Changing the Game

Outdoor equipment must stand up to the most rigorous of conditions, not only competing with the stresses that nature provides, but the strain of continual use by fitness fanatics and children. Recognised as the Most Outstanding Outdoor Fitness Gym & Playground Equipment Manufacturer – 2020, KOOCHIE GLOBAL has achieved great things. We look more closely at the firm to find out more.

KOOCHIE is a brand that can be seen across the world, renowned as a trendsetter within the playground equipment and outdoor fitness industry. In a market where safety and durability is key, this is a company that has made its name in thinking beyond the simple provision of fitness & playground equipment. In every product, the brand has worked tirelessly to incorporate a unique multi sensorial dimension that is specifically designed to facilitate behavioural, cognitive and motor development. As well as addressing the social and emotional aspects of child development, KOOCHIE is a company that goes one step beyond in the pursuit of excellence.

“The dream from the very beginning was not to make a playground system like no other, but to offer a total solution to customers. This solution would holistically include, meeting international standards of safety, quality, aesthetics, product life, design, planning and of course project execution” says Roben DASS, the Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of the brand. This dream has worked to redefine and achieve a new balance between these qualities, with a mission that remains the same to this day thus putting the brand on a global map.

This decision has guided KOOCHIE to its current success, establishing a distinct identity that really differentiates the brand from its competitors. Many have come to see the brand as the first choice for their needs, with medium to large residential projects making up the majority of the market. This means that the team’s much-vaunted equipment can be found in public parks, schools, camping sites, malls, clubs, hotels and resorts to name but a few locations.

Of course, some people were unconvinced of the need for a new international standard for their playgrounds, with many tired and potentially dangerous sites seen as acceptable. The work of KOOCHIE has gone a long way to transforming how people see playgrounds, having a major effect on the industry. This work was painstakingly done through workshops and seminars, each designed not to sell KOOCHIE products but to educate stakeholders on the importance of testing and certification for children’s play & outdoor fitness areas. The result, however, has been an industry transformed and receptive to what KOOCHIE has to offer, even forcing competition to step up their standards and product offerings.

As the team provide a total solution, this means that each project is treated on individually, with its own set of unique advantages and challenges. From consultation to design, from manufacture to installation and final sign off, the team are engaged with the entire process. Clients are always approached directly, with full support given by the company’s fully trained marketing team.

The success of the firm comes entirely from the passion with which its leadership and team approaches each job. All team members are delighted to work alongside stakeholders in the production of the ideal site for gym and park equipment. “We are proud to have become one of the most specified brands by leading architects and designers in many markets today. The brand is well established and is considered to be a trend setter in our industry – with this recognition comes a huge responsibility that we continually need to live up to” says Roben.

With a history of innovation and higher standards, it can be of little surprise that KOOCHIE is still spending money researching new technologies and innovations. The business is continuously expanding, offering exciting new product lines as well as a brandnew production facility. This will mark the company’s ninth. Looking forward, the firm intends to penetrate more global markets, such as North and Central America, as well as the EMEA regions.

KOOCHIE has been responsive for a market transformed, pushing up international standards that guarantee the safety of all users. This
would be a success in and of itself, but the team have gone on to find impressive achievements in the construction of these new parks and playgrounds. With such a determination to achieve something new, KOOCHIE is set to continue its path of success for years to come.

Answering the Nation’s 10 Most Common Personal Finance Questions

By Annie Charalambous, Content Manager at ETX Capital

The pandemic has drastically impacted our lives and our savings. Research shows that while lower-income households across the UK have had to dip into their savings to stay afloat, higher-income households have grown theirs.

It seems everyone is looking for new income streams and ways to get more bang for their buck – including navigating the often-complex world of savings and investments – and they’re turning to the internet for advice on where to start.

That’s why we’ve filtered through the noise to give you the nation’s top 10 most commonly asked questions around personal finance – and answer them too.

Which shares should I buy (49,500 monthly searches) and how? (9,900 monthly searches)

The shares you choose to invest in will depend on various factors, including the level of risk you’re willing to take, the overall market climate, and much more. Before you do buy (or short) any shares, you’ll want to do your homework on both the company and the industry at large.

For example, if you see ABC Manufacturers’ stock price is up this year, before buying in, you may want to look at how their performance stacks up against competitors like XYZ Manufacturers or view their most recent quarterly report.

There are always opportunities in the market to suit every budget and experience level, but much like picking the winning lottery numbers, there is no winning formula for what to invest in, or when.

Which companies are in the FTSE100? (40,500 monthly searches)

The FTSE100 is made up of the 100 largest (qualifying*) companies (by market cap – available shares multiplied by current share price) listed on the London Stock Exchange. The index acts as a major indicator of the UK stock market at large. Its 3 largest constituents are Unilever, AstraZeneca, and HSBC.

*To qualify, a company must meet requirements set out by the FTSE Group.

What is an ISA? (12,100 monthly searches)

An ISA, or ‘Individual Savings Account’, is a savings account available to anyone in the UK over 16, without taxing the interest earned on it. Considered a lower-risk investment, the drawbacks are that you can only hold one active ISA per year, and you are capped on how much you place in it (currently at £20,000).

There are two kinds of ISAs: a ‘cash ISA’, whereby you pay into it like you would a traditional savings account to earn interest, and a ‘shares ISA’, where your money is invested in stocks and bonds and neither the interest – nor any profit – is taxed. While the latter has more potential for greater returns, being tied to the stock market also means a greater risk of losing money.

What are bonds? (8,100 monthly searches)

A bond represents a loan, typically given to a body like a government or large company, by an investor. Governments may opt to issue bonds to raise money, and then agree to buy these bonds back at a later (agreed-upon) ‘maturity’ date. Bonds are considered a low-risk investment and can be a good way to diversify your portfolio with minimal exposure.

What is an ETF? (6,600 monthly searches)

ETFs, or ‘Exchange-Traded Funds’, are an asset type similar to index funds, in that they comprise of different stocks – usually representative of a particular sector – and are typically managed by larger companies (Vanguard, iShares, etc.). However, index funds are connected to exchanges and correlate more with that country’s economy and stock market.

What is a hedge fund? (5,400 monthly searches)

A hedge fund is an aggregated pool of money from different investors that is managed by an institution or individual. The hedge fund manager closely monitors the investment and is able to react and adjust accordingly (as per their strategy).

What is pension drawdown? (5,400 monthly searches)

Pension drawdown occurs when you continue to invest into a pension whilst simultaneously withdrawing money from it, essentially giving yourself a steady ‘income’ out of your own pension pot.

What are dividends? (4,400 monthly searches)

Dividends are a portion of a company’s profits that are distributed among its shareholders.

For example, if you buy 10 shares in ABC Manufacturing and they pay an annual dividend of £5 per share, you’ll be eligible for £50 back in your pocket that year – if you’re still holding those shares at the ex-dividend date.

 

What is cryptocurrency? (4,400 monthly searches)

Cryptocurrencies are digital-only currencies held on the blockchain. Unlike regular ‘cash’ currencies, cryptocurrencies aren’t tied to any central bank and are therefore unregulated, volatile, and considered a high-risk investment.

Those are coincidentally the same reasons for the relatively mass adoption over recent years – as more institutions accept and even integrate the likes of Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, and countless others, these assets risk becoming a part of the very world they were created to challenge.

The Advantages of Pursuing a Graduate Degree Before Medical School

If you are intent on becoming a doctor, you should know that there is no guaranteed way to become the best doctor. There is also no rule that states you have to go to graduate school before enrolling in medical school. However, getting your graduate degree beforehand does have some distinct advantages. Here are just a few of them.

 

Learn Medicine Based on Evidence

One of the greatest skills medical students can possess is the ability to find, control, and use peer-reviewed and published medical data. This is the bedrock to making informed decisions on a clinical basis. Students entering into a graduate program before they enroll in a medical school will be exposed to, and become adept at, all of the facets of evidence-based medicine well before those who go straight to medical school. Students who complete master’s programs will sufficient knowledge in such things as epidemiology, data analysis, and biostatistics to transfer and apply it directly after entering medical school.

 

Ease of Payments

The process of paying for graduate school is essentially the same as paying for undergraduate school. After any avenues of free money are exhausted, apply for a private student loan to cover the remaining amount of expenses. Repayment plans can generally be tailored to be flexible for a healthy budget. One of the last things you should be worried about during graduate school is where the money is coming from and a private loan is definitely a solution for that.

 

Develop Research Skills

Many budding medical students state that they have a desire to pursue medical research during their training. Since residency programs are highly competitive, it is a good idea to keep up with what everyone else is doing. In fact, many students are entering medical schools with research projects already in the works. This is something that is highly impressive to admissions officers. To make sure you are on the same level of playing field, you need to be prepared for this as well. Students who have completed a master’s program have already developed the skills to analyze large amounts of pertinent data and to ask questions concerning novel forms of research.

 

Networking

Just as with virtually all other forms of business, medical students need to network within their chosen professions. Students who have gone through a graduate program have already developed a solid network of peers that they can rely on for peer review even possible collaboration on future projects. The sooner you can develop a network, the better off you will be. When you have a pre-built peer network, it is much easier to get papers published or to gain assistance with certain types of project funding.

 

Resume Booster

If you can show admissions officers that what you studied in graduate school has a direct bearing on your future medical career, then that degree acts as a huge boost to your resume. Not only does it show drive and determination, but it also displays the additional knowledge gained that others who skipped medical school may not currently possess.

A Beginner’s Guide to Learn Everything About Golf

There are different types of sports which people like. Golf is classified among the trendy games played globally. Similar to other sports, it needs practice. As a beginner, it may seem hard but with time things will be clear. All that is required is persistence and a lot of practice. These days, we have online tutorials on how to go about the game.

It is worth playing golf since the benefits are numerous. Your health gets a boost in many ways and helps in spending quality time with friends or family. When new to the golfing world, there are many things which you need to learn. Such knowledge together with time at the courses will give you prowess.

1. Understand the Terminologies

The last thing one wants is to confuse the basics. Knowing the name of each piece of equipment is pivotal while in the field. Make yourself relevant with the daily tools which you use. During the competitions, there are different terms players will be mentioned to refer to certain activities. For instance, a stroke is any swing made with the intent to hit the ball. A bogey refers to 1 stroke above par. The list is extensive on the different terms specific to golf.

Be patient with yourself. Possibly, develop a list of the terminologies with different meanings. Plan on learning one each day. This is a practical strategy that has helped new-comers in the field of golf.

2. Golf Equipment

 Equipping yourself with the right tools before setting for golfing is necessary. The golf clubs and other gears are key. These include the putters, ball markers, tees, golf bags, and club head covers. It is necessary to have other aids such as the ball mark repair tools. For beginners, the best start is knowing the basic function of each.

Learning to use the golf club means knowing golfing. It is at the core of everything. One is allowed to have 14 golf clubs. Find the best brands in the market for more durability. Being super with the swing requires proper learning of the grip. Practice how to grip a golf club correctly, it needs to be firm for the stroke to be effective and not risk injuring other players. Create a training schedule for the training alone and perfect the swings. 

Finding a professional trainer makes you take less time before you get it right. Also, have friends around with more skills than you. This slowly makes you absorb the art.

3. Find Relevant Learning Content

Having dedication in the field makes you better faster. Find every resource to increase your understanding. There is different content online which you can use and widen your know-how in the game. The love for golf will make you see the need to follow major golf tournaments. This has a great impact on getting the whole concept. Other than the playing procedures and strategies, watching also guides you on how the ranking is done.

4. The Rules

Golf is the same everywhere thanks to the different rules set. Some of them are official while some are not. The golf courses can impose some guidance specific to it. Such rules never interfere with the quality of the game but rather make players related well with the place. This is especially when they are new to the grounds. See it necessary to learn about the different instructions well.

Going against them at times results in penalties which make your score not count. With time, new golf rules keep emerging. This aims at making the game more fair and standard. For the people living with a disability, the rules for their games may be different in some way. There are licensed golf sites that help people understand such rules. As a beginner, be a friend to the websites.

5. Golf Etiquette

A smooth golf session is exciting. This is why all players need to give their best in making this happen. Sticking to the rules and being careful with their swings is the right way to go. Alongside this, we need to follow golf etiquette. These are simple principles that inform how players should relate to each other.

Some of them include prohibiting talking during a backswing of someone. It is not allowed to walk through the gap between the hole and the ball. All players are supposed to control their emotions when hitting the golf ball. Keep time always when it comes to a show-up.

Golf is an interesting game liked by many. You end up getting attached to it, even more, when you understand it better. As a beginner, the start may be challenging but give yourself time. With more guidance, you will end up being a worthy opponent.

Refresh Your Memory: How To Make Sure Your Retail Store Is COVID-19 Secure Post-Lockdown

Since the roadmap out of lockdown was announced in the UK, you’ve probably begun to plan your business’ reopening. And while this may be the third time that retail stores have opened their doors after a lockdown, since it’s been quite a while since things were relatively normal, an update can help refresh your memory on the protocols that need to be followed.

Although a clear date hasn’t been given for retail stores to open, it’s expected that a reopening should happen around April 12th, providing that the vaccine is successfully reducing COVID cases and no new strains of the virus are causing any problems.

With less than a month to go, here’s a list of ways that you can make sure that your retail store is COVID-19 safe when it’s time to open up again:

Complete A COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Your job as an employer is to protect your staff form harm, and this now includes taking the necessary steps to help keep your employees and customers safe from COVID.

Your company’s risk assessment should now look at any activities at work that might cause the virus to be transmitted, a list of any vulnerable staff members or which job positions could be most at risk, and any acts that you are going to take to control the risk.

Use Signs And Stickers To Educate Customers

With so many different rules and regulations being introduced since the pandemic first began, you should expect customers to be confused from time to time. To help people have the most enjoyable shopping experience, you should use signs that clearly educate customers on the rules they should be following in your shop.

You can place post-mounted signs by the doorway of your shop so that it’s the first thing they read when they walk in. Another great idea is to use floor stickers which can serve to guide customers around the store (ideal for if you’re implementing a one-way system.)

You can easily get your sticker printing from Discount Displays, who use high tech latex eco-friendly printers to create stickers which are eye-catching and durable. They’re completely flexible with design so it’s completely up to you how creative you want to be.

Clean Frequently

No one enjoys cleaning, but since the virus can survive on surfaces anywhere from several hours to a few days, it’s important to keep areas sanitised at all times. With accessories like sunglasses, you may want to enforce a rule permitting anybody from trying them on, or perhaps leave a bucket for people to drop their used items into so you can clean them before they go back on display.

Provide Hand Sanitiser

Encourage customer hygiene by leaving hand sanitiser out in an obvious place where it can be easily seen. It’s a good idea to put a hand sanitising dispenser by your door so people have the option to use it when they first enter into your store.

Nicole Junkermann’s Insights on the Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Nicole Junkermann is an international entrepreneur and investor, and the founder of NJF Holdings, an international investment company with interests in venture capital, private equity, and real estate.  Through NJF’s venture capital arm (NJF Capital), Nicole and her team oversee a portfolio across Europe and the US similar in scale to a mid-size venture fund, with a focus on HealthTech, FoodTech, FinTech, and Deep Tech.

For decades, virtual reality (VR) was nothing more than a feature of science fiction literature and movies. It has now become a prevailing element of our tech-based societies and is likely to transform our everyday lives in the near future.

VR involves using headsets or goggles to create a virtual world for users to interact with. Today, most popular VR does not only visually transport users into another reality but involves taking control of their other senses — smell, hearing, taste, and touch — to provide a deeply immersive experience.

This is different from augmented reality (AR), where either glasses or smartphones overlay virtual objects or information onto real-world scenes; blending virtual reality with real life.

Pre-pandemic, VR and AR were mainly associated with the gaming and entertainment industries. Whilst this still rings true today, both are now revolutionising the fundamentals of everyday life, from work through to health, education, and retail.

Virtual and Augmented Reality at Work

When life and business returns to some form of normality, a hybrid model of remote and office work will likely be commonplace. Employees will look to maintain connectivity and collaboration amongst colleagues, whilst continuing to build company culture within remote teams.  

Video conference platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams have been indispensable in the past year, but VR and AR technology can go further and act as a vehicle for virtual meeting spaces. The development of this technology is already well under way. Spatial, for example, is a start-up that allows people to meet ‘face to face’ through augmented or virtual reality as semi-realistic 3D avatars. VR could be the answer for those experiencing ‘zoom fatigue’ as a fun and interactive alternative.  

But it is not just meetings; VR is being used by companies training their employees. According to a PWC survey, employees in VR courses can be trained up to four times faster, are more emotionally connected to content, are more focussed learners, and are more confident in applying what they have been taught. This technology is especially useful for entry level employees, providing an experience of realistic workplace scenarios before they start their job.

Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education 

There is no doubt that virtual and augmented reality will transform learning. From transporting history students back in time, to travelling inside the human body and creating simulated scientific experiments, the possibilities are endless. VR and AR create an immersive, fun, and memorable learning experience and are likely to become increasingly popular features of the classroom.

Augmented Reality in Retail

The use of online shopping has skyrocketed during the pandemic, transforming consumers’ shopping habits. This has led to a monumental surge in the return of unwanted items. Augmented reality provides a solution to this, where customers can engage in a ‘try-before-you-buy’ digital experience and visualise the product in real time through their smartphones or smart glasses.

Argos was an early advocated for this technology. Their AR shopping app allows customers to visualise and interact with a range of furniture products in their own homes. Within the cosmetics industry, AR is a powerful tool to help boost sales, enabling customers to try product variations and styles before they buy.

Virtual Reality in Entertainment

According to a Market Watch report the VR gaming and entertainment market is expected to grow from $4.15 billion in 2018, to a mammoth $70.57 billion by 2026. In a year marked by tragedy and isolation, it should not come as a surprise to know that consumers are looking for ways to escape reality and transcend into a world outside the pandemic. Sales of VR goggles, for example, have risen by 350% as those trapped at home seek a safe way to escape lockdowns.

Applications of VR technologies to the narrower live entertainment industry are become more sophisticated. VR platforms, such as MelodyVR, are going further than just creating live experiences, offering backstage perspectives and interactions that fans could never experience at traditional in-person venues.

Virtual and augmented reality will become mainstream features of our everyday lives as technologies continue to progress, and industries continue to adapt and innovate. It is essential that business leaders keep a close eye on these developments and ensure they do not risk being left behind.

5 Deadly Events That Burden American Hospitals

Thousands of people are admitted to hospitals in the US every day. Hospital beds are being filled so rapidly that makeshift ones need to be made. Many events that lead people needing to be hospitalized can be avoided. It doesn’t help when a pandemic is thrown into the mix too. When hospitals are inundated with patients, it strains the health care system and can stop professionals from performing their job to the standard that’s needed.

Some events happen less frequently, like terrorist attacks. Others occur daily, like car crashes. These occurrences put a strain on hospital staff and resources by requiring emergency surgeries and more beds. It’s important that everyone does their best to help lessen the burden and help hospitals to be functional and efficient. Here are five events that lead to American hospitals being overwhelmed.

1. Terrorist Attacks

Every year around 21,000 people die from terrorist attacks worldwide. In 2017, they were responsible for 0.05% of all global deaths. The biggest terrorist attack to occur in the US, and the world, was 9/11. During that day and the days that followed, 2,977 people died and 6,000 suffered serious injuries. Hospitals in New York and the surrounding area were inundated with people needing serious medical attention. There weren’t enough beds for everyone who needed help, and not enough medical professionals to give assistance to those with injuries.

Deaths caused indirectly by the explosions may not even be counted in the figures. The dust and debris from the explosion may have caused people in the area to develop cancer or other serious illnesses. If you know someone who suffered from this, these helpful resources will guide them in understanding and assessing their legal options.

2. Covid-19

Covid-19 is a leading cause of death in US today. The country has seen a total of 29.5 million cases and 534 thousand deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The hospital system is being overwhelmed by the number of people needing medical attention from the virus. However, the number of patients is going down. In January 2021, there were over 100,000 people in US hospitals with Covid, and in March 2021 it was under 40,000. Good hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing will help to lower this number even more and lessen the burden.

The overcrowding of hospitals means that it’s harder for doctors to perform their jobs to the highest standards. There isn’t enough equipment, such as ventilators, to support every patient, and medical professionals may become stressed and burned out.

3. Car Crashes

Car crashes have led to a high number of deaths for decades. In the US, it’s the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 54. Every year, 38,000 people die from car related incidents and 4.4 million are seriously injured. The majority of these people are admitted to hospitals and require medical help. The main causes of car crashes are easy to avoid:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Fatigue
  • Distraction

Speeding is the leading cause of road accidents because it’s harder to maneuver a speeding car and has more force upon impact with another object. Injuries from car crashes vary from head injuries to loss of limbs. Emergency surgeries are often needed after major accidents and they put extra strain on hospitals. By driving at the speed limit, keeping alcohol consumption low, and staying focused, motorists may help lessen the amount of people who need admitting to hospitals from car crashes.

4. Workplace Injuries That Lead to Deaths

During 2019, a worker died from a workplace injury every 99 minutes in the US. Deaths related to work-related injuries can be avoided by following the proper safety procedures. Different industries have different guidelines that need to be followed. For example, in construction, safety equipment, like hardhats and sturdy shoes, need to be worn. Whereas in the office, desks need to be set up ergonomically and stress levels managed. However, in most cases where death has occurred in a workplace, it’s from manual labor. Roughly 20% of fatally injured workers were employed as a truck driver or sales worker.

Work-related injuries and deaths also include suicide related to work stresses and unintentional overdoses. In 2019, there were 307 suicides and 313 overdoses, which was a slight increase from the previous years. These can be reduced by employers ensuring that employees are happy and coping with their job. Less workplace incidents will mean less hospital beds taken up by injuries that can easily be avoided and more medication for other patients. Following the occupational health and safety guidelines will help lessen the number of hospitalizations from workplace injuries.

5. Hospital Mistakes and Errors

Some deaths that occur at hospitals aren’t from external factors but are from mistakes made in the hospital. It’s estimated that every year around 22,000 people die from mistakes made by medical professionals. For example, diagnosing someone wrongly or failing to manage their condition properly. Wrongly diagnosing someone can lead to their medications causing more issues and may increase their chances of dying.

In most cases where these deaths occur, the patients are already ill and have a life expectancy of three months. For patients who were previously healthy and die from hospital error, the rate is around 7,000 every year. These mistakes can burden hospitals by making medical professionals second guess their decisions and wasting medication on the wrong diagnosis. While these mistakes may not be completely eliminated, following hospital procedures and thorough testing may lessen the number of deaths.

Conclusion

There are a lot of events that lead to hospitals being overwhelmed with patients. Events such as terrorist attacks can lead to an influx of patients when it happens, and more admissions years after. Other events, like car crashes and workplace injuries, are more consistent and happen every day.

At the moment, Covid-19 is resulting in US hospitals being overcrowded and burdening the health care system. Emergency surgeries and resources, such as medications, are needed more when these events occur. Hospitals can run more effectively and offer better care to patients when they’re not overwhelmed.

COVID-19 One Year On: Cost To UK SMEs To Exceed £126.6 Billion

  • New data reveals the impact of Covid-19 to UK SMEs is set to exceed £126.6bn – nearly double the £69bn initially projected a year ago
  • SMEs have lost £15,673 so far on average, but expect total cost to reach £22,461, suggesting losses will continue for some time yet
  • Over 840,000 SMEs don’t believe their business will ever return to pre-pandemic levels
  • 81% feel they haven’t had enough government support, and over 2.2 million still haven’t been able to access government support or grants.

Approaching the anniversary of the first national lockdown, a new report reveals the cost of Covid-19 to UK SMEs is set to exceed £126.6 billion – nearly double the £69 billion initially projected a year ago.

The study by small business insurance provider Simply Business revealed that on average, SMEs have lost £15,673 each so far in earnings due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, up from the £11,779 small business owners initially estimated that Covid-19 would cost in May last year.

The financial impact on SMEs

A year into the global pandemic, SMEs now fear they will lose a total of £22,461 each on average, suggesting there are still more losses to come. Almost one in 10 (8%) expect the pandemic to cost them over £50,000 in total.

What’s more, over 840,000 SMEs are not sure their business will ever return to pre-pandemic trading levels, bringing a huge blow to both the small business community and the UK economy.

With six million SMEs in the UK, accounting for over 99% of all businesses, 33% of employment and 21% of all economic turnover, the total cost of Covid-19 to UK SMEs – set to exceed £126.6 billion – has the potential to send ripples through our economy and communities.

A lack of government support?

Overall, 81% of SMEs still say they haven’t had enough support from government – with 41% saying they don’t feel supported at all and 40% believing they’ve had some support but not enough.

In terms of financial support, over 2.2 million SMEs (37%) still haven’t been able to access government schemes and grants, seen by many as a lifeline to help small businesses through the pandemic.

For those that have been able to access government support, a third (33%) have been able to receive the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, a quarter (26%) have utilised the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, and one fifth (18%) have accessed the Local Restriction Support Grant.

So far, only one in 20 (5%) have been able to make use of the business rates holiday, and just 3% have been able to use the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Despite the government offering a range of financial schemes to support small businesses, it’s clear that many haven’t been able to access the vital help needed for their recovery.

What small businesses needed from government

Well over two fifths (46%) of SMEs believe the government should have offered a wider range of financial support schemes – highlighting how difficult small business owners have found it to access the schemes on offer.

One quarter (24%) believe finance should have been released quicker, and the same number feel there should have been greater communication and transparency from the government about the impact on small businesses and the self-employed.

A further 23% of SME owners also believe there should have been more clarity around restriction and regulations within their industry, and one in 10 (9%) think the applications should have been easier to fill out.

Emerging from lockdown

Looking ahead, roughly half (54%) of SMEs believe the government’s roadmap out of lockdown has given them some level of reassurance to start planning the future of their business – leaving 46% still uncertain in the coming months.

In recouping the money lost during the pandemic, the majority predict it will take anywhere from 18 months to two years (18%), or two to three years (20%) to get back the money lost.

One in five (20%) think three years or more, meaning they might not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or later.

When it comes to returning to pre-pandemic levels of trading, over 860,000 SMEs (14%) are not sure that their business will ever return to pre-pandemic trading levels, but others are more optimistic.

A quarter (25%) believe they will return to pre-pandemic levels by spring or summer 2022. Well over a tenth (14%) think faster, and predict they’ll be back to normal trading levels by the end of this year.

Overall, over half (53%) of SMEs remain concerned about their business’ future, but hope to survive until the end of 2021.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, comments: “No business, big or small, has been able to escape the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – with 12 months of restrictions, lockdowns, and uncertainty always likely to take its toll.

“The scale of the impact across this last year felt by the self-employed is abundantly clear in our latest research. Covid-19 will cost SMEs an estimated £126.6 billion – double what owners predicted it would cost them when asked a year ago.

“With six million SMEs in the UK – accounting for over 99% of all businesses, 33% of employment and 21% of all turnover – this £126.6 billion hole in the books of small businesses is a huge blow to the economy.

“Beyond the unquestionable economic hit, we should also recognise that behind each of these small businesses is a small business owner – each with families, livelihoods, and dreams. The impact of the pandemic on so many of these individuals has been devastating, both financially and emotionally.

“While the government support packages have proven a lifeline to many small businesses through the pandemic, our research reveals that 81% of self-employed people feel it hasn’t been enough – with over two million SMEs unable to access any financial support.

“Yet in all of this, we have seen countless examples of the resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity that we have come to associate with the UK’s small business owners.

“Insuring over 450,000 small businesses – from plumbers to accountants to restaurants – has allowed us to see first-hand the impact on this audience, and the impressive way in which they’ve responded. As we emerge from what is hopefully the worst of the pandemic – with SMEs across the country looking to kickstart their operations – it is important that we all support small businesses, knowing that they will be crucial to our collective recovery.”

Financial Tips for Launching Your Startup

You may have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have the money in place to launch your startup and keep it going, it will be difficult for you to succeed. You need to get your financial situation in order and line up funding. You may want to talk to a financial professional and line up an accountant or a bookkeeper to work with, but the steps below can also help.

 

Organize Your Personal Finances

You’ll want to separate your personal and business finances, but you still need to have your personal finances in order. This is partly just because it will be easier to manage your business finances when your own money situation is not a mess, but it’s also because potential investors and lenders may look at your personal situation before deciding whether to give you more cash. You may want to work on reducing your debt.

Taking out a personal loan can help. This is one way to finance the funds you need to get your finances in order, paying off multiple high-interest debts with the loan. You should also have a budget and a good idea of what you need monthly at minimum to live on. Finally, you should put away several months of expenses in an emergency fund.

 

Keep Your Day Job

If it’s possible, you should keep working while you launch your new business. There are a few caveats. First, depending on the nature of your startup, you may need to be available during regular business hours. Second, your day job might have a rule against working a second job. Some companies will even claim ownership of intellectual property you create while you are employed, so you need to make sure that you are in the clear.

Third, trying to juggle your day job and your start up could make you look unprofessional to some potential investors. On the other hand, staying at your job can mean you don’t have to worry as much about money and you can give your startup longer to get off the ground before you need it to turn a profit. Consider your individual situation carefully as you decide what is best.

 

Get Funding

There are a number of different ways to fund your business. Some people use their own money. The advantage is that no one else has a claim to any part of your business. The disadvantage is that this may limit what you can accomplish. You might be able to take out business loans.

The best bet for many startups is investors. These may be venture capitalists or angel investors, who are often on the lookup for exciting new ideas in tech. However, if you don’t have the kind of business idea that will get these high-rolling investors excited, don’t despair. You may be able to attract more conventional investors in your network. Keep in mind as well that you don’t necessarily have to start with a lot of money. You can build your business up slowly, taking your time and gradually creating a solid financial base from which you will operate.

Winds of Change

Change management is defined as the holistic application of a structured process and set of tools to lead the human side of change. It’s a way of ensuring that businesses today are able to meet the needs and requirements of tomorrow. The challenge, of course, is that change is not something that can just be implemented. People involved in the organization of an enterprise must be engaged and allowed time to adapt to ensure total success.

When clients turn to the team at Faculta, they want help from an organization which is committed to the concept of change management. The team have managed to help numerous companies through the trials of transformation that have allowed companies to grow with greater ease, speed and economy. Some businesses have taken steps to reduce the human element involved, reducing the unpredictability factors at play. With Change Management, and the Faculta team, companies can foster more successful human organizations that make change a competitive advantage.

Of course, companies look to implement change management systems to optimize the results of their work, but the team at Faculta have found that their approach highlights productivity increase, valuable talent permanence, better results in terms of finance, labor and organization when it comes to time and budget and the ultimate demonstration of the People Dependent ROI. This last factor is the return on investment that depends on people in any change initiative.

To be an effective force within a business, the Faculta team know that a company’s change management methods must be guided by the desired change and the attributes of the organization. This means that each plan must be bespoke, guided by the experiences of other successes.
Finding out how effective an organization is at change management, and to determine what resources need to be put into making it thoroughly effective, is now easier than ever thanks to the Faculta online assessment. This quick and straightforward questionnaire collates all the necessary information and informs people how prepared they are to effectively manage changes from an organizational, resources, competencies and structural perspective.

From this information, it often becomes clear that what is required is a partner moving forward. To make effective change, it’s not worth hiring in a team who will work within the existing formulation, it pays to have an equal who has the potential to speak honestly about what is available. The team at Faculta have a long history of expertise in aligning themselves with the characteristics, times, resources and requirements needed for both a project of change within an enterprise and for ensuring that the organization itself is able to change too. 

The team have offices in Mexico City, Santiago de Chile and Madrid Spain, serving the Mexican Republic, Central America, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Spain. It’s an extraordinary geographic range which reflects the universal approach with which they can approach businesses. It’s not easy to find an organization that is ideally equipped to handle change, as has been proven by the complex circumstances of 2020.

This guidance is done through a variety of methods, designed to introduce change management activities within organizational change initiatives. To support businesses through every step, the team provide a comprehensive mix of workshops that can be both virtual and faceto-face. By teaching the core principles of change management, businesses are able to easily apply and adapt techniques where appropriate. Encouraging customization at every stage increases the chance of a business achieving the expected results.

Often, this work is a step too far for companies, as many simply do not have the structure or resources to face changes in an effective way. That is why the team are always on hand to ensure that their clients can make the steady progress that guarantees future success.

For some projects, the Faculta Change Management Project Support system is not quite right, and so the Change Management Deployment Support must be provided. In this case, a Faculta expert is sent directly to the business to work one-on-one with a business implementation leader. This bespoke approach allows companies to bring together the leadership of an organization and create viable strategies that cultivate effective change. Throughout either method, the individual is placed at the center of the change, allowing for as painless a development of an organization as possible.

Change is not easy, but by taking into account the needs of the people at the heart of that change, it can become that little bit easier. The work
of a business like Faculta is invaluable to firms that want to remain agile in these turbulent times. It’s little wonder that today, there are thousands of organizations around the world using the techniques that this team teaches. It’s because they work incredibly well and make an enormous difference to the overall success of a business.

Spring 2021

Welcome to the Spring issue of LUXlife Magazine.

(Well, the last two months went by remarkably quickly)

One quarter down and heading into summer, it’s strange to think that just a few weeks ago we were all joyous at the fact that 2020 – that most bizarre and challenging of years – was almost behind us. But now, while we have accustomed ourselves to the strangeness and familiarity of lockdowns and new safety measures, the more immediate future can be seen as both a transition and a time to restart. As different markets reopen while others remain closed, it will be interesting to see what happens next, how quickly businesses recover lost ground, how swiftly loyal customers return.

For some, normality might be just around the corner. For others, normality might take a very different form for some time yet to come. While we’re not out of the storm just yet, optimism and good signs can be seen across the luxury sphere – we’ve spotlighted a few here in this issue with the plan to spotlight more in the issues to come.

In the meantime, here at LUXlife we hope you stay safe and well and have a wonderful rest of the year ahead.

The Economic Crisis, The Role of Central Banks & Whether Helicopter Money Can Save The Day

Gregory Perdon is co-Chief Investment Officer at Private and commercial Banking, Arbuthnot Latham

The world’s central banks (US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank) play a crucial role in the global economy. Broadly speaking, they serve as both policy maker and lender of last resort and their objective is to help keep their respective economies in balance.  

Central banks monitor carefully the economy and the financial system and pay particular attention to the speed and temperament of growth. What do they want to see? Monetary officials like when the temperature of inflation and the economy is not too cold nor not too hot, think of it like goldilocks, namely ‘just right’. But when growth begins to overheat, that’s often when they jump into action to help cool things down. Equally when crisis hits, central bankers tend to be the first we call upon to help put out any financial fires.

How central banks manage the economy?

Well, they don’t really manage the economy; businesses and consumers do that through their buying and selling; banks do so via their lending decisions – but monetary officials still maintain a tremendous amount of influence over the economy.  One way they exert control is by setting interest rates. For example, when central banks lower borrowing costs, businesses and individuals tend to ‘feel richer’ and can divert capital they would have allocated to servicing debt into investments, hiring and spending (or at least in theory).

Central bankers can also allow lenders to increase their leverage levels, meaning banks can lend more money – which can free up the balance sheet to make more profit (assuming there is demand for lending).

Finally, through communicating (what central bankers call forward guidance), they can telegraph to the markets their intentions, enabling businesses, lenders and traders time to prepare and position.

Central banks and Quantitative Easing (QE)

What tools are left in the toolbox after interest rates have been cut to zero and capital ratios relaxed? Well when the conventional is exhausted, they go unconventional – and that’s exactly what the Fed did after the global financial crisis in 2008 – they took it to the next level via large scale bond buying programmes, otherwise known as quantitative easing (QE). 

That’s money printing, right?  Wrong, that’s a myth. QE is but a maturity transformation exercise during which the central bank buy bonds (taking them out of circulation) and replace them with cash. 

This floods the market with liquidity, pushing the price of bonds higher and the yield lower (a condition market participants refer to as financial suppression). This can drive investors into other higher yielding assets such as corporate bonds, listed stocks and property – thus creating demand for financial assets which in turn inflates their prices (or at least stabilises them). But it can also lead to the hoarding of cash.

And the Fed didn’t stop there, during the financial crisis and in their coronavirus pandemic response they also bought (and continue to buy) residential mortgage bonds. Are they interested in building a portfolio of properties and/or foreclosing? Of course not, they do this to ensure mortgage rates stay low – which creates a sense of confidence and encourages home ownership by making housing more ‘affordable’. And it has worked, look no further than the housing market data from sales to starts to prices to sentiment, it’s been a healthy market.

 

If central banks aren’t printing money, who is?

It’s the commercial/private banks (and shadow lenders) who perform the alchemy of money creation, not government. Every time a bank issues a new loan, one must think about it like a leveraged deposit. When one bank issues a loan, it becomes the deposit of another financial institution and it’s this multiplier which in essence creates new money. And of course, they also control the destruction of money – when loans are retired and credit contracts. 

But it’s not so simple, there needs to be lending opportunities in the markets and confidence in the system in order for banks to have the appetite to lend and the pricing needs to be perceived by the borrowers as attractive in order for businesses to accept the terms.

The role of governments

Coming back to crisis fighting, monetary policies can only take us so far but if we want to go the full distance, we need fiscal support.  Fiscal policy is the domain of governments, elected politicians, those individuals and committees who control taxation and spending.

Government bodies also set regulations and employment laws which can have a significant impact on the daily decisions made by businesses around the country. For example, if a government wants to orchestrate a short-term boom, they can deregulate and slash taxes (but pay the price of potential environmental damage, social unrest and/or higher government debt later).

But what happens when central banks run out of ammo, governments become desperate to foster growth, banks can’t lend and/or businesses don’t want to borrow?

Can Helicopter Money save the economy?

If conditions get bad enough, central banks and governments can throw out the rule book, circumvent the private sector, take to helicopters and go ‘all-in’. We have all heard about helicopter money, but what is it? Heli-money is fundamentally different to QE in that there is no exchange of assets. It is merely a one-way forgivable transfer (unlike QE which is a two-way exchange [but not forgiven]). In a stylised example, the government issues bonds which the central banks buy and then cancel, in turn allowing the government to issue cheques that could then be deposited into bank accounts for citizens to spend.

The attraction of implementing Heli-money is high, because it can, in theory, be used by politicians to potentially ‘address’ growing inequality. Helicopter money can appear to help a broader base of family income statements in a very ‘democratic’ fashion whereas QE has appeared to only help those having a big balance sheet. BUT it’s only optical.

Helicopter money isn’t the answer to our financial woes

The reason why QE is not a free lunch is because the money ends up back in the form of reserves, and central banks (such as the Fed) end up paying interest on reserves and excess reserves (to preserve the floor in rates), so it’s not really free.

Secondly, once the bonds are paid for and then ‘written-off’, the central bank may have its equity wiped out. Don’t forget a central bank has a balance sheet just like any other financial institution.

Finally, it may just not be legal nor is it clear who decides the size of the ‘one-off offering’ thereby putting the independence of the monetary authority in question. In order to promote financial stability and a well-functioning economy, we need to ensure central banks remain strong, solvent and independent. 

Why More Women are Choosing STEM Careers and Stereotypes Are Being Smashed

In recent years, girls and women are showing more interest in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers than ever before. From GCSEs to university courses, we are seeing a gradual shift towards STEM subjects, and it is important to keep this momentum going. Historically, industries such as technology and engineering have been heavily-male dominated and unhealthy gender stereotypes have prevailed. The stigma attached to women pursuing STEM careers has meant that many women have been unable to reach their full potential in the field. Now, however, the stigma is being tackled and elements of STEM are finding their way into every industry. It’s becoming ever plainer that there is far more to STEM than outdated stereotypes and gender boundaries. 

So, what’s changed? 

Thankfully, we’ve seen some big changes when it comes to gender and STEM industries, but there’s still a long way to go. According to findings from UNESCO, less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers are women. This is an underrepresentation that can be seen in every region of the world. It is also still apparent that boys are more likely to choose STEM subjects both in school and university.   

Despite this, we are seeing some positive changes, and we’re clearly headed in the right direction. There has been a rise in the number of girls who choose to take STEM-related subjects in both school and university. For example, we have seen a 31 per cent increase in the number of girls taking STEM A-Levels in the UK (between 2010 and 2019) and a 50.1 per cent increase in the number of women accepted onto STEM-related undergraduate university courses in the UK between 2011 and 2020.   

Clearly, more women and girls are now seeing viable opportunities within the STEM sector. What’s more, the influx of women in the sector is set to change the industry forever. With a growing number of female so-named STEMtreupeners, we’re not only seeing the increasing number of women in the industry, but we’re also set to see greater innovations in the industry focussed on the needs of women.

Breaking the boundaries of STEM

As well as smashing the gender stereotypes we associate with STEM-related careers, the way we see STEM industries as a whole is changing. Traditionally, we may have mainly associated STEM with engineering and construction. However, the power of technology has since made its way into just about every sector. Because of this, students no longer have to face the decision between a career in something creative and a career in something technical. More and more, we are seeing the two areas crossover.

Think of a creative industry such as fashion, for example. STEM skills are more important in the fashion industry now than ever before. Today, companies everywhere are experimenting with innovative materials for more sustainable shoes and clothes as well as high-tech supply chains. The innovations in creative sectors such as fashion, the film industry, and other artistic fields, rely on STEM more than ever before. We are certainly seeing STEM skills become more and more relevant across every sector.   

As we see the boundaries of STEM expand, we are seeing a higher demand for people trained in these technical skills. Thanks to the continued breakdown of stereotypes, we’ll gradually see those important roles filled by a more diverse generation of employees. If we continue along the current trajectory, we’re set to see more women entering STEM workforces, in both traditional roles and roles that would have been unimaginable a mere few years ago. A greater number of women in STEM spells empowerment, innovation, and creativity in nearly every sector.

Saudi Industrial Development Fund Approves USD 4.5 Billion in Projects for the First Time In Its History

The approved loans covered different tiers, out of which 84% of total loans were dedicated to SMEs, ensuring the fund’s strong continuous support to the key contributors of the economic growth in the Kingdom


The Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), Saudi Arabia’s main financial enabler for its industrial transformation, has approved 212 loans that amounted to USD 4.5 billion in 2020 for 201 companies in the fields of industry, mining, energy, and logistic services. The approved loans covered different tiers, out of which 84% of total loans were dedicated to SMEs, ensuring the fund’s strong continuous support to the key contributors of the economic growth in the Kingdom.

These exceptional results have proven to be the largest in the history of the fund’s history, thus demonstrating, despite the economic pressures of the pandemic, the strength, and resilience of the Saudi private sector. Over the past years, the Saudi government has implemented programs to realize Vision 2030 structural, economic, and financial reforms that aim to diversify the economy. Such efforts have played a crucial role in the economy’s sustainability in times of global crisis.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, SIDF proactively supported small, medium, and large companies and offered financial initiatives tailored to their specific needs during these difficult times. The initiatives SIDF offered, which were part of a wider package of governmental support, resulted in three urgent financial aids that exceeded USD 1.3 billion; the aids were in the form of restructuring installments of 546 loans due in 2020, amounting to USD 1 billion. Financial The financial liquidity of the companies was augmented by credit instruments to finance the operating expenses of the companies, especially the ones impacted by the lockdown, out of which 86 companies have benefited from the initiative for a total amount of USD 127 million.  Finally, launching an accelerated working capital loan amounting to USD 172 million directed to finance the raw material requirements of the companies involved in the medical sector to help in boosting the local medical content and the Kingdom’s pharmaceutical security.

SIDF’s 2021 strategy aims to stimulate investments in priority economic sectors, improve client experience, enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations, strengthen governance and risk management, and focus on human capital development. The strategy will position SDIF in driving its support to realize the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

How Social Media Platforms Utilise Nostalgia Trends…

During 2020 and 2021, we’ve seen nostalgia everywhere. It makes sense, right? There’s no better time to pine for the past and relive happy memories than when we’re stuck at home during lockdown. Nostalgia has made its way into every walk of life, from our wardrobes to our Instagram feeds.

According to GlobalWebIndex, nostalgia can make humans more optimistic and have a positive influence on their actions. The research also unveiled that nostalgia was a highly common emotion. Results show that 8 in 10 say that they experience feelings of nostalgia at least occasionally and 4 in 10 say that they do so often.

This megatrend has not gone unnoticed. In fact, social media platforms have jumped on the bandwagon and have created numerous ways to facilitate our longing for times-gone-by. Although it’s sometimes tough to be reminded of holidays or nights out with friends, there’s something about a nostalgic social media post that we just can’t resist. So, let’s take a closer look at how social media platforms have embraced this trend and why we love it so much.

Wrapping it up

According to the GlobalWebIndex research, music is one of the biggest nostalgia triggers. When asked what people have felt most nostalgic about over the past year, music topped the charts for all age groups. It really seems to be true that a well-loved song can transport you to a happy time, and during lockdown, people everywhere have been turning to Spotify to find that sweet sense of nostalgia.

Because of this fondness of nostalgia in the form of music, the popularity of Spotify Wrapped makes complete sense. This feature allows users to recount their 50 most-listened-to songs, their most-listened-to artists, and even the genre that stole their heart over the year. If you’re looking to step a bit further back in time, Spotify also offers another throwback option: Spotify Time Capsule. This option allows you to listen to your top tracks of a certain year gone by while you revel in the happy memories.

Users everywhere can’t get enough of this feature, and for the music streaming company, this nostalgic trend has been a huge success. In 2020, Spotify’s mobile app downloads increased by 21 per cent in the first week of December thanks to the Wrapped feature, proving that the megatrend of nostalgia can have a huge impact.

Thanks for the memories

Now that we’ve got our ears covered in terms of nostalgic content, what about our eyes? That’s where ‘memories’ come in. Memories on Instagram, Memories on Facebook, and Timehop are all social media features that allow you to reminisce about a certain day in the past. On Instagram, you are now able to see the post you put up exactly a year ago to the day in the Memories section. Over lockdown, in which many of us have completely lost our sense of time, it’s often been difficult to fathom that you put that picture up a whole year ago! But that’s nostalgia in action!

Whether you’re reminiscing over a particularly good day out or you’re reminded of a great outfit that inspires you to dig those retro mid-heel sandals out of the wardrobe again, the Memories feature on Instagram and Facebook is sure to get you feeling nostalgic.  

Nostalgia marketing

As well as introducing fun (if sometimes heart-wrenching) nostalgic features, social media platforms are also jumping on the ‘nostalgia marketing’ trend that is set to dominate 2021. Nostalgia marketing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – when brands reintroduce images and themes from years gone by to sell their products and make us all think of ‘the good old days’.

Instagram, for example, utilised nostalgia marketing back in October 2020. For one month only, the image-sharing app allowed users to revert to some of the apps retired, old school logos (including the classic 2010 logo that caused mild outrage when it was decommissioned). This fun feature allowed users to go back to the logo that is now considered retro, tapping into people’s love for all things nostalgic.

It’s not the first time we’ve encountered nostalgia marketing. The trend has seen a few resurgences over the years. It became very popular during both the Great Depression and the 2000s’ recession, and now it’s back. Clearly, we’re all prone to feeling reminiscent when we’re going through a turbulent time.

If there’s one thing we’ve really craved over the last year, it’s a blast from the past. Thankfully, social media has seen our wishes and granted them. Now, all there is left to do is work on creating some new memories that we can begin to feel nostalgic about in years to come.

Inspired by The Seven Wonders of Ireland, The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. unveils its Emerald Isle collectable whiskey set

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. has collaborated with Fabergé, the world’s most iconic artist-jeweller, to release ‘The Emerald Isle Collection,’ a seven-piece custom-made whiskey set which celebrates the ‘Seven Wonders of Ireland’. The new collection has been released in time for St Patrick’s Day.

Beautifully presented in a dark walnut experience box, each set features two bottles of ultra-rare, 30-year-old, triple distilled Irish whiskey, accompanied by two unique and exclusive creations from Fabergé – the first-of-its-kind Celtic Egg objet and bespoke Altruist timepiece. Each collection also includes a humidor with two ultra-rare Cohiba Siglo VI Grand Reserva cigars, a gold-plated cigar cutter, gold plated water pipette, pure obsidian whiskey stones, a hip flask with a sample of the Emerald Isle whiskey, which is the rarest Irish whiskey in existence, and a carafe filled with Irish spring water from the same region where the whiskey was made.

The official unveiling of ‘The Emerald Isle Collection’ took place on 2 February 2021 in Houston, Texas, and following the launch all seven bespoke experience boxes will be sold at private auctions and events throughout the year. Significantly for the sale of the first experience box, The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. has pledged 100 per cent of the proceeds to charity, with 50 per cent of proceeds benefitting the Correa Family Foundation supporting children affected by serious illness, and the remaining 50 per cent donated to the buyer’s charity of choice.

‘The Emerald Isle Collection’ is The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s second release, and now takes the crown as the oldest triple distilled Irish whiskey in the world, following the launch in November 2020 of a limited 333 bottles of The Devil’s Keep – a 29-year-old, triple distilled, single malt whiskey. The 30year-old Emerald Isle’s single malt Irish whiskey has been aged in 200-litre ‘first fill’ American oak casks, which previously stored bourbon, and then finished in a rare single 40-litre Pedro Ximénez sherry barrel. This maturation process has imparted profiles that range from chocolate fudge and maple syrup on the nose, to sweet leather and silky-smooth, ripe banana on the palate which flows into a long finish with hints of creamy meringue and rich vanilla cigar smoke.

‘The Emerald Isle Collection’ fuses Faberge’s unique heritage with rich Irish tradition and mythology, as well as the distinctive flavours of an ultra-rare whiskey, in highly collectable and unique specialedition, legacy bottles. It is little known that Ireland invented whiskey in the 14th century and dominated the sector for centuries until an unfortunate fall due to both world wars, embargoes and their fight for independence; with the launch of The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s collection, Irish whiskey is being restored to its former glory as the world’s most iconic whiskey.

This bespoke whiskey collection takes inspiration from seven historical and important places in Ireland and sees Fabergé honour Irish heritage in the form of its first ever Celtic Egg bespoke objet. The Fabergé design team, along with Jay Bradley and Tiago Russo, Design Director at The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., worked together to pay homage to seven beautiful and iconic Irish locations that hold a certain mysticism or mythological interest – representing the ‘Seven Wonders of Ireland’, and lucky number seven.

Each bespoke set is presented in an experience box which has been inspired by the shape of an emerald, representing the natural beauty of Ireland, and features an illustration of one of the ‘wonders’ of Ireland and its geographical coordinates, with a frontal egg-shaped aperture and a frame of coloured gemstones. Inside each box is the pièce de resistance, the hand-crafted whiskey bottle containing the ‘liquid gold,’ a collector’s item in its own right. Each of the seven bottles has been inspired by key Fabergé design elements, set with responsibly sourced emeralds from Gemfields’ Kagem mine in Zambia on the neck and lowermost part of the bottle.

6 incredible benefits of using anti-aging creams

As early as their teenage years, women and men invest in products with the promise of having healthy-looking skin. Although aging is irreversible, some market creams claim that they can reduce its indications. If you are among the people who are curious about what incredible results anti-aging creams have to offer, read its benefits below.

 

1. Skin Tightening And Hydration

The signs of aging include excessive drying and loss of skin firmness and elasticity. Supposedly, applying the cream consistently for some time addresses these issues. The common ingredient used for this is hip seed oil, which can lift the sagging skin below your eyes and on the cheek and neck areas. 

It also contains hydrating properties that could be the solution for your dry skin problems, which lessens your concerns regarding flaking and unwanted peelings. Since it keeps the skin moist, you can expect not to undergo random itchiness.

 

2. Gain Skin Radiance

Among the many things that make the skin appear older is the loss of radiance and surfacing of visible symptoms as you age through the years. With the right anti-aging serums, reducing fine lines and wrinkles is more manageable. Treatments vary from serums to dermal sessions, but creams seem to be the choice for many.

Putting emulsion all over the affected areas twice a day delivers the nutrients the skin needs to replenish what is lost. When buying, check for the ingredients. And suppose it includes vitamin A, vitamin C, and hydroxy acids. In that case, you can safely assume protection from the sun’s heat, and yes, diminish wrinkles by stimulating healthy skin growth.

 

3. Increases Your Self-Confidence

The benefits that anti-aging regimens offer are for the outward appearance but also your inner self. One of the reasons you opt to rely on anti-aging products is that you want to feel confident, and these creams help you achieve that. There is something with it that radiates your glow, making you more appreciative of the beauty you have.

Every person struggles with insecurities, and it is your right to battle your own. If choosing to look younger through applying anti-aging serums is how you deal with it, it is acceptable. With proper skincare, changes happen gradually. It might take months until you start noticing the youthful aura you emit.

4. Positive Effect On Your Health

Believe it or not, since it stimulates your self-confidence, the domino effect applies to your overall health. When you start to embrace your appearance, there is a higher tendency of losing the awkwardness with other people, making you more socially active. When this happens, you can thank the anti-aging creams you use for bringing you the self-assurance you deserve.

Although it does not entirely depend on your skin regimens’ capabilities, the help it initiates is undeniable. As they say, when you surround yourself with social connections, you can have a support system. Which in turn benefits you mentally and psychologically. And when you have peace of mind, living a healthy physical lifestyle is never difficult for you. 

 

5. Prevents The Occurrence of Age Spots and Discoloration

Most anti-aging emulsions contain SPF of at least 15. This sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB rays, protecting your skin from having age spots and possible discoloration. Usually, it comes with antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, which fight against damaging cells in your skin. With the cream, you can treat uneven pigmentation. 

When using an anti-aging cream with sunscreen, be sure to reapply it every two hours, especially when you are under the sun’s heat. Since they are water-resistant, then do not bother about your sweat mixing up with its contents.

 

6. It Saves You From Costly Dermal Procedures

When you practice applying a sufficient amount of anti-aging cream every day and night as early as you can, eventually, you will gain all the possible advantages it offers. At this point, as you grow older, you will be less likely to encounter dermal issues. You will reach the point where you do not have to undergo dermal procedures for facial services.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Using cream treatment saves you more money compared to the laser-based approach. Also, since it maintains your skin as healthy as it is, expect lesser visits to dermatologists. However, this does not mean you will no longer go for consultations and asking for proper advice.

Overall, anti-aging creams may or may not work for you since we have different skin types. But, there is no harm in trying. You can discuss your option with a dermatologist for the best creams suited for your skin. And you can cease to use the product when you notice side effects such as rashes, redness, and irritation.

Beginner’s Guide to Alternative Investments

Alternative investment assets like collectibles, art, cryptocurrency and loans are attracting an increasing number of retail investors by offering low buy-in, high returns and efficient diversification options

Every few years the line between traditional and alternative investment opinions is re-drawn, as many alternative investment options become more and more mainstream. Everything outside the traditional investment options that are typically accessed through traditional financial institutions –  falls into the category of alternative investments. They do not include, what is now considered traditional investment options: ETFs, gold, bonds, pension funds, and others.

Alternatives category may include both physical and virtual assets, spanning real estate, art, fine wines and aged alcohol, rare items, cryptocurrency, loans, private company debt or ownership, and collectibles. There is no limit to collectible investments, as value can be found in designer sneakers, baseball cards, or even Barbie dolls.

Alternative investments can create both long-term appreciation and immediate income streams. One of the most active investor groups in alternative investing is retail investors – in other words individual investors, who want to take an active role in propelling their own financial success.  One of the most active groups, drawn to alternative investments is a millennial cohort, who exert skepticism about the power of pensions to really secure their retirement, as well as a propensity to learn to operate an alternative portfolio. Technology now allows to ensure sufficient diversification with only a few clicks, and to branch out into immediate passive income or short-term high-return opportunities. 

Five most popular alternative asset classes

1. Real estate. Part of the real estate investment market can be considered a traditional asset class – after all, even banks own real estate and hold on to it as a long term investment strategy. It’s an all-time classic to store value and a potential tool to expand earnings during positive market cycles. The biggest disadvantage of real estate are the big upfront costs and relatively low liquidity, if ownership is outright. That said, the modern – alternative investment options have become available in the real estate market, including real estate investment trust (REIT) and partial or fractional ownership ventures. Retail investors can now invest in various real estate projects by owning a part of its development and then receiving interest once it is developed.

2. Art, valuables, and collectibles. Once again, just like property ownership, some collectibles like fine wine or paintings are quite traditional – accessible to exclusive investor circles, with very high-buy in cost. The alternatives that are accessible to a wider audience, like baseball cards, or designer sneakers are easily researched on online marketplaces, like eBay. Some items can be owned outright in physical form, requiring some care and protection. But it is also possible to fractionally own any of the collectibles, including in-game items and virtual goods with residual value. This asset class has unpredictable returns with relatively difficult average appreciation, but can outperform other asset classes as an insurance. Companies like Masterworks and Otis are allowing retail investors to purchase shares in fine art pieces or unique collectibles. 

3. Crypto-assets. A hot and highly volatile asset class, which allows for both passive buy-and-hold strategies, and for trading. The chief advantage of cryptocurrencies is the relatively easy entry, with the potential to operate and hold the assets in a personally protected wallet, instead of relying on brokers or other third parties. Challenger banks, like Revolut, or  payment platforms like Paypal have integrated digital asset trading on their platforms – making it even more accessible. With recent cryptocurrency popularity, a new alternative investment asset class became popular – NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) – which are centered around collectibles, such as digital artwork, sports cards, and rarities. One trending platform would be NBA Top Shot, a place to collect non-fungible tokenized NBA moments in a digital card form.

4. Loans. Interest-bearing investments in packaged loans can bring transparent, predictable returns that outperform traditional investments. While investing in loans gives short-term returns, loans should be viewed as long-term investments. This asset class has a low entry point, while some platforms, like Mintos also sort potential investment in loans with a risk tolerance profile. It is important to diversify investment in this asset class in order to achieve stable income over time.  Investing in loans is also accessible to multiple economic areas.

5. Private company investments. Private equity and company loans are asset classes sometimes reserved for accredited investors. Because of the risky nature of private companies, some of the investments are only available to accredited buyers. Private equity is also off-limits to most retail buyers, due to its riskier nature and the higher barrier to entry. Loan investments can sometimes circumvent this limitation, by offering business loans for partial ownership and relatively low sums. More accessible option, albeit not very liquid, would again be fractional investment, or crowdfunding, which is available through platforms like Crowdcube.

Final thoughts 

Alternatives are bound to grow. Research by Prequin shows robust growth of alternative investments, to as high as $14 trillion in 2023. The Prequin report covers private wealth managers, but alternative investments are also open to retail owners, due to their variety and enhanced technological access.

The growth potential of the alternative investor sector also means adequate liquidity and price discovery will happen as more buyers join in. Fees are one of the hurdles that diminish the real returns of investment, but the more apps and investment hubs pop up, the more competition to offer low fees, increase service quality benchmark and attract investors.

Takeda’s Growth and Emerging Markets Business Unit Aims to Deliver Double-Digit Revenue Growth Over Next Decade

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited today outlined its ambition for above-market, double-digit revenue growth of its Growth and Emerging Markets Business Unit (“GEM BU”). The revenue goal of JPY 1 trillion (approximately US$9 billion) by FY2030 represents more than doubling of current revenues in GEM BU. This potential growth will be primarily driven by a balanced geographical focus and targeted portfolio investments in the Company’s highly innovative 14 Global Brands and Wave 1 pipeline assets.

“Building upon Takeda’s global vision to bring long-term value to patients, society and shareholders, we have sharpened our regional strategy to deliver healthcare in geographies that include 85% of the world’s population. As a purpose-led, patient-centric and values-based company, our portfolio combines innovative therapies with the right degree of scale to be competitive. Together with attractive market fundamentals and an executive team equipped to deliver strong business performance, we are committed to delivering sustainable revenue growth while increasing patient access to our life-saving and life-transforming treatments,” said Ricardo Marek, President of Growth & Emerging Markets Business Unit at Takeda.

With 95%3 of GEM BU’s current revenues coming from innovative treatments aligned with the company’s five key business areas, GEM BU has an ambition to outpace forecasted market revenue growth for the region over the next ten years. As a vast geographic area with a combined population of 6.5 billion, the Emerging Markets region presents significant growth opportunities in unmet patient needs across key therapy areas, which we believe can be achieved by a globally-aligned ‘access-first’ strategy.

“Emerging Markets will be a key source of revenue and momentum for Takeda over the next decade, with a strategy aligned to our global innovation focus,” said Costa Saroukos, Takeda chief financial officer. “Through targeted investments in the portfolio and key markets, we expect growth of the GEM BU to outpace the market for specialized, innovative treatments, as we expand our 14 global brands and launch our Wave 1 pipeline assets in the region.”

Takeda’s GEM BU is targeting expansion in high growth markets such as Brazil, China and India. These markets are expected to provide strong platforms for continued growth of existing brands and upcoming launches of our Wave 1 pipeline assets across key therapeutic areas. China in particular is expected to be a significant growth driver for Takeda on a regional and global level, with the potential to deliver revenue growth at a compound annual growth rate of over 20% over the next five years.1

Takeda’s innovative R&D engine is also expected to add potentially transformative therapies to the GEM BU’s current portfolio. Among the Wave 1 pipeline assets, Takeda’s dengue vaccine candidate (TAK-003), developed to address the 390 million global dengue infections every year, is projected to be a significant growth driver for the region, with the majority of projected revenues coming from GEM BU.

For sustainable growth in Emerging Markets, Takeda is committed to ensuring that patients get continued access to innovative medicines. This includes strengthening local health systems and prioritizing sustainable approaches to commercial operations. The recently published 2021 Access to Medicine (AtM) Index has ranked Takeda first in Governance of Access, highlighting its work in the strengthening of health systems and compliance.

Restructuring options for financially-distressed employers

Whilst support has been made available by the Government to assist employers, the pandemic has still seen huge numbers of job losses. The pain has been felt in all sectors. Retail, leisure and hospitality have all been hit very, very hard. Weakened demand in other sectors has accelerated their need to reconsider their staffing needs. From Topshop to Jaguar Land Rover to Pizza Express, employers have been losing employees in extraordinary numbers. And it’s not just high-profile, multi-site organisations that are suffering. Many smaller businesses are also facing financial uncertainty at best.

It is a sad fact that, sometimes, losing some staff has to form part of a company’s rescue plans. But there are restructuring approaches that will allow some employees to be retained. However, if directors know or should know that their company is insolvent or that it is probable that their company will become insolvent, they owe a duty to put creditors’ interests first. Whilst that does not necessarily prevent them from attempting rescue, it does require detailed consideration of the merits of any proposed action, looked at from creditors’ perspective. Saving jobs might not be in creditors’ interests.

So, what restructuring options are available for directors to consider in the hope of rescuing their companies’ businesses? There is a hierarchy of potentials that might be explored, ranging from informal arrangements with creditors to support cashflow to the entry into formal insolvency regimes, with all the attendant consequences.

In the first category, “live side” action might include:

  • Restructuring borrowing. Directors could approach lenders, asking them to relax covenants. It might be worth looking at the market to see what other lenders might be offering better terms, although directors ought to be cautious about borrowing more money where there is a risk of the company being unable to repay existing facilities, let alone new ones. Directors who know or should know that repayment will never be made could find themselves facing personal liability.
  • Increasing the amount of cash in the company (and thereby reducing borrowing) by reviewing payment terms – both for payments in and out. Do debtors pay late? Does the company pay early? Can extended payment terms be agreed with creditors? But exceeding agreed payment terms risks enforcement action by creditors starting court proceedings or – subject to the current restrictions – presenting a winding up petition.
  • Agreeing time to pay agreements with the Revenue. This implies commercial insolvency, however, because the debt is due but cannot be paid on time.
  • Seeking stakeholder support. Those who might be interested in the company’s survival are its trading partners (who themselves might well be under financial pressure) and its investors. In a smaller company, the directors themselves are likely to be the shareholders; they will need to decide whether they want to put more money into the business.
  • Taking advantage of governmental support options, for as long as they remain available. The Government is asking for power (to last until April 2022) to make temporary amendments to modify the impact of corporate insolvency provisions. It is not clear what amendments might be made. There might be a further extension of the current relaxations and modifications but it would not be wise to assume that. Directors should consider now what financial state their companies will be in once governmental support ends – and how they might respond.

In the second tier in the hierarchy are more formal arrangements where the company remains under the directors’ control and which could provide much-needed breathing space or protection whilst a company’s fortunes improve. These might be:

  • The well-known but sometimes controversial company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The company proposes a compromise with creditors (paying a certain percentage of debts due). If they approve the proposal, creditors are bound by the terms of the CVA and cannot take their own independent action against the company. CVAs can be quite sophisticated and usually last a number of months or years; the Company must comply throughout with the obligations imposed on it.
  • A moratorium, as introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. This is a breathing-space arrangement, which is supervised by a “monitor”. They must consider that it is possible to rescue the company and they must remain of that view for the moratorium to continue. It gives the company an initial 20 days’ protection; the period can be extended by up to one year. In this scenario, it has to be accepted that the company is or probably will become insolvent.
  • A restructuring plan under Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006. This is a concept that was proposed by Government in 2018 and given effect by CIGA. It is a pre-requisite that the company is facing financial difficulty; the purpose of the plan must be the resolution of that difficulty. If certain conditions are met, the court has the power to sanction the plan despite the objection of a class of creditor (the so-called cross-class cram down). If there has been an earlier moratorium, some creditors might have an effective veto.

In the third tier are the formal insolvency regimes, administration and liquidation. In an administration, if there is a sale of the company’s business and assets then some jobs might well be saved; employees should automatically transfer to the purchaser. But if there is no sale or if the company goes into liquidation, then job losses are likely inevitable.

Finally, directors in these situations will benefit from specialist professional advice. Full and frank instructions should be given to the advisors. Directors ought to keep records of what the advisors are told, the advice received and the steps taken.

Healthcare Staffing Specialist Sees 400% Increase in Telemedicine Enquiries

New insights reveal the demand for telemedicine services and solidify its presence as a permanent healthcare offering

The recent boom in telemedicine is here to stay, according to TrueProfile.io, a leading provider of Primary Source Verification (PSV) services, which has seen a 400% increase in telemedicine enquiries from all over the world during the last quarter alone.

The industry of virtual health appointments, otherwise known as telemedicine, has seen a dramatic increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a Forrester report indicating that virtual care visits reached 20 million in 2020. It’s an approach to primary care that is here to stay and while healthcare institutions largely implemented temporary solutions to keep up with patient demand early on in the pandemic, they are now looking at implementing more dynamic and secure systems.

This is according to Alejandro Coca, Co-Head of TrueProfile.io, who says, “Given how COVID-19 has completely changed the world we live in, it comes as no surprise that the telemedicine industry is booming. What’s great to hear from the conversations we’re having is that healthcare institutions aren’t seeing telemedicine services as a stop-gap anymore and it’s firmly part of long-term strategies.

“For patients, telemedicine services provide quick and easy access to healthcare experts, therefore offering greater peace of mind around health issues, so it’s exciting to see this offering really taking off. We’re currently actively working with four telemedicine organizations to source verified, credible healthcare professionals – from doctors and nurses to radiologists and psychologists – for their platforms. In addition, we’ve seen our verification business grown 40% due to new business lines such as telemedicine and our sourcing industry has grown over 140% in the last quarter, demonstrating the sheer demand for these services from all over the world.”

Alejandro concludes, “Healthcare institutions are keen to get these new service lines up and running and properly functioning, but it’s critical that they focus on sourcing both the right technology and the right healthcare professionals. Only through both of these elements can patient safety and privacy be assured. What’s clear to see is that telemedicine services have seen a real turning point as a result of the pandemic and it’ll be interesting to watch this service line adapt and grow over the coming years, becoming part of our everyday lives.”

 

Planning for Demand: What Merchants Can Learn from The Pandemic

From the outset, COVID-19 has disrupted many industries, retail being just one. With 56% of global retailers reporting moderate disruption to their supply chains and 12% reporting heavy disruption1 the pandemic has led to a need for clear visibility over the structure of supply chains. Warehousing and logistics platform Trident Worldwide discuss everything businesses should know to plan for demand.

Only a small minority of companies were in the position to secure constrained inventory, or source capacity at alternate sites at the beginning of the pandemic, and it was clarity over supply chain structure that was key for business continuity. 

Now a year in, businesses are still finding themselves adjusting to the new normal. Being proactive during these challenging times is critical and merchants need to make adequate investments, rewriting contracts expeditiously to create solutions and allow operations to proceed.

Ecommerce

One of the most fundamental changes retailers have experienced, is where and how consumers are shopping. Since the onset, ecommerce has registered the equivalent of 6 years’ worth of growth, with online retail sales showing a 53% year-on-year increase.

As a result, 64% of retailers worldwide have adapted their supply chain for e-commerce2 and its vital that merchants optimise e-commerce channels and implement online trading within long-term strategies to ensure they are not left behind.

  • Put forecasting in place to analyse demand and allow for adjustments in product volume aligned with retailer demand
  • Review ecommerce advertising and promotion spending to ensure budget is allocated to products which are in stable demand
  • Assign resource to manage SKU-level details to expand product management capabilities

Better visibility

There has been a shift in customer service from speed to transparency and understanding the full network of suppliers allows merchants to be more resilient and focus on strengthening vulnerabilities.

Investing in supply network mapping will allow merchants to stay up to date with the fast pace of retail, giving key insights to help businesses thrive.

Warehousing and stock management

Merchants are now evaluating the geography of their supply chains, especially since the start of the pandemic. Focusing on consumer behaviour change is crucial and allows further insight when planning for demand.

If suppliers can be located in more than one place across the globe or goods are stored in strategically located warehouses, not only will it take less time to get to end-consumer markets, but it also limits disruption, which has been notable throughout the pandemic, leading to brand and product switching from consumers.

28% of retailers reported having to deal with shortages and out-of-stocks and recent research has found that between 30% to 40% of consumers have been trying new brands and products as a result of their desired product being unavailable emphasising, how essential planning for demand is.

Marketing strategy

In addition to planning for demand, marketing strategies also need to be adapted, to fit consumer attitudes of the time with spend altered based on the results of your ROI, frequency and reach.

Merchants should also take advantage of digital platforms to see where their consumers are browsing. Throughout the pandemic there was a notable increase in screen time and it’s important to ensure that data is retrieved from marketing efforts, so campaigns can be adjusted appropriately, and the insights can be used to your business’ advantage.

Arjun Thaker, CEO at Trident Worldwide, said: “The pandemic has put a lot of strain on merchants and understandably it’s been a challenging time for all in the supply chain sector. Being proactive is key, and now is not the time to get behind. The pace within the industry is advancing at a rate I’ve never seen before and that just contributes towards the importance of investing into your supply chain.”

COVID-19 has undeniably caused a huge impact within the supply chain industry and merchants need to adapt in order to keep up.

Top Tier Training From Tapiit

Working with shipping companies all around the globe to offer them cost-effective choices for training requirements, trading routes, and crew nationalities, Tapiit is an online training and information portal delivering new training solutions to various markets. Steering the ship to its latest success is one of the finest CEOs, and recipient of this years’ CEO of the Year, 2020 – The United Kingdom award, Mr Richard Turner. As we take a closer look at what Tapiit and Mr Turner offer to clients, discover what has made the firm into an industry standard for excellence by which others measure themselves.


Formed around the basis of connecting users to a global list of training providers around the world, Tapiit has since diversified into creating new and efficient training through different vehicles and supporting training centres with new applications and systems. The firm’s bookings offers users the ability to search and book all types of maritime training from the world’s largest database of providers in more than forty seven countries. With such an easy to use system, applicants can make swift and cost-effective decisions on available training which links in with their travel and work plans. By working with shipping companies all over the world, Tapiit has been able to bring down training budgets by removing peripheral costs such as travel, accommodation, per diem, and salaries, leaving companies with minimal expenditure based against the cost of a course.

Training providers all over the planet are queuing up to use Tapiit and its unique system, given that it allows providers to showcase far more than those other standard marketing vehicles. With Tapiit, providers get access to unique dashboard that show documents such as accreditation, HSE reports, and staff and faculty certifications. Shipping companies and users of the system can have the ability to fully understand a training provider, what they are offering, and how much it will cost. Armed with that knowledge, they can make the key decisions knowing that they have all the information they need to do so. Helping make sure that the clients can access all of this information in the best way possible is Tapiit CEO, Mr Richard Turner.

Mr Turner has been the current CEO of Tapiit since just last year, and has already made such an impact on the way the company is addressing the training needs of the maritime industry. Tapiit, under the sage guidance of Mr Turner, has a large and growing database of training suppliers, training centres, learning centres, educational colleges, and academies. Since coming into his new role as CEO, Mr Turner may have made his stamp on the firm by increasing the levels of success, but the core values and mission remain the same as they ever were; to increase training through choice and efficiency, and lowering costs in the process.

These core values are at the heart of everything that both Tapiit and Mr Turner are looking to develop, implement, and achieve together. Linking people to more training through new access points, different vehicles, and lower costs will bring about higher competence within any industry and, in most cases, improve a business whilst driving down incidents in the workplace. Tapiit is now considered to be the fastest growing business model in the maritime industry, thanks largely to the sage leadership of Mr Turner and his executive team around him. The success comes from keeping everything simple, and delivering on what it promises. Within the first four months of starting business, Tapiit has clients in twenty eight countries and have since gone even further.

Drawing on its truly global database is what makes Tapiit one of the most unique businesses around, with its database matched only by search engine behemoth Google. Within the maritime sphere, the firm has training providers that cover the complete spectrum of training, and its advantage over Google is the ability to find the training, book the training, get cashback on courses, and manage it all through an app in less than two minutes. For those who need to, the app can also be a source of booking travel and accommodation. Within the Tapiit model that Mr Turner and his team has devised, there are three primary types of client. The training provider, who wants to showcase the courses and facility; the individual user of those courses and facilities; and the shipping companies who require the training for their workforces.

As one of the most effective and simplest solutions in the maritime training industry, Tapiit’s business model ensures that its culture operates in much the same manner. The workforce is made up of dynamic and empowered individuals who can take a problem, and offer solutions. Everyone works as important individuals making up one collaborative team, from Mr Turner at the top to new entry-level employees just starting out their careers. Mr Turner has spent time on vessels himself, and understands that it takes everyone coming together to help the ship run smooth. Encouraging his employees to work in a modern fashion, Mr Turner empowers his staff to have a flexible week. The staff have the option to either use one of the desks in the office, or work from home with the team meeting once a week and have virtual meetings every day. Productivity is at an all-time high, and people are excited to work.

With productivity levels booming and showing no signs of slowing down, Tapiit has further expanded their business by launching two new and exciting projects: Tapiit Live and Flexiilife.

Initially formed as a live stream training company, Tapiit Live focuses on delivering maritime modules to seafarers onboard vessels, whilst at home and management personnel in the office. Having the ability to attend classroom style of training without the burden of additional costs, such as travel and accommodation, is a huge benefit for any ship owner/manager looking to reduce their training budgets. Live interactive streaming will slowly, but surely, become the normal vehicle and leading the way will Tapiit Live with its established in-house studios.

As for Flexiilife, the new company was established to provide individuals, families and crews onboard vessels access to a comprehensive platform of live streaming channels that focuses on the mind, body and soul. With a diverse range of classes from yoga, fitness, exercise to wellness which covers topics including healthy eating classes and even nutritional courses. The mindful courses offer an array of subjects such as meditation, stress management, how to deal with interview stress and relaxation for driving tests. In addition, Flexiilife’s learning channels cover a vast array of topics from children’s academic subjects to general interest. All of these classes are now live and interactive, as well as streamed 24 hours a day on multiple devices all for just one subscription fee.

With both these platforms in full effect, the Tapiit team have been able to successfully implement these services with the support and guidance from CEO Monthly’s CEO of the Year, 2020 – The United Kingdom.

The mark of a good leader over a good boss is understanding how to empower and uplift staff around them to do an excellent job. Mr Turner is definitely the former, understanding that his staff are integral to the continued success of Tapiit. The newest and best vessel may have all the latest specifications, but without the right staff it will fail. In every single one of his roles, Mr Turner has always developed and surrounded himself with the best teams possible, and success quickly followed suite. Every business owner, manager, or CEO must understand what Mr Turner has lived his life by; you cannot do it all by yourself, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of those around you to maximise the chance of success.

A truly outstanding example of what leadership looks like, Mr Turner is a rare breed in the executive world. As Tapiit continues to grow exponentially and set industry benchmarks for what maritime training could, and should be, Mr Turner is an exciting figure in the development of exciting, ground-breaking technologies and simple solutions.

For further information, please contact Richard Turner at www.tapiit.com

Amazon Business Customers Across the UK Accelerate Digital Transformation

Amazon Business is a global procurement solution now used by more than five million business customers, ranging from sole proprietors to multinational enterprises with tens of thousands of employees on a single account. 

Since launching in the U.S. in 2015, we have expanded to eight additional countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada and India – and reached $25 billion in worldwide annualised sales, more than half of which are from selling partners. 

In the UK, two of our fastest-growing customer segments are enterprise customers and public entities and we serve more than 50% of FTSE 100 companies. In addition, we serve all of the 15 largest universities, 13 of the 15 biggest cities and six of the largest 15 hospitals across the UK, as well as many other public entities. Multinational enterprises from all industries – including retail, healthcare and automotive – purchase from our selection of hundreds of millions of products in categories such as office, IT, cleaning products, PPE and professional medical supplies. 

In the UK, there are millions of items with an available business discount giving customers more value for their money. Shahzad Saleem, Chief Procurement Officer at Capita, was looking to embrace a digital platform that better served their customers, while maintaining cost competitiveness. Introducing Amazon Business for Capita’s tail spend IT peripherals reduced their procurement costs by over £225,000 within the first six months. Shahzad also managed to save 32% on 12,800 headsets compared to their distributor network – and was able to cut purchasing time by 82%.

Helping multinational enterprises fast-track digital change

Amazon Business offers a set of features that suit the needs of multinational enterprises, such as business-only pricing and selection, single or multi-user business accounts, Business Prime, approval workflow, purchasing system integrations, payment solutions, dedicated customer support, to name a few.

One of those customers, Stewart Dalton, EMEA Senior Procurement Manager, AECOM, said: “By lodging a single payment card and using a punchout catalogue to Amazon Business, the time spent placing orders and reconciling invoices has been reduced by over 70%. One of the biggest benefits was the familiarity of Amazon, and we’re excited to be building a better procurement process.”

Since enterprise customers often utilise third-party solutions, including Enterprise Resource Planning systems such as SAP, and Spend Management systems like Coupa and Ariba, Amazon Business integrates directly into over one hundred of these solutions. This helps to enable real time access to millions of products, streamline expense management processes, and digitise purchase orders and invoices – lowering the overall cost of operations.

Supporting selling partners to thrive on Amazon Business 

Amazon Business selling partners are independent businesses selling through our stores. They are just as much a part of our customer base as the end buyers and we are focused on helping them accelerate their business growth.  Historically, small and medium sized businesses have struggled to sell their products to multinational enterprises, often because they lack the resources to reach them. What makes Amazon Business unique is that we enable our selling partners to reach new business buyers such as multinational enterprises, universities, government agencies and healthcare organisations. In fact, enterprise customers in the UK have increased their spending by more than 50% year-over-year with selling partners. 

We help with infrastructure, personnel, tools and services. As a company, Amazon spends billions of dollars every year to help small- and medium-sized businesses around the globe succeed. These selling partners range from manufacturers of quality consumer electronics and IT equipment, independent office supply resellers and international online bookstores, to family-owned businesses selling appliances for the home and office. 

Darren Wilson is just one of the business owners to benefit, as Director of DKW IT Consultancy Services: “Our experience with Amazon Business has been a great journey – the volume of sales we are receiving through Amazon is much greater compared with our previous channels. We have been able to leverage an established B2B customer base on Amazon Business and we realised that adding business-relevant products bring a significant increase in our revenue.”

“We were especially pleased to get orders not just from large entities but also from business customers of all types and sizes which grew our B2B segment to almost 50% of our total sales,” Darren adds.

Supporting public sector procurement

Similarly, we’ve compiled our best resources to also help public sector customers across the UK with their digital procurement efforts from hospitals, to healthcare, childcare and schools to government organisations. In addition, Amazon Business helps public entities achieve their spending requirements with small to medium-size businesses.

In the UK alone, an increasing number of public sector customers are purchasing items from selling partners including education supplies, business books, site and safety equipment, office supplies, IT equipment, and many more. One of our customers in the public sector, Kyush Modasia, Director Finance for Academies Enterprise Trust, said: “We had an operational model that was equivalent to 58 different entities all working in silo. There was a drastic need to improve system processes that were central to our new operational model. Centralisation helped us bring all our academies together in one place – so that finance operated as one function. This was key to improving our financial reporting.”

Also, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Amazon Business helped to get critical medical supplies and PPE – such as digital thermometers, ventilators, facemasks and sanitisers – to nearly 3,000 healthcare and government organisations in Europe.

 

Driving sustainability forward 

Amazon is committed to building a sustainable business for our customers and the planet. We co-founded the Climate Pledge in 2019, committing Amazon to be net-zero carbon across all our businesses by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050. 

We help Amazon Business Customers procure more sustainably. As part of the Climate Pledge Friendly programme, they can discover and purchase a growing selection of business-relevant items such as paper towels, printer paper, HDMI cables, face masks, monitors, and laptops that are already certified with recognised labels such as the Energy Star, EPEAT and Compact by Design.

Compact by Design is a new externally validated certification created by Amazon – to identify products which are designed with less air and water, so they are more efficient to ship.

The Climate Pledge Friendly programme features tens of thousands of items and we add more selection every day, allowing procurement leaders to focus on digital transformation while acting sustainably. 

Looking ahead, we continue listening to feedback from customers and selling partners. We are obsessed with innovating on their behalf to deliver what they need to be successful in meeting the demands of the future workplace. We are excited about what we have accomplished over the last six years and look forward to what lies ahead. 

8 Smart Money Saving Tips When Travelling

Travelling can be an expensive affair, but it is possible to keep these costs down to a minimum with these 8 smart money saving tips!

 

1. Travel Off Season

Regardless of whether you are going for a short trip away, or going away long term, the best way to get cheap flights is by travelling off-season. If you go away on season, you will not only be facing more expensive flights but also accommodation options will hike up their prices. When you travel at less busy times of the year, tourist attractions will often offer discounts and incentives to get more customers, which is great for you. Additionally, travelling off-season will not only save you money, but it will be quieter too, with fewer lines for popular attractions. If you are not sure about when it is best to travel, use a flight price calculator that can help you find the cheapest time to go.

 

2. Stay In Hostels

There is a common misconception about hostels that they are dark, grimy and unsafe. Of course, there probably are some hostels out there that fit the description, however, there are also lots of lovely hostel options out there available at bargain prices! You can find hostel options that are very friendly and host quizzes, games nights and pub crawls, so if you are looking to make some friends while traveling then staying in a hostel is a must! What’s more, lots of hostel options offer free tea and coffee stations, with shared kitchens for you to use. This is a great way to save even more money, as instead of eating out, you can cook your own meals in the communal kitchen.

Sometimes people are put off hostels because they do not like the idea of sharing a bathroom or bedroom with people they do not know. Often hostels will offer the option of having a private room with your own bedroom, while this costs extra, it will still be far cheaper than staying in a hotel.

 

3. Walk More

It can be tempting to just hop on a bus or a tram, or even call an Uber to get around sometimes. However, the money you spend on transport can add up very quickly. Obviously, there will be times where transport is essential, but when it is possible to walk, then walking is absolutely your best option! Not only will it save you money, but you also will see more of the sights and get a better feel of where you are exploring. All the extra walking will also be good for your fitness, as this is something a lot of long term travellers struggle with.

 

4. Use Coupons And Cash Back

Using coupons and cashback schemes while travelling is a great way to save some extra money. Instead of going into big shopping centres and spending full price, go to this site for discounts, coupons and even up to 3% cashback. While you might not save the big bucks every time, each time you do save a little something, these savings will add up in the long run.

 

5. Plan Your Daily Spendings

It’s a good idea to have a daily budget in mind as this will help you to keep spending in check. Plan out your costs and decide on what is a reasonable daily budget for you, for example, if you decide to spend $50 a day, then this is the figure you will have in mind when you start to consider buying non-essential purchases. Naturally, the price of living will vary from place to place, so your daily budget will probably need adjusting from time to time. If planning budgets is not your forte, try using a budget calculator to help point you in the right direction.

 

6. Minimize Eating Out

Where possible it is best to minimize eating out, as this can be costly. When you do choose to eat out, try eating out in local joints, and eat as if you were a local. This will save you money and it will also give you a more authentic experience. Additionally, after the year that the world has had, local communities will be relying even more so on tourist expenditure. And so, you should try to avoid restaurant chains at all costs, they will be expensive and the food will be no better than the local joints that you can find.

To reduce the costs of eating out, try staying in places that either has communal kitchens or that have a microwave/ cooking station in your room. This might mean paying a little extra for the room, but with that comes the convenience of cooking for yourself, and this will save you a lot of money from eating out every day.

 

7. Check Out Free Activities

Sometimes it will feel like all the things you want to do while abroad cost money. There are always going to be free activity options out there, you might just have to do some digging to find them. Seek out nature parks, free museums, cool architecture and more. Not everything has to be costly, and even when you do choose to spend money on activities, search around first as you can often find hidden gems that are cheaper than the typical tourist guide/tour/experience.

 

8. Avoid Staying In The City Center

Whatever accommodation option you choose, you should avoid staying in the city center as the prices will be significantly higher there. While it can be tempting because you will feel closer to the action, often it is just not worth the extra cost. Aside from that, you can get a more authentic experience by staying in areas where you might not have thought to explore initially. Whatsmore, you will be traveling to the city center and you will be able to see all the extra sights along that route.

Saving money while traveling does not have to be a grueling task. Small changes here and there can add up to big savings, and so, with these 8 simple money-saving tips, you will be able to save your money without compromising on the experience of your travels.

Intelligent Solutions for the Future

Artificial Intelligence-enabled Internet of Things with 5G+ connectivity is the next major innovation on the technological horizon. Although many companies are not familiar with AI -enabled IoT’s power to transform operational processes, businesses increasingly depend on the competitive advantages that the solutions offer. With the capacity to connect disparate systems and elevate business needs in unprecedented ways, powered by a range of connectivity solutions; EPIC IO and it’ subsidiaries are perfectly poised to lead the public and private sectors through this wave of innovation, under the impressive leadership of Ken Mills. We take a closer look at the firm and Ken’s history to see just how he did it.

For the last twenty years, IntelliSite has been an early champion of internet-of-things (IoT) solutions. For the layman, IoT describes a network of physical objects that link sensors, software, and other devices through wireless connectivity, transforming streams of data into actionable, strategic responses. For a wide range of businesses, there is enormous potential to be explored, and IntelliSite is a key player within the solutions infrastructure market that has evolved.

IntelliSite, now a subsidiary of EPIC IO, with global headquarters in Fort Mill, SC, and offices in Ceres, CA, Argentina and Costa Rica, delivers targeted outcomes for customers across IoT, safety and security, and computer vision enablement. Over the years, IntelliSite’s team has turned its attention from sophisticated turnkey solutions to a range of subscription-based managed applications that deliver AI-powered intelligent analytics and actionable outcomes for connected businesses and communities. Leading this evolution into this brave new world of smart communities and digital connectivity is EPIC IO, CEO, Ken Mills.

Mr. Mills brings a wealth of information to his role as the Chief Executive Officer of EPICIO. For the past two decades, he has worked in the field of business-to-business technology and information security, giving him not only a unique insight into the industry-at-large, but also expertise and depth of knowledge unmatched by other companies that are only now entering the field. Mills’ approach ensures that EPIC IO and its subsidiaries, Broad Sky Networks and IntelliSite are always one step ahead, able to provide the valuable, tailored solutions that people need, when they need it.

With a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Clemson University, Mr. Mills has spent a great deal of his life balancing the needs of the public and private sector. He has been a Partner in one of the largest contract field sales organizations in the U.S. and served as a Nuclear Engineer for the United States Navy. He spent nearly eight years building a hyper-growth business for Cisco’s safety and security, access control, and emergency response business unit, which he followed with a stint as a Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.

Prior to his leadership role at EPIC IO, Mr. Mills was the General Manager and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Dell Technologies safety and security, IoT, and computer vision business unit. He quickly made a name for himself, not only as an exceptional businessman but as one of the company’s top experts in the areas of security and public safety. Over the years, his work proved to be instrumental in creating and advancing solutions that Dell Technologies’ safety and security division had under development.

In short, when it comes to matters of technology and security, Mr. Mills is driving innovation in this space with a depth of knowledge few competitors can match. To ensure that EPIC IO’s business offerings remain at the cutting edge, Mills conducts significant outreach as a member of the Security Industry Association (SIA), serves as an Advisory Board Member for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, and writes opinion pieces as a member of the Forbes Technology Council. These outlets allow Mr. Mills to communicate with his peers and stay abreast of the latest changes and innovations under development in this fast-paced field, always calibrating the impact such trends will have on his work.

When it comes to EPIC IO’s future, it’s clear that the holding company and its subsidiaries will have a big impact on the technology sector as a whole. The team has produced hundreds of enterprise-scale solutions spanning across such diverse economic sectors such as the healthcare industry, public works, financial, energy, agriculture, retail, and education markets, with deployments across the US, Europe, and Latin America.

“The reason for our success is simple,” shared Ken, “We focus on the ‘Why’ with every customer. Whether it is a city manager, facility manager or the Chief of Police, we start with the desired outcomes first. Then our team of experts can work through how we get from A to B to deliver the desired, measurable results. Our end-to-end managed solutions shepherd our clients through every step of the process – from design, to procurement and installation, all the way through life-time system health management.”

At the heart of every solution is IntelliSite’s open, nimble and extensible software platform, connecting desperate streams of new and existing cameras and IoT sensors to create sophisticated solution systems, capable of providing high-volume, AI-enriched data, and near real-time visual computing analytics. IntelliSite solutions gather all of the sensor data information that is available and leverage the latest technology innovations to convert that data into to actionable information, that positively impact business operations and goals.

To serve the business community-at-large, the team provides various solutions in a variety of different areas. For example, products such as IntelliSite’s heuristic-based monitoring (hBM) combines the team’s DeepVisionAI and DeepLogic Rules Engine, which enables multi-sensor and multi-system integration with DeepInsights federated visualization, alerting, and reporting capabilities. When used alongside a third-party FDA-compliant thermal/optical camera, the result is the most complete thermal monitoring solution available.

The hBM Solution software completes three-layers of assessment, beyond the strictly thermal reading provided by the camera, which ensures that thermal noise can be removed, reducing the chance of false positives. The end result: businesses can confidently execute screenings of employees and visitors not only for temperatures, but for mask compliance, occupancy management and even employee badge screenings for check in. Centrally managing and automating a process that was once a demand on human resources with more efficient, effective, and data-driven results.

“We have had great success in working with communities to solve their safety and security issues, one pilot at a time. Recently our company worked with the Alameda County Department of Justice in California to provide an AI-enabled IoT solution to reduce illegal dumping. Illegal dumping was costing the city more than $8 million dollars a year at the time,” Ken explained.

“The Alameda District Attorney’s office was extremely pleased with the result of our engagement. After carefully assessing their challenge, we helped form a private-public partnership with local businesses. Business owners were frustrated with the lack of cleanliness in the area and its impact on their business. IntelliSite, the DAs office, and business owners worked in concert to strategically place cameras where IntelliSite’s AI-enabled cameras where IntelliSite’s DeepLogic software could identify trigger events, such as a car illegally parked or activity in an area of frequent illegal dumping through IntelliSite’s DeepInsights analytics dashboards.”

The return on each intelligent solution multiplies when you consider the team’s remote management services. This is an invaluable security resource for companies, providing 24/7 monitoring by a professional security team. Instead of working onsite, this team can engage remotely, escalating engagement where necessary to an onsite security team or with local authorities. Having the option to gather more information and react appropriately is expected to transform the options available for security services. This system can be deployed on a larger scale as IntelliSite’s Smart Community as-a-Service (SCaaS) powered by Broad Sky’s 5G Connectivity. For local communities, the remote monitoring or “IntelliCare” service is available at an affordable monthly subscription that offers state-of-the-art safety and security monitoring solutions.

Needless to say, AI-enabled IoT solutions are inherently complex with many moving parts between hardware, software, connectivity, and service components. But when EPIC IO, IntelliSite and Broad Sky Networks are involved, the team creates the perfect, bespoke solution, specifically tailored to an organization’s wants and needs.

Intelligent solutions are an important feature of modern life, and the team at EPIC IO offer something truly revolutionary. We celebrate the success of Mr. Mills and his amazing team as they explore new avenues for success in the future.

For further information, please contact Beatriz Burgos at www.intellisite.io

Preparing your brand for the incoming wave of M&As

Our world is in flux. And although collectively, we are facing many challenges right now, there are myriad opportunities growing in tandem. As many organisations restructure in an effort to weather the current climate, we will inevitably see Europe follow in the steps of the United States and witness an increase in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.  

With only 674 deals in 2020 – the lowest since the financial crisis of 2008 – lower interest rates, available funding, and a host of organisations looking either for domination or survival, 2021 is likely to be one of the busiest M&A years for some time. To help prepare marketers for the upcoming wave, here are five tips to help drive success for any M&A. 

  

Reverse engineer 

It’s important to look to the future and understand what will yield the most return. Look ahead and ask yourself, will there be a need to quickly restructure a combined brand portfolio, and what are the options for achieving that? Getting the possible brand options down on paper and evaluating the potential trade-offs quickly holds immense value.  

Early dialogue with peers and leaders can lead to fruitful insights. Consider what an optimised brand portfolio can do for the organisation. This approach will reduce time wasting on less relevant strategies and help teams align at speed and focus on what is possible. 

  

Evaluate your brand assets 

Looking to the future is only the first step. It’s important to evaluate what from the past can be let go. Build an inventory of all brand-related assets. This will give brand leaders the opportunity to focus their attention on the assets that can serve multiple purposes, stretch the furthest, and contribute the most to brand success. Every asset must be assessed for the strategic value it brings.

This inventory will allow brand leaders to streamline the most valuable assets and focus attention on what will bring the most return. By implementing through stages, leading with priority assets will allow you to introduce secondary assets over time. 

  

Lead with Purpose 

If Covid-19 has taught brand leaders anything it’s the importance of purpose. Purpose is your north star and can provide a filter for all decision-making within your business. Uncovering and activating your purpose can help guide large-scale as well as smaller decisions. 

M&As are complex and uncertain, but they also provide a moment of clarity to ask important questions on why your company exists, who it serves, and what impact it can have on the world.   

Clear messaging on company aspirations and principles will offer stakeholders a point of alignment. Injecting your purpose into every unit or division will provide a red thread that runs throughout the business, informing all initiatives from customer and employee value propositions, to experience design and marketing. It will also act as a roadmap for integrating new acquisitions. 

  

Adopt full transparency 

Transparency leads to trust, and one way to ensure transparency is by developing your brand as a collaborative and creative engagement. Open the process. Integrate employees and customers into the programme and embrace their desire to be part of this change.  

Transparency generates additional benefits too. Brand teams get a fact base that will offer valuable insights they may otherwise not have noticed. Rapid and open-loop feedback will also provide confidence in decision-making. 

Involving stakeholders in the process of brand development will ensure they feel listened to, givem them confidence that the new company is built around their needs. 

Create brand co-authors, not bystanders. 

  

Maintain agility 

The importance of brand in the M&A process is now being recognised by CEOs and as a result, marketers now more often have a seat at the decision-making table. Maintaining this position will mean demonstrating the capability to work at deal speed. 

Where teams once ran activities in logical sequence, they now need to be run in parallel, and in days not months.

Experience and expertise matter when all eyes are on brand. Ensure your team is comfortable with agile processes and can successfully operate at high speed. Support teams in their drive for agility and allow quick decision-making. 

Moving forward 

The wave of corporate transactions heading for Europe in 2021 will present an opportunity to create lasting value. It’s not just an opportunity for the business, but also for brand leaders to define a new future for their discipline.  

Launching a new brand is no mean feat, and to do so successfully deserves plaudits. But it is just the beginning of the brand building journey that can help to future-proof your business. 

Caring for and storing luxury cars at home

Our cars are sometimes our prized possessions. Taking time to ensure they’re polished and gleaming is a regular task, so it’s not surprising that you would want to keep them close at home. Do you want to put your car away for winter or like to safely store it during the evening? Either way we have some great tips for caring for and storing luxury cars below.

 

Before you store

Before you put your vehicle in storage there are a few house rules you need to follow to keep it happy while it sits idle. Firstly, you should fill the tank and give it an oil change. The fuller the tank is, the less chance of moisture building up inside which can cause it to rust. You also don’t want to leave old oil sitting in a car, especially a classic car, as this can also lead to rusting.

The next thing you need to do is clean and detail the vehicle. Clean any dirt and dust away from the car. While you may think this is counter-intuitive as it’s only sitting in storage, if you add a cover, it could scratch and damage the car, ruining the paintwork. Once you have cleaned it all off, you should apply a protective layer of wax. The body is the most important part to focus on when you clean your vehicle, but don’t forget about the wheels which also need to be cleaned.

 

Garages are great

Garages are great for storing your car, not only do they provide protection at night or while you are on vacation, but they can also protect it from the elements. Rain doesn’t cause a problem initially. However, it can leave dirt, dust, and other small particles on the vehicle, which you don’t want – this won’t be an issue if it is safely stored in your garage.

We know that not everyone has access to a garage on their property, but we have the perfect solution for you. Investing in a garage kit is the perfect way to have the ideal storage unit for your cars. Built using high-quality steel, you can rest assured knowing your prized ride is safely stored.

 

Invest in a cover

Covers are available in a range of fabrics, from thin ones to heavy-duty ones. If the vehicle is staying outside, a waterproof cover is essential. While it may be tempting to simply secure a plastic sheet to cover the vehicle, if it is not designed for cars, it could scratch and ruin the paintwork. Before you order your cover, have the vehicle model and measurements ready – you don’t want to order a cover that doesn’t fit.

Caring for your luxury car at home doesn’t need to be a challenge. With these simple tips, you can ensure your vehicle is well protected.

Top Ten Attributes Every Great Business Leader Needs In 2021

By Thom Dennis, CEO at Serenity in Leadership

Successful business leaders may previously have been visionaries of their brand, expert decision makers with a growth mindset and possessed extraordinary levels of energy, but the qualities needed to be a good leader in 2021 have changed vastly due to the seismic pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the events that have brought suppressed and ignored social issues to the fore.

In response to the pandemic, leaders have had to formulate effective crisis management schemes, show agility during lockdowns, repeatedly re-plan to meet the changing needs, navigate the varied transitions of working from home, deal with redundancies, cope with a collective rise in burnout, and begin to look at issues like BLM and harassment with new eyes whilst maintaining team spirit with physically separated teams.

Different circumstances call for different styles and attributes of leadership and we have certainly seen some shining examples of global influencers and inspiring business leaders in the last year. Unfortunately we have also seen incredibly poor leadership.

These are 10 attributes that every great leader needs in 2021 as we negotiate the ongoing twists and turns of the crisis:-

  1. Resilient leaders don’t let failure dishearten them; they understand losses are temporary and use them to their advantage and to learn; they are generous in the face of others’ needs. Our current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous) environment means an agile approach to change is essential, as is the need to be one step ahead. Having a big picture outlook and a willingness to take early decisions is key. Whatever your political standpoint, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel is extremely good in a crisis. Whilst other hospital systems came crashing down in the first wave, Germany had so many ICU beds, it flew in Italian, Belgian, Dutch and French patients.
  2. Controlled Ego. Effective leaders are humble, have a clear vision and know when their contribution is needed and when it is best to let others take the floor. They build on the capability of their team first and welcome input from all stakeholders, and then look for new opportunities to grow or do better. We all have an ego but those leaders who are in command of theirs are patient, often self-less, don’t require gratitude or ego-stroking. A survey of 105 computer software and hardware firms revealed that humility in CEOs led to higher-performing leadership teams, increased collaboration and cooperation and flexibility in developing strategies. A leader who has demonstrated these attributes throughout his extremely varied career is Rory Stewart, the former Secretary of State for International Development.
  3. Compassion. Employee welfare is a hot topic with concerns rising about mental health and physical safety during the pandemic. Emotionally intelligent leaders understand that maintaining morale is key to thriving, and actively care about employee wellbeing. They have a heightened awareness of mental health including the effects of, and needs around trauma, grief, bullying, harassment, stress and PTSD and effectively support workers through this period. At the start of the pandemic Ally Financial CEO Jeff Brown was quick to provide leadership and responded by showing care and generosity to employees by moving most of the 8,700 workforce to work from home in just a few days, including hustling equipment to people who needed it, along with getting them set up with internet. The company’s already-existing financial, medical and mental health benefits were well designed to help employees through a crisis.
  4. Inclusion. Inclusive leaders are people-oriented and do not value one more than another and openly look for different ways of thinking. The best leaders check for unconscious bias, starting with themselves, and strive to make the workplace an equal environment for all. They actively welcome diversity as a real asset with great potential, not a tick box. In Latin America, John Deere’s head of HR, Wellington Silverio, launched a comprehensive D&I program in 2016, which has now touched more than 13,000 employees in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico by having a leadership team that promotes—and a workforce that reflects—the global diversity of its consumers.
  5. Responsibility. Being a responsible leader is about being able to shape the business by making strategic yet informed ethical judgements. These leaders appreciate the crucial importance of creating the right culture, have a clear understanding of the values and goals for the business, and know how to communicate them. This means listening openly and displaying moral courage, long-term thinking and value-led collective problem solving. Ruth Bader Ginsburg demonstrated great traits of the responsible leader, for example effectively teaching the then all-male Supreme Court that discrimination against women actually existed.
  6. Trailblazing. New Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris has broken barriers, remained rooted and now embodies the hopes of young women all around the world. Trailblazers tackle problems and find solutions in ways others can’t. These leaders are resilient in the face of failure and keep going long after others have fallen away. Greta Thunberg continues to challenge world leadersto take immediate action against climate change.
  1. Authenticity. Leaders who are authentic promote transparency, honesty and openness within the workplace because they know that it ultimately builds trust. We need to talk the talk and walk the walk to show integrity. Honest leaders keep to their word, follow through on promises and deliver on time. They know how to effectively manage expectations, even if that means delivering bad news. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the incredibly successful outdoor equipment company Patagonia, has lived by his principles and created a continuously ground-breaking organisation based on his values.
  2. Accountability. An accountable leader takes responsibility for their actions and steps up when they are needed. They are not afraid to apologise if things go wrong, nor do they blame others for their mistakes. Rather, they endeavour to fix and learn from them. The first female president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, mother to seven children and head of an organisation with over 32,000 members of staff, admitted it was a mistake to override part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland to prevent shipments of vaccinesentering the UK and rectified the mistake within hours, asking to be judged at the end of her term.
  1. Inspirational leadership is fuelled by passion and purpose. Leadership like this is contagious. An inspirational business leader motivates everyone around them, trusts them and encourages them to feel as passionate about the business as they do. Barack Obama offered hope and inspiration to his country by being both open and vulnerable.
  1. Excellent Communicator. Paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues, listening well and being personable are enviable characteristics of a great leader. Great leaders simplify complex problems to be able to focus in on what really matters, delivering information in a clear and concise fashion. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand led her country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 with courage and determination. Since then she has combined a willingness to make hard and timely decisions with a consistently high level of communication, demonstrating openness, honesty and vulnerability. She is perhaps today’s shining example of all the 10 attributes outlined above.

Don’t Make These Money Mistakes

Paying your bills and having a little leftover each month to contribute to savings can be challenging. Even working in a well-paying career, it can be difficult to feel like you are making headway with your financial goals. If it doesn’t feel like you are progressing as you should, take a look at these common money mistakes and see if any sound familiar.

 

Paying High-Interest Debt

If you have credit card debt, there is a good chance you are throwing money away. Unless that debt is tied to a zero-interest promotional offer that you know you will pay off before the promotional period ends, you need to look at getting rid of this expense. Cutting expenses and focusing on paying off credit card debt is one way to attack the problem, but there are other options. Consider taking out a personal loan. Check online to see what rate you qualify for and choose an APR that works best for you. Unless you have a great deal on your credit card, you are sure to pay less interest by taking out a personal loan to pay off your cards.

 

Mindless Spending Stemming from a Lack of Planning

If you find that you are frequently stopping to pick up takeout on the way home from work, paying late fees on your bills, and purchasing items to replace something you know you have somewhere, you could easily save money by dedicating some time to planning. Look at your bank statement to see where you regularly spend money on your discretionary income. Pinpoint holes that are easy to plug, like fast food lunches. Packing your lunch saves money and is also generally a healthier choice.

Other questionable expenses may not be as noticeable. Do you regularly throw food out at your home? Make adjustments to your menu to reduce food waste, and you will lower your grocery spending. Do your utilities seem high? Look for easy fixes, such as hanging drapes to block drafty windows and turning your thermostat down a few degrees. Comb your bank statement for subscription services that you don’t use and cancel them. Cancelling can be a hassle, but spending a few minutes doing so can save you money each month.

 

Not Prioritizing Savings

Consider your savings account a bill like any other. If you only contribute money that you have leftover, you are sure to find that your savings aren’t growing very quickly. Instead, transfer a specific amount from your checking to your savings each pay period. Prioritize retirement savings as well. It is tempting to put saving for retirement off when you are young. Your income may be low, and you feel like you have plenty of time to contribute.

All of that is true, but the earlier you start saving, the more time the money has to grow. Your retirement savings will be much greater if you make regular deposits during your 20s and 30s. If, after examining your budget and making changes, you still struggle with having money left to save, consider taking a part-time job. Don’t think of it as a permanent move, just a chance to get out from under debt and boost your savings.

Commitment to Connection Drives Success for Intelligent Contacts

At its core, Intelligent Contacts’ technology offers cloud-based, omni-channel contact center technology and consumer-friendly digital payment platforms. As the world becomes more digitally-aware, successful companies are leveraging consumer convenience and preferred-channel communication to grow their business and retain customers. Intelligent Contacts is a software firm that helps create these meaningful connections between its’ clients and their customers like no other, thanks largely to the experience and expertise of its outstanding CEO, Jeff Mains. Mains has also won the title of CEO of the Year, 2020 – The USA in this issue of CEO Monthly, so we profile both the man and his work with Intelligent Contacts.

Since its inception, Intelligent Contacts has sought to offer the most innovative and configurable contact center technology and consumer-friendly digital payment platform available. Instead of building products, Intelligent Contacts creates solutions designed to be frictionless for both the business and its customers—creating a seamless and integrated experience between its’ communications and electronic payment platforms. The success of Intelligent Contacts can be attributed to a number of factors, but there are few more influential or impactful than the vision and leadership of its’ founder and CEO, Jeff Mains. Throughout his career, Mains has been a keynote speaker, bestselling author, and business transformation expert, and he always seeks to share the good, the bad, and the downright ugly from over two decades of leading companies in a wide variety of sectors and industries. Over the years, Mains has consistently found ways to solve the operational challenges of his clients in a way that also simplifies the experience for the end consumer.

The inspiration for Intelligent Contacts came while Mains was running a SaaS CRM company, and noticed that his clients were struggling to find communication and payment tools that worked the way they wanted. Most of the available options were mediocre and out-of-touch with where the industry was moving. Many were rigid and overly complex. They were “built by techies for techies,” and lacked the flexibility that clients needed. Rather than take this as it was, Mains decided that there must be a better way.

Out of this glaring need, Intelligent Contacts sprang into being, quickly becoming a key player in the financial services and healthcare revenue cycle management space. Mains set out to build his technology on a foundation of flexibility, simplicity, and speed-to-market. That meant creating a cloud-based solution that eliminated the need to buy hardware, software, or employ an IT staff to manage.

Today, Intelligent Contacts delivers enterprise-level cloud contact and consumer-focused payment solutions to healthcare and financial services companies that helps them to meaningfully connect with consumers to create engaging and personalized communication and payment experiences.

Because the products are so easy to use and integrate seamlessly with other systems, Intelligent Contacts has a built a cult-like following among its user base. Client satisfaction is confirmed by their 99.5% retention rate for 2020.

However, 2020 was a year quite unlike any other. Like many other businesses, Intelligent Contacts soon found itself needing to adapt to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Few businesses are the same today as they were a year ago. Some industries have found themselves majorly disrupted while others skyrocketed. The clients that Intelligent Contacts works with have certainly experienced their own issues, and what Mains observed is that the severity of the issues often came down to agility and mindset.

For example, the most successful companies adapted quickly and found ways to make lemonade from their lemons, while others panicked, resisting change, and decided it would be better to simply wait it out. Intelligent Contacts works with clients that have historically been resistant to the idea of remote working, but this has now become a new reality and something that all businesses must plan and account for long term.

Intelligent Contacts has created solutions that are built to work securely from anywhere, and managers have the same visibility into activity and productivity regardless of location. Many of the firm’s clients are more forward-thinking than the industry as a whole, and a large number had already begun transitioning to remote working either partially or fully prior to 2020. This gave Intelligent Contacts a proven process to seamlessly transition hundreds of clients, many with hundreds of employees, from centralized offices to a “work from home” setting in just a two-week period.

Quite remarkably, 100% of clients forced to make this rapid transition managed to hold firm and steady throughout 2020, and many clients set new revenue performance records.

Jeff Mains specific role was working with client CEOs and executives in helping them rethink and pivot their businesses to meet the changing needs within this new reality. Remaining agile and raising the level of engagement rather than retreating was the path to success, and Mains helped his clients find that.

Mains also knows a thing or two about sharing a message in a way that is accessible. In his bestselling book Small Fish Big Pond: Building a World Class Business That Swims Circles Around Competitors, Mains describes how markets are always in motion. Disruption is both fluid and inevitable. To prepare for this flux, Mains stresses the importance of always engineering the business for speed and agility. A company optimized for speed and agility can anticipate a disruption in the market and move quickly to capitalize on it. Or, quickly pivot to lessen its impact.

Undoubtedly, the biggest impact in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused many companies to look inwards at themselves. It was at the onset of the pandemic that Intelligent Contacts made the proactive decision to reach out to its clients and offer its help as a cloud-based contact center software company that cared about its’ clients and was already built with the speed and agility to help them adapt. In addition, Mains helped other CEO’s rethink their business models, leverage the resources they had, and redeploy those resources to serve existing markets in a new way.

The challenges brought on by 2020 confirmed how critical it is to stay close with clients, especially during times of crisis. This experience proved once again that the most valuable type of capital in existence is relational capital. Revenue may go up and down, but trust is a commodity that never loses its value. Mains discovered, in a fresh way, that his clients at Intelligent Contacts count on them for more than just great software. They look to IC for solutions, and they want a business partner who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to provide hope and certainty when the world seems to be crumbling around them. Then, at other times, to be ready with innovative ideas that create unseen opportunities and drive greater levels of business success.

None of this is possible without meaningful connections, proactive engagement, and taking time to deeply listen and understand what a client is saying. Mains is more than an exceptional CEO; he is someone that understands the humanity of business and has built his own business to serve its clients consistently and whole-heartedly.

 

For more information, please contact Jeff Mains at www.intelligentcontacts.com

Complete Package From Compleat Software

As a business-to-business software author, the work of Compleat Software is focused on digital purchasing, invoice capture, AP automation, and real-time spend analytics for the SMB and SME markets across the United States. The firm is also home to one of this month’s recipients of the CEO of the Year, 2020 – The USA title from CEO Monthly Magazine, the fantastic Mr Philip Douglas. Join us as we take a closer look at the man and his firm to find out more about what it has to offer, and why he is such a worthy winner for his work as CEO.


Since its inception, Compleat Software has sought to be more than the average software and tech company. Instead, it has grown to become a highly disruptive software and technology company, and one that empowers businesses and accounting practices all over the country. There is an outstanding combination of the firm’s seamless purchasing and purchase invoice automation functionality, with a unique e-invoice service, which has proven to be a gamechanger for both the market and the corporate side of the industry. Compleat Software’s founding mission has always been to deliver innovative and affordable real-time financial purchasing, as well as budget automation software that removes manual tasks and empowers business users globally to make more informed decisions about how to smartly spend their money. Compleat Software has been built on three core values: simplicity, growth, and openness. Firstly, the firm continually seeks to simplify its approach to doing business by designing products to make the lives of its customers and employees easier.

From there, growth brings exhilaration and pride, the type of which will make a new future for the entire finance industry. Compleat Software grows because it is not afraid to tackle big problems and create opportunities from them. Finally, the firm prides itself on being open and transparent, working together for strength and inclusiveness whilst building a culture that is founded on trust, respect, and integrity. Compleat Software is fundamentally different to its competitors, attracting both end user customers as well as partners. It also scales from family businesses right the way up to those with revenues of more than half a billion US dollars. Though it caters to many firms, the promise is simple: this is not a point solution that fixes just one thing. Compleat Software is for growing businesses, and has the options that they don’t even know they need yet. There is no comparable solution on the market for SMEs, and that is thanks to the growth overseen by CEO Philip Douglas.

A collaborative leader that has always championed a culture of learning at Compleat Software, Mr Douglas boasts superior facilitation, communication, and coaching skills that stand him in perfect stead as CEO of Compleat Software. Achieving quick success in the market is not something that many can master quickly, but Mr Douglas has always sought to understand the needs of the market and of the whole business, so that software can be developed with pinpoint accuracy towards prospect and customer requirements. Understanding is key here; without it, there can be no accuracy of software and no outstanding service from Mr Douglas and his teams. He has ensured that Compleat Software has become the leader in purchasing and invoice automation with integration tools that have never been seen before in the industry.

Mr Douglas has always been a firm believer in the fact that a company culture should define what a business is all about. As CEO himself, Mr Douglas has always expressed to his staff that the software offered speaks for itself. Therefore, the business should strive to be a caring and thoughtful one, with a deep understanding of others and the general health and wellbeing of those it works with. Mr Douglas understands that people are in their working lives longer at times that they are in their social circle, and strives to make it an enjoyable time for his staff. Yes, there is hard work, but Mr Douglas ensures there is plenty of smiles and laughter along the way; attributes that will surely go much further in building relationships with customers. Ultimately, Mr Douglas seeks to inspire his teams with a calm, creative, and methodical approach to all areas of the business’ operations and growth. He drives the vision of the business, and is outstanding in pushing forward with new ideas to effectively guide his team in improving performance, developing competencies, and increasing productivity and sales.

As any good business leader knows, the strength of the firm lies in its staff, and Mr Douglas is always on the lookout for potential recruits to increase that strength further. In his capacity as CEO, Mr Douglas takes great pride in wanting to know more about the individual, rather than their attached CV. Experiences and knowledge are important, but Mr Douglas wants to paint the picture of a day in the life of a progressive fintech business, whilst understanding what a day in the life of the candidate is like. Humanity is everything for Mr Douglas. After all, if he can have a conversation with this person which is easy flowing without pause or concern, the Mr Douglas knows he has the right person for the job. Giving people a chance is just as important. Compleat Software has employed people straight out of high school into junior positions, giving them a career path, further education, and an insight into parts of a business that they might not otherwise see. Seeing progression in these individuals is a real point of pride for Mr Douglas today.

However, there are challenges that Mr Douglas has faced in his time as CEO of Compleat Software, just like any other tech company. It may investing in new R&D ventures that didn’t work out as planned, or recruitment in certain locations. Whatever the challenge, Mr Douglas chooses to focus not on the things his firm did right, but what it learned from it overall. Recruitment is a perfect example. Compleat Software focused its recruitment on its office locations, wanting to build an office vibe, complete with Friday feelings and feel-good factors. However, after looking at itself as a tech company, it came to the conclusion that it does not matter where someone is located. That culture can still be created, and all Compleat Software had to do was think differently. Engaging with staff and customers in a remote fashion, Mr Douglas strived to create a culture remotely, and did just that.

Ultimately, Mr Douglas has poured everything into Compleat Software, and the result is a business that stands out for its exceptional services and outstanding culture. As CEO, Mr Douglas has crafted Compleat Software into the complete package. His firm is one of excellence, and his service and dedication to the company is nothing short of admirable. He deserves every success and recognition for his work.

For further information, please contact Philip Douglas at www.compleatsoftware.com

3 Ethical Brands Making a Positive Change in Their Industry

The current world we live in is encouraging us to lessen our impact on the environment. One of the most important topics right now is making sure we buy from companies which are not only sustainable but also ethical. Sadly, even in the 21st century, we hear about companies that exploit workers and use unsustainable ingredients and processes. Boohoo was criticised for exploiting workers by paying them less than the minimum wage, as well as providing no COVID-19 protection in its Leicester factory.

Fortunately, we as customers have the power to influence change. With so many more of us taking an active interest in ethics and the environment, brands are adapting. Many are changing the way they operate and helping to make a positive change in their industry. As organisations take progressive actions, other brands will follow suit. With our favourite YouTubers informing us about brands to avoid and how we can make changes, it’s becoming easier to go green while keeping our usual routines.

Here, we look at some leading brands from different industries to see what they’ve done to solve an environmental issue in their sector and instigate positive change.

Guilt-free tanning

The beauty industry is known for its heavy use of plastics, particularly in packaging. Plastic waste is one of the most damaging pollutants, with microplastics getting everywhere from our soil to our water. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, and usually ends up getting dumped in landfills or ingested by animals. The majority of us have more than enough beauty products serving different purposes, so there’s a lot of waste being generated.

If you’re an avid fake tanner, you probably go through a considerable number of bottles a year. You’ve stopped buying bottled water, you recycle your waste, but there are still those pesky empty bottles of tan that will end up in our landfill. Tanning brand Isle of Paradise, which offers a range of tanning products from self-tan drops to tan remover, sells refillable pouches of tanning water that use 81 per cent less plastic. The brand sources the cleanest, most ethical ingredients and regulates its manufacturing processes to reduce its environmental impact, making it an innovative and ethical company. After all, we’re avoiding the sunbeds, so fake tanning should be guilt-free!

Adventure-wear saving the day

The fashion industry makes up 10 per cent of global carbon emissions. This includes the production and transportation of clothing. The stat isn’t surprising, considering we buy 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. What is crazy is that the aviation industry only makes up two per cent!

We’re a fashion-crazy society, so it’s important that we know where to direct our money. It’s worth noting that some ethical brands attempt to profit from ethical consumers, driving up prices to make more money. Sustainable ways of business will become cheaper in the future, but for now they’re not always so affordable. So, if you can’t afford to splash out £80 on a pair of sustainable jeans, don’t feel bad. Just try to be aware of the brands that are careless and inconsiderate and avoid giving them any business.

Patagonia is a popular outdoor adventure-wear brand. Its brand mission commits to respecting the outdoors and nature like the people wearing its clothing do. Patagonia is a Certified B Corporation, which are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, among other criteria. Brands need a minimum of 80 points to be certified, and Patagonia has 151

The fabrics sourced for Patagonia’s clothing are certified organic, eco-friendly, and recycled. Unlike fast fashion brands that aim to turn stock around at two weeks, these clothes are high-quality and long-lasting. This results in clothing that will pass the test of time and won’t fall to pieces after several wears.

As well as being environmentally ethical, Patagonia is known for its progressive initiatives that make it a great place to work. These include onsite childcare, three-day weekends every other week, and a commitment to bailing any employee out of jail who is arrested for peacefully protesting for the environment. 

Clean water—not in the way you think

Bottled beverages are a huge contributor to the plastic pollution discussed above. So much so that in the UK alone, 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are consumed every year. Globally, Coca-Cola won the notorious title of the world’s biggest plastic polluter.

There’s a real issue here, particularly with the bottling of water, one of the most abundant and natural resources on the planet. Water quality is declining due to pollution, so many consumers are choosing bottled water over tap water.

CanO Water is a brand of packaged water in recyclable and sealable aluminium cans. They can be recycled an infinite number of times, creating a plastic-free cycle. Refill and reuse as you please! Wave Goodbye to Plastic Pollution is an ocean clean-up campaign created by CanO Water. Its aim is to both make our seas cleaner and raise awareness of the looming crisis our oceans are facing. The campaign encouraged the public to post a ‘wave’ emoji 🌊 on CanO Water’s Instagram post. Each wave is equivalent to removing 3.5 plastic bottles of plastic from beaches. 

When doing your research, there are ethical alternatives you can take to make sure you’re having the least negative impact on our planet!

This Is What You Need to Know About the Insurance You Didn’t Know You Needed


There is no end to the questions and misconceptions people have about insurance. One of the most common misconceptions is that insurance is intended to be a discount for needed services. Indeed, many people never have reason to question this idea. After all, a visit with the general practitioner costs about $150 without insurance, and $5 or less with insurance. They measure the quality of insurance based on the perceived discount they gain.

However, this confusion drives many people to make bad decisions about insurance due to the fact that they are fundamentally wrong about what it is. Insurance is not a discount service. It is a risk management service. No one sells you insurance for events they know will occur. They sell you insurance for events they believe are less likely to occur. Insurance companies need you to pay them more money than they pay you. The house always wins. When it doesn’t, it goes bankrupt.

That is why life insurance generally costs less for people who are young and healthy. Coverage for lightning strikes is inexpensive in places that don’t have many electric storms. But in Tornado Alley, you might not find a company that offers it at all. It is primarily about risk management. Here are some other factors that will help you decide what insurance you really need versus that which you can do without:

Car Insurance

You know you need car insurance because most places require a certain amount of it before you can legally drive. But what about insurance for a car you have that you don’t drive? Do you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run? The answer might surprise you. It is more of a maybe than a yes. But it is more yes than no. Confused? Good. It is a confusing issue.

What happens if your undrivable car is stolen? Do you still expect it to be covered? If so, you are definitely going to need insurance on that parked car. What happens if it gets whisked away Wizard of Oz style? It might not be an act of any god you believe in. But insurance can still cover it. If you don’t want coverage for those things, it still might not matter. If you are paying for the car via a loan, the loan holder determines whether you can end coverage. Hint: You are going to need to keep that coverage. Remember, insurance is about risk management. The loan holder will not be taking a risk on that even if you want to. There are things you can do to reduce your insurance burden on a car that doesn’t run. But at the end of the day, you are probably going to have to carry some type of insurance on it in most states.

Renters Insurance

Everyone has heard of homeowner’s insurance. It is advertised in TV commercials. Not everyone knows about renters insurance. Only 41% of renters opt for renters insurance despite the price of renters insurance hitting average lows of $15 per month. It is clearly a type of insurance people don’t think they need. They will have a very different notion of what they need if they find themselves a victim of burglary. Your neighbor can set the building ablaze leaving you holding the bag for losses. Renters insurance might even cover accidental damage of items like smartphones and laptops.

Life Insurance

It should go without saying that everyone needs life insurance even when they are young. The problem is that young people feel invincible. So they never consider what will happen to their family if they died unexpectedly. It is even more of an issue if children are involved. When young couples get together, they blow the budget on elaborate rings. Instead of an expensive ring, insist that your partner buy life insurance instead. That is a much better sign of love and responsibility than jewelry.

Insurance is complicated and confusing. The thing to remember is that it is less about discounts for things you know will happen and more about risk management against things you don’t expect. Whether it be auto, renters, or life insurance, ask plenty of questions. And don’t stop until you get the answer you need to make a good decision. 

4 Ways to Help Your Business Survive COVID-19

As the world passes the one-year mark of COVID-19, businesses are continuing to struggle and adapt to today’s world to ensure that they can keep their doors open. Weathering the pandemic has been tough to say the least, and unfortunately far too many businesses haven’t been able to make it through. Now that vaccines are rolling out across the UK and around the world, there is that light at the end of the tunnel – it’s just a matter of making it there. With that said, we’ve got four tips to help your business survive COVID-19.

Adapt What You Sell or the Services You Offer

For many businesses, the key to surviving COVID-19 has been to adapt. You have to be willing to recognise the trends and demands of the current marketplace and then adapt in a timely manner. For example, this could mean selling different products, adding a delivery service or placing emphasis on specific items that are in demand at this moment. Once the pandemic has ended, it may be necessary to adapt again. As a business owner, you always need to be tuned in to what your market wants and what it dictates.

Deliver Goods Locally

If customers can’t come to you and shop in-person, then it’s time to adjust the playbook. Now, you have to go to them. Granted, this isn’t as easy as someone hopping into their car and simply driving to a customer’s house; it does take planning and organisation, and you’ll need to look into such things as goods in transit insurance to ensure you’ve got proper protection.

Just make sure that, before you sign on for any goods in transit insurance policy, you shop around online to get the best deal so that you are not spending more than you need to. Sites like Quotezone, for example, make it possible for you to compare cheap goods in transit insurance policies so that you don’t end up over-paying.

Ensure You are Offering a Safe Working Environment

If your business has remained open throughout the pandemic, you also have the responsibility of making sure you are creating a safe environment for both staff and customers. This means adhering to all the public health measures, and even going above and beyond. You can look at the public health guidelines as a starting point and then ask yourself what other layers of safety and protection you can add.

Boost Your Marketing and Advertising Efforts

This is also a good time to boost your marketing and advertising efforts, in particular your digital social network marketing campaign. You want to make sure you are getting the message out to people that you are open, and what it is you’re selling or offering. It can also be helpful to run discounts or promotional programs to spark some interest.

To call the COVID-19 pandemic a difficult road for businesses seems like an understatement. The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, so it’s time to buckle down and go into survival mode.

Understanding the Detrimental Impact of Covid-19 on Gender Equality

By Avalyn Kasahara

Are we going back in time? how COVID-19 has dramatically widened gender equality for women in the workplace. 

The past year has been difficult for most, with COVID-19 dramatically changing almost every aspect of our everyday lives. In particular, studies reveal that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women, both personally and professionally. Now questions are being raised whether years of progress towards female empowerment, women’s rights and gender equality is taking a step in the wrong direction. 

 At Future Strategy Club, a members club of over 300 of the UK’s most experienced c-level consultants and leading creative talent, we recognise the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on gender equality. We are aware that the past year has been tough for many, but particularly for women, who have undoubtedly been challenged and confronted by the gendered economic impact of COVID-19. 

The economic impact of COVID-19 has disproportionately fallen on women, with data from the ‘Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact’ report further unveiling this. Within this report, data shows that women have been at an especially higher risk of job loss during the pandemic, being a third more likely to be employed in sectors such as travel and tourism, childcare, beauty and non-essential retail, all of which have been forced to close at least once during the pandemic.

The report also reveals that women have been more likely than men to be furloughed, made redundant and take on more hours devoted to childcare and non-developmental care, such as laundry, food shopping, life admin, cleaning and cooking. This demonstrates not only the widening gender inequality that the pandemic has created but the need for women to be better represented in all employment sectors, particularly those typically male-dominated. 

The major disparity in how COVID-19 has impacted both men and women is clear. And as women become increasingly vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic effects, many women are looking for a new way to work, outside the norms of traditionality. In fact, 58% now say they would consider starting a business or finding freelance work. 

This makes sense, as freelancing allows women to gain control of their careers by becoming their own boss, from flexibility and better income prospects to higher job satisfaction and overall happiness. At Future Strategy Club, we believe female freelance talent is particularly important and continue to ensure we support and encourage female freelancers, at every stage of their career, by guaranteeing equal pay and opportunities. Freelancers are also a vital part of our economy, with more than five million self-employed people in the UK, representing 15.3% of workers.

Planning to Get Botox? Here’s What to Expect

What is Botox? Botox is a medical procedure done to remove facial creases and wrinkles. Specialists clinically use this method for individuals who want to eliminate the aging features. Other than wrinkles, this injection can treat hyperhidrosis, cervical dystonia, and blepharospasm. It also heals uneven eyes and migraines. The process is straightforward and takes little time. The Botox will be injected into the muscles for it to work on the affected parts. What should one expect in this procedure? If you are a beginner, you might be wondering how Botox works and what to expect from it. Here are some things to expect.

 

The Process is safe

Are you worried about the safety of this procedure? You don’t need to since it’s an FDA-approved safe procedure. The process is even safer than the creams and serums people use to treat skin conditions. In line with Botox services in Miami, the method’s effectiveness can treat migraine and hyperhidrosis, which other procedures can’t do. However, pregnant women and those breastfeeding are not fit for this process. To be sure of this process and get the most effective results, experts recommend visiting an approved center. Since this is a medical procedure, only qualified specialists need to conduct it. You have to get reviews of the practitioner before having the procedure.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Some people might start experiencing side effects when they undergo this procedure. However, the side effects are minimal. They include swelling and bruises, which heals quickly. You might be among the luckiest individuals who don’t experience the side effects. At times, the patient might feel one side of the face is more rigid than the other after getting the injection, which could be the procedure taking effect. It is essential to visit your specialist in case you experience more side effects. Also, it would help if you visit an experienced Botox professional. This step is vital since there is preparation and injection of the Botox ingredient, which requires intervention from a qualified medical expert. Getting the procedure done by someone not conversant with it can lead to more side effects, resulting in extra costs of treating the reaction.

 

Is the Process painful?

The whole Botox procedure isn’t as painful as it’s perceived to be. The injection comprises the tiniest needle that doesn’t damage your skin. Its needle resembles that of the insulin shots, which we all take comfortably. Compared to other cosmetic procedures, it is pleasant and very comfortable for anyone to take it. Your specialist can use a distracting tool to make you not feel any pain. At times, the doctor can signify the end of the procedure when you thought of it starting. The professionals might also use ice packs before and after the process to numb the area, making you not feel any pain. It all depends on how your cells react to injections.

 

How long does it take for Botox to work?

Once you get the injections, you will experience little bumps and mosquito bite-like patches on the injected part of the skin. These patches will clear within an hour. It will take five days or so to notice your skin softening. The procedure doesn’t give immediate results, and to some individuals, it might take up to two weeks to see the Botox results. While many people expect the procedure to work immediately, you will need to be patient to achieve full results.

Does the procedure make you look different?

Botox doesn’t change your facial appearance or any other body features. What it does is remove the facial creases and wrinkles on your face, making you look younger again. Experts recommend taking the procedure from a qualified professional who will give you the right dose of Botox injections for maximum results. You will end up having smoother skin, a better smile, and a regained confidence. Doing it the wrong way can lead to much more negative effects.

 

Does the procedure provide permanent results?

The Botox ingredient gets metabolized by the body cells, making the procedure ineffective after some time. This medical procedure may last from three to five months, depending on an individual. The process will also last depending on the number of times you have taken the injection. Other factors include metabolism and fitness levels. It would be best to ask your specialist what to do to make the effects last longer.

The above are the things you should expect when having your Botox injection. Please note that effects and smoothening time depend on how the injection got administered. It’s essential finding a qualified professional for the best results. Also, you have to follow the set instructions to make the whole process effective.

Looking for the Right U.S. City for Your U.K. Business Expansion? Here’s What You Need to Know


We are used to reading about U.S. businesses expanding to Europe. We often overlook the growing trend of
E.U. based businesses expanding to the U.S. There are many good reasons a U.K. company, in particular, would be interested in expanding to a location across the pond. Those reasons include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Virtually no language barrier

  • Cultural familiarity

  • Similarity between currencies

  • Relatively stable and predictable political system

  • Robust economy relative to other places

Although the U.S. is a mess right now relative to more stable periods from the past, it is still a viable capitalistic republic with a functional economy ripe for a strong rebound. Coronavirus is not just a U.S. phenomenon. We are in a pandemic. Everyone is having to deal with it at some level. There is also political unrest in much of the world. The U.K. is still unpacking what it means to no longer be a part of the E.U. 2020 was a reality for everyone. The real emphasis is on how we recover worldwide. U.K. businesses and U.S. consumers can benefit each other in the recovery process. When looking for a U.S. expansion city, here are a few things to consider:

A Livable City

Before looking too closely at any single metric, what you need is a livability assessment. Is the city the kind of place where your potential customers would want to live? If expanding to New Jersey, you wouldn’t just look at the housing market in Jersey City. You would assess the overall reality of living in Jersey City.

Livability scores are based on a variety of factors. Two of the most important factors to consider are crime and housing prices. Boston, NYC, and San Francisco are not the most livable solely on the basis of stratospheric housing costs. But a place like Jersey City would still be in the running because of the high safety index and reasonable cost of living. Obviously, there is more to consider. When you are opening in a new city, you have to consider more than your market. You also have to consider your workforce. Your employees might not be able to afford to live in a city where the cost of living is too high. When you move your business to a city, you become a part of that city and that community. Pick a city where you wouldn’t mind calling home.

A Stable Economy

One of the markers of a stable economy is a survey of foreclosures in the area. It is clearly a bad sign when the foreclosure rate is moving in the wrong direction. You can also look at the price range of properties in foreclosure. If the upper end of the housing market is suffering high foreclosure rates, that is a much bigger problem than foreclosure at the lower end of the range. That is where most foreclosures would be anyway.

You also need to look at economic markers over time. A place where things are great one year but horrible the next will not be a good location on which to base the economic future of your company. It is better to expand to a place that has slightly less money, but is more stable and predictable.

Transportation Infrastructure

What is the average commute time for workers in that city? Long commute times indicate poor transportation and housing options. Commute times would be shorter if people could live closer to work. If people are commuting from two cities away, that says something about livability.

It also has indications for retail success. Ease of moving about in a city affects who can shop at your stores. If it is hard to get to, it will be hard to attract customers. Look for a place where there is good public transportation and walkable neighborhoods.

There are many good reasons to consider expanding your business to the U.S. Just be sure to pick a city that is highly livable, economically stable, and easily navigable.

Al Hamra’s New 12-Year UAE Residence Visa Initiative Drives Record Sales of Homes in Rase Al Khaimah

  • Al Hamra registers record sales of homes in Ras Al Khaimah in Al Hamra Village and Bab Al Bahr residential communities during the first phase of Live & Work initiative. Investors from across the world showed great interest in the property visa package with both apartments and villas moving fast.
  • All the units at the starting price of AED 292,000 have been sold out and now the available units start at a price of AED 400,000. Investors interested in securing a 12-year residence visa and a business licence with the purchase of a ready-to-move-in home must act fast to avail this limited-time offer.
  • The freehold home will be owned 100% by the investor. 5-year payment plans are also available with 20 percent upfront payment of the total value.


Al Hamra, the leading real estate developer, services provider and investment company in the Northern Emirates, has recorded strong investor response for its residence visa and business licence package, whereby those who purchase ready-to-move-in homes in its communities will receive a 12-year residency visa and business licence.

Al Hamra had rolled out an unmatched opportunity for investors in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) few months ago. The company received strong interest from the expats in the UAE and MENA region recording the impressive sale of apartments, townhouses and villas in Al Hamra Village and Bab Al Bahr communities. As a result, all the units priced at AED 292,000 have been sold out.

Living in Ras Al Khaimah – Al Hamra Village & Bab Al Bahr Communities

Owing to the solid response for a well-priced and suburbanised premium developments in prime locations, Al Hamra has now launched the phase 2 of the initiative. Located on the AI Marjan Island and AL Hamra village, just 45-minutes from Dubai International Airport, these are the most sought-after communities in Ras Al Khaimah with a mix of over 100 nationalities. Admired for the scenic vistas of the Arabian Gulf, AL Hamra Village and Bab Al Bahr Residences offers direct beach access and have world-class community gyms, swimming pools for children and adults, supermarkets, pharmacies, and beauty salons. 

Al Hamra Village is a fully integrated gated community, one of very few in the UAE, with a championship golf club, marina and yacht club and a shopping mall alongside waterfront walkways.

Bab Al Bahr Residences also offers a three-kms long jogging and cycling track on Al Marjan Island, alongside beautiful sea views, a corniche and promenade, a waterfront tennis court and family picnic areas.

Benoy Kurien, Group CEO of Al Hamra, said: “We are delighted to see such a positive response from the investors around the world who chose the Emirate as their preferred destination for living and doing business. Ras Al Khaimah is the first Emirate to be certified as safe by WTTC, with record number of people taking advantage of living in less populated and more affordable communities, where they can be close to nature as well as benefit from world class amenities and facilities. Al Hamra’s products and initiatives have always been customer centric. The pandemic has presented us a new opportunity to evaluate our offerings and redesign our products to meet the changing demands of our customers. The ‘Live and Work’ initiative by Al Hamra is a great example of this exercise.”

Ramy Jallad, Group CEO of RAS Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), said: “Our focus is to make it a breeze for investors to set up and expand to the region by providing them with customised business solutions as well as helping them settle in Ras Al Khaimah with ease. With the ‘Live and Work’ product, we are able to achieve these and seamlessly plug them into the Ras Al Khaimah’s unique ecosystem which comprises of a thriving business community and high-standard way of living, all for a cost that is lower than other major business cities. We invite all global investors looking to take a dive into the booming markets across the region and experience first-hand what RAKEZ and Ras Al Khaimah has to offer.”

Payment Plans

An elegantly designed apartment in the picturesque gated communities in Ras Al Khaimah starts at AED 400,000. Investors can also make the payment over a five-year period with a 20 per cent upfront payment of the total value. The freehold home will be 100 per cent owned by the investor.

Live & Work Package Explained

Al Hamra’s package is also best-suited for investors seeking to set up business in the UAE, while enjoying living in a fully owned home in pristine settings. In addition to the 12-year residence visa, investors enjoy exceptional incentives and benefits including a free business licence to undertake any of the hundreds of business activities offered by RAKEZ, an additional partner visa and a flexi-desk with modern amenities to conduct business seamlessly.

In addition to the excellent quality of life in an extremely safe environment, investors who choose to set up a business in Ras Al Khaimah can take advantage of low cost of resources, modern infrastructure, and state-of-the-art facilities. Furthermore, they stand to benefit from 100 per cent ownership of the business, 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits, no corporate tax and zero personal tax.

The offer will also assure long-term return on investment with an average internal rate of return at Al Hamra estimated at up to 8 per cent annually. Investors also benefit from high rental values with Bab Al Bahr being one of the in-demand residential communities renowned for its amenities, bigger layouts, competitive service and utility charges and an uninterrupted access to the pristine white sandy beaches of the Arabian Gulf.

Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that form the UAE, is today the fastest-growing tourism and investment destination in the country. In addition to its natural beauty, the world’s largest zipline and other historic attractions, Ras Al Khaimah also offers a competitive business environment. The Gulf Tourism Capital award is a testament to Ras Al Khaimah’s early and sustained action to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in global recognition as a safe destination for travel and tourism.

Home for Hospitality

COVID-19 has had a major impact around the world, but no industry has been hit so hard as the hospitality sector. We catch up with Ahmed Hassib, Co-Founder and CEO of Arura Hospitality, to see how he has been able to thrive in his current position and earn the impressive title of CEO of the Year, 2020 – the United Arab Emirates.

When looking at Mr. Hassib’s career, it’s not all that surprising to see what a celebration of success it is. He is a senior executive offering a record of verifiable success in business start-up, business strategy, team leadership, new business development, sales, and marketing with proven ability to effectively build and manage sales and profits. It’s been a long journey, and his efforts with Arura Hospitality are just the next exciting step on the way.

Now a clearly successful entrepreneur, Mr. Hassib has designed Arura Hospitality to lead the way when it comes to the tourism sector. At the heart of this impressive operation is a determination to inspire others by offering a truly astonishing experience for each and every guest. High targets are set, and more often than not exceeded in attempts to ensure that customers have the best possible time.

One of the reasons behind Mr. Hassib’s success in this venture is his long experience in where the challenges of the hospitality industry lie. Optimizing revenue across the spectrum, from increasing room sales, upgrading revenue, maximizing meeting and conference opportunities and enhancing the unique image and positioning of a property, is key to success. It’s the secret behind his business plan, and why it has thrived.

The name Arura Hospitality runs through a range of different brands, offering a standard of exceptional quality that people can quickly come to rely on. The team has come to approach each property as its own unique enterprise, with qualities that make it stand out from the rest. It goes without saying that the differing mindsets and travel occasions of guests, owners and investors alter how each venture is handled. With five different brands to chose from, Arura Hospitality is able to provide a solution that is truly able to fit all.

The success of Arura Hospitality is down to many different factors, and Mr. Hassib has experimented over the years with ensuring that each plays their part in delivering overall success. To ensure peak efficiency at a management level, the team support all property stakeholders and general managers through a central office. This office provides auditing, payroll, invoicing, taxes, Insurance, budgets, legal services and training for each property.

The management of each hotel is obviously critical to success, and as CEO, Mr. Hassib has played a crucial role in ensuring that the staff under him represent the highest possible standard of employee. As a result, the team have extensive experience in managing hotels, with

Also central to success has been the team’s approach to marketing. This is done in addition to manager’s own efforts with their particular enterprise. Having a corporate marketing department allows the team to effectively coordinate regional and national marketing opportunities that benefit each hotel individually and collectively. This work is done in-house, with a talented team of creators ensuring continuity within the different media outlets for the firm. This consistent approach has increased the team’s impressive purchasing power for Media buys.

When Arura Hospitality works with a client, they set up a contract that embodies the principles of dedicated service and commitment. It is a solid way of optimizing investment return and capital growth for all concerned. Mr. Hassib has a long history of experience designing effective business plans to help these businesses thrive. Each plan is customized to meet the specific needs of each individual hotel, incorporating details such as the hotel’s market environment, capital improvement needs and operating history. To ensure good development, the team will also receive activity calendars for planning and future monitoring. This supports the marketing plan and ensures the budget targets are achieved.

When it comes to expanding the firm’s effort, Arura Hospitality has already started a new and exciting campaign based on inclusion and diversity. Entitled Aruraability, the aim is to empower people, especially women. The scheme is intended to enable access to opportunities in the labour market, which ensure their right to work on an equal basis with others and not to be discriminated against. The scheme will develop their potential raising the firm’s human resources capabilities.

The wide geographic presence of the firm has allowed the team to offer a unique combination of extensive global diversified resources, technical expertise, and in-depth local knowledge to our clients. Instead of being forced to remain local, the team are able to offer some of the leading minds in the hospitality industry to support hotels across the land.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges faced by Mr. Hassib is COVID-19. Despite everyone’s best efforts, lockdowns in many countries have had a major effect on the hospitality industry. Regaining trust in these institutions will be no easy task, with the fear of the virus still prevalent in society at large. As the situation begins to recover, the team are sure that investors will begin to invest in this popular sector once more, with guests coming from the shelter of staying at home to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Looking forward, Mr. Hassib has already begun work on his latest venture, which is the establishment of the hospitality group, Joyoun Hotels and Resorts. This expansion to complement their hotels and resorts management will see the team establish an umbrella for hotel management, asset management and third-party management the Bayan Hospitality. Client-focused in the extreme, the aim is to offer a novel, rewarding business model, and a genuine concept of guest service that is set based on luxury amenities, exclusive accommodation, and personalized yet unobtrusive butler-style service. This new endeavour, Joyoun Hotels and Resorts and Bayan Hospitality will go a long way to utilizing all the skills that Mr. Hassib has developed. It’s sure to be an instant influence on the way that hospitality is run around the world. With such a passionate mindset for the business, it’s little wonder that Mr. Hassib has achieved such success. Truly, the sky is the limit for this impressive businessman!

For more information, please contact Ahmed Hassib at Arura Hospitality. 

Sight and Sound Success

The value of the audio-visual market has increased dramatically over the last few years. Companies in every industry have taken on the amazing potential of this technology, which has led to the rise of companies specializing in this field. The most impressive is Secret Screen, which has been named Most Outstanding Audio-Visual Integration Specialists, 2021 – Portugal in the Global Excellence Awards. We take a closer look at the firm to find out more.

Since 2010, SecretScreen have been leading the way when it comes to integration of audio-visuals into various projects across different industries. The team works across various sectors to support businesses in the expansion of their organizations and ensure clear communication in every aspect.

Being only ten years old, the firm has been able to take an agile and practical approach to the audio-visuals sector. The sector is one that is constantly changing to meet its new needs and perpetually improve technologies. As a result, their dynamic approach has ensured that they can not only meet the needs of businesses as they are today, but that they can do so for the foreseeable future.

The focus of the firm on visual communication and interaction technologies means that they can provide specialized services for no matter what the business. Developing skills in this area has proven to be tremendously useful for the company, allowing them to provide comprehensive support to organizations. The team have become renowned for being able to create a bespoke solution that best suits the specific needs of the firm.

Of course, much of this success comes from an approach that puts research and development first and foremost. The team is always investigating new technologies and ways of working that can help businesses to thrive in the digital world. This research is guided by a careful analysis not only of a user’s needs, but the problems that they face. By considering all of these facts, Secret Screen has been able to play a key part in the design of computer systems that are able to integrate impressive technologies.

The team is also a highly respected consultancy when it comes to equipment, software and other information technologies as well as audio-visual and multimedia communication systems. This consultancy work has allowed the team to take on new and exciting roles across various organizations. Sometimes, they handle the training and marketing of a product, while at others they are able to take on positions as representatives of national and international brands.

It’s easy to realize the incredible value that the team at SecretScreen have in the international marketplace. The team is frequently called upon to provide services, technical assistance and property maintenance contracts on behalf of clients, which include not only the assembly, but the installation of goods on a project.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate the highly reactive and proactive approach the team takes is through their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This unique situation has shaken many businesses and forced them to reconsider how they operate. For the team at SecretScreen the crisis has presented them with the opportunity to create new and exciting solutions to the increasing challenges of being audio-visuals.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SecretScreen focussed all efforts into its entrepreneur side developing a solution that would fit into this new reality. It all started with a MUPI with a sanitizer dispenser and temperature control. Having designed both the electronics and software, almost all ideas became possible and as soon as a feature got released a new feature was being developed. Being an AV integrator at its core, they realized the potential of their MUPI and integrated a touch screen and thermal printer to incorporate their queue system. Also, the MUPI is a great form of visual communication that allows a personalized content exposure. As with all technology, only the future can tell what will come next.

For those who have had to adapt to the challenges of homeworking, there are several innovations that the team can offer, designed specifically to assist in the adaptation of working to a new remote working reality. This embraces one of the principles that the team values the most, namely that new challenges require new and exciting solutions.

We have seen over the last few years how the rising star that is the audio-visuals industry has had an enormous impact on the world at large. Few have been more involved in its development than the team at SecretScreen. We celebrate their impressive achievements in these difficult times and look forward to explore the new projects and the impact that the company provides, not only to other business but also to the market.

For more information, please visit www.secretscreen.pt

Nourishing Innovation

Greenhouse Foodstuff Trading LLC has been a leading FMCG distributor in the UAE for over four decades, importing and distributing premium goods and brands from Europe and USA to retailers and foodservice establishments. Led by Mr Daniel Chidiac, Greenhouse continues to adapt and evolve, now taking on an exciting new market in B2C services. We take a closer look at the journey so far and Greenhouse’s visions for the future.


Established in 1977, Greenhouse Foodstuff Trading LLC is one of Dubai’s oldest and most established FMCG companies in the UAE, and has proudly been the ‘one stop’ solution for the region’s food service channel for more than four decades. Greenhouse is specialist in importing and distributing premium quality brands and food products from Europe and the US in addition to foodservice equipment.

Catering to global chains and local enterprises, to four and five-star restaurants and catering establishments, Greenhouse also partners with leading retailers across modern and traditional trade in GCC. Specialising in air freight short shelf-life products, Greenhouse is able to deliver exclusivity to their various channels across the food industry, whether they be importing dairy products, bakery and pastry foods, multicultural cuisines or other premium kitchen equipment. In 2014, the decision was made to focus on only eight key categories of culinary products, so that Greenhouse would be able to focus on excellence in select markets without having to compromise elsewhere.

The decision taken was part of a major restructuring project across Greenhouse that was initiated following the appointment of Mr Daniel Chidiac at the head of the firm, who brought with him a vision to position Greenhouse as the top player in the foodservice and retail markets of the UAE. Prior to joining Greenhouse, Daniel had acquired vast industry insights through extensive experience within retail and distribution of FMCG brands, namely from his involvement in the launch of Spinneys, in Beirut, Lebanon. Having worked with a myriad of multinational brands before entering Greenhouse, Daniel was well-equipped to carry on the legacy of Greenhouse founder, Mr Petros Hadjipetrou.

Mr Hadjipetrou founded the company in the seventies with a vision to create a single, comprehensive channel of major food brands into the UAE. To that end, the firm set out to introduce and develop Greenhouse’s brand portfolio to include major international brands. That mission has remained consistent throughout Greenhouse’s existence, as the firm itself has evolved and grown. In 2007, BPC Holding, chaired by Mr Salah Osseiran, took on the firm with a view to support the ongoing growth path through continual investment in infrastructure, skilled personnel and resources to maintain continuity and best practice, for the sake of clients and shareholders alike.

When, in 2014, Daniel joined with his plans for restructuring and a new vision to make Greenhouse the leader of eight categories of the foodservice and retail markets in the UAE, it marked an exciting new chapter for the firm. With principles of transparency, integrity and loyalty built around trust and consistency in strong partnerships and business relationships, Greenhouse continues to strive for excellence in its customer service and innovation in its operations.

Working across two different client bases in food service and retail, Greenhouse employs two go-to-market approaches driven by dedicated teams for each channel. In retail, for instance, the team includes brand managers who play a vital role in proposing innovative concepts to large supermarket chains and independent retailers, offering them unique opportunities to stand out in a saturated market. The team have proudly brought to market products such as the Mini Cheese concept for Carrefour and other retailers and the ‘Cut &Wrap Cheese’ concept, that has proven a firm favourite at Choitrams, Grandiose and Aswaaq supermarkets. In addition, Greenhouse recently launched its Plant-Based division, which seeks to find new and exciting products and brands to answer the growing popularity across the continents for more plant-based diets. With the support of Greenhouse, supermarkets are able to deliver the best and most innovative products to clients around the GCC.

For clients in foodservice, Greenhouse goes above and beyond only offering exclusive premium ingredients and products. The Greenhouse Innovation Centre at the firm’s headquarters in Dubai is a world-class culinary platform that welcomes professionals and chefs to learn about developments and changing trends in the food industry. Comprehensive culinary courses and training events are led by illustrious chefs and Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOFs) and cover everything from baking demonstrations to revolutions in cooking techniques to inspiration for new menus. Chefs from across the UAE flock to the centre to learn the best and latest trends from the European food industry and leave feeling inspired and empowered to craft their own culinary creations.

Thus, as a service company, the team behind Greenhouse are instrumental to the organisation’s growing success. As Daniel himself says, “the greatest asset of a company is its people” and to that end, he is continually investing in the development and improvement of the team. When recruiting new members, Greenhouse seeks loyalty, integrity and intelligence, as these attributes are what create a smoother, more efficient and overall, more successful company. Together, Greenhouse has cultivated a culture that is friendly, collaborative and equal, whilst at the same time promoting accountability, professionalism and ambition. Every member of the Greenhouse team is an entrepreneur in their own right, taking pride and responsibility for the corporation that they have each helped to build.

For Daniel, it would be easy to find managing an operation across the four countries of UAE, KSA, Qatar and Sultanate of Oman challenging, yet the strong management of his teams in those regions alleviate any stress. Whilst Daniel and his team at the headquarters in Dubai focus on the growth of the firm as a whole, he is able to trust in his partners across the continent to be striving towards the same goals for the branches of Greenhouse.

It is with great enthusiasm that Greenhouse is able to look ahead to the future, with plenty of exciting projects ongoing and in the works. Having seen a lot of shareholder investment in projects like Cheese Cut & Wrap and the launch of Greenhouse in Saudi over the last two years, the firm is now strategizing growth and focus on these projects to reach maturity in KSA, Qatar and Sultanate of Oman. Moreover, following the successful launch of Greenhouse’s catering services for coffee houses at the beginning of 2020, the firm is expanding into the development of B2C products to account for the increase in delivery services brought about by the ongoing pandemic. Green Mealkit is the first of Greenhouse’s products in this vein, which will be launched in March 2021 as a healthy and convenient option for easier cooking at home.

Thus, with innovation continuously at the helm of the firm’s ventures in the retail and foodservice industry, we are able to look ahead to this exciting next step in the Greenhouse’s evolution. As they take on the B2C market, there is no doubt that even after four decades of operation, the best is still yet to come for Greenhouse.

For more information, please contact Daniel Chidiac at www.greenhouseuae.com

Top Ways to Easily Help Your Skin Look Better

Being the largest organ of your body, your skin needs care since it protects you from pollutants and pathogens. Because of the variety of products, treatments, and routines, taking care of your skin may seem overwhelming. However, it is not always about spending a lot of money on expensive facials and anti-aging creams. You can strike a balance between using good skincare products in addition to some important lifestyle choices. You will be surprised by how applying the basics in skincare can give you a healthy and youthful glow.  We bring you this list of handy tips for better-looking skin.

Wear Sunscreen

Despite being frequently advised, many people may neglect or forget to put on sunscreen before they go out. Sometimes, you need to put it on even indoors, as UV rays can penetrate the windows in your house or work, especially if you are in a sunny place. While the sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D, too much exposure to the sun can negatively affect the skin. It increases aging and may lead to skin diseases like cancer. Make it a habit to wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin.

Stay Hydrated

Water does not just quench your thirst, but it is also vital for your skin. Water increases the blood flow to your skin and gives it a vibrant tone. It is a natural anti-aging element, as it increases the elasticity of your skin by moisturizing it. Water also decreases puffiness and balances the oil in your skin, so you will not suffer from acne or any oil buildup.

Get Skincare Treatments

While there are various things you can do at home, it is sometimes better to leave the matter to the experts. As expensive as they are, skincare treatments can create a dramatic change to your overall look. According to the esteemed team of dermatologists at a certified Ultherapy® clinic Singapore, getting professional skincare therapy will produce satisfying results. Your dermatologist or esthetician will have the expertise to use products and treatment techniques that match your skin type and color. Whatever your skin goals are, the professionals will make them possible.

Moisturize Regularly

Moisturizing your skin is a must, even if you have oily skin. Many people mostly moisturize only after taking a shower to keep the moisture sealed in or after a shave as a way of protection. However, we should do it more often. Moisturizing keeps your skin smooth, young, and fresh. When you use a moisturizer, apply it by gently massaging it on your skin.  Applying the moisturizer this way helps stimulate blood circulation and cell regeneration of your skin.

Have Plenty of Sleep

Beauty sleep is not a myth. In fact, your body regenerates its cells during the night. You might need to ditch your night owl routine if you don’t want rapid aging of your skin. Staying up late stresses out your body and increases the levels of adrenaline. This can cause breakouts and other skin issues. So, you should try your best to accommodate from 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily.

Pay Attention to Your Diet

While skincare products can work their magic on the outside, your diet plays a deeper role in the health of your skin. Several health experts agree that what you eat significantly affects your skin, hair, and nails. You should always go for what is healthy and nutritious. Cutting sugar, harmful fats, processed foods, and refined carbs can be a good start. You can see the results of eating unhealthy food in conditions like aging skin, rashes, acne, and even cancer.

Invest in Quality Products

It is not about being extravagant; it is about being meticulous with what you purchase. First of all, you have to know your skin type in order to meet its needs. Pharmacies are already flooded with high-end skincare products that can break the bank, but the key is to know which one is the most compatible with your skin. Even though you may pay a fortune now, your skin will thank you later. By taking care of your skin early on, you will age gracefully and keep the youthful look for a longer time.

Good skincare goes beyond the daily cleanse; it is about dedication and patience. Giving your skin extra care will make it shine in ways you did not know were possible. While there are a gazillion routines all over the internet and health magazines, you should start simple and stick to what suits you best. With this guide, you can use some easy tricks to get a glowing tone and smooth texture.

Issue 3 2021

As always, CEO Monthly is dedicated to providing the latest news and features across the business world to our readership. After all, knowledge sharing is crucial to enduring success – especially in a world that seems so focused on adapting, changing and shifting beneath our very feet.

This issue we have focused in on the technologies that have helped redefine how we work. Last year, more than anything, offered an opportunity to redefine the workplace. Businesses that had never delved into the realm of remote working suddenly found themselves with few other options. For others, it was the next step on an already established path – the infrastructure was there, the intranets and VPNs and communication lines were in place. The rest had to adapt quickly, jumping in at a time when services and expertise in the arena were stretched somewhat thin. This year, then, presents an opportunity to strengthen and reinforce what was created quickly. We’re already seeing companies spring into action to capitalise on this need for experience in what is, for many, a rather alien area of operation.

So let’s dive in and see what technology has to offer for companies of all sizes looking to expand on this strange new world we live in.

Until next time, we hope you have a fantastic month ahead.

Online Data Shows Countries Are Sceptical About 5G

  • UK rank second, as there are 93,400 online searches a month by Brits concerning the possible negative implications of 5G technology
  • The United States is the most sceptical country in the world about 5G, with an average 374,700 tentative online searches about 5G per month
  • Australia (32,970), Canada (22,680) and Poland (20,510) are among the other countries where there are over 20,000 dubious online searches regarding 5G each month

5G is one of the pinnacle new technologies that is set to revolutionise everyday life. Driven by its core benefit of super-fast low latency internet, 5G has the strong potential to unlock the full capabilities of other advanced technologies like augmented reality and Internet of things (IoT). Despite these positive credentials, many are still cynical about 5G.

Interested in technology trends, Prolifics Testing utilised online analytics tool Ahrefs to discover which countries in the world are most sceptical about 5G based on their online searches in relation to 5G.

Prolifics Testing classified and grouped consistently recurring Google searches by individuals on 5G such as ‘is 5G dangerous?’, ‘is 5G safe?’, ‘is 5G harmful?’, ‘does 5G pose health risks?’ and ‘does 5G cause/spread coronavirus (Covid-19)?’ as sceptical online searches about 5G. 

Prolifics Testing found that that the United States is in the number one spot as Americans are the most hesitant about the emerging technology, with an astonishing 374,700 sceptical online searches regarding 5G each month – the equivalent of 1,027 sceptical online searches per day!

In second position is the United Kingdom, where there are 93,400 online searches a month by Brits doubting and questioning various aspects of 5G.

Australia is in third place, as there is an average of 32,970 dubious online queries about 5G per month by worried Australians.   

Canada (22,680) and Poland (20,510) are among the other countries in the world where there are more than 20,000 tentative online searches about 5G every month, respectively ranking fourth and fifth.

Interestingly in Africa, there are 13,780 online searches a month by South Africans (eighth place) and 6,850 online searches a month by Nigerians (thirteenth place) concerning the possible negative implications of 5G technology. 

At the other end in 20th place is Denmark, where there is an average of 1,410 sceptical online searches by Danes relating to 5G each month.

Why HR Makeovers Are Necessary For Your Workplace

Millions of people around the world tuned in for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah. Like many others, we were watching intensely as the pair spoke candidly for the first time about the disastrous treatment they endured while working as senior Royals.

We propose that the Royal workplace needs a major overhaul of their people management. So, we’ve spoken to Chief People Officer, Alex Hattingh at Employment Hero to find out the HR makeover that the Palace needs, plus future Royals and future generations deserve.

Diversity is something to be championed

Throughout the interview, Meghan and Harry were not afraid to point to racism as the root of the discrimination that they had been subjected to by both the Royal institution and the British media. In one of the most distressing parts of the interview, Meghan shared that the Royal family had expressed concern over the skin tone of their son Archie, and that the Palace had intentions to change Royal conventions so he would never receive the ‘Prince’ title.

Just like with corporations, the institutions who reject diversity not only lose out on all of the benefits of diverse thinking, they become more disconnected from a multicultural society and increasingly out of touch with the new generation who are demanding more.

We know that Millennials and Gen Z (who are now the world’s largest population) will not accept a lack of diversity, and they’re willing to go after those who slow down progress. How much longer can the Royals continue when they’re so out of touch with an increasingly dominant generation?

Middle management can be culpable

If Queen Elizabeth is the distant CEO, Prince Charles is the apathetic middle manager. During the interview Harry shared that Prince Charles stopped taking his calls after a certain point, effectively abandoning him and Meghan and turning his back on the trouble they were facing.

The success of a company depends on the actions of its staff at every level. Middle managers have a duty to bring understanding and clarity to workplace conflicts, bridging the gap between junior and senior staff members. 

Onboarding guides are essential

In any job, a detailed onboarding guide is an absolute must. Your incoming recruit may be absolutely great for the role – and positioned to do a stellar job – but there might be a few quirks of a new company that they might not be aware of.

If you don’t let people know what is expected of them, you set them up for failure and stress. If you share the details of the role and conduct helpful training, you both can start the job with your best foot forward and a sense of mutual understanding.

Mental health must be taken seriously by employers

Anyone in 2021 knows how important it is to care for mental health – apart from the Royals apparently. The impacts of poor mental wellbeing can be devastating for individuals and their loved ones. People experiencing risks to their mental health as a result of their work deserve assistance and compassion – from their workplaces and, of course, their families. 

What can we learn from Meghan and Harry’s story?

It’s good to see that after some difficult times, Meghan and Harry were able to somewhat resign from their toxic workplace. Although their Royal experience is burned into their CV, they seem to be paving their own way forward and living and working authentically.

As for the Royals… Although the institution is yet to comment on the controversial interview, we hope that they will be able to take some learnings from this situation. The rest of the working world knows how important HR is to running a functioning business, how long can they last without it before they cease to remain a viable organisation?

De-risking post-Brexit supply chains

De-risking post-Brexit supply chains

By Jacqueline Hughes is a senior risk analyst at risk management consultancy, Equib.  

Almost two thirds of the products and materials used by the UK construction sector are imported from the European Union and this territory also accounts for around eight percent of its workforce. Concern is growing that despite the recently agreed UK/EU trade deal, friction at borders, new paperwork and additional compliance costs could impact project outcomes, leading to delays and cost overruns. So, what can project managers do to mitigate against Brexit-related risks within their supply chains?

The supply chain risks facing UK project managers have increased significantly since the start of the year. Disruption at UK/EU borders could result in delays of critical construction materials. New business immigration rules could also pose challenges for the industry when it comes to sourcing skilled labour from the EU. This could all have a knock-on impact on project budgets and timescales.

Adopting a risk-focused approach from the outset can help project managers to de-risk supply chains in line with the new trading environment. This should involve conducting detailed scenario planning for the various situations that could occur when sourcing materials or labour from the EU. Managers should then consider the steps that could be taken to reduce the likelihood of these risks occurring, or to mitigate their impact. For example, in the event that the supply of critical materials is delayed, would it be possible to re-schedule construction activities to ensure that the project is still delivered on time? In this way, project managers can stress test their strategy and develop a proactive plan for dealing withdifferent kinds of risks.

Effective horizon scanning can also help to inform the decision-making process, allowing project managers to conduct scenario planning for the short, medium and long-term by considering what their operating environment might look like in five, 10, 15 or 20 years’ time. For example, there might be an opportunity to switch to a UK-based supply chain or put in place dual sourcing arrangements, to reduce procurement costs and mitigate the risk of disruption.

Proper risk allocation is also key to the effective management of Brexit-related risks within construction supply chains. Often, end clients may be unwilling to manage risk. This may cause them to push risk responsibility down the supply chain, to sub-contractors who are even less equipped to shoulder the responsibility for managing them. However, this can cause an unwanted chain reaction. Contractors are forced to either inflate prices to cover themselves if something goes wrong, or else assume excessive risk exposure. In a worst-case scenario, this could cause businesses to fail, as happened with Carillion. Greater risk understanding and more contractor involvement at the design and planning stage can facilitate realistic budget and schedule setting, reducing the likelihood of project overruns and improving outcomes.

In order to tackle risks related to the use of skilled EU workers in the short-term, project managers must ensure they have a clear understanding of the post-Brexit environment and related business immigration legislation. However, to future-proof the industry, an innovative strategy is needed for developing domestic construction skills. Efforts must also be taken to improve the reputation of construction careers, improve diversity in the sector and bring wages into line with other UK industries.

Ultimately, the process of adapting supply chains to the new post-Brexit environment will require a delicate balancing act, involving short-term adaptations and planning for the future. By considering how risks might evolve over time, project managers will be better placed to tackle risk across the supply chain and keep projects on track.

Self-Sufficiency Set to Influence Consumer Spending in 2021


In times of sudden and dramatic change, people tend to react in one of two ways. They either tense up and resist the inevitable for as long as humanly possible or take a deep breath and adapt to the new normal.

Generally speaking, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to decide which way we’re going to react. While many people have chosen to live in denial, others see the pandemic as an opportunity for self-improvement.

For most folks, 2020 was the year when they realized they weren’t nearly as self-sufficient as they thought. In the absence of products and services we took for granted, it became apparent to many that achieving some sense of normalcy would require self-sufficiency.

With most experts anticipating another year of mask-wearing social distancing, it’s safe to say the self-sufficiency trend will continue through 2021 and beyond. With this in mind, investors and wealth management professionals will want to get on board before it’s too late.

Investing in the self-sufficiency industry opens up hundreds of possibilities. That’s because, as a result of the pandemic, the push for self-sufficient living permeates through every aspect of our lives. For example, due to working from home, many people are learning how to make coffee for the first time. Previously, they made a daily stop at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on the way to work. Since that’s no longer a feasible option, they opt to brew gourmet coffee at home.

If you’re an investor in early 2021, do you buy stock in one of the nation-wide coffee shop chains or online services sending monthly boxes of gourmet coffee to homes across the country? While the question assumes a false dichotomy (you could hedge your bets and invest in both or invest in neither), it highlights the gut-check security of investing in any business that’s currently selling a do-it-yourself alternative to things we outsourced before the pandemic.

However, investors must know the difference between a gimmick and a pot of gold. Do-it-yourself baking kits? That’s a winner. Do-it-yourself foundation repair kit? That’s probably not something people will want to tackle on their own in any circumstances.

With that said, the current trend towards self-sufficient consumerism doesn’t mean investors need to give the cold shoulder to big business mainstays. While so-called disruptive industries have been the topic du jour among investors for years, the prevailing pattern suggests industry giants will adapt to the new normal. If the new normal is more consumers choosing to DIY things they previously paid others to provide, it won’t be lost on those in control of the world’s largest companies.

2020 was a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. With that said, the pandemic and events surrounding it have led many to make changes to the way they do things. On the consumer side, individuals take on more responsibilities, while businesses are tasked with adjusting to changing consumer trends. While the overarching circumstances are unique, this pattern is business as usual. Investors should take note.

7 Beauty Tips to Help You Look Your Best on Video During Class

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, online classes through video conferencing apps like zoom has become the new norm.

However, this alternative method of learning comes with its own set of challenges, one of them being that students must always look presentable when attending the classes. This is quite hard, considering most of them often sit around in their pajamas all day.

If you need to look your best during a class, here are some webcam makeup tips you can do to ensure you look presentable.

1. Fill Your Face with Light

Front-facing natural light is perfect. The light will evenly highlight and brighten your skin features. Therefore, resulting in a clear, flattering look. Natural light makes your eyes pop, making you look presentable on a video camera.

Position your computer in front of the window. Also, ensure that the lighting is hitting your face directly. If the light comes behind you, it will drown you entirely. It will reduce you to a mysterious silhouette.

If you can’t find a natural source of light, a desk lamp can still do the trick. Just redirect it, so its light is bouncing off your room’s wall. Don’t point the lamp straight to your face since it will cause an unflattering yellow cast.

2. Use Zoom Filter

Sometimes you might not have enough time to learn how to do makeup that looks good on video. But don’t worry, video calling apps like zoom can come to your rescue. You can apply a zoom beauty filter to smoothen your face.

To access the filter, click the settings icon on the top-right corner of your screen and head to the video tab. There you’ll find a checkbox with the option of “touch up my appearance.” The filter will smoothen your face and blur imperfection, leaving you looking airbrushed.

3. Getting Quality Night Sleep

Most college students forget the health benefits of a good night’s sleep. They tend to stay up either doing their essay papers or watching Netflix movies. As such, they will wake up in the morning all tired and with a swollen face.

If you have a zoom video call in the morning, it’s wise to get a good night’s sleep so you can wake up looking relaxed. Students with assignments should check out the unique collection of free essay samples on eduzaurus.com beforehand, instead of sitting up late doing their essay and going to bed late. With the help of this site, they can access a vast database of essay papers covering a variety of topics in various subjects to help them meet their academic needs.

That said, makeup can conceal tiredness, but you can easily avoid all that by sleeping early. A quality good night’s sleep will not only relax your body but also rejuvenate it. As a result, you will wake up the next day feeling all energetic.

4. Apply Some Eyeshadow

Don’t attend a zoom video call with tired eyes since they will look all swollen over the camera. To avoid such minor embarrassment, use some eyeshadow. Eyeshadow adds more dimension to your eyes, making you look less tired.

On your eyelids, apply a light shimmering shade, and in your crease, use a darker shade. Use a blending brush to fuse the two colors and prevent obvious demarcation lines.

5. De-puff your face

When you consume high amounts of sodium or wine, you might wake up with a bloated face. If that’s the case, use a face roller to de-puff your face. Place the roller in the refrigerator overnight to make it cold. The next day, roll the roller over your face and puffy eyes for several seconds. You can combine the roller with a facial massage for the best result.

6. Fix your complexion

Everyone wants a perfectly smooth, even skin tone, but that doesn’t come easily. Nevertheless, you can use a little bit of base makeup to improve your skin complexion. It’s wise to follow the right steps when applying the base makeup for the best result.

Start with a skin moisturizer before applying the makeup. And if you have a dull complexion, consider a skin-brightening or correcting cream to even your skin tone. A concealer can help to hide eye bags and dark circles.

7. Add Blush and Highlighter on the cheeks

A few stoke of blush can go a long way in making you look more alive in a video call. It makes your complexion look healthier and lively. Use cream blushes since they deliver a more natural look that’s more ideal for the camera. Brush or tap a highlighter on the top of your cheekbones, but keep it away from the center of your face to prevent it from adding extra shine.

Conclusion

Lastly, don’t forget to fix your background and style your hair. Also, if you have pale lips, add some lip color or lip balm to bring it back to life.

The following zoom makeup tips we’ve mentioned will better equip you to present yourself as a person in front of a camera in the best possible way.

The LUXlife 2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Partridges’ Chelsea Flower Gifts and Hampers

From the heart of Chelsea, Partridges, the world renowned grocer to the Queen, brings us The Chelsea Flower Collection. ‘Chelsea Flower’ commemorates the historic association between the Kings Road flower nurseries, which date back to the 17th Century, and the location of Partridges’ flagship store in Duke of York Square, Chelsea.

The Partridges’ Chelsea Flower Collection comprises of:

GIN: Partridges Original & No 2 Chelsea Flower Gin – 50cl – ABV 41.5% – £33.99

Each of the limited edition bottles is hand filled, numbered by hand and sealed with wax.

  •  The Original Chelsea Flower Gin contains 19 botanicals including rose petals, marigold, verbena, cassia bark and juniper. ‘Rose and other floral notes interact with piney juniper and peppery spice’.
  •  No.2 Chelsea Flower Ginis infused with bergamot and is ‘elegant, indulgent and rounded with body and freshness. Notes of bergamot lead but there is also a medley of citrus and coriander with hints of lemon tart and vanilla’.

A beautifully packaged Chelsea Flower Gin Twin Pack is also available online – £75.00

‘NEW’ CANDLES: Partridges Scented Candles – £32.95

  • The Chelsea Blossom Candle contains essential oils of linden blossom, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, bergamot and orange. 
  • The Chelsea Garden Candlecontains essential oils of rose otto, carnation, rose geranium, patchouli and cedarwood.

TEA:

Partridges Chelsea Flower Tea  is a China blend with marigold flowers and a subtle flavour of mango and apple to give it a fresh, floral aroma.

  • Chelsea Flower Tea Gift Tin – £6.95
  • Chelsea Flower Tea Bags – £3.25
  • Chelsea Flower Loose Leaf Tea Blend – £5.95
  • Chelsea Flower Rose Pouchong Loose Leaf Tea – £5.95

BISCUITS:

Handmade in Scotland, these fragrant Chelsea Flower butter biscuits are created exclusively for Partridges – £3.95

  • Earl Grey Tea Biscuits 
  • Almond and Rose Biscuits 
  • All Butter Biscuits 
  • Honey & Lavender Biscuits

FUDGE:

Fudge which is hand-beaten, hand-cut, and hand-wrapped especially for Partridges – £3.95 

  • Honey Fudge
  • Vanilla & Geranium Fudge
  • Rose Fudge

See the full Chelsea Flower Range online HERE.

5 Books to Read During Spring Break

With spring break upon us, it is time for students around the world to plan their little vacation. Whether you decide to go to the beach, an epic hiking adventure, or just stay at home around good friends, one activity that is likely to be common in these scenarios is reading a good book. Knowing about some great books for spring break is important for students because reading opens up the mind to new ideas and arouses one’s creative side.

When you read a book, your mind comes up with various related topics to think about or be critical of. That is why it is important to always make some time for reading a good book, even if you’re on spring break. Following are some examples of very good spring break reads that might inspire you during your vacation.

What to Bring on Spring Break to Read

 

1. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men is an excellent novel that talks about the experiences of two migrant workers.  Just because you’ve read the novel before doesn’t mean you can’t analyze it again. Perhaps you will discover new meaning in this book that you have not seen before. You can read more about this piece in free essays on Of Mice and Men at https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/of-mice-and-men/.The book narrates their story as they move between different places in the hopes of finding new jobs during the era of the Great Depression. This is a very strong tale of how people in the working class suffered during this period of US history and how they persevered.

 

2. Safe as Houses – Marie-Helene Bertino

If you don’t want to go through a full novel during your short break because you’re in the mood for some light reading, then Safe as Houses might be perfect for you. This book is full of strange and yet relatable short stories that will keep you coming back for more. When you’re hanging out with friends on vacation, these short stories will be just right to keep your mind engaged in between swimming and party sessions.

 

3. Dare Me – Megan Abbott

If your ideal spring break book is about a topic you can relate to, then Dare Me might be right for you. It talks about teenage cheerleaders and their world, which is full of drama and emotions. For anyone who wants to do a critical analysis of the world of high school or college for their next paper, this is a great one to bring with you.

 

4. The Anatomy of Dreams – Chloe Benjamin

If you like thrilling stories about scientific issues, then you might like The Anatomy of Dreams. This story follows two researchers who are working together to find out how lucid dreaming can help with therapy. Both the main characters are working under the watchful eyes of their mentor, who has some secret motives of his own. This is one of those spring break reads that you won’t be able to put down.

 

5. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

What’s better than consuming a highly mysterious and thrilling novel by Agatha Christie while on a camping trip with some friends? This is one of those books for spring break that might make you forget about the actual vacation and just reel you into the narrative. The writer is known for writing some of the most famous mystery/crime novels in recent history, and any one of her titles is sure to keep you hooked.

 

Conclusion

Students who love books know that having spring break is just another chance to read some more. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have any fun, though. It’s just a great way to keep their minds open up to new ideas and their creative juices flowing. And while reading a nice spring break book will be a good pastime, it might also create some interesting research topics in your head for your next project. Coming back from spring break and doing a critical analysis of some of the books you’ve read will also help you score some sweet points in your next literature class.

Professional Services Success

The role of financial services has become incredibly important to the UK economy over the years. The team at Sanne are regarded as the global leaders in servicing the alternative assets industry. As such, we took a closer look at the firm’s CEO, Martin Schnaier, whose work has seen the company become the pre-eminent FTSE 250 listed business in its sector, to understand how it has achieved such astonishing success.

Since being founded in 1988, Sanne has rapidly evolved as an organisation. What was once a small company, focused on local issues has grown into an international firm, which employs over 2,000 professionals across 22 locations globally. The group administers structures and funds in excess of £500 billion, delivering tailored professional services to a highly valued institutional client base.

Leading the company is Martin Schnaier. Having joined Sanne in 2011, it’s his dedication and focus that has guided the firm through a sustained period of success. The strategy is very simple, to focus on expertise and quality and build a superb reputation in the industry. Acquisitions and technology are also a core part of the growth strategy. Sanne have completed fourteen deals since its IPO in 2015 and have implemented innovative technology, disrupting the landscape for private fund administration.

Martin was appointed as the company’s CEO in 2019 and throughout his tenure, Sanne has experienced rapid change. Setting Martin apart, and in turn Sanne, is his capacity to lead and inspire a global firm. Martin’s ability and willingness to communicate with all levels of the company has created a community feel amongst employees based worldwide.

Sanne is a youthful and socially aware organisation that is passionate about the investment industry that it serves. This culture of responsibility manifests itself in many different ways that employees are immensely proud of. Sanne recruits and retains the very best talent in the industry, enabling teams with technical solutions that empower better decision making and quality of communications. They are delivering a sustainable growth business that exceeds expectations by providing tailored expertise to a higher standard than anyone else in their sector.

Sanne is defined by a culture of exceptional service, developing long term relationships to enable their clients’ success. They play an increasingly important role to the asset management community as it continues to evolve, standing for professionalism, innovation and quality. It is their commitment to service that means that they remain one step ahead for their clients and employees A culture of resilience underpins Sanne’s service model, which has been successfully tried and tested throughout the global pandemic.

Innovation lies at the heart of Sanne and Martin describes 2021 as ‘the year of innovation’. Celebrating fresh thinking and new ideas an entrepreneurial approach is welcome. High on energy and team spirit – Sanne are a professional, agile and connected business, using their expertise to be the best they can be.

One of the most recent successes is Sanne Spotlight. This is the brand name of the firm’s portfolio and data analytics platform developed in collaboration with their strategic partner, Colmore. This partnership has accelerated their ability to deliver real time access and insight to multiple alternative asset classes. Sanne are building the future technology of private markets for investors and fund managers.

Another strand of innovation that has been developed is Sanne’s first ever digital worker, Lucas. Rolled out in late 2019, the AI bot has been taught to work on credit control functions. Essentially, Lucas performs repetitive tasks and then presents results to Sanne’s human colleagues, who make value added judgements. Whilst still early on, clearly there is a tremendous opportunity here to further improve efficiency and mitigate operational risk in the business.

In short, Martin continues to lead Sanne during an extraordinary period of growth and expansion. His ambition is to be the very best they can be. It’s a credit to his leadership that Sanne’s employees have been able to deliver uninterrupted, quality client service under the most extraordinary conditions.

For further information, please contact Martin Schnaier or visit www.sannegroup.com

Seven Tips to Manage your Global Team

Forget remote working, it’s all about asynchronous working thanks to an increase in global teams becoming the norm and changing the traditional workplace. Departing from the classic in-office, same-country model, global teams are creating a robust new workforce, global teams create asynchronous working styles that go against conventional practices.

Despite all of the business benefits, you might think there are many challenges that global teams face. One staff member might be gearing up for work over coffee while another might be cracking an end of day beer. Despite this, a global team structure can be one of the most efficient and exciting staff models.

New research from the UK Government and jobs website Indeed reveals offering flexible working arrangements increases job applications by 30%.

What are the benefits of Asynchronous working?

Asynchronous working styles go against conventional practices. When you think back to the classic 9-5 office job, we have a popular idea of work as a physical place that’s inhabited in real-time. This older model simply doesn’t make sense when you’re engaging with global teams. 

This style can streamline workflow processes and free teams from unproductive meetings. Of course, meetings will always have their place in the work environment, but a workday weighed down by meetings could be costing your business money. Did you know that approximately £37 million is spent on meetings of which half are considered not to be worthwhile? Asynchronous working can keep your meetings relevant and dynamic.

Asynchronous working has been shown to have some other amazing benefits among team members. Asynchronous communication can lend itself to big chunks of focus time and help your team work between multiple time zones. Closer to home, it can also contribute to a sense of work/life balance for remote workers and fit in with team members’ personal productivity preferences and personalities. 

With a few changes in operations and communication styles, you can optimise your workforce for asynchronous working and achieve amazing results together.

How can global teams help small businesses?

Having a global team model can transform your business, giving it an edge by broadening your global network and knowledge pool. When you have geographically dispersed team members, you have access to highly skilled specialists and unique insights.

Generally small businesses seek local employees and can often struggle to source top talent within a small radius of their workplace. Utilising global teams can take away that frustration, make your small business more competitive and open you up to a world of amazing opportunities – literally! 

But how can small and medium-sized businesses access global talent without the HR resources of large companies? A Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) is the answer. A PEO is an HR solution that manages payroll, benefits, remuneration, administration, employment taxes, HR guidance and more, in accordance with local government laws. Employment Hero’s PEO can give you access to talent in 50 countries! 

How do you create an effective global team?

1. Organise regular meetings for your whole team

Before we dive into asynchronous working hacks, let’s acknowledge a classic work practise, the tried and tested team meeting. This may be an obvious one, but organising a regular meeting for your team is an absolute must! 

The point of difference for organising meetings for socially distant teams? Meetings should be thought of as essential collaborative opportunities. As your common time available will be limited, use this time wisely to work through a group project or to unpack ideas. To completely utilise these time slots, organise a structure and circulate an agenda so staff can come prepared.

Put a regular meeting in your staff members’ calendars and make sure you stick to it. Make it easy to access, by using Zoom or an equivalent online meeting tool. 

Encourage everyone to turn on their videos so you can see each other, as you would if you were attending an in-person meeting. Research finds that up to 73% of meetings conducted by video finish on time and yield better results. Video meetings also open up virtual cues, which help team members build trust and empathy.

2. Keep in touch with online notifications

As meetings should be reserved for team discussions and collaborating, company news and information (unless sensitive) should be delivered virtually. Whether it is a regular email blast, a shared Slack channel or an online HR platform, be sure to keep your staff regularly updated. 

It’s also a great idea to include personal announcements about your team in these communications. Whether a member of your team is about to get married, someone has completed a marathon or a team member has welcomed a new baby, sharing life milestones can give your team talking points and make them feel more connected.

Find a way to make these announcements stand out, as it can be easy to lose messages with busy work schedules and crowded email inboxes. You’ll get extra brownie points from your staff if you share it on a channel where your staff can easily send reactions and comments without a clunky reply-all email.

Employment Hero makes it easy to keep all staff members across company announcements with the ‘Company Feed’ feature. Employees will be notified whenever you make an announcement on this feature, so you can be sure that all staff will be across the news. Check out more of our Employee Engagement tools.

3. Use task management tools

Task management technology is one of the handiest tools in your arsenal for asynchronous working. Task management systems are cloud-based programs that allow staff members to keep track of their colleagues and their own tasks. 

Using task management can help you organise your team’s work. When you enter a task in these systems, you can assign them to one (or several) employees, set deadlines and elaborate with sub tasks. Most systems have comment sections where your employees can update each other with feedback or notes. 

When you use task management programs, colleagues working on shared projects can pick up where others have left off. This reduces the chance of double-handling tasks and makes working towards deadlines easier.

Examples of task management software include AsanaWrike and monday.com

4. Get your team to personalise their profiles

Conversing with an icon everyday can become a little strange after a while. Your team is made up of unique individuals with different interests and personalities – encourage them to share it! 

On the platforms you use regularly, like email and instant messaging, make sure each staff member has uploaded a photo of themselves. If there’s a spot to write a bio, ask them to write a few lines about themselves. Encouraging team members to customise their profiles not only shows them that you’re interested in them on a personal level, but also makes them more approachable to other staff for informal interactions.

5. Be conscious of time zones

Time zones can make global working tricky, but confusion can be avoided with a little forward planning. 

Don’t try to organise meetings ad-hoc, ensure you find a time that works for all zones for regular catch ups. If timings are really difficult to match, like Sydney to London, alternate your meeting times week-on-week, so that the same team isn’t continually inconvenienced. 

Technology is your best friend here. Live by your calendar and don’t expect meetings to happen in a spontaneous fashion. Share web-based time converting tools with your team like World Time Buddy – which allow you to load your favourite time zones and easily match times in the future. 

6. Talk like a Global Team

If your business was established before your global team was introduced, or still has an HQ in a particular city, it might be tempting to talk about your company as if it’s ‘based’ only in one location. 

This can be alienating to your distanced team. When meeting with your team, don’t push small talk about local weather or any social events near your HQ location. Be conscious of your language in meetings and over email – try to avoid using a lot of cultural slang. Although it can have it’s novelty, don’t make a habit of adopting local language often.

When you’re organising team celebrations, ensure you include your team members around the world. Whether that’s by organising gifting to be delivered to your employee in their home country, or by organising a virtual event for a suitable time – your staff will appreciate the effort!

7. Be mindful of the news in your employees countries and remember cultural events

It can be difficult to focus on work when something significant is happening in your country. Your people may be at a distance from you, but each will need support if major weather, social or political events are affecting their day-to-day.

Keep your eyes on the news in your employees’ countries, and consider creating a news dashboard or following world news websites to stay aware of events. If you have the knowledge and understanding of the situations your employees are encountering, it will make them a lot more likely to seek support. Be an empathetic leader, take the time to listen when an employee reaches out, and follow up with personal interest. 

Being an international employer is also a great opportunity to build your knowledge about cultural events around the world. Join your staff in celebrating their national holidays and be conscious that some staff may need time off to participate in religious events. A great way to keep on top of this is to create a shared multicultural events calendar, where employees can make a note of incoming holidays and leaders can be across them well in advance.

Embrace becoming a global small business!

In short – managing a global team may sound intimidating if you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, but the benefits infinitely outweigh the challenges. By using these tips, you can harness the power of global teams that work, and join the multitude of businesses that are thriving with staff worldwide. 

The Importance of Improving Your Mental Wellness During Lockdown

Lockdown, combined with the gloomy weather, has made it a difficult period for the population of the UK and although there is no quick fix solution to the problems caused by declining mental health there are some helpful actions and activities people can undertake to save yourself from the worst effects.

So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions which will hopefully make the time go by less laboriously.

1. Be SMART with Goal Setting

Set yourself Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based targets to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. These can relate to some of the tips and hints below but don’t have to be limited to them.  

2. Move More to Improve Mental Health

You’ve probably heard it before, but exercise of any type, releases adrenaline and cortisol while producing endorphins which creates a great internal cocktail to reduce both stress, anxiety and depression. Aerobic exercise which elevates the heart rate releases endorphins more quickly than anaerobic exercise and doesn’t require special equipment. There are plenty of exercise tutorials on YouTube which showcase how you can turn any domestic environment into your very own home gym.

3. Eat to Beat the Blues

There are many foods you can include in your diet to help manage stress, anxiety and depression such as: Fatty fish (like Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring), yogurt, green tea, Brazil nuts, eggs, dark chocolate are all good choices to reduce anxiety; additionally, herbs like chamomile and turmeric are also helpful.

4. Improve Yourself Improve Your Stress

Aside from physical activities, you can also improve your mind, so while you’re stuck inside, why not take the time to improve yourself by reading more or taking a correspondence course or online course. There are many free-of-charge courses if your budget is tight, so cost shouldn’t be a limiting factor.

5. Love Your Home to Love Yourself

For many the lockdown period has provided a great opportunity to get those little jobs out of the way which you’ve procrastinated over before. Again, if you’ve never considered yourself ‘handy’ there is no need to fret as there are a number of tutorials available online for almost any job within reason. If you don’t own your own accommodations, you can turn to crafts to create your own works of art to adorn your domicile with your own home-made décor pieces.

6. Laughter is the Best Medicine

Share jokes, memes and gifs which make you laugh via social media or phone calls and seek out the movies and programmes which bring a smile to your face. In troubling times, we sometimes need to find an excuse to be funny.

7. Mindfulness Matters

Don’t be consumed by what has been or what might transpire, be in the here on now. Embrace your senses; look outside, open a window, feel the breeze, smell the scents, and listen to the sounds of your environment. Don’t try to avoid your negative thoughts and emotions but view them as mental events which will pass by you like a bus at a bus stop and name them to give yourself a sense of control. Some may find it easier to deal with these while taking part in for some gentle exercise.

While Working from Home the feeling of being isolated can wreak havoc on your mental health. If you’re one of the many undertaking the daily grind in your own abode here are a few ideas to make you feel like a team player.

8. Meet Regularly Virtually

There are many platforms out there to allow you to stay in touch with your colleagues, so embrace the technology and let yourself be seen and heard via, Teams, Zoom or any type of social media platform. Make sure you use your cameras as well, as this will give you the chance to dress to impress. While working from home the inclination to live in your sweats is alluring but don’t ignore your wardrobe. Make the most of all your best cloths as well. Getting dressed up is an easy way to make yourself feel good and knowing that you’ll be seeing your colleagues might just be the motivation you need to shed the trackie bottoms and t-shirts you’ve been living in.

8. Share a playlist

If music be the food of love, play on. One of the best things about working from home is listening to some good tunes, but sometimes you might want to feel more included with others, so get together with your team and create a group play list which you can all listen to at the same time. It may allow you to reminisce about good times from staff functions or provide the opportunity for a conversation.

9. Share to Care

If you have found a particularly effective way of motivating or organising yourself share it with your colleagues. Despite being separated, we really are all going through the same thing so helping others is a great way to help yourself.

Advancing the Four Pillars of Market Intelligence

When it comes to understanding vulnerabilities and predicting shifts in today’s markets, data forms a major part in the decision-making process for most enterprises. Applying that data accurately and effectively is not always easy, but the leading-edge team at Proactive Worldwide offers advanced solutions to help businesses on an international scale.

Since 1995, Proactive Worldwide (PWW) has evolved from a two-person operation into one of the world’s leading research, and consulting firms that have engaged with clients in over 47 countries to date in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Proactive Worldwide specializes in providing actionable intelligence in four distinct areas—competitive intelligence, market intelligence, strategic intelligence, and customer intelligence—that enable its client partners to move their businesses forward with confidence.

PWW’s team of doctorate-level analysts and researchers engage with organizations to turn unique challenges into opportunities, using best-practice forensic methodology and award-winning, AI-enabled innovations. In business for over 25 years, PWW offers a complete, and consequently more accurate, perspective that helps its client partners support key planning and investment decisions, mitigate risk, and confirm or disprove long-held business assumptions.

Harvesting evidence-based data, developing actionable insights and enabling better strategic decisions, PWW’s deep bench of researchers, analysts and in-house industry specialists are central to the firm’s success. Within the competitive intelligence sphere, Proactive Worldwide engages the largest number of Ph.D./doctoral researchers working in the field today. PWW’s competitive, market, customer, and strategic intelligence experts have firsthand industry knowledge in the following: healthcare, pharma, biotech and medical devices; CGI and retail; manufacturing and industrial; financial services; transportation; and technology. These Analysts bring a vast store of knowledge and an insider’s view that adds tremendous value to each engagement, including CI function development, virtual wargaming, CI training, and scenario planning, which can be of immense benefit when it comes to helping clients improve competitive standing. PWW’s sterling reputation for engaging top research talents, with experience in the corporate world, make what Proactive Worldwide offers to its clients truly unique.

PWW’s advanced, tools-driven secondary research and proprietary human source databases both complement and fuel this expertise, allowing the team to maintain a razor-sharp focus on investigative discovery and forensic analysis to get to the heart of its clients’ corporate and competitive health. Unlike most CI consultants, PWW’s advanced PWWDiscovery™ research methodology breaks through the constraints of traditional market research, expanding the concept of decision support services by linking evidence-based market and competitor intelligence and customer insights with strategy development and implementation. Overlaying this rich intelligence with PWW’s years of target industry and subject matter expertise, the firm’s clients gain a three-dimensional picture on which to create an achievable vision for the future.

PWWDiscovery™ has been the launchpad for several of PWW’s new cutting-edge tools in primary and secondary research offering real-time accuracy. Examples include customer intelligence/voice-of-customer innovations and groundbreaking AI advancements in survey design. Others include PWW’s Insights Hub market intelligence software platform, and Profile360™, a rapid-response CI service to help enterprises gauge the impact of COVID-19 on their business. PWW’s most successful innovations are a direct result of collaborative research and development to improve how teams gather, disseminate, and draw conclusions from data. 

Much of PWW’s longevity is its ability to clearly define project scope, accurately convey deliverables, and demonstrate how this information will benefit the client in pragmatic terms. This experience has been crucial in successfully conveying the practical benefits of intelligence gathering and managing client expectations. PWW’s four intelligence disciplines are based on realistic project goals that clients understand—what market research really entails, what can be delivered, when it can be delivered, and how much it will cost.

Proactive Worldwide is continuing with its evolution of decision support services interlinking evidence-based market intelligence, competitor intelligence, and customer insights with strategy development and implementation. The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on ways PWW conducts competitive intelligence research. Virtual wargaming engagements that give remote-working leadership teams in different time zones the capability to test out ideas and scenarios without putting themselves at risk are here to stay. We celebrate their success, and look forward to seeing what happens next with this outstanding firm.

For further details, please contact Kelley Loiacono at www.proactiveworldwide.com

MEA Markets Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2020 MEA Business Awards

United Kingdom, 2021– MEA Markets magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 MEA Business Awards.

2020 marks the fifth year that MEA Markets Magazine has hosted the MEA Business Awards. 2020 has also been one of the most challenging years the region has faced, with little in the way of precedence to guide solutions. In the circumstances businesses of all sizes found themselves in, this vast region’s entrepreneurial spirit took hold, acting as a guiding light when other options were lacking. It is with this in mind that we organised the 2020 awards.

Awards Coordinator Katherine Benton took a moment to comment on the success of those recognised: “Sincere congratulations to all of those recognised in the 2020 edition of this programme. While it has been a difficult 12 months, all of those recognised have managed to succeed in a time where success has an almost unachievable goal. I hope you all have a fantastic 2021 ahead.”

To find out more about these prestigious awards, and the dedicated professionals selected for them, please visit http://www.mea-markets.com/ where you can view our winners supplement and full winners list.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About MEA Markets

Published quarterly, MEA Markets endeavours to provide readers with the latest business and investment news from across the Middle East and African regions.

Keeping pace with a vast array of ever-changing sectors thanks to regular contributions from some of the region’s top corporate professionals across a variety of industries, MEA Markets is home to the very best news, features and comment from the people and institutions in the know.

The importance of mental wellness strategies in the modern workplace

The importance of mental wellness strategies in the modern workplace

With total estimates of individuals suffering from work related stress, anxiety or depression (SAD) topping at 828 000[i], and approximately 300 000 people losing their jobs annually due to mental health issues[ii] there is a significant challenge facing the UK today. Considering the scale of this issue, and the impact on the economy, it is sensible that businesses invest in workplace interventions to mitigate the mental health crisis in the UK.

As of the 20219/20 period, SAD accounted for 51% of work-related ill health cases and 55% of working days lost. Figures, from 2 separate studies, reveal a higher percentage of women, in full-time employment, record suffering from mental health pressure opposed to male counterparts[iii]; 89% of the 1200 UK workers polled, stated that mental health problems adversely affected their performance at work.[iv] With a 16% rise, equalling £42-£45 billion collectively, is the amount UK employers lose every year due to mental health. However, employers investing in mental health provide an average return of £5 per every £1 spent.[v]

With these facts in mind, and a dedication to their workforce, many HR professionals  work tirelessly to put mental wellness strategies in place. One such professional is Natasha Aujla, the Human Resource Manager at AI Global Media. With a particular interest in this aspect of her role, Natasha commented the following, when asked about her recent efforts, “The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work, so it’s safe to say your job / workplace can have a huge impact on your life. Covid-19 has impacted our lives both internally & externally and as a Company, we value the health & wellbeing of our employee’s. We have recently reviewed elements of our rewards & benefits structure and consciously placed deciding factors around Mental Health. We feel the best way to support our employees with their Mental Health is to provide access to a structured, professional & confidential service to deal with physical and mental health issues, as well as legal and financial difficulties. We are in final stages with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider and look forward to updating our employees on this indispensable wellbeing tool.”

There are actions businesses can take to mitigate the impact mental health has on their workforce. Of course, a business requires a director to recognise the issue and accept the business has a role to play. For example, Kathryn Hall, one of three directors from AI Global Media a B2B publishing SME based in Burton upon Trent was quite forthright when she commented on the state of the mental health crisis and what AI Global Media was doing to assist those suffering, “The pandemic has reminded us of just how important the wellbeing of our team members is. Covid-19 has put a great deal of stress upon us all and, as responsible employers, we understand our part in supporting our employees during this difficult time. We conduct weekly meetings with our management team, using Microsoft Teams and encourage our managers to do the same with their teams; we are in the process of introducing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to support our workforce, the majority of whom are working from home and we have interactive software solutions in place to maintain good lines of communication throughout. We hope that our team members see us as a conscientious employer and that they feel suitably supported during these difficult times.” The issues surrounding mental health are not going away. There is no quick fix to them, however, there is hope. By creating positive environments, where people can come forward and discuss their issues, allowing employers to take the necessary steps and put measures in place, this issue need not debilitate our workforce and economy indefinitely


[i] HSE Work-Related Stress, Anxiety, Depression (S.A.D) Statistics in GB 2020.pdf

[ii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41740666

[iii]  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/fundamental-facts-about-mental-health-2016.pdf  & https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf

[iv] CVL_MentalHealthWorkplace_Report.pdf

[v] https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consulting/articles/mental-health-and-employers-refreshing-the-case-for-investment.html

“The Tattooed Tycoon” – Revolutionary Business Mentor

Commonly known as The Tattooed Tycoon, Glenn Flashman has had quite the career over the course of more than thirty years. From joining the British Army straight from school, to working hard in London as a Project Manager and Investment Advisor, to being made redundant and rising again to even greater heights than before, Glenn’s journey has been one to remember, but he’s not done yet. Discover how we at CEO Monthly have recognised the ongoing work of The Tattooed Tycoon by awarding him the title of CEO of the Year 2020 – The United Kingdom.


Starting his professional life in the British Army over thirty years ago, Glenn Flashman soon entered the world of business as he embarked upon the City of London. Having earned the title of The Tattooed Tycoon, Mr Flashman worked in the capital as a Project Manager and Investment Advisor, before eventually rising to the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at a predominant European dotcom. As well as his experience working in a professional capacity, Mr Flashman also studied hard to gain recognition through an MBA and PhD. However, it turned out to not be enough to save him redundancy several times. Yet, despite these redundancies that he experienced throughout his professional career, they were not enough to keep this outstanding leader down and out for the count. Instead, he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and vowed that he would never work for anyone else ever again, whilst also helping others achieve the same goal of independence and freedom.

Now, three decades after starting his career, Mr Flashman has a wealth of experience, knowledge, and understanding at his disposal, as well as several businesses that have failed, been sold, or are still owned. Where Mr Flashman’s passion truly lies is in his multi-award-winning tattoo studios that are scattered across the United Kingdom. With plans to take the American and European markets by storm in the future, Mr Flashman is currently heading up Tattooed Tycoon Ltd. As part of his work as CEO here, Mr Flashman partners with a team of revolutionary thinkers and content creators to break new ground in leading the way with dynamic business mentoring on a group and one-to-one basis.

When working with his customers at Tattooed Tycoon Ltd, Mr Flashman often asks them one simple question: what one thing would they like help with, or to increase? Very often, the answers involve increasing numbers around customers, money, followers, interactions, or other facets to running a business in the modern world. With almost thirty years’ experience as an entrepreneur, and the last ten of those being in the tattoo industry specifically, Mr Flashman can help his clients increase their customer numbers, create a brand and signature style, create an impressive and meaningful marketing plan, and offer advice regarding a financial security plan.

In essence, Mr Flashman’s work as the Tattooed Tycoon is all about doing more than just increasing a social media following. It’s about engaging with customers and creating something that they can get behind in terms of a message, brand, or signature element, and it does so in a way that offers a one hundred percent success rate in taking a business to the next level. One of the three mentor programs that Tattooed Tycoon offers reveals the specific strategies that can be used to attract floods of customers, attain a wealth of referrals, and build a business that is successful in the long-term. These proven strategies are designed to completely re-think a tattoo business, give clients the cutting-edge strategies that actually work, help clients enjoy sustainable growth regardless of competition, legislation changes, and other factors, and enable clients to give the very best in customer service.

Ultimately, Mr Flashman’s career has been a truly excellent one, and one that showcases the power of not giving up. No matter what has come his way, Mr Flashman has always found a way of making his situation better, and now he is in a place where he makes situations better for lots of other people, too. In a world where it pays to be different, this outstanding CEO helps his clients do exactly that, and he deserves every recognition for that effort.

For further information, please contact Glenn Flashman at www.tattooedtycoon.com

The True Impact of Credit On Your Everyday Life


There’s a common misconception that credit doesn’t matter until you’re applying for a mortgage, credit card, or personal loan. Truthfully, most people don’t even review their credit history until they need to borrow money or a line of credit. Although having a good financial record does apply in these circumstances, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately, a consumer’s credit is used in many different areas of their lives. 

Character, Risk Level, And Financial Responsibility

Creditors, lenders, retailers, and service providers use credit reports to assess potential customers. There are risks involved in loaning money, credit, products, or services. If consumers don’t repay their balances in a timely fashion, these establishments suffer a loss. As such, getting a general idea of a person’s creditworthiness helps businesses to make an informed decision. 

Whether you know it or not, your credit score and history tell a lot about how you handle your finances. It showcases your level of character and financial responsibility, which dictates your risk level. If your credit is less than satisfactory, it can have a significant impact on your everyday life. Continue reading to learn more. 

Renting An Apartment

A good credit report is indeed necessary to acquire a home loan. However, did you know that it can also affect your ability to rent an apartment? Though you’re not borrowing any money to secure a property lease, you are making a promise to pay your rent on time. Landlords rely on rental payments to maintain the mortgage, keep the property intact, and cover other expenses. If you don’t pay, this puts them in a bind. If your credit check shows that you don’t pay your bills on time, it could backfire. Some applicants are rejected and unable to find a suitable place to live. Others are required to pay a higher deposit as a means of security for landlords. 

Utility Services

Water, electricity, and gas are some of the basic necessities of everyday life. However, you may not know that your credit history has a significant impact on your ability to get utility services in your home or apartment. Utility companies need to know that you’re going to pay for these services. So, they review your credit report for more information. If you have a low score, past due balances, and collection accounts, this sends up red flags. If you’re not turned down for services altogether, chances are you’ll be required to pay a sizable deposit to get started. The utility company holds the deposit in an account that’s used if you fall behind on the bill. 

Loan And Credit Card Interest

Your credit score doesn’t just help determine if you get approved for a loan or credit card; it’s also a determining factor in how much you’ll pay in interest. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive it is for you to borrow money. Over the lifetime of the loan or credit card account, consumers can spend extra hundreds if not thousands of dollars in interest alone. How much more money you’ll pay, is determined by your creditworthiness. Someone with a credit score of 650 is going to pay more for a mortgage, student loan, or credit card than someone with a score of 750 or higher. 

Getting Things In Order

As you can see, your credit impacts a lot more than you think. Whether you’re trying to rent an apartment or get utility services setup, your credit is evaluated to determine your character, risk level, and financial responsibility. Essentially, a person with poor credit will have a difficult time acquiring things they need. Even if they do, chances are they’re going to pay a lot more. That’s why consumers are encouraged to use financial management practices and resources like no credit check online loans to improve their credit. 

Life is already challenging enough. Why make things harder if you don’t have to? Now that you have a clearer understanding of how your credit impacts everyday life, you can take steps to turn things around for the better. 

Care By the Sea

So much more than simply a domiciliary care agency, Overington Care does not merely assist people to live an independent life in their own homes, it also has a strong focus on the mental wellbeing of its clients and its staff. Founder and owner, Nichola, tells us more about her approach and what it means for the community.

Overington Care provides care in the community to support people to remain living independently as they would like in their own homes.

The company was created in 2013 by Nichola Overington, who had more than 28 years of experience in the health and social care sector, after she decided there was an opportunity to create a service that would rival existing care agencies by offering a higher standard of care.

Today, Overington Care provides care to adults over 18 years of age with dementia and learning disabilities and has gained an excellent reputation in the community, being rated ‘outstanding’ under Well Led due to the support it offers clients and employees.

“At Overington Care, we believe that if people can be supported to live well and feel valued as individuals by us listening to what is important, then this will promote the individual’s self-esteem and confidence,” Nichola explains as the organisation’s key ethos. “In turn, we have exceptionally happy clients, employees we retain and, as a direct result, the company is growing.”

Nichola is committed to investing in her staff first and foremost, through dedicated training and time spent making them feel valued. She is an advocate of promoting team building and is proud to say that all her staff members go above and beyond for their clients.

“No one individual at Overington Care is better than the next colleague,” Nichola enthuses. “I can honestly say Overington Care would not exist if it was not for the amazing work all the Health Care Assistants do in supporting all clients, but also their colleagues, constantly working together as a team, supporting each other and learning from one another, to become better versions of ourselves and be the very best we can be.”

There is a system in place where colleagues are in constant contact with one another every single day to ensure they are there to support, advise and liaise with each other whenever and wherever it might be needed. This open culture is useful for all staff and has an end goal of reflection and learning as team members move forward.

As Overington Care has grown, Nichola and the team have created a hub for the community – this being a free service for all community members where they can visit, take advantage of complementary hot drinks, cakes and biscuits, and participate in activities should they wish to do so, such as having their hair done or enjoying a foot spa.

This free service was originally due for a March 2020 launch, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions it brought, the launch is now on hold, with the hope that it may be able to go ahead from Easter 2021.

“This service is all about supporting lonely people in our community so that they feel they have somewhere they can come and feel included, thus reducing the feeling of isolation and helping support them in their mental health journey,” says Nichola.

With regards to the future, Nichola envisions more of the same fantastic work that Overington Care is known for, with the same goals of supporting clients and employee’s mental health, creating an outstanding working environment for staff, and to assist and aid all clients in the community to the best of its abilities.

For further information, please contact Nichola Overington at www.overingtoncareltd.co.uk

Tata Consultancy Services Explores the Future of Open Banking

Tata Consultancy Services recently participated at the 10th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre on March 01, 2021. The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit was the first banking and fintech industry event of the year in Dubai and explored the latest advancements in fintech and banking technology. Tata Consultancy Services was joined by partners, Abu Dhabi Global Markets, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Gulf International Bank, Bahrain during the event.

Tata Consultancy Services recently participated at the 10th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre on March 01, 2021. The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit was the first banking and fintech industry event of the year in Dubai and explored the latest advancements in fintech and banking technology. Tata Consultancy Services was joined by partners, Abu Dhabi Global Markets, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Gulf International Bank, Bahrain during the event.

Tata Consultancy Services participated at the summit this year to discuss developments of Open Banking platform and share their insights on the new collaborative business models. Sumanta Roy, VP & Head of Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) moderated a panel discussion around Open Banking and the innovations in the current banking ecosystem. The panel discussion saw participation of the key banking industry leaders such as Stefan Kimmel, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), Vikas Sethi, Group Chief Digital Officer, Gulf International Bank, Bahrain (GIB) & Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta, Associate Director, Market Development, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

While talking about the development of any country’s financial ecosystem for open banking to be applicable and useful in any country, Sumanta commented, “Conceptually, the combination of the strength of fintech market of a country and the framework which helps in the integration and collaboration are the keys for the application of open banking in any country”.

Tata Consultancy Services’ Open Banking API Framework has been built to help banks, fintech and gateways to accelerate their digital transformation journey by securely abstracting and carefully sharing customer data for internal and external consumption. The framework assists these industries to comply with government regulation and promotes collaboration in interest of the overall customer. 

Tata Consultancy Services discussed the state of the Open Banking platform in the Middle East. Bahrain is leading the way for Open Banking in the Middle East region, with the country being the first to draft regulations around the platform in November 2018. Saudi Arabia closely follows Bahrain, in terms of acceptance towards the platform and is currently aiming to reach overall market implementation by the end of 2021. Furthermore, 88% of UAE banks said they were looking to open their APIs (Application Programming Interface) to enable Open Banking within the next year, according to a 2020 survey by fintech firm Finastra.

The development of new collaborative business models can help the industry grow and transform in the coming years and Open Banking is a step towards massive growth and transformation. Central Banks in the GCC region are coming up with open banking regulations to foster competition and innovation.

A Matter of Management

Everyone’s wealth is different, and the best planners of these services create a system that is entirely bespoke. The team at Century Private Wealth, led by CEO Madhur Kakkar, has made its name in providing new levels of success for its investment clients. Named as CEO of the Year, 2020 – the United Arab Emirates for his work at this loyal asset management firm, we take a closer look to find out more.

Based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), it’s clear to many that the ideal people to entrust with your financial future are the talented team at Century Private Wealth. Under the staunch leadership of Madhur Kakkar, the firm has gone from strength to strength, leveraging his long service in the industry to deliver a world-leading service.

The goal of the team has always been to provide an experience that is above and beyond the norm within the industry. Working with a mix of professional clients, institutions & private individuals, those working at Century Private Wealth have always placed a high value on the relationships that they’ve developed and cultivated with clients. Their care is the foundation of the firm’s overall success.

The long experience of Mr. Kakkar has been a boon to the firm, with his fourteen years of expertise in the banking, financial markets and services sector allowing him to tackle any challenges that might occur. Before he joined the team at Century Private Wealth, he worked across many global banks in the region, managing multiple teams of wealth managers and ensuring profitability of regional branches and cost centers. These skills have been invaluable to the firm, as he focuses on the direction of the business, and how it grows across business verticals and geographies.

The challenge, of course, is keeping the work that the team do as simple as possible in a complex industry. Clear understanding is key to client satisfaction. The team take the time to ensure that their products and processes have been designed in such a way as to be easy for anybody to comprehend. Some firms offer services that are opaque, but everyone that Century Private Wealth offers is designed to be as transparent as possible. The team reserve from proprietary trading or entering into positions that will benefit their balance sheet. The focus is always on the client, and achieving results that clients are happy with in every way why people continue to turn to the team for their expertise.

The team at Century Private Wealth are proud not only of their heritage, but their ability to shape the future of the investment industry through their exceptional work ethic. The company lives on its bedrock values of stability, honesty, trust, quality, transparency and privacy, operating in the belief that as more businesses take on this approach, the industry as a whole will improve.

Needless to say, the work of Mr. Kakkar has not just been on developing the firm to reach the point it is currently operating at, but on creating plans that will enhance the business in the future and the business as a whole. At the heart of these plans is the desire to ensure that what Century Private Wealth offers clients in the UAE is the best that it can possibly be. The team are understandably passionate about their work, which is shown by their clear commitment to deliver excellence in every respect.

For more information, please contact Madhur Kakkar at Century Private Wealth.

Leading Logistics Provider

The importance of a smooth supply chain cannot be ignored in this day and age. A good supply chain doesn’t just revolve around moving products from one place to another but building lasting relationships. This approach is why the team at Digistics has been named Most Outstanding Supply Chain Solutions Provider 2020 – South Africa in Acquisition International’s Global Excellence Awards. We took a closer look to discover more about how the firm achieved such an impressive accolade.

For the last twenty-four years, the team at Digistics have been committed to putting together and executing a reliable supply chain on behalf of its clients. Moving products from A to B is only part of the team’s business strategy, with a focus on customer service that is second to none. When the Digistics team get involved, they go above and beyond to ensure that they achieve total success.

The work that Digistics does is not completed in isolation. It is done in partnership with their customers, and their customer’s business. The success of the firm is measured in the success of this execution. The team approach their clients with a collaborative approach, knowing that both sides will find enormous benefit in simply working together. When Digistics works on a project, it is not simply about the procurement and movement of product, but the delivering of smart insights through collaboration. This holistic approach, based on data, enables the supply chain to straddle multiple stakeholders.

Because of the team’s exceptional experience in the field, they have been able to act as the Lead Logistics Provider for numerous clients. Their capacity to cope with the difficulties inherent in traversing a customer’s unique environments and needs is why they are in such high demand. Once they are able to take account of the demand planning, the Digistics team are able to take a customer’s entire inventory, from protein to produce to packaged items, and deliver it to a distribution centre where specialised orders can be constructed. These can be designed to recur on a regular basis, meeting client needs with ease.

Of course, no supply chain is the same every time, and the team at Digistics provide customers with the ability to modify orders before the final delivery is made. This ensures that businesses can operate at maximum efficiency. To smooth the process, the team use the integrated Control Tower management of warehousing, transportation and delivery execution on behalf of customers. When combined with a customer portal that is designed to process orders easily and effectively, it’s a system that has proven time and time again to be incredibly effective in its operation.

To keep things running smoothly, Digistics has expanded across the length and breadth of South Africa, with seven distribution centres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Bloemfontein. These multi-temperature facilities are designed to be state-of-the-art, able to handle whatever is required. This includes being fully compliant with all food safety standards and regulations. The food safety management system run by the team at Digistics carries full FSSC accreditation, which is why so many people trust the team to handle their supply chain.

Despite the challenges inherent in the supply chain process, the team at Digistics have proven themselves to be worthy partners for clients. The team’s implementation of powerful technology has created the modern form of integrated logistics on which the best systems operate. Instead of focusing on one aspect of the supply chain, these systems allow the team to take a holistic approach, allowing costs to be reduced, reliability increased and better overall service. With this collaborative custom solution, bespoke fitted to suit the needs of the client, businesses have a partner who can react swiftly to the changing demands of the marketplace, giving them an overall advantage.

The technology is not just limited to the systems that keep things moving. From voice operated warehouses to timely information from dispatch, sophisticated gadgets form the heart of what Digistics has to offer. Perhaps what is most important is that the firm don’t just use technology for technology’s sake. It’s a deliberate choice that is designed to help the customer as much as possible. Maintaining the balance between the warring demands of these systems is not always easy, but the team have managed to find new ways of cutting costs, saving time while ensuring that the team can continue to deliver a service that is truly exceptional.

It’s easy to see why so many have turned to Digistics for support in maintaining a strong supply chain. The team have been proud to implement standardised processes throughout every level of the company. It ensures a strong continuity that treats every client with fairness and respect. Reliability is key to the team’s offering, because it ensures that their clients can focus on the needs of their own customers. Instead of worrying about what is on offer, the team ensures that they can deliver what is needed when it is needed.

This means adapting quickly in a crisis, because failure is not an option for Digistics customers. If it means collecting an emergency order when a supplier cannot deliver or preparing something special for the customer within the hour, this is a team that always goes above and beyond to ensure that no one is left before. Adapting to the unexpected and the unknown is never easy, but it’s just another way in which the team excel.

Ensuring that deliveries are available for final drop off is one challenge but working around the needs of the customer is paramount when it comes to completing a delivery. The team know to schedule deliveries before and after peak times, sending some form of notification prior to arrival to prepare the customer’s staff for the arrival. These steps are small but make an enormous difference to the speed with which an operation can be completed. It goes without saying that this is another way the team have found to provide the exceptional service that the team are renowned for.

Of course, for many businesses now, the future is one that focuses on sustainability. Will we still have a planet left to live on? For the team at Digistics, the road to a greener future is not easily taken. That said, they have made the effort to start forging this new path. Their routing software builds in efficiencies where possible to reduce empty kilometres travelled. Nothing is off-limits when it comes to reducing the impact of the business anywhere on their network. It’s a credit to the team’s tenacious focus on building a more sustainable, ethical, and responsible future.

It’s easy to see why people turn to Digistics for their services. They provide a crucial service that makes a real difference to the success of a business. With a focus on ensuring that their customers are satisfied, the team have been able to ensure that the supply chain thrives.

For more information, please contact Renier Du Preez at www.digistics.co.za 

Living in London Luxury

Achieving the title of 2020’s Architecture Practice of the Year is no easy feat, given the wealth of competition and sheer number of businesses that work in the industry. There must be excellence in abundance, a keen eye for design, and a luxury in finish. All of these things, and so much more, can be found in the DNA of RJHArchitecture, recipient of this years’ title of 2020’s Architecture Practice of the Year in the LUXlife Leading Designers of 2020. We pull back the curtain on this outstanding business to learn more about the luxury that it provides to clients on a daily basis.

When thinking of luxurious places to live in and around London, there are few more synonymous with the word “luxury” than the boroughs of Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham, and Westminster. They are havens of luxury, with exquisite buildings and residential homes that ooze style and elegance. However, maintaining and enhancing that elegance requires a deft touch, one that can be provided by Mr Richard Hastings and his firm, RJHArchitecture. Providing a wealth of architectural, design, and construction services within the prime residential market of Central London boroughs and far further afield across Europe, RJHArchitecture has carved out a reputation of excellence and exquisiteness in all of its designs. Diligently servicing CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs, and high-net worth families, Richard and his team provide the utmost in design and implementation, whilst ensuring that all services are tailored to the preferences and parameters that these unique clients require.

Luxury takes many forms. It can come in the form of a complete design or in the form of a renovation to breathe new life into a property. Regardless of the need, RJHArchitecture ensures that every single project exemplifies what it means to be luxurious. They have experience with a wide variety of project types, ranging from apartment renovations and amalgamations, right through to full demolition, double-basement formation, and new-build projects.

For those seeking the ultimate in luxurious design, there are several design elements that can enhance the style and elegance of any home. RJHArchitecture has an array of experience in all such aspects, including sustainable technologies, passenger lifts, wellness spaces such as saunas, steam rooms, swimming facilities, air conditioning, and also intelligent home systems. Technology has become such an important part of daily life now, so incorporating it into the home is the perfect way to create the most luxurious space imaginable. Whether it be a system to control audio visual elements in the home, or simply something to pre-emptively switch the lights and heating on, all of these can serve to make a house feel more like a home.

Richard has worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that his firm is client-centric, based on the core mission of ensuring that properties delivered to clients are fully tailored and perfectly aligned to their personal preferences and requirements. Each client is unique, and the firm takes the time to test various means of presentation from the early stages of engagement to ensure that all production is exactly as the clients wants it to be. More than that, however, is ensuring that the client has complete understanding and assurance in the proposals that RJHArchitecture makes. This part of the process is so crucially important to ensure that client’s absolute satisfaction is achieved.

London is home to a great many things, and it is home to some of the most luxurious properties in the world. Fitted with all the latest modern comforts, and the finest style and elegance that money can buy, the homes from RJHArchitecture are a stunning and fitting testament to the brilliance and genius of Richard and his Team. Leading others in the realm of Luxury Property Design in London, RJHArchitecture is one of the finest design firms around today.

For further details, please contact Mr Richards Hastings at www.rjharchitecture.com

Engaged Employees are Vital in Helping to Build and Maintain Successful Customer Relationships in Competitive Industries

By Lindsay Lucas, Managing Director at Software Solved 

The relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction has been well established across a variety of sectors, with the link between the two twice as strong when employee satisfaction is particularly high. This connection is especially important where customers rely heavily on customer service personnel to help them through emotionally charged experiences. 

Making sure that employees stay engaged is a critical ingredient for building and maintaining successful customer relationships in competitive industries. In turn, customers who are more satisfied, tend to stay with providers for longer, are more likely to purchase additional services and provide more referral business. 

 

Although many companies have rightly focused their efforts on customer experience over the past two or three years this cannot be at the expense of employee engagement. You simply cannot have one without the other. 

 

Pre-pandemic, many companies had been slow to adapt to new ways of working, due to the fact that there either wasn’t the urgency to do it or it wasn’t at the top of their to do list. However, the ‘new reality’ is that keeping hold of the best talent is critical. Not only does it save money on recruitment but in a world where working from home is commonplace, employees are no longer restricted by geography in their choice of employer 

 

Innovative tech can help retain talent 

 

Using innovative tech will help retain the best talent as it allows employees to reach their full potential without being hampered by outdated processes or legacy systems. Many of the challenges facing companies today require a unique set of skills and expertise that are in high demand. For companies to be able to offer an exceptional employee experience which in turn feeds into an exceptional customer experience, they need to first ensure that they have a data governance ERP solution in place.  

 

In a competitive market where consumers don’t differentiate between companies when it comes to good service if, they have a good experience in one sector, they will expect this to be carried over into multiple sectors. Therefore, understanding how your employees’ access and interact with data as well as where it is held is critical to unblocking their ability to provide good CX. Failure to link systems and truly understand your network of data will leave your employees on the back foot.  

 

According to a report by Gartner “ERP implementation and ongoing operation are complex, risky and expensive — and are often disrupted by data management challenges. To deliver on time and ensure sustainable quality, CIOs in midsize enterprises must proactively address data quality and governance.” 

 

Coupled with this, the pandemic has meant that companies have had to move more quickly than ever before in order to support customers and continue trading. Quick fixes that worked in the short-term may not be viable long-term, making it crucial that companies take steps now to ensure their survival.  

 

Furthermore, Gartner has also stated that “legacy ERP deployments do not support the agility required in today’s digital business climate, nor do they support the expected business outcomes. About 20% to 25% of ERP initiatives are considered failures, and an estimated 55% to 60% are compromised in some way by the organisations undertaking them.” 

 

Want to drive and sustain growth? Understanding data is key

 

Understanding data is key to drive and sustain growth, introduce competitive threats, monetisation and helping to avoid allocating resources to projects ineffectively. The ability of companies to deliver data-driven brand experiences at all stages of the customer lifecycle is something that companies need to strive for.  

Also, many IT vendors seemingly offer the same thing and customers can sometimes get caught-up in tech buzzwords rather than the service they require and actually receive. Therefore, a key differentiator here is for IT vendors to use honest, plain talking language to their end-users rather than hyped promises. 

Customers can have a tricky time identifying the best vendor to use. IT providers can help with this by making sure they continually look at and refresh their messaging in line with current events to help customers navigate this minefield and translate what they want into what they need. 

IT providers can remove the hesitancy around choosing a supplier, by understanding the impact of projects that run over in time and budget. Being realistic from the start ensures that budgets and timeframes are achievable, reliable and can be used to accurately plan testing and roll out schedules. 

 

Releasing additional value from data can help companies to differentiate 


Third-party software providers can look at the level of support that is required to help companies access better value from the data they hold to allow employees to do their jobs effectively and provide exceptional CX. Data plays a critical role in driving CX excellence and successfully connecting data and intelligence is often the difference between success and failure.

Companies that are successful in differentiating on the customer experience they offer have mastered automation, connected processes across marketing, sales and service and successfully unified customer intelligence across all touch points. With their customer in the middle, these brands measure success in terms of customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction and revenue growth. 

Power in People: Human Capital Will Determine Tech Success

According to the Economist, one of the most significant outcomes of the pandemic will be “the infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of life.” We were already expecting a transition to digital transformation thanks to technological advancement, dubbed the “fourth industrial revolution”. However, following on from the pandemic which forced countless businesses to switch to remote working virtually overnight, we expect digital transformation to continue to be adopted on a larger and more rapid scale – becoming an even more prominent objective for organisations in the future.

Automation is something that concerns the layperson – the Financial Times reports that anxiety around automation in the workforce could increase because of the pandemic, as businesses push to automate more processes to boost productivity while many are jobless or furloughed. Not all digital transformation is detrimental to the workforce, however, and doesn’t mean that we have to compete with robots for our jobs.

Here, we take a look at how human talent will determine the success behind technology and business transformation.

The right talent

Contrary to popular belief, technology isn’t the main concern when it comes to digital transformation. It’s people and talent. Without the right people, technology won’t be used to its full potential. A business’ ability to adapt to a digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, meeting the talent supply and demand, and protecting its potential from future changes.

Businesses are working to respond to the growing skills gap and are looking for the talent needed to fight on the frontline in terms of driving innovation to meet competitors. Without familiarising workers with new technology, further advances will not be much use. As our digital and physical worlds are united to offer entirely new processes and information, leaders will need to develop new approaches to equip the workforce with the skills they need to both succeed in and facilitate the digital age.

Working together

The main challenges are:

  • Changing the skills and talent needed in non-tech companies
  • Changing how employees do their jobs
  • Changing the recruiting landscape

This may seem strange for many people, but we’re seeing the beginnings of a fundamental change in how humans contribute value at work. Though technology is a driver behind digital transformation, technology isn’t the sole solution. Automation isn’t about replacing humans with machines, but about making tasks more efficient.

The best outcome is achieved when humans and robots work side by side to enhance capabilities – robots can perform transactional, data-intense, and repetitive, mundane tasks which allows people to focus on the innovative, creative, and strategic tasks. Forbes reported that recently, as part of an automation education program, they trained over 800 employees to build bots that can do their most mundane tasks. Using these new skills, almost 50 bots have been developed so far which complete a range of functions from finance to marketing to technical support. 

Research has estimated that up to 45 per cent of tasks currently carried out by humans could be automated using existing technology, freeing people to work on value-added tasks. Garter reported that automation is the fastest-growing software subsegment, seeing year-over-year growth of over 63 per cent in 2018.

New jobs will be created

Many new, productive, and rewarding roles are being created as part of the digital transformation journey. A century ago, a lot of the jobs today wouldn’t have existed. Digitalisation creates new jobs, for example, digital marketing, data analytics, social media managers, and Internet of Things architects. These roles help raise productivity via technology, lower prices, and help stimulate demand. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), four out of ten new jobs were created in digital-intensive industries and employment increased in these countries by around 30 million jobs. While some jobs will be made redundant, new ones will be created.

The importance of good leadership

The human talents of leadership and management level are important in the digital transformation process as well as integrating a culture with digital intertwined throughout. Research by McKinsey found that 84 per cent of CEOs are committed to transformational change.

Companies with leaders that communicate with employees are eight times more likely to achieve transformation success in comparison to those who don’t and this can be improved by transformational leadership developement. What is seen to drive success in terms of communication between management and the workforce is:

  • Clear communication on the objectives around transformation
  • CEOs and senior leaders visibly engaging with transformation
  • Access to information
  • Ability for frontline employees to see visible changes in daily roles

Empowering employees with the right knowledge and leadership can help them understand how their contribution and human value can help progress the transformation. This not only keeps them engaged in the process but keeps the technology functioning at optimum performance.

Software CEO Seals Success

Established in 2008, Igloo Software was designed to be a solution that helped companies move beyond traditional intranets, instead embracing the world of inspiring digital destinations that improve communication, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and culture. In the thirteen years of business that Igloo Software has been going, the firm has built over ten thousand digital destinations for clients in more than eighty countries. The leadership provided by CEO Mike Gaburo has helped steer Igloo Software into a position of great success, and we now take the time to profile Mr Gaburo as CEO of the Year, 2020 – The USA.

2020 saw the world radically shift in terms of working environments. Businesses were forced to move things online and workforces had to adapt to working from home in areas where the impact of COVID-19 was most harshly felt. As a direct result of the working from home environment that was accelerated by the virus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that followed around the world, organizations had to find a better way to work. That is where Igloo Software comes in. Igloo Software has always sought to move beyond the traditional confines of workspaces of today, instead choosing to build digital destinations where people can benefit from improvements to all current working relationships. Whether it be increased levels of communication, knowledge sharing, collaboration, or culture, Igloo Software does not just provide the technology, but it also offers best-in-class services and support to ensure success for every customer. In essence, Igloo Software helps organizations improve productivity and engagement by implementing secure and scalable digital workplace solutions that integrate with popular enterprise applications and tools.

There are three core aspects to the service provided by Igloo Software that matter most to the firm: collaboration, innovation, and achievement. Each of these areas represents a different area of focus for the team at Igloo Software. For instance, the collaboration focus ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal, and places great emphasis on the fact that everyone’s expertise and effort is appreciated. However, the focus on innovation means that Igloo Software is constantly improving its product and exploring new ways to solve its customers’ problems. Achievement is done collectively, and the firm supports its employees is reaching their goals alongside each other and the company. As important as it is for a firm to have excellent goals and a focus, leadership is another area in which Igloo Software excels.

Mike Gaburo is the CEO of Igloo Software, and he brings with him an abundance of executive leadership experience that is second to none. In his role as CEO, Mr Gaburo is responsible for every facet of the business, and his ability to deliver success across all of these facets is exceptional. With more than a quarter of a century of executive leadership experience, fifteen years of which has been spent leading software businesses, Mr Gaburo has a proven track record in delivering great results for customers, employees, and investors alike. Prior to joining up with the established team at Igloo Software, Mr Gaburo held another CEO role at payments fintech firm Brightwell. There, he led the transformation of the company’s product offering and a rejuvenation of its go-to-market efforts, resulting in a quadrupling of the firm’s  user base and revenue.

Having the right leadership at a firm is just as important as having the right software products and collective goals. Ensuring that everyone is focused on the company task at hand, Mr Gaburo has transformed Igloo Software into a corporate force, and one that is incredibly relevant now more than ever. With businesses seeking new and better ways of working, Igloo Software stands as a beacon of brilliance thanks to the tireless efforts of its outstanding CEO, Mr Mike Gaburo.

For more information, please contact Jason Hahn at www.igloosoftware.com

Improve Your Business and Finances with Software


It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or an individual simply looking for a way to boost your financial standing, there are steps you can take to move in the right direction.

One of the first things you should do is consider the benefits of software.

There’s a software application for almost everything, ranging from budgeting to building your credit score to managing your debt. On top of this, there are advanced applications, such as master data management software, that are more inclined to help you maintain control over your company finances.

If you’re wondering if software is the right solution to your financial problems, you’re in luck. Here’s a list of five benefits of implementing software into your financial strategy:

1. Accuracy

Take for example a budget that you track with a basic spreadsheet or pen and paper. While it’s possible that you’re able to maintain accuracy, it’s also more likely that you’ll make a mistake.

But with software, this is never a concern. You’re relying solely on the application to maintain your accuracy, so the only thing you have to worry about is the inputs. Proper budgeting takes accuracy. 

Without accurate numbers, you can’t expect your finances to be in order. 

2. Time Savings

Who wants to waste valuable time managing their personal finances? Not most people!

If you continually find yourself wasting time and wondering how to speed up, the answer is likely to be a software application.

Pinpoint where you’re losing time, find a few software solutions that make sense, and give them a try.

As you save time, you’ll come to realize that you have more time for tasks that have a greater chance of moving the needle. 

Tip: if you find that a software program is costing you time—not saving you time—you should think about moving on. It’s counterproductive. 

3. Money Savings

Even if you have to pay for a software program, there’s a good chance you’ll save money in the long run.

Sticking with the example above, imagine a situation in which you make a budgeting mistake because you weren’t using software.

By the time you catch this mistake, it’s already cost you money, such as in bank fees or a client that’s upset with you and canceled their service.

If you want to save money—and everybody does—consider the way that software can help you do just that. 

4. It’s More Fun

At first, you may not agree with this. After all, you have to learn a new way of doing things. 

Even though there’s a slight learning curve in many cases, you’re likely to have more fun over the long run.

There’s something cool about using an app that allows you to maintain efficiency and save you time and money. It makes you feel good about the steps you’re taking. It makes you realize that you’re doing your part in making the most of your financial circumstances. 

5. It’s Easy to Use

There’s no doubt about it. Many people shy away from using software because they don’t want to deal with the learning curve. 

It’s 2021 out there, so this is no longer a problem. When you choose a high-quality software solution, it’ll be easy to learn and use. So, you can get up and running within a matter of minutes.

Adding to this, most software providers have robust learning centers and customer service teams. There are answers to be had and people who can provide feedback in a timely manner.

Tip: don’t just ship if you’re facing an early learning curve. Stick with what you’re doing. It’s likely that you’ll eventually catch on. And when you do, that’s when the real benefits start to flow in. 

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. This should give you a better idea of how you can use software to improve your business and finances.

If you’re ready to take action, choose a few solutions and implement them in your daily life. This will allow you to see what works, what doesn’t, and where to go next.

What are your thoughts on using software to assist you with money management related tasks? Have you done this in the past at work? How about in your personal life?