Author Archives: WSDM2013

The Pros and Cons of the Point of Consumption Tax for the Gambling Industry

The past decade has brought many changes to the gambling industry, recent technologies and accessibility has allowed for innovation to be made in all areas. There’s also been significant changes to the legal and regulatory side of the industry which has created an influence and a bearing on the practice of many gambling operators in the UK.

The Point of Consumption tax is the latest change in legislature to dramatically effect gambling operators that has been made by the UK Gambling Commission in 2014. The PoC tax otherwise known as the remote gaming duty was introduced by HMRC to combat many primarily UK based operators moving their trade offshore to take advantage of tax breaks.

What does this mean for offshore based gambling operators?

Over the past 10-15 years we’ve seen a notable change in the amount of betting operators who have returned to the UK following their time in places like Malta, the Cayman Islands, or Gibraltar. Gibraltar perhaps is now too strong as a gambling hub to be knocked by the consumption tax but many operators are certainly feeling the effects.

The new regulations mean that a duty of 15% must be paid on all bets made by UK customers irrespective of where the online operator is located. This law means that operators can’t take advantage of the UK market while simultaneously enjoying the financial benefits of being based in other territories.

The law has been met with both distaste and support by different spectrums of the industry. There’s no doubt that it’s the operator whose been hit the hardest but could we see the focus on the UK market swivel to other rising markets in the industry?

Emerging online markets

New economies around the world are starting to emerge and with these new advances comes market openings in places that wouldn’t normally be associated with online slots & gambling. In recent years Scandinavia has become a huge market for operators with destinations like Latin America, North America, and Asia opening up new opportunities that deflect the blows of the Point of Consumption tax for operators who once thought of the UK as the be all and end all of their business opportunity.

We’re certainly witnessing the trend of operators moving operations back to the UK but many are planning to ride out the storm for the time-being. Leading gambling operators like Bet Victor owned by Victor Chandler are proud of the empire they’ve built in Gibraltar and plan to stay loyal to what they’ve created.

Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots said: “At Easy Slots we value the country we operate in but do understand why some operators have a distaste towards the Point of Consumption tax. In addition we feel like as a company based in the UK we are hit with a double-edged sword that is the PoC and corporation tax. Furthermore, it’s the more recent Point of consumption tax 2 as it’s informally known that really has set the cat among the pigeons.”

Point of Consumption Tax 2

In recent months there’s also been new adaptations to the Point of Consumption tax that have further upset gambling operators. Then UK Chancellor George Osbourne announced that any operators who were licensed in the UK must be required to pay a tax on the ‘free bets’ they administer.

The laws came into effect on August 1, 2017 with operators required to pay 15% general duty on all free or discounted bets regardless if they are used by the player or not. The additional consumption tax has come under fire from all areas of the industry. It’s argued the many ethically positive online betting operators are being unfairly punished when there are much more pressing matters going on in the industry such as addiction and the moral ambiguity that has recently been in the news regarding fixed odds betting terminals.

Only time will tell on how long this legislature will remain within the industry, but for as long as it’s benefitting the UK economy, the light has seemingly went out at the end of the tunnel.

Understanding your Demographic and what business can learn from the iGaming

Probably the two most hotly contested spaces on the internet right now are Dating and on-line gaming and gambling. Tapping into the strongest of human emotions is clearly a winner especially where money comes into the equation.

What can other businesses learn from the experience of the successful on-line gaming businesses and their drive to win new clients and steal those of their peers?

Developing strong brand identities

Strong brand identities and the ability to have that brands URL stick in the minds of the potential new user are one, admittedly very important, thing, but it’s the way that iGaming companies target their specific demographic that is usually the key strength of the most successful players in the space. The top brands employ teams of data scientists who live and breathe the data coming from their sites. They aren’t just looking at age, gender and the usual residential address factors. They are analysing spending patterns, which slots games the players are wagering upon the most and the frequency of visits to each area of the site.

Developing a precise marketing plan with the data

With the magnitude and quality of that data, they are able to coalesce the perfect marketing plan for users in a specific demographic. Scott Manford the CEO of Wizard Slots, a leading UK based online casino, says “It’s imperative that we understand not only what slot and table games each of our players prefer to use, but also the time of day, and indeed days of the week they like to play and what interests them in new games and concepts”.

Indeed, getting into the players head and understanding what they like, and don’t like about a site is critical in a successful online gaming operation. “We assess heatmaps for a broad section of our player base and analyse what areas of our sites are causing blockages or bounces for different groups of players and in turn which promotions or new features draw the attention of players. Allied to significant A/B testing we then trial new concepts across wide demographic groups before we fully roll out any new games or promotions”.

These operators also analyse the retention of players, understating the motivation to either leave the site, or where a boredom threshold is reached.

Ultimately their plan is to never lose a player, as Manford goes on to say “The cost of acquisition for us is very significant, so we always adopt a philosophy of your best customers being your existing customers, and hence we strive to retain players for as long as possible, by giving them the utmost in customer care and attention and gifting them with free spins, promotions and even things like claiming special bonuses on their birthday etcetera” . So more than just understanding what slots games their players like – it seems the casino operators ty to understand the life cycle of a player and the motivations to play, wager, and indeed grow bored with each and every aspect of the interface.

Deciding on your marketing channels with this data

This depth of understanding means that new promotions might only be marketed on targeted social media for instance, or on TV adverts at a specific time on a specific channel, all with the objective of getting the maximum exposure to the precise demographic who have already demonstrated a receptivity to the messaging of that promotion in a controlled environment.

The ultimate goal is to try and ensure that not a single cent of marketing budget is spent on speculative or “brand building” exercises – but rather delivers a targeted, attributable and maximised Return On Investment for the Online Casino operator. Whilst some brands do combine some overall brand messaging in their marketing messaging you can be assured that they are also measuring the efficacy of this.

So what can businesses in other sectors learn from some of this behaviour and experience. Well aside from the usual platitudes of “know your customer” and “your best customer is your current customer” possibly the biggest take away is that you need to try and target your marketing message to the groups who you most want to attract, and more importantly knowing who those people are by analysing the current profile and conversion of your existing customer base. Once you understand what parts of your offering appeal to the subtle variations in your customer demographic you will be much better placed to target your marketing spend to the areas where you will get the best ROI.

Why you should care about website accessibility

For a lot of companies, the accessibility of their website is a factor that features much further down the list than a lot of other required or desirable factors.

On the surface, configuring your site so it can be used by those with additional needs might seem like a lot of work for little reward – but when you realise that 8.5 million people in the UK are registered as having a disability, not ensuring access for all can have a big business impact.

To understand why accessibility is vital, it’s important to understand what it means for a website… We recently caught up with the amazing team over at Think Zap who are a team of Glasgow web designers, here is what they had to say about website accessibility, and what it means for your business!

What does accessibility mean?

For lots of people, the term accessibility conjures images of ramps, lifts and dropped curbs that allow easy wheelchair access to a building – and while correct, both the architectural application and the image of a wheelchair user put too narrow a meaning on the term.

Accessibility extends to any ‘occupation’ – that’s to say any task or action that a person may want or need to undertake – and the term ‘disabled’ or someone with ‘disabilities’ extends well beyond physical limitations – and into issues relating to differing cognition, mental function and sensory needs.

So, in website terms, it’s useful to think of ‘accessibility’ as simply making the site accessible and useable for anyone – regardless of any impairment, reduced ability or external conditions.

A broad spectrum

A broader look at the population’s range of abilities sees a wide variety of conditions that should be accounted for in web design:

  • Visual issues – including people who are blind, have reduced vision, colour blindness or sensory sensitivity to colours and light levels.
  • Auditory issues – people who are deaf, have a reduced range hearing – or have sensory issues that relate to particular noises and pitch levels.
  • Physical issues – including musculoskeletal issues leading to reduced movement, any inability to use limbs that ruling out standard device control methods and any cognitive issues leading to difficulties in movement.
  • Learning disabilities – leading to issues with movement, understanding of content and ability to interact with devices.
  • Autistic spectrum conditions – resulting in sensitivities to site design, colours and noises.

Environmental limitations

While we tend to think about accessibility as being human conditions that limit access to sites, there are also environmental conditions that can limit a person’s ability to access and use a website:

  • Old technology that doesn’t cater for the latest design features
  • Speech driven search and browsing owing to user’s situation
  • Limited network speed
  • Working in areas of high noise or light interference

Benefits of accessibility

Before considering any business benefits, there’s a significant moral and ethical argument for ensuring accessibility for people of all abilities and in all conditions.

A great deal of companies put their ethical responsibilities before any business considerations – and this should always be taken into consideration when something as significant as a company’s web presence is in question.

Limiting access can damage your reputation

Social media makes it extremely easy for your bad decisions around accessibility of a site to become a much more widely publicised problem than you would intend. Your decision to limit accessibility is not shared by social media platforms – meaning you can make it hard for people to use your service – but you can’t stop people telling the world about your ethical shortcuts!

The law

While there haven’t been any significant cases against which precedent can be set, limiting people’s use of your website based on your ineffective design could find you in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Effectively, neglecting to provide a service to a disabled person that is otherwise accessible to others is unlawful discrimination. This principle applies regardless of the type of organisation you are or the service that you offer.

Business considerations

Even if ethics take a backseat to cold business decisions, the numbers that drive accessibility should speak for themselves. 8.5 million people in the UK are registered as being disabled – with an additional unknown number handling access issues without medical support.

8.5 million people represents more than 10% of the population of the UK. If your company decides that accessibility isn’t a priority, they’re effectively turning away 1 in every 10 customers who try to access the business online – the web version of door security turning away every tenth customer who tries to enter a shop! A stark image, but effectively the same.

What does accessibility look like?

There are hundreds of possible adaptations that allow equal access to your website – although they tend to break down into categories:

  • For people with limited vision: Adaptations should be made/available for colours, contrasts, text size and font type, i.e. text should scale up without losing quality or readability.
  • For people with no vision: Consideration should be given to how the page is presented and how a screen-reader would interpret the different elements. This should include image alt tags, title tags for links and audio descriptions for any video or animation content.
  • For people with limited hearing: If you have audio content on the page can it be represented graphically? I.e. closed captions or subtitles – or signing alongside video.
  • For people who have physical restrictions: Does your site offer feasible control options via the keyboard? Do you allow forms and fields to be autocompleted?
  • For those with learning difficulties or disabilities: Is you content easy to comprehend? Is it broken down so it can be read by people who might struggle with large blocks of text? Is your site compatible with software that will read text aloud?

Meet customer’s needs

It’s a fundamental for business owners everywhere; build a product or service that answers a market need. To think that a huge number of those same business owners then have websites developed that preclude their business, product or service from many of the customers they are trying to find is unfathomable.

Accessibility means you’re:

  • Abiding by the law – and getting a significant head start on any further legal changes should they occur
  • Accessing extensions to virtually every demographic – with a collective spending power of £100billion+
  • Creating a site that is more useable and friendly to all – not just those from whom accessibility is a must.

These are the kind of goals that marketing teams work for hundreds of hours to achieve. Save yourself your hassle by putting website accessibility at the top of your to-do list.

 

 

Broadening the Boundaries of Education – The Learning Benefits of VR & AR

Both Virtual reality and Artificial reality are set to change the future of higher learning thanks to the countless practical training applications. The augmented and virtual reality landscape is not set to be an asset for only academia, but skills development, risk management construction and training.

Educators are quickly learning that any subject can be paralleled within virtual reality. The safety of such training alone is reason enough to begin relying upon immersive simulations. Here we’ll be taking a closer look at the benefits of virtual reality within all levels of education and across all sectors. We are seeing exactly how and why the industry will be worth an estimated 40.4 billion US dollars by just 2020.

The Growth of AR & VR 

From roughly the start of 2016, virtual reality was estimated to bring in $2.7 billion in revenue whereas just one year later its earnings skyrocketed to $7.2 billion. AR Games such as pokemon go android have also help establish AR as part of the mainstream tech world.

This massive growth has even impacted the artificial intelligence sector, as virtual reality hinges on it for efficient delivery of an automated experience.

The Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence fund alone, just one major player in the industry, has grown over 30% in a little over six months. All these movements are doing is highlighting the massive impact which virtual reality is beginning to impress upon our lives. As the technology becomes more commonplace there is a higher availability of developers and interest in simulation for training, distance learning and skills development. Let’s see which industries are showing the most significant expansion within education.

Distance Learning and Virtual Worlds

Virtual reality learning environments (VRLE) are excellent for long-distance learning. Never before has an educator been given the opportunity to share an interactive space with their learners in this way. Social virtual reality learning simulations allow for collaboration of various educators and students all within the same rendered classroom.

With the cost of entry-level smartphone based virtual reality being extremely low, devices such as Google Cardboard afford the disadvantaged an opportunity to receive proper education. The most basic example of affordable VR learning is the 360 degree videos available on free platforms such as YouTube. The chance to be walked through a battlefield or escorted through the Whitehouse while being narrated your syllabus fascinates learners. The knowledge retention of virtual reality-based education is outstanding.  These videos are only beginning to show what is possible given a bit of innovation and creative thinking.

Combat & Military Training in Virtual Reality

Whereas cutting edge military simulations are understandably not common knowledge, the public has been made aware of a few leading exhibits. VIRTSIM is a prime example of a military technology which has been shown in glimpses to the public. Developed by US defence contractor Raytheon, VIRTSIM uses full-body motion tracking to facilitate a massive virtual reality world which is used for military and emergency personnel education.

Their simulation includes muscle-stimulation via electric shock and full free and natural movement within an area comparable in size to a basketball court. With completely custom software and a hardware cost of over $100,000, this is high-end virtual reality. The University of California, Los Angeles is even promoting military developments for the US using VR. Their recently released 360-degree video entitled ‘Leaders Made Here’ allows prospective cadets to become immersed in a glimpse of training from the first-person perspective of a US Army officer.

Virtual Reality & PTSD

Realistic training simulations are not the only benefit which virtual reality holds for the military. Psychology has also found its uses through the treatment of PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychologist and Director of Medical Virtual Reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, Albert “Skip” Rizzo, has been successful using this technology to assist those returning from war.

His virtual reality-based exposure has successfully treated those suffering from all forms of trauma, PTSD and both sufferers of cognitive and motor decline. Once more psychologists grasp the potential of virtual reality and the scope of treatment available in a custom-created environment, it becomes inevitable that we will see great therapeutic value from this technology.

VR for Healthcare

The healthcare training functionality of virtual reality technology is invaluable. Surgeons and other medical staff are given the chance to carry out dangerously precise procedures with no risk to human life. Similarly, complex operations such as organ transplants can be simulated and practiced by the operating surgeon beforehand.

Developments such as Medical Realities for the Oculus Rift offer a full range of cost-effective surgical and medical training solutions. Access to a safe training environment of this calibre is a rarity in underdeveloped areas. This technology also allows surgeries to be broadcast via the virtual landscape. For example, the Royal London Hospital pioneered the way when Dr. Shafi Ahmed live-streamed a cancer surgery in 2014 via Google Glass. Today the practice is far more commonplace.

Medical students can study seasoned professionals from every angle, viewing the procedure as if they were present in the room. The newly launched HP Z back is a new technology which allows for full roaming in a virtual environment. The relatively low cost and across-the-board capabilities are toted to make it perfect for job training with telemedicine a prime application. We are soon to experience even more complex procedures at higher levels of immersion than ever before seen.

Virtual Reality – Evolving the Study of Art

Every area of arts, culture and education has been touched by the deployment of virtual reality. Recently the University of Virginia started up revolutionary art history classes, headed up by instructor Eric Hupe. This resourceful Italian renaissance art and culture instructor has begun including virtual reality in his classroom. He allows students to explore custom-created renderings of frescoed walls and art found in early renaissance Italy. The ability to show art students the magnificence, detail and beauty whilst standing before perfectly recreated inlaid wood panels and elaborate frescoes from the 14th and 15th century is unmatched by any other art class. Yet despite being unique in the execution, many other art instructors are turning to virtual reality to expand their creative horizons. Google has even released what is termed the ‘Tilt Brush’ to assist virtual artistry. Granting a glorious canvas in full virtual reality, this tool allows you to paint in or on a full 3D room. The entire area is available to your imagination. The possibilities are near endless. This marks just the beginning of artistic innovation within education and expression.


How VR Development Impacts Corporate Infrastructure

As one looks closer at the impact of virtual reality, it soon becomes clear that corporate enterprises have long been looking for this technology. From aviation to motor manufacturing and even natural resources, every industry can find practical training benefits by integrating virtual reality.

Fuel giant BP recently partnered with Igloo Vision to lower their risk at the Hull, England-based refinery. By running emergency procedures in a VR simulation maximum safety is guaranteed. Even the titan of aviation, Boeing, has begun investing in virtual reality.

Their venture capital arm Horizon X has poured over $3.5 million into an augmented and virtual reality start-up named C360 Technologies. They hope to facilitate improved employee training as well as an upgrade to their autonomous systems. These are but two of the many examples of how much change VR research and development brings. The European sector alone has grown to 487 companies as of midway through 2017. This number will continue to rise as the industry surges forward around the globe.

Public Virtual Reality Education Platforms

Expeditions VRGoogle Expeditions VR is a premier virtual reality learning experience which transports learners through guided educational 360-degree 3D tours. It allows students from around the world to visit historical landmarks while connecting multiple people to the same lesson through either Google Cardboard or a Daydream headset.

ClassVRClassVR is a highly flexible virtual reality platform which allows educators to develop their very own virtual reality classrooms and simulations. It gives easy access to an interface which makes over 500 preset subjects and their learning material available to be compiled into custom VR lessons. It even allows you to capture your own scenes and other multimedia content. Remote learning is made easy and cost-effective through this innovative development.

Virtual SpeechVirtual Speech has a singular focus, the development of public speaking skills and interview training. It is a great example of how virtual reality can be used to deliver specific training to remote learners. A better correspondence course on interpersonal communication is hard to find. Training real life skills in a virtual environment relieves most of the inhibiting pressure, while leaving just enough realism to simulate speaking in front of large amounts of people.

KinfulKinful is a platform which describes itself as a social-emotional learning curriculum. This setup encourages students to exchange interactions regarding their life and learning experience. The intercultural benefits of connecting learners from around the world are invaluable to long-term growth. Using Kinful, students can literally view the world through another’s eyes, in addition to meeting their peers in a virtual classroom.

The Future of VR and Education

Virtual reality is expanding in all areas.  Yet it is said that while virtual reality may be big, augmented reality has an even larger role in training and skills development. The ability to superimpose objects, people and machinery within a true-to-life environment grants immersion like no other virtual experience can.

Students will soon be capable of interacting with virtual objects and learning implements. This concept, termed embodied learning, grants far more potential than conventional means of education. Students are no longer forced to rely on interpretations of academic descriptions but can instead observe a rendering which looks and feels authentic.

Life is a journey of experience and both virtual and augmented reality allow for experiences which are normally out of reach of most individuals. By broadening the boundaries of our perceived reality we are extending the limits of education, innovation and inspired creation.

How to stay motivated while working remotely

Working from home is great, but it can come with its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles that you can face is making sure that you stay motivated and work productively despite not being in an office environment.

For some people this comes relatively easily, although for others they may need a bit of an extra push to get going.

If you are the type of person who needs some extra motivation, then it may be a good idea to take a look at some of the following ideas and gadgets that can really help boost your productivity. They may sound simple, but they are often things that are overlooked, and if put in place can really give you that push you need.

WiFi Baby Camera

Do you cram in your work whilst your little one sleeps? This is common for a lot of people who are running their own business. The trouble is that you may then be tempted to run backwards and forwards to their room checking on them. Having a WiFi Baby Camera means that you can be comfortably sat in another room, working away, whilst still being able to keep an eye on them and make sure that they are okay. It really does offer the best of both worlds.

Amazon Echo

Find that you are sometimes distracted by looking at the news or finding out about the weather, what you need is Amazon Echo. This amazing little gadget is entirely voice activated and can give you all the info that you need. Best of all, you don’t even have to lift a finger.

Roomba

A gadget that you can link to your Echo, the Roomba is a robot hoover. It is ideal for those remote workers who find that they become more than just a little bit distracted by the idea of hoovering and cleaning their home. Best of all, you can use your Echo to plan in when Roomba needs to get busy cleaning!

A coffee machine

We all need coffee or tea to get us through the day, but the trouble is that getting up to make endless cups can take a toll on your working time. Rather than having to head to the kitchen when you need a top up, why not invest in a coffee machine? It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or flash, just a way to whip up a brew quickly when you are really focused on your work.

A comfy chair

There is nothing worse for your motivation then being uncomfortable, as this is going to make it much more likely that you will get out of your chair and talk a walk. Taking a break, of course, is good for you, but if you are finding that an uncomfortable chair is causing you to want to go for a wander more, then you might need to rethink your seating arrangements.

Headphones

Working from home when the rest of the family are around? This comes with its own set of hurdles. Noise distraction has to be the biggest though, particularly if your kids (or your partner for that matter) find it hard to be quiet. A good pair of headphones are ideal, they will not only cancel out the noise around you, but can also play you some soothing (or not so soothing) music which will make sure that you are focused on the work you need to do.

RingSmart Doorbell

Do you find that during the day you are interrupted by people knocking on your door? If you do, then it might be time to invest in this RingSmart Doorbell. It allows you to see who is actually at your door without you even having to leave your desk. Which is ideal if you are expecting a delivery or have clients that visit you at home.

Equil Smartpen

Taking down notes or jotting down ideas is great for those who work in creative jobs or who need to attend lots of conference calls or virtual meetings. The thing is, these scribbles may then need to be typed up or can get lost. This is where the Equil Smartpen is going to be a gadget that you just have to have. It allows you to take down notes in the old fashioned way, but then these notes can be transferred from the pen to your smartphone, ready for you to save. Pretty impressive!

A good old fashioned to do list

Now this last top tip may not be packing a techy punch or be a newcomer to the block, but a lot can be said for simply having a to do list. It is a place whereby you can write down all those things that you need to get down, as well as have the satisfying feeling of being able to cross off or put a tick against the things that you have finished. The great things about to do lists is that they don’t have to cost the Earth and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are also fully portable, which means that you can take them with you when you head to the coffee shop to work or perhaps back to your office to get things done.

As you can see, there are a huge number of gadgets and accessories that you can have in your home office to help you to work better and faster. That said, the best tool to make sure that you get your work done is you, so make sure that you are aware how important it is to be motivated and you will soon feel the benefit. 

9 alternative ways to boost professional development

Sick of seeing the same regurgitated tips on how you can get ahead at work? – We’ve got just the thing for you.

If you’ve claimed to be an ‘outside the box thinker’ on your CV – then it’s time to set yourself apart for them rest by picking up some of these tips and becoming the most interesting and useful person in the office… 

  1. Find a mentor

There’s a lot to be said for being a trailblazer – but don’t forget, there were people trailblazing long before you came along. Smart people are often quite humble, so you might not find them shouting, blogging or consulting about what they know – often, you’ve got to bring the info out of them yourself.

You’ll only find these people by talking. Chat with the people who’ve been with your company a long time, you’ll pick up some incredible knowledge about the business and ways of working that’ll bolster your professional toolkit. Download Microsoft Office and use Word to take notes and build a list on excel to keep track of the mentors you are connecting with.

  1. Read a book

There’s no end of knowledge out there on subjects that directly impact your role. Truth be told – it doesn’t have to be a book, start picking up professional journals, studies and research papers that are relevant to your industry and prepare to absorb a LOT of priceless info.

Bulking out your knowledge in different areas can be really useful too. If you’re in a marketing role – why not look for psychology info that might inform your decisions? If you’re in sales – brush up on the latest financial info to stay ahead of the curve and understand the right markets to go at.

  1. Learn sign language

There are around 150,000 people in the UK who use British Sign Language – so why not look at picking it up as an additional language and immediately expand the ability and accessibility of your workforce?

Sure, it might not be something you use very often – but in that moment that you’re needed to help support a customer, meeting or business associate, you’re immediately priceless to the business.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is often penned as an entirely selfless act – and while giving your time and energy to a cause with no financial recompense might seem that way, the truth is that you can get a lot from it too.

If you’re part of a medium or large size business, you’ll find there are lots of opportunities to get involved with community projects and initiatives – sometimes even in work time. Getting involved will connect you with great people, inspire conversations and pick you out as someone with good intentions.

  1. Go networking

If you’re thinking to yourself you just don’t have the time for networking – fear not – most of the big networking organisations are a step ahead of you. Whether it’s breakfast, evenings or weekends – you can join up with likeminded (or totally different!) professionals and talk.

There’s usually some format to how a networking event pans out – you might have to make a small presentation to a group or select individuals about you, your business or your products – and in return, they’ll give you similar info about themselves. Whatever’s involved – you’re going to build a professional network that then opens doors to different roles, experiences and knowledge.

  1. Write a blog

Writing a blog can be a brilliant route to exploring your own professional development. It’s creative, so there are no rules – and frankly, even if no one’s reading what you’re writing is going to develop you in ways you might not expect. Its also very easy to setup, you can use platforms such as wordpress.com which is great for getting started.

It’s an often-cited fact that journaling can be an incredible catalyst for creativity – and blogging is really just that – public journaling – and because it’s done in a place anyone can see, you’re likely to get some productive comments and feedback too. Be prepared to be honest and be challenged – but in return you’ll have a lot to think about!

  1. Experiment on yourself

Don’t worry this is a painless experiment! There’s no question that the body and mind are connected – therefore, mixing up your eating, sleeping and exercising habits can have some profound effects on your work life.

They key is taking a measured approach – don’t suddenly start running marathons, being a vegan and sleeping 3 hours a night! Introduce little changes and chart the impact it has on your ability to work. Does exercising before work improve your focus? Perhaps getting an extra hour of sleep means your productivity is up during work hours?

There’s no certain paths or results – do what feels right and see how your professional development follows…

  1. Put yourself with another department

If you’ve got an hour, an afternoon or a day a week that you’d like to invest in development, then look at spending some time with a department that you don’t fully understand or work with often.

Clearly, it’s important to go through the right channels to do so, but if you want a better picture of how the business works as an overall machine – you won’t go far wrong seeing what happens behind the scenes elsewhere.

As an added bonus – you make the company a smaller place when you do this. Your department gets a friendly face that other people can approach – and you make some connections with people elsewhere. From a selfish point of view – it’s always nice to know you’ve got someone on your side should you ever need to take a plan or request over to another part of the building!

  1. Try a foreign language

The internet has made the other side of the world just a few clicks away. If your business has its sights set on expansion – you knowing a different language could put you at the forefront of the company’s plans on how that’s executed.

From a day-to-day point of view too, there’s no harm in being the person who everyone else turns to on the odd instance a non-English speaker wants to interact with the business. There are audiobooks aplenty on learning new languages – and it’s a great way to kill some time in an otherwise tedious commute…

Gain Focus on Your Business

Coming up with a business idea can be a task, but that’s only the start of the journey. There are so many things to do when we first start out in business that it soon becomes the norm for us to focus on a multitude of tasks at once, meaning that no task is getting the time and attention it deserves.

If you want to work from home then I would suggest that you check out some of the best home business rankings

Trying to find time can be problematic, but not impossible. In most instances, if we have procedures in place, then we can give the right amount of focus to each task to ensure that all the cogs are turning.

Don’t Scatter Your Tasks

Jumping for one activity to another can normally mean that we lose time in adjusting to the new task. With this in mind, we should look to group together as many tasks as possible. For example, if you’re currently looking to get a website launched, then it can be advisable to deal with all aspects in one sitting where possible.

This includes the logo design, web hosting and how the final site will look. Something like web hosting may not seem important initially, but is effectively the foundation on which your website will grow, and without it, no-one will know your business exists this is why we have shared this link to web hosting research here.

Ensure You Have an Organised Work Space

The secret to a good working space is to remove all distractions. So, if you have photographs and magazines scattered around, it can be a good idea to ensure they’re put out of eyeshot. You should also have easy access to the material you need. Once you have a designated work area, you will find it’s much easier to concentrate on the task at hand.

Plan Your Working Week

If we’re attempting to get up to date with work, but we’re not sure where to begin, losing focus is almost a given. Having a clear schedule of what lies ahead allows us to handle tasks in the right way.

Planning you working week also ensures that you’re able to give yourself some downtime, meaning that you’re not overdoing it and becoming less focused due to tiredness.

Prioritise Your To-Do List

If we’re simply looking at a list of things to do, then it can be overwhelming, as many won’t know where to start. However, if we’re able to prioritise these tasks, then you should find that you can get the momentum going to complete the tasks.

Ranking each task in order of importance gives you a little more breathing space and ensures that you’re able to meet deadlines.

Turn Off Technology Where Possible

Neglecting technology completely when carrying out a task can be easier said than done, especially if you’re using a certain type of software. However, we should ensure that there are no notifications disturbing us when contending with a task list.

You should look to completely ignore technology where possible, or at least limit what comes through when working on a task. You should also ensure that there are no social networks or similar pages open that could potentially distract you from your work. Once distracted, it can take as long as 25 minutes to get back into the frame of mind we were in before.

Ensure Your Working in The Right Temperature

If our workspace is too hot or too cold, then it’s likely we will be experiencing some form of discomfort. If we’re not able to get comfortable, we’re not going to be able to get any work done. While it may seem like an inconvenience in the first instance, you should look to set your temperature to a comfortable level, otherwise you could find you are easily distracted.

Look to See If Any Tasks Can Be Automated

Many tasks can be cumbersome because we do them manually, but there may be an easier solution to hand. Whether you’re looking to find a solution that helps automate your finances, or invest in Customer Relationship Management software to automatically schedule your marketing campaign, there are a series of tools available that can help ease the workload.

Consider Outsourcing Some of the Work

While many businesses feel it is more cost-effective to deal with any tasks relating to the business themselves, it can be easier to outsource the work. While this solution won’t work for every type of business, many will have more time to focus on other areas if they’re able to outsource the more generic of day to day tasks.

Whether you’re looking for someone to manage your social network profile, or keep track of how your website analytics are doing, you can normally find a cost-effective freelancer who will only be too happy to help.

Don’t Tackle More Than You Can Handle

During busy period, it can be normal for us to double or triple our workload, and invest more working hours as a result.

Trying to contend with a mass of work in a shit space of time can mean you’re likely to burn out, and not complete the work to the best of your ability.

Before committing to projects, ensure that you have the time available. If you’re already tied up with other projects, then it could be a good idea to give yourself some breathing space.

Improving our focus at work can mean taking some time out to implement some changes, but once these changes have been implemented there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t see the benefit moving forward.

A Ten Point Checklist to Startup Funding in 2017

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There are many avenues of capital available when starting a business such as a loan from https://oinkmoney.com/, but regardless of the route we take, we need to ensure that we have our financial affairs in order when it comes to our startup. Evidently, there can be a lot to remember, which is why it can be helpful to use a checklist.

  1. Complete Your Business Plan

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s worth enforcing how important your business plan is. Not only does it allow you to look at the financial commitments of your startup, but it also serves as a guide as to how your business will operate as a whole.

It will also give any potential lenders or investors an overview of how your business operates, and what methods are used when it comes to acquiring customers. This will ensure you’re portraying a more robust vision of the company and its business goals.

  1. Research the Market

Another point that may seem a little obvious, but it can be easy to assume we have a viable business model simply based on how many businesses are placed within the industry.

However, you should look at what competitor’s solutions are lacking, and what can be brought to the table with the introduction of your business. This could be something as simple as amazing after-sale service, or something as complex as a new piece of software that automates an otherwise time-consuming task.

Knowing what services are already available, as well as ascertaining what customers are looking for puts you in a prime position to meet their needs.

  1. Monitor Your Incomings and Outgoings

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a loan or an investment, you should be in full control of your business expenses. This means looking for cost-effective solutions where possible, and ensuring that these can be paid on time without having a detrimental effect on other aspects of the business.

When operating a startup, the costs involved can be very low if you’re willing to carry out the research. It also ensures that you have to borrow less should any further capital be required, which is more cost-effective.

  1. Protect the Legal Aspects of Your Startup

Depending on the nature of your startup, it will often be the case that some form of legality will be involved. This could be anything from the contract you give to the customer, to the service itself.

Many are able to stay abreast of any legalities simply be following the relevant news platforms. However, if you do find you’re scratching your head in some respects, then you should consider the services of a legal expert.

Granted, it can be costlier upfront, but having a contract not worth the paper it’s written on can be much more detrimental overall.

  1. Keep Up to Date with Paperwork

When running a business, dealing with paperwork can seem like a task that’s of very little importance, but quite often the opposite is true.

Any correspondence sent in relation to your startup should be dealt with in the first instance. It can be too easy to put such task to one side, but if Government bodies such as the HMRC don’t receive paperwork on time, it will often issue fines as a result.

  1. Become Familiar with Your Tax Incentives

Paying tax is part and parcel of operating a business, but that doesn’t mean we should pay more than we have to.

If you have to purchase equipment or stationary for the business, then ensure you keep the receipts. This will reduce your tax liability for the financial year, as you won’t be taxed on income that has been used for the business.

  1. Protect Your Intellectual Property

While many businesses are similar, there will be those that have an idea that can offer something new, but this means it can be open to theft. While falling in line with the legal aspects of your startup, you should look to ensure that your business’s IP is trademarked so you’re not subjected to any inferior imposters looking to cash in on your idea.

  1. Register a Website

Having your idea down on paper is a great idea, but it can mean that it’s inaccessible to some. Having a website allows you to give out an overview of your business with one click. This is an ideal complement to your business plan, and it allows people to really look at what your business is about, and how it presents itself to the business community.

Having a website may be vital for some, especially if they operate a mail-order service. But as many people use Google as their first port-of-call when looking for businesses, a website is an essential starting point.

  1. Only Deal with Reputable Suppliers and Providers

There will be instances when some start-ups have to rely on the services of third-parties. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you do have to ensure that you’re only dealing with providers that are of good repute, or you could find that your startup suffers as a result.

Fortunately, there are many places to turn when it comes to reading reviews. A quick Google search will often bring up a series of reviews left on dedicated review platforms, as well as those listed on social networks such as Facebook and Goole Plus.

  1. Obtain a Business Bank Account

While it may be easy to separate your finances in the early days, as business starts coming in, you may find it confusing having so many entries in one account. Registering for a business account allows you to manage your finances with more clarity.

As well as allowing you to assess profit more clearly, it also prepares you for prompt returns in relation to any Corporation Tax or VAT payments.

There may be some elements here that are irrelevant to your particular business model, but it does show how much there is to factor in when running a startup, and just how useful a checklist can be.

To G Suite or not to G Suite, that is the question.

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Formally known as Google Apps, G Suite is part of Googles cloud based offerings for businesses. We are all familiar with Googles basic yet powerful free tools such as Google Drive or Google Docs and a lot of us use them extensively in our business lives, especially in smaller businesses where buying expensive software isn’t in the budget.

Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations together with colleagues no matter where you at the same time. Whether you are a small business such as Reid Brothers – Stainless Steel Banding or a personal blogger with big admissions, G Suite is there for you to take advantage of its collaborative, cloud based software.

Why G Suite?

Googles free tools are fantastic as they allow you to work seamlessly across different platforms like Docs and Sheets which are basically Googles versions of Word and Excel. These programmes allow several users to access the document at the same time. Not only that but edits can be viewed in real time as they happen and notes can be left between the users to share ideas or suggestions. Thanks to G Suite being a cloud based system, you can comment on a document, while it’s being written in Japan, while you are in London.

Hangouts

We have also been given free access to Google hangouts which gives us the ability to video conference with up to 10 colleagues across the world. Not to mention Google Drive which is perfect for sharing and storing up to 15GB of data. Both of these free Google services have previously been very expensive from other providers.

For a lot of small businesses these free tools are all that are needed. Many businesses will create one business account and share the login details with everyone in the office. Some businesses ask their employees to create a personal, work Gmail account and grant them access to the various documents. Whichever way people decide to set up and use their accounts, it’s clear that Google has delivered some of the best free cloud based software available. Thanks Google.

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Cost

G Suite has all the same advantages as the free tools like Docs, Sheets, Drive and Forms with one main difference, it’s not free. Now before you catapult your cup of coffee across the room, it’s not as bad as you would think. There are three tiers, $5 Basic, $10 Business, $25 Enterprise and as you would imagine, as the price increases the amount of features increase too. In a nut shell, you get more control and less restrictions over your G Suite than you do with Googles free tools.

Storage & Collaboration

You get more storage space, 30GB for the basic package and unlimited for the other two. You also receive more advanced actions like smart search across the Suite and higher security control like data loss prevention. Being able to add multiple users to the account also allows for simple organisation and limitless collaboration. G Suite is also available on mobile so no matter where you are, as long as you have your smart phone you can retrieve and present the information you need in a matter of moments. If you are already fairly dependant on Googles free tools, it’s worth looking at the details of each tier to understand which package would best meet your specific needs.

G Suite Benefits

The main reason people choose to purchase G Suite over continuing to use what’s free, is that it brings your Google tools up to a professional level. Having more control over the business data and the users that have access to it. The most practical advantage of G Suite is that it gives you access to a business email. So instead of having a yourbusiness@gmail.com email address, you receive a @yourbusiness.com email address.

This not only gives your business emails a more professional look, but having a dedicated business email address also helps build trust with your stakeholders. A quick search for email hosting will give you an idea of the different prices available from other vendors. 123Reg for example offers you 1 email address with 25GB of storage for £6.99 + VAT and that’s all you get. If you compare that to the Basic G Suite package at $5, even if you all you needed was a business email account, it is still better value for money.

You get all the great cloud based tools with 30GB of storage and it’s from google, which is probably the most trusted source around. G Suite is fantastic value in comparison its competition.

It really comes down what you need and what your business needs. For a lot of people, continuing to use Googles free tools is the way to go.  After all, for a free service it’s brilliant. If you don’t need a lot of storage or a business email, it also may be pretty hard to justify spending any amount of money on added benefits you wouldn’t use. However, for those businesses looking to up there game, G Suite may just be the best option.

Real Estate and Virtual Reality: When Worlds Collide

If you’ve been in a shopping centre lately (yes there are still a few around) you’ve likely seen folks queuing up at what seem like video game booths. Except there’s no video game screen or steering wheel or any other type of controls to be seen. Just some chairs and some strange looking boxes that those people are strapping to their heads. Welcome to virtual reality.

Virtual reality as a concept has been around for decades although it wasn’t able to migrate very far from the labs in which it was born until recently. As the amount of computing power available to consumers in PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones has grown exponentially in the past few years this long-time fringe technology has burst out into the open and with it an almost unlimited array of possible applications from medical to cinematic and everything in between.

The Real Estate and home buying industry too has seen great potential in virtual reality, for example home reports glasgow could actually carry out a full home report without actually having to visit a location. Also, VR with the Internet will allow clients in every corner of the world to experience a property without ever setting foot in it. Below we’ll explain how they’re going to do that.

Virtual Real Estate

The real estate industry is a forward thinking industry populated by men and women who make it their business to know what’s going on in the world. As such when new technologies are introduced real estate companies are typically some of the first to make use of them. So it is that as virtual reality (VR) has gained traction in the marketplace real estate companies have looked for and found new ways to put this breathtaking technology to work. To understand why VR would be attractive to real estate companies you only have to consider two of the biggest problems they typically face:

  1. The time required to make physical visits to sites to show prospective buyers and
  2. The fact that photos often don’t give a realistic idea what a property is like.

VR presents an ideal solution to both of these problems while also allowing a company to expand their potential customer base. Here are several ways real estate companies are employing VR to do that.

  • Augmented Reality Tours – This is the most common type of 3D virtual tour currently in use and is often mistakenly labelled Virtual Reality. With AR guided tours the entire home is shot in 360 degrees and then a dedicated web page is created where the ‘tour’ video file is available for viewing. If a home or commercial property is as yet unfinished the tour can be further augmented using models and/or 3D computer graphics. Narration and on screen notes describing various aspects of what the viewer is seeing can also be added in post-production. This type of augmented video is the first step in the direction of true VR and has become increasingly popular as a promotional device.

 

  • True VR Tours – The next step up is to actually immerse the viewer in a virtual environment created entirely in the computer and then uploaded to the Internet and linked to a VR headset. This provides the viewer with a level of interactivity simply not possible using a linear augmented reality video tour. In true VR if the client looks left they see what’s to the left in the virtual room. If they look down they see the floor and so on. Like the AR tour the VR tour is uploaded to the real estate company’s server and the dedicated URL given to prospective clients. Of course not everyone in every corner of the world is going to have the requisite VR headset to view this type of content and so each visitor is given the option of taking the standard AR tour described above or to view the true interactive VR tour using their Oculus Rift or other VR headset.

 

  • Unprecedented Interactivity – The level of interactivity possible with true VR is mind blowing. The client can proceed with the tour at their own pace concentrating on the things that interest them the most and “moving” back and forth, left and right within the virtual space. Hot spots can be created within the virtual environment that appear in the client’s field of vision. Using their VR controls they can access the information available at these hotspots. The info can contain wallpaper options, flooring options, upholstery options and much more. With true VR there are no distractions, no extraneous visual clutter to block out. The client feels as though they are in the room and they’re able to navigate as if they are.

The Benefits

  • For the Real Estate Company – The benefits of VR are enormous and include the aforementioned ability to drastically reduce the number of site visits that need to be made as well as the ability to showcase properties to potential clients all over the world. Your client from Dubai will be able to get a feel for what it’s like to actually walk through the property at their own pace taking their own route. It’s like bringing the model home or condo unit to the client instead of having to have the client come to the model home. That also means of course that developers may no longer even need to build model homes or condo units. Instead they’ll simply direct potential clients to the web page where they can access the VR tour. The potential savings are enormous.

 

  • For the Client – Clients stand to gain just as much or more than the real estate companies as they’ll be able to take hyper-realistic, virtual tours of an unlimited number of properties worldwide while sitting at their kitchen table wearing their VR headset. No more time and money spent doing the open house shuffle. No more wondering what the floor might look like if you ripped up the tiles and installed hardwood. It’s all right there at your beck and call through the VR software.

 

Virtual reality is taking the world by storm and is set to revolutionize how people buy and sell real estate. Whether you’re a buyer, a seller or an agent you stand to benefit from the VR revolution.

6 pieces of tax advice for every small business

Whether you’re just starting out or are well established in business it’s vitally important that you seek good tax advice – without it you could literally be giving money away. While there’s no replacement for a qualified accountant, there are some pieces of advice that apply to all small businesses.

Have a look through our 6 pieces of tax advice and see if there are any areas you could be working more tax efficiently…

  1. Explore flat rate VAT

VAT is VAT right? If this is your assumption – you’re wrong – and you could be missing out on a healthy size chunk of profit.

A flat rate of tax applies when you choose to pay VAT annually on your turnover – rather than individual transactions. A flat rate also means that the rate you pay is based on your industry, for example:

  • Advertising – 11%
  • Computer repair services – 10.5%
  • Printing – 8.5%
  • Labour-only building services – 14.5%
  • Security – 12%
  • Transport (including taxis and removals) – 10%

…and that is to name just few.

So, VAT is charged at 20% – but if you choose to pay that one-off flat rate then you’ll be paying a reduced amount to HMRC – with the remainder retained by your business. And if that isn’t good news enough, HMRC even give you an additional 1% discount for your first year of operating that way. Well worth looking into in more detail.

  1. Work from home?

If you’re a sole trader or small self-employed business it’s easy to settle for the most basic tax perks of working from home – HMRC offer a fairly small £2 per week allowance if your home is your business base. However, there’s much more available if you do a little homework.

As an example, let’s say you have a house with 5 rooms, if you use one of these as an office then effectively 1/5th of your household costs can be attributed to the business – so if your electricity bill £500 then there’s £100 worth of electricity that is being used to power your work if you’re there full time.

There’s a sliding scale too, so even if you just work one day from then there’s still a proportion that can be claimed. And it’s not just energy bills, you can claim against a proportion of the following:

  • Heating
  • Electricity
  • Council Tax
  • Mortgage interest or rent
  • Internet and home telephone use

It can be tempted to just keep things simple and claim the most basic amount – but remember this is likely to be far less than it actually costs to run your business from home, so calculate what you’re entitled to with a ‘Use of Home’ claim.

  1. Staff perks can be tax perks

Perks for staff might sound like something that’s going to impact your bottom line – but in actual fact, used smartly there are perks that can save your business money at the same time as keeping employees smiling!

  • Car leasing – Have you considered offering a salary sacrifice car leasing scheme? There are lots of companies who’ll walk you through the kind of services they provide and explain the benefits in details. You’ll instantly do away with those ‘car won’t start’ excuses for days off too!
  • Ride your bike to work – There are a variety of Cycle to Work style schemes – staff can save a huge amount on buying a new bike, have a small monthly sum taken from their wage for doing so and your company receives a tax incentive for promoting green travel methods.
  • Child care – Providing tax free childcare vouchers can be a huge benefit to employees with families – especially considering the lofty prices of professional nurseries and child-minding providers.

And that’s not all – there are various salary sacrifice schemes available for businesses of all sizes, cutting your tax bill and giving excellent incentives that could help you recruit and retain excellent staff.

  1. How are you paid?

If you’re smart with how you take money from your business you can make some really big dents in your tax bill. The goalposts can move on what’s going to be best for you, so discussing options with your accountant is important – but some things to think about might be your level of salary, how much is drawn as dividends and anything that can be considered a ‘benefit in kind’.

Generally speaking the most common benefit in kind is the use of a company car – usually a positive step for someone self-employed – however, do make sure that HMRC are made aware, even delaying notifying them by a couple of months can mean a chunky tax bill.

The guidelines on how company directors are paid look set to change – so an on-going dialogue with your accountant is important. Which takes us neatly to…

  1. Talk to your accountant

We’re in an age that makes finding a ‘tick-box’ accountant really easy… That’s to say, every company needs an accountant – and many decision makers feel like having one onboard is just a formality – when, in reality a business-accountant relationship should be much more than that.

If you’re not talking to your accountant on a regular basis you’re missing out on what you’re paying for! An accountant isn’t just someone who’s there to keep track of the business money, in actual fact, proper financial advice is worth far more than the advanced admin skills that many are used for.

There’s no tangible amount of percentage of tax benefit that talking to your accountant will return, but if there’s one thing you can be certain of – it’s that they know more about tax than you do – so talking to them should be done as frequently as is practical!

  1. Keep organised!

Again, we’re finishing up with a non-specific piece of advice – but one that has the potential to save you a fortune in unnecessary tax. Keep your receipts and expenses in an organised manner! That means different things to different people – but the more detailed you are – the more efficiently you and your accountant can work together.

Can you face keeping a spreadsheet with all your business expenses? Can you just manage to keep all your receipts in one folder?

If you’re feeling really lazy, consider having a company credit card that you only use for expenses – pay it off at the end of every month and your statement suddenly becomes a very neat and organised list of your expenses – all kindly provided, printed and sent by your card company!

How Cryotherapy Start-ups Are Changing Health Industry

Cryotherapy (also known as cryo sessions or cold therapy) is a rather unusual medical treatment because many people have a very inaccurate view of what it actually is. The popularity of science fiction in all its forms have built a very advanced image of cold therapy when it’s real-world uses are actually far more on the mundane side.

According to Coldwellness, one of the industry leading manufacturers of cold therapy chambers, It’s used to treat a wide range of issues most commonly tissue damage, it can also be used in a range of cosmetic procedures as well. It’s a popular choice of therapy for the sports industry because it’s a quick and effective way to decrease inflammation and improve rejuvenation.

And despite its futuristic reputation amongst the general public, it’s a therapy that’s been around since the 17th century. Cryotherapy can also be carried out in a number of different ways at its most simple ice packs can be used, but there is also liquid nitrogen based treatments and whole-body therapy.

While more complex medical producers like cryo surgery are carried out at hospitals whole-body therapy and other similar simple procedures are available in certain spas and gyms. Cold therapy has many uses and has been adapted into a wide range of different treatments and therapies, but while it might have a much early history than many people know it’s the future of cold therapy that’s really of interest.

Cold Therapy Start-ups

The healthcare industry is always changing and cold therapy as shown its self to be a popular choice for start-ups, especially in America in the past few years. Particularly whole-body therapy because it’s a relatively simple variant of cryo therapy with a wide array of uses.

Whole-body therapy uses refrigerated chambers and participants stay inside for a short duration, research on it as shown that whole-body therapy could stimulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS) causing it to help relieve pain and soreness from a wide array of existing conditions. So, there are a lot of potential opportunities for entrepreneurs when it comes to cryotherapy. 

You could become the new manufacturer of the refrigerated units that are needed for whole-body therapy for example? Or you could start your own spar business specialising in different cold therapies, there’s also been a rise in cold therapy based franchising opportunities as well.

Cold treatment start-ups are rising because it has so many different opportunities, whether you want to become the new manufacturer, focus on being a treatment provider, or you want to add it to your existing business there’s a lot of potential opportunities for entrepreneurs. But what impact could this have on the healthcare industry?

Disrupting The Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is always changing and as technology advances those changes are going to come much faster. Cold therapy due to its wide array of uses and the ease of access people have to certain therapies as the potential to drastically disrupt the healthcare industry. This could have far reaching implications in a variety of ways.

More and more people could turn to whole body therapy instead of relying on traditional treatments or painkillers. This could mean that more start-ups are founded with the sole purpose of being the manufacturer of cold therapy products and equipment.

Or they could instead focus on training others on how to safely provide a range of different cold therapies.  America’s healthcare industry, in particular, could be hugely affected by the popularity of cold therapies because unlike other countries the U.S healthcare industry does not yet officially recognize cryotherapy for insurance purposes.

Although licensing and training are still needed in order to offer the services outside a hospital or professional medical setting.

Alongside other technologies like artificial intelligence, medical based virtual reality, and 3D printing cryotherapy is predicted to be one of the leading and most disruptive new technologies in the healthcare industry.

With the potential to be adopted by a number of different industries and a wide range of uses entrepreneurs will no doubt be taking a more serious look at the potential of cryotherapy in the years to come.   

The Future of Cryotherapy

It’s sort of ironic that the biggest developments in cold therapy are still likely to come when you consider many people believe it to be an advanced medical practice solely used in sci-fi movies. But while we haven’t quite developed the futuristic stasis technology you see in the movies cold therapy will likely be seeing a lot of development in the coming decades.

Few medical treatments can offer the levels of versatility and flexibility of cold therapy and its popularity in the sports and cosmetic industry, as well as a number of celebrity endorsements, have made it very popular. So, I believe it will be a big name in the future of the healthcare industry.

7 design hacks to make your startup office stand out!

Starting out in business is tough – but it’s not without its perks. For a lot of people the building space they work in is one of the first things they stamp their personality on. Say goodbye to the boring corporate offices you used to drag yourself into every morning and say hello to 7 designer inspired hacks that will make your new startup space uniquely yours!

  1. Clear the way!

Have you ever tried to move your bedroom around only to find that there’s literally one practical position for the bed and that’s it?! Frustrating isn’t it? Don’t let your office layout or current furniture constrain your office plans, think outside then box, you may even want to consider a steel framed building from https://www.steelbuildinguk.com/ Also, when it comes to the insides – clear out everything you possibly can and look at the space with fresh eyes.

Now, the extent to which you can do this will depend on your tenancy – but if it’s practical you can take down doors, lose window coverings, remove office divides – and so on, until you’ve got a totally blank space.

Then when you do…

  1. Use the space unconventionally

The quirkiest startup offices do things a little differently – and that often begins with the layout. Think about what you want to see when you walk into the space – should this be a vista of your hardworking team? Or should it be a breakout area that keeps guests from stumbling into important business areas?

Do you want open space? Or would you prefer defined working areas? This is your office, so go with what you like and remember you don’t have to rely on the usual elements to divide the space – why not use book shelves to create areas? Or rugs to differentiate one space from the rest.

The best designers don’t rely on walls and doors to define spaces!

  1. Make the space about your company

If you’ve ever been away from home for business you’ll probably have stayed in a few budget travel hotels. The reason the colours, layouts and decorations are all exactly the same is to give a feeling of familiarity regardless of where you are geographically – familiar equals comfort. However, familiar also equals forgettable…

If you want people to remember your company you’re going to want to stamp your brand on the space. When we say ‘brand’ – we don’t mean your logo, we mean giving a feel for what your company is all about. Take for example Instagram’s startup offices…

The designer behind their initial space wanted to reflect the fact they were all about photographs and technology – while still giving a hint of the retro style filters that everyone came to love so much. They did that with clean white walls and sharp contrasting vintage style furniture – and as for colour, accents of pale and mid browns gave a sepia feel that made gave the space an unquestionably vintage photo feel.

Have you got colours that would work for accent walls? What’s the feel of the product you provide? Are you cutting edge tech or wanting a more relaxed vibe? Reflect it in your space!

  1. Let the light in

If you want a productive workspace it’s important to let as much natural light in as possible. The reason natural like looks unlike anything that comes from a lamp – is because it covers the full spectrum of light – not like fluorescent tubes or light bulbs that offer only a small range of colour.

Giving a full range of light triggers the parts of the brain that encourage wakefulness and energy – meaning your workforce is going to be as bright and switched on a possible.

Controlling the light in the office is as much about organising furniture as it is about windows and skylights. Those typical U.S. office ‘cubicles’ are a crash course in how not to do things – take a big spacious office with lots of light and surround everyone with opaque artificial walls. Not ideal!

It might be tempting to put big plants or feature items in your windows – but try not to – and you can boost the amount of light with carefully positioned mirrors around the place too.

  1. Pick some colour carefully

When you had your logo and website designed you probably went with a colour palette that involved some black, white, greys and one or two accent colours. Try to do the same with your office space – if you throw a bucket-load of different statement colours in there you’ll start to diminish your brand and design – and start to look a little hotchpotch.

  1. Consider some wall-art

If you’re looking for a bold statement that really tells the world who’s occupying the space, you might want to think about putting some art onto the wall. We’re not talking pictures, we’re talking full wall murals that reflect your company, your message, the vibe of the room – or whatever else you want to shout about!

Even if it’s just a generic pattern, you’ll find that a team feels more stimulated when they’re surrounded by more than just plain walls.

Not sure that your landlord will appreciate an 80s New York graffiti mural sprayed onto his freshly rendered wall? No problem, there are plenty of companies who’ll create custom removeable wallpapers that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

  1. Mix old and new

If you’ve shaped and coloured a stunning space only to fill it with crisp catalogue-fresh office furniture you’ve fallen at the final hurdle! The best office spaces try to mix old and new to give a classy and well-thought-through feel.

Don’t overdo it though, aim for around 30% of your office furniture to be vintage or antique – if you have much more you run the risk of looking less shabby-chic and instead just plain old shabby.

There are some things you’ll probably want to ensure are cutting-edge – computer chairs are going to keep you workforce comfy – so save the Queen Anne style wing-back chairs for the breakout areas! Consider vintage where ergonomics matter a little less – storage areas, cupboards and side tables are all perfect for that retro vibe!

The result?

There’s mixed bag here – not only are you going to have an office that’s memorable to the clients who come and visit you there – but you’re going to find that the combinations of colours, light and working space bolster productivity – making your office the ultimate in form and function…

10 Financial Tips For New Start-up Businesses

10 Financial Tips For New Start-up Businesses

10 Financial Tips For New Start-up Businesses

Starting up a new business is a time of mixed emotions you’ll be nervous, excited, proud and confident. However, that last one might not last very long if you don’t get a solid foundation set up, the risk of bankruptcy is incredibly high in your first few years and no entrepreneur wants to experience that. 

According to research from Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 start-up businesses will fail in the first 18 months of their operation. So, the risk of failure and bankruptcy is high but don’t panic because you can improve your chances by following these 10 fantastic financial tips.

Budget Everything

One of the biggest reasons start-ups fail and go bankrupt is because they don’t budget properly, if you want your business to succeed then you need to keep on top of your cash flow. You need to know exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out and what it’s being spent on. Every area should have a budget and you should always stick to it, great ideas don’t pay the bills so makes sure you keep on top of your money.

Avoid Unneeded Expenses

When you start a business, you’ll need to spend money that’s just part of getting your business up and running. But you need to make sure you’re spending that money on the right things you don’t need a huge office with an amazing view when you’re just starting out do you? Or fancy coffee machines for the staff room, remember to focus your money on what matters not on extravagant fixtures.

Have A Business Plan Ready

It surprising how many entrepreneurs start setting up a business without a plan, you should always make time to set-up a business plan first. With this you can better work out exactly what you want your business to do and better evaluate your ideas, it also gives you a way to track your goals and work out all the costs involved. So, before you do anything else get yourself a business plan drawn up.   

Check Out The Competition

Yes, it might seem sneaky but this is business we’re talking about everyone does it! So, don’t be afraid to check out your competition and see what they’re doing remember your business is trying to outdo them so look at what they’re doing and see how you can improve on it.

Get Ready To Promote Your Business

Despite what Hollywood might show us not all entrepreneurs are confident, extroverts with a talent for showmanship. That’s OK but no matter how much you hate it you’re going to have to tackle that problem a get ready to promote your business yourself at least for a while. PR firms are not an expense most start-ups can afford so you’ll be doing the promoting on your own.

Use Social Media

Social media is an amazing tool for all kinds of purposes especially promotion, but it can also be used for marketing research and much more. So, get your business on social media as quickly as possible and remember to try and update regularly.

Research Your Customers

Just like researching your competition getting to know your customers will help your start-up business gain a huge advantage. You need to know how to attract customers from your key demographics and understand how they operate. You should be researching your customers all the time, while your business is still in development and after it’s been set-up.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Setting up a business is hard, now you might be thinking “tell me something I don’t know” but few entrepreneurs will be ready for what exactly that means. It will likely mean many late nights and long working days, so say goodbye to your social life for a while because you’ll be putting all your focus and effort into running your business.

Start Out Slow

If you’re setting-up a business you don’t have just jump in, you can start out slowly in fact till you’re ready you should take it slow. You don’t have to quit your job straight away after all, while you’re getting your research done and setting up your business plan you can keep working. Many start-up businesses fail because entrepreneurs try to rush things leading to higher costs and big mistakes when it comes to starting a business slow and steady does win the race.

Don’t Micro Manage

In the early days of your business, you’ll likely be doing many different jobs, that’s why being a jack of all trades will give you a great advantage. However, when you have the time and money to hire employees you’ll have to learn to let them do their own thing. Micro managing will take up too much or your time and won’t create a good working environment. It will be difficult for entrepreneurs to take a back step but if you want your business to succeed then you’ll need to learn to do it.   

Workplace dyslexia and the law

Workplace dyslexia and the law

Workplace dyslexia and the law

Although individual adaptability makes it is difficult to be exact, experts suggest that around 10% of the general population are dyslexic which has led to many schools from investing in Dyslexia support from companies such as CPD Bytes. What’s more, dyslexia is a ‘hidden’ condition, meaning there may not be obvious indications or adjustments that can be made to make the workplace that reflect employee need.

Where a workplace or employment arrangement puts someone with a disability at a disadvantage – the 2010 Equality Act requires employers make reasonable adjustments. Because there are a wide range of issues that can relate to dyslexia – getting a full understanding of a person’s requirements is important when it comes to following the law.

Whether you’re an employer, employee or prospective candidate we’ll walk you through some of the law surrounding dyslexia and employment.

What does the law actually say?

Since the Equality Act is a weighty document some 250 pages in length – it’s useful to cut it down to size when you’re looking at one specific issue. Essentially the message is this – an organisation cannot refuse employment simply because an individual has dyslexia. Not only that – but an employer must think of ways of working that could enable a dyslexic person to fulfil any role.

It’s easy to think about equality in terms of just initial employment – but equality laws must be observed in other situations too:

  • Employee retention
  • Internal promotion and transfers
  • Training and development
  • Performance management and dismissal

Is dyslexia a disability?

In health terms, there’s a distinction between a ‘disability’ and a ‘difficulty’. Essentially a disability puts a permanent cap on a person’s ability to perform a certain task, however, a difficulty can normally be overcome with the right support.

Despite being distinct in the health professions, government legislation refers to dyslexia as a disability and is therefore covered by all disability and equality law.

As a candidate or employee

Whether you are a candidate for a role or an existing employee it’s entirely up to you whether or not you disclose your dyslexia to your employer. You might decide that it is important for you to disclose this information from the very start – and you might have no choice if you feel it would otherwise hinder your ability to apply.

Although legally you have no obligation to disclose your dyslexia, you might choose to do so in your CV, application form or covering letter, during or preceding your interview, at the point of being offered the role, upon commencement of the role or even later when you’re in employment. It doesn’t matter when you do this – the law says your employment should not be affected.

The benefits of disclosing dyslexia

For many people dyslexia can be a tough subject to discuss – especially if your experience throughout education was difficult as a result of your condition. There are benefits to disclosing your condition though – think about it this way:

You and your colleague are both candidates for a promotion. Your performance reviews have both been good and there’s little that would help an interview panel to decide between you both.

You might think that declaring your dyslexia at this stage would swing the decision toward your colleague – but why? If you’re both performing well an awareness of your condition and some adaptations to your working environment could very well bolster your productivity and performance to levels that set you head and shoulders above any other applicant.

What if you’re struggling?

Maybe your workplace performance is lagging behind others? Without declaring your dyslexia your reasons for diminished performance might be put down to other factors – if they include “a lack of focus” or being perceived as “lacking dedication” it’s possible you’re being judged without all the information. Don’t forget, the law protects you against unfair treatment – but if your employer doesn’t know about your condition, they also don’t know that they should be doing more to support you.

Ultimately the decision is yours, but being supported around dyslexia can mean your energy can be focused on letting your talents shine.

Are you an employer?

As well as ensuring your recruitment and training policies fit with the Equality Act there’s a big emphasis on occupational health requirements also being fit for purpose. Making ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with dyslexia can often be done cheaply and with little impact on resources.

Although this list isn’t exhaustive, adjustments can include:

For issues with reading and writing

  • Providing information in a more suitable format – i.e. video, diagrams, examples.
  • Using specialist spelling and grammar checking tools

For memory issues relating to dyslexia

  • Ensuring objectives are provided individually
  • Setting up the office and workspace in an intuitive and easy to use manner

For commination issues

  • Making sure messages are clear and nothing is assumed or implied
  • Observing turn taking and adhering to agendas in meetings
  • Clear lines of communication that mean tangents are

Supporting around the lesser-known effects of dyslexia

In some instances, a lack of in-depth understanding of their own condition means dyslexic people are missing out on either the adaptations needed to perform their role effectively – or the recompense that they could be due for not being provided the right working adjustments.

The term dyslexia is almost entirely attributed to reading and writing – where in fact it should be considered a ‘processing’ impairment. Imagine the brain to have a measurable and finite amount processing power – now take up a large chunk of that power with attempts to handle reading and writing tasks – leaving a diminished amount of processing ability for ‘working memory’ tasks or the ability to cope with a busy working environment. This is how many other dyslexia related issues occur.

Employer and employee awareness

It takes an incredible amount of awareness for an individual to go to an employer with a deep understanding of their struggles. Instead – they are more likely to complain of headaches – or go to the doctor and present you with a sick note citing stress.

Abiding by the law shouldn’t be the only driving factor for an employer to effectively work with dyslexia – when you begin to understand the range of issues that can occur for dyslexic people, you come closer to unlocking their true working potential – at the same time as bolstering productivity and reducing sickness and staff turnover. If a management consultancy company offered these same results it’s likely you’d employ their services – the reality is, you can positively impact all of these factors by just understanding you’re a condition that affects around 1 in 10 people in a little more depth.

The 9 steps to perfect WordPress maintenance for your business

“Use WordPress” they said! “You’ll make a great looking site easily” they said! “You’ll feel a bit overwhelmed by trying to maintain your site” they said! Oh, no one mentioned that last bit? Did you think you were the only one struggling? Worry not, if keeping on top of WordPress maintenance is a becoming a bit of a headache then we’re here to help.

The key to the smooth running of a WordPress site is being proactive and keeping on top of the regular WordPres website maintenance. We’ve got 9 fairly simple tips that’ll make sure your site never gives you a headache again…

  1. Backup!

It might seem like a simple and obvious first step but backing your site up is really important and overlooked by a lot of people. The main reason it’s overlooked is because of how infrequently it’s used – but, like lots of other things, you don’t realise how important it is until you need it.

The first step here is to have some kind of cloud-based backup – but be aware, if your site is hacked there’s a chance your backup might be compromised too. The most robust way of backing up is to take 2 or 3 backups over a period of a week, that way you can work on a rolling basis, only ever overwriting the oldest file – meaning if you accidently backup a compromised version then you can step a couple of days further back and restore again.

Make sure you’re not just backing up your database too, get all your files covered. Tedious? Maybe. Will you thank us for the advice if something goes wrong? Definitely.

     2.Moderate comments

Another simple one – keep on top of any comments you have enabled on the site. These are prime real-estate areas for spam bots placing dubious links. It won’t take you long to moderate your comments and it gives the impression of a well-maintained site to legitimate traffic.

     3. Keep your files up to date

Keeping files up to date isn’t dissimilar to backing up, it’s not a glamourous task but as far as preventative measures go it’s one of the best. The priority here are your WordPress core files, this is where big security issues are patched – meaning the big steps toward keeping your site safe are done on your behalf. Most hosting companies will give you the option to automatically allow these updates, so it’s a good idea to opt-in if that’s the case.

If you prefer to keep your hands on the reigns of your site for everything then keep your eyes peeled for core file update notifications and get them manually updated as a priority beyond their release.

     4.Update plugins

Plugins are great at a few things – on the plus side they’ll expand your site functionality way beyond anything the base platform can offer, on the downside, if they’re not properly maintained they’ll be great at causing speed, compatibility and security issues!

Keep on top of updates. If you’re working with plugins from good providers then you’ll find they keep up with your core updates – a good reason to make sure you’re only using resources from reputable sources. If you’ve having problems or you’ve stopped using one, get rid of it.

     5.Update your theme

If you’re one of the millions of people who’ve adopted a third-party theme for your site then you need to be a little careful with theme updates. Chances are you’ve customised colours or layout to some degree – make sure that when you update you’re not overwriting your customisation with a generic scheme.

But, don’t worry if you do, you’ve got 3 rolling backups now haven’t you?! 

     6.Maintain your database

The more you update the more you’ll accumulate MySQL and PHP overheads – in layperson’s terms this is the mess that’s left when database functions are performed, updates are made and so forth. Whether you use the Optimize Table function or use a piece of third-party software to keep things tidy it’s well worth doing – slowing down database queries is to website performance what keeping your handbrake on is to driving! 

      7.Traffic analysis

The only way to know if your site is doing what you want it to is to look at what your traffic is doing. Only you know what your goals are – is it sheer traffic numbers? Time spent on the site? Conversions? Completed transactions?

As a website owner or developer it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, which takes us on to our next tip…

      8.Live the user experience

Your user experience is where your site will live or die. The best sites in the world are those that are a dream to use, simple, intuitive, predictable and understandable. Research shows that people will vote with their clicks if your site isn’t up to par, bouncing somewhere else quickly – and potentially never coming back.

Having others use your site can help with your objectivity, if that’s friends and family then great – but don’t be afraid to get someone on board who’s a user experience professional for a totally objective view.

There are lots of technical things you can check that have a big impact on a visitor experience and can be measured with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

  • Does your site work neatly and efficiently over all browsers?
  • Do your forms work as they should?
  • Do all your navigation functions work and deliver users to the right place?
  • Do you have any broken links? 404 Errors?
  • Is your page load speed reasonable?

     9.Maintain your on-page-SEO

There are few jobs on a WordPress site that will stack up like on-page-SEO. You’ve got a choice – do you want to commit a few minutes each time you post to staying on top of the job, or do you fancy a tedious few hours by letting them build up?! For each page:

  • Make sure your H1 tags are only around your title
  • Make sure keywords are in your page URL
  • Place keywords carefully in the first paragraph of content
  • Include the right kind of outbound links
  • Have the right meta description in place

Prevention vs. the cure

So, you’ve read through – what do you think? 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of work each week? If you’re working flat out you might find it difficult to justify taking that time out – but ask yourself this, would you rather factor in those minutes now? Or be forced to spend hours further down the line to remedy, restore or re-do all that hard work? The most optimal thing you can do if you are trying to save on time is to to search out a WordPress website maintenance service to take care of all of these 9 steps listed above.

How To Use Your Photography Skill To Make Money Online

Cameras are everywhere these days, aren’t they? What used to be a luxury accessory is now so common place that there are entire social media platforms based on sharing pictures.

With the popularity of sites like Instagram and Snapchat and the ease of access to cameras, it’s easy to see why people who take a good selfie think they are now a skilled photographer and can use those photography skills to make money online.

But let’s be honest just because you can take a good selfie doesn’t mean you’re a photographer. It might not always seem like it when you look at gossip magazines but photography is an art form and one that many people study for years to master.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a photography student to make money online using photography though, there’s a lot of natural skill and passion involved too. But you do need an understanding of photography and the right equipment for the job.

So, if you have the skills and knowledge, how can you use your photography skills to make money online?

Freelancing

The world wide web is full of freelancing opportunities for photographers, sites like Gumtree and Craigslist are great places to start searching for people looking for a photographer. You might have to do some traveling but there’s plenty of people out there who a need a photographer and these sites are great for finding valuable networking opportunities as well.

Edit Photographs

While freelancing sites are useful for photographers many people will already have the photographs they want to use, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way for you to use your photography skills to make money. Photography is more than just taking the picture, it’s also all about the after work and editing.

Any professional photographer should know how to use photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro (to name just a few) and there are many people out there who will gladly pay for your editing services.

Freelancing sites like Peopleperhour, Elance, Toptal and Upwork are full of people looking for professional photo editing services. They might want you to simply remove the background on a few product pictures or might want the brightness and saturation altering or they could have a more complex objective in mind.

But by knowing how to edit photographs to a high standard you’ll be able to make a lot of money online.

License Your Photographs

If you take a great photograph it’s only natural that someone who sees it will want to use it right? So why not let them, but of course you don’t have to let them use it for free. Most photo hosting sites will have an option for you to license your photographs and set a price for use.

Your photographs will likely have to be checked first before you can license them but this is usually a simple straightforward process. And if you’ve got your own website (and I’d recommend any photographer serious about making money online as one) you can license them directly on your site and let people contact you if they want to use them.

Create Stock Photography

Let’s be honest outside of school PowerPoint presentations no one is really going to use clip art, are they? For everyone else, there are the more professional looking stock photographs. These photographs can be used on all kinds of articles and if they’re high-quality you could make a lot of money.

So how do you create and license stock photography? If you have your own site you can license it all on there but another great way to create and sell stock photography is to submit photography on stock photo websites.

Every time someone buys your photograph you’ll earn a commission, this will vary from site to site and the popularity of the photograph. If you have a large portfolio of photographs then you could make a lot of money online by selling your stock photography. Some popular stock photography sites to get started with are iStock, Big Stock and Shutter Stock.

The application process for each site will be slightly different and once again your photographs may need to be checked first. But once they’re uploaded you could make a lot of money using your photography skills online by creating and then licensing stock photography.

Photography Competitions

Now for something a little more fun! Photography competitions are held by lots of websites from small indie magazines to national newspapers like the Telegraph. While you’ll face some tough competition from other photographers even placing well could get you some money and it will be sure to boost your profile.

So even if you don’t win people might see your name and search you out, so if you ever find a photography competition looking for entrants why not give it a go?

4 Tips for Beginners Who Want to Start a Business

When you want to start a business, the first step people tend to take is to do research and find out what other people did. This is a good thing to do, but you shouldn’t always believe everything you hear or trust that what works for one person will also work for you. Today, I would like to share a few lessons learned by successful entrepreneurs.

Choose something you enjoy. If you start a business and it works, you will be doing it for years to come. Choose something you like and enjoy because you will be more likely to put in the necessary work and commitment than if you were doing something you hate.

Figure it out as you go. You won’t know everything when you start and you very possibly won’t know anything. Don’t let that stop you. Learn as you go. Most businessmen did not know how exactly to run their business or how to operate in the field they were in, but they learned as they went and figured it out.

Choose your partners carefully. If you want or need a partner for your business, choose carefully. Try not to have one because it is convenient, but rather because that person makes the business stronger. You need someone that will contribute, make smart decisions, and support you. If you choose the wrong partner, you will have a nightmare on your hands.

Ignore the statistics of failure. Many people will tell you about the high percentage of businesses that fail or how few of a certain niche succeed, etc. Ignore these stats as they are not necessarily true. If a high percentage of businesses fail, it’s probably because the owners didn’t commit or prepare well enough. Those stats just make people comfortable with failing or they use it to justify why they didn’t make it.

There are a few more lessons, but we will share them later. One other thing that is very important, however, is that your family and quality time should always be important. Obsess about your idea and go do it, but don’t forget the important people in your life.

Infographic by: bizhub.anz.co.nz

4 Top Ways in Which Technology Can Save Your Business Money

Technology is a wonderful thing and it is a great way to save your business money. If you are looking for small ways to cut costs for your business, then consider the following technology practices. You will be surprised at how easy they are and how much you can save. It’s so simple, you will laugh.

 

Telecommute

Telecommuting is something that is becoming more popular and obviously, employees love it many IT support companies are no implementing this technology for business across the globe. Statistics show that employees who are allowed to work from home, have increased rates of production instead of the expected ‘slacking off’ you may expect. Conferencing technology has made it so easy to telecommute and have conferences without the cost of plane tickets, gas, and the wasted time of travelling.

These simple changes in your business will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is the easiest and fastest way to cut costs through using technology in your business.

 

Mobile Payments

Mobile payment systems are a good way to save on banking fees. The fees won’t fall away completely, but most banks will offer a definite reduction in costs. There are different options for these systems and you can choose which one you prefer. Most young people, as well as their parents, will prefer paying with their phone rather than taking out a card or cash.

Electronic Receipts and Invoices

Gone are the days of spending money on paper, ink, and receipt printers. When you use online receipts and invoices, you are saving money and also helping to save the planet. Costs for receipt supplies add up over time and you can save so much of that money by going digital. An added bonus is that you now have email addresses of people who have visited your business or showed interest. They are possible leads for future sales.

Online Advertising

Online advertising and social media advertising are much cheaper than traditional advertising. This does not mean that you should throw out traditional advertising, but to save costs and reach more of your target audience, consider integrating social media and online advertising in your marketing plan. Online advertising enables you to reach your target audience more directly and you can track the effectiveness of your advertisements with stats.

 

 

3 Marketing Technologies That Every Business Needs

The online world is flooding with digital marketing tools. It is no wonder many companies are either hesitant to make use of them or so overwhelmed that they don’t know where to start. I want to share some tools that every business must have. These tools are the best for starting out online marketing and make it successful. The tools are easy to use and often less expensive than traditional marketing tools.

1. Search Engine Marketing – SEO and paid reach are some of the most important ways to get your website seen. If you want your website to show at the top of the search engine results, you need excellent SEO consultant and you need to make use of everything you’ve got. It is of no use if you have a great product and beautiful website if people cannot find you when they search for what you are selling. You can do basic SEO improvement yourself or you can hire professionals to update your website and do all the add-ins needed to rank higher on search engines.

2. Analytics – Analytics help you track how effective your advertisements and other marketing campaigns are working. They give you stats on the number of clicks, conversions, enquiries, page visits per day, etc. It is the best tool to learn about what you are doing wrong and also to see what is working. The most popular analytics tool is Google Analytics.

3. Conversion Optimization – The point of getting people to your website is to try and convert them to take action and buy from you or at least interact. If you use the right marketing apps and other tools, you can get a conversion rate that will make your business grow exponentially. Conversion is a very important goal for any business with a website, so why not put in the effort and money to get them? You can find a few tools for conversion optimization including Landing Page Grader, Unbounce, and Optimzely.

These three tools will already make a difference. There are a few other tools you can use, but we will look at them another day. I will leave you with one last tip: Be mobile-friendly.