How to Ensure a Safe Post-Covid Return

Covid Return Office

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is waning, many employees are eager to return to the office. However, it is important to take some precautions before returning to work. In this article, we will discuss how to assure a safe post-COVID 19 return to the office.

 

Consider that productivity can be different for different roles and people

Not everyone will be productive immediately when returning to the office. Management should consider that productivity can be different for different roles and people. Some workers may take a little longer to get back into the groove, while others may hit the ground running. It is important to be patient and understand that everyone is different, especially if there are people that are still recovering from things like long covid or some of the various lingering cognitive effects of the virus.

 

Communicate often about the return strategy

A lot of people appear to view the return to the office with a combination of nervousness and resentment. This is why it is important to communicate often about the return strategy.

Management should be upfront about expectations and what workers can expect. This will help to create a sense of trust and cooperation, which are two of the keys to a psychologically safe office.

 

Sanitize the office before returning

Workers should sanitize their work area before returning. This means taking the time to clean all surfaces, keyboards, phones, and anything else that may come into contact with hands or other body parts. Sanitizing wipes are a great way to accomplish this quickly and easily.

 

Provide specific time frames

In order for the return to be a success, leaders and management have to keep people in the loop with specific time frames and stick to them. This will help to avoid any confusion and allow for a smoother transition.

 

Let people work from home if they feel uncomfortable

Working from home is an option that should be made available to those who feel uncomfortable returning to the office. This will help to ease some of the tension and make people feel more comfortable. Management should keep in mind that not everyone will be able or willing to return to the office right away.

 

Avoid overcrowding

It is important to avoid overcrowding in the office. This means staggering arrival times, working from home, and other strategies as needed. Overcrowding can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, which are counterproductive during this time.

 

Encourage social distancing in the office

Encouraging social distancing in the office is another way to help reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. This means avoiding close contact with others, keeping a safe distance from others, and washing hands regularly. Implementing these guidelines will help to create a safer work environment for everyone.

 

Include everyone in brainstorming and innovation

Including everyone in brainstorming and innovation sessions is a great way to get people excited about returning to the office. This will help to foster a sense of cooperation and teamwork. It is also a great way to get new ideas and solutions for moving forward. There will be conflicting ideas with respect to almost everything you are likely planning for the return, so bringing people into the fold is a great way to start mitigating that.

 

Give people time to adjust

The return to the office can be overwhelming for some workers. Management should give people time to adjust and get used to the new routine. This includes coming in later or leaving earlier if needed, taking breaks throughout the day, and other accommodations as needed. By giving people time to adjust, management can help create a more productive and positive work environment.

 

Celebrate milestones

Management should celebrate milestones as they are reached. This could be anything from returning to full operations to reaching a certain number of days without any new cases of COVID-19. A positive attitude can go a long way in creating a productive work environment.

 

Think about inclusivity and fairness

Inclusivity and fairness should be considered when making decisions about the return to the office. This means taking into account the needs of everyone in the workplace and trying to create an environment that is fair for everyone. By thinking about inclusivity and fairness, management can help to build a strong team that is united in its goals.

 

Stay positive

It is important for management to stay positive during this time. This will help to set the tone for the office and encourage workers to stay positive as well. A positive attitude can go a long way in creating a productive work environment.

 

Make flexibility a guiding principle

Flexibility should be a guiding principle during the return to the office. This means being willing to adapt as needed and making changes as needed. By being flexible, management can help create a more productive and positive work environment.

 

Don’t stop evaluating and, where necessary, updating plans

The return to the office is a fluid situation, and plans should be evaluated and updated as needed. This means being willing to change course if needed and making decisions based on the latest information. By staying flexible and evaluating plans regularly, management can help create a more productive work environment.

 

Reward workers for their efforts

Management should reward workers for their efforts. This could be anything from giving them time off to praising them for their hard work. By rewarding workers, management can help to create a positive work environment.

 

Conclusion

There are a number of things management can do to help ensure a safe and productive return to the office after COVID-19. By being patient, encouraging social distancing, including everyone in brainstorming and innovation sessions, giving people time to adjust, celebrating milestones, thinking about inclusivity and fairness, staying positive, and communicating frequently, management can help create a successful comeback for the office. Thank you for your time.

How to Find the Right CPA for Your Small Business

Business CPA

Running a small business can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging. No startup owner is great at everything, so they’ll need a support system that can help them manage portions of their business. If finances aren’t your strong suit, you can hire a CPA to remain compliant.

But, you can’t just pick an accountant’s name out of a hat; you have to make a conscious decision of who you’ll trust with your payroll, bookkeeping, taxation, and regulatory reporting. 

 

3 Ways to Find the Right CPA for Your Startup

The right CPA isn’t just an accountant; they’re a person who actively supports your business and helps you scale. With that in mind, here are 3 factors you can use to find an accountant.

 

1. Check Their Accounting Qualifications

Becoming a CPA is no easy task, and that’s clear when you look at state CPA test requirements. Although requirements vary across states, most test takers must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field (finance or business) and 150 college credit hours (30 more than a bachelor’s).

Since 150 credit hours is necessary to write the CPA test, most students will go for a masters’ degree because it improves their hiring potential and furthers their knowledge in their field.

To take the test, accountants don’t have to have any relevant work experience, but they must get said experience after the fact to get their license. This practically guarantees that your CPA will come from a solid financial background, but they may not have direct startup experience.

Any CPA you hire should have prior experience working with startups and developing business strategies to be considered. Check if they’re able to scale companies with minimal cash flow.

 

2. Look Up Reviews, Testimonials, and Referrals

Since all CPAs have to have work experience to get their license, they have to have references or testimonials from other businesses. If they don’t have any reviews, their reviews are mostly negative, or they refuse to offer references what you ask, pass them up for someone else.

Some agencies will hire out their CPAs to other companies, while some professionals will go into business for themselves. A company or individual that doesn’t utilize reviews has bad business sense because they should know how important they are for social proof. 

However, if your CPA of choice has mostly positive reviews and testimonials, look into them further. If, for some reason, you’ve been having a hard time finding an accountant online, ask other business owners for referrals. They may be able to point you in the right direction.

 

3. Find Someone You Like But Be Selective

Your accountant should always meet the basic requirements for the job first, but if you don’t like them, you’ll both have a hard time working efficiently. You should be immediately comfortable with your prospective accountants and have a desire to build a business relationship with them.

When you’re asking the accountant questions about their experience and availability, try to add in some casual conversation. Unfortunately, some CPAs won’t let their true personalities shine until you encourage them to do so. They’d rather play it safe and act professionally at all times.

It’s better to connect with the accountant face-to-face once you’re happy with their credentials, as it’s the fastest way to judge someone based on their personality and general likability.

We recommend bringing another person along to the meeting whose judgment you trust. It’s not always easy to read between the lines once you’re convinced they’re a good fit. But the wrong hire can cost your company a lot of money, so trust your own gut or someone else’s.

7 Ways to Use Virtual Payment Cards For Your Business

Virtual Payment Card

Online payments are becoming the norm for shoppers these days. One can enjoy cashless transactions using a credit or debit card. But it’s different when those behind the business are utilizing virtual payments. There are risks entailed by utilizing physical cards for staff use, and that is why many companies are choosing virtual payment cards instead. The following describes how businesses are taking advantage of virtual payment card benefits.


1. Control Spending

Virtual payment cards allow more visibility on business expenditures, which is one of the benefits of virtual payment cards. It will be difficult to determine who made a given transaction if many people use the same payment card. Because you can only find out the facts of a purchase after it has been done, you might lose control over your spending.

Companies can issue virtual payment cards to every team member. The finance department can easily track down spending because of their unique virtual card numbers.

You can create multiple virtual payment cards for vendors, suppliers, or service providers to make it easier to monitor how much the company pays. The virtual cards are for single-use only, which makes them more secure.


2. Encourage Teamwork

As mentioned above, virtual payment cards can help control the spending of everyone in the company. But it also allows various teams to keep tabs on the shared expenses they make. It inspires teamwork, as well as collaboration to figure out ways to limit their spending to what they need. At the same time, these teams can work on a fixed budget for quarterly campaigns.


3. Minimize Payment Fraud

Virtual payment cards are managed by payment platforms made for secure transactions. They make it one of the best ways to protect businesses from fraud. As fraudulent payments are now becoming rampant, companies must utilize safety measures regarding payment practices on the internet.

Virtual payment cards are secure because there are no physical cards to steal away and no credit card numbers to copy. Once the dollar amount has been sent or transferred to the recipient, the virtual card immediately expires.


4. Captures Card Transactions Automatically

Creating financial reports from credit card statements can be a hassle, mainly when multiple people use the company account. It is harder to track who made the purchase, so holding the user accountable becomes harder.

But with virtual payment cards, once the amount has been spent, the card transactions are automatically captured online. If you’re wondering how to upgrade the accounts payable function, it’s about time that you did because you can synchronize the virtual cards with the system for streamlining invoice management.


5. Saves Time and Money

Virtual cards are preferable for making purchases outside of regular supplier payments. You don’t need to wait for a physical card to arrive in the mail. It only takes one click to create virtual payment cards with different numbers, and your team can use them to spend on business needs. Virtual cards also free your team from manual work. They don’t have to rely on cash or other payment options because the digital transactions take less time to operate and lower costs than regular admin tasks.


6. One Card Per Client Each

If you are in the business of making purchases for your clients, you can also create a virtual card dedicated to that specific client alone. For example, a personal shopper can use the card to purchase clothing items and then bill the client later. The client can set up how much limit the virtual card has, such as USD$5,000, and the personal shopper can stay within the budget and avoid overspending.


7. Event Hosting

Companies planning events must also be careful about how much they spend. If your company hosts a lot of events throughout the year, you may create virtual payment cards for each of them to keep track of spending. Those in charge of each event can also stay within the budget.

Each team member can also check the amount available in the credit line and decide whether to pursue a luxury purchase or go for an affordable one.

 

Conclusion

Virtual payment cards have many uses in the business. Primarily, it allows your business to make safer and more secure transactions because it helps you avoid identity theft fraudulent payments, as well as limit company spending. Creating a card is fast and allows you to give your team unique ones to continue supporting business operations. Virtual payment cards are the safer payment option for your company.

The Chip Crisis: What Does It Mean for the Automotive Industry?

Car being built on a factory floor

The demand for electronic devices in the last couple of years has transformed the market into a sort of treasure hunt. If you happen to be a keen videogamer, finding PS5 consoles in recent times will have caused you a few headaches. Likewise, you will have seen fewer mobile phones in stores, and the available ones will have had – and, to some extent, still do have – costly price tags.

A substantial global chip shortage is at the heart of the problem, leading to an array of hurdles that are impacting many different industries. The automotive sector, in this respect, has not been spared. In fact, if you have been looking for a new vehicle or a business car or van, you may have noticed that your options in the past two years have become somewhat limited. As things stand, predictions are not rosy, and the issue is likely to persist for some time.

But what has been causing the disruptions? How is it impacting drivers? Here, we take a look at how the chip crisis is affecting the automotive industry, while also highlighting a positive exception.

 

What is happening?

The pandemic has had an enormous effect in recent years. It has taken numerous lives, changed the way we go about our daily routines, and forced changes to both our education system and work schedules. It is fair to say that the existing global semiconductor shortage is one of its many consequences too.

While more and more people started working from home and required new electronic devices, factories had to run at reduced capacity because of social distancing rules. Therefore, as demand increased, chip supply gradually dried up. What’s more, other unfavourable events, including a fire at a chip plant in Japan and unexpected frozen conditions in Texas, contributed to delays in the delivery of semiconductors worldwide.

As mentioned, the automotive industry has been – and continues to be – on the wrong end of this chip crisis too. Automakers rely heavily on these tiny components, even for basic cars and vans. From in-built navigators to infotainment systems, vehicle tech features need these little ‘brains’ to function properly. Hence, with reduced chip availability, car and van production has slowed considerably.

This negative ‘trend’ is set to persist during the next months, if not years. Toyota, for instance, is still having a hard time because there are simply not enough chips around. As one of the world’s largest automakers, the Japanese multinational has witnessed a substantial 21% fall in its operating profits and expects a manufacturing reduction of about 30,000 vehicles in February 2022. In the whole of 2021, Toyota missed out on the planned production of 1.1m vehicles, whereas Ford fell short of an estimated 1.25m cars and vans. 

As technology advances at an exponential rate and vehicles become more modern and complicated as a result, chips will be increasingly essential. But with the ongoing semiconductor shortage, disruptions are bound to carry on for the foreseeable future.

 

The impact on drivers

Automakers are not the only group suffering from this everlasting chip crisis. Drivers and wannabe vehicle owners are being affected as well. One of the most obvious drawbacks for potential buyers is that they are not as spoilt for choice as they used to be. With fewer vehicles available on the market, they are ultimately left with limited options.   

Moreover, drivers may have to wait longer to finally get behind the wheel of their new automobile. With prolonged lead times, dealerships are experiencing more frequent delays to vehicle deliveries. This means that, on the whole, their waiting time may lengthen up to six months.

Another consequence is the rise of vehicles’ price tags. As suppliers struggle to meet demand, the cost of cars and vans has inevitably escalated. In this respect, used cars are no different. The most popular used-vehicle models have become between 30% and 53% more expensive than they were 12 months ago.

On a brighter note, however, there is a way to tackle this entire situation. Car and van leasing can provide an excellent alternative to the existing hurdles of car ownership. If you are in urgent need of a vehicle for your business, leasers will have a wide range of options at affordable rates.

Jonathan Beadle, Commercial Manager at Van Ninja, said: “Despite the ongoing chip crisis, Van Ninja has not experienced issues with vehicle availability. We have a large number of van models, both in different sizes and payloads, to suit you and your job duties.

“The price of vehicles may be soaring, but van leasing allows you to hit the road in a flash and with no hefty expenses. What’s more, if after a while you fancy a change of pedals and steering wheels, you can always return your current van and replace it with a new model.

“Our fleet is always rich with options, and van drivers can pick the vehicle that best suits their professions or needs.”

 

From severe delays to increased costs, there is no hiding that the global chip shortage is putting the automotive industry to the test. At this moment in time, it seems unlikely that things will start easing again. If in search for a new vehicle, whether for work or personal reasons, leasing can ultimately represent a great way to hit the streets with no inconveniences or setbacks.

Essential Business Event Tips Your Business Can Use

Business Event

Events are a crucial part of any business because they help foster long-lasting relationships. They create an environment for individuals to interact and develop genuine connections essential for business ventures. Planning an event can be tedious and overwhelming. However, a successful event can significantly boost your business, build brand recognition and introduce you to your target audience. Read on for essential tips that can guide you in organising a successful business event.

 

Have a Clear Understanding of the Events Purpose

Understand what you want to accomplish from your business event by setting clear and achievable goals. Outline the reasons for hosting the event and note down what you expect from it. After identifying your objectives and expectations, you can determine what kind of event will suit your target audience. Inform your attendees of the reasons for hosting the event. For instance, if your event involves launching new products to the market, communicate with your employees about the event’s goal so that they can focus on their efforts. Besides, let the event organisers know why the event is taking place so that they can help you in achieving your set goal.

 

Prepare an Event Plan

A master detailed plan will guide you and help facilitate various errands throughout the event. Designing an event requires you to keep track of various tasks. You can break down the tasks for easy operations. Create a spreadsheet and use individual tabs for each event category to keep your checklist in order. The checklist may include the event’s venue, venue décor like modular exhibition stands, the schedule, and logistics plans if the venue is far away. Take your time to develop a plan that you can follow step by step through the entire event process. A written plan is more recommendable as it eases delegation of responsibilities and helps you to keep track of expenses.

 

Have a Realistic Budget

You should know the amount of money you want to spend to determine the kind of event you can organise. Once you set the budget, allocate the funds according to the essentiality of the resources. For instance, you can allocate the skilled technical crew a significant amount of money to ensure the sound system and entertainment is top tier while opting for a simple but elegant decoration. Additionally, ensure that your budget is flexible and can accommodate miscellaneous issues and emergencies.

 

Decide Your Target Audience

Defining your audience will assist you in preparing a program and customizing an event that suits their needs and sparks interest. Every attendee of your event is a potential client; thus, it is essential to establish a friendly ecosystem for every individual and significantly impact the guest experience. It is human nature only to recall how they are treated, so ensure you do not overlook the finer details that every person in attendance can appreciate first hand. Notably, it is always better to invite too many guests than too few.

 

Ensure the Event Location Is Appropriate

After settling on the type of event you want to organise, the next step will be looking for a venue that will bring your vision to existence. Since you have already outlined your expectations and goals, find a location that suits all the specs you require for a successful event. If you are after a pocket-friendly venue, it is advisable to hold the event when the venue is likely to be available. Always consider a location that is easily accessible and convenient for every individual. In addition, choosing a serene environment with a brilliant atmosphere will make the guests more comfortable.

 

Communication Is Key

Effective communication is the key to having a successful business event since it prevents you from many hassles. Communicate regularly with every individual involved, such as vendors, organisers, technical team and staff responsible for event details and special guests to ensure everything is in place for a successful event. It is frustrating to learn that some significant changes have been made without your knowledge and at the last minute. Can you imagine the guest speaker cancelling their attendance on the eve of the event or flower vendors delivering different kinds of flowers that you did not choose?

 

Delegate Responsibilities

Decide who will be responsible for each task to avoid confusion and leave some things unattended. Individuals will be able to build and focus on their tasks to contribute to the event’s success. Delegating can also entail hiring professionals in carrying out particular tasks, such as hiring an outside caterer, event planners and professional photographers. Outsourcing will prevent you from overworking yourself and your staff before the event.

 

Have a Follow-Up Plan

Having a follow-up plan is an essential part of the success of business events. In your event plan, you must outline how you will follow up with attendees. Delegate the task of following up with potential clients and setting a deadline. Maximise your event and ensure you reap significant benefits by gathering feedback from the guests. Moreover, wrap up any loose ends and have a post-event debrief with your team.

 

Conclusion

Organising a business event is the first step to gaining new customers and establishing brand recognition. The positive developments will boost your business and increase profits. It is essential to take your time when planning an event and put the above tips into action. It is essential to note that the success of your business event lies in the planning process. If your want a successful event, ensure your planning process is seamless. If you cannot accomplish some tasks, it is essential to outsource from the professionals such as event planners.

How to Get Settled Into Any New Country

There’s a big difference between visiting a country and moving there. When you decide to call a new place home, there’s’ a few things that you need to cross off your to-do list. At first, you may feel unsettled, but that’s what life is all about. To make things easier during your new adventure, we’ve compiled a list of our best tips and tricks to make any new country feel like home.

Start an Emergency Savings Fund

You should already have one of these, but we won’t judge you if you don’t. Before you move over to a new country you should always have an emergency fund to help you get through the first few months. This way you can truly relax whilst you look for a job and get to experience the country.

We recommend that you have enough cash in the bank to sustain yourself for a few months at least. Start putting away some of your monthly income towards an emergency cash stash. It’s better to be on a budget before you move, so you can truly live your life once you get to your new home.

Get Your Logistics Sorted Before Having Fun

This is the most tedious part of moving to a new country, however, it’s also the most essential. You need to make sure your visa is in order and that you’ve sorted out your IMG insurance .

Other logistics include finding a home, registering as a tax resident, and maybe even finding employment. It’s always best to get as much of this sorted before you move rather than after. You should also contact your bank or other service providers and let them know you are moving countries.

Speak to Locals in The Area and Listen

The best way to find out all the tips and tricks when settling into your new country is by asking the locals in your area. They have access to priceless information that you may not be able to find out online.

Ask them where the best restaurants are and what activities the tourists don’t know about. Buy someone a beer at your local bar and get ready for information overload. You’ll be living like a local sooner than you know it.

Learn the Language and Soak in the Culture

Even if you’re just visiting for a short while, it’s always respectful to learn the language. We don’t expect you to become fluent in a matter of days but try to learn simple phrases. Even saying please and thank you in the local language will get you a long way.

Don’t be afraid to ask about what lingo or slang people use there too. This will help you get to grips with what everyone is saying, and you’ll feel more integrated in the community. Finally, be respectful of the local customs and culture, as you would like them to do the same in your home country.

Make New Friends and Keep in Touch with Old Ones

The best way to start feeling at home is by making some new friends. There are tons of ways that you can reach out to people in your area. Don’t be afraid to knock on your neighbour’s door and introduce yourself or approach a friendly looking face on the street.

If you’re shy, you can always try apps that help you connect with likeminded people. It’s also extremely important to keep in touch with old friends. Friendship is a two-way street so make sure to let them know that you’re thinking of them and wishing they were there.

Pursue Your Hobbies and Try Out New Ones

If you’re missing the things that you used to do at home on a regular basis, why not seek out the same activities in your new country? Search for group activities or lessons on Facebook and Instagram. It can be incredibly therapeutic to develop your skills in a new country.

If you don’t have any specific hobbies that you can think of, it means that you need to try some new ones out. Group sports is a great place to start because it helps you socialise with others and make new friends. Discover your passion by trying out local activities. For example, if you live in a surf town, why not go for a lesson?

When you first move to a new place, it’s rare that it starts to feel like home from day one. That’s why you always need to take each day as it comes. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience and soak it all in.

You’ll learn so much about yourself and, ultimately, moving to a new country is an experience that you will find extremely rewarding. As with all things in life, it’s important that you keep a positive outlook.

How to Buy a Business

Buying a Business

When buying a business, there are many different factors to consider. Forbes reports that only 1 in 15 prospective small business buyers end up completing their transactions. Here we share everything you need to know before deciding whether or not to purchase a business and how to make sure that the transaction is successful.

 

What type of business do you want to purchase?

Before embarking on the purchase of a business, you need to think long and hard about what it is you want to buy. For example, are you looking to invest in something you already have experience in, or perhaps you want to buy a business that revolves around your passion or personal interest. At this stage, you will need to consider what your personal goals are for starting a business – this will help guide your search for a business that is aligned with your interest or values.

Additionally, you will need to think about what budget and resources you have available. By knowing what you have available and what you ideally want to spend, you can start thinking about which businesses might be the right size, location or business model to align with your expectations. You can also think about what changes you would like to make to the existing business as this will help you with your long-term budgeting.

You should also think about what your involvement will be in the business. It is not enough to simply invest money into a company; you will need to consider the time and energy you are willing to commit and how this fits with the needs of the company. Thinking about resources will also extend to thinking about a team of staff that can help you make your business goals a reality.

 

Which businesses are for sale?

When looking for a business that suits your personal criteria, there are lots of different ways to go about it. One of the best ways to do this is to use online business marketplaces which give you access to thousands of listings, allowing you to filter searches and hone in on the most relevant results. Another approach may be to look at Craigslist ads or newspaper ads. Also, do not underestimate the power of networking; asking around can be a great way to find new contacts. Think about relevant contacts that you may already have in the small-business ecosystem or look for larger-scale networking events or industry conferences. You can also work with a business broker who may be able to help screen potential businesses that best suit your needs.

 

Why is the business owner selling the business?

There are many reasons why the owner of a company may choose to sell their business, be it wanting to start a new project, take retirement or relocate. However, there may be certain reasons for selling that might be cause for concern. For example, look out for holes in the business plan, any existing debts, how their company fares in the sector compared to competitors, and problems with inventory or supply chain.

When approaching business owners, make sure to ask them about challenges they have faced in the past and how they have overcome these; you need to be prepared to take over the company so it will stand you in good stead to know what type of challenges you might be up against. You can also do your research and speak to customers and employees to find out about the business from a different perspective.

 

Carry out due diligence 

Due diligence is a crucial step when purchasing a business. It involves gathering as much information as possible and working with an accountant and lawyer to make sure you have all the necessary documentation. The accountant will help you review the business’s existing financials and help check that everything is legitimate. 

A staggering 50% of agreed deals never close due to the deal not passing the due diligence stage which is why it is so important to take your time on this step and make sure that it is carried out properly.

Typically, the due diligence process involves reviewing the following documents:

  • Business tax returns for the past 3 years
  • Company revenue for the past 3 years
  • Customer database
  • Information on existing debts
  • Organisational documents for the business 
  • Any existing contracts
  • Property documents such as commercial leases or rental agreements
  • Employee information 
  • Marketing and advertising information

 

The process of due diligence can be a lengthy one but it is crucial for making an informed decision about whether or not you want to purchase a business. Working with professional accountants or lawyers will ensure that you are considering everything you need to know. Only once due diligence is complete can you make a well-informed decision about buying the business.

 

Secure financing

One of the most important steps for purchasing a business is securing sufficient funds to pay for the transaction. The most typical way to fund these types of transactions is a combination of debt and equity; this means that you will likely need to put forward some of the cost and the rest will come via a loan. There are many different options available for taking out a loan so, during the due diligence process, you should be comparing and contrasting different options such as small business loans, installment loans or bank loans. When carrying out these comparisons, important factors to consider are the interest rates, repayment terms and conditions and any other fees you might incur. All of this will help you assess the best and most affordable option to suit your needs. Whatever you decide, you should ensure that your lender will be ready to fund your purchase as soon as you are able to close the transaction.

Moving Your Business to the USA: 5 Key Things You Need to Consider

City Skyscrapers

If you are considering moving your business to the US, you are certainly not the only one. Thanks to the country’s far-reaching supply chain, availability of cutting-edge technology, modern infrastructure, and healthy competition, the United States provides the best environment for businesses to grow and thrive. 

And, of course, relocating to the US means that you can tap into an international, yet unexplored market. But moving your business to another country comes with a range of implications worth keeping in mind if you wish to avoid lethal financial losses. Start here!

 

Before Moving Your Business, Consider This: Will it Make More Sense to Start a New Venture, with an EB-5 Visa?

Transferring your business can be extremely costly and challenging. And, no matter whether you are the owner of a start-up or established corporation, as the founder, you would probably want or need to be where your business is located, which will require you to get a permanent residency or green card. 

That is why visa requirements are always part of the logistics of relocating your business to the U.S. While the L-1A and the L-1B are common options used by business owners to relocate, there is a third, more convenient way to establish a successful business in the U.S.

This is where the EB-5 visa comes in. Thanks to this Immigrant Investor Program, you will automatically be granted a visa when investing at least $1.8 million in a new business in the U.S. (or $900,000 if in Targeted Employment Areas).

So, if you already have the necessary resources to move your company to America, making an EB-5 Investment instead can help you kill two birds with one stone. Just make sure to work with an application expert such as EB5visainvestments.com to avoid mistakes and increase your chances of securing your green card. 

 

You’ll Need to Form a New Business Entity and Apply for Relevant Licenses

Home to some of the most successful startups, such as Airbnb, SpaceX, and Instagram, as well as some of the highest-valued unicorns worldwide, the US has established itself as the best, most sought-after place for business. 

But the credit of such a stellar reputation lies within the country’s regulatory system, which allows the market to protect both consumers and business owners alike. That’s why the first aspect to review is the legal implications of moving your business to another location. 

Start by reviewing the local laws, and consider partnering with a legal advisor who can help you set up a legal entity for your business and obtain all the necessary licenses. While this might not be the most exciting part of moving your business to the US, it is certainly an essential one to avoid severe fines and penalties!

 

Keep in Mind Exchange Rates and Study a New Pricing Strategy

Moving your organization to the US may be the single most important project to ensure a bright and successful future for your business. And, relocating your company when it is still growing might offer you the possibility to leverage new revenue streams, markets, and opportunities. 

But a relocation can also be incredibly costly. And, without proper planning, you end up dealing with high moving costs.

Additionally, it is worth keeping in mind that, generally, the U.S. is a higher-cost market – made even more so by today’s financial environment. So, before relocating, make sure to adapt your cost strategy to the new market, account for unprecedented costs, and offset the losses you might face due to the current exchange rate. 

 

Be Smart About Where to Set Up Your Business’s Premises

Whether you are looking to innovate your business from top to bottom or just wish to move your headquarters to the US, the location you choose for your business’s premises matters. 

Because of the U.S. economic boom, the country provides few options in terms of industrial spaces and available properties. And, as more businesses are trying to expand and tap into the international market, you are likely to face long waits before the right property comes along!

But don’t settle for the first option available! Before choosing a geographical location on a map, make sure to review the local tax burden, competition, accessibility of goods, and ease of business creation. From Virginia to Utah, California, and Texas, there are plenty of great locations to bring your business to the next level. 

 

Have a Clear Strategy in Place to Attract Top Talents

Attracting highly-skilled talents has never been harder. If businesses today are competing against each other to expand their market share, they have also been doing so to find and retain top talents. 

In the U.S., unemployment rates are at a record low of 3.8%, which means that you’ll find yourself competing with other companies to put together a team that is right for your business goals and budget alike. 

Consider designing a hiring strategy in place (even if it means paying top dollars for professionals in the sector) or setting up a remote team – which would allow you to tap into a worldwide talent pool. 

No matter whether you are establishing a new business in the U.S. or relocating your existing company, hiring the best team is truly something you shouldn’t skimp on! 

5 Tips for Hardening Your Enterprise SQL Database Security

Dealing with database security threats should not be a solely reactive process; you need to implement the right tools and strategies to ensure that attempted breaches don’t achieve their malicious aims.

To that end, here are some pieces of advice that could transform a lack luster level of protection into a security setup for your SQL resources that you can be proud of.

Harness monitoring tools

If you are serious about managing your database in a way that is both secure and efficient, then you should definitely be using server monitoring tools like SentryOne.

This will allow you to do everything from troubleshooting everyday performance issues, to detecting incursions before they can take root.

It is best to roll out rigorous monitoring processes and platforms as soon as possible, because in order to identify anomalies, you need baseline measurements against which they can be measured and assessed.

Embrace physical security

Getting caught up in the virtual aspects of database security will only get you so far, as there are also physical threats to encompass.

This applies only if you are running an on-premises server setup, over which you have direct control when it comes to access. Locking hardware in rooms and preventing the use of portable media for backup purposes can head off some of the biggest risks in this context.

Of course the alternative is to offload the responsibility of handling physical server security to a third party by migrating your database to a cloud-powered setup. This has other benefits as well, including lower costs and improved scalability.

Don’t neglect network security

An associated aspect of physical database security is that of network security, and again this is relevant for in-house hardware.

You shouldn’t let just anyone have access to your internal networks, so be careful about how you make use of wireless access points, for example.

The proper use of strong passwords, as well as encrypted connectivity, will limit the likelihood of unauthorized network access, and by extension will shield your database from exploitation.

Train employees properly

No matter how much you invest in cyber security, if you fail to train team members in the best practices for the systems and solutions you use, this will leave your data resources dangerously exposed to human error and deliberate subversion.

This obviously applies most stringently to those who are directly responsible for overseeing the database and managing it from day to day. But it is also necessary for a degree of cyber security training to be provided to all employees, as just one weak brick can send the whole structure tumbling down.

Prioritize updates

Software updates are issued frequently for one main reason, which is of course security. As well as fixing bugs and improving performance, by patching database software you will be adding the very latest layers of protection against the ever-evolving threats that stand against it.

The longer you delay in updating, the more vulnerable you will be to an attack. Prioritizing the installation of critical updates is simple common sense, and worth any disruption it causes to your server resources.

Final thoughts

SQL database security can be a tricky thing to get right, which is why you not only need to implement the recommended steps, but also review how your server is holding up over time.

Persistent monitoring is essential, and the prospect of suffering a breach and then having to recover from it should be enough to convince small businesses and large organizations alike that there is merit to making security a more prominent part of their operations and processes.

Workers’ Compensation For the Trucking Industry: A Brief Guide

Trucking Industry

Being a truck driver is more than driving a truck. It’s knowing how to drive a vehicle that large to deliver goods from Point A to Point B safely. After all, operating something in that size is bound to bring its own challenges.

Accidents can happen just about anywhere at any time, and car accidents continue to pile in numbers each month. Given how trucks are double the size of a car, it only makes sense for its risk to double in size. As such, there’s always a chance your business might get compromised if your transportation got involved in a truck accident. 

But it’s safe to say how the employee directly affected by this event might not come out unscathed. Since treating the damages caused by the accident would come out of your pocket, you might want to consider claiming workers’ compensation.

 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is meant to provide for any damage inflicted on the employee, regardless of whether they’re liable for the accident or not. To discuss it even further, this claim protects you financially by answering the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Missed wages
  • Funeral expenses


With these benefits protecting the employee, they and the employer won’t be subjected to potential bankruptcy depending on how severe the damage is. And knowing how dangerous it is to be involved in an automobile accident—much less a truck accident—should be enough for you to know how severe it could impact your life moving forward.

 

Qualifications For Workers’ Compensation

Although working in a truck industry may not be the same as an office job, claiming workers’ compensation isn’t that different. If you visit terrykatzandassociates.com and other specialists, the same qualifications must be met to guarantee you’ll receive your workers’ compensation:

  • Must have no relation to foreign substances
  • Must not be self-inflicted
  • Must happen within the job

However, one topic worth getting debated pertains to independent contractors and employees. Since not all truck drivers aren’t employed by a company, employers or insurance companies might claim they’re not suitable to receive workers’ compensation. As long as a truck driver is hired to do a job and their injuries occurred during the duration of their contract, this makes them qualified to be a beneficiary for workers’ compensation.

 

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Much like how one handles other personal injury claims, the same basics apply to workers’ compensation.

 

1. Contact Help

The injured employee must contact their employer first because the accident happened during working hours (or contract). By contacting them, they’re promptly alerted of what happened so they can make the necessary preparations for your workers’ compensation while calling for medical help to attend to you.

 

2. Gather Proof

Although you have workers’ compensation protecting you financially, that doesn’t mean you should allow the liability to go scot-free, especially if you’re confident you’re not at fault. That’s when a lawyer comes in. With their guidance, they can advise you on the next steps you could take given your situation.

 

3. Prepare For Settlement

Depending on who’s the liability, you can either settle a decision with the liability or your employer. You’re supposed to reach an agreement with them. After all, there’s only so much your workers’ compensation can shoulder, especially if your condition takes a long time to recover or whether it’s permanent. It’s only understandable to discuss the settlement between the liability with the help of your lawyer to ensure the benefits you’re receiving are in your favor.

As for the employer, this should already be a given since you got injured on the job. And although workers’ compensation covers medical bills, there are still different categories of medical benefits which hones into what health condition you’ve received from the accident such as:

  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits

 

4. Decide the Outcome

Depending on what sort of disability you’ve received from the accident, you and your employer must come up with a decision. After all, as mentioned earlier, it’s rare for victims of car accidents to come out of one unscathed. Therefore, your disability could impact whether or not you’re capable of going to work.

 

Why You Need Workers’ Compensation In Trucking Industry

Getting involved in an accident is an expensive endeavor, whether you’re the liability or not. And with a job as high-stakes as truck driving, accidents may very well be knocking on your door anytime. But having workers’ compensation could help ease your worries somewhat since it protects you from going bankrupt as you recover.

How ISO 9001 Will Impact the Growth of The Company?

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 affects the growth of your company in a variety of ways, which we will cover in a second. Before digging into that, though, you must first understand what it is. ISO 9001 is a set of guidelines put out by the International Organization for Standardization that guides your company in setting up, and implementing, a QMS (Quality Management System.) 

What this means is that it is a set of definitions and international standards of the requirements that your company needs to implement. The standards will be used to create the procedures, policies, and practices that meet the needs of the consumers. Basically, it is a way for your company to put management and production systems into effect that will boost public satisfaction through quality products and services.

When trying to grow your company, working with the ISO 9001 guidelines will help in a few positive ways. Let’s look at a few.

  • High Customer Satisfaction: Customers can make, or break, your business. It does not matter if you are dealing with them directly, or indirectly, the end of the line for your service, or products, is when it is used or bought by the customer. If you implement ISO 9001 into your operations it will raise the bar for your company to obtain, which in turn offers higher quality to the customer. This makes the consumer happy and will make them a loyal customer.

  • Integration Improvements: With ISO 9001 implementation your company will become more integrated. This means that problems will not arise as often because your systems work together in a smooth, functional process. When issues do arise, it is easy to track and solve the problem because your entire operation is integrated into one smooth process.

  • Staff Productivity Improvements: One area of every company that can use some help is the productivity of your employees. When ISO 9001 is put into place you will see an improvement in how they work. A good employee will always be more productive if the tasks that they have been assigned to do are smooth and efficient. The guidelines help with this by teaching the employee how to get the most out of their workdays, while teaching managers how to effectively delegate all the resources throughout the day, including the employees and the supplies that they need to get their jobs done properly.

  • Increase in Profits: The entire point of being in business is to make money. The more money that the company makes, the bigger the profits should end up being. When you combine more productive employees with a higher rate of customer satisfaction your company will see a positive spike in profits, and a drop in wasted costs.

  • Improve and Maintain Standards: The standards that ISO 9001 sets for your company will show your consumers that you are willing to go the extra miles to make sure that your company runs in the most effective and efficient manner possible. The guidelines give you a road map for you to follow to reach the levels of operation that you should be at to match the international standards, and they will give you a set level that you need to maintain to keep the certificate given to you through an independent ISO 9001 inspector.

The biggest thing that ISO 9001 does for your company is to give guidance and set the levels that you should be achieving. Make sure to remember that getting this type of certificate is not just a piece of paper that you can follow when you want. It is a management system that must be implemented and followed by all the management teams.

It is, in effect, the new way of business life that can boost every aspect of your company, allowing you to grow and expand.

The Best Place to Work in the UK Within the Creative Industry Revealed

Closeup of idea sheet in a creative business meeting

With the creative industry retaining its reputation as a vibrant sector and demonstrating fortitude against the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic, Print and Design experts Solopress have investigated the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry for those ready to take their next professional steps.

Key Findings:

  • The UK creative industry is predicted to recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole and grow by 26% by 2025.
  • Since 2011, the number of jobs in the creative sector has increased by 34.5%, more than three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (11.4%).
  • The national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the United Kingdom.
  • Unsurprisingly, London offers the highest salary to those working in the creative sector, with an average salary of £43,472.
  • In London alone, the arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019.

 

The UK Creative Industry at a Glance

Despite the UK creative industry facing difficulties at the hands of coronavirus, economic experts remain optimistic about the future for creative workers, predicting that the sector will recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole by 2025. Recent findings from UK Parliament also indicate that now could be the time to pursue a future in the creative sector, as the number of jobs has increased by a 34.5% since 2011.

 

What Kind of Salary is Expected from a Creative Role?

Average Salary in the UK for a Creative Role by Experience Level

Level Salary
Senior
£42,768
Intermediate
£36,477
Junior
£23,931

(Check-a-Salary)

Glassdoor cites that the national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the UK, indicating that the sector remains lucrative and that employees can look forward to a healthy salary should they opt for a creative career path. Current data reveals that the average salary for creative workers with a junior experience level is £23,931 and understandably higher at £42,768 for those with a more senior experience level.

The Highest-Paying Areas in the UK

 

The Top 8 Highest-Paying Cities for Creative Roles in the UK

Location Salary
London
£43,472
Manchester
£37,499
Edinburugh
£35,889
Glasgow
£33,912
Liverpool
£33,903
Birmingham
£33,197
Newcastle upon Tyne
£32,732

(Check-a-Salary, Retail Choice)

After analysing current salary data, Solopress have determined the 7 highest-paying cities when it comes to working in the creative industry within the UK. Unsurprisingly, the beloved capital city hit the top spot with an average salary of £43,472, with the Northern Powerhouse Manchester coming in second with a competitive £37,499 per annum. At the lower end of the list offering £32,732 per annum on average, Newcastle upon Tyne nonetheless offers a £2 billion+ industry employing over 40,000 people in 3,000 creative and digital businesses -definitely one to watch in terms of openings in the creative sector.

 

  1. London

If being surrounded by architectural beauty, a world-renowned arts and music scene and a series of new and innovative businesses isn’t enough to nurture a creative mind, then perhaps London’s creative training initiatives and vast employment opportunities will do the trick.

London certainly lives up to its reputation of being a leading creative capital city, with diverse up-and-coming talent from across the globe still flocking to the city. In London alone, the arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019, further confirming the city’s status as a thriving creative hub.

 

  1. Manchester

Generating GVA of £3.8 billion annually, Manchester has everything a creative person needs for a thriving working life. As the home of Media City as well as 9,000 creative and technology companies, Manchester has made a name for itself as one of the UK’s most exciting corners for creatives looking to start their next chapter. The city is filled to the brim with innovative start-ups and small agencies, generating an influx of brand-new creative roles, in addition to being home to some of the biggest names in business, from Missguided to Google and the BBC.

 

  1. Edinburgh

With exciting creative programmes designed to nurture future creative talent and bring the city’s world-class creative and technology sectors together, such as Creative Informatics, Edinburgh offers the ideal location for people working in the creative sector to thrive. Providing a myriad of career opportunities in arts, culture, media and design, the city is a hotspot for creative workers, offering an average salary of £35,889.

 

  1. Glasgow

Another Scottish city that offers a world of excitement to individuals looking to excel in a creative career, Glasgow is filled to the brim with creative and innovative minds. The city was even named the top cultural and creative centre of the UK in 2019 in a report from the European Commission due to the city’s cultural participation and tolerance.

The job market is still booming in Glasgow in terms of creative roles and the city is home to 149 creative agencies for those looking to kickstart their career.

 

  1. Liverpool

Home of The Beatles, Liverpool is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most important cultural cities, encompassed in vibrancy, warmth and creativity. The economy of Liverpool is also one of the largest within the United Kingdom.

Liverpool plays a key role in the growth of creative and digital industries in the UK, with the city being home to the second fastest-growing digital cluster in the country. The city naturally offers creatives ample opportunity to find their dream job, with Indeed currently showing 509 jobs attributed to the sector.

 

  1. Birmingham

Greater Birmingham is another strong contender for the best city in the UK to work as a creative. The city boasts a vast, expanding creative economy that employs nearly 50,000 people and generates £4.1 billion Gross Value Added per annum, almost 9% of the total GVA of £46.8bn. Home to a vast advertising, marketing and design sector that encompasses web, product, fashion design, PR and data analysis, this city is one to watch if you’re looking for a long-term career in the creative space.

 

  1. Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is a buzzing North East city that offers a world of possibilities for those working in the creative field. According to recent data, the city also has one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology sectors, offering more than 1,300 job opportunities.

Aside from ranking as the UK’s 7th highest-paying city for creative roles, Newcastle upon Tyne is renowned for being a hotspot for digital agencies, which is exciting news for anyone seeking a job in web development, digital marketing or design!

 

Although predictably London takes the top spot for the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry based on salary, it is clear that other cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh are quickly catching up, with many UK cities having a great deal to offer those working in the creative industry in terms of city culture and opportunities for progression. It is encouraging to see that the creative industries have overcome and adapted to challenges brought about by the pandemic – wherever you choose to work as a creative, it’s an exciting time for an industry that’s full of possibility.