‘Breaking’ the Habit – the Role of Business Fuel Cards in Alleviating Financial Burden

Times haven’t been easy for the UK lately, with inflation reaching a four-decade high (a staggering 11.1%) in October 2022. However, 2023 may yet turn out to be the year of recovery the British population so clearly need, as inflation promisingly slowed down to 10.1% in January, representing a third consecutive monthly fall since the peak in October.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed that the decline in the Consumer Prices Index has been driven in part by falls in the price of petrol and diesel. Crucially, the 23% increase in fuel duty that was expected to be imposed today (23rd March) will no longer take place. Instead, the reduction in fuel duty rates that were introduced from 23rd March 2022 will be extended by a further 12 months, which means fuel duty will stay at 52.95p until March 2024.

While lower motor fuel prices will play a role in easing pricing pressures across the board in the long run, it will take time for the benefit to be felt in people’s bank accounts, while businesses still face immediate financial challenges.

One measure that employers and fleet owners could adopt to track spend and manage costs more efficiently is to introduce fuel cards for business vehicles. Having employees refuel at select forecourts using approved fuel cards is a perk that especially small businesses can take advantage of in several ways.

The most immediate benefit is a logistical one, whereby both personal expenses and business travel admin are reduced. Processing fuel receipts can be a tricky and time-consuming task (especially when drivers accidentally misplace them), while some employees may be understandably reluctant to dig into their own pockets to purchase fuel given the current financial climate.

Fuel cards take away the hassle for employees to have to pay for business fuel, while employers are given peace of mind by having the invoice submitted directly to the business, removing the need to manually reconcile fuel purchases and receipts.

Some fuel cards will even offer incentives that drivers and businesses might want to take advantage of. For instance, fuelGenie cards allow drivers to earn supermarket loyalty at Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s forecourts, which can be put towards other purchases as well as fuel. In a time when the effects of the cost-of-living crisis are still being felt and money can be tight, this is a great way for small business owners to offer rewards to employees without any additional expense.

Fuel cards may not be able to single-handedly solve the issues that have stemmed from the fluctuating fuel prices of the past year but, with their ability to help reduce costs and maintain a profitable operation, they will play a key role in alleviating some of the financial burden for business owners.

With a network of over 2,200 petrol stations available including most Shell forecourts, fuelGenie’s fuel cards can be used by a range of UK businesses with fleets, from SME’s to large companies. For more information on how to apply, click here.

Tony Burgess, Director – Merchant Network at fuelGenie

Tips for Streamlining a Small Business’ Appointments with Clients

As a business owner, I know how crucial it is to have a streamlined appointment procedure. Organizing my appointments and keeping track of my clients was a major headache for me when I first started my business. With the help of certain advice and tactics, however, I was able to simplify my appointment procedures, save time, and provide a better service to my clients. In this piece, I’ll discuss how I’ve handled client appointments and offer advice on how small businesses might do the same.

Identifying the Appointment Needs of the Business

Identifying your company’s specific appointment requirements is the first step toward streamlining the appointment process. Examine how you make appointments now and see where you might cut down on time. Some of these issues may include a lengthy booking process or difficulty fielding no-shows and cancellations.

Tools for Streamlining Appointments

Appointment management is a time-consuming task, but it becomes much easier with the correct tools. Using appointment scheduling software like Trafft or Amelia helps streamline the appointment booking process, remind clients of upcoming appointments, and streamline overall appointment management. If you want to automate the appointment confirmation process and keep your clients happy, you need software that is not only user-friendly but also connects with your website and social media pages.

Simplifying the Appointment Booking Process

In order to provide a better service to customers, it is essential to simplify the procedure of making appointments. Appointment scheduling software that facilitates online booking by customers can greatly streamline the scheduling process. Make it simpler for customers to find and schedule appointments by integrating the software with your website and social media networks. Make sure clients know when they have booked an appointment by sending them automated emails.

Automating Appointment Reminders

Appointment no-shows and cancellations can be reduced with the help of automated reminders. Create custom, automated appointment reminders that contain the time, date, and location of the scheduled meeting. In this way, clients are more likely to keep in mind their scheduled visits and show up on time.

Managing No-Shows and Cancellations

Appointment no-shows and cancellations pose a serious challenge for local businesses. Include late cancellation fees or other penalties in your no-show policy. Because of this, you’ll have more time to complete appointments that were cancelled with little to no notice. Think about investing in appointment scheduling software that includes built-in tools to deal with no-shows and cancellations.

Tracking and Reporting

Improving corporate operations requires meticulous appointment tracking and analysis. Make better use of your appointments through the use of tracking and analysis data gleaned through appointment scheduling software. Examine patterns in appointment information, such as busiest times of day, to determine how best to run your business.

Staff Training

If you want your appointment system to work well, training your personnel is essential. Consistent training sessions on the use of appointment scheduling software should be held to ensure that all employees are on the same page.

Customer Feedback

To enhance appointment procedures, consumer feedback is required. Get consumer input through surveys or other means, then use that data to tweak and perfect the appointment system. There is potential benefit in making adjustments in response to customer comments.

Maintaining Data Privacy and Security

Appointment scheduling is a perfect example of why data privacy and security are so important. Be sure you’re abiding by all rules and recommendations for protecting people’s personal information and sensitive data. Appointment scheduling software should have strong security features, such as data encryption and secure data storage, to ensure the safety of your appointments.


In conclusion, reducing wasted time, enhancing the customer service, and expanding your organization are all possible outcomes of optimizing your appointment procedure. Appointment scheduling software, automated reminders, no-show and cancellation management, data tracking and analysis, staff education and feedback collection, and secure data storage all contribute to a more streamlined appointment process and a more positive client experience.

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Cover Letter Writer

As a small business owner, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is hiring the right employees. The success of your business depends on having a team of talented, motivated individuals who can help you achieve your goals. But finding the right candidates can be a challenge, especially when you’re working with a limited budget and resources. That’s why it’s important to approach the hiring process strategically and carefully, starting with the very first step: reviewing resumes. By knowing how to edit resumes effectively, you can easily identify the most qualified candidates for the job. We will provide tips and guidelines for resume editing, including how to review relevant experience, check for consistency, and pay attention to formatting and specific accomplishments.

Importance of Editing Resumes

Before you even start reviewing resumes, it’s important to understand why you should edit them in the first place. A well-crafted resume can tell you a lot about a candidate’s skills, experience, and qualifications, but it can also be misleading or incomplete. By taking the time to carefully review and edit resumes, you can get a more accurate picture of each candidate and make better hiring decisions.

Here are some key reasons why you should edit resumes before hiring:

To weed out unqualified candidates: Editing resumes can help you quickly identify candidates who don’t meet the basic requirements for the job. This can save you time and resources by preventing you from wasting time interviewing candidates who are clearly not a good fit for the role.

To spot red flags: Resumes can contain a lot of information, some of which may be concerning or raise red flags. By editing resumes, you can carefully review each candidate’s work history, education, and other qualifications to ensure that there are no issues that could cause problems down the line.

To get a complete picture of each candidate: Resumes can be incomplete or misleading, which can make it difficult to evaluate each candidate fairly. By editing resumes, you can ask for additional information or clarification on certain aspects of a candidate’s background or experience, helping you make a more informed hiring decision.

How to hire potential employees for your small business?

Now that you understand the importance of editing resumes, let’s look at the steps you can take to hire potential employees for your small business:

1. Define Your Hiring Needs

The first step in hiring potential employees is to define your hiring needs. This involves assessing your current staffing situation, identifying the skills and experience needed for the position, and defining your company culture and values.

To assess your current staffing situation, ask yourself the following questions:

How many employees do you currently have?

What roles and responsibilities are currently covered by your staff?

Are there any skills or experience gaps that need to be filled?

2. Create a Job Description

The job description is a crucial part of the hiring process, as it sets the expectations for the position and attracts the right candidates. A well-crafted job description should include the following elements:

  • Job title and summary
  • Key responsibilities and duties
  • Required qualifications and experience
  • Salary and benefits
  • Company culture and values
  • When writing your job description, it’s important to be clear and concise.
  • Use bullet points to highlight the most important details, and make sure to include any skills or experience requirements that are non-negotiable.

Post the Job Listing

When writing your job listing, be sure to highlight the most important details from your job description. Use attention-grabbing headlines and strong calls to action to encourage candidates to apply. And make sure to include any specific application instructions or requirements, such as a request to edit their resume or cover letter before submitting it.

Review Resumes

Once you’ve posted the job listing, you’ll start receiving resumes from interested candidates. This is where the editing process comes in. Take the time to carefully review each resume, looking for the following elements:

Basic qualifications: Make sure each candidate meets the basic requirements listed in the job description.

Relevant experience: Look for candidates who have experience in a similar role or industry.

Education: Check that each candidate has the required education or certifications.

Skills: Look for candidates who possess the necessary skills to perform the job duties.

Red flags: Watch for any issues or inconsistencies in the resume that could raise concerns.

As you review resumes, make notes on each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help you narrow down your pool of candidates and identify those who are the best fit for the position.

Conduct Interviews

Once you’ve identified a pool of potential candidates, it’s time to conduct interviews. Interviews can take many different forms, including phone or video interviews, in-person interviews, and panel interviews.

When conducting interviews, be sure to ask questions that are relevant to the job duties and requirements. This will help you get a better sense of each candidate’s skills and experience, as well as their personality and work style.

Check References

Before making a job offer, it’s important to check references. This can help you confirm that the information presented on the resume is accurate and that the candidate is a good fit for the position.

When checking references, be sure to ask specific questions about the candidate’s work experience, skills, and personality. You may also want to ask for additional references if you have any concerns or questions.

Make a Job Offer

Once you’ve completed all of the steps above, it’s time to make a job offer. Be sure to outline the terms of the offer, including salary, benefits, and start date, and provide the candidate with a copy of the job description and any other relevant documents.

Free VPN: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re new to the world of VPNs and need clarification on the concept, don’t worry – it’s not as puzzling as it might seem.

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about VPNs, including how to get a free VPN.

What is a VPN?

Simply put, a VPN is a software application that creates a secure connection between your computer and the internet by routing your data through an encrypted tunnel to a remote server. This encrypted connection can help you secure your privacy and personal data, bypass firewalls, and access geo-restricted content online.

A VPN aims to create a secure web browsing experience by delivering excellent internet security.VPNs can also be set up on almost any device, including desktop computers, laptops, and mobiles.

How does a VPN work?

As mentioned, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic to pass through, meaning your online activities and IP address are concealed from outside entities.

To get a little bit technical, the journey of your data through a VPN will look something like this:

Data is sent from your device to a location on your VPN network. The VPN server encrypts your data before sending it over the internet. Your data is decrypted and forwarded to the appropriate resource, such as a web server, an email server, or your company’s intranet, by another point in your VPN network. The data is then sent back to an endpoint in your VPN network, where it is encrypted. The encrypted data is transported over the internet to another location in your VPN network, decrypted, and returned to your device.

Will a VPN make me completely anonymous online?

Short answer – No. Complete anonymity using VPN is a frequent misperception that fosters a false sense of security.

A VPN is an excellent tool for safeguarding your online privacy and lowering your likelihood of falling victim to cybercrime, but it will not make you completely anonymous online. The digital imprint you leave when you use the internet is nearly impossible to erase, so we should all be mindful of what we do online and be wary of the information we share.

Are VPNs legal?

Yes, it is legal to use VPNs in the United Kingdom — no UK law forbids you from doing so, making VPN usage well within your rights. Of course, this usage should follow any legal guidelines that apply.

Although some significant services, such as Netflix, attempt to ban VPN connections, using one is still perfectly legal. While VPN is legal in most countries, some have specific bans or restrictions. Governments with severely limited network access often want their citizens to refrain from using a VPN to access the free internet.

What should you know about choosing a VPN?

Choosing a VPN service comes down to assessing your needs. Every user will have slightly different VPN requirements, and the most straightforward approach to finding the best VPN service is first to determine your requirements.

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with a VPN, and make sure the one you choose provides these features. Do you want to connect to a server in a specific country? Do you want concurrent connections across multiple devices?

It would be best if you also considered the downsides of VPN services. Once you decide what is important to you, choosing the right VPN will become much more manageable.

How to get and use VPN for free?

A free VPN seems ideal – online privacy without spending a penny. Nevertheless, there are very few free VPNs worth downloading, and even those are severely limited in terms of servers, bandwidth, and overall performance.

One free VPN service worth getting is Urban VPN. No matter what your browsing activities are, Urban VPN is designed for fast connections and limitless bandwidth, and it uses a massive network of fast VPN servers in 21 countries.

Encryption and DNS/IPv6 leak protection will safeguard your data, identity, and internet connection. Since your data is encrypted, your IP address is replaced with a completely anonymous IP address from the Urban VPN servers.


There you have it – the most vital questions about VPNs answered. Become better protected online today by downloading Urban VPN for your device.

A Guide to Out of Home (OOH) Advertising for SMEs

Whilst it can seem like advertising on any kind of impactful scale is out of reach for many SMEs, the reality is that marketing is a vital part of any business looking to grow and succeed. 

But where is your spend – and your time – best spent? And where does a small business, which may not have the expertise in-house, begin? To help answer some of those questions out-of-home (OOH) media operator 75Media has pulled together the Ultimate Guide to Advertising for SMEs, which covers everything from Google Ads and social media to outdoor advertising.

Katy Conway, marketing and communications director at 75Media, explains: “It can be very hard for SMEs to know where to begin when it comes to advertising. With most small business owners saying they spend just two hours a week on marketing, you can also see why it gets pushed down the ever-expanding to do list! Lots of different channels can play their part so we wanted to simplify things as much as possible – hence the launch of our Ultimate Guide to SME Advertising. 

“OOH in particular is obviously an area very close to our heart. We recently analysed data from YouGov which showed that one in four people say they are likely to pay attention to billboards – a higher figure than either streaming or social media adverts achieved. OOH advertising is a really powerful marketing tool, yet many smaller businesses feel like it’s unachievable for them. At 75Media the majority of our clients are SMEs, but many others expect that OOH advertising would be too expensive or too complicated and they don’t know where to start.”

To help demystify OOH advertising for SMEs, 75media has collated the top tips below:

  • Why use billboards?

OOH advertising is a great way to build brand awareness and you can be very targeted with your placement. Many of 75Media’s billboards have approximately 350,000 people walking or driving past them every week. Given we know on average that one in four of those is actively engaging with the advert, it’s a really strong reach figure even from one billboard. 

Billboards are also non-intrusive yet engaging. Many people have become disengaged from advertising in other formats – such as TV or online, where adverts are skipped, or print, where they can be flicked past.

  • The types of OOH advertising

There are classic 48 or 96 sheet billboards which are on display 24/7 enabling customers to build familiarity and trust with your brand. s. Digital billboards are another great option and offer a flexible, agile yet high impact way to reach your target audience. 

  • Planning is key

Think about the why, the where and the who of your strategy. Drill down into your core motivation for wanting a billboard and building brand awareness, your target locations and the demographics of the audience(s) that you intend to focus on with your messaging.

  • Location, location, location

Billboards are ideal for roadside advertising, enabling brands to target busy commuter routes. 

You can pick a specific billboard or we can advise as to where might work best. We work with you to select the towns and cities you’d most like to advertise in, and the roads and the locations you’d like to be seen on. Once we know this, we can work out a rotational program based on availability, and this could be across our classic or digital network, or of course, both.

  • Create a concise message

Your ad’s headline or slogan must be concise, punchy and designed in a font that’s legible and easy to read at a distance. Typically, you’ll only have room for a single headline or primary messaging, even with a large billboard. What’s more, just six seconds is touted as the industry average for reading a billboard in real-time, so it’s important to be incredibly clear in the message that you’re attempting to convey. As a rule of thumb aim for seven words, in an active tense.

  • The initial design

The creative should be governed by the ‘rule of three’ within which you’ll place your imagery, branding and primary messaging. The content should help to create a concise and compelling hook, which encourages customers to learn more and connect with your company. Strive to strike the delicate balance between simplicity and creativity, so that your sponsored messaging and content isn’t lost amid a blur of colours and excitement.

  • Think about social media 

Marketing doesn’t work in a silo. A poll by Harris Media* revealed that 91 per cent of Gen Z-ers and 82 per cent of Millennials say they would reshare OOH adverts on social media – proving that an impactful creative has the potential to go viral digitally too. Include your social media handles to make it even easier for them to engage.

  • Tracking and Measuring Your Campaign

Once your billboards and ads have been erected, the next step is to measure their performance. Initially, you can use basic travel survey data to calculate OOH impressions in specific locations. Some businesses like to include a dedicated phone number or promotional code on the advert to track the ROI, others prefer viewers to leave details via an email address or unique web page on the advert. 

A billboard can be very cost effective and there are no hidden costs. Prices start from £16 a day for a digital campaign and £22 a day for a classic placements. Production and bill-posting is just £175 for a standard 48-sheet poster. The price also includes a reprint in case  of damage to your poster  caused by bad weather.

Invoice Processing For Small Businesses: 6 Best Practices

Running a small business is no small feat. You have to be wary of how you execute operations—it’s the only way to ensure you grow and attain success. One of the operations you must be mindful of is finances.

Finances determine how easily you run your operations; they all require funds. Accounting is one of the practices to adopt to make sure your finances are in check. One of the issues you can encounter as a small business is the lack of payment or delays. Here, invoicing comes into place.

Invoicing entails sending bills to customers after offering your services or availing them of goods. How best should you handle invoicing as a small business and ensure your finances are in check? Here are practices to adopt:

1. Invest In Invoice Technology

Technology aims to bring about efficiency in whichever avenue it’s used. Most, if not all, industries have technologies that make work easier. The finance industry hasn’t been left behind.

Some inefficiencies you can face when invoicing without technology are errors and lengthy preparation times. The narrative changes with invoicing technology.

An invoice scanner makes it easy to capture invoice data and convert it into a readable format for easy data transfer. On the other hand, invoice software allows you to generate invoices automatically; it quickens the process. With such innovations, it’s best to invest in invoicing technology.

2. Detail The Terms And Conditions

Terms and conditions refer to the rules of executing a contract—in this case, the contract between you and your clients. In service provision, most terms and conditions arise from the seller. Should any customer want to work with you, they must conform accordingly.

The terms and conditions of invoicing aren’t always black and white since they differ from business to business. Therefore, include these terms on the invoice you’re sending. They’ll act as reminders to the clients.

It’s best only to include the terms touching on payments. Highlight the payment methods—cash, debit or cards, or online transactions. Finance experts advise accepting several payment methods. It gives your clients the option to choose their preferred method. Also, include a late payment clause that pinpoints the consequences of late payments and possibly charges per day of delay.

Highlighting the due date, time of payment, and instructions on the payment process should also be part of your terms and conditions.

3. Keep It Simple

An invoice should be straight to the point. It’s the only way to ensure your clients see the important aspects of payment.

Many details on the invoice might get the important details lost in all the noise. Most small businesses make the mistake of going too much into branding on the invoice. Instead, practice simplicity. With branding, have the business logo, branding message, and theme colour on the document. If you’re running a promotion directly affecting the client, highlight it on the invoice.

Simplicity also extends to being easy to understand. With the invoice’s purpose being to highlight a bill, ensure you detail the bill. Break down the costs and show the client how you arrived at the final bill. It ensures better understanding that promotes quicker payments without conflicts.

4. Always Verify Your Invoice

One of the things that can make invoicing efforts futile is having incorrect details on the invoice. It creates room for conflict, which leads to delayed payments that harm your small business finances.

Based on this, always verify your invoice to avoid errors. Ensure the client’s name is correct; one can claim the invoice isn’t addressed to them due to this. Also, have the correct payment account details, due date, and the payable amount.

Always check the details before sending out an invoice. Have a third party besides the invoice generator to verify these. They’ll look at it with fresh eyes, making it easier to pinpoint errors.

5. Schedule Invoice Delivery

The time you send invoices greatly determines the time you’ll receive payments. Late sending results in delayed payments that negatively affect your cashflow.

The timeframes differ from business to business. As a small business, you want to develop a time in which you’ll always send invoices. It often depends on your operations. If you’re a service provider, you can opt to send invoices after or before project execution. You can attach the invoice as you deliver the goods to clients.

It’s important to come up with an agreement with your clients on the ideal time to send invoices. With an acceptable timeframe by both parties, you’ll receive payments faster.

6. Always Send Invoice Follow-Ups

It’s said that most small businesses experience delayed payments, even after sending invoices. Your clients often have many other needs to meet and operations to run. Among all these, they’re likely to forget to make payments on time. If you fail to follow up, you might miss payments, affecting cash flow.

Based on this, always follow up on invoices you’ve sent. It’s best to do this as the due date approaches. When a client misses a deadline, send a reminder highlighting the consequences of late payments like interest charges. It’ll likely prompt them to pay. Always attach the original invoice as you send the follow-ups.


Invoicing for small businesses is something you can easily achieve. The right tips at hand will ensure this. The discussion above details these tips. Consider adopting them as you run your small business. You’ll better manage your finances, giving you the success you desire for your business.

How Organisations of All Sizes Handle Employee Expenses

Employee travel expenses are business expenditures made by staff members while travelling to enable them to carry out their organisational functions and work duties. Corporate travel is one major employee expense incurred by organisations as travelling to meet clients and prospects is an important aspect of a business. These expenses include transport services, vehicle mileage, costs of meals, airfare and lodging, use of communications devices, etc. Proper documentation of these business travel expenses can help companies to ask for tax relief on these expenditures.

However, these expenses are often difficult to track, verify and reimburse while staying compliant with the rules and regulations of HMRC. This makes the organisation liable for errors and, in extreme cases, fraud. A study showed that one in ten employees in the UK submits wrong expense claims all the time, costing the UK an estimated two billion pounds annually. Nevertheless, even small and medium-sized organisations are now using specific measures, which we will discuss here, to ensure a more transparent employee travel expense management. Check them out.

Receipt for Contactless TfL Travel 

Fortunately for London businesses, the city has one of the world’s best transport systems, making it possible to travel around and make payments with only a contactless card. This eliminates the need for physical receipts, which may be challenging to acquire and verify for business travel expenses incurred from transportation. However, although contactless card payment for Tfl makes it more convenient and easy to travel and make payments as a passenger in London, obtaining a valid digital receipt for these travel expenses may be difficult. 

For one, it may not be easy to separate personal travel expenses from business-related travel expenses on the same card or payment method, especially if you already have a monthly or annual subscription. Additionally, transaction statements from banking apps may not have the information needed to verify these travel expenses, which is necessary to claim tax deductions for these costs.

Companies now use contactless TfL receipts to solve this problem, which you can easily get online with a TfL contactless and Oyster account. This allows organisations to properly manage these transport expenses, track and verify them, make an account for them when necessary, and correctly authorise monetary compensation for employee travel expenses. However, you’ll need proper guidance to avoid complications when using contactless payment for London travel. 

With this information, employees and employers can have a seamless, less-complicated, and more transparent way to manage their work-travel expenses and financial transactions. This also makes monitoring, digitising and automating your employee expense processes easy.

Use of Transparent Employee Expense Management Policy

An employee expenses policy is an outlined set of rules governing an organisation’s entire employee expense process. This policy often specifies what employees can spend company money on, how they will be reimbursed for these expenses, the payment timeframe, and the process’s terms and conditions. 

For this policy to be effective and efficient, the interest of all the parties involved (including but not limited to; the employee, the employer, and the accounting department) must be taken into account. When drafting an employee expense management policy, it is best practice to make the rules clear, easy to understand, fair for every party and updated.

What You Should Know Before You Go

Employee expenses are vital to ensure that your staff members can afford to pay for the things that improve their jobs and positively affect the organisation. It is an excellent addition to any company that wants to succeed, but it must be done correctly to ensure all parties involved feel happy about the process. 

Therefore, to adequately control your employee expenses, you’ll need to create your employee expense management plan and policy, set transparent processes, map out a budget for each employee expense category, provide payment methods, digitise receipts and invoices, and automate the process.

We hope this helps you on your employee expenses management journey!

Cybersecurity Trends: How Cybersecurity Will Be Different In 2023

Last year was full of phishing scams, breaches in data privacy, and crypto heists. So, putting light on this forces the cybersecurity corps to put greater effort into neutralizing these attacks this year. With the latest trends in techno aspects, vulnerabilities in systems are also emerging, and attackers are getting new schemes to exploit apparatus. 

This is the best time to predict what’s new regarding internet security and how it helps businesses keep data poachers miles away from the infrastructures. 

This article is a deep view of punching cyber trends that will be under exertion by every user and business globally. 

Top 5 Cybersecurity Trends For 2023

Here are these top recording trends regarding defending systems from internet frauds;

1. Greater Regulatory Pressures

Governments of nations and stakeholders of business will put greater efforts into minimizing cyberbullying, as these fraudsters previously stole millions of dollars in the last few years. Big-scale businesses were already proactive in this regard. Still, many tiny enterprises lack such measures to defend themselves, and from now they will expand their manifesto in this regard. 

In different countries, governments are asking for cyber reports from companies to analyze the depth of these attacks. Following that data will put ease in developing suitable cyber strategies to protect the general public and business efficiency. 

2. ZeroTrust Authentication Will Replace VPNs

The zero-trust architecture will add authentication methodology repeatedly. As remote networks will continue to grow, which is non-scalable, and with zero trust, users will not be able to access the blanket of resources; rather, they will be in control; as for further resources, they will be required to give their identity. 

It follows the concept of never trusting anyone and always verifying. The Russian administration has already been crafting one of the models from zero trust. In the coming year, network administrators will readily rely on this technique, completely eliminating virtual private networks’ use. 

3. Detection Tools Will Mainstream

Cyber security questions only when, which means when the attack is going to happen only, there is no use case of if an attack happens. So, to combat this when situation, organizations need cosmic supplements in the form of tools that detect these attacks. Pragmatically, these tools are given quotations about unwanted situations, and whenever such situation repeats, they will tap a red alarm. 

These tools with modern tech subsets like AI and Machine learning will process previous attack data and create similar situations in their mainframe. These tools will alert the administration if anything occurs related to these situations. This is among those cybersecurity trends advancing each year and will continue. 

So, this year, the demand for such spotting tools will shoot up. 

4. Sheer Demand For Third-Party Risk Management

Many organizations rely on third-party cyber tools and software that constitute vulnerabilities, and their system allows attackers to get what they want. In recent reports, supply chain attacks in 2021 grew four-fold due to these third-party software applications.

So, this year companies will hire external auditors to report and monitor these third-party tools that will put software drawbacks in the garbage. Experts are pointing out that in 2023  we will see a growth of around 45% in this catalog. 

5. Cyber Insurance

The threat landscape will undoubtedly rise in 2023, which will cause cyber insurance to climb and demand great risk assessment criteria. To remain in the middle of the demand and insurance, premiums companies will start digging into the concerning areas with greater depth analysis methodology. With that, they will find the minimum coverage required for these insurances. 

While buying cyber insurance will provide some policies and guidelines about shielding the systems from internet fraud, these policies will be must-to-follow by companies. 

While it is also a requirement of the user to use secure and reliable financial applications so that financial data remain in a hard shell and their financial records should look decorative, one such tool is Bitcoin Code, which adds much to your financial data and helps you make good financial decisions. 

Final Words

Cybersecurity concerns are an ever-growing aspect of this technological landscape as internet use is booming everywhere. With more specialized databases and storage, data breaches are becoming the most valuable tap for attackers. These attackers are also finding new paths to stunt systems. So, with the help of governing bodies, cybersecurity experts will use brute force together to battle these attacks.

How to Monitor and Track Performance Across Your Dispersed Team

Working life is not what it used to be. Staff that used to be based in one office location may now be in geographically diverse locations. Some of your staff may be located in satellite offices and some may be working remotely or in hybrid patterns. In fact, 35% of workers can now work from home full-time, while 23% can work remotely part-time. 

Many of the issues of having staff in diverse locations, such as communications and collaboration, have been highlighted and dealt with by technology. However, there is one factor often overlooked, that of monitoring and tracking your staff’s performance. Just how do you ensure you can keep track of their progress and productivity when they may be in multiple locations?

How to monitor performance for dispersed teams

So, let’s assume you’re managing a few teams. Some of those staff are located in a different office in another state and some are working remotely, either full-time or part-time. While it may be relatively easy to monitor those in an office (as it will have a manager or supervisor in place), just how do you track those working remotely? 

1. Use a good project management tool 

When you set up any remote workers, your initial focus may have been on providing them with tools that enable easy communication and collaboration so they can talk to each other (and you) and be able to share any relevant documents, from a how-to guide to a bookkeeping contract. A third tool that should be essential is a project management tool. Not only do they assist with communication and collaboration, but they are also a great way for managers to have an overview of everything that is happening. 

A good project management tool means you have insight into how individual tasks and overall projects are progressing. It lets you see if KPI targets are being achieved and you can focus on how individual team members are performing (or underperforming). You can assess each employee’s contribution over different time periods and then give feedback to them when there is room for improvement

2. Set clear goals

Your remote workers may be of huge benefit if you are a small business but they need a clear view of what is expected of them. Those expectations can be set on an annual, monthly, or weekly performance. They can also be set for individual tasks or projects (you expect a certain task to be completed by a specific date). Goal setting is usually a collaborative process between employee and manager so both should have a clear understanding of expectations. 

It is helpful if goals are measured using either the SMART or OKR methods. That can help both parties see where the employee is in terms of achieving the goals originally set. With regular reviews, managers can easily see if staff are ahead, behind, or on target. This enables managers to see if an employee is performing as expected.

3. Track time

Although one of the attractions of remote working is to set your own schedules, managers will still expect staff to work a certain amount of hours every week/month. This is where another useful tool can help; a time-tracking app. These can monitor how long an employee works each day. They can also monitor each employee’s productivity.

When paired with an efficient project management tool, you can have a complete overview of all your employees’ performance. However, it is worth noting that many people find such tracking tools invasive and indicative that their managers don’t trust them. If you find that to be the case, then you can ask staff to self-report using a relevant spreadsheet.  

4. Consider 360-degree reviews 

If you are doing reviews yourself, there could be some bias in the way you review an employee’s performance. To ensure avoiding bias, it is worth implementing a more holistic review process that includes the employee, their manager, and their co-workers. This can give you a more complete picture of how each employee is performing. 

You can get better insights into individual performances when using this method. The employee themself may acknowledge mistakes made or fellow team members may highlight issues when underperformance has affected their own work. As a manager, you may only see final results, but involving other parties means you can see the whole work process. 

5. Regular reviews

While annual reviews are helpful, it may be too late to spot a significant issue. You want to maintain a strong relationship with your remote staff so should be reviewing their work on a regular basis, even if that’s via a relatively informal video chat. These regular chats/reviews can help build relationships as well as address any pertinent issues. 

Of course, with larger teams, a weekly check-in by audio or video call may take up too much time. There are automated tools that can be useful and that can pinpoint any problems before they become bigger. If one employee is struggling with an individual task, then that could impact the overall project and could cost your organization in terms of time and money. 

6. Recognize achievements

Monitoring and tracking performance is not just about measurement, it’s also about recognizing when your staff do well. By recognizing when staff do well, you encourage and motivate them to maintain productivity and to constantly strive to improve their performance. 

You can even incentivize remote workers by offering ‘prizes’ to meet certain deadlines or to exceed expectations. These do not have to be expensive prizes but could be as simple as discount vouchers or extra days off. By including recognition in your monitoring strategy, you can demonstrate to staff how much you value their input. 

The takeaway

The foundation for managing a successful remote working team is tools. These can range from a good video calling app to conversion platforms such as PDFPlatform.com. Having your staff use the tools they need to do their work efficiently should be the cornerstone of any remote or hybrid working strategy. 

The thing to remember is that moving to remote working should not be rushed. Taking a slow and steady approach can bring dividends to your business. Ensure all the things you (and they) need are in place, from reliable communication and collaboration tools to a framework and plan to monitor those employees who are not based in your office. 

Top SEO Trends To Spot In 2023

Search Engine Optimization refers to improving website quality and directing the site to greater leads if you have an online business website. For instance, users search anything on search engines like Google; they firmly prioritize high-rank pages that lie on the front interface. 

SEO is among the most dynamic aspects of digital marketing, with ever-changing google ranking assessment criteria making it more zestful. Google always looks for attributes that reveal better experiences for users. Marketers must reshape their capability yearly for better recognition from search engines, especially Google. 

As told, SEO criteria become old rapidly, and websites have to be in parallel with this drift. So, this article will spotlight highly watchable SEO tactics for 2023.  

Top 5 SEO Trends For 2023

Here are some classy trends that will surely fit your website on the top page of Google search engine;

1. The New E In Google Famous Acronym EAT (EEAT)

In December last year, Google added the new word E in its traditional criteria EAT, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust.  While evaluating the quality of website content, google will also measure the creator’s experience. 

For instance, if you are an SEO writer at any marketing agency and have been tasked with posting content related to heart diseases, it is obvious that you cannot write to that level because your experience in the medical field will be negligible. So, this trend admires the creator’s experience rather than deep research. 

So, writers need to have more specific about their niche instead of focusing on multiple niches. 

2. Targeting Audience Rather Than Traffic

Be specific to your niche because google crawlers often get confused whenever they confront any unrelated topic on your site. For instance, the website is about financial software products and writing blogs on cooking. So, this approach targets a particular audience, which is worthwhile because having irrelevant traffic sometimes becomes a curse. 

  • Rank-worthy content comes from sticking to the overall topic of your website. 
  • For this, you can use different content planning keyword research tools. 

3. Helpful Content

Google’s helpful content update will readily impact SEO’s way of generating content in 2023. The top priority for Google is always creating content full of quality, but this new helpful term emphasizes on delivering content that satisfies readers’ carving of knowledge.  

While quantifying user satisfaction is a complex thing to do, so through these attributes, you can induce satisfaction in your content in terms of “helpful”;

  • The creator must create content that is more toward humans, not toward search engines. 
  • Content must be appropriate to a particular class of the population. 
  • It must relate to the primary niche of the website. 
  • Content must possess deep knowledge. 

4. Use Of Auto Content-Generating Tools

The use of AI content tools will likely be robust in 2023, as many marketers will utilize these tools to enhance the workflow. But relying on these tools while keeping eyes close is always vicious. So, there is proper code to utilize these tools. For instance, content creators can use these tools to evaluate the importance of keywords and generate briefs related to topics, taglines, and subheadings. 

Secondly, these tools help in brainstorming, and moving down from the keyword to knowing exactly what to write next is like winning the half battle. 

Lastly, these tools can generate alternatives to keywords that you are using, and these alternatives are a plus point for you to give weightage to your content. 

5. Product Page SEO

E-commerce websites and new product launches are growing. We confront new business and products on web scrawling daily, but only a few websites get what they deserve from their online business. Here SEO also plays a cardinal role.

For instance, on the product page, putting a product description with keywords is good. Still, inducing general FAQs, tags like free shipping, or any pointing praise about the product is always loveable by search engines and audiences. As you can see at bitsoft 360, every prominent feature of the product makes a first sight of vision to every user. 

Final Words

Search engine optimization is not only to please the search engines like Google, but it also points to users that want to get schooling from your content. These latest SEO trends are middle solutions for readers and SEO audit policymakers.

Metaverse Opportunities For Women’s Empowerment

In the technological industry, women are always on the back foot compared to men, and globally women share 47% of the total population of the workforce and only 26% of jobs in the tech industry. In the last few years, the ratio is further declining. 

With the recent records, only 18% of women complete their computer science degrees as most of the girl students leave in between, which is the major reason behind the underrepresentation of women in the workforce and, more precisely, in the tech force. 

The glass ceiling is not up to here; it is firmly increasing as only 10% of women globally are in high positions as CEO in major firms and only 5% in major tech firms. Furthermore, Metaverse can generate an economy in trillions by 2030, so major companies cannot ignore its scope. Still, the concerning thing is women are not active members of it, according to the McKinsey report. Still, this quote is quite conflicting as major statistical reports contrast Mckinsey’s report, as many women are more pro metaverse than men. 

So, follow this article to track metaverse as a profound way to represent women at a high-tech level. 

Metaverse Opportunities For Women

Let’s dive into overwhelming metaverse opportunities for women 

1. Purchase Decisions

If brands have to get metaverse right, they need to allow metaverse platforms to be full of women because 85% of the purchase decisions are by women; so in this regard, brands have not only to provide access points to women but also have to craft an experience that leads women to participate in.

From a visual point of view, metaverse themes are so clunky that they need to be more toward the likes of women and induce colors that are most favorable to women. 

2. Flexibility Of Remote Work

Many women, especially in third-world areas, are not supposed to leave their homes to learn and work. The middle solution can be seen in technology like metaverse, as this technology allows them to represent themselves virtually. According to recent LinkedIn surveys, the ratio of women exceeds 26% compared to men looking for remote jobs. While working in the metaverse is a new online thriller that will help leverage the field of women to participate in tech jobs. 

3. Allowing Women To Have Fair Share

While many firms are providing grounds for women to take part in crafting the metaverse world according to their skills of women. If brands have to do well concerning purchase power, that all belongs to women. Companies are also putting women in the front to help recurring other women in the metaverse, which further cuts some of the coherent biases in women hiring. 

4. Women Can Create Their Own Space

Women can go to the main stage by themselves irrespective of any metaverse company or other firm that uses metaverse. Metaverse provides autonomy to everyone participating in virtual forums, so tech experts and women can build their forums where they can allow other women to participate. For instance, many women can build their fashion brands and bring other women to work in them, and some can initiate learning institutes for women too. 

In this regard, meet with Ang’l Artistea, she is a painter and tattoo designer, but when she gets free time, she hosts exhibitions in her Black Art museum which is all virtual. The Horizon world was like a dream for her, and she is living in her dream. 

Another superwoman from France, Candice Houtikier, founder of Art Collision, permits other organizations to host events in VR. Through this new reality, she has brought artists from every corner of the world and has been transferring international art. She strongly condemns that the future is all in the metaverse, then why not art?  Also, with decentral financial attributes in the metaverse, we artists will sell and purchase art all digitally. 

Final Words

Women can be anything with metaverse opportunities. In the tech space, circumstances for women are extreme. Still, these are changing with time, and many women focus on holding cryptocurrencies and actively participating in technologies like this. With the next level of freedom in the metaverse, women will build their own women’s mania, which will lift women from every corner of the world. 

So, these women have another chance in the form of an immediate connect trading app, which helps implement clever trading strategies to trade crypto.

5 Digital Transformation Challenges and How SMEs and Enterprise Can Overcome Them in 2023

Many businesses hesitate to embrace digital transformation fully, yet the benefits far outweigh any difficulties. While resistance to change can be natural and understandable, this is change that can dramatically improve your business. 

Just what is digital transformation and what are the main challenges your organisation may face? More importantly, how do you overcome those challenges successfully so that you can say your business has truly entered the digital era?

What is digital transformation? 

Digital transformation is the process of integrating technology into all areas of your business. It focuses on how you carry out even the most basic operations and how you deliver a better customer experience to your entire customer base. As well as integrating new tech, it may also involve a fundamental change in your company culture. 

One thing to note is that digital transformation is different for every organisation. Embracing it fully can mean total change to existing business processes, even ones that have been working well for you. Initial success is not guaranteed when you integrate new tech and you may find it is a trial and error process to get things working right for you. But new tech and tools open doors to your staff and help you streamline processes, such as giving you access to an audit RFP template for converting clients. 

5 Digital Transformation Challenges

No-one says digital transformation is easy. In fact, it will challenge you on several levels, but the end result is a business that is better placed to serve its customers and meet long-term goals. Knowing the challenges you may face can make the process easier. 

1. Resistance to adoption of new tech and processes

As mentioned, there can be major resistance to change within your organisation. That resistance can extend from your C-suite to your employees. They may be used to existing processes and can’t see why change is needed. This can be a major barrier to transformation and there are a number of ways you can address it. 

  • Inform your workforce why you feel change is needed and let them know the benefits it will bring, such as helping to avoid repetition in the workplace
  • Ensure that training is provided for every employee. 
  • Support your workforce through any transition period and beyond. 
  • Hold follow-up meetings to highlight the benefits any change has brought. 

2. Lack of clear strategy

There is no magic wand that makes your digital transformation a smooth process. It needs a clear strategy that outlines the various factors involved in the change. Your strategy needs to include a clear roadmap to show how you will achieve transformation, as well as the reasons why you are doing it and what your goals are. Some things to consider include:

  • What your goals and objectives are.
  • Why you feel change is needed. 
  • The steps towards those goals including any short-term objectives. 
  • What your starting point will be.
  • Any changes needed to current staff skill sets and how to deliver new knowledge and skills. 
  • What are the new technologies you will be adopting and who will use them?
  • What benefits will each new bit of tech bring and who will it benefit? Staff, customers, or both? Focus on how each change helps different teams, such as improvements in digital marketing. 
  • How will successful transformation be measured? Which KPIs will be used?

3. Lack of skills 

It may be that you have a minimal IT team and that most employees have zero or low IT skills. To successfully integrate new tech, you may have to look at existing skill sets and bring staff up to the speed needed to use your new tools and processes. You may also need to look at having your IT team improve their knowledge. Some areas in which you may have to consider specialised training include:

  • Cybersecurity. New tools and tech bring new risks so it is essential staff are trained in counter measures. 
  • Software integrations. One of the advantages of new systems is that they offer multiple integrations that can make employees’ lives easier.
  • Analytics. If you have more tech, the likelihood is that you will be collecting a LOT more data. You may have to look at training staff in analytics or using analytics tools.
  • Software/app architecture. One thing that may come from your digital transformation is the development of software and/or apps in-house. You may need to upskill existing IT staff or even bring in new, specialised staff. 

4. Budget issues

A successful digital transformation doesn’t come cheap. When you formulate a transition strategy, you should also include as accurate a budget as possible. There is a good chance that final costs will be higher than any initial estimate so factor in coverage for any extra costs you may incur. You should think about all potential costs over different timeframes. 

  • Initial costs. These can include any tools or hardware you buy outright or upgrading of existing IT infrastructure to cope with new tech. 
  • Ongoing costs. Some of your new tools and systems may be SaaS (software as a service) so you need to calculate monthly or annual costs. 
  • Training. Training may take the form of online courses, outsourced specialists, or may be offered by software/tech providers. You should factor in initial and ongoing training costs.
  • Maintenance. If new or upgraded hardware is part of your digital transformation process, then consider maintenance costs and whether any work can be done in-house or outsourced. 
5. Culture and mindset

Previously mentioned resistance to change can be deep rooted in a company’s culture and mindset. People get used to doing things a certain way and you need to change that view if digital transformation is to be successful. You need to be sure that everyone in the organisation, from CEO to shop floor, embraces the new culture. 

While you may be adding new tech, tools, and processes, it is the human element that ties all these together. People think that automation will threaten jobs and you need to emphasise that automation and new tech will actually enhance their work and do not pose a threat. You need to be ready to accept the possibility of a drop in performance and productivity during a transitional period while pushing for that drop to be as temporary as possible. 

The takeaway

By creating a clear strategy for your own digital transformation, you can make any transition easier. To achieve successful transformation, it’s vital you ensure that there is clear communication at every stage of the process. 

There are many benefits of embracing digital transformation. These range from simple conversion of PNG to PDF through to automating repetitive tasks such as email marketing. 

Smith & Partner Reveal What Art You Should Invest In

Depending on your disposable income, there are many opportunities out there today for you to invest your hard-earned cash in projects that you believe will succeed in the modern era.

Art investments are among the most favoured and trending places to place your money for short-term and long-term wins. Conducting the correct research or speaking to experts is paramount – but finding the right people to talk to is something that people can be wary of.

That’s why here today, we’re lucky to have the founder of Smith & Partner Fine Art, Luke Sparkes, join us in order to give you the best insight into where you should go in terms of art investment in 2023. Carry on reading to learn the ins and outs.

What Types of Art Should You Invest in?

When it comes to art fairs, art galleries and auctions – you have a variety of locations where you can find potential winning pieces of art that will reap an excellent return on investment. However, once you’re at the desired location, you need to know what to look out for when deciding on the correct art to purchase.

If you’re looking to invest a hefty amount of money, you must know the ins and outs before making that all-important decision. Today, we have the experienced knowledge of London-based art gallery Smith & Partner to give us their top tips for you moving forward with smart decisions – as it can become confusing in the beginning.

Up-and-Coming Artists

The new revelation of artists is upon us and finding a hidden gem among the masses is something that can earn you lots of money with time. Up-and-coming artists are often misunderstood and not given an opportunity to shine, but if there is one piece of art that goes viral – you can expect to make a massive ROI (return on investment).

Not only that, but due to them being new to the market, they will often price their art at a low value because they understand that they’re not on the popularity level as some of the most famous artists.

Therefore, if you find a piece of art at an extremely low price that you feel could skyrocket… this can lead to an incredible investment opportunity. Although you could choose to find a new artist yourself, we would recommend that you seek professional guidance before you make the final decision.

Established Masters

Looking for hidden gems within the up-and-coming artists is crucial, but having an all-around portfolio is also essential for optimal results. Investing in already-established artists holds prestigious value, especially if the artist has been famous for countless years.

As time goes on, although this may be a bigger upfront cost to purchase the art piece from an old master – the price is likely to slowly increase as it ages more. For example, if you were to invest in a Da Vinci piece of artwork, the longer you hold it, the more historic it’ll become.

Plus, holding these pieces of ancient artwork is a rare sight. If people begin seeing you have a hold of this in years to come – they will be more willing to pay within a higher price range.

Blue Chip Art

Blue chip art refers to art that is well-known for increasing in value over time. Whether you’re looking to purchase from an auction, art gallery or art fair – these pieces of artwork will typically end up finishing with the highest bidding price.

This is not to say that you have no chance of obtaining shares in these pieces of artwork, but because it is more of a long-term investment – you will have to invest a higher upfront cost to receive a piece of this art.

Due to their art being well-established, with artists imminent such as Bansky, Andy Warhol, etc – there is a lasting effect that will never diminish the value of these projects. Because of their fame and history, people all over the world will be looking to get their hands on these pieces of art.

Thus, you’ll have to be willing to be a bit more stubborn with your offers when looking to put your shares into the painting. Whether you’re just looking to buy shares, or you want to buy the piece outright, this will all depend on the disposable income you’re willing to invest.

How to Make Your Business Stand Out in a Competitive Market


In order to make your business stand out in a competitive market, you need to understand what a competitive market is. A competitive market is one in which many buyers and sellers of a particular product or service, and each has enough information about the others to make informed decisions.

So how to make your business stand out if so many other businesses sell the same product or service? If you want to make your business stand out, you need to differentiate it from the competition. This means that you need to make your business unique in some way.

The importance of standing out

In today’s business world, it’s more important than ever to make your company stand out from the competition. With so many businesses vying for consumer attention, it’s essential to find ways to make your business stand out in a crowd.

There are a number of ways to make your business stand out. One way is to focus on providing exceptional customer service. If you can provide customers with a positive and memorable experience, they’re more likely to remember your business and recommend it to others.

Another way to make your business stand out is by offering unique products or services that meet a specific need that’s not being adequately met by your competitors. This could be something as simple as offering a new flavor of ice cream or a new type of workout class.

By filling a void in the market, you’ll be able to attract customers who are looking for something different.

Ways to make your business stand out

In a competitive market, it is important to make your business stand out. There are several ways to do this:

1. Make sure your products or services are of the highest quality. This will ensure that customers keep coming back and recommend your business to others.

2. Offer something unique that your competitors don’t. This could be a unique selling point (USP), such as a patented product or technology, or simply a different approach to customer service.

3. Make sure your branding is strong and consistent across all channels. Your brand should convey what makes your business special and should be instantly recognizable to potential customers.

4. Keep your prices competitive, but don’t sacrifice quality or service in order to do so. Customers are often willing to pay slightly more for a better experience or product.

5. Find ways to get your products or services into the hands of your customers. This could be through an affiliate program, a referral program, or simply offering a money-back guarantee.

6. Look for cross-selling and upselling opportunities. You’ll find that your customers are often willing to buy additional products or services from you.

7. Think about how you can expand the demand for what you sell. This could be through additional products, multiple delivery channels, or even through bundling with complementary products and services.

8. Watch for ways to create additional value for your customers. You can do this by providing valuable information, building brand loyalty, or adding more functionality to your product or service.

9. Look for ways to add more services and functions to your products or services.

Overcoming common obstacles

In any business, big or small, you will face competition. It is an inescapable part of the business world. The key to success is making your business stand out from the rest. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

– Know your audience and target them specifically. – Find a niche market and focus on it. – Offer something unique that your competitors don’t. – Build a strong brand identity. – Promote your business through effective marketing and advertising campaigns. – Provide excellent customer service and build good relationships with your clients or customers. – Stay up to date with industry trends and news. – Constantly strive to improve and grow your business.

Marketing Research

In order to make your business stand out in a competitive market, it is important to do your marketing research. This will help you to understand what your target market is looking for and how you can best reach them. There are a few key things to keep in mind when conducting marketing research:

1. Define your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your product or service? What are their needs and wants?

2. Research your competition. What are they doing that works well? What could they improve on?

3. Use data to make decisions. Collect data from surveys, customer feedback, social media, and other sources. Use this data to inform your marketing decisions.

4. Be flexible and adaptable. As the market changes, so should your marketing strategy. Regularly reevaluate your plan and make changes as needed.

5. Be prepared to adjust your marketing plan. Marketing is not a one-and-done activity. You must be willing to make changes as needed to adapt and compete in the marketplace.

6. Find a way to differentiate yourself and your product or service from others in the market.


When you’re running a business, it’s important to make sure that you stand out from the competition. There are a lot of benefits to making your business stand out, including:

1. Increased brand awareness. When you make your business stand out, people are more likely to remember your brand and what you offer. This can lead to increased sales and loyal customers.

2. Differentiation. If your business is just like every other business in your industry, it can be hard for customers to see why they should choose you over the competition. But if you make your business unique, it’s easier for customers to see the value in what you offer.

3. Greater customer loyalty. When customers have a positive experience with your business, they’re more likely to come back and recommend you to others.

Stand out from the crown is a daunting task, I hope this article provides you with some useful information to help your business stand out from others. If you like it, please help me to share it with other readers too.

Lead Generation vs Sales Prospecting: Overlaps and Operational Differences

Lead generation and sales prospecting are two core activities for most businesses, but distinguishing between them can be tricky. Understanding the differences can help bring order to your marketing and sales strategies.

In this post, we will cover the key similarities and differences between these two strategies so that you can use them to your advantage.

Sales prospecting vs. lead generation: similarities and differences

“Leads” and “prospects” are often used interchangeably, which can cause no end of confusion. While these two terms share a few common features and goals, sales prospecting and lead generation are fairly different. 

Prospecting is usually carried out by sales teams, whereas lead generation is more in the realm of your marketing department. 

Simply put, leads consist of individuals or businesses that have expressed an interest in a product or service, such as Dialpad’s communication platform, by taking various actions such as clicking on an ad, following a link from social media, visiting the company website, or installing a free version of an app. 

Lead generation focuses on how a lead is made – what was the winning combination of marketing words and images that enticed someone to visit your website? Marketers will usually create a lead magnet on their social media, or somewhere else on the web, and wait for leads to start flowing in. It’s a largely automated process. 

Sales prospecting on the other hand focuses on the process of identifying potential clients as well as methods for nurturing them. Sales prospecting is a highly intensive and manual process whereby a salesperson actively searches for new business opportunities. 

Quick prospecting guide

A prospect is an individual or company that has been identified as a potential customer based on certain criteria outlined by your business. They don’t need to have shown any interest in interacting with your company. 

How does prospecting work?

Sales prospecting consists of a series of actions carried out by your sales team to spark new business opportunities by identifying and nurturing potential customers. The final goal of the process is to convert prospects into customers.

It can be a pretty challenging process because it requires a personalised approach, which requires time since you can’t rely on automation in the same way you can with lead generation. 

As well as approaching your prospects, you also need to set and track the list of criteria that you use to evaluate prospects in the first place. You need to find ideal customers, review their profiles, and ensure that they meet all of your criteria.

Sales prospecting strategies

First, you need to create a list of criteria that your prospect should fit for you to approach them. You can pose the following questions to figure this out: 

  • Is the prospect a decision-maker in their company? 
  • Is the prospect an influencer in some way? 
  • Does the prospect’s business have a need that our product or services might be able to fulfill? 
  • Is the prospect actively searching for solutions to challenges we can help with?
  • What is the size of the company?

For your particular business, the questions will be more specific and tailored to your ideal prospects.

Finding prospects on social media

Sales teams will often use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to identify and interact with possible prospects.

LinkedIn is mighty when it comes to B2B sales. The platform is designed to make it easy to identify and connect with individuals who fit your ideal customer profile. You can specify the job title and description, such as whether someone works in managing a call centre, company size, location, industry, and more, and end up with a preliminary list of potential customers.

Group prospects into buyer personas

The next step is to group the contacts you’ve collected on the basis of common features, and then curate scripts for sales calls and design personalised emails for each group.

Nurture over nature

The next step is to start nurturing your prospects. After your initial contact with your prospect, be ready to follow up with more emails and calls. 

Quick lead generation guide

To recap, a lead is someone who has shown interest in your products but isn’t yet a customer. You will have their contact details and connect with them to try and convert them into a customer. 

You need to find out if they are qualified leads, i.e. a good fit for your company. You don’t automatically know whether a lead is relevant before you check their profile, unlike a prospect that has been vetted by your sales team.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is a marketing tactic of piquing a consumer’s interest and acquiring their contact details. In order to do this, you need to offer them something of value – some companies will offer entries into giveaway competitions in exchange for contact details, for example. 

To help your lead-generating strategy, try to answer the following questions first: 

  • What are your ideal customers’ needs? 
  • What are their pain points?
  • Which social media sites do they use? 
  • What content do they prefer to read? 
  • What kind of device do they use? 
  • How do they behave on your website? 

Lead generation methods

To find qualified leads, you first need to create a lead magnet – something free that companies give away to get their audience to share their contact details with them. Using the right lead magnet is one of the best ways of attracting people who are a good match for your product. If you’re managing multiple sites, you can advertise the lead magnet in several places. 

You can figure out your ideal lead magnet by looking at your buyer personas and figuring out what their pain points, interests and behaviours look like. If they seem to engage heavily with a particular product page, you could launch a giveaway of that particular product. Choosing the right magnet will be good for maximising your return on investment

Once you have acquired your leads, you can engage with them through various means, such as email campaigns or press releases. A press release template can be an effective tool to communicate important news about your company or product to potential customers and generate interest, while ensuring you’re adhering to your brand values and hitting key selling points. By providing a clear and concise message, press releases can help you build brand awareness and establish your company as a thought leader in your industry.

Then, to convert your audience, you should only ask for the most relevant details, like a name and email address, and try to use interesting calls to action like “free guide to data engineer certification for beginners”. 

To summarise

Both lead generation and sales prospecting are interested in increasing sales, but the methods for achieving this goal are fairly different. Understanding how these can work together and as independent methods can help your business to flourish.

Top Investment Trends To Witness In 2023

The digital landscape has been growing faster than ever, and investment trends are also taking new forms. Companies, financial sectors, and other industries are adopting new ways and strategies to plot the difference among competitors. And with such differences, investors are also facilitated with different options to double their capital. 

To comply with the best investment, we have listed investment trends  that will be common this year.  

Top 5 Investment Trends 

There is an ongoing hike regarding investment in digital currencies and related digital assets, but the crypto market had not been so merciful in previous years. So, investment companies have started digging for alternatives; and some trends have already started making a strong market position. 

These trends are mainly;

1. Passive Investing and Indexing

Passive investment refers to holding investment assets over a long period in contrast to short and day profits. And today, around 6.2 trillion equity assets belong to passive investment. In 2015, the ratio was around 30%, but it spiked a massive turnaround in the market. 

Two aspects have caused such a hike which are mainly index and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Three major companies are listed as the highest shareholder on S&P 500, and all these companies have managed to provide funds with a market cap of trillions. 

In contrast to mutual funds, there is some shortening, but the passive investment will exceed this year. 

2. ESG Investment

Environment, Social, and Governance investment refers to the inclusion of these nonfinancial factors into the investment operations and analysis.  These factors take investors and investing companies into the role of sustainability, and many companies are quoting these factors in their annual reports. Various sustainability institutions are developing measures and policies that have to be followed to tackle material risks. 

ESG investment has taken the market by storm. 2020 was mainstream as US ESG funds were raised to almost $51 billion. And financial analysts in the US have forecasted that 200 new ESG funds are on the road and are about to enter the market, which will further extend the market cap to trillions. 

Many companies focus on ESG ETFs, and around 1800% of these funds were raised after 2020.  And if such growth is expanded further, ESG will boom the whole market. 

3. Meme Stocks

Dogecoin, the fifth-largest crypto in the market? Initially, it was started as a meme on social media but later turned the table. With such an example, many companies have started homework on such ideas that will let them influence social media followers about their stocks. 

Secondly, higher companies have started developing online brokerages of their own, which will cause them to avoid commission fees and let investors access the stocks at a higher rate. 

4. SPAC & Direct Listings

Formerly companies were not facilitated with options rather than initial public offering (IPO). But the Special Purpose Acquisition Company has opened new doors for the companies to merge with other typical trading companies. And once the company successfully acquires another company, it doubles the impact. The number of stocks increases and the target market also extends, benefiting companies and investors that invest in these companies. 

Formerly the number was two-digit, but after 2020 the number of such companies has touched three digits. And in 2023, many companies have already started to acquire other platforms, and as the year passes, we will witness many more of these. 

5. Robo Advisors 

Robo advisors or can say bots, have leveraged investment strategies and have found a better place in the minds of investors to manage cash and wealth. These bots are available for investors on different platforms with plenty of varieties. 

These bots are specific and depend on the programmer to program accordingly. After deploying these robots, almost all human intervention is eliminated, and it readily depends on the investor itself. 

These were top investment trends that we all will see with our naked eyes, and it is also forecasted that some unimaginable moves will also take place in investment markets like the bitcoin loophole

The End

Now that you’ve explored the top 5 investment trends for 2023, you can decide the most suitable option. Investment options are vast but plotting the right strategy and moving with a specific trend is all about your interest. Please consider them as vital assistance and best of luck for the future.

Upcoming Stock Market Trends To Watch In 2023

After a dumpster fire in 2022, investors are keen to replace bad memories of the past year with some majestic moves in 2023. So, forecasters in this regard have plotted some clues that will define the stock market condition in the year 2023. 

So, follow this article to determine the biggest stock market trends this year. 

Top 5 Stock Market Trends 

There is no absolute trend in the stock market, but we have confined some top trends with a high probability that they will be common in 2023. These trends are mainly;

1. High-Interest Rates

In the year 2023, the stock market will raise the interest rates on stocks to address the super hot inflammation in the US market. The Central Bank has further tightened its foot on the accelerator regarding monetary policies. And it has been analyzed that putting a foot on the accelerator will cool down inflation. 

Market investors are still chasing more dollars to cool down inflation. But one such report has declared that policymakers have a different mindset, causing them to accelerate the interest rates apart from inflation. But the situation is entirely tailor-made for the policymakers to extend these rates. 

2. Defense Industry Will Boom 

With the latest conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, the world has shifted its interest in war assets, which will readily capture a good market in the year 2023. But this is doubtful, too, because, in the end, it is human life that matters a lot. People and companies will raise several questions on the hike of these assets, as people have already started targeting Russia for its bad diplomacy. 

Small manufacturers like AeroVironment, which deals in switchblade drones, have counted a good profit from the conflict. Locking these things in mind puts the idea that the supremacy of such manufacturers will enhance this year. 

So, investors! Be ready to lend money in this sector. 

3. Crypto Winter 

Crypto has no bounding layer with the equity sector, and they have managed to stand on its own manifest. Previously, the crypto market was extremely ice cold due to specific reasons, and there is the possibility that this year we will witness crypto winter again. 

So, people that are interested in investing in these blockchain entities need to ponder this trend in mind before putting light on this. Secondly, if US inflation and the energy consumption rate of these currencies are not addressed well, then the crypto market will be on the back foot this year too. 

4. Gold Shines 

Gold always shines, and there is no stopping that. As is common, gold stands tall no matter what the situation. And carrying its supremacy further will readily light up the year 2023 for investors. 

Major American financial firms have found an alternative solution to fight inflation by holding gold and have invested billions in storing this precious yellow metal. 

For common investors, it should be kept in mind that you won’t touch millions suddenly, but there is no chance your investment will be wasted. 

5. Electric Vehicles 

The whole success story of Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, revolves around electric vehicles and related materials. With major environmental policies, the go-green strategy has plotted severe importance, and almost by the coming years, many automobile industries will lead to electric vehicles only. And almost each automobile industry has one such model available on roads throughout the globe. 

With such consistency, this trend will dominate the stock market. Companies like Tesla have opened the door for investors, so it is alarming for every investor to plug shares in this area to make an impression. 

These were the five biggest stock market trends under severe observation, and most of the areas will lift the fortune of investors. 

Final Words

The whole stock market revolves around economic conditions, and if any economic factors get disturbed, the whole scenario changes within seconds. 

Many financial experts have forecasted that in the year 2023, major amendments to financial policies will cause further emergence in financial trends like bit alpha ai.

4 Essential Approaches Of Crucial Trading

Maximizing your gaining advantage in trade requires exchanging one currency on the behalf of another. Cryptocurrencies, stocks, and professional traders usually seek out trading as an alternative to the commodities markets because of its perceived security protection. You can not find essential advice from anywhere to anyone on how to make the most of your trading period than in this article.

While remembering the fact that crucial trading in foreign exchange is a low-hazard investment option, it is nevertheless possible to incur a loss. Investors or traders have an option of buy and hold strategy, whereas active traders constantly make trades in the global market to earn a maximum gain. An important key to trader success is maintaining and maximizing consistent earnings. You should become knowledgeable by using the following approaches before entering the trading market. One can maximize financial returns by empowering these strategies, which you can learn as a crucial trading approach.

Crucial Trading Approach 

The first concern of every novice trader is naturally how to potentially maximize a profit. Here are the five essential approaches of crucial trading that can be taken together that will be helpful and make the most impact on the lives of all traders who desire to trade.

  1. Create a Crucial Trading Strategy

If you want to create any money using trading, even if it’s just a little extra spending money on the side, it is necessary to put in the time and effort required to develop a crucial trading strategy. A well-thought-out strategy for your trades helps you to avoid unnecessary stress and raise your choices of success, even though it doesn’t look like much initially.

  1. Select a Reliable Trading Platform

Search out as much as you know about the brokerage business or trading platform that you plan to use before you start trading with them. Specific platforms, such as Pattern Trader, and numerous sites, bigmoneyrushapp.com, and many others provide trading tools in addition to overcoming processing or analyzing fees because they are geared to help and aid you to find various trading platforms. Both experts and novice traders in the market will think about how intuitive this platform is. Assuming how dependable, secure, and protective the trading systems you empower are. The previously mentioned platform is appealing due to the abundance of brokers it provides. However, you should learn and investigate the platform’s reputation and only interact with reliable brokers to protect and safeguard your finances. Always choose the most trustworthy and reliable approach when doing anything you want. 

  1. Expanding From a Small Scale Startup

Trading only with small amounts at a time is some sound advice to earn large after some time. When engaging in forex trading for the first time, it is important to take things slowly and carefully while remembering the past data. It’s common for the first outlay to be rather modest, before making any investments, educating and learning as much as possible about the market. Keep in mind that trading is a procedure that requires persistence and consistency with time. Regular, small deeds are the bread and butter of every professional trader, so it seems to make sense that they would have the technical chops to execute multiple trades single handedly.

  1. Cryptocurrencies with Outcomes 

Currency conversion for your most frequently used units may be initiated instantly by some time. Not the best, nor the worst idea, having familiarity and proficiency with more than one monetary system is an asset with more profitable outcomes. These coins are the only starting currencies and there are many more that will come out in the future.

Wrapping Up

If a trader has a firm grasp of these crucial trading approaches and how they relate to one another, one may find it easier to perform trading accurately for business startups on a small or large scale. If you utilize a trading bot like crypto boom, it will not only simplify your trading journey but also help in performing crucial trading tasks accurately and more precisely. You will have a higher chance of coming out on top and owning the trading market.

International Women’s Day 2023: Margaret Dabbs’ Advice to Young Female Entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurs are still underrepresented in business, but the numbers are growing. The Rose Review Progress Report 2022 showed that more women than ever are creating new businesses.

The number of new female-founded businesses is increasing by over a third each year, which is great news for women looking to become successful entrepreneurs. However, this still only equates to 20% of new businesses. We’re making progress, but there’s still a way to go.

Role models and success stories are key to inspiring young, ambitious women into entrepreneurship. One such success story is that of Margaret Dabbs OBE: she founded her brand Margaret DabbsÔ London in 2004, starting with her clinics before creating a range of products for feet, hands, and legs.

Margaret has recently been recognised for her services to business and podiatry with a well-deserved OBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List.

We sat down with Margaret to find out more about her journey and get her advice to young women looking to enter business leadership and become entrepreneurs.

Key quotes:

  • On managing the growth of the business:
    • “Istayed focused on my ideas. There have always been a lot of opportunities, as there are with any good business, but the key is not to get distracted.”
  • On advice to young women in business:
    • “If you’re thinking of starting a business, don’t let your gender hold you back. Believe in yourself and go for it.”
    • “Be passionate about your ideas, listen to everyone and take advice from people around you, but make your own decisions.”
  • On fighting against gender stereotypes as a female leader:
    • “I don’t think I was taken seriously in the early days – I was viewed merely as a ‘housewife’ with a hobby or idea. I’m self-taught and had to learn quickly as it was my money on the line.”
    • “I soon realised that I was quite good at what I was doing, and the constant approaches from retailers and press made me realise that my idea was a good one – and it has been amazing that they have shared my vision.”
  • On female representation in business leadership:
    • “It still shocks me when I attend an important meeting and I am the only woman in the room. It never ceases to amaze me how many corporate global beauty brands have men in the top posts.”

What inspired you to start Margaret Dabbs London?

I saw a gap in the market to create effective yet luxurious foot products. Beauty products didn’t work, and pharmacy formulations were unpleasant to use, so I set about sourcing ingredients from around the world and mixed formulas to use initially in my own clinic.

How did you manage the fast and exponential growth of the Margaret DabbsÔ London brand?

Istayed focused on my ideas. There have always been a lot of opportunities, as there are with any good businesses, but the key is not to get distracted.

It’s also important to remember that a business must bring in more money than it is spending – and that means you need to create a business model that works. I had belief in myself and in my idea and I have worked very hard to make this happen. I’ve also had support along the way – some of my patients have offered advice, which has always been so helpful. I’ve been approached by beauty retailers, journalists and press along the way who shared my vision, which has led to lots of new opportunities for our clinics and product placement not only in the UK but globally.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received lots of great advice over the years. One piece that really sticks with me was about making sure I never ran out of cash, and another was about making sure I didn’t get myself tied up with lots of bank loans and therefore risk losing control of my business.

Do you have any advice for young women looking to become business leaders or entrepreneurs?

If you’re thinking of starting a business, don’t let your gender hold you back. Believe in yourself and go for it. Be passionate about your ideas, listen to everyone and take advice from people around you, but make your own decisions.

It’s really important to be careful with cash and remember you must bring in more money than you are spending – cashflow is the key to getting a business off the ground. Make sure your business model works – keep it simple and don’t overthink. And most importantly, keep your focus and don’t be distracted by lots of other opportunities around you. A good business idea will always throw up lots of opportunities, but don’t be tempted to keep changing direction; focusing on what you set out to do is key.

Were there any challenges or barriers you faced as a female business leader and entrepreneur?

I don’t think I was taken seriously in the early days – I was viewed merely as a ‘housewife’ with a hobby or idea. I’m self-taught and had to learn quickly as it was my money on the line.

I soon realised that I was quite good at what I was doing, and the constant approaches from retailers and press made me realise that my idea was a good one – and it has been amazing that they have shared my vision.

How did you feel when you found out you were being awarded an OBE?

Shocked, thrilled, and humbled.

Do you think the landscape for ambitious women in business has changed since you started out?

Yes, very much. However, it still shocks me when I attend an important meeting and I am the only woman in the room. It never ceases to amaze me how many corporate global beauty brands have men in the top posts – even though these men are often not the target customer and are not ‘involved’ in the business.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I feel proud and honoured to be part of such an event. It gives a platform for women to come together and not only celebrate our achievements, but to support the next generation of talented women who will be our future business leaders.

What’s next for Margaret Dabbs London?

More of the same – we’re planning an increase in products, more distribution, exciting launches and more clinics globally.

Margaret Dabbs

Green For Go – A Budget Wishlist For Small Businesses

Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance, the provider of personal guarantee insurance to the owners of SMEs has set out its wishlist for the Chancellor The Rt HON Jeremy Hunt MP, ahead of the Budget on 15th March 2023.

Todd Davison, MD of Purbeck Personal Guarantee Insurance said: “This budget needs to deliver for small and medium sized businesses unlike the last which focused on controlling the budget deficit and calming the markets in the wake of the controversial mini-budget.  It needs to be progressive and encourage sustainability in every sense – there is no time to waste, The Rt HON Jeremy Hunt MP has an opportunity to help businesses cut costs, improve productivity and encourage future investment.”

A Budget Wishlist for UK SMEs:

1. ‘Help to Green’ – Holistic strategy to support business transition away from high-cost energy:

Purbeck supports the development and publication of a holistic approach to transitioning the UK away from high-cost energy. Small businesses are susceptible from market price fluctuations and the current subsidies offered are not sustainable and place a burden on the UK taxpayer. The UK needs initiatives to help businesses plan for energy consumption with a focus on renewable and green technologies. This could be further supported by a “Help to Green” initiative to support training and awareness around energy consumption, identification of government support schemes and energy assessments to focus on renewable energy sources. 

2. Encourage businesses to undertake sustainable investment:

A government supported tax scheme to encourage businesses to move to green technologies could be introduced by way of tax relief for investment in green plant and machinery. An additional initiative as supported by the NACFB, would be to provide ‘green loans’ by way of a government guarantee loan scheme. Finance would be provided at attractive rates to support the use of green technology and agendas. This could help the UK in reaching its zero targets.

Companies who have achieved a net zero could pay a lower corporation tax than those that have not. 

3. Enhance UK’s labour market participation rates:

Current estimates indicate that there are now around 6.6m people of working age who are not in full-time education or employment and are economically inactive. This is a combination of young workers and early retirees. Purbeck endorses The Federation of Small Business’s wider 15 point strategy to improve the UK’s labour market participation rates by encouraging employees to get into work and employers to take on and train/develop their workforce. Vocational training vouchers could be issued to workers who wish to be reskilled and for employers to receive tax benefits for employing and training staff in desirable sectors or skills (such as sustainability, technology, health etc.). There could be a launch of consultations on reduced National Insurance Contributions for returning workers and retraining funding for vocational qualifications. 

4. Corporation tax regime:

As above, corporation tax is due to increase from 19% to 25%. There needs to be additional tax incentives to focus small business investment in green technologies, sustainable investment, and the labour force to encourage employers to pursue outcomes which meet and contribute towards UK Plc.

Furthermore, with these tax rates it means the UK is seen as less attractive than other international locations. The budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to mitigate this impact as far as possible and provide a corporation tax roadmap over a number of years to help businesses make planning decisions.

Boom in British Start-Up Companies is Bright Spot for the Economy, a New Analysis Finds 

2022 was another record year for company registrations in the UK, according to an analysis by small business support platform Enterprise Nation

According to data published this month by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2022 784,762 businesses were registered at Companies House. That’s almost 30,000 more than in 2021, and 114,000 more recorded annually pre-pandemic. In 2019, 670,575 businesses were registered. 

While many will point to the rise of so-called zombie companies and the high level of dissolutions, the relentless upwards trend in these figures is an indicator of the UK’s growing entrepreneurial aspiration, the company said.

Emma Jones, CBE, founder of membership organisation Enterprise Nation, said: “Amidst the doom and gloom and straitened times we find ourselves in, the British enthusiasm for entrepreneurship continues to grow.

“We know that these figures are not a perfect reflection of the UK’s start-up community, but they do tally with our own research and new membership data so far this year.

“For example, we’ve already seen a dramatic increase in new members – up 78 per cent on this time last year. 

“Despite being constantly bombarded with an unrelentingly bleak economic outlook and the news that many businesses are struggling with energy bills, skills and labour shortages and an increasing tax burden – people still have not been deterred from starting a business. In fact, the opposite is true.”

A survey Enterprise Nation commissioned earlier this year showed around a third of UK adults were considering starting a business in 2023.

Ten years ago, in 2013, the UK hit the milestone of 500,000 registrations for the first time, and by the end of this year it is expected to hit 800,000, an increase of 60 per cent.

There are currently 5.5 m businesses in the UK. Around 96 per cent of these are start-ups, early-stage micro firms and sole traders.

Emma added: “Start-ups really are the bright spot in the business world right now. Without an adequate supply of fresh innovation and talent, we will never be able to build the future we want to see.

“These businesses are starting out with sustainable principles at their core. They are naturally energy-saving, they are purpose-driven and they are tech-enabled. Evidence points to the fact that firms that start-up in a downturn have resilience built in.

“But they need access to support. Most people starting-up are brilliant at what they do – but they might not be great at actually running a business.” 

Enterprise Nation runs free business support programmes in collaboration with partners including StartUp UK – a free support and e-learning initiative we run with Monzo or business.connected – free digital support in collaboration with Vodafone, Sage and Builder.ai.

To become a free member of Enterprise Nation, use this link https://www.enterprisenation.com/sign-up/ 

How Legal Funding Can Help You Get the Settlement You Deserve for Your Business

If you’re waiting on a personal injury lawsuit settlement, you know the wait can be excruciating. With growing medical bills, lost income, and other financial pressures, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to maintain your usual way of life while waiting for a resolution. But did you know that legal funding may provide an effective solution? Read on to learn more about how our legal funding services could give you a better chance at getting compensated for your claim!

1. Legal funding is a way to get the money you need to pay for legal expenses, without having to wait for a settlement or verdict.

Legal funding can be a great solution if you’re needing money to pay for legal expenses. Instead of waiting around for a settlement or verdict that may never come, applying for legal funding could give you the financial peace of mind you need right away. All it takes is a basic application and, in many cases, funds are available fast so you don’t have to put your life on hold while waiting for litigation to play out. If you’re avoiding a court case because of the cost, consider checking into legal funding as an option – and enjoy the security of knowing that you won’t be burdened with massive legal bills at the end.

2. Funding companies are experts in evaluating cases and determining whether or not legal funding is a viable option.

Many legal funding services offer legal funding to qualified applicants – ranging from personal injury lawsuits to complex class-action cases. These companies have a team of legal advisors and financial experts that assess each case individually and provide tailored legal funding solutions. With this expertise, they are able to determine if legal funding is a viable option or not. From business owners looking to build a new venture to families in need of additional resources during long legal disputes, legal funding brings much-needed relief when it comes to unexpected legal fees.

3. There are no restrictions on how the money can be used, so it can be used to cover any costs associated with your case.

Legal Funding is a great way to cover the cost of pursuing legal action. With Legal Funding, you don’t need to worry about how the money should be used – it can help with any costs associated with your case! Legal Funding can help ease the financial burden that comes from litigation, which can be especially useful in cases such as medical malpractice, discrimination, and personal injury cases. Whether you are fighting for an insurance settlement or looking for damages after a car accident, Legal Funding helps make these types of lawsuits easier to navigate.

4. Legal funding is a confidential process, and the terms of the agreement will not be shared with anyone outside of the funding company and your attorney.

Legal funding can be a great resource for those who are dealing with lengthy legal proceedings, as it can provide cash in hand when funds are otherwise short. Unlike other types of loans or financial agreements, legal funding is highly confidential; the terms shall remain between you, your lawyer, and the company that provides the advance payment. That way, any concerns about private data or matters of dispute can be kept secure until an agreement is reached, offering peace of mind to those involved.

The pursuit of a legal settlement is challenging, especially if you are going through it on your own. However, with the right legal funding options to help you in that pursuit, you could potentially get the best out of a bad situation. Legal funding will cover your bills and expenses while providing access to a highly respected lawyer at an affordable rate. You won’t have to risk running out of money during negotiations because legal funding can bridge the financial gap so you can make sure you get exactly what you deserve from your settlement. Additionally, it is non-recourse which means that if for some reason you don’t attain any form of settlement, then you are not obligated to pay back the loan or interest. The peace of mind of knowing that someone else has your back in such situations is invaluable. At the end of the day, having legal funds readily available ensures that when push comes to shove, you can still come out on top with a satisfactory outcome.

CSR Reporting and its Importance for a Company’s Holistic Growth

CSR reporting and its importance for a company’s holistic growth

The world has been moving towards its next stage of civilization with continuous development and inventions. But the research carried on in the recent past has shown that the world has been suffering from acute pollution and the pollution levels are also very high in certain places. To combat this growing pollution, United Nations has issued the principles of sustainable development and have established many treaties through which these environmental issues need to be resolved.

In recent days, most of the eminent business organizations are also getting familiar with the term sustainable development and they are planning in such a way so that they can fulfill these SDGs put forward by the Rio Earth Summit. This is where the CSR report got its emergence and it has become mandatory for many companies nowadays.

Why Produce a CSR Report and How should it be Presented?

A CSR report (corporate social responsibility report), is a recurring report that businesses publish on their corporate social responsibility efforts and outcomes. Hence, it is a document that compiles and disseminates all the data on the steps taken by businesses to support sustainable development principles.

CSR reporting is specially made for the stakeholders that include partners, investors, shareholders, customers, and so on. The sole aim of CSR reporting is to mobilize the planning of the company to achieve sustainable development and made it transparent to the aforementioned stakeholders. This will provide the company to establish the status of an environmentally conscious organization and will increase its reputation as a whole all over the world. As a consequence, they might get even better visibility as well as gain more profit in due course.

From recent research, it has become evident that the climate is changing abruptly and global warming has become a major issue that our world needs to deal with immediately. Keeping this in view, companies are publishing CSR reporting through valid legislation and are presenting this in front of the stakeholders. According to some experts, the best way one could establish environmental consciousness through CSR reporting is by taking out of the Carbon Assessment of their company.

Some of the important benefits that CSR reporting supplies to its clients are:

Transparency: CSR reporting has proved to impart its efforts made for sustainable development and making the company’s employees well aware of these efforts. Through this, a company can incorporate a sense of transparency among its stakeholders and this as a result will increase the trust between them. In due course, a company can expect a strong bond between them and its stakeholders. Valuable Asset: It is up to the company to make the results of CSR reporting outstanding and commendable. And if the company becomes successful in doing so, CSR reporting might prove to be the best public relations and marketing asset.Greenwashing prevention: Greenwashing which is especially regarded as an advertisement for a company’s products and services to be environmentally friendly can be prevented successfully through CSR reporting. As a consequence, the company will not have to bear additional expenses needed for greenwashing. Since the reports of CSR are made available to the public they will get a clear idea about the company’s efforts and intentions toward sustainable development.Generating innovative ideas: If a company needs to develop its CSR report, at first it needs to do something effective to fulfill the SDGs. So while planning these ideas, the company will give rise to energy efficiency programs that will help them to save enough expenses. Thus it will progress and development will be made in the R&D sectors. As a whole, it can be said that it will not only improve its viability and goals towards maintaining sustainable development but it will also provide employment to many eligible research scholars and so on.Benchmarking the progress: Some eminent companies all around the world have been developing their CSR report almost yearly. As a result, they have become successful in benchmarking their progress and they have a record of how they have grown all these years. This provides a better insight into the efforts made by these companies and how they have tackled issues that have come their way.Overall, it can be concluded that CSR reporting has proved to be beneficial for companies to increase their sales and popularity in the global market. However, certain steps need to be followed by the companies to present the results of CSR reports to the stakeholders.

How to Protect Your Personal Information Online

The internet is now an essential component of our day-to-day lives, playing a significant role in both our personal everyday activities ranging from social media and online shopping to banking and how companies of all sizes conduct most of their day-to-day digital business-related operations.

However, even though it has made many things more convenient for us, it has also made us vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats that put our private information and company data at risk.

Fortunately, while using the internet, your privacy and the privacy of your clients can be easily protected in several different ways if you take the necessary precautions and practices in mind.

In this piece, we will review some of the most influential and easy-to-implement strategies for protecting personal information while using the internet.

Utilizing A Professional VPN

Utilizing a virtual private network, also known as a VPN, is one of the most efficient ways to safeguard your sensitive personal and company data while you are online. A virtual private network or VPN connects your device to the internet through a secure and encrypted tunnel. This makes it significantly more difficult for cybercriminals to monitor your online activity and steal your personal information.

In addition to top-tier security features, the best VPN provides blazing-fast connection speeds. This enables users to stream and download content without experiencing any buffering or lag in either process. Anyone concerned about the safety of personal information while accessing the internet from their home, office, and especially while using a public Wi-Fi network, needs to have a fast VPN service to enjoy a 100% safe digital experience.

Employing The Use Of A Password Manager

A password manager is an additional important tool for safeguarding the personal information that are stored online. Software applications known as “password managers” are designed to encrypt and safely store a user’s passwords in a single location. This means that to access any of your online accounts, whether private or professional, you only need to keep track of a single master password.

Any individual or company interested in streamlining their approach to online safety should strongly consider getting the Bitdefender password manager. With the assistance of such a password manager, you can generate secure, one-of-a-kind passwords for each of your online accounts and then store those passwords in a safe, encrypted vault. You can also choose to have your login credentials automatically filled in, saving you time and effort.

A password strength report is also available through these “password keepers.” This report assists you in determining which of your passwords are vulnerable and offers suggestions for strengthening your online safety. You can feel secure in the knowledge that your online information is guarded by robust and one-of-a-kind passwords when you use a professional password manager.

Staying Safe From Phishing Scams

Con artists who commit crimes online frequently resort to phishing to steal sensitive information about their victims. Phishing scams typically involve a fake website or email that gives the impression of being genuine but attempts to trick you into divulging your personal information so the scammers can profit from it.

When it comes to communicating online, exercising extreme caution is necessary if one wishes to avoid falling prey to phishing scams. Never click on links or download attachments from unsolicited emails, and always verify the URL of any website before entering your personal information on it. Likewise, never click on links or download attachments from unsolicited emails. This is particularly important for companies because the harm that might go along with just a single wrong click can be irreparable and carry a significant financial burden to the organization.

To avoid this, you can utilize specialized phishing security software, which includes advanced anti-phishing technology that can detect and block phishing attempts before they can do any damage. It is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself or your company’s devices from phishing scams. These tools include technology that can detect and block phishing attempts before they can do any damage, thus keeping your data safe and secure from the hands of cybercriminals.

Protecting Your Electronic Equipment

Securing your personal or company devices is an additional critical component of protecting your personal information in an online environment. This entails checking to see that your computer’s operating system, software programs, and antivirus software are all running the most recent updates and patches for their respective vulnerabilities.

You can protect your electronic equipment altogether the easiest if you opt for an all-in-one solution to protect your devices from online dangers. When you go for such a solution, you will receive advanced anti-phishing technology, comprehensive antivirus protection, and a host of other security features that can assist you in maintaining the safety and confidentiality of your data.

In addition, these security solutions provide users with a selection of optimization tools that can enhance the overall performance of their various electronic devices, in addition to their superior security features. These optimization tools can help users get the most out of their electronic devices. Because of this, you can use computing that is not only speedy but also efficient, and you can do so while still maintaining the highest possible level of online safety.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, protecting personal information while using the internet is extremely important in today’s digital technology. You can significantly lessen the likelihood of your sensitive data falling into the wrong hands by protecting it with a high-speed virtual private network (VPN) and a password manager. In addition, by practicing good online habits, such as avoiding suspicious websites and emails and keeping your software up to date. Keeping your software up to date is particularly important. If you follow these guidelines, you can use the internet without worrying about your safety or security while reaping its benefits.

How Does the Internet Influence the Way We Make Money? Trends in 2023

There’s no doubt the internet has played an instrumental role in completely evolving the ways modern businesses and individuals make money.

Online marketing has become the norm, and the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce and virtual meetings via platforms like Zoom.

The Internet Has Eliminated Barriers to Entry, Globalizing Access to Niche Markets

Today, thanks to the digital revolution, no small or big businesses (no matter how popular or powerful) can fathom operating without a website or app. Providing modern consumers with optimized online shopping experiences has become a necessity rather than a preference.

Moreover, the streamlined accessibility to global consumer markets and the ability to identify and quickly market your products and services to your target audience have become easier.

You see, cutting-edge online tools, social media platforms, and access to big data analytics have allowed startups and small businesses to go toe-to-toe with large enterprises.

Small businesses no longer require a big marketing budget to thrive in their respective niches. This was almost impossible 20 years ago when only larger and well-established brands with massive financial capabilities dominated a bigger market share.

Plus, billions of people in the world have access to the internet. And with 67+ English-speaking nations on the World Wide Web, even startup businesses have access to an enormous global audience.

So yes. The internet has leveled the playing field for everyone to earn money.

How You Can Benefit from a Level-Playing Field

As an individual wanting to make money online or an entrepreneur planning to launch an e-commerce business, here are some critical factors to understand:

With global access to your target audience, you don’t need a storefront to operate your business.There’s no need to store physical products or invest in a transportation system.There’s no need to hire employees, store managers, or any other staff. You can manage everything online.No need to acquire working capital anymore. Get paid as soon as your customers order a product online.

Top 2023 Online Money-Making Trends You Should Consider

Make Money Completing Surveys Online

Sounds quite unreal, right? Well, it’s true. You can easily generate a passive income stream by doing small tasks like participating in different online surveys whenever you have the time.

A lot of small and big businesses and brands pay individuals to complete surveys. These surveys are mainly for consumer research and analysis and can help brands make the best decisions for where to launch their products, who to target, how to market their products, etc.

Some of the most popular online survey platforms include Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and QuickRewards. You can earn up to $3 per survey.

Become a Game Tester

According to research, it is estimated that the video games industry will surpass the $360 billion mark in 2023. There’s no question the video games segment dominates a bigger market share in the overall digital media industry.

As a result, there are now plenty of lucrative opportunities for individuals to generate a good side income as game testers.

As a game tester, you will identify a game’s features, gameplay, glitches, etc. You will help companies improve or enrich the overall gaming experience before that game’s public release. Game testers that have 1-2 years of experience can earn up to $47,000 per year.

Share Your Internet and Make Money

Data-sharing apps have become a pretty popular way of earning a decent side income. And the best part is, you don’t have to do anything.

Apps like Honeygain, a crowdsourced proxy network, use a specific percentage of your daily internet data. The company offers this data to Fortune 500 companies that use it to implement their daily marketing campaigns.

What’s more, you can use Honeygain on a variety of devices such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. It’s mainly recommended for individuals who have unlimited data packages.

With Honeygain you can earn monthly credits for sharing a certain percentage of your bandwidth. And depending on how much you share consistently, you will be able to create a good passive income stream.

Bottom Line

So there you have it. A look into how the modern digital era has enabled both businesses and individuals to transform their ideas into profit using the best social media platforms and technologies.

Why SMEs Won’t Ditch Green Intentions Despite Ongoing Financial Uncertainty

By Kai Hunter, Executive Director at Conister Finance & Leasing Ltd

Small and medium sized businesses (‘SMEs’) face an unclear future. Hit with high interest rates, supply chain issues, increases in wages and a worsening cost-of-living crisis while at the same time demand for working capital has reached unprecedented levels. Conister’s research recently revealed that over a fifth of UK SMEs that required external finance over the last two years, were unable to access it. What’s more, over a quarter have had to stop or pause an area of their business because of a lack of finance.

You might assume therefore, that SMEs would ditch their Green intentions – assumed to be too expensive and a ‘nice to have’. Indeed, a third of businesses surveyed in a recent study by Barclays cited financial constraints as the reason behind their failure to go Green. 16% were concerned around the return on investment with Green technologies and 19% of businesses said they only invested in greener processes because of regulatory demands. Seemingly at this time SMEs would move into survival mode and source the already depleted levels of capital from wherever they could get it, regardless of ESG or Green criteria?

In fact, no, SMEs remain more committed than ever. SMEs are driving forward Net Zero targets, with two thirds saying they have a plan in place to reach Net Zero by 2050, according to Lloyds Bank’s Net Zero Monitor. Moreover, 7% of SMEs have already reached Net Zero emissions. Consumers have followed suit – Deloitte’s 2021 sustainability and consumer report found that 32% of consumers were highly engaged with adopting a more sustainable lifestyle last year and want brands to lead the charge. 64% of consumers want brands to reduce packaging, 50% want more information on how to recycle and 46% said they desire clarity on sourcing of products. Barclays’ research also revealed 75% of businesses situated across all sectors, have seen vast commercial benefits following the adoption and inclusion of Green technologies in their operations.

So, what is driving this determination for SMEs to be Green? One reason is cost. It’s not because SMEs have to be Green but if they don’t, they’ll be paying much higher rates on financing. Lenders, both mainstream and alternative across the board, have adapted their models to offer the best rates for those firms that are ESG compliant and Green. It’s a necessity not a requirement. For example, Conister’s current rates for financing are around 50bps less for SMEs that adopt a Green approach.

The opportunity to be Greener as an SME is great. In the UK, SMEs already represent more than 90% of clean tech enterprises and is therefore a significant driver of Green growth. SMEs in the UK have already seen a drop in their running costs as a result of making more environmentally-focused investments. This is becoming an increasingly attainable option as Green technologies such as solar PV systems are becoming more accessible, with initial implementation costs being offset in the long term.

SMEs are however continuing to struggle with accessing finance and, worryingly, this lack of availability is costing them and the UK economy in terms of growth at a time when it is needed the most. Yet apart from demonstrating a necessary commercial responsibility towards the environment, adopting more conscientious Green measures make it more attractive to consumers and potentially help grow the business and provide a strong foundation for the future. Gone are the days where being Green came at a price, SMEs are realising that to generate the necessary capital to grow and agree the best rates with lenders in an uncertain economic environment, it pays to be Green.

How to Track the Value of Advertising Spend

Digital advertising is not only hugely complex but fast changing, especially for B2B marketers. Is Google Search still a good option despite soaring call-per-click costs? Does the explosion in bot traffic (estimated at 95% of clicks) make it near impossible to get your ads to the right user base on the Google display network? Is LinkedIn’s enhanced job title targeting worth the extra cost?  

Such conversations, while important, are a dangerous distraction. Generating clicks is just the start. What a business needs to know is what happens next. How many people click through – at great cost, only to bounce straight off? Are the leads generated hitting the target personas – or wasting the sales team’s time? Is the LinkedIn campaign generating more business than Google – and how does the Return on Investment (ROI) compare? John Cheney, CEO, Workbooks, explains why an understanding of the complete journey from ad to sale is key to determining campaign value. 

Lack of visibility  

With costs soaring and budgets tightening, it has become ever more critical to truly understand and measure the success of digital advertising activity. Most B2B SMEs rely on agencies to run their Google, Facebook or LinkedIn advertising campaigns, ensure the business ranks correctly, and that the correct audience is targeted and investment maximised.  

But there is a gap between an agency’s measure of success and true business value. While the agency is focused on the number of clicks or links that go through on your advert, simply driving traffic to your website is valueless if it is not the right traffic. How many people land and immediately bounce? How many complete forms and provide a lead? How valuable is the lead – or is it simply requiring salespeople to spend time and effort qualifying the business out, wasting time they could be spending on other, more productive leads? 

The problem is that most companies are not tracking the true value of digital advertising. They take the performance figures from the ad agency and they look at their sales activity but there is no end-to-end visibility, no way to determine the ad activity that generated the best revenue. 

Joined up journey 

This is a major concern, especially for B2B organisations typically operating on a six-to-12-month sales cycle. How long will it take – and how much money will be wasted – before the business spots a problem? How many disgruntled sales people will have been lost to the competition as a result of being fed bad leads? Tracking clicks and page views is meaningless without the ability to track the entire journey from click through to the website to the conversion and a sale – and that is where a CRM tool can be incredibly powerful. 

Step 1: Define the journey 

It is really valuable to set clear outcomes that encompass the entire journey. What are the target metrics – is the goal pay per views, lead conversions or sales? Create well-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the beginning of the project and then work out how they can be delivered. For example, if the ultimate goal is to close 10 new customers, how many leads are required? How many forms will be needed? How many page views?  

Understanding the complete journey will help to refine the advertising focus and provide very strong metrics to track performance. While a complete digital advertising campaign’s value can only be measured across six to 12 months – or longer, depending on the company’s typical sales cycle – these more detailed journey metrics will provide a clear indication if the overall campaign is on track within three months or so.  

Metrics can also highlight areas of segmentation that are performing better than others – such as whether different prospect groups are responding better to certain keywords or as a result of different digital channels, such as LinkedIn or Facebook. With the ability to track the different advertising campaigns all the way through the journey, a company can quickly understand and respond to B2B customer buying behaviours. 

Step 2: Create a feedback mechanism 

Feedback is critical. Does the demographic of the leads meet the defined target? If not, and if campaigns are providing lots of clicks but in the wrong geography, industry vertical or job role, ensure the marketing agency knows, quickly.  There is no point in generating lots of Financial Director leads, for example, if your business only ever sells to a Marketing Director – or vice versa.  

Feedback isn’t black and white – the information needs to be nuanced to explain why the agency isn’t getting it quite right. Build a strong relationship with the agency to create trust, and don’t just use marketing as a conduit for sales team feedback: include regular engagement with the sales people to work out why the leads are not the right shape. 


When digital advertising goes wrong, the cost is significant. The downside of PPC advertising is that every single click is a business cost – so attracting the wrong demographic to click can be financially devastating. Outsourcing to a dedicated agency should avoid the most obvious mistakes but it is only by focusing on the second part of the journey – what happens to the leads once in the business – that a company can really control the process and rapidly enhance the ROI of every ad campaign. 

How to Price Your Transcription Services

If you’re a transcriptionist, you know that pricing your services can be a tricky business. On the one hand, you want to ensure you’re getting paid fairly for your work. But on the other hand, you don’t want to price yourself out of potential clients. So how do you strike the right balance? In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to price your transcription services. Stay tuned for more!

Know Your Audience And Their Transcription Needs

Knowing your audience is essential to transcribe audio content accurately and effectively. It’s important to ask yourself who you’re transcribing for and precisely what they need from you. Every situation—whether it be a media briefing, corporate webinar, or support call—is inherently different. 

University students often have to take notes, but note-taking requires time and effort. Your transcription service can help them save time by transcribing lessons for them. As your services will be quick, easy, and accurate. 

You will get benefit from offering a university transcription service to students as well. Transcribing lectures can allow them to study more efficiently and effectively. It helps improve their memory capability and receptivity to details from class sessions.

It helps students focus on studying rather than worrying about how they will remember everything they want to cover later on in the day. Transcriptions help you concentrate on reading so that you can attend all essential parts of the lecture.

You must accurately determine the context of the audio in order to provide results that reflect the speaker’s words and respective intent. Once you know your audience and their needs, you can ensure that the transcription fulfills all necessary requirements.

Check Competition Pricing for Similar Services

Do your research before deciding on a transcription service provider. Check out the competition and learn what they’re charging for similar services. This will give you a better understanding of the average going rate so that you can make an educated decision in selecting a service that works best for your needs and budget. 

Be sure to research their rates not just at the onset, but regularly to ensure you are up to date with any changes or adjustments in market prices.

Assess Transcription Costs, Equipment, and Software

When deciding to offer transcription services, it’s important to consider the costs associated with providing them. This includes expenses such as buying the necessary equipment and software, maintaining it, purchasing related materials such as paper, ink, and toner, and any required subscription fees. 

Determine Pricing for Transcription, Including Discounts and Offers

Exploring the price point for your services is a great way to set yourself up for success. It’s important to consider both the cost of labor and any discrete expenses associated with the job, in order to ensure that you’re creating a product or experience that is worth what you are asking for it. Providing discounts or special offers can be an excellent way to attract new clients, while also showing them how much you value their business. 

Consider factors such as your region (rates in cities vary significantly) and past clients’ feedback when setting your price. 

Ultimately, with an understanding of what you can offer and research on current market rates, you should have everything needed to come up with the right compensation plan.

Market Transcription Service via the Website, Social Media, or Flyers

Promoting your transcription service just got a whole lot easier. Creating a website to show off what you can do is the best way to reach potential customers, as well as post on social media and send out flyers. Having an online presence allows potential customers access to all the information they need regarding prices, services, and testimonials from previous clients. Social media is another great way to spread the word about what you have to offer, allowing you to reach out to potential customers even further than your website can. 

Lastly, sending out flyers around your local area is a really simple but effective way of advertising and making yourself known. Best of all, it does not require much time or effort!

Now that you know the basics of starting a transcription service, it’s time to get started. Do some research on your competition, understand your audience and their needs, consider your costs, set your price, and promote your services. Once you have all of that in place, you’ll be well on your way to success as a transcriptionist.

Cross-Border Payments on Blockchain in 2023

Banking regulation makes it challenging for residents of many countries, including the UK to make cross-border transactions and send cash abroad. For instance, if you intend to transfer more than 10,000 euros out of the EU, you must submit a tax return and declare the money’s origin at customs. In some circumstances, even if the sum is less than 10,000 euros, customs may need papers.

The same is true for bank transfers. The difficulty is what to do if you need to send money as quickly as possible, since the bigger the amount, the more likely you will have to pass a financial investigation, which could take some time. There may be obstacles that you may face. Once you enter another country, it is much simpler and quicker to convert funds into cryptocurrency and proceed with blockchain transfer or leave them in your wallet.

Is it legally allowed to transfer cryptocurrency abroad?

Cryptocurrency transfers are not outlawed in practically all developed countries. Some blockchain transactions, nevertheless, may be subject to the oversight of financial regulators. Nonetheless, it is critical to consider the legal context in each case. If purchasing and selling cryptocurrencies, as well as sending crypto assets overseas, are not illegal in your country, keep reading this article: it contains answers to frequently asked issues about cryptocurrency transactions abroad.

How to transfer crypto assets

First, what you will need is a verified account on a centralized exchange, for example, Binance, Kraken, Huobi, or Bybit.

You can top up the site’s account with a bank plastic card, but in some cases, you will have to use several cards. When sending one-time payments in the amount of more than a certain limit, which is set individually in each country, there will certainly be questions in the bank’s security service. In offline exchange offices, you can convert the entire amount at a time into cash. After choosing the site and the method of replenishment of the account, you need to:

Install and configure any crypto wallet on your smartphone. Popular crypto wallets that support Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), as well as Tether (USDT) are Atomic Wallet, and Trust Wallet.Copy the wallet address of the selected coin. To do this, go to the Wallet menu, select the asset, and click the Receive button.Top up your account. When working through an exchanger, transfer money from a card or transfer it in cash. Specify the transfer account.The received coins can be cashed in cryptomats in any country or transferred to a card opened in a foreign bank. To do this, use exchangers or P2P platforms that support transfers in dollars and euros. The general algorithm is as follows:

Open the site of the platform, and select the currency and the direction of the transaction.Specify the recipient’s card number.Transfer coins according to the details indicated on the screen.The order execution time is 5-15 minutes, the commission does not exceed 0.5-2%. Under the circumstances, this is the most convenient and cheapest way to send assets abroad.

Risks when transferring in cryptocurrency

The total expenses of users can be up to 10% if you need to transfer money denominated in a foreign currency. We will have to carry out a double conversion – first dollars into rubles, then into stablecoins, and back to USD or EUR. Exchange offices in the Russian Federation do not work with foreign currencies in cash.

But there are other risks associated with the long-term storage of funds in stablecoins:

The opacity of the provision. The fact is that issuing crypto companies are not regulated and therefore are not required to conduct an audit. Stablecoins in circulation must be backed by dollars (in cash, bonds, or other securities). But unlike traditional financial organizations, crypto companies do not publish transparent reports. According to the calculations of the Financial Times, USDT is provided with cash dollars by only 3%. Another 50% are in debt receipts. That is, in the event of a mass sale, half of the coin holders will lose money.Centralization. The USDT and USDC stablecoins have a regulatory body. There are cases of targeted blocking of coins by Tether at the request of the SEC. The company puts the address on the blacklist, and it is no longer possible to transfer coins from it. There is a possibility that such measures may be applied to all Russian users.

Which seller to choose?

You need to see detailed information about the seller. What to pay attention to?

Availability of the certificate. Try to choose from certified sellers who are marked with a yellow tick to reduce risks.Currency exchange rate. The lower the better.The number and percentage of orders executed. The higher both indicators, the better. If the percentage of successful orders is less than 80, you should not take it, even if there is a Binance check mark.The available amount of funds. It should be within the required limits. If you want to buy 3000 dollars, and only 2000 USDT is available, then choose another seller.


If you frequently transfer funds abroad, you can acquire cryptocurrencies in a single transaction and withdraw them to your wallet to send to someone else.

Nevertheless, due to the volatility of crypto assets, their exchange rates can fluctuate dramatically over time, so you should consider the risks of transfers, as well as the number of commissions.

Marketing in 2023: Over Two-Thirds of Businesses Set to Increase Budgets

More than two-thirds of businesses will increase their marketing budget this year, with half of those expecting search engine optimisation (SEO) to be their main revenue driver in 2023, according to a new report.

Following a survey of 1,000 UK-based marketers, Impression has created a report delving into the thoughts and plans of marketing departments this year – and overall it’s looking very positive.

More than three-quarters (77%) of professionals whose marketing budgets are expected to increase say their firm will also be looking to expand their internal marketing team in the next 12 months.

Despite this investment in internal marketing resource, statistics show that many will strengthen the capabilities of their teams by leaning on external support, either through a freelancer or agency. Those planning to outsource some of their work anticipate getting help with at least one of the following areas:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Organic social media
  • Public relations (including digital PR)
  • Influencer marketing

Investments are also expected to be made in the same five areas, in the same order as outlined above.

Mikey Emery, commercial director at Impression, a full service digital marketing agency with offices in Nottingham and London, comments: “Despite the continued period of economic uncertainty, it’s refreshing to see that businesses are being cautiously optimistic and targeting growth in 2023.

“The pandemic saw many choose to invest heavily in their digital maturity and as a result, we witnessed growth like never seen before from those that could trade online.

“Whilst markets may be more challenging, a broad improvement to how businesses can attract and connect with customers means there is still an opportunity for businesses to experience growth”.

Marketing professionals say 2023 will not be without its hurdles, however. Out of the 1,000 respondents, the majority cite the rising cost of living as the biggest business challenge, followed by increased operational costs, supply chain and stock issues, and recruitment. 

When it comes to marketing challenges, specifically, 43% agree that knowing the correct budget split per channel is the biggest dilemma they face when it comes to choosing their channels. Successfully integrating resource (teams and/or agency partners) and successfully integrating channels make up the rest of the top three challenges.

Top tips on deciding the right budget split per channel

Isabella Smith, digital strategy consultant at Impression has some advice for businesses on how to distribute budgets.

1. Ensure you are clear about what success looks like

Understanding what your business is trying to achieve is the first step in making the right decisions about budgeting. Having a clear measurement framework detailing long-term business objectives and short-term KPIs means you will know what success looks like at the end of your campaign. 

2. Budget recommendations are hypotheses

Often marketeers can become overwhelmed when working out how much to invest into each channel in order to achieve their goals. The best approach is to gather as much data based evidence as possible in order to come to an insight led hypothesis or set of hypotheses. As long as you have a clear measurement framework for evaluating, you will gather learnings which will fuel your budgeting decisions moving forward.

3. Data, data, data

Which are the data points that will help inform these decisions? Historical performance data is the first port of call. Leaning on what has happened in the past will help forecast future channel performance and their ability to hit the necessary KPIs. Alongside this, competitor and market analysis is required to contextualise your forecasts; these might impact future performance and ultimately, the channel’s ability to hit the KPIs. 

4. A need to constantly evolve and adapt

With budget decisions, continuous evaluation is needed in order to give you the information needed to make optimisations. The forecasts you made might not turn out as planned, and that is okay as long as you know why and can make amends to your budget plan in order to make changes, which will increase the chances of your channels hitting the KPIs in the future. Having to change your budget splits isn’t a negative, it’s a useful learning that will feed into your next budgeting process. 

How to Maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) of Your Product Marketing Budget

Marketing is still one of the best ways to attract customers to your brand. It allows you to place your products in front of customers so they can hopefully make a purchase. However, while marketing is a great way to drive sales, it is also expensive. This means you need to ensure your ROI (Return on Investment) is kept as high as possible. Here are some of the ways you can maximize your ROI.

Do Your Research

One of the most important parts of maximizing your ROI is to ensure that you are targeting the right demographic. This helps your advertising to reach the right people in the right places. There are many ways that you can research your target audience, through outdoor advertising, online advertising, and social media. You can also set up polls, market research and online questionnaires to find out what your customers want, and who they are.

Develop a Relationship With Your Customers

Once you know who your target audience is, you can start to create a strategy that will build your community. This strategy can take time, but the outcome is worth it. Post regularly on social media but try not to just post about your products. Talk about other things in your industry and answer questions that people post. This will help you to be seen as a brand people can trust as well as creating good products or services.

With the right strategy and a consistent approach, you can develop a strong customer base which you can build upon.

Make Your Ads Unmissable

You want to make your ads so that they grab as much attention as possible. This will make it more likely that each impression (someone looking at your ad) has the best chance of turning into a sale. With the research you have conducted, and the relationship you have with your customers, you should be able to create an ad that will appeal to them. You can then get the most from your advertising budget.

Turn New Customers into Returning Customers

Although getting new customers is important, you should also be trying to retain those customers so they carry on making purchases. This makes each ad you post worth even more to you, as it can create a customer for life. To achieve this, you must ensure that you are giving your customers the best service possible.

This is particularly important for new customers as they will be scrutinizing your service in the first instance. If you can build these people into long-term customers, then they will also help with marketing by using word of mouth. These recommendations are often better than any advertising at converting into a sale, because people trust other customers’ opinions.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it – four ways that you can maximize the ROI of your product marketing budget. Maximizing your advertising is the best way to ensure your ROI is strong. These are just a few of the ways you can achieve it, but like anything worth having, it will take time and hard work. With these things in mind, you will be able to put the necessary elements in place to better spend your marketing budget.

4 Bad Money Habits to Break in 2023

New Year, new you? It’s an oft-derided phrase, but a new year is as good a time as any for a little self-examination. A good place to start is your approach to finances. 

We all wish we were better with money. Getting control of your finances is a daunting task for anyone. But if you find yourself constantly struggling to keep up with your bills, or are facing a large amount of debt, you might want to consider looking at your money habits. How do you spend it? How do you save it? Can you save at all? What do you have put away for a rainy day? 

All of these questions are worth exploring as the new year begins. This is why we have compiled a list of bad money habits that are worth avoiding, or breaking, as we move into 2023.

Not Having an Emergency Fund

No-one likes to think about unexpected expenses when considering their finances and making a budget. But, unfortunately, they are a fact of life. Unexpected expenses happen to everyone, whether they come in the form of medical expenses, auto repair bills, or a change in employment status.

Being prepared for a sudden financial hit is essential when it comes to personal finance planning. They will happen, so ensure you are not caught off guard by setting up an emergency fund. Doing so will mean that you are less reliant on credit cards or loans when the moment comes.

Late Payments

There will be times when paying a bill late might be unavoidable. Things happen to the best of us. But consistently paying bills late is a bad habit to get into. When you pay bills late, you damage your credit score and could accrue more debt in the form of interest charges and late fees. 

Break this habit by ensuring that you pay your bills on time every month. A good way of making sure that you do this is by enrolling in auto-pay systems so the money comes straight from your account. This means you won’t forget about a certain bill and end up with an unexpected charge.

Irresponsible Use of Credit

Credit can be an incredibly useful tool. You may need to rely on debt when it comes to long-term expenses like education or mortgage payments. This is a totally acceptable use of credit. 

Too often, however, people rely on credit to cover the basics such as food or rent. Or, worse, they use it for extravagant, impulsive purchases. If you are in this category, consider changing your approach to credit. Learn what to use it for, and what should come from your primary source of income. If you don’t, you could end up in a snowball of interest payments that will leave you financially stranded. 

Spending More than You Earn

This is the number one, worst habit when it comes to personal finances. It can have a trickle-down effect into all areas of your finances and leave you in a precarious situation.

If you do spend more than you earn, you end up covering the rest through credit. This of course comes with interest and begins a dangerous cycle of debt.

If you are spending beyond the means, take a look at your spending habits. Do you often throw money away on frivolous purchases? Are you focusing on essential purchases or are you letting them fall by the wayside in favor of luxuries? 

A good way of rectifying this situation is through understanding exactly how much you are spending each month by making a detailed monthly budget. This will allow you to examine your spending habits and look for areas in which you can save for the things that you actually need.  Do you even use that streaming subscription you’re spending £20.00 per month for? Why are you spending so much on takeout coffee when you have a coffee machine at home?

How Opening a New Credit Card in 2023 can Increase your Credit Score

There are many reasons that you might want to seek out a new credit card. Maybe you want to earn rewards or receive a welcome bonus. But increasingly, people are seeking out a new credit card in order to improve their credit score

A new credit card can help your credit score in several ways, yet there are several perils that you need to be aware of when applying for a new card. If you don’t avoid them, you could end up setting your credit score back.

For example, if you inquire about too many credit card accounts within a 12-month period, you could end up damaging your credit score. So be careful about the amount of offers that you look into.

Similarly, if you open too many new accounts at once, you could see a negative impact on your credit score. Conversely, if you close old accounts, your credit utilization rate will increase and thus your credit score will drop.

Most importantly, though, a new credit card comes with the potential for late payments. Any late payment can seriously damage your credit score and stay on your credit report for several years.

All that being said, when used responsibly, a new credit card can really help your overall credit score. Below is a list of reasons why. 

Payment History

One way in which a new credit card can help your credit score is because it allows you to build a good credit history. Since payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score and 41% of your VantageScore credit score, you can establish a strong payment history by opening a new credit card and always paying on time. 

Furthermore, if you have a “thin” credit file, that is fewer than 5 credit accounts, you may run into issues when trying to qualify for a mortgage, open a cell phone account, or lease an apartment. Opening a new credit card will help with this.

Diversifying your Credit Mix

Installment and revolving credit accounts are the two main categories of credit accounts. Installment credit includes things like student loans, auto loans, and mortgages. Revolving credit includes credit cards and lines of credit.

One of the factors that credit scoring models such as FICO and VantageScore pay attention to is the mix of account types that you are experienced in managing. This is known as your credit mix (which is worth 10% of your FICO score and 20% of your VantageScore.) So another way in which a new credit card can help your credit score is that it could potentially add account diversity to your credit report, thus increasing your credit mix.

However, it is worth noting that adding a credit card to your report will only help your credit score if you have never had a credit card before. If you have other revolving credit cards on your report, you probably won’t receive a bump in your credit score. 

Credit Utilization Rate

Another way in which a new credit card can help with credit score is by lowering your credit utilization ratio. Lower credit utilization means a better credit score.

Credit utilization is the percentage of your credit card limits that are currently in use. Since a new credit card comes with a new credit limit, the new account could mean a drop in your credit utilization rate, and thus a better credit score.

Although the best way to keep credit utilization low is by paying off credit card balances, this is often difficult to do. Therefore, a way of lowering your credit utilization score, at least in the short term, is by opening a new card.

financecredit score concept on the screen of smart phone, checking payment history in bank

7 Reasons To Consider Remote Work for Small Businesses

In recent years, remote working has made the leap from a necessity due to global developments to a benefit that job seekers actively search for. Today, many employees enjoy working remotely, leading more businesses to change their work model for the sake of both the workforce and the company itself. 

While bigger companies are exploring the benefits of a distributed team, there are plenty of compelling reasons that might send a smaller business down the remote route. But what exactly is remote work, and how can it benefit your business?

A Definition of Remote Work

What came into being when businesses were compelled to incorporate remote working was a set-up that most employees have decided they quite like. 

Coupled with this was a growing understanding that a business didn’t always need to have its employees in the office. For example, a warehouse with an online inventory management system doesn’t require continuous onsite supervision. 

Since remote work has taken off, employees often cite benefits such as a better work-life balance (we’ll look into these in more detail below). That said, it’s important to understand what set-up works best for your business and your employees.

Keep in mind that remote working doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire workforce bashes away on a laptop in a spare bedroom for the rest of their career. An increasing number of businesses are working on a hybrid model, with one day per week spent in the office. 

An increasing number of businesses are working on a hybrid model, with one day per week spent in the office. Furthermore, coworking space software can be a valuable tool for remote workers who want to work in a shared office environment but still maintain the flexibility of working from home.

A fully remote structure doesn’t mean a lack of collaboration, either. That said, it’s essential to invest in a few key tools such as web conference facilities that will allow your remote employees to stay connected, collaborate on projects, and feel like part of a team. With that in mind, here are seven reasons your business should consider remote work.

Why Should a Small Business Incorporate Remote Work?

1. Lower costs

Cost is always a key consideration for any business, but it’s especially crucial for a smaller outfit. When cash cushions are proportionately lower, a small business has to mind every cent. 

Office rental doesn’t come cheap, especially in the more expensive parts of the world. So, compared to the skyrocketing annual fees you may face, the amount you need to spend to get a small remote team up and running is relatively minuscule. 

Should you decide to maintain an office to facilitate hybrid working, you can shrink the size of the space considerably, as only some people need to be in at the same time. 

Other cost savings include ergonomic equipment, copiers, coffee machines, microwaves, washroom accouterments, and so on. 

2. Better reach

By offering a remote set-up, you create a geographically diverse workforce, giving your business better reach. Being in multiple locations offers you more opportunities in expanding your operations. 

What’s more, it can be significant when it comes to spanning time zones so that you have a bigger business window in which customers can get in touch with your organization. In this way, a smaller business can punch way above its weight. 

3. More eco-friendly 

Today, many businesses strive to demonstrate to customers their eagerness to embrace the new necessities of eco-thinking. One of the most emphatic means of signaling your green credentials is showing how your business is taking vehicles off the road. 

A remote workforce means no daily office grind, no commute. Smaller businesses can deploy this approach in minimal time, taking their entire workforce off the road in short order. 

4. Wider talent pool

Quite often, a smaller business will require staff to fill multiple roles. This is because there are fewer staff on the payroll, but a similar amount of duties still need to be completed. For instance, email marketing for small businesses might be performed by the same person who’s responsible for IT or even by the owner themself.  

When it comes to filling these tricky roles, it helps if there’s a good pool from which to draw the requisite talent. As we’ve seen, remote roles are popular, so a remote vacancy will attract a greater range of applicants. By casting your net wider, you are more likely to find a stronger candidate for the role and also have the opportunity to increase diversity in the workplace

Effective talent management is crucial to the success of a remote work set-up, as it ensures that the right employees are in the right roles and are able to perform to the best of their ability.

5. Fewer absences

When you have a small payroll, each staff absence is felt more acutely. The good news about remote working is that absenteeism tends to be lower. This is most likely down to it being more convenient for an unwell person to pop into the next room and log on than it is for them to fight their way through the morning commute. 

Another hugely important factor here is that if employees aren’t coming into a central office, there’s much less chance of a runaway infection laying waste to your staff. 

6. More family-friendly

With employees often citing the need for a better work-life balance, remote working allows people to be more focused on their families, while still being dedicated to their work. This is because huge amounts of the day aren’t being swallowed up by the trudge to and from work. 

To return to that warehouse example, if there is a strong inventory forecasting formula in place that can be accessed remotely, then employees don’t need to be in situ in order to assess need. 

The extra free time released can be lavished on the family. The business will then benefit from happier employees and higher employee retention. A smaller business will be especially thankful for the consequent reduction in recruitment costs. 

7. More employee ownership

When a business, whatever its size, gives its employees a degree of trust, this can result in huge benefits in terms of morale, motivation, and productivity. There’s nothing more dispiriting than being ordered to complete a task over which you have no control or discretion. 

On the other hand, an employee who is given a little leeway in how they conduct their day – for instance, an early bird that likes to start at 4 am – will work to their best potential. 

However, some employees will always prefer the camaraderie of the office environment, so care should be taken to protect staff health and wellbeing, with frequent check-ins, for instance. 

Security and password managers

Password management and security are essential for ensuring the safety and confidentiality of sensitive information. Secure password management is an important aspect of remote work. To ensure the safety and confidentiality of sensitive business information, it’s essential for employees to practice good password hygiene, such as using unique and strong passwords and regularly changing them. This can be achieved through the use of password managers or other security tools. It would be appropriate to add this sentence to the section discussing the importance of investing in key tools for remote work, such as web conference facilities.

Remote Control

Going remote gives your business the power to get the most out of your staff. A small business can especially benefit from the resulting staff positivity as well as enjoying a reduced cost than the conventional office approach. Your small team will thank you for the consideration you’re showing them and will outperform many larger teams as a result. 

Expert Tips for Setting up a New Trade Business in 2023 

There are over 250,000 self-employed tradespeople in the UK, and as we head into a new year, many will be considering taking the step and setting up their own business. 

With this in mind, IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Rick Smith, Managing Director at Forbes Burton, to share some expert tips on how to make sure your new company has the smoothest start possible. 

1. Know your costs 

Knowing the costs of running the business is the first step on the road to success, and if this stage is missed, then the future of the company is at risk. 

Rick says: “Your first goal should be to have three months of running costs in a separate account to give you security.  

“Next you should evaluate the true cost of starting up your business. Make sure you have an understanding of the expected running costs, including wages, rent, rates, vehicles and what all this will total in cost per week, month and quarter to trade with no work coming in.  

“You also need to know what it is going to cost for things like rent deposits, equipment, tools and supplies for your first few jobs. Remember, at first you may not get paid for quite some time.  

“Finally, always price your work according to your figures. If you have the previous few steps worked out, this should be easy and will ensure smooth sailing for the most part.” 

2. Remember to focus on the whole business 

Many tradespeople will set up their own business because they’re experienced on the job and are confident in their abilities, but the work itself is only one part of running a successful business, and tradespeople also need to learn how to run a company.  

Rick says: “A high percentage of our trade clients grow through a demand for their services. Put simply, if you are good at what you do, you will be in demand.  

“The problems start when they have to learn how to run a business. Providing a quality service and running the business well are equally important and you can’t do one without the other.  

“The business side of it doesn’t always get the attention it requires, which can mean the foundations of the company are weak. A combination of poor systems, processes and financials means cracks will appear and it then becomes a real problem that can spiral.” 

3. Implement a sustainable structure 

Remembering to divide your time between completing work  and running the business is vital to the company’s survival, so you should ensure that you dedicate time to creating a structure that allows both aspects of the company to get the attention they need. 

Rick says: “If you are an established tradesperson, you should know how to quote and fulfil the work before you even set up a business, but time should be taken to research, get a good understanding and implement a structure to your business that is sustainable. 

“The golden rule should be, get the right balance of working in and on your business. Scheduling your time weekly, rather than monthly to work on your business is always a good idea. It may seem like an inconvenience getting in the way of fulfilment of work but is the difference between success and failure in a lot of cases.” 

4. Market your work 

You could be an incredible tradesperson but getting the word out about your company is something that takes time and specific attention, otherwise you’ll find work difficult to come by, regardless of your skill. 

Rick says: “Start by looking at what is working for other people in your position, how are they marketing their business? 

“You should consider things like signage on the site of jobs you’re working on, or at least on your work vehicle. You should also make use of social media, like Facebook, where community groups can be especially good at getting word out about your services. You can also use physical marketing, such as printing leaflets and information booklets to distribute in key areas.” 

You can read more of tips on how to make the most out of social media here

5. Build your reputation 

Finally, developing a good reputation is key to long term success, and will ensure that you have a growing list of reliable clients.  

Rick says: “Word of mouth is always invaluable in spreading the message about your company, and you should always look to provide the highest quality of service to build your reputation.  

“Treat your customers well and be polite, do your job to the best of your ability, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and reviews after a job well done.  

“If you’re just starting out, you can always ask your clients to pass on the word to their friends and family, which may just lead to you securing new work.” 

For expert tips on how to set up a trade business, visit: https://www.ironmongerydirect.co.uk/blog/expert-tips-for-setting-up-a-new-business   

How to Increase Brand Loyalty: Trends in 2023

Loyal customers can be a godsend for a business. They are the ones who make the biggest purchases and are sure to return and generate more business for the company. 

Brands who take a strategic approach to maintaining and increasing brand loyalty are winning in 2023. And as the retail game is getting more fierce amid inflation and economic uncertainty, brands need to adapt to the changing landscape and adopt better strategies to keep their customers loyal. 

We explore the latest trends this year that will help you improve your brand loyalty and make the difference between thriving and surviving.

Real-time data offers personalised experiences 

Personalisation is not a new trend in the industry. Businesses have been mastering the art of personalisation in recent years, but in 2023, they’re taking a new and upgraded approach with real-time data feeding into it. 

The key to personalisation is being relevant with your consumers. In 2023, the game has changed. Alongside making customers feel special and understood by providing them with the goods they want, offering connected experiences is a must. In a recent global survey of 5,000 consumers by Salesforce company Mulesoft, 60% of respondents say that they expect companies to respond straight away with the most recent information when transferring across departments. 

To do that, businesses must leverage real-time data. It offers a pathway to gaining rich and actionable insights that can help them deliver personalised and connected customer experiences. 

“Companies that want to increase customer loyalty must leverage real-time, intelligent, and automated technology solutions that support seamless connected experiences and personalised journeys,” said MuleSoft global field chief technology officer Matt McLarty. 

Data privacy and security 

According to the same survey, 76% of consumers believe that companies that provide data security will bolster their loyalty. 

Forbes Magazine describes data as “the most valuable non-human asset a company possesses”. As both companies and customers are realising the value of data, the efforts to protect it are also growing. In fact, the Battery 2022 Cloud Software Spending Survey shows that 62% of respondents expect their security budget to increase by up to 10% in 2023. 

The legislative force in the digital and data space is accelerating is also accelerating this year, meaning that privacy and security regulations are getting stricter. As such, businesses should establish rigorous privacy and security standards adhering to their governing body. This will provide customers with the control over data they’re seeking, thus increasing their trust and brand loyalty. 

The value of transparency and authenticity 

While elevated language and the habit of sugar-coating information to sell might have been an accepted practice in the past; today, customers are valuing a different approach – transparency and authenticity in brands. 

From visible and accessible customer reviews of all sorts, to multiple ways to contact your support team, to detailed information about your products and supply chain, there are many ways you can show up as a transparent brand. 

The more transparent businesses are about their data, the more trust they can build in their customers, resulting in their willingness to share more data that fuels greater brand insights and improvements.

The face of your company 

Taking a holistic approach to your branding is what will differentiate you from your competitors in 2023 and secure your loyal clients. Consumers are loyal to your brand as a whole, and the way you convey it is critical. 

What contributes to your brand’s personality is its visual appearance, your tone of voice, and your employees – the face of your brand. 

Acing your branding is easy, and there are a number of digital tools to help you pick your colour palette and typeface. Once you’ve established your key customer base, you can easily determine how you want to speak to your customers and position yourself on your social media through the words you use. But what about your employees? 

Businesses often undermine the importance of their employees and their power to elevate a brand’s image and loyalty. If you have a physical store, pay close attention to your employees’ dress code – this is the first thing customers will see.  

For most businesses, black is a standard colour that looks professional and when paired with mid-heel sandals for women or men’s smart shoes, will boost your brand’s image. Research shows that  people were almost twice as likely to approach a formally dressed employee than a casually dressed one. The reason is that they viewed formally dressed employees as having more expertise than those who were informally dressed. 

Nevertheless, that’s not a constant across businesses, as some might prefer to dress their employees in a uniform with their branding and logo, while others might opt for a more vibrant and diverse attire, especially those in the creative industries. Before deciding on your company’s dress code, consider carefully how exactly you want to position your brand. 

Mapping a seamless customer journey 

As 52% of the respondents in the Mulesoft survey are expecting better experiences from their favourite brands, companies need to put a strong emphasis on improving the customer journey. 

From the search intent to the checkout process, consumers are now demanding a seamless experience. What this means for businesses is that they need to discover new touch points and solutions to create a seamless customer journey map, focusing on personalised ads, improved UX design, rich product media, optimised content, and a painless checkout process. 

2023 presents businesses with many opportunities to increase their brand loyalty. By chiming in on the latest trends, they can position their brand as trustworthy, therefore gaining customer recognition and loyalty and increasing their revenue and retention. 

Guidance on Shipping Pallets to Bulgaria from the UK

As an EU member state, Bulgaria has continued to be an important export market for British firms since the UK left the European Union. Even before then, there were some logistical hurdles to overcome when shipping a pallet to Bulgaria cost-effectively. Today, the same challenges remain while a few extra ones are in existence, too. Read on to find out everything a small British exportation firm needs to know about sending palletised goods to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, as well as many of its other commercial centres, such as Varna, Plovdiv, Burgas or Pleven, for example.

Air Freight Versus Road Freight

Because Bulgaria is well over 24 hours by road from northern France even without factoring in stops, many British firms assume that they can only turn to air freight operators when shipping a pallet to Bulgaria. This can be a mistake, however, because there are only regular flight services to Bulgaria’s major urban centres. This means that once ground handling crews have unloaded your palletised goods, you will still often need to arrange onward transportation, sometimes for several hours within the country itself.

Additionally, air freight is often prohibitively expensive for all but the lightest of shipments. Instead, it is better to organise your pallet to Bulgaria with an experienced freight forwarding firm that manages shipments by road throughout Eastern Europe all the time.

Customs Clearance Requirements

Many road shipments to Bulgaria from the UK enter the EU at a French port although, for exporters in northern England and Scotland, Dutch ports of entry may be used, too. Either way, your shipment will need to pass EU customs checks before its onward journey across the continent is allowed.

Make sure you’ve filled out your declarations beforehand or hire an agent who can do this sort of work on your behalf if you are unsure how to proceed. This is a quite common practice, especially among SMEs or companies that are new to international shipping. Remember that Serbia borders Bulgaria. If your pallet to Bulgaria passes through Serbia en route, then further customs checks will be required since Serbia is not yet an EU member state.

Groupage and Express Means of Shipping Pallets to Bulgaria

According to Barrington Freight, an Essex-based logistical firm that sends pallets to Bulgaria on behalf of numerous UK exporters, there are two main options to consider when road freight transit is preferred. For the least expensive option, choose groupage. This will mean a lorry is loaded in the UK with deliveries to Bulgaria and – sometimes – neighbouring countries, such as Romania and northern Greece. The driver will deliver each pallet in turn, thereby keeping down the cost per delivery.

Alternatively, you can pay for an express courier service to Bulgaria. This will typically involve a door-to-door shipment with just one or two pallets using a van. For the fastest delivery lead times, opt for a two-driver service. This way, one driver can take over from the other, allowing each to get their mandatory breaks from working behind the wheel.

How Can IT Management Help UK Businesses Meet Net-Zero Targets?

Bruce Penson, managing director of cyber security and IT support company Pro Drive IT, offers five ways small businesses can lower their carbon emissions by optimising technology.

In 2019, the UK government committed to achieving carbon neutrality, otherwise known as ‘net zero’, by 2050.

This target might seem part of a distant future, but research has proven that we’re already falling far short of what’s required if we have any chance of meeting it. According to the latest update to the UN Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Synthesis Report, a sizable 13.7% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2010 is anticipated by 2030. As limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5 °C requires a 45% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, there’s a lot more work to be done.

If we want to mitigate irreversible climate change, businesses of all shapes and sizes must take credible action against global warming — sooner rather than later. What’s more, with gas and electricity prices rising and winter fast approaching, it certainly can’t hurt to minimise energy usage at home and in offices.

Fortunately, companies can make some simple and immediate technology changes to help the UK move towards a lower carbon economy. 

1. Shut everything down

Do your employees typically leave computers in ‘sleep’ mode overnight? Unless they need to have them running for a software update, ask staff to shut systems down when they’re finished for the day. According to The Carbon Trust, turning computers off at night and on weekends could cut the energy these devices use by 75% a year!

It’s also important to remember not to leave other devices like TVs on standby. Switching off phones, screens, printers and other non-essential devices at the wall will ensure no electricity is needlessly used — and prolong equipment lifecycles. Small businesses can also introduce regular office events like WWF’s annual Earth Hour, encouraging teams to unplug from the digital world and reduce carbon footprints.

2. Create ‘smarter’ offices

Many people now use ‘smart’ tech and internet of things (IoT) devices to automate daily functions like lighting and heating to save time and energy. Still, many organisations have been slow to introduce these modern solutions to their workspaces — despite the proven benefits.

It’s relatively easy to retrofit smart switches, plugs and sensors with motion-detection or timer capabilities to automatically shut down and restart equipment when the office isn’t being used. With utilities going up, it’s wise to think about this before it starts to get darker and colder — and especially before Christmas lights are left switched on throughout the holiday period!

3. Embrace digital transformation

Does your business still run its servers through its IT network? Servers are incredibly inefficient, requiring lots of power and generating significant amounts of heat (which requires more energy for cooling). By moving IT programmes to the cloud, companies can benefit from a data centre that makes much better use of computing power and enjoy a more robust, secure and scalable system.

If your teams are also guilty of storing more files and emails on computers than necessary, now’s the time to tidy them up. Whilst it might not make a massive difference to energy consumption, deleting unused files will help keep systems functioning as they should and reduce storage needs, minimising the cost of backing things up to the cloud.

4. Invest in durability

Anything from old PC systems to ageing fridges can use up power unnecessarily, so upgrading to more energy-efficient equipment is crucial. However, it’s also important to consider the impact of electronic waste that often ends up in landfills. Buying the most powerful devices with extended warranties when replacing legacy systems will help ensure they stand the test of time.

You can also adopt specialist software to measure the carbon emissions and energy consumption produced by your business’ IT. For example, Microsoft Azure’s Power BI plug-in has an Emissions Impact Dashboard feature that calculates your cloud-based carbon emissions. As a bonus, Microsoft is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030. So, if you replace your server with Azure, it’ll be carbon neutral by the same date!

5. Optimise remote working

Encouraging staff to work from home reduces the number of commuters and significantly decreases emissions. But with more companies operating a remote or hybrid working structure, it’s worth taking measures to improve the energy efficiency of home offices. From swapping halogen light bulbs for LEDs to installing solar panels, there are plenty of small changes people can make — and organisations can incentivise — to minimise carbon footprints. 

Of course, these are all things companies can also implement in offices to keep costs down — especially with the likelihood of workers coming into the office to minimise their personal energy bills increasing this winter.

To conclude, optimising remote working systems, upgrading old software or embracing cloud computing to meet sustainability targets and save money, is clearly the way to head, but in order to get it right, it’s key to ensure the support of a specialist business IT provider is enlisted to guide the business in getting it right.      

Make Your Business Impossible to Forget with Engaging Social Content

By Celia Varet, Director, Digital Impact and Sustainability – BT Business

As small businesses continue to recover from the effects of COVID-19, SMEs across the UK continue to seek innovative ways to cut costs and combat ongoing challenges. One approach is through new marketing strategies; recent research by BT Business reveals that 76% of business owners have adopted social media platforms or an online presence to drive sales. Online websites and Facebook are the largest contributors to an SME’s sales pipeline, followed by Instagram.

There is certainly an argument to be made for business owners becoming their own content creators, in a bid to stay competitive in this current climate. With 49% of people acknowledging that their attention span feels shorter than it used to be, SMEs need to be savvy to articulate their messages in a short space of time. It is critical to deliver content that makes it impossible for customers to forget who you are and what your business stands for. What’s more, this approach to marketing doesn’t have to break the bank – curating social media channels is a free and effective way to interact with your target audience.

Diarise Creative Time

To ensure your social media pages stand out from the crowd, commit time to doing the creative legwork. Forward planning and listing out various topics and ideas your company can post about will prevent you from running out of ideas for new content. Many business owners admit feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of managing their marketing online; highlighting the importance of digital skills for SMEs to help kickstart marketing endeavors. BT’s research uncovered that handling social media accounts can be a source of concern for many; a fifth surveyed feel “behind the times”, 16% feel “stressed”, and others are feeling “anxious” and “confused”.

Yet this doesn’t have to be the case. When it comes to the creative planning process, it’s worth calling on the wealth of knowledge in your immediate network, whether it be family, friends or employees, who can join a brainstorm session to give further support on how to navigate social media and to come up with new ideas. With such creative sessions, being daring will often reap the best rewards. Posting bold content will help set your SME apart in tight industries full of competition.

Give Purpose to Your Posts

In times of ever-growing competition, business owners ought to do more than simply churn out incessant posts on social media in a bid to keep their profiles up to date. As Tiktok and Instagram have encroached on Google’s search engine dominance, users are taking to social media to find solutions to their problems. For viewers to watch or read the content all the way through, it must have a strong angle; otherwise, people will switch off.

Dan Knowlton, Co-founder & CMO of Knowlton Marketing is well versed in creating engaging marketing strategies to captivate a viewer’s attention. Dan suggests SMEs should cater their content in the following ways: having a hook, addressing a problem, providing an answer to an issue, and calling for action. Dan shares further insights in this video, which offers fruitful ideas on how to curate thumb-stopping content while remaining authentic to your brand values, in order to grow an authentic following.

Yet, it’s worth remembering that creating engaging content is only valuable if viewers can take tangible action afterwards. Without a incorporating a call to action, or an accompanying link, your audience is likely to continue scrolling without pause for thought. Simple steps such as providing relevant links and access to websites, or other social media platforms, can elevate your SME when it comes to social media marketing. Business owners should encourage their audience to take part in the conversation and engage with their content, which will in turn, help build a strong community.

Cater to Your Audience

Knowing your customer base is integral to being a business owner, and when it comes to social content, that’s no different. Commissioning research or surveying customers will help build an understanding of your audience, by identifying what engages them on every level, as well as what platforms they use. This doesn’t have to be expensive; you can canvass customer opinion simply by hosting a poll on the social media platform that receives the most engagement.

The study by BT Business also highlighted the challenges that business owners seek to overcome when using new technology, with 76% expressing a desire to improve their digital skills. Out of this group, 24% want to focus on targeting the right audience online, and 21% want to strengthen their brand online.

It’s also worth noting that your business doesn’t have to be present on every platform, but rather, select those which are most appropriate for your brand to dedicate your time and energy towards. This decision should be made on where you’re most likely to reach your customers, based on the type of content they consume.

Review Your Resources 

Regularly casting a critical eye over your social media accounts will help you to evolve and deliver the best results. Follow brands that inspire you and take note of successful social media campaigns. It’s also important to assess when something hasn’t quite gone to plan and take note of learnings for next time.

There are plenty of resources online which can help you to improve your social media strategy, so make the most out of what’s already in the public sphere. BT Business is committed to helping SMEs thrive, and works with business experts across the UK as part of the ‘Let’s Talk About…’ series, sharing practical digital skills advice. The Skills For Tomorrow site at BT Business also offers an insight into the support available to you, as you help your business go from strength to strength.

How Small Shops and Businesses Are Good for Local Communities

Small businesses and local shops are vital for the community. Not only are they recognisable places which promote regional work and talent, but they also help local economies throughout the year.

Whether stocking greeting cards from card suppliers or offering essential items, small businesses with brick-and-mortar shops are valuable in representing creativity in their respective communities.

Here, we will explore the impact that small businesses have on their local economies.

Drive local economy

Small businesses actually make up around 99% of all businesses operating in the United Kingdom. Therefore, they are not only great for bring a sense of local pride to communities, but also act as driving factors in local economies, with small businesses with 10 or more employees makingan average turnover of £2.8 million . From brick-and-mortar shops to local produce markets, small businesses provide a central point for local trade.

In fact, markets attract tourists through their promise of unique products and bargains. Small businesses thrive in these environments due to their diversity. Markets can offer everything from fresh produce and stationery to local artwork, greeting cards, and confectionary – and it is this variety which attracts customers. Tourism is important for local economies as it encourages new visitors, as well as having an established base of frequent locals.


As of 2022, small businesses made up 61% of UK private sector employment, with 16.4 million employees. By owning a small business and hiring 10 or more people, you can uplift employment rates within your area. This can also provide training opportunities and work experience for young staff to prepare them for working life ahead.

By providing employment opportunities within the local area, you can help the economy further. Local employment can lead to more renters and homeowners within the area, which, in turn, can create more business for other shops and eateries.

Support art and creation

Small businesses encourage a range of innovative and creative products. By focusing on local produce and artists, many small businesses are able to promote their local area and their peers. This can be seen through the range of products, from fresh produce from local farmers to creative pieces from artists and more as they spur each other on.

This can give a shop, business, and the local area, a community feel by making it a creative and collaborative area. Honouring local artists and creatives not only highlights amazing talent within the area, but can also strengthen loyalty between small businesses and their regular customers.

Social change

Small businesses have the ability to promote change within the immediate area. Companies are aiming to become carbon neutral more and more. For example, Brighton Gin uses bottles which are made up of 85% recycled glass, and it is companies such as these which can encourage change within their local areas.

Arranging events and providing safe spaces within communities is another way businesses can encourage local change. Small businesses might be well known for their charity work within communities, whether supporting the LGBT movement or providing for food banks. Small businesses also have the power to decide their company standpoint on local issues and make real-time changes to their environment. And if you work alongside other local businesses, such as stocking your produce from local farmers, you can help reduce the environmental impact of importing and transporting while helping your neighbours.

How Small Shops and Businesses Are Good for Local Communities

Small businesses and local shops are vital for the community. Not only are they recognisable places which promote regional work and talent, but they also help local economies throughout the year.

Whether stocking greeting cards from card suppliers or offering essential items, small businesses with brick-and-mortar shops are valuable in representing creativity in their respective communities.

Here, we will explore the impact that small businesses have on their local economies.

Drive local economy

Small businesses actually make up around 99% of all businesses operating in the United Kingdom. Therefore, they are not only great for bring a sense of local pride to communities, but also act as driving factors in local economies, with small businesses with 10 or more employees makingan average turnover of £2.8 million . From brick-and-mortar shops to local produce markets, small businesses provide a central point for local trade.

In fact, markets attract tourists through their promise of unique products and bargains. Small businesses thrive in these environments due to their diversity. Markets can offer everything from fresh produce and stationery to local artwork, greeting cards, and confectionary – and it is this variety which attracts customers. Tourism is important for local economies as it encourages new visitors, as well as having an established base of frequent locals.


As of 2022, small businesses made up 61% of UK private sector employment, with 16.4 million employees. By owning a small business and hiring 10 or more people, you can uplift employment rates within your area. This can also provide training opportunities and work experience for young staff to prepare them for working life ahead.

By providing employment opportunities within the local area, you can help the economy further. Local employment can lead to more renters and homeowners within the area, which, in turn, can create more business for other shops and eateries.

Support art and creation

Small businesses encourage a range of innovative and creative products. By focusing on local produce and artists, many small businesses are able to promote their local area and their peers. This can be seen through the range of products, from fresh produce from local farmers to creative pieces from artists and more as they spur each other on.

This can give a shop, business, and the local area, a community feel by making it a creative and collaborative area. Honouring local artists and creatives not only highlights amazing talent within the area, but can also strengthen loyalty between small businesses and their regular customers.

Social change

Small businesses have the ability to promote change within the immediate area. Companies are aiming to become carbon neutral more and more. For example, Brighton Gin uses bottles which are made up of 85% recycled glass, and it is companies such as these which can encourage change within their local areas.

Arranging events and providing safe spaces within communities is another way businesses can encourage local change. Small businesses might be well known for their charity work within communities, whether supporting the LGBT movement or providing for food banks. Small businesses also have the power to decide their company standpoint on local issues and make real-time changes to their environment. And if you work alongside other local businesses, such as stocking your produce from local farmers, you can help reduce the environmental impact of importing and transporting while helping your neighbours.

How Small Shops and Businesses Are Good for Local Communities

Small businesses and local shops are vital for the community. Not only are they recognisable places which promote regional work and talent, but they also help local economies throughout the year.

Whether stocking greeting cards from card suppliers or offering essential items, small businesses with brick-and-mortar shops are valuable in representing creativity in their respective communities.

Here, we will explore the impact that small businesses have on their local economies.

Drive local economy

Small businesses actually make up around 99% of all businesses operating in the United Kingdom. Therefore, they are not only great for bring a sense of local pride to communities, but also act as driving factors in local economies, with small businesses with 10 or more employees makingan average turnover of £2.8 million . From brick-and-mortar shops to local produce markets, small businesses provide a central point for local trade.

In fact, markets attract tourists through their promise of unique products and bargains. Small businesses thrive in these environments due to their diversity. Markets can offer everything from fresh produce and stationery to local artwork, greeting cards, and confectionary – and it is this variety which attracts customers. Tourism is important for local economies as it encourages new visitors, as well as having an established base of frequent locals.


As of 2022, small businesses made up 61% of UK private sector employment, with 16.4 million employees. By owning a small business and hiring 10 or more people, you can uplift employment rates within your area. This can also provide training opportunities and work experience for young staff to prepare them for working life ahead.

By providing employment opportunities within the local area, you can help the economy further. Local employment can lead to more renters and homeowners within the area, which, in turn, can create more business for other shops and eateries.

Support art and creation

Small businesses encourage a range of innovative and creative products. By focusing on local produce and artists, many small businesses are able to promote their local area and their peers. This can be seen through the range of products, from fresh produce from local farmers to creative pieces from artists and more as they spur each other on.

This can give a shop, business, and the local area, a community feel by making it a creative and collaborative area. Honouring local artists and creatives not only highlights amazing talent within the area, but can also strengthen loyalty between small businesses and their regular customers.

Social change

Small businesses have the ability to promote change within the immediate area. Companies are aiming to become carbon neutral more and more. For example, Brighton Gin uses bottles which are made up of 85% recycled glass, and it is companies such as these which can encourage change within their local areas.

Arranging events and providing safe spaces within communities is another way businesses can encourage local change. Small businesses might be well known for their charity work within communities, whether supporting the LGBT movement or providing for food banks. Small businesses also have the power to decide their company standpoint on local issues and make real-time changes to their environment. And if you work alongside other local businesses, such as stocking your produce from local farmers, you can help reduce the environmental impact of importing and transporting while helping your neighbours.

Why SMEs Should Focus On Their Content Strategy

By Lucy Love, Head of Marketing ESE Capital

SMEs often underestimate the importance of organic written content within their marketing strategy. It is tempting to focus on marketing activity with an instant gratification whether that’s in the form of higher engagement, increased follower growth, or lead generation.  However written content is a powerful growth tool when used correctly.

Strictly speaking, written content is the backbone of any good marketing strategy. Imagine a website with no words – social media posts, brochures, adverts with just imagery…it simply doesn’t work.

Nailing your content strategy can be daunting – you have to consider language, tone, your audience and their needs, as well as the how this content can benefit you and your business. For developers without a copywriter in house, it can be tempting to sweep it under the rug and forget about it but ignoring the long-term benefits of good content in favour of short-term gratification can harm your business in the long run.

Unlike social media content, long-form content such as blogs, articles, one-pagers and white papers do not have a shelf life. Each of these content types can perform in multiple different ways and continue to add value to your business long after you press publish. They boost your website SEO, help to establish you as an expert in your industry, provide potential customers with answers to their questions, and can act as downloadable incentives for prospective clients.

So, with content being such an integral part of marketing, how can you make sure you’re doing it right?

1. Keep it consistent
As with all good things, consistency is key when it comes to content. Consistently publishing long-form content to your website and linking to it in your social media posts will establish trust in your band, increase traffic to your website and help your business perform better in the eyes of the consumer. Followers, customers and prospective clients will come to expect fresh content from you on a regular basis and will actively check back on your website to learn more. Utilise this increased traffic to convert them into sales!

2. Avoid shortcuts
In a world of AI, it can be tempting to cut corners and allow AI software to write your content for you. Be wary of using these tools – while it is undeniable that some AI tools can produce good writing, there’s no substitute for the human touch and it will become clear to consumers that your content is lacking humanity. Consumers don’t just want to read about your business and your services – they want to learn about the people behind the business too. Injecting humanity into your content helps consumers to relate to your brand – something which cannot be substituted with AI.

3. Know your audience
Good content cannot be produced if you don’t sufficiently understand the needs of its intended audience. What do your customers to come to you for? What are their pain points? Have you drawn up effective buyer personas in order to understand them better? Answering these questions and understanding your audience’s needs will help you to create content of greater value.

Why SMEs Should Focus On Their Content Strategy

By Lucy Love, Head of Marketing ESE Capital

SMEs often underestimate the importance of organic written content within their marketing strategy. It is tempting to focus on marketing activity with an instant gratification whether that’s in the form of higher engagement, increased follower growth, or lead generation.  However written content is a powerful growth tool when used correctly.

Strictly speaking, written content is the backbone of any good marketing strategy. Imagine a website with no words – social media posts, brochures, adverts with just imagery…it simply doesn’t work.

Nailing your content strategy can be daunting – you have to consider language, tone, your audience and their needs, as well as the how this content can benefit you and your business. For developers without a copywriter in house, it can be tempting to sweep it under the rug and forget about it but ignoring the long-term benefits of good content in favour of short-term gratification can harm your business in the long run.

Unlike social media content, long-form content such as blogs, articles, one-pagers and white papers do not have a shelf life. Each of these content types can perform in multiple different ways and continue to add value to your business long after you press publish. They boost your website SEO, help to establish you as an expert in your industry, provide potential customers with answers to their questions, and can act as downloadable incentives for prospective clients.

So, with content being such an integral part of marketing, how can you make sure you’re doing it right?

1. Keep it consistent
As with all good things, consistency is key when it comes to content. Consistently publishing long-form content to your website and linking to it in your social media posts will establish trust in your band, increase traffic to your website and help your business perform better in the eyes of the consumer. Followers, customers and prospective clients will come to expect fresh content from you on a regular basis and will actively check back on your website to learn more. Utilise this increased traffic to convert them into sales!

2. Avoid shortcuts
In a world of AI, it can be tempting to cut corners and allow AI software to write your content for you. Be wary of using these tools – while it is undeniable that some AI tools can produce good writing, there’s no substitute for the human touch and it will become clear to consumers that your content is lacking humanity. Consumers don’t just want to read about your business and your services – they want to learn about the people behind the business too. Injecting humanity into your content helps consumers to relate to your brand – something which cannot be substituted with AI.

3. Know your audience
Good content cannot be produced if you don’t sufficiently understand the needs of its intended audience. What do your customers to come to you for? What are their pain points? Have you drawn up effective buyer personas in order to understand them better? Answering these questions and understanding your audience’s needs will help you to create content of greater value.

Why SMEs Should Focus On Their Content Strategy

By Lucy Love, Head of Marketing ESE Capital

SMEs often underestimate the importance of organic written content within their marketing strategy. It is tempting to focus on marketing activity with an instant gratification whether that’s in the form of higher engagement, increased follower growth, or lead generation.  However written content is a powerful growth tool when used correctly.

Strictly speaking, written content is the backbone of any good marketing strategy. Imagine a website with no words – social media posts, brochures, adverts with just imagery…it simply doesn’t work.

Nailing your content strategy can be daunting – you have to consider language, tone, your audience and their needs, as well as the how this content can benefit you and your business. For developers without a copywriter in house, it can be tempting to sweep it under the rug and forget about it but ignoring the long-term benefits of good content in favour of short-term gratification can harm your business in the long run.

Unlike social media content, long-form content such as blogs, articles, one-pagers and white papers do not have a shelf life. Each of these content types can perform in multiple different ways and continue to add value to your business long after you press publish. They boost your website SEO, help to establish you as an expert in your industry, provide potential customers with answers to their questions, and can act as downloadable incentives for prospective clients.

So, with content being such an integral part of marketing, how can you make sure you’re doing it right?

1. Keep it consistent
As with all good things, consistency is key when it comes to content. Consistently publishing long-form content to your website and linking to it in your social media posts will establish trust in your band, increase traffic to your website and help your business perform better in the eyes of the consumer. Followers, customers and prospective clients will come to expect fresh content from you on a regular basis and will actively check back on your website to learn more. Utilise this increased traffic to convert them into sales!

2. Avoid shortcuts
In a world of AI, it can be tempting to cut corners and allow AI software to write your content for you. Be wary of using these tools – while it is undeniable that some AI tools can produce good writing, there’s no substitute for the human touch and it will become clear to consumers that your content is lacking humanity. Consumers don’t just want to read about your business and your services – they want to learn about the people behind the business too. Injecting humanity into your content helps consumers to relate to your brand – something which cannot be substituted with AI.

3. Know your audience
Good content cannot be produced if you don’t sufficiently understand the needs of its intended audience. What do your customers to come to you for? What are their pain points? Have you drawn up effective buyer personas in order to understand them better? Answering these questions and understanding your audience’s needs will help you to create content of greater value.

Swiss Cuban Cigars Reviews – Punch cigars | Swiss Cuban Cigars

Swiss Cuban Cigars is one of the biggest sellers of Cuban cigars on the Internet. As well as ensuring that a
great smoke is delivered to customers, the company is committed to stamping out the scourge of fake cigars.

Cuban cigars online complete with the badge of authenticity

The market for Cuban cigars is flooded with fakes and, while some sellers may look legit, Swiss Cuban Cigars only sell Cuban cigars in their original sealed box, complete with the green seal. From the first purchase to serving customers looking for the largest selection of Cuban cigars available online, Swiss Cuban Cigars is the real deal.

In addition to keeping fake Cuban cigars away from their customers, Swiss Cuban Cigars also prides itself
in its amazing service. As well as great cigars at great prices, the Swiss Cuban Cigars team has a wealth of experience in selling the best Cuban cigars. This means that they can advise on all the cigars, offering quality products, fast shipping and great advice.

Swiss Cuban Cigars guarantee that fake Cuban cigars aren’t on offer!

One of the reasons for the success of the site is that people can shop with confidence. The business guarantees it’s only selling authentic brands, whether you’re looking for limited editions, Boveda packs, Romeo y Julieta or just about any brand you can think of and you expect them in good condition, then Swiss Cuban Cigars is for you.

The website is packed with information on the different brand names and it’s the biggest range you’ll find online. Swiss Cuban Cigars is based in Gran Canaria but promises fast delivery anywhere in the world.

The company also likes to review different brands from its great selection to help people who want to buy cigars know which to try. Reviews are also displayed on the website from Swiss Cuban customers, which gives another insight into the level of service and quality you can expect from the shop.

Swiss Cuban Cigars review the Punch brand of cigars

This review is of the Punch brand, which was launched by Manuel Lopez back in 1840. While you may assume that the name derives from the famous satirical magazine that was huge in the 19th century, the brand is actually named for Mr Punch of Punch & Judy fame.

It was one of the cigars that really caught on in Great Britain in particular . where it quickly became one
of the finest cigars on offer according to cigar aficionados.

Changing ownership for the first time

In 1874, the Punch brand was taken over when it was bought by Manuel Lopez Fernandez. He died in 1924 shortly after retiring, at which point he gave the brand to Esperanza Valle Comas.

However, Comas was wiped out by the 1929 Wall Street Crash and in 1930 Punch cigars was bought by Fernandez, Palicio y Cia. After this, Punch cigars became one of the flagship products for the company, along with Hoyo de Monterrey.

The British continued to love Punch and the cigar retained its popularity there and across Europe. 

Nationalisation and after

After the Cuban cigar industry was nationalised, Punch continued to be produced and has only grown in popularity since then.

It’s now classified by Habanos as one of their main portfolio brands, under a ‘value label’. They frequently make special editions, regional editions and some new releases every now and again.

Punch is not as big of a brand as it used to be back in the day, but it’s up there with the likes of Romeo y Julieta among popular cigars among smoking aficionados.

What’s the flavour profile of the Punch brand?

Punch cigars have a medium strength flavour and use tobacco harvested from the Vuelta Abajo region. This is the premium tobacco region in Cuba.

Packaging depends on the vitola (size), but they are sold individually in the green tubes that were introduced in 2009. Boxes of Habanos made Punch cigars also come in the tubes.

Today’s packaging also shows the Mr Punch legacy in its lithograph. The boxes show Punch smoking a cigar with his pet dog by his side.

Which size should you purchase?

The Punch range is large with lots of different sizes available.

There are plenty of reviews around on various websites – both official and customer driven – to give you an idea of the flavour and smokability.

For example, a review of the Punch Double Coronas will show you what people think about the cigar. We found a number of reviews saying that the Punch Double Coronas are up there with the very best on the market.

It’s worthwhile buying some and leaving in your humidor for up to five years to get the real experience of the cigar, as its aroma, flavour profile and taste increase over time.

What’s the best selling Punch cigar?

Of all the Punch cigars made by Habanos in Cuba, the best seller is the Punch Vintage.

A box of these comes at a great price, particularly for the high quality of the product. The cigar is handmade and comes with two separate wrappers.

Whichever wrapper you choose, the cigar will be medium bodied, with delicious notes of leather, earth and cedar as you smoke through to the final third.

Cigar lovers like the Punch Vintage for its quality and reliability, while newcomers to the world of Cuban cigars find it an accessible experience.

A brand created specifically for the British palate

Punch is one of the oldest Cuban brands, which is one reason why reviews tend to love their quality and
price. They were also created by Manuel Lopez all those years ago to directly appeal to British Havana smokers.

Their hope was that boxes of Punch cigars, all with fully stamped authenticity, would be sold in Britain and catch the then burgeoning market for the product.

This hope was very much rewarded when Punch took off among British smokers and business was booming.

Which box should you buy?

If you’re new to buying Cubans or you want to branch out and try something new, it’s difficult to get
something that stands out from the rest.

The Swiss Cuban Cigars website manages to sell all kinds of Cubans, all of a decent quality and price. The
best way, according to the team, to find out which brand or specific vitola would suit you best is to find a site with reviews and work your way through.

Reviews of Cubans are many and varied, as for many smokers, comparing the quality of those smoked is half the fun.

This offers buyers a huge service as it covers all bases from multiple different points of view. It’s
always best to read reviews from buyers rather than from a site itself to get a good idea which box would suit you best.

Buy from sites that offer more than just great service

Of course, the service of a site is important, and if there are independent reviews to read too, then
that’s also a good thing.

However, even the most official looking company can start a site selling counterfeit product. Swiss Cuban not only promises fast delivery, easy and secure payments, fast worldwide shipping
but also a secure provenance as a business that can be trusted.

The site only sells authenticated Cubans that offer the smoking experience that buyers should expect. And, of course, the added bonus of a business that has worked in this sector for many years, is that their advice can be trusted too!

If reviews of the Punch brand haven’t yet convinced you that they’re a great choice – and remember these are from people who have smoked the actual product – you may still find they’re a good bet for a gift.

Reviews show that they are dependable and accessible to everyone, so could fit the bill for anyone looking for a wedding cigar or to mark another special occasion.

Vitolas available in the Punch range

Punch offers a really wide variety of sizes, so we won’t list them all here. But the following
consistently score highly in reviews by companies and buyers alike.

A ring gauge of 50 and a length of 4.75 inches makes this a girthy choice. It’s more full than medium in flavour and is known for drawing and burning easily, right down to the final third.

The smoke is wheaty with a hint of spicy sweetness and a woody end.

This has a slightly smaller gauge at 46 and is longer at nearly six inches long. It’s a particularly pleasing looking choice and is packed with flavours. The review we saw praises “its sweeter notes of maple and honey”, particularly when compared with the spicy cedar undertone.

We picked this one because it’s smaller as a Petit Corona, but absolutely packed with flavour. Expect spices, leather and peppercorn with undertones of pepper and almonds.

The Power of Digital Storytelling in an Online World | Peel X

Peel X are based in the UK and, since the company launched in 2012, has carved a name for itself for
expertise in digital storytelling.

With a unique approach to the complexities of creating digital experiences through telling a digital story, the team create visionary experiences using augmented reality, virtual reality and new technologies.

Digital stories focus on immersive experiences

By transforming the tenets of traditional storytelling into the kind of interactive experiences that bring a specific topic to life, Peel X create unique digital storytelling workshops for each project.

Before looking at the specifics of the digital stories that Peel X tell through melding virtual worlds seamlessly, here’s a breakdown of exactly what’s meant by digital storytelling.

What is digital storytelling?

In the simplest terms, digital storytelling uses various multimedia tools to bring stories to life. Generally, a short form of digital media, digital storytelling is accessible to every participant in the digital world.

For example, every time a social media user creates video clips showing themselves in some way – that’s digital storytelling.

In 2023, there are so many ways for people to use digital storytelling to illustrate a particular point, or by raising awareness of a specific topic or to share a personal experience.

Why is storytelling so important?

While the digital world has created unprecedented space for people to share their personal tales, technical expertise or to allow for exploring life collectively, storytelling is part of what it means to be human.

This means, of course, that storytelling – whether spoken or written – has had a purpose throughout history. The only thing that has changed is the medium through which people tell stories.

The ancient art of storytelling has shaped history and allows for a greater understanding of each other. From primitive cave paintings going back 30,000 years found in Chauvet, France to the first printed epic carved into city walls in 700BC, the use of storytelling takes in everything from religious instruction to inspiring change.

As literacy skills became more accessible over the centuries, fairy tales and newspapers became popular throughout the 17th and 18th century. The concept of the ‘story circle’ is one that has remained the same over the centuries – people still today gather in places like theatres and in each other’s homes to
tell each other the stories that matter to them.

The first visual depiction of storytelling

In 1826, visual storytelling began with the use of photographs. This developed over the next few decades into the use of full colour still images to craft and share a narrative.

Digital storytelling began when the television changed the world in 1939, allowing for all kinds of images, editing, camera use, music, audio and film to completely revolutionise storytelling.

Creativity evolved along with the AV hardware available, allowing for the creation of everything from short films to the evolution of script writing to persuade the audience of a specific viewpoint, as well as educational purposes.

What is the digital storytelling range?

In the early 1970s, video games arrived. This opened up a whole new form of telling a digital story, with interactive elements and immersion. Immediately popular particularly with young people, this form of digital production is constantly developing, even today.

Music video clips and MTV brought the idea of music and images together in the 1980s. By the turn of the century, of course, the web was becoming one of the main research portals for students and services.

Before long, this had evolved into the 21st century media platforms and social media channels that now lead our lives in unprecedented ways. Digital storytelling through multimedia elements has been absorbed into normal practice.

That’s not all, museums have been utilising interactive display points to aid with their visitor journey. In a £17.3 million regeneration project of Derby Museum of Making, Peel X developed a suite of interactive displays that allow visitors to explore the history and evolution of making in Derby over a rich 300 year history. The museums innovative interpretation strategy saw it achieve finalist status in the 2022 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award. 

The interactive displays allow visitors to explore the museums vast collection of objects via touchscreens and a visitor app – users can curate their own ‘trail’ and enjoy bespoke exploration of the collection tailored to their interests. A multi-screen experience allows visitors to select from a vast array of ‘makers’ across Derby and hear their story. There’s also interactive touchscreen displays that explore the vast reach of manufacturing from Derby – visitors can interact with a rotating globe, delving deeper into the global reach and impact of products made in Derby across the world. 

James Sanders London Diamonds on the Diamond Market in 2023 | James Sanders

James Sanders (London Diamonds) is a disruptive innovator and entrepreneur who has broken the mould with his foray into this luxury sector.

The founding of London Diamonds

London Diamonds was founded by James Sanders for a specific purpose. He says: “The business idea came to me when we set out to replace my wife’s engagement ring. It soon became apparent that it was next to impossible to get a fair price for diamonds within the traditional jewellery industry.

“Rather than paying for the diamond alone, it was clear that what you’re actually paying for is everything else – the person selling it to you, the fancy showroom, the expensive shop front. As an active investor and entrepreneur always looking out for a great idea, I decided to launch London Diamonds.”

Today, James Sanders is managing director of the company that sells bespoke jewellery at a fair price. The London Diamonds team comprises bespoke jewellery designers and experts in the UK and worldwide diamond market.

Making sure customers get a good deal

“We work harder and smarter at London Diamonds,” explains James Sanders. “After all, the purchase of an engagement ring is extremely important for so many people around the world. A business-like London Diamonds offers everything that a traditional seller does – all of the same diamond ring shapes, naturally mined diamonds and excellent bespoke jewellery design.

“The difference with London Diamonds is that customers are only paying for the art itself. Our expert advice and diamond ring expertise goes into every sale, making it a far better value experience all round.”

London Diamonds totally dispenses with the expenses of storefront showrooms. Instead, the business concentrates on quality and service, selling primarily through Instagram and its website, and although it’s based in London, the business offers clients the kind of service James believes all clients deserve.

High level of expertise in the diamond market

Of course, it takes a high level of understanding of the diamond engagement ring market in the UK and around the world to truly break into the traditional jewellery industry.

And, as an entrepreneur, James leads the team in being responsible for imparting the relevant information to customers. Managing Director James Sanders says: “So far, we have cornered 1% of the extensive engagement ring market in the UK, and this is very much only the first step. We intend to increase sales, not just in London, but around the world.

“To do this, we need to ensure that our understanding of the wider market for diamonds is thorough and up to date. The future success of London Diamonds is born out of our strategic intent to disrupt and improve.”

Timeless designs with a twist

James Sanders says that the main trends for diamonds in 2023 is about designing a timeless engagement ring, but with a future twist. He says: “I think we’re going to see unique twists on very classic ring designs this year. Ring and design trends do change often, but we’ve also created many classic designs and I don’t see this changing.

“We’re making the kind of art out of our ring designs that our clients want and deserve. This includes all kinds of non-traditional designs, such as the inclusion of coloured stones as well as diamonds. We’re also seeing a shift towards chunkier designs as well as the delicate fragility of the traditional.”

Adds James: “Vintage looks never really go out of style and we’ll also see more incorporation of ‘surprise’ diamonds, which are hidden beneath the band rather than on top. This gives different angles and sparkles to the piece.”

Uncertain outlook for 2023

Across the diamond market as a whole, James Sanders says, the outlook for 2023 is cautious optimism. James Sanders says: “We may be at the start of a new year, but there must be caution surrounding the likelihood of continued market uncertainty.”

report on the diamond market by Rapaport underlines this general market uncertainty. James says: “Diamond trading dipped towards the end of 2022, partly due to a normal seasonal dip but also because of general uncertainty across the market.”

According to Rapaport, it’s not possible to simply predict the way the diamond market will go in 2023. And so, for an investor, caution should be the watchword. Trade tends to pick up as a new year starts, and we’ll see the impact of that over the next couple of months. This should then span out to impact trade around the world.”

Market going through cyclical changes

James Sanders also points out that rough diamond prices are falling as there is a lower demand for polished stones.

“The rough diamond market is undergoing what is partly a regular slowdown, explains James Sanders. “Throughout 2021 and the first half of 2022, demand remained high and this pushed prices up. However, in the second half of last year, consumer demand began to fall.

“In terms of lab grown diamonds, we’re also seeing a price fall as demand rises. In 2022, lab grown stones formed 10% of the global diamond market for the very first time, and I think that this trend will continue in 2023.”

Diamonds still a good investment decision

A separate report from the Gemmological Institute of America said in October 2022 that sales of lab diamonds will increase to be worth more than $100 billion over the next couple of years.

Explains James: “This part of the diamond industry is growing at around 15-20% every year. Whether you’re interested in lab grown or natural diamonds from an investor perspective, I would always argue that it’s a market worth investing in.

“Obviously, investing in diamonds is not about getting short term get rich quick returns. It’s the long game and you should expect prices to fluctuate every now and again. It takes a certain amount of risk awareness to invest in any luxury market sector, and diamonds are no different. But if you
are prepared to play the long game, then it’s absolutely worthwhile.”

Unlocking the Potential of Diversity in the Workplace: Achieving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, organisations are looking for ways to stand out and achieve success. One way to do this is by embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion can bring a wealth of new perspectives, ideas, and talents to an organisation, allowing it to thrive in the marketplace.

What is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace?

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are an effort to create a workplace environment that is equitable, welcoming, and inclusive of all individuals regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and other characteristics. The goal is to create an environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. This includes hiring, promoting, and creating policies that are fair and equitable for all.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

When organisations embrace diversity and inclusion, they reap a number of benefits. These include increased creativity, innovation, productivity, and morale. A diverse workplace also fosters an environment of collaboration and open-mindedness, which can lead to increased profits.

Studies have also shown that companies with higher levels of diversity are more likely to attract and retain top talent. This is because diverse workplaces are seen as more attractive to potential employees who are looking for an inclusive environment. Additionally, diverse workplaces have been shown to have better customer service, as employees from different backgrounds can better relate to customers from a variety of backgrounds. Finally, a diverse workplace can help to reduce discrimination, prejudice, and bias. By creating a more equitable workplace, organisations can create an environment where all employees feel respected and valued.

Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Organisations that want to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace need to develop a strategy. This strategy should include a clear mission and vision, objectives, and goals. It should also include a plan for addressing any existing inequities in the workplace and developing policies and procedures to ensure equity and inclusion in the future. Finally, the strategy should include a plan for measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement. Taking all this into consideration can be time intensive and therefore, for many organisations, it’s a good idea to seek external help from EDI support specialists when addressing such strategies

Challenges to Achieving Diversity and Inclusion

While organisations can benefit greatly from embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, there are some challenges that need to be addressed. These include addressing existing disparities in the workplace, such as a lack of diversity in leadership positions, and addressing unconscious bias. Additionally, organisations need to be aware of the potential for tokenism, which can occur when organisations recruit a few individuals from diverse backgrounds but don’t make a real effort to create an inclusive workplace. Another challenge is creating an environment where all employees feel comfortable speaking up and voicing their opinions. This can be difficult if there is a lack of trust or respect among team members. 

Recruiting Strategies for Achieving Diversity and Inclusion

Organisations can use a variety of recruiting strategies to achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These strategies include expanding the recruitment pool to include more diverse candidates, creating a diverse and inclusive job posting, and using recruitment tools that are designed to attract a diverse range of candidates. Additionally, organisations should consider using diversity-focused recruitment firms or partnering with local organisations that focus on diversity and inclusion.

Creating an Inclusive Workplace

Once a diverse workforce has been hired, organisations need to make sure they are creating an inclusive workplace. This includes creating an environment where all employees feel safe, respected, and valued. It also includes providing training and education on diversity and inclusion and encouraging employees to speak up and share their ideas. Finally, organisations should make sure they are creating policies and procedures that are equitable for all employees.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is a major challenge for organisations looking to achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Unconscious bias is defined as “attitudes and beliefs that people have, often without realising it, that can lead to discrimination.” Unconscious bias can be addressed by providing employees with training and education on recognising and addressing unconscious bias in the workplace. Additionally, organisations should create policies and procedures that are designed to reduce the impact of unconscious bias.

Training and Education for Improving Diversity and Inclusion

Organisations that want to create a diverse and inclusive workplace need to provide training and education on the topic. This training and education should include topics such as understanding unconscious bias, creating an equitable and inclusive workplace, and developing strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. Additionally, organisations should provide cultural competency training to help employees better understand different cultures and backgrounds.

Measuring Progress Toward Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Once an organisation has implemented a strategy for achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion, it is important to measure progress. This can be done by collecting data on the number of diverse employees in a given organisation, the representation of diverse employees in leadership positions, and the number of complaints about discrimination or bias. Additionally, organisations should survey employees to get their feedback on the organisation’s diversity and inclusion efforts.


Organisations can benefit greatly from embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By creating an equitable and inclusive environment, organisations can attract and retain top talent, increase creativity, and reduce discrimination. Additionally, organisations can create a culture of trust and respect, which can lead to increased productivity and profits. However, organisations need to be aware of the challenges that come with achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion and be prepared to address them. Finally, organisations need to measure progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure that they are achieving their goals. By doing so, organisations can unlock the potential of diversity in the workplace.

4 Ways A Law Firm Can Help Your Small Business

Running a small business can be challenging. It may require all the support you can get, and bringing a law firm onto your business journey can help keep your business secure. No matter what stage of the business you are in, a law firm can help clarify legal issues and simplify many tasks and concerns for you.  

By working with a law firm, you can protect the business legally and be prepared for any mishaps. If you want to learn more about how an attorney can help your small business, it’s best to search for law firms online that offer free consultations, like osbournepinner.com and other reputable law firm sites. 

Whether it’s legal research or counsel for legal representation, consulting a law firm helps secure the business’s future and gives you less to worry about, so you can focus on growth. Here are other excellent ways a law firm can help your small business. 

1. Protect The Intellectual Property Of The Business

Consulting a law firm is one way to protect the intellectual property rights of your business. Intellectual property encompasses many categories, such as patent rights, trade secrets, designs, trademarks, and copyrights. Any other organization that attempts to replicate any intellectual property registered with your business can face legal action from your law firm.

An experienced law firm on your side will help guarantee that all your patent rights, trademarks, or copyrights are registered and updated. This prevents any third party from stealing or infringing on your registered intellectual property.

2. Create And Review Contracts For The Business

Running a small business means dealing with different contracts. This includes creating a contract for your employees or reviewing lease agreements if you rent a property. Because of this, it’s best to have an experienced law firm working with your business to help ensure that each contract has your business’s best interests at heart.

Contracts are legal documents, so for the sake of the success of your business, they need to be enforceable and irrefutable. Before you sign it, it is advisable to consult your lawyer. You can bring the contract to your lawyers so they can review every angle and suggest any changes that may protect and benefit your business the most.  

There are many different types of business contracts you may come across, such as:

  • Operating agreements: This highlights the business’s rules, provisions, and regulations.
  • Non-disclosure agreement: This protects the business by ensuring important sensitive business information confidentiality.
  • Employment contract: This document is signed by employers, team members, or labour unions. It stipulates salary, working hours, and other important information that concerns employment.

You may encounter several other contracts, such as non-compete and indemnity agreements, so think about talking to your lawyers before signing anything.

3. Gives Your Business Access To Different Lawyers

A law firm consists of different types of lawyers. Each lawyer’s specialty can come in handy for your business, depending on your business needs. When meeting with a law firm, you get access to various lawyers, such as:

  • Tax lawyers: A tax lawyer will oversee any concerns or queries regarding tax legislation for the business.
  • General lawyers: This type of lawyer can redirect your concerns to any relevant lawyer in the firm and help with general law counsel for the business. You can talk to them if you need clarification on what type of lawyer you need. 
  • Intellectual property lawyers: As previously mentioned, intellectual property has to be registered to prevent another organization from taking advantage of it. Intellectual property lawyers ensure that all business intellectual properties are protected.
  • Contract lawyers: Get to read and review every contract the business receives and draw up contracts on behalf of the small business.
  • Labour lawyers: If you have hired staff or run the business with others, having a labour lawyer on your team is beneficial. The labour lawyer can represent the employer and other team members and focuses on employment law.   
  • Mergers and acquisition lawyers: If you want to grow your small business by joining another business, your mergers and acquisition lawyer will come in handy. They will oversee and handle all the legal requirements for a successful merger and acquisition and negotiate the best deal for you and your business.

These lawyers can be called upon whenever needed and consult you on important business decisions. Having a good law firm on your team will benefit your business in the long run.

4. Represent The Business During Litigations And Disputes

As mentioned, running a business can be complicated. You may encounter disputes and face litigation against your partners, clients, or a third party. If this does happen, the law firm will be able to represent your business. Some matters that can be contested in court include:

  • Breach of contract disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Disputes with other businesses
  • Customer disputes

Having an experienced law firm on your side during these disputes can help keep the reputation of your business and protect its best interests. Your lawyers can also negotiate on your behalf so that the altercation does not appear in court. Lawyers will also be able to fight for your rights as a business owner and for the business itself.


Small businesses need support to establish growth and stability, especially with the abovementioned matters. With the help of a law firm, you’ll be at ease knowing that experts in the field handle all your business legal matters. Furthermore, you’ll be able to focus on expanding your business while safeguarding its brand and future. 

How to Get Started With SEO in 2023

By Francis King – Customer Acquisition, OnlyDomains

It’s 2023 and there’s a lot of talk that SEO is over. Dead in the water. Better left in the past as we move toward greater things.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, SEO is more relevant than ever. If you want to increase your website’s presence to reach new audiences, generate leads, increase conversions, and boost sales, it’s worth investing time and effort in SEO.

That said, SEO isn’t everything. It’s not always a good indicator of how well your business is doing, nor can it predict revenue. However, it does indicate how strong and engaged your online presence is—and the importance of having a website is undeniable for any business in 2023.

This article briefly summarises what you need to get started with SEO in 2023. But the most significant tip we can give you is to keep on your toes. The SEO world changes quickly. What Google looks for and values can change overnight, and yesterday’s best practices might be a shortcut to getting blacklisted today.

It’s also worth noting that while it’s not strictly necessary, you can buy certain business domain names for your website. Having a unique domain name can be an original way to make your business stand out in the crowd.

Now, let’s dive in.

What is SEO and why does it matter?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. That might sound intimidating, but not when you break it down.

We all know what a search engine is—think Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. And ‘optimisation’ simply means you want to ‘optimise’ or advance your place in search results.

In other words, you want to refine your online content to appeal to the likes of Google to ensure your website appears and ranks highly in the organic search results (that is, compared to paid-for ads). Essentially, you want your website to be among the first few links that appear after a Google search because that is where users put their trust and attention.

So how does this work? Search engines ‘crawl’ or read your website to determine the relevance and quality of the content you’re offering. The higher ‘score’ you get, the better you place in their rankings.

SEO Techniques to Follow

Good SEO entails different techniques that help bump up your rating. We’ll be looking at three particular practices today to get you started:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Positive user experience

Keyword Research

Consider keyword research the bread and butter of your SEO slog. 

In its simplest form, keyword research entails finding out what your customers are looking for. Let’s say you sell leather jackets. Using a keyword search tool, ‘leather jackets’ is the initial keyword that you would type in to see what people are searching for alongside this keyword.

This helps you find out what your customers’ pain points are—that is, what types of problems do they need solving?

Some keyword research that takes this into account could include: “best leather jacket”, “vegan leather jacket”, “how to clean leather jackets”, and so on.

Don’t forget to keep your brand’s USPs in mind and find keywords relevant to your business. It’s also worth conducting keyword research around your competitors and identifying the language they use to sell to consumers.

Once you have a comprehensive list of keywords and phrases from your research, you can start creating relevant and targeted content for your audience.

Content Creation

Rather than creating content for the sake of it, it’s essential to understand the type of content that will create an impact and deliver results.

To do this, it’s worth understanding the four intentions people have when searching online:

  • Commercial: People searching for a specific product, for example, the best leather jackets of 2023
  • Informational: People seeking advice such as how to care for a leather jacket
  • Transactional: Customers ready to spend! They may search for ways to buy leather jackets online
  • Navigational: Users specifically searching for a site that they’re already familiar with, for example, leatherjackets.com

Use your keyword research to build content around these four intentions. For example, perhaps you publish a long-form guide on what to look for in a leather jacket, including types of material, care instructions, and why your brand sells the best kind of leather jacket.

Content creation undoubtedly takes time. But don’t be tempted to take a shortcut and duplicate content, as search engines will penalise your site.

One way to save time and energy is by investing in content automation. Automating processes like email marketing and social media saves you valuable time, effort, and money.

In addition, remember that content creation is part and parcel of your broader marketing strategy. So rather than simply creating content for the sake of it, you must monitor and evaluate your content. After all, there’s no point investing resources into something that doesn’t work!

One way to do this is to use Rank tracking software to see keyword ranking positions. In addition to assessing the impact of your keywords, this will also allow you to keep an eye on the keywords of competitors and also if there are any changes to keyword rankings over time. 

Tracking organic traffic, keyword rankings, and visibility are significant ways of gauging the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. As we mentioned, content creation is part of marketing, so consider using marketing analytics tools to track its performance and find ways to improve.

Positive User Experience

The third line of defence in your three-pronged SEO attack includes creating a positive user experience.

Search engine crawlers—the ones that are checking your website for relevance and quality—favour the following elements:

  • An appealing website design
  • A mobile-friendly site
  • Readable font
  • No pop-ups or ads
  • A fast-loading site
  • Internal links
  • High-quality external links

Creating a smooth user experience will help you rank higher in Google’s ratings. It might seem difficult to keep on top of all of these things, especially in the beginning, so consider using an SEO plugin to do the work for you.

The Next Frontier in SEO

While we’ve covered the basics in this article, there are many more ways to optimise your site, some of which still aren’t widely known. For example, a good domain name is invaluable and can also improve your SEO.

Focusing on domain extensions—that is, the end part of the URL such as .com or .co.uk—is the next frontier in the wild west of SEO. What’s more, using unique and fun domain extensions can help your company stick in people’s minds, reinforcing a positive user experience.

For example, if you run an AI business, you could consider using an OnlyDomains registration in Anguilla. Having an .ai domain extension can round off your website nicely, making your company appear more professional.

So, secure a unique domain extension and start optimising your website’s content today to help your business flourish in 2023.

Five Actions Every SME Should Take in 2023

Whether or not the UK is technically in recession, the cost-of-living crisis is certainly curbing consumers’ spending power. According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, 93% of people report that their cost of living is higher than it was a year ago. This means that many businesses are facing a tough year ahead. With that in mind, UK sales transformation specialist Sales Talent has shared five actions that every small and medium enterprise (SME) owner can take in 2023 to enhance their chances of success.

“Whether we’re in the midst of economic growth of 0.1% or a contraction of 0.1% right now, the difference for businesses on the ground is minimal. The fact remains that consumers have less disposable income than they did this time last year. But there is still plenty that businesses can do to counterbalance the tough times.”

Paul Owen, MD, Sales Talent

1. Do better research

It isn’t time to panic and start desperately cold calling to try and drum up business. Instead, research shows that taking the time to research potential customers can pay dividends. According to the LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2022, 82% of top performing salespeople always carry out research before they get in touch with prospects. Pausing before picking up the phone and investing time in each prospect can make a big difference.

2. Invest in your staff

If a business is quiet, it’s the perfect time to focus on nurturing staff. Investing in a training programme can reassure teams that they have a long-term future with the company. It can also strengthen team and individual performance, ready for when things pick up again. There is always potential for staff to develop, so a programme of continuous learning can benefit both individuals and the business as a whole.

3. Be dynamic

While large companies can take weeks or even months to make decisions and implement them, small and medium-sized businesses have the advantage of being fast and flexible when it comes to decision making.

“Whether it’s a change of course, a new strategy, a training programme or anything else, a tough economic climate is the ideal time to be dynamic and put new plans in motion. Smaller businesses have the agility to experiment and adapt. If you and your business aren’t taking advantage of that, ask yourself what you could change.”

Paul Owen, MD, Sales Talent

4. Don’t wait and see

The greatest danger to a business that’s facing financial difficulties is to wait and see. Economic pressures can feel overwhelming, but this can cloud the potential to make changes and pursue local advantages. There is plenty on offer for small and medium enterprises around the UK, from micro-grants to free business masterclasses for owners. Finding out what is available locally can open up new avenues to move a business forward.

5. Stay focused on your ethics

Many small business owners start their companies because they are passionate about a particular product or service. It’s important to keep that in mind when times are tough, as operating in line with your principles is essential to long-term success. Not only can doing so impact your reputation – and with social media and sites such as TrustPilot, reputation has never been more important – but it can also ensure you feel good about what you do. And that is key to keeping a business going and remaining happy doing so over the longer term.

When Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Taking Your Time as a Business Owner

When it comes to entrepreneurship, most of the words associated with it describe movement. Words and phrases like dynamic, rising star, up-and-coming, and even nouns such as startup and network give a sense of action. This can make you feel as though if you aren’t constantly moving something forward, you’re somehow failing. The truth is that there are many elements of being a business owner that need to be approached with caution and care. Therefore, when you read about the daily schedules of entrepreneurs, many are so fiercely protective of their time for thinking and deep work outside of the grind, sometimes getting up very early or carving out that time in other ways. Below are a few ways in which taking your time is the better choice.

Planning Your Launch

When you’re talking about your business idea to people, you don’t want to come across as someone that’s hesitant. You want to sound eager to hit the ground running as soon as possible, or do you? While investors are certainly looking for someone with energy, they’re also looking for someone who has laid the necessary groundwork, and that means taking your time on the business plan.

You’ll have to have this document if you’re looking for investors or lenders, but even if you’re self-funding, taking the time to write about your competition, your customer profile, your marketing plan, and your projected profits will all give you greater insight into your potential strengths and weaknesses. Your business plan doesn’t need to be dozens of pages long, but it does need to be thorough enough to act as a blueprint and to give concrete answers to questions about how you plan to proceed. Include things like target market research and marketing strategies, specifically the latter. Advertising and marketing matters during a recession and investors will want to know the plans in advance.

Purchasing Equipment

When it comes to buying equipment for your company, it’s vital to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you need. This can be especially challenging if it’s for an area of your business that you’re not an expert in. If your business needs a fleet and you don’t have a background in fleet management, or sometimes even if you do, it can take a great deal of time to research exactly what kind of vehicles will be best. However, their performance is crucial for profitability and productivity. It can be helpful to review steps you need to take before purchasing fleet vehicles or to do similar research whatever it is that you need to buy.

Staff TrainingIn some industries, boosting business with insight from experts and making sure that staff have adequate training is critical to compliance, but even when that isn’t the case, a sufficient amount of training is necessary for productivity. Periodic refreshers may be necessary as well. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to pick up new concepts and procedures at the same rate, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the ones who require more review or hands-on help won’t eventually perform on a par with those who are quicker to pick up a new system. In fact, those slower or more methodical learners might simply be more thorough. Try to give everyone as much time as they need to grasp new material.

What are the Top Five Health and Benefits Trends for SMEs in 2023?

Supporting employees with the cost of living crisis, providing access to healthcare services and looking after employee health and wellbeing will be top priorities for small businesses this year, according to Mark Fosh, Divisional Director at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing.

Fosh says, “2023 will bring some challenges for small businesses who will need to balance the rising costs of running their business with the need to retain talent and keep employees engaged.  Financially, many businesses can’t afford to offer pay rises in line with inflation, however, there are other ways to support employees through this crisis.”

“With the NHS and GP services facing unprecedented pressure, offering access to healthcare services is going to be hugely valuable, as will be supporting employees with their wellbeing and health in general.”

Fosh suggests the following tips for SME businesses on how they can address these challenges, without breaking the bank.

1. Introduce a salary exchange pension scheme

A salary exchange pension scheme, sometimes called a salary sacrifice pension, is one tax-efficient option for SMEs to consider. Employees and employers can save money on National Insurance (NI) contributions and avoid the need for higher rate tax payers to claim higher rate tax relief. Some employers are choosing to redirect their National Insurance savings to boost employees’ pension pots or to fund additional employee benefits.

2. Review your employee benefits in 2023

Check your benefits still represent value for money and meet the needs of your business and people. You may find you are paying for benefits your people do not use or value. A good adviser can review your current benefit programme against your business needs, employee needs and budget to ensure that it is relevant and fit for purpose.

3. Promote your benefits

Don’t let your employee benefits be your best kept secret – promote benefits widely so your employees really understand their total remuneration and reward package which means they will be more likely to value and use their benefits. Good benefit communication will also ensure that your employees know how to access the benefits at the point of need.

4. Make healthcare more accessible

Widespread reports about the NHS being in crisis and waiting times at an all-time high are likely to be a cause for concern for many and particularly for employees waiting for diagnosis or treatment, which may lead to them taking time off work. This year, we expect more SMEs to introduce healthcare benefits. This may be extending existing healthcare benefits to more or all staff or introducing benefits such as private medical insurance (PMI), health cash plans, dental cover and virtual GP services.

Such benefits are likely to be popular as they provide reassurance employees can get the treatment and the healthcare advice they need when they need it. Many PMI policies now include value added services such as access to mental health nurses and online wellbeing support. PMI and healthcare benefits can often be more cost effective than people think.

5. Focus on wellbeing, particularly financial wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing has topped the agenda for many SMEs over the last few years and, 2023 will be no exception. Businesses recognise that promoting a healthy and active workforce can increase productivity, lead to a happier and healthier workforce and one that is likely to take less time off due to ill health.

This year, we expect financial wellbeing in particular to be popular. In the current climate, many employees are feeling the pinch. And let’s not forget, there has been a whole generation that has entered the UK workforce since the last big financial crash, who have never experienced a recession before and may be looking for guidance and support to help them manage their finances. 

Money worries can have a detrimental impact on an individual’s mental wellbeing and impact their performance at work. Offering solutions such as financial education programmes, access to discount platforms, wellbeing apps such as Be Well World or financial advice sessions for staff can all help employees to take control of their finances.

Howden has also just launched a new employer guide – ‘Cost of living Crisis: A Guide for Employers’ offering 10 practical ways to support employees through the cost of living crisis.

The Competitive Market of Reverse Phone Lookup Services: All You Need to Know

A phone number search tool where a user may input a phone number and discover the identity of the person to whom the number belongs is known as a “reverse phone number lookup” or “phone number lookup”. 

Finding out information about people using their phone numbers is called a “reverse phone number lookup.” Software that searches a person’s cell phone can present accurate facts and information about them. The free phone lookup program allows you to verify the identities of telemarketers, phishers, and mistaken callers. 

The reverse number lookup finds the person’s precise phone number and searches the related databases for a comprehensive cell phone number search. After gathering the required data, it displays the individual’s report-generated record.

How do reverse phone lookups work?

A phone number search separates several significant bits of data associated with a phone number. The first three digits of the phone number phoning you confirm the location/city of the area code. The second is to verify whether a landline or cellular/mobile phone is associated with the phone number. It can also reveal which phone company issued the cell phone or which cell / mobile phone carrier holds the number.

You can get more information, including the full name of the person or business, the email address connected to the phone number, and other helpful contact information. A reverse phone search can be used to find everything.

Why do people look up phone numbers?

Fear and rage: Unfortunately, a lot of people experience telephone harassment. Since few people still utilize secret phone numbers, their tormentors frequently use standard phone numbers instead. The victim must learn who owns the number to identify the harasser. Once they have the victim’s name, address, and other personal information, they can take other required steps to stop the bully, such as filing a police report.

Lack of love: The most frequent cause of people looking up numbers is cheating. When there is mistrust from one side, they check the phone of the other person and check for frequently contacted numbers. 

Money: Most of the time, those who owe money to friends, relatives, or collection agencies refrain from doing so. When a call comes in that they don’t know the answer to, they have to check the number first before picking up.

Phone number lookup services you can make use of

1. Swordfish AI

To provide users with the most current and accurate contact information, including personal and business email addresses, cell phone and mobile phone numbers, and the prized personal contact information, cell phone, and mobile phone numbers, through their extensive phone database containing millions of phone numbers, Swordfish AI is a proprietary data engine that simultaneously connects to over 200+ network data partners.

2. Radaris

Users of Radaris reverse phone lookup can conduct public records deep searches for monitoring, background checks, contact information, social media mentions, and more. With the aid of the data access it offers to cost-free online profiles and premium paid reports, you can find an old classmate or long-lost friend, discover more about your online date’s personal history, monitor your online presence, and carry out several other tasks.

3. BeenVerified

Search persuasive data on BeenVerified’s website or a BeenVerified alternative, such as social profiles and photographs, look up real estate and other assets, bankruptcy records, find phone number, and more, at beenverified.com. Additionally, they provide users with various resources to help them learn more about public records and become aware of how public data may impact their lives.

4. Intelius

Information on people, their lives, and their connections to other people, places, and enterprises are available on Intelius (intelius.com). Intelius’ powerful and unique technology platform gathers approximately 20 billion public documents with a vast network of publicly and commercially accessible sources. 

5. Pipl

It is another phone number lookup service. The Pipl identity resolution engine links global personal, professional, and social identity data. It offers analysts and detectives an unparalleled global database of more than 3 billion reliable identification profiles. The world’s top source of accurate identity verification data, according to the Pipl website, expedites investigations and fights fraud.

How To Market Your Products On Amazon To Make Them Ready To Handle The Holiday Season?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the busiest season for most sellers on Amazon and other platforms. Everybody needs a bunch of gifts to present to their loved ones, so they come to Amazon to find the exactly right presents every year, and this holiday season, they will do it too.

But you are not the one and only top seller on Amazon, and probably people can find an alternative for your products from other sellers. So what can you do to prepare for this situation and give your products a chance to shine on the top of the Amazon search page this holiday season?

In this piece, we will look at simple but effective steps you can do to prepare your products for holidays on Amazon and increase holiday sales. Interested? Then, let’s go!

Check all Amazon’s policies regarding the holiday season

Even though you are an independent seller, Amazon has some standards and policies they expect you to follow. Amazon holidays are a big deal, and the e-commerce platform has specific requirements and policies regarding returning the items and selling some of them during this season.

If you ignore these rules, you can get into trouble, experience an account hold-up, or get some fines or penalties. It can slow down your holiday season sales quite a bit, and this is exactly the opposite of what we’re reaching for here. So, read your rules!

Decide on your warehouse options

One of the biggest advantages of Amazon for a customer is their Amazon Prime membership with a fantastic shipment policy. You, as a seller, can choose whether you want your products to be shipped via the FBA method (Fulfillment by Amazon) or via the FBM method (Fulfillment By Merchant).

If you use the first one, you need to store your products in Amazon warehouses and, naturally, pay some fees for that. However, since the demand in the holiday season is higher than ever, it may be a very effective solution for you.

In the FBM method case, you are responsible for shipping your products to the customers.

Research your competitors, and decide what will be more profitable for you. You can even make a mix-up and have both products in the Amazon warehouse and in yours to see what works best for you.

Make sure that you have enough “hot” items in stock

Even if you do everything right in a digital marketing area but do not take care of the most basic part of things, like stock, you can waste all your hard work!

Analyse last year’s sales and find the items that were the most popular that year, how many of them you sold, and increase or decrease your stock according to the numbers you’ve got. Also, make sure that “hot” products are the ones that are popular every year and not just last year’s trend. Do you remember the spinner holiday craze of 2017? Who buys them now?

Change your bidding strategy

Since not only your Amazon sales grow and more and more sellers advertise their products during the festive season, the cost per click will increase. It’s just inevitable.

That’s why it is a good idea to increase your keyword bids before the holidays, but we advise you to do it smartly. You see, not every product may need it, and not every keyword will convert enough to cover your current bid. You can analyse it manually, or you can use a nice Amazon feature called Dynamic bids.

When you choose this option, you allow Amazon to decide on your behalf whether you need higher or lower bids on a particular keyword. Amazon adjusts the bids considering your profit in mind, and if the platform decides that your ad will not convert enough, they can lower your bid to prevent you from losing money.

Since you have enough things to worry about during the holiday season, let Amazon take care of your bids.

Update your promotional materials

Listing can make your product the most desirable thing on the platform or absolutely bury it if you do the listing wrong. Sprucing up your listings with festive templates is almost mandatory when the holiday season comes.

First of all, we advise you to open any photo editor of your choice and add up holiday lights, sparkles, ornaments, etc., to give your products that holiday feel they need. If you have a budget, hire a professional designer to add something more, like Santa hats on people in photos, or create a completely separate listing just for holidays.

Also, we are absolutely sure that adding a short holiday-themed video to your listing is the best thing you can do to attract more people to your product. It doesn’t have to be a blockbuster level clip, just make a nice, heart-whelming video about your product. Trust us, the result will be absolutely amazing!

You can even record a short vivid video with your team congratulating everyone with the upcoming holidays, sneakily advertise the product there. You don’t even need a professional camera, because you can use a powerful Mac screen capture tool or screen recorders for Windows 11 that allow you to record video from your webcam.

Do SEO preparation for the holiday season

An integral part of holiday marketing and the very effective way to boost your sales is to do a thorough SEO preparation.

You see, the keywords you are using in your texts and titles usually may not work at all during the holiday season. You absolutely need to optimize your content for relevant holiday keywords to help your products rank better and outbid the competitors.

We really think it is the time when you need to involve a professional SEO specialist to help you with keyword optimization. Since it is a temporary campaign, it is crucial to do everything right. We assure you, this money on a specialist will be well-spent and paid off!

Create a “special offer” campaign for your products

Everyone adores holiday deals, and they will do absolutely crazy things to get that 10% off on an item they probably don’t even need.

Without special offers, holiday specials, and other attractive propositions for customers, you will miss a chance to get a big bunch of sales.

Adjust PPC campaigns

We already talked about the bids and how it is important to adjust your bidding Amazon marketing strategy during the holiday sales season, but doing only that is not good enough. We also advise you to check your target RoAS and ACoS to help you figure out whether your PPC campaigns are profitable at all.

Also, we are big fans of experimenting, and we suggest you try different types of sponsored ads to see which one of them will be the most profitable for you. Amazon allows many options here: Display ads, Brands ads, and Brands Video ads. As for the last one, we think that this is the most effective sponsored ads option in general since video ads are the most eye-catching type of marketing ads nowadays, and they give incredible results and ROI in the end.


Well, now we are sure that your Amazon products will be completely ready to hit the top of the platform this holiday season. Use our tips and get ready for increased sales in your Amazon store!

What’s else left to say? Oh, yes! Happy holidays!

How Modern Hospitality Can Weather the Oncoming Storm

Ordinarily, seasonal periods such as Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day would be a time of booming trade in the hospitality industry. However, with the recent trifecta of a looming recession, strike action impacting customers’ travel plans and rising energy costs, UK hospitality is facing uncertain times ahead. Thriving desserts chain Heavenly Desserts offers tactical tips for UK restaurants struggling as we move into 2023.

A recent study by the advisory firm Mazars suggests that many businesses survived Covid-19 only to run into staff shortages, no-show bookings and staggering energy costs, with UK restaurant closures rising by 60% in the last year.

Bucking the trend is Heavenly Desserts, a luxury artisan desserts chain who recently expanded internationally, opening their 45th store in Canada. So, what can businesses do to ensure a cost-effective Christmas? Heavenly Desserts co-founder Mohammed Imran explains how a combination of savvy economic tactics and considering offers for cost-conscious consumers can help businesses to survive the festive period and beyond.

Controlled growth and reducing financial pressures

At Heavenly Desserts, the team is always working on reducing costs for our franchisees, which involves negotiating better deals to bring product costs down and trying to offset the challenges we’re facing as much as possible. However, this isn’t always a guaranteed saving that we can rely on and fluctuates as financial conditions change.

On a broader level, we’re very conscious of living within our means as a business in order to stay debt free and reduce financial pressures. We manage our cashflow in such a way that we don’t rely on investors, meaning my co-founder Yousif Aslam and I have maximum control in any situation.

Another consideration in tough times is carefully controlling our franchise growth to ensure that those teams can still make money. We look at each proposed location individually and weigh up the strengths and possible pitfalls, and where we can negotiate favourable deals for our franchisees.

Refine your menu and reframe your offering

Making your menu work as hard as possible is key. It may sound obvious but focusing on your bestsellers and cost-effective options that appeal to customers is a vital strategy step. This is evidenced by Heavenly Desserts’ tapas dessert menu success.

Franchisee for its Walthamstow branch Yusuf Ismail said: “We have seen a huge rise in customers opting for these shareable plates which offer a taste of three or five larger items on the menu. Customers don’t have to commit to larger portions or higher prices and still get a dose of indulgence. This often encourages buyers to try the menu items they’ve sampled and many become return customers as a result.”

A menu option which gives customers a deal but doesn’t feel any less decadent has proved popular, especially as the cost of living crisis begins to bite.

Yusuf added: “Giving consumers full information on pricing via our new window menus has also helped footfall. We are leaders in the luxury dessert dining category and our interior makes this clear on first impression, so giving clarity on prices helps passers-by to realise that we offer luxury at an affordable price point.”

Apply skills and tactics learned from lockdown

The global pandemic was an unprecedented challenge for all UK business sectors, but just because lockdown has ended doesn’t mean we should forget the strategies and innovation many used to stay afloat.

During Covid-19, Heavenly Desserts gained steam and thrived as we opened 17 new stores, including our Walthamstow branch in London. Through utilising delivery services like Deliveroo and Just Eat, we were able to bring customers the experiences they felt that they were missing out on in the comfort of their own homes. Many customers are once again choosing to stay in and celebrate with friends rather than risk unreliable train schedules, with pubs and restaurants estimating this will impact a third of their bookings.

It’s important not to neglect these delivery options, continuing to market special offers, bundles and promotions exclusive to these platforms. Without the added cost of travel, customers can still have a luxurious night in with the food and drink that makes this season so special.

Marketing and social media pushes

It might seem counter intuitive but in times of economic stress, it’s vital to invest in marketing, influencer partnerships and social media. This became a crucial part of many marketing strategies during the pandemic as people experienced the world through their phones and it’s safe to say it’s stuck, with 40% of Gen Z preferring to use platforms like TikTok and Instagram over traditional search engines like Google.

As poor weather and travel difficulties affect footfall and passing trade, reaching customers in their homes becomes increasingly important. Employing the right tactics to reach your desired audiences is an investment many brands capitalise on to increase brand awareness and ultimately, drive sales.

Cybersecurity Is a Major Risk for SMEs In 2023

Cybersecurity is a very real threat to the UK’s 5.5 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The often-limited cybersecurity tools many SMEs use to protect their operations mean they are the weakest link, making them an easy target for cyber criminals.

Attacks can be devastating, resulting in anything from destroying vital systems and leaking confidential customer information to demanding significant ransom payments. In most cases, they end up costing significant amount of money and resources.

While SMEs are battling a number of pressing issues including rising inflation, energy costs and weaking demand, they cannot afford to ignore cybersecurity in the year ahead.

A growing threat

According to insurer Hiscox, one small business is hacked every 19 seconds, while four in five (79%) SMEs have experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months, according to research from Typetec.

One in four UK SMEs has been targeted by ransomware within the past year, with almost half (47%) of those falling victim having paid the ransom to regain access to their files or systems. The survey by Avast found that SMEs targeted by ransomware suffered significant ill-effects from cyberattacks: 41% lost data while 34% lost access to devices.

The UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 found that 31% of businesses estimate they were attacked at least once a week. One in five businesses (20%) say they experienced a negative outcome as a direct consequence of a cyberattack, while one third (35%) experiencing at least one negative impact.

Even the largest firms with the biggest budgets are worried. Research from EY and IIF found that 72% of global chief risk officers (CROs) view cybersecurity as the top risk in the year ahead. The number of CROs citing cyberattacks as the top geopolitical risk jumped from 39% last year to 62% this year.

With geopolitical tensions and economic challenges set to continue, we can expect the amount and sophistication of cyberattacks to increase in the year ahead.

Dropping budgets amidst other priorities

Awareness of cybersecurity measures has grown post-COVID 19. As small businesses relied more on online sales to help them weather ongoing lockdowns and embraced remote working practices, many also ramped up efforts to protect their operations.

However, despite increased awareness of the growing cyber threat, a third of SMEs (32%) do not have an effective disaster recovery plan in place.

Even larger firms feel unprepared, with 58% of CROs citing their firm’s inability to manage cybersecurity risks as their top strategic risk over the next three years.

Worse yet, the average cybersecurity budget for a small business is set halve in 2023 despite four in five (79%) SMEs having experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months, a new survey from Typetec shows. SMEs will spend an average of around £50,000 on cybersecurity over the next year, compared to around £100,000 in 2022.

This reduction is broadly down to SMEs struggling in other areas. Smaller businesses tend to run on tighter margins and current economic uncertainty is threatening the future of many.

That said, one cyberattack is all it takes to destroy a business, so it’s vital SMEs continue to invest in their defences.

How to protect your business

Cybersecurity is not a zero-sum game. Attackers just need to be right once so it’s vital SMEs put in the right measures to thoroughly secure their business and shrink their attack surface.

There are several simple things businesses can do to protect themselves:

Policy – An achievable starting point is simply setting out a clear cybersecurity and information security policy and ensuring everyone in the business is well aware of protocols and best practices. This would also involve establishing clear rules on how devices are used, how teams share documents and so on.

Government advice and accreditation – The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dedicated information available for small businesses providing practical technical advice which can significantly reduce the chances of a business becoming a victim of cybercrime. It even offers a Cyber Essentials accreditation which can demonstrate your businesses has adequate measures in place, providing reassurance to clients.

Preventing unauthorised access – Tailored and controlled access can be another effective way of improving cybersecurity. By making this as granular as possible, senior managers can control the features their team members can access. If unauthorised access were to occur, it would make it easier for the security team to identify and address the source without the risk of system-wide contagion.

Security protocols – Any system needs to incorporate the latest security and encryption protocols, even if a business feels it is too small to be worth a cybercriminal’s time. This can include multi-channel two-factor authentication, four-eyes checks, a complete audit trail of all activity, continuous backups and much more.

Amid unprecedented levels of volatility and global uncertainty, cybersecurity has returned to the top of the list of near-term risks for businesses across the globe. It’s important SMEs prioritise their cyber defences and regularly review, test, challenge and update measures to protect their business from the rising cyber threat.

Why Marketing Matters During a Recession

Sam Martin-Ross is Founder and Director of digital marketing agency, Digital Uncut.

The business world has shown immense resilience in recent years, but as we kick off the new year it seems a recession is looming on the horizon. While Bloomberg reports that 60% of economists predict a Euro-zone recession, a recent survey from Nationwide suggests 70% of business owners expect a recession within the next six months, confirming that companies are set to face another challenging year.

The natural instinct for many business owners is to reign in as much spending as possible in preparation for weathering an economic storm, and marketing budgets are often one of the first areas to feel the pinch. However, a recession means it is often more vital than ever to keep up clear lines of communication with your audience in order to engage and convert customers.

Instead of axing marketing altogether, what is required is a highly strategic, focused approach to your marketing efforts. This can not only help to strengthen brand identity during an economic downturn, but also ensure your business continues to thrive.

Pulling the plug on your marketing communications and going radio silent at the first sign of a recession is an ill-advised strategy. Though it may help to save on marketing budget in the short-term, from a long-term perspective the damage outweighs any potential savings.

Consistency is key

Not only does suddenly pulling your marketing communications project an image of panic, but building trust and consideration with your target customers requires consistent messaging. Going silent creates a void that your competition will be only too happy to step in and fill, while hard-won clients and customers are more likely to go elsewhere.

Successful marketing should be focused on positioning your brand and company as an industry leader, and strong, consistent marketing efforts help to establish a sense of longevity and stability around your business and build confidence and trust in your audience.

Delving into data

While pulling marketing spend is undesirable, in times of recession it is more important than ever to ensure that your budget is being put to the best possible use it can be. 

It is prudent to pay attention to your analytics and key performance indicators to measure the efficacy of each of your campaigns. Throwing money at campaigns that simply are not working is never a wise idea, but during a downturn can be truly disastrous for business, so it is important to use the information you have at your disposal to ensure you are setting realistic targets, and trimming back on campaigns that are not delivering results.

A good place to start when it comes to data is getting to grips with the cost per qualified lead or new customer to establish the effectiveness of your campaigns. Understanding where your customers are coming from and meeting them where they are is critical for prioritising additional sales and marketing efforts, as there is little point in pouring limited resources into channels you are not seeing a return on. Tracking your marketing channels and taking note of the keywords and targeted options that are working can be invaluable for strategically scaling your marketing operations during a recession, while getting the most out of your budget.

Messaging matters

Given the economic climate, people are understandably cautious about their spending, and belts are being tightened wherever possible. From a marketing standpoint, it is important to take the time to analyse your current messaging and ensure it is in line with consumer expectations.

Focusing on highly targeted campaigns with messaging that centres on value will allow you to build a connection with your audience, while also positioning your campaign as both relevant and timely. Paying attention to how consumer spending is changing within your target demographic is key to tailoring your campaigns, while ensuring you are continuing to cater to your audience appropriately.

Though times of recession pose challenges, they also offer a chance to increase brand loyalty with your existing customer and client base. Customer loyalty is especially important during an economic downturn and evaluating your existing loyalty schemes and programs will not only earn you kudos with your best customers, but also help to boost trust and engagement. 

Final thoughts

While it looks like 2023 is shaping up to be another challenging year for businesses and consumers alike, there are also plenty of opportunities to be had. Using data to your advantage and taking a considered, strategic approach to your marketing communications is vital to weathering an economic storm, projecting an image of stability, and building both trust and loyalty towards your brand.

The Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing In 2023

For SMEs this year, digital marketing continues to play a critical role in the performance of businesses around the globe. Whether you’re the owner of the company or an employee of the work being produced, spending adequate time researching what works for your niche is key.

There is a mass misconception that digital marketing can be damaging – especially if you learn from the wrong people. However, if you take the leap with a handful of professionals, your common sense will allow you to reap the benefits of some of the techniques you’re learning.

Understanding the fundamentals of business digital marketing is what is required before you begin learning the technical aspects – thus, read along with us to fathom the basics.

Types of Digital Marketing Strategies to Focus on

With every social platform and tool being thrown at you, saying it’s the next ‘best thing’ – it can sometimes be challenging to understand what works best. Now, of course, every business is different. Yet, there continue to be the most successful ways of marketing your business – amongst what other platforms are spouting at you.

Online Advertising

You have most likely clicked an advertisement before and purchased whatever it is that they were promoting. Whether this is an e-commerce product or service, there is something about certain advertising that grabs your attention… and you buy.

If you could develop a strategy with excellent creatives, killer copywriting and relevant/valuable ideas to persuade your target audience – this will be the main cause of success in your online advertising.

Taking advantage of the platforms that are growing at the fastest rate or being used the most, such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and many more will permit you to test different audiences and see what works optimally in your field of work.

SEO/Content Marketing

Along with having paid media blueprints laid out, you will also need organic content that can grow without the need for consistent investments. Incorporating an SEO strategy that allows users to find you on Google… along with posting frequent and relevant content on your social media platforms will give you the finest chance of reaching the desired assemblage.

Without increasing the output of your search engine-optimised content marketing strategies, you’ll end up being reliant on your advertising plan. Although it can be important to focus on one thing at a time – within digital marketing, the ones creating the most content at the highest quality will win.

Across all of your social media channels, you must be active. Additionally, if you have a website built that you’re happy with, posting consistent content that ranks using tools and SEO techniques will blow away your local, national and even international competition (depending on your current business goals).

Email Marketing/CRM Management

Creating automatic structures that take away some of the manual work that you need to complete is the ultimate goal. With email marketing and CRM systems, you have the potential to leave the flows, campaigns and systems running (if they work) without you even touching them.

When your SME begins to become automated, this is where you begin to flourish more in the front end of your business. Knowing that you have pieces of your backend dealt with gives you the freedom to prioritise additional important tasks.


Focusing on the 3 key fundamentals of digital marketing above will help you to optimise and prime an audience that you want to sell to. We all know that clients or customers that aren’t clued up about our field of work can be a pain to deal with.

Therefore, if you take into consideration the critical points from this post and work on them with great discipline – your results will begin to reflect your hard work.

However, if you don’t have the time to learn these critical skills that are required for increased revenue through your social media platforms, website, etc – Fuelius are a trusted inbound marketing agency that believes in delivering the results that you’re looking for.

Customer experience/ client experience must be your main priority – consequently, taking care of it by yourself or passing it on to a trusted source will ensure that your customers enjoy the video, written or audio content that you produce.

Things We Wish We Were Told by Entrepreneurs Before Starting Up a Business

It takes a lot of courage to step out into your chosen industry and start a business from the ground up. While there is an element of luck involved, being prepared for all outcomes is crucial to your business surviving and learning more about the competitive world of startups.

There are nearly 2 billion Google Search results for “how to make a business successful”, so looking online for the answer to make sure your startup stays afloat can be a bit overwhelming. Advice from those who have seen success first-hand could provide more insight than the numerous corporate blogs.

Gareth Smyth, founder and CEO of Hilton Smythe business advisors, said “New entrepreneurs need to conduct thorough market research, check out local competition, investigate labour supply, and ensure that they are solving a problem within their chosen sector. They need to have a very clear idea what their company values are, and how they can distinguish themselves from competitors.

“Many new entrepreneurs also underestimate start-up costs, especially where there are physical premises – from property rents, commercial insurance, digital infrastructure, marketing costs, equipment and supplies, stock, and staffing and employment costs, there is an awful lot to think about. It is for this reason that we recommend seeking advice from a trusted financial adviser.

“It is also important to stress the importance of delegation and hiring the expertise that you lack; this will increase productivity and efficiency, prevent burnout, and ultimately improve the quality of your service.”

In this article, we’ve selected a few quotes from entrepreneurs who have seen success with their startup businesses and how we can use their words and apply them.

“If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” – Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb

Airbnb has grown from the idea of founders Chesky and Joe Gebbia in their living room in San Francisco in 2007 to a globally recognised hosting and accommodation business valued at $113 billion. In the above quote from Chesky, he identifies that the idea for the business comes from the need to solve an issue he faced.

You may be tempted to jump into an industry you’re not familiar with if you can identify an area that needs filling. Knowing your industry and the problems your knowledge can solve can help provide your business with a direction to follow.

This is reinforced by advice from Virta Health co-founder Sami Inkinen, who said, “Starting a company extracts so much energy and conviction that not having a clear-cut goal and meaningful mission can hamper your success. This is why, at Virta, our mission was clearly defined: reverse early type-2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025.”

“If you can offer a free tier that provides much value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly.” – Melanie Perkins, Co-founder of Canva

This advice slots into finding your audience within your industry. It can be difficult to display your value to potential investors or customers, so offering some form of a trial period or free tier can help get your foot in the door and make them want to pay for more of your service.

Once you have an established audience that you can rely on to pay for your services, you can look at upselling and progressing to the next level. When building a plan for upselling to your customers, remember that everyone in the sale is human with their hesitancies. Subroto Bagchi, a co-founder of Mindtree, provided insightful commentary on this: “Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.”

“You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” -Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot

Possibly the most important advice to accept is that failure is a natural part of building a business. There is a significant amount of risk when setting up a new business, with statistics showing that around 20% of startups are dissolved in the first year as a company.

There is every chance that despite examining forecasts and having a unique and creative solution to offer a market, it doesn’t work out the way you hoped it would. This can be disheartening and can have a knock-on effect on your business and its situation, but one thing we can take from Jessica Herrin’s quote is not to treat failure as the end of your business.

Resilience can be a key factor in the survival of a business. While you may experience financial shortcomings or, due to competitive market trends, sticking with your knowledge and your team, you may see fortunes change.

The Value of the Visual for Marketing Success

Anyone conducting any kind of marketing work understands that it can be a little tricky. It’s not just the problem of getting customers to buy into your brand and develop new ways of keeping them interested in what you are doing – it is also the daunting levels of competition that businesses face. 

Futhermore,you might be surprised to learn that 50% of all of the new information that we learn has been forgotten within just one hour. Fast forward to a week, and an incredible 90% of what we learned has been lost. This is just one of the additional challenges marketers face and attempt to overcome. 

Yes, the truth is that if you are going to make an impact with your marketing materials, you are going to need to stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to do this – innovative thinking, witty writing, tapping into customers needs – but perhaps nothing can have the same impact as great visual marketing.

The power of visual marketing

When we talk about visual marketing, we are referring to marketing work that calls on the importance of the visual. This might mean anything from video content, the images on your website, or other visual tools. And while we might be used to thinking about the text on the website as the most important content, visual marketing has become a major factor in recent years.

Interestingly, when visuals are used it has shown to improve learning by up to 400%. This shows that when you can attach images and other visuals to pieces of information, they become more memorable and easy to retain. In marketing, this is crucial, as you want the viewer to remember as much of what you are talking about as possible.

Yes, it is clear to see that visuals can have a really vital impact on marketing. Your customers retain information about your marketing work better when visuals are used. So there is no excuse not to make them an important part of your campaign. But what are the specific ways that visual marketing can be used?

  • Innovative web design

You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and you have to remember that this is true of your website as well. When a customer visits your website for the first time, you are presenting them with an idea of what your business is like. This means that if it looks old, stale and tired, customers will apply those feelings to your business. Alternatively, when it looks slick and original, customers take notice. 

Of course, it is important for websites to be functional and intelligent, and over the years there have been many challenges with sites putting too much emphasis on appearance, but then not working as effectively as you would like. Today, the best websites combine a sensible structure underneath with dynamic visuals. 

  • Quality photography

Too many businesses opt for photography that simply isn’t up to the standard that you need. You might think that it is fine simply to use stock images, but stock images stand out, especially as they are all taken on different cameras and create a patchwork approach to the visuals on your website. 

Generally, the next attempt at photography is carried out by the marketing team using the camera on their phones. While this might seem the obvious move when everyone has a high definition camera in their pocket – smartphone cameras don’t actually offer the kind of quality needed for great web photography.

The ability to use lens filters, for example, on a professional grade camera can dramatically alter the quality of the image and turn it into something that is striking and has a lot more power in terms of visual marketing. 

  • Infographics

“An infographic uses graphic design, data visualisation, and short text to get a message across. And it’s all the rage right now,” explains Milena Alexova, writing for Xara “Everyone is creating infographics nowadays. But not everyone is creating effective infographics. There’s an art to creating infographics that go viral.”

Indeed, perhaps more than any other kind of visual content, infographics need a lot of other hard work in marketing to get them seen. However, once they have been able to be effective, they can actually generate a huge amount of incoming traffic and publicity for a business. 

  • Video content

Video content is increasingly becoming by far the most viewed content on the internet and recent studies such as this one, conducted by Wyzowl, only confirm this further. The trend also strongly indicates that video will certainly not become any less important in the coming years. However, as we have talked about with photography, the quality produced is of paramount importance.

Investing in video content might seem expensive, especially when marketing can have so many expenses, but video content can be used across multiple channels including social, media and your own website. 

How to make the best use of visual marketing

Creating stunning visual marketing content is a part of the challenge, but you also need to understand how to deploy it most effectively. Understanding how to make the best use of your visual materials is key to getting the most out of them. 

  • Encourage sharing – visual content is most effective when it is promoted not by the company that created it, but by others. Adding social sharing buttons to all of your visual content can make it convenient for users to promote it with a single mouse click. 
  • Focus on branding – you should ensure that all of your visual marketing materials are created with one eye on branding. Visual marketing is most effective when you have a visual style that is instantly recognisble. 
  • Work across platforms – you should showcase your work across a range of platforms. Images might be great for the website, but they are also powerful on social media, in email campaigns and more. 

Holiday Lets: How is the UK Hospitality Sector Evolving?

Beyond the usual lines for security and waiting for your bags after the flight, in many areas of the UK, we have been seeing huge queues and backlogs at airports throughout the year.

A perfect storm of staff shortages and a pent-up demand for trips abroad have all contributed to the chaotic scenes. This, coupled with the current cost of living crisis, has meant many families have been choosing to save themselves the pain and the money of flights by spending their holidays in the UK instead.

This continued high demand for staycations has resulted in an ever-increasing number of holiday lets available in the UK. In England alone, there has been a 40% rise over the past three years. Nationally, according to the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), between 2015 and 2021, there was a 1,000% increase in short-term lets.

Converting a second home for investment

Converting a second home, annex, or even a spare room into a holiday rental has become a second source of income for many. According to a recent survey conducted by Airbnb, over a third of current UK Hosts responded that they had decided to become Hosts to help combat the cost of living crisis. The average Airbnb also generates around £6,000 a year, so it’s not difficult to see why more people are signing up.

The Sykes Staycation Index 2021 from Sykes Holiday Cottages reported that enquiries from second-home owners looking to convert their property into a holiday let were up by 91%.

Airbnb occupancy rates are also going up in the UK. This suggests that the popularity of these types of holiday lets is only growing – but what impact is this having on the hospitality industry?

The impact on hospitality

There’s no doubt that the hospitality industry is already facing huge challenges. Whether it’s staff shortages, soaring costs of food and energy, or tax rises, hospitality’s post-pandemic recovery is being hampered.

Despite this, revenue for businesses is expected to rise by 30%, according to the recent UK Hospitality Challenges report. Most of this is expected to come from food and drink outlets such as restaurants, pubs, and bars.

More holiday lets can mean more visitors in certain areas who will go on to spend money at local businesses, restaurants, attractions and so on. So, in some ways, more rentals can give the hospitality industry a boost.

For more traditional accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, however, the rise in short-term holiday lets could see more of a negative impact. Currently, the number of holidaymakers staying in hotels versus holiday rentals is roughly equal. However, if more people choose rentals, hotels will feel the impact of less income.

The impact on local economies

Apart from the benefits listed above, a growing number of holiday rentals can also have a positive impact in other areas. They can create jobs not only in other hospitality sectors but also in services that those rentals will require, including cleaners, tradespeople, and decorators to spruce up properties. In fact, in employment terms, tourism has been the fastest-growing sector since 2010. It is predicted to be worth £257.4 billion by 2025, according to Visit Britain.

However, holiday rentals have been receiving more negative attention recently as their increased number can lower the amount of available housing. This then pushes up property prices, which residents struggle to afford. Outside of tourist seasons, it can also leave small villages emptier than they would otherwise be. This has a negative impact on local businesses.

Because of this, calls are growing for more regulation of the holiday rental market.  Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales have already begun to implement new regulations, and they are currently under consideration in England.

How will hospitality look in the future?

Since its inception in California in 2008, Airbnb has been a huge disruptor in the hospitality industry. It has grown into the third most used online travel agency (OTA) after Booking.com and Expedia.

One of the main reasons customers choose rentals like Airbnb is because it offers a more local experience. Hosts will commonly chat with the visitors and give recommendations for places to go.

Taking lessons from Airbnb, the hospitality sector is beginning to diversify its offerings. Premium services, meal kits from restaurants, and more locally-sourced produce are just some of the ways hospitality is attempting to recover in the post-pandemic world.

Hospitality is shifting more towards creating memorable experiences for guests. So before getting out the step ladders and painting, it’s worth considering what value a refurbishment can bring. Does it create a more personalised, localised experience for guests? Can it be made more customisable for those seeking more luxury staycations?

These are the questions that the hospitality industry will find itself asking going into the future.

How SMEs Can Fund Expansion – 6 Innovative Strategies To Consider

Starting a business requires a lot of time and effort, but alongside this, it requires monetary input. Financing a startup business, especially one that may be fairly niche or if you have limited or no contacts within your industry, is naturally going to be difficult. In fact, it’s become much harder today to raise funding for a startup than ever, and that means it’s important to put plenty of thought into this step during the planning stages to ensure you have as good a chance as possible to fund your business. However, while the difficulty of funding a startup from the beginning can be quite great, it’s still not necessarily smooth sailing once you begin searching for further funding in the future. For example, when you’re looking to expand your small or medium-sized enterprise. To help you with this process, we’ve listed six innovative funding ideas, such as acquiring small business loans,  that you can consider when creating a plan for expanding your business. The key thing to remember here is to take things slowly, do your research, and stick to your plans.

Debt Financing

The first option here is perhaps one of the most common options that people think about when looking to fund a business expansion or venture. This is where you borrow from a bank or other lender and repay that loan with an agreed repayment plan. This is the same as if you got yourself a personal loan for home renovations or bought a car on finance. This step allows you to retain full ownership and control of the business, as you don’t have to give up any equity in the business itself when taking out business loans. Naturally, this makes debt financing a good option for risk-averse entrepreneurs as you simply have to think about paying back the loan rather than any other things, such as investors pulling out or having less control over your business.

Equity Financing

Equity financing is where you sell a stake in your company to an investor or multiple investors in exchange for capital. If you feel confident in your future success as a business and have a proven track record already, this can be a great option. This is why it’s a good option for those looking to expand, as you have already proven that you can survive as a business. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of equity financing. While this type of business funding may allow you to build up some significant capital which can then be invested back into your business for growth, you’re still giving up a partial stake in your company. If you’re particularly attached to your business and have a strict vision of how you want the business to develop, bringing other people into that business, who will now have a claim on how it operates and the direction you should take it, may cause disruptions and lead to stressful disagreements.

Government Grants

Of course, this next option depends on the country your business operates in. However, if you live in the UK, there are lots of potential government grants you could get to help you with funding your business. The UK government naturally wants to help businesses grow as this positively impacts the overall economy of specific regions and the country. There are pros and cons, as with anything, to acquiring a government grant for funding your business. First of all, they are non-repayable, so you won’t have to worry about losing monthly income to cover the repayments you’d have to make when repaying business loans. Grants are also widely available as it generally benefits the government to invest in small and medium businesses as they will then offer jobs to locals and help to grow the economy. The disadvantages, however, are relatively restrictive. Writing a grant proposal can be a very lengthy process and may take a significant amount of time to get accepted. If it does get accepted, you are also bound to a contract which will often align with the government’s own wants and needs. This can mean that your spending will be monitored and even controlled to ensure you stick to the contract. They are also generally short-term solutions due to the smaller sums of money that are on offer. This means you’re likely going to be choosing one of the other funding strategies alongside this anyway.

Small Business Loans

Acquiring a small business loan could be the best option for you for a few different reasons. If you’re looking to grow your business, then the provision of extra capital from a small business loan is going to help you to do that. You can use these funds to purchase new equipment, hire additional staff, or invest in marketing and advertising efforts, all of which are key elements in the expansion process. As with any loan or financing strategy, it’s important to get advice on small business loans before you commit to this, as you want to ensure you’re choosing the right loan for you and that you’re going to be able to comfortably pay the loan back on time. When it does come to repaying a business loan, however, doing so in a timely fashion can increase your credit scores, making it even easier to borrow again in the future. As you then go on to use that business loan to expand your business, you’ll naturally increase the chances of your business making more profit. This then makes it even easier to pay off that loan.

Angel Investors

Another great option for a funding strategy is to seek an angel investor in your business. Of course, this isn’t always something that any business owner can find, and you will still have to convince that investor to take a chance on your business. Angel investors can often be entrepreneurs themselves, however, and if you do manage to get one involved in investing in your business, you can potentially benefit from more than simply their funding. Think of an angel investor as acquiring investment from one of the famed celebrity investors on the BBC show, Dragon’s DenThey will offer their insight and business experience to you as well as a monetary investment in exchange for a percentage of your business. This acquisition of a share in your company means that the investor is going to feel obliged and encouraged to offer you the best advice possible, as well as give your business the attention it needs to grow and become even more successful. This is because they have a vested interest now after buying into your business. Essentially, it is partially theirs now, and so you can generally trust them to put time and effort into the business, depending on how much they have invested, of course.

Crowdfunding Initiatives

Our last option here could be a great alternative to the previously mentioned and more traditional business funding strategies, such as debt and equity financing. Crowdfunding can be done via online platforms such as Kickstarter and Crowdfunder, and this allows businesses, as well as individuals, to raise money from a large number of people. This is often done in exchange for rewards and perks such as free products, discounts, or in some cases, equity in the business itself. There are also a few potential downsides to consider when it comes to choosing to crowdfund, over attractive options such as SME loans, however. First, it can be challenging to stand out in the over-saturated crowdfunding market and attracting the attention of potential backers is much harder today than it was five or ten years ago. Successfully running a crowdfunding campaign requires a well-crafted pitch, attractive and clear rewards or perks, and, as with any campaign, a bulletproof marketing strategy. Additionally, crowdfunding campaigns often come with deadlines and targets. While you can simply create a new crowdfunding target or use a platform that allows you to extend the crowdfunding period and add more rewards, these deadlines can still be stressful. Some platforms also only allow you to collect on the crowdfunding if the target is hit and will instead refund backers if it isn’t hit.

Best Yacht Charter Experts of the 2022

The results are in, and PlainSailing.com have been confirmed as the Best Yacht Charter Brokers – Europe at the influential LUXlife Nautical Tourism Awards.

The travel industry were badly hit by COVID, but PlainSailing.com have bounced back, and impressed the judges with the absolute commitment to customer service, and their dedication to bookings – which is backed up by the fact that they have a 5/5 customer service rating on Feefo.com, the independent travel review specialists.

Sailing holidays are currently trending and many people from different parts of the world are flocking to several holiday destinations to enjoy the quality time that can perfectly match their requirements – with the privacy and small groups affording maximum safety and protection in the post-COVID world.

The excitement gets overloaded when the entire family is on a single yacht in the middle of the sea or ocean and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the blue water under the glittering sun.  The popularity of sailing holidays has increased and this is now the most impactful way to enjoy the holiday that can rightly meet the needs of the family members.

Popular Sailing Vacation Destinations

Whilst you can charter a yacht or catamaran in many locations, there are some countries that are better than others for easy sailing holidays. Several destinations are considered hotspots for family sailing vacations. These include the Greek Islands, Caribbean Islands, and the coast of Croatia along with other European countries. Imagine spending some quality time with your family members on your favourite boat, setting up anchor on a beachfront location whilst avoiding the crowd and get the best of mother nature.

Choose the Right Package

There are several packages that make the sailing vacation as simple and easy as possible, and truly relaxing.  If you don’t have the sailing qualifications yourself, you can hire a skipper to take you where you want to go.  He’ll know all the hidden gems in the area that only the locals know about, and give you an incredible holiday experience.

For extra luxury then you can add a hostess – she’ll clean and turn down the beds each night, and make light breakfasts and lunches.  And if you’re feeling particularly decadent then you can also hire a Chef – he’ll cook gourmet food for you on-board, and ensure that you have a brilliant culinary experience, even if you’re moored up in a secluded bay, on a private island miles from civilisation.

Family vacations mainly start from three days to seven days and these days will remain the most incredible day of your life because the experience you are going to gain is completely unmatchable and unique.

Other Water Activities

When sailing together, customers like to engage in other water sports activities, which makes sense given that you can stop sailing at remote islands, or wherever the conditions are optimal for your chosen activity.  You could go beachcombing or perhaps (if you’re feeling a little more adventurous) snorkelling
and scuba diving. Grab a wake board, hire a jet ski, or even a huge inflatable slide that all the family will enjoy bouncing and jumping into the sea from.

PlainSailing.com can help you arrange all of this, and deserve all the acclaim and attention that comes with the award.

SME News Announces the Winners of the 2022 UK Finance Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – SME News Magazine unveils the winners of the 2022 UK Finance Awards.

In its fourth year, the UK Finance Awards is here to present a variety of companies that have altered their industries forever. Although 2022 was a turbulent year for many, these businesses triumphed and became hugely influential entities within the world of finance. From management to mortgages, brokers to accountants, credit agencies to financial planning, and much more, this awards programme offers a huge amount of support and inspiration for us all.

With regards to each of the businesses winning awards in the UK Finance Awards this year, we’ve found comfort in their services. Their reliable nature ensures we have everything we need for a sturdy future ahead, and we look forward to seeing where their expertise takes them next.

Awards Coordinator, Laura O’Carroll, wanted to comment on the success of this year’s programme. She said, “It has been a delight hosting the UK Finance Awards, 2022, and I would like to celebrate each and every one of these achievements. Here at SME News, we take huge pride in our winner’s accomplishments as they make innovation in the realm of business possible.”

SME News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their resourcefulness and hard work, differentiating them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the SME News website (https://www.sme-news.co.uk/awards/finance-awards/) where you can access the winner’s supplement.



About SME News

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

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

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

5 Tips for a Successful Employee Training

Training is essential in any business environment, as it helps employees gain the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job well. However, training your employees can be a challenging task. You need to ensure that the training is effective, efficient, and provides value to you and the employee. Here are five tips to ensure all employees receive the best instruction when learning new skills or tasks.

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Establishing objectives and expectations will help ensure that each employee is held accountable for learning the material presented in training. Additionally, clear goals and expectations will provide a benchmark so everyone involved can measure progress or success throughout the process. For example, if you are teaching a new software program, ensure that the end goal is for all participants to be able to utilise this tool proficiently. Outlining these expectations at the course’s beginning will help employees focus on their objectives and feel motivated to achieve them.

Offer Microlearning Opportunities

Microlearning can be a valuable tool when it comes to employee training. This type of learning involves shorter lessons designed to teach employees one particular skill or concept at a time rather than a longer course focused on an overall topic. By breaking the material down into small chunks, employees can concentrate better and retain more information, helping them to master the material more quickly. Microlearning opportunities can also be beneficial in helping employees review and refresh their skills when needed, allowing them to stay current on new developments or changes in their field.

Make Learning Engaging

Employee training should be engaging and interactive. That is why you need to know how to make training more fun in the workplace. This can include utilising videos, quizzes, games, or simulations to help reinforce key concepts in a fun and entertaining way. Allowing for open dialogue and discussion between the instructor and participants can help cultivate a more engaging learning environment. When people are engaged in learning, they are more likely to retain information.

Utilize Technology

With the rise of e-learning platforms, companies have access to various digital tools that can help them deliver quality training programs efficiently and cost-effectively. Digital resources like eBooks or videos can supplement classroom instruction, allowing employees to review material independently. Technology opens up more opportunities for remote training, allowing employees from different locations to participate in the same course. Additionally, utilising technology saves businesses money by eliminating costly travel expenses if participants need to attend offsite training or seminars.

Provide Support After Training

To ensure that employees can utilise their new skills and knowledge, support them after the course has ended. This could involve arranging follow-up sessions, offering resources they can reference, or organising mentorships for those needing additional help. Additionally, allowing employees to share their experiences and ask questions can be very beneficial in helping them gain confidence with the material.

Creating an effective employee training program requires careful planning, execution, and follow-up. While it can be time-consuming and costly, the benefits of investing in your employees will pay off in the long run. By utilising microlearning opportunities, making learning engaging, utilising technology to deliver courses, and providing support after training is complete, companies can ensure that their employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Why You Should Use Marketing Analytics Tools In Your Business

In order to give your business the best chance for success, it’s essential that you incorporate marketing analytics tools.

With so many different options available, you need to find the most effective software to take your marketing to the next level.

Read on to learn what marketing analytics tools are, and how expert software such as call tracking can benefit your business.

What are marketing analytics tools?

Marketing analytics tools allow you to efficiently monitor, adjust, and evaluate various aspects of your marketing performance.

They’ll provide a range of data that spans across every activity, campaign, and channel, to give you the most accurate overview of what customers are engaging with, and why.

The more informed you are of your marketing performance, the easier it will be to make the necessary changes, and significantly increase your leads and sales.

When it comes to the type of tools you need, we suggest exploring Mediahawk’s marketing analytics tools, where you’ll find expert call tracking software.

Why is call tracking the best marketing analytics tool?

Call tracking provides some of the most crucial and beneficial analytics for your marketing. Firstly, it allows you to precisely track all your customer calls, and see important data on each one, including:

The area code of a caller

A caller’s phone number

The abandonment rate of your calls

The duration of call rings

As well as this, the software also offers insights and reports into customer engagement across your business, using a variety of advanced metrics, such as:

The volume of calls from marketing sources – You’ll have a clear view of how many calls are generated from each of your marketing sources, thus showing your strongest areas for interaction.

Inbound enquiries from different activities – When you have inbound enquiries from customers, you can track the activities they visited beforehand.

The sources which lead to website visits – For each visit to your website, you can trace the touchpoints interacted with by the customer, before they came to this point.

How can call tracking help improve your business?

Call tracking can massively revamp your business in a range of ways, such as the following:

More marketing visibility

Call tracking offers full visibility on your entire marketing performance, so you can see the strongest points where engagement is high, and vice versa.

Using the insights and reports from the software, you can create customer journey maps to outline interaction across each activity. This way, you’ll easily see the number of leads and sales being generated from every activity, campaign, and channel – at all times.

The more visibility and clarity you have over your marketing, the more successful your new strategies and approaches will be.

Improved marketing budget

With call tracking software, you can create a more cost-efficient marketing budget for your business.

Using the software’s analytics, you can identify which of your marketing activities are delivering the highest number of leads and sales – and those which aren’t.

As a result, you can then direct more of your investments towards your successful marketing areas, to ensure they continue generating high engagement.

On top of this, you can also invest in creating new activities which replicate this success – this could include things such as a call to action, for example.

At the same time, you can withdraw your investments from any activities which are underperforming in terms of engagement.

This will allow you to only invest in marketing efforts generating high leads and sales, thus giving you a greater return on investment.

7 Simple Ways to Reduce Small Business Costs

Spending less is a quick and easy way to solve cash flow difficulties or boost profits for any small business. The execution of a business expansion plan often necessitates cost reduction measures, as do periods of high inflation, congested marketplaces, and difficult financial conditions.

It can be difficult to determine where to make cuts in costs without having a noticeable impact on revenue or daily operations. Read on for seven of the best ideas regarding reducing small business costs so you can put some plans into action.

Find New Suppliers

You might be missing out on great deals if you’ve been using the same supplier chain for years. If you aren’t already getting the best deals on products and services, it’s worth your time to look into alternative suppliers and wholesalers.

Look At Your Fixed Costs

Making a list of all your fixed costs is the next step after analysing your business’s variable expenses. Rent, employee pay, insurance, and office supplies are all examples of fixed costs. Although it may be more challenging to lower or cut fixed and operational costs, it is still possible to do so.

Try A Serviced Office

In a serviced office setting, you only pay for the workspace you actually use. Every customer gets unrestricted access to the provider-managed common areas, including toilets, kitchens, and meeting spaces. Since you’ll only be responsible for the cost of the desk you use with serviced offices in Soho, this is a huge cost reduction for companies, as they would have to pay for the entire office space if they rented it the traditional way.

Use Part-Time Or Freelance Staff

Freelancers and contract workers, especially those in their forties and fifties, represent a sizable and underutilised source of skill. A skilled, dedicated, and well-informed workforce can be found in this area for a reasonable wage. They should be easy to work with because their priority is serving customers rather than advancing their own careers.

Try Digital Marketing

Digital marketing should be a part of any company’s expansion plan, whether the goal is to increase foot traffic in a physical location or revenue generated through an online store. Instead of spending money on a consultant or marketing firm, business owners can save money by acquiring this valuable digital skill on their own. There are also many free internet tools for marketing content that can be used to aid in the marketing efforts of businesses of all sizes.

Focus On One Thing

It’s always preferable for a company’s long-term success to have several sources of income, but this may not be the case when a company is first getting started. Reviewing the success or failure of individual products is a viable cost-cutting strategy for any company, no matter how well-established. Reduce production of low-performing products and focus instead on things that make you money. 

Stick To A Budget

Setting and sticking to a budget is a great way to keep your business’s spending in check and provide a basis for future cost comparisons. It should also make it easy to spot places where money can be saved quickly.

And there you have it – just 7 simple ways you can reduce business costs in your small business.

What is a Microsoft Teams Endpoint, and How Do You Choose the Right One for You?

Any computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or other device with the Microsoft Teams client installed is considered an endpoint. Not only does the term “endpoint” refer to the device itself, but also to the various ways in which a user can connect to it, such as through the device’s built-in mic or speaker, earbuds, or a headset that has been designed for usage with the device.

This might seem quite simple, and in reality, the definition of an endpoint is relatively easy to understand. However, choosing the right one to use can be more complicated. Read on for some useful advice.

Think About Your Workforce

Understanding your team’s requirements is more important than your money when choosing an endpoint for Microsoft Teams. Over the past few years, businesses have come to realise the significance of providing employees with high-quality opportunities for growth and development.

Your team will not be able to produce the desired results for your company if they lack the means to interact efficiently with one another. The modern workforce consists of a wide variety of workers that have their own unique preferences and needs when it comes to technology.

You can decide what kinds of endpoints are most important to your team by making a list of the types of team members you need to equip, from your video conferencing remote workers to your in-house executives. Getting in touch with colleagues from all across the office and asking for feedback can be a great place to start if you’re trying to figure out what your team members need from their endpoints.

Think About Your Budget

Although cost cannot be the main factor in your endpoint purchasing strategy, it is still quite significant to most businesses. While it would be ideal to equip all of your remote workers with executive-level video bars, it may be financially unrealistic. However, you should supply your entire team with high-quality equipment so that everyone can participate actively in meetings, as would be the case with Microsoft Teams operator connect.

Find a supplier who has products that fit a variety of price points and user needs. As a result, you can find a solution that works for your team’s budget while still allowing them some autonomy. It’s important to keep in mind that increasing employee engagement and productivity can be as simple as giving them more freedom to choose the endpoints they find most convenient.

Think About Support

Finally, in the modern workplace, the basics are vital when searching for an endpoint vendor. You still require a helpful vendor who will provide the direction you require to get your new technology operational as soon as possible. Find a reliable provider who can advise you on the best equipment for your meeting rooms and recommend approaches to hybrid teams. They will also be available to respond to inquiries and supply you with replacement equipment as needed.

As you search for a new provider, keep innovation in mind. It’s comforting to know you’re working with a vendor who is looking ahead to the changing needs of businesses as new forms of collaboration and communication emerge in the post-pandemic environment. To improve your meetings with features like autofocus and noise reduction, you may wish to invest in solutions from a leader in the field of artificial intelligence.

How to Outsource Web and Application Development? A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

Outsourcing has become a big thing over the last two decades, as companies, agencies, and employees all find great benefits out of it. The IT industry makes no difference, and plenty of businesses outsource app developers to gain the advantage of the vast opportunities out there. 

But why outsource app development, and which are the best practices for outsourcing app creation? We will find out.

What is web and application development outsourcing?

Before we show you how to outsource app development, we need to show you what this term means. Application development outsourcing is the process of hiring a third-party company to handle the development of a software application or web-based app. This arrangement is often made when an in-house team either lacks the skills or capacity to complete the project on its own.

Outsourcing has become increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes in recent years, as it can save time and money while still resulting in a high-quality product. When done correctly, application development outsourcing can be a great way to get your project completed efficiently and effectively.

Why outsource app developers?

Mobile app development outsourcing companies aren’t thriving without a cause.

There are many reasons to outsource mobile app development. The most important cause is to save money. Development costs can be very high, especially if you need to hire multiple developers. By outsourcing, you can develop your app for a fraction of the cost.

Another reason to outsource is to save time. Developing an app and web-based app can take months or even years. If you don’t have the time to wait, outsourcing is the best option. Hiring a professional team can develop your app quickly and efficiently.

Finally, you may want to outsource because you need more skills or knowledge to develop an app yourself. It is perfectly understandable – only some are developers! By hiring someone else to do it, you can put stress on other parts of your business and leave the development to the experts.

How to outsource application development?

Outsourcing application development involves hiring a third-party company or individual to develop software for you. Here are some quick steps you can take to outsource application development:

Identify your needs: Clearly define the scope and objectives of the project. This will help you identify the specific skills and expertise you need in a development team, and you won’t make bad decisions in the process.

Research potential partners: Look for companies or individuals with experience in the development you need. You can do this through online research, networking, and referrals from trusted sources. From our own experience, it’s best to look for companies that your peers have worked with.

Request proposals: Once you have identified a few potential partners, request proposals from each of them. This will allow you to compare their approaches, pricing, and timelines.

Evaluate proposals: Carefully review the proposals you receive and consider factors such as the team’s experience and expertise, their proposed approach to the project, and the overall cost.

Negotiate and sign a contract: Once you have chosen a partner, negotiate the terms of the contract and make sure it clearly outlines the scope of the project, deliverables, timelines, and payment terms. Remember, you should negotiate the best terms for both parties; otherwise, the collaboration will fail.

Manage the project: Work closely with your development team to ensure the project stays “within your reach” and meets your expectations. Regular communication and progress updates will be key to the success of the project. You’ll need to be on top of what happens every single day.


In conclusion, outsourcing application development can be a cost-effective and efficient way to develop custom software for your business. 

By following a comprehensive step-by-step guide, you can successfully outsource app development and bring your project to fruition. The process begins with identifying your needs and researching potential partners, followed by requesting and evaluating proposals. Once you have chosen a partner, it’s essential to negotiate and sign a clear and detailed contract and to manage the project closely to ensure it stays on track and meets your expectations. 

Being able to do well with these steps, you can successfully outsource app developers to a team of skilled developers and bring your project to life.

Preparing to Launch Your New eCommerce Website? Here’s How to Get Organised

If you’re launching an eCommerce site, you’ll need to undertake several vital checks before it goes live. For both your business and your customers, you should ensure that each technical function is incorporated seamlessly. We’ve explained why in our quick guide below.

Why are pre-checks important for any eCommerce site?

During the design process, it’s likely that you’ll need to generate thousands of specific functions – to facilitate the customer experience with useful components.

Taking care of every detail is critical in creating a smoother UX. And with at least 55% of all website traffic worldwide coming from mobile devices in 2022, you’ll need to create a mobile version too.

If your customers have an easy time using your website, they will be more inclined to return. A newer website will be faster – and increasing the speed of your site could be hugely beneficial for SEO value.

In summary, superior performance is key. For faultless, refined results, you’ll need to make sure everything on your new site works before you launch it.

Should I complete pre-launch checks internally?

With so many finer details to focus on, completing every check can be a daunting task for an internal team to tackle. But keeping up with your competitors in the current dynamic digital sphere is imperative, so you need to get it right.

If you choose to work with a specialist web design agency, they will comprehensively run through the checks on your behalf. Seeking professional support will guarantee that you’ll be using a purpose-built, fully integrated eCommerce system that suits your business.

Which checks are needed for a new eCommerce site?

You should aim to follow a checklist covering each technical element of your website.

The final result of this type of checklist varies from business to business, but usually involves multiple individuals – including developers, project managers, internal stakeholders, and site users too.

Before getting stuck into the development, ensure that your site architecture is polished and clearly defined in a document like an Excel spreadsheet. You should include the following:

Named and structured menus, Structured categories, Suggested URLs, H1s, H2s, title tags and meta descriptions, Current keyword research data.

The basic eCommerce site checklist

The most fundamental, non-negotiable pre-launch checks include:

Extension serial keys: Most extensions have a licence or serial key issued to a domain name. The extension simply won’t work if the key is set up incorrectly, which could cause technical issues on your website.

Performance tests: It’s crucial to have an idea of how efficiently your site runs. Every time you make a change to your site, you’ll need to run a speed test to make sure it hasn’t negatively impacted performance.

Payment gateways: You’ll need to make sure that any live transaction gateways are working as they should. Launching your site only to realise that you can’t accept customer payments could be incredibly frustrating.

Code audit: Audits and code reviews are a guaranteed way to make sure that the quality of your site meets the mark. If a professional helps you with this, they should be able to identify any overarching issues, security concerns, and flaws in the code.

Analytics: Setting up Google Analytics in place should be a critical part of the process too. Automated features like conversion tracking and Google Tag Manager should be set up to help you understand the journey made by your customers.

Mobile optimisation: If you’ve put time and effort into writing code for a stunning website on desktop, you’ll need an efficient mobile version to match. A large proportion of web traffic will come from mobile users, so it’s important to appeal to your entire audience.

How should you manage an eCommerce site internally?

Lastly, it’s important to have a grasp on the best ways to manage your site. Aside from any external support, there are a few things you can keep an eye on internally with your colleagues. These might include:

Content: In light of Google’s Helpful Content Update, you’ll need to make sure that any written content on your site is informative, detailed, and high-quality, helping to position your brand as a voice of authority on your topic.

Images: Know where to source relevant images for your website? Make sure to store them in a local file or program, making sure that they’re free of any royalties.

Tone of Voice: Every brand needs a tone of voice to thrive in the digital sphere. Make sure yours is clearly set out for colleagues and brand partners to utilise, helping you cut through the noise online.

Borrowing Money Strategically

Rich People Borrow Money, Too Probably even more than low-income earners do. But wealthy people use debt differently. It is never the kind that weighs down their finances. Instead, it boosts theirs, making them even richer than before.

When debt is stereotyped as bad and done only by people living beyond their means and spending more than they earn, how could debt be a good thing or work to create favourable results? One of the secrets of the rich is that they are constantly in touch with financial experts who provide knowledge on money movements to benefit them.

Perennial Wealth in Bristol is one of the frontrunners in this industry, with a gold standard in various financial services. They have the highest qualification and experience to guide people in managing their wealth and debt.

Here is an overview of how it is done – how the rich borrow more money but never get crushed.

They use credit strategically

Rich people do not take out debts on a whim. Instead, they choose debts that will generate income or a higher return in the long run. For example, they can take out a mortgage for a minimum down payment, earning them a property whose value could increase significantly in the future. Others also take out a mortgage to build an apartment complex that will give them an additional income source. Furthermore, the rich often use bank loans not to buy luxuries but to expand their business, delivering a higher revenue that could help them pay off their debt and earn some more.

They borrow to invest

Rich people do not borrow money to have enough funds and buy the stuff they like but cannot afford. They only borrow money as a calculated risk in the hopes that it will help them build wealth over time. If they do not invest in a business expansion, they put it in stocks and other investments that appreciate value, like arts, properties, gears, and cars. If they won’t generate income for the assets they would acquire through borrowed money, you could swear they will not do it altogether.

They recycle debt

Wealthy people are so good at manoeuvring through their debt cycle that it gives them more than the borrowed amount, including any interest incurred. How is that? They erase all the inefficient debts or borrowed money that do not generate income and increase their efficient debts or those that are tax-deductible and could have promising capital growth. Debt recycling may come with some risks, so every move they make is closely monitored for its pros and cons before they go full blast. Many who got rich are certified risk takers with more wins than losses, not just because of luck but because they calculate their every move.

Money can be gone in a blink of an eye, so whenever it is involved, remember how any rash decisions could result in a crash. Always move forward with a potent financial plan if your ultimate goal is to build a fortune.

Tax Compliance: A Guide for Small Businesses

Tax compliance is a crucial aspect of running a small business, whether you’re a sole trader or an employer. The process can be complex—and if you get it wrong, you could be hit with a fine or larger-than-expected bill, causing severe consequences for small firms.

This article will guide you through the main taxes that small businesses need to know about and how to ensure you remain tax compliant.

Which Taxes Apply to Small Businesses?

Small business taxes often depend on the type of company and how much profit it makes.

Corporation Tax

Corporation tax is taken from the total profits earned by limited companies at a flat rate of 19%. It’s calculated after business expenses have been deducted, but before any dividends are withdrawn.

You have to make this calculation yourself and declare how much corporation tax you need to pay by submitting a company tax return (CT600 form). This is due 12 months from the end of your accounting date and must be paid 9 months and 1 day after this date.

Income Tax

Only individuals have to pay income tax, so if you’re self-employed as a sole trader, freelancer, or contractor, you’ll pay this on any profits you make. You need to register for self-assessment with HMRC and submit a tax return so that they can work out how much you owe.

There’s a personal allowance of £12,570, so you’ll only pay income tax on profits that exceed this amount (as long as you’re not earning any other income, such as a salary from employment).

Payment on Account

Self-employed traders must submit “payment on account”—paying some tax in advance as a “contribution” to the following year’s bill. This is typically paid in 2 instalments on January 31 (for online returns) and July 31. Each instalment is half of your previous year’s tax bill.

The payments are mandatory unless your last bill was under £1,000 or you’ve already paid more than 80% on the tax you owe.

VAT (Value-Added Tax)

VAT applies to most goods and services. All registered businesses must charge VAT on top of their sale prices (unless they’re exempt) and submit VAT returns to HMRC. The standard rate is 20% but some items and services have reduced or zero VAT.

You must register for VAT if your annual taxable turnover exceeds £85,000 (valid until March 31, 2024). This applies whether you’re a sole trader, limited company, or LLP. Businesses with lower turnover may still register voluntarily in order to reclaim VAT on business expenses.

Making Tax Digital

HMRC now mandates that VAT-registered businesses (regardless of turnover) use the Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme. This requires keeping digital VAT records and submitting returns via compatible Making Tax Digital software

If you’re currently using spreadsheets, there is software that can help bridge your accounts for a seamless transition to digital. What’s more, MTD software can save your business hours of manual time every week. 

Small businesses also need to make sure their accountants are ready for MTD. Taking a look at the Sage MTD for accountants guide is the first step in ensuring they don’t miss any deadlines and your business remains fully compliant.

Business Rates

If your business is run from a property such as an office, shop, or factory, you’ll usually have to pay business rates. Your bill is calculated by local authorities, not HMRC, based on the property’s “rateable value” (its estimated rental value on the open market). Some locations are exempt, while properties with low rateable value can claim business rates relief.

You may also be charged if you run a business from your home. This applies if you’ve adapted your home to work there (such as a garage conversion), if the property is half-business and half-domestic (like a pub with living quarters), if you employ staff who work at your home, or if customers visit the property to buy goods or services.

National Insurance

From the age of 16, employed and self-employed people must pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) on earnings above a threshold in order to qualify for certain benefits and the state pension. The different types of National Insurance are known as “classes”.

As an employer, you need to deduct Class 1 NICs from each employee’s salary and pay it directly to HMRC, along with Class 1A or 1B on employees’ expenses or benefits. Businesses currently pay 15.05% for employees earning more than £12,570 per year.

You may be able to reduce your NICs if the business is eligible for the Employment Allowance, which aims to help small businesses recruit more staff.

Self-employed people pay NICs as part of self-assessment. If you make a profit of more than £6,725 per year, you pay Class 2. For yearly profits of over £11,909, it’s Class 4. Anyone can choose to pay Class 3 voluntary contributions to fill any gaps.

Dividend Tax

If you’re the director or shareholder of a limited company, you can pay yourself dividends. Payments above £2,000 are subject to a dividend tax at a rate based on your personal income tax band. However, if dividends are your sole income, you can use your personal allowance (currently £12,570) as well as the dividend allowance of £2,000.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

If you sell your small business or any of its assets or shares, you’ll be charged Capital Gains Tax on the profit. The rate you pay will depend on your individual income tax, but the personal capital gains allowance lets you earn up to £12,300 before tax. If you’re a sole trader or a partner, you may be able to claim entrepreneurs’ relief to reduce the CGT you have to pay.

Can I Deduct Small Business Expenses?

Yes, you can deduct allowable expenses from your overall profits to reduce your tax bill. These include costs like office rent and utilities, inventory, staff wages, travel costs, bank charges, and marketing expenses. 

As an employer, you can also deduct the benefits you provide to employees, such as homeworking costs or bonuses.

Capital Allowances

You can claim capital allowances for “plant and machinery”, which covers manufacturing equipment and company vehicles. There are several types of capital allowances, including the annual investment allowance (AIA), the 50% first-year allowance, and the 130% super-deduction.

Final Thoughts

It’s crucial to understand the tax compliance obligations for your small business to avoid running into problems. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the different types of tax and new regulations such as using Making Tax Digital for VAT returns. For full details, visit the HMRC website.

SME News Reveals the 2022 Winners of the Northern Enterprise Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – SME News is delighted to announce the winners of the Northern Enterprise Awards.

The frosty mornings have arrived and there’s a hint of magic in the air as Christmas quickly approaches. This year has been a tumultuous one, but there is a huge collection of businesses that are keeping us positive. As we head towards the very end of 2022, we are proud to present this year’s Northern Enterprise Award winners to you.

Rich in variety, this winner’s supplement showcases a plethora of businesses across an astounding number of sectors. Spanning from care to funeral homes, gymnastics clubs to property management, IT suppliers to marketing, and much more, this programme boasts a brilliant selection of business to take you on a journey across the corporate landscape, in the North of England.

Awards Coordinator, Kaven Cooper, wanted to say a few words to congratulate the winners within this programme, saying, “I am happy to have had the pleasure of hosting this year’s Northern Enterprise Awards and I look forward to seeing what these companies do next. They are all part of our journey as humankind, and there are plenty of businesses here than can elevate our quality of life. Well done to every last one of them.”

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


About SME News

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

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

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

About AI Global Media

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

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

6 Costly Omnichannel Marketing Mistakes That Must Be Avoided

By Richard Conn – Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8×8

If you’re a marketing professional, it can sometimes seem that you are constantly juggling tasks and responsibilities. While looking to get your message to customers across multiple channels, you also have to think about factors like dynamic content, targeted marketing, and segmenting your target demographics.

Your marketing aims to improve customer experiences but also to increase conversion rates and sales figures. That could be achieved by enhancing website sales numbers or driving inbound calls to your MS Teams phone, but the end result is the same. All of these goals are now being made more achievable with marketing automation.

When you are juggling, it can be easy to make minor mistakes, but those mistakes can grow into bigger ones if you’re not careful. Omnichannel marketing is essential to reaching impressive conversion rates and, ultimately, future growth, so avoiding errors whenever possible is crucial. In this article, we’ll look at six of the significant omnichannel marketing mistakes to avoid.

What is omnichannel marketing? 

In ecommerce, an omnichannel approach seeks to provide a seamless and painless customer shopping journey. This means that the experience should be similar, if not identical, whether the customer is shopping in a physical store, from a mobile device, or from a desktop/laptop. In particular, small businesses can benefit from a mobile marketing strategy. 

Implementing an omnichannel approach will provide a rounded and integrated customer experience that encompasses marketing, selling, and customer service no matter what channel the customer is utilizing.

What differentiates omnichannel from multi-channel is that communication options may not be integrated or connected in the latter case. With omnichannel, those communication paths are connected, so you can switch from one to another seamlessly and with no change in quality. 

The 6 major omnichannel marketing mistakes to avoid:

1. Picking the wrong channels 

People often think that omnichannel marketing involves adopting a strategy that covers every available channel. Or they simply choose the wrong channels to adopt when developing a plan. Both of these are major mistakes that could cost you time and money. You should identify and adopt the channels that your demographic uses. 

To use a simple analogy, if you were looking to sell a book entitled ‘call management: your guide to business IP phone systems’, placing a physical ad in a car magazine would be useless. It’s the same with omnichannel marketing; you want to put your content where potential customers are most likely to see it. 

The old adage of quality over quantity is one of the golden rules of omnichannel marketing. You need to spend some time identifying where most of your target audience ‘congregates’. If your demographic audience is mainly Generation Z- those between 6 and 24 years old- then your primary focus will be on the platforms they interact with most. If your customers are based in New Zealand look to buy co.nz domains for your brand. The important thing is to be where your audience is. 

2. Poor content 

Content is king and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. And if your approach to omnichannel content is to produce one piece of content and replicate it across all the channels you use, then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Poor, repetitive content will lead to customers losing interest quickly and could result in your bounce rate soaring. 

We know that some 80% of consumers prefer a degree of personalization when it comes to the marketing content they view. The ‘one size fits all’ approach to creating content is not only outdated but will cost you customers and, therefore, revenue. And your customers are using multiple channels and platforms, including social media, apps, etc., to interact with your business. 

This includes their communication with customer support. An omnichannel approach should allow your support team access to every platform with which the customer interacts. Familiarizing staff with all of these platforms, as well as the anatomy of an awesome customer support email and automated dialer for outreach, is essential.

To power your omnichannel campaign with personalization, you need to think about adaptive content. And that means using the data you have on your customer targets to customize the messages they see. That involves customizing and adapting your messages based on the channels they are using, their physical location, their gender, etc. Understand your customers, know what touchpoints they use, and make your content as relevant as possible. 

3. Poor KPI measuring

KPIs are far more than just numbers you look at weekly or monthly. They are crucial metrics that let you monitor and analyze your business’s health and performance as a whole and how particular strategies or campaigns are working. They allow you to make tweaks and adjustments to improve results in the future. 

Your metrics are not just about conversion rates and sales. They should be giving you information about every stage of a customer journey and their satisfaction with those stages. And it’s not just about measuring satisfaction with the overall experience but with each component of the experience. There are three main stages to that customer journey:

  • Awareness: the customer realizes they have a need or issue. For example, they know they need to replace their television. 
  • Consideration: the customer begins to look at the different options available to them (what products are on the market that suits their needs). 
  • Decision: the customer identifies the solution and moves to purchase. 

Each stage in that journey needs to be measured for effectiveness. Every part may also feature different marketing approaches and content to target the buyer. By segmenting the journey and analyzing your marketing’s effectiveness in each segment, you identify what works and what doesn’t and can make adjustments where needed. 

4. Failure to learn 

In life, most of us try to learn from our mistakes to improve our future performance. Yet this is something many omnichannel marketers fail to do. If it’s your first time using an omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s unlikely you will get things perfect immediately.

If you make an error, take ownership of it and see what went wrong so you can adjust that particular area or component. Mistakes can be made in how you’ve targeted a segment, if you’ve selected ineffective content, etc. But seeing the data that highlights mistakes and taking positive action based on that data will put you back on the right path. 

Many marketers lack the ability to transfer data that points out flaws and errors into action that improves results. It’s a case of recognizing mistakes and acting to rectify them, and being brave enough to experiment as you develop your omnichannel strategy. Not all your experiments will work, but you won’t know if you don’t try! 

And when you get things right, everything should fall into place. Once you create excellent marketing strategies and content, provide efficient customer journeys and order fulfillment, you can’t help but increase sales figures and revenue.

5. Lack of cohesion

Your marketing is not just about one specific product. It’s about your company’s vision, mission, values, and attitudes. Customers will show brand loyalty based on those factors, so you must give consistent and cohesive messages across all channels. Where there is a lack of cohesion, customers may choose to look for other brands and products. 

There is also an element of trust that comes with cohesive messaging. You can’t make a claim about product A on one channel and then make a contrary claim about the same product on a different channel. Consistency is key to establishing that relationship of trust that leads to ongoing brand loyalty and customer retention. 

Losing cohesion can be an easy mistake to make when looking at different demographic segments and utilizing different channels. But you should focus on providing as similar and seamless an experience as possible across any channel your customer chooses to interact with you on. 

6. Implementation 

For many companies, they may only just be making their first foray into an omnichannel approach. So it comes as little surprise that many make costly mistakes in their initial implementation stages and may even make ongoing mistakes as they try to get things right. Making that switch from single or low number channel marketing can be difficult.

Many of the issues that arise with implementing omnichannel marketing come from organizational structure and silos that find it difficult to move from traditional marketing. Many marketers find it hard to manage the ever-growing list of new channels they must include in their strategy. 

One way to get past implementation issues is to center your efforts and focus on the customer journey and experience. Looking at the matter from a customer’s perspective and recognizing their persona and behavior will make it easier to proceed with new implementation or adjusting existing strategy. 

And implementation should not only be considering existing and new customers. Most companies will have a number of inactive customers in their database, people who have not bought anything in some time. Knowing how to win back inactive customers is another factor you should consider. 

The takeaway 

As ecommerce continues to develop, there are many important factors for us to consider and integrate. Tactics to attract and retain customers can range from providing a 1800 number to offering free shipping. And small businesses can save money by using free website builders to create their online portal. 

Companies now have to take a 360-degree approach to everything they do. And omnichannel marketing will continue to be another crucial component of success.

Four Tips for Starting a Bike Rental Business in 2023

Opening a bike rental business is a great way to become a part of a thriving industry. With cycling becoming a more popular method of transportation as people move towards eco-friendly transport, the bike rental industry is currently booming. 

However, starting a business requires lots of research, planning and setting up in order for it to be successful. The team at bike.rent Manager has decades of experience within the bike industry, from owning bike rental shops to operating bike tours. To aid potential founders in getting started within the sector, they have outlined four tips for how to start a bike rental business. 

1. Start with market research

When it comes to starting a bike rental business, Mark Scarbrough has over 20 years of experience in the bike industry as a shop owner, manager, mechanic and operations specialist. Mark advises entrepreneurs that “a little bit of market research goes a long way.” From his experience, he suggests in order to understand what consumers desire in an area, the first step is to rent a bike yourself.

Mark explains “Check around the area, go and rent a bike or product yourself. You want to identify what types of shops already exist, and what the terrain is like in the local area to identify the kind of bikes which would be required in the desired rental vicinity.

“You need to have a clear understanding of the local laws in the area, too. For example, if you are planning on opening an electric bike rental shop, make sure of the local laws regarding e-bikes and where they are and aren’t allowed. If you are starting to rent mountain bikes, make sure that the trails around the area allow bikes.

“I would also recommend shopping the competition and reading Bicycle Retailer and other publications that are dedicated to the desired industry. They often offer insight into key metrics that can help you make decisions. A good understanding of your competitor’s product and rental offerings is a great start, to make sure that the area/market isn’t oversaturated with other rental programs”

2. A business plan is invaluable 

Once the market research has been conducted, the team stress the importance of drafting a business plan. Jorrit Reitsma has vast experience as a business owner within the bike rental, tours and hospitality industry. As a Customer Success Manager at bike.rent Manager, Jorrit regularly supports bike rental shops within their early stages and suggests business plans are “invaluable” when starting a rental business.

He explains “Business plans not only help you start and get financing or partners on board but also help you reflect throughout your journey. After your first year, you can reflect on what you planned and what really happened, adjust, refine, and grow in the next year.”

Jeremy Sager, with over 28 years of experience in the bike and ski rental industry added “Without a plan, your chances of success are quite low. It is very important to know what is needed to start your business and what will be needed to sustain and grow it. Going in blind will simply lead to frustration and possible failure.”

When it comes to what your business plan needs to include, Doug Stoddart, CEO at bike.rent Manager explains “Within your business plan, you want to write down all your core assumptions, including the rentals you expect to achieve per month and at what rate, and how many months of the year your season will last.

Doug adds that finding a mentor is invaluable “Talk it through with someone who has done this kind of thing before. Look for the holes, don’t look for validation. If it survives this process then you have something good!”

3. Find software to lighten your workload

When it comes to finding software, the team stress the importance of finding the right platform for your business. After running his own bike store in France for six years, Doug founded bike.rent Manager to support the bike rental industry in providing better customer experiences. Doug, explains “You need to find a tool that will help with every aspect of your rental business, not just taking online bookings, but preparing bikes, managing rentals, tracking inventory, etc.”

“A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking that all they need are bikes, a website, and a shop.  In the long run, this will end up costing you a ton of time and is a false economy. When you buy tools for your workshop, you get the right tools for the job, so why wouldn’t you do that for your bike rental operation?”

Jorrit adds “Search for software that takes work out of your hands, prevents errors and simplifies the communication with your customers. Invest time in setting that system up so you can fully trust it when going into high season.”

Working within bike.rent Manager to onboard stores, Jeremy warns of the importance of taking your time when picking the right software for your bike rental business “Research thoroughly, allow ample time for trials, and ask a lot of questions specific to their needs. Don’t make hasty decisions and be sure to exhaust all options before making a final choice. It is also important to plan ahead to give your staff time to learn the software and get comfortable before going live with customers.”

4. Engage in direct contact with customers to get feedback

Finally, the team express the importance of gaining feedback from customers during the early stages of the business in order to improve. 

Having worked as a shop owner himself, Mark explains: “Direct contact with the customers is the best way to gain feedback. Simply asking how the ride was is a great way to get that feedback! They will definitely let you know if there were any problems with the bike or rental item. Post rental, business owners can contact their customers via email and SMS for feedback, too, in order to access the customer’s thoughts once they have reflected on their experience.”

Doug adds “You want feedback on the good, bad, and ugly. Having suggestion boxes on the website, posting feedback forms to customers, and reaching out to them via email or SMS are crucial. Customer feedback in the early stages of your business will allow you to refine your offering to suit the needs of your target market, so make sure to welcome feedback on everything and anything.”

Small Business Ideas for 2023

With side hustles being an increasingly popular thing in the UK, what are some ideas you could use to turn your spare time into extra income?

Thinking of a good business idea can be difficult, especially when you if you don’t have much to invest at the start. It’s important to understand what you’re passionate about and how you can apply your skillset to launch a business but also being realistic and weight up your strengths and weaknesses.

We’ve listed a few small business ideas that you can kick off in the new year that require little money upfront, helping you earn a little extra money on the side and help you make ends meet.

Uber driver

Becoming an Uber driver provides you with flexible earning opportunities, allowing you to work as and when you want to. Feel free to use your spare time to earn some extra cash whilst undertaking relatively simple work.

You can manage your own hours and ultimately, get paid to drive and chat to your customers. Whether you decide to take this up full-time or part-time, it’s completely up to you. You’ll soon become your own boss, so there’s no obligation to stick to set hours if it doesn’t work for you.

Private chef

As a private chef, you can turn your passion for cooking into a business. Typically, a private chef will visit the client’s home and take over their kitchen to freshly prepare, cook, and serve meals as requested. This goes without saying that you will ideally need your own vehicle to travel around different clients homes and venues so you may consider car loans if you haven’t got a vehicle already.

Depending on your clientele, you could cook for private residences, dinner parties and special occasions. The role differs slightly from a traditional restaurant chef, as you’ll be running your own business and the kitchen, as well as serving food and hosting your guests to a high standard.

You’ll be required to be incredibly organised and personable, whilst demonstrating flexibility. It would be good to have some experience and training under your belt to help you kick start your private chef business.

With a lot of hard work, some time and a bit of luck, you could bag yourself some high-end clients and make this a full-time thing.

Freelance writing

If you enjoy writing and feel confident in your abilities, going freelance can be a great opportunity to make an additional income. You’ll constantly be learning on the job and will have the freedom to work when and where you want. Plus, you can be in charge of your rates and therefore, control your potential income.

Depending on your clients and the topics you’re writing about, you’ll be gaining plenty of knowledge and experience when dealing with either simple or complex writing tasks and projects. The job will require you to do extensive research into the niche, so taking up some writing courses can certainly help broaden your offering.

5 Profitable Education Business Ideas

Distinguished academic performance matters a lot for all college students. And rightly so. But it does not hurt to combine your studies with some profitable business ventures to reduce your financial burden. They can greatly increase your income while testing newly acquired skills and principles in real-life situations and developing new connections and networks. 

Don’t be frightened by the challenges any business activity or project will impose on you as a beginner. There are multiple benefits to enjoy as a novice, and you should take full advantage of your chances to increase learning, get out of your comfort zone, and test yourself to rise up to new challenges every day. Have a look at the 5 profitable education business ideas you should try to get off to a successful start.

  • Research writing

Many students need help with their research projects. Most are willing to pay to write a research paper to meet their academic assignments and needs. If you are good at research skills, there is no reason you should not help others develop theirs while earning additional income. 

Research usually takes a long time, and you can step in to assist students at various stages. It is of critical importance to get involved in the early stages of developing research questions and methodology to pave the way for a successful and evidence-based product.

  • Educational blogs and videos

If your writing, communication, and presentation skills are well-developed, take a stab at developing blogs and videos to start sharing your ideas and best practices. YouTube is a great place to start. If you manage to rack up a good number of followers, views, and subscriptions, you will be surprised by how much you can earn.

If you are too busy with your academic assignments, you can always hire the reliable and trustworthy services of TopEssayWriting to lessen your workload. Professional writers with a proven track record of outstanding performance will help you complete your assignments at reasonable rates, on time, and to the top standards in academic writing.

  • Online tutoring

Online tutoring is a great way to raise some extra money. You will be surprised to find a lot of demand for online tutoring. Some families find it more convenient to opt for it for their kids because of its flexibility. The same is true for students, as they can take classes from wherever they go.

Choose the right platform for the delivery of your sessions. Get a good camera with the document setting. Make the most of interactive tools to plan your lessons and enable a good word search for your students. 

  • Teaching languages

Teaching languages is another profitable idea you should try. If you are a native English speaker, this is probably a no-brainer. With English being an international lingua franca, you will always find sufficient demand for your services. This also means that you should keep developing yourself as a tutor all the time. It is not enough to be a native speaker; you must be a good communicator and teacher, too, to be able to convey content effectively.

But you can also do well if you are not a native speaker. If your English language skills are close to those of a native speaker, you can target your compatriots with some of the greatest tips that native speakers might miss.

  • Content writing

Content writing has become one of the most demanded and important skills. With the rise and development of digital marketing tools and technologies, well-designed and targeted content has become crucial in selling products and services effectively. Thus, content writing may well become one of the greatest education business ideas you should try.

If your language skills are good enough and if you can master SEO skills well, you can start selling your writing services to a host of companies. The good news is that you don’t have to do it at the expense of your academic studies. All your work can be done remotely, which means flexible hours of work. You can also do most of your work from home.

Final Thoughts

Earning some extra income is never a bad idea for college students who are often grappling with current expenses and student debts. Luckily, technology now allows them to do most of the work remotely. Once you are able to assess your skills critically, you should be able to determine the area in which you are most proficient and where you can compete successfully to start earning a stable income.

SME Cybersecurity in the UK: Everything You Need to Know

As a nation, the UK loses more than £27 billion every year to cyber criminals. This number is higher than the GDP of many countries. But even scarier is the fact that this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know to protect your small and medium enterprise (SME) from cyber criminals. This includes the average cost of a cybersecurity breach in the UK, tips to improve online safety levels, and the biggest threats to look out for.  

Do Small Businesses Need Cybersecurity?

According to recent studies, around half of UK SMEs are constantly being targeted by cybercriminals. 

The reason for this is that SMEs usually have lax security measures in place. This, in turn, is often caused by a low-security budget and a general lack of knowledge about the topic. 

As an SME owner, it’s crucial to build a security system that keeps employee and customer data safe. The same goes for the internal information of the enterprise itself, which can be used to conduct attacks like phishing or malware campaigns. 

How Do I Make My Business Cybersecure?

It’s no secret that cybersecurity costs billions of pounds every year, but what can you do to protect your business?

The UK government released practical resources that help you safeguard your business, whether it’s a digital, traditional, or hybrid enterprise. 

Furthermore, in this article, we also include a list of tips to help you build a better cybersecurity system in your SME.

Is Cybersecurity in the UK Expensive?

A strong cybersecurity system doesn’t necessarily have to be complex. It does, however, represent an investment. 

The cost of cybersecurity varies depending on your industry. For some firms, it’s common to spend around 22,000 GBP every year on cybersecurity alone. 

The only way to determine an accurate budget for your business is to assess your industry, consider the number of employees, and build a security system personalised to your needs. 

Biggest Cybersecurity Threats in 2022 and Beyond

Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. Here are some of the biggest threats you need to look out for in the rest of 2022 and beyond:

  • Phishing attacks, including spear phishing and whaling;
  • Advanced forms of malicious software, including ransomware;
  • Attacks targeting mobile devices (especially those used by remote employees);
  • The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct attacks;
  • And hacking via IoT devices. 

Your Cybersecurity SME Checklist

Cybersecurity is not only yours, but it’s everyone’s responsibility. However, as a business owner, it’s necessary to give your team the tools they need to safeguard the company’s information at all times. 

Here are 5 steps you can implement to improve your SME cybersecurity across the board. 

1. Create a Backup Strategy for Your Business

Cybercriminals often try to limit access to your data or erase it altogether. Even if this type of attack is successful, you can counter it by creating a solid backup strategy.

Your backup strategy should include multiple physical and digital copies of your data and a backup syncing schedule that keeps your records updated with the latest details. 

2. Build a Robust Anti-Malware System

Worms, viruses, and ransomware are just a few examples of malware that can infect and render your entire network useless. 

One of the biggest challenges is that malware can enter your network through many access points. Therefore, you need to build an automatic, robust anti-malware system that combats and contains malicious software attacks. 

3. Protect Devices Across Your Entire Team

Every laptop, tablet, and smartphone that your employees use for work represents an access point to your network. To create a wholesome security system, you need to protect one of these devices and follow best practices across all business gadgets. 

Some of the steps you can take include:

  • Require your teams to connect to your network through a VPN for the UK;
  • Install password managers, ad blockers, and other security essentials;
  • Keep operating systems and apps updated.

4. Educate Team Members About Phishing and Other Attacks

As we just mentioned, hackers and cybercriminals can access your networks through many different points. 

The best way to protect every single one is through a team effort. This, in turn, is only possible if you teach your team members about the different threats and how to combat them. 

The UK government has published some great resources, so take a look at them and see if you can implement them into your team training sessions. 


Over the last decade, small business owners in the UK have put cybersecurity on the back burner. Today, this isn’t a luxury these organisations can continue to afford. At least, not without major repercussions. 

The average cost of a cybersecurity breach in the UK can be devastating to any business, let alone a small company. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to protect your employees, customers, and your company as a whole.

Establishing a successful SME requires an endless amount of hard work, business savvy, and the ability to adapt to new challenges. 

One of the most important obstacles you need to prepare for is the rise in cybersecurity threats. But, as long as you take the right steps to prepare, you should be able to set up an effective system that warns you whenever there’s a potential breach. 

How To Grow Profits in the Vaping Retail?

Vaping is one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking, offering long-time tobacco users a more affordable and less risky replacement option. As such, it should come as no surprise that the vaping industry has experienced a boom in recent years.

Starting a vaping-related business may seem like a smart move, but keep in mind that success is not guaranteed. The reality is that the vaping industry is highly competitive, and to get a foothold in the market, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd of business rivals. To help you out, we’ve compiled some of the most effective ways to grow profits in the vaping retail business.

Read on and learn how to increase your chances of becoming the next big thing in the vaping industry!

Prioritise Quality and Variety

A big part of the success enjoyed by reputable stores like Vapekit.co.uk lies in their commitment to offering only the highest quality vaping products. In other words, such shops strive to provide their customers with the best possible vaping experience by offering high-quality hardware.

The reason for that is simple – customers these days are better informed than ever, and they won’t hesitate to leave a store that doesn’t provide premium-grade products.

However, at the same time, it’s also important to offer a wide variety of vaping products, i.e. e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and accessories in different flavours and styles. The goal is to cater to the needs of as many customers as possible, and this can only be done by offering a wide range of products.

Invest in Marketing

If you’re planning to start a vaping-related business, you need to remember that marketing will play a key role in your success. No matter how good your products are, it won’t matter if no one knows about them.

Fortunately, there are quite a few effective marketing strategies that can be used to promote your vaping business. You can start by creating a website and setting up social media accounts, which is an excellent way to reach out to potential customers. In addition, you can also try traditional marketing techniques like TV ads, radio spots, and print ads.

Make Use of Sales and Promotions

One of the most powerful motivators that might encourage customers to buy your products is the possibility of getting a good deal. In other words, if you offer a discount or some other form of promotion, chances are that more people will be driven to make a purchase.

Of course, it’s important not to go overboard with this tactic – otherwise, you might end up eroding your profits and damaging your business in the long run. The key is to offer sales only when they make sense from a commercial standpoint, i.e. when you have excess stock that needs to be moved quickly or during slow periods when customer traffic is low.

Alternatively, you can limit the best deals to returning customers, i.e. those who have been shopping at your store for a long time, to encourage them to continue doing so in the future. After all, customer loyalty is a key ingredient in the success of any business, and it should be nurtured at all costs.

Offer Excellent Customer Service

Finally, it’s also important to offer excellent customer service if you want to succeed in the vaping industry. That’s because customers these days are more demanding than ever, and they won’t hesitate to shop elsewhere if they don’t receive the level of customer service they expect.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen to your business, you need to make sure that your staff is properly trained to handle various customer service-related tasks. To illustrate, they should be able to provide useful advice and tips to customers who are new to vaping. Additionally, they should also know how to handle customer complaints in a professional and efficient manner – even if the client in question is being unreasonable and demanding.

If your retail store has a website, consider using AI chatbots to further improve your customer service. These handy digital assistants can handle a variety of tasks, from providing information about products and services to actively recommending products that match the customer’s needs and preferences.


The vaping industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, which means that there’s a great opportunity for businesses to capitalise on this growth by introducing new products and services. However, success is never guaranteed, and if you want to succeed in the vaping industry, you need to do more than simply open a store and wait for customers to come your way.

Instead, invest in marketing and make sure that only the highest quality products are offered to your customers. Additionally, you should also strive to provide excellent customer service, as this is one of the most important deciding factors when it comes to customer loyalty.

If you want to increase your chances of success, don’t hesitate to offer sales and promotions – just make sure not to go overboard with this tactic. Finally, consider creating an online store to expand your reach and grow your business.

Of course, these are just some of the ways that you can grow profits in the vaping retail business. It’s best to experiment with different strategies and see which ones work best for your store. Good luck with your vaping venture!

This Is How You Can Winterproof Your Small Business

As a business owner, the whole week can be flipped upside down checking the weather forecast to see if the local area has a dreaded amber or red weather warning approaching. 

David Woodfield, Insurance Director at Business comparison site Bionic, has put together a checklist to prepare for the uncertain British winter. Whether it’s upcoming storms, floods, high winds, snow, or ice, here’s how small business owners can protect themselves over the next few months.

How to protect your business from storm damage

Fixing the damage caused by storm damage can cost a lot of time and money. The best way to protect your business from storm damage is to make sure everything on the building is as​ secure as it​ can be, so look out for the following:

  • Make sure all roof tiles are secure and any broken or loose ones are replaced.
  • Make sure all gutters are properly attached and any blockages are cleared.
  • Keep all external doors, windows and gates securely closed.
  • Secure all fences and fence posts and remove or secure all outdoor furniture/displays.

If high winds have been predicted in your area, then you should:  

  • Make sure staff vehicles or company cars or vans are parked away from any trees and are in a safe area.  
  • Make sure any company signs, outdoor seats, and basically anything that’s not fixed to the floor, are taken inside so they can’t be picked up by the winds and cause any damage.  

The UK is always hit with a cold snap, so it’s important to know what you can do to prepare and protect your business when things freeze over.  It has been estimated by business groups that the disruption caused by heavy snowfall will cost businesses £1 billion.

Here are some steps to help make sure your premises are protected against snow and ice: 

  • Make sure all internal and external pipes are insulated, especially in unheated areas like the attic or basement. You can insulate them with foam or rubber tubes, remember to check them regularly to avoid erosion damage.  
  • Clear any outside paths of obstacles and put all outside seating and plant pots away.  
  • Take note of where your internal stop tap is so you can turn off the water supply to the premises in an emergency.  
  • Make sure that any outside drains are unblocked as ice and snow will make the issue worse.  

How to protect your business from flooding

It might sound obvious, but the best way to protect from flooding is to make sure you have a robust business flood plan in place, for both the short and long term. In the short term, check the Environment Agency website and see if there are flood warnings in your area. It’s also worth taking a look at the live flood warning map – you should immediately start planning for the worst if you spy a warning near you.

If you’ve ever been the victim of flooding, then the odds are ​you’ll fall foul of floodwaters again at some point. So, it makes sense to put long-term plans in place to protect your business against future flooding.

  • Replace any downstairs carpets with sealed wood or ceramic tiles.
  • Fit any water entry points, including doors and airbricks, with flood skirts and use water-resistant sealant on doors, windows, and skirting boards.
  • Raise electrical sockets as high up the wall as possible.
  • Plaster walls with waterproof lime plaster and get a chemical damp-proof course.
  • Regularly check drains to make sure they’re clear from any blockages, which can exacerbate rising water levels, and fit one-way valves to pipes and water outlets so no water can flow back up them.

The 5 Most At-Risk Small Business Industries This Winter

It’s no surprise that the past three years have been some of the hardest in living memory for businesses across the UK. Following two years of uncertainty during the pandemic, the rising cost of living, inflation soaring and energy prices hitting an all-time high, it’s safe to say times are tough for small businesses across the country, and things aren’t set to get any easier as we face a long, cold and costly winter.

In a new study, Bionic has revealed the sectors of the small business community that really need a bit of extra support from the British public this winter. The business experts analysed industry revenues over a ten-year period across a variety of sectors to determine the areas of the UK economy that have seen the greatest fall in their incomes.

The Top 5 Businesses Most at Risk this winter are:


Internal data shows that for the past few years over the Christmas period, cafés saw a drop in revenue at an average rate of 8.64%. We can broadly predict, based on the last five years of Q4 data, that the cafe and pubs sector will see a drop in revenue of £3.2 billion in the winter of 2022!


Between the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021, sales of Wine, Cider, and Beer fell by 12.88%. However, this didn’t recover as we entered 2022, as revenue continued to fall by another 15% in the first half of the year. Alongside the annual sector revenue drop of 8.64% over, this winter is likely to ensure a tricky time for independent pubs.


Over a ten-year period between 2012 and 2021, the hotel and restaurant industry saw an average drop in revenue of 9.24%, equating to £3.2 billion, in Q4. Of course, due to the pandemic between 2020 and 2021, this fall reached 19.9% and 16.3% respectively. Excluding these two years, there is still a drop in revenue across the Q4 period, averaging 7%.


 For licensed restaurants, turnover fell by an astonishing 29.75% between 2022 and 2021, which was significantly different from the 3% increase in revenue from 2020 to 2021. For unlicensed restaurants, the pattern was the same. Between 2020 and 2021 there was a turnover increase of 9.77%, whereas between 2021 and 2022, revenue fell by a massive 21%.

Beauty Services

The cost of living crisis means the general public has lower disposable incomes and putting money aside for “luxury” treatments can be tough. Over the last five years, there has been an average 7% fall in revenue over the winter months, so it’s likely we will see this trend continue in 2022.

Les Roberts, Content manager at Bionic comments on the findings, and offers tips on how to support small businesses even on a tight budget:

“Small businesses across these sectors really make up the bread and butter of our society but are often the most at risk when we head into tricky times; which is exactly what we’re expecting this winter. Income for this sector frequently drops in the last three months of each year. This year, owners are likely to see an unprecedented increase in running costs, which is not only going to impact their staff and other suppliers up the chain.”

Here are some ways you can support small businesses throughout a tough winter:

  • Share their posts on social media.
  • Use small businesses and services as gifts, such as a nice meal at a local independent restaurant for your parents.
  • You can treat your loved ones to a gift card, like for your mum to get her nails done as a treat. 
  • If you are heading out for dinner or drinks, choose a local independent establishment over a chain.
  • Recommend your favourite independent brands to your friends and family.
  • Post positive reviews online.

7 Reasons Small Businesses Should Consider Cloud Migration

By John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8

Business costs are rising. Hybrid and remote working opportunities are increasing. Employees expect a streamlined and convenient approach to their everyday work processes. And, more businesses are seeking innovative ways of bringing their company into a modern environment. 

So, cloud-based infrastructures are becoming a favorable option for businesses. Rather than relying on outdated hardware that takes up space in the office, businesses appreciate the advantages of migrating to the cloud. 

If this is something you’ve thought about (or even if you haven’t) read on to discover why cloud migration could be your optimum choice. 

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration can sound like a scary, technical term that people unfamiliar with the concept shy away from. But it doesn’t need to be a big business challenge. In reality, it is not all that scary. Nor is it difficult to understand the basics, which are all you need to know to benefit from cloud migration. 

Simply put, cloud migration is the process of moving your data from your onsite server to the cloud. The cloud is normally based in a data center and is managed by IT professionals i.e. those clever techy people who know all there is to know about servers.

The cloud is used for lots of business solutions. In addition to your data being hosted in the cloud, you can also use technologies such as a cloud hosted phone system to optimize business communications.

Why Should Small Businesses Consider Cloud Migration?

Here are seven reasons why small businesses should consider cloud migration as part of their growth strategy:

1. Remote Access

With cloud migration, your workers can access your data from anywhere. They could be traveling on a train, picking the kids up from school, or even working on their sun tan on a Mediterranean beach. As long as they have an internet connection and permission to access your data, they can do so. 

This is particularly useful as the trend for remote and hybrid working continues to grow. Stemming from the Covid pandemic, workers and employers have discovered a flexible solution in hybrid working and cloud migration. In 2021, a global Statista survey showed that 73% of workers wanted to continue with a hybrid, flexible work approach. 

Cloud migration will help to contribute to your remote working style by affording you more flexibility and agility. Remote working will enable you to give presentations, have video chats, and share your pitch deck, amongst other things, all from outside the office.

2. Cost Effective

Server hardware is costly. There is no getting around that fact. Businesses with on-site servers spend a lot of money on their IT infrastructure and operations. With cloud migration, you will pay a regular, but significantly smaller fee based on your specifications. 

In addition to the hardware costs, cloud migration will save you money on maintenance. Everything on the server side is taken care of. Your cloud contact center will offer IT support when you run into any technical problems. Conversely, if you had your own hardware, you would need to hire an IT specialist to do the job for you. 

3. Space Saver

Cloud migration frees up space in your office or place of business. You do not need to have any special equipment or hardware onsite. A good cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system can integrate multiple business operations into one place. This leaves more room for other necessary business equipment or your employees to simply enjoy the extra space. 

4. Scalability

Cloud-based migration is scalable and tailored to each business. As you grow, so can your data capacity. Use application modernization cloud solutions to move your business forward. These will help you manage your growing list of employees or your expanding workload. 

When you have onsite hardware, scaling up is considerably more difficult. You need to purchase new servers, set them up, and even spend money on new software and licenses. This is costly, inconvenient, and time-consuming. There is also a chance of experiencing downtime while you are adjusting your set up. 

Additionally, with cloud-based servers, there are options to only pay for what you use. That means that you don’t need to worry about wasting money on resources you don’t need or want. You simply get what you pay for and scale up as you need to. 

5. Performance-Boosting

Technology is becoming more robust and powerful. And, cloud-based servers are no exception. Cloud-based servers are powerful, reliable, and quick to process data. Most providers are diligent with their speeds and availability, offering a 99% uptime guarantee. 

6. Secures Your Data

When implemented correctly, the cloud can be a much more secure place to store and manage your business data. Cloud service providers put strict measures in place to protect their clients’ data from hackers and cyber threats. One such measure is ensuring your network is closed off from unauthorized traffic. 

Another security enhancement measure of reputable cloud solutions providers is the regular, automatic updates of their systems. An updated system is less vulnerable to breaches and cyber attacks. So, maintaining updates is a priority. 

More still, businesses can select a provider that offers the level of security they need. Some have more stringent security measures in place than others. Businesses are free to pick and choose one based on their requirements and budget. 

When considering what security measures are best for your business you should consider the Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) from Auditboard to better understand your potential exposure and the likelihood of risk. This enables you to quantify each risk and its impact, and establish a warning system to manage these risks.

7. More Collaboration

All things in the cloud exist in real-time. It supports the hybrid workplace because data is saved and synchronized automatically. This means that everyone with access to data or a document can view changes as and when they are made. 

Cloud migration enables teams to work on projects together, regardless of where they are located. They can use communication platforms and other tools and software that will optimize collaboration and project management. 

Will Your Business Migrate to the Cloud?

Cloud migration is quickly becoming a must. Create process maps to determine whether it is the right direction for your business. On the whole though, cloud migration enables access to a range of business-boosting online tools and software. 

It is more convenient, cost-effective, and secure than a traditional data storage setup. Furthermore, the cloud is an essential component of facilitating remote and hybrid working environments. 

Calculating Your Software ROI: Essential to Your Company’s Growth And Success?

By Emily Rollwitz – Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing

There are so many tools out there to help SMEs compete with big businesses. And cloud services and SaaS solutions can do a lot for small businesses. 

But not every software investment is the best one. With so many solutions, features, and prices to choose from, how can businesses make an objective decision?

What is software ROI, and why is it important?

Software return on investment (ROI) is a metric used to determine the financial benefits of investing in software. This could be anything from a new CMS to an iPaaS system that makes it easy to move data across apps.

Measuring software ROI is an integral part of your business analysis process because it allows organizations to make informed decisions about whether or not to invest in a new software system. By putting a number on all the costs and benefits, organizations can make more informed decisions about whether or not it’s worth the cost.

What makes this tricky is that software’s price tag isn’t the only cost. Other factors include the ongoing costs of using and maintaining the system; time spent onboarding team members; and financial risks associated with investing in this system. Also, it is difficult to work out the overall financial benefit of some software, such as a programme used to improve presentations and make them look and feel more professional. While this doesn’t directly generate income, it contributes to any situation where you may be expected to make presentations.

Making better decisions

By understanding the ROI of their investments, businesses can make more informed decisions about where to allocate their resources. 

Whether a software company should push out a release now to spur sales or needs to review the Global App Testing smoke testing guide again can be easily determined by ROI. In this case the ROI determines the budget relative to the expected return. If another round of testing would exceed that budget then it’s objectively not worth the money.

Monitoring and controlling costs

ROI is a useful tool for monitoring the performance of software over time because it allows businesses to track and measure the financial benefits. 

If software’s pricing model changes, it’s easy to compare the expected cost over the next 12 months to the financial benefit from the previous year. A price increase might be small, but it might be enough to make the software unjustifiable.

Conversely, the software provider might introduce a lower pricing tier with fewer features; if you can put a number on the benefits of specific features, you can make an easy decision on whether to “downgrade” to the cheaper option.

How do you calculate software ROI?

The easiest way to calculate software ROI is to divide the financial benefit of using the software by the costs of the software. This will provide you with a ratio that can be used to compare the ROI of different systems. 

One simple way to calculate the new software’s true cost is to take the initial cost of the software and add in the ongoing costs of using and maintaining the system, including subscriptions and pay-as-you-go features. 

“Costs” should be as comprehensive as possible, including the total cost per hour taken to onboard the whole team onto the new software. You should also consider the potential risks of this software and consider the resources you’ll need to set aside to mitigate them. This will provide you with a total cost of ownership for the software.

To calculate the expected revenue, you’ll need a baseline to compare it to. How much does it cost you per man-hour to do tasks like email campaigns or processing sales leads with the software you currently use? What are the upfront monthly/yearly costs, and how much free cash flow does that leave you compared to other options? 

Only once you have that baseline and can measure your current software ROI can you calculate the expected ROI of new software to streamline those everyday business operations.

What are the benefits of calculating software ROI?

There are many benefits to calculating software ROI. 

It helps teams determine whether an investment is worth the cost. But it also allows them to compare solutions and make a business case for the best one. 

Additionally, calculating your software ROI beforehand can help you measure the success of that software as it’s implemented within your company.

Weighing up the cost

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding if a software investment is worth the cost. 

The first is to consider the size and scope of the projects that software is going to help with. If they’re large projects with lots of moving parts, then it would be good to automate them. This will speed up execution while reducing the chance of human error. 

But if any one small task like getting a document signed is repeated enough, the cost of doing it inefficiently adds up quickly. This is the kind of task HRM software can help with. In either case it’s worth putting a value on that inefficiency and looking for an affordable solution.

Justifying the investment

Business purchases often have a lot of decision-makers. If you’re convinced that you’ve found the right accounting software, you have to be able to convince executives that this is a worthwhile investment. 

A well-thought-out ROI calculation is a great way to address concerns around its expense, and show your stakeholders that this is a sound decision that will help the business grow.

Make a calculated decision for your business

Calculating your software ROI is essential for growth and success. Without it, you don’t know whether that shiny new piece of software is actually a sound investment. 

Calculating software ROI enables you to make better decisions around software purchases and monitor how well they’re paying off in the long term.

What Changes Have Been Made to Capital Gains Tax Allowances and How Will they Affect Anyone Thinking of Selling a Second Home or Buy-to-let Property?

What is capital gains tax?

Capital gains tax is a UK tax which is charged on the profit you make when you sell an asset that has increased in value since it came into your possession. You pay tax only on the amount by which the asset has gained in value, not the full amount of money you have made by selling it.

You are liable to pay tax on a number of different chargeable assets including property, although there is an annual tax-free allowance which currently sits at £12,300. For jointly owned assets, you can combine your tax-free allowances.

When it comes to property taxes, capital gains tax is generally only applicable on sales of second and buy-to-let homes, commercial premises and property which has been inherited. The amount that you pay is dependent on your tax status. If you are a basic rate taxpayer, you would pay 18% of the gain you make on a property after your tax-free allowance has been deducted. If you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you would pay 28%.

What changes have been made to capital gains tax?

In his recent Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that changes would be made to the capital gains tax free allowance rates as part of a number of measures to cut the £54 billion deficit in the UK’s finances. Other measures include a 50% reduction on the dividend allowance from £2,000 to £1,000 and freezing the income tax personal allowance and higher rate thresholds for an additional two years to April 2028.

The capital gains tax allowance threshold will be reduced by more than half from £12,300 to £6,000 as of 1 April 2023. The rate will then be cut by a further 50% to £3,000 from 1 April 2024.

This means that any gains over and above these amounts will be taxed accordingly depending on the individual’s tax status.

For properties which are jointly owned, by a married couple for instance, you can continue to combine your tax-free allowance which means a figure of £24,600 up to 31 March 2023, £12,000 from 1 April 2023 and £6,000 from 1 April 2024.

Should I try and sell my property before 31 March 2023 then?

If you are in the process of selling your property already, then there is certainly an advantage to getting the transaction done and dusted by 31 March 2023.

Since the summer of 2020, property prices have sky-rocketed by 24%. Assuming that the property you wish to sell originally cost or was valued at £234,073 (the national average property price in June 2020) and you have sold it for 24% (£56,177.52) more than it was worth when you bought or inherited it, then your capital gains tax payments would be as follows before and after 31 March 2023.

  Capital gains tax payment for a basic rate taxpayer paying 18%* Capital gains tax payment for a higher or additional rate taxpayer paying 28%*  
Until 31 March 2023   £7,897.95 £12,285.71
From 1 April 2023   £9,032 £14,049.71
From 1 April 2024   £9,571.95 £14,889.71

*These figures are based on the assumption that there have been no other taxable gains within the year.

Whilst there is a saving to be made should you sell before 31 March 2023, if your property is not yet on the market and may take some time and refurbishment to prepare for sale then the benefit of rushing it through may not be worth the upheaval, particularly given the volatility of the housing market right now thanks to the looming recession and jump in mortgage and interest rates.

If you have a mortgage on the property, then depending on the timing of your sale in relation to when you took out the mortgage, you may also find yourself liable for early repayment fees which would eat into any savings made from a lower capital gains tax payment.

It also takes around 20 weeks to complete the sale of your home at the moment according to Rightmove, which means even if you have recently agreed the sale with a buyer you would still be very pushed to meet the 31 March 2023 deadline.

The Rise in Popularity of the “Second Stepper” Property

Given the on-going cost of living crisis, with sky high energy bills and mortgage repayments going through the roof, it is hardly surprising that doom and gloom predictions of a house price crash are everywhere right now. Indeed, most property experts seem to agree that a fall in prices of around 10% over the next 12 months should be expected.

From an affordability point of view, this, of course, makes sense. Since the summer of 2020 we have seen an unprecedented rise in house prices, with an average annual house price rise of 15.5% in July 2022, the highest rise since 2003, thanks to the impact of pandemic induced government incentives like the stamp duty holiday, low interest rates and the disparity between supply versus demand. This has particularly been the case when it comes to larger properties, offering more indoor and outdoor living space, as home offices and larger gardens have topped wish lists nationwide thanks to various lockdown periods and home working.

As we are tightening our belts in 2022 though, there has been a distinct cooling off amongst potential buyers. Indeed market activity has fallen since September, with new survey instructions and mortgage approvals falling to pre-pandemic levels and fewer property transactions taking place. There have also been more asking price reductions reported, up from 2% to 23% in October 2022 according to Rightmove.   

However, there has been a property stalwart bucking the downward trend. The so-called “second stepper” home, traditionally a 3-4 bedroom semi-detached or detached property sought by homeowners wanting to move up the ladder from their first property and gain more space.

According to estate agents Knight Frank, the number of new homebuyers seeking this type of property has jumped by 27% in the past year and the property type getting the most interest on Rightmove right now? You guessed it, the three-bedroom semi.

The popularity of family homes in catchments areas for good schools is nothing new for ‘upsizers’, with many happy to pay over the odds for their home if it means saving thousands on school fees and lands them a premium property in a sought-after location. However, today it seems, the “second-stepper” is the holy grail for a multitude of different buyers – more so than any other property type in fact – spinning the traditional property ladder on its axis.

Indeed, as the average age of the first-time buyer has increased, and therefore in many cases, so has their salary and the size of their deposit, lots of savvy first time buyers are leaping up the property ladder a few rungs. Given the cost of moving house – currently around £12,000 on average – it makes sense to secure longevity in a home which will grow with you wherever possible.  

At the other end of the market, empty nesters whose children have left home are looking to downsize without losing too much space. Particularly as concerns grow over rising energy bills this winter, which is encouraging many downsizers to take the plunge. According to Savills, a whopping 77% of buyers are now taking into account the amount they will need to spend on energy in a new home before they buy, with smaller, more energy efficient new-builds popular.

Interestingly, many downsizers are also taking advantage of the equity in their previous homes to help their children get a foothold on the property ladder by increasing their deposit to make mortgage rates more manageable. Indeed, this homeowner group could unlock an impressive £129,000 on average from their existing properties by downsizing. Of course, inadvertently this does pitch parents against children when it comes to the types of properties they are searching for, as one heads up the property ladder and one down. By selling larger, more expensive homes during the recent housing boom, downsizers are often able to buy a new property mortgage free, in cash, keeping the price of second-stepper homes in popular areas high and making it hard for first-time buyers and second steppers to compete, especially with rising interest rates and more expensive mortgages repayments to consider.

The continued popularity of three and four-bedroom properties amongst such a broad range of buyers, and the shortage of these homes available to buy right now versus this strong demand, means that many second stepper properties have been shielded from the impact of falling house prices – so far.

FTX Crash Shows Exchange Safety is More Important Than Ever

The crash of FTX, which was the second-largest crypto exchange in the world, sparked alarm across the crypto industry. Some even called it the “Lehman moment” of digital assets, invoking memories of the collapse of the leading investment bank in 2008.

When FTX collapsed, market watchers’ eyes turned to Tether, the biggest stablecoin by market cap, which underpins a large portion of the sector’s economy. In the aftermath, Tether slipped off its currency peg, trading at $0.98 briefly, before returning to its peg.

Questions of Coinbase, Binance, and many other big industry players have become regular chatter. Contagion has spread, but not ‘too’ badly… yet.

Implications for the broader market

The broader financial system’s resilience to cryptocurrency woes has been put to the test over the past year against the backdrop of a harsh “crypto winter.” In November 2021, the crypto market peaked at $3 trillion. According to CoinMarketCap, it’s currently just over $800 billion. World markets have suffered over the past year too.

Why it’s important to use reliable platforms

With FTX crashing, it’s more vital to use safe crypto exchanges than ever. Investment education apps like Invezz can help you avoid dodgy exchanges and stay safe. Michael Charalambous, Director at Invezz told us that:

“Binance and Nexo are two examples of reputable and safe exchanges. Nexo has real-time asset auditing by independent third parties, and doesn’t take risky loans. Neither have the transparency we need, but both are credible and well-balanced in comparison with the types of risky investments & dodgy practices at FTX. Ultimately, we tend to recommend users fund accounts with reversible payment methods, for instance by finding a safe PayPal crypto exchange – or simply holding your funds in a secure cold wallet. It really depends on your experience levels in the market.”

Binance has some of the lowest fees of all crypto exchanges. If you pay them in Binance Coin (BNB), its native token, there are further discounts.

As the biggest exchange in the world, Binance always has enough liquidity to facilitate trades with no shortage of crypto trading options. You can exchange hundreds of currency pairs, trade Bitcoin futures, or buy or sell crypto with fiat currencies. The only potential issue is intuitiveness. The platform is not the user-friendliest out there, but people eventually learn the ropes.

Nexo is another popular cryptocurrency exchange. It’s a great platform to earn interest on savings in fiat money and crypto. More than 300 crypto pairs are available for trading on the platform, and users can earn interest on three fiat currencies and over 30 cryptos.

Safest payment methods

Two of the safest payment methods are debit cards and PayPal. Debit cards are one of the most familiar forms of payment and also one of the most secure methods. The debit card issuer encodes transaction details, which are encrypted. Most debit card providers conduct regular screening and monitoring for suspicious activity, and the customer is not liable in the event that fraud does occur. They get their money back if they can prove they didn’t authorize the transaction.

PayPal is another safe online payment method. The customer’s data is secure because a payment gateway handles payment services. The transaction is managed by a payment processor, enabling a reliable and secure transaction.

Bank transfers are still a popular payment method, but they have their disadvantages. Banks typically charge a fee to send money. In addition, a fee might also be payable to the recipient’s bank. If you want to convert currencies, you will be hit by the bank’s poor exchange rates – banks have some of the worst rates of all financial establishments. Ultimately, you’ll lose money.

How to Beat the Cost-of-Living Crisis As a Small Business Owner

Small businesses are essential to the fabric of our nation. In fact, recent research reveals that they are responsible for 61% of all employment in the UK. On December 3rd 2022, we celebrate their contribution to the UK and encourage consumers to shop locally with the non-commercial campaign Small Business Saturday.

Amidst the burgeoning cost-of-living crisis, it has never been more important to support local businesses. Inflation is rapidly rising, with the Customer Prices Index (CPI) report showing the national inflation rate is at its highest since the report was first produced in 1997, averaging at 11.1% in October 2022. In turn, this presents a number of challenges for small businesses.

Solopress, online printing specialists in everything from flyers and leaflets to stickers and labels, explores five ways to help a small business beat the rising cost of living crisis here in the UK.

Access support from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)

In the face of uncertainty, many small business owners will be searching for ways to collaborate with the wider community. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) bring together businesses, the public, third sector and academia to make this possible. In fact, LEPs support over 2 million businesses.

There are 38 LEPs working towards investing in companies and communities in England. The Cumbria LEP, for example, is putting over £60 million into its local economy. This includes its Local Industrial Strategy, which will continue to leverage for funding until 2030. Not only will this create thousands of jobs for citizens, but it will also enable new businesses space to open and thrive within the area as its economy grows.

If you’re a small business owner living in Lincolnshire, you could become one of the 41,942 businesses supported by the LEP Network. Business Lincolnshire provides expert advice on accessing funding and learning new skills as business owners.

Save money on energy prices by switching to a fixed contract

Energy prices have escalated as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. Shocking data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that electricity costs increased by an average of 349% between February 2021 and August 2022.

To address this issue, the government has introduced a six-month scheme that will benefit businesses in the UK. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will reduce electricity prices to £211 per MWh and gas prices to £75 per MWh. It is worth noting, however, that the level of support will vary depending on whether your business is on a fixed, variable or deemed contract.

If you’re on a fixed contract, you will receive a discount of the difference between your current plan and the government-supported price (£211 MWh for electricity and £75MWh for gas). However, there will be a maximum discount of £345 per MWh for electricity and £91 per MWh for gas if your business is on any other type of contract.

To beat the rising cost of living, small business owners who aren’t on a fixed contract should consider switching if they haven’t already done so. Due to contractual agreements, energy suppliers may not allow you to do this mid-contract; but the government has announced that it is working to ensure all businesses can switch while the scheme is in effect between October 2022 to April 2023.

Attract investors with venture capital schemes

It’s no secret that external investments enable businesses to develop. During the increasing cost of living, an investment could be the difference between businesses staying afloat and closing down. Investors are less likely to funnel money into start-up businesses, for example, during economic uncertainty. The same can be said for small businesses in their early years.

Venture capital schemes could be the saving grace you’ve been searching for. These schemes reduce taxes for investors if they’re buying shares, bonds or assets. The government has four schemes currently in place for businesses established in the UK, although it’s best to check if you’re eligible before applying.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), for example, is ideal for small business owners. To qualify, your business must be less than two years old, have less than 25 employees, have never been part of a different trade and have less than £200,000 in gross assets.

Enrol on a free mentorship programme with Be the Business

Small business owners understand the pressures of keeping your knowledge and skills up to date while running an organisation. Despite all of the entrepreneurial skills you have, the cost-of-living crisis will continue to challenge your practices. This is where mentorship programmes come into the equation.

Be the Business provides free resources for small business owners to grow their organisations. Industry professionals offer targeted support – such as action plans and guides – in leadership, strategy, planning, sales and more. These can help you grow your small business during otherwise uncertain times.

Maintain the welfare of your workforce with free online training

Last and certainly not least, investing in and supporting employees is essential. Their hard work and dedication are more essential than ever during these turbulent times. Prioritising their welfare within the workplace is important for employee wellbeing and satisfaction.

66% of councillors have reported that people’s mental health is declining as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. Not only does this have the potential to reduce their quality of life, but it might also lead to struggles in the workplace. Education is everything for small business owners, and a training course may help you to boost morale and help you support your people through these trying times.

Acas has multiple online courses surrounding mental health in the workplace. If you’re a small business, you can create an account and sign up for free eLearning classes today.

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner. If you’re a small business owner, sign up to promote your company online. Every piece of marketing is invaluable, especially as the nation’s people and businesses cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

Why a Website Is What You Need to Grow Your Small Business

By Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Every small business needs a website—yes, even local businesses that aren’t selling online.

Your social media accounts are great for engaging with loyal customers. However, they lack the visibility and credibility you need to achieve sustainable business growth. 

Customers who go online to find information about your business may not find any information about your business at all. And even if they do, they’ll probably opt for your competitor if you don’t have your own website. 

But just how many customers use the internet to research businesses? The answer might surprise you—according to Bright Local, a whopping 99% of consumers use online searches to find local business information. 21% admit to doing this every single day.

It goes without saying then that the best small business website examples are ones that lead customers directly to their door—whether that’s virtual or bricks-and-mortar.

So, in order to grow your small business, it’s essential to have a website. This article is going to explore the main reasons why.

Websites increase business credibility

First things first, customers expect businesses to have a website. 

In a world where anyone can create a company social media profile and call themselves a business, you risk customers questioning your legitimacy if you operate solely through a Facebook or Instagram page. 

A professionally designed website (complete with trust signals like contact details, reviews, and certificates) is essential for establishing credibility. Not only does it prove that your company exists in the first place, but it signals that you take your business seriously.

They attract new customers through Google

Whether it’s to ask a question, perform product comparisons, or find local businesses, the majority of customers are using search engines as a starting point for their purchases. So if you want to increase your business’s visibility online, it’s essential that you’re as discoverable on Google as possible. 

But how do you do it?

This is where websites reign supreme. Website content is rich with search engine optimisation (SEO) opportunities that are vital for securing top spots on Google’s results page. And the higher your Google ranking, the more organic traffic you’ll receive.

While social pages do show up on Google, they’re unable to compete with websites.

Organic traffic is essential for sustainable business growth. So if you want to consistently reach new customers, you not only need to create a high-quality website, but you need to promote your website using SEO.

They create a clear, streamlined customer path

Your customer path maps the steps that buyers take in their customer journey. Your website is a critical, logical step in this journey as it’s where customers go to learn about your business, browse your products, read reviews, and more.

If you don’t have a website, you risk customers abandoning their journey completely. For this reason, all of your PPC ads, email links, social media profiles, apps, and other marketing channels should direct users back to your website. 

This should be the case even if you don’t actually sell on your website. People often research products on a store’s website before going to the physical store to buy them.

Investing in cloud-native application architecture can help you create centralised omnichannel experiences that put your website at the heart of your business.

Also, if you add screen sharing software onto your computers you can guide your potential customers through a live demonstration of your online products, while answering their questions in real-time.

You can improve your customer support availability 

From managing high call volumes to monitoring calls across your customer service team, a lot of work goes into providing effective and efficient customer telephone support. The great thing about having a website is that you don’t need to be physically accessible to answer all of your customer’s questions.

By equipping your website with online self-service options, you can be there for your customers on a 24/7 basis. Powerful web-based self-service options include:

  • An online knowledge base that provides customers with advanced information about your products and services. 
  • An FAQ page that answers common questions or directs users to the appropriate solution.
  • Chatbots that can resolve queries and provide personalised, up-to-date information.

Have all these options accessible on the landing page whether it’s part of the website header or a small pop-up. This will help you reduce your bounce rate and encourage customers to continue their journey. Don’t forget to make it look good too!

Websites allow you to expand your reach

A website gives you the ability to expand beyond your local area. And we’re not just talking about your neighbouring city—we’re talking about potential global expansion.

There are over five billion internet users worldwide

By setting up an ecommerce store, you not only make your business visible to these online users, but you can specifically target potential customers in different cities, regions, and countries using website localisation and global marketing strategies

Although your social media pages are also globally visible, they lack the organic traffic and credibility needed to reach and retain customers outside of your local area.

You can attract more interest to your website through blogger outreach, making sure that you are putting out excellent content that your users will be interested in and will search for. 

You can stand out from the competition 

Having a website immediately gives you a competitive advantage over businesses that don’t. Remember, most consumers search for local business information online, making websites essential for your online visibility. 

But that’s not all. Websites help you stand out from your competitors in other ways, too.

For example, you can:

  • Take high-quality product photos to showcase your products.
  • Create an attractive, on-brand website design that illustrates your business’s unique brand identity and raises your brand awareness.
  • Offer social proof through customer testimonials
  • Provide essential information or services that your competitors don’t.

In fact, providing essential details or delivering extra services through your website gives your business an invaluable competitive edge. 

For example, a restaurant with a website that provides online menus, allergy information, and online booking options immediately cultivates a better customer experience. This can significantly boost customer acquisition, retention, and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

Wrapping up

Your website is essentially your company’s digital storefront. It amplifies ecommerce capabilities for your online small business, enabling you to reach customers outside of your local area. This drives ecommerce shoppers your way and significantly increases revenue. 

If you’re an offline, local business, having a website is just as important. A professional, updated website gives you a competitive edge by improving your visibility and allowing customers to access essential business information that influences their purchasing decisions. 

Lead the Way to SME Profitability

As the prospect of a recession looms, SMEs need to find customers without breaking the bank. It’s just not tenable to waste money on unproven strategies. The answer could lie in using rigorous lead management and tracking to understand where your most profitable customers come from to focus on your most successful marketing channels and campaigns.

Even during these challenging times, too many businesses are failing to track every lead, meaning that there is no way of knowing how potential customers found you. And if you don’t know how they found you, how can you know where to look for customers in the future?

So, what would an effective lead tracking strategy look like?

Track everything

The key to an effective lead tracking strategy is to track everything you can; submitted web forms, phone calls, emails, sales, and live chat; however you are contacted you need to know where these leads first made contact with your company. Only then can you understand what is working for you.

When someone calls you, for example, it’s useful to know whether they are calling after finding your website after a Google search or are calling after seeing a pay-per-click advert or have come from social media. Of course, you could just ask them, but this is notoriously unreliable. Using lead tracking software takes away the guesswork and provides you with robust data that is based on fact.

Track accurately via lead management

Comprehensive lead tracking involves managing all your leads in one place and understanding where your leads originate, even when they don’t come directly to you.

What does that mean? Well, if someone clicks on a Google Ad, but then leaves your website and comes back later by typing in your URL, lead tracking can reflect the fact that they started their lead journey with the ad. You then need a solution that allows you to join up every customer, every call, every visit, every form or email, to every campaign.

This is particularly useful for B2B and high value leads, that may not get in touch immediately, as buying decisions are more complex.

Track the whole journey

The most effective lead management of all closes the loop between initial contact and a sale by feeding sales information back into the lead tracking system you are using. This can take a little more effort but is definitely worth it, as you can compare the final value and worth of every lead.

Saving you money

Firstly, as a business owner, generating your own leads is always beneficial, as you will no longer be wasting money on third-party lead generation companies, who often provide you with leads that are also sold your competitors. You can then start to spend your money on generating your own leads.

It may seem that investing in additional lead tracking software and processes will cost you money rather than save you money. However, once you start to track leads, you generate a wealth of data that can be used to refine your lead generation strategy and reduce costs in areas that don’t work, ensuring that you aren’t wasting budget on unsuccessful lead generation.

You also save money by improving how you generate leads. Perversely, once your company starts using lead tracking properly to improve your lead generation strategy, you may find initially that the number of leads you get drops slightly. But the flip side is the quality of the leads improves significantly. If you and your team aren’t wasting time trying to convert low-quality leads, then it is clearly going to save you resources.

How to get started

Unless you are very familiar with all the lead tracking options available, it will be almost impossible to ensure that you purchase the most appropriate lead tracking system, or set it up optimally, and therefore an initial consultation with a professional is vital. You should also look for a company that will set up systems for you and talk you through how they operate.

Many companies don’t make the most of their lead tracking because they don’t get their customer journeys right, understand all the touch points and the data that their systems produce, or what to do with it. That is why it is crucial that you get some help before you start. Even better is working with a company who will provide you with regular, professional reviews of your lead tracking strategy in order for you to make ongoing improvements.

You need access to reliable lead tracking software that will track as many of your leads as possible. Start by consulting a lead management company that can fully assess the needs of your business. Look for a company that takes the time to talk to you about what your company is trying to achieve, pointing out the pitfalls and any changes needed to deliver full lead management and tracking.

When times are tough it can be difficult to know if and where to invest in your companies marketing. However, spending some money on lead tracking and lead management will help your business understand where your leads come from, where you’re wasting money, and how to generate more profitable leads.

What is Visual Content Marketing and How Can it Help Your Small Business?

Visual content marketing is videos, photos, drawings, images and Infographics. It is content that you can quickly digest and interpret. So, it isn’t radio shows, podcasts, statistics, text, and so forth. The benefits of visual content marketing for small businesses is pretty obvious. Small businesses cannot afford to drive and draw a lot of attention. When they do get a little attention, they need content that is easy to quickly digest and interpret. Visual content marketing helps them do just that.

Video Content Through Digital Signs

Back in the old days, small businesses would put up posters on their premises and in their windows. This form of visual marketing is still popular, but digital signs are slowly taking over. This is because a digital signage content creator can offer a wide variety of content types in a single place. For example, a digital sign can show a tutorial, an advert, a demonstration, and it can show edutainment, which is where you educate your target audience about a product or service, but you do it in an entertaining way.

Branding Through Visual Appeal

We all know that a noticeable brand is good for business. That is why many of the larger brands seem to have the perfect logo. They understand the power of branding colors and logos. A small business can set up a brand and maybe even a mascot so that people recognize their business when they walk by or when they come in contact with that brand’s packaging, bags, delivery vans and so forth.

What About Calls to Action

In this day and age, the “Call to Action” is officially the most popular “Useless” marketing tool on the planet. The data suggesting that it works is so skewed that only big brands have the capacity to see through the insights and understand that calls to action do not work. All they do is punctuate when the end of the advert has occurred, at which point the user can decide if they wish to buy or not. Instead of using calls to action, you can use your visual marketing to punctuate the end of your adverts.

Luckily, a video can do this by simply ending with a flourish or a clear and defined black screen prior to the next advert coming on. Even YouTube understands this, which is why there is always an annoying gap between their adverts. Even the timer on the bottom of the advert button serves as a way of little people know when the advert is over. Don’t feel that you have to add calls to action to your visual marketing but do find a way of punctuating the end of your advert so people are prompted into finalizing their decision to buy.

Test and Contrast Using Social Media

Marketers are always going to tell you to focus on social media simply because social media offers very easy answers. Instead of focusing on social media, focus on testing and contrasting between social media and real life. Create a video advert and put it on your social media profiles and on your digital signs and see how each one does.

Remember that social media engagement doesn’t mean success. Remember that success is all about how many conversions you make (how many sales, subscriptions, etc.). With that in mind, find a way to monitor your conversions both online and offline. You may be surprised at how well some of your offline adverts do when compared with online adverts.

Also, when you create offline adverts for your digital signs and such, try to include footage of your store. People are so used to seeing things online that they feel a weird disconnect when your digital signs show adverts that also feature scenes from inside your store or business. It is quite attention grabbing. Take a look at the digital signs in hotels, when they show you the dining hall, the rooms and the reception area that you are probably stood in while watching. It is attention grabbing in a weirdly unexplainable way (at least that is how it feels for Millennials who grew up with the Internet).

Best Broadband Deals For Your Business to Reduce Your Bills

“No matter how small or large your business, it’s always important to focus on reducing costs. Identifying areas where you can cut costs and finding creative ways to save money can really help you maximize your profits.” – Mark Cuban, Owner of Dallas Mavericks

Margins in any small to medium enterprise (SME) are tight, as you invest your profits into high-quality products. Make savings on your utility bills and cut down on your overheads by finding the best broadband deals possible that keep your company running as efficiently as possible for the foreseeable future.

Broadband is one of the fundamental parts of any modern company. After all, your company uses its broadband for communicating with clients, transferring money and ordering in stock. Despite its importance, a broadband connection doesn’t have to be expensive. Find out more about what full fibre broadband deals are and how to get the best deals for your company in the future.

What are broadband deals?

Broadband deals refer to opportunities to cut down on the amount that you and your company spend on broadband connections over the course of a contract. This covers all kinds of broadband depending on your location, from old-style copper cable connections to full fibre broadband in modern areas with more recent upgrades. Finding a deal means successfully finding more value in your contract and getting the most you can out of your utility spending.

Tips for finding broadband deals

There are a few things that you can do to get a better deal for your broadband. The steps that you can take include:

Find a quality service

One of the more important parts of finding a broadband agreement that works for you is making sure that the provider works properly. Ofcom offers advice for businesses when looking for a broadband supplier. As a general rule, look for suppliers that have strong reviews in your area and a good reputation amongst other businesses. There’s no need to risk saving a couple of pounds by going to an unknown supplier, especially in the event that they don’t offer the service that you need in the long term.

Leverage the contract length

When you pick a broadband supplier, there tends to be a series of set contract lengths that the provider will offer you. This includes short-term deals such as twelve months, with some offering alternatives for long-term agreements such as 36 or 60 months. Use this to your advantage, as companies tend to charge less for long-term contracts. They benefit from getting a customer for an extended period of time and you benefit from saving a few more pounds on overheads every month.

Try to negotiate

When finding deals in any industry it’s ideal to shop around, and in the broadband space, you also have the capacity to try to negotiate your deal with a broadband provider. Different broadband providers work on the same infrastructure, so the best chance they have of attracting customers is by providing extra incentives. As an SME, try to use this to gain additional perks or cut the cost further, adding even more value to your deal. Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, presents haggling or negotiating as his top tip for finding broadband deals and claims haggling has “helped people save £100s on their bills”. This applies to businesses as well, and is in fact more important when your small business starts to scale up and you relocate to offices larger than most houses with internet demands much more significant.

Take your time

Take as long as you need when choosing a business broadband provider. Use your time to gradually research all of the options available to you. This might feel like a task that you need to complete right here, right now, but it’s one that can do serious harm to your company’s prospects if you make a wrong decision. Consider getting a second opinion on your final decision too, since seeing what others think can add significantly to your chances of making the right choice.

Sellers Set to Benefit From Forex Effect

By John Foundling, corporate finance partner, Menzies LLP.

Business owners in the UK that have been looking to sell for some time – potentially since before the pandemic – could benefit from changes in foreign exchange rates that are enticing overseas buyers back to Britain’s shores. But are they ready to capitalise on any opportunities that come knocking?

For several months now, the strong dollar and weak pound have presented international trade buyers with a window of opportunity to acquire well-managed, UK-based businesses. The US Federal Reserve’s continuing hawkish approach and the somewhat muted response of the markets to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement both suggest that this won’t be changing any time soon. However, with interest rates on the rise and geopolitical tensions ongoing, UK businesses that are keen on pursuing a sale should consider going to market now.

An upturn in M&A activity certainly seems to be on the cards, with lenders, corporates and private equity firms all reporting strong liquidity, which means funding is available. The private equity (PE) firm, Advent International, recently told the Financial Times that it had asked portfolio companies to each come up with three acquisition ideas – an indication of how positive M&A sentiment has become. Elsewhere, venture capitalists have reported being bullish about 2023 and Venture Capital Trusts are reporting strong fund raising activity. Confirming growing interest in M&A activity, a recent survey by CMS Law found that 88% of senior level executives at corporates and PE firms in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, were considering M&A activity in Europe.

For UK-based SMEs considering a potential sale, it is important to prepare in good time to optimise their business valuation. Businesses with a strong position in a growing market are likely to achieve the best valuations, particularly if they can also demonstrate the resilience of their operating model and their ability to pass inflationary costs to customers.

A strong management team with a clear strategy is vital if seeking to attract interest from PE or  an international trade buyer. Having the right people in the right roles is essential, and building leadership teams comprising individuals with complementary backgrounds and skillsets can make a big difference. It is also important to have talented people tied into the business either through tax-efficient employee share schemes or other forms of reward and remuneration. A strong leadership team is expected, but increasingly buyers and PE  are looking for second-tier strength too.

In the current inflationary climate, with energy and fuel costs rising rapidly, many businesses are keeping a close eye on cashflow management. With costs changing on a weekly,  some businesses are finding it more challenging to keep track of operating margins. Businesses should look to remove as much uncertainty as possible by negotiating longer term energy supply contracts, for example.

Being ready should a buyer come knocking, is all about management having their finger on the pulse and knowing where they are on their strategic journey. This involves preparing robust and timely financial information, monitoring the key performance indicators and understanding past performance whilst staying focused on the future. A buyer’s due diligence process can be a demanding experience, so it makes sense for SMEs to be well prepared by maintaining comprehensive, up-to-date records and agreements, supporting the strategic direction of the business.

Finally, vendors may need to soften their approach to deal negotiations and be prepared for differences in opinion when it comes to price expectations. While favourable foreign exchange rates are an incentive for some overseas buyers, the global economic crisis is creating a climate of uncertainty for everyone and this will inevitably erode some market value.

For those that are ready  to go to market now, the strong cash position of corporates, investors and lenders could play into their hands and it is increasingly likely that they will attract the interest of an overseas buyer too.

How to Get an SME or Self-Employed Mortgage

There are many benefits to owning and running your own business but getting a mortgage in the current financial climate isn’t necessarily one of them.

Your monthly salary may be low, you might be self-employed or you might be keen to buy a home that has an unusual feature such as a thatched roof. All these and more have been enough for lenders to reject mortgage applications. We spoke to a specialist Chelmsford mortgage broker about what you need to know about how to stay special and still buy your dream property.

Why are you treated differently?

When mortgage lenders assess whether or not to accept your mortgage application, they take a number of factors into account. One of the most important is how likely you are to be able to afford to meet your mortgage repayments, i.e. how much of a risk you are.

To help them decide, lenders will look at how much you earn. If you are employed in regular job, with regular hours it is relatively easy for them to assess how much money you have coming in each week. However, you may have difficulty proving your income if you are self-employed, or an SME business owner, as again your income will fluctuate and isn’t guaranteed, or you may take a low monthly salary and pay dividends.

Lenders may also be reluctant to lend to you if you intend to buy a property such as a prefab or a listed building, that is unusual in some way. This could be because they are concerned about the resale value should they have to repossess the property, or they may wonder whether you will be able to afford the ongoing costs of a high-maintenance property, for example a thatched cottage.

What can you do?

If you are a business owner or self-employed there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of finding a mortgage. You can make sure that your books are accurate and up to date, get them signed off by an accountant, and ensure that any attempt to be ‘tax efficient’ doesn’t suggest that your income is too low to afford mortgage repayments.

However, while it’s tempting to believe that you can do everything yourself online, and many people successfully find and apply for mortgages this way, if your circumstances are unusual you could benefit from taking specialist mortgage advice.

How could a specialist broker help?

Specialist mortgage brokers have access to a vast array of different mortgage deals. Whole-of-market brokers can access mortgages from masses of different lenders, as they aren’t tied to a specific bank or building society, and frequently offer ‘broker-only’ deals that you won’t find independently.

Specialist brokers understand not only that different lenders have different criteria from each other, but also that these criteria change over time. This real time knowledge makes them invaluable to anyone looking for anything more than a standard mortgage. Matching your circumstances to a lender’s current criteria maximises your chances of success.

There may be lenders, for example, who won’t consider lending money for the purchase of a property with any signs of Japanese knotweed, while others may consider applications if a treatment plan is in place.

Most lenders treat small and medium sized business owners as self-employed, and many require self-employed applicants to provide 3 years of accounts, but there are some who will accept fewer. Carrying out due diligence and knowing what lenders accept differing circumstances, to get you the best deal, is what sets specialist mortgage brokers apart and could make the difference between having a mortgage application rejected or not.

So, if you need a mortgage or remortage to beat the increasing UK mortgage rates, don’t delay, talk to a specialist broker.

6 B2B Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Although several businesses exist in today’s ecosystem, only the most human company wins. Studies show that customers prefer a more human marketing strategy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in H2H (human-to-human) businesses.

According to GetUpLead, many B2B businesses make serious marketing mistakes that limit their companies’ growth and success. Fortunately, this article explores six marketing mistakes B2B businesses make. So, you check out these mistakes and see if your company is guilty of any.

#1 -Using A Website-Only Approach

Many companies believe that building a website is all they need to establish their digital presence, but I’m afraid that’s not right. After launching a website, you must get in front of people to establish your brand presence and tell them how you can help.

Consequently, you have to go to where your customers are and offer them content that piques their interest. It is best to start conversations with prospects, giving them reasons to check your website. It is essential to note that these conversations should not solely be about you, your product, or your company.

#2 – Relying On Referrals

A word-of-mouth business may be great, but this strategy is not enough. Referrals are dangerous for your company because you must depend on others to do your marketing. Therefore, even if your customers are passionate about your product, that does not mean they will spread the word.

Furthermore, even if these customers spread the word, there is little assurance of converting such prospects into customers. Depending on referrals puts the responsibility of your company’s growth on your customer. And, unfortunately, why should anyone market your business when you are unwilling to do so?

#3 – Promoting Yourself

Marketing may be effective in bringing people in. but focusing solely on selling may push people away. Although everyone wants to buy goods and services, no one wants to be sold to.

Moreover, many B2B companies marketing efforts are more like advertising. And there are huge differences between marketing and advertising, especially in the B2B industry.

While advertising is about selling the product, marketing is about helping. Marketing focuses on the customer knowing, liking, and trusting you, while advertising focuses on getting people to buy your product. Furthermore, advertising is purely transactional and about the immediate payoff. On the other hand, marketing is relational and a long game.

Your marketing strategy should focus on making your brand known, trusted, and liked. And providing helpful content is a great way to achieve this.

Generally, your marketing strategy should show you are human and that you care about your customer success. It should also establish you as a thought leader that can point them in the right direction. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust yourself. It only means your customers won’t trust or like your brand if all you talk about is how great you and your product are.

#4 – Squeezing Things In

Doing your marketing in-house means you are combining it with your actual work. Therefore, you only get to work on your strategy when you have time, which is rarely.

Marketing content needs consistent efforts to be successful. You will slow down and lose quality leads if you rarely post fresh content.

Do you blog biweekly or post on social media throughout the week? Do you have email campaigns for nurturing new leads? Are you promoting your content on social media, and are your followers increasing? And do you have people in your business whose primary role is marketing?

#5 – Failing To Plan

You may be committed to your marketing strategy. But without a plan, you will quickly lose momentum. In addition, squeezing your marketing campaigns in between other responsibilities leaves you no time to focus on the campaign.  

#6 – Cheap Marketing

Many businesses cut their marketing budget during the pandemic, hoping to stay afloat. It is understandable to cut costs on strategies that do not generate revenue and only focus on sales. But marketing drives sales.

You will cut off your lead-generating powerhouse if you don’t invest in marketing. Therefore, investing 10% of your revenue in marketing costs is essential. The cost should cover tools, advertising, people resources, and subscriptions.


There is no marketing approach without mistakes. However, identifying these mistakes and working on them separates the veterans from the newbies. Luckily, this article has summarised six marketing mistakes to help you get started.

SME News Reveals the 2022 Winners of the Scottish Enterprise Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – SME News is delighted to announce the winners of the Scottish Enterprise Awards.

2022 has brought us turbulence within business, uncertainty, and instability. However, these Scottish enterprises ensure excitement, care, and overall peace of mind for all of their clients and customers.

From enticing cocktail bars to horsebox brokers, home improvements to driving training, content marketing, and more, here we present a diverse variety of opportunities and solutions. By offering – and guaranteeing – excellence, these inspirational businesses are broadening the horizons in Scotland and far beyond.

After all, the Scottish Enterprise Awards consistently searches for businesses of all sizes that elevate their industries. This year we have found business booming in Scotland, and the rest of the world can truly take note.

Awards Coordinator, Stephanie Tooby, took a moment to reflect on the winners recognised in the programme. “This year’s Scottish Enterprise Awards has been an absolute pleasure to host. Being in contact with such pioneering businesses is always eye-opening and motivating, and we wish these winners all the best as they continue to raise the bar.”

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


About SME News

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

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

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

About AI Global Media

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

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

How Holiday Lets Are Evolving the UK’s Hospitality Industry

Beyond the usual lines for security and waiting for your bags after the flight, in many areas of the UK, we have been seeing huge queues and backlogs at airports throughout the year.

A perfect storm of staff shortages and a pent-up demand for trips abroad have all contributed to the chaotic scenes. This, coupled with the current cost of living crisis, has meant many families have been choosing to save themselves the pain and the money of flights by spending their holidays in the UK instead.

This continued high demand for staycations has resulted in an ever-increasing number of holiday lets available in the UK. In England alone, there has been a 40% rise over the past three years. Nationally, according to the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), between 2015 and 2021, there was a 1,000% increase in short-term lets.

Converting for investment

Converting a second home, annex, or even a spare room into a holiday rental has become a second source of income for many. According to a recent survey conducted by Airbnb, over a third of current UK Hosts responded that they had decided to become Hosts to help combat the cost of living crisis. The average Airbnb also generates around £6,000 a year, so it’s not difficult to see why more people are signing up.

The Sykes Staycation Index 2021 from Sykes Holiday Cottages reported that enquiries from second-home owners looking to convert their property into a holiday let were up by 91%.

Airbnb occupancy rates are also going up in the UK. This suggests that the popularity of these types of holiday lets is only growing – but what impact is this having on the hospitality industry?

The impact on hospitality

There’s no doubt that the hospitality industry is already facing huge challenges. Whether it’s staff shortages, soaring costs of food and energy, or tax rises, hospitality’s post-pandemic recovery is being hampered.

Despite this, revenue for businesses is expected to rise by 30%, according to the recent UK Hospitality Challenges report. Most of this is expected to come from food and drink outlets such as restaurants, pubs, and bars.

More holiday lets can mean more visitors in certain areas who will go on to spend money at local businesses, restaurants, attractions and so on. So, in some ways, more rentals can give the hospitality industry a boost.

For more traditional accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, however, the rise in short-term holiday lets could see more of a negative impact. Currently, the number of holidaymakers staying in hotels versus holiday rentals is roughly equal. However, if more people choose rentals, hotels will feel the impact of less income.

The impact on local economies

Apart from the benefits listed above, a growing number of holiday rentals can also have a positive impact in other areas. They can create jobs not only in other hospitality sectors but also in services that those rentals will require, including cleaners, tradespeople, and decorators to spruce up properties. In fact, in employment terms, tourism has been the fastest-growing sector since 2010. It is predicted to be worth £257.4 billion by 2025, according to Visit Britain.

However, holiday rentals have been receiving more negative attention recently as their increased number can lower the amount of available housing. This then pushes up property prices, which residents struggle to afford. Outside of tourist seasons, it can also leave small villages emptier than they would otherwise be. This has a negative impact on local businesses.

Because of this, calls are growing for more regulation of the holiday rental market.  Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales have already begun to implement new regulations, and they are currently under consideration in England.

How will hospitality look in the future?

Since its inception in California in 2008, Airbnb has been a huge disruptor in the hospitality industry. It has grown into the third most used online travel agency (OTA) after Booking.com and Expedia.

One of the main reasons customers choose rentals like Airbnb is because it offers a more local experience. Hosts will commonly chat with the visitors and give recommendations for places to go.

Taking lessons from Airbnb, the hospitality sector is beginning to diversify its offerings. Premium services, meal kits from restaurants, and more locally-sourced produce are just some of the ways hospitality is attempting to recover in the post-pandemic world.

Hospitality is shifting more towards creating memorable experiences for guests. So before getting out the step ladders and painting, it’s worth considering what value a refurbishment can bring. Does it create a more personalised, localised experience for guests? Can it be made more customisable for those seeking more luxury staycations?

These are the questions that the hospitality industry will find itself asking going into the future.

Top 5 Tips for International Shipping in eCommerce

Anyone who runs an internet business is fully aware of the complexities of international shipping. Is it worth it? Is it profitable? This is all typical scepticism.

However, if you have an excellent shipping strategy, you may quickly turn your foreign shipments lucrative. Therefore, we’ll give you some tips to start using them right now!

Our 5 Tips for International Shipping

There’s never been a better moment to grow your internet business. Simply advertising offers on your website, on the other hand, is insufficient. It might be rather pricey if you don’t have a good strategy.

We encourage you to make the decisive step with these simple tips. However, first, keep in mind these technical requirements:

Customs documentation (commercial invoice, CN23 and CN22 form, Certificate of Origin). Choose the correct HS code. Request your EORI number, if you are exporting outside the European Union. Properly wrap the item to avoid damage or overcharging.

#1 – “Free” International Shipping?

Let’s start with the psychological element, shall we? Marketing and psychology are inextricably linked, and research has shown that consumers appreciate the phrase “free.”

Furthermore, according to studies, 51% of European consumers mention high shipping costs as the most significant impediment to purchasing on international websites.

As a result, giving free international delivery would be one shipping strategy to attract more customers.

But how can you offer free delivery without making it too expensive? Well, by including shipping in the final cost. Of course, it should be made abundantly clear that shipping is free. Therefore, the client will pay the same amount.

Pickup locations are almost usually less expensive than other shipping choices. For example, include them free of charge with standard delivery.

#2 – Everyone Appreciates “Flat Rate” International Shipping Prices

Free international delivery over a specific price is another excellent strategy to ensure that your costs are acceptable and that the word “free” attracts customers.

What do you think a consumer would do if a product costs €30 + €5 for delivery, yet a message appears claiming that shipping is free after €40?

Consumers believe shipping fees to be a “waste of money” since they have already paid for the goods. Therefore, any additional money they spend on a product is considered an investment.

And by enticing them to add a second item to their shopping cart, you will enhance the sale without doing anything. Yes, it is straightforward.

#3 – Various Payment Methods in Different Nations

Consumers in each country expect to see the payment methods they are accustomed to. Keep in mind that new technology can improve the experience and add another layer of safety.

Furthermore, the consumer will likely abandon their chart since they could not discover a payment method that worked for them. As a result, it is highly recommended that you include at least a couple of alternative payment methods in your checkout:

Direct transfer or online banking servicese-Wallets like PayPalCredit or debit cards

A satisfied customer is more likely to make more purchases in the future.

#4 – Do Not Cut Corners on Overseas Shipment

The more delivery options there are, the better. While some individuals may prefer to wait for their items, others may be willing to pay a little more to receive them sooner.

This method may look strange when addressing international shipping because delivery timeframes are always longer, and there is a larger potential for delays. However, if your logistics is efficient, it is not.

Offering at least one international express delivery option in addition to standard shipping is fine if you can choose from a range of carriers depending on zones, rates, and delivery dates.

#5 – When Delivering Overseas, Use a Multi-Carrier Approach

Logistics is your greatest friend. You must have a solid logistics plan if you want to offer many shipping alternatives while delivering on time.

Don’t rely solely on a single carrier’s pricing and delivery time. If you’re serious about beginning worldwide growth, work with various carriers; choose the finest carrier depending on the needs of each cargo.

You can employ an automated logistics integration platform to implement a successful multi-carrier strategy. This enables you to select the best international carrier depending on parameters such as delivery time, package weight, and size.

Conclusion – What to Keep in Mind

If you’re just launching a small brand in your local town, international shipping isn’t something straight out of the future. Shipping overseas is part of the entire process and can do wonders for you.

What are your thoughts on all of these techniques for international shipping? Do you already have all of them in place?

Your best allies will be shipment automation and a solid logistics plan. You can spend your time and money on other aspects of your eCommerce business, allowing you to reach almost everyone on the planet.

How SMEs Can Combat the Cost-Of-Living Crisis by Breaking the Late Payment Cycle

Amid economic turmoil following the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, late payments are on the rise, significantly impacting business survivability.  

Late payments not only have the potential to disrupt the equilibrium of a business, exacerbating profitability and cash flow management issues, but they also make it more difficult to retain staff by bridging the gap between cost-of-living standards and remuneration. 

The UK economy has resulted in one of the most significant declines in living standards since record began, putting a huge strain on SMEs. According to an FSB study, one in three business owners had an increase in late payments of invoices just last year, with another report finding that UK SMEs are spending upwards of one working week pursuing late payments. Interest rates, base rates and late payment fees all serve to exacerbate late payments but can also be the result of complex payment approval processes and cash flow mismanagement. In the current economic climate, keeping people employed and mitigating insolvency remains a challenging task for business owners. 

The root cause of late payments 

There are a multitude of ways the payment process architecture causes late payments, such as complexity within the payment approval process. For example, those who work within SMEs can be responsible for various operations and might not all have access to the business’s finances and consequently are not able to pay the supplier. This reinforces the need for an organised and systemic approval system that can streamline payments. In additional, manual processes, such as inefficiently streamlining invoices or too much of a reliance on these processes, become time-consuming and increase the potential for late payments.  

Late payments lead to business fragility  

As interest rates continue to rise, the Bank of England recently hiked the base interest rate to 3%, the largest increase in 30 years, it becomes harder for businesses to break the late payments cycle. For business-to-business transactions, businesses must pay the cost of interest on late payments (Statutory Interest), which within the UK is 8% of the owed amount, plus the Bank of England base rate. As interest rates get higher, it makes it even more difficult for businesses to pay invoices on time. Essentially, the longer the interest accrues, the higher the overall debt businesses owe, compounded by businesses having to also pay penalties for late payments.  

Reputations can be negatively impacted, affecting supplier-buyer relationships in the industry and beyond, by the late payments cycle. In turn, poor supplier relationships can cause delay in the delivery of promised products and services, resulting in businesses losing their competitive advantage or worse, their customers.  

Supplier relationships are integral to business survival. Additional perks such as preferential rates, premier access to new products, and exclusive or limited supplier offers are contingent on a good supplier/buyer relationship. This helps businesses deliver consistent quality to their customers and therefore gain a competitive edge. Consistent quality improves bottom-line profitability.  

How digital tools defend against late payments 

There is a solution to this late payment cycle – harnessing digital accounting tools to ensure their suppliers are paid on time and mitigate a complex approval system. These tools both allow payments to be scheduled and allow businesses to employ a proactive approach by making payments in bulk, two lines of defence that alleviate the risk of accidentally missing a payment. In addition, specific functions such as workflow approval, supplier/buyer management, cash flow monitoring, and invoice collection save businesses time when managing their finances and allow for visibility of all transactions. Subsequently, these preventative and proactive measures made possible by digital accounting tools maintain quality supplier-buyer relationships.  

Late payments threaten business survivability. Fortunately, streamlining business finances through digital accounting tools can reduce late payments and enable businesses to stay compliant and resilient to changing business needs. By adopting digital tools to improve cash flow management and profitability, businesses can stay competitive to be able to retain the best talent.  

By Glen Foster, Managing Director UK and Northern Europe, Libeo 

Glen Foster