therefore, illustrate how each item is justified.

A successful grant proposal for non-profit projects

As they read your grant proposal, funding bodies go from “warmly open to your ideas” to “ready to sign waiver forms and get started”. You’ll make this happen by telling them everything they need to know upfront, but use the rest of your proposal to tell a convincing story about who you are, the problem you see in front of you, and why your non-profit is the one to solve it.

Working From Home Can Slash Payback Periods for EV Drivers

With hybrid working figures peaking to their highest levels on record, Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, discusses why EV drivers who have switched to working from home could be looking at a payback period of less than six years if they choose to invest in solar panels. 

According to insight from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 38% of the UK workforce now enjoy either a part-hybrid or totally remote role. While sceptics have suggested that this trend will begin to fall in-line with retreating COVID-19 cases, a recent survey from Tracking Happiness found that workers are reportedly happier and more productive than ever thanks to their newfound flexibility. As such, if anything, remote working rates are expected to rise further over the coming years.

While this scenario would have been considered almost unthinkable prior to the pandemic, multiple lockdowns have demonstrated that a significant percentage of roles can be successfully delivered remotely, resulting in a more engaged workforce and offering a number of commercial benefits too. Indeed, alongside better performance, greater engagement and increased staff retention, organisations offering remote options are said to have a 21% higher profitability margin.

But alongside professional flexibility, there are additional – financial – benefits available for electric car drivers who work from home and choose to invest in solar panels. Indeed, thanks to the latest developments in eco-smart home energy management technology, householders can not only slash their energy bills, but also significantly reduce the payback period of their investment into renewables. 

Savvy saving – investing in solar 

When it comes to self-generated renewable energy, solar PV is a reliable and efficient solution with a realistic price tag and minimal maintenance requirements. As the technology has continued to evolve and improve, it has become highly popular with homeowners nationwide. 

To tackle the seemingly looming energy crisis, data from Solar Energy UK reveals that more than 12,000 photovoltaic (PV) installations were undertaken in July – an increase of almost 200% year-on-year. In addition, installers nationwide have been reporting enquiry surges of more than 1,000%.

But while solar panels will invariably help to reduce the grid electricity consumption of any household, typically only 45% of self-generated renewable energy is consumed. Indeed, while most household energy is used in the mornings and evenings, most renewable energy is generated during the middle of the day. Unless you have a comprehensive battery set-up, it’s most likely that you’ll export sustainable power at periods of low consumption and buy it back at a more expensive rate when you really need it. 

In the past, this scenario has somewhat dissuaded domestic investment into renewable self-generation. However, the latest developments in eco-smart home energy technology have changed things. 

At myenergi, we’re renowned worldwide for developing pioneering eco-smart energy solutions that maximise the efficiency of self-generated supply. We help users to harness the true benefits of self-generation through market-leading smart technologies, reducing their carbon footprint and helping them to take complete control of their energy spend.  

We’re best known for designing the market’s first eco-smart electric vehicle charging device – zappi – a future-proofed solution that, alongside operating as a mains-connected charging device that automatically optimises around your energy tariff to enable charging at both cheaper and greener times from the grid, seamlessly integrates with renewable tech to harness self-generated energy.  

The ability for remote workers to effectively ‘soak up’ excess solar during the day gives zappi users the opportunity to charge for free – quick, simple, zero emissions motoring. While charging your car through mains supply is still far cheaper and more environmentally friendly than running a petrol or diesel car, doing it with renewable energy can take EV charging completely off grid – reducing annual bills for electric motoring by upwards of £500 per annum!  

For those who don’t work at home, solar is still a great investment if paired with myenergi’s eddi. The clever diverter diverts surplus renewable energy to domestic heating systems, such as an immersion, storage or space system, to provide users with 100% renewable heat and hot water. It can even be paired with a domestic battery device to store self-generated energy for use during the evenings.  

In result? A smart home with minimal grid demand, powered by completely free renewable energy.  

Embracing the future 

Remote working is clearly here to stay. The benefits, for both employers and employees, are countless and the positive impacts of a more controlled work/life balance speak for themselves.  

But rather than rely on grid supply, remote workers with solar panels should consider harnessing the benefits of eco-smart energy management to maximise the opportunities available. At myenergi, we’re proud to provide innovative ways for homeowners to embrace sustainability while also cutting costs and reducing payback periods through our pioneering product line-up.  

It might sound obvious, but maximising consumption of self-generated renewable energy is key to taking total control of your home energy use. It’s a great opportunity and one to seize with both hands. 

Proptech On the Rise As Residential and Commercial Real Estate Investors Look to Battle Inflationary Pressures and Rising Interest Rates, Reveals Hampleton Partners

The Proptech M&A Market Report from Hampleton Partners, the international M&A and corporate finance advisory firm for technology companies, reveals that the first half of 2022 saw 55 property technology (Proptech) deals, 57 per cent up on 1H2020 and 12 per cent up on 1H2021 numbers.

The previous half-year deal count high was 2H 2019, pre-Covid pandemic, when 63 Proptech deals were completed.

Axel Brill, managing director, Hampleton Partners, said: “The Proptech market doesn’t appear to be slowing down, despite recent market volatility, as capital continues to flow in and the market remains thirsty for technological innovation, especially where it drives operational efficiency.”

Enterprise Real Estate Software M&A

The largest of the Proptech segments, capturing 25 per cent of all M&A activity over the past five years, Enterprise Real Estate Software such as document management and e-signing has become a vital replacement to traditional manual documentation delivery to counter travel restrictions, social distancing and remote work, experienced most sharply throughout 2020.

Significant deals in this segment include Spain’s Idealista’s acquisitions of InMovilla and Smiling Cloud to improve CRM software, real estate marketing, invoicing, and virtual property visits.

Real Estate Fintech

Deal flow in the real estate Fintech segment proved strong in 1H 2022, despite challenging macroeconomic conditions. Deals increased by 167 per cent between 1H 2021 and 1H 2022. Like most other subsectors, deal volume declined in 1H 2020 as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Two examples of deals in the real estate Fintech segment are:

US-based public company Porch Group’s acquisition of Floify Inc. in a deal valuing it at $86.5 million, late 2021. Floify provides the real estate and finance sectors with automated mortgage origination and management SaaS as well as document management capabilities.

In May 2022, Altus Group’s $28.8 million acquisition of Canada-based Rethink Solutions. Rethink Solutions provides an AI-powered property tax management software with open APIs for firms operating in the North American real estate market. Additional features include tax and expense management, value assessments, budgeting & forecasting, and tax saving tracking software.

Property Management SaaS

Deal volume in the Property Management SaaS hit a record high in 2H2021 recording an enormous 250 per cent jump over the previous quarter and a 75 per cent rise over 2H2020.

Aareon’s acquisition of Momentum Software Group in June 2022 is a good example of an acquisition in this space, enabling Aareon to corner the Nordic market.

Momentum, provides property management and energy monitoring software, as well as related APIs for property owners. The software helps firms to manage units, develop housing, monitor energy data, and analyse consumption behaviour.

Top acquirers of Proptech companies – past 30 months

The top two acquirers of Proptech companies over the past 30 months and their three most recent acquisitions are: 

MRI 12 acquisitions including: Apartment Data Services; Property Suite NZ and Angus Systems

CoStarGroup 6 acquisitions including – Business IMO; ComReal; Homes.com

The future of Proptech technology M&A

Axel Brill, managing director, Hampleton Partners, continued: ”Companies need to flex their M&A muscles and acquire competitive capabilities before interest rates rise even further, whilst also disposing of non-core assets to cut unnecessary costs.

“We expect larger technology companies, both public and private, will continue to actively engage in M&A to accelerate time to market and fill in product gaps. This is vital for tech giants as their competition intensifies during market downturns. As for Proptech valuations, the market will limit high valuations to businesses that have simultaneously demonstrated growth and profitability.”

How Business Owners Can Outsmart Inflation

Out of control inflation has now engulfed most of the world’s major economic zones, including nearly every developed and some developing nations. While many working adults manoeuvre to side-step rising prices in dozens of ways, what about owners of small businesses? Many of them work from their homes operating micro companies as a way to earn a second income. Luckily, many of the same techniques that individuals use to battle rising prices can work for entrepreneurs too.

One of the best examples is real estate investing, long a top choice for those who want to build long-term financial security through regular cash flow and multiple tax advantages. In the same way that families tighten their monthly budgets, entrepreneurs can review their recurring expenses and make one or more strategic cuts. Other tactics that can save owners money are outsourcing and joining the local chamber of commerce. Both have the potential to minimize various types of routine business spending. Here are some ideas to get started on bringing your small organization’s costs down in the face of inflation.

Investing in Real Estate

One of the newest wrinkles in the multi-faceted field of real estate investing is related to the surge in Airbnb-type rental properties. For those who operate small companies and also own a home, the situation can yield significant financial benefits. The concept behind short-term vacation rentals is to turn unused or rarely used rooms in your home into income generating rental units. The technique has grown in popularity during the past few years and offers homeowners a potentially lucrative, user-friendly way to generate cash from the otherwise dormant property. However, while the process is relatively simple, there’s more to it than just posting an online vacancy notice. It’s essential for potential Airbnb entrepreneurs to learn all the details about how to operate a profitable venture. Only then should small business owners decide if the idea is a worthwhile one for bringing in additional cash.

Cutting Operational Expenses

There are smart budgeting apps that can assist any commercial entrepreneur with developing detailed monthly income and expense statements. The goal is to pinpoint realistic ways to lower expenses without affecting profits. It’s important to avoid traps like assuming that you can save by slashing advertising costs. One of the core principles of commerce is that every dollar spent should generate income, so across the board cost cutting is usually counterproductive.

Outsourcing

It takes a bit of soul searching to figure out what chores can be outsourced. That’s because it’s human nature for sole proprietors to want to do it all, even when they don’t have the time, funds, or skills to meet that lofty objective. For most owners of small enterprises, common candidates for outsourcing include chores like tax filing, advertising, and IT security. For business owners with in-house teams, you can still invest in employee development and outsource at the same time just be sure to outsource tasks that do not take away from your collaboration efforts.

Joining the Local Chamber of Commerce

There are many benefits to chamber membership, even if there are fees associated with membership in some cities. In addition to networking potential, members can learn about their niches from mentors, uncover new markets, meet local vendors, and learn new techniques for controlling costs. If your local area doesn’t have a chamber of commerce, consider starting one.

How To Build A Business Continuity Plan In 5 Steps

A business continuity plan (BCP) is a contingency measure you put in place to protect the company from unexpected disruptions. It could be natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, fires, or cyber-attacks.

A BCP will help ensure the operations continue, your staff is secure, and business assets are safe. Remember, you never know when such calamities will happen. Adequate planning can help you avoid losing revenue, customers shifting to your competitors, and incurring high costs, which could lead to a decline in your profits.

Significantly, your plan should be well-detailed. The plan’s goals and the financial resources dedicated to achieving them should be described in detail. With that in mind, below are five steps you can use to build your business continuity plan:

Step 1: Form A Business Continuity Team

Having a continuity team ensures you have reliable individuals you can rely on should a disaster happen. They’re a significant component when creating your BCP. Pick dedicated staff from every department in your company. Ensure they’re keen and organized in their work. Here are some of the most critical roles that will need to be filled in your BCP team:

  • Governing Management: The staff in charge of this acts as the connection between enterprise managers and the BCP team.
  • Program Facilitator: This person is in charge of arranging activities related to creating the plan, like budgeting and developing recovery plans.
  • Information Officer: This team member is responsible for acquiring and distributing information associated with the BCP.

Meanwhile, most businesses operate with an intricate information technology system comprising computers, data servers, networks, websites, phoning systems, etc. Managing all these can prove hectic. Therefore, you’ll also need a strong expert IT support team who can help you when the need arises.

If you’re in the US, it’s best to look for reliable companies like Tech Advisory that offer IT support in Providence. They can assist you in creating a complete strategy to stop repetitive IT-related problems, do regular consultations, and quickly remedy your technical issues.

Step 2: Evaluate Risks

After you’ve compiled a reliable team, assess all the risks that may affect the company and include them in your business continuity plan. It’d help if you gathered input from all the major stakeholders in your enterprise. From their perspective, you’ll know where there’s a significant risk and the measures needed for the threats to be averted.

Such risks include natural disasters like tornadoes and fires, information technology attacks like malware and data breaches, and other online crimes. After identifying all the risks, discuss them with everyone to get their take on where the loopholes are and how the risk can be mitigated.

Step 3: Conduct A Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis is a critical part of BCP because it involves scrutinizing how disruptions and calamities can impact essential scopes of your business. You can use the information to decide restoration priorities and policies.

In addition, a business impact analysis will allow you to see how the key roles operate and associate with one another. It guides you on what to do when significant functions stall, how they’ll affect business income, and how to continue future business plans.

Making it work is possible if you get honest and well-detailed feedback from managers and the staff in your company. They’re the ones who know the business inside and out. You could gather information from them through questionnaires, workshops, and meetings. Also, take the initiative to learn and understand how every department is different and its equipment.

Step 4: Document The Plan

Once you’ve gathered all the information, it’s time to compile it. You may have to write a few drafts before the final copy. The plan should include goals, objectives, structure, budget, timeline, BCP teams, relocation plans, IT disaster restoration, and testing schedules.

Once you finish compiling the plan, keep the hard copy in a secure place. Distribute hard copies to the company’s key players and leave several soft copies stored on the cloud.

Step 5: Test The Plan

Testing the BCP lets you know if the plan is productive or not. It’s necessary to do a test regularly to see if any flaws need amendments. This also helps ensure the plan is up-to-date and precise. Perform drills that simulate emergency scenarios to test your company’s preparedness. Also, reviewing it is essential because your team members may change from time to time.

Conclusion

A business continuity plan enables your business to stay functional in an emergency. Thus, it should be detailed and contain all the information about your business and the areas that could be significantly affected when the company suffers a problem.

5 Urbanisation Challenges That Could Be Easily Handled by AI

AI adoption is the way forward to help tackle the challenges of urbanisation.

The world is moving faster than ever with billions of people on the move. In fact, by 2050, more than two-thirds of the global population will live in cities.

That’s why cities are growing at an amazing pace and this leads to various implications including transportation problems, food security, and resource scarcity.

There are many factors that accelerate urbanisation including but not limited to:

  • Cost of living
  • Education
  • Employment opportunities
  • Improved facilities

As a result, we need new innovative solutions to tackle the challenges increased urbanisation has to bring for us.

If you’re also looking for ways to tackle the challenges of urbanisation with AI adoption—read on. We have listed some use cases of AI in tackling some Urbanisation challenges.

5 of Al’s biggest benefits amidst urbanisation

AI for better parking management system

A UK-based study suggests that a typical car is parked 96.5% of the time. Despite this fact, parking facilities in big cities have always been a challenge.

Since urbanisation is growing at exponential rates and there is an ever-increasing number of vehicles on the road, it is necessary to have parking facilities that can cater to the growing demand.

An AI-based solution to this problem is a smart parking management system.

Imagine a scenario where a car owner can just drive into a parking lot, and the parking system will know the owner’s identity, the type of car, the destination, and other relevant information.

The parking system can then guide the car to the nearest available parking slot, and the car can be parked in the most space-efficient manner.

A similar parking management system by Wayleadr helps solve some of the common issues faced by traditional parking systems such as handling the payments, enforcing the parking area’s rules and regulations, reporting vehicle entries, and much more.

So, AI helps manage parking facilities in a more efficient way, solving one of the major urbanization challenges.

Food security issue

Food Security Issue is a major concern in cities where there is an increase in the population. In 2021, food insecurity affected 33.8 million people, and this figure will proliferate with the increase in urbanisation.

There is less area available to produce food, and the demand for it is much higher. However, this can be handled by AI adoption.

Farmers and food supply management companies can use AI to track the condition of crops and harvest the produce at the right time to achieve the highest yield.

They can also use machine learning models to analyse data and provide appropriate recommendations to solve food security problems caused by urbanisation.

AI-based smart surveillance and monitoring systems

Another challenge of urbanization is to protect people and their belongings. It is also necessary to protect critical infrastructure like power stations, water supply systems, etc.

Artificial intelligence can be used to create smart surveillance and monitoring systems to keep an eye on the city.

With AI, you can create an intelligent system to detect abnormalities and send out alerts. It can help manage law and order situations effectively.

Autonomous vehicles for a better transportation system

Urbanization leads to increased travel demand. This will create a huge pressure on the existing transportation system.

Autonomous vehicles, powered by AI, can be used to reduce the pressure on the system by providing on-demand services.

This enables passengers to book services from their smartphone application and get picked up from the location.

It can also be used for transporting goods from the source to the destination.

Increased efficiency of existing infrastructure

AI can help optimise existing infrastructure like water supply, power supply, and waste management systems. It can help in ways including but not limited to:

  • Predict failures and repair them before they happen
  • Automate the design process and reduce human errors associated with it
  • Regular monitoring of the infrastructure
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Efficient water management by smart irrigation systems

Tackle urbanisation with AI

The world is growing at an unprecedented pace, and this could lead to several issues.

These issues can be solved easily with the help of AI.

In this article, we walked you through 5 urbanisation challenges that AI can easily handle.

From improving the parking management systems to catering to the growing travel demand, AI can help tackle some of the major urbanisation challenges.

What to Do to Benefit from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

The 9/11 victim compensation fund is the fund that was created for monetary compensation to the families who lost their loved ones, victims who got injured, and others who got ill resulting from the toxic dust after the collapse of the Twin Towers during the vicious attack on the World Trade Center (the Pentagon) and the Shanksville crash (Pennsylvania) on September 11, 2001.

Many people perished due to direct attack, while others suffered from medical conditions due to dust exposure.

Average Competition Fund

The average amount for the 9/11 victim compensation fund is discussed as follows;

The amount disbursed was a maximum of $7.35 billion, where administrative and operational costs were inclusive. It only covered two categories of victims; those injured physically, 911-related cancers, or those who perished from the attack.

Due to concerns about the recovery process for those who got injured and others who got illnesses from the attack, the Victim Compensation Fund was reopened in 2010 and reauthorized in 2015.

In addition, the fund was running out of Capital, and therefore, it was reauthorized again and signed into law as the Public Law 116-59-Continuing Appropriations Act,2020, and Health Extenders Act, 2019.

At least 3000 people died from the attack: 189 at the Pentagon, Pennsylvania plane crash claimed 44 people and another 2763 who were in or within the World Trade Center. Some perished due to direct attack, while others suffered from medical conditions due to dust exposure.

Claims for eligibility are as follows;

Be Registered with the September 11 victim compensation fund before the deadline

Have withdrawn, settled, or dismissed any 9/11-related lawsuits Should legal authority make claims on behalf of a deceased Have a 9/11-related medical condition

Show proof that they were present in the attack locations between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002.If you are a victim and want to file a compensation claim, you’ll need to work with a 9/11 compensation attorney. Here are reasons why you need an attorney.

Reasons Why You Need a 911 Victim Attorney

Expertise in medical malpractice

911 Victim Attorneys are experts in medical malpractice, work injuries, and workers’ compensation issues. The process of proving eligibility for compensation is complex because you need to prove that you sustained injuries during the 9/11 incident. An attorney can help you prove that.

Can help you get compensated

911 Victim Attorneys could help you get compensated if you or your loved one got injured during the 9/11 attacks. Compensation can be obtained through settlements and court rulings to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses incurred due to your injury or death. The amount of money received is dependent upon the extent of your injuries or loss.

Can help you deal with your insurance companies

911 Victim Attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies. They will ensure you get the maximum amount possible to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses incurred due to your injury. They know how to fight for clients’ rights to obtain compensation for damages caused by another party’s negligence.

Conclusion

As discussed above, it is advisable that any person experiencing a medical illness resulting from exposure to the dust from the collapse of the tower or families who lost loved ones to the attack get the pay-out for full victim compensation. However, you must seek the help of 911 victim attorneys.

I Have a Unique Business. Can a Buyer Be Found?

Putting your business on the market for sale is a considerable undertaking, regardless of its uniqueness. This is why it’s essential to avoid the mistake of selling your business to the first investor or company that makes an offer. The search for the ideal buyer and a fair negotiation are vital elements for a successful sale that will reflect your hard work.

Moreover, business brokers could help you find qualified buyers for your business and provide an in-depth search and good analysis of the possible opportunities and offers. They will also prepare your company for sale and handle all discussions with potential buyers on your behalf.

How and Where to Find Prospective Buyers for Your Unique Business

Finding a buyer for your business is more complex than spreading the word that you are selling. There are various outlets available for finding prospective buyers for your business. But while industry organizations, trade publications, or online listing services could be viable routes, you need to understand that confidentiality is critical. Working with business brokers is the best way to find ideal buyers for your business while ensuring and maintaining confidentiality. They can field inquiries from buyers and reach out to prospects without mentioning your name and your business.

Separately, business brokers review qualified buyers to guarantee they have the monetary capital to buy your company and that they are an ideal fit for your one-of-a-kind business. Through a discounted cash flow analysis, all investors will consider your company’s potential future profits and growth patterns, whether your business is relatively new or has been in the industry for decades. Basically, your business’ value will be in proportion to these indices. Regardless of how unique you may believe your business is, with the right strategy and business valuation, you will sell your business at the right price.

Why Should I Engage the Services of a Business Broker?

Selling your business, regardless of its industry, can be complicated. From business valuation and confidential marketing to prospective buyers’ questions, it is typically a trying and time-consuming process for most sellers. While you may know how to run your business, you may not know how to sell it. On the other hand, mergers and acquisitions advisors can guide you through the selling process, from helping you prepare your business for sale, finding buyers, negotiating terms of the deal, and assisting with due diligence until the deal closes.

In addition, business brokers use multiple sources to find buyers for your unique business, developing a curated list of hundreds of potential buyers. Moreover, they pre-screen the buyers to determine if they have the financial resources to make an offer. Your broker will handle the due diligence process when they identify a serious business buyer.

Then, the mergers and acquisition advisor will negotiate the final selling price on your behalf and address all the regulations, licenses, and permits that impact the sale. While the selling process can be emotional and draining for you, the broker will help you maintain objectivity and guide you on best practices and what to expect during the closing process.

B2B eCommerce Platform: How to Choose?

eCommerce has become an essential part of doing business. No matter what kind of B2B company you have, it’s critical to be able to reach out to customers online. You can do just that with a B2B eCommerce platform.  Whether you’re selling products or services, having an online store will help expand your audience and grow your customer base. However, with so many eCommerce platforms, which one should you use for your company? Keep reading for a list of the best on the market today.

Selection criteria for choosing a B2B eCommerce platform

When setting out to find the best B2B eCommerce platforms, there were a few factors you should consider:

Ease of use: The platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate. It should also have a high-quality user interface that clarifies how to start building your store.

Customer support: Customer service is critical when you’re trying to build your business on an eCommerce platform—if you’re running into problems, you must know where to go for help (and how quickly they respond.).

Integration with other systems: You’ll want access to software tools that integrate seamlessly with your new eCommerce site so that your sales channels work together seamlessly for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Your customers shouldn’t see those cracks in the system; they need seamless experiences across all fronts, whether online or offline.

BigCommerce

If you’re looking for a platform that can handle your online and offline sales, BigCommerce is one of the best options. It has a wide range of pricing plans and features, including custom themes and integrations with popular apps like MailChimp, Shopify Payments, and Salesforce.

Further, the company’s support team is also known for providing fast responses to customer questions through its help center—often within 15 minutes—so there’s no need to wait long if you have an issue with your site.

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a B2B eCommerce platform that allows you to sell products and services online. It offers many features, including a customisable storefront, order management, inventory management and fulfillment, customer management, and marketing tools.

Shopify Plus also comes with 24/7 support from industry experts who will help you set up your store or integrate it with your existing systems so you can get started as quickly as possible.

Magento

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform used by more than 200,000 merchants worldwide. Easy to use and with a large developer community, Magento has helped many businesses grow their online presence. However, being easy to use means there are no restrictions on what you can do, which could leave your business vulnerable if you’re not careful.

While it may have been designed for B2C (business-to-consumer), Magento can also be used in B2B eCommerce, but it’s not ideal for this purpose because of its lack of functionality and poor support structure.

OroCommerce

OroCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built on PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript. It’s a popular choice for B2B eCommerce platforms and is used by over 1000 online stores. OroCommerce has a large community of developers behind it, so you’re guaranteed to find answers to any technical questions you have.

The architecture of OroCommerce allows you to easily customise it as needed—whether adding new features or changing the way existing ones work. This flexibility also makes it easy to add integrations with third-party software like inventory management tools or payment processors; this can help streamline your sales process and reduce costs.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free and open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This platform is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises.

WooCommerce has over 1 million active installs, making it one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. If you’re looking for an easy way to build an online store on your website, WooCommerce will help you achieve that goal by providing all the functionality you need in a single package at no cost.

Adobe Commerce

Adobe Commerce is a B2B eCommerce platform that offers a wide range of features. Adobe Commerce provides a good user experience with a clean and intuitive design, making it easy for merchants unfamiliar with eCommerce platforms.

Adobe Commerce has a large customer base and is used by many large brands. The platform supports all major payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. It also provides inventory management tools to track your stock levels through integration with popular ERP systems like SAP Business One or Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Unilog

Unilog is a B2B eCommerce platform used by over 1,000 businesses. It offers everything you need to build and run your business and has a wide range of features.

Unilog offers products like:

  • A content management system (CMS) for creating stunning pages on the website
  • A tool for managing orders and customers
  • A product catalogue that lets you add new items easily

Shopware

Shopware is a German-based eCommerce platform. It was launched in 2001 and has become one of Europe’s most popular eCommerce platforms. Shopware is built on PHP (a server-side scripting language) and MySQL (an open-source database).

Also, the platform can be used by developers who know PHP or even those without any development experience since it has a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create their stores.

Shopware offers several extensions that allow companies to customise their online store according to their needs. Some examples include:

  • Shipping services integration
  • Multichannel inventory management
  • Payment gateway integrations

Comparing the 8 Best B2B eCommerce Platforms

Now that we have covered the top B2B eCommerce platforms let’s consider a few more essential points when choosing one.

What’s your budget? Some platforms are free, while others cost hundreds of thousands a year. If you’re on a small budget, there is no need to worry: plenty of affordable options are available.

Do you need an all-in-one solution or want to customize everything from scratch? Some vendors offer both self-hosted and hosted solutions with varying degrees of customisation options built in. Others may only offer one type of solution (either self-hosted or managed). Remember that this won’t affect how many payment gateways they support – just whether those gateways integrate with their platform’s user interface.

Final thought

As you can see from the above comparison, many different options are available for your business. We’d recommend you start by looking at these top B2B eCommerce platforms, which will give you a good idea of what each has to offer. After completing this initial research phase, it’s time to decide which platform best fits your needs and budget before implementing.

Does Your Business Need a Criminal Lawyer? 4 Ways Criminal Lawyers Work With the Corporate World

If you run a business, you might assume that your legal requirements will be met by a corporate lawyer, with this type of expert helping to oversee things like contracts, employee disputes, compliance and so forth.

However, criminal lawyers also have a lot to offer organizations of all sizes, so let’s look at a few of the examples of their involvement in the commercial sector, and how modern companies can find the right representative for their needs.

Defending businesses against criminal charges

Individuals are not the only ones who can have criminal charges leveled against them. This is also a situation which companies may find themselves in from time to time, and so a lawyer specializing in business crime will be a valuable asset in this context.

From dealing with the initial proceedings following an accusation, to building a defense and representing your organization’s interests in the courtroom, these facets and many more are part and parcel of what attorneys in this field do every day.

Crimes covered include everything from bribery and corruption to fraud, tax evasion, insider trading and even road traffic offenses involving business-owned vehicles.

Minimizing operational disruption

The other aspect of a criminal lawyer’s role in the corporate world is that of damage limitation, which includes ensuring that the company can continue to function as smoothly as possible after accusations are made or charges are brought.

This in turn means that the brand reputation of a business will be shielded from erosion by false claims, so it truly is a multifaceted relationship.

How to hire a criminal lawyer

The best way to find an attorney for your business is to contact reputable, local experts, like Monmouth County’s criminal attorneys.

Hiring lawyers that are local to your company is important not just because it makes things convenient, but also because it means that they’ll know everything about the legal system in your region. This specificity of knowledge ensures that they can navigate the process of defending your business effectively, without missing anything important.

If in doubt, ask partners and associates for recommendations, as you’d be surprised how many other businesses will have had to call upon qualified criminal lawyers in the past.

Providing planning assistance

It’s worth noting that you don’t just need to wait until your business is hit with criminal charges before contacting an attorney.

In many instances, companies choose to get in touch with lawyers as a precautionary measure, so that they can get advice and guidance on how to manage any legal speed bumps that may or may not appear in their path at some point in the future.

Preempting problems and being prepared to sidestep them swiftly is a great way to save time and money.

Giving you the gift of choice

Criminal investigations that involve businesses can feel like they are only leading down one path, with one possible resolution.

This is often not the case, and it takes a criminal lawyer to know what avenues are available, and what is the most appropriate way forward for clients.

If you don’t want to leave the reputation of your business hanging in the balance, and instead would prefer to take back control when things turn against you, hiring an attorney is your best bet.

The bottom line

Every business deserves quality legal representation, particularly when criminal charges are involved. Even small firms cannot afford to go it alone because of the prospect of negative publicity and prosecution putting them on the back foot for the foreseeable.

Simple, Seamless, and Stress-free Business Sales

Are you looking to sell your business? Lion Business Brokers can ensure that you and your business move throughout the sales process without a hitch, offering you premium services that are supplied by its team of industry experts. As such, Lion Business Brokers has earned the accolade of M&A Advisors of the Year 2022 – USA for its devotion to producing and delivering quality.

Headquartered in Texas, Lion Business Brokers is a trusted and well-established figure within the mergers and acquisitions industry, boasting a portfolio filled with high-value projects. The company focuses on business sales, business valuations, and of course, mergers and acquisitions, with the customer’s needs always being its main priority. Indeed, Lion Business Brokers bears a fiduciary responsibility to its clients; if the client does not have a successful exit, Lion Business Brokers does not have a successful engagement. With years of experience under its belt, the company is able to secure the very best solutions that offer premium results, tying into its goal to obtain maximum value for its clients.

Since its founding, Lion Business Brokers has had the opportunity to represent a diverse array of businesses, the names of which it keeps confidential. However, the company does showcase a summary of businesses that it has previously represented, including service, construction, distribution, manufacturing, and retail organisations. Within these areas, Lion Business Brokers has worked with day cares, landscaping businesses, florists, bars, and much more, resulting in a vibrant and varied portfolio. Lion Business Brokers considers itself to be a generalist broker practice, which has cultivated an audience filled with a wide range of buyers looking for quality businesses to purchase.

Not only does Lion Business Brokers support sellers, but it also provides buyer representation. Developed for those looking to bolster their net worth through the purchase of a business, its buyer representation services provide clients with access to businesses that are perfect for them. This is one of many benefits that come along with hiring a business broker. In short, Lion Business Brokers’ service is simple: it acts as an intermediary between the buyer and seller, which then translates to greater ease and fewer issues with the buying process. The company’s team are skilled in negotiation, business valuations, and acquisition, meaning that clients can be sure that they receive a confidential and professional buying experience.

Lion Business Brokers credits its team with the success of the business, explaining that the team places what’s best for the client as a greater priority than their commissions. Passionate about what they do, the team work hard to achieve better results for their clients, maintaining the exceptionally high standards laid out by the business. The team consists of alumni from the University of Texas, Baylor University, and Concordia University of Texas, and boasts decades of combined experience, with staff coming from accomplished backgrounds. Henceforth, it could be said that Lion Business Brokers has employed the best of the best.

The company prides itself on providing an unmatched level of service, and this is truly thanks to the Lion Business Brokers team. Approaching its clients with a world-class attitude, Lion Business Brokers represents its clients with passion and integrity, which has created a positive reputation for the business. The five-star business has garnered a plethora of positive reviews, with clients praising each aspect of the business and its team. One example, left by a Private Equity Firm Managing Partner, reads as follows:

‘I have worked with Joshua on several projects. Joshua is a skilled intermediary who represents his clients well to the private equity community. He also does a good job with respect to educating his first-time sellers on the process and what to expect. We look forward to working with Joshua again.’

With business exploding in the post-Covid era, Lion Business Brokers can expect to delve into even greater success, as there are more active buyers in the market today than there have been in decades. Thanks to this saturation, Lion Business Brokers will have the opportunity to further diversify its work. The company’s future certainly looks bright, as there are dozens of plans in place that will lead to expansion and subsequent evolution. In a market that is currently increasing in size, this will be an exceptional advantage, pushing the company leagues ahead of its competitors.

M&A Advisors of the Year 2022 – USA is a title that captures the heart of what Lion Business Brokers does. The company deserves this title as it exceeds customer expectations and sets the standard for the wider market, serving as an example for other mergers and acquisitions businesses. In essence, the future of the industry lies with Lion Business Brokers.

For business enquiries, contact Joshua Carnes from Lion Business Brokers on their website – https://lionbusinessbrokers.com/

Acquisition International Announces the Winners of the 2022 Legal Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Legal Awards.

Acquisition International has designed the Legal Awards programme to recognise and award those firms and professionals who have offered best in class legal services, as well as those who have strived to adapt and innovate in what has, by all regards, been a challenging couple of years.

Approaching its tenth year, 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. On the eve of the announcement, Awards Coordinator Kaven Cooper 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.

Reasons Why IT Support Is More Critical Than Ever For Today’s Businesses

As digital transformation and remote work continue to gain steam, IT services remain absolutely indispensable for businesses of all types and sizes. Whether an in-house team dedicated to the maintenance and upkeep of systems or a reliable outsourced support provider, having robust IT support remains critical to keep a business chugging along in the face of numerous risks and challenges.

Having an ‘IT Guy’ isn’t just for the big companies, and no matter how big or small a company, IT solutions stand to add substantial value in terms of efficiency gains, and are cost-effective in the long run. If you’re still on the fence regarding IT solutions and support for your business, here are some key reasons why they are more critical than ever before, and well worth the added costs.

How To Choose The Right IT Support Services?

There is a lot that needs to be considered before narrowing down to an IT support provider that best aligns with your business needs and requirements. Ideally, you will have to consider a provider’s core competencies, solutions and offerings, certifications, testimonials, and lastly the cost and contractual terms being offered.

While there is no shortage of managed IT service providers, this often only results in choosing the wrong service, only to be faced with frictions, downtimes, and inefficiencies for the months ahead. This is why even reputed players such as USWired’s San Jose IT support services offer free consultations, and a demo to earn the trust of small and medium-sized business owners.

4 Reasons Why IT Support Remains Critical For Businesses

Productivity & Efficiency Gains

A reliable and competent IT service can essentially pay for itself in terms of productivity and efficiency gains.

Not only do support teams and services advise your business on the latest trends and solutions to supercharge your productivity, but they also help identify and cut out redundancies, and other issues that may have been weighing down on system performance.

Poorly implemented software tools and solutions are a major drag on productivity, and can materially impact an organization’s profitability and competitiveness.

Growing Complexity

With the rising complexity of enterprise tech solutions, it is far from the purview of even an average tech-savvy user to effectively set up and implement systems.

By outsourcing to a competent service provider, businesses can receive the best-in-class solutions, perfectly tailored, and implemented to their requirements without having to go through the extensive trial, testing, and learning curves that often come with it.

Most IT support services offer a turnkey solution, wherein all of your technical requirements are taken care of, perfectly in tune with your specifications, and all you have to do is turn the key, and start using.

Security, Privacy & Data Protection

The rising tide of digital transformation and remote work brings with it heightened security risks, data privacy concerns, and challenges pertaining to data storage, and management.

If the recent ransomware attacks on SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline, or the entire Costa Rican Government itself are any indication, things are only going to get more menacing going forward. As a result, your business needs a certified expert on your side, not just to identify and suggest precautions against threats, but even for emergency response, if things do take a turn for the worse.

The fields of cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy have undergone substantial evolutions in just the past few years alone, and there are a number of systems, frameworks, and best practices that can only be implemented with the help of a qualified IT support service.

Reliability

IT systems, network infrastructure, and all of their surrounding frills create a number of different moving parts, with exponentially rising complexities. In order to ensure reliable services for both internal, and external use, constant maintenance, and monitoring remains imperative.

Ensuring the reliability and upkeep of these systems is best left to qualified professionals, who can respond to issues and offer quick resolutions without hampering productivity.

Final Words

IT support services are the need of the hour, and their value far outstrips their costs if you can make the right choices and communicate your needs and requirements effectively.

With the increasingly complex nature of enterprise software solutions, businesses small and large will start to find it difficult to manage all their IT needs in-house going forward.

Financing a Sustainable Future: High-Level Working Group On Green & Sustainability Sukuk Releases Its First Report

  • Indonesia and the GCC are leading jurisdictions for green and sustainability sukuk, together making up 53% of total issuance.
  • The report recommends promoting common regional and international standards, developing capacity with issuers, and expanding the wider ecosystem.

Global green and sustainability sukuk issuance totalled $4.4 billion during the first half of 2022, following a record annual issuance of $6.1 billion in 2021, according to data published by the High-Level Working Group (HLWG) on Green and Sustainability Sukuk. HLWG has issued its first report titled “Financing a Sustainable Future”.

The HLWG was launched in November 2021, during COP26, by founding members HM Treasury, Ministry of Finance in the Republic of Indonesia, Islamic Development Bank, LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group), and Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI).

The report, produced in partnership with the Islamic Finance Council UK, GEFI Initiative, and LSEG, provides insights on the green and sustainability sukuk market, discusses key recent transactions and regulatory developments, and provides views from key industry stakeholders conducted through discussions of the HLWG and an industry survey.  Featuring a roadmap outlining key recommendations to facilitate the development of the green and sustainability sukuk ecosystem globally, key findings include:

  • Indonesia and the GCC are the leading jurisdictions for green and sustainability sukuk, together making up 53% of total issuance.
  • Sukuk have been the main driver of ESG debt issuance in the GCC, making up 80% of green and sustainability bonds sold by GCC-based issuers during the first half of 2022.
  • On average, 82% of annual green and sustainability sukuk have been issued in international markets since 2018, reflecting strong demand from overseas investors.
  • On average, green and sustainability sukuk generated order books worth 4.4 times their offering values, compared with 3.3 times for comparably sampled traditional sukuk.
  • The report recommends promoting common regional and international standards, developing capacity with issuers, and expanding the wider ecosystem.

Omar Shaikh, Advisory Board Member & Director, Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), commented: “We are pleased the HLWG has filed its first report which finds that despite the increase in the issuance of green and sustainability sukuk, there is scope for greater capacity building across issuers, investors and professional services to scale the market to serve the Islamic world.”

Shrey Kohli, Head of Debt Capital Markets, London Stock Exchange, and Chair of the HLWG on Green and Sustainability Sukuk, said: “The growth of green and sustainability sukuk will enable more countries and companies to access finance in a manner consistent with their faith and values. As sukuk are linked to assets that may be eligible for green and social projects, they will become vital tools to fund the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and the just transition to net-zero, as has been evidenced by transactions by Working Group members such as the Islamic Development Bank and Etihad Airlines.”

“I sincerely thank all members of the HLWG for their expertise and insights. We look forward to working with the market to implement the recommendations as head towards the next two COPs in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.”

Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance, Data & Analytics, LSEG, said: “This July marked five years since the first green sukuk was issued, raising $58 million. Green and sustainability sukuk have made great strides during this time, gaining traction across several Islamic capital markets in Southeast Asia, the GCC and Africa, with cumulative total issuance amounting to $21 billion by the first half of 2022.”

“As we approach COP27, it is our aim this report will inform and encourage more countries to adopt green and sustainability sukuk as an innovative approach for financing their SDGs and sustainable development plans.”

LSEG is well placed at the heart of global capital markets to be a strategic enabler of sustainable economic growth. It plays an important role in accelerating the transition to net zero and supporting the growth of the green economy. Refinitiv, an LSEG business, provides an exclusive Islamic finance database including over 1,500 Islamic financial institutions data covering $4 trillion Islamic finance assets. The London Stock Exchange’s Sustainable Bond Market (SBM) is home to more than 300 green, social, and sustainability bonds, raising a combined £120 billion.

How Different Technologies Work Together to Help Developers Deliver Commercial Real Estate Projects On Time and On Budget

According to statistics by J.P. Morgan and Real Capital Analytics, the commercial real estate market is booming, multifamily vacancies are at a record low of 4.7%, and sales of commercial properties recorded a 56% year-over-year growth in Q1 2022.

And, if there is something that has made this growth possible, that is the availability of new technologies and innovative solutions that support the timely and cost-efficient delivery of real estate projects. Learn the impact that technology is having on the CRE sector in the guide below.

Understanding More About Commercial Real Estate Technologies

While the commercial real estate sector is undeniably thriving, reports indicate that there is a shortage of 2 to 5 million units. And, this gap has placed real estate developers and property management companies under unprecedented pressure.

However, thanks to emerging technologies, real estate developers are now able to automate several aspects of their operations, gather real-time and accurate data, visualize the finished product, and maximize cost efficiency.

Since commercial real estate technology is transforming the industry at lightning speed, it is crucial for all developers to learn more about it and keep on top of emerging trends.

BIM and 3D Modelling Supports All Stages of Real Estate Projects

Building Information Modelling (BIM) and data-rich 3D models are playing a critical role in the digital transformation the real estate industry is undergoing today.

These systems, which employ technologies such as CAD software and cloud computing, are powerful visualization tools that developers can use to obtain more accurate estimations of the costs, challenges, and risks of a real estate development project during its pre-construction phase.

In turn, developers can avoid costly mistakes and revisions at later stages of the construction process, which can delay the completion of the project.

VR and Augmented Reality Boost Buyer Confidence

Due to the shortage of commercial and residential units, a growing percentage of properties are sold off-plan – or even before the building is constructed. For developers seeking funds through this strategy, the ability to close deals before investing in a new construction project may be critical.

Nonetheless, according to reports by Fannie Mae, confidence levels among property buyers are dipping to an all-time low.

Luckily, new visualization technologies such as VR and augmented reality can deliver an unprecedented amount of data about a certain building before it’s constructed. This means that developers and potential buyers can visualize the property’s value, quality, timelines, costs, and schedules from the pre-construction stage or earlier.

New Software Facilitates Property and Facilities Management

Facilities and property management software allow developers to effortlessly manage more than one product at once while also automating aspects such as keeping up with compliance, handling complaints, and finding new tenants.

What’s more, this software represents an invaluable tool to control costs and maximize the revenue of a CRE investment.

NFT and the Metaverse Can Streamline Real Estate Sales

It isn’t a secret that real estate transactions are cumbersome, highly bureaucratic, and prone to human error. However, emerging technologies such as NFTs and the Metaverse can streamline commercial property sales by supporting immediate, secure, and immutable transactions.

Indeed, these solutions are based on blockchain technology, which is revolutionizing many aspects of real estate thanks to its properties. Blockchain transactions are not only impossible to be tampered with, but they also provide privacy and security to the parties involved in the transaction.

Big Data is Enabling Smarter Business Decision-Making

CRM systems, coupled with property and facilities management solutions, allow developers to capture an unprecedented amount of market insights. This data is not only far more accurate and current than it has ever been, but it is also easily accessible and can be used in real-time.

This means that developers can get immediate access to reliable market insights, better understand the needs of clients and buyers, and mitigate risk.

While these technologies have already left a significant mark on today’s real estate industry, new, cutting-edge solutions are just around the corner. So, it has never been more important for developers to keep up with the latest trends in the market.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent and Mitigate Cybercrime in Your Company

In 2022, the war on cybercrime is continuing as criminals get savvier and continue to seek new ways to exploit businesses and the public online. Back in 2016, we noted here at Acquisition International that cybercrime was a looming threat. It’s therefore no surprise to our loyal readers that the fight against bad online actors continues.

With this in mind, how can you respond as a business owner or a high-level manager? There are a number of relatively simple steps you can take to protect your employees, business, and consumers.

Utilise digital tools

There is a wide range of different digital tools out there that can be used to effectively root out cybercrime and fraud, as well as prevent them from happening. For example, seon.io’s software can identify a user’s IP, which can give companies valuable information on where a user is located, if they have been blacklisted, or if there is something suspicious going on.

By identifying the IP, a merchant can decide whether they want to proceed with the transaction or whether more information is required from the user. There are also other tools that analyse transactions and can flag any that seem out of character for a user or exhibit an unusual pattern of behaviour. These tools and many others utilise big data, AI, machine learning and even the IoT to crack down on cybercrime, particularly fraud.

Educate yourself and your team

One of your best lines of defence in the fight against cybercrime is awareness, according to the following article from Chubb. If you empower your employees with the knowledge they need to identify suspicious behaviour, criminal activity, and unusual behaviour, they will be able to respond to issues in a much more efficient manner. Additionally, you need to maintain a general awareness of all risks and trends regarding cybercrime to react at a decision-maker level quickly and without jeopardising further damage to the company. This education can take the form of courses and qualifications, online webinars, in-person talks, reading, audio, video, or sessions with cyber professionals. In terms of keeping up to date, you can include updates and things to be aware of in periodic communications to employees, along with resources so they can continue their research on their own accord.

When it comes to developing your staff’s knowledge, you can start with essential guides such as flagging suspicious emails, not clicking on unusual ads and links, ensuring websites are trustworthy before entering credentials, and limiting the use of company networks while using public wi-fi networks. This can then be developed into more technical and sector-specific guidance, depending on their needs and your business challenges.

But it is essential to ensure you stay up to date. The world of cybercrime changes incredibly quickly, and criminals are always looking for ways to circumvent the system and find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. This means that the education process should be ongoing, including for you and your team.

Collect and evaluate security logs

The information and data contained in your security logs are a great tool at your disposal. A great best practice for you to adopt is to collect them and ensure they are thoroughly analysed to identify any suspicious activities. Looking at the information in these logs is an excellent way for your to spot untoward things that are happening, including logins, application executions, activity during non-business hours, and PsExec executions, which could all highlight something is wrong. Using these logs is valuable not just in terms of identifying cybercrime but when trying to catch perpetrators, compile evidence, and develop processes and measures to prevent it from happening again.

Keep patches up to date

You can have all the best tools, software, and digital solutions to protect you from fraud and cybercrime, but if you don’t keep them up to date, they are useless. Your IT team needs to stay on top of all updates and patches to be sure that the software will be as effective as possible. Cybercriminals and hackers will often seek to exploit vulnerabilities in systems, and when they do, the developer must close that loop. If you do not stay up to date with these matters, it gives nefarious actors an open door into your precious network, system, and company.

Practice good password habits

When was the last time you changed your password? When was the last time your employees changed their passwords? The answer is likely, not long ago, and no idea. It is extremely important to get into the habit of practising good password habits, as CNET notes. This should include choosing a completely unique password by means of a random password generator. It should consist of upper and lower case characters, numbers, and symbols and should not be any kind of word that is easy to guess. Employees should not reuse passwords between platforms and should change them every few months. You can set up internal reminders on choosing passwords and when to change them to help your employees remember to do so. It might even be possible for some systems to trigger password changes automatically after a certain time frame has elapsed.

Restrict unapproved app installations

Downloading unauthorised programs or applications can be a significant hazard for companies as many can include malware or other forms of viruses. The employee may not even realise their system has been compromised until it is too late. These viruses can spy, delete data, download sensitive information, and generally cause havoc, bringing essential systems and networks to a standstill. Many companies will put a ban on downloading anything without permission from the IT department or use powerful anti-virus services like Norton that pre-installed on desktops to prevent malicious cases from occurring. In many cases, this can be set automatically, with a popup appearing and preventing any downloads from happening. But you should also urge employees to be careful with downloading apps on their phones, mainly if they use them for work communications and other purposes.

Have a backup and recovery plan

Having a backup of all systems that are refreshed regularly is essential. Furthermore, this should accompany a full recovery plan that kicks in if something goes wrong. If your system is compromised somehow, you do not want to risk losing everything; therefore, backing up all data, settings, and systems daily is vital. Then, should something go wrong, you simply revert to the most recent backup, limiting the damage and being able to return to operations with minimal interference. Ensuring this plan and the backup system are in place will save you time and money, as well as protect your business interests.

SolarWinds Transforms Your Standard Operating Procedure to Proactive and Productive

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a part of every organization. SOPs are processes that outline the procedure of performing a task. SOPs allow companies to hire anyone with the right qualifications as they can do the job as long as they follow the standard procedure.

Standard operating procedures are valuable tools for streamlining tasks and ensuring efficiency.

On the other hand, some SOPs can become rigid and slow, especially if other firms develop better processes for doing a task. Certain strategies can transform your SOPs and make them more proactive and productive:

Make SOPs Searchable

The SOP manual at many firms is a thick leaflet with hundreds of pages. Some employees spend up to two hours a day looking up company information.

Most employees prefer shorter SOPs and would like to access them whenever necessary quickly. Therefore, consider using certain tools like Solarwinds that you can find at this page to make your firm’s standard operating procedures searchable.

Employees can search for the SOPs they need to use for a particular task and do so efficiently instead of perusing the entire SOP manual. It will save time and ensure they can focus on more critical tasks.

Putting SOPs In A Central Location

When writing SOPs, you should ensure that all who use them can access them, and the best way to do that is to put them in a central location.

Unfortunately, most companies only give their employees Standard Operating Procedures during employee orientation, and that is it.

Even if they were to glue them against the wall, they would quickly become damaged. The best solution is to use certain tools to ensure that the SOPs are in a central location, particularly a digital one, where anyone can access them.

Cloud storage is an excellent idea as the SOP manual will be accessible by anyone with access to the cloud, but it will also be secure.

Use A SOP Template

An SOP manual contains thousands of minute details, which can be time-consuming and cumbersome to create depending on your organization’s size, industry, and scope of operations. Moreover, you may have to create different SOPs for different organizational roles.

It would be better to build on the work of your predecessors. Therefore, consider using an SOP template to create SOPs productively.

The template is an excellent starting point for organizing and describing various tasks. You can find different templates that provide you with different ways to craft SOPs. Find the best way for your company and use the suitable template.

Develop A Distribution and Training Plan

A standard operating procedure should not be left abandoned in a drawer, on a shelf, or a hidden file on a computer. For SOPs to work best, you should regularly remind employees of them, which you can do by instilling this in your company’s mission and vision.

You can use it to develop a distribution plan which enables employees to see the SOPs as often as possible.

You can also develop a training plan which every member of the organisation can use when joining and can be adapted to them. Such a plan ensures that employees are constantly aware of the correct procedures, which increases their chances of using them.

When you improve your SOPs, you can easily use the platform to distribute the new SOPs as opposed to printing thousands of pages of manuals and sending them manually to employees.

Certain software can help you take a proactive approach by implementing regular retraining, which is particularly important for high-liability areas or areas where the standards and regulations change often.

Drafting and maintaining optimal standard operating procedures is a daunting challenge. The ways above are ways you can help make your SOPs more proactive and productive. Test them and see the results they have on your organisation.

Business Process Automation in a Nutshell

No matter what your organisation does, one thing is for sure: it executes hundreds of processes daily. For example, if you work in Finance, there are specific processes related to your market. Moreover, each department inside your organisation runs different processes: HR, Customer Success, Sales, Administration, etc. So the question is: are they being done as efficiently as you need them to be?

What is business process automation?

Let’s start by defining what is a “business process”. It’s the series of activities that must happen to achieve your organisation’s objectives. For example: when an employee requests time off from work. First, they usually need to speak to their supervisor, then to the HR department, which needs to be approved or denied. Then, the decision must be communicated to the employee. Now, imagine if you could automate most of those tasks instead of doing them manually.

Business process automation is replacing the manual execution of tasks with a BPM software that automates them for you. It may sound complicated or too “tech,” but it is incredibly simple. For example, a cloud BPM software that is low-code / no-code allows you to model, design, and execute your processes without knowing anything about coding or programming.

How to automate your processes:

Define the process:

What process will you automate first? Once you make this decision, define each task that it involves. It basically means knowing who does what, and in what order.

Model the process:

Once you know the tasks that you need to execute in order to carry on the process, you need to define it visually by creating the workflow needed. Here is an example of the workflow for a reimbursement request process:

An employee completes a public form detailing what they need to reimburse. An email with the information is sent to the person in charge of revising it. This person has to decide to approve the request, ask for more information, or reject it. Once a decision is made, it automatically sends an email to the employee notifying the decision. If the decision is to reimburse, it creates a task for the employee in charge to carry out this action.

Automate:

After modelling the workflow, the process is ready to go! Just launch it with a simple click and start making decisions.

Monitoring and improving the process:

Make sure everything is running smoothly, and figure out quickly if it has any bottlenecks. You can introduce changes and improvements anytime.

Benefits of business process automation:

Automating your processes means digitalising your organisation, and taking this step results in numerous benefits:

Optimise internal management, and achieve greater productivity and efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. By using BPM software, you can automate tasks that one person previously handled but could actually be done automatically.

Monitoring: By automating your processes, you can access real-time information on each process, providing complete traceability.

Save time and money: By automating processes previously done manually, you save on resources. Stationery and printing, transfers between offices, waiting times, storage, and preservation of paper will no longer be necessary.

Obtain customized reports: Get daily and historical reports. Use the valuable data to evaluate the performance of your processes and make the necessary decisions with agility, without the need for analytical tools.

Be scalable: You can be sure that every one of your processes will execute as you planned them. Moreover, integrations between systems reduce human errors. Let your team focus on the tasks they really need to execute and not on repetitive tasks that can be automated.

Now is the time to digitalise your organisation. As you have learned, starting by automating your business processes is a simple and beneficial place to start!

Why Legal Guidance Is Must-Have For Italian Dual Citizenship Aspirants

Italian dual citizenship is trending because the country has immense benefits for immigrants. Relocation to Italy opens up an incredible lifestyle where you get quality education, excellent healthcare, and opportunities to work in business or profession. You also get one of the most powerful second passports that enables you to travel visa-free across the EU and many other parts of the world. The dual citizenship process is complicated for a novice, but you can get a consultation on Dual Italian Citizenship on mbersanilaw.com for a smooth start. Let us explain why legal guidance from an expert is a must-have for aspiring immigrants.

Seek assistance in choosing the apt route

The good thing about Italian dual citizenship is that you have a choice of several routes to get into the country as a citizen. But the availability of different alternatives may overwhelm you regarding your eligibility. For example, you may qualify through your ancestral roots (descent), marital connection (marriage), or an extended stay as a resident (naturalization). Some aspirants may be eligible for two routes, such as in the case of having ancestral roots in Italy and marrying an Italian. An expert who knows immigration laws well enough can help you pick the apt alternative for the easiest access to a second passport.

Sort your paperwork

Whichever citizenship route you qualify for, you may find yourself dealing with extensive and complex documentary requirements. The descent route is perhaps the trickiest in this context because it requires documents like your ancestor’s birth, death, and marriage certificates from their local commune. Imagine the pain of procuring decades-old papers from a small comune in a different part of the world. You may have to spend a hefty amount on traveling to Italy and still not get your hands on the papers. A local legal specialist has the right connections to ease the task. They can also guide you about the translation and legalization of non-Italian documents to make them valid for the citizenship process.

Get guidance with the citizenship process

Italy is one of the easiest countries to immigrate to, but you cannot take the simplicity of the citizenship process for granted. You still need to follow several steps and wait for years to get a second passport. The extended queues at the consulate can get on your nerves. The wait gets longer if you make an error or omission in the documents or miss a step somewhere. A seasoned citizenship lawyer offers helpful guidance throughout the process, ensuring the timely completion of formalities without anything being amiss. You can focus on other aspects of relocation and be confident about closing the process sooner than later.

Moving to Italy is a ticket to a dream life for yourself and your loved ones. The dual citizenship option is the best one for aspiring immigrants. However, you cannot expect the process to be a breeze because it entails several steps. An expert can show the way and make it less challenging despite the stringent rules and requirements. You should look for a reliable one for the best guidance.

The Numbers Game: How Accounting Has Changed in an Uncertain World

Most of us take it for granted these days, but the rate of technological change in the past decade or more is astonishing. Super-fast internet, cloud storage, video streaming; just imagine what things will be like a decade from now.

The development of new tech has particularly impacted the business world, bringing both opportunities and threats to SMEs and major corporations alike.

Accountancy is one area that has changed beyond recognition during the digital revolution. Key functions like tax reporting, forecasting, and making/receiving payments have now moved online, and are backed by the latest developments in software and fintech.

If you are an aspiring accountant, you need to be up-to-date with the changes that will shape the next generation of accountancy. If you own a start-up company or established firm, you should know how accounting has changed in an increasingly uncertain business world.

So, here are some insights to consider right now and for the years ahead.

Making Tax Digital

One of the most significant changes for businesses in the UK to ensure they are tax compliant is adhering to HMRC’s new digital filing systems.

Making Tax Digital, or MTD as it is often known, is legislation that relates to how businesses file their tax returns. As of the start of November 2022, all firms must switch to official MTD filing instead of using their current online VAT accounting method and keep comprehensive records of their VAT and corporation tax to satisfy the requirements.

All VAT-registered companies must conform to Making Tax Digital requirements (barring those specifically excluded) regardless of whether they cross the old VAT threshold. The easiest way of meeting the rules is to utilise MTD-specific accounting software.

You will need to register for MTD if you haven’t already, and there’s plenty of information about that online if you are unsure.

Analysis & forecasting

The current economic conditions around the world, and specifically in the UK, are such that many businesses face uncertainty and unpredictability.

There’s only so much that you can do to prepare for those unknown eventualities. However, by analysing your current financial position – and using digital tools to help forecast the weeks and months ahead – you will at least have some context for your decision-making.

Accounting software packages offer a range of features that let you analyse past data and take decisions based on that. There are training courses available that offer an insight into data analysis and forecasting, while many specialist accountancy firms can help with this. This can help owners and CEOs to make the most informed choices for their business.

Financial analysis is nothing new, but the tools and software packages that the digital revolution has afforded business owners ensure you can make smarter decisions – vital in these challenging economic times.

Tech revolution

It’s incredible to think now, but accounting was once carried out manually with paper and pen, with accounts filed in an old-fashioned set of folders.

It required an amazing amount of work, so moving accountancy online has saved time and hassle and helped minimise the errors that can creep in when working with high volumes of numbers, especially when there are filing deadlines to satisfy.

Accounting software has helped to create efficiencies for businesses of all sizes, while the increased implementation of fintech has armed company owners with various tools to help run their day-to-day business; be it cloud storage – ensuring around-the-clock access to essential accounting info – or faster, more secure payment mechanisms.

Even the ‘grassroots’ of accounting, such as data collection and entry, has been enhanced by automation tools and artificial intelligence, which has helped to minimise the mistakes of incorrect invoicing or inaccurate reporting.

It has created a greater synergy between company directors and their accountancy staff – in-house employees or an external firm – and their efficiency gains that can help businesses save money and make better, more informed decisions and with one eye on the future.

For anyone planning on a career in accountancy, it’s vital that you are comfortable using these new technologies. Whether managing accounts via the latest software, sharing data analysis through the cloud or sitting in on planning and forecasting meetings, your connections with your clients are required to be stronger than ever before.

These are exciting times for the accountancy profession – even at this moment in history where economic uncertainty reigns.

These are exciting times for the accountancy profession – even at this moment in history where economic uncertainty reigns.

Top Tips for Promoting Business on Social Media Platforms

Social media has become a vital part of online business success. All industries nowadays belong equally to the virtual and the real world; through social media, companies can directly interact with customers on several online platforms and form a relationship by engaging in conversations and sharing content.

The overwhelming process of managing targeted promotional campaigns on social media might be intimidating; however, if done properly, it could pave the way for a profitable and reputable business.

The following are the top tips for promoting a business on social media platforms:

Prepare your business to go on social media

First and foremost, launching your business on social media needs to be appealing, and it should come out with a visual identity. Thanks to technology, many applications are there, for example, a logo maker application makes it easy to design an outstanding logo and helps people recognize and remember a brand. Also, branding colours play a role in building a long-lasting brand identity. Overall, good employment of online applications will make the business’s soon-to-be presence memorable.

Choose the right platforms

A platform is where a business is going to spread and flourish. Therefore, a better understanding of the available platforms, their audience, and their goals will lead a brand toward a matching platform. As a result, attracting and reaching the target audience is possible.

While YouTube is a reasonable choice for a video production company, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, on the other hand, can easily promote a fashion brand. In the end, research the platform that best fits your industry to move your business forward.

Remember that you can combine several platforms simultaneously and diversify your promotional materials like videos, photos, podcasts, and written content.

Create a calendar

A business’s presence on social media should be planned and organized; randomly posted content will only disorient the audience. Moreover, preserving the integrity of a brand’s public image requires using a regular calendar for each platform. Eventually, a calendar is not only going to regulate posts but also meet set goals and strategies. 

Encourage engagement

A greater engagement generates a bigger reach. We can increase engagement by using the different advertisement tools available on the platforms. For example, since Instagram stories are popular, a good Instagram story maker will spice up your business page and keep the audience on the hook by interacting with catchy story content.

Do not over promote

In most cases, mixing regular advertisement with social media promotion is a common mistake. Unlike traditional ads, experts’ advice says to follow the one-in-seven role on social media, which means a business can have one direct promotional post after posting six content-based posts. In this case, the promotion message will reach the targeted audience without exaggeration. Overall, over-promotion is a trap a business can easily avoid with a neat posting calendar and proper planning.

Share video

Visual content, especially videos, could quickly capture the audience’s attention. A short video can deliver a brand’s message and grab an audience’s attention in a better way than a post does. Dedicating time and effort to create innovative videos with captivating content will pay off later. Taking benefit of the growing popularity of Instagram reels, Facebook stories or YouTube shorts are also effective. Eventually, as a business owner, tools and audience are available on the platform; the rest is up to you. 

Address problems quickly

Being responsive will not only get a business a good reputation but will smoothly solve problems ahead. Negative feedback – though unwanted- is inevitable. Therefore, dealing with it quickly by addressing whoever is complaining privately and apologizing in public would seem like dodging a bullet for a business while also polishing the public image. 

Build community

Surprisingly, it is not the number of followers that matters. Interaction with each other, interest, and loyalty matter most. As a result, such a small community will participate in the future promotion process. On the other hand, a business page should always be welcoming to build a community around it, so engaging with the audience by greeting new members and CTAs (Call To Action) should be at the top of the to-do list of a business page admin. In brief, building a community on social media has two primary elements: a willing-to-grow business and the right audience to target.

First Steps to Take when Doing Company Acquisition

Many people want to have a business they can call their own. However, building one from scratch is not easy. Because of this, many entrepreneurs are choosing to buy an existing business. But buying an existing business is not as easy as buying a used car. You must take the proper steps to ensure you get the most out of your investment. So, here are the first steps to take in company acquisition.

1. Why Do you want to Undertake an Acquisition? 

Before you acquire a business and spend money, you must first establish why you are doing so. What are your motivations for buying a new company? In most cases, entrepreneurs who purchase a new business will do so because they want to expand the existing business. But your reasons should be more specific. 

Buying an existing business comes with many benefits. For one, it eliminates the hassles in setting up a business from scratch, such as developing new products, building a solid customer base, and hiring staff. You also won’t have to go through the challenges during the crucial early years when many new businesses often fail. 

The most common motives for acquiring a new business are diversification, R&D/Patents, leverage, transformation, scope and scale. Find out which among these drivers are your motives behind buying a new venture. Regardless of your reasons, be honest with yourself about your motives. Otherwise, you could acquire the wrong business, which could lead to many problems down the line.

2. Make Sure you Have a Strong Team

So, you are eager to push through with your plan to buy a new company. But before you do so, there are things you must do, and one of these is to have a solid team. There has to be a working group in your company with representatives from every business department. They must be able to work together and communicate well with each other.

Developing a team is not only about finding a group of people having the right mix of professional skills. You must have a strong team who are goal-oriented and share the same company values. No matter how good your business might be, it cannot prosper without a dynamic team working cohesively towards achieving a shared business goal. When hiring new employees, set expectations from day one. Set ground rules and let everyone know about your expectations for the team, not only in the short term but also in the long term.

Encourage every team member to exhibit respect towards one another. They should see one another as a business partner who will work with them towards achieving a shared business goal, and not just someone sitting at a desk beside them. Invest in employee training and online courses as it can help ensure that the team is ready to undergo the acquisition.

3. Do Your Research 

When acquiring a new company, you must do your homework by gathering data and insights on your potential business venture. Do your research about growth opportunities, competitive landscapes, market trends, technology advancements, etc. The most successful business acquisitions involve market research, aside from the usual due diligence.

When doing your research, identify areas for possible expansion and find out how to expand your current offering. For instance, you can research changing market trends due to new construction projects, increasing levels of education, and other changes that will bring in new opportunities for the business. 

Use the data gathered from your market research to develop new and effective strategies. For instance, see how you can improve the distribution channels and marketing mediums and find out if there are any opportunities to introduce a new product in the market. All these can help you make more informed decisions for your newly acquired business venture.

4. Know Your Business Finances 

As the buyer, you have every right to know the financial standing of the business you plan to buy. Ask for a copy of the financial statement and ensure that it is prepared according to the generally accepted accounting principles and that the selling company is fairly presenting the company’s financial condition, results of business operations, and cash flows over the specific periods indicated. 

Getting into the financial aspects is one of the most important steps to acquiring a new business. Consider hiring good payroll employees who can help review the seller’s business and assess the key financial indicators, which include profits, sales, expenses, debts, and cash flow. They can also identify any potential red flags and irregularities.

When reviewing the financial statements, one aspect to think about is the accounts receivable. If there are customers who still owe the seller some money during the closing date, find out who will be responsible for paying the overdue debts. Decide whether to buy the accounts receivable or let the seller collect them.

5. Do a Due Diligence 

Before you purchase the business, you must know what you will get from the deal by performing due diligence. It means conducting thorough research to confirm that you are buying what you expect and not getting something you don’t want. Hire someone who can assess the value of the business and determine whether you should proceed with the purchase.

During due diligence, gather as much information about the business and determine what’s necessary to make an informed decision. There are various areas of due diligence to explore – business license, reputation, industry-specific research, etc. It also involves conducting an audit to confirm the relevant facts and financial information. Verify anything else that was discussed during the business deal. 

Business acquisitions that go through a process of due diligence offer a higher chance of success. Due diligence helps the buyer make informed decisions by verifying the available information. It also gives assurance that their expectations about the transactions are factual. While due diligence may be costly and time-consuming, these are justifiable expenses compared to the risks of failing to conduct proper due diligence.