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Business

5 Ways to Protect Your Business

November 8, 2017

So, you’ve taken the first step to becoming an entrepreneur and launched your business. You’ve poured hours of your time into your startup and have fought tooth and nail to get it off the ground. While you should be celebrating your success, you also need to think about how you will keep your business safe from cyber hackers, property damage and slander.

It’s never pleasant to plan for a worst case scenario – especially when it involves something as personal as your first business venture – but safeguarding your company is vital if you want to ensure growth and stability. With this in mind, here are five ways to protect your business.

Get Insurance Coverage

Even small companies need insurance, but the many different types of coverage can be confusing to new business owners. Put simply, general liability insurance will cover physical damage to your business property, whereas professional liability cover will protect your business from claims of negligence. You may also wish to consider a business owner’s policy for general coverage that includes any valuable business equipment as well as your premise itself. For further information and specialist business insurance, you can contact Bluedrop Services.

Install Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software is easy to use and will help protect your business against cyber attacks. Cyber attackers use malware to infiltrate a business network through emails, spam messages, and pop-up information. Regardless of how much profit you are making, your data is confidential, so you need to use appropriate protection software at the very least to ensure your information remains protected. For more information about anti-virus software and cyber attack protocols, consult your local online security specialist.

Understand Your Assets

Understanding your business’s assets and investments will help keep your profit in line. According to Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life, new companies should put protecting their assets above all else and educate themselves as to what those investments represent. If you don’t, you could face financial pain down the line.

Prevent Failure

As well as preventing costly court fees and cyber attacks, you also need to think about protecting your business from failure. Considering that only around 30% of new businesses make it to the ten-year mark, this is easier said than done, but there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. As well as taking control of your business operations and keeping an eye on your assets, you also need to keep abreast of marketing trends to make sure your business stays current. If you find the world of Internet marketing overwhelming, you might want to consider bringing in an expert to help you expand your outreach.

Make Safety a Priority

Stepping out into the world of entrepreneurship is an exciting time, but the physical, financial and virtual safety of your organization should be your primary concern. Take steps to protect your business by taking out insurance coverage, using anti-virus software and protecting your assets to help you thrive.

Business

Drive Your Career with a Business From a Van

October 19, 2017

Has your current career route hit a roadblock? Are you tired of your typical 9-5 job and looking for a new career adventure? If you have your own van, then you’ll be excited to hear that there are so many types of businesses using Commercial Vans that you can get involved in to reinvigorate your working life…

Courier

According to Mintel’s Courier and Express Delivery UK 2017 report, there were 2.8 billion packages and parcels delivered across the UK in 2016 — up 65% from the 1.7 billion recorded in 2012. What’s more, 87% of Brits sent or received a parcel in the six months leading up to July 2017. It’s clear to see that courier and express delivery services are in demand throughout the UK.

Expected day-to-day duties

  • Plan routes and sort packages into the most effective order of delivery.
  • Collect the schedule of pick-up points and delivery addresses from a depot.
  • Research the quickest route to delivery addresses.
  • Sign for any packages that are picked up.
  • Get signatures when delivering packages.
  • Ensure paperwork and delivery records are kept up-to-date.

Entry & skills required

  • English and Maths skills are required to keep records of delivery and expenses.
  • A driving licence that matches the vehicle you’ll be using as a courier.
  • Exceptional driving skills.
  • An excellent road sense.
  • Being able to work to tight schedules.
  • The ability to read maps.
  • The ability to plan effective travel routes.

Average salary

According to Totaljobs, in a sample size of 152 people, the average salary for a courier job is £21,000.

Average working hours

Couriers can expect to work between 30 and 40 hours per week.

Number of jobs available

As of September 6th 2017, Indeed had advertisements for 3,551 courier jobs across the UK.

Plumber

The UK’s construction scene is currently experiencing a skills shortage, with a study by the Federation of Master Builders suggesting that this issue has spread beyond bricklayers and carpenters to also effect the plumbing trade. Are you willing to answer the country’s call for more plumbers?

Expected day-to-day duties

  • Measure and plan to provide customers with accurate cost and time estimates.
  • Cut, bend and join both pipes and their fittings.
  • Install water, drainage and heating systems.
  • Install and repair domestic appliances, including washing machines and showers.
  • Install weather-proof materials, joints and flashings around a property’s roof, chimney and walls.
  • Find and then fix faults with a property’s plumbing system.
  • Conduct emergency call-outs for issues such as boiler breakdowns and blocked drains.
  • Service gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators.

Entry & skills required

  • GCSEs (or equivalent) which are at grades 9 to 4 (or A* to C) in English, Maths and Science.
  • An industry-recognised qualification — for example, either a level 2 or 3 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and Heating.
  • Be qualified to work on gas-related units at level 3, for roles which will involve work with domestic gas heating systems.
  • The ability to follow technical drawings and plans.
  • The ability to follow safe working practices.
  • Customer care skills.

Average salary

According to Totaljobs, in a sample size of 60 people, the average salary for a plumber is £31,787.

Average working hours

Plumbers can expect to work between 37 and 40 hours per week.

Number of jobs available

As of September 6th 2017, Indeed had advertisements for 2,204 plumber jobs across the UK.

Street food trader

Foodservice researchers Santa Maria’s What’s Next in Street Food report has revealed that the average spend on street food was £6.50 in 2016, which is an increase of 30% compared to two years previously. With the percentage of consumers eating street food between two and three times a week also increasing from 20% to 25% over the same period, there’s plenty of reasons to get involved with this dining experience.

Expected day-to-day duties

  • Drive a mobile street food unit to venues and set up the stall.
  • Prepare and cook food to a high standard.
  • Handle raw food in a safe manner.
  • Serve customers in a manner that encourages repeat business.
  • Stock up on food ingredients and drinks as and when required.
  • Ensure the work area is always kept clean, tidy and in a safe condition to have food on it.
  • Work out finances of the business.
  • Establish effective marketing strategies for the business.

Entry & skills required

  • A food hygiene qualification.
  • Registration with a local Environmental Health Department.
  • A Street Trading Licence, though this isn’t essential if you’re only working at events on private land.
  • Registration with HM Revenue and Customs.
  • Food safety assessment.
  • Health and safety assessment.
  • Fire safety assessment.
  • Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) assessment.
  • Gas and electrical safety certificates.
  • Public liability insurance.
  • Employers’ Liability insurance, when staff are employed to work on a stall.
  • The ability to prepare food safely and effectively.
  • Customer service skills.
  • An appropriate driving licence to drive the vendor from site to site.

Average salary

It is very difficult to work out the average salary of a street food trader, as income will vary depending on the working hours, location, type of food and how much food is sold from the stall.

Average working hours

Average working hours can change week to week, though a competitive street food trader should aim to trade similar hours to neighbouring stalls. The amount of hours worked can change depending on when markets, festivals and appropriate tourist events are taking place, though expect to work throughout weekends and public holidays to remain competitive.

Number of jobs available

As of September 6th 2017, Indeed had advertisements for 5,329 street food jobs across the UK.

Mobile dog groomer

According to research by TotallyMoney.com, Brits spent £7.16 billion on their animals last year — up 25% from 2010, and factoring in the costs of pet pampering services. When you also consider that 8.5 million of the estimated 54 million pets in the UK as of 2017 are dogs, a career switch to becoming a mobile dog groomer suddenly makes a lot of sense.

Expected day-to-day duties

  • Follow standards in regards to how different breeds of dog should look.
  • Shape a dog’s coat using electric clippers or a stripping knife.
  • Shampoo and then dry a dog’s coat.
  • Trim a dog’s coat using scissors.

Entry & skills required

  • Experience with dogs, which can be gained by…
  • Carrying out voluntary work with dogs, such as at kennels.
  • Gaining work experience with a qualified and experienced dog groomer.
  • Undertaking a basic animal care course either at a private training centre or college.
  • The ability to handle dogs in a manner that is firm yet gentle.
  • Know how to calm and control nervous dogs.
  • Communication skills.
  • Customer care skills.

Average salary

As a guide, the National Careers Service states that a beginner dog groomer can expect to be earn a salary of between £13,000 and £14,000 a year. This can rise to between £16,000 and £19,000 once experienced, and then £20,000+ when highly experienced.

Average working hours

Dog groomers can expect to work 35 hours a week.

Number of jobs available

As of September 6th 2017, Indeed had advertisements for 219 dog groomer jobs across the UK.

Painter & Decorator

The average Brit will redecorate their home 36 times during their lifetime, as research by Anglian Home Improvements has suggested – with jobs within the home usually taking 18 days to finish and each task typically leading to three arguments. Become a painter and decorator and you should be able to reduce the stress among households throughout the nation.

Expected day-to-day duties

  • Measure surface areas to work out how much paint or wall covering is required to complete a job.
  • Prepare all materials for a job.
  • Mix paint so that it creates the shade requested by the customer, possibly with the use of computerised colour-matching equipment.
  • Strip old wallpaper and layers of paint in an effective manner.
  • Be able to cover surfaces with primer and an undercoat in an effective manner.
  • Apply coats of paint effectively.
  • Hang wallpaper effectively.
  • Add special finishes to a job, such as glazes or marbling.
  • Fill holes and cracks in a manner that ensures surfaces are always level.
  • Ensure a space is tidy once a painting or decorating job is complete.

Entry & skills required

  • A Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card is required to work on most building sites.
  • Practical skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • The ability to thoroughly follow the instructions of a job.

Average salary

According to Totaljobs, in a sample size of 60 people, the average salary for a painter is £26,406. Meanwhile, in a sample size of 36 people, the average salary for a decorator job is £22,492.

Average working hours

A painter and decorator can expect to work between 35 and 40 hours per week, though overtime may be required to meet an agreed deadline.

Number of jobs available

As of September 6th 2017, Indeed had advertisements for 1,902 painter and decorator jobs across the UK.

Sources

http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/retail-press-centre/courier-and-express-delivery-market-posts-1-billion-increase-in-sales-in-2016

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/courier

https://www.totaljobs.com/salary-checker/average-courier-salary

https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=courier&l=United%20Kingdom

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/758686/plumbers-roofers-short-supply-skills-construction-firms

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/plumber

https://www.totaljobs.com/salary-checker/average-plumber-salary

https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=plumber&l

https://www.santamariaworld.com/uk/foodservice/insight/the-road-to-success-whats-next-in-street-food/

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/street-food-trader

https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=street%20food&l

http://www.petbusinessworld.co.uk/news/feed/how-much-are-brits-spending-on-pets-

http://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population-2017

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/dog-groomer

https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=dog%20groomer&l

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/721145/Britons-home-interior-decoration-painting-36-times-life

https://www.totaljobs.com/salary-checker/average-painter-salary

https://www.totaljobs.com/salary-checker/average-decorator-salary

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/painter-and-decorator

https://www.indeed.co.uk/jobs?q=decorator&l

Business

Have A Beverly Hills Virtual Office Using Global Business Centers

October 8, 2017

The beauty of a virtual business address is that you can have it in a place where you could never afford to rent physical office space.  Given that the prices of virtual offices are so much lower, where would you choose to have your virtual office? Beverly Hills is a very good choice because it sounds so impressive.

Why Virtual Offices?

The obvious reason to rent a virtual office is that is costs less than renting a physical office.  The real question then is how is a virtual office better than no office at all?  Renting a virtual office gives you the best of both worlds.  You don’t have to pay for physical office space that you barely use.  At the same time, you get the benefits of having a business address in a physical office building.  Here are some benefits of renting a virtual office, assuming you normally run your business from your home:

  • You get a business address and phone number, so you don’t have to share your personal contact information with the whole world.
  • Professional receptionists answer phone calls and sign for package deliveries.
  • In some virtual offices, you can rent physical office space by the day when you need to meet with clients.

Why Beverly Hills?

Beverly Hills has an impressive reputation.  Even people who have never been to California know that Beverly Hills is a wealthy area.  If you have a business address in Beverly Hills, it sends the message that your business is successful.  Especially if you work in fields like entertainment or elective medical procedures, Beverly Hills is the center of all the action.

Having an office in Beverly Hills is prohibitively expensive, so renting virtual office space there is a much better solution.

Business

Simplify Your Business Using Merchant Account Solutions

October 7, 2017

At Merchant Account Solutions, we know how time-consuming running your own business can be. That is why we exist. It is our job to help you simplify your business so that you can have more time focus on the things that matter. We will meet with you to discuss your business and what your needs and goals are. After learning more about you and your business, we will help you come up with a plan to help simplify things a little more for you. Whether you need to upgrade your credit card processing systems by utilizing a better POS system such as the Clover register, or you need software for inventory purposes, we’ve got you covered. Read further to find out what we can do for you and contact us today to get started.

Streamlining your Operations

Merchant Account Solutions can help you simplify by providing you with software and equipment that can help you quickly go through your daily tasks that often take up much of your time. Tasks such as scheduling employees, managing your inventory, and finances can now become less time-consuming. We even offer options to help you keep track of your business even when you aren’t there. You can take comfort in knowing that you can manage your business from wherever, whenever with devices like the Clover Mini.

Increase Productivity and Customer Satisfaction

With our products and helpful expertise, you will be increasing your productivity and customer satisfaction in no time. Our products allow customers to pay with just about any form of payment, credit card, or debit card there is out there. Add that in with the ability for our systems to process payments and transactions quickly and you will have happy customers! Happy customers mean loyal customers, and that is a huge part of how your business will succeed.

Business

How to Better Market Your Non-Profit Globally

September 26, 2017

It obviously wouldn’t be very cost-effective to use conventional marketing strategies to reach global customers, which would involve organizing on-the-ground campaigns in each country. The best way to get your non-profit out there to the widest audience is to market sensibly by email. This marketing accounts for a third of all online fundraising revenue. However, there’s a difference between an email marketing campaign and spamming prospective and existing donors. Use your data effectively, and focus on people who’ve already shown an interest in fundraising.

Personalize Your Email Campaign

As Giving Tuesday approaches, making the most of an email marketing campaign will help you to raise international awareness and encourage your donors to get active. Personalize your marketing so that the email has a higher chance of being opened – marketers have found a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. This involves considering the demographic of the receiver and requires you to know important information on them such as online history and activity, as well as their likes, dislikes – even their birthday.

Know Your Donors

Repeat donors are essential for any non-profit, and these are the people you’ll have the most information about, from their previous donations, so it should be easier to encourage these people to respond to you. Including a video in the email will also increase open rates by 13%, but this could be higher if the content is relevant to the receiver’s interests. For example, personalized and relevant subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than emails that are generic. Also, once you have collected the data on your donors, you can also keep a longstanding record of the data you’ve gathered for content marketing and social media. Once you’ve enticed your donors to revisit your website and make a donation, you’ll want to keep them happy with up-to-date and germane content.

Raise Awareness

Giving Tuesday is about sustaining generosity, and because it’s an annual affair, you can learn from any marketing mistakes year on year. However, the problem is a lack of awareness; only 18% of people are already aware of Giving Tuesday, compared to 93% awareness for Black Friday. Therefore, your marketing input will be a valuable way of collaborating with other non-profits and contributing to cementing Giving Tuesday in people’s memories.

Business

Can You Design a Truly Professional Brochure on a Budget?

September 25, 2017

Building your business and getting it recognised isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have much to spend on advertising and marketing strategies. A record 5.5 million private businesses launched in the UK last year, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which means you’re up against more competitors than ever.

If you’re looking to advertise your brand and services, but don’t have much to spend, why not create a brochure? Specialist printing company, Where The Trade Buys, explains here how you can get cost effective, professional brochures to boost your brand and advertise what you have to offer.

What do you want to say?

To start, you need to hone in on exactly what you want people to learn from your brochure. Are you introducing the entire brand or just promoting a new service? Stuffing your brochure with unnecessary copy looks unprofessional and discourages people from picking it up. So, keep your content simple and your message clear — but don’t forget to include your company logo, contact details, and key marketing message. In fact, you can also save money being cut-throat with your copy, as this means you’ll need fewer pages.

Precision

Nobody wants to see a typo in a professional brochure. So, check all the images, copy and overall design before you send it off to print. Otherwise, you might have to spend double with reprints.   

Paper type

A major decision that can affect your overall brochure price is which paper stock you choose. You don’t have to blow your budget on selecting the premium paper when other varieties will more than do the job. For example, an informal brochure doesn’t have to be elaborate and generally requires a relatively thin and less expensive paper stock. But, if you’re targeting a high-end corporate conference, you might want to invest in a higher-quality to make the best impression.

Finish and binding

You have lots of options when it comes to perfect bound book printing, including multiple finishes to give the ideal look for your brand and customers. Saddle-stitched brochures are a sleek way to present your corporate brochure to your audience, because they’re generally finished with a gloss or silk lamination. Although, the Scodix finish is also effective and isn’t too costly. Casebound book printing is more expensive than many others, but is popular for delivering stunning quality. Then again, PUR is a more affordable, high-end binding option that is perfect for pitch documents and coffee table brochures.

Final look

Your marketing strategy will take a serious hit if your brochures aren’t decent quality and attractive. Brochure dimensions and the quantity of information can influence the chances of people reading it, as well the final price. So, while it’s tempting to cram as many details on a small brochure to save money, you don’t want to make it look untidy. Think of what you really want to say and select the right size for your message.   

Quantity

Finally, you need to consider how many brochures to order. You don’t want a surplus that just wastes money and takes up office space, then again, you don’t want to run out. Requesting more pages means you pay less per brochure, but there’s no point paying for copies that you don’t need. So, it’s worth checking price guides before you place an order to decide on a short, medium or long run.

Should you digitalise your brochure?

What about taking it one step further? Getting your brochure online lets potential customers download it as a PDF for no additional cost to you or them. Effectively, you can have both printed brochures and e-brochures without spending more money, so it’s a good way to maximise your marketing strategy.

Consider these pointers when you kick-start your next marketing campaign.

Business

Are people of the post-digital generation team players?

September 17, 2017

The post-digital generation are also known as Generation Z and were born between the mid-1990s and 2010. Growing up through a tough economic climate and a lack of stability, individuals from this time are driven by a determination to succeed. They aspire to become wealthy and produce stability not only for them, but for the rest of the world too. For them to achieve this, technology will play a vital role in how employees handle their job in the workplace.

As most of our technology such as smart phones and tablets encourage working alone, it is unclear how this generation will act as part of a team – a key part of any job role. Specialists in team development, Impact International, provide an insight into how the new generation feel about teamwork in the Digital Age.

An adaptable generation

The generation born in the 1950s, known as the baby boomers, often stayed in one job for an extended period and worked themselves up the hierarchy. Different to this however, Gen Z are focused on practising new skills whilst they work and are not as loyal to a workplace as the generation before them. The learning of their new skills is often aided by online courses and digital mediums that provide them with an unlimited hub of knowledge.

Arguably, their ability to learn as they work and willingness to extend their skill set makes this generation adaptable to rapid change. Their ability to process new information quickly has also been recognised.

Team building

Despite their dedication to furthering their own skills and development, this does not mean that they are willing to do the same for others as part of a team task. Gen Z are sociable individuals – defined by their frequent use of social media and smart phones, but does this translate to face-to-face team building?

Research has shown that this generation prefer to perform individual tasks to contribute to a team initiative rather than completing the entire task as a group. This allows them to retain their individuality whilst making contributions to the team project in hand. Workers in the past however, would prefer to carry out the task as a team instead of isolating themselves.

Although the post-digital generation may not be as team-oriented as those before them, they still appreciate work culture and their place within it. Research showed that 79% of millennials feel that culture-building activities in the workplace are important and play a great part in their work-place progression. Only 41% of baby boomers felt this way however, demonstrating their differences. Overall, these results suggest that although Gen Z like to retain their individuality, they like to bring their identity to the workplace.

Managerial implications

The analysis above suggests that team leaders should be more flexible and trusting of post-digital employees. They should be left to their own devices – at times – in order to express their creativity and individuality. If workers from Gen Z feel as though they aren’t learning new skills or have the potential to progress, their performance will be hindered through lack of motivation.

Sources:

http://www.learnfest.co.uk/headline-acts

https://www.digitalistmag.com/future-of-work/2015/10/05/what-gen-z-arrival-means-for-recruiters-03509530

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270764

https://talentor.com/blog/2015/07/06/generation-z-in-the-workplace/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11002767/Gen-Z-Gen-Y-baby-boomers-a-guide-to-the-generations.html

 

Business

Understanding the GDPR

September 12, 2017

The UK Data Protection Act 1998 is something that businesses will know of, especially if they offer some sort of product or services to the public. From the 25th May 2018, the European Union will enforce GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in addition to the existing data protection framework that already exists. Together with KBR, experts in digital networking solutions and security, we look at what GDPR means for organisations across the European Union:

The GDPR helps protect the data of citizens within the European Union when it comes to transactions with businesses – especially on a digital platform. Businesses which operate externally to the European Union, but sell goods and services to the EU, will also have to follow this legislation.

With the assistance of the British government, this is a piece of legislation that will continue to be enforced in the UK – even though we voted to leave the European Union.

Does GDPR have an impact on businesses?

Yes, the GDPR has an effect on organisations that handle personal data. Defined within this legislation, there are two types of operative defined within this law: controllers and processors.

Information is given by controllers to processors, it is then the duty of the data controller to make sure that the information is going to the right people.  However, processors will be under significantly more legal liability if they are responsible for a data breach. For example, within a payroll company, a controller would be the person to define how and why personal data about those being paid is processed, while the processor acts on the controller’s behalf to ensure that personal information is processed in an appropriate way and through the correct communication channels.

Is your data being protected?

A lot of a person’s data is protected by the GDPR, including medical records and any contact details. However, the GDPR has taken the definition of personal data a step further; now, information such as a computer IP address is personal data. This is to ensure that users are protected online, and that individuals cannot be located by using a personal computer device, while protecting the data that users input online from malicious software that seeks to access personal information via an IP address.

Reviewing your data policy as a business

It is important that businesses who handle personal data continue to review their existing data policy to make sure it is in line with the actual guidelines. However, because existing legislation is in place to protect sensitive personal information, most organisations should already be protecting personal information in the appropriate way.

Individual rights in relation to data

Individuals that pass over their data have rights that companies must comply with.  These rights cover a variety of situations and should act as  guidelines when information is processed on an individual’s behalf. Rights for individuals regarding their personal information shared by organisations are as follows:

  • The right to be informed. To individuals, information regarding how personal data is processed should be written when requested in the form of a privacy note, which emphasises the need for transparency regarding the way how personal data is used.
  • The right of access. Individuals have the right to be notified that their data is being processed, while gaining access to their personal data alongside other supplementary information – included within a privacy notice.
  • The right to rectification. If personal data is incorrect or inaccurate, then individuals are entitled to request that this information be rectified. Third parties must also be informed so that they can make rectifications in the information that has been passed on.
  • The right to erasure. If personal data is no longer required by an organisation, or the information does not need to be possessed, then an individual has the right to request that this information be forgotten.
  • The right to restrict processing. Individuals can restrict the right of organisations to process data. This personal data can be stored, but it cannot be processed once it has been stored.
  • Data portability. Without hindrance, individuals are entitled to use their own personal data stored by an organisation and distribute freely across one IT system or environment to another safely and securely.
  • The right to object. If personal data is being processed for purposes such as profiling, direct marketing or scientific and historical research and statistics, then individuals have the right to object to such activities.
  • Automated decision making. If organisations use personal data within automated systems that negate the need for human decision making, then GDPR safeguards individuals from any damaging effects incurred through this process when data is handled. Therefore, decisions made regarding personal information should always be challenged by human intervention to ensure that personal data is processed safely.