How Too Much Personal Debt Can Ruin Your Business

Personal Debt

Debt is inevitable. If you’re going to have a house, car, and other necessities in life, chances are you’re going to have to borrow money. Essentially, if you were to wait until you were debt-free to chase your dreams, you’d never accomplish anything. Sometimes, you just have to take a risk to get to the next level. Although there’s some truth to that line of thinking, making impulsive decisions when you’re inundated in debt isn’t ideal. 

Take starting a business, for example. Although it’s your goal, a company is a huge financial responsibility. If your finances aren’t intact, you’ll find it challenging to be successful. Most people think about the end result of starting a business, like the money you’ll make. Be that as it may, you have to invest before you ever see a penny. Let’s take a closer look at how personal finances impact professional success. 

 

Businesses Cost Money

Though modern times have opened the doors to affordable business opportunities, it doesn’t mean you won’t spend money. Whether it’s $10 a month for cloud storage services or $1,000 for a new laptop, you’re going to have to pay for business expenses. If you’re drowning in debt, it is challenging to afford the things you need to operate your company effectively. 

 

Your Credit Matters

If you plan on applying for a loan, credit card, or line of credit to start your business, your credit matters. Since your business is new, it hasn’t yet established enough credit to get lenders to give you the money you need. Ultimately, lenders and credit card companies will review your history to make an assessment. If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to pay off credit card debt, it will reflect negatively on your reputation as a borrower. Consequently, you won’t be approved for much. 

 

Cash-Fueled Decision-Making

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to make decisions every day. It is vital to the success of your business to make informed and well-calculated choices. If you have too much debt, it’s a lot more challenging to master. Your priority becomes making the most money instead of enhancing your brand. You might take on more assignments than you can reasonably complete or invest in something that’s not lucrative. Essentially, cash-fueled decision-making can quickly lead to the demise of your business. 

 

Price Over Quality

When you have little money and financial resources to run your business, chances are price will overrule quality. You’ll opt for a free website platform instead of investing in paid services. You might skimp on production costs for your products. Although sticking to a budget in business is essential, quality is a significant factor to consider. When you cheapen your business just to increase your earnings, you ruin your brand and slow your path to success. 

 

Financial Stress

When you’re overwhelmed by debt, it stresses you out. You begin to experience physical and emotional problems that limit your ability to run your business. You make poor decisions, become sick more often, put off important tasks, and so much more. As a result, your company suffers. A stressed entrepreneur can only go so far. If you reduce the burden of debt, you can focus your attention on doing what’s best for your advancement. Look into debt management methods to see which is ideal for your circumstances.

 

As you can see, too much debt can impact your business in several ways. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of success is to get your finances in order. Although this might mean waiting a few months or even a year to start pursuing your dream, it’s a lot better than the outcomes described above. Evaluate your finances and develop a strategy to get your debt to a manageable level. When you no longer have a heaping pile of debt to worry about, you can focus your time, energy, and resources on ensuring your business is a success.

Ensuring Cybersecurity with METCloud

Exterior of the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham UK

METCloud, launched in 2017 and Head Quartered in Birmingham, has seen it achieve no small amount of recognition for delivering the highest levels of innovation and excellence within the ever-evolving world of cloud and cybersecurity technology. Such is the excellence that METCloud has delivered over the years, that it has been named the Most Innovative Cloud Security Solutions Provider 2021 – UK in this issue of Corporate Vision. Join us now as we take a closer look at what the firm has to offer, and why its excellence has been so consistent.

As an award-winning IT managed service provider and deliverer of innovative excellence, METCloud has slowly but surely carved out a reputation for itself as being one of the best in the business for its cyber secure hybrid cloud platform. In order to ensure that the firm continues to reach the lofty heights that it has become accustomed to, METCloud has been built from the ground up using the highest levels of cyber security technologies that are currently available in the market today. METCloud is all about tailoring its own innovative services in order to ensure that they are specifically aligned with a client’s or organisation’s unique requirements. By tailoring the services provided, the firm can ensure that what it offers is all that a client will ever need from a cloud platform. They no longer have to use multiple sources or companies to work alongside; clients and organisations can simply get everything they need from METCloud when it comes to having a cloud platform.

Since the firm was founded over twenty-two years ago, METCloud has operated with a single vision. That vision has remained the same throughout the company’s lifetime, and is focused on developing to become a globally-recognised brand that is synonymous with robust cyber security technologies and services alike. METCloud remains as committed as ever to delivering the most advanced technical support to its every client, and works closely alongside them in striving to integrate the best technology solution for them in a seamless and effortless manner. It can perhaps be summed up best by saying that METCloud is shaping the future of the new digital economy and new value creation.

METCloud is more than just a multi-award-winning cloud and cybersecurity platform, though that in itself would be an outstanding status to have. Instead, METCloud has not settled for what is, and is constantly striving to do better, deliver more, and create greater results for clients. Through its various partnerships, the firm is also helping organisations accelerate the adoption of new and next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and data analytics. New technologies such as these in turn support the organisations with their goals of exponential growth and greater positive impact on the environments, sustainability, and society. METCloud is at the heart of that adoption, and is facilitating technological growth like never before.

Not only is the work of METCloud important in helping to facilitate and perpetuate technological growth, but it is also vital from a cybersecurity standpoint. 2020 saw a great many businesses shift their processes and procedures online due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a direct result of that, businesses have also become a great deal more vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to the latest statistics on METCloud’s website, upwards of 32 percent of UK businesses identified a cyber breach in the last twelve months, and 28 percent labelled cybercrime as the most disruptive type of fraud. 2020 was a year that tested the strength of the cybersecurity industry like never before, and the future is set to test those limits further. METCloud is prepared for what may come, and is prepared to offer its clients a way of enhancing cloud security.

What METCloud does better than its competitors is focus on the creation of a cybersecure cloud platform that has been built specifically with SMEs in mind. Understanding that every business is unique and that their needs are just as unique is one thing, but building a cloud platform from the ground up that is focused on addressing the needs of one specific group of companies and enterprises is another thing entirely. METCloud ensures that every single one of its services is aimed at addressing a specific need within the SME community of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, and further afield.

The array of services provided on and through the METCloud platform is extensive, and includes a wide variety of different services. For instance, the firm offers enterprise class compute and storage, identity access management, next-generation firewalls, endpoint protection, cyber awareness training, ISMS, email security, SOC-as-a-service, backup, and DR-as-a-service, and that just begins to scratch the surface of what the platform is truly capable of. Innovation and excellence do not come easy, but the work of METCloud in creating its own innovation and excellence is nothing short of exceptional.

Very little of METCloud’s current success would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of its CEO, Mr Ian Vickers. The last few years have been a period of exponential growth for METCloud, and Mr Vickers has had a lot to do with that. In 2017, Mr Vickers launched METCloud as a brand, and the organisation has since gone on to be recognised as one of the most secure cybersecurity platforms not only in the United Kingdom, but in the wider world. As a result of this international recognition, METCloud has also won dozens of internationally-recognised awards for innovation.

Through the leadership provided by Mr Vickers, METCloud has developed to become a multi-million pound organisation that is leading the way in cybersecurity innovation. With further international expansion in 2022, this year may be one of consolidation and planning. Looking both forwards and backwards however, METCloud can be incredibly proud of what it has achieved over the course of twenty-three years in business. Furthermore, with Mr Vickers at the helm, that success is surely set to keep coming for everyone, both those working at METCloud and the clients that it partners with on a daily basis.

For more information about METCloud, contact Ian Vickers via www.metcloud.com

Improving Your Workplace Environment

Workplace

With the labor market being tighter than ever, it has never been more vital to retain good employees and to create an attractive environment for new applicants. Most businesses have taken steps by now to identify and hone their brand image or to review their HR regulations; however, it can be very easy to forget about the environment we have to work in on a daily basis. The office can become just a piece of the background that we too often forget can be easily changed in ways that will improve company morale and worker retention.

Do an inventory of things that need to be fixed or improved: This can include obvious things such as broken light fixtures, ceiling tiles, doors, etc., but these are the bare minimum. Try and think a bit outside of the box with improvements that could be made. Things like updated air filters or a water softener are not very flashy, but they can go a long way in making the work environment feel more like home.

Ask employees what they would like to see changed: No matter how much you think outside of the box, sometimes there is no better way to find out what your employees want than by simply asking them. This is actually a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can, of course, use the interview to learn what changes employees would like to be made to the office; however, at the same time, you can let employees express changes they would like to see to their workflows, policies, etc.

Increase the comfort level: Many of us have to sit for much of the day at work, and if the way we sit is not comfortable, it can make getting anything done that much more difficult. Admittedly, getting new chairs can be expensive. The top models can easily get into the thousands of dollars. That said, if you think of it as a long-term investment in your human capital, it quickly becomes obvious that this is an investment that pays significant dividends well down the line. 

Improve aesthetics: Things like paint color and artwork can quickly fade into our subconscious to the extent to which we no longer think about them. Because of this, it is very easy to forget how much they can have an impact on workers’ mental health and productivity. Re-painting the office and adding new artwork is actually quite an inexpensive upgrade, especially when you consider that this one upgrade improves the environment for everyone in the office all at once. If you want to get an even greater return on your investment, poll employees as to what color schemes and artwork they like. This gives everyone a sense of belonging, ownership, and respect that leads to happier employees and less turnover.

Schedule fun activities: The company picnic has been a go-to way for businesses to try and build a sense of community since time immemorial – and it can still work. The key is to actually make the picnic appealing. While most of us can enjoy ourselves at events like this, most people do not put them so high up on their list of fun activities that they would want to engage in them on their time off. If you schedule events outside of normal work hours, you are not giving back to your employees – you are asking more from them. That said, if you schedule fun activities like bowling, fishing, or picnics during work hours, it can really show employees that they are valued and encourage them to work together better as a team.

No matter how much you love your workplace, there is no guarantee that everyone feels the same way. Especially in today’s business environment, making investments in building a quality workplace is not just something you should do to help build morale, it is an essential business function that will allow you to attract and retain the best talent. Every company is only as successful as their employees are productive. And employees are only as productive as their work environment allows them to be. Take a long-term perspective and invest in a better work environment – you, and your employees, will be glad you did.

Pre-empting Trends and Developing Solutions

6 people working in customer service, on the phone with clients while at their computers

VeriCall Ltd are a fairly young company who have burst onto the scene in recent years and made huge strides by being proactive and pre-emptive in a largely reactive industry. Discover more about how the firm has been named Best in Customer Centre Solutions, 2021 in this issue of Corporate Vision Magazine.

VeriCall are a double-award winning company who offer their clients unrivalled call centre services. The Scottish company, led by CEO Adam Taylor, himself an award-winning leader, operate at the cutting edge of technology and are putting in the resources to make sure that they stay there. VeriCall offer their clients a comprehensive range of solutions, from fully PCI DSS compliant payments to AI solutions to omnichannel products. With a range of services especially tailored for Small and Medium Enterprises and even micro-businesses, VeriCall have the solution.

In fact, they have provided solutions for all types of companies – government, utilities, directory enquiries and charities, to name a few. The only thing that all their clients have in common is a desire to deliver the best service to their customers that they can, and VeriCall step in to facilitate that. The products that VeriCall offer enable businesses to put together the customer service solution that best fits their target demographic. They can support their customers in real time across their channel of choice by making use of VeriCall’s bespoke service delivery model. Together, the teams design, in partnership, the delivery model that will best support their customers while maximising value.

Adam Taylor, CEO of VeriCall and named one of the 30 best leaders to watch by The Silicon Review, said “I believe that customer service is the critical differentiating factor between businesses looking to gain customers and those looking to retain customers. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of choice as businesses have learned how to exploit the opportunities presented by direct, online retail and service provision.”

It is thanks to this increase in choice, Adam believes, that consumers have become more empowered than ever to move and choose suppliers who meet their needs and expectations. It means that in order to thrive, companies have to be prepared to engage with their customers wherever their customers choose. However, companies are often reactive to change, following their customers from platform to platform, and losing valuable engagement during that lag. “VeriCall believe in supporting our clients with foresight and innovation,” Adam said. “We aim to be first to market with new solutions which pre-empt those changes in customer behaviour”.

“We consistently see new businesses with exciting innovations rapidly capturing market share and building customer loyalty. By analysing customer behaviours and assessing future trends, we ensure our clients are supported with innovative solutions which ensure they remain at the forefront of customer engagement. We catch early adopters of trends and help to shift them from simple customers to brand ambassadors who spend more, stay longer, and attract new customers.”

This high-tech, shifting world of e-commerce has been difficult for some company giants to adapt to. Companies who have largely done business the same way for decades are often left behind in their inability to change. VeriCall hit the ground running when it was founded in 2017, built with the ethos of adaptability and development from the very start. Adam said “We are not encumbered by legacy infrastructure and have processes enabling us to be more agile and responsive than our peers”.

“Having personally come from the client side of the outsourced relationship, we have a unique perspective from the top of the organisation as to the challenges and obstacles of an outsourced relationship, enabling us to place ourselves in the mind of the client to develop our processes to work for our clients and their customers.”

VeriCall’s impact and successes have not gone unnoticed. They have been recognised with two GOLD awards as the ‘Best Contact Center (Outsourced)’ and ‘Best in Customer Service’ at Contact Center World’s 2020 ceremony. The work that VeriCall put into remaining at the top of their game, developing solutions to problems their clients haven’t even encountered yet, makes them clear, standout winners in the industry. Their agile nature means that they missed no contacts, and the pandemic had no impact on their operations as they swiftly moved to a WFH model. It has put them in good standing for the first quarter of 2021, and they are set to see continued growth and success throughout the year.

For business enquires, contact Adam Taylor at  VeriCall Ltd via www.vericallsolutions.com

Connecting with Customers

Business person sending and receiving messages through online messaging

Conversocial consists of a team of industry veterans utilising their skills and advanced software and intelligent automation to simplify how the world communicates. Harry Rollason, the firm’s Marketing Director, tells us more about what sets the firm apart from others, and how a strong emphasis on employee wellbeing is the key to success.

Social media is not just about catching up with our friends and family, over recent years many businesses and organisations have utilised the latest technology and taken to social media platforms to engage with clients, customers and consumers.

The innovatively named Conversocial is a conversational customer experience platform that allows natural, engaging brand-to-consumer conversations to flow seamlessly on messaging channels (WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter DM, and more) throughout the entire consumer lifecycle.

Conversocial expertly blends the scaling ability of bots with the finesse of humans in a single platform, offering a superior experience for customers and agents alike. The result: frictionless customer experiences throughout the customer lifecycle that increase the productivity of the brand while driving increased loyalty and incremental revenue, all at scale.

Marketing Director, Harry Rollason, tells us more about the firm and the rationale behind its inception.

“We were founded on the promise of simplifying brand and consumer interaction — allowing brands to connect with their customers where they are in a simple and straightforward way,” he begins.

“We’ve always drawn inspiration from the ways we interact as humans — the ways we connect with our friends and family (and today even with our home devices), and have worked to bring a similar level of simplicity to the way brands and consumers interact.”

Over the years, Conversocial became one of the first engagement platforms to expand support over messaging channels like WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat. On top of these new channels, the firm has now added AI and automation to allow its brands to be more predictive and productive when engaging with their consumers.

“We realise that we are leading our brands through a digital transformation journey and, as such, we embody the values that allow supporting this massive transformation: we are team players, we are gritty, we are curious, we solve problems and are we understand that in a fast-moving environment, it is crucial to be passionate about helping our customers and supporting one another.”

While it mostly serves enterprise brands, Harry tells us that Conversocial is largely vertical agnostic which means it can serve any brand with its offering. Most of its customers come from the retail, travel and hospitality industries, but it also services large telcos, financial institutions and health care providers, approaching new clients through a combination of outbound and inbound marketing activities.

Harry continues to expand on what it is that has made Conversocial so successful, and what it is that makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to social media engagement. He believes there are three key elements to its success: the team, the product and the processes that have been built around it.

The first and most important thing that makes Conversocial successful in Harry’s eyes are the people – it is the team who make the company what it is as they are people who want to make a difference, and who are committed to their customers and colleagues. Those who will always go the extra mile and will start by lending a helping hand to solve a challenge, and those who would have fun doing so.

“Being curious, biased towards action, and supporting one another are at the core of who we are,” he enthuses. “These values are what we built Conversocial around, ones that we are proud to represent. We work hard while having each other’s backs and have fun doing so.

“We are a safe place for our employees — a place where it’s ok to try new things and to break things while trying. We focus on unlocking the potential of each and every one of us — growing as individuals, as a team, and as a company.”

Secondly, is the unique technology that is utilised. Conversocial supports the most robust number of messaging channels and expertly blends the scaling ability of bots with the finesse of humans into a single platform, offering a superior experience to customers and agents alike.

Lastly, it is the processes used which Harry explains also helps to differentiate the firm from its competition.

“We know that the channels and experiences we are promoting to our brands are innovative, so we realize they require a certain level of commitment to make them successful. We’ve built a practice around our tools and technology to allow brands to leverage existing customer intents and interactions — from getting them started to continuously improve them as they go.”

Conversocial has almost 10 years of proven experience in transforming platforms, processes, and people, that have helped hundreds of companies navigate the necessary complexities of delivering exemplary customer experiences over messaging channels. What’s more, its dedicated team of Customer Success Managers, Platform Engineers, and Professional Service Leaders are with clients every step of the way on their journey to success.

The internal culture at Conversocial echoes Harry’s earlier comments about the firm placing high value on its members of staff. By fostering a friendly environment through collaboration and business transparency around performance and decision making, Conversocial is keen to encourage a healthy work-life balance, with great emphasis placed on working hard, but having fun at the same time.

“We believe in giving people control — making them feel safe to voice their ideas and opinions — and shaping a culture where great ideas can manifest anywhere, anytime. We push ourselves to make sure everyone is heard, at all levels. We strive to ask the right questions to help everyone think freely, break rules, and evangelize their ideas internally. As a result, our innovation comes from our people.”

The staff base at the company has worked hard to create this meaningful culture that, in turn, contributes to its success. Therefore, it is important that the right people are chosen when recruitment comes into play, especially those who may be filling senior positions.

“We aim to be highly conscientious of the impact new people will have on culture, and include culture fit in all of our interviews,” explains Harry. “The second most important element is ensuring that everyone has clarity on their role and responsibilities, and what needs to be done in order to be successful. We work hard to have clear, measurable goals and to ensure that any confusion over responsibility is cleared up quickly and decisively.”

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it its raft of challenges and obstacles, and Conversocial was far from immune to these, having teams in both EMEA and the US.

However, having the ability to rapidly adapt meant that remote working helped the team to feel connected, despite the distance that separated them all.

“Supporting people at home so they can design a space that fosters their focus and creativity is something we think a lot about too.”

In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak, with the shift to digital, consumers have been reduced to a series of clicks and data points, resulting in brands losing touch with their consumers and what Harry and the company feel they’re faced with is a disruptive opportunity to build real 1:1 consumer/brand relationships by tapping into the unique nature of messaging channels to enable frictionless customer experiences, powered by humans and automated chatbots, working seamlessly together.

However, the areas Conversocial is focused on (messaging, deep learning and automation) are some of the most exciting and fast-developing technology spaces.

“Next year, Conversocial will keep its innovative edge by continuing to work closely with the leading consumer-facing messaging platforms like Apple Google and Facebook, driving and influencing these platforms by co-developing innovative solutions to better serve enterprises. Some of the emerging platforms we currently support are Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Google’s Business Messages, Instagram Messaging, and more.”

For business enquiries contact Harry Rollason at Conversocial

The Great Social Disruption Has Led to a Boom In Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur

Let’s call 2020 the year of the great disruption. It was a time of social unrest and upheaval in our everyday lives. Schools were closed and moved to virtual learning. 

Businesses had to pivot from their usual way to conduct business or shutter their doors. Hotels, restaurants, and social lives were gutted to protect the population. Governments were under the burden of caring for the citizenry without destroying economies. 

Millions lost jobs permanently, and whole industries suffered as a result. It was a disruption on a global scale that we haven’t seen in modern history. Yet despite all those adversities, some people, societies, and businesses were able to flourish. 

As some businesses closed for good, others were able to find a way to fill those voids. People of all stripes, education, and colors could find a foothold and make something positive come from all those disruptions. 

There was an expected boom in startups just when things looked the bleakest. According to NPR reporting, the boom in startups specialized in non-personal interactions such as online retail and Software as a Service. 

 

Online Retail Vs Franchise Opportunities

Most of the new startups were created out of necessity. People who lost their jobs threw themselves into new opportunities, and online was the most accessible, most cost-effective place to start. 

Online retail can be set up as a drop shipping option where a business acts as the third party between a customer and wholesaler. 

For example, selling direct to consumers by acting as a third party allows the business to limit overhead and increase sales but lacks control on the supply side. As a result, if your wholesaler can’t provide your inventory promptly, your business could suffer. 

Then there are those businesses that create their own products and sell directly to consumers.  

There’s an advantage in this type of business model as you can control the quality of product and timing of shipping, but there are some built-in disadvantages. 

Much like a service business, you are limited to the speed at which you and your staff can build, pack, and ship your product which may upset customers along the way.

 

The Benefits Of Fulfillment By Amazon

Another ease of setup for online businesses is to utilize a fulfillment program such as the Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA as it’s commonly known. 

An FBA is a program where you pay a small fee to Amazon to handle all your logistics, such as pre-sale storage and post-sale packaging and distribution. 

By utilizing the FBA program, startups focused their energies on finding and converting new customers rather than paying for costly overhead such as warehousing, labor, insurance, and other costs. 

An FBA is excellent for standard products, whether it’s clothes, house decor, ceramic cookware, electronics, and more. 

The reason FBA is so effective is that you are licensing Amazon to use similar products to your brand, and they will take from their current supply at the closest proximity to your customer and replace the item down the road. 

Another area that has a ton of opportunity is in the franchisee space. With a franchise, you’re paying a fee to join an established, well-known brand and operate as a de facto owner of that physical location. 

The benefit of franchising is that you get an established profitable business model, a physical location already based, and continuous support from the franchisor to help you build your business and expand the brand. 

Another added benefit is that most of the marketing is taken care of by the franchisor, saving you money on costly overhead that may, or may not, produce results and conversions. This franchising feature is vastly underappreciated and makes it almost a no-brainer to be involved as a franchisee. 

The downside to franchising is that you have to pay a fee upfront, often showing a period of profitability for your various businesses, and must adhere to strict rules and procedures that oversee the franchisor’s brand. 

One other downside to franchising is that you don’t have control over product selection. The franchisor chooses what they want you to offer and at what price point. Any flexibility otherwise must go through the franchisor, or you risk losing the licensing opportunity.

Those downsides are overshadowed by the benefits and profits that are associated with a well-run brand. Therefore, if an entrepreneur can diversify their operations to include a franchise opportunity, it should be seriously considered. 

The disruption that we all experienced over 2020 and early 2021 has provided various opportunities for individuals and organizations to flourish. With proper strategies and infrastructure in place, there’s a huge growth potential as societies reopen. 

Teaching Tech with TEKenable

Woman using an electronic tablet

Technology is now moving at such a pace that it can be hard to keep up with, especially within a business context. Keeping on top of the many new technologies and tools that are being developed can be a full-time job in and of itself, never mind sorting through them to find the ones that are applicable to your business. Last year, TEKenable became the winners of the title of 2020’s Leading Low-Code Software Development Specialists – Ireland, providing secure custom software to enterprise customers enabling cost savings, operational efficiencies and more. Find out about the firm’s story as we take a closer look.

Having established itself in the business of customer software and business applications, TEKenable has become a firm of experts in delivering custom line of business applications using Low Code platforms. Since its foundation as a business, TEKenable has sought to provide secure custom software to enterprise clients, thereby enabling them to achieve cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experiences. Armed with almost two decades of experience delivering bespoke software and high code solutions has meant that TEKenable has been at the top of its game for many years. However, recently, the firm has decided to change its strategy and instead offer something different to customers. Today, the firm is proud to provide faster project delivery, with more functionality per Euro, at a lower risk, requiring less effort by the firm and the client, using Low Code platforms and bespoke extensions.

Underpinning everything that the firm does is the key value of integrity and doing the right thing for the customer, even if that means it comes as a cost to TEKenable. Integrity has been the bedrock on which the firm has been built over many years, and doing the right thing may have been a short-term cost, but has always been a long-term benefit for all involved parties. The value of integrity is not the only thing to stand the firm apart from its competition. TEKenable has two key differentiators. Firstly, the firm adopts a “business first” approach, where it tackles the business problem or opportunity as business people, understanding the customer’s company and market context, constraints, and dynamics. Then, and only then, the firm applies its change management capability and its extensive technology toolkit to deliver a solution like no other.

The second differentiator is that TEKenable delivers its services using Low Code platforms such as Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. TEKenable is not limited by the capabilities of the platforms. Instead, once it reaches the platform’s edge, it simply continues on using its heritage of bespoke software to extend the platform’s capabilities for those specific requirements that cannot be satisfied otherwise. These differentiators empower TEKenable to bring the full range of Microsoft technologies and best-of-breed Low Code platforms. It is Gold Certified for Azure Cloud and Application Development, and very experienced in legacy systems integration.

Clients of all sizes and sectors can take advantage of the work carried out by TEKenable, though the firm primarily serves mid to large enterprises that often have an international dimension. These enterprises are often, though not exclusively, part of sectors including financial, healthcare, agriculture, food, and public. Due to the fact that the firm has been in business for such a long time, and has consistently delivered excellence throughout its duration, most of the business that TEKenable receives is by referral and recommendation. The firm also has a significant degree of inbound sales opportunities from LinkedIn and the TEKenable website, as well as recommendations from Microsoft channels.

TEKenable’s company culture is just as important to its success as anything that it offers as a business service. The firm is often described as having a family feeling, and is a place where the staff genuinely care about one another. Leadership and staff alike will regularly go out of their own way as individuals and as a company to help them in times of need. Whilst there is structure, hierarchy, and reporting lines, there is no hiding away from one another in closed offices that are out of sight. Rather, there is openness, communication, and welcome conversations that include staff from every area of TEKenable. The firm recognises that people have both strengths and weaknesses, with some of the staff realising how good this firm based on previous experiences.

At TEKenable, the firm hires people with strengths, and encourages them to use those strengths rather than expect superhumans that are great at every single thing they do. Recruiting into this team and this culture is important, for both the company and the potential employee as well. TEKenable uses two recruitment agencies; one for technical staff and a separate one for managerial and executive staff. The firm encourages its staff to meet people in networking and meet-up events, and to identify good people from these various events. Sometimes, although rarely in the company’s history, it will advertise online, though the quality of applications and responses is usually quite poor when compared with the tried and trusted method of agencies.

For many firms, the last year has presented a great many challenges. That has been no different for TEKenable, though there have also been others along the way that have served to strengthen the firm’s resolve. About four years ago, the firm took advice from an M&A expert in relation to an approach to acquire TEKenable. The firm was not interested in being acquired at the time, but the approach did raise some interesting questions. Inevitably, it resulted in the firm making some radical change to the business that has since totally transformed its delivery capability and financial performance. Demand for bespoke software delivered through writing thousands, or even millions, of lines of software has been declining. SaaS-based products have provided off-the-shelf options for many of the systems that might previously have been written from scratch, and Low Code platforms have really matured to become serious competition.

Looking ahead to the future, challenges are far from the minds of those at TEKenable. Instead, the firm is focused on the opportunities that 2021 will bring, and where the firm can go from here. It has just recently acquired Greenfinch Technologies, and so 2021 will see a big focus on the integration of Greenfinch and TEKenable, expanding on software as a medical device development, and bringing some Low Code products to the market. From a growth standpoint, the firm will look to continue growing its capabilities in the Low Code platform space, whilst also keeping an eye out for the next acquisition. For now, it is all about the success that has been achieved thus far, and ensuring that the firm continues to grow organically and exceptionally, achieving more success in the years to come.

TEKenable Ltd can be found at https://www.tekenable.ie/

3 Types of Writers and How They Benefit Your Business

Writer

With the surge in technology in the past 30 years, it seems that tech-related jobs are becoming more highly valued, and the writer is falling by the wayside. Finding good writers for businesses often feels like an afterthought instead of an intentional choice. Writing often feels more like a soft skill, but the truth is, having good writers is vital for your business. Whether you are writing internal documentation or creating marketing briefs, writers are essential. And while developers are important for a tech business, writers help out everything together.

There are many different types of writers. While you may think of writing as poetry and stories, writing is also instructional and helpful. Good writers help businesses communicate important facts both internally and externally. You need a variety of writers to help your business succeed. Here are three types of writers who can benefit your business starting today.

 

Technical Writers

If you have the most brilliant developer in the world creating apps behind the scenes, it doesn’t help you if you have no documentation behind what they create. Technical writers use a variety of tools including technical writing software  to break down complex information to make it more usable. They create how-to guides, instructional manuals, documentation for clients, and so much more. They are skilled at taking a process and creating easy to follow directions that help almost anyone complete the task. They make information more useful and usable.

The implications are endless with how a technical writer can benefit your business. They can create internal documentation that helps to train new employees. They create user guides for customers. Technical writers can bridge the tech and non-tech parts of our business. Want to teach your marketing team to use a new process or technology? You can have your technical writer create the documentation. If you need to create a course that teaches staff about new company policies, a technical writer will benefit you greatly.

 

Copywriters

Got a product to sell? It’s not going to sell itself. A skilled and talented copywriter can help you transform your product into money. They are the sales writing part of the writing engine in your business. The best copywriters make customers excited to spend their money with you. The customer shouldn’t feel like you’re some sleazy car salesman, but they should feel like your product meets their needs. Copywriters work with the marketing team to write copy that gets used in promotional materials. These written pieces can be in your online store, social media, your company website, mailers, emails, and more.

A good copywriter understands the audience, what makes them tic, and how to use words to help get a sale. They tell stories, woven around your product to draw in the right people. The copy they write is valuable to help you succeed in selling your product.

 

Content Writers

Content writers are skilled at producing relevant, interesting, and useful information mostly for websites and social media. Content writers understand their audience, know how to pick out the right keywords, and even understand the intricacies of SEO, hashtags, and more. A content writer can showcase important parts of a business and create content that’s valuable for their customers. If you have a blog for your business, you need a good content writer.

Need a good article highlighting 5 important health tips? Get a content writer. Need a blog post that pinpoints your audience pain points? Also a content writer. Need someone to share daily original content for your social media fans? This is also the job of a content writer. Content writers don’t write with the intention to sell. They educate, inform, and inspire audiences through valuable content day in and day out.

While writing may seem like a soft-skill for many tech businesses, writers are a critical piece of the whole. They create valuable guides and instructions. Writers help you sell your products. Writers keep your audiences engaged and informed. Don’t overlook these valuable employees. Be intentional about hiring the right writers for each part of your business. While some of the skills overlap, copywriters, content writers, and technical writers all have distinct skill sets, that when used best can help you grow. 

Success in Security & Risk Management

Two businessmen in suits signing documents

For business owners protecting their company and minimising risk is always a hugely important task, but as workforces shift to the world of remote working it’s become increasingly clear that companies cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to managing their security and mitigating risk. Enter Cornerstone, an industry leading and innovative security consultancy firm and this year’s recipient of Best Security & Risk Management Consulting Firm 2020 – UK in Corporate Vision’s Corporate Excellence Awards. We take a look at the firm and speak to Director, Narinder Dio, to find out more.

CornerStone was founded back in 2007 to provide independent security consultancy services to the global corporate security market. The company helps organisations to protect their people, premises, intellectual property, and profits by identifying security threats and reducing risks that today’s businesses face.

Since their inception, CornerStone’s mission is to deliver unrivalled levels of client support through their expertise, unique delivery process, commit to excellence and workings towards a safer world. As an award-winning consultancy, CornerStone has worked with some of the world’s largest and most successful companies to deliver unbiased advice and support across their range of physical and cyber security consultancy services. In the last two years Cornerstone has worked on projects spanning 25 countries and across various sectors, including datacentres, banking, and new media technology, just to name a few.

Unlike other security consultancies whose advice is often not in the best interests of the client and more influenced by the ties of manufacturers, suppliers and installers, CornerStone is independent, and their services are wholly for the benefit of their clients. CornerStone’s independence is invaluable when it comes to delivering a financially successful project and by separating the design, risk and project management function from the supply and installation process, CornerStone introduces the checks and measures needed for effective oversight. This ensures that their solutions are comprehensive and meet the relevant professionals’ standards and their client’s requirements. “Since promoting the benefits of independence and our process, existing and prospective client’s value and opt for our expertise, leading to multiple projects and engagements”, Narinder highlights. This is demonstrated by their clients, of which 96% stated that CornerStone offer ‘good or excellent’ levels of service and 97% said they would recommend CornerStone to their peers.

CornerStone pride themselves on running a people-centric operation and the expertise, flexibility, and client-focussed attitude of their employees play a vital role in the success of the company. To ensure they deliver highly flexible solutions for their clients, CornerStone’s consulting team consists of talented individuals with expertise in the many areas of the security landscape, from risk, design, manufacturing, and consulting. By adopting a positive ‘can do’ attitude the company’s culture is a true reflection of teamwork and their dedication, skills and support contributes greatly to CornerStone’s overall success.

One of the biggest challenges CornerStone and the corporate security industry face is when it comes to recruitment. In a candidate-driven market and with a shortage of skilled and experienced professionals, the demand for talent has continued to grow. To rectify this CornerStone has developed its own training and support infrastructure by launching the CornerStone Academy, which has boosted their recruitment process and made employment accessible to all candidates without reference to background, gender, ethnicity, age, and religion. The CornerStone workforce is as international and diverse as its business activities with staff from all around the world, serving clients from all around the world.

2020 saw a huge shift in corporate security and risk management as businesses altered their priorities to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, CornerStone’s strategy will be to expand on their strategic and cyber risk services and continue the convergence of their physical and cyber security which will allow them to offer an even broader range of solutions for existing and potential clients. In addition to this CornerStone are planning to open an office outside of the UK and developing their marketing activities with the release of a new updated website and client-related events to expand their presence and boost the CornerStone brand and service offering.

Overall, CornerStone is exceptional in several regards, but what is most impressive is its ability to consistently deliver at the highest levels of the industry. This recent accolade is just another addition to the company’s trophy cabinet, having previously been awarded, Security Consultants of the Year, an International Achievement Award and an OSPA Outstanding Security Performance Award. as well as CornerStone’s future project the company remain dedicated to driving talent within the industry and their mission to provide extraordinary levels of client support continues to push the business forward.

For business enquires contact Narinder Dio at CornerStone GRG Ltd via www.cornerstonegrg.co.uk

Two Decades of Outstanding Success

Young couple talking to a car salesman

Select Car Leasing is a leading, BVRLA-registered car leasing company that provides personal and business customers with a comprehensive range of deals and plans on a broad selection of vehicle makes and models. Offering some of the most competitive car leasing rates in the industry, combined with its reputation for exceeding expectations, Select Car Leasing is dominating this fast-growing area in the new car market. We took a closer look at their road to success.

Founded in 2004 by fellow car lovers with excellent people skills, Mark Tongue and James O’Malley, Select Car Leasing began its long road to success from the back room of a house in Reading, where they leased their first car. It was soon to be the first of many as, over fifteen years later, Select is the UK’s largest provider of personal car lease deals, leading the way in one of the fastest growing areas in the new car market.

Since its inception, the firm has been a leading provider of competitive car leasing deals for both personal and business customers on all makes and models. When Mark and James began Select, it was with a vision to provide the people of the UK with a smart, hassle-free way of obtaining a brand-new car for an affordable price. Catering to all customer needs, Select offers flexible contract lengths, manageable payment plans and a wide range of mileage options. In addition, its range of ancillary packages for personal car lease customers includes short term leasing, car leasing with insurance deals and a specialist VIP car leasing programme.

For the thousands of business customers that it serves each year, Select is also able to provide lease deals suited to a great variety of businesses, from sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies to charities and the self-employed. Larger corporations are able to benefit from Select’s dedicated fleet management team, which offers competitive pricing on larger orders and end-to-end support in maintaining and upgrading a business’ fleet of vehicles.

Constantly looking at ways to expand its offering for all clients, Select launched a new branch in 2018. Select Van Leasing is available to both businesses and private individuals and provides a cost-effective and efficient way of regularly driving a new van or commercial vehicle whenever it is required.

Whether their customers are looking to lease a new car for their own use or a fleet of vans for their business, the Select team carries out the same, six-step sales process that guarantees an effective and efficient service from start to finish. For Mark and James, their supportive, market-leading customer service model is a key pillar of Select’s success, as has been proven time and time again by the firm’s positive reviews and a trust score of 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot from over 18,000 unique users.

A significant part of Select’s impressive on-going growth since its inception can be owed to it’s customers loyalty and referrals. Moreover, boasting some of the most competitive car leasing rates in the UK, Select has formed close working relationships with large finance companies, manufacturers, and dealer groups across the country so as to be able to make the most of large stock car opportunities that facilitate the best price discounts in the market.

As a result, Select is one of the largest providers of personal car lease deals in the UK having seen significant growth over the past few years and doubling in size each year since 2016. As a result, there are now more than 50,000 motorists in the UK that are driving a vehicle that has been leased from Select. The firm, which employs approximately 150 staff across its two locations in Berkshire and Reading, has clearly come along way from leasing its first car from a house in Reading in less than two decades.

The staff who have facilitated this growth are a key part of the business and as such, Mark, James, and their team of Senior Managers are heavily invested in guiding its team to be the best it can be. Through regular, market-leading training programmes and development schemes across the business, as well as one-on-one support and industry training, Select provides its staff with tools required to thrive in their roles and deliver the highest possible standards of service to their customers.

All of the staff’s training and development centres around Select’s core philosophy of DRIVE: Dedication, Respect, Integrity, Value and Excellence. These values are integral to the internal culture of Select and also inspires the firm’s contributions to its wider community, from its role as a key sponsor of Reading FC to its work with local and national charities such as Children with Cancer, Rethink Mental Illness, Sue Ryder, CAAP, and Tamba.

Despite the challenges that have been faced by many businesses throughout 2020 and into 2021, Select has seen an increased demand for car leasing which it expects to continue see growing as people choose leasing on a subscription model as a more affordable and engaging way of being able to drive a new car. Although constantly aware of the impacts of the ongoing pandemic on the automotive industry, Select remains optimistic that the success of car leasing will go some way in facilitating renewed growth for the sector in general.

Moreover, the hybrid and electric market has seen similar growth throughout the last year, which Select has been quick to respond to in its launch of Select Electric, a platform which provides a dedicated area in which customers can browse the latest car leasing offers for electric and hybrid vehicles. The platform will also provide plenty of information and guides for clients about this emerging market.

With continued growth forecasted for this exciting branch of the automotive industry, Select is looking forward to seeing Select Electric become a more integral department of the company, responding to growing demand and providing a launchpad for Select to become a leading supplier of electric vehicles in the long term. With many exciting developments and projects already underway and a cautious optimism about the renewed success and growth for the automotive industry, Select is thriving and able to look ahead with enthusiasm, even in challenging times such as these.

Company: Select Car Leasing

Website: www.selectcarleasing.co.uk

Tips for Hiring a Public Relations Firm for Your Company

Public Relations

Hiring a public relations firm for your company is a big decision. Even if you understand the benefits of doing so, you may have some reservations about moving forward.

For example, it’s common to have questions such as:

  • What services does a reputable public relations firm offer?
  • What’s the best way to compare public relations firms?
  • How much does it cost to hire a public relations firm?
  • Is it a full-service firm?
  • Do you have to sign a contract?

 

You get the point. There’s no shortage of questions to ask and answer on your path to hiring a public relations firm.

Fortunately, when you take a deep breath and slow down, you’ll find that hiring a public relations firm doesn’t have to cause you stress and cost you time.

Here are five tips that will make this easier on you:

 

1. Know Why You’re Hiring a Public Relations Firm

Don’t hire a public relations firm because everyone else in your industry is doing it. Do it because you have a specific need.

For example, you may hire a firm because you want to spread the word about a new product or service that is revolutionizing your industry. Or maybe you need a firm that can help you communicate your message when something goes wrong.

Once you know why you’re hiring a public relations firm it becomes easier to decide on the next steps. 

 

2. Do Your Own Research 

You can listen to one person after the next talk about public relations, but that is no replacement for doing your own research.

Spend a couple of hours searching online for local and national public relations firms. Make note of those that pique your interest so that you can double back with them when you’re ready to set up a meeting. 

 

3. Ask for Referrals

Along with doing your own research, ask people in your network for referrals. You don’t want to rely solely on referrals when making a decision, but it’ll definitely help. 

Ask questions such as:

  • Why do you recommend this public relations firm?
  • Is there anything you would like them to do better on your behalf?
  • Do you find value in the price that you pay? 
  • Do you consider the firm’s rates to be in line with the rest of the industry?
  • How many points of contact do you have at the firm?
  • Do they offer additional services, such as setting up and monitoring analytics associated with campaigns? 

 

The more questions you ask, the more you’ll come to understand what the firm has to offer. When combined with the information you compiled on your own, your search is starting to shape up. 

 

4. Ask for References

While requesting additional information from the public relations firms on your shortlist, don’t be shy about asking for a few references.

This allows you to contact companies that currently work with the firm. Once again, you should ask any questions that come to mind. The list in point #3 above is a good place to start.

Tip: if a public relations firm can’t provide you with references, there’s something wrong. They may be new to the industry or trying to hide a bad reputation. 

 

5. Find a Firm that Specializes

Maybe your company is in the medical industry. In this case, you’ll want to find a healthcare public relations firm that has experience in your niche.

Or perhaps you’re a startup technology company. A firm with knowledge of the startup industry is probably what you’re looking for.

Some public relations firms will tell you they specialize in everything. That’s not possible. 

If you’re going to pay for this service, you might as well enter into an agreement with a firm that has targeted experience and knowledge. This generally improves the odds of a successful relationship. 

 

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot that goes into hiring a public relations firm, but if it’s something your company needs you don’t want to wait any longer to take action.

Use the five tips above to point you in the right direction. From there, move forward one step at a time until you’re comfortable making a final decision. 

Outstanding Customer-Focused RPA Solutions Provider

Customer service employee on the telephone to a client

Pegamento is a Netherlands-based company specialising in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), low coding, and its application in customer services. Providing tailored solutions that are delivered with meticulous client care, Pegamento seeks to achieve digital transformations that have a positive impact for businesses with high levels of customer engagement. As advancements in technology facilitate greater capabilities in Pegamento’s service and product offerings, we take a closer look at the firm.

Established in 2009, Pegamento has grown exponentially from a team of three employees working with 1000 robots to a company of seventy that operates on 16,000 robots for hundreds of thousands of app, web and omnichannel users. Since its inception, Pegamento has specialised in applying low-code, AI, and RPA to customer-facing applications and as technology has rapidly advanced in the past decade, so too has Pegamento’s capabilities and offerings for clients.

Fundamentally, Pegamento seeks to change the ways that consumers engage with its clients through online and offline media. Although specialists in robotics and AI automation, the firm values the human experience above all else, as customer engagement is what drives business success. Working with a broad range of clients, including governments, corporations, utilities companies, telecommunication service providers and other customer-centric businesses such as BMW and Intersolve, Pegamento collaborates with clients to enhance their business models through cognitive process automation that will boost customer engagement, without costing excessively in money or employees’ time.

For Pegamento, successful digital transformation occurs once its clients and their customers experience the change in business operations. To do this most effectively, Pegamento invests in a balance of innovation and collaboration, exploring advances in technology and implementing the findings from this research into tailored solutions that suit their clients. This stage is called Business Analysis and is the first step of collaboration that each of Pegamento’s clients take when they begin working on a project, regardless of the scale or shape of their business or projected outcomes.

By beginning with Business Analysis, the Pegamento team is able to establish what the objectives of the client are, to gain a thorough understanding of the elements that make up their business and, and to discuss the possible solutions and their implications for the client. A Pegamento Business Consultant spends two to four days with their clients at this stage, gathering as much insight as possible in order to create the ideal solution, which is then confirmed in a detailed report complete with a plan of action and expected improvements compared to the investment. 

Once the solution has been implemented, Pegamento remains on hand over the next three years to regularly check in and ensure that it is operating as it should, helping its clients to manage success rather than problems. As the digital workforce becomes an increasingly instrumental element of daily operations of businesses around the world, Pegamento is committed to ensuring that their solutions run as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Pegamento’s decade of experience and development has equipped it with a variety of tech platforms from which it can help its clients to optimise their customer service operations. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one such solution that is used in customer contact to assist clients in generating more business. For businesses of any size, customer contact is a vital opportunity to offer personal assistance, as well as to inform customers about additional products and services through cross- and up-selling.

RPA enables the automation of common, repetitive actions with software and, in customer service, can be used to do the menial, repetitive tasks of logging in, consulting, processing, switching between data in different systems and more. This gives employees more time to engage in more important work, such as the real and valuable personal contact with customers. On the other hand, RPA technology such as chatbots can be given added intelligence to ask specific questions that will enhance customer experiences. For example, restaurants can use RPA-based chatbots for taking reservation bookings, using intelligent software to acquire all the information required about that booking and presenting a complete reservation to the company when needed. Consequently, there are many proven benefits to RPA, including automation, speed, accuracy, scalability, flexibility, and its ability to free up more time for the user.

Pegamento’s other platforms include Britannica Knowledge Management, an online, hyper-intelligent software that acts as a proprietary knowledge base with answers to all customer questions, readily available in a neat, accessible software that can be integrated with AI, RPA, or corporate websites. In addition, Pegamento’s AI Mail Automation uses machine learning to find out the intention of emails and either generate automatic replies or sending them to the correct email address, rapidly sorting out the hundreds or even thousands of emails that can clog up a business’ operations on a daily basis. Finally, apptime is a single platform that Pegamento clients can use to coordinate, inform, and communicate with its employees easily and in an informal yet professional manner, something which has become especially important with the rise of remote working.

The vast, innovative functions of Pegamento’s services are all fundamentally designed for ease, time management, and boosting customer engagement. Regardless of how advanced the technology that powers these platforms becomes, the priority of the Pegamento team remains on people; from its clients to their customers to the team at Pegamento itself.

The firm considers itself very fortunate to be made up of a group of enthusiastic technical associates who are driven by a genuine passion for their work. Constantly pushing themselves and the progress of their technology, the technically skilled team at Pegamento has developed based on the company culture of support, collaboration, and innovation. As such, the team is always able to look ahead to new opportunities for enhancing their offering.

In addition to the autonomous growth that Pegamento is currently experiencing, the firm also has an active buy and build strategy that is enabling it to make plans for opening a German office so as to serve a wider demographic of customers. With its plans for geographic and technological expansion ready to launch in the months and years ahead, there is no doubt that the future of this dynamic and passionate firm is bright.

Contact Serge Poppes at Pegamento for business enquiries.