8 Technology Solutions to Help Expand Your Business

Modern businesses must rely on various digital technologies to thrive and expand. From accounting, project management, and office communication to customer service and digital marketing, there are multiple solutions that can streamline and ultimately improve business efficiency.

If your business is looking at digital resources to boost internal processes further or enhance the delivery of products and services, consider the following technologies that help drive business growth:

1. Cybersecurity Tools and Services

Cyberattacks happen daily and to all types of entities, including small businesses. So if you think you’re immune to online hacking, think again. Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in deploying malware, spyware, and ransomware. Organizations must keep up by hiring information technology (IT) experts wherever they may be in the world.

If you want to access one of the best IT service firms in the northeastern part of the United States, consider providers like this New York City IT consulting company to provide you with a vast array of solutions to expand your business.

2. Mobile Technologies

With billions of users worldwide, smartphones have become the most common portable device people use to access the internet. As such, you need to prioritize online presence to drive business growth. The more visible you are in the digital world, particularly on social media and similar online platforms, the higher the chances of your business getting noticed. So check whether your website is mobile-friendly and if it’s easy for customers to engage with your enterprise using their device.

Additionally, tapping mobile technologies can help develop employee productivity. Allowing your staff to work even outside the office allows for the improvement of workflow efficiency. Mobile technologies will enable them to access, view, and edit specific business data like reports and contracts, considerably reducing their downtime.

3. Cloud Storage Solutions

There are many reasons small businesses should use the cloud. But the changing landscape in the workplace, particularly the steady rise in remote working arrangements, is one of the major drivers.

Businesses no longer have to purchase costly servers and physical storage to access and store data and applications with cloud computing. Apart from being a cost-saving solution, using the cloud allows your business to store crucial business data safely and recover them even after a major cyberattack or natural disaster.

4. Collaboration and Project Management Apps

Businesses, no matter how small, rely on collaboration to ensure smooth operational processes. For instance, your sales team will depend on the marketing or communications team to provide input and materials to attract new customers or nurture leads. Additionally, your project manager needs to stay on top of field projects while performing office responsibilities.

Various collaboration and project management apps allow staff members and managers to experience seamless communication even when they’re not located in one place. With these apps, employees can share and edit documents and reports. Additionally, the team can communicate and overcome challenges or celebrate milestones, improving overall productivity and business outcomes.

5. Digital Marketing Tools

Complementing a mobile-friendly website and a robust digital presence are multiple digital marketing tools to boost your business. No matter how revolutionary your product or service may be, your business can still fail without proper marketing strategies.

Small businesses need to develop a strategic online marketing strategy to thrive in the digital age. Almost half of small businesses shut down within five years of existence due to financing issues, improper management, planning, and marketing problems. 

If you’ve started carrying out your marketing efforts, use data analytics to measure performance and find gaps in your strategies. For instance, consider including videos in your posts or using appropriate memes to increase user engagement if those appeal to your customers. Additionally, understand how to reach your target audience better by analyzing their behaviors and preferences so you’ll know how, when, and where to post. Digital marketing helps enterprises grow because it can facilitate customer retention, broaden one’s customer base, and eventually increase revenues.

6. Customer Relationship Management Technologies

Customer is king in any business. Without them, a company is left without their lifeblood. With that being said, customer service should be a priority for all enterprises. Businesses must have a clear understanding of their customers in order to provide the right services. Apart from using web analytics, organizations can conduct surveys and institute easy feedback mechanisms to improve customer relations.

All your customer touchpoints—from your website to your social media accounts—should provide a great customer experience, whether they have queries or concerns or want to schedule an appointment. Some customer service technologies allow your business to deploy bots to reply swiftly to customer concerns or help them with basic troubleshooting.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software technology allows you to identify leads, customize marketing pitches, provide faster responses, and promote better customer retention. This all-in-one customer service solution can help grow your business by providing valuable insights into attracting and keeping more clients.

7. Web-Based Payments

Apart from customer relationship management tools, another way to potentially reach a wider audience is to offer multiple web-based payment options. With diversified payment solutions, customers can make purchases on your website and any other e-commerce platform with only a few clicks.

Online payments continue to rise, partly due to the pandemic. With movement restrictions and store closures in effect for most of 2020, many individuals have resorted to online shopping. In 2018, the market was valued at USD$3,417.39 billion and is likely to grow to USD$7,640 billion by 2024, according to industry estimates. The market is expected to steadily increase alongside the continuous hike in global internet connectivity.

8. Technological Outsourcing 

Small businesses and startups consider outsourcing a smart move because of its time-saving and cost-effective benefits. Outsourcing, which uses third parties to perform non-core business activities, helps businesses save on resources, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on things that matter.

Owners can hand over several business activities to external firms that handle human resources, payroll, IT, digital marketing, and accounting. Of these services, IT outsourcing is perhaps the one activity that can save a business the most. By hiring third-party services, a company no longer needs to pay for the monthly salary of in-house IT professionals. They can also skip budgetary allocations for employee benefits, desk and office space, and the purchase of costly IT infrastructure such as servers, networks, and databases, among other IT tools. 

Apart from those services, a small business can hire virtual assistants to perform a wide range of tasks, from small and repetitive administrative tasks to heavy and specialized activities related to marketing, that take time to fulfill.

Outsourcing also saves owners and managers time, so they can focus on running and developing the business. In addition, companies can realign the money saved from costly services to either product and service improvements or marketing campaigns.

Final Thoughts 

Depending on your business needs and current situation, choosing one or several of the available technologies discussed above would help ensure that you’re on the right track to reach your goals. With numerous benefits such as streamlining operations, increasing productivity, and making campaigns more effective, technology allows you to experience unrestricted growth and development.

The Main Differences Between Sole Proprietorships & S-Corps

One of the biggest decisions a self-employed freelancer turned business owner has to make is deciding what type of business entity works best for them. If you’re the only owner of your company, your options often narrow down to two: an S-Corp or sole proprietorship.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between both business types, what their advantages are, and how you’ll be taxed. When you decide to become a business entity, we recommend using technology like a paystub generator to increase your profitability and productivity.

The Difference Between a Sole Proprietorship and an S-Corp

A sole proprietorship is a common business entity and the easiest type to start and operate because you don’t need to register your business with your home state. 

Technically, if you haven’t registered your business with your state after forming an LLC, you’re considered a sole proprietorship. Independent contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors are technically the same thing and have the same tax burdens as someone who is self-employed.

An S-Corp (Small Business Corporation) is a type of corporation formed through filling a certificate of formation with the Secretary of State where the company is headquartered.

Unlike with a sole proprietorship, an S-Corp is a business entity that passes taxation to the shareholders and pays them with distributions. Therefore, the corporation remains distinct from its shareholders, and the owners are held legally liable for business debts.

The Advantages of an S-Corp

There are several advantages of declaring your business as an S-Corp, including:

  • Protected Assets: With S-Corps, the CEOs’ personal assets are protected from their shareholders. If the CEO has debt or goes bankrupt, the shareholder must pay it.
  • Pass-Through Taxation: S-Corps don’t pay federal taxes at the corporate level and have “pass-through” taxation. Therefore their shareholders take on this burden.
  • Straightforward Transfer of Ownership: S-Corps can be transferred freely without triggering adverse tax consequences, unlike with a partnership or LLC.
  • More Credibility: S-Corporations are considered more credible to employees, customers, and vendors because it shows you take your business seriously.
  • Cash Accounting Method: S-Corps must use the accrual method of accounting if they have inventory unless they’re a small company (less than $5 million a year).

 

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

There are also advantages of staying as a sole proprietorship, including:

  • Affordable and Simple: Running a sole proprietorship is simple and inexpensive.
  • Freedom and Flexibility: Independent businesses aren’t restricted to complicated business regulations and have decision-making freedom.
  • Less Paperwork: Sole proprietors only have to file their taxes once a year.
  • Simple Income Tax: Freelancers are privy to more tax deductions than S-Corps.
  • Low Business Fees: With a sole proprietorship, owners pay fewer fees when they want to register their business structure. S-Corps cost significantly more.
  • Straightforward Banking: CEOs can choose to keep their personal or business expenses together because they don’t have to pay two separate tax returns.
  • Easy Ownership: Sole proprietorships have the easiest business structure out of any other company type because the owner is responsible for everything.

 

How the Owners Get Taxed

S-Corps have a pass-through tax structure that transfers the taxes they pay on their business income on to their shareholders. Owners are eligible for the 20% pass-through entity tax deduction, but they aren’t able to cash in on other deductions; shareholders receive them.

S-Corporations receive tax benefits through savings on self-employment taxes. S-Corp owners must pass a portion of their profits to their shareholders as a distribution, not an income, which makes them exempt from Medicare and Social Security taxes.

An owner of a sole proprietor still pays self-employment taxes, is considered a business owner instead of an employee, and reports their income on an IRS Form 1040. Sole proprietors may be eligible for the 20% pass-through income tax reduction rate depending on their circumstances. 

Although owners are considered business owners, they don’t pay payroll taxes on their income and won’t be charged for state or federal unemployment taxes or worker’s compensation. 

Self-employment taxes consist of a 2.9% Medicare tax with no annual income ceiling and a 12.9% Social Security tax, which does have a ceiling once you earn enough.

How the Owners Get Paid

Owners of S-Corps pay themselves a salary and can take some of their compensation in the form of distributions. However, since distributions aren’t subject to payroll taxes, they can’t take the bulk of their income through this method. Otherwise, the IRS will audit them.

Sole proprietorship owners pay themselves a salary in the same way they did as independent contractors. Since money can’t be held up in the business and they pay self-employment taxes, they can use as much or as little money as they wish for personal use.

6 Trends That Every Engineer Needs to Know in 2021

A few years back, who thought that flying cars would be a reality–it was a distant and long-overhauled dream. But the rapid rise of technology and engineering concepts is making the impossible turn into “I’m possible” and flipping the current technology on its head.

With most of 2021 spent indoors trying to protect ourselves from COVID-19, it gave ample time to the technological field to come up with some inventions and innovations that can disrupt the engineering field.

Engineering is characterized by ground-breaking innovations and progressions and is constantly evolving and adapting. As new technologies pave the way and become available, we see changes in everything, from managing engineering products to conceiving new designs.

In this article, we discuss some engineering trends that are likely to shape the future of engineering. Knowing these trends can help a business or engineer prepare themselves to implement any desired change. 

Here are six trends that every engineer needs to know in 2021 and beyond:

1. Generative design software will be the next big thing

Generative design is redefining the landscape of the manufacturing industry by providing access to every possible version of a design. 

But, what is generative design?

All an engineer or designer has to do is punch a set of constraints in a generative design software, and it produces an array of design options and solutions. This design software spits out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of designs based on the constraint and other engineering parameters. 

Usefulness of generative design for engineers

When using generative design software, it becomes a cakewalk to make any number of changes and adjustments to your design, allowing a designer or engineer to build better products, reduce the lead time, and launch products much faster into a target market.

With more traditional design software like CAD, meeting a client’s unrealistic demands of designing a mock-up may be difficult. But, using generative design software, designers can generate design mock-ups and complete tasks which otherwise are humanly impossible to achieve. 

What’s more intriguing about the whole concept of generative design is that it can get a designer’s creative juices flowing. With tons of design ideas at your disposal, it becomes easier for a designer to finalize a mock-up for a product.

If you work in the engineering or manufacturing industry, generative design will likely provide numerous advantages and take your business to another level. 

Generative design mimics the natural design process. It’s a design exploration and a broad design methodology that uses cloud computing and artificial intelligence to produce a range of design outputs. 

2. Robotic process automation will play an important role.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to switch to remote work to protect employees from the deadly virus outbreak. While this transition was to protect lives, it has brought about a sea change in the opportunities, especially in robotic process automation (RPA).

RPA is another technology that’s automating jobs and helping businesses make a significant impact on their bottom line.

With advancements in machine learning, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, the implementation of RPA is likely to take a new turn and change for good. Smart process automation is one thing that can become a game-changer in RPA.

Thanks to this smart process automation, businesses can derive meaningful insights from repetitive tasks as well. As RPA bots evolve from self-learning AI algorithms, these bots will enter the data in an IT system and find potential patterns. This trend is likely to eliminate the requirement of installing both AI and RPA. 

Interestingly, using smart process automation, businesses can find better solutions. 

RPA in finance domain

Even in the finance domain, RPA is likely to bring about a paradigm shift. Traditional automation may be nearing an end because RPA would remove all the complex financial industry bottlenecks.

Using RPA automation, businesses can create a workflow and identify customer journeys that can help them connect with financial institutions. 

According to a report, by 2025, the entire automation market will see easy-to-deploy RPA models that will eventually eliminate the need for paperwork.

3. Edge computing will continue to rise

With businesses continuing to deal with more and more data, they slowly realize the shortcomings and latency of cloud computing. This gave rise to the concept of edge computing. 

In edge computing, data is used and stored on devices at the network’s edge – far away from centralized cloud servers. By “edge,” we mean that data gets stored and used locally on devices like a smartphone or IoT. Edge computing provides benefits of delivering faster decision making, reducing data transfer, and ensuring offline data processing. 

From processing time-sensitive data in a remote location with low or no connectivity, edge computing acts as a mini-data center. This saves both bandwidth and cloud storage costs.              

Also, edge computing will help in processing large volumes of data in a way it’s cost-efficient, sustainable, and technologically feasible.

For what’s anticipated, edge computing offers exceptional and superior efficiency by eliminating congestion and latency to the highest possible extent. 

According to research, the size of the global edge computing market will reach a whopping $61.14 billion by 2028.

When done right, edge computing has all potential to drive the next phase of digital infrastructure growth. 

4. Blockchain technology will likely be the future of innovations

Blockchain is no longer limited only to cryptocurrency because it’s starting to cut its teeth as a business technology that will bring innovations in every sector.

From eliminating risk in financial transactions to making manufacturing transparent in a supply chain process, blockchain technology creates rippling effects in every sector.

One trend in blockchain technology, called blockchain as a service or BaaS offers

third-party cloud-based infrastructure to every sector operating in building blockchain-based applications and operating in the blockchain. 

Companies like Amazon and IBM are adapting to BaaS models for ensuring better business performance and running end-to-end operations. BaaS offers huge benefits to both developers and customers. 

Interestingly, it allows customers to leverage cloud-based solutions for building, operating, and hosting blockchain apps and related functions of blockchain. 

With the growing development in the BaaS ecosystem, BaaS is boosting different blockchain innovations. 

5. Cyber security will be more important than ever

Though cybersecurity doesn’t seem like a trending technology because it’s been around for a while, it’s constantly evolving. Businesses need to evolve with it for a sustainable future.

Why?

Cybercriminals are finding new ways to penetrate a system vulnerability, so it makes sense to be aware of the latest trends and threats a business is likely to face. 

One such area that requires attention is the increasing instances of automotive hacking. With automated vehicles coming packed with software to ensure seamless connectivity for drivers, it comes with a hacking risk.

Engine timing, door lock, cruise control, airbags, and advanced systems for driver assistance uses WiFi or Bluetooth technology for communication. While it makes life convenient for drivers, it makes them vulnerable to threats and potential hackers. 

Gaining control of the vehicle and eavesdropping over the microphone is likely to rise in 2021 and beyond. 

Apart from automotive hacking, brands need to integrate AI with cybersecurity. Having an 

AI-enabled threat detection system in place can help a business predict new attacks and notify a business of any data breach as soon as it occurs. 

While businesses deploy AI-enabled threat detection systems, criminals are also taking advantage of this technology to automate their attack, model-stealing techniques, and use data-poisoning.

So, for a business to prevent their data from getting stolen, they need to use AI-enabled technology that’s disruptive. 

6. Virtual site inspection will rise manifolds

In the civil engineering industry, one trend that is slowly exploding is virtual inspection. With COVID-19 forcing people indoors, municipalities widely use and adopt virtual technology to carry out site inspections to ensure the continuity of a project. 

Virtual inspection requires cutting-edge technology and widespread use of 360-degree video devices and drones to make virtual site inspection a reality.

Interestingly, improvement in wireless networks and printed circuit boards makes it possible for companies to conduct virtual inspections.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual inspections were widely used by different sectors for validating completion and ensuring compliance with building norms.

Wrapping up

These technological and engineering innovations are slowly paving the way to rural areas. One such instance is that AI-powered drones are helping farmers keep an eye on their infrastructure, such as using thermal imaging or keeping an eye on their crops.

This drastic and innovative industry development is likely to bring a landmark change in every sector. The technology influx is going to increase every passing day, so be prepared!

What technology trends do you think you will see in the coming years?

Please share your thoughts with us!

Business Insurance and the Essential Coverage Types

General liability coverage is required for everyone. If you own a small business, it’s your livelihood and should be well protected. You must purchase beyond required workers’ compensation and general liability to ensure that you are fully protected against all possibilities. Let’s look at some statistics to determine which commercial policies are important.

General Liability Insurance

This should be your first move when it comes to insurance if you run a company. It protects you against a variety of claims, including bodily harm, property damage, and personal injury. Business owners and directors’ policies (BDPs) typically include both property and liability coverage, as well as general liability insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

A workers’ compensation insurance policy, like general liability insurance, is usually required by law when running a company. A workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenditures, a portion of missed pay, rehabilitation, and death benefits in the event an employee gets injured or sick at work.

Riders For Auto and Home Insurance

Using your car for work purposes may not be something that is protected by your standard auto insurance. If you don’t own a work vehicle, you should hire someone to drive for you and get non-owned auto liability insurance. If you operate a work vehicle on the road for your business, you will be responsible for work-related auto accident claims brought against your company after an incident happens while you or one of your workers is driving that vehicle during the day.

A strong policy is required for any company that uses cars as a part of its operations to avoid having its assets and revenue jeopardized in the aftermath of a serious accident. The majority of personal injury and auto insurance policies cover $1 million in liability and damages. Furthermore, homeowners insurance does not cover the operation of a small business; as a result, home-based business owners must consult with an agent to acquire endorsements or riders to their policy to cover their company operations.

Business Interruption Insurance

Theft, fires, floods, and building collapse are all examples of situations that could force you to temporarily close your business and lose money. The IRS expects that a company’s earnings will be back to normal after 18 months. Anything can happen in a couple of months, from losing business due to an illness or death of a major customer. If your firm is still closed after a disaster, you can get business interruption insurance to help pay for the income you lose while you are not fully operational.

Credit Insurance

If you sell items or services on credit, you expose yourself to the danger that the customer will not fulfill his/her end of the bargain. Credit insurance covers any debt losses your business may incur. Credit insurance may cover all or part of your accounts receivable and assist with your customer credit management or debt collection, depending on your policy.

Cyber Insurance

Nearly half of all companies in the United States have suffered a data breach in the last year, with 27% lacking a data breach response strategy or team. Cyber insurance is essential for every business owner to protect sensitive employee, client, and financial data in the event of a data breach.

A website is just as essential to a small firm as it is for a major corporation. But websites are vulnerable, and they must be protected. Small companies are targeted because they are less secure in the network realm. It’s simpler to get in and obtain the facts. You’re receiving the finest coverage for a cyber incident, which is valuable alone.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

What if an employee files a lawsuit against your company? Employers are obligated by law to have certain kinds of coverage to protect their staff, but what about protection for your business if one of your employees takes action? Due to the tight-knit culture of many small companies, many owners think their personnel won’t sue, but this may not be the case. Employee practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects your business from bankruptcy if an employee brings a lawsuit.

Professional Liability Insurance

Litigation can and does occur when commercial issues must be resolved, which is what has happened to small company owners. If a client or customer files a lawsuit against your firm, professional liability insurance protects you and your brand. This is particularly significant for service-based firms and addresses some of the coverage gaps. Such insurance is required in certain businesses, such as medicine. Although, any business owner should absolutely consider it.

Professional liability insurance covers you when you are subject to a negligence lawsuit. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, defending against a lawsuit may be costly for a small business, and insurance covers both legal representation and the settlement of any judgment awarded against you. Under  50% of small businesses don’t carry professional liability insurance.

Product Recall Insurance

As a company owner, you have an obligation to the people who buy your items. Strict liability is a legal principle that seeks to hold businesses liable for their actions. A vendor, distributor, manufacturer, or other party involved in the sale of a product that causes injury or sickness when used correctly may be held liable and responsible for those losses under this definition.

If you’re selling a product, be sure to understand the terms of your coverage and how it’s affected. No matter what type of liability insurance you have, if you need to conduct a recall due to an issue with your product or service, then it is no longer covered by that policy. To assist you with this, product recall insurance may be a valuable rider to your general liability policy. Product recall insurance can assist with the cost of recalling items, such as getting them off the shelves, breaking them down, and running a public relations or advertising campaign to restore trust in your company.

Inland Marine Insurance

When goods, materials, or equipment are transported overland – for example, by truck or train – or while temporarily stored by a third party, inland marine insurance protects them. Collisions and theft are the most prevalent claims for lost cargo under inland marine insurance coverage. For most firms, your BOP or commercial package policy (CPP) will be adequate. If you transport high-value items such as computers, construction equipment, or medical equipment overland frequently, inland marine insurance is a good idea.

Disaster Insurance

If you reside in a high-risk area for floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other disaster-related events, you should get insurance coverage. The premiums for disaster coverage may seem high, but you will always be covered for damages from nature that have the potential to end your business practice. Rather than depending on a physical place to avoid losing records, you should store videos of your office area, financial documents, and other crucial stuff in the cloud. This footage can be used as documentation for the claims process to ensure an adequate payout.

Key Person Insurance

If a key employee with significant responsibilities requires an absence or is lost, the company can experience more than just turbulence. That’s why several co-founders take out a key person insurance policy so that their company can continue operation. Should something happen to them, a company purchases a life insurance policy on its main employee(s) and pays the premiums for that coverage, using key person insurance. If a company’s key individual dies, the firm will get the insurance payment to keep it afloat following the death or to cover expenses associated with shutting it down.

Business Overhead Expense Insurance

Business overhead insurance is similar to key person insurance in that it protects the business owner, who is a crucial element of your company. In small firms where the owner is often engaged for the majority of the day, a lengthy absence may have a devastating influence on financial health. Business overhead compensation insurance is a form of business disability insurance that protects against the loss of earnings due to illness or accident.

What Insurance Policies Does Your Business Need?

Depending on the industry, each business has varying insurance requirements. While the aforementioned regulations are advised, they may or may not be suitable for your company. It’s important to keep contact information for your insurance agent up-to-date at all times. To ensure that your company is receiving the coverage it requires, communicate with your insurance agent on a regular basis. You should develop a regular time to meet with and update them on your company and any modifications to assure you’re receiving the coverage you require. Lastly, always remember to make sure you’re covered in every area discussed in this post.

The Future of Cyber Security Law

With a huge shift to online buying and online start-up businesses, there is a higher demand for E-Commerce and IT Lawyers. Maître Anne-Katel Martineau has recently been awarded with Leading E-Commerce and IT Lawyer of the Year, France. Here we take a deeper look into the e-commerce and IT industries, what Cabinet de Maître Anne-Katel Martineau does, and how the award-winning firm is stays up to date in an ever-fluctuating industry.

Multi-award-winning firm Cabinet de Maître Anne-Katel Martineau has been around since 2007 and has helped a huge number of businesses and individuals to set up and maintain their online presence, brand, or franchise. The firm was set up to support companies and self-employed individuals in information and communication technology law. It is also interested in aiding performance art law alongside the art market where Anne-Katel supports both the art and media market. More recently, the firm’s focus has been directed to legal matters pertaining to the e-commerce industry.

E-commerce, also known as Electronic Commerce, is the industry of buying and selling of products, goods, or services via the internet. E-commerce law includes everything legal in relation to the e-commerce industry and is a highly important practice that aids online businesses around the globe. Each company with an online presence must abide by certain laws and regulations, much like the laws that any other business must consider and practice.

E-commerce law has become more important than ever as the internet continues to grow and businesses are having more success in the online realm. This is where online legal responsibility becomes essential as legislation has the tendency to change over time, and businesses must therefore work to stay current, relevant and compliant. As businesses can occasionally find themselves in legal difficulties, e-commerce law has become a very important service that requires someone with expertise and a rich background of experience.

The most common legal issues that e-commerce companies face happen to be things like establishing a legitimate business entity that protects it from personal liability, creating business agreements that protect the business interests with partners, drafting proper license agreements, avoiding fake reviews, account suspensions, and dealing with payment processing issues such as chargebacks and holdbacks with processors.

In being represented by an E-commerce Law Attorney, it is more probable that the business in question will be able to flourish and weather any problems that may arise. As there are many legal issues that may arise when forming an e-commerce site, or when working with an e-commerce platform, it is imperative that the business has access to legal advice and aid should anything go wrong.

The services that an Internet Law Attorney provides include – but are not limited to – advice on e-commerce business ventures, generating e-commerce terms and conditions, privacy policies, return policies, assisting with payment processing problems, resolving review and counterfeit issues, and a further extending list of processes and issues.

Information Technology (IT) law is slightly different to e-commerce law as it is broader. Although it is very similar to e-commerce law – due to it revolving around online systems – IT law typically encompasses all things web and computer software related. These things usually involve electronic signature laws, data privacy (GDPR) and security, and software licensing issues. IT attorneys work with all of these areas to share knowledge of legalities so that they may help any business with potential liability issues.

Over the course of the global pandemic, there has been an influx of online buying. Perhaps this is due to lockdowns where people are spending more time inside, so they fill more of their time with online shopping. Or perhaps it is due to the decrease in spending elsewhere, as many businesses have been forced to close. However, as there has been an increase in online spending and the number of online shops, the industry has seen a rise in the need for IT, e-commerce, and IP lawyers. This has driven lawyers forward as they have more work than ever before, and it doesn’t look like this is going to change any time soon as people seem to have become more accustomed to buying online.

Securing a Changing Digital World

In such a dynamic and changeable world as cybersecurity and cyberthreat, it takes a company that is able to adapt in an efficient and sophisticated manner in order to keep up. Resecurity is a company expert at doing this, working on keeping itself competitive throughout its time in operation, offering three flagship products that have gained it a trusted and reliable reputation for exemplary cyber protection solutions.

Resecurity has secured itself a solid reputation for excellence in its industry since its founding. Having begun with a flying start in 2016, it has since gained recognition as one of the world’s most leading cybersecurity companies, with a sole mission of protecting enterprises globally from the ever changing world of cybercrime and the consistently evolving threats that fall within that field. Above all, Resecurity knows the importance of keeping abreast of such things; with the very thing it is defending against being a dynamic and ever-changing world of risks, it dedicates itself to being just as – if not more – flexible, able to adapt to such things fluidly and protect its clients’ interests.

Today, it is one of the companies offering breed data-driven intelligence solutions. Developing products, services, and cyber security data, it develops products and services for cybersecurity that are backed up by the relevant data, resulting in three flagship solutions that have become internally renowned for their reliability and effectiveness. The first is its Context Threat Intelligence Platform, the second is its Digital Risk Monitoring Platform, and the third is its EPP, or End Protection Platform. Additionally, it handles solutions that help clients manage offensive and defensive solutions via consultation, an umbrella under which Red Team, Data Breach, Incident Response, Research, and Investigation lie.

In terms of its core values, its beating heart is the concept of ‘simple but meaningful’. It delivers solutions that do exactly what is required, without any unnecessary add-ons or bloatware, making for streamlined solutions that fit seamlessly around a client’s other operations and stay well out of the way of their core goals. First and foremost, it focuses on solutions that are actionable. Resecurity, therefore, sets itself apart from its competition by way of both high-touch client interaction and bottom up management practices, having worked with teams from around the world to broaden its capabilities, adding more value to its products and services.

Varying from high net worth individuals to value assets, enterprises, and governments, much of its engagement is secured through word of mouth referrals and positive reviews from clients past and present. This has bolstered its own repute massively, showing clients across a wide variety of industries the exemplary nature of its services from the words of trusted figures in their sectors – many of whom are clients moving away from commodity intelligence and towards deep security solutions such as Resecurity’s Context. In this way, it goes far beyond basic IP information, hash, or URL, digging all the way down to all-source intelligence that looks beyond sensors and is powered by a human analyst taking care of the service personally.

Therefore, its staff are the most important asset to Resecurity. Each one of them is outstanding at what they do, and with a singular mission in mind, they are able to act as a cohesive unit to provide the best possible service for its clients. Its clientele – and indeed the world – is becoming increasingly aware that security theatre and board level to management level isn’t cutting it for cybersecurity anymore. Thus, they save time, resources, and funds by turning to Resecurity as consummate professionals in its industry, able to rest easy knowing that their data and their own clients are being appropriately safeguarded against attacks. Having used the momentary lull in some of its services due to Covid-19 to self-evaluate, it is now back bigger and better than ever, raring to go in continually bettering and delivering the best cybersecurity protection on the market.

For more information, please contact Jean-Jacques Goncalves or visit resecurity.com

What is the Future of Digital Marketing?

Companies are facing a period of change, in many respects. First, doing business is quite different in a post-COVID-19 world. Some new ways of buying will remain forever. This will need to be addressed in the way companies market their products and services. Also, they have a new generation of consumers coming in, with the strengthening buying power of Generation Z, which will also mean adapting rapidly. Here is more on the digital marketing of tomorrow.

A change is a coming…

It would be foolish to think that businesses all woke up, during the sanitary crisis, and understood that they needed to get on board with digital marketing. Most were already involved in the practice and getting results. But it would not be far-fetched either to say that all companies have understood the real importance and effects that a well thought e-commerce campaign can have, and how customer success passes through not just great website design, but also through online marketing, as a whole.

To come to that understanding often meant asking the question: Do we have the necessary personnel in-house, in order to answer to digital marketing, in a professional and efficient way? The answer often came back negatively, as most companies do not have, yet, the qualified employees to handle all parts of digital marketing. That is when many of them turned towards companies such as 12Handz, that can provide digital solutions, to help grow their business. It goes from implementing a CRM, to automatizing the relationship with customers, making it more efficient, to rebuilding a new website, more adapted to the needs of SEO campaigns. It also helps reach a new generation of users. There is no doubt that such companies come in as help that is clearly needed and is still lacking in most businesses.

Reaching a new client base

Products and services (in most cases) should not be addressed to only a particular crowd, separated by age and sex. That is something that has become quite clear in a world where no-gender is becoming the norm, and people remain young throughout their whole life. But it should not be ignored that different generations need to be spoken to, differently. It is the case with Gen Z, which are reaching the level where their financial situation is sufficient for them to become good customers.

What really defines them, is how difficult they are to please. That is because they have grown up with the internet, and so, we can safely say, that they have seen it all. Therefore, they need a new kind of experience; one that will leave them hanging on the edge of their seat. It needs to incorporate as many of the digital marketing tools as possible, and hit precisely and efficiently at their needs. Therefore, new ideas will need to be brought in to companies, for them to reach their new target. Otherwise, they will quickly fall behind.

Establish Trust through the use of Various Digital Channels

The principle of advertising is that once someone has seen your company (products and services) sufficiently enough, they will start believing that you are a specialist in your sector. That is when they may start calling upon you, for whatever need you can fill, for them. Now that you have access to so many different potential digital channels, you can accelerate the process, by sending out the same message on each and every platform, at your disposal. That way, you create the necessary visibility, rapidly enough, for new customers to come calling. This is how you build the basic trust necessary for a person to start buying from your company.

But that won’t be sufficient, by itself. You will also need the same message to be sent out by third-parties. Influencers will continue to play a large role in the business world, in the next few years. The phenomenon will expand and go beyond the borders of how it currently functions, in order to create even more interest for products and services, by installing a sense of trust between them and their public. But the most important way will remain the Google search page results. If you don’t place enough energy and funds into becoming one of the top search results in your category, this will always be a difficult weakness that you will need to compensate for, through other digital marketing strategies.

Benefit from Artificial Intelligence

Companies that don’t take advantage of the information brought in through artificial intelligence will be the ultimate losers, in a race that won’t even be close. Now that AI can define perfectly what a person’s need and desires are, if you don’t acquire that information… well, your competitors will. That means they will deliver exactly what your customers want, and therefore, they will buy at their e-store and not on yours.

The need for companies to adapt to today’s digital marketing strategies cannot be minimized. Otherwise, they will fall back in the race for new customers. And that, in the real world, always ends badly.

Acquisition International Announces the Winners of the 2021 Influential Businesswoman Awards

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

While there is still work to be done as far as gender equality goes, recognising influential women, especially in male-dominated fields, is a good step forward. The Influential Businesswoman Awards sole objective is to encourage and support women as they further participate in entrepreneurial endeavours as it is our belief that their participation is vital in ensuring a balanced and forward- thinking economy.

Awards Coordinator Jessie Wilson had this to say about the winners: “All of the Influential Businesswomen are not only doing innovative work in their respective fields, but also creating an equal-opportunity narrative for future businesswomen everywhere. To all our winners, I offer my sincere congratulations and we wish you luck for the future!”

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 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 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.

What You Need To Know Before Investing In Cryptocurrency

As cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, more people see a need to invest in them. Compared to what was obtainable in 2009 when the whitepaper draft of the first digital currency was created, the cryptocurrency market has grown over the years. Today, over 11,000 cryptocurrencies are in circulation, providing numerous investment channels for people.

However, like other forms of investment, you have to exercise care when investing in cryptocurrency. One of the ways to do this is to understand different cryptocurrency prices like Bitcoin price. You are also expected to pay attention to the news to stay updated at all times. Cryptocurrency investment can appear fanciful on the outside, but it takes a lot of attention to detail to make the most of your investment.

Here, we shall be examining some of the main things to know about investing in cryptocurrency to profit from it.

A Financial Plan Has To Be In Place

Many people fail to understand that in the cryptocurrency market, things won’t always go as planned. On days when things feel bullish, there is the propensity to feel like you will never record a loss. However, the cryptocurrency world is a very volatile space, which is evident in the many variations of Bitcoin price over the years. As such, you must put certain financial safeguards in place to keep you on your feet on days things don’t go as planned.

One of the best ways to put in place a financial plan is to diversify your investment. Why buy Bitcoin with debit card when you can consider investing in other coins with good prospects like Dogecoin and Litecoin?

Understand Different Strategies

As against what you might have thought, investing in cryptocurrencies is not a game of chance. Several trading strategies exist that can be engaged to get certain results. Before you buy Bitcoin or any other coins available, ensure you have invested in learning different strategies. Some of these cryptocurrency trading strategies include day trading and night trading.

The day trading strategies explain how you can trade your coin effectively for other coins to profit from it. On the other hand, night trading, which has proven to be more effective, teaches you how to beat the changing cryptocurrency prices at night to avoid a loss.

While you can learn these different trading strategies from experts, the internet is an excellent place to find helpful information that can guide you. You can go on YouTube and watch detailed videos on every crypto trading strategy that exists. After watching these videos, you can open a demo account and practice the strategy before you buy Bitcoin.

Know the Difference between a Bullish and Bearish Pattern

In the cryptocurrency market, when there is a predicted spike in prices, it is said that there is a bullish pattern. In other words, based on certain parameters like trending news, activities of traders, and government regulation, cryptocurrency prices are expected to go up. A recent example was when El-Salvador accepted cryptocurrency as a legal tender. Based on this news, it was predicted that Bitcoin price would surge, which is a bullish pattern.

In contrast, a bearish pattern is a predicted fall in cryptocurrency prices. The same principles that can cause a bullish pattern can also cause a bearish one. As a newbie into the cryptocurrency trade, you should pay attention to these patterns to know the right coin to invest in. However, when relying on bullish and bearish patterns, ensure it comes from a trusted source, preferably an expert.

Do Not Ignore the Volatility of Cryptocurrency

Many people who come into the cryptocurrency market tend to focus more on what they can gain from their investment than what they can lose. The absence of regulations has remained a major reason why cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. Over the years, we have seen how the Bitcoin price has been fluctuating – one minute it goes up, and the next it comes down. A wise Bitcoin trader does not try to look past the volatility of cryptocurrency but has a strategy to survive through it.

Invest an Amount You Are Not Scared To Lose

Finally, new traders must know that a cardinal rule to investing in cryptocurrency is to put in what you are not scared to lose. You are safe when there is a loss and on the better side when there is a gain.

Generally, in investment, there is what is referred to as the 5% rule of investing. Here, you are expected to put only 5% of your earnings or worth into volatile investments. The remaining percentage can be invested in more fixed assets even if they are less profitable.

In conclusion, cryptocurrencies are the future of money, and there is no better way to seize that future than to start investing in them now. However, you must understand different trading strategies, have a financial backup plan in place, and invest what you are not scared to lose. To be on the safer side, you can consider investing as low as only 5% of your earnings on cryptocurrency.

Also, you can consider diversifying your investment portfolio. As such, instead of investing in Bitcoin alone, you can consider investing in many coins simultaneously. That way, a fall in one coin’s value can be augmented by the rise in the value of another coin.

Leading the Way for Client Focused Banking

Having won the award for the Best Full-Service Community Bank’ in 2021 for Pennsylvania, Customers Bank has proven its worth time and time again to its customers and staff alike. Focusing on the pillars that keep it standing, it reflects on what about its business sets it apart.

Customers Bank is a financial service based on the principle of community. A bank with $18.1 billion in assets as of March of this year, it has again and again proven its proficiency in handling commercial and consumer banking services. Found along the I-95 corridor from Washington DC to Boston, its commercial products include cash management, commercial and industrial loans, small business loans, SBA government-guaranteed loans, commercial and family real estate loans, and financing for leasing businesses and residential developers. All of these competencies together form an expansive list; and it has proven its worth in meeting the demands of each separate task perfectly. In this way, it shows its clients both prospective and current how much diligence with which it works.

This bank also is greatly able to provide consumer bank services. These are just as efficient and exemplary as the commercial branch, whilst recognizing that these are two separate fields. Therefore, its consumer bank services including savings, checking and money market accounts, certificates of deposit, residential mortgages, and consumer loans. Alongside all of these are its additional consumer products, which include its ‘ascent money market savings’, which is marketed by the Customers Bank Digital Banking Division. The efficacy it shows throughout its management of customer service, as well as management of money and assets, sets this bank head and shoulders above its competition; and has made it the bank of choice for many.

Additionally, the Customers Bank is also a member of the Federal Reserve System. An element which further increases the trust its customers can put in it by enhancing its reliability, deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Customers Bank also takes great pride in being an equal opportunity lender, working hard to serve every customer that walks through their doors in a way that will best help that individual, with no judgement involved and always treating them with empathy and sensitivity. First and foremost, it seeks to deliver industry-leading customer service, all the while charging some of the lowest fees available in the current market.

Its commercial clients also benefit from a Single Point of Contact service. This, fundamentally, means that one member of the team will be handling all of a client’s banking needs, from the initial consultation all the way through a client’s journey. In this way, confusion is avoided, and a personable, tailored service can be achieved wherein a client feels truly seen, heard, and valued, without the frustration of having to re-explain elements of their case every time they work with a new banker. Retail bank clients are also offered an additionally helpful service in its Concierge Banking Service. This unique and efficient solution brings banking directly to the client – and it will do so only when and where they need it. Customers Bank’s headquarters is in Phoenixville; a subsidiary of Customers Bancorp Inc, a banking holdings company whose voting common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CUBI. Ranked in total assets, Customers Bank is also in the top 3% of the United States, and has offices in PA, NY, RI, MA, NH, NJ, and IL. This multitude of factors aptly shows how it refuses to compromise when it comes to customer service and industry excellence.

The Customers Bank strives above all to make its customers say ‘wow’, from having efficient and professional staff, to personalized and tailorable service and setting sector-leading standards. Due to this, internally, it has worked hard to create an exemplary atmosphere that encourages healthy co-operation between staff members and a friendliness that they can extend out towards the customers. It eagerly recognizes team members for their good work, with a ‘President’s Wow Award’ that is given to a member of staff to celebrate them for their achievements. The assignment of this award is based on things like customer service surveys, social media comments from customers, thank you notes that are left for certain team members, recognition from community groups or charities, public recognition as a pace setter of leader of industry, receipt of annual awards or shining star awards, or clearly demonstrating their passion for their work.

When handling the needs of its customers, it trains each member of staff to deliver high-touch personal or private banking. This is all supported by the most high-tech equipment and the best techniques to be found in banking; in this way, it always keeps a finger on the pulse of modern developments in its industry in order to remain competitive. Its Concierge Banking service is an excellent example of this. By way of making itself available 7 days a week, it helps its customers to succeed by ensuring they always have the support of Customers Bank on their side. The following values ensure that the customer is put first in all things, an attitude that permeates every layer of Customers Bank’s Structure – firstly, it operates with mutual trust. Trust given to it by the client in choosing it to manage their money is repaid by Customers Bank trusting them in return, forming solid lifelong relationships between clientele and the team.

Secondly, respect is something that Customers Bank finds absolutely paramount when it comes to work in the banking sector. Respect shown to a customer becomes mutual, and respect amongst the staff backstage ensures a healthy environment there too, forming the basis for a company with a consistently healthy working atmosphere. Customers Bank practices with the highest levels of integrity in both the customer facing roles and those that take place behind the scenes, delivering exceptional results with a positive attitude and dedication to hard work.

It also holds to four important pillars that form the backbone of its organization: IQ, AQ, and EQ. Whilst it sees a lot of leaders of industry talking about intelligence quotient (IQ), it is far rarer that it sees Adaptability Quotient (AQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), or Cultural Quotient (CQ) being discussed; Customers Bank wishes to buck that trend and ensure all four are given equal weight. Each pillar holds up the organization equally and contributes the same amount, in different ways, to its success and the success of its staff. It is also constantly looking towards how it can better implement each of these – especially cultural quotient – as Customers Bank is dedicated to making a more diverse and accepting work environment. As it moves forward with its good work, it hopes that these elements of its business will only grow as it continues to corner the market.

For further information, please contact David Patti or visit customersbank.com

Proven Pedal Power!

As the world looks for green solutions, local governments around the world have been investigating ways of making their communities more environmentally friendly. PBSC Urban Solutions is a Canadian innovation that has grown into an astonishing success which led to their Award for Excellence in Bicycle-Sharing Systems – North America. We take a look at what the team are currently offering to see just how they’ve grown from a city-wide success to an international phenomenon.

The micromobility movement has grown into big business for those in the industry. With operations that use bicycles, scooters, and mopeds to make short hops in double-quick time, it’s little wonder that the full potential of this movement still remains untapped. While the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt had an impact, this is an industry that is certain to recover quickly, and nowhere is this better seen than with the impact of the world-leading PBSC Urban Solutions.

Since opening its doors in 2008, PBSC Urban Solutions has been instrumental not just in the expansion of micromobility services but ensuring that these services are accessible by the public at large. The service first began in Montreal, designed to avoid people being so dependent on cars. The solution was a bike sharing system that became an overwhelming success. In just over a year, the team saw 3000 bicycles in use at over 300 stations, with a system that was reaching out across the world. Today, PBSC Urban Solutions is now present all around the world in major cities such as London, Barcelona, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Honolulu, and many others. Its growth is truly remarkable, and the figures back this up. There are now more than 90,000 bikes around the world which have been used across more than 400 million rides and preventing 65 million kilograms of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

Changing the world is certainly one of the driving forces behind PBSC Urban Solutions, but it is not a force that operates purely on an expansionist scale. Instead, the team are always looking to how their work affects groups of people. Building communities who trust the services that are being offered and are able to use them effectively is vital to the creation of a system that can be sustained over months and years.

To perform this effectively, the team have developed, marketed, and operate their solutions alongside their local partners. The teamwork in cities of all sizes and are able to implement their own systems either to replace existing solutions or installing something entirely new. Working closely with community leaders ensures that whatever decision is made, it is done to serve the people who live within the community and provide the services that they need.

This carefully calculated approach has involved considerable investment, but has also resulted in technology that people can be certain will work in any country around the world. From e-bikes to smart docking stations to software that ties cities like Monaco and Montreal together, it’s a clear triumph. Everything is designed in-house, from the basic user app that allows users to rent, return and plan their journeys, through to the operator management system that cities depend upon. Adjustment of these features is crucial to the development not only of the system, but to the expansion of a city into a hub of smart technology.

PBSC Urban Solutions has always championed the latest that technology has to offer, and this is shown most clearly by the team’s cloud-based management software. This mission control allows every bike and every Smart Station to be fully connected 24/7. Gathering even the most basic data, from whether locals or tourists are using the bikes through to where bikes are and what condition they are in, can allow local authorities to make quick decisions easily. No matter what the problem, the solution can quickly be found in this integrated management tool.

It’s not just software where the team excels. Those who adopt PBSC Urban Solutions also gain access to their extraordinary range of bicycles and stations. The E-Station is perhaps the flagship of the team’s developments, acting as a multifunctional, grid-powered solution. It certainly is the firm’s unique selling point, as it offers riders the chance to recharge the bikes directly and quickly at the station. There is an intelligent Connected Kiosk that communicates with the system’s back-end so users can dock and unlock bikes with smartphones or smartcards. It has a charging point for e-bikes and the system feedback through so that operators know exactly what is happening. The e-Station has been carefully designed to ensure that it is lightweight and easy to move, allowing it to slot in wherever is most appropriate.

The natural extension, with an eye on green technology, is the Solar Station. This is entirely self-sufficient and is what every modern city dreams of. Built with a modular design, it is infinitely adaptable and ideally suited to permanent positioning or as a temporary hub during seasonal events. Like the e-Station, the Solar Station sends back an enormous amount of data to the operations team, ensuring that any problems can be quickly noticed and rectified.

Beyond the individual stations on offer, the team have developed the bicycle to its ultimate form. The FIT is small, light, and dynamic. It does what a bike need to do with ease. Recently, the team have developed the E-FIT, which assists cyclists with an innovative technology and rider-friendly design. Users of this bike can make moves more quickly than ever before. For those who want to go classic, the ICONIC is the bike that started it all for PBSC Urban Solutions. The team have been using the design for more than a decade, and it still stands the test of time. Its sister unit is the BOOST, an e-Bike unfazed by anything a user can throw at it. It’s telling that while the team are always looking for new ways forward, its previous endeavours have proven very long lasting indeed.

In many ways, this reflects the values that the team hold, and these have been key to their incredible success. Passion has ensured that they not only succeed, but that they succeed in doing the right thing. In this case, PBSC Urban Solutions is not driven purely by an eye for profit, but by a need to create Active people, smart cities and healthy planet. To them, the potential of micromobility solutions is key to this.

Similarly, the performance of the company is reflected in the performance of its employees. Everyone involved at every level looks not to the challenges of today, but to the needs of tomorrow when they’re making decisions. This involves an imaginative process that embraces the possibilities available to them. By taking an attitude that is already curious and adaptable, the team are able to tailor their micromobility solutions to positively influence the future.

When it comes to creating a vision for the future, the team at PBSC Urban Solutions are already there. They know the challenges involved in the running of a smart city and they have taken the time to truly understand how to deal with them effectively. Combined with an approach that is infinitely adaptable, this is truly a transport solution for our times. There is nothing quite like it, anywhere.

For further information, please contact Nathalie Dore via email at [email protected]

Building the Future of Construction

Having received the accolade of the ‘Best Building Enclosure Products Manufacturer’ for 2021 in the USA, MaxLife Industries will use its new flagship product to inspire innovation in the building materials industry. The newly launched ArmorWall Plus Fire-Rated Structural Insulated Sheathing product brings a contemporary update to one of the oldest trades; and it’s about time, too.

The company behind the industry’s most innovative building enclosure system, MaxLife Industries, is a building materials manufacturing company consistently defining and refining what good product manufacturing practice looks like. Its flagship products are part of an entirely new construction materials category referred to as structural insulated sheathing panels or SIS panels.  Under the brand name ArmorWall, these panels have become widely used in commercial, multifamily, healthcare, and other building types all over the country. In essence, the company has created a product that enables both building designs of times past that are no longer easily attainable due to modern codes, and innovative designs of the future.

The ArmorWall Fire-Rated Structural Insulated SheathingTM panels contain a combination of layers working in tandem to be a far more fire-resistant solution, passing NFPA 285 testing without the need of additional protective cladding. One of these components is a half-inch layer of Magnesium Oxide (MgO) sheathing, which grants it a one-hour fire rating on its own, and a two-hour rating when a second layer is used on the interior face. This allows ArmorWall to boast industry-leading durability and strength. Utilizing MaxLife’s patented Fusion Technology, the MgO board is fused – not glued or laminated – to the second component, a poured polyurethane insulation layer. Because it is fused, there is no opportunity for the layers to delaminate or pull apart.  MaxLife’s Fusion Technology sets it apart from its competitors.

The ArmorWall line of products provides customers with a wide range of solutions that each address a different challenge one might face on a construction project, allowing its clients to pick the ArmorWall product that is best for the task at hand. The varieties of ArmorWall include: Non-Coated, Plus, PermaBase®, and Below Grade, each of which lends itself expertly to fit a breadth of different client needs and requirements. By providing a variety of options, MaxLife ensures that customers can treat it as a one-stop-shop for the building enclosure system. Constructing wall systems in commercial and multifamily buildings used to require four or more trades and multiple installation revolutions around a building; with ArmorWall, one labor crew performs the installation in one revolution. In addition, new product types will be available in early 2022.

In 2020, MaxLife released a new variation of ArmorWall called Symmetrical Panel, which offers up to two-hour fire-rated assemblies by using two layers of MgO sheathing; one on the exterior, and one on the interior face. These and other industry-leading benefits combined make for an ArmorWall product line that is innovative, effective, and free of overcomplications. MaxLife has worked hard to ensure that all its products are united in being incredibly streamlined, containing only elements that will directly benefit the structural integrity or safety of construction with nothing superfluous in sight.

MaxLife’s sales are growing as Architects are increasingly specifying ArmorWall products in many building types across the country. Despite being in such high demand, the company has continued to invest in innovation and process improvement in its North Carolina manufacturing facility in order to further improve quality and maintain low production costs. Doing so allows MaxLife to implement a ten-year limited warranty for ArmorWall panels when approved components are used on a project, such as ArmorSeal sealants, coatings, fasteners, ArmorBoard, and ArmorBoard returns. Reaping the rewards of this warranty are architects and design professionals, installers and general contractors, and building owners.  This last group, building owners, receive piece of mind and comfort in knowing that their building has been built to last with ArmorWall.

MaxLife’s expert technical staff commits a wealth of time and energy to educating the architectural, engineering, and construction industry about the newest developments in building codes, safety, and efficiency, which the company believes will lead to a new paradigm of high material standards and design practices. To this end, its contemporary solutions teach an old field new tricks, improving the education of a market with a tendency to mire itself in the past and rely heavily on traditional methods. MaxLife also hopes to lead by example when it comes to setting and abiding by new code standards and regulations.  Company staff are active participants in establishing new national standards for the new SIS product category and MgO panels. In addition to providing industry-best education and technical resources on its website, MaxLife’s technical staff and independent product representatives located across the country are available for hands-on educational meetings and on-site installation demonstrations.

MaxLife’s product representatives are an integral part of the company’s education and sales channels, serving as the customer-facing element that enables the company to achieve its goal of increased education and innovation about SIS panels. These architectural product experts plan outreach, conduct education efforts, design promotional and teaching materials, and work with both the wider market segment and existing customers. With this hands-on service in place, MaxLife sees even greater innovation opportunities within its industry, backed up by the very product it promotes and sells.  MaxLife’s product representatives include product samples in their outreach campaigns, enabling customers to see and test for themselves the many ways in which ArmorWall is a much different building enclosure product than what they are accustomed to.

The most prominent and beneficial innovation offered by ArmorWall is that it combines four traditional installation components into one, creating a well-rounded product that is fire-resistant, structurally strong, air and water-resistant, and provides a multifamily or commercial building with high-performance continuous insulation all year round.  ArmorWall allows projects to meet and even exceed continuous insulation needs, working to and above the standards of state and national building codes and green certification programs. This not only makes it an environmentally sustainable product; it allows a client to save both time and money; a factor made even more exemplary when you consider that ArmorWall only takes one installation revolution around the building. In contrast, traditional insulation solutions take four revolutions.

ArmorWall is also insect, mold, and mildew resistant, containing no biological elements that are the usual causes of such growths in insulation or wall materials. Furthermore, MaxLife uses only insulation components that carry a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1, the lowest rating on the current market, in addition to an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0. Using ArmorWall’s poured polyurethane insulation method instead of the usual tactic of spraying the insulation on-site makes for substantially less off gassing at the location and a far lower carbon footprint. Moreover, its manufacturing process is equally green, as ArmorWall is produced in a nearly zero-waste plant in North Carolina, USA.

Every staff member working at MaxLife, from its plant workers to its product representatives, contributes to the overall success of the firm, and has been a critical part of its path of success. MaxLife recognizes the efforts of its staff and partners to ensure that the company’s products offer high standards of quality, and that customers receive a consistent message of customer service throughout the specification and installation processes. Throughout the pandemic, MaxLife has remained committed to its staff and its customers.  Despite challenges such as material supply shortages, pricing volatility with raw materials, and staffing shortages nationwide, the company has remained focused on workplace safety and customer service, allowing it to survive and thrive through the pandemic. As a final word, MaxLife Industries promises clients that its dedication to innovation is ongoing. Customers can expect to see many more ArmorWall developments in the very near future, as MaxLife pushes towards a better and brighter future for the architectural, engineering, and construction industry.

For further information, please contact Eryn Koty or visit www.maxlifeindustries.com

Battery Bonanza!

The role of power in today’s economy cannot be understated, with batteries playing a crucial role in the storage of the energy that keeps businesses on the move. Constant development means that businesses are always looking for the latest developments. Leading the way forward is the team at American Battery Solutions. We take a closer look to find out more.

When American Battery Solutions opened its doors in 2019, the aim was to provide a place for the design and manufacture of modular battery solutions for transportation, industrial and commercial markets in North America, Europe, and the world at large. It was not an easy task, but it was one the team approached with gusto. In just two years, the business has become a leader in the industry for those who want a battery that can go the extra mile.

At the heart of the firm is the world-class team of battery systems experts. These talented engineers have a deep understanding of what makes batteries work and a desire to push this technology not only to its limits, but beyond. Their conception of automotive-grade battery systems from concept development and prototyping to testing and validation, straight through to high volume production means that the team can offer something that is unique and highly valuable in today’s economy. They offer a one-stop-shop solution for the latest battery demands.

Operating out of an established 170,000 sq. ft manufacturing footprint in Ohio and a 40,000 sq. ft engineering tech center in Michigan, they have been able to make a real impact on the industry at large. Few could argue with the fact that American Battery Solutions has not only become a name to be recognized, but a renowned name too. Since being established, the Ohio factory has been able to produce more than 60,000 high-voltage batteries for the automotive market. Already, demand for this exciting technology has seen these facilities are beginning to produce ABS’ products on an unprecedented scale.

The tech center that is the heart of many of these innovations has grown to include some of the most exciting features on the market. Not content with where battery technology currently lies, the team is exploring their ability to deliver full cell, module and pack cycle testing with some of the largest pack testing thermal chambers in North America. This incredible flexibility has lain at the heart of the company since its inception. The team also have access to their own advanced flexible module pilot and prototype line capable of building cylindrical, prismatic or pouch type cell modules using both laser welding and wire/ribbon bonding techniques. In a world that is constantly changing, it’s little wonder that the companies that explore new ways of working make more rapid progress.

The success of this approach can be seen in the team’s all new Alliance E48-2.0 as the first product in the ALLIANCE Intelligent Battery Series™ of lithium-ion batteries for motive and industrial applications. This proprietary design is designed to act as the progenitor for an exciting range that will revolutionize the way in which the battery industry is seen. Needless to say, the team has put quality first and foremost at every stage of development, with the highest quality cells, automotive-grade electronics, and high-quality US-based manufacturing in a robust IP67 waterproof package. It’s the perfect basis on which to provide an alternate energy solution for low-speed electric vehicles, utility vehicles and industrial machines.

The electrification of vehicles is happening at an incredibly rapid rate, and part of the key to this has been the steady transition from lead acid batteries to Li-Ion. The team at American Battery Solutions know that their customers expect more range, longer run-time, and longer lifetimes without the hassle of battery maintenance, and the new ALLIANCE Series from ABS delivers on this promise. As the first battery hits the shelves, it is easy to see how a whole line of products in this vein can be developed. Already in research and development is an Industrial series of batteries based on the industry standard GC2 form factor. This series of Alliance Intelligent Batteries Series ™ will include a 24V and 48Voptions all with 3kWh of energy, ideal for anyone who is looking for an electrification solution.

As well as various other innovations and developments, the team at American Battery Solutions is also preparing for the launch of a high-voltage series of products targeted at electric delivery vehicles, as well as trucks, buses, construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, and mining vehicles. The firm will be working with the emerging EV start-up companies as well as recognized light, medium, and heavy-duty manufacturers to ensure that these high-voltage products meet every need imaginable. PROLIANCE Intelligent Battery Series™ will include both 350V and 650V versions, in 50kWh and 100kWh increments that are scalable in series, as well as in parallel.

Part of the key to this new line is a uniformity that can be transferred across the different batteries. When American Battery Solutions began their work, they considered the needs that their clients would have. Working primarily with those in an industrial setting demanded that the team’s solutions be highly versatile, maintenance-free, and robust in the extreme. Delivering on these promises has not been easy but has resulted in a line that is carefully designed to be easily implemented across a range of vehicle sizes. A customer’s entire portfolio can be supported with a simple, single solution.

This system is unique to American Battery Solutions and showcases how their approach sets them apart, as well as above and beyond, the competition. The “Intelligent” Battery Management System (BMS) allows modules to be easily added in parallel without the need for reprogramming. This effectively makes Li-Ion battery installation an easy retrofit, creating battery systems that have half the size and weight of lead acid batteries while offering zero-maintenance and longer life. As with all of the team’s offerings, there is an attitude that champions clear engineering solutions that save the customer time and money.

The growth of American Battery Solutions has been incredible, and the development of what the team has been able to offer has been exemplary. In a world that is in flux, the team has found a way to make their solutions universal and easily implemented. By listening to customers, they have produced something that can be handled like a lead-acid battery, making upgrades much more straightforward. It’s one thing to suggest a way forward that transforms the industry, but real change is done by taking what is already there and implementing something brand new.

With battery systems that have been included in some of the most well-known automotive programs, from the GM EV1 to the Chevrolet Volt, it’s little wonder that the American Battery Solutions team has achieved such success. Their work has become the standard within the industry, and the team have only just gotten started. With their capacity constantly growing, we are sure to see this name because infamous in energy circles for years to come.

For business enquiries, email [email protected] at American Battery Solutions.

Redefining Communication

Investis Digital is a global communications company that is establishing itself as a revolutionary leader of digital connectivity. Championing cutting-edge technology that allows brands to tell their stories and engage on a deeper level with their customers, Investis provides communications platforms that are proven to drive business success. We dig deeper into Investis to find out more about its market-leading digital communication systems, and the team that has built them.

For more than two decades, the global communications company, Investis Digital, has dedicated itself to creating digital experiences that build trust between businesses and their audiences and consequently drive business performance.

Empowered by a potent combination of expertise, technology, and customer-centric service, Investis has established itself as a trusted communications partner to some of the world’s most visible companies, helping them to create connections with their own clients, by boosting brand affinity and reputation, resilience, influence, revenue and engagement.

Ultimately, the services of Investis are geared towards realising the initiatives of their clients within the spheres of content and communication, working alongside them to support them in generating content to designing the sites that will host that content. Investis’ 24/7 full-service offering is equipped to support its clients from start to finish, handling strategy, content, design, development, deployment, optimisation and amplification in service powered by data-driven insights and decades of experience working with more than 1600 global industry leaders, such as Vodafone, Ocado, Rolls Royce, Ascential and many more. The result is measurable and repeatable outcomes that drive business success.

Connected Content

Investis’ unique approach is one that combines the strategy of corporate communications with the innovation of a creative studio, the attentiveness of a 24/7 global service model, and the results of a leading performance marketing business, all underpinned by a world-class technology platform. Connected Content, the proprietary communications technology that is championed by Investis, is central to the company’s success in marrying compelling communications and intelligent digital experiences that connect with audiences on a more profound level.

The unified approach of Connected Content is one that has only recently begun to take flight in the world of communications, but is one that Investis has been promoting for several years. By aligning the core moving parts of a successful communications campaign through cutting-edge technology with integrated security, Investis has created a platform on which businesses can tell their brand stories through strategic and engaging content, and which has been purpose-built for durability in an increasingly digital and privacy-first world. To that end, one of the key functions of Connected Content is the creation and running of intelligent, ‘bullet-proof’ websites that employ strategized marketing techniques to generate tangible results while respecting consumer privacy.

As digital communications continue to take greater precedence on a global stage as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Investis’ reputation for reliable digital communications services has accelerated demand for its expertise over the last year. Fuelled primarily by the Connected Content technology, Investis has diversified its digital offering to accommodate the industry shift towards tech-powered communications. Investis Digital Live, for instance, is a digital-first service that has seen astronomical growth during the pandemic, with many Investis clients who usually managed several in-person events each year having to adapt to virtual mediums. Investis, which has deep experience managing webcasts and virtual events ranging from investor days to employee meetings, launched its Digital Live service as a means to offer a secure platform on which clients could create compelling events. Since its launch, the dedicated professionals and proprietary technology behind Digital Live have successfully supported more than 750 businesses each year in managing webcasts and virtual events affordably and securely.

Elsewhere, Investis is focusing its attention on how it can shape market trends in an effort to propel future growth. For example, with the rise of remote working encouraged by the pandemic, Investis has recognised a surge in businesses investing more heavily in integrated, digital-based communications. The Connect.IQ report, that was created by Investis as a benchmark for businesses to measure the performance of their websites, is an example of how the firm is evolving to match the changing market and developing thought leadership within the sphere of digital communications. Now, the report has become the industry standard against which businesses measure the success of their communications, assessing how well they are connecting with their stakeholders or how effectively they are communicating their brand story or mission. In 2021, Connect.IQ will receive a major update that will include the world’s most comprehensive review of global publicly traded enterprises within the industry.

Meanwhile, as increasing digitisation of business operations and communications fuels an uptick in security threats and changes in data privacy law, Investis is again well-equipped to offer its clients solutions within the fields of security and privacy. Connect.ID is another of Investis’ market-leading platforms, that has integrated security and data protection into its design. The built-in cyberthreat prevention system is complete with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection and malicious traffic analysis and prevention. When combined with SEO-optimised CMS with advanced analytics, the intelligent Connect.ID technology can be effectively and efficiently implemented into high performance websites that prioritise consumer privacy in a matter of weeks after a client’s initial consultation with the Investis team.

However clients are looking to use their digital communications – whether it be to boost their brand for investors, expand their global reach, or promote their values of corporate responsibility – Investis’ comprehensive yet unified offering makes it easy to achieve those goals.

Culture of Connectivity

As a global company with offices spread across the US, Europe, and Asia, Investis knows the value of staying connected. United by their company’s values – Embrace Clarity, Bring Passion, Inspire Greatness, Keep Innovating, and Measure Success – Investis’ worldwide teams share the same connectivity as they offer their clients in Investis’ technologically advanced platforms. This is where the successful growth of Investis has consistently originated from for the past two decades.

Investis Digital CEO, Don Scales, who joined the organisation in early 2016 and was appointed Group CEO in 2017, is the expert on how businesses within the professional services industry can grow through their purpose, values and story, having literally written the book on the matter. “We’re living in an era where customers, shareholders, employees, and job seekers measure businesses based on their values and purpose – and we help businesses share compelling content that reflects their purpose, values, and story,” says Don. Investis has recognised that jobseekers are no longer just looking for financial rewards and promotions from a potential role. These benefits must be balanced with clear purpose and alignment with their personal values. While many within the professional services industry are still struggling to adjust to this shift, Investis has already made the change, orientating its entire corporate culture to be more values-driven, and putting its people first.

As such, Investis relies heavily on its team to drive forward the success of their own business by empowering the successes of its clients, helping them to communicate their brand stories through strategies that have been created with expertise and client perspectives in mind. One example that is becoming increasingly common is businesses wishing to emphasise their commitments to sustainability in their digital communications. The Investis team is able to use its vast resources and compassionate insights to create the compelling content that will accentuate those commitments.

Thus, the internal culture of Investis is one that acknowledges and celebrates the successes of its people and the values-driven approach employed by every member of its global team. Those who are recruited to join the team are evaluated not only on whether they meet the required skillsets, but on their entrepreneurial spirit as well as their passion, their innovation and their optimism. Teamwork and collaboration are embedded into the very culture of Investis, and the result is a dynamic team with a defined sense of purpose, which translates into effective results for their clients.

“We bring passion, embrace clarity, keep innovating, inspire greatness and measure success to ensure our clients not only see but feel the true partnership we have with them,” concludes Don. The result is a connected culture that extends from Investis to its clients, and beyond into a bright future of connectivity through digital communications.

For further details, please contact Don Scales or www.investisdigital.com

Most Outstanding Leisure & Tourism Group 2021 – UK

The VITALA Group is a consultation services group bringing project management and exemplary financial processes to a myriad of industries and businesses worldwide. Offering a full range of solutions handled with dedication and care, it is uplifting the corporate industry with every project it undertakes.

Established in 1983, the VITALA Group of Companies best known for offering expertise in the form of project financing and development. For the most part these services are provided to the leisure, tourism, and themed entertainment industry; however, VITALA’s prestige has become well known across a wide cross section of the corporate sphere. As its solutions are those that form crucial cornerstones of many business operations, it has made itself an invaluable operational tool to many organisations, with a wide array of specialisms offered by its team. One such specialism is global project finance services in terms of forming financial syndicates. This is a solution that covers start-ups as well as ongoing projects, handling the provision of Private Placement Memoranda and related documentation for project verification, such as mergers or acquisitions.

In this way, it has become an ingrained part of business infrastructure, supporting companies with an expert guiding hand useful for the experienced and inexperienced alike. VITALA’s commercial activities cover further project finance aspects like investment, consultancy, and management services. Its project management and fiscal planning strategies are second to none in all elements, and thus as VITALA has grown it scaled its operations up alongside it, now offering equity and debt funding, project start-up help, partnerships, and loans. All its work focuses on getting a client’s work off the ground and setting it on a trajectory of sustainable success with the implementation of watertight behind the scenes processes.

Its project management services include the streamlining of client workflow, and the members of its exemplary team are prepared to help with anything from investigations into existing processes, private placement memoranda, feasibility studies, loan syndication, and buy in / buy out. The breadth as well as depth of its solutions are another aspect of what makes VITALA such a vital tool for many of its clients. Furthermore, its clients appreciate the lack of up-front fees or hidden surcharges; it will only ever charge a success fee. The decades of experience that VITALA has accrued reassures its clients right from the beginning of working with it that it will be reliable. VITALA then proves this with its results, smoothly integrating itself with its client’s company and getting to know the business in a non-obstructive manner.

It has worked with businesses across the world to develop and upgrade internal processes and secured the success of many projects in this way. As it receives so many applications for all types of financial projects, it finds it important to stress that it does not operate as a finance broker; rather, it is an advice and guidance specialist, recommending the most appropriate source for a project’s valuation.

Project financing is based on the merits and risks of a specific project, rather than the security and corporate elements. This allows it to view a client’s project impartially and objectively, evaluating it for the sum of its parts as a standalone plan, instead of allowing outside elements to guide its judgement. It has thus completed global development projects in over 153 countries, taking them from inception to operation, managing tasks that will allow for the complete and seamless success of it. This includes the juggling of a myriad of dynamic factors.

VITALA’s handling of such factors is where it truly shines. In operating across cultural and language barriers, it has gained an empathetic understanding of how to approach each project with sensitivity and an open mind. Furthermore, its staff are all extremely qualified to operate within such international spheres, with the ability to see to a client’s economic, financial, and legal needs during a project with sophistication. Its aim above all else is to provide customer-tailored services. VITALA achieves this by keeping its own processes rigorous but flexible, with goalposts that can be altered depending on the client’s wishes and the demands of a project. In tandem with this, VITALA holds its own ethical, legal, and environmental responsibility in the highest regard, striving to make the world a better place day by day in both the corporate spheres and the macro scale.

Due to the complexity and wide reach of its work, it has encountered very little in the way of competition. This has allowed it to become a one-of-a-kind service like no other, with its work in high demand; demand it rises to with efficacy, all the while keeping its services strictly in-house. All its solutions are catered to by different members of its staff, refusing to outsource to maintain services that are high quality, consistent, and value for money. VITALA’s processes are just as streamlined in house as the ones it implements for its clients, and thus, even when challenges arise, it can respond to them quickly and effectively. For example, during the Covid-19 outbreak, it experienced project delays – however, it has been working with its clients to aid them through this difficult period.

Its upcoming projects also promise to be immensely impressive as it continues to scale its operation alongside its continued growth. Thanks to the increase of clients coming to it for services, and those clients creating buzz about VITALA through glowing word of mouth referrals, this business is certainly never bored. The businesses in its current client’s circle often end up becoming some of its next clients, and so on; this has secured it a reliable business model, allowing it to look forward towards designing its future. Its 2021 projects, therefore, reflect some of where VITALA may be looking to take its enterprise next. Firstly, it will be looking into manufacturing and plant management, reaching out to a new sphere of clients to facilitate further expansion. Additionally, it will be working on its investments in the renewable energy industry, as well as pharmaceutical manufacture, tourist resort business management, and the support of healthcare, university, and agricultural projects.

Its current projects are in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, South Africa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Dominica, Ukraine, Egypt, and Uganda. The VITALA Group Chairman, Dr Wolf Vierich, is leading the charge on these new developments and outreaches, inspiring the company with his drive and passion for continually bettering the industries VITALA touches. He was legal and economic advisor to various Heads of State and led economic nationalisation programmes in Tanzania, Iran, Jordan, and Qatar in the 1970s and 80s. In tandem with this, he directed Holiday Inn’s growth into Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. For his global achievements in his field of international tourism, he was Knighted by the German Government in 2010, and dubbed CEO of the Year for 2021 by CEO Today Magazine. The VITALA Group has also been named the “Most Outstanding Leisure & Tourism Group 2021”. With the Group Chairman acting as a driving force behind VITALA’s ambition and many plans in the works, this commercial group looks forward to what new heights the future will bring.

For business enquiries please contact Hannah Kennedy at Vitala Group International Ltd via vitalagroup.com.

Designing the Future of International Transactions

Providing for wholesale banks and large market players in the financial sector, Adhara’s effective and efficient platforms and systems are now being used by some of the largest businesses in the world. Promoting a new technological industry standard, this company has worked hard to develop long lasting client relationships and is now a powerhouse in its field.

Adhara is a financial services company operating around the world, with development hubs in Spain, South Africa, the UK, and Singapore. It is a builder of next-generation wholesale settlement platforms that are based on CBDCs and tokenized money systems, also handling cross border payments, fx and liquidity trading, a highly effective toolkit for banks, and the digital and sector acumen to settle over tokenized money in real time. Fully remote and optimized, with user interfaces that are both intuitive and comprehensive, it has gained renown as the smartest way to handle smart contracts. Deployed over permissions based and enterprise grade standard blockchain networks, it can enable payments between businesses, as well as manage settlements to the benefit of both parties, allowing all involved to work seamlessly and without the need for additional bloatware.

By allowing the streamlining of processes across the board in its industry, it addresses a multitude of challenges often faced by wholesale banks. Specifically, these businesses can find difficulty in managing international payments; there is a tendency for these processes to be less than simple for either party, with multiple hoops to jump through and the tendency for this to spread across multiple platforms. Adhara wishes to change all that one client at a time as it grows its roster of clientele and continues to upgrade the applications it offers accordingly alongside changing industry standards.

Often, issues are caused by inefficient execution processes and a lack of visibility when it comes to liquidity, which is unhelpful at best and completely stymies business at worst. Payments are not often fully digitized, or orchestrated in this manner, with the industry traditionally preferring bilateral messages. However, this as an industry standard is something Adhara is keen to steer its sector away from, as bilateral messaging is expensive and prone to error, requiring constant reconciliations throughout the process that can become labour intensive. Adding unnecessary complications is the exact thing that Adhara was developed to avoid. Instead, its platforms seek to speed up liquidity, making it faster and more cost effective, as well as drastically reducing the margin for error.

By offering the Central Bank Digital Currencies that it does, it promotes a form of tokenized money management and financial solution that the world is slowly making its pivot towards. Making the most business sense no matter the scale of the company or transaction, tokenized money is at the forefront of innovation, allowing for programmable liquidity that trims the fat from the endeavour and allows a client to couple payments and trading processes with settlement. Not only does this eliminate the need to complete reconciliations at many stages throughout the transaction, it decreases the need for back and forth messaging and decreases the probability of errors. This also dramatically increases visibility and auditability, avoiding further error and allowing a client a full overview of the entire transaction.

All its services play to its core values, which lie in consistency and practicality. It keeps itself pragmatic, seeking only to serve its clients in the best way possible, helping banks and other regulated wholesale finance players find the best channel for the most cost-effective solutions. In this way, banks find its services to be professional and uncomplicated, with a focus on keeping processes and interactions streamlined and client led. Adhara will work to avoid disrupting the client’s own processes, fitting seamlessly around them and in fact bettering them across the board, striving to aid them in the solving of key issues related to inefficient payment processes and settlement cycles.

Such issues are often disconnected and result in higher operational costs for processes and settlements, which Adhara allows its clients to avoid. With a belief in the innovative nature of blockchain technology and smart contacts, the tokenization of money makes for a powerful tool in the hands of wholesale banks and market players. Moreover, they benefit the market by allowing things to progress quickly with far less allowances needing to be made for troubleshooting. Adhara is functionally making finance more efficient and more affordable with every application and upgrade, something that its clients have lauded as exemplary, and that its partners are proud to support.

It also adds increased security to processes, meaning that a client can rest assured that their assets are being protected when they use Adhara’s services. This is crucial in international transactions, where large sums are being handled. Its products are built for the benefit of banks leveraging standard, open-source, enterprise grade blockchains, becoming more widely accepted as time goes on. Whilst the technologies integrate themselves deeper in the finance industry, Adhara is aware that innovation is a continuous process, and that the changing world it exists in demands constant adaptation. Therefore, whilst its solutions are watertight and extremely well-designed, taking pride in the technological prowess of what it offers, it knows they could always be better.

Taking new developments and upgrades in its stride, ensuring that it doesn’t stagnate, Adhara is constantly striving to make its services even better. Working for clients dealing with big budget deals and across the world, it takes its ability to adapt to changing paradigms very seriously, keeping itself flexible to adopt beneficial alterations. Most of its client list are large shareholders dealing with large scale deals, and Adhara’s solutions are extremely proficient in helping them to handle the hurdles they must face. Many such problematic areas are a direct mirror to those faced in the general interbank market. As it moves forward towards its future, Adhara will be continuing to support its clients through such potential issues. In addition, it has been working on several strategic projects with the backing of its large international clients. Recently appointed as the blockchain partner to Fnality International, it is responsible for the building of their entire blockchain infrastructure. Therefore, it has made itself accountable for delivering production grade systems to this company and its member banks. It is particularly excited to see where this will take it as it looks towards the rest of 2021 and beyond.

For further information, please contact Tanya Knowles or visit https://adhara.io/team/

Creating Space for Modern Business

Kofisi’s work in flexible and highly tailorable office spaces has made it a household name across Africa. It has pulled far ahead of its competition through bespoke interior design, empathic understanding of contemporary work life, and keeping itself flexible in an ever-changing world, and today reflects on the processes that have allowed this.

A company specialising in the creation of bespoke and flexible office spaces that are tailored perfectly to fit a client, Kofisi works across Africa and serves a wide cross section of industry. With clients from all around the corporate sphere and expanding its influence with every job it undertakes, its work is contemporary, bespoke, and empathic. Its spaces are developed in partnership with its clients as well as in terms of working for them. This results in a passion project for both Kofisi and the business in question, cultivating an attitude of helping a company give back to its employees by ensuring that their workspaces are top of the range. A Kofisi membership is a number one way to accomplish this. Such membership allows a client access to the stunning office facilities at any of its centres, which will be designed according to specifications, and therefore a client’s employees can work productively and comfortably wherever the job may go.

Currently, its centres can be found in Nairobi, Lagos, Dar Es Salaam, Johannesburg, Accra, and Cairo. Furthermore, since its founding, it has been developing and upgrading itself for constant betterment. It knows that the challenges of the work environment are always changing. Therefore, it will always seek to help its clients’ employees rise to this, adding to its roster of capabilities the creation of spaces such as private offices, meeting rooms, event space, and flexible desks. Its significant cost effective and money saving methodologies are applied to its approach, ensuring that clients get great value for money without having to scrimp on quality; in turn, this has earned Kofisi yet more notoriety. With flexible licenses, professional service, and members benefits, Kofisi promises that use of its spaces will give a business a head-start right from day one.

Its driving goal is to create spaces that let a client’s staff get the most out of their work environment, being fully customisable, rotatable, and attentive to the dynamic nature of client expectations. Alongside inspiring and stunning interior designs that carry the eye of contemporary African business culture, its workspaces are also practical, with integrated technology and hospitality that creates some of the ‘most stimulating places to work on the continent’. Consequentially, it is elevating the standards of business environments across the board, and clients who have worked with Kofisi find themselves hard pressed to settle for anything else once they have experienced the best.

Kofisi’s clientele are diverse and variant; from the local to the international and the NGO to the legal firm, the list is just as impressive as the quality of the office design. Using an artistic eye to enrich a space has been crucial in building this. It sets itself apart from its competition by working hard to make office spaces aesthetically outstanding and paying attention to every minute detail, expanding this across the entirety of a client’s available 200 square metres inside one of Kofisi’s centres. A company that truly cares about the wellbeing of employees across the business world, it developed this attitude by first cultivating that internally. Its employees are prized as pivotal to its success, each handling a myriad of complex tasks without which Kofisi would not exist. Its team are multi-skilled and effective, taking a client right through from initial ideation and creation to delivery, and even maintenance.

Its in-house design team each bring something new to the table, with everyone offering a fresh eye to the development of an idea to draw out its true potential. Intertwining their own personal stylings and training with the overall united ethos of Kofisi as a company and the specifications and ideas of a client, they manage the balancing act of fulfilling expectations and adding to those expectations with sophistication. Working with local craftspeople to turn those ideas into reality, Kofisi’s team will select only the best in the business to work on creating a client’s office space, ensuring that proper workflows are implemented. Its expertise when it comes to project management is therefore also exemplary, keeping all goals firm and workable, ensuring that they are met on time. By working with local crafts people, it can also make its spaces work perfectly with a local area, allowing its teams creative free reign as they are indeed the experts.

With brilliance and meticulousness, Kofisi can ensure that whilst every space is totally unique, it is at least alike in the height of its standards. Its world class hospitality within its centres has also become noteworthy in its industry, with full-support packages available such as bureau services, refreshments, events, and concierge services. Kofisi’s staff always operate on the principle of being ‘on the front foot’ when it comes to service, priding themselves on being attentive and receptive. From the moment a client walks in, Kofisi’s staff are there to support them in their work however they need. Should anything go wrong or not be quite right, its staff are on hand to help manage and fix that; it promises that no matter the issue, it will be able to handle it quickly and efficiently in order to let a client get back to what truly matters.

Its staff also treat client feedback with the respect it deserves. If a client feeds back with positivity, it is always pleased to hear that, and indeed has collated a vast portfolio of glowing reviews. Further to this, it has benefitted hugely from word of mouth testimonials as professionals across all sectors discuss the outstanding nature of its work. However, it also values the negative feedback and constructive criticism that its customers may have, seeing its as an opportunity for making its already exemplary work even better, and striving to act on those comments post-haste. In this way, it strives to make it so that a client can actively see their comments being taken into account, and that their active collaboration with Kofisi makes an impact. This attitude has earned them many a return customer, and many a new customer in turn.

Of course, not even a company with such a strong foundation as Kofisi was unaffected by the outbreak. Covid-19 predictions stated that co-working environment developers would be hit hard by the pandemic, and indeed, it saw this in the temporary closing of its Johannesburg centre and delays in the building of Kofisi’s build of an office space for Google. However, with innovation and tenacity, it pushed through, and is now just as strong as ever. It ensured that each of its spaces had the correct safety measures in place across the board, in line with local and national regulations, and has seen a rise in demand for its private office spaces and office suites, gaining new clients like Bolt and Marie Stopes as a result. With new offices opening in Accra, Djibouti, and Cairo, and additional offices in Nairobi and Lagos, its centres will now be offering conference facilities and cafes. Continuing its push towards further excellence, it is looking forward to what 2021 and beyond will bring.

For further information, please contact Sanam Dadhiala or visit www.kofisi.africa

I-NGEN-ious Advertising

As one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, NGEN Communications knows what it takes to drive business growth. Thus, having helped emerging brands across a vast selection of industries to achieve their potential through comprehensive marketing strategies, NGEN is this year being recognised as the Best Full-Service Marketing & Advertising Agency 2021 of Canada at the AI Global Excellence Awards.

A full-service, fully resourced strategic advertising and marketing agency of Ontario, Canada, NGEN Communications is an award-winning agency that helps companies to reach their growth potential by creating ‘relevance’ and ‘consideration’ for their emerging brands. In doing so, NGEN makes brands that are connected and relatable to their clients – making them ‘relevant’ – and that are always in mind when making a decision – as an object of ‘consideration’ – as they as brands become known on national and international platforms.

NGEN’s global team of strategic thinkers and passionate doers employ vast expertise to offer a comprehensive set of marketing and advertising services designed to achieve the firm’s central mission of growth. Those services can be broken down into five core categories.

Services

Strategic Marketing enables those clients who can’t afford a full marketing department to still benefit from strategies which are crucial for innovation and growth. Within Strategic Marketing, clients are able to take advantage of the resources and expertise of a full team of planners and strategists through a single point of contact, who is dedicated to providing support and advice on market research and trends, business opportunities and insights, consumer and user behaviours and analytics, sales growth strategies and more.

Creative Design underlines the importance of how first impressions and attention to detail can influence people and consumers, and offers expert services that cover corporate and product branding, 3D visuals, packaging and presentation, and visual identity development. For the team at NGEN, Creative Design is about so much more than creating beautiful images and emotive language. It is about blending design thinking with a profound knowledge of the human psychology, to create visuals that promote awareness and interest so as to trigger real action.

Advertising and Communications is focused on making an impact which lasts, by delivering messages in a way that is unique, fresh, smart, provocative and inspiring. The NGEN team works with clients to find the solution or combination of solutions that best expresses the message that their brand seeks to communicate, offering creative concepts and integrated multi-channel campaigns as well as film, publishing, internal campaigns, photography, print, TV and streaming, and so much more.

Digital and Online Presence is a service that is only growing in importance for NGEN and its clients, as the connectivity of modern consumerism means that everything is now available on demand and in real-time. NGEN is experienced in turning interactions into conversions, supporting clients as they create digital campaigns and employ a myriad of digital tools such as social media management, bespoke mobile app creation and marketing automation to enhance the online presence of its clients.

Last, but by no means least, is NGEN’s Experiential and Promotion Services which utilises mass media to spread the word about brands and products. Through events, workshops, one-to-one meetings, contests and more, NGEN helps clients to create platforms for direct conversation with their own clients, enabling true brand connectivity with its people, which ultimately drives brand growth.

That is, after all, the fundamental objective of all five of NGEN’s comprehensive service categories. It is itself an emerging company with ambitions for significant and sustainable growth that has seen NGEN earn its place among the Canadian Business and Maclean’s Growth 500 – Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies, alongside a myriad of international and national accolades. Consequently, the team at NGEN is able to employ a consultative and collaborative approach that knows the challenges faced by emerging companies, having faced them itself.

As a result, NGEN embraces each challenge in every project, taking each one as an opportunity to think creatively and to take on responsibility as if it were for the team’s own business. Always with total respect for the needs, wants, and budgets of clients, NGEN employs the collective expertise of its professionals who bring global experience in strategy, design, communications, public relations, technology, animation, film and photography, and so much more to deliver fully integrated, effective marketing and advertising solutions. Within every project, the heart, soul, expertise and business acumen of every member of the NGEN team is clear to see.

Strategy

This passion and creativity are instilled into an approach that is broken down into three core strategies: we must understand; stand for something; and do something outstanding. These three steps outline the framework for how the NGEN team gets to know a client and their business and what their aspirations for that business are, how it can identify the opportunities that facilitate the achievement of those aspirations, and how it is all brought together and rolled out in an effective marketing or advertising strategy and campaign.

Acting either as an extension of the marketing department of its clients or on a project by project or performance-based model, NGEN works flexibly to suit the needs of its clients. Consequently, clients are able to rely on the NGEN team as a partner providing resources and assets like thought leadership, creative problem solving and proficient marketing strategies to deliver tangible and sustainable results in the form of increased sales, greater brand awareness, increased efficiency in getting to market, better convenience and much, much more besides.

This client-centric approach is one that is championed throughout NGEN, beginning from the top. Joe Grasso, President and Business Director of NGEN utilises his excess of twenty-five years in marketing, sales, supply management, technology implementation and process reengineering to provide the strategic direction for clients in emerging brands looking to realise their full market potential. Meanwhile, Dion Widrich, Vice-President of Operations and Co-Founder of NGEN, also boasts an established career within the industry of business growth, which he uses to manage the development of NGEN as an organisation, as it manages the development of others.

Together, Joe and Dion lead an organisation with growth at its heart that has worked with a diverse range of national and international brands such as Canon, Porsche, Benecaid, Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas, Bento Sushi and CA Computer Associates. Driven by values of Passion, Teamwork, Performance, Curiosity, and Integrity, NGEN’s growth extends to it’s reputation, which has been instrumental in earning the company a roster of accolades, to which it is able to add to this year with the AI 2021 Global Excellence Award for Best Full-Service Marketing and Advertising Agency of Canada. There is little doubt that we can expect to see continued success from NGEN as it continues on its exciting journey of growth.

For further information, please contact Joseph Grasso or visit ngenagency.com

Aesthetics Clinic Secures Success!

The advent of new and exciting procedures has encompassed all walks of the medical world, and it is top providers who ensure they offer these services. None is finer than the team behind Dr. Katie Clinic. It has achieved the remarkable under the leadership of lead practitioner, Katie Lau King Ting. Now that her firm has been recognised as the Most Outstanding Medical Aesthetic Clinic 2021 – Hong Kong in Acquisition International’s 2021 Global Excellence Awards, we thought it was time to take a closer look at how she has achieved such success.

The way in which we use our bodies is intrinsic to the medical approach of Katie Lau. Her entire career has revolved around not only keeping active herself, but in working out ways of keeping others on the move too. While this might seem a little counterintuitive for someone who has built their career in the aesthetics industry, her approach to this specialism embraces a holistic outlook that encompasses not only looks, but the mind and the body too.

The aim of the clinic is to improve a patient’s perceived weaknesses, often focusing on skincare treatments that finetune the appearance. This decision is key to the firm’s success, as they work on amplifying and elaborating on beauty. Under the capable leadership of Katie Lau, the firm has applied an approach which doesn’t stop at skincare, but goes deeper into how people think and why they think it.

The basic medical principle in all specialties is to do no harm, especially in the field of aesthetic medicine. Here it is vital to adjust patient expectations. They must rest assured that the team at Dr. Katie Clinic are doing only what is needed. Only after detailed assessment, will recommendations be made, and they are purely to help with specific problems. In this way, final personalized plans and goals are being set up together after open discussions and mutual agreement.

Katie’s career did not begin with the dream of becoming a medical doctor. In fact, she was Hong Kong’s Butterfly Queen, breaking records for the region as an incredible swimmer. Having trained since the age of eight, it’s no wonder that she was able to win medals at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games. That said, her next move was something of a surprise to some, as she began to wind down her athletic career in favour of something more academic. Needless to say, the lessons she learned at this incredibly high level of sportsmanship, to be active, to face new challenges and to conquer, have been an asset during her long and successful medical career.

Campus life took the form of the University of Hong Kong School of Medicine, where Katie gained her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Medicine. With renewed commitment to the medical industry, she joined the Queen Mary Hospital as a houseman where she was able to explore her new vocation and discover the direction her passions would lead her. It’s little wonder that the path she followed was that of surgery, giving her the opportunity to work with her hands to heal patients.

For the next three years, her specialism led her to new and dizzying heights of competence, learning the valuable skills that would enable her to thrive in her new profession. Katie was able to assist in numerous surgeries of various types, including a complex liver transplant. Experiencing the full scope of what surgery had to offer enabled her to learn in real time, not only about her chosen topic, but about the specific branches of medicine she wanted to travel down next.

After three years of surgical training, Katie made the decision to move into private practice. She had completed her basic training, but had not specialised in a specific field. This meant that she would have to become a general practitioner, in either a general or aesthetics clinic. The choice was made by the same logic as her decision to go into surgery – aesthetics would enable her to be more active and on the move, and so her career path was set firm.

The world of aesthetics was one which brought about unique challenges as far as Katie was concerned, and her approach was carefully designed to take as many factors as possible into account before lifechanging decisions were made. What she discovered when entering into this important field was that many are making big decisions about how they look that are based entirely on a subjective perspective. Very quickly, Katie saw her work partly as a way of exploring the technical challenge of altering someone’s appearance to their liking, but also as a means of helping someone’s mental health. Many people go into an aesthetics clinic for unique and personal reasons and the job of Katie is not just to deliver results, but to unpick these complex factors and discover a form of the truth. People are not just the flaws they want removed, but a complicated array of different factors.

Needless to say, her work is incredibly difficult, finding innovative ways to create solutions for her clients. There is a tendency to expect aesthetic work to have a big impact on how people look, reshaping the very fabric of who a person is. Much of what Katie does is designed specifically to avoid this sort of invasive treatment. At the heart of her process is a desire to create tasteful adjustments that enhance the natural beauty that is within everyone. This applies not only to how someone looks visually, but how they feel about themselves on the inside. The way a person looks can transform how they feel, and how they feel can transform the changes they want to see. Mixing these two aspects has proven to be key to Katie’s continuing success.

Of course, the approach that Katie takes has been built up over years of practice and knowledge gathering from experts in the field. Working in a variety of different circumstances, including local companies, sizable corporations and community-based centres, she has been proud to apply aspects of all of these places to her thriving business today.

At Dr. Katie Clinic, Katie was able to boil down these hard-won experiences to a core process that allows her to thrive no matter what the circumstance. Each client is treated as an individual, taken on their own unique and bespoke journey towards happiness. The journey is guided by how a person looks, the subjective ways in which they would like to improve themselves and of course an in-depth knowledge of how to slow down the aging process considerably.

Katie is the only doctor at the Dr. Katie Clinic, with three assistant staff for both clinical and administrative work. This ensures great consistency in how things work. The assistant staff are responsible for arrangements of pre- and post-treatment work, including bookings, handling general enquiries, and routine paperwork. When it comes to recruitment of new staff, the team always try to keep our standards strict, but not limited to clinical experience.  What is seen most clearly in this staff is attitude – in treating patients, carrying out daily work, and when facing new challenges. The provision of loving care to patients, a willingness to take up different duties, and eagerness to learn, are some of the characteristics which will lead to good prospects in this clinic. 

The internal culture is always team building. A pleasant working and learning atmosphere is crucial in ensuring every staff enjoys work, while at the same time, make progress in their career, and as a person. Team work with minimal hierarchy puts a smile on working faces, patients in return will feel this passion, also enjoys each visit more, yielding a win-win situation, happy for all parties.

When considering the work that is performed at Dr. Katie Clinic, it’s essential to remember that a broad range of people walk through its doors, and each have their own histories to tell. When she first started practising in this field, most were female. Along the last years of solo practice, currently around 20–30% of patients are male, with ages that range from as young as 5 through to 70 years old. For younger children, parents are much concerned about facial moles, and scars caused by accidental falls, or other mishaps. They are worried that these can impose negative impacts on their children’s future life. Society, including the elderly, are now more aware of health issues and more willing to take action to ensure healing is completed to the highest standard.

For some, the ideal of aesthetic surgery is one which revolves primarily around vanity. The creation of a face and body that is as close as possible to some ideal of humanity. Often, however, those who come to Katie have smaller complaints which date back years. One of the cases that she remembers most clearly is of a shy young man who had a scar since childhood. He was unaware of the potential solutions on offer, with a therapy technique being what was eventually recommended. This non-invasive and unintrusive approach was key to him recovering some sense of confidence, which he would be able to take into the world around him.

The caring solution that was devised inspired the young man to bring in his mother who had a chronic scar that originated from a sunken nasal ridge. This so-called weakness was something that could be fixed on the spot. By providing practical solutions to problems that others perceive in a way that embraces them in their wholeness as opposed to perfecting them from a certain point of view, Dr. Katie Clinic has built a truly astonishing reputation for itself.

This approach is only possible thanks to the care which Katie applies to every case. She doesn’t offer standardized plans that revolve around the latest and most popular techniques, instead offering a solution that is ideal for the patient. To ensure rapid progress, she meets patients in person right at the first session. This establishes a concrete doctor-patient relationship, encourages patient compliance throughout treatment execution, and above all, impresses their inner self to spread these good words. Those who come to Dr. Katie Clinic know that they will receive work that supports every aspect of their body in its entirety.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry, but for the active sportswoman that Katie is, it was an opportunity for her and her business to thrive in an impossible climate. In fact, the work that she does has only been strengthened by the changing way in which people have worked over the last year. With people working from home and unable to travel, they have had more time to turn up to her clinic and more opportunities to take advantage of downtime appointments.

The lack of work-related constraints, as many people need time to recover after an operation and for example cannot wear makeup. Working from home means that this recovery time is less difficult to come by and as such, appointments for potential work can be done with ease.  In fact, the pandemic has had a negligible impact on the way in which the company has operated, with the region as a whole suffering less than many other parts of the world. Those who might have travelled are now spending more time wondering how to improve their skin and their bodies as a whole.

This subtle shift in priority has been pushed by the pandemic in an interesting way, with many seeing anew the value in ensuring that their bodies are able to operate at peak performance. Naturally, skin plays an enormous role in this because it is the body’s second biggest organ. Maintaining it to the highest standards is invaluable and often requires a therapeutic approach which the team at Dr. Katie Clinic specialise in.

There is a great challenge for the industry at large, and it comes in the form of the reputation of aesthetic medicine in Hong Kong. A series of unfortunate negligent incidents over the past results in a very negative image of the industry. Patients are understandably extremely cautious about potential complications and side effects, not helped by the fact that skin issues are mostly non-acute, seldom a medical emergency, and therefore easy to postpone. The approach of Katie and her team, pushing an approach which celebrates the close relationship that people should have with their bodies, has been key to this.

A clear sign of success is being invited to share your experiences and that is precisely what Katie has been lucky enough to do. Her success in the aesthetic sector, brought about by her holistic approach to the industry, has seen her reaching out into the Asia-Pacific regions, speaking proudly about her work at seminars and conferences alike. Needless to say, the limitations on travel in 2020 saw her speaking engagements curtailed a little, but as online conferences began, she was proud to speak at Korea Derma 2020 in Mid-December.

Here, she talked about skin saving pearls for common dermatological conditions hidden underneath our masks. Katie is glad to be able to grab every chance to contribute to her profession and uphold academic standards on top of her daily clinical routines, given that real life events were nearly impossible recently since the COVID-19 outbreak. In the coming years, she would like to write a book that combines all of her knowledge and experience into a package that can be seen by all. The value of a tome that would be able to pass on the beauty of aesthetics is clear, and would be incredibly useful to the next generation, and beyond.

While the work that Katie does at Dr. Katie Clinic is vital to her success, it’s in her outside engagements that she has been able to work in new and exciting sectors. One of these embraces the potential of the non-clinical aspects of her work. Currently, Katie has taken up a position teaching new aesthetics specialists in how to thrive in the workplace. She is training five pharmaceutical companies in machines and injectables at the moment, drawing on her long and varied years of experience to ensure that the decisions these businesses make are for the benefit of their customers.

It’s clear that Dr. Katie Clinic is a certified success, and an enormous amount of that is down to Katie’s tireless work on behalf of her patients. While the world has been turned upside down over the last year, she has been able to focus on the needs of the here and now, pushing her firm to new and uncharted heights. By keeping up this incredible reputation, she has been able to achieve the remarkable.

Once a sportsman, always a sportsman, it’s a desire to be active, to face new challenges and to conquer that has brought Katie such success. This sportsmanship I acquired since at a young age molded me into a tough person, ready to face any challenges and difficulties anytime. In sports, the rate of failure is frequently higher than success. The courage and determination to stand up again after bad collapses is the key to work the path of success.

Katie’s path into the medical industry was not strictly speaking the most traditional, but it has brought with it a unique perspective that has benefited hundreds of clients. We celebrate that success as she accepts the award for Most Outstanding Medical Aesthetic Clinic 2021 – Hong Kong, and look forward to what innovations she brings to the market next.

For further information, please contact Katie Lau King Ting or email [email protected]

Is This Just Fantasy?

The world of technology has been revolutionized in the last few years by the rise of VR, AR and 3D simulators. Allowing people access to virtual plains where concepts can be thoroughly visualized and explored, these developments can be seen having an effect on every industry. We take a look at PaleBlue, a Norway firm which has positioned itself as a leader in the field, to find out more about the impact this will have.

Innovation lies at the heart of any technological company, but the team at PaleBlue have fought their way to the front of an industry that has been in constant flux. With new techniques changing the way in which simulation technology is perceived by the world at large, the team have been able to act as a guiding force for many.

PaleBlue draws on a long heritage within the 3D and VR sector, with many key members of staff first working on solutions in the mid-1990s. While the technology has changed, the vision of developing advanced simulation and visualization solutions with industrial application has not changed at all. Using an advanced proprietary 2D and 3D simulator technology, PaleBlue specialists have been able to include 2D touch panels for control surface simulation, 3D graphics for industrial simulation, and Virtual Reality (VR) for immersive interfaces.

The firm’s commitment to best-in-class performance can be seen in their work on software, simulators and VR/AR solutions, as well as in their capacity to facilitate digitalization, and contribute to a high degree of autonomy in operations. This incredible breath of ability is a credit to the resources that the PaleBlue team has been able to cultivate over the last few years. Tellingly, organizations like NASA and the European Space Agency have not only seen the potential in simulator technology but have recognized the ability that PaleBlue has to deliver truly exceptional results, establishing important simulation projects. The team have spent years building knowledge assets for specific industry verticals like HSE and Operations, Oil & Gas, Subsea, Construction & Lifting, Healthcare, Biotechnology, and many more, which keeps them in high demand.

The last few years have seen a transformation in VR technology, mainly because it has become much more affordable to a greater variety of companies. This has increased the workload that PaleBlue has been able to take on, with contracts coming from a broad range of different organizations. The team offer training simulators for individual training as well as multi-user solutions for collaborative team training. Having the options available not only makes training much easier to coordinate for a business but includes the ability to perform soft-skill training for a wide variety of work routines.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the workload of companies like PaleBlue has increased significantly, as companies explore ways of getting work done that doesn’t follow traditional means. While the technology may seem new to many corporate structures, it is already well established and ideally suited to the needs of the moment. The benefit of restrictions in travelling, physical training and meetings has been the opening up of time and resources for VR technology. Those who have taken up the ideas involved have been able to change the way in which they work forever. Meetings and training can now be done in ways that are far more efficient.

Needless to say, those companies that have invested in VR technology at the outset of the pandemic have seen an enormous ROI. They have been able to save money on travel and expenses as well as creating situations where it is possible to work better on an individual and collaborative level. The benefits of VR technology are not easily seen from the outset because businesses don’t understand what they are getting. Once acquired, however, an immensely versatile and flexible way of working opens up that captures the ease of working individually.

As the team has achieved such success in 2020, it’s easy to see them looking to new and bigger horizons during 2021. The aim is to develop ways of scaling their current solutions in order to make them available to an even broader audience. This broader audience will consist of professional organizations looking for something new and impressive to move them forward as opposed to the general consumer. The aim is not to provide the public with new technology, but businesses with an easy to see improvement to their job routines.

Building up an industry around such a burgeoning technology is not an easy feat, and the management at PaleBlue have had to carefully pick their staff to ensure that they are as committed to the sector as they are. With some of the VR Industry’s best and experienced brains as key persons in the company, it’s easy to see how PaleBlue has been able to stay true to its original vision. People who have a passion for VR technology see it in the team and want to take part. When combined with a desire to see maximum client satisfaction, it’s easy to explain the dedicated and enthusiastic attitude that every employee has in their work.

As the market gets more and more crowded, standing out will be critical to continuing along the path of success. To differentiate themselves from the crowd, the team at PaleBlue have designed real-life physics into their training scenarios. The growth and development of these scenarios is set to become the heart of what PaleBlue offers, as the team set the standard for the rest of the industry. Already they have gained certifications for their diving simulator training solutions, with some solutions approved by world-leading trade organizations and institutions such as IMCA, International Marine Contractors Association. There is now a desire to secure similar quality assurance in other industries.

Simulator technology has truly remarkable potential, and many companies have only just begun to scratch the surface of what it could offer them. To the team at PaleBlue, this scratching the surface is the beginning of an exciting endeavor that could see them changing the shape of the industry. As they look to the future, they can see ways forward that others are only just beginning to conceptualize.

For further information, please visit www.pale.blue

An Inclusive Approach

When Perez & Barros Sociedade de Advogados was established in 2018, it was designed to reflect the needs of the day, drawing on modern, customized and ethical legal services. In three years, their efforts have been rewarded with success in 2021’s Global Excellence Awards, where they were named Most Outstanding Hospitality Law Firm 2021 – Brazil. We take a closer look at the firm to see how their unique approach has brought them such amazing triumphs.

Law firms often follow in the wake of tradition, drawing on what has gone before to create something successful. The approach that Perez & Barros has taken is to reflect the needs of today in how they operate. Modernity lies at the core of the business and is one of the many keys to the team’s success. By using the latest techniques to provide a dynamic and client focused approach to industry, they have achieved the remarkable in their industry.

Part of the key to the team’s success is the strength of the team and the way in which they interact with their clients. Many of the people involved are experienced professionals from a mix of large and boutique firms and companies. Each wanted to find a place where they could achieve a more flexible work schedule that embraced professionalism, enhanced individualized attention and was able to provide a good price/service ratio in a growing worldwide cost saving practice.

Needless to say, this approach has proven to be incredibly successful within the industry, with a multi-task integrated and experienced team pulled together to focus on the tax, labour, civil, corporate and real estate areas to provide a seamless legal solution on behalf of clients. Because the firm takes the time to understand each client’s specific needs, the team are able secure a specialized client oriented pro-business result service.

Within the first year of the firm’s inception, the business had already risen through the ranks to become one of Brazil’s leading legal employers. The results that the team have achieved, drawing on their significant combined experience, ensured that more companies would trust the firm to support their businesses through difficult times. It’s a credit to not only the quality, but the efficiency of their work that they have been able to achieve these results.

The secret of this growth has been the way in which every member of the team is encouraged to support others. With staff that is drawn from a wealth of different experiences and disciplines, from large conglomerates through to tiny boutiques, they all have something to offer an individual client. Only through embracing all of these approaches, and combining them with a broad level of competence, does the team perform so well for its clients. The inclusive policy has not only encouraged a great deal of women to work for the firm but has created an environment where there have been no resignations. It demonstrates clearly how happy everyone is to work for this amazing team.

Thanks to the success of Perez & Barros, the business is proud to have opened an impressive network of offices that will not only spread the reach of the firm but allow the team to take on new staff members to attend to an increasingly business workload. The São Paulo office was inaugurated in 2019, at Itaim Bibi, with three new partners, adding to the international profile, but maintaining the mission of quality, result-oriented and effective service provided.

Of course, one of the challenges of opening new offices in different cities in a large country is ensuring a strong continuity of quality from office to office. To build a brand that has an international reputation is equally challenging. One of the keys to this is the maintaining of a comprehensive ethics and compliance manual that contains information such as confidentiality clauses and adjustments to data protection laws. This ensures that any state-of-the-art compliance requirements can be quickly acquired and put into action. Having these resources on hand often goes a long way to decreasing the structural costs of a project, and therefore the final price for clients.

Looking forward, it’s clear that the world is moving forward and the team at Perez & Barros are not going to be left behind. They have increased their cooperation with other law firms, as well as enhanced their work with their family law and credit recovery practice. This focus has been possible thanks to a less expensive partner-based relationship. Growth is something that the team are always looking for, and one of the keyways in which they are likely to achieve this in the coming weeks and months is through lateral hirings and additional collaborations.

While many have struggled to recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Perez & Barros embraced the possibilities made available to them. It has proven to be a good environment for them to grow in with consistent business demands as people and companies turn to organizations that are able to embrace the possibilities of modern technology. With innovation and inclusivity at the forefront of this firm, it’s little wonder why they are in such high demand when compared to a more traditional competition.

What does it mean to be named Most Outstanding Hospitality Law Firm – Brazil? It means that this is a team who are diligent, who go above and beyond for their clients and who are constantly looking forward in which they can improve the services they offer. For many in the legal industry, the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge that had to be survived, but for the team at Perez and Barros, it was an opportunity to be embraced. If one aspect of this impressive, inclusive firm is the reason behind their continuing story of success, surely it is this.

For further information, please contact Ana Beatriz Barbosa or visit www.perezebarros.adv.br

The Minds Behind the New Era of Grant Management

Now with the title of ‘Best Online Application Management Solutions Firm’ for 2021 under its belt, USA based company ZoomGrants has been secured in its place as the leader of grant management software solutions. Combining top of the line technology with unrivalled customer service, its exemplary approach is as unique as it is well executed.

An online platform for the creation and management of grants, scholarships, and monetary funding schemes, ZoomGrants is an online system streamlining the process for companies and non-profits across the board. It is widely known as the easiest tool to use in its industry, with an intuitive user interface and thorough onboarding, and its reputation has been bolstered by its exemplary customer service. Above all, ZoomGrants take pride in being user-friendly, dynamic, affordable, and transferrable across all sorts of devices and technologies with its web-enabled nature. Made in the USA, many of its supporters are also US based entities, but it didn’t always start this way. In the beginning of its brand, ZoomGrants was a streamlining tool specifically made for a non-profit organisation Geoff Hamilton was working for early in his career, the backbone supporting the success of that project.

Hamilton’s job for that non-profit was managing hundreds of binders with grant recipient names and details in, evaluating the applications. It was time consuming and bloated, and not conducive to quick or effective work, and so Hamilton wanted to change all that. Thus, he took the process online, and began to work on ZoomGrants; before long, it was being used to administer for his non-profit’s grant scheme. Shortly after that, it became a world staple, and today, it is a technologically forward thinking and innovative platform used by hundreds of organisations and serving over a million applicants.

ZoomGrants was created inside the Morgan Library on the Colorado State University Campus in 2002, with its focus primarily on corporate social responsibility. The bottom line was always people, planet, and prosperity, and this is something that has survived to this day. ZoomGrants maintains it at the heart of its organisation, scaling its expectations and operations sustainably with its growth to be able to do this. In this way, despite its nature as what is now a worldwide and highly prestigious company, it has kept the individual customer at its core, using its Denver base as a jumping off point to international connections. These connections have allowed it to forge long term healthy relationships with organisations of all strokes.

In its initial days, ZoomGrants found that its first challenge was encouraging people to reject the norm and give the bold new application a chance. Especially in the early days of technological innovation’s exponential curve, the acceptance of a technologically enabled management method just seemed too out there to ever take off in the culture of the time. Of course, that swiftly became no longer the case, but it presented significant hurdles to ZoomGrant when it started. It just came down to making firm connections with the more open-minded firms that were willing to give it a chance, and then waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. ZoomGrants really got its big break when this began to happen, and with the advent of continued innovations in software and hardware both, philanthropic organisations, governmental entities, associations, and educational bodies began to realise the benefit of online applications for grant management.

Moreover, they began to realise the benefit behind ZoomGrants specifically. Because it was created by someone already well versed in the industry of grant management and who was well versed in the old system, Hamilton could create ZoomGrants with those processes in mind. Instead of throwing them out completely, he could refine them, cutting the fat from the process. Furthermore, ZoomGrants deep desire to adhere to CSR principles made it stand out in its industry and thrust it into the spotlight as an example of good practice in the budding sector of using technology in tandem with personable service to rise to the demands of critical causes and outreach. In this way, it has drawn many programmes to it over time that now make up its client base. These clients have seen it grow up from a grassroots company to a true industry leader, and thus ZoomGrants has made itself a cornerstone.

Such programmes include the CARES Act related grants, HUD Community Development and Planning Grants, Community Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Grants, Emergency Solution Grants, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Grants, Continuum of Care, and many others. It also works hard to ensure it serves a wide cross section of clients, working with the arts, education, early learning, tourism, cultural heritage, transit, law, research, and housing. All of this provides simply a small snapshot of the true extent of ZoomGrants true operational acumen. Its applications have grown and developed over the years to remain fiercely competitive in its market, and now, it offers fully customisable solutions. A client can set up the application exactly as they want it, in line with organisational goals and stakeholder expectations, with easy-to-collect collatable data to take back to said stakeholders.

Its toolkit can be used for grants, scholarships, fellowships, award nominations, and even call-for-speakers. If a client is trying to wrangle a competitive application process, it is confident that it can help them to manage this. From pre-application screening to application questions, programme budget, post funding reporting, activity logs, and the ability to attach documents containing supporting evidence, ZoomGrants’ work takes into account the numerous challenges an entity trying to manage financial funding applications might face. It also simplifies the review process significantly, allowing this to happen quickly and easily even before the deadline so they can get a head-start. For each applicant, ZoomGrants makes it possible for the client to add in custom scoring criteria, voting recommendations, allocation recommendations, private notes, and committee discussion notes.

Its administrative tools are also just as powerful as the applicant management elements, with a system specially designed to be a grant manager’s personal assistant. Its easy to use toolbox of apps allows a client to maintain full control over a process without being overwhelmed by constant and unnecessary notifications from all sides, managing workflows and project elements from both zoomed out and zoomed in perspectives. The emphasis here for ZoomGrants was on creating something both fast and reliable. Again, here ZoomGrants benefitted from having a founder that came with experience of administrative work in grant management, and thus has developed a solution that addresses the biggest challenges one might face in that role. Its admin toolbox therefore emphasises decision-making tools, reporting, and communications.

Its offerings in this realm include workflow dashboards, application comparison features, weighted scoring comparisons that allow for at-a-glance views of applicants, custom email templates that trim the busywork from getting in touch with what could potentially be thousands of applicants, invoice and payment tracking, post funding reports that provide intuitive visualisations, and the ability to export data in a variety of file formats. Some of the other features that have had it proclaimed as exemplary include the number of unlimited elements. It allows for an unlimited number of users per client and per project, as well as uncapped document attachment, saved reports, and technical support. All these aspects culminate in a client-first service that ensures a client the easiest and best experience possible without hidden niggles or roadblocks.

Its honesty and transparency with its products have seen it achieve countless return customers, as well as word of mouth referrals that have been spreading around the industry like wildfire. Furthermore, its dedication to being a user-friendly option for clients has seen it implement automatically saving data, intuitive navigation, and email confirmation. Its responsive customer service team handles all issues that a client may have quickly and effectively, ensuring its clients feel appropriately supported during ZoomGrants work with them. It guarantees that a customer will be able to focus on what truly matters, and that they will be able to leave the most difficult management elements of grant administration to the programme. In this way, it allows its organisations to worry about the content, and the people they are trying to help, not the system. After all, an organisational platform should be an asset, not a roadblock.

Its pricing is also simple and easy to understand. This is something it is very serious about and ensures that none of its work comes with hidden surcharges or surprise added costs. It uses a yearly subscription and a per-program pricing system to allow a client to elect a plan that suits their budget and project accordingly, with a pricing and savings calculator available through its website to help a client through this. Of course, if any additional questions should occur to client, they are encouraged to get in contact with the team at ZoomGrants, who will be able to clear it up in a friendly and professional manner. Bringing itself up to stand head and shoulders above the competition, ZoomGrants has become well known for its cohesive branding and marketing technology alongside the watertight nature of its technology.

The two-pronged approach that has emerged from this ensures that ZoomGrants remains a household name. Dissatisfied with just working for a customer and calling it a day, ZoomGrants wishes to work with a customer to make their grant management experience seamless and easy both on the them and their applicants. Its vision therefore evolved over time to reflect this new goal; ZoomGrants wanted to cement itself as a trusted partner for its clientele, a motivation that has given it new life as it continues to set the industry standard. For over a decade, it has published and republished the latest news in its sector, specifically the elements that stand to impact its target market. This has involved speaking at numerous conferences and hosting webinars, as well as the hiring of multiple grant administrators to ensure that its support is effective and relevant.

In this way, ZoomGrants’ staff have all sat in the same seats as the clients, with an exemplary understanding of the unique pressure points that are applied to professionals its sector. This has made the entire team trusted advisors in their own rights, listening to the client’s feedback, comments, and concerns, making changes and tailoring services accordingly. ZoomGrants knows that despite the common ground in terms of processes and workflows that most of them share, no two grants programmes are ever the same, and so it must reflect this. Its sophistication in doing so is notable and beyond reproach, and completely based on user feedback. Consequentially, ZoomGrants has done an excellent job in showing instead of telling its dedication to its clients’ campaigns and their effectiveness, working hard to implement criticism and better its processes across the board.

With a motto of ‘great technology is a given, exceptional service is a promise’, it delivers uncompromising focus and a united front across its team. Having such a unity across the departments that make up its business ensure consistent excellence in service. Furthermore, it is another method by which it has streamlined itself, ensuring all parts of the whole are working towards the larger goal. Its proactive co-operation with its clients and active demonstrations of having listened to their needs has strengthened the company as a whole and made it an indispensable resource. It will be continuing to enhance this as it moves forward into the future, hoping to break into the market of using technology in collecting applications for call for speakers. This feature is paired with its traditional scholarships offering, and the launch of it has already been massively successful. The Grant Professionals Association or GPA has already lauded ZoomGrants as an outstanding company, and their go-to for managing their call for speakers. Clearly, the future for ZoomGrants is just as stable as the solid foundation of hard work it was founded on. In this way, it will continue to lead the pack in its sector and direct the future of grant management.

For further information, please contact John Hall or visit: www.zoomgrants.com/

How Your Business Can Benefit from UI Design

Are you interested in hiring a UI design firm to take your business to the next level? UI stands for user interface design, and it relates to the design of user interfaces for the likes of software and machines, including mobile devices and computers, as well as home appliances and other types of electronic devices.

The aim of UI design is to ensure user experience and usability is maximized for the user. With that being said, below we are going to take a look at the different reasons why you should invest in the services of a UI professional.

 

Understanding user interface (UI) design

Before we delve deeper into the different benefits that are associated with UI design, it is important to establish what this is. A lot of people get UX design and UI design confused, assuming that they are the same thing, but this is not the case.

User experience (UX) concentrates on the overall experience that someone has while they are on your website. User interface (UI), on the other hand, concentrates on the overall feel and look of a website.

Despite the fact that they are two separate things, these two elements tend to work together, and sometimes they can overlap. 

UI design refers to the procedure of making sure that something looks a specific way while functionality is maintained. It is the way that a system, app, or website interacts with users, the overall design, and the way that the information is presented. This is achieved via diverse UI elements so that someone can navigate your website and make decisions with ease.

It is all about communication and structure. In simple terms, UI refers to the user interface design of an application or website in order to improve user experience and facilitate usability. 

 

What are the benefits of UI design?

Now that you know what UI design is, let’s take a look at the benefits in further detail:

 

UI is a critical part of UX design

If the interface of something is difficult to use, be it a mobile application or a website, people are going to look elsewhere. The interface is an extremely important part of UX design. It should be intuitive and navigation should be easy. This may sound straightforward, but it is a lot easier said than done. 

 

Boost customer engagement and retention

Another reason why your business needs good UI design is that it can help to boost customer engagement, which ensures your customer retention levels are as high as possible.

If you develop an interface that looks appealing and provides a positive experience, simplifying navigation and research, not only is this going to ensure user frustration is avoided and help to attract new customers, but it will also make sure that your current crop of customers want to continue to enjoy the digital experience you are providing them with.

As a consequence of this, by improving UI design you can reduce your bounce rate and increase your conversions at the same time. 

Bring new customers to your business with great UI design

Not only can an excellent UI design help you to retain customers but it can also make a massive difference when it comes to new customer acquisition as well. 

Having a successful UI design will contribute to a positive and enjoyable user experience. It becomes a key brand differentiator for your business, helping you to effectively stand out from the competition. 

When you provide people with a good design, your prospective customers feel a lot more comfortable when they are utilizing your application. In this way, you can attract new consumers while also boosting your sales at the same time.

Excellent user interface design is an excellent advantage to boost business and optimize your revenue opportunities. 

Increase productivity 

The benefits that are associated with premium quality UI design extend further than what meets the eye. If your product is designed effectively and has an interface that is user-friendly, whereby customers can navigate with ease, this is going to decrease their search time.

This means that users are able to fulfil their needs in a quicker and more efficient manner. This improves productivity in two ways; not only for the consumer but also for the user as well. 

After all, if customers are able to use your website with greater ease, this means that they are going to spend less time getting in touch with your customer support team for assistance, and so it enables your own employees to be a lot more productive and efficient in the process as well. 

UI design can help to enhance brand loyalty 

The advantages keep coming, as effective UI design can also help when it comes to brand loyalty. This relates to the points we mentioned earlier about customer retention. 

If your UI design looks incredible and is interactive, you have a much better chance of retaining your customers and convincing them to stay loyal to you and your brand.

Reduce your expenses with impressive UI design

There are a number of different ways that effective UI design can help you to lower your expenses. To begin with, you can reduce development and training costs.

If you have an interface that is intuitive and easy to use from the very beginning, this can help to prevent issues in the future, for example, correcting navigation errors or amending the design so that it is more functional. You also won’t have to worry about spending time and money on getting rid of useless features and functions.

An interface that is well design is going to cause fewer issues, which means time and effort are reduced, and additional expenses are avoided in the future as well.

You can also reduce customer support costs as well. Often, when a website is challenging to understand, users express their concerns or issues when they are navigating the interface. 

However, if the interface is practical and intuitive, customer contact with support services is not going to be as frequent. 

In this manner, businesses will benefit because they can lower the amount of money spent on consumer support.

A well-designed and simple interface reduces the occurrence of mistakes and unnecessary functions that can happen throughout the browsing process, therefore, avoiding the higher customer service expenses.

Hire a professional to unlock the true benefits of UI design

You need to get to know your customers in order to design an interface that is right for them. This includes getting to grips with the journey they take, their objectives, and their pain points. This requires a huge amount of research, which is something that UI design experts can provide. They can use their extensive knowledge and specialist tools to ensure that a picture is drawn of your customers, both now and in the future, allowing for the best possible interface to be created.

A lot of people are skeptical about hiring a UI professional for the sheer fact that they don’t believe it is necessary to spend money on such a service. Of course, all businesses have a strict budget they need to adhere to. However, considering the amount of money an effective UI could make you, this is actually the more cost-efficient option of the two. 

You will soon make back the money you have spent on this investment, and much more. The benefits don’t end there either. You can continue to focus on the core of your business, i.e. what makes you money, without your time or efforts being spent elsewhere.

In order to experience all of these benefits, you do need to choose a UI design company with a lot of care. Don’t simply go for the first firm you lay your eyes on or the cheapest. Instead, make sure they have plenty of experience and that they have provided their UI design services for many other businesses time and time before. Have they worked for companies like yours? This is always a good sign. You should ask to see examples of their work, and you will instantly get a feel as to whether this is a company you want to work with or not. 

Finally, make sure you take the time to read reviews that have been left by past clients. These can be very telling. If most people have not been happy with the UI design service they experienced, you can rest assured that they will have taken to the web to warn others from making the same error.

 

Final words on UI design benefits

So there you have it: everything you need to know about UI design and the benefits that are associated with it. We hope that this has given you a better understanding of what needs to be considered when it comes to incredible UI design.

If your website is too difficult to use, viewers are only going to get frustrated and they will simply click off your website and go elsewhere, which is the last thing that anyone wants. 

5 Tools That Will Help You Grow Your Business

With the times changing around us rapidly, more and more people are now getting interested in starting their own business. 

Having one’s own business not only guarantees a life of freedom generally unavailable in a 9-5 job, but also ensures a ride full of ups and downs.

You might have a lot of ideas that could make a great business venture if turned into reality. However, without the knowledge of the necessary business tools available in the market, it would be rather hard for you to turn your dream of starting a business into a reality. 

If you are someone who has practical ideas about starting a business but is finding it hard to start because of lack of knowledge about the various available tools, then this post is for you. Here, we have discussed the five top tools that will give wings to your business ideas, quite literally and help you soar high.  

5 Business tools that will help to make your business grow 

With the availability of a huge number of business tools in the market, a layman might find it rather difficult to understand what would best suit their needs. You might end up with the wrong tools and despite having a good business plan and idea, your business might fail. 

However, you do not have to worry about it as we have bought this specially curated list of five tools that would essentially help you to make your business grow in a seamless manner. Now let’s dive right in:

1. Wix

By now you know having a business is synonymous to having a strong online presence. And creating a website is the first step towards that goal. 

Wix is a website construction and publishing platform that uses a drag-and-drop website builder, designer templates, and other features to let customers create professional websites precisely the way they want them. 

Depending on whether the user is building a site for the first time or an expert, Wix offers various ways to construct it, including Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI), Wix Code and Wix Editor. 

Features:

  • The templates available on Wix are customizable and thus ensures that you can easily create templates as per your requirements. 
  • The drag and drop feature on this platform makes it easier to create a website without much hassle. 
  • Wix also offers help in content management.

 

Benefits:

  • The plethora of designs available on Wix makes it ideal to be used by both small and large businesses. 
  • Wix helps you to change colors, backgrounds, text and pictures and create your website just as you want it. 

Pricing: 

Wix offers both paid and free services. The paid service starts from €4.50 a month.

2. Piktochart

If you are in the design business, you should be aware of the magic of an infographic. Infographics help you to make your content look attractive and thus persuade the clients in an easier manner. 

Using the right infographics will help you engage your targeted customer base better and thus make your business flourish. 

Piktochart is a brand customization tool that can be used to produce presentations and other material. With this software, you can create a company logo, design a color scheme, and upload fonts to use in the editing tool of Piktochart. You can also use its commenting feature to collaborate on content development initiatives from a single location.

If that’s not enough, Piktochart allows team members to post comments directly on content items inside Piktochart, which helps to simplify the review and editing process.  

Features:

  • Piktochart offers quality collaboration tools that are specially useful in companies that require a lot of group projects to be done.
  • It also offers customizable branding as per different company requirements.
  • Piktochart helps in seamless content management and thus create the best content for the target audience.

Benefits:

  • Using Piktochart would ensure that your team is able to collaborate smoothly and you can edit and rework directly on the content.
  • Exporting and importing data is also simple and thus makes it an ideal tool for content creation. 

Pricing: 

Piktochart has both free and paid pricing plans. The basic plan starts at $14 a month.     

3. Perkbox 

True to its name, Perkbox provides a platform for rewarding and recognizing your employees. 

If you are running a business, no matter what size, you need to make sure that your employees are well rewarded and their efforts are recognized. Perkbox simply makes that task easier by keeping a track of the good performances, feedback, and also insights regarding communications with employees.

Using Perkbox would help you to sign up your employees to EAP counselling to ensure their mental wellbeing. Mental health has been a concerning issue since forever and it is important that as a business owner, you take care of your employees’ mental well being. 

With the aid of Employee Assistance Programs, you can ensure that your employees are being counselled by professionals for any personal or professional issues that they might be facing.   

Features:

  • Create an employee database to keep track of the employees and their performances.
  • Helps with customizable branding as per the requirement of different brands and companies. 
  • As a user of Perkbox, you receive real time notifications and alerts that would help you to keep a constant track of how your employees are doing. 

Benefits:

  • Using Perkbox would ensure that your employees remain satisfied. This guarantees employee retention as benefits like discounts, medical care and various other perks are offered to them.
  • You will be able to recognize when an employee performs well through the rewards hub and offer them various prizes and praises that they deserve. 
  • Perkbox’s medical benefits, which include online GP visits, medication management, wellness discounts, and many more, can help you keep your workers well and at work. 

Pricing: 

Perkbox offers different pricings for different business models. You can have a quick chat on their website to know what would best suit your needs and how much it would cost.

4. Travelperk 

Since the pandemic, a lot has changed in the travel sector. Tourists who are travelling again are now looking for safer, smoother, and cheaper deals. 

If you are someone who is in the travel business then it is important for you to know about the corporate travel management system. This system will help you run your business efficiently and also stay relevant in the industry. 

With Travelperk, you will be offered faster, easier and safer ways of booking business trips that not only make your customers satisfied with the service but will also keep them safe. Using Travelperk would ensure that your travelers have the smoothest travelling and booking experience and thus giving your business a good reputation. 

Features:

  • Manage your clients’ reservations without any hassle or confusion.
  • The payment methods available are extremely sorted and with the help of electronic payment, your clients will not face any issue while booking a trip.
  • Offers analytics and reports that would help you to understand how your business is doing in a better way.

 

Benefits:

  • Helps you to book your own trips, which greatly increases autonomy and satisfaction
  • Support is available 24*7 to help with anything that the clients need; before, during and even after their trip.

Pricing: 

For companies, TravelPerk offers three packages: pro, premium and free, based on their demands for corporate travel management and assistance. The minimum price starts from 15.

5. Basecamp 

There are going to be more tasks than ever as you grow your business but the fact that you need to remain at the top of things cannot be denied.

Step in Basecamp, the ultimate project management software and daily work tracking tool for teams of all sizes and kinds. This tool offers tremendous value as it claims to have more out-of-the-box features than any other project management tool. It allows for the administration and secured storage of project-related information and materials, in addition to team collaboration and handling varied tasks.

Features:

  • Stay organized by splitting up projects and tasks in phases
  • Offers dozens of collaboration features that helps you stay connected with your team
  • Set you customized access for your clients to track the progress on projects 
  • Sync all your calendars with the integrated calendar feature

Benefits:

  • Archiving old projects and exporting new projects or their parts
  • Enables you to add your clients to hand-picked projects or create your client-dedicated projects under a single account
  • Integrates with various third-party apps like Cyfe, Chrometa etc, and makes managing business much easier than ever.
  • Deep linking from varied project tasks allows you to share assets with team members and clients easily

Pricing: 

Basecamp Business has a fixed monthly price of $99 or a yearly fee of $999. This includes an unlimited number of users, projects, and storage space of 500GB. 

Conclusion 

These above-mentioned tools will definitely help you to grow your business in a seamless way. However, it is important that you have a clear business plan to follow as otherwise no number of tools will be able to help you scale your business to greater heights. 

If you work with a team, it is important that the team members have a clear idea of your business goals, both short and long term. Only then, the usage of these tools will take your business to the highest possible peak.

All you have to do now is set a plan and start taking actions.

Comment below to tell us what other tools you have discovered to start and grow your digital business. We would love to hear from you. 

Consolidations Taking Place in the International Money Transfer Space

As the landscape of a post-pandemic world becomes clearer, mergers & acquisitions are starting to pick up.

For instance, PayPal, Pfizer, and Zoom are just a few companies that have completed multi-billion dollar deals recently. There’s also been a flurry of IPO activity, as numerous startups look to cash in on their recent successes.

The biggest so far has been the Wise IPO. In July 2021, one of the world’s largest private money transfer firms went public, achieving a market valuation of 11 billion USD (8 billion GBP).

And as we move into Q4 2021, more firms in the international money transfer industry are set to add to the fireworks. Since August 2020, money transfer giant Western Union has been open about acquiring smaller international money transfer companies. The IPO front may be active as well, with Remitly setting its IPO terms recently.

Overall, though, the industry is about to get less crowded.

 

Recent Consolidations a Continuation of an Ongoing Trend

Acquisitions of international money transfer companies aren’t anything new in international business. While the industry has exploded in size throughout the 2010s, larger concerns have absorbed smaller firms during this period.

Euronet is a prime example of this. Throughout the 2010s, this corporation has been one of the highest-profile buyers in the international payments space. In May 2014, they acquired HiFX, a well-established payments provider in the UK.

And a year later, they made an even bigger splash by purchasing XE, one of the internet’s top currency exchange authorities. Lastly, in 2019, Euronet took HiFX’s foreign exchange tools and folded them into XE, turning the brand into an even more powerful force on the FX scene.

Mergers and acquisitions will only pick up momentum moving forward. With global interdependence greater than it ever has been, demand for international payments will only grow. But at the same time, this increasingly crowded market will make it harder for smaller firms to stand out.
 
These two trends will motivate larger firms to grow via M&As, and smaller firms to sell.

 

Expect a Wave of Money Transfer IPOs in 2021

The Wise IPO may have stolen all the headlines, but they’re far from the first money transfer operator to go public.

Now, everybody already knows about Western Union and Moneygram. But these firms, who have more than a century of existence between them, are part of the financial establishment. In other words, they charge fees that make them largely indistinguishable from the banks.

Meanwhile, the new generation of international money transfer companies is starting to come of age. For example, OFX, an Australia-based firm, started trading back in 1998. Then, in 2013, they launched their IPO, offering shares on the Australian Securities Exchange.

World First, a money transfer provider now owned by Chinese-controlled Ant Financial, was almost part of a massive IPO last year. However, those plans were put on ice by government regulators after CEO Jack Ma criticized Chinese Communist Party officials.

Despite that setback, though, the 2020s are looking ripe for IPOs. Just as with increasing M&A activity, increasing global interdependence is creating a fertile marketplace for well-built international money transfer companies.

So, who should we expect to get in on the action? Of all the firms out there, Moneycorp and Currencies Direct are prime candidates, and are owned by a pair of private equity firms – The Bridgepoint Group and Corsair Capital, respectively.

If Remitly does well in their impending IPO, these firms will be more inclined to get in on the feeding frenzy. Both Moneycorp and Currencies Direct have served millions of customers since the 1990s. If they go public, we won’t be shocked if both achieve eight to nine-figure valuations.

 

Money Transfer is Becoming an Extremely Competitive Space

Money transfer firms that aren’t Wise are starting to feel the heat. As bigger international money transfer companies increase their presence in the marketplace and smaller startups crowd it, profit potential is shrinking.
 
For smaller international money transfer companies, it’s not enough to move money these days. If they don’t excel in a specific international payments sub-niche, bigger players will consign them to an ever-shrinking slice of market share. That was the reality HiFX faced before EuroNet acquired and merged them with XE.
 
Through HiFX’s 20-year track record of providing excellent service, they demonstrated their worth to the international business community. Now, their technology forms the backbone of XE Money Transfer.

Or take WorldRemit as another example. An upstart in the cash agent remittance space, this firm offers massive savings on fees and vastly better customer service in developing countries.

Then, there are the white-label money transfer operations. Taking advantage of ready-made infrastructure offers by giants like Moneycorp, media organizations like CNN and the Guardian now offer their readers international payments and transfers.
 
All this is putting pressure on smaller startups to diversify their specialties further. But, unfortunately, the odds of becoming a Wise is getting narrower by the day. So instead, up-and-comers will enjoy better results by becoming good at a specific aspect of the money transfer process.

 

The Long-Term Bull Case for International Money Transfers

But despite ramped-up competition, the outlook for the international payments industry looks bright. Observers shouldn’t allow the pandemic to cloud their vision – despite vast reductions in travel, the international business world is more interdependent than ever.
 
The genie is out of the bottle. The world’s manufacturing infrastructure has mostly moved offshore, and it’s staying there. At the end of the day, massive cost savings will overrule populist rhetoric. Why make goods at home when you can spend a tenth on labor by going offshore?
 
Even with increased shipping costs (and occasional quality issues), the savings offered by offshore workers is immense. So as online business and e-commerce continue to grow, demand for overseas vendors will increase in lockstep. And as it does, so will the demand for affordable international payments and money transfers.
 
This growth in international prosperity is also driving an increase in travel. In many countries, the middle class is expanding, and as it does, they’re going on vacations abroad. People in developed countries are also travelling more, as growth in low-cost carriers is driving airfares downward. Of course, before these folks cross borders, they’ll want travel cash at a better rate than their banks are giving them.

And as wealthier travellers head abroad more, they are getting more interested in overseas real estate. With politics growing unstable and remote work being easier to perform abroad than ever before, having a second home in a second country is becoming increasingly desirable.
 
Once the international business community works out the kinks of living in a COVID-endemic world, these trends will drive the international money transfer industry to new heights.

 

What’s the Near-Term Outlook for Money Transfer IPOs/M&As?

With the above trends in mind, what can we expect to see in the short term for IPO and M&A activity? As mentioned earlier, Remitly Global is the next high-profile international money transfer firm likely to go public.
 
But apart from them, no other money transfer provider has thrown their hat into the IPO ring. As stated earlier, though, international money transfer companies like Moneycorp and Currencies Direct are well-positioned to go public, should they choose to do so.

What about M&As? For the past year, Revolut has openly stated that it has intentions to buy smaller international money transfer companies that could complement its operations. But while they have hired staff with experience in M&As, they have yet to pull the trigger on any moves.
 
Perhaps there is still a bit of international business uncertainty due to global Delta outbreaks. But as vaccinations pick up steam and the current COVID waves subside, it’s likely IPO/M&A activity will pick up further.    

 

The Globally Mobile Need Money Transfer Solutions

There’s no going back. Despite the hiatus of the past couple of years, the world remains an internationalized place. And, as the world slowly emerges from this pandemic, money inflows and outflows between nations will only pick up speed.
 
As they do, travellers, international business owners, and everyday people will be looking for cost-effective money transfer solutions. Because of this, there is plenty of cash to be made by pursuing IPOs, acquisitions, and mergers. We’re bullish on activity in this area.

Prepare for the Future with These Investment Strategies

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, things have been really uncertain. No one really knows what the future holds, especially as the coronavirus continues to mutate and cause variants. Plus, with the rising cost of living, people are finding it increasingly more difficult to afford simple things like food, as well as major expenses like a home. So, there is no better time than now to think about how you will invest your money today so it can be there for you tomorrow.

Don’t just leave your money sitting in your bank account to earn hardly anything in interest. Instead, check out the investment options that are outlined in this infographic from HotForex, and continue reading to learn more.

1. Gold and Commodities

First, let’s talk about assets like gold and commodities. Because these are usually in high demand, they typically appreciate, rather than depreciate, in value over time. When you invest in these assets, you can convert your cash into assets whose value will likely grow. If all goes well, when you go to sell them, you may end up with more money than what you initially invested to get them in the first place.

Investing in gold and commodities is also a good way to hedge against inflation. Sticking with commodities like those that are listed in this infographic (palladium, copper, oil, and silver) may help ensure you get the best returns because so many businesses and individuals rely on them all over the world.

2. Forex Trading

Have you heard of forex trading? If not, it is definitely worth looking into it! Basically, this market involves trading currency pairs, so you might trade pairs like the EUR and USD or the GBP and USD, as a couple of examples.

This can be yet another good way to invest your money, and you might be surprised by how quickly you can get the hang of things. Plus, the forex market is open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, which gives you loads of flexibility and time to make trades that deliver solid returns. And with a platform like MetaTrader 4 download for Mac, you can get the support you need in the form of helpful extras like charts, news, and analytical tools. 

3. Stock Market Trading

Yet another popular investment strategy that you are probably already pretty familiar with is stock trading. You can get into the stock market whenever you want, but be sure to do some research in advance because there might be a good amount of risk involved with trading stocks, and you might need to invest a lot of money, especially if you are hoping to get high-priced stocks.

According to the HotForex infographic, companies like Tesla and Amazon have seen growth since 2020, and the USA100, USA500, and USA30 have also grown since 2020. Plus, global equity markets may continue to climb, so now might be a good time to invest if you have not done so already. 

The bottom line is this: there are several ways that you can prepare for the future by investing your money wisely today. Weigh your options so you can determine which one is right for you based on factors like how much money you want to invest.

Should I Switch to a New Payroll Provider Mid-Year?

Business owners (regardless of size) are not fond of change. That’s because change usually comes in the same package with new investments and disruption of activity. However, when it’s needed for the improvement of your business process and a better future for the company, change is a must

When speaking of improvement and increased productivity, the businessmen and women of the world will immediately think of sales and marketing strategies. However, right now we want to talk about the change that comes from inside the company – a process that’s least favored among managers and employees alike. What’s even more puzzling, we’re proposing you do the change when the need arises (even mid-year) and not wait for the year to end. 

We’re talking about workforce management solutions, particularly the payroll system. It’s quite common for businesses to buy a payroll management solution that fits their needs at first, only to find it ineffective a few months into the year. However, since payroll is a crucial business system, managers will most likely shop around for a new solution to replace the old one after the end of the year when all the necessary paperwork and calculations are complete. This strategy is costly, time and resource-consuming, and can even put you in a difficult position with the authorities (in certain scenarios). 

So why wait?

There’s no better time than the present to make a change that is beneficial for the business! So, if you find your old payroll system isn’t working, it’s time for a mid-year payroll conversion. Here’s how you can make the transition smoother and how to find the right features in your new solution.

Common Concerns to Address First

Let’s face it, changing your payroll provider mid-year is a bit scary. You already have a solution that’s so-so, but you can make it work (somehow). If you change things mid-year, there are several things that could go horribly wrong. 

So, before anything, find the answer to the following questions:

  • If I change the payroll system, will this disrupt my business?
  • Does this mean there’s a chance I’ll have to fill the taxes late?
  • My payroll process is complicated – can a new solution figure things out?

Keep in mind that the right payroll system should be easy to implement any time of the year, without disrupting your activity too much (minimal interruption will happen, but you can choose the time of the day). Plus, having a complex payroll system with different employee classification and pay frequencies does not mean you have to keep using an ineffective solution. 

Lastly, your payroll provider will be able to import the data from your previous system and import it into the new one. Also, moving forward, the taxes should be processed seamlessly without any delays.

How to Find the Right Solution?

You already know what is not working with the current solution, but what happens if the new one isn’t to your liking as well?

This is why it’s important to do the research and perform a deep analysis of your current system. Also, think of your plans for the future (Do you plan on scaling the business? Are there any major changes coming up?)

Meanwhile, here are the features all payroll systems should offer:

  • A cloud-based system with no need to install any software on your on-site devices. Also, the administrator should have easy remote access, so any maintenance or repairs can be performed from a distance.
  • High-security features that ensure the sensitive data stored by the payroll system remains confidential. 
  • 2FA authentication to reduce the chances of a database leak or break.
  • Automatic pay calculation using the criterion introduced by the employer. Also, the system needs to calculate overtime, taxes, or deductions.
  • The possibility to fill and pay taxes using the system
  • Several methods of payment such as checks, pay cards, or direct deposit
  • Time tracking features (for employees paid by the hour)
  • Secure employee access to their data (like tax forms, pay stubs, and more)
  • Reports with visual elements (graphs, charts, and more) to get easier access to company metrics
  • Integration with other software tools used by the business (CRM, sales management, bookkeeping, and more)

Plus, you may also want to consider features such as on-demand pay where workers can demand payment at the end of each day based on their logged hours. Lastly, some payroll solutions can also calculate the cost of each job in the company (based on the data introduced in the system). This feature is amazing for business owners looking to cut down costs,  improve business cash flow and efficiency.

How to Make the Conversion Easier on Everyone

A reliable payroll provider can help you make the transition, but you can also work on smoothing things out. 

For instance, if you make the conversion during the year, it’s best to do so at the start of a fiscal quarter or the middle of the year since all your data will be neatly packed and ready for transfer. This reduces the risk of complications and you don’t have to worry about tax delays. 

Lastly, it’s crucial to have a face-to-face (even virtually) with your new provider and clarify all your requirements. It’s also a good idea to discuss development plans, to see if the new payroll solution can keep up with it. Overall, regardless of when you decide to make the transition, it’s crucial to be transparent and open with the new provider. 

Best SaaS Softwares to Help Improve Your Services

When you consider all of the different types of contracts that can be required in the business realm, you can easily see why this is an important tool to have. 

Plus, there is no end to the type of contract templates you will find on this website. From new employee contracts to a client bridal makeup contract, there is a contract for all businesses and all possible scenarios, so you will never be left wanting. 

 

4. KnowBe4

Another thing that all businesses today need to concern themselves with is cybersecurity. According to Security Magazine, there are more than 2,200 data attacks per day, which equates to almost one cyber breach per every 39 seconds. 

The last thing you want is for your business to fall victim to a cyberattack, which is why you need to put security measures in place to make sure that this does not happen. 

After all, it does not matter how big or small your company is, you are going to be a target. A multi-layered security approach is required to make sure your network cannot be breached.

We have so many businesses shut down indefinitely due to the consequences of a data breach, and it is not difficult to see why. Not only do you need to spend a lot of money on identifying and rectifying your company, but you will face fines and your reputation will need some serious rebuilding!

This is why it makes sense to use SaaS software like KnowBe4. With this tool, you will be able to make the most of security awareness training, ensuring learners discover more about all of the chief security problems today. 

Training covers the likes of ransomware, engineering, spear-phishing attacks, and much more. This is a great way to make sure that your employees are aware of the cyber security threat and that they are acting in a diligent manner.

After all, the vast majority of cyber breaches today are insider attacks. This does not mean that they were malicious, although that can happen. Rather, mistakes made by employees are giving hackers easy access to computer networks and systems, enabling a breach to happen. 

 

5. Pitch

Another SaaS software that we rate highly is Pitch. One of the great things about Pitch is they give you the opportunity to try the software for free, so you can determine whether or not it is right for you. 

But what does Pitch actually do? Well, Pitch is an easy-to-use and highly effective presentation maker

With Pitch, you get access to hundreds of professionally designed templates that will enable you to put together presentations that inspire your workforce and impress your clients. 

Pitch understands the elements that matter when it comes to presentations, and that’s what makes it one of the elite options out there today. You can easily maintain brand consistency and make simple, quick edits when required. 

You can also tell stories that are driven by data, and you can do so in an efficient manner. You can connect Pitch with your data so that your tables and charts are always up-to-date. 

If that was not enough, you do not need to fret about sending files backward and forward anymore, as collaboration is easy.

Reasons for LTD Claim Denials for Covid-19 Long Haulers

Covid-19 rapidly spread across the world and became a global pandemic. Hundreds of millions of people became infected, with millions being forced to take a leave of absence from their jobs due to symptoms.

While some people may recover from Covid-19 rather quickly, others may never fully recover.

Long-term symptoms may linger for months or possibly even years. Long-term impairment may result from contracting the virus. As such, some employees may need to apply for long-term disability after they have been infected with the Coronavirus.

Here, we will focus on the reasons for LTD claim denials for Covid-19 long haulers.

 

How can I know whether I’m eligible for Covid-19 long-term disability?

You should keep very detailed notes of all of your symptoms. Doing so will increase the chances that you will qualify for your Covid-19 long-term disability claim. The process is similar for people who suffer from chronic pain disorders or chronic fatigue syndrome.

If you have any certifications that confirm that you have had the virus, you should also provide them to your insurance company.

Gather any relevant reports and provide tangible proof of your medical expenses, including medical bills. You should also provide your insurer with your medical leave records as well.

If you have friends or family members who have submitted a long-term disability claim due to the Coronavirus in the past, then you can ask them for guidance. They will help explain the legal process and the pitfalls that you need to avoid to help you qualify.

 

What are the Covid-19 long haulers’ debilitating symptoms?

Covid-19 sufferers have reported a wide array of psychological and physiological symptoms after having contracted the deadly virus.

Many of the symptoms they have reported have been so severe that they have been debilitating. Many patients cannot even get out of bed to eat, let alone work.

Some of the most common symptoms reported by Covid-19 long haulers include headaches, dizziness and chronic fatigue. Some have also reported severe chest pain, as well as joint and muscle aches and pains.

Persistent shortness of breath has also been reported by some Covid-19 long haulers, which can be both terrifying and agonizing.

As far as cognitive symptoms are concerned, some patients with Covid-19 have reported that they are no longer able to perform many tasks at once.

Many experience what is best described as brain fog. They are unable to think clearly or form coherent sentences. They may have trouble concentrating or focusing and may feel dazed, delirious or confused at times.

Some medical studies have also found a causal link between Covid-19 and diabetes. There may also be an increased risk for hypertension, heart disease and other dangerous disorders and diseases.

Some scientists have even claimed that patients who have recovered from Covid had lower IQ test scores. Given the fact that Covid-19 is a relatively novel virus, we still do not know the long-term ramifications of the virus.

 

What should I do if my Covid long-term disability application is denied?

If your insurance provider denies your claim, then you will need to provide clear evidence that the infection has made it very hard for you to work at a normal level or capacity.

You will also need to provide a medical diagnosis that proves that you have been infected with the Coronavirus.

You will also need to demonstrate that the virus has caused you to be mentally or physically disabled and that the disability will last for at least 12 months.

If your claim is rejected, then you will need to appeal the decision. You will need to provide as much evidence as possible before you appeal their decision. You will need to gather lab results and medical notes to prove that you are disabled.

You also need to prove that the disability that you are currently suffering from will last for a prolonged period of time and that Covid-19 directly caused your long-term disability.

 

Keep Fighting

If you have become disabled due to the Coronavirus, you will likely be in a lot of pain, and you may also feel drained and hopeless. Working with a disability attorney may help you obtain the aid that you need and deserve. They will help you file your long-term disability claim.

Covid-19 can have long-term consequences on your mental and physical health, and may drastically affect your financial wellbeing. A disability lawyer will create a plan that is tailored to your unique situation.

They may help you win your case so that you can focus on making a full recovery instead of worrying about your financial status. With new variants being discovered, it is important to remain vigilant and continue fighting for your rights.

Investing in Crypto, Is It wise?

That’s over 200% return in less than 2 months. Impressive, correct? 

That’s not to say that this wasn’t a risky bet. However, experience can help investors gauge the market sentiment and enter at the right time. When the strategy plays out favorably, investors walk out with a lot more money than they put in.

Quick Adoption and Accessibility

Even with the associated risks, businesses are quickly beginning to accept cryptocurrencies as a valid form of payment. The financial infrastructure is beginning to strengthen and retail investors are starting to invest actively in cryptocurrencies too. Plus, small investors also have accessibility to more tools that they need to safely invest in cryptocurrencies.

Giant companies such as PayPal are now making it easier for investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Institutions aren’t just facilitating crypto transactions though. Large corporations like Square and Tesla have invested billions of dollars in Bitcoin. 

Granted that these factors don’t reduce the associated risk, but these certainly imply that blockchain technology is beginning to mature. Institutional as well as retail investors are beginning to show interest in taking direct exposure to crypto coins, and some are even investing a considerable amount.

Lower Empirical Probability of Loss Over the Long Term

Believers of blockchain technology that are prepared to ride out the storm and stay invested over the long term have an edge over short-term investors. There are several ways to reduce risk in any investment, and a longer time horizon is one of them.

Investors typically diversify their holdings across market caps and value propositions when it comes to reducing the risk associated with investing in cryptocurrencies. Staying invested for the long term, much like diversification, helps reduce the risk.

Let’s look at some data to back this claim. Look at the price of any fundamentally strong crypto coin. Most will have appreciated in value over the long term. Following are the prices for the two most popular crypto coins:

  1. Bitcoin: Price chart from August 2013 to September 2021
  2. Ethereum: Price chart from August 2014 to September 2021

Those returns are probably going to pop some eyes out, but it’s important to realize that these massive returns also come with a lot of risks. Nevertheless, investors that stay invested for the long term are probabilistically going to come out with a healthy profit.

Availability of Low-Risk Alternatives

There is a group of investors that vows not to take on excessive risk. This is a quality that often saves investors a lot of pain. Investors must always identify the level of risk they can tolerate before investing their money. Taking on excess risk is a sure-fire way to lose sleep.

This shouldn’t mean that investors with low risk tolerance can’t gain exposure to the crypto space. Thanks to stablecoins, investors that want to invest money in crypto and preserve their money’s value have options.

Stablecoins are to the crypto-verse what T-bills are to the traditional asset classes. They offer a low-risk alternative to their risky counterparts (altcoins) for investors that want to gain some crypto exposure.

There’s just one caveat, though. Stablecoins don’t generate any capital gains because their price is pegged to another asset, typically a fiat currency. For instance, investors that buy USDC are essentially buying digital dollars. The price of USDC is pegged to the U.S. Dollar and tends to hover in a tight range around $1. 

Fortunately, there is another way to generate returns from stablecoins. Think about it, they are what T-bills are to traditional investments… ring a bell? 

Well, stablecoins can generate a fixed income for investors when deposited with a platform like Nexo that offers as much as 12% returns. 12% is still more than most asset classes can return in the U.S. The 12% return, again, carries risk — high returns are always a form of compensation for higher risk.

The first risk is that the platform can change the offered rate at any time at their discretion. The uncertainty about the returns poses a challenge during financial planning. Plus, unlike bank deposits, money deposited with such platforms isn’t protected by FDIC or SIPC. If the platform goes bust, there’s no way to recover the money.

Even with those risks, an investor with a relatively low appetite for risk could invest a small portion of the portfolio to stablecoins. 12% is nothing to sneeze at, after all. 

Cost-Effective for Overseas Payments

Though the fees differ among blockchain networks, most are relatively more cost-effective than making payments through a bank. Transferring payments via bank generally comes with “maker” and “taker fees, deposit or withdrawal fees, and foreign transaction fees.

However, none of these fees are a problem with cryptocurrency payments. While the percentage of the fees charged by banks appears minuscule, they can accumulate into a considerable amount over time, or when the amount being transferred is relatively large.

Making these payments using a cryptocurrency allows bypassing these fees. Plus, there’s no lag in payments either. The payments are processed almost instantly and the receiver will likely receive the coins in their account in less than a minute. 

Although the cost-effectiveness of payments has nothing to do with generating returns, they can increase the overall ROI on a person’s crypto holdings given the savings in fees. This is especially true for people transferring large amounts frequently.

Ready to Onboard the Crypto Train?

Investors that want to get some of the crypto action should get in while the party lasts. Blockchain technology is about to revolutionize the world and investors stand to gain from the consequent increase in the value of crypto coins. 

If it looks like the world is losing its mind with crypto, it’s because everybody wants to make money. This is fair, of course, as long as investors realize the degree of risk they’ll be taking by putting money in a cryptocurrency. If an investor invests money that they’ll need in the short term, or in worst cases invests their emergency fund, they’re putting their financial well-being in grave danger.

As long as an investor walks into the cryptoverse with their eyes wide open and a solid strategy, they’ll likely walk out with substantial gains. The more time they stay invested also has an impact on the overall returns. To survive through phrases of volatility, investors need thick skin. A panic-induced sell decision can translate to some serious losses.

Business Merger vs Consolidation: What’s The Difference?

With the continuously evolving economy, business mergers and consolidations are becoming more common. There are instances where one company invests in another and does a takeover; or two companies merge to become one. Many entrepreneurs see these shifts as game-changers that may empower small companies and possibly shake up the competition in the market. 

It’s also common to use the terms ‘mergers’ and ‘consolidations’ interchangeably but they have different definitions and business natures. In addition, both acquisition processes have different outcomes and goals. Often, there are also legalities involved in both processes, which makes it important to consult with law experts, such as the Miami business attorney, to ensure a smoother transition. 

What Are Business Mergers? 

A merger is a business agreement between two or more companies to combine into one entity. This results in one of the companies taking over the other companies involved, which increases its capabilities while retaining its original name. The surviving company will assume all of the assets while the other companies discontinue their operations.  

Smaller companies often opt to merge with larger ones to increase their market traction and value. Mergers may also help large companies eliminate competition and grow their brand, thereby increasing their sales and revenues.  

Different Merger Types 

Depending on the needs of both parties, mergers come in different types:

  • Vertical: This may happen between two or more companies producing different goods that comprise the same finished product. 
  • Horizontal: This may occur between two companies that belong in the same industry.    
  • Conglomerate: This may take place between two companies belonging to unrelated industries. 
  • Product Extension: This may happen between two companies with the same products and operations.  
  • Market Extension: This may occur between two companies with the same products but different markets. 

What Are Consolidations? 

Business consolidation is the combination of two or more companies to become a new single entity. It’s considered to be transformative since it creates a new corporate structure and adopts the best practices from the companies involved. 

Consolidation usually happens between equal-sized companies with similar products, in the hopes of streamlining business processes and management. One notable advantage of consolidating two or more businesses is reducing its operational and overhead expenses.  

Merger Vs Consolidation 

Entrepreneurs often want to run their own business, free from any external influence or control. However, there are instances wherein businesses need to combine with larger companies or ones offering similar products. 

Business mergers involve two or more companies combining through a takeover and the emergence of one surviving company. On the other hand, business consolidation happens when two or more companies combine to create a new single company. Although different in some aspects, both business processes have plenty of benefits. 

Mergers are great for companies to increase their product’s market value and eliminate competition. Similarly, consolidations are advantageous for companies to streamline business processes and reduce operational expenses.

Company Size Matters

Small companies may turn to consolidation to improve their financial standing and buying power. This usually improves their production, especially when they have limited resources to fulfil client demands. On the other hand, merging with a dominant company may create better business deals and attract more buyers. 

Larger businesses usually acquire smaller brands to create diversity for their existing line-up. Instead of competing with start-up brands, established companies may offer mergers to acquire their product line, which limits their competition in the market. It may also help them infiltrate new markets and get new clients.

Not Just Assets

Going into a merger or consolidation is often a gamble. Aside from acquiring assets, the surviving company or newly formed entity may also get all the liabilities. 

As a result, these companies may have a shaky start or become overwhelmed and eventually break apart. That’s why before making any decision, it’s best to weigh all available options. Aside from that, always check the company’s assets in terms of receivables and inventory and perform due diligence to determine their full liabilities. 

Due Diligence

The amount of the company’s liabilities can make or break a business deal. Merging with a company with great debt can compromise the acquiring companies. This is what makes due diligence a precautionary measure that needs to be done before entering any business deal. To better understand how it works, here are its three areas: 

  • Financial: Ideally done by accountants to assess the company’s earnings, operating expenses, and sales history. This report will focus on creating an understanding of the company’s current financial health and its trends. 
  • Commercial: This is undertaken to gauge the company as a whole. It will tackle the external and internal environment of the company, as well as its commercial appeal. It will also deal with the company’s operational capabilities and its risks. 
  • Legal: Usually done after commercial due diligence, this aims to uncover any tax issues or ongoing cases. It covers the company’s long-standing contracts and distribution agreements, as well as intellectual properties and patents.  

The Takeaway  

Overall, both mergers and consolidations have different business natures and processes, which may have their advantage and disadvantages. With this, it’s best to keep in mind that going into either a merger or consolidation may pose different risks. Aside from taking hold of the business’s assets, it’s best to take into account its liabilities and potential risks. That’s why it’s important to conduct due diligence to fully understand the target company’s legal, commercial, and financial matters.

How to Incorporate Cryptocurrency in Your Business

Companies and various brands around the world are starting to incorporate cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, in operational and transactional purposes. While its value is still in a volatile state, more and more people are waking up to its advantages. If you have a business and you want to start accepting cryptocurrency, below are ways you can integrate it to your operations and reap its benefits.

What You Need

You must have the following to receive and move any type of cryptocurrency:

  • Cryptocurrency Wallet

Cryptocurrency is digital cash, thus, you need a virtual wallet for it. You can also accept multiple types of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more. In this case, use a wallet that allows you to store different digital currencies. You can also connect your cryptocurrency wallet to banks that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

  • Cryptocurrency Address

Your cryptocurrency wallet has a unique built-in address, as all cryptocurrency wallets do. It’s a combination of numbers and letters. Digital currency wallets come with a feature that allows users to convert them into QR codes. You can share this address or QR code with other people or businesses so that you can receive payments. The technology will not allow the user to cancel or reverse the transaction once it’s already been sent. It’s also impossible to ask for refunds.  

  • Private Key

The private key is coded as the digital access to your cryptocurrency wallet. Private keys are also unique to your cryptocurrency wallet, and once you lose it, you can’t access your wallet anymore. But, some wallets allow the users to use an optional password. In this case, it’s recommended to save your private key in a storage device, such as a USB flash drive.

Ways to Incorporate Cryptocurrency Into Your Business

  • Pay Employee Salaries with Cryptocurrency

As a business owner, you can choose to pay your employee salaries in cryptocurrency and decide on the date when the conversion to fiat cash will take place. The rate is freezable, depending on the payroll of the employee. You can use the actual market value of the digital currency for conversion.  A separate date can be set when the payment to the employee will commence. 

Business owners can help employees decide as to how much of their salaries they’d like to receive in fiat cash and how much would be in cryptocurrency. Since each employee has a different set of financial needs, it’s better that the employees also have a say in how much they want to receive. There’s a likelihood that employees will accept up to 20% of cryptocurrency as part of their salaries. 

As a business owner, you can also discuss the type of cryptocurrency your employees want to receive. Cryptocurrency comes with risks, and the employees’ risks should be taken into account. There are various ways and tools that they can use to convert digital currency to fiat one, and it’s a good way of introducing them to this kind of currency. 

  • Integrate Cryptocurrency Into Your Website

There are options available when integrating digital currency into your business website. If you’re in the retail business and receive payments online, you can add cryptocurrency as a payment option, introducing your customers to another form of cashless payments. Considering such options will help you find the right one for your business needs.

  • Add a ‘Pay with Crypto’ Button

A ‘Pay With Crypto’ button on your website instantly informs your customers that you accept digital currency as a form of payment. There are various platforms that have a button creation feature and allow business owners to connect to cryptocurrency platforms.

  • Pay Manually

Customers can send their payments to your public address or QR code. You can include these components at the checkout page so that you can receive digital currency directly to your virtual wallet. There are various cryptocurrency wallets that come with reliable instructions on how to add this option to your website. 

  • Use a Service Provider

There are different cryptocurrency wallets wherein you can accept digital money. They may come with fees, but these will help iron out the complications and the stress that comes with accepting cryptocurrency.

  • Allow In-Store Cryptocurrency Payments 

You can have your customers pay for goods and services using cryptocurrency if you’re the owner of a café, restaurant, or a retail store. There are some major payment processors that already allow cryptocurrency because of the increasing public demand. 

All your customers need is a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. There’s no credit card or cash needed because you’ll be using a point-of-sale app to deduct cryptocurrency coins from their accounts. 

The app is easy to use because you only need to input the amount owed by the customer. The point-of-sale app has a feature that allows it to compute how much cryptocurrency is owed. It will, then, generate a QR code that the customer needs to scan using the cryptocurrency wallet app they’re using. 

In Conclusion

Cryptocurrency is money, and more and more investors are reaping the rewards of using it. Businesses are starting to accept it as an alternative to fiat cash as it comes with fewer fees during transactions. If you have a business, there are now more ways than before to encourage your customers to pay with cryptocurrency, and your employees will also be able to benefit from the gradual transition from regular cash to digital currency.  

8 Ways to Elevate Your Customer Relationship Management System

Maintaining an excellent relationship with your customers is critical to increase your company’s chance of success in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. Otherwise, unsatisfied clients will switch to your competitors for good. And that will lower your profit margins. 

Therefore, you should do everything within your control to prevent this from happening. Entrepreneurs ensure their clients are at all times happy and satisfied. One of the most effective ways you can do to achieve this is through a customer relationship management (CRM). 

Thanks to CRM, you’ll be in a position to effectively managing your interactions with your existing and potential customers. This will then improve customer relationships, customer service, sales, and profitability.

With that said, how can you improve the CRM system to strengthen your client relationship? Here’s a guide detailing the various techniques to better your customer relationship management system:  

1. Train All Your Employees On CRM

One of the best and most effective ways of improving a customer management system is by making sure all your employees are well-trained on how to use the CRM system. When implementing this in your organization, it’s best to start training the tech-savvy persons first. Training your staff in phases is ideal as the tech-savvy employees will later guide their colleagues in using the CRM system to achieve optimal results.

Regular training of your employees on a CRM system, such as a pipeline CRM software, increases your company’s efficiency. This is because this training offers your employees a better understanding of how the process operates, your customer’s needs, and what to do in certain cases. 

You need to conduct two types of training. First, train on technological knowledge. This makes it simpler for your employees to understand the need for a CRM system through distinct learning techniques and methods. After this training, your staff will be able to achieve your company’s long-term objectives by having an understanding of the different learning models under the CRM.

Second, training on regional knowledge examines your customers’ existing information in the effort to start a new campaign. This is a task best left to employees knowledgeable on how the CRM can result in a structured process, resulting in revenues for your business. During the CRM training sessions, ensure to discuss the details of the CRM system apart from stating its database. 

For you to reap greater rewards from the CRM system, all the employees should be trained on how to use it, and not just the salespersons. This includes other positions such as helpdesk staff, customer service employees, and every other individual who manages your client’s accounts or often interacts with them.

2. Ensure The CRM System Is Up-To-Date 

Marketing success is achieved when you have prior knowledge of proper plans to remain relevant in the competitive business space. You must keep updating the information you feed into your CRM system. Doing this saves you time as there’s no need for constant trial and error. It also helps reduce your business cost since your marketers now know how to use this information to get the best results. 

The proactive approach of making sure to use updated information creates and improves the quality and health of the database. With an up-to-date database, your employees on the frontline get better security as this data acts as a robust and reliable metric. 

3. Maximize Improvements 

There’s no room for complacency if you’re serious about improving your customer’s experience. Therefore, you should always think of newer ways to improve your CRM system by taking ideas from external and internal users. Consequently, it would be best to implement these ideas, starting with those that’ll improve your operations, tactics, and strategy. When implementing these ideas, you should only go for those that will propel your business to greater heights. 

4. Detail Synchronization

A reliable CRM needs to automatically synchronize with your staff’s calendars, and import all of your customer-related meetings. If your current CRM system doesn’t do this, then you should consider replacing it. This is important because the CRM should plan appointments with your customers, and send an invite through smartphones and preferred cloud calendars to identify what’s been recorded for a particular date and time. Other tasks that a good CRM should execute automatically include:  

  • Alterations and terminations of leads
  • Recording of both warm and cold leads 
  • Identification of active leads without the need for double entry by the sales representatives 

If your CRM system is struggling to do any of this, you might have difficulty achieving the targeted sales results. When this happens, consider replacing the CRM system to one that can help you remain updated at all times. Your organization will be better positioned to formulate relevant sales pitches and aggressive targeted marketing strategies. With an effective CRM, you’ll be able to pinpoint the best prospects, get maximum benefits from your current clients, and increases your company’s sales and profits. This ensures you always have an edge over competitors.  

5. Monitor Customer Conduct the Entire Sales Cycle 

Knowing what your customers want is integral as it influences the decisions the company makes. This means collecting data on the social media prospects and on other shared channels (e.g., phone calls and emails) before any sales call. You’ll need to do the same after the sales call by instructing your sales team to monitor the content that resonates with your clients.

Takeaway 

Having good customer relations is a powerful marketing strategy you should use to improve your company’s performance. With a customer relationship management system, you get to accomplish this goal. Highlighted above are the different ways you can do this. They will help you realize a considerable rise in your company’s productivity. 

5 Ways to Help Better Understand the Collection of Personal Data on Your Website

Your website is the main hub for all the data you collect as a business. It’s where a lot of customers and potential leads will likely come to when interacting with your company. With that being said, it’s a great source of information that can help provide growth to your business in many ways.

Having an understanding of the personal data available can help make necessary changes to your website. Whether it’s improving functionality or adding in new features your customers will engage with. This article will share the importance of data collection and how to use it in order to improve your site.

In 2021, it’s important to spend time perfecting your website, especially as there are more than 1.88 billion websites out there. That’s a lot of competition!

Why is personal data important for your business?

Whilst being able to help better your website, personal data can be majorly influential for the rest of your business.

Data can help provide a deeper understanding of the market you’re in and what your customers want from you. It can help focus on your consumers and how to effectively market the business so that the content is seen by those you’re trying to target.

For many organizations, 97.2% to be exact, are investing in big data and AI technology. Data can lead to a lot of success if it’s acquired, managed and utilized in the right way for your business. 

Five ways to better understand data for your website

As a business, you may be struggling to sift through the existing data that you have. There are some useful ways below that can help better grasp the data you have and how you can continue to collect more valuable data in the future. Here are five ways that will help you understand the data you have and how to use it for your website.

1. Use web analytics for more detailed insights

There are likely multiple methods in which you can collect data on your customers. One example could be through any sales or leads you convert into paying customers. Another might be sign-ups to your newsletter and getting information through the forms you create. 

However, for the most part, web analytics that track the traffic coming on to the site are the most powerful. According to W3Techs, Google Analytics is used by 86% of all the websites that use a traffic analysis tool. The reason why this software is so powerful and used by many is due to it being part of Google itself.

The collection of personal data can be achieved somewhat through Google Analytics. It can collect data such as the user’s geographic location, their age and gender, as well as their behavior on the site itself.

Using a platform like this can help provide more insight into your users and who your target audience are. As a business, you may be aware of who you’re targeting but the reality of who is engaging, might be slightly different.

The benefits of using Google Analytics can be endless. They can help gather data that’s useful for content creation and to find new ways of converting those users into customers. Probably the most beneficial part of the platform is that for the most part, it’s free to use. 

For small businesses and start-ups that are limited with their funds, a platform like this can be highly effective and useful to take full advantage of.

2. Consider how you store and manage your data

The way businesses and some individuals store and manage their data has changed significantly. Since many acts regarding consumer privacy have come into fruition, there are strict guidelines that need to be followed depending on where you’re located. 

For example, the California consumer privacy act is one that ensures all businesses with over 50,000 customers are using their customer’s data in the right manner. The act gives the customers the opportunity to opt out and to know how their information is being used. Much like the EU’s GDPR, it’s in place to help protect its residents and their personal information.

To avoid the headaches and stress that come with these privacy acts, it’s important to look at how you’re storing and managing your data. These amendments and privacy acts will continue to crop up, so it’s beneficial to start making those changes now if you haven’t done so already.

Data storage management can help manage the volume of data coming up into your business so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Cisco UCS Manager is one of many that’s a popular choice to store your data securely and efficiently. 

There are benefits to improving this process when it comes to your website. For example, using Osano, you can create the right forms and privacy notices to collect data correctly. More importantly, your website and business will end up being more compliant as a result.

3. Focus on user experience 

When creating a website or product like an app or software, a lot of the development process will involve a focus on user experience and the user interface. They’re two important elements that contribute to the overall success of the product itself.

Did you know that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of people will end up leaving your website? Being attentive to the quality of your user experience and how effective it is, will make your relationship with your consumers a lot stronger.

There’s a significant amount of personal data that you can attain from those web analytics platforms when on the subject of user experience. For your website, data on user flow, how they come on and off the website can utilize the web pages that are the most active.

How fast a web page loads or what CTAs you have in place already can come from what personal data you may already have. One call-to-action might be performing better than others and it’s good to have that available data to understand why that may be.

By improving user experience, it’s ultimately going to boost the customer’s engagement on your site. This can contribute to better quality traffic and more conversions to sales than simply users just browsing the site.

4. Look at what content they’re engaging with mostly

Content for most businesses online, is a powerful one. There’s a lot of personal data that you can gather when it comes to what content is being interacted with and which in particular, are being engaged with mostly.

This isn’t just limited to your website either. You may have content on different social media channels and that link back to your website. Through tracked links, you can get a clearer picture of what content is influencing user’s to come over to your site.

Again, web analytics can provide much in the way of useful data that can help your marketers and content creation team to perfect its web page content. For your website, content is important to help improve SEO and the online presence of your website. 

It’s why a good content schedule needs to be in place so that your website is a constant and reputable source of information. The personal information you take from your website’s analytics can be useful to creating the best content that they’ll want to see.

5. Use personal data to improve sales through your site

Sales are obviously a very critical part to running a business and personal data can be a great help in improving these through your site. There’s a lot of sales data that you might already have available to you that you can look at to see what’s popular and whether any upsells or deals or discounts have been redeemed too.

Sales data can be a helpful insight into what changes need to be made and what can remain the same. Those products or services that are performing well can help you replicate that success again and again through future creations.

When it comes to sales analytics, it’s worthwhile using a software like Hubspot Sales Hub. By using the personal data that you already have, you can use this sales CRM to improve sales engagement as well as richer insights and warmer leads. For any business, improving sales is essential and having a sales platform like this one can be highly valuable.

There are lots of sales platforms to make use of depending on what you need for your business. Hubspot Sales Hub is a great place to start your research.

Don’t sleep on personal data for your website

Collecting and utilizing personal data for your website can be helpful in many ways. Whilst it may prove challenging as the company grows and the volume of data increases, it can provide great insight and influence to your website’s performance. 

Find ways to collect personal data that can help develop and provide more efficiency to your website in 2021.

Several Ways on How Engineering Innovations Make Your Business More Competitive

Wondering what kind of benefits engineering innovation can bring to business so that the last win competition among dozens of rivals? Keep reading this article!

Enriching your business with engineering innovation is considered the clue to developing your small business or startup to finally optimize its ability to battle competitors on the market. Engineering innovations can support companies in improving their productivity in manufacturing as well as getting more profitable by means of well-planned costs minimizing.

However, frequently, engineering innovation is characterized as uncertain as it can be challenging for businesses and startups to estimate in advance what kind of engineering solution will help to beat competitors. In this case, to protect your business or startup from possible risks, it is a good option to consult with global outsourcing engineering services companies that can be found at B2B marketplace called Engre.co. They will advise you regarding what engineering initiative to invest in with less risk and faster results.

To be able to battle competitors, a business or startup should be perfect in many aspects. The last can be significantly improved by relevant engineering innovation. Now, we will shed some light on several ways on how companies can get a competitive advantage through integrating engineering innovation.

Optimize Workplace Performance

To survive in a competitive environment, businesses and startups should take care of increasing staff productivity. This can be implemented with the help of such engineering advanced technologies as AI and robotics process automation (RPA) solutions. AI and RPA-based solutions can simplify the work process for your engineering teams (and other employee teams as well). They can streamline different work procedures to release time for creative activity but not routine tasks. And it is creativity that inspires your staff to find ways to beat the competition.

When your engineering teams are not overloaded with tons of routines they will spend more time generating win-win solutions for your business. As an employer, your task is to think of several approaches to automatize and digitalize some work processes and move away from the things that don’t work. A solution consists in beginning outsourcing some routine processes of your teams and picking AI-based programs (for instance, project tracker platforms to delegate/prioritize tasks and detect progress) that optimize performance at work.

Resolve Challenging Cases

In case your business or startup permanently faces various complex issues, most probably, it occurs because you have come up with a banal solution but not a creative engineering-oriented answer. One thing you should remember is that nowadays, there doesn’t exist a challenge that can’t be resolved by engineering innovation. You simply need to choose the one that is relevant to your problem.

Engineering advanced technology can awaken your ability to think outside the box which is the direct path to making your business or startup more competitive. Use advanced engineering solutions to find greater methods to design/store/ship your products to your clients and you will always stay ahead!

Optimize Sales as Well as Client Relationships

In case you don’t care about making your goods and services better, you don’t only have any chances to make your business more competitive but risk losing your existing/potential client pool. On the contrary, when a business or startup invests in various engineering innovations directed at optimizing sales/customer relationships, clients will inevitably notice that and demonstrate their gratitude for the greater value by purchasing more and more.

The best way to launch this process consists in integrating engineering solutions that help to conduct regular surveys regarding what your clients think your business or startup might optimize products. After that, your task is to make effort to transform clients’ recommendations into life.

Demonstrate Unique Features

When your business or startup can showcase unique characteristics, this is the warranty of prevailing over dozens of competitors on the market. Innovation and creativity are brilliant triggers to make your products/services stand out from your rivalry.

Various innovative engineering solutions can support you in designing a top-performance business personality (and a unique brand concept) and establishing a partnership with a field nonprofit.

As soon as you succeeded in developing the one-of-a-kind nature for your business, you should move further with super-efficient marketing. Here, engineering innovation represented by numerous software solutions for marketing specialists will come in handy. When integrating such software in their work, marketing professionals will get opportunities to easily demonstrate the unique portfolio of your business or startup. This is a warranty that clients will keep you but not your competitors in memory for a longer time.

Minimize Costs

Engineering innovation can support businesses or startups in a higher-level positioning to accentuate long-term objectives instead of wasting time on fighting fires. For example, with the help of such engineering innovation as automated operational efficiency software, companies can regularly monitor (and promptly respond) to such changes as order processing, manufacturing gaps, percentage of employee efforts in favor of machinery, and so on. In the long run, this will help business owners to enjoy lower budgets, finer profit margins, greater client service, and higher competitiveness.

Strengthen Your Position on the Market

To promptly forecast market trends and modifications as well as be the market leader, it is a must that your business or startup work in collaboration with engineering innovation. The greatest way to predict and follow market changes is to use specific engineering solutions aimed at comprehensive market analysis. Engineering innovation can support you in listening to your clients and exploring what your rivals (both local and international) do so you get the opportunity to easily take on any chance you notice to battle the competition.

To sum up, you should understand that comprehending the pluses of engineering innovation is just the starting point in a long way to winning a competition. The next step presupposes continually adding newer and newer engineering solutions to develop your business or startup. You have to keep up with the times!

The best option to do that is to encourage every team member in your company to regularly follow the engineering market and generate ideas on what types of engineering innovation they can (and would like) to use in their work. Such practice will upgrade your business to become a strong opponent of your competitors.

How to Start a UX/UI Design Agency in 2021

Starting a UX design agency is no easy task, even if you’ve conquered the freelancing world. After all, the best design agency leaders have some degree of experience in their industry. Still, you’ll quickly find that working for yourself and running an agency are two very different things.

Whereas freelancers have complete control over when they work and who they want to work with, design agencies require more clients, more team members, and less flexibility. As a business owner, you’re responsible for more than just your own stability, and your decisions will impact everyone you hire. However, growth can only occur with added responsibility. 

Entrepreneurs can use money to build businesses bigger than themselves. Although starting your own UX design agency in 2021 is a big decision, you can succeed if you’re up for the challenge. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to start your own UX agency.

What Does A UX/UI Design Agency Do?

Design agencies of all types provide a service on behalf of another business, group, or person. Although that definition can also include freelancing, what separates design agencies from solo work is that an agency can’t function alone. All UX design agencies need to staff multiple people to provide a creative service to a wide variety of businesses.

The specific goal of a UX/UI design agency is to improve customer loyalty by creating a product or service that is easy to use, interactive, and visually appealing. It will discover a user’s needs by conducting market research that targets a business’s prime demographic.

UX/UI design agencies have an easier time discovering what a customer persona wants from a business because they have enough staff and cash flow to fund more unique projects.

How To Start A UX/UI Design Agency In 2021

Step 1: Knowledge of UX/UI Design

It’s possible to create your own agency without previous knowledge of UX/UI design, but this isn’t recommended. It’s better to know a thing or two about the service you offer so you can hire the right people and support them through the design process. It’s harder to make executive decisions within your industry if you have no idea how your industry is performing worldwide.

Step 2: General or Niche

Choosing whether you want to focus on a niche is essential to do earlier on because it determines what kind of service you’re offering to clients. A generalist agency will need to staff more specialists, but the biggest problem is your marketing. Without a way to target a specific market, you’ll have a harder time attracting the best clients in that niche. 

My best advice is to start with a niche and branch out because choosing a niche will:

  • Create Authority: If your UX/UI design agency targets restaurants only, you’ll build trust quickly in that niche. Other restaurants will trust you over a generalist.
  • Stand Out: Prospect clients will research multiple design agencies before landing on yours. If you’re the only niched agency, you’ll stand out amongst the crowd.
  • Minimizes Unknowns: Generalists have to learn about a different industry every time they take on a client. This tanks your turnaround time and cuts into your funds.

Before deciding on a niche, make sure there’s enough demand for the service you provide.

Step 3: Competitor Research

There are 4 benefits of conducting competitor research before starting your agency:

  1. Firstly, you start to understand your market. Competitor research will reveal trends that you might have missed while also giving you the skills to predict future trends.
  2. Secondly, you improve your marketing. Your customers want to know how your service will improve their lives. If you know how your competitors are marketing to their buyers, you can learn from them how to explain your service in a way that sells.
  3. Thirdly, you can identify market gaps. Through research, you may find that a portion of your competitors’ audience is underserved. Maybe you can reach those customers.
  4. Finally, you can plan for the future. Your competitors are a mirror of your own success. Take notes on how they scaled their agency and plan to do something similar.

It’s up to you if you want to conduct research yourself or hire an agency to do it for you. In the meantime, you can get started by identifying your main competitors and analyzing their online presence. Gather information by signing up to their email list and follow their social media accounts. Be sure to check online reviews as they can help you improve your own service.

Step 4: Name Your Agency and Choose Your Headquarters

Choosing the right name for your agency is critical because it’ll stay with you for the whole lifetime of your business. Before settling on a name, research if your choices are already existing trademarks, domain names, or social media profiles. Consider your long-term goals when naming your business. If you plan to expand your offerings, a limiting name won’t work.

After you have a company name, you can start applying for your business license. You can also choose your agency’s headquarters. While you can start your agency from your basement, it’s in your best interest to transition into an office quickly to appear more professional.

Step 5: Launch A Website 

As a UX/UI design agency, you shouldn’t run into any issues here. In fact, your website can serve as the first half of your portfolio. Prospective clients will see exactly how effective you and your team can be at creating a brand and establishing a presence on the Internet. Make sure samples of your work, professional accomplishments, and client testimonials are easy to find.

Step 6: Build Your UX/UI Design Portfolio

As you start to hire more employees, your UX design portfolio will fill up, but you can add samples of your own work for now. To attract the right leads, you need to focus your portfolio, especially if you work in a niche. You’ll appear unprofessional if you direct a prospective client to samples that aren’t relevant to them. However, what if you only have irrelevant samples?

Even if that’s the case, you can’t leave this section of your website blank. To earn the trust of your clients, you need to find a balance between specific samples and a generalized portfolio.

Step 7: Be Active On Social Media

Social media is a fantastic marketing tool that creates organic lead generation and allows you to communicate with your customers directly. At the same time, social media is the perfect way to increase awareness of your agency and brand. Many UX companies already have a unique presence on websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To stay competitive, you need to carve your own niche in the industry by establishing your voice along with your talents.

Step 8: Decide On Your Business Model and Start Hiring

Start this process by deciding what positions you need to fill based on your strengths and weaknesses. While detailing out all the activities you handle as an entrepreneur or freelancer, ask yourself if you can handle these tasks on your own as you start to scale. You should also:

  • Think about your general workload and who to hire to fill these tasks.
  • Consider whether or not you need help finding clients, now or later.
  • Determine what technology you need during a typical workday.
  • Decide who will run your business, like a partner, accountant, or assistant.

It’s important to choose a leader that can make calls on behalf of yourself and your team. Otherwise, your staff members won’t know who to refer to in times of crisis. An organizational chart can help in this matter, as everyone will know their direct superior or team member. 

In the end, you need to determine what employment type you want to offer. Do you want to focus on hiring permanent part/full-time staff or freelancers? You’ll be subjected to different laws depending on who you hire, so be sure to research employment legislation in your state.

Step 9: Establish a Fee Structure

There are three major fee structures most agencies use to bill clients: retainer, per-project or hourly. You’ve likely heard of the per-project or hourly model, but working on a retainer could work best for your UX/UI design agency. Since clients must pay agencies on retainer whether or not their services are needed, their revenue grows exponentially over time.

While you will need to sacrifice time in exchange for a retainer rate, you will have a more secure revenue flow and a more diverse client base who need a flexible design agency.

Step 10: Generating Leads and Find Clients

In the beginning, it’s tempting to say yes to every opportunity, but it’s important to consider every client carefully. You want to establish a long-term relationship with your clients, or you run the risk of stressing out your staff and lowering their morale. Before writing a proposal, determine if you really want to work with this client and if they fit with your values and company culture.

In a perfect world, clients will flock to you, but you will need to put yourself out there at first. Use a combination of paid and free marketing channels to attract new, high-paying clients.

Final Thoughts

Starting a UX/UI design agency seems daunting, but there is no need to feel intimidated. Although you will go through some growing pains, you’ll eventually hit your stride. By reading this article, you’ve already learned the basics of starting, staffing, and attracting clients.

How Can CFOs Help Businesses Navigate the Pandemic

The global spread of COVID-19 has had some drastic effects on the way businesses function. Amidst all the confusion, CFOs have to suitably position the business by working closely with all other department heads to navigate through such times. 

This article highlights steps CFOs can take across three major sectors: immediate recovery, short-term stability, and long-term improvements.

 

1. Actions for immediate recovery

A massive 140,104 companies shut their doors within the first few months. In addition, as supply chains across the world were affected, customers could no longer make discretionary purchases. Thus, in the act of preservation, a CFO’s top priority for immediate recovery should shift to stabilizing cash reserves for the uncertain duration of the pandemic.

In addition, here are four main actions CFOs can implement for immediate recovery:

 

Stabilizing current financial position

Quantifying the organization’s cash on hand and any forms of accessible capital is a great way to stabilize one’s financial position. CFO’s would need to map out cash collections with their respective sales projections. If multiple customers/vendors delay payments, doubling down on these collections will help the company remain solvent.

 

Tightening business and operational expenses 

An essential element for survival would be tightening existing business and operational expenses. With cash shortages lying just around every corner, any additional penny saved can significantly impact the company’s profit margins. All this, combined with concise reporting mechanisms, can help track liquidity in real-time.

 

Evaluate and predict future scenarios

At a time of such heightened uncertainty, developing risky scenarios beforehand to prepare the entire organization would be a smart move. What would be of additional value here is if the forecasts/predictions could identify disruption in supply-chains, employee distributions, and cash leakages.

 

Over-Communicate to encourage internal compliance 

The goal here is to ensure all stakeholders understand the pandemic’s projected and actual effects. This would help them prepare for what’s ahead rather than be overwhelmed when it happens. Additionally, CFOs can encourage department heads to relay the necessary measures the company has taken to protect and prevent the breakdown of operational and non-operational systems. 

 

2. Actions for Short-Term Stability

Once the company has recovered from the immediate crisis, CFOs can suitably position the company to adapt to the new normal. The most critical tasks here would be to ensure productivity improvements, cleaning up business financials and balance sheets, and strengthening financial planning and analysis.

 

Start with improving financial productivity

A good start is to reallocate resources based on the evolving nature of business operations. Another move would be to automate laborious manual and error-prone tasks like expense management, payroll processing, and invoicing. This would result in increased productivity and accuracy and decreased errors and cash leaks. 

 

Follow with cleaning up business finances

When every penny counts, businesses need to relook their finances and business decisions to match revised business goals. While CFOs can lead the show, here’s a handy list to get started:

  • Ask department heads to present expenses their departments face and what measures they can take to optimize them.
  • Automate crucial financial and accounting processes to ensure error-free reporting and analytics into expense data.
  • Push Finance teams to understand the nuances of expense data to derive cost-cutting and saving opportunities.
  • Encourage teams to move towards automation technology to drive productivity and sustainable growth.

While this may be difficult for your Finance teams to do manually, modern expense software decreases some burdens. They add a layer of accuracy and ensure no expense fraud or other financial leaks take place. They also come with advanced data analytics to help Finance teams find cost optimization opportunities with frequent vendors and more.  

 

End with financial planning and analysis

Finance teams need to accelerate budgeting and forecasting to provide CFOs with real-time business information which can be communicated across departments to help drive critical business decisions. This enables executives to narrowly focus on high-level vital metrics that will guide the business’s decision-making process in the upcoming months.

 

3. Actions for long-term stability

CFOs need to sit down with other team leaders for strategic planning based on every insight gained from Financial Planning. Then, with support from the board, the team can plan to approach more investments and other channels that the company will explore in the future. 

Here are two main activities that will have the most significant impact to ensure company stability in the long run:

 

Have a transformational mindset

The CFO and finance department would greatly benefit from adopting a transformational mindset when setting targets, managing performance issues, allocating budgets, or setting expectations on business growth or revenue. 

 

Adopt digital technology to boost productivity

CFOs would play a crucial role in helping teams leverage technology to automate and streamline financial processes. This kind of active approach to an informed embrace of digitization would be invaluable for ensuring accurate reporting, sound decision-making, saved operational and business costs, and business sustainability. 

 

Quick list of process automation CFOs can start with:

 

Conclusion

Establishing a financial decision-making framework backed by data and communication across the company ensures people are less distracted and aware of achieving business goals. 

How long will this pandemic last? That is something we cannot say. But for what it’s worth, as businesses and employees try to adapt to the pandemic, a CFO can ensure that they thrive.

Transportation Liability: How A Trucking Business Can Prepare For It

Transportation liability is an important aspect of the trucking business. Liability insurance covers both the transportation of goods by providing services to other businesses, as well as the risk of potential damage to property and injury to the general public. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking operators and businesses to obtain transportation liability insurance.

According to the FMCSA, trucking businesses should obtain transportation liability insurance with sufficient coverage for both property damages and bodily injuries. The exact amount of coverage needed depends on the value of the cargo that the truck will be carrying. You can check out sites like tafs.com if you need to ask someone about trucking business management. This will be reviewed and determined by the FMCSA. They’re also going to evaluate the potential damage that might be caused by your company’s cargo or service trucks. 

Here are some ways a trucking business can avoid any risk for potential liability:

 

1. Review Your Contracts With Brokers/ Carriers

Trucking businesses shouldn’t assume that the transportation liability insurance of a broker or carrier automatically covers them. They should thoroughly review the legal language of their broker’s or carrier’s liability coverage. Keep in mind that it’s more likely for your brokers’ carriers to exclude trucks from the coverage if it means they could save money, but at the same time be protected from potential liability.

The existing practice is that most carriers only obtain legal liability insurance coverage. This is so much different from standard or general liability insurance. If anything happens to the goods, for instance, which is attributable to ‘acts of God,’ these aren’t usually covered by legal liability insurance. Claims based on such events would be charged against the shipper’s insurance if they have any.  

2. Get Transportation Lawyers To Review Contracts

The transportation market is poised to grow further in the near future that the trend now is to introduce Internet of things (IoT) and smart contracts into the industry. It would be highly advisable for you to consult lawyers specializing in transportation law and insurance to write your contracts, as well as those of your brokers’ and carriers’. This is important to make sure that your contracts don’t omit important clauses and at the same time not include clauses that are contrary to laws. 

For example, the Carmack Amendment provides ways to control and limit the liability of common carriers. This was enacted to address certain aspects of shipment, such as in-transit cargo. But, certain items, such as fresh produce, are categorized by the Carmack Amendment as an exempt commodity. Furthermore, there are other differences in requirements among goods and modes of transportation.

Trucking businesses should negotiate for clear terms and conditions with each shipper, shipper-broker, or shipper-broker-carrier contract. They should have more caution about thinking that a ‘one-contract-fits-all’ approach would save them money. In the long run, it’s going to cost them more money if one of their trucks figured in an incident with a potentially catastrophic transportation liability.

3. Review Your Company’s Transportation Insurance Coverage

Make sure your trucking business is covered. You might want to ask your lawyers to review your transportation liability insurance coverages and exclusions. Trucking policies required under federal laws may not give your business full protection, so you’ll have to include special coverages for your various hauling transactions.

Don’t assume that the carrier’s liability insurance is comprehensive, or that it’ll cover all claims and all aspects of the shipment. Neither should you assume that your existing liability insurance will cover all aspects of the shipment. As a minimum, your liability coverages should include cargo, property damage, and bodily injury. You should also alert your operations team to make it their best practice to review special, exceptional, or high-value shipments, and make sure that these are covered by transportation liability insurance. 

A lot of truckers rely on their own notion that they’ll have evidence of coverage just by requiring shippers to show them a certificate of insurance. Keep in mind that all cargo policies have a lot of exclusions at the back or in their footnotes. Most shippers and carriers will spend only for insurance that’ll meet their legal liability, especially if this means they’ll be able to save some money.

4. Manage Risk By Selecting Coverages Per Shipment

There are numerous transportation liability insurance providers that trucking businesses can choose from. They should select those that’ll give them the widest array of options and the best coverages for all their trucking operations. There are insurers who provide a special portfolio of coverages for truckers and trucking operations in the Western states of California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada. This portfolio generally includes cargo to and from Texas. 

These coverages are usually categorized into domestic standard and non-standard domestic coverages. Standard coverages provide insurance to haulers, general freight haulers, and produce haulers. The coverages include physical damages, trailer exchange, auto liability, and towing. For hauling that doesn’t qualify for the standard rates, providers offer insurance with the same coverages and limits under the non-standard policies. 

Proactive Risk Management

Trucking businesses are advised to observe the list of tips discussed above. Also, trucking companies can proactively manage their potential risk for trucking liability by requiring their drivers to undergo training when needed. They should also carefully select their drivers, and employ monitoring technology to lessen instances of driving while drinking or using cellphones.

Blogger Outreach: 7 Benefits to Business

In this fast-paced and technologically driven world that we live in, modern businesses must keep up pace with current trends and continue to think up fresh and creative ideas to survive and grow. After all, the accessibility of entrepreneurial ventures means more competition, and you’ll need to find effective techniques for creating the visibility that your company requires to succeed. And some agencies offer the kind of exposure that blogger outreach services Ocere, making it an invaluable component of any marketing strategy.

Also referred to as influencer marketing, this process refers to leveraging bloggers to promote your offerings by writing about them. Regardless of what kind of business you’re in, they can be advantageous, and we’ll cover some of the benefits of incorporating them into your campaign. Continue reading to learn more.

1. It can elevate your internet visibility

It’s critical for any brand to have an online presence to survive. However, it needs to generate a lot of internet awareness to succeed. Although marketing through social media might be effective, the platform is oversaturated with businesses vying for their respective markets. For that reason, innovative alternatives are required. Through blogger outreach, you’ll enable your company to build enough exposure and attract more target consumers as a result. Best of all, it’s a digital marketing strategy that can benefit both your long-term and short-term goals.

2. It’s cost-effective

Marketing is an integral part of any business venture. However, if you invest too many resources into it, you won’t see the returns that you’re looking to get. Luckily, leveraging bloggers to advertise your entrepreneurial venture is cost-effective. Through their work, you’ll be able to reach out to your intended audience, and it won’t cost you a small fortune either. Simply put, it takes less money and time from your business and will generate more leads for you in the process.

3. It enables businesses to reach other markets

With the business world evolving at a rapid pace, it’s becoming more and more apparent that entrepreneurial success hinges on the diversification of markets. A company can ill-afford to focus on a single area alone. It must explore others to continue growing, and few methods can enable an enterprise to expand into various markets other than blogger outreach. With the assistance of bloggers, you won’t have to put every egg you have into a single basket. In turn, you’ll give yourself much better odds for success than you otherwise would have.

4. It’s an excellent way to earn backlinks

Many businesses try to collect as many credible backlinks as they can because they lead more prospective consumers to their respective websites. It also affects their rankings in the search results. By hiring bloggers, you’ll be able to increase your backlinks and reap the rewards that it yields.

5. It can strengthen a brand’s connection with its audience

There’s no denying the importance of exposure to a business. However, awareness alone can only get a company so far. It must also build a connection with its audience if it hopes to encourage a financial commitment. With that in mind, a blogger can strengthen a brand’s connection with the target consumers by giving them more information on their products and positively reinforcing them. With this brand promotion, the company can encourage specific actions from the users much more effortlessly.

6. It allows businesses to gain more platforms

Most businesses usually start sharing content through their online domains and social media channels. With the addition of blogger outreach, you’ll be able to gain new platforms to publish material on, thereby presenting you with more opportunities to grow and build brand awareness.

7. It helps build relationships

These days, sales pitches aren’t enough to encourage consumers to make a purchase. Today, most people aren’t as willing to spend on a company that they don’t trust as they were in the past. Thankfully, blogger outreach gives brands the chance to build a solid relationship with their target customers and provide them with a reason to buy their products and services.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why there are so many businesses today that make use of blogger outreach solutions. It gives them the ability to create exposure and instil trust in ways that other marketing strategies cannot, after all. So, make sure that you follow suit and make use of bloggers too.

3 Things To Know When Financing Your Small Business

Every small business gets to the point where it needs more money either to go on with its operations or to be able to make the most of an important opportunity to grow. When your small business is going through a bit of crunch, you may need financing to pay wages or buy raw materials because your capital is tied up in receivables. 

Also, there’ll be times when you’re going to need extra cash because business is doing good. This happens when you’re getting too many orders, but you don’t have enough money to buy raw materials or hire extra hands. It’s important to get financing in both instances.

Here are a few things you need to know when financing your small business:

Kinds Of Financing

There are many types of financing you can opt for as a small business. Finding one is quite easy, but the reality is that getting the money can be difficult. You can try to look for investors, but most of them would like your business to have already generated revenue. Banks, on the other hand, would often require piles of documents about your sales and income.

There are two types of financing available to small businesses. These two are debt financing and equity financing. 

Debt financing is a way of raising funds by borrowing money. You’re going to borrow from a person or business, and promise to return it at some future date, plus interest. As a small business owner, you can apply for a business or commercial loan with a bank, but you’ll find out that they often require massive documentation. That’s why small business owners end up asking for personal loans from family, friends, or other lenders. 

When they’re starting, they didn’t give so much thought to sorting their business documents if they’d ever need to pitch to an investor or get a bank loan sometime in the future. 

As a small business, you can also take out low documentation or low doc loans. These are created for borrowers who don’t own all the necessary documents that’d prove they have the capacity to pay for their desired loan. Many of those who avail of this are small businesses or self-employed individuals who don’t have the usual documents to prove their income history, which banks would normally require.

The other option would be equity financing, which is something not very well understood by small business owners. The basic idea of equity financing is that you talk to people who can invest money into your enterprise in exchange for some partial ownership in your small business. This is usually done by offering shares of your company to angel investors or venture capitalists. One of the advantages of equity financing is that investors take all of the risk in financing.

Things That Banks Will Ask For

If you’re thinking of getting a business or commercial loan, it would be best to know what a bank would be asking from you about your business and finances. There could be some differences from one bank to another, but they’d generally ask for a few common things. There are also banks that offer invoice financing to help you meet your cash needs.

Banks will most likely require you to produce the financial details of your company. Financial details would include all bank accounts, supporting information such as personal details, addresses, tax ID numbers, and complete contact information. They’re also going to ask about any loan you may have taken in the past, existing loans, as well as previous debts. Also, they’re most likely going to ask about your credit card information.

In all likelihood, banks will ask you to produce complete financial statements, such as your balance sheet, and profit and loss statements. Also, they’ll often ask you to produce your profit and loss statements for the past three years. This is where small businesses often find themselves unable to comply with the requirements, especially when banks require audited financial statements. On top of this, banks will ask you to provide collateral for the loan.

Things Investors Will Look For

If you’re thinking of pitching to a potential investor, you also have to know how investors think. There are investors, called angel investors, who do put in money into small businesses. They tend to focus on investing in small businesses that are just starting out. Oftentimes, these investments amount to less than USD$100,000. Other than your family and friends, there are individual investors who also take an interest in buying ownership in promising startup enterprises.

Aside from angel investors, there are also venture capitalists who offer larger loans. Venture capitalists are often interested in startup companies, which have already, somehow, become stable. They’re searching for companies that have the potential to double their size in a couple of years. 

Raising Money

Raising startup or additional funds is a common concern among small businesses. Most of the institutional investors, such as banks and investment companies, tend to ask for a lot of documents that small businesses don’t have. As a small business owner, carefully weigh your options on how you’re going to raise those additional funds. Debt financing can mean trouble if the business goes south since you’ll be left with debts to pay. On the other hand, you can lose control in the future with investor financing.

How to Manage Relationships with Remote Clients

Online communication can occasionally result in awkward situations, and sometimes explaining key elements of a project in an email may not translate as well as it does in person, leading to misunderstandings. What’s more, it can often be more difficult to build a rapport with someone when you’re both working in a remote capacity.

Nowadays, it also isn’t uncommon for businesses to operate fully remotely. E-commerce is, however, a thriving global industry, which has proven that establishing trust and maintaining client relationships is possible when you are working exclusively within the digital realm. The majority of modern businesses have successfully adapted to the demands of fully remote work, overcoming many challenges in the process such as learning how to communicate effectively, monitor employees performance, and even track when clients receive and open invoices

Continue reading to learn how you can manage your business relationships successfully when working in a remote capacity. 

 

Establish Which Methods of Communication You Both Prefer

When it comes to which channels are most convenient and effective to use, everyone has their own preferences. If you’re transitioning to remote work, be sure to reach out to your clients and coworkers and ask how they would prefer to communicate with you moving forward. Clients who usually meet with you in person might want to schedule video calls instead. Taking the time to accommodate individual preferences can help to mitigate a lot of the naturally challenging aspects of remote communication.

During your client onboarding process, you may want to ask new clients for their preferred method of communication to make sure everything goes smoothly from the outset. You can make this easier by providing customers with a list of options based on the tools you already offer, such as email, video conferencing and instant messaging platforms, each of which has its pros and cons.

 

Work Out A Plan for Communication

Despite some obvious challenges, there are a lot of upsides to working remotely. Being able to stay in touch with clients from halfway across the world, and keeping your entire team in the loop regardless of where they’re located is easier than you might think, especially when you use the right communication tools and platforms. 

However, when it comes to keeping in touch with clients, remote communication methods can sometimes create an atmosphere of no boundaries. When you’re off the clock, you might find that your clients expect you to respond to emails immediately, that they call you at all times, or otherwise make efforts to reach you. The best way to avoid this is to set clear expectations with clients at the outset as to when you can be contacted and what the best way for you to stay in touch will be.

Set Clear Deadlines for Deliverables

 One of the most important things you have to do in order to earn and keep your client’s trust is to meet their expectations. If a project is taking longer than a client thinks it should, they may decide not to work with you again in the future. You must learn how to manage client expectations if you want to stay in business. 

One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to tell customers precisely what you’ll deliver and when they can expect to hear from you. When you are working with clients for the first time, you can break down the project into milestones and layout exactly when they can expect various deliverables. Keep your clients informed of your progress by setting clear due dates from the outset so there are no surprises down the line.

 

Put the Right Systems In Place to Manage Remote Relationships Effectively 

Putting the right tools and a few best practices in place, you can deliver quality work and maintain good relationships with your clients when you are working remotely. Follow the tips outlined above to manage your relationships successfully moving forward and to set yourself to achieve your goals moving forward.

Acquisition International Announces the Winners of the 2021 Worldwide Finance Awards Programme

United Kingdom, 2021 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Worldwide Finance Awards.

There are few industries on the face of the global business landscape that move as swiftly as the finance industry. Driven over the last few decades by technological development and defined by a renewed sense of competition – as brick and mortar establishments soon find themselves outpaces by younger businesses – finance is truly a goliath, and success is often far from guaranteed. It falls then on the leaders, the mainstays, the innovators and the agile to act as pacemakers, spear-heading change and setting new paradigms in a sphere that seems unable to stop its relentless forward march.

Acquisition International launched the Worldwide Finance Awards six years ago to recognise those that truly embody this unwavering spirit of the greater industry. Awards Coordinator Gabrielle Ellis took a moment to comment on the success of the winners. “These awards showcase the innovation, dedication to client service and sheer hard work of some of the world’s greatest financial companies. Whether you are a financial goliath, or a small, two-person team committed to providing best in class service – we want to offer a sincere congratulations to you all. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the year ahead.”

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

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Acquisition International Magazine

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

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

About AI Global Media

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

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

Spend Less, Get More Customers

Are you tired of relying on just one or two techniques for building your customer base and expanding email lists? Why not use some of the newer, innovative strategies that entrepreneurs all over the world are discovering? At first, these fresh approaches call for some focused effort on your part, but after a while they’ll become much easier to inject into your marketing processes. The whole point is to stay cost-effective when searching for new business. If it costs you $1,000 to bring on two new accounts that are worth half that much in bottom line profits, the effort was probably wasted. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to know which clients will stick around and become long-term loyalists, so there’s always a judgment call involved. Here are a few methods for acquiring new customers, no matter what line of business you’re in.

 

Calculate Promotional Costs

Here’s a twist on an old technique: continue to use paid online ads but don’t make any buys until you calculate the total promotional cost. Too many owners dive into a digital advertising strategy without knowing if it is a winner or what their break-even point is. In addition to ad prices, for example, owners incur expenses in the form of salaries for graphic designers, copy writers, and content creators. It’s imperative to include all the peripheral costs that go into each ad. Only then can you know whether a given promotional campaign paid for itself in terms of new sales.

 

Lower Your Personal Expenses

Take the focus off the business for a minute and get your personal finances in order. That way, there’s potential for having access to more monthly cash. It’s up to you to decide how much of your personal funds to drill back into the business, but if the money isn’t there, you don’t even have the choice. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to chop a significant chunk off your personal monthly budget is to consolidate student loans via a private lender. It’s a simple enough task to use a student loan calculator and find out how much you can reduce the monthly total with a consolidation. Chances are, you’ll pay less overall and will gain access to a larger amount of cash for use in your company.

 

Offer Exit Coupons

Consider setting your website up so that any visitor sees an exit coupon before they leave. Many of the largest corporations use this method to great advantage. One of the benefits is that costs are low making this a great way to raise your business reputation while keeping in mind your budget. Also, results are easy to track, the technology is simple, and you can use multiple exit coupons to attract different client demographics.

 

Solicit Feedback

Customer feedback and comments are extremely valuable. Unfortunately, what you see on review sites might not represent valid, authentic user experiences. Instead, ask your customers directly if they’d be willing to offer their opinions about a particular transaction. Try choosing a representative cross section of buyers so you get a realistic representation of opinions. What to do with the information? Fine tune websites, landing pages, product designs, prices, refund policies, shopping cart functions, and anything else that seems to appear regularly in customer feedback comments.

Issue 8 2021

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

It seems almost unbelievable that we already more than halfway through 2021, yet here we are. While it has been just as unprecedented and changeable as 2020 before it, this year has seen a great deal of positive change as well; from greater momentum in sustainability efforts to initiatives for better gender equality to the growing conversation around race and diversity, businesses and individuals across the globe are making their voices heard in calls for a brighter tomorrow.

This month’s featured company is one that is paving the way towards a better future as it takes a hands-on approach to handling inclusion, diversity and race relations in the workplace. Path Forward Consulting is a talent management firm headed by Founder Allison Manswell, who tells us more about the challenges faced by her and her team and their commitment to pushing positive and sustainable developments for society as a whole.

We invite you to join us as we explore the work being carried out by businesses across the globe which, like Path Forward, continue to enjoy success as they strive to be better for themselves and for the world. As ever, we wish you all the best until we meet again in the next issue of Acquisition International Magazine.

5 Incredibly Smart Ways to Improve Your Business Cash Flow

Cash flow is key for any business. With ongoing costs and outstanding invoices, it can be tricky for companies both big and small to stay on top of their finances. With around 5 million SMEs in the UK, it is said that around 38% struggle with cash flow and are left unable to pay their regular debts

Sure, there are some obvious ways to improve your cash flow such as having clear payment terms in your invoices (e.g 30 days) or using bank overdrafts and credit facilities, but our list below looks at some of the most intriguing and outside the box ways to benefit your cash flow position.

 

Pay staff via Paypal 

Paying your staff’s wages can be one of the biggest overheads you have and be one of the biggest strains on your cash flow. If you run a small team, consider paying them via Paypal or Payoneer, since this can be connected to a credit card, giving you 30 extra days to pay it off and you can collect some nice points and air miles too.

With credit cards, you pay 0% if paid on time or you can make minimum repayments of just 10% – and whilst this is always advised, it can give you some flexibility and breathing space if you need it for your business.

 

Promote the remote!

2020 and 2021 have undoubtedly been the year of remote working, with more than 40% of the UK population working from home. But this can be a huge cost saver for your business and help you save money on office overheads (which costs the average SME around £1,500 per month) including rent, computers, insurance, refreshments and more.

Employees only need a laptop or computer to be able to work remotely and it is easy to stay in touch and on top of tasks using softwares like Monday.com, Slack, Asana and Zoom for video conferencing.

Finance and how you use it

There is nothing wrong with using finance to help stay on top of your cash flow, whether it is a merchant cash advance, business loan or invoice finance to give you an advance on outstanding invoices.

It is always important to do your homework and compare the best products for you, making sure that you can get low rates and flexibility to extend or pay early if you need to. If you have a profitable business and have been trading for over 2 years, this should give you access to very affordable business loans and low rates.

Where possible, you should try to avoid the dangers of payday loans and other high cost products including logbook loans or unauthorised overdrafts, since these can get sticky and the fees can add up very quickly.

 

Forward your expenses

Every business has expenses from paying suppliers, staff, office rent, materials and other bills. We have our quarterly VAT bills or our annual tax returns, but if you would like a bit more breathing space, consider paying for these after your returns are due.

So if you need to complete your returns by the end of April, consider only renewing some products or making purchases only in May, since this will help you spread the tax payment into the next quarter or calendar year, freeing up some cash flow for your business.

 

Pay staff on day rates

In 2021, the traditional 9 to 5 and 5 day working week is becoming less common, so have you considered only paying your staff on day rates?

Whilst we may have previously only thought of hiring people full-time, it is very common today to work 3 days a week at one place and 2 days a week at another. This can be a huge cost-saving exercise, especially since Friday can be a slow day for many and less productive.

You may find that employing staff for a few days here and there might also make them more productive, since they will want to complete various tasks during their days on.

Attracting New Guests to Your Hotel – a Brief Guide

Being fully booked without any vacancies is the dream scenario for any hotelier. However, in reality, the situation is rarely perfect. The hospitality industry is highly competitive, and as a result, guests are more discerning than ever before when choosing between hotels to stay in. To combat this, there are various strategies you can employ to help your hotel stand out from the crowd, even in a highly saturated market.  Here are some tips to help you bring in new clientele without sacrificing revenue in your hotel.

 

Use Emotive Marketing

Sure, offering attractive discounts or special offers to prospective customers might appeal to them from a financial perspective. However, the most effective marketing strategies seek to strike an emotional chord with their target audience.

Begin by considering what services you offer in your establishment and how these can be marketed to resonate with your target audience. For example, if your business aims to attract customers seeking luxurious and relaxing experiences, then your marketing strategy should seek to establish an emotional response in this regard. Creating a moving experience that generates tangible emotions within your prospective guests is an excellent way to promote your business and build long-term relationships with clients.

Hotel marketing is an intricate and complex affair, so for more suggestions on building an emotional connection with your guests, check out this guide to hotel marketing.

 

Use Marketing to Tell a Story

Telling a story with your marketing content is a brilliant way of establishing an emotional connection with your target market. Bringing your business’ unique story into your communications with prospective guests is a clever way of showcasing what makes your hotel different from the competition.

Using photos and videos of the luxurious services you offer in your establishment is helpful to catch the eye of potential guests. However, there is more to marketing than simply grabbing someone’s attention. Telling your story in your marketing communications will help convert views into bookings as it will establish what makes your hotel unique in readers’ minds. Whether your unique selling point is the friendliness of staff or the high level of hospitality and care you provide for customers, putting these offerings front and centre will help bring in new customers. 

 

Promote Your Compliance With Covid-19 Protocols

The hospitality industry was disproportionately affected by the restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Many people are wary of travelling and staying in new places due to concerns surrounding hygiene and transmission of the coronavirus.

This has led to a new form of competition in the industry. Advertising cleaning protocols and strategies to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 has become a growing trend for hoteliers. Therefore, if you haven’t adopted such an approach yet, you should look to transition from a behind the scenes cleaning approach to an open and transparent strategy.

You should advertise your cleaning policies and standards in your marketing communications so guests know that you are doing all you possibly can to promote safety in your establishment. Clarity around cleaning should be maintained during your guest’s stay to give them peace of mind that they made the correct choice by picking your hotel.

With the current public-health concerns, ensuring that your clientele is aware that you will not compromise their safety is essential for bringing in new bookings.

 

Offer Guests Value for their Money

While there is something to be said for adjusting room rates depending on industry conditions and trends, providing value for money isn’t necessarily a purely financial endeavour. Therefore, you should avoid marketing your hotel as a budget-friendly option (unless this is a crucial selling point of your services).

Instead, think about what activities and attractions are available to guests when they stay at your hotel. You can then incorporate travel suggestions, practical guides for business guests or the speciality foods available in your hotel or the surrounding areas.  This will help your prospective customers feel like they are getting more value for their money, as they will be investing in an overall experience rather than just a bed for the night. Ultimately, this will help those who see your ads remember your hotel and build a positive connection with your marketing messaging.

 

The Takeaway

Overall, these suggestions represent a brief overview of ways to advertise your hotel business. You must attempt to evoke an emotional response within your target audience when advertising your services. Ultimately, this will help bring in new customers and help establish a long-term connection with your guests, so they come back time and time again. The internet and other technologies have facilitated effective marketing through multiple channels in the hospitality industry. However, competition has never been higher, especially since many struggled with attracting customers during the pandemic. Following the steps outlined above will help your establishment to stand out in a crowded market.

Guide on How to Write a Dissertation Proposal in Finance and Accounting

A dissertation proposal gives your supervisor and the department an idea of the subject you wish to discuss. It also helps you to narrow down the discussion to a few ideas, especially demonstrating an understanding of the subject you wish to discuss. Professional thesis writing services will help you to write the best proposal.

A proposal will shape or derail your dissertation. While it does not add to your overall grade, the approval to continue working on the paper depends on your performance in the proposal. Here is a guide on how to write the best finance and accounting proposal.

Choose a general topic

Finance and accounting are two of the widest areas in business management. You cannot exhaust the two areas in a single paper. Identify an area that you would like to focus on in your paper.

The choice of a general topic is informed by the realization that you do not start writing a paper with a specific topic in mind. Though you have the idea, the topic could change in the course of drafting. As you read on the general topic, a specific idea will begin to crystallize in your head. It clears the head to help you choose the best topic.

Read extensively on the subject

With a general topic of discussion in mind, it is time to research. Look for high quality books, academic articles, and journals on the subject. These scholarly materials will give you more insights into the subject to help you form an idea of a specific topic.

The quality of reference materials you use during research is crucial in determining the strength of your discussion. Credible reference materials have their ideas scrutinized and verified as valid for academic use. Any discussion arising from these materials will make a lot of sense to the reader.

Develop an outline

Plan the ideas you have already collected by developing an outline. Initially, you generate the ideas in a haphazard manner. You might find an idea in the first book you read only to come across a stronger one in the next book or article. The outline will help you to order these ideas logically so that they make your paper interesting to read.

Review proposal samples

Look at other proposals to get an idea of what you are expected to write. Proposals are not like other academic papers. For instance, you use future tense when writing a proposal as opposed to present tense when writing an actual paper. The proposal samples will help you to craft your paper in the right format.

Proposal samples used must come from credible sources. Such credible sources include the library or a certified database online. You might want to discuss the samples with your tutor before you start using it to write your paper. You may also provide the instructions to the best dissertation writing services in UK to generate a custom finance and accounting sample.

Revise the prompt

Do not start writing the proposal without a clear understanding of what is expected. Revisit the prompt or instructions provided before you can start drafting. Remember that the instructions serve as a checklist during grading.

Read through the instructions and understand the requirements. If any entry on the prompt is not clear, you are allowed to ask for help from your supervisor. The dissertation committee will also help.

Samples and examples also help you to understand instructions better. You might have to use several samples, each capturing a specific element of the dissertation. A poor quality sample will result in poor grades.

You will also use the prompt or instructions as a checklist when editing. If you master the instructions at the beginning, you will have an easy time during editing.

Draft your proposal

Settle down to write your proposal. It is time to fill the outline with the ideas you gathered during research. Set aside quality time to help you draft an insightful proposal.

Choose a comfortable work station to draft your paper. The library is a perfect place for drafting the paper because it is silent and all reference materials are at an arm’s length.

Writing from home requires you to create a comfortable study space. Invest in an ergonomic desk that will support long hours of study. You should also choose a quiet corner where you can concentrate on drafting so that you produce an insightful discussion.

Use writing tools

The internet has incredible writing tools for college students when crafting their dissertations. Use these tools to make your writing clear and interesting to read. The tools include typing assistants, editing apps, and citation tools.

The best proposal writing tools are highly rated by other users. Reviews and recommendations from other students will, therefore, help you to choose the best tool. Such tools save time by working on other tasks. It leaves you with adequate and quality time to focus on drafting your paper.

Ask for help

Do not hesitate to ask for help with writing whenever you are stranded. Your tutor is available to guide you on the challenging areas. Alternatively, you can hire writers online or assistants to help you with different sections. Such professional help ensures that you take less time on the paper and produce the most captivating one.

Edit and proofread your paper before submission. It eliminates errors that may lower the quality of your work. You may also use a friend or peer to edit and proofread the paper before submission to help you secure the best grades.

Pensions Used as an Investment Vehicle for Good

Those who work in the financial services industry will have been told to advise clients to save first and then spend what’s left. However, not everyone is good at saving money – it can be even more difficult to consider retirement planning and saving for our older age when there are things that are more fun that happen earlier, such as that trip to Spain you’ve been planning. Saving for retirement is a distant prospect that only becomes real the closer we get to it, wishing we had started to save seriously earlier.

However, could this be about to change for many?

More investment has been channelled into ‘green’, ‘responsible’, and ‘ethical’ funds in recent years – socially responsible investing was once considered a fairly radical strategy; however, it is becoming more prevalent. For example, research by Morgan Stanley in 2019 reported that 85 per cent of U.S individual investors are interested in sustainable investing.

Is it possible that savings – and in particular saving for pensions – could become a force for good? Could young people’s perceptions of savings change and evolve from something they are reluctant to do into something that could act as a driver for social change?

More and more governments are increasingly committing to green initiatives. For example, the UK Government will be prohibiting the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030.

When ESGs were a relatively new concept, they largely avoided tobacco, gambling, and the arms industry, as they were viewed as unethical areas.

Consider the rising dominance of millennials and Gen-Z in the workplace – demographics who are primarily interested in ethical employers and investors – we can expect that this shift towards ESG will gather pace. For example, the Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study reported that 64 per cent of millennials will reject a job if the company doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. Interestingly, Gen-Z is ‘the first generation to prioritise purpose over salary’.

The newer investors that want their pensions to be invested in ethical funds that care about social and environmental causes, the more fund managers will have to adapt. And the more ESG funds that are launched, the more that young people might be willing to save.

The content of this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements or be considered advice. Pensions are not normally accessible until age 55. Your capital is at risk. The value of investments can go down as well as up in value and you may get back less than you invested.  Your pension income could also be affected by interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. Accessing pension benefits early may impact on levels of retirement income and is not suitable for everyone.

Financial Steps to Building a House

Building a home lets you personalize every aspect of where you live. You might also skip the renovations and repairs needed after purchasing an existing property, but the financial aspects of the planning and construction are less straightforward than buying a home. This guide explains the most important financial steps to building a house to know exactly what you’re signing up for before committing to any plans.

1. Finance the Land Purchase

You’ll need a plot of land to build your future home, but most people can’t afford to do that with cash. Land will be more expensive in certain cities, depending on nearby property values and real estate appraisals. Talk with privatized and federal lenders about getting a land loan to cover the initial purchase cost before your dream location sells to another buyer.

2. Inquire About Contractor Estimates

Numerous contractor teams will transform blueprints into a home. You’ll have to find construction experts, electricians, plumbers and more to pull everything together. They’ll each have different fees and schedules, so get estimates to compare prices. You may have to pay an average of $155 per square foot after adding all contractor fees together.

After you have a rough idea of how much you’ll need to pay your contractors, you can get a second loan to cover the labor fees. Keep in mind that you may need to pay multiple loan bills each month while waiting for the project to finish by this point. You should ensure that your income can cover these expenses while the construction lasts.

3. Get a Construction Loan

Construction loans are short-term loans that can pay for your home’s construction. It may cover just the labor or the supplies needed as well. Unlike other lending options, borrowers must pay their construction loans when the work finishes. If you’re unsure that you can pay the entire balance by that point, discuss a construction-to-permanent loan with your preferred lender. After contractors wrap up their work, the loan converts to a standard mortgage and gives you more time to pay it off comfortably.

4. Find a Comprehensive Mortgage

If the idea of handling numerous loans makes you worry, you can always find a comprehensive mortgage towards the end of your home-building process. Use it to pay off the smaller loans and only worry about one primary payment per month in addition to any other traditional mortgages. It’s much more budget-friendly to juggle two debts with fixed interest rates than five or six.

5. Sell Your Current House

When your new home is nearly move-in ready, sell your current house. The average home sells in six days or less and garners more than the asking price. Use whatever money you have from the sale to pay off a substantial part of your home-building loans or get out of debt completely. It’s automatic financial relief that becomes the light at the end of the tunnel for homeowners worried about taking out so many loans.

Consider Financial Steps to Home Building

These are crucial financial steps to building a house, so remember them as you begin your home construction experience. Getting quotes, comparing loans and finding the right financial assistance for your project will make your dream house possible without requiring decades of saving to pay out of pocket.

Moving Class Outside: Adjusting Academics

When you think of the typical classroom, you’re probably picturing brick walls, rows of desks, a chalkboard and a few decorations that match the subject being taught. Over this past year, though, the traditional classroom has been flipped. The pandemic sent students home to work from their bedrooms, dining room tables or anywhere they could get their schoolwork done.

Now that kids are returning to school in person, teachers and school administrators are thinking of better and safer ways to transition back to school during COVID-19. Some schools are moving classes outside and adjusting academics to an outdoor setting.

Turning to Outdoor Classrooms

COVID-19 has played a significant role in the popularity of taking classrooms outdoors. Being outside is much safer for the students and staff to learn and teach outdoors.

Indoors, the students and teachers would have to wear masks and social distance. An indoor environment makes the virus more susceptible to spreading since everyone is in a concentrated area. However, when you go outside, it’s less likely that people will spread the virus. Students and teachers have access to fresh air, and they can do their jobs better.

Although outdoor classrooms picked up followers due to COVID-19, they existed pre-pandemic. Some schools had already been implementing outdoor classrooms and learning into their routine and curriculum. Since being outdoors is safer amid a pandemic, people took the idea and ran with it.

The pandemic has presented a trial run for outdoor classrooms, and they’ve been successful. Educators could see what it was like to have class outside without fully committing to it if they felt uncomfortable or didn’t have the resources to hold classes outdoors full time. Additionally, educators are now choosing to bring students outdoors for some classes, like health, science or lunch, without feeling required.

Benefits of Learning Outside

School systems have noticed the benefits of learning outside, besides that it’s safer and healthier for everyone involved. Here are some of those benefits of outdoor classroom learning:

  • Improves health: Being outdoors enhances many aspects of your health. When kids are outside, they’re exposed to the sun, which boosts their vitamin D Additionally, kids are more prone to exercise and move when they’re outside, reducing the risk of obesity.
  • Decreases stress: The pandemic has undoubtedly made everyone a bit more stressed, but being outdoors naturally decreases stress. It makes them happier and more eager to be in school.
  • Betters sleep: Kids need sleep, and sitting at a desk all day doesn’t burn much energy. Outdoor classrooms encourage physical activity, which makes them more tired at night to fall asleep faster.
  • Boosts focus: Finally, outdoor classrooms can help increase focus and brainpower. Teachers know it’s challenging to keep students engaged in learning. Walking and interacting with the outdoors satisfies any fidgetiness, and they can channel their energy towards the lesson.

You can apply nearly any subject to outdoor learning. Still, even by starting with a few subjects, like science, math and art, the student will greatly benefit from an outdoor learning environment.

Making a Permanent Outdoor Learning Space

More schools are implementing a permanent outdoor learning space, with durable sun shades and natural elements, like a grass floor and plenty of trees. By having outdoor learning classrooms, teachers can easily bring any materials outside to teach their students, even in a pandemic world.

What is Compliance and Why is It Important for Business?

When you go into business, you are very likely to quickly encounter the word “compliance”. This is something that you are going to have to follow extremely closely, no matter what. Compliance in business is something that just can’t be ignored. Let’s take a closer look at what this issue is, and why it is so important.

Compliance

Compliance is the act of agreeing to and following laws, rules, and other regulations. As a business owner, you will be subject to a number of different laws, and you need to make sure that your business is fully compliant with them at all times.

Though this might sound like it is simple enough to do, it can actually be more of an issue than you might think. Remember that the law is changing and shifting constantly. New statutes can be introduced, and laws can be up for inspection and renewal at any moment, so companies need to make sure that they are compliant with the latest laws no matter what.

The hard part here can be keeping up with laws as they chop and change. Businesses need to be aware of any changes to the law that might affect them, as claiming ignorance after the fact is not going to be a reasonable defence. For this reason among others, many companies choose to keep a lawyer on retainer so they can receive legal advice about changes to the law that might affect them. Here are some of the most common areas of law that a business will face, that they must remain compliant with no matter what.

Local Tax Laws

Every jurisdiction handles their tax in slightly different ways. Some arrange for it to be taken at a national level, so you pay the same tax bracket no matter where you might be located. Others break it up a little more. For example, those in the US often have to pay taxes to their state. Everywhere handles it slightly differently.

Paying tax correctly is one of the most important things a business has to do. You can very quickly run into some serious trouble if you do not pay your taxes correctly. Though it can sometimes seem incredibly fiddly to have to pay taxes, it is a task that must be done. Hiring the services of an account to make sure that taxes are properly identified and then paid will be crucial. Governments come down very hard on companies that do not pay their taxes correctly, so businesses of all sizes need to ensure that they are complying with current tax legislation.

Data Protection

Data protection laws are concrete and are very strict. With the rise of the internet has come a rise in cybercrime, and many companies can find themselves under attack from fraudsters and other malicious parties who are looking to either harm the company or steal the personal and financial details of customers.

Smaller companies tend to receive more of these attacks than larger corporations. While the big businesses might have more valuable data to steal, they also have the resources to be able to properly protect it. This is not always the case with smaller companies, who may not be able to bounce back from a cyber-attack quite so easily. This is why EMV compliance is crucial for businesses of all sizes – whether they are brick-and-mortar units or operating entirely online. With EMV compliance in place, a business should be able to fight back against fraudsters.

Labour Laws

A business is nothing without its employees, and many owners expect their workers to put a lot of effort in to helping the company through both highs and lows. However, there are certain restrictions on this. Whether it concerns full-time employees or part-time ones, there are specific laws in place to protect the wellbeing of your workers.

These can cover elements including maximum hours they can work per week, how much holiday time they receive, holiday and sick pay, and breaks on shift – to name but a few of the many areas that employment law covers. This is one area prone to change, so a company should ensure that they are in contact with an employment lawyer, so their contracts are always up to date. Complying with employment and labour laws goes beyond protecting the company, it is also about protecting employees and ensuring that you are a good boss.

Product Standards

If you manufacture products of any sort to be sold through your business, you need to make sure that they comply with various manufacturing standards. Those who make protected items also need to ensure that they are fulfilling the standards set out by the heritage accreditation. These have been carefully determined to ensure that the standard of products under this heritage brand are always of the highest quality.

Manufacturers need to comply with product safety standards, there is no excuse otherwise. These keep customers safe, and they also help to guarantee that products are made correctly. If they do not comply with product safety standards, a brand can land themselves in a lot of trouble. No one wants to face the prospect of having to deal with a customer who has injured themselves with a faulty product you manufactured.

International Laws

It is rare nowadays that companies stay within their home nation and only trade there. Thanks to the internet, it is easy for people located everywhere to order products and have them shipped to them. Though it is easy for the customer, it can be a little more difficult for the company offering the product.

A company that operates in more than one country needs to make sure that they are compliant with the laws of all those nations. For example, a business might have to pay tax in all of the countries where they operate, with each of these taxes due at different times of the year and all at different rates. Another key area that businesses need to watch for is importing and exporting. Many countries have strict border controls in place in regards to importing and exporting goods. Any business that moves their stock through these borders need to make sure that they are complying with these rules – and that the correct customs and excise fees are being paid.

Make Sure Your Business is Compliant

These are just some of the areas of the law where a business needs to make sure that they remain as compliant as possible. There is no avoiding this area of company management. Laws can and do change, and not complying with these changes can have a devastating effect on the company overall.

A good business owner will always try to make sure that they are following along with announcements about potential changes to the law. No matter what, a company needs to make sure that they are always compliant with the law, and willing to make changes when they arise. Compliance can be a vast area with many different nuances to it, but they are variations and nuances that must be obeyed. If you are a business owner, make sure that your company is fully compliant across all areas now.

3 Questions Small Business Owners Should Ask Before Seeking Out a Business Loan

If you run a business, no matter the size, there will be a time when you will need to seek financing. Cash flow issues are one of the main reasons new businesses fail, but unfortunately, they also have a hard time getting a loan in many cases. Sometimes, it’s because of their lack of history or poor performance, but in other cases, they get turned down because they weren’t prepared. There are also cases where debt is what ends up crippling a company. Let’s take a look at some questions all business owners should ask before seeking out a business loan.

Do I Actually Need it?

Most lenders will not lend money for superfluous things, especially if you’re a small business. Some things might seem essential to you, but not to them. You might think that you need new office furniture or just have to buy the latest piece of machinery, but none of this will thrill financiers if you can’t show that doing so will bring profits.

On the other hand, a lender is much more likely to give you money if you need to do things like buy inventory or increase advertising, for instance. So, reevaluate your reasons for taking a loan and expect anything that is luxury to be rejected.

 

What Kind of Loan Do I Need?

There are different types of loans that you can take, and a business loan might not always be the best for you. If your issue is with cash flow, for instance, you should take the time to learn the difference between business loans and working capital loans.

If you’re having trouble keeping the lights on because of some expenditure you made, a working capital loan might be a better option. But, if you want to expand your business, buy an important piece of machinery, or upgrade some of your assets, a business loan might be the best choice.

You also have other options like invoice factoring that could work. This is when you borrow money against your accounts receivable. The best thing about this is that the credit of your clients will determine if you’re eligible. This is another great option if you have cash flow problems. Or maybe you could benefit from the flexibility a line of credit would give you. These are all things you’ll need to assess before applying for a traditional loan.

 

How Much Can and Should I Borrow?

The next step is knowing how much you’re eligible for and how much you should actually take. Don’t get the max unless you need it and are 100% sure you’ll be able to repay it. You have to look at things such as what you need the funds for, annual gross sales, and the debt you already have.

A good idea here would be to redraft your business plan. This will give you a clearer picture of what your business needs and help you manage your money better. Financiers will also love seeing what your plans are for the money and how you intend to repay it in writing.

You must answer these three questions before you start the process of getting a loan. This will increase your chances of getting approved and could help you reevaluate your needs and expectations.  

How To Give An Effective Business Presentation

A solid corporate presentation is more than just a collection of attractive slides. Whether you’re giving a presentation to investors, senior executives, or your potential customers, you must make a strong image of yourself to ensure that you stand out among the other speakers.

Some people panic while giving a presentation in front of people, mainly when the audience entails essential business people, such as investors or your employer. If you are among those, then don’t worry; you are at the right place. Consider following the below discussed tips and then feel the change; you will deliver a solid business presentation as a result.

1. Know your subject matter:

Before you appear in front of your audience, ensure that you have a solid grip over the material that you are about to present. You might have incorporated many tools like visual aids, slide templates, notes, etc, to help you get through the presentation successfully. But keep in mind that they can’t beat your expertise or even match it. Hence, it’s better not to rely on them solely; you must know the subject matter from the inside out so that you can communicate to your audience effectively.

2. Be passionate about what you’re doing:

Your audience will possibly get bored of your presentation if you consider it just a job and take it for granted. Thus, if you want the audience to be attentive and interested while presenting, you must be passionate about the subject. 

Your body language and your expressions reflect what you have in mind. Therefore, one may judge you rapidly whether you are or not passionate about it. By body language, we mean how you speak, if you make eye contact or the way you walk around on the stage. Hence you must take it seriously because if you emit bad vibes, then the possibility of influencing the audience decreases. 

Try not to just read out from the slide; only keep them for a reference. Practice delivering the presentation before so that you know how to do it. Remember your audience will react better to the presentation if you personalize your interactions with them. Make eye contact with all the people in the crowd, from time to time, so they know you’re paying close attention to them separately.

3. Arrive early to give a final check to the setup:

Many business presentations fail while execution when one is not familiar with the place in which he/she will be presenting. Hence, ensure that you reach the venue at least 30 minutes before delivering and give the setup a final check.

Assure that everything is working efficiently; laptop, speakers, or the projector. Transfer or download files if you want any from your USB or email on the laptop available there. However, if the venue doesn’t have all the equipment, then you may take your things along and set them up efficiently. 

4. Utilize visual aids:

According to a study, visuals assist people in remembering information for a longer time. Hence, utilizing appealing visuals liberally throughout the presentation would help you achieve your goal.

Pictures, films, and art are all excellent ways to convey your message and pique the audience’s interest. To incorporate them in your presentations, you can utilize business PowerPoint templates which are primarily designed for business presentations. Infographic slides in these templates help you present complex subject matter simpler and more understandably. In addition, they incorporate data visualization, such as pie charts, bar graphs, and much more. Utilizing them can make the boring numbers look interesting.

However, remember not to overdo the slides. Overdoing your slides distracts your audience, losing interest in you. Hence, one point per slide would do great or use bullet points. It doesn’t matter if the number of slides exceeds. The more the slides, the better it would be as you’ll give a clearer picture of the discussion being taken place. 

5. Open with a strong stance:

To establish the standard for the rest of your business presentation, begin with a bang. For example, you may begin with a startling statistic that causes the audience to sit up and take notice or a quotation that compels people to listen right away. On the other hand, you might alternatively begin with a captivating image, a fascinating video, or a compelling personal tale.

Keep in mind that initial impressions are crucial. Therefore, you must persuade your audience that their valuable time would be worthwhile for your business presentation.

6. Establish objectives for your business presentation:

Set the goals you want to achieve during your time on stage right at the start of your presentation. Doing this will give your audience a reason why they should pay attention and how that will benefit them.

As the audience experiences the earlier stated objectives being fulfilled during the presentation, they will get a feeling of accomplishment and purpose in successful communication. Also, they will be encouraged to remain tuned to what you have to say further. Moreover, these objectives will also aid your audience in remembering key aspects from your business presentation, ensuring a good Q&A session.

7. Engage with your audience through stories:

Statistics, intellectual arguments, and even quotations fail to engage with people in the same way that stories do. The stories can either be about personal experiences or can be about the business journey, or even customers.

For instance, you can highlight the issues faced by the customer as a villain of the story and how your product or service helped the customer in resolving the issue as a hero of the story. Making up a little won’t harm to make it engaging but don’t exaggerate; keep it brief and relatable. The objective is to create an emotional bond with your audience so that your message sticks. Don’t go overboard or stray from your main argument.

8. A hint of business-friendly humor won’t harm:

Nothing is more soothing than a speaker who makes you laugh throughout a long lecture. Especially when the lecture has loads of stats and complex findings, which results in boredom. Once the audience loses interest in your presentation, the chances of persuading them will decrease, which is not what we want.

Hence, adding a little humor to your presentation and establishing a conversational tone can keep your audience’s attention. However, keep in mind that this is a business presentation, don’t overdo it because then your audience will not take you seriously. If you think you are losing interest, you can introduce any fun element to it; otherwise, avoid it if you are not naturally good at it. 

Conclusion

If you don’t give presentations very often, then presenting in front of the corporate group can be nerve-wracking. But don’t be put off by the procedure. Instead, use the important advice discussed in this article. It will restore your self assurance, and you will confidently give a successful proposal the next time you appear.

Why Your Company Needs an Asset Management Strategy

Asset management involves the development, operation, maintenance, and sale of assets efficiently and cost-effectively. All companies need to keep tabs on their assets to allow managers to know where and when to employ different assets to maximise returns. Additionally, effective management strategies will allow you to extend the usable life of assets, improving your bottom line.

Here are some reasons why an asset management solution paired with dedicated software and cloud connectivity can streamline and improve operational efficiency in your business.

Asset Tracking

A robust strategy for managing assets will allow you to keep track of your company’s assets. Not only will it allow you to track their locations, but it also provides information on their usage and whether any changes have been made to them.

Tracking data can be used to enhance the efficiency of processes in your organisation and asset recovery.

Project management software like that offered by ACMS allows you to monitor across the key stages of asset life. Asset lifecycle management using dedicated software allows for remote control, increasing the ease of creating inventory reports required in some industries.

Inventory Management

Using an asset management strategy, you can easily classify your inventory, streamlining the register. This will allow you to know precisely what assets are in stock at any given time and, therefore, means that you can optimise operations more effectively.

Additionally, asset management software removes ghost assets from your asset register. These are goods that have been lost, stolen or broken in the course of business. Without software, they often remain in the books without being noticed or can be inaccurately recorded. This can cause fulfilment issues as well as inefficiencies throughout a company.

Amortisation Rates

Asset management solutions will allow you to ensure that the amortisation rates for your assets are correct and accurately reported on your financial statements. By the same token, it can also enable you to report the depreciation of assets better.

Many industries require you to disclose these in financial statements, so whether you do your own accounts or outsource to an accounting firm, asset management software can make the process easier all around.

Forecasts and Budgets

When you integrate a comprehensive asset management solution into a business, you can generate reports on the entire history of an asset. Information collected from when you acquired the asset to the end of its usable life give you an excellent foundation for assessing the need for new purchases or expenditure on maintenance.

This data can be a valuable tool for building financial forecasts and budgets more accurately. Overall, this can deliver increased transparency across your operations.

Trend Identification

In addition to financial projections and budgeting, asset management data can be a valuable tool for identifying trends in businesses and industries. Gathering and recording information relating to the use and locations of assets will give you information about your company as a whole.

This information is useful to know and understand the lifecycle of the assets in your inventory. Based on the trends you identify, you can predict and schedule maintenance more efficiently, which allows you to identify and respond to issues effectively.

Cloud Integration

Cloud-based asset management systems can improve productivity across your organisation. The entire register of assets within a company can be accessed by anyone with authorisation from any place.

Compared to other asset management solutions, like spreadsheets, cloud-based systems can increase the visibility of your inventory and can be remotely updated to prevent information loss or delays.

Risk Management

Implementing an asset management strategy using asset management software can help identify risks associated with owning or operating equipment or machinery.

Using such software, you can identify when an asset isn’t performing as intended, isn’t in use at all or is regularly breaking down and being repaired. Suppose an asset is continually breaking down or hasn’t been used in some time. In that case, it could pose a risk to those using it in addition to the substantial financial impact of inefficient or underused equipment.

Therefore, using an asset management strategy can allow you to track equipment’s use over its lifecycle, giving you a more detailed overview of its use case and any potential hazards that can arise from this. Ultimately, this can improve safety and financial performance in a business.

Conclusion

Overall, an asset management system that integrates modern technologies like cloud computing to track equipment, identify risks, monitor usage and manage inventories can be a powerful tool for businesses of any size. This can improve efficiency throughout an organisation and can also have powerful financial implications owing to the ability to better map the lifecycle of assets. Additionally, the improved resolution of budgets, forecasts and trend identification that is possible using asset management software can have streamline financial predictions for the future. 

Research Shows Many Users Do Nothing to Protect Their Smart Devices

Almost 88% of people have some kind of IoT device in their household

New research by the leading cybersecurity solution NordVPN shows that users don’t take the security of their IoT devices seriously. Almost 88% of people have some kind of IoT device in their household. However, some of them take very little action against the risks, with almost 1 in 6 taking no measures to protect the devices.

“As the research shows, the more devices people own, the more vulnerable they usually are. Manufacturers surely have to take responsibility for the safety of their products, but users play a big part in their own cybersecurity,” digital privacy expert at NordVPN Daniel Markuson comments.

The survey on IoT devices also showed what cybersecurity habits people in different countries lack, what smart devices they usually purchase, and who, in their opinion, should be responsible for keeping those devices protected.

What is the problem with IoT devices?

IoT devices, by their very nature, collect and send information. This might be done securely and for a specific purpose, such as an encrypted message to tell your heating to turn off. But it might also be leaky, either through bad encryption (or none at all) or through giving away extra information. For example, the internet-connected camera on your front door might let you know when a visitor is there, but, if someone else is watching, it could also reveal when the house is empty, or when children are home alone. In 2020, dozens of Amazon Rings were hacked, resulting in a lawsuit against the company.

“IoT device makers are in a rush to sell the gadgets as quickly as possible. This means that they are shipping them out with the minimum features required for them to function, shortening the development process and cutting costs as much as possible. This is great for device makers, but horrible news for consumers. When things are rushed, they leave huge gaps in security,” Daniel Markuson adds.

User behavior is just one extra aspect of a potential security vulnerability in light of all the technical and structural issues. Still, there are often simple steps we can all take to improve the security of the devices and networks in our homes or offices.

People actively use IoT devices but don’t protect them enough

Overall, the vast majority of us have some kind of IoT or connected devices in our homes, even if it’s just a router. In fact, only 12.3% of the people surveyed did not have any of the listed devices. The UK saw the most prolific use of IoT devices, with only 5% of people saying they had none of the devices in their homes. But they also took the least action against the risks, with almost 1 in 5 taking no measures to protect them. 

It’s not just people in the UK who need to improve their habits. The US showed similar results, with 17% of people with IoT devices taking no protective measures. People in the Netherlands and Canada had the best devices-to-behaviors ratio, although France scored well mostly by having much fewer devices (only 77%).

What can be done to protect the privacy of IoT devices?

41% of users think that manufacturers should be responsible for the safety of the devices they produce, while 56% see it as their own responsibility. The research shows that the main vulnerabilities users are worried about are deprecation (76%), followed closely by privacy issues (75%)  and design problems (particularly encryption) (75%).

Daniel Markuson provides some tips for all IoT device owners:

  • Look into the privacy issues associated with the devices you purchase. Review tech sites that dig into privacy and security issues or buy devices certified by organizations like ioXt.
  • Read the privacy policy and other terms and conditions.
  • Create sophisticated passwords. Use a secure password manager, like NordPass, in case you forget passwords easily.
  • Keep devices patched and up to date. Check if your devices update automatically, and, if not, make sure they are running the latest firmware.
  • Turn off features you don’t use. Having unused features running in the background opens up unnecessary vulnerabilities or privacy issues.
  • Install VPN on your router. As International VPN day (August 19) is approaching, it is important to highlight its part in protecting our homes’ security. VPNs can help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks by encrypting your traffic, covering many of the issues with poor encryption on IoT devices.

You will find more information on possible vulnerabilities and the ways to be protected on NordVPN’s  research page.

Relocating for Work: How You Can Save More Money on Your Moving Expenses

Relocating from one location to another for work is challenging. It’s even harder when you are moving with a family in tow. Moving expenses also add up and can be pretty significant depending on where you’re going, the distance, and what you’re taking with you. Then you have to factor in whether or not you’re making the drive or having your car shipped, and all of those costs add even more. To help you save some cash on your move, check out these tips for some sound advice.

Consider Shipping Your Car

Shipping a car is a personal decision and can sometimes be the less expensive option than driving to your destination. For example, let’s say you’re moving across the country from the east coast to the west coast. You think that driving is cheaper, so you’re considering taking your family on a one-week drive to get there.

Stop right there and add up the cost of lodging, food, and fuel you can expect to pay if you’re driving two cars clear across the country. It adds up quickly, but there is a way to avoid some of those expenses or at least lower them. That’s where car shipping comes into play. Don’t worry you can easily use the internet to find cheap car shipping companies that will take care of your vehicle.

You may find that shipping one or two vehicles and flying to meet your moving truck at your destination is less expensive than driving. As a bonus, you’ll also save on wear and tear on your vehicle, preventing unnecessary depreciation due to extra mileage.

Be Flexible If Possible

Depending on your company’s needs, you may have room for flexibility in your schedule. If you don’t need to move right away, consider moving during the off-season. The cheapest months to move are during the academic year, between October and April. Demand tends to decline during this time, so if you can wait to move your stuff until then, you might score some significant savings.

For people with families, you might also consider going ahead of your family to find a place to live. It’s cheaper to pay for a single room in a cheap hotel while you’re looking for a place to live than to bring your entire family and your things before you know your destination. With that in mind, if you can go ahead of your family, it can save you money on extra lodging, food, and storing expenses.

Make Four Piles

As you’re going through your house, put everything into four piles: keep, sell, toss, and give away. Start by going through the easiest rooms in your home and look at everything with a critical eye. If you don’t need it, it goes into the sell, toss, or give-away piles.

Downsizing can be physically and emotionally challenging, especially if it’s a home where you’ve watched your family grow up. You’re going to see memories go past you as your children’s baby blankets or favorite toys make their way out of the shadows. It’s hard, and it’s okay to feel how it will make you feel, but you still need to designate which pile it goes into in the end.

If you don’t feel like you can do it, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you make decisions. Once you pare down your belongings to a more manageable amount and you have boxes packed, you’ll be grateful that you did because the bill will be lower once everything is done.

Pack Intentionally

When you pack your belongings, always pack intentionally. Don’t just pack something because it is something you might use that you haven’t used in a while. Pack only what you know you’ll need to take with you.

Some of those needs might include specific appliances like a coffee pot or a slow cooker. Maybe you’re attached to that air fryer you use almost every day. Those types of items are the ones you need to keep.

Be honest with yourself, and if you haven’t used it in over a year, did you need it anyway? Probably not, so it doesn’t get packed. Be okay with giving up the “just in case” mentality and instead go with the “this always gets used, so it goes” thought process. Fewer boxes translate into a lower expense to get your stuff moved.

It’s a Wrap

Relocating can be challenging, depending on your circumstances. Remember to be as flexible as possible to help you save some money along the way. Also, declutter to reduce what you’ll be taking with you. By doing so, you’ll have fewer boxes to pack, which also means saving some cash. Don’t forget to think about shipping your car because that can also save you money, not to mention it can make your move easier, too.

What is Regulatory Hosting and How Does it Work?

Regulatory hosting enables businesses to carry out regulated activities without directly being FCA approved.

For firms offering regulated services such as credit brokering, investments and banking, the FCA approval process can be both costly and time consuming. Hence, many businesses look for regulatory hosting as an alternative that allows them to act under the hosting umbrella of another approved firm, often paying a licensing fee for the benefit or offering a percentage of their business.

Using a regulatory host can be very useful for businesses who wish to carry out regulated services but are awaiting approval for their own license. Or perhaps, it is more timely and cost effective to use another company’s license, minimising administration and lowering risk too.

With regulatory hosting, the client will become an Appointed Representative (AR) of the Host Firm (Principal). The AR will then be able to carry out regulated activities under the FCA approval of the Principal, using their guidance.

What Are The Advantages of Using a Regulatory Host?

A fast route to the market is often available through a regulatory host, since you can get approved and be trading legally within a few weeks, compared to submitting a lengthy application process to become FCA Authorised, which can take between 6 – 12 months, or longer.

Affordable – Using a regulatory hosting company can allow you to enter the market at affordable rates, whether it is paying a monthly fee or giving up a share of profits or equity in your business. By comparison, the set-up fee for FCA authorisation can be between £1,500 – £25,000 per year, or more, depending on the size and complexity of your business.

Compliance expertise is available from the host firm, since they have a license already and have been through the motions. Whether you offer investments, finance or insurance, they can assist with several components including legals, business model, marketing and more.

Establish a good relationship with the FCA which will help if and when you decide to become individually FCA authorised.

 

What Are The Downsides of Using a Regulatory Host?

Operating under a regulatory host comes with responsibilities and you have to comply with the recommendations of that host company. Plus, any implications from your activity will also impact that of the host, positive or negative, so you have to ensure that you are always staying on the right side of regulation, even if that means not taking risks.

Trust is a big factor, so you need to respect your regulatory host and vice versa, since all policies, procedures and records will be supervised and kept on file by the company. For some companies, it may not be ideal to have another firm knowing all their numbers and business activity.

As an appointed representative working underneath someone else’s host, you cannot manage your own investments. So if this is a requirement, you may fall short in this area.

Finally, whilst the licensing fees or giving up equity may be cost-effective for some, it may be expensive for others. If your business takes time to get off the ground, you may be lumped with high fees to pay each month. Or if your business really takes off, you could find yourself giving up equity each month which may not be ideal.

An AR cannot directly manage its own investments – the Principal must do this. However, an AR can market its products and provide investment advice.

Do I Need Customer Services For My Company?

Customer Services are a key part of any business – especially financial services. Customer Services will enable you to update customers on applications, address any potential issues with the website, answer queries or questions, and deal with any complaints.

There are several different options with Customer Services, and many different options will help your company to thrive and manage your customer relations.

Customer service personnel include:

  • Collections teams
  • Complaints handlers
  • Customer service advisors
  • Customer service agents
  • Underwriters

 

In-House Customer Services

In-house customer services is an option for smaller businesses. Many businesses and startups run their own customer services by sharing the workload between existing employees. This is feasible for small companies with a limited number of enquiries per day, but businesses with many enquiries daily may need to consider other options.

 

Outsourcing Customer Services

If your business is not able to use in-house customer services, an option is to outsource your customer services. Many companies use outsourced customer services from countries abroad that have a good proficiency in English. However, a large volume of queries are needed in order to make the cost of these outsourced customer services worthwhile for your business.

Local companies also offer these services, such as TieTa who offer a fully outsourced customer service team based in Oxfordshire. TieTa is perfect for high volumes of calls, outsourced complaints handling, and debt collection. Your technology can be integrated with your outsourced customer service team, enabling access to highly skilled staff in financial services.

 

Combining In-House and Outsourced Customer Services

For many businesses, there will be an opportunity to combine in-house and outsourced customer service teams. This allows businesses to leverage local capabilities in the UK, and keep on top of queries through business times. There is a strong business case for international companies or companies with multiple offices to have both in-house and outsourced customer service teams.

 

What Could Customer Services Do For Me?

Customer services when implemented and executed effectively can significantly boost engagement with customers, increasing sales and repeat business. There is a fine skill to customer support in terms of the speed and quality of your responses and this can be huge for a business. Meanwhile, creating positive reviews and experiences is key in a world where brand reputation is important and negative reviews can be damaging.

So whether you have an in-house team or look at outsourcing professionals – there is a strong business case for good customer service.

How to Raise Your Business Reputation When You Are On a Budget

Running a business operation comes with a range of different challenges. One of the most common hurdles involves dealing with your company’s reputation and how to raise it. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to build your brand, especially if you are an expert in your industry. Actually, being an expert is valuable for a number of reasons. So, do not let the things that you can do be hidden from the public any longer.

If this sounds like you, you can change these things around quickly by starting your own marketing campaign. For instance, you can begin marketing your company’s brand by telling your customers online and in your local areas exactly what you and your business can do for them. Here are some of the best ways to raise your business’s reputation when you are on a budget.

 

1. Host Webinars

Using the web to market your company name can be a great way to build your company’s reputation. Since there are platforms available like webinars, you can easily take advantage of reaching large groups of people by hosting webinars on special topics. For instance, when you set up a webinar to build your company’s reputation, you can demo the products and the services that you offer. In some cases, you may even increase your notoriety by training others on what you do. In either event, you can share what you know and make your company extremely useful to large broader audiences.

 

2. Customer Service Improvement

Do you really need a large budget to increase your reputation or build your company’s brand? Well, maybe not if you know how to improve your customer service area. Good customer support is one of the essential keys to success in any business. Therefore, any improvements in your services that can make your customers happy is a good way to get great kudos for your brand. Fortunately, there are loads of great recommendations online that can assist you and your staff in becoming the best support team in your industry.

 

3. Get a short term loan and boost your online presence

In addition to increasing your reputation by making your customers happy, you need to boost your online presence, too. However, if you are running your operation on a shoe-string budget, you may need outside financial help to help you with this type of strategy. For instance, you may want to borrow a short term loan to fund this campaign. In fact, if you know exactly how to boost your online presence, borrowing this type of loan is well worth it. A short-term loan can do a lot for those of you who want to get things started, and it is much easier for you to pay it back.

 

 

4. Setup a Google Alert on your name or business name

When you conduct business online, you may be surprised to discover what is free and available to your business. For instance, if you need a powerful online tool to grow your business, you may want to consider Google alerts. Google alerts can be used to do the following:

  • Track brand mentions and your competitor’s reputation
  • Notify your staff of negative reviews
  • Identify additional links for more opportunities

 

 

 

5. Get feedback from your customers and work on it

Increasing your company’s reputation requires a comprehensive campaign that needs to be deployed. For those of you who want to pursue free versions of certain marketing strategies, you can do your research. And, you can start your research by asking for feedback from your customers so that corrective action can be taken. Once these customers have expressed their ideas or issues in any area, you can work quickly to address their concerns in a constructive manner. By using these types of strategies online and in your local area, you will not only improve your company’s image but also seize additional opportunities to leverage the competition with others in the same industry.

 

 

Summary

How to raise your business reputation when you are on a budget can be done. Since there are loads of great information available to you and your staff, you can choose which ones will work. Once you get started, you can use these 5 proven strategies that consist of improving your customer services, obtaining good feedback from the consumer, hosting webinars to discuss the business, setting up Google alerts, and borrowing a short-term loan to fund your latest marketing strategies.

Self-Improvement: Traits Every Businessman Needs

All well-known businessmen have their particular keys to success. For example, someone worked hard day and night, while the others were not afraid to take risks. However, most entrepreneurs can boast of having some unique features that helped them to become influencers in particular fields. So, what traits do you need to have to achieve success?

Productivity

This feature is one of the most important ones for any businessman. If you would like to get astonishing results in entrepreneurship, it is necessary to increase your productivity and improve your time-management skills. It will also be great to learn how to split difficult and complex tasks into easy steps. This trick will help you achieve all your goals much faster.

For example, if you are a student who needs to complete an academic assignment with an urgent deadline, what should you do? Some students might start composing an essay by themselves and fail to do deep research and collect necessary arguments. It will be much easier to pick up a reliable writing solution to get your assignments done fast. But how to choose the most trustworthy service? Find out the reviews shared by other students. Start with reading an assignment geek review, continue exploring paymetodoyourhomework reviews, and finish your research by investigating expertwriting reviews. These simple steps on how to solve a common student’s issue might be a reference point on how to cope with difficulties in the most productive way.

Leadership

All successful businessmen are not afraid to take the responsibility for the entire project and are true leaders in the chosen niches. The truth is that you will need to lead the entire team of professionals to achieve the company’s goals. It is important to become a leader, a professional, and a manager to keep everyone moving forward. Moreover, businessmen sometimes need to make serious decisions, such as attracting investors, choosing promotion solutions, or taking loans. You are to become a true leader of your company.

Open-mindedness

Being open-minded is a must for any entrepreneur. The fact is that the modern business environment is changing at a breakneck speed. Therefore, it is vital to accept new conditions and adapt within the shortest terms. To meet the requirements of the market and attract more customers, the leader should be flexible and open to new solutions. Innovation is a key that might easily rocket launch your business in no time. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches, technologies, and marketing tactics to reach your purposes.

Motivation

Any business led by an entrepreneur who lacks motivation is doomed to failure. You need to have a whopping amount of energy to drive your company and reach new heights. It is needed to constantly push yourself forward to work harder and perform better on every step of doing business. All entrepreneurs are incredibly ambitious people who are always looking for new opportunities and goals. Being a businessman is not easy; you will likely need to work all your free time.

Optimism

Doing business is usually a long and challenging process with numerous ups and downs. Many entrepreneurs face serious difficulties in their ways but require to always stay positive no matter what. Your business might not achieve access from the first attempt, and there are always many risks to failure. However, even the worst situations should be considered as a unique experience that opens new opportunities. Feel free to experiment and never give up. Optimism will help you stay strong even during tough times.

Creativity

Becoming an entrepreneur is about finding your unique way of doing business. You can’t do the same things as your competitors do to revolutionize the industry. It is always great to offer something new and original to impress your customers. Small-business owners should always be creative to conquer new market shares and gain customers’ loyalty.

Confidence

All businessmen are confident people who always know what they need to do and achieve their goals. You need to be determined enough to make even the most impossible happen. A business owner should be focused on meeting particular objectives and remain 100% confident.

Communication

It is impossible to establish a successful partnership and look for new business links without advanced communication. Therefore, it is vital to master your speaking and communication skills, as well as learn how to impress and convince the audience. If you are a brilliant companion, you will get more links and expand your business faster and easier.

All in all, becoming a businessman is not an easy task. One should be communicative, easy-going, confident, and optimistic. It is also great to become a true leader and have a creative mind to reach even the most unbelievable goals. Confident and motivated people are more likely to achieve success in entrepreneurship, so it will be a good idea to focus on self-improvement.

Why do so many people invest in FAANG stocks?

Any modern business owner knows there are lots of things to stay on top of to succeed. Efficient marketing, for example, is vital to inform people about you as a business and what you have to offer. In addition, finances are a top priority for all entrepreneurs, and strategic planning in this area is a must for stimulating organic growth.

With this in mind, many businesses choose to invest some of their profits to generate more income. Opting to do this also opens up another revenue stream and means you have something to fall back on if your primary source of income falters. While there are a few ways entrepreneurs could invest, trading on the stock market is prevalent.

A brief look at the figures involved shows why. The current market size of the New York Stock Exchange is $24.4trn, and other big stock exchanges around the globe also have colossal market capitalization figures. This makes them attractive to investors as there are plenty of opportunities to find good trades, providing a decent return over time.

What you invest in and where you invest is vital

As with anything that involves money, you should know what you are getting into before investing in stocks. To begin with, it is essential to choose carefully with which online broker to place trades. As this Rakuten trade review shows, taking the time to check out any broker before signing up with them is advisable. If you need a trustworthy and fast way to get information like this, the AskTraders website is the best place online to visit.

The next thing is to think about what kind of shares you will put money into. For many, the most appealing stocks to invest in still are known as the FAANG stocks.

FAANG is an acronym for a group of stocks in the tech sector. It is made up of Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), and Google (GOOG). The individual companies which make up FAANG stocks have a combined market cap of around $5.6trn and are household names.

But why do entrepreneurs love to invest in these stocks? The simple answer is their excellent track records regarding returns and the leading position they have in their sector. Although finding ways for your business to save money is important, finding ways to make some with stocks like FAANG is also crucial.

But what is the story behind the individual FAANG companies?

Facebook

This tech behemoth was set up in 2004 by Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz. Facebook is now a social media giant with around 2.8 billion monthly users and connects people all over the planet.

In terms of investment, it has performed very well on the stock market over recent years. This saw Facebook shares closing in January 2020 at a record high of $218.30, beating the previous high of $217.50 in July 2018. 2021 has been excellent for these stocks so far, and prices hit a new record high of $308.91 recently.

Amazon

Amazon is another FAANG stock with a rich history and an industry-leading position. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, it is now thought this e-commerce icon has more than 120 million products to buy on its site and over 150 million active users in the US alone. As well as its main e-commerce site, this tech leader has also invested in Amazon Web Services, AI, and TV/movie streaming (via Amazon Prime).

As one of the world’s most valuable companies, Amazon’s history in the stock market is attractive. In April 2021, for example, its share price shot up by 2.4% to a record high of $3,554. Keen investors will note that July 2020 saw Amazon shares reaching similar levels, proving its excellent track record.

Apple

Apple is the FAANG company with the longest history, being founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak. It sells arguably the world’s most popular smartphone in the iPhone, the iPad tablet, and the Apple Mac laptop. In August 2018, Apple was the first US business that traded publicly to be worth more than $1trn. A few years later, it was worth more than $2 trn and sold 1.65 billion products worldwide.

Apple’s history in the stock market shows some fine moments – and not just its incredible performance in the last few years. Summer 2007 was a big step for Apple, as its price rose 15.9% in July to $141.43 on the back of the iPhone’s launch. The iPad launch was also a critical moment, and the share prices rose to $341.19 in 2011, a year after its 2010 release date.

Netflix

Another of the FAANG stocks to know about is Netflix. The digital content streaming service enables people to access movies and TV shows on-demand in their homes. As well as offering online streaming of external shows/movies, it moved into producing in-house content as of 2012. It is now thought to have over 200 million worldwide subscribers and a truly global reach. This has also seen it ranked as the top media/entertainment company by market capitalization in 2020.

Netflix has also had some memorable moments in terms of stock market performance. Perhaps the most iconic was being the top stock in the S&P 500 during the entire 2010s! It brought investors a return of 3,693% over the whole ten years. This success has continued, with a record price of 586.34 being set in January 2021.

Google

Although first set up in 1998, Google is now officially part of the Alphabet Inc group (with a market cap of $852bn), most people still like to stick to the FAANG acronym. In terms of Google specifically, we all know it for the industry-leading search engine it delivers and its presence in the paid online ads/digital marketing space. As with other FAANG stocks, it has built its success on diversifying into many other areas. There are, for example, email (Gmail) and translation services (Google Translate). It also owns several well-known websites like YouTube and Blogger.

Google has performed well on average in terms of its share price. Starting at $85 per share in August 2004, it split its stock in 2014 and eventually rose to a price of $1,214. This was eclipsed in early 2020 when a price of $1,532.11 was set. As you would expect, this FAANG stock has also been riding high recently and rose to a price of $2,564.74 in July 2021.

FAANG stocks are popular for a reason

There really is no secret as to why these shares are popular with investors when you learn more about them. Not only do they have an excellent track record in terms of returns over a long period, but they also look likely to continue this in the future. As society becomes ever more tech-centric and these companies carry on innovating, it is hard to see their success ending anytime soon.

How to Securely Invest in Businesses That Do Well During a Pandemic

A global pandemic is generally not the best time to start investing. That, however, does not necessarily mean that all investments are a bad idea. Covid-19 has undoubtedly had seemingly endless effects on both global and national economies, rendering several previously sound investment strategies ineffective.

There are still a myriad of viable options for financiers who wish to put their savings to good use, invest wisely, and grow their capital. This article will explore the steps you can take during these unprecedented times to ensure that your money is in good hands.

Hire a Trustworthy Financial Advisor

First things first, unless you’re an expert on current economic trends, hiring a reliable financial advisor is never a bad move. They will evaluate your current finances and draw up a solid plan to work towards your specific financial goals. Plus, they’ll address areas where you may be losing money unnecessarily, and provide invaluable insight into the best ways to invest and grow your finances.

Even if you consider yourself to be fairly savvy when it comes to handling your money, a financial advisor consistently has their finger on the pulse of the economic world. At the very least, they’ll provide you with a second pair of experienced eyes to navigate the twists and turns of contemporary investing.

Studies have shown that those who hire financial advisors generally end up better prepared for retirement, less stressed about money, learn more about responsible financial practices, and accumulate more wealth.

Stocks

There is much uncertainty regarding the stability of the stock market during 2021. It has been many years since we have seen such a volatile and unpredictable global economy. There is also no guarantee that it is going to recover anytime soon.

While the successful vaccine rollout in the global North does give cause for optimism in the reopening of trade and tourism, there are still major concerns. New strains of the virus and other ripple effects of 2020s economic crash are major considerations.

A significant portion of relatively safe investments nowadays are in the digital communications sector. The impact of Covid-19 in 2020 saw companies cutting their digital advertising budgets in an effort to lower costs wherever possible. Now, however, consumers have flocked to digital spaces and relied more heavily on ecommerce than ever, which has encouraged companies to up their spending on digital marketing and media. Due to this fairly stable trend in spending, it may be wise to look into digital marketing and other communications services as potential investments in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Another promising sector to investigate is information technology (IT). Despite the global economic crisis brought about by the pandemic, top software organizations have continued to demonstrate upward trends in growth, some even showing accelerated growth in the past two years.

Information technologies like cloud-based software in an ever-expanding user market have proved to be sustainable, profitable, and resilient, even during times of recession. IT is a growth industry in the wake of Covid-19, as many companies are software-based solutions to their financial struggles. More and more companies are recognising the importance of utilizing software to increase their productivity, simplify complex processes, and stay connected. While an overreliance on software used to be a prominent concern amongst businesses, even the most cursory analysis of the fiscal benefits that come from implementing the right software will demonstrate that IT is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for optimizing a company’s potential.

Essentially, it is extremely worthwhile looking into some hot IT stocks while the pandemic rages on.

Consider a Bond Fund

Buying individual bonds or building up your own stock portfolio may seem like too daunting a task for those whose interests and skills lie outside of the financial realm, especially during a pandemic. If you’re looking for a secure way to generate income from your capital, low-yield bond funds provide several advantages.

A bond fund is generally managed by someone who has excellent business credentials and solid experience. They’ll handle all the heavy lifting for an annual fee. Bond funds are usually made up of a diverse collection of bonds from various sectors with the sole purpose of generating profit for stakeholders. This means that even with a relatively small initial investment, an investor can quickly, easily, and cheaply diversify their financial holdings.

Bond funds can go in various directions depending on the predictions of the fund manager or the interests of the investors. Some funds prioritize security above all else, thus investing solely in bonds that pose the least risk, like government bonds. Other funds focus on high yield but high-risk bonds. There are funds that invest in a number of diverse bonds.

For new investors, bond funds provide a great way to play an active role in their financial future by granting them access to promising investment opportunities that are overseen by experienced economists. Of course, no investment comes with zero risk, but this is a good place to start for novices.

Having a low-risk bond fund can also act as a buffer for any other riskier investing practices. If you want to venture into the stock market but don’t feel comfortable unloading all your liquid assets into potentially volatile stocks, having a substantial low-yield bond fund is never a bad plan.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Diversify

In times like these, certainty is non existent.

There is no fool-proof way to invest your savings that will guarantee large returns. In times of extreme fluctuation and volatility, a wise investor does their homework and diversifies. Putting all your hopes on one or two promising stocks can rapidly lead to ruin, even in the best of times.

Now, the need for flexibility and diversification is even greater. Even more importantly, do your own research before investing. There are numerous businesses that are flourishing in the face of adversity, and finding them is key.

There is certainly money to be made for those who are willing to brave the storm, but caution should always precede action.

Buy a Business or Start Your Own? What’s Your Best Option?

Becoming your own boss is a huge decision. Once you’ve taken that step, the decisions become even bigger and harder. The critical one is obviously how you will go about becoming your own boss. You have two options really, start your own business or buy one from another business owner.

Both options come with their own pros and cons, and which one is right for you will depend on your personal circumstances. The key difference is that starting your own business requires getting that idea for a company that can survive in the market, while buying a business requires you to have the capital needed for a purchase.

Let’s look at the pros and cons for each:

Buying An Established Business

When you buy a business, you are taking the startup step out of the equation. However, that doesn’t mean it will be plain sailing.

 

The Pros

The Brand Is Established

Marketing is a massive challenge for any new business. If you’re purchasing a business that is already up and running, with customers already in place, then a huge part of that battle is already won. You have a brand name people know and trust. You also have existing marketing platforms you can expand upon and use as you see fit.

The Business Model Has Been Proven

You don’t need to start from scratch with a business plan or figure out how the business should operate. The person who started the venture originally will have done all this and then expanded upon it as the business ran or grew.

It’s Easier To Reach The Point Of Bringing In A Profit

In the best-case scenario, you’ll buy a business that is already profitable. Then, you only need to concern yourself with paying back the investment you made into the business to purchase it. If the business is not currently profitable, you should have done your research and planning before making the purchase. You’ll need to ensure you can get it to a profitable state in a short space of time. It’s essential that you understand the finances behind it all first.

 

The Cons

The Upfront Cost Is High

The biggest downside to buying a business is the upfront cost of making the purchase. You need the capital to pay for everything that the current owner has invested in already. This can include premises, staff, machinery, product, marketing and goodwill. The good news is, you can usually get a loan for such an investment fairly easily. The business model is proven and lenders can see that the business is operational already. You’re seen as less of a risk than someone starting something entirely new.

The Operating Processes Are Set

This one can be a positive or a negative, depending on how the business was set up and run by the previous owner. Even if the business runs smoothly and efficiently, it’s likely that there will be some processes that will not suit you and you’ll want to change. The issue is, changing an established process—especially if there is staff involved—can be a lot of work.

There Could Be Legacy Staffing Issues

On the subject of staff members, this can be another major problem. Legacy staff can often be resistant to new owners or changes to the way things are done. This is because people don’t like change. That’s not to say that you can’t get past any teething issues. It’s just something you will need to watch out for.

Starting From Scratch With Your Business

This is the general shape that the dream takes when most people think about being their own boss. You get the flexibility of creating something completely new and something that is all yours. However, there are many factors that you will have to be responsible for.

 

The Pros

The Chance To Revolutionize An Industry Or A Market

Bringing a new idea to the market or a new way of running a recognized business is exciting and what so many entrepreneurs live for. When you purchase something that is already established, you lose that chance to be unique and original.

It’s Usually Less Expensive To Start

Depending on the type of business you’re working on, it’s usually much cheaper to get a new business off the ground than it is to buy one. This is because you can start small and slowly expand over time. You may also be eligible for funding or tax breaks, depending on the industry you decide to operate in.

You Can Create The Business Processes

It’s all up to you when you are starting something from scratch. This may feel like a con because you have to ensure that the processes you put in place are scalable. However, you don’t have to worry about any legacy issues.

 

The Cons

You Will Need to Prove You Are Worth Financing

Getting money from a lender or an investor is much harder for a startup than for buying an established business. You have to do plenty of planning and research before you can pitch successfully for startup capital.

It Can Take A Long Time To Become Profitable

Startups are notoriously hard to make profitable in the first year, and sometimes even in the first few years. This means that you will need to be putting money into the business constantly rather than getting money out.

There Is A High Rate Of Failure In New Businesses

The research shows that about 90% of startups don’t make it through the first ten years. Around 21% of them don’t survive the very first year of business, and 30% fail in the second year. This is a big risk to take if you aren’t sure about your idea and being your own boss.

Making The Right Decision

There’s no one size fits all answer to whether starting a business or buying an existing one is the right move. You need to weigh up all your options, do your research and decide whether you’re keen on building a start-up from the ground up, or you’d be better suited to entrepreneurship by acquisition.

What Can Businesses Do to Improve Their Cash flow?

From overdue invoices to staying on top of bills, it is estimated that one in four companies in the UK struggle with cash flow at some point, with as many as 61% having issues on a regular basis.

The result can be very harrowing for a business, which means that they hold back on other important things that are needed for the company’s growth – and worst of all, other suppliers and staff members get paid late which is not good for productivity or overall morale.

But below are some of the most common ways to improve cash flow for a business and some innovative ways too.

 

Clear invoice terms

One of the most simple things you can do with your clients is have clear invoice terms included in your contracts. Whether you sell a product or a service, making payment terms very clear is essential to getting paid on time, such as 30 days or 60 day periods.

Depending on your business, you can also ask for deposits or partial payment upfront and this can be very common for certain industries such as agency work, construction, catering and more.

To make sure that invoices are paid smoothly, it is always worth being in touch directly with the person responsible for paying invoices, rather than allowing a member of staff to pass this onto the accounts team. If you have direct contact with someone from the accounts department, you can always ensure that they have the right information about your and your bank information and also just send a little reminder before payment is due, just to ensure that things run smoothly.

 

Business loans

Business loans are very common and exist in many shapes and forms. A business loan can be unsecured or secured against assets, invoices, credit overdrafts, facilities and more.

The rates for business loans can be very affordable, with Lending Expert offering rates from 2.6% APR.

Every loan will be different and some are better for those businesses who are starting out and some products may require a minimum turnover and at least two years of trading.

Think carefully about how much you need to borrow and how long for. You want to avoid overborrowing since this can result in just paying off more interest – and you want to have the flexibility to pay off early or top up if you ever need to.

Using credit cards to pay staff

Staff overheads can be the highest cost for some businesses and if you run a small company, you can find ways to pay staff each month using a credit card. This can give you an extra 30 days to pay off the finance and be completely interest-free – helping you stay on top of cash flow and avoid getting overwhelmed by costs.

Whether you use Paypal, Wise, Curve or Capital on Tap, there are some effective ways to pay off staff using credit and there are ways to earn points, miles and other rewards too – and for the employee, there is no difference once it enters their bank account!

 

Analysing your staff and office requirements

Covid has made business owners think carefully about their staff and office requirements, with people realising the potential savings from freelancers and remote working.

Whilst having a physical office and staff members working 5 days per week is very traditional, companies today are realising that this does not necessarily need to be the case.

Post pandemic, some businesses have realised that they do not even need an office, which creates a huge saving for companies, with the average firm spending around £500 per person on a desk each month, based on figures in London.

In addition, whilst having a job for 5 days a week is considered the ‘norm,’ there is a strong business case to work with freelancers or have your staff working only 3 or 4 days per week.

By truly assessing your staff and office needs, this can massively open up cash flow for you and your business.

How Feasible is a Large-Scale Return to the Office?

The return to the office is turning out to be a lengthy and gradual process as the coronavirus still looms – with many of the world’s workforce still working remotely for the foreseeable future. As many companies grapple with the return to the office, it bears questioning if and when the world’s wider workforce will return to the office in a covid backdrop.

 

Big Cities to Ghost Towns

Some of the world’s business capitals are still looking more like ghost towns as employees are struggling to coax their workers back to the office. According to data from Bloomberg and Google mobily data, workplace activity in New York, London and San Francisco is still around half of what it was before the pandemic.

In other corporate capitals, such as Frankfurt, Singapore & Hong Kong, they are still dealing with the aftermath of the virus and the large-scale roll-out of the vaccine. For example, in Hong Kong, despite the majority of workers having returned to the office already, the government is struggling to encourage the uptake of vaccines in more citizens which could affect how long this solution is possible.

With countries continuously fluctuating between increasing and decreasing case numbers, and new variants threatening government policies, it can be difficult to predict when these cities can be expected to return to normal.

 

Leading Companies

Many of the world’s biggest companies are attempting to pave the way for businesses across the globe with their return to the office. Banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Goldman Sachs are already reopening their offices to all employees in various locations across the world.

Other companies, such as Apple Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are eager to get back to work after months of disruption caused by remote working.

As these companies are finding, the large-scale return to the office will depend on wider factors such as vaccination roll-out in the local area and the spread of new variants.

 

Changes to The Offices

We are now seeing significant changes to the look and layout of today’s offices. Whether it is through giant cubicle screens, more spaced out desks or better ventilation, it is key that everyone is playing their part to reduce covid infections spreading.

With the potential spread of the covid virus, this can lead to many staff members being away from their desks even longer and the downtime whilst they recover – which could be costly to an organisation.

The use of hand gels, facemasks and social distancing remains key as part of a large-scale return to the office, with companies using hygienic products such as ventilation systems, wall cladding and see-through dividers between desks where possible.

Finding the nearest testing centres may also be useful for companies to have their staff tested for potential covid cases. Even if it is just a sniffle, getting yourself checked quickly and potentially back to the office if everything is clear, is still very worthwhile.

 

New Employee Demands

Many employees have enjoyed the perks that come with full-time remote work be it having a better work-life balance, more time to do their domestic duties or finding it easier to balance work and childcare. Whatever the personal motivations, many employees are now looking to have greater flexibility when it comes to their working life.

Companies will have to take this into consideration when encouraging employees back to the office. After so long having remote work as a necessity rather than a luxury, it is going to be difficult to turn remote working back into a benefit or a work perk.

Already, companies including American Express, Unilever and Google have committed to letting people work remotely for at least part of the working week even when the pandemic is over.

Acquisition International is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2021 Non-Profit Organisation Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Non-Profit Organisation Awards.

Acquisition International are delighted and honoured to formally announce the results of the inaugural Non-Profit Organisation Awards. Through our merit-driven initiative, AI have looked to recognise and reward those who work tirelessly within their given dedicated sector and cause. Our 2021 victors have demonstrated an award-worthy commitment to positive change, as well as striving to make a pragmatic and effective impact for those in need of their support.

The Acquisition International team are committed to recognising these organisations who work tirelessly for the well-being of others, and as such the Awards Coordinator for 2021, Harwinder Pawar, has said – ‘I offer a sincere congratulations to all of the well-deserved victors of our inaugural awards. I hope the accolade stands as a testament to your unwavering efforts and hope it sets you in good stead for the rest of 2021 and onward!’

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/) 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.

What Are the Top Industries to Invest in for 2021?

The business world has been radically changed over the past year. What were originally projected to be prosperous industries have now fallen from grace, whilst other business sectors have unexpectedly risen from the ashes (hand sanitiser, anyone?). As well as this, interest has been renewed in the stock market and investments, accelerated by the GameStop revolution. With so many new investors joining in the fun, we thought we would discuss some of the top industries to invest in this year. We are also going to be sharing a couple of helpful tips and tricks along the way. Keep reading to find out what they are!

1.) Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been at the top of our ‘good investment’ list for a long while now. This emerging technology has the potential to completely change our lives as we know it. From delivering healthcare to manufacturing products, the possibilities are pretty much limitless when it comes to artificial intelligence. As a result, this is one of the best industries to invest in for 2021. However, it is worth noting that investments are competitive in the AI sector. Everybody is clued in on the fact that this is the pioneering technology of the world right now. Some questionable tech start-ups might also be trying to capitalise on this momentum, so don’t be too easily pulled in. Make sure to do your research. If you are thinking about investing in artificial intelligence, then remember to allocate your assets across the board, using the all weather portfolio technique to mitigate risk.

2.) Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is another emerging technology that has been all the craze for the last few years. At the moment, the only mainstream use of virtual reality is video games, immersing people in 3D photorealistic simulations that they can interact with. However, virtual reality has so many other applications that scientists are only now discovering. For example, psychologists are using virtual reality to conduct more ethical experiments on participants. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry is developing VR programs that teach students how to conduct surgery without requiring a patient to practice on, reducing risk significantly. Firefighting services are using VR in a similar way to this, creating simulations that require trainees to navigate harsh environments without actually entailing any risk. VR has a lot of untapped potential which investors can help scientists to extract through their funding. To minimise risk, it might be a good idea to start off small and incrementally increase your payments once you are confident that the VR company you have invested in has enough traction and longevity to generate some real profit.

3.) Renewable Energy

Nothing is more concerning than the current climate crisis. In a couple years’ time, the damage to the planet will be irreversible. Obviously, this news has galvanised people into action, resulting in the renewable energy industry gaining a lot of attention. Renewable or alternative energy can provide our planet with an infinite source of power that is non-polluting. As coal, gas, and oil supplies start to dwindle, we might well be forced to rely on renewable energy. So, it is essential for more than just environmental reasons. Impact investors might find the green energy industries most appealing, as their money can make a tangible difference to the world. Of course, before investing, you should do some research into renewable energy. What are emerging technologies that could really make a difference to the planet? What energy solutions are a good idea, but simply aren’t practical? Gaining a better insight into the market overall will help you to make the right decisions with your investment.

4.) Cyber Security

Pretty much everything is online nowadays. Our personal information, our bank details, where we live, and who we work for. As a result, cyber-attacks have become a massive problem. Data leaks are common, phishing emails are almost everywhere, and viruses can infect our computers with one mis-click. The greater demand for cyber security means that this tech industry is looking particularly profitable for investors. But where to begin? What cyber security solutions can genuinely make a difference? Which ones are promising, and which ones are going to fall flat? Once again, we recommend becoming an expert in your chosen investment field before buying stocks in anything. Business and academic journals dedicated to the subject will be best informed on what areas of cyber security are most promising for potential investors.

5.) Transport

Bear with us here. Yes, the transport industry has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, this business sector has likely had it the worst out of everyone. But as a result, stock prices are lower than ever before. Transport businesses are desperate for financial aid. Now might be the best time to invest, before the share prices skyrocket once again. In addition to this, we suspect that interest in travel will increase once the pandemic has mostly blown over. After all, people in countries from all across the world have been cooped up in their homes for over a year now. Though this might be a slightly riskier investment than the others on our list, it could also be the most lucrative. The stock market is known for its unpredictability. Just make sure to weigh up the risks/rewards for yourself and don’t rush into any decisions!

6.) Cloud Computing

The pandemic has made some people realise that they prefer working from home. Even as restrictions ease, professionals might decide to combine remote working with on-site working. This has resulted in cloud computing becoming a big deal. With the cloud, we can easily share files with one another, streamlining business operations and upping efficiency. What’s more, developments are still being made with cloud computing. Who knows what could happen next? So, this is definitely a sound industry to invest in for 2021.

These are some of the best industries to invest in this year. The stock market is fickle and so there are never any guarantees with investments. However, these sectors certainly look promising. 

5 Innovative and Advantageous Improvements To Your Business Model You Cannot Afford To Ignore

Now, more than ever, whatever the industry your company specializes in it is imperative to take the time to examine your business model, identify areas that require improvement and implement those changes as soon as feasibly possible.

 

1. Outsource Customer Service

It makes considerable business sense to outsource your customer service to a professional, established and experienced company. With the internet being so utterly prolific and influential to all businesses regardless of industry, customer service is more paramount and powerful than ever, so you need to make sure you are getting it right.

Outsourcing your customer service has a multitude of significant benefits. Call centers have their own individual infrastructures and generally charge considerably less than if you were to create your own in-house customer service team. For larger businesses in particular, outsourcing your customer service operations allow you to spend more time in other areas of your business that need attention and investment, safe in the knowledge that trained professionals are handling all of your customer enquiries.

Additionally your revenue is likely to increase, you are able to release a significant portion of you and your employee’s workload and outsourcing your customer service means your customers will be helped with multi-language support.

 

2. Invest in Superior Technology

Whether your current business model needs considerable work, or perhaps just a few smaller tweaks to the structure, the latest technology can significantly and relatively easily be of substantial assistance.

There are copious benefits to upgrading your technology, both for the short-term growth and the long-term growth capabilities. Such benefits include, but are categorically in no way limited to:

  • Efficiency – The initial outlay will quickly become wholly justifiable when you and your business partners see for yourselves the increase in employee efficiency resulting from providing them with new computers and other electronic equipment.
  • Compatibility – It would be of considerable detriment to your business, specifically your finances, if you were pipped to the post by a competitor who advanced purely because they decided to invest in the latest technology and you held back. As technology is constantly improving and evolving, staying up to date with such developments will ensure your systems will always accept new operating systems and software releases.
  • Productivity – Undeniably, the faster and smoother your technology, specifically computers and associated electronic equipment is, the faster an employee is able to work.

 

3. Conduct a Full Energy Audit

Not only will conducting a thorough energy audit of your entire business will save you considerable money in the long-term from reducing your business water supply, it will also mean your entire business model is considerably more eco-friendly,

The resulting benefits of a more environmentally friendly business are plentiful and include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The likelihood of financial rebates, tax breaks and even monthly tax credits
  • Lower utility bills
  • Respect from business peers and industry experts who are interested in making business greener
  • Customer loyalty due to the environmentally friendly nature of your company, products and services

 

4. Theory of Constraints

If you are unfamiliar with the term, the theory of constraints (TOC) is essentially a business-based, problem solving methodology which enables you to determine the biggest obstacle within your business model that is currently preventing you from achieving a particular project’s objectives and goals.

Invented by Eliyahu M. Goldratt in 1984, the theory of constraints focuses on what is preventing particular business processes from being successfully carried out and essentially suggests five steps to facilitate this process:

  1. Identify the main constraint – Simply identify the main constraint preventing you from completing a particular project
  2. Exploit the main constraint – Stop wasting money and time on this constraint 
  3. Subordinate everything – Expand the consequences of the main limitation and investigate whether or not it has been limiting any other elements of the project’s progression.
  4. Improve the main constraint – Apply a specific problem-solving method to attack the root cause
  5. Repeat the cycle – Identify the second largest obstruction and repeat steps one to four.

The theory of constraints will effectively and succinctly improve each project’s success rate and length of completion time and will subsequently save you a considerable amount of money thus improving your monthly cash flow.

 

5.‘Box Theory’

The Darvas box theory effectively breaks down individual functions of your business into more manageable and smaller system groups, or ‘boxes’. This enables the business to concentrate on the most important few that most effectively drive your business forward and seek to improve such systems even further as to elevate them to a higher overall level of performance.

The six essential areas that the box theory focus on are:

  • Measurement
  • People
  • Process
  • Components
  • Quality
  • Speed

There is a wide number of additional tried and tested ways to improve your overall business model and subsequently increase your sales and overall cash flow.

Hiring an accountant who specializes in cash flow, seeking out marketing strategies that are simultaneously low in cost yet high in impact, staying abreast of the current innovative trends within your specific industry and ensuring you maintain transparency right through your business model are all effective improvement strategies. Meticulously and continuously documenting your processes is also extremely prudent change to make, mainly as this prevents any miscommunication which can cost you significant amounts of time and money.

Issue 7 2021

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

In this issue’s cover story, we speak to CEO of beCause Global Consulting, Nadine B Hack. Following the company’s recognition as the ‘Best Specialist Stakeholder Engagement Consulting Firm’, Nadine offers insight into the comprehensive techniques and expertise behind the business and how it has forged its incredible reputation.

Nadine’s feature shapes the rest of the issue, as we take a look inside some of the ways businesses of all sizes have built reputations that have looked to redefine paradigms and change status quos. We talk about the ‘next generation’ of business, alongside new mobile technologies and transforming software to best serve the needs of the modern, dynamic company. Later in the issue, we touch on things of a legal nature, before taking a rest for some mindful pursuits.

All in all, we hope you enjoy this issue of AI Magazine and wish you all the best for the rest of the month ahead.

Financial Literacy for Students: Important Points

People who create school curricula suppose they do everything right, and the curriculum contains all required courses. However, we see that a large number of college students are unprepared for an independent life. We mean they have little basic knowledge, including financial knowledge. Parents also should work on it, but forget. As a result, students don’t know what financial literacy is in general. This term presupposes the understanding of money management concepts and the ability to use certain skills.

Students who are financially literate have higher chances to succeed in the future. They’ll hardly find themselves in a situation when they have no money to live at all. You may be surprised, but even middle-aged people consider financial literacy useless and don’t obtain these skills. Fortunately, the percentage of such people lowers every day. Here are the reasons why students need financial literacy skills:

  • They have to manage the limited sum of money;
  • They have to pay the student load;
  • They need to pay for college;
  • They should buy enough food;
  • They should save some money.

No matter who you are: a freshman student or a second-year and graduate student who returns to campus. You need to know these secrets if you want to forget about the difficulties forever.

1. Make a budget

You’re a college student, so you’ll hardly have a steady job. Perhaps you have some side hustles or a regular part-time job that doesn’t give you enough money. We may try to suppose that you live on the money your parents give you or you’ve to save some money before college. No matter what the situation is, you have to know your earnings and expenses. Get a finance book or install a specialized app on your phone and add the information about all incomes and expenses there. You must be sure your expenses don’t exceed the income.

2. Save money for emergency

No one knows what’ll happen tomorrow. If you think you have enough money to cope with any problem, we must ask you to check your bank account once again. You can hardly cope with any big problem, and you have to realize it. Some people open accounts in banks to have the emergency fund, and they do everything well. Here you set the rules, so there is no exact sum you have to save — proceed from the expenses.

3. Get a consultation from professional

If you have difficulties with understanding what financial literacy is, it’s okay. There are a lot of financial literacy experts online, and they are ready to listen to your troubles. Students shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. A lot of them prefer to pay people to do homework, and they use the Internet to find these people. Quite often, services let users order an essay paper online and get it delivered fast. You just text a message “write this essay for me please” and receive a letter with the final paper a few days before the X day. Financial literacy coaches work principle is the same.

4. What about a finance course?

All colleges offer their students several facultative subjects to choose from. In most cases, you ignore this offer, but if you want to learn financial literacy, this is your chance. It’s not so difficult to devote some more time to studies, especially when you know it will have a good result. It’s always better to learn literacy from your college teacher than try to find a friend who’ll help you after it or even ask your friends to lend some money to you. Ask your counselor about the list of available disciplines, describe your problems, and you’ll be offered a good solution.

5. Grow your credit score

No one knows what’ll happen to you today or tomorrow. Therefore, experts advise people to open bank accounts in their youth, lend small sums of money and pay them off on time to have an excellent credit score. If you lend money, return them fast, or never return them at all, you’ll risk getting blacklisted and get a fine. It’s the best investment you can make in the future since people with good credit scores have access to lower interest rates. Life is impossible without big purchases, so you have to do your best to obtain money if something happens.

6. Learn how to invest money

You may be too young to understand the importance of investing, but we are here to explain it to you. Saving money is good, but it’s better to put the sum somewhere to make it generate revenue. Numerous free financial newsletters and podcasts contain a lot of information on investing; you just have to find it and get an advantage out of it. There are a lot of ways to invest money, but opening a brokerage account and trying your hand at investing is a good way to understand how this industry works.

Bitcoin vs Stock Investing – Which is the Best Option for New Investors?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have brought many people into the world of investing, and they can be attractive to beginners for many reasons. Some may want to jump on the trend or might think that they’re truly the future, while others may think that they’re more accessible than stock markets. But that’s a false assumption.

Cryptocurrency trading is just as complex as stock trading, even more so in some cases, and you should think twice before making this your first investment. Let’s take a look at the differences between crypto investing and stock investing so you can choose the best option for you.

The Volatility Issue

One of the worst things about cryptocurrencies for new investors and investors is the wild swings in the market. There is no telling what is going to happen, and a lot of people are pretty much swinging in the dark. That counts for experts as well.

This is because very few people truly understand crypto, even though they won’t admit it. Movements end up surprising the community as a whole and the reasons behind them are often revealed hours after the fact.

Stocks are much more predictable. That is if you don’t start dabbling into questionable products like penny stocks. It also makes them better stores of value if you want to build something for the long term.

Lack of Products and Resources

Another thing that makes crypto investing not the ideal choice for beginners is the lack of options. Some exchanges do not allow you to exchange fiat for crypto, so that’s one barrier. Day trading is also very difficult with cryptocurrency since it’s not the most liquid asset and fees on transactions can be prohibitively high.

Then there’s the lack of concrete information and educational resources. As we said earlier, many are learning as they go in the space, and you don’t have access to the same educational resources as if you were investing in a well-known product like stocks.

There are so many tools available to traditional traders who lack experience. You have everything from trading signals to social trading that allows you to mimic trades from successful traders. You also have tools like Atom Finance that allow you to analyze stocks fast.

These tools allow you to get news on hot stocks and help you time your decisions. You can also look up information on companies like SEC filings, for instance, and be notified of important events. This brings us to our next point.

Timing Difficulties

There is no event calendar with cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are not like companies that have to report earnings every quarter. They’re not backed by a country’s economy either. You will have to rely on cryptic information like halvings or murky adoption rate figures, which makes it much more difficult to time trades precisely.

These are all things that you have to take into consideration when choosing between investing in stocks for cryptocurrency. Don’t follow the herd and look at the pros and cons of each before you get started.

5 Actionable Tips on How to Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy with the Help of Animated Videos

8 seconds.

That’s your time to catch your audience’s attention and impress them enough, so they stick around for your message. The average attention span of consumers today drops almost every year.  In the year 2000 it was 12 seconds, today it is 8.

How can you be effective with your marketing if you don’t use videos then?

The truth is – it is very difficult.

Video marketing helps with brand recall. According to HubSpot, 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month.

Animated video marketing provides an advantage in your brand communication with its highly visual and auditory components which makes it extremely successful at grabbing viewers’ attention.

In fact, 50% of viewers (18-34 years old) say they stop what they’re doing to watch a video from their favorite video creators.  It’s far easier for many users to remember what they’ve seen than what they’re read.

Animated videos, in particular, are a preferred form of video content.  That’s because they offer dynamic, artful, and intriguing characters, shapes, and movements that entertain unobtrusively.

Animated videos stick in people’s memory. They can be used to diversify marketing content on any digital channel- creating opportunities for a huge return on investment (ROI) and therefore they will help your bottom line.

Here are a few actionable tips to guide you in integrating animated videos into your marketing strategy.

Acquisition International is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2021 Global CFO Excellence Awards

United Kingdom, 2021 – Acquisition International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Global CFO Excellence Awards.

The CFO Excellence Awards have been a cornerstone of Acquisition International’s recognition programme for the last eight years. After all, a CFO plays a crucial role in the growth and success of companies of all shapes and sizes. Ultimately, an experienced CFO can be utterly key to overcoming challenges in a way that other c-suite executives cannot compare.

Awards Coordinator Steve Simpson reflected upon the success of the programme and winners: “It has been an absolute pleasure to speak to you all and find out how you continue to innovate and create in your respective industries. I wish all the winners the very best and hope to work with you again in the future.”

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) 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.

Why Financial Literacy Is Significant In Business Endeavors

Any business endeavors are impossible without a variety of skills, and financial literacy is one of them. The fact is that any startup or young company owner must understand the importance of all financial transactions, investments, loans, and budgets. If you do not even have a piece of such knowledge, then you have nothing to do in business, as your company risks being on the financial bottom from the very first days of its existence. Here’s what you need to know first.

Understand the Impact of Your Actions

Let’s imagine that you are starting a marketing company and will help people gain popularity online to boost their business. But how are you going to be successful if you don’t have a basic understanding of business processes? Let’s say you need to calculate the financial budget for targeted ads, video integrations, and banners. Are you ready to assess the effectiveness of all advertising areas and optimize your budget?

Knowing how to handle finances is just as important as finding honest my assignment help reviews for students. Only by knowing all the pitfalls, you can avoid financial ruin and unfulfilled expectations. In addition, a financially literate person can determine in advance how unpromising any goal or investment object may turn out to be. Therefore, you should get the required skills as quickly as possible to avoid these kinds of problems.

Make More Informed Decisions

Making the right decisions is what will make your business successful. Once you have the necessary skills, you will no longer stop halfway, afraid to take another step. At the same time, knowing about budgeting or reallocating finances will help you direct most of your resources to the area that will become key for your company.

Financial literacy is not the Holy Grail. However, this skill can be compared to an honest speedypaper review. When you know all the possible aspects and soberly assess the situation, your result will always meet your expectations. Moreover, your knowledge will help the rest of your team members. That is why you should improve your skills and never forget about basic skills.

Advocate for Your Team’s Budget

Imagine being appointed to a management position and managing the company’s budget. This is a rather responsible mission. Suppose you need to invest money in a startup, new product development, or a promising business direction. Without financial literacy, you are unlikely to master the company’s budget and achieve positive results.

Money is a great tool for achieving goals. But what if you don’t know where to start? If you don’t have basic skills, why were you assigned to a leadership position? You should enlist the support of professionals so as not to fail the mission entrusted to you. If you are experienced enough not to waste your money, then you will surely be successful.

Hone Your Negotiation Skills

As a rule, any negotiation involves two or more parties. However, if you have enough experience and skills, you can determine when your company is in the best position. For example, let’s say you have the most valuable offer on the market. This means that negotiations can occur on your terms, and you can pick a higher percentage of contract duration.

Financial literacy will also allow you to recognize failures in advance and save your company’s budget. For example, sometimes it is better not to start negotiations with other companies and not waste time in any direction that will not pay off even after 5-7 years. It is the basic skills of financial literacy that will help you avoid dozens or even hundreds of unpleasant situations and wasted budgets.

Become Financially Efficient

Here’s another benefit you should know about. If you are financially literate, you will always find a way to keep costs down for your startup or company. For example, let’s say you found a laptop supplier for your team and were able to save 10-15% of your original budget. This is a great result because the money saved can be redirected to some important activities.

Many other examples can show the importance of the ability to make the right financial decisions. For example, imagine that you have to negotiate with a company that supplies chips for your equipment. What if you find a manufacturer that offers cheaper products? Even a couple of cents will make a huge difference, especially if the transaction amount is in the hundreds of millions.

Final Words

Without financial literacy, you have nothing to do in business. The lack of such skills can be compared to a sailor who cannot swim or a pastry chef who uses salt instead of sugar. Basic skills, experience, and common sense are what anyone in a business environment needs. The fact is that any segment of the market is a piranha pool. If you are not wearing a protective suit, then you will be eaten in 15 minutes. Take at least 3-5 months to improve your financial literacy skills. Attend courses, consult with professionals and study real-life cases to make your business prosper.

A Guide to the Types of Collateral

If you are applying for finance such as a Lombard loan, you might have to put forward some form of collateral as a guarantee. What works best as collateral? Let’s take a look at some of the options that you could decide to use.

Why Do Some Lenders Ask for Collateral?

Since lenders tend to give out large amounts of money to borrowers, they need some sort of guarantee that they will see the money repaid. For this reason, they ask for collateral. Collateral tends to be important assets that the borrower owns. Should they fail to make good on the repayments of the loan, the lender can claim the collateral as compensation.

Obviously, the collateral usually represents something that the borrower does not want to lose. It is a good idea that borrowers search for a good financial advisor who can help them to navigate this area. Many lenders are willing to be a bit flexible, but having an expert firm like Enness Global on your side will help you to negotiate and navigate your loan a lot more successfully.

With a clearer picture of its purpose, let’s take a look at some of the assets that can be used for collateral.

Property

One of the classic options for collateral will always be property. This is an easy asset to be turned over in the event that payments can’t be made. Properties are a great choice as they tend to be quite high in value but do not depreciate rapidly as some others might.

Properties could be the borrower’s own home, or they could represent part of a real estate portfolio. If the borrower has the assets to offer, this can end up being a fairly flexible form of collateral. Of course, using one’s own home as collateral can also be something of a nervous experience.

High-Value Assets

Another great option that often gets used for collateral is high-value assets that the borrower might own, that are not property. These could be vehicles like a car or a boat, or could represent some form of collection the borrower might have such as art pieces or jewellery.

These can be very high in value and again easy to claim in the event that the borrower defaults on the loan. If the borrower has spent some time accruing a high-value collection in some particular area, choosing to make this collateral over something like a property could be preferable. Of course, the value of the collection would most likely have to be assessed by a third party before the lender accepts it as collateral.

Inventory

If an entrepreneur is searching for collateral for a business loan, they will often use the inventory of their company as collateral. This could be some of the stock their company currently holds, but it could also be equipment that they might own.

This is a flexible option that many businesses choose to use. Since many companies will take out a business loan at some point in their lifetime, using inventory as collateral can be a fairly common practice.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin has also proved to be a very useful form of collateral. It is high-value, and though it can depreciate in value as the markets change, it is still a fairly stable form of collateral.

It is also very easy to transfer in the result of the loan being defaulted on. Trading bitcoin is almost cost-free, and records on blockchain mean that an accurate report of the transaction can easily be generated.

Can You Borrow Without Collateral?

Since many can be nervous about the idea of putting something forward as collateral, they might want to look for some other loan options that do not require the potential loss of assets. Loans without collateral are called unsecured loans. They can be found from many different lenders.

However, because they don’t have collateral attached to them, they are considered to be much more high risk for the lender. Therefore, they can be more reluctant to give these loans to borrowers, especially if they are new customers who do not have much in the way of a lending history.

If you wish to take a loan of some sort, whether this is a high-value mortgage, a Lombard loan, or some other line of credit, it is important that you fully understand how collateral works. The items used for collateral will no doubt be extremely important to you, and you will have worked hard to gather them. Defaulting on a loan can often be avoided, even if it means that you have to renegotiate the terms of the loan with the lender and you would not want to lose your assets due to carelessness. Offering collateral is nothing to be afraid of, but you do need to ensure that you fully understand it.

Innovative Business Concepts to Save Money

The ultimate goal of any business is to turn a profit. One way to increase your margin is by reducing expenditures. Here are five innovative business concepts you should explore to save money.

1. Unexpected Automation

If you aren’t yet using apps to automate many of your daily practices, please take the time to learn the tech. You’ll end up saving precious minutes every day as a result — and time is money. Today, apps can do everything from cleaning up your desktop to keeping you on schedule.

You’ll find some innovations surprising, such as self-serve beer technology for restaurants and other public venues. Such devices allow staff members to devote their time to providing top-notch service, not making repeat runs to the tap for one patron determined to drink away their blues.

2. Telecommuting Beyond the Pandemic

The pandemic made telecommuting the new normal, and you should adapt if you want to save money and remain competitive when seeking new hires. Nearly 40% of recent survey respondents said they would rather quit their jobs than return to the office full-time.

Maybe it isn’t “the way you always did things,” but consider the perks. You’ll save a small fortune on office space rent and utility bills — and get rewarded in higher productivity to boot.

3. Going Green

Are you still printing out meeting agendas? Please don’t unnecessarily kill trees and throw cash away on ream after ream. Strive to make your workplace as paperless as possible to cut costs.

Likewise, taking advantage of natural light, switching to long-lasting LED bulbs and installing low-flow plumbing fixtures when upgrade time arrives can save you considerable cash on monthly utility bills. If you work in construction, selling your scrap materials instead of tossing them in the dump can put money in your pocket while being kinder to the planet.

4. Embracing a Shorter Workweek

The research that currently exists supports the anecdotal evidence that a shorter workweek boosts productivity. It only makes sense — employees who are focused on how to squeeze in that doctor’s appointment or needed oil change during regular business hours aren’t dedicating their full mental powers to the task at hand.

You also save money by keeping the lights and other utilities off or used lightly on out-of-office days. Dialing up the office thermostat to 85 degrees for three days instead of two each week can save you a small fortune in cooling during a Phoenix, AZ summertime.

5. Adopting Free or Low-Cost Marketing Strategies

Finally, improved communication systems have made marketing more affordable than ever before. Sit down with your department and discuss ways to cut costs by harnessing the power of social media and building an online presence over pricier methods like television advertising. You could conceivably shave tens of thousands of dollars each year by emphasizing those campaigns that require minimal overhead to launch and perpetuate.

Save Money With These 5 Innovative Business Concepts

Your ultimate goal as a business owner is to increase your profit margin, and cutting costs is one way to do so. Save money with the five innovative business concepts above.

4 Things to Do to Improve Your Finances

We are all looking for quick ways that will give us some financial stability back into our lives after the craziness of the last year. We could all do with a little savings boost that will give us a cushion to fall back on should we need it. If you are looking for ways to improve your finances, why not implement the following strategies?

 

Rejigging Your Finance with Lenders

One way to improve your finances is to look at where you have borrowed money from and how you can improve the repayment situation. Sometimes this means taking out a debt consolidation loan but one way to improve things that hasn’t been given much airtime recently are home equity loans. They work similar to a remortgage and are a way of using the equity that you’ve put into your home as a secured guaranteed loan. Think about whether you’d be able to readjust your budget to make repayments and take some time to check out home equity rates from top lenders.

 

Get Some Advice from Financial Authors

There is lots of advice out there written by professionals who talk about money-saving all the time. Some of them are quite well-known in the media and have written books on the subject that you can find in your local independent bookstore or online. Our advice would be to check out some of these books by well-known authors as there are always a couple of ideas in them that are not mentioned online. They also go into a lot more detail about different strategies and ways to reach your goals. Books are another great resource to learn about how to tackle next level financial strategies like investing and diversifying.

 

Get Used to Budgeting

As with pretty much every other piece advising on ways that you can save your money and improve your finances, we are going to have to drop the obvious one: create, maintain, and stick to, a budget. Budgeting will help you in the long run and it is worthwhile getting a handle on it early because the sooner you get to grips with the concept of spending what you have as opposed to spending what you want, the better. A budget is also a necessary tool in creating financial protection for yourself in case of emergency

 

Reduce Unnecessary Expenditure

This one is a bit of a biggie in terms of how easy it is and how much you can save. Basically, this involves taking a copy of your various bank statements and sitting down to go through each statement to create a master list on what you are actually spending. Are you using everything you’re paying for? Let’s take something like subscription TV service bills; are you watching all those channels? If not, it may be time to cut payments fully or reduce your package.

You can go even deeper and evaluate how much you are spending on groceries each week. Can you cut back on some of the expensive items you’re buying? Or perhaps you can find those items cheaper at another store. The same concept can be used in all areas of spending so take the time to go through everything and you could end up saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year.  

Big Success in the Big Apple

Winner for the second year in a row of Best Independent PPLI Solutions Provider 2021 – New York, Private Risk offers client service that bucks the trends of its industry. Made in the USA but offering its solutions across the globe, the firm ensures its clients benefit from a personalised and friendly service that is the logical choice when it comes to protecting high income assets.

With a focus on serving its clients’ interests, Private Risk Capital Development Advisors LLC, or Private Risk, is an independent firm. This independence forms a large part of the identity it has forged within its industry, being a global consulting firm that specializes in the design, formation, and administration of its services. These offerings include Private Placement Life Insurance and Private Placement Annuity based solutions, with the reliability and efficacy of both having secured significant good will and trust amongst leading national and global law firms who serve as referral sources. To serve this market, Private Risk has developed a team of experts, each of whom is exemplary in their specialties of tax, insurance and asset protection law, private equity formations, actuarial science, accounting, risk management, and oversight. This top-of-the-class team has collectively aided its clientele in protecting their financial wellbeing. This has made Private Risk the guardian of wealth for some of the wealthiest families in the US; and through private-placement insurance-based structures, it is one of the best at doing so.

Its clientele is part of a hugely diverse and incredibly dynamic market that Private Risk caters to. Represented amongst those who contract its services are family offices, hedge fund owners, tech start-ups, private equity funds, professional athletes, musicians, artists, hospitals, medical centres, and other wealth-holding persons and institutions. Private Risk’s PPLI and PPA plans both have enjoyed glowing reviews, including word of mouth testimonials from users that have bolstered its client base even further. It has been hailed as ‘uniquely innovative’ in its operational model, specifically in how it helps not just to protect wealth, but to build it whilst also keeping to a strict and rigorous code of conduct.

Throughout its work, it adheres to the United States Internal Revenue Code and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Not only does this reassure its clientele that they are getting the best services in line with the strictest standards, it ensures a flawless internal mechanism with state-of-the-art processes. Staff work hard to tailor their plans to be flexible and unscrupulous when it comes to insurance protection, as well as all other elements of its service. Its focus on efficiency and cost savings are far harder to achieve through traditional planning such as through the solutions its competitors offer. This allows it to cement itself as a front-runner of unique and truly modern ideas in its industry, giving it an edge over the other leading companies in its field.

Part of Private Risk’s appeal to its global affluent client base is its ability to keep close track of developments and changes. This is so often governed by market trends and legislation, both of which can alter the terrain; but life insurance in general has been undergoing a far more slow and gradual evolutionary process. Much of the most impactful changes within the sector have been towards designing solutions for ultra-high-net-worth clients, a relatively new demographic given the over 200-year lifespan of the sector in the macro scale. Most companies and entities offering life insurance copy from others, forming a culture of one business’s innovation being incorporated into the wider industry, and one where those who do come up with these successful measures thrive. This is where Private Risk shines. It has developed its bespoke PPLI and PPA planning solutions to be two such measures, making them creative, unique, and effective to serve this element of the market. Consequentially, its high-net-worth families and individuals benefit from the methodologies Private Risk has introduced to cater to them specifically, putting Private Risk in an excellent position to access more areas of the market.

It works closely with its clients and their advisory teams when it is developing custom-curated solutions. In this way, it can offer them an individually designed service that considers even the most minute detail, ensuring that each case receives the diligence needed to make its solution exemplary. In this way, it secures itself as fundamentally different from other financial planning, brokerage, and insurance sales organizations. It prides itself on its collaborative model, completely rejecting the usual trend in its industry of competing with its clients’ advisors. Private Risk finds this attitude unhelpful at best and counterintuitive at worst; instead, thinking of itself as a consultancy service that will forge a close working partnership with its clients and their team. This helps them to arrive at the best solution for each client’s needs, ensuring successful long-term outcomes. Therefore, its operation focuses on protecting and amplifying the capabilities of its clients and their management team instead of competing over resources or investments, holding to the adage of “we don’t make the colours, we make the colours brighter.”

Another principle that it prides itself on is its self-dependence. This is a strength that allows it to work unbeholden to insurance companies and any semblance of an insurance broker attitude. This lets it skirt around any bias and inherent contradiction, keeping the focus on the client and the relationship it can form with them instead of worrying about compensation. The inherent originality of its business model also allows it a significant degree of creative freedom. In forging its priorities out of the conception, formation, integration, and oversight of a client’s PPLI solution through bespoke policy, it can adapt and alter things as needed. This allows it the flexibility to react to client needs at every stage of the process. Furthermore, its team are amongst the most qualified in the world to do this effectively, with each member being a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Thanks to the tailored nature of its services and plans, Private Risk’s team designs PPLI policies to be structurally rigorous. ‘We are not myopic in our vision’, Private Risk told us, and it strives to reassure its clients in this way. Therefore, nothing in the plan it develops is arbitrary. By using such a streamlined methodology and being rid of anything that may bloat it, it can cut through any unnecessary elements and only offer what is relevant. This intimate knowledge with every aspect of its industry also allows it to handle challenges with sophistication. When hurdles arise, such as a client being in urgent need of capital or needing to meet when past advisors would tell a client it was an impossible task, Private Risk will often exceed expectations and succeed. This even extends as far as obtaining insurance protection for things deemed impossible to insure. Between its experience, its unique approach, and its dedication to each client on an individual level, Private Risk rejects the word ‘impossible’ in its vocabulary.

For more information contact Stacey Milner at Private Risk Capital Development Advisors LLC via https://privateriskcapital.com/privaterisk-policy-design/

The Legal Bridge To Success

Created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs: Tecola is a specialist boutique law firm that deals in technical communicative legal analysis for businesses and individuals across Belgium and beyond. We take a closer look at the firm and its founder, Christophe Baekeland, as Tecola celebrates recognition as the Best Niche Technology & Privacy Law Firm of Belgium for 2021.

Based in Veltem-Beisem, Belgium, Tecola is a specialised boutique law firm created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Tecola, named for its functions in Technical Communicative Legal analysis, is driven by innovation, forward-thinking and sustainability to go above and beyond its services in legal analysis in order to develop and implement pragmatic, strategic solutions and policies in accordance with its clients’ financial backgrounds.

The values that Tecola has been built on are embedded into its very name: Technical, Economic, Concrete, Original, Legal Interim Management, Anticipatory. Verbosely, these values guarantee that Tecola is both a practical and academic specialist in the domains of its services, committed to giving clients the most innovative yet pragmatic solutions at an optimum price to quality ratio that is transparent. Tecola focuses on sustainably integrating its solutions into the internal operations of its clients, and is predominantly driven by its core responsibilities of entrepreneurship and originality, exceeding expectations by proactively anticipating the future business strategies of its clients. In brief, the Tecola philosophy can be condensed into a single statement: ‘Business Innovation from Idea to Success’.

As part of its central ethos, Tecola also provides its bespoke, inhouse services for one or more legal subdomains or during reorganisations, and regularly contributes to the co-drafting of legislative norms such as laws, decrees and other regulations. Supporting both public and private undertakings, Tecola practices sustainable and efficient business that meets the standards of good corporate governance, providing expertise and services in three signature fields: Technology and Privacy, Communication and Legal Services.

Expertise

Built on a strong background in IT, Tecola is able to provide leading services in Technology and Privacy that focus on intellectual property agreements in hardware and software related to ASP, Cloud & SaaS, consultancy, distribution, escrow, franchising, confidentiality, hosting, licensing, maintenance, development, outsourcing, service level and timesharing. Tecola is also able to deal with more general and traditional commercial agreements such as concessions, commercial agency agreements, e-commerce, leasing, and the contractual protection of trade secrets.

Based on this expertise, Tecola is also able to offer preventative and curative legal advice and assistance on a number of privacy-related matters, such as cookies and the processing of personal data. Going beyond the drawing up of agreements relating to the processing, joint processing and independent processing of personal data, Tecola also provides advice on ambiguities in current and future regulations, and working out affordable and efficient privacy policies, charters or regulations for its clients.

Tecola is also able to act as a certified Data Protection Officer and GDPR Lead Auditor that is dedicated to the support and advising of its clients, helping them in various capacities such as to respond to data breaches, to improve the security of their information, or to conduct an investigative audit that ensures a business’ compliance with current privacy regulations.

Within its second core function, Communication, Tecola handles all elements in communications relating to the effective implementation of a legal or strategic reorganisation, working out restructuring and investment guidelines, policies and strategies to create solutions that align with the operations and goals of its clients. This requires close collaboration with boards of directors, shareholders and stakeholders to explain and enforce their rights, thus avoiding liability and accountability.

This pillar of Tecola’s expertise also sees the firm developing internal and external lectures, training courses and workshops inhouse, designed for clients to gain an initial yet thorough understanding of specific subjects, solutions or strategies, whether it be about changes to specific regulations and its impacts on a business, or on subjects like public procurement and GDPR. Through these programmes, Tecola is able to equip its clients with the ability to carry out certain communications as an organisation and achieve, for example, acceptable and workable settlements through alternative dispute resolutions.

Finally, by the third quarter of 2021, Tecola will also be able to act as a recognised mediator in issues relating to trade affairs, co-ownership, and governmental institutions and public undertakings. With its vast experience in communications within legal and business matters, Tecola will be able to reconcile multiple parties and mediate with them to establish mutual, pragmatic, and efficient solutions that are typical of the Belgian firm.

Tecola’s third area of expertise is twofold. Within Legal Services, Tecola offers support in a vast array of corporate matters, including the selection of appropriate legal structures, support measures, grants, shareholders and directors agreements, mergers, acquisitions, reorganisations, B2B and B2C focus, trade agreements and non-profit regulations. The firm also advises private enterprises and public undertakings on a wide range of matters relating to real estate, dealing with building contracts, lease and purchase agreements, apartment co-ownership and more. Tecola is also able to provide support in matters pertaining to state aid, services of general economic interest, SPV and PPS, securities, rights in rem within particular construction structures, and in all kind of corporate and financial structures of huge real estate projects.

Meet Christophe Baekeland

The combination of expertise in IT and IP with property law stems from the experienced knowledge of Tecola’s founder, Christophe Baekeland. A solution-oriented lawyer who is a self-proclaimed entrepreneur on the side of entrepreneurs, Christophe is known for his inquisitive character, keen eye for detail, and innovative mindset that helps him to successfully tackle even the most complex cases.

Drawing on a strong academic background and vast experience in a myriad of business-related areas, Christophe boasts leading expertise within property and intellectual property law. Regarding real estate, Christophe is experienced in reviewing and writing construction, leasing and purchase agreements; in assisting private and public undertakings in large real estate projects; integrating investment and financing strategies; creating Special Purpose Vehicles including joint ventures; providing both preventive and procedural assistance in public procurement; and in advising clients both technically and strategically in co-ownership and timesharing.

Meanwhile, for his expertise in IT services and IP law, Christophe is credited with superior service in various software agreements, including cloud, escrow, franchising, licencing, outsourcing, NDA and SLA, as well as IP contracts pertaining to copyright issues, the protection of trade secrets, and e-commerce. Christophe’s innovative approach to matters regarding GDPR and other fundamental rights and liberties has enabled him to establish his position as a leading partner to undertakings in implementing IT strategies and charters, both preventing potential issues for his clients and maximising their compliance with current and future regulations.   

Christophe has obtained diplomas from institutions such as the University of Antwerp, the KU Leuven and the Brussels School of Competition, gaining the Master in Laws, Master after Master in Company Law, Master after Master in Intellectual Property Law, Master after Master in Corporate Law, LL.M. Competition Law & Economics, and a Postgraduate in Finance – Corporate Finance. He has also achieved both the certificates of Data Protection Officer and GDPR Lead Auditor, and is a certified mediator specialising in civil and trade affairs with a particular focus on conflicts regarding apartment co-ownership.

In addition to his position at the helm of Tecola, Christophe also currently serves as an associated professor at the AP University College Antwerp and at Syntra, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Construction & Property Law and IT Law. He is also involved in several scientific projects regarding those topics, publishing regularly in highly ranked scientific magazines, giving international lectures and symposia. Christophe is also the Chairman of the board of directors of Paralegals4Professionals, a non-profit organisation focused on the post-education of paralegals and the further development of their interests and skills.

As Tecola nears its fifth year of operation, its receipt of the award for Best Niche Technology & Privacy Law Firm 2021 in Belgium is a testament to its successes so far. Propelled by this accolade and its growing reputation for excellence, we can be sure to expect a continued positive trajectory for the future of Tecola.

For business enquires contact Christophe Baekeland of Tecola PLLC via www.tecola.be

Acquisition International is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2021 Business Excellence Awards

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

Business success can be defined in a multitude of ways and can be found in all locations, regardless of industry. Despite the difficulties of the last 16 months, companies still innovate, create and experiment with new ideas every day. Some have achieved growth in the face of immense turbulence, others have honed an expert team that deliver customer satisfaction every day. Whatever the market or sector, business excellence is still apparent and on full display.

Now in its seventh year, the Business Excellence Awards are truly the cornerstone of Acquisition International’s annual celebratory programmes. Awards Coordinator Steve Simpson took a moment to comment in light of the announcement, “once again, it has been an absolute pleasure to speak to you all and find out how you continue to innovate and create in your respective industries. I wish you a fantastic rest of the year ahead.”

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

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.

BroadwayHD Recognised as Best Niche Streaming Service 2021

2020 was a challenging year for the live theatre industry, with productions shut down by the pandemic. However, BroadwayHD has been ahead of the game for years by championing the idea of live theatre digital captures. In other words, delivering a filmed version of the stage show, ensuring that the show can and will go on.

BroadwayHD has been the leader in the recording, aggregation, and digital distribution of live arts. The trend of live theatre captures and making theatre accessible became even bigger this year with the debut of smash hit musical Hamilton on Disney+ and the growing live theatre content available on streaming platforms. Although live theatre will eventually make its return, digital captures will continue to play an integral role and BroadwayHD has been one of the strongest proponents for film captures of live theatre, enabling theatre fans to stream their favourite Broadway hits anytime, anywhere since they launched in 2015.

In 2007 when Netflix launched its streaming service, it was one of a kind. Today there are over 300 streaming services with new companies entering the field every day. BroadwayHD is a pioneering on-demand Internet streaming service, taking the Netflix model and applying it to live theatre productions. BroadwayHD’s survival is attributed to the owners’ significant investment in technology to ensure that streaming is a faultless, high-quality experience for subscribers and the company’s laser sharp focus on carefully curated and exclusive content: Broadway shows. BroadwayHD recently celebrated its 5th year anniversary and has cemented its status as a genuine niche OTT innovator with strong brand recognition and the future looks bright.

In order to support its first four years of steady subscriber growth, BroadwayHD launched a new suite of applications, its next-generation Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) service, across multiple platforms and devices, and introduced new high-performance business models, therefore enriching the user experience. The technology provided the platform with a robust end-to-end OTT video solution that accelerates growth by providing subscribers with a rich, personalised, and easy-to-navigate experience on any device. With a solid, customer friendly platform and a continuous flow of quality branded content, BroadwayHD was perfectly positioned to connect a globally underserved theatre fanbase to the art form that it loved when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As the aggregator of recorded live theatre, BroadwayHD is the technological innovator for the restoration and digital transformation of the industry.

Over the five years since it launched, the impact and reach of BroadwayHD has been widespread and significant. The global appetite for the platform is rapidly growing, and in the past year, subscriber numbers have tripled while the service is viewed in 124 countries across the world. It has helped promote unfamiliar or obscure shows by offering a global platform while enabling lesser-known producers and actors the opportunity to capitalise on an additional revenue stream. In addition, since 2015 the average age of a Broadway ticket buyer has dropped for the first time since 2000, indicating that BroadwayHD is having a positive impact and knock-on effect on audience members booking tickets to live shows.

Giving back to the theatre community is a core mission of BroadwayHD. BroadwayHD is a member of the Broadway League, which means that in addition to being a theatre streaming company, it is a service business to the Broadway industry. With Broadway potentially dark until late 2021, fans are eager to view shows from the comfort of their own home. BroadwayHD is the global aggregator of authorised, professional captures of Broadway and Broadway calibre shows, and as a result, the platform is supporting this worldwide demand and reminding ticket buyers to stay connected and support the reopening efforts. BroadwayHD has been working with various charity organisations with watch parties, affiliate programmes and other efforts to support artists even before the pandemic.

In a ground-breaking first for the industry, in 2016 BroadwayHD partnered with the Roundabout Theatre Company and broke the Guinness World Record for the first Broadway show to be live-streamed. The historic performance of She Loves Me was viewed live in real-time by audiences in over 84 countries across the world. On the day She Loves Me was trending on both Facebook and Twitter, while media and customer testimonials praised and lauded the live-streamed production. BroadwayHD has partnered with other theatres to live stream productions and has plans to live stream an opening night on Broadway in the future.

BroadwayHD is amplifying the work of underrepresented artists to a worldwide audience through their Trailblazers category, a monthly curated playlist that highlights marginalised members of the theatre community, such as women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and the LGBTQ+ community, to help increase the visibility of their work. These curated playlists are tailored to the time of year. For example, to honour Women’s History Month, the catalogue featured the works of female theatre-makers. Show-stopping performances included an all-female Shakespeare Trilogy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, A Night with Janis Joplin, Ann, Driving Ms. Daisy and more. Authentic storytelling through digital captures of stage productions inspires others to follow the trailblazers’ footsteps, creating a more diverse group of theatre makers and audience.

BroadwayHD also has an educational distribution arm, ensuring the platform is available for schools and colleges to access at a significant discount. By utilising its extensive catalogue, students can study a full range of stage shows and backstage documentaries that highlight the intricacies of a production behind the scenes. Through BroadwayHD’s educational partnership, 4 million students have access to the service across 95 countries with ongoing layers of content and schools being added to the distribution network.

The visionaries behind BroadwayHD are partners Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. It should come as no surprise that this married power couple have prominent theatre careers as a background. Lane is co-owner of the legendary Palace Theatre on Broadway and Comley is a former entertainment reporter for Nightlife TV on The Travel Channel. They have been awarded the highest honours in theatre including nine Tony Awards, two Oliviers and multiple other awards. They will tell you that their first love and passion is for the live stage experience and sharing that experience with others was the impetus for BroadwayHD. As a native New Yorker, Lane started going to Broadway as a child but Comley never saw a Broadway show until after college. Earlier in their relationship, she dubbed him “Mr. Broadway” for his deep knowledge of theatre and he subsequently wrote three theatre history books with her encouragement. Together they married her TV background with his theatre background to form BroadwayHD, a perfect blend of theatre on screen.

Under the leadership of Comley and Lane, BroadwayHD’s extensive catalogue of pre COVID-19 recordings and their commitment to their customers to promote and preserve live theatre, will undoubtedly play a part in the recovery of the theatre industry and its subsequent impact on the national economy. In future, if audiences cannot get to a live theatre production, BroadwayHD will continue to bring streaming theatre to them. The formula is a win-win for the future health of Broadway and for global audiences who will never have the opportunity to step inside a Broadway theatre.

How an Accountant Can Be Beneficial for Your Business

Behind every successful business is a dedicated workforce that works tirelessly under the leadership of a great business person. However, supporting the leader in making some of the big decisions for the company, in particular decisions regarding finance, is an expert accountant. Having an accountant devoted to handling the finances of the company, from organising payroll, minimising business tax and controlling other overhead tasks.

Although those who have established a business may possess the talent for running that company, their knowledge and experience around accounting and handling accounts might be limited. Aside from the lack of experience, they also have limited time to handle the accounts of their business.

As a business continues to rise, bringing in new talent and opportunities, it becomes increasingly clear the importance of hiring an accountant to handle the accountants for the company. Aside from freeing up time, an accountant can bring to the company a range of extra skills.

If you are a business owner considering investing in hiring an accountant, here are some of the benefits that will come with bringing the extra support on board.

Time Saving Resource

With a growing business comes limited time to complete other tasks, such as handling the accounts. As the owner, your priorities lie more with trying to generate more business for the firm, as well as complete projects you currently have, than dealing with paperwork.

Having an accountant who has an in-depth understanding of the rules, regulation and deadlines surrounding tax laws, in addition to knowing the format HM Revenue and Customs requires like the back of their hand, will save you an incredible amount of time. This time you can use it for other aspects such as ensuring the business is running as efficiently as possible.

Support In Company Growth

As you look to start expanding your company, having a good accountant on your side will provide you with wisdom and be an excellent source for advice in helping you to develop your business going forward. A glance at an accounting firm’s website, check n-accounting.co.uk for example, and you will see the level of dedication they are willing to put into helping your company achieve your business goals.

Investing in an accountant for your business means that they will develop a deep understanding of the ins and outs of your company, supporting your firm’s goals and taking pride when it succeeds.

Fountain Of Knowledge

In addition to being an accountant, they are also business advisers who bring with them a plethora of knowledge and experience after working with other companies in a vast range of sectors. Throughout their years of working, accountants will have seen and solved numerous problems and challenges – some of which your business will also experience. Your account will use this wealth of knowledge to provide you with an unbiased opinion on any ideas you have regarding the company, as well as warn you of possible risks that can occur or potential opportunities that arise.

Whilst all businesses are aiming to achieve success within their respected industry, each company and how they operate is different. When searching for an accountant to help you achieve your business goals, share your vision with them about the firm’s future, and what you hope to achieve in the years to come. In building this relationship with your accountant, you can form a solid foundation that both of you can work on to accomplish the goals you have set for your business.

Employees: This Is How Tax Fraud Affects your Background Check in 2021

Paying taxes and filing returns is an important civic responsibility. While some employers may fail to make a background check on tax fraud, you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of the law. Tax fraud occurs when you knowingly forge information on tax returns to limit tax accountability.

Employers play essential roles in the growth of an organization. For this reason, an employer would be scared to hire someone who falsifies their tax returns. Lying about vital government requirements tells so much about an employee’s character.

Here’s how tax fraud can affect an employment background check in the year 2021:

We Believe What We Perceive

From the words of Allen Brown, a director of internal audit in Louisiana Community College, “People believe what they perceive.” For this reason, employers are vigilant. Senior personnel organizations grow to be part of the company’s image. When employers look for the next good hire, they make a background check to hire the right people. With the right staff, an organization’s assurance to attain its goals is boosted.

A Gauge for Trust

Most employers would want to know an employee’s past to gauge their trust. For instance, if an employer discovers tax fraud in potential employees’ past, they might not get hired. While it is exhausting to make background checks, it is disappointing to hire employers prone to fraud. It’s hard to leave essential aspects of your business to an employee you don’t trust.

Fine or Imprisonment

Tax fraud accumulating to large amounts of money may call for fines or imprisonment. As employers make background checks, they can locate felonies. In such cases, employers may report. When convicted, an individual attracts a fine of about $100,000 or gets imprisoned. Besides, tax frauds draw different penalties according to the law.

Common ways Taxpayers Fail to File Tax

Amid looking for job opportunities and being caught in other life struggles, we may fail as taxpayers. But do not fret like Nikki Giovanni confirms, “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” To avoid a repeat of taxpayer mistakes while job hunting, find here the common ways you might have failed as a taxpayer when filing taxes:

  • Reporting less income. Whether willful or not, failing to report all your income is an offense.  Frequently observed with freelancers who mostly fail to trace some invoices.
  • Over-estimated non-cash aid. Benevolent aid might be complex to value. For instance, the pricing of a $700 donation is $7,000. You’re likely to file incorrect returns when you fail to identify the correct pricing.
  • Increasing other federal tax deductions cost. Accidentally, you may overestimate the deduction cost, for example, education expenses sponsored by your job or medical expenses.
  • Forget to file taxes. Like mentioned earlier, sometimes life gets busy. Filing taxes is the last thing on your mind. By the time you realize it, the tax day is gone. You end up attracting penalties on your account.
  • Present half-truths about business expenses. In cases where employees have properties apart from those provided by the employer. When using such items during working periods, present the correct percentage. For instance, using your work car personally should be separated from when it is for work. Half-truths affect your tax file.

What Meet the Requirements for a Fraudulent Tax Activity

As a taxpayer or employee, you might want to know the requirements for a fraudulent tax activity:

  • Leave out taxable income or knowingly underreporting. It’s considered fraud to leave out essential information concerning your payment.
  • Keeping double financial records. Having two financial records means you have something to hide, and this is fraud.
  • Concealing or relocating assets or taxable income. Hiding or changing some aspects of your taxable income is a fraudulent tax activity.
  • Personal expenses as business expenses. As revealed earlier, using company properties for your gain and claiming to be business expenditure is tax fraud.
  • Claiming fake or overestimated deductions on a return. From charitable donations to overrated travel expenses

Who Gets Imprisoned for Tax Evasion?

A countless number of people get scared of the federal government when audits finish. But don’t freak out; a handful of people end up in jail for tax evasion. For instance, in 2015 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prosecuted only 1,330 people out of 150 million people.

Consequently, tax evasion cases followed through on by the IRS include people who fail to file a required tax return and misreport income or deductions on tax returns. Fortunately, for people who are unable to pay taxes, the IRS never chases them. But woe unto those who hide properties they can use to pay accumulated taxes.

Fraud tax activities are costly to the government. Tax fraud or tax negligence has caused a gap in dues collected. The recruiting procedure, especially in money matters, requires a keen background check by employers.

Investing in Yourself

At the end of the day, if you want to become an expert in business, that means that you’re going to be spending a lot of time making investments. Some of these investments may seem obvious: You’ll have to invest in equipment, real estate, and employees. Some investments, however, are more important and less obvious than others. Leading the way among them, you’re going to have to invest real time and money in yourself. Your mind may automatically default to investing in how you look and act, and yes, that is important. However, investing in your own skillset and education are truly vital to your business success. Here are a few ways that this is the case.

Invest in your education

There is very little doubt about it, the most important investment you can make is in your education. To that end, getting a formal education can be the difference between success or failure in the business field. A formal education may involve a variety of different options, including a formal, four-year degree. However, the knowledge you learn here can be absolutely critical. In some cases, you’re literally going to have to borrow money in order to make this investment.

Public and private student loans can help make your formal education a reality. When searching for a loan, make sure to find a loan that best meets your financial needs. This can mean a few things such as how are the interest rates, what are its repayment options, and do they gel with your potential financial situation. Also, if interest rates drop later, will you be able to refinance the loan down the road.

 

Self-Improvement Courses & Learning

Self-improvement courses or readings can take a lot of different forms. There are courses, like those of Dale Carnegie or other business leaders, that can teach you vital interpersonal skills. There are also books, podcasts, and more, all of which can potentially teach you interpersonal skills that you will need to be successful in the business world. Sometimes, this investment means hundreds or thousands of dollars. Other times, it may just involve reading and the time that reading takes. Regardless, make this investment. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

 

Experience

Experience cannot be bought, but it can be learned. As such, if you want to become a business success, ask yourself this very important question: How can you gain experience that will give you a leg up on your potential competition? If you are truly willing to work hard and start at the bottom, identify an internship that can give you the advantage you need. Offer your services – for free – at the business of your choice, making sure that this is a business that can teach you the skills that you need to get ahead.

Remember, the work you do during this internship or volunteer period may not seem like much or be particularly glamorous, but that’s okay. Instead, observe. See what your coworkers are doing and learn the techniques that they use in order to keep their business going and be successful. At a good internship, odds are that you will learn more with what you see than what you do.

How to Use Tech to Your Advantage When Trading Stocks

If you want to get into the world of investing through the medium of stock trading, you will discover that there are a plethora of tools to help you do so correctly. Learning how to trade correctly can help you to mitigate some of the risk that naturally comes when trading. The right tools can help you to reach the next level above that, so you can trade your stocks as successfully as possible, even if you are not a full-time trader.

What to Know About Trading Stocks

There is a common misconception that various pieces of technology and certain tools will make trading stocks easier to manage. This just is not the case. No matter what you choose to use for your trading, there is going to be a certain level of risk with it that you need to look after.

In general, it is recommended that you never invest more than you can afford to lose. The stock market can be very unpredictable and you have to make sure that you account for this when selecting your stocks.

At the same time, you also need to make sure that you are undertaking adequate research to ensure that you are not approaching the buying and selling of stocks blindly. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be for you to navigate the markets. This holds true whether you hold thousands of stocks or just a few.

If you do want to buy stocks and try out this form of investment, you need to make sure that you are buying from a legitimate source. Whether you will be in control of your trading yourself or you are entrusting things to a broker, make sure that you understand how the full process works.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways we can use technology to trade stocks more successfully.

Research

One of the primary ways that we can use technology to manage our stocks is through research. There are so many different sources out there that you can turn to if you want to learn a little more about the world of stocks, or if you want to do some in-depth research to find out where you should be turning to get the best tips.

Once upon a time, you would have to head out to buy a newspaper to get this information. Many would have checked the financial section as part of their daily browse. Nowadays, there are lots of websites that you can turn to if you want to know more. From news sites to independent blogs devoted to just the stock market, you will be able to find out so much about the world of investing from the touch of a button.

This can make browsing for this information much easier to handle. Track down a couple of sites that you find easy to read and interpret, and make sure you check them regularly. With this information being available to browse online whenever you choose, you are going to be able to access it whenever is easiest for you. You can also then check whenever it suits you best – whether you want to devote part of your day to actively managing your stocks or you just want to have a quick look when in a queue or waiting for public transport.

Staying in the Loop

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