Business Rates Issues Continue to Cause Financial Problems for Start-ups

Business Rates Issues Continue to Cause Financial Problems for Start-ups

More than 500,000 businesses in Britain have are still experiencing problems following the latest business rates regulation changes. Start-ups in the UK were forced to pay more in business rates without knowing whether they will benefit from the announced £300 million relief package. Following the announcement, which can into fruition in March, news have surfaced that the ‘relief fund’ has still yet to be paid out and it is causing major problems for UK businesses.

Restaurants, shops and businesses in southern England have been hit the most following the first revaluation in over 7 years. Recent news articles broadcasted that certain start-ups have been faced with massive 50% rise in business tax, and with the new support fund announced by the Chancellor still not functioning, these business are still unsure of whether they will be able to benefit or lose out. Worry remains that businesses will be left in the dark for more months to come and with no announcements on the horizons, will people get their money back? Experts fear that the longer this is drawn out, businesses could be forced to relocate or go under.

Following the flood of news, Government sources leap to the defence of the fund by stating that it will be ready by the end of summer. Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at Gerald Eve, said: “Whilst the package of measures announced in the Budget will eventually bring benefit to some businesses, the current uncertainty as to who will qualify and to what extent, is of huge concern… Rates bills landing on doormats now do not include any of the new reliefs and demand payment of the first monthly instalment within the next few days.

“In the meantime, Government is still consulting as to how the £300m discretionary relief fund will be divvied up amongst councils. Only once it has made decisions and advised local authorities as to the categories of business Government believes should be considered for relief will the process begin… Councils will have to devise their own guidance as to which of their local businesses might qualify, programme their billing systems, create application procedures and put in place resources to manage what could well be a torrent of applications for these discretionary reliefs. We could be well into the summer before businesses learn what share of the pie, if any, they will be granted.”

As stated, over half a million UK businesses have seen a spike in their business rates. The Government have however, disputed this change by releasing figures that show that 420,000 will play the same amount as previous, with 920,000 companies set to see a decrease following estimates after the first quarter.

The magnifying glass was firmly shone on ministers before the Budget as support was being called upon for those affected by doublings in rates after sharp housing price increases. Following this, the Chancellor announced 3 different measures in July that meant that start-ups facing those larger rates would get more help, that 90% of pubs would be given a thousand pounds off of their bills and finally, that the third measure was the article based topic surrounding the £300 million fund for firms raising council given tax rates rises – the same fund that businesses are waiting to claim a business rates appeal.

Despite this, owners as well as critics are still skeptical about this as they are still being forced to pay increased bills today without knowing whether they will be able to get the money back or the financial help that they have been promised. Each local council can also choose its own rules for who gets the funds, leaving business facing more uncertainty according to experts.

The Government this week have responded by outlining the £6.7 billion package that is set to commerce to aid businesses with the revaluation, stating that the fund would be functioning “as soon as possible… We’ve listened to the concerns of businesses and are giving an extra £435 million to help those facing the steepest increases in their bills. Working with local authorities, we’re making sure this extra support gets to businesses as soon as possible.”

That however, is still no help for businesses financial concerns today and as it has now been many months since this business rates relief was set to take place, they are still no closer to an answer. Continued stalling on this policy could massively hit the UK economy with start-up going out of business. That mixed with uncertainty regarding Brexit changes and free movement regulations could produce mass problems for the business climate within the country.

How To Shop For Used CMMs

How To Shop For Used CMMs

Metrology machines are not just the most effective way of inspecting the components made in your shop, they are a sign to your clients that you take quality and efficiency seriously. The right combination of coordinate measuring machines, laser scanners, new software, controllers, and computers, can deliver highly precise, highly repeatable parts inspections. Clients look for suppliers who take metrology and inspection seriously; a supplier with a quick and robust inspection process is more likely to deliver accurate parts and deliver on time than someone using out-of-date technology.

However, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to spend top dollar on a brand-new coordinate measuring machine. As long as you’re shopping for internationally reputable OEMs, names like Brown and Sharpe, Sheffield, Romer, Faro, Mitutoyo, Zeiss, OGP, LK, Leitz, DEA, and others, you can buy used equipment at half to two-thirds the original price. When it comes to coordinate measuring machines in particular, the structures are so mechanically sound that they have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years or longer with the right maintenance, care, and retrofits. Unlike machine tools, they aren’t bearing stress daily, so even a machine built in the early 2000s or in the ’90s will have years left of use.

That leaves the question of where you should go when you’re looking for used CMMs. You may have heard of great prices available online or at auctions, but you’re taking a gamble when you buy from sources that aren’t proven. You should look for a metrology dealer who inspects the equipment, provides delivery as part of the price, provides ongoing support for maintaining and repairing the machine, makes upgrades and retrofits available, and has operation and programming training for your staff.

The first step is inspection: North American metrology company Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM) inspects the probing systems, air lines, bearings, drive systems, and cabling of all machines they get before resale. They repair any issues and give buyers a guarantee that the equipment will perform to original specifications on arrival, something no auction house can provide.

According to CMM, almost all of the used coordinate measuring machines they sell receive some kind of upgrade before they arrive at their destination. While they may be mechanically sound for decades, you will have to replace things like computers, controllers, and the software as technology advances. Upgraded software, new probing systems, and new fixture plates are not only common upgrades, they can also make a big difference in the efficiency of your inspections.

Last but not least, look for a metrology supplier who can also provide training for your staff. You may not be in a position to hire someone who already knows how to program the software for machine. It can be expensive to send a set of hands off-site for several days, which is why it’s so important that you can now find E-Learning courses for major software programs like PC-DMIS. Training is the last step in acquiring a new technology for your shop floor, but it’s not one to forget.Well-trained staff will reduce the time your shop spends on programming, be able to fix issues that arise with the machine, and keep things running smoothly. Of course, for advanced problems, you want to be able to call on expert metrologists who can troubleshoot the issue and get you back online.

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board meetings are rarely high up on anyone’s list of favorite activities, as even the directors who sit on them complain about how long and tedious they can be. The work of the board is essential, overseeing management and providing organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions with direction and strategy. That should be compelling stuff, but director engagement remains a challenge for many.

Enter the board portal: a board software solution that digitizes board documents and puts collaborative tools in directors’ hands that they can use between meetings. Board software is the tool that can make meetings more efficient, more focused, and revive engagement by offering a few key features.

Easy Updates – At the heart of board software is an easy solution to the problem of distributing board books and other documents. Back in the days of paper board books, administrators would struggle to keep every director informed of the latest updates, especially when documents or financial reports were updated last minute. It cost a fortune to courier everything to directors who could be anywhere in the world at any given minute. Today, electronic board books are much more common, but board portal software offers superior security compared to other file sharing methods, especially as many have become popular tools for masking cybercrime attacks.

Collaboration Between Meetings – Board software should come with tools that make it easy for directors to do their job in between meetings. For example, annotation tools are used in Aprio Boardroom, a leading board software solution, that let directors mark up documents either with private notes or to share with their peers. Everyone knows that when an idea strikes, you can’t wait until the next meeting. If you want to develop a more thorough conversation, you have to be able to work in between meetings.

Another great feature of Aprio is the freedom to vote remotely with an electronic signature. It helps boards make more time for key decisions, as the freedom to vote remotely means matters like agreeing on minutes can be dealt with beforehand.

Desktop and Tablet – Flexibility is key for directors who regularly travel and split their responsibilities. Any board software you consider should be compatible on Android, Apple, and Windows tablets, as well as offer offline access to documents.

For many organizations, board portals are already standard, but if you’ve been using this transformative technology already, consider how the industry has changed over the last few years. If your board’s contract with your current board software vendor needs to be renewed, now may be a good time to reassess. In the early days of board software, portals offering better security – the kind of security required by financial institutions, health agencies, and Fortune 500 companies – came at a premium. Those security options are now no longer so expensive, though some portal vendors are still charging higher rates. You can learn more about how security has changed, and become more accessible for all, at Aprio.net and exploring their options for board software. Whether your board’s contract is up or you haven’t yet made the shift to secure electronic board books, do your due diligence, request several demos from vendors, and be sure to compare products based on customer support, security, and price.

The Top 5 Best Services To Make Your Whiteboard Animation Videos

The Top 5 Best Services To Make Your Whiteboard Animation Videos

Source

Are you currently looking for a whiteboard video animation service that can provide some of the very best whiteboard animation available?

There’s no need for you to look any further, because we’re going to go over the very best whiteboard animation services that you can find on the web.

Here are the top five best services to make your whiteboard animation videos, presented in alphabetical order:

Animations World

Animations world provides whiteboard animation services to clients, in addition to explainer videos, storyboarding, voiceovers, scripts, and 3D animation. Located out of New York, all you need to have is an idea, and Animations World will convert that idea into a visual treat whether it be with whiteboard animation or any of their other animation services.

FireStarter Videos

FireStarter Videos is noted for the fact that many of their past clients are Fortune 500 companies. However, they also perform services for smaller companies and small businesses as well. Located in California, you can go right to FireStarter’s website to get a taste of their portfolio and the incredible talent that is behind it. You’re sure to find something that you are looking for.

Switch Video

A Canadian company based out of Ontario, Switch Video is a video production house with a relatively large roster of impressive clients and a promise to over deliver on literally every new project they take on. In addition to whiteboard animation projects, Switch Video will also tackle motion graphics and explainer videos.

Whiteboard Animation

IdeaRocket is a whiteboard animation website based out of Brooklyn, New York, with a very unique approach to tackling their whiteboard projects. This unique approach is that they treat each individual project as a story when creating their videos, whether it be telling the story of how your business came to be or the story of what your company offers.

In addition to whiteboard animation services, Whiteboard Animation also produces live action videos and 3D Animation, both of which utilize the very same story driven approach.

WizMotions

WizMotions is a animation production company based out of Cyprus, Europe, which produces everything from whiteboard animation to 2D animation to explainer videos and cartoons. The unique angle to WizMotions is their promise to deliver any project within a five day time frame, which is a very short and impressive deadline for the industry.

You may believe that this means the quality of what they produce suffers, but the reality is that just the opposite is the case. You don’t have to look at more than just a handful of examples in WizMotions portfolio to see that they don’t sacrifice quality for a shorter turn around.

Getting Your Whiteboard Animation Videos Made

Selecting the best whiteboard animation service is very important for your business, but as long as you choose a service that provides quality work within your budget range, you’ll be in great shape. Any of the five animation services that we have covered should work well for you.

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

If you want to be able to do business online, you have to make sure that you keep your name visible to potential customers. But you also have to make sure that what people see is positive. This is why SEO and branding is hugely important, but reputation management should be your top priority.

Building a Positive Reputation

Before any of your marketing and SEO efforts can pay off, people have to recognize your brand as a trustworthy and authority source. Once you have established that reputation, you have to make sure it is maintained as well. If you are a new business, your first step should be, therefore, to create positive content and to nurture this as much as possible. This is a lot of hard work, particularly since the world is so competitive nowadays. Customer service has to be your top priority, as this will help to build your positive reputation.

You simply cannot leave this as an afterthought. If you do, any other effort you engage in to build trust won’t work, and you will end up having to invest heavily in damage control. Hence, reputation management should be your first important action if you want your business to succeed.

You Need Positive Feedback

Every business wants to have happy, satisfied customers. Your goal should be to make them talk about that, however, thereby building your reputation. You can achieve that in a variety of different ways. Firstly, you need to list any products you sell on websites that allow for reviews, such as Amazon. Secondly, you need to have a Facebook business page with review options switched on. Thirdly, you need to make sure your website has a customer feedback form included on it. Last but not least, you should list on local directory sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, again ensuring that people can find you and talk about you. You should also make sure that you link to all of these pages on your website, your social media accounts, and any online communication and newsletters you send out.

Stand Out with Reputation Management

You must pay very close attention to what is said about you, so you can truly benefit from it. Indeed, you can even benefit from negative comments, so long as you address them properly. If someone looks you up and sees a negative review, but then also sees that you have tried to remedy the issue, they will be far more forgiving. They old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” continues to ring true today.

You may feel confused about choosing a marketing plan that works for you, and that is no surprise considering everything is suddenly online, competition is fierce, and changes are made on a daily basis. But if you take reputation management as your starting point, and consider that everything you do online is to give people the opportunity to see you in a positive light, you will come a long way.

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Email conversations can be professional or just a bit of fun. Either way, it is information that comes out of your head, which means that you own it. Not just that, you may even suddenly find that you actually need it again, at which point you have to be able to find it somewhere among the thousands of emails you have sent. That is when you suddenly find you need email archive solutions.

These solutions are in place to make sure you are compliant with a range of different federal regulations. Those have been put in place to make sure businesses comply with e-discovery requests, and they have a legal obligation to be able to do that. But organizations have multiple employees, who all send hundreds of emails a day. So how is it possible to find anything in among all of that?

Why Are Email Archiving Strategies Needed?

Different regulations have put rules in place in terms of how long emails have to be stored. Consider, for instance, that you probably come into work on a Monday morning to around 200 unread messages, and you will start to understand the volume of this task. Yet, you have to keep all of those messages somehow because you could face some very serious penalties if you didn’t.

Some of the risks you run by not having email archiving solutions include:

  • Hefty financial penalties.
  • Imprisonment.
  • Having to settle in lawsuits because you cannot provide the necessary information.
  • Losing a lawsuit because you cannot evidence your point of view.
  • Loss of intellectual property.

One of the worst offenses you can commit is destroying emails that do not go in your favor. This is classed as obstruction of justice and can lead to your imprisonment. Not just that, in a litigation, you will be presumed guilty for destroying the evidence.

When someone provides you with an e-discovery request, you only have a limited amount of time to present the evidence they have requested. This means that you have to have solutions in place that allow you to quickly and accurately retrieve information. Email archiving solutions can do this, and you even have three options to choose from. Those are:

  1. On-site solutions.
  2. Hosted solutions.
  3. Cloud solution.

There are a few things you need to consider to help you choose between these different solutions, including:

  1. Is the solution cost-effective? Generally speaking, having a solution on site is the most expensive, because it means you also have to run, operate, maintain, and update the service. Cloud storage is usually the cheapest.
  2. Is the solution reliable? If it is unstable, clunky, or regularly crashes, you still won’t be able to comply with e-discovery requests.

E-discovery and email archiving may sound complex, but it isn’t all that bad. Once you have the right solution in place for your needs, it basically runs itself. Just make sure you spend some time comparing the available options to get the right one.

4 Tips to Fostering a Healthy Work-Life Balance as a Business Owner

4 Tips to Fostering a Healthy Work-Life Balance as a Business Owner

Running a business is hard work. Lots of business owners struggle finding a good balance between their work and home life, as many tend to be “work-aholics”.

After all, that mindset and drive is likely what led them to owning and managing a business. But, at the same time, it can wreak havoc on quality of life outside work.

Plus, burnout can happen, and no one can operate a business effectively at their wit’s end.

If you’re looking to find a healthy work-life balance, below are 4 tips you should try.

Set Boundaries

Boundaries are important in many different facets of your life, but they are especially important in your work life.

Business owners and other entrepreneurs tend to work 24-7, foregoing evening and weekend activities in lieu of squeezing in a few extra hours of work. That’s no way to live.

When you stop to consider the longer term effects of working around the clock, you’ll realize that it’s simply not sustainable. Sooner or later, your body will break down and you’ll be forced to take a break, if not step away forever.

Setting strict work hours and times for people to contact you about work-related issues is a great start to fostering a healthy work-life balance.

Schedule Time to Do Things You Love

With your boundaries set, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have outside of work.

It’s super important to get involved in hobbies and doing things you enjoy to boost mood and even improve your work life, too.

No matter how small the activity, if you enjoy it, do more of it.

Like to go rock climbing but haven’t in a while? Schedule a trip.

Enjoy vaping on your breaks to take the edge off? Go buy the best ejuice you can find and get after it.

The key to a happier life is doing things you love, so it only makes sense that it would be critical in creating an effective work-life balance.

Hire Well and Delegate

If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll end up doing some things fairly well, but most things really poorly. Plus, you’ll work long hours and drive yourself crazy.

It’s important to know your limits and be able to determine tasks that are critical for you to perform, and those which can be handled by someone else.

In a small business of one, that means reaching outside your company for help from freelancers or virtual assistants. If you are lucky enough to have employees, then learn how to delegate appropriately.

Ask for Help

If you’ve done all of the above and you’re still drowning, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people have at least one person they can turn to who would be more than glad to step in and give aid to a friend or family member in need.

Or, consider hiring a business mentor – someone who has been in your shoes before and has made it through successfully.

Asking for help isn’t considered a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of courage and intelligence.

Closing Thoughts

Work-life balance doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you. Use the tips above to run your business effectively while maintaining a healthy personal life.

Why It’s Important to Invest in Your Employees Training and Education

Why It’s Important to Invest in Your Employees Training and Education

Do you look for ways to continually improve your employee’s skills and increase their working knowledge? If not, your business could be losing out and it could affect the success of your organization. However, by investing in your employee’s education and training, your business could benefit in many different ways. Below are some of the reasons why it’s important to invest in employee training and education.

Employees Get Better at Their Jobs

In most cases, a business is only as good as the people who work in it. If your employees are highly skilled, they are more likely to be more efficient and they will produce higher quality work. For example, if you want certain members of your business to lead and carry out business functions on your company’s behalf, they should have completed a relevant business course such as the online MBA degree. Once your employees have completed a business course like the masters in business administration online program, they will have much more confidence in their ability and possess the tools required to do their jobs much better.

Employees Become Leaders Themselves

You should view your business as a well-oiled machine where teamwork is a priority. However, for any team to function properly, you need a number of different leaders. Training and educating your staff members will make it more likely that leaders emerge who will ensure that your business becomes a much more professional outfit.

It Improves Morale

Most people want to feel appreciated and they also want to feel that they are an important part of a business. Sending your employees on regular training courses is a clear indication that you want them to keep improving at their jobs and that they have a key role to play in your organization. This, in turn, is almost certain to motivate your employees and increase the likelihood that they will become much more efficient and professional and show more loyalty to you and your business, unlike employees who are neglected by their employers.

It Enhances Your Business Reputation

If people and organizations outside of your business realize how much you invest in your employee training and education, this will enhance your business’s reputation in different ways. Other companies and individuals will want to deal with you because of your professional approach to this area of your business and high caliber workers will want to join your company.

It Increases Overall Efficiency and Profitability in Your Business

Ultimately, a business has to make money and a highly educated workforce gives you a much better chance to do this. Fewer mistakes will be made, there should be less waste and more people and businesses will want to buy your products or services, so your bottom line should look a lot healthier when you invest in your employee’s education and training.

There are many good reasons to invest in your employee’s education and training. Once you do make this investment, it should pay you back.

The world is a better place to be than 30 years ago – here’s why

The world is a better place to be than 30 years ago – here’s why

Let’s be honest – 2017 hasn’t been the greatest year so far. At the rate things are going, many are beginning to wonder whether the world is about to take a prolonged turn for the worse.

Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have increased instability, with news media contemplating some truly dark scenarios for the days ahead.

Taken with their usual breathless coverage of the latest terrorist event or mass shooting, it is easy to conclude that something really bad is about to happen.

Before this pessimism leads you down a very dark path, remember this: the media makes its money by amplifying negative stories, as their urgent nature cuts to the core of our primeval brains.

John Bradberry Charlotte NC instead chooses to focus on the progress that we have made over the years. A born optimist, he believes in a future that is mostly bright, despite the serious issues we all face.

If you can’t see how things have gotten better, we’ll make it our mission in this post to show you how our planet has become a better place over the past 30 years, and how it is poised to become better still over the next generation.

1) Peace is winning the battle against war

We might get laughed out the room in some quarters for suggesting this, but it’s true. Cable news viewers are among the biggest dismissers of this premise, as their favorite medium shows them non-stop conflicts, terror attacks, and premonitions of chaos to come.

When you look at actual hard stats, though, the number of hot wars is at an all-time low. Despite the non-stop coverage ISIS has been getting, there have been fewer victims of terror each year since 9/11. At home, violent criminality has been on a constant downward trend since 1990.

Things have been getting better, and by all indications, people around the world are continuing to lay down their arms and choose peace, understanding, and reconciliation over death and destruction. 

2) Hunger is becoming less of an issue worldwide

The late 20th century was a dark time, as close to 20% of us couldn’t get enough to eat on a regular basis.

Africa was particularly hard hit by drought at this time, as they were overly dependent on primitive farming techniques that didn’t provide nearly enough food for their exploding population.

Then, something magical happened. From 1990 to 2017, the modernization of food production induced a drop in the number of malnourished people worldwide from 1 billion to 800 million.

With 7 billion humans calling Earth home in 2017, only 11.4% worldwide suffer from malnutrition as we speak.

With continued advances in crop yields and by filling irrigation canals with ever cheaper desalinated water, this number will continue to sink towards zero in the coming decades.

3) Poverty may be eradicated within the next generation

Of all the problems we face in this life, not having the cash to buy basic essentials is among the biggest. Poverty is responsible for a myriad of issues like lowered life expectancy, land pollution, epidemic levels of violent and property crime, and many others.

As such, providing everyone with the food, water, housing, clothing, and education they need has the potential to transform society dramatically for the better.

We have made significant progress on this file over the past 30 years, as only 17% of people around the world languished in abject poverty in 2012.

The next 30 years may see the end of this scourge once and for all. AI (artificial intelligence) and automation will drive down costs to unprecedented lows, while UBI (Universal Basic Income) will provide every citizen with a stipend sufficent enough to cover basic needs.

Top Tips To Help You Believe In Your New Business

Top Tips To Help You Believe In Your New Business

My buddy David J Turlington and myself very often head around the country giving motivational speeches at business seminars and answering questions from business owners and those who are interested in a career in business. I have been doing this for a few years now and occasionally I will see the same people who I saw some years ago. The one thing that always strikes me in this situation is ‘why’? The reason for this is because usually these are the people who came to me and told me that they had a great idea and they wanted to know how to execute. Worryingly, when I speak to these people again, they are yet to get things up and running.

I thought about this for some time, the reasons behind why people don’t move forward with their idea for a business and the key them that I keep coming back to is a lack of belief. For that reason I wanted to offer a few tips on how to overcome a lack of belief in your new business, and go ahead and get it off the ground.

Ignorance

If you have naysayers around you who do not think that you have got what it takes or that you do not have a strong enough idea for business, you need to be belligerent and ignore them. This is not always easy and the best way to work out who to ignore and who’s constructive criticism to listen to is to see how they are telling you, is it from a standpoint of jealousy or nastiness? If so then cut those people out of your life and push on regardless. If you cannot stomach the necessary criticism now, you won’t do very well when you get into business.

Lose Fear

What are you afraid of? Sit down and make a list of all of the worst case scenarios, you will find that there are actually very few and financial failure is probably about as bad as it can get. Nobody will die if you fail at business and you life will not be over,  highlight the fears that you have and tackle them head on.

Obstacles

If you are truly passionate about your idea and you think that it can be a success then you need to hold on to this and use it to defeat any obstacles that are in your path. Once again, write a list of the obstacles that stand in your way and that make a strategic plan as to how you will overcome each and every one of them. Many people fail to focus on what their obstacles actually are, they just have it in their mind that they exist. If you can actually detail what the things are that are standing in your way then you can own them, beat them and stop them from preventing you form believing in yourself.