The Top 6 Cities in China to Retire In: Cost of Living and Other Factors


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As one of the fastest-growing and evolving countries, China offers endless opportunities for soon-to-be retirees. The country’s bustling mega cities, breath-taking natural beauty, and age-old traditions make it a sought-after destination for anyone looking for an adventurous retirement.

At the same time, the country is renowned for its high quality of life, low cost of living, and world-class healthcare, making it an attractive destination for those looking for stability and safety. If you have already made China your preferred country to retire in, let’s pinpoint the best city to move to.

Xiamen

If you are planning your retirement finances and lifestyle, you might be looking for a Chinese city that combines a low cost of living with high standards of life and healthcare. The port city of Xiamen, located in the Fujian province in Southern China might tick all of your boxes.

Xiamen hosts one of the largest international harbours and was once dubbed the “Eastern Hawaii” by former US president Richard Nixon. The city encompasses two islands, is home to 4.3 million people, and it’s renowned nationally and internationally for entertainment, leisure, seafood, and mild climate.

Zhuhai

Located on the south-eastern bank of the Pearl River Delta in the Guangdong province, Zhuhai is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy a tranquil retirement. Historically one of the first Special Economic Zones established in the 1980s, Zhuhai remains one of the top tourist destinations in China and Asia.

Thanks to its mild climate, lush gardens, and tropical beaches, the city offers a great environment for retirement. What’s more, Zhuhai falls within 31% of cities with the lowest cost of living in the world.

Haikou

Haiku is the largest city in the Hainan province, also known as China’s Florida due to the sandy beaches, warm climate, and plenty of entertainment. Haikou welcomes, every winter, over 4.5 million retirees from the other regions of China who are looking to escape the colder months in their hometowns.

In terms of quality of life and cost of living, Haiku offers some of the lowest property prices across China, boasts the highest air quality in the country, and provides retirees with a range of benefits, including discounted travel tickets and community activities.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most thriving places in China to retire, especially due to its high safety levels, world-famous tourist attractions, night markets, and food delicacies. In terms of healthcare, Hong Kong boasts one of the most advanced and affordable systems in the world.

What’s more, as an Introduction to Medical Health Insurance in Hong Kong, today’s policies cover up to 90% of healthcare costs for patients and are accessible even for those with a long-term condition, thus keeping out-of-pocket expenses to a minute and providing great overall coverage.

As the city remains one of the most expensive ones in China for expats, retirees require around $500,000 to maintain their lifestyle in Hong Kong after retirement – which is around half of what’s needed in the US!

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest metropolitan area in China and one of the most sought-after destinations for seasoned professionals looking to continue working after retirement.

Shanghai isn’t just one of the leading financial centre’s of China, it is also one of the country’s safest cities and provides unparalleled living and healthcare standards. The city ranks among the most expensive ones in China, but retirees only need around $1000 to live comfortably in Shanghai.

Suzhou

Looking to enjoy a quainter, more laid-back lifestyle after retirement? Suzhou, in the Jiangsu province, is an enchanted city home to just over 10.7 million people. Suzhou, or the Venice of the East, is known for its pagodas, lush gardens, ornate viewing pavilions, and canals.

The cost of living here is relatively low, and the area falls within 39% of the least expensive cities in the world. Suzhou allows retirees to immerse themselves in the culture of China and enjoy a tight-community feel without having to compromise on healthcare quality and entertainment.

5 Simple But Highly Effective Ways to Improve Your Employees

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One of the most important things when running a business is to make sure that you have hired the right talent. After that, you need to do everything that you can to make them stay with you for the longest time possible.

While there are many ways employers can try to convince their employees to keep working for them, most of them assume that benefits and money are the best and most important ways of keeping employees.

Unfortunately, this is wrong. Benefits and money do not top the list of some of the things that improve the motivation of employees. Here are simple but highly effective ways for you to make sure that your employees stick around for as long as possible;

Make Your Workplace Pleasant

Would you feel comfortable and motivated spending hours every day in a boring and dingy place? Most definitely not. You need to make sure that you have created a fun, functional, well-lit, and pleasing workplace for your employees.

To get started with this, make sure that your business has acquired all the equipment that your employees need for their work. Everything should be well-kept, in place, and up-to-date.

It is also important to note that the well-being of your employees is important when it comes to unlocking productivity at the workplace. This means that you need to make sure that your employees have got everything they need to remain healthy.

Recognize Employees

Employees will always have a reason for leaving your company. They will also have reasons for choosing to stay with you. If they stay and make sure that they are performing well, what do you do to reward their efforts?

One way of improving your employees’ motivation is by introducing an incentive program to recognize them. You can use plaques and crystal awards when looking for tangible employee recognition.

Apart from tangible recognition, you can also include things like profit sharing in the company, private healthcare, bonuses, and free transport. Employees are likely to remain motivated and do a good job if they know that they will get a reward for it.

Be Supportive, Honest, and Respectful

Most employers might think that this is a non-issue when it comes to the management of their employees. However, it is important to note that poor management is one of the reasons that push employees to seek employment somewhere else.

Things like clear communication, support, honesty, and respect are the basic foundations for good management. You need to make sure that your employees understand why they are working for you and feel valued for being there.

If you do not know where to start, you can find a lot of material online or even in bookstores on effective management. This is just a skill like any other, meaning that it needs knowledge.

Share Feedback From Customers

Everybody wants to hear the feedback of the people they serve. Getting positive feedback is one of the most important factors when it comes to job satisfaction. Getting satisfaction with your work can dictate how you are going to handle tasks moving forward.

As the business owner or manager, you are likely going to get feedback from your clients or customers. Since your team did most of the work in delivering the product or service, make sure to share the feedback with them.

This is especially important for positive feedback. You can improve the motivation of your employees by letting them know how your customers or clients appreciate the work that they are doing.

Allow Them to Grow

One of the most important things for companies that are growing rapidly is allowing their employees to grow within the company. If you are looking to hire a mid-level manager, why not promote someone as long as they have the right skills?

One way of doing this is encouraging your employees to learn new skills and guiding them in handling their tasks. You can establish learning platforms and communities where your employees learn from each other, as well as from yourself.

This makes the employees feel respected and trusted. They know that their employer wants to see them grow and be successful in their careers. This way, you will improve the motivation of your employees.

Working with motivated employees is important especially when it comes to the success of a company. You can follow the tips discussed above to improve their motivation.

How to Get the Graphic Design You Need on a Budget

Whether you need graphic design for your logo and branding, your website and online channels, a poster or flyer, or any other purpose, you’ll want to find the best graphic designer at the most affordable cost.

But exactly how do you get graphic design that combines professionalism with affordability?

Image Source: Pexels

Connect with a Freelance Graphic Designer

There’s a lot of competition between freelance graphic designers, which means you can find a freelancer for your graphic design needs at a variety of price points. Typically, graphic designers who are just starting out in their careers tend to offer services for cheaper prices as they build up their portfolios.

So, get on to freelancer sites like Upwork and Guru and compare the portfolios and prices of different graphic designers. Make sure the individual you select has a portfolio that contains the kinds of designs you’re looking for, though.

Work with a Professional Graphic Design Agency

The best way to ensure you get the kind of professional design that can help you take your business to the next level is to go with a graphic design agency. However, that can often be one of the pricier options.

You should consider spending more on your graphic design if it means you can enhance your conversions and attain more sales, but make sure you first carefully work out your budget. You could always increase your allocated budget for graphic design by managing your business finances better.

Work with a Student Graphic Designer

You could get graphic design that is just as professional and eye-catching as that offered by design agencies by hiring someone who is currently studying graphic design at college or university.

You can make substantial savings by going down this route but, again, ensure you look through potential candidates’ portfolios to ensure they can provide the professionalism and great designs that you’re looking for.

Colleges and universities can be great resources for accessing affordable top talent. And when the student turns pro, as one of his or her early clients, you could get a good deal over the coming years.

Do It Yourself

One of the easiest ways of getting the graphic design you need when you’re on a budget is to create the designs yourself. The good news is you don’t need much artistic flair or design experience to use online graphic design software that provides you with all the tools you need to create fantastic designs.

And if you’re worried that you have no design skills, you could always first learn some basics by completing a short online course. You can then learn about things like composition, colours that work well together, and proportion before using an online graphic design tool.

But many online platforms are so easy to use and have so many professional tools available, that all you really need to do is spend time trying out different tools and effects, such as a background remover and spot healer.

Furthermore, the best online design software comes with plenty of templates for designing things like posters, banners, flyers, cards, brochures, infographics, and social media posts.

Speaking of the latter, check out these ways in which you can effectively use social media and improve your ecommerce conversion rate. If you’re on a low budget, doing the graphic design yourself is certainly one of the most affordable options.

Summing Up

When your budget is small, you can save a lot of money by creating graphic designs yourself with the aid of online tools. But if you do want to hire a professional graphic designer, you could consider a design agency, a freelancer, or a student graphic designer.

Just make sure that you define what your needs are before you start searching and you look through the portfolios of any potential designer before you hire.

Managing Information in the Era of Remote Work

Managing Data

Written by Colin Dean, Major Accounts Director at M-Files, a global leader in information management

Replacing an hour-long commute with a walk downstairs, ditching workwear for pajama bottoms, and spending lunch breaks out of an office chair and on the sofa– there’s no denying that there are some seriously handy perks to life as a remote worker.

Pre-pandemic, a truly flexible workplace seemed inconceivable to employees and business owners alike. Managerial skepticism of a worker’s ability to do his or her job unsupervised, coupled with a reliance on face-to-face interaction for training and meetings, left remote work a pipedream for the bulk of the workforce. However, necessitated by the Covid outbreak, many have realised that they can perform their jobs just as effectively from the comfort of their own homes.

Despite the easing of restrictions, statistics show that employees are unwilling to return to the office, with 45% of workers fully remote, compared to a meagre 26% in the office full-time. Additionally, recent research highlights the positive effect working from home is having on employee wellbeing, revealing that the ability to work remotely can boost employee happiness by as much as 20%.

With these figures in mind, it is unrealistic for employers to expect workers to head back to the office full-time, particularly when they have demonstrated they can productively work from home. Enforcing this would only reduce employee morale, leading to an overall slump in performance.

Implementing a flexible working culture does not come without challenges; organisations must be proactive and invest in infrastructure that meets the needs of all employees and provides clarity across the business.

A modern, innovative information management strategy holds the key to this, as easy and transparent access to documents is a simple way to ensure everyone has the tools to work together effectively. Companies must leverage the resources available, promoting the use of collaborative platforms to keep all colleagues connected and on the same page.

 

Overcoming barriers to collaboration

When an organisation’s workers are spread across countries, continents and time zones, objectives can only be achieved if collaboration is promoted and encouraged, regardless of geographical difficulties.

Colleagues have encountered a host of issues when making the switch to remote work, for instance difficulties accessing important documents (due to poor content management systems), misplaced files and data, and workers attaching outdated documents in a sea of emails.

Therefore, it is important that staff are equipped with tools to streamline collaborative processes. Such platforms have become more widespread since the pandemic began, for example nearly 80% of workers used a collaborative tool in 2021, an increase of more than 40% compared to the previous year. By utilising available resources, businesses can avoid confusion, aiding efforts to encourage teamwork.

 

Find your documents in seconds

If a company does not have a clear data management strategy, staff members will face headaches when trying to complete the simplest of tasks. When trapped in data silos or stuck on office hard drives, important information becomes inaccessible to remote employees, preventing them from completing necessary work.

Businesses must move on from outdated practices, embracing document management solutions that make data instantly accessible for all employees, whether remote or in-office. Doing so encourages the safe and secure sharing of information between colleagues, promoting productive collaboration.

Metadata-driven document management platforms centralise all documents so there is just one version, ensuring all team members are using the most up-to-date files.

 

Ensuring clients stay in the loop

The digitisation of modern working methods can be leveraged by businesses to personalise the experience of their clients. Well-ordered document management systems mean that files can be sent to clients the moment they are requested, improving the speed of service offered.

Information management solutions that enforce information control can also improve transparency and customer experience, as files can be made available internally and externally, with specified parties able to gain access. Document permission controls aid in securing sensitive information and reducing business risk. Clients are able to both see work in progress, and also have access to the latest files they may need in real-time, which heightens customer satisfaction.  

Ultimately, the pandemic has forced us to adapt the way we work, as employers have been pressured to transition to hybrid work environments. The successful implementation of flexible working strategies is contingent on having the right infrastructure in place, with collaborative tools and document management solutions central to uniting your workforce– wherever they may be.

5 Ways to Prepare For HIPAA Audit

HIPAA Audit

Data is one of the most valuable assets any healthcare provider or firm should protect. With the onset of more advanced digital threats like ransomware, cybersecurity attacks, and the like, it’s of utmost importance that any entity working in the healthcare industry should take the proper steps to keep their systems and processes compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. 

As per HIPAA regulations, covered entities (CEs), such as physicians, insurance providers, and healthcare clearinghouses are responsible for protecting their patients’ protected health information (PHI). Moreover, if they work with business associates (BAs) like IT providers, medical billing firms, and the like, it’s critical for both CEs and BAs to be HIPAA compliant. That said, keeping one’s practice compliant is essential to maintaining your integrity while avoiding penalties and fines. 

So, if you want to ensure your practice passes the dreaded audit, here are five ways to prepare for HIPAA audit.


1. Do Regular Security Risk Assessments

When preparing for a HIPAA audit, it’s best to assess your business’s current risk management plan. The first thing the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will look for during an investigation is an up-to-date and adequately documented security risk analysis (SRA).  

Security risk assessments should be conducted regularly to ensure your firm is consistently compliant. These assessments must be applied to the whole company, not just in particular departments. Moreover, security risk assessments must also cover the identification of vulnerabilities, threats, the potential occurrence of threats, high-risk technical and non-technical assets that need extra protection, and current security measures that are in place.  

Aside from gathering data to identify these components, it’s essential to always document everything that happens inside your company and what actions were taken to resolve previous security breaches. Having a well-written SRA shows that the company has appropriately assessed the operations and vulnerabilities before any audits. Making these SRA documents easily retrievable can help smoothen any HIPAA audit.

If you want to ensure your business is HIPAA compliant, it may be best to have a third party help you with preparations.  Working with an entity that does HIPAA audits services may be the best path to take.


2. Ensure Employees Are Properly Trained 

Audit success results from a harmonious collaboration between the management and employees.  Compliance with the rules of HIPAA is a continuous process that involves everyone in the company.  

Giving your staff HIPAA compliance training is critical to passing the HIPAA audit.  Thorough training can help your staff answer any question from the OCR and show that everyone in the company understands HIPAA compliance rules and regulations. Not only will your sufficiently trained employees help you pass a HIPAA audit, but they can also help you improve any company policies that are insufficient to safeguard your patients’ privacy.  


3. Have a Disaster Recovery Plan 

The next thing healthcare companies can do is formulate a disaster recovery plan Setting one up is an excellent way to respond to any incidents quickly. Addressing potential security incidents is an essential part of complying with HIPAA’s rules and regulations, aside from ensuring business continuity in case disruptions occur because of unforeseen events.


4. Review How Policies Are Implemented

It can’t be denied how essential documenting policies and procedures are for HIPAA compliance.  But, it’s also vital for the OCR to see how these policies and practices are implemented consistently and how they apply to daily business operations.  

Talk to your staff to find out how the policies work and if anyone is struggling to follow them.  Analyze the root of the issue, and make adjustments to ensure that everyone adheres to the regulations and policies. Ensure you have documentation of your policies and implementation schedule to show to the OCR during audits. 


5. Pay Special Attention to Business Associate Agreements (BAAS)

As a business or practitioner in the healthcare industry, it’s critical to be on the same page with everyone you work with, especially if these entities have access to your patients’ PHI.

Thus, when collaborating with third-party firms, you must implement the proper business associate agreements. Paying close attention to what’s stated in your BAAS is important in securing patients’ data while sidestepping any liability should these third-party partners be the cause of a data breach.  

 

Conclusion

Preparation and proper implementation are your tools in preparing for a HIPAA audit. Thus, knowing how to comply with HIPAA regulations should be the top priority of business leaders and practitioners in the healthcare industry.

How To Record a Donation or Charitable Contribution for Bookkeeping in the UK

How To Record a Donation or Charitable Contribution for Bookkeeping in the UK

Donating to a charity is an inherently noble act that serves to increase the total amount of goodness in the world while helping impoverished individuals or people living in inhumane conditions. However, the main objective of any business is to generate profits.

From a purely economic standpoint, giving away resources is an action that is counterproductive to the operations of the company. It is no surprise then that nearly every government in the world has enacted laws or programs to stimulate and encourage businesses to be more charitable. In most cases, the money, goods, or services provided to the charity can be deducted from the company’s taxes.

In order to achieve the maximum benefits from the donation or charitable contribution, businesses must ensure that all related transactions are recorded and filed correctly, submitted on time, and that any mandatory requirements are met. Any deficiencies in the bookkeeping of the donation could lead to missed opportunities and less recognized deductibles.

To avoid such outcomes, it may be necessary to consult with expert accountants that operate within the applicable jurisdiction. Businesses from the UK should look for suitable firms such as reputable accountants in London to handle the financial records and the preparation of the necessary documentation.

Different Types Of Donations

Under UK law, there are different types of donations that can be recognized as applicable for tax relief. Furthermore, the rules also change based on the entity making the donation. As such, there are significant differences if the donation is coming from an individual, a sole trader, and a partnership, or if it is a limited company. Various factors are also influenced by the specific donation, such as the proper way to submit the tax relief or deductibles.

It should also be noted that businesses are not obliged to give donations only in monetary form. If there is a surplus of specific equipment such as office chairs, computer systems, tools, etc., the extra items can be given away, and capital gains allowance claimed against their value. Items produced or sold by the business also fall in this category. Land plots and properties are a form of donation as well. Companies can deduct the estimated market value from their profits, thus reducing the amount of owed Corporation Tax.

Although it may sound strange, the business’ employees may also be considered a donation. Known as ‘secondment,’ it involves companies temporarily transferring an employee to work for a chosen charity. This donation can still be claimed as a business expense. Secondment is applicable even when the employee volunteers for a charity in their work time. Keep in mind that the company must continue paying the involved employees during the duration of the commitment.

Assure Compliance

Numerous parameters are defined within strict thresholds, and compliance with the law is of utmost importance. This is where a professional account’s expertise could prove invaluable, as the records of the donations and their inclusion in the company’s bookkeeping must be exact. For example, you cannot deduct monetary payments that are loans to be repaid by the charity, that come with a commitment from the charity to buy products from the company, or that are distributed as company profits (dividends).

Furthermore, any benefits received in return must be below a certain specified value ranging from 25% of the donation when the total donated amount is less than £100 to 5% (or a maximum of £2,500) when the donated funds surpass £1,001.

When it comes to giving away land or property, it is necessary to obtain a letter of certification from the recipient charity. The document must include:

A description of the land or property.The date of the gift.A statement that the charity is now considered to be the new owner.In turn, donating shares must be accompanied by a stock transfer form that indicates the number of shares taken out of the company’s name and given to the charity. Tax relief may still be claimed even in cases where the charity asks the company to sell the intended donation on its behalf.

Keep Detailed Records

All donations must be backed by detailed documentation to be claimed as tax relief successfully. The related records typically have to be preserved for at least 22 months counted from the end of the applicable tax year. The specific documents vary depending on the type of donation.

How an MBA Can Open New Doors in Business

When you’ve had some experience with a professional industry, you can often feel like there’s more knowledge to add to your own. Or you might think that you could fancy a change in your career and business path.

One option you might look at is a position in management, which is where a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) could be a great decision. An MBA is a course that can add a lot to your employability.

In this article, we’ll break down how an MBA plays a large role within business, as well as some job roles where having one is a necessity.

 

What is an MBA and what are the benefits?

An MBA is a postgraduate degree course that is the business equivalent of a master’s degree. These courses focus on managerial and administrative practices so are usually taken when you have a few years of experience in the world of business. This is rather than taking the course after finishing your undergraduate degree and can be done remotely through online courses.

There are plenty of benefits to taking on an MBA course. Not only are you adding crucial knowledge around management and leadership roles to your repertoire, but you’ll also meet like-minded people on the course from a wide variety of business backgrounds. This networking can help you connect with businesses down the line or could encourage you to start your own business alongside these contacts.

MBA graduates are also among the highest paid of any graduates within the UK, as the skills you learn are crucial for high tier roles within business structures. In fact, research from Emolument found that the graduates with MBA degrees make £89,000 annually on average, while executive MBAs fetch up to £100,000.

 

The importance within the business sector

Within business structures, roles that are further up the chain of command will require the skills that you got while studying for your MBA. These vary from taking charge of hiring employees who are hungry to succeed to retaining the staff you currently have and encouraging their individual development.

Alternatively, the skills you pick up could revolve around managing the company’s finances and forecasting its planning and growth. This will also involve decision-making. Being able to decide what to do on a whim and take responsibility is crucial for managerial roles.

MBA degrees are renowned all over the world. Having one can open doors internationally if you were thinking about changing up your environment and day-to-day life. This feeds back into the networking you can do through the course, as a study from Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) found that 7 out of 10 graduates from business schools are international students, and 11% of that number took MBA courses in the UK.

 

Which roles require one?

There are a wide variety of roles where an MBA is needed to qualify for the job. The Business Statistics Briefing Paper from 2020 showed that within the UK alone, there are around 6 million companies and organisations in the private business sector. Having an MBA can be the key to obtaining employment within businesses in this sector.

The transferable skills you obtain through your course can help the roles that would be offered by these companies. MBAs focus a lot on the internal finances of companies, which fits into finance manager roles that revolve around budgeting the incomings and outgoings and building a timeline for future growth. Another option would be managing human resources departments, making calls on who to hire and making tough decisions around the day-to-day communication.

Roles like this often require an MBA, as CEOs and business owners want to put their trust in someone who understands the importance of what the jobs entail. Having such a qualification shows your dedication to management and the inner workings of a business and inspires a level of trust.

 

The business sector has a lot of doors that can be opened by getting an MBA. Within the sector, roles higher up in the structure of many businesses require one and offer a high salary. Having an MBA can also open a lot of doors on an international level, as they’re recognised as high-achieving degrees that hold a lot of weight and teach important skills.

The Key Skills Employers Need Before Employing Anyone Else

As an employer, you spend a lot of time looking for employees with skills that can help your business grow. However, the onus for skills that can help a company grow shouldn’t just fall to employees. Employers themselves need to keep their skills polished and updated before asking it of others.

A great solution for employers is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training. Using a variety of education methods, these courses focus on professional development on an individual level to help progress businesses and knowledge.

In this article, we’ll go into detail on how CPD training can help further an employer’s knowledge and proficiency in higher management.

 

What is CPD?

A CPD training course is a way for individuals within a business to develop existing or new skills to help their business grow.

These development processes combine a wide range of approaches, from in-person seminars and events to online courses all to put emphasis on personal and professional development on an individual level.

Institutions such as universities offering CPD gives the option that no matter how old you are or what stage of your career you’re in, you can up- or re-skill to benefit your progression within an industry. From an employer’s view, these can focus on sections of your industry that are developing fast. This would help assess and evaluate trends and create a business strategy to reflect the change as it happens.

These courses are crucial in some industries because you may be required to show your consistent professional development and understanding of key knowledge, such as in health and social care or construction.

 

What kind of skills can you learn from them?

When you’re part of an industry for a long period of time, gaps in knowledge are still bound to occur as you can never learn everything. One of the key points a CPD training course shows is a dedication to continually developing yourself and your understanding of professionalism by educating yourself further.

Not only does pursuing this level of self-development assist employers, but it helps your employees and the working culture of your business in tandem. It demonstrates that individuals in higher points of command engage with learning and improving industry knowledge, encouraging employees to pursue that themselves as well.

Building that healthy working relationship with your employees is important to retaining staff. Having the option for them to learn more about their profession as well as being able to add more to their abilities builds them up. It will also keep them maintaining their standards for quality on top of developing their careers.

This can help the business grow as a result, as it will encourage new starters wanting to come into the workforce to be open to learning and educating themselves. Not only that, but it will also show any of your business’ clients that as a company you are willing to keep developing your knowledge. This helps to build trust and display value with them, showing a dedication to your workforce and quality of life within the company.

 

The skills obtained through CPD training don’t just benefit you as an employer but your whole business. Whether it’s through in-person events and seminars that get you among like-minded people from your industry, or online courses that have talks or sessions remotely, you can always improve your knowledge in your industry. This will help you in the long run if you choose to up- or re-skill, and it encourages your employees to do the same. This builds a healthy working environment and displays to potential clients that as a business, you build workforces that can continually adapt and develop to changing industries.

How to Make Your Business Better for the Future

Business Meeting

Being successful in the business world these days requires owners to be as innovative and flexible as they can. You’d be surprised at how newer business owners overestimate their business when they first open. No business is successful upon its first few weeks and even months of opening. All successful businesses will have things going slow at first. This is to be expected as most companies have to put in a lot effort that pays off over time. Don’t let those overnight success stories get to you. It’s true that some companies saw a massive influx of consumers and profits within a short amount of time. But going viral is a fluke. It’s incredibly rare for that to occur. In this article, we’ll be going over ways you can make your business better for the future.

 

Keep Everything Organized

Organization is one of the most important aspects of a successful business. Remaining organized is how you can effectively stay on tasks and minimize the risk of errors. Even the slightest amount of disorganization can throw everything out of order and cause unnecessary chaos. A fantastic way to keep everything organized is to make an in-depth to-do list. It’s simple to make and can help you on track of what needs to be completed. Once you’ve completed a certain task, simply scratch it off and move on to the next. You could even look into investing into a software-as-a-service tool (SaaS), like Slack and Asana for better organization as well. Discord is another platform that’s seen a lot of popularity for its simplicity and how easy it is to divide everything into their own unique categories. What’s more is that it’s free to use, so you can save money on top of it.

 

Acquire Some Extra Financial Security

One of the biggest concerns many business owners have is not having enough financial security. Financial security is basically when you don’t have to worry about not having enough money. But to be more precise, it’s how much money you have in reserve and can depend on when you need to. Having a solid amount of financial security can take a little while to procure, especially if you’re a new business owner. New owners can have a difficult time turning a profit and maintaining the expenses of their business. This also applies for an online company as well.

A quick and convenient method to get financial security is to take out a small business loan. You can look to loans for small businesses that are used for all sorts of things that’s related to your business. Whether it’s financing new equipment, investing into employee training, or to just have some cash in reserve, a small business loan can provide you with what you need. Not to mention, your lender may also supply you with professional coaching and a support network to ensure you and your business is a success.

 

Maintain a Watchful Eye on Your Competition

As much as you wish it was the case, you’re not the only one with the same business. There are near countless others with similar ideas as you. This is your competition and the key to being a better business for the future is to constantly stay ahead of them. Every company, regardless of its size, always researches their competition to get a better idea on what to do next.

Whether it’s a brand-new business venture or implementing a loyalty program, it falls to you to match them. That doesn’t mean you should outright copy them. But it does mean you’re going to going to have go through similar lengths to stay in the good graces of your target audience. It’s surprising how quick some businesses can fall into obscurity in just a short amount of time because they underestimated their competition. If you eventually want to grow your organization you need to be sure that you make decisions that keep your competition in mind.

 

Don’t Let the Risks Intimidate You

Risks can either be business owner’s best friend or their worst nightmare. Because of the latter, many owners often refrain from taking much needed risks. However, the business world is full of nothing but risks. There are no guarantees, but by taking a smart risk you can definitely maximize your chances of seeing success. And that stems by taking said risks. Should you fail, don’t let it kill your motivation. It’s one of your greatest teachers and can even yield more results than success ever could.

What Is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program that helps small businesses and self-employed individuals borrow money to cover their expenses. This program was created by the U.S. federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP provides loans of up to $10 million for businesses with 500 or fewer employees and up to $5 million for self-employed individuals.

The funds from these loans can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and other expenses. Businesses that borrow money through the PPP can have their loans forgiven if they use the funds for these approved expenses and maintain their staff levels. The amount of money that can be borrowed through the PPP depends on the business’s average monthly payroll expenses. 

For most businesses, the maximum loan amount is 2.5 times their average monthly payroll expenses. Businesses that borrow money through the PPP can have their loans forgiven if they use the funds for these approved expenses and maintain their staff levels. 

If you are thinking of applying for a PPP loan then keep on reading. In this article, we are going to talk about the basics of this loan, who can apply for this program, what the funds can be used for, and how much can an applicant receive.

PPP Data and Report Related to This Program

Last year several reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program by Biden-Harris Administration Increase Equitable Access to Relief were made to make sure small ventures obtain the assistance they need, especially Mom-and-Pop businesses in underserved communities. 

The Biden-Harris Administration launched a comprehensive plan to engage nonprofits and small businesses by concentrating on building trust in underserved communities while also placing equity at the center of its programs and policies.

The cornerstone of these changes comprised a 14-day exclusive period from February 24 to March 9. During this period, only nonprofits and ventures with fewer than 20 employees could apply for PPP loan application. The aim was to give creditors some time to concentrate on helping the smallest businesses left behind in previous rounds.

What Is a PPP Loan?

The Paycheck Protection Program was designed as a loan program for small businesses. It originated from the Economic Security (CARES) Act as well as the Coronavirus Aid. The federal government initiated this law as a $350-billion program to help small ventures in the USA obtain eight weeks of cash-flow aid through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) backs these loans. This program was later reformed and changed, adding $310 billion in financing. Significant changes were made by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. This allowed small businesses to have more time for spending additional funding as well as giving options for the loan to be forgiven.

What Can You Use a PPP Loan For?

Pay attention to the details and requirements before you apply for this lending solution. Is a PPP loan legit? Yes, it’s a credible source of additional funding but at least 60 percent of the sum must be utilized to cover the employee benefits expenses and payroll. The other 40 percent may be spent on:

Utility expenses

Rent or lease payments

Mortgage interest payments

Supplier expenses such as cost of goods

Operations expenses such as accounting needs or software

Property damage expenses

Provided that you follow these rules, you will be able to have 100% of the loan amount forgiven (turning it into a tax-free grant). Keep in mind that you can be charged with a PPP loan fraud loan lookup if you don’t appropriately spend the money. The applicant will be asked to certify that the cash will be spent in the right way during the request process.

Who Is Eligible for a PPP Loan?

Are you eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program loan? If you are a self-employed person, an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a small business owner, you may apply.

Independent contractors may need to submit their Schedule C together with the Form 1099-MISC (1099-NEC since 2020)

Sole proprietors may need to submit their Schedule C from the tax return filed demonstrating the net profit from their work.

Self-employed people may need to submit their payroll tax filings reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

In conclusion, you need to review all the requirements and eligibility criteria of the PPP loan before you decide if this is a suitable lending solution. Independent contractors, small business owners, and sole proprietors may be eligible for this loan. 

Shockingly Good: The 5 Most Controversial Marketing Campaigns According to Social Media

As women’s health brand Elvie recently “broke the internet” with their provocative 2022 campaign normalising women’s incontinence in sport, print marketing and branding experts Solopress have investigated the top 5 campaigns of the last decade that stirred up the social sphere.

 Key Findings:

  • 94% of those surveyed by Always agree that their #LikeAGirl campaign encouraged girls to be more confident and 70% of women and 60% of men claimed that the video changed their perception of the phrase “like a girl”.
  • #LikeAGirl received over 1100 earned-media placements and 4.4 billion impressions in the first three months of launching the campaign with its positive sentiment reaching 96%.
  • Gillette’s #TheBestAManCanBe campaign earned 3 million views on YouTube, 203k retweets and 513.3k likes on Twitter and was received positively overall. It encouraged 65% more purchase intent.
  • Elvie’s Leaks Happen campaign stirred up conversations around the world regarding incontinence in women, with content attached to #LeaksHappen receiving 2.9 million views on TikTok.
  • Searches for “Elvie Trainer review” have increased by 60% and searches for “Elvie Curve” (two of the brand’s key products) have increased by 70% according to Google Trends since the campaign’s launch.
  • Weetabix’s Beanz on Bix campaign instantly blew up on social media, gaining 36.3k retweets, 68.8k quoted tweets and over 130k likes on Twitter.
  • KFC pursued print advertising with their “FCK” advert which resulted in 700 press articles and TV discussions, reaching a combined audience of 797 million globally.

The world of marketing has graced us with countless unforgettable (albeit controversial) campaigns over the past decade spanning a range of industries, from fast food to male grooming and women’s health.

Recently, women’s health brand Elvie sparked a wide online response with their March 2022 billboard campaign. The unique out-of-home advert depicted a woman squatting and lifting weights complete with liquid to portray urination and raise awareness of women’s incontinence.

But which “controversial” marketing campaigns broke through the noise and caught the public’s attention the most within the 2000s and how many garnered business success as a result?

Print marketing and branding experts Solopress have analysed the top 5 most controversial marketing campaigns according to social media to reveal which campaigns leveraged shock value to their advantage.

 

The 5 Most Controversial Marketing Campaigns of the Decade

 

1. Always #LikeAGirl – 2015

  • 70million views on YouTube
  • 5 million views on TikTok
  • 10,62 likes on Twitter
  • 814 retweets on Twitter

Feminine hygiene brand Always’ unforgettable campaign #LikeAGirl managed to successfully subvert gender stereotypes and redefine what it means to do something “like a girl”.

With the aim of reconnecting with their young consumer base (16-24-year-olds) to ensure brand loyalty, Always’ short video advert depicts a casting call with young women, men, boys and girls being asked to pretend to run, fight and throw like a girl.

Whist women, men and boys chose to act out stereotypes and mock the way in which women would do these things, pre-pubescent girls provided a powerful response in that they pretended to complete these actions with pride and confidence.

The insight resonated with Always’ viewership, with 94% agreeing that the campaign has encouraged girls to be more confident and 70% of women and 60% of men claiming that the video changed their perception of the phrase “like a girl”.

Always received over 1100 earned-media placements and 4.4 billion impressions in the first three months of launching the now renowned campaign.

They did this by taking a derogatory phrase that supports the negative, misguided representation of women “not being good enough” and making it a symbol of female empowerment via social media with the hashtag #LikeAGirl.

Positive sentiment also reached 96% within three months, purchase intent increased by more than 50% among the target audience and 177,000 #LikeAGirl tweets were posted including tweets from celebrities such as Gloria Steinem and George Takei as a result of the thought-provoking advert.

In terms of social reach and engagement, the initial video advert garnered over 70million views on YouTube and 8.7k views on Facebook, making it to Solopress’ top spot in the best controversial campaigns list.

This unique campaign, including a YouTube video advert, paid Facebook and Twitter posts, paid reach, and influencer outreach, demonstrates the benefit of harnessing brand values to encourage positive social change and ultimately helping specific audiences to feel both seen and supported.

#LikeAGirl still has relevancy today despite being released in 2015, with posts connected to the hashtag receiving 20.5million views on TikTok.

 

2. Gillette #TheBestMenCanBe – 2019

  • 4 million views on YouTube (via Guardian News)
  • 203k retweets on Twitter
  • 3k quoted tweets on Twitter
  • 3k likes on Twitter
  • 11,752 likes on Instagram
  • 1k likes on Facebook

Another provocative hashtag-led campaign that got thousands on social media talking was Gillette’s 2019 campaign #TheBestMenCanBe.

The video-based social media campaign was created in the wake of #MeToo and aimed to challenge traditional male stereotypes and encourage positive behaviour.

It disregarded the brand’s shaving products and instead addressed themes of toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexual harassment.

Gillette’s video showed various situations involving boys and men, from men making derogatory comments toward women to young boys fighting each other, intending to encourage others to make better choices.

The divisive advert sparked serious debate with some viewers applauding the brand’s stance on this social issue and others viewing the ad as an attack on men.

Among the negative responses was a tweet from Piers Morgan accusing the brand of virtue-signalling “I’ve used @Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity”.

Other responses saw the campaign as a catalyst for positive change with one Twitter user writing “Thank you, Gillette, for standing out and keeping the conversation going” and another stating “I don’t even use Gillette but I may start using it after this…great job, great message, great delivery.”

Although opinions were divided on the campaign, which immediately went viral and now has 3 million views on YouTube, overall, it seems that feedback was positive encouraging 65% more purchase intent.

The original post gained 203k retweets, 76.3k quoted tweets and a staggering 513.3k likes on Twitter, revealing how powerful brand campaigns that tackle social issues can be.

However, given the backlash received around a razor company attempting to virtue-signal, it’s important for brands to consider whether they have the authority to make comments in these areas and whether the end goal of the campaign justifies the means.

 

3. Elvie – Leaks Happen 2022

  • 3 million views on TikTok
  • 9k views on YouTube

Following the brand’s TikTok video of a woman squatting with weights and accidentally peeing being flagged by the platform as “graphic”, women’s health brand Elvie launched a 20ft “peeing” billboard to confront the taboo of urinary incontinence and clap back at social media censorship around the widespread issue.

The brand found that 84% of women experience incontinence in the UK and 1 in 3 experience the issue globally which led to them encouraging women to speak out about the issue.

Featuring the Elvie Trainer product, the #LeaksHappen campaign showed a 28-year old mum of two, Megan Burns experiencing a leak whilst working out, represented by real water coming from the London-based billboard.

The brand aimed to empower and enable women to “achieve everything their bodies are capable of”.

Since the launch of the campaign, the brand’s behind the scenes video of installing the billboard has received 1.9k views and content attached to #LeaksHappen has received 3million views on TikTok.

In terms of marketing, the widespread discussion on the topic of urinary incontinence indicates success.

When it comes to business success, the efforts of the campaign proved to be hugely valuable with search popularity for “Elvie Trainer review” increasing by 60% since the billboard’s launch according to Google Trends and search popularity for “Elvie Curve”, another product in the Elvie range, increasing by 70%.

This innovative, head-turning billboard and social media campaign is an excellent example of a brand creating a purpose-led campaign centred on an important women’s health issue relevant to their brand values and product offering.

The campaign utilised shock value to its advantage, thus creating a relevant, timely and impactful message that led to increased brand visibility.

The campaign also demonstrated the power of utilising physical branding such as out of home advertising in 2022 to make a powerful statement and bring your brand to the forefront.

 

4. Weetabix Beanz on Bix – 2021

  • 3k retweets on Twitter
  • 8k quoted tweets on Twitter
  • 130k likes on Twitter
  • 1,839 likes on Instagram

The infamous Weetabix Beanz on Bix campaign that achieved “meme” status won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

The campaign unfolded with a viral image of a breakfast like no other; Weetabix covered in Heinz Baked Beans, much to the horror of social media users everywhere.

Playing on the typical “food inspo” style of Weetabix posts but with a controversial twist, the social media campaign garnered a phenomenal response with an onslaught of other brands responding on Twitter.

Ford declared “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” with an image of beans all over the boot of a car.

Specsavers, who in typical fashion brought more humour to the Twittersphere by stating “If you can’t beat them, join them” accompanied by an image of two pairs of glasses covered in beans.

The saga continued with the NHS commenting “This tweet should come with a health warning” in response to the Weetabix image, indicating the widespread impact of the tongue in cheek campaign.

Weetabix’s original post on Twitter instantly blew up during what was a difficult time for many dealing with the repercussions of Covid-19, gaining 36.3k retweets, 68.8k quoted tweets and over 130k likes.

Additionally, the Instagram post of the questionable image gained 1,839 likes, demonstrating the level of engagement a simple creative campaign such as this can achieve.

The timeliness of the campaign was another factor that no doubt contributed to its success.

It came out six weeks into a national lockdown where audiences were looking for humour and comfort, emphasising the importance of appropriate timing when it comes to controversial campaigns.

 

5. KFC FCK – 2018

  • Reached a global audience of 797 million
  • 814 likes on Twitter
  • 428 retweets on Twitter
  • 114 quoted tweets on Twitter
  • 700 press articles and TV discussions

This iconic print campaign from KFC covered a full-page ad in multiple news publications including Metro and The Sun in an attempt to apologise for their chicken shortage in February 2018 and mitigate damage to the brand.

The ad shows an empty chicken bucket with FCK replacing the KFC branding on the front, much to the appreciation of many social media users who loved the strategic humour.

The advert included an apology for the fact that hundreds of stores had to close throughout the UK as a result of issues with their new chicken supplier DHL.

Brandwatch data also revealed that on 21 February alone there were 53,000 mentions of KFC running out of chicken, associated with hashtags such as “#ChickenCrisis” and “#KFCCrisis”.

YouGov’s BrandIndex also revealed that KFC’s “buzz score” measuring positive and negative sentiments dropped by 20 points to -24.

However, the brand managed to avoid long term impacts, with purchase consideration metrics unchanged by the debacle.

KFC chose to pursue print advertising as they believed that this utilises higher trust metrics than social media.

The advert resulted in 700 press articles and TV discussions, reaching a combined audience of 797 million globally.

Within three months, 219 million social media users were also exposed to the branded image with the witty anagram, thus the campaign had achieved a reach of over one billion from its single print ad, leveraging only “humility, humour and honesty”.

In fact, the tweeted advert encouraged 428 retweets, 114 quoted tweets and gained 814 likes.

The recovery of the brand during the crisis was evident in the brand impression score among consumers dropping from 57 to 49 in the first few days and then increasing to 51 according to YouGov’s BrandIndex findings.

This simple yet effective ad is a prime example of a brand being proactive in the face of a PR disaster by responding in a very “human” way, which ultimately prevented further damage to the brand’s reputation.

 

Assessing Controversial Marketing Success

As we know, marketing success is measured in different ways using a variety of metrics depending on a brand’s objectives.

Sometimes, in the case of KFC, success looks like mitigating severe brand damage..

Sometimes it can be an impactful campaign video reaching viral status, sparking meaningful discussions and improving a brand’s visibility like the case of Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign.

Solopress’ list highlights some crucial rules to achieving success with controversial campaigns however, such as ensuring the time is right and the tone is appropriate to avoid the advert causing a social media storm or falling on deaf ears.

Also noteworthy is the continued value of print media when it comes to getting a dialogue going, as we see in the Elvie billboard and light-hearted KFC print advert, which successfully used physical print alongside hashtags to drive social media conversation.

What to Do if your Employee had an Accident with a Company Vehicle

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/car-crash-phone-call-woman-girl-6243099/

After an accident, you may be looking at paying for your medical treatment and damages to the other party, mainly if it results from your fault. While you may not need to pay the injured party out of pocket if you have adequate insurance coverage, the accident may impact your insurance premiums going forward.

Taking such responsibilities is relatively bearable when you know you are to blame for an accident. Unfortunately, there are situations when you could be held liable for an accident you weren’t actively involved in.

A typical example is when your employee gets involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle.

Liability if an Employee Is in an Accident While Driving a Company Vehicle

An employer is responsible for damages resulting from the actions or inactions of their employees under the vicarious liability doctrine. The doctrine also goes by the name “respondeat superior,” Latin for the “superior should answer.”

However, vicarious liability is limited to when the employee is engaged in activity within their scope of work. Scope of work refers to any task within the employee’s job description or one they undertake with authorization from their employer.

For example, if a company delivery person is on the road to and from making a delivery when they cause an accident, their employer will be liable for damages. However, if they decide to take a detour on their way back and get into an accident, they will be personally responsible for the accident.

What to Do if Your Employee Caused an Accident

Never Admit Liability, and Instead Hire a Lawyer
You may not be at the scene of the accident at the time and so may not control what your employee may or may not say. Therefore, it is vital to train employees beforehand never to admit liability after an accident, even when they feel they were at fault.

Proving liability is the work of the investigating agents, your insurer, and the other party’s insurer or lawyer. After your employee gets in an accident with a company vehicle, the right thing to do is let a car accident lawyer from a reputable company such as Dolman Law handle all the legal aspects of your case.

Determine the Employee’s Classification
Liability resulting from employees is highly dependent on their classification. If the employee is a permanent worker, you will be legally liable for damages resulting from their actions.

However, if they are contractual workers, they will be legally liable for accidents resulting from their actions.

It is important to note that classifying an employee as a contractual worker alone does not mean they are. They have to fit the definition of a contractual worker as stipulated in your state’s laws.

Call Your Insurance Provider
After getting a report of your employees’ involvement in an accident, it is possible to have a lot on your mind to the extent you could forget critical things that need quick action. Whatever you do, you should not forget to notify your insurer because they will be responsible for settlement if the other party is successful with their claim.

The earlier you can involve your insurer, the more information they can gather that they could use to build their case. So, it is advisable to notify them as soon as you receive information about the accident.

Get Your Employee Into Action
If the employee involved in the accident isn’t severely hurt, you could ask them to document the scene. Documenting the scene can help your lawyer recreate the scene during the process of assigning liability.

You could also ask them to gather witness testimonies (audio or written), the other party’s contact information and identification, their car’s license plates, etc.