Why Your Health is the Key to Your Success in Business


Entrepreneurs pull out all the stops when it comes to getting their businesses off the ground. The early days can involve long days, sleepless nights, and stress on the mind and body. It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur to put in 20+ hour days, ignore mealtimes and forget about what it feels like to really switch off.

Does that sound familiar to you? Are you putting in long hours but not getting the return that you deserve? If so, the problem may be a lack of self-care. While this term can come off a just another trend, it is far from a fad. The importance of self-care should not be ignored or disregarded, especially since the longer you do so, the harder it will be to get back on top of things. Let’s take a look at how your physical and mental health can impact your business and its path to success.


Physical Health

When you set up as self-employed you have deadlines to meet and customers to reach out to and the stress of having a to-do list as long as your arm can force you to neglect your normal routine. It can be tempting to stay in the office and get a takeout five nights in a row instead of going home to get some rest and enjoy a home-cooked meal. It might seem like the right thing to do at the time but the effect of not getting enough sleep and not eating healthy meals can be detrimental to your focus, energy, productivity, and overall health. Lack of sleep – in the more serious cases – can cause heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. It can also cause weight gain and a weakened immune system, which puts the body at risk of contracting all kinds of illnesses.

Lack of sleep and poor diet choices will leave you looking physically rundown. You could have dark circles under your eyes, poor skin, and you might even experience side effects that include hair thinning and poor circulation. All of these factors can lead to you being forced to take time off work. No one will want to do business with someone who looks physically drained so why not give yourself the best chance at success by looking after your physical health now? It is essential to realize that there is not a one size fits all solution to prioritizing your health. You need to find a series of daily habits that work for you and support your goals. Get out to exercise more, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and make sure you look the part each day you show up at the office.


Mental Health

Poor mental health can be the single cause of your business not reaching its full potential. The effects of not looking after yourself mentally can ripple through every facet of your operations. It’s important to know that there are solutions to every problem you’re facing so don’t compromise your mental health and the success of your company. If you’re struggling financially, it’s time to get your finances in order first so you can free up funds to put into your business. This might mean taking out a personal loan to get your own finances in order but the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that you have extra cash to play with will make things so much easier.

If you’re dealing with a personal issue at home, try to talk things out with your loved ones so it doesn’t seep into your work life and cause even more problems. If you feel alone and anxious about the future, why not join an entrepreneur networking group? It’s a place where you can share ideas, give advice, and make long lasting connections with people who are on a similar path to you.

If you don’t give your mental health the attention it deserves, your productivity and output will suffer. Deadlines will become near impossible to meet, you’ll find it hard to concentrate, and your motivation to succeed will dwindle. Give yourself the best chance of reaching your full potential by taking breaks, asking for help when you need it, making new connections and spending time outside in nature when you can. All of this will boost your productivity in the office and take you one step closer to your dream of being a successful business owner.

How to Keep Your Employees Engaged When the World Is in Chaos

Employee Engagement

By Jeff Dewing CEO of Cloudfm and No1. best-selling business author and podcaster 

The world has been through some crazy times recently. COVID, Russia’s war with Ukraine as well as the added stress of energy prices and living costs going up. People are naturally anxious and distracted, they are worried about the future. A recent study by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that  822,000 workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. These can have a huge impact on employees’ well-being and subsequently a knock-on effect on work performances if left unaddressed. Guiding your staff through challenging times and looking after their mental health requires actions and change, not blank policies. Here are a few ways to nurture employee’s wellbeing and keep them engaged: 


Let’s get personal

First and foremost, know your workforce. You need to build rapport otherwise they simply won’t feel comfortable speaking with you, and you can’t help if you don’t know there is a problem. Work shouldn’t all be transactional. Get to know your employees on a personal level. Listen to them – what are their kids’ names? How many pets do they have? What are their passions and hobbies? What do they like to do outside of work? It might seem insignificant but it’s important. This will not only open a deeper level of communication and transparency between you, but it can provide insight into how to better inspire and drive them.

Statistically, one-third of our lives are spent at work. This can mean you spend more time being around your colleagues and employees than you might get to spend with friends and family members. Nonetheless, many people still hold back from being their authentic selves due to not feeling entirely comfortable or safe, which demonstrates its quality over quantity when it comes to human bonds and connections. It’s not about how long you’ve known them, but how well.


Promote a safe work culture

“Leave your problems at the doorstep”. This old-fashioned view needs to be thrown out the window. People can’t simply turn off a switch, the truth is our life comes with us to work even if we don’t show it and vice versa. Actions speak louder than words. Therefore, in times like this, when everyone’s anxiety levels are at an all-time high, it is important to normalise conversations around mental health to help break the stigma in the workplace. Even better help staff tackle these issues head-on by offering mental health training programmes. We personally have implemented various programmes and ensure we send monthly company-wide reminders that there are 24-hour mental care lines to call for help when it feels like it’s getting too much. Showing your employees that there is nothing to be ashamed of, we all have problems to face and they are not alone is paramount. Creating a safe work culture reassures employees, allowing them to be open and honest which enables you to support them best.


Get up and walk

Being stuck indoors all day does nobody any good. Increased physical activities and fresh air are proven to impact us positively. Therefore, encouraging employees to implement healthy habits such as going on regular walks can only be a good thing. We encourage staff where they can to change up their environment – take your meeting on a walk or at a coffee shop etc.

Lead by example. Small behavioural changes from management down can create a domino effect. Looking after your well-being and letting others know it’s important to put their health first makes a big difference, it can alleviate fear knowing they don’t have to answer to anybody. It’s especially important when employees are working from home to reiterate the importance of regular breaks. The absence of prompts that you might otherwise see in an office (for example others taking their lunch break) could result in some employees going for 8 hours without leaving their desks, or even worse not leaving their house for days. A combination of freedom through flexible lunch/work hours and actively encouraging a change of scenery may be exactly what they need to better their wellbeing. This not only helps put them in a better mood, but it can boost their productivity too. We must realise that autonomy breeds loyalty and commitment and goes hand in hand with job fulfilment. By offering a healthy work environment to your employees, you can guarantee that this will be reciprocated in the amount of effort they put into their work.


Building resilience & focus

At Cloudfm the two things that drive our employees’ year are:

1) The 5 strands of resilience – emotional, social, physical, mental, and spiritual state. Each month, I like to get everyone to write down how they are going to maintain those five things and share them with their colleagues. That way, peers in the same group can help each other achieve those goals and make sure that they are on the right track.


2) Ambition document – a nice simple tool to motivate my employees by giving them focus. At the start of the year staff write objectives as if they’ve already achieved it instead of just trying to. It looks at their personal life and them as a leader, drilling down on what success looks like on an individual level. It covers what you’re going to do this year and then three things that measure success. The key point is, it is of no use to you if you write it on the first of January and then don’t look at it until 31st December, it’s about regularly reviewing it.

Professional and personal development are both equally powerful. They provide the opportunity for staff to recognise and reflect on their achievements helping drive them.


Sooner than later

Having a conversation once or twice a year with employees is not enough to truly help them. Reviews are too formal and just aren’t agile enough. I don’t want to wait until the end of the year to find out that someone’s upset. I’d rather fix the issue as soon as possible. Leaders and management teams need to be present and available to help them along their journeys, keeping them motivated. To me, having frequent meaningful, conversations means so much more than filling out a form that may not be 100% honest. That’s why we have monthly informal check-ins talking about work, personal things and aspirations. It can be with anyone in the company and can even be in the pub over a pint, it just needs to be done and has become a ritual. This means we can then meet the demands quickly if anything comes up. It’s important to constantly be there for employees and not only at times of stress, nurturing them at every opportunity. Prevention is better than cure – it’s always better to address these issues before things deteriorate. 


Ultimately, putting people before profit is not only the morally right thing to do as a decent human being but it simply makes business sense. It benefits you more than them as you can get the most out of employees when they are happy and have life sorted.

4 Ways to Make Your Business’ Opening Night a Success

Opening Event

To get a business in the service industry off to a flying start, you need to host an opening night event that is capable of dazzling prospective customers, generating great word-of-mouth buzz around your new venue, and ideally earning media attention in the process.


Get prepared with a soft opening

You don’t need to go all-in on a high profile opening night without first having tested the waters with a trial run.

By launching your bar or restaurant with a soft opening, you’ll have the opportunity to break in the systems and procedures you’ve put in place, and also give your team an opportunity to get to grips with their responsibilities, without it feeling like this is your only opportunity to shine. This also works well in other industries and contexts, such as retail, so it’s not just for eateries and watering holes.

A soft opening is ideal for identifying issues and ironing them out, so that when the grand opening rolls around, you are better equipped to succeed.


Incentivize customers to return in the future

It’s safe to assume that you’ll put together a comprehensive guest list for your opening night, but you don’t just want this to be a flash in the pan event. Ideally the people you serve during this initial flurry will also come back to patronize your establishment in the coming days and weeks.

It’ll be easier to convince them to rebook with you if they have a reason to do so that goes above and beyond the good will you’ve generated with them at your opening night. A great example of an incentive that really works is a discount coupon, which can be redeemed when they next visit.

Better still, if the discount is dependent on them bringing more people with them on their return, then it will bolster the profile of your new business even further in the local area. You could even set up a loyalty scheme which provides discounts when certain conditions are met, shoring up your business for the long term.


Train employees thoroughly and treat them well

It should go without saying, but if your team is well trained and enjoys a positive experience with the management as well as a good relationship with your guests, then the outcome of your opening night will be far better than if there are snafus that come from inexperience or tensions resulting from poor treatment.

Opting to employ seasoned servers makes sense in this context, but don’t assume that just because someone has a resume that’s overflowing with past jobs, they’ll be able to thrive in the environment you offer them. Give team members the support they need to succeed, and this will rub off on the guests as well.


Use social media to your advantage

Lastly, you can keep the momentum generated by your opening night going if you harness social media in the right way.

Don’t just share images and videos from the event online after the fact, but also encourage guests to add their own content from the night to their own feeds, again tying this into the promise of a discount if they do so.

With this framework for running your opening night, you should have a good chance of getting what you want out of the occasion.

Achieving all this isn’t easy, but it can be done with less stress and more success if you know what strategies will work best.

To that end, here are a few ways to make sure that your opening night is a sure fire hit, and leads to great things for your fledgling business.

Best automotive eCommerce solutions 2022

eCommerce solutions

The global automotive industry anticipates revenues of $8,921 billion by 2030, owing to an increased number of cars on the road and rising spending on automotive components. e-commerce B2B solutions, accurate inventory, relevant data, and a faultless purchase experience are required to attract and maintain clients in today’s automotive industry.

People are increasingly making purchases online. Finally, it is faster and easier than going to the store and is frequently less expensive. Customers who purchase from a dealership are no exception. Does your organization currently sell vehicle accessories online? Otherwise, you’re allowing money to slip through your fingertips!

Purchasing and selling automotive components online entails making a selection after reviewing eCommerce automotive solutions.

According to industry observers, automotive e-commerce has a bright future, and thousands of customers are actively shopping for car components online. Given the tremendous potential for-profit development, you’ve considered expanding your dealership’s reach into the online community.


By utilizing an automobile e-commerce platform, you can increase your consumer base

  • Automobile accessories and parts are a challenging challenge to address. You can attract more company buyers by giving an automotive e-commerce platform that is easy to find and browse and SEO and mobile device optimized.

  • Retain your customers on your automotive e-commerce website. Catalogs, pricing, shipping, and payment choices may be customized for dealers, distributors, and retailers.

  • Automobile components and accessories may be offered in various languages, currencies, and payment methods, making it simple to expand into new markets.

  • There is no limit to the number of product SKUs and categories that may be created and managed. Ascertain that clients can quickly access your vehicle’s e-commerce merchandise.

  • Using a single-vehicle e-commerce platform to create customized sub-sites or different storefronts can improve user experiences. Distributors and resellers will enjoy an easy-to-find product or service.


It would help if you chose the right online marketplace that would assist you in selling your car parts.

Only a few of them are devoted exclusively to the selling of automobile components.

On the Internet, selling vehicle components pales in comparison to selling apparel, books, or jewelry. Due to the unique requirements of the online automotive business, it’s only natural that you’d want an e-commerce solution designed exclusively for it. 

Generic platforms will not suffice. To begin, they lack a complete OEM inventory, which is essential for operating a parts website.

To take advantage of the components e-commerce market’s rapid growth, you must exploit the market’s immaturity.


Maintain a competitive edge in the automotive business

If you’re selling automotive parts or autos online, you’re going to need all the assistance you can get. More automobiles are on the road now than ever before, which implies that more parts and components are readily available. If you want to keep your business running smoothly, you’ll need an e-commerce partner who is trustworthy, scalable, and future-proof.

Your capacity for growth should not be a barrier to success. Further, you cannot afford to miss any development chances in the fiercely competitive automotive parts sector. If you pick a scalable automotive e-commerce platform, you won’t have to worry about scalability or performance issues as your business expands.


Transition to a new strategy with ease

  • Conquer markets with a system that supports both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

  • Profit from the potential to expand your business and diversify your revenue streams.

  • Maintain an awareness of the latest fashion trends.

  • For the long-term success of your business, you should use an automobile e-commerce platform that was built exclusively for B2B businesses that leverage cutting-edge technology.


What are your objectives when it comes to selling components digitally?

Setting goals is an excellent way to get started after deciding to launch an online auto parts business. This will aid you in picking a solution that will help you achieve your objectives. How rapidly do you wish to scale your company?


Local vs. national vs. neither vs. none

The way you run and control your Internet autoparts business will differ depending on whether you intend to sell locally or nationwide.

Competition is fiercer because national incomes are more relevant. If you want to keep your position at the top, you may have to put in more effort.

You may also use an online marketplace to sell parts to local customers. Once you’ve mastered the art of an Internet company, you may want to begin by focusing on local clients who have visited your website before spreading across the country.

Invariably, selling via third-party platforms like eBay and Amazon has some advantages over selling directly to customers. Make sure you pick an e-commerce platform that lets you customize its services according to your needs in every circumstance.


  • Is the primary purpose of your business to sell on a national or local level?

  • Are you looking to advance rapidly and aggressively, or are you just getting started?

  • In other words, where do you aim to market your wares?

  • Do you want to broaden your market reach, regardless of whether you sell on eBay or Amazon?


Streamline your workflows to save money

Automate your online sales to save time and money. The adoption of a 24/7 self-service platform that enables consumers to submit orders significantly saves order processing costs.

Also, by integrating a mobile-friendly CRM system into your automotive e-commerce platform, you can equip your sales and marketing staff to provide superior customer support.

In addition, when internal processes such as order management, product data updates, complex price calculations, contract administration, and communications are automated, you will never lose another transaction.

A single administrator may administer a large number of websites. When many independent websites are hosted on the same platform, you may replicate internal hierarchies, track key performance indicators, and quickly and efficiently provide critical information to various businesses.

Also, by consolidating data in a single location, you can save money and mitigate the risks associated with manual data entry. You may acquire all of your data from other systems like ERP, WHMS, PIM, and CRM using a set of robust and scalable APIs.


Is the platform reputable?

You won’t be able to sell components if your website is unavailable. Basically, that’s the most critical expectation.

Having your website offline will hurt your bottom line and give the impression that your company lacks professionalism and trustworthiness if it is unavailable. To sell vehicle parts, you’ll need a trustworthy website.

The uptime of your e-commerce site will be exposed by e-commerce platforms in the long run. When something goes wrong, they should notify you and provide details about the duration and reason of the problem.

If you ever experience problems with your website, it’s critical to find an e-commerce solution with a track record of solid support and a reputation for quick response.

Consider the following:

  • What would you do if your website became unavailable? Do you have any recommendations on who to contact?

  • How long do you believe the e-commerce platform will remain operational?

  • Is the response time of the online business quick and effective?

You want to determine whether the e-commerce platform is being genuine about its excuses for downtime.


Customer satisfaction is vital and should not be underestimated

When expanding your business and selling more components online, the customer experience is frequently the deciding factor. Consider your consumers before picking an e-commerce platform.

Consider yourself a customer and “buy” anything from a sample website. The likelihood of a consumer leaving their transaction increases with each additional step required to locate and get apart.


Take a look at responsive design

Mobile interaction has increased dramatically in recent months at component retailers. The finest e-commerce vendor should be able to deliver an exceptional experience to all of your clients, regardless of the device on which they are browsing. Additionally, responsive designs increase your web exposure.


Final thought

You don’t want to have regrets after only a few weeks of employing an e-commerce system since it does need some commitment. After selecting the software, your website might be up and running in minutes.

Increasing your revenue is simple if you select a reputable e-commerce platform that matches your needs. Choosing the inappropriate platform, on the other side, may result in a costly and ineffective failure.

When it comes to selling auto parts online, you need a partner that will support you throughout the process.

10 Ways to Do Better Remote Onboarding

Remote Onboarding

Remote work is on the rise, and the trend is only expected to continue. With more and more employees working remotely, it’s become increasingly important for employers to have a solid remote onboarding process in place. After all, getting new hires up to speed and contributing quickly is crucial for any business, but it can be especially challenging when team members are spread out across the globe.

There are a few key things you can do to ensure your remote onboarding process is as smooth and successful as possible. Here are 10 tips to help you get started:


Start with the basics

When you’re onboarding a new remote worker, it’s important to start with the basics. Make sure that they have all of the necessary equipment and software set up before their first day.

Importantly, make sure your IT team is able to help your new hires with the installation and understanding of any of these basics. You’ll also want to go over any company policies or procedures that they need to be aware of. By getting the basics out of the way, you’ll set your new hire up for success from the very beginning.


Create a schedule

One of the best ways to stay on track with remote onboarding is to create a schedule. This will ensure that both you and your new hire know what needs to be accomplished and when. It can be helpful to break down the onboarding process into smaller tasks that can be completed over the course of a few days or weeks.


Set expectations

It’s important to set realistic expectations with your new remote hire. They should know what is expected of them in terms of work hours, deadlines, and communication. By setting clear expectations from the start, you can avoid any confusion or frustration down the road.

Part of setting expectations also includes having scheduled checkins so that you can give new hires feedback on what they are doing right or wrong. Often, new people are reluctant to ask questions because they don’t want to appear inept, so regular check-ins will help ensure that they are on the right track.


Provide resources

Make sure that your new hire has all of the resources they need to be successful. This includes things like access to company documentation, contact information for colleagues, and any relevant software or tools. By providing them with everything they need, you’ll help them hit the ground running. Consider making use of DAPs to help make remote learning easier, especially if there are complicated software and digital tools that have steep learning curves.


Establish communication channels

It’s essential to establish clear communication channels before onboarding a new remote worker. This way, you can easily stay in touch and provide feedback or answer any questions they may have. There are a variety of tools available that can help with this, such as video conferencing, messaging apps, and project management software.


Check in often

When you’re onboarding a new remote hire, it’s important to check in with them often. This will help you gauge how they’re doing and whether or not they need any additional support. It’s also a good opportunity to answer any questions they may have or provide feedback on their progress.


Give feedback

Giving feedback is an important part of the onboarding process, both for you and your new hire. It’s essential to provide both positive and negative feedback in order to help them improve and grow in their role. Try to be as specific as possible when giving feedback so that they can easily understand what needs to be worked on.


Promote social interactions

One of the challenges of remote onboarding is promoting social interactions. This is important because it helps new hires feel connected to their colleagues and builds team morale. There are a few ways to promote social interactions, such as virtual happy hours or social media groups.


Encourage networking

Networking is another important aspect of remote onboarding. It’s a great way for new hires to meet people in their industry and learn about new opportunities. There are a variety of online networking events and groups that your new hire can join.


Follow up

Last but not least, don’t forget to follow up with your new hire after the onboarding process is complete. This is a good opportunity to see how they’re adjusting to their new role and whether or not they have any questions or concerns. It’s also a chance to let them know that you’re there to support them as they settle into their new position.

Now that you know the 10 best tips for better remote onboarding, put them into practice and see how they can help you get your new hire up to speed quickly and contribute effectively to your company.



Onboarding a new remote worker doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these 10 tips, you can set them up for success and help them hit the ground running. With clear expectations, ample resources, and regular check-ins, you can ensure that your new hire has everything they need to be a valuable member of your team.

How Many Jobs Should You Apply for At Once? 7 Key Factors to Consider

Job Applications

When looking for employment, you probably want to send out as many applications as possible within the shortest time. If you aren’t getting the results you want, it is natural to assume that you aren’t doing enough. However, all situations are different. Sending out numerous applications simultaneously may not increase your chances of getting a job. 


1. How Many Jobs Should You Apply for Daily?

Industry experts suggest that you send out two or three applications every day. Apply for ten to 15 job positions every week. If you don’t apply for enough jobs, you have a low likelihood of landing your dream job. If, however, you send out too many applications, you may have trouble tracking them. In addition, you might end up prioritizing speed over attention to detail. You may end up applying for jobs that don’t match your needs and fail to tailor your CV to the company’s requirements. 


2. What About Applying to Multiple Jobs at the Same Company?

You can apply for a few jobs at the same company. However, you shouldn’t apply for every exciting job opportunity that a company posts. According to conventional wisdom, the more jobs you apply for, the higher your chances of getting a job. However, the logic doesn’t always work. 

If you have to apply for jobs from the same company, ensure that they match your qualifications. Tailor your applications for each position. Your application should demonstrate that you understand the company culture and results. Do not come off as someone that is looking for any job that they can find. 


3. How Many Applications Should You Submit When Unemployed?

Being unemployed leaves you with a lot of time to send out job applications. Increase your daily quota of applications to three or five. This will increase your chances of getting a job faster. If you choose to increase your daily applications, ensure that you pay attention to detail. Do not compromise on the quality of our applications to increase the quantity. 

Plan out your days to avoid being stuck in an endless black hole of applications. Take breaks and work with a strategy to improve the effectiveness of your applications.


4. How Many Applications Should You Submit When Employed?

It can be challenging to send out many job applications while still employed. However, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It only means that you could take more time before finding your ideal job. 

Send out your applications during your rest days to limit stress. It also ensures that you remain productive in your current job. 


5. How Many Jobs Should You Apply for As a New Graduate?

Usually, fresh graduates apply for entry-level positions and professional internships. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to these positions as the competition can be stiff. 

When applying for internships and entry-level positions, you would be wise to send more applications than the recommended ten to 15 per week. Ideally, you should send 15 to 20 applications every week. 


6. Quality Over Quantity

It is important to ensure that you are sending out enough applications. However, the quality of your applications is more important than the quantity. No matter how skilled or experienced you may be, poor applications will get you nowhere. 

Five well-thought-out and strategic applications will get you better results than 20 untailored or rushed ones. Hiring managers and applicant tracking systems look for specific details in your applications. Therefore, it would be wise to tailor your application to suit specific positions. 


7. Do Not Apply For the Same Job Multiple Times

It is easy to be overwhelmed and lose track when sending out multiple applications at the same time. However, you must be careful to avoid applying for the same job multiple times. Create a list of every job you’ve applied to. Include the company name, date of application, and the job title.  

Whether you are fresh in the job market or simply trying to start a different job, you need to send out applications. Usually, the more applications you send out, the higher your chances of landing a job. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to send out hundreds of applications. The quality of your applications is more important than the quantity. Ensure that all your applications are tailored for the company and specific position.

The Challenges of Solo Shifts: How to Limit Loneliness at Work

Lonely office worker raising their hand from their cubicle

Setting up a new business and embarking on a solo adventure can be truly exciting. You are fully independent and can often manage your working day in a personalised way that best suits your tasks and needs. But, as the saying goes, “not all that glitters is gold”.

In the long term, spending continuous hours working by yourself can become rather challenging. Even if you work for a company, but your role requires you to carry out your duties alone, the situation can be difficult to handle. Sentiments of loneliness can gradually creep in during the day, and it is a fairly common feeling to experience.

In England, 45% of adults tend to feel lonely, whether on an occasional or frequent basis. Arguably, working a full shift on your own, without having someone with which to share a conversation or some thoughts, can contribute to these sentiments of solitude. From high levels of sleep fragmentation to the impact on your mental health, loneliness can play a significant, detrimental role on your general well-being.

But are there some methods to tackle and limit loneliness? Here, we take a look at some steps you can take to overcome the emotional hurdles of working on your own for long hours.


Open up about your feelings

One of the best ways to confront your sentiments of loneliness is to talk about your feelings. At first, you may feel hesitant to let friends, family, and colleagues know that spending workdays on your own is affecting your mood. However, normalising these conversations can have a powerful and freeing effect, and will help both you and your colleagues find solutions. By doing so, you may also encourage other people battling with loneliness to open up and enhance their mental well-being.

If you are struggling during your solo shift, or there is currently no one you can chat to, you may want to consider talking to yourself. It may sound odd, but dictating your thoughts out loud can help you reflect on your feelings. Sometimes, talking about your problems the way in which you would with a friend can help you listen to yourself in a similar mindset.


Recognise your needs

Humans are social beings. Craving for some connection, attention, and support is an innate need. Therefore, working on your own for large chunks of your day can really put your ‘natural instinct’ to the test.

Trying to lead a balanced life, which entails fitting some human interaction before, during, or after your work shift, will work wonders on your mood and overall well-being. Loneliness can be draining, so a fair dose of social contact in your spare time can be a great cure. Whether it is by volunteering or joining specific groups and classes, there are several ways in which you can actively make new connections.


Think about valuable opportunities

Finding time or sourcing opportunities to connect with your community can be a splendid strategy for alleviating feelings of loneliness. Depending on your field of work, you may be able to form ideas that get you involved in larger valuable missions.

For instance, if you work in the delivery or hospitality sectors, you could consider hosting a local food bank. Van leasing would give you the chance to hire a vehicle that suits your needs and helps you transport whatever you require. This can be a rewarding method to squeeze in some much-needed social interaction, while also carrying out a meaningful activity and tackling sentiments of solitude.


Take an interest in your customers

You may be spending long hours without the company of colleagues and friends, but there is a chance you will meet customers – whether virtually or in person – from time to time. If that is the case, why not engage in some light conversation?

You could ask them how they are and what they are up to for the rest of the day. More often than not, people will appreciate the fact you are taking interest in them as individuals, rather than as mere clients. They might soon become a familiar face and, whenever you will cross paths with them again, you will get the opportunity to have a brief friendly chat.

If you are feeling lonely and blue, some genuine human interaction with your customers can massively brighten your mood.


Set time aside for lunch

Making sure to allow yourself a lunch break is an excellent way for you to break up those solo shifts. Leave your desk or park your work vehicle and find a place to grab a bite.

If you have colleagues, you may want to inform them about your plans and encourage them to join you for a midday meal. Alternatively, you could get in contact with family or friends and arrange to see them during your lunch hour. By socialising between shifts, you will be able to wash away sentiments of loneliness and recharge for your upcoming tasks.


There is simply no hiding that working on your own can be a challenge. Feelings of loneliness can hinder your productivity and overall well-being. It is important, then, to find ways in which you can tackle these feelings from the outset. From opening up about your emotions to sifting through rewarding, social opportunities, there are several steps you can take to keep sentiments of solitude at bay.

The Perfect Interview Outfit — a Graduate Guide

Two people chatting while they wait to be called in for an interview

It’s super stressful when you’re an upcoming graduate. Juggling late nights at the library for revision, spending hours meeting that 10,000-word target for your dissertation, and trying to find a job to walk into after graduation can get a bit too much. Not to mention that part-time job and trying to have some sort of a social life. When you eventually get invited to an interview, they are often with short notice and come around quickly — leaving you with little time to decide what to wear! CT shirts, retailers of menswear and suits, gives us some advice:



Casual dress is suitable when you’re interviewing for charity work or a casual unpaid internship. For these interviews, it is likely that they won’t expect you to be dressed very formally, and will be more concerned with your personality, including your punctuality. Of course, it’s always good to make a positive first impression, so still consider what you’re wearing.



For women, skirts and jeans are appropriate in a casual interview — wear what you feel comfortable in. To ensure you still look presentable, you should avoid mini-skirts with bare legs and ripped jeans. You could wear a smart dress with tights and a cardigan or a shirt-jumper combo with a smart pair of slacks or jeans.

Since it’s likely to be a relaxed vibe, you shouldn’t worry too much about footwear. Opt for a smart ankle boot or flat pump, and perhaps avoid trainers and high heels.



For men, it can be hard to dress casually without looking too underdressed. Jeans are definitely appropriate, but similar to our advice for women, steer clear of ripped jeans. You should avoid wearing joggers or tracksuit tops, as these will not give off the best impression. A safe option would be a long-sleeved top, jeans, dress shoes such as Chelsea boots or brogues, and a smart jacket.


Business casual

Some interviews may specify business-casual attire on the invitation. This may be because they have this dress code in the office or it may be for an assessment day where you are expected to be there all day and recruiters want you to feel comfortable.

If you are unsure what to wear, it’s best to dress too formally rather than too casually to avoid giving off the wrong impression.



With a business-casual dress code, you have more freedom with what you wear than in a strictly professional interview. You could wear pinstripe or patterned dress slacks with a smart shirt tucked in.

Or, wear a smart shirt with a wide collar underneath a long-sleeved sweater. This look gives off a formal impression, whilst not as professional as a shirt and suit jacket.



For men, to be appropriate for a business-casual dress code, you should wear a smart shirt. Why not invest in a non-iron shirt? It stays free of creases and there’s no need to rush around with the iron the morning before the interview! Also, if you’re travelling by car or public transport to the interview, a normal shirt can become creased but this is avoided through the non-iron garment.

You should avoid a polo shirt, as this is too casual and still steer clear of wearing jeans.



For formal interviews, you should adopt a professional look. These interviews could be in front of directors of the company for a graduate job or an internship. You want to look your best here; your appearance certainly counts, and with the high level of competition at this stage, you don’t want to fall at any hurdles.



In a professional situation, women should opt for a suit. When it comes to dressing the bottom half, go with what you feel comfortable in. If you decide to wear a skirt, wear one with a hemline just below the knee to avoid it rising and becoming too revealing. A suit doesn’t have to be boring — shop around and discover suits that are tailored in different ways — find one that suits your body shape. When it comes to footwear, heels are acceptable but make sure you can walk with confidence in them. If you don’t feel happy wearing heels, opt for pumps or shoes with a smaller heel.



Men should wear a suit when it comes to a formal interview, too. Wear dark socks to blend in with your outfit and bring a briefcase to look professional. Brogues are a good choice of footwear — they are stylish and smart without being mundane. Choose a tailored suit that you feel represents your style, a slim leg may be best suited for you and your shape.


What to avoid

As we can see, the main thing to do is to make sure you feel comfortable in your outfit — it will show in the interview! However, there are a few things that you should avoid:

  • Too much perfume or aftershave
  • Too much jewellery or makeup

Wellbeing Balance: How Managers Can Look After Their Own Mental Health

Office manager looking stressed at his desk

Focus on employees’ wellbeing is often at the forefront of forward-thinking, caring businesses. In fact, as company owners or managers, you have a duty to ensure that your team is comfortable. Not only is this vital for their own physical and mental health, but it can also help uplift the productivity and efficiency of the business too.

However, it is common for people in a higher position of responsibility to forget or neglect their own wellbeing. This shouldn’t happen, as it is crucial to remember that we are all human and that workloads can become challenging for everyone. Of course, we are all different and we all handle pressing situations differently, but your mental health must never be overlooked.

We explore the importance of looking after your workplace wellbeing as a manager or business owner while offering tips on how to make sure you keep an eye on your feelings and act accordingly.


Unplug from time to time

What do you do when your laptop is not cooperating? Before seeking assistance, the first port of call is to switch it off and allow it to rest for a few minutes. As it reboots, software and programmes will usually start working again the way they should.

In the same way, it is fair to say that humans deserve to unplug from time to time too. With the pressures and challenges of managing a team of people, it is important to take a few breaks throughout the day. Whether it is listening to your favourite music or just taking a moment of calm, detaching from your duties for a short while will do your mental wellbeing the world of good.


Balance your work hours

As a business owner or manager, it is easy to feel forced to work for hours on end. In fact, running a company can be all-consuming, and it can truly take over your life.

You may enjoy cultivating your business, and its progression could be a big source of satisfaction, but it shouldn’t preclude you from practising other activities as well. In fact, prolonged work hours can lead to poor mental health, burnout and increased fatigue.

Spending time with family and friends is just as essential, and setting aside some time to embrace a hobby will work wonders for your wellbeing. This will help you stay connected with the outer world and effectively tackle feelings of isolation.


Note down your feelings

Every workday comes with its fair share of obstacles. How are you feeling? Overwhelmed? Upset? Frustrated? Or happy? Sometimes, it is natural to disregard your emotions and carry on with your duties.

However, taking regular intervals to reflect on both your mood and feelings can help you clear your mind. Keeping a personal journal in your office, for instance, can relieve stress and aid in understanding your sentiments. By jotting down your thoughts in a diary and determining patterns related to different scenarios, you will soon become mindful of your feelings. This is a useful tip you may wish to share with your employees too.


Get moving

Exercise is always an excellent way to declutter your brain. Intense workdays can put you to the test, but doses of physical activity can help you restore your overall wellbeing.

A short walk or a 10-minute workout is all you need. Encourage your team members to join you and get moving to enhance your physical and mental health.


Eat and drink well

If you are having a very busy day, the temptation to just skip your lunch break can be difficult to ignore. The truth is, though, that regardless of the amount of work you have, you should always have a healthy meal to keep you going. Your employees have a well-deserved food and drink break, so why shouldn’t you? Business owners and managers need just as much energy as their employees.

Healthy snacks throughout the day will ensure that your concentration levels are consistent. Eat some fruit and drink plenty of water. A hydrated body and a full stomach will keep you happy and ready to master your tasks.


Stay on top of warnings

Another important piece of advice is to react to your body’s messages and take action. In fact, neglecting signs of stress and burnout can lead to a gradual deterioration of your mental and physical wellbeing.

Instead, ensure that you take notice of possible warning signs, understand what is happening, and embrace preventive measures. If you are struggling to sleep at night, it may be down to your many work responsibilities. Ultimately, as a business owner or manager, you have a lot on your plate. If that’s the case, chat to someone or try some meditation sessions to free your mind from your job duties.

Likewise, if you are finding it difficult to concentrate, leave your desk and go for a short stroll in the fresh air. This will help you soothe your feelings of stress, pressure, anger or frustration. By taking immediate action, you can avoid damaging consequences in the long term.


Wellbeing in the workplace is an essential prerogative. As well as taking care of their people, business owners and managers should keep in check their own mental health too. From jotting down your emotions to exercising and unplugging at regular intervals, there are many ways to always put your all-important mental and physical wellbeing first.

Making Tax Digital for VAT: Your Questions Answered


Those running small businesses or running their own companies may recently have started to think about HMRC’s new tax digital scheme. The MTD for VAT accounting schemes were announced a few years ago, but with the pandemic and Brexit, many are confused about making tax digital for VAT schemes and what it means for them.


What is Making Tax Digital?

Making Tax Digital for VAT or MTD for VAT is a relatively new system launched by HMRC. It aims to make tax returns and financing easier for businesses by putting it all online and digitizing it. Since April 2019, VAT registered businesses with annual profits exceeding the VAT threshold of £85,000 have been using this system for their VAT returns and records. Now, from April 2022, any VAT registered businesses will have to do the same.

HMRC claims that these rules will make it simpler for businesses to keep on top of their taxes, financial and business records. Auditox Accountancy`s Newcastle branch have said they have had an influx of new customers and that many people were unhappy with the forced digitization of their finances, claiming that it adds more steps and effort to an already convoluted process. At the same time, it does make small businesses more innovative.


Is Making Tax Digital just for VAT?

For now, sole traders can relax. Making Tax Digital is only mandatory for VAT registered businesses, not self-employed sole traders. Sole traders instead must register online or via post for a Self Assessment form, wherein they can then complete a tax return to ensure they pay the right income tax.

However, from 2024, sole traders will also have to register for Making Tax Digital in order to fulfill their tax returns. For those interested, sole traders can currently try out digital tax returns through HMRC’s Making Tax Digital service. Sole traders can volunteer for the service to allow HMRC to test out the service and fix anything prior to the expansive rollout in 2024.


Do I have to submit VAT returns digitally?

At the moment, the VAT rules state that any VAT registered businesses have to file VAT returns online before the VAT deadline. Not doing so may lead to you and your business receiving a fine from HMRC. The fines are currently calculated using a point-based system. This allows people to make a few accidental mistakes when submitting their VAT returns, or to accidentally miss the deadline without receiving a fine. But if you consistently make such mistakes, you will receive a notice and a fine from HMRC.


Can you opt-out of MTD for VAT?

Most businesses and companies will not be able to opt-out of making tax digital. You will have to find a way to implement MTD in your accounting process in order to stick to the VAT rules. However, certain people may be exempt from having to register for MTD, such as older business owners, disabled people or those who live in remote locations and may be unable to rely on a consistent internet connection. There are also exemptions available for people who are unable to use computers for religious reasons.

If you believe that you might have a cause for exemption from the making tax digital VAT schemes, it might be worth contacting HMRC and filing for an exemption.


How to submit VAT returns digitally

MTD for VAT requires businesses to submit their VAT returns using accounting software that is able to connect to HMRC’s systems. You may also need to use a bridging software to convert VAT information into the correct format.

To submit VAT returns digitally, agents or businesses need to register for MTD for VAT.


How to register for MTD for VAT as an agent

  1. Check when your client must sign up for MTD
  2. Find and download the correct software. You will need one that is compatible with HMRC and also allows you to sign in using the Agent Services account
  3. Create an Agent Services account which will allow you to administer MTD for your clients. You will only be able to do this if you’re registered as an agent already.
  4. Link your VAT clients to your Agent Service account

This will allow you to file VAT returns for all of your clients.


How to register for MTD for VAT as a business

  1. Log into your Government Gateway account (or create a Government Gateway account)
  2. Provide HMRC with your Government Gateway and password, your company’s VAT registration number, your VAT accounting records the date you became a VAT registered business and the amount of your last VAT return.
  3. HMRC will confirm your details and within 72 hours will confirm your registration.
  4. You will then need to activate MTD for VAT on your accounting software using details provided by HMRC


How to submit a VAT return

When it comes around to time to submit your VAT return, you will need to file your VAT return via your accounting software programs. This will usually be under an option like “create VAT report” or something similar.

Once the report is created, check over the file for any errors, and then tell your accounting software to submit the VAT return to HMRC.


Which software programs can be used to file VAT returns?

There are plenty of accounting software options available that are recognised by HM Revenues & Customs. Some of the most highly recommended software programs for VAT submission are:

  • QuickBooks

£20 a month, QuickBooks is a great all-rounder for all of your accounting needs.

  • Xero

£10 to £30 a month, provides the ability to take photographs of bills and receipts to extract data.

  • FreshBooks

£19 a month, helps to produce estimates and proposals.

  • Sage

£12 to £36 a month for an above average, well-liked and recommended software.

  • FreeAgent

£19 to £29 a month or free to NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank business customers.

Call Center Outsourcing 101: What it Means to Hire a 3rd Party Service For Your Business

Call Centre

By Jenna Bunnell – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

More and more companies are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by outsourcing sections of their business operations. Many enterprises that want to bounce back after covid are looking to make the most effective use of their resources and see outsourcing as a convenient and cost-effective means to do so.

Call center outsourcing provides them the perfect opportunity to both maximise resources and improve customer relationship management.


What is Call Center Outsourcing?

Outsourcing, or business provider outsourcing (BPO), entails subcontracting specific business processes to a third-party provider who will manage every aspect of the operation on their partner’s behalf. Think of it as similar to the single pane of glass meaning, whereby all processes required for that operation will be managed by one, third-party company.

Call center outsourcing specifically subcontracts tele-calling. This usually incorporates a company’s customer relationship management such as technical support, sales support, or order management.

Tele-calling can also be sectioned into inbound and outbound calling, and both options are offered by most call center outsourcing providers, for example Dialpad inbound and outbound call center.

Inbound calling – where agents answer calls made to the company from their customers such as IT support or emergency breakdown provision.

Outbound calling – is used for marketing and outreach purposes like lead generation and customer satisfaction surveys. For example, an agent may work for a company that sells NFT art and wants to recruit potential freelance artists.


The Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing

Call center outsourcing offers several benefits including:

Effective Use of Resources

Call center outsourcing is extremely cost-effective not only in terms of money but also in time. Hiring and training a call center team is expensive. Plus, you also need to purchase the best hardware and software, and train your staff to use it to ensure the best experience for your customers.

Let’s not forget that you will need a management team to oversee your call center operatives. It is much cheaper to outsource your call center operations and hire one person to manage the relationship with your third-party provider.

Just think of the savings in time and money that could be put to better use handling some of your more critical in-house operations.


Hitting Targets

As a result of higher running costs, in-house call centers usually employ fewer agents which often leads to increased difficulties for operators to hit their targets.

For example, a call center that sells international domains may set an average speed of answer (the minimum time to attend an incoming call) at 15 seconds. This may be easily achievable in a call center with 50 plus agents, but one with only 20 agents will struggle to meet that target.

Outsourced call centers can scale their staffing levels more effectively and are therefore able to achieve higher targets.


Improved Service

In-house call centers usually run to a set timetable in line with the business’s operations and global location. Outsourced call centers operate 24/7, thereby making your service more accessible for your customers, wherever they may be.

Outsourced call centers can also draw upon a larger range of skills and experience. They can access a wider pool of agents with a greater range of experience in different industries dealing with a variety of customers and issues.

You may also be able to offer a more multilingual customer relationship package using call center agents around the globe. This may prove particularly effective for companies that may wish to expand into eCommerce and help them provide a better global customer experience.


Beware of Challenges Ahead

This all sounds fantastic, but outsourcing your call center operations to a third-party provider can also create a few challenges:

Poor Brand or Service Knowledge

Your in-house team knows and upholds your company’s core message and has an in-depth understanding of your products and services.

If you do not work closely with your third-party provider to ensure their agents have the same understanding and dedication, then it will consequently have a negative impact on your customers’ experiences.


Language and Cultural Barriers

Depending on the location of your outsourced call center operations, there may be additional language barriers and cultural experiences to consider.

You need to ensure that your provider incorporates excellent training in communications skills for their agents so they can interact with your customers effectively.

For example, the English language alone has several idioms and variances across the globe. A customer in the US may have difficulty understanding an Australian agent if they use local slang.


Less Control

The most obvious and concerning aspect for any company that wishes to outsource its business operations is a lack of direct control. With call center operations you are putting your brand and customer experience in the hands of your provider, and they are responsible for upholding the quality of the service. To reduce this risk, you need to work in partnership with your provider to ensure their agents are working productively and upholding your brand.


Don’t Jump In

Due to the challenges and risks involved in taking on a third-party partner for your call center operations, it’s important to do your research before you steam ahead.


1. Evaluate Your Needs

The cost savings may be beneficial, but first you need to establish if you really need to outsource your operations. What is the point in outsourcing your call center operations when really all you need is to upgrade to the best business phone system to help improve your speed of answer times?

Are you experiencing increased numbers of calls, but you cannot increase your staffing levels to handle them? Do you want to scale up your customer service levels or are you planning on expanding to new territories?

Any of the above would indicate that you may benefit from outsourcing your call center operations. But before you approach potential providers, you must establish exactly what you need and your objectives to ensure you find the right provider who can help you achieve them.


2. Search for Providers

Make sure you check out a wide number of potential providers and gather recommendations, particularly from companies in the same industry. You could use cohort analysis tools to learn how a provider has performed if they offer services across different industries.  

This third party is going to be your partner, one who needs to uphold your brand and message and provides the same levels of customer service you would expect from an in-house team. You do not want to hand over services that are vital to building customer loyalty to another company without fully researching their performance and reputation.


3. Evaluate Your Short-list

Does the provider have the right skills and experience to help you fulfill your objectives? The provider should be able to deliver adequate training to ensure their operatives have excellent communication skills, plus in-depth knowledge of your products and services, as well as the standard organization and problem-solving skills. Plus, they should also give their agents the best tools to help them do their job effectively whether they are a location-based or cloud-based operation. 

You need to make your objectives clear so you can choose the best partner to help you achieve them. Offer the contract out for tender with a Request for Proposal (RFP), then providers must show you how they can meet your needs.

Your RFP should include the required coverage (inbound or outbound), the service hours required, which languages you need to support, your data integration systems, and expected KPIs.

Visit any location-based operations and interview potential providers so you can ask any necessary questions and see how they are managed.

Once you have chosen the ideal provider who can work in partnership with you to meet your objectives ensure everything is included in the Service Level Agreement.


Once You’re Up and Running

You should view your call center provider as a partner, and the management of that partnership will be crucial to success.

A dedicated relationship manager should oversee the partnership to ensure it is running smoothly and expectations are being met.

It is important to work together at all levels, from integrating software to writing the call scripts and establishing the expected phone etiquette.

Your KPIs should help you to determine the effectiveness of your partnership. If you set clear objectives for call waiting times, customer satisfaction, and call resolution, you should be able to monitor and work together to achieve positive outcomes for both parties.


Are You Ready?

Outsourcing your call center operations can be daunting, but if you find the right partner you can take advantage of several lucrative benefits.

It’s important to establish your needs and set targets before you begin your search for the right partner who will help you achieve your objectives.

Similar to working in affiliate marketing, you need the best and easiest affiliate program, or in this case, a third-party provider, that meets your needs and shares similar values and goals to help you improve your customer experience and thereby create brand loyalty.

Mckinsey’s New B2B Growth Equation and What It Means

B2B Equation

McKinsey & Company is a company that specializes in helping organizations find the new paradigm of growth through their research, strategies, and technical reviews. They’ve recently released an article that explores what they’re calling the new B2B growth equation.

B2B is a fickle industry that’s constantly evolving to meet the evolving trends fuelled by a new generation of buyers and the desire for the B2B industry to finally go digital. In 2020, the entire B2B industry had a global worth of $14.9 trillion. That’s five times the worth of the B2C industry. Below, we’ll explore what they think the new B2B growth equation is and how it’s helping to progress with the rapid acceleration of the B2B industry.


The Omnichannel Experience

McKinsey & Company believes that the new growth equation for the B2B industry is an ‘always-on omnichannel experience.’ Omnichannel refers to a seamless, high-quality customer experience across multiple channels, including field sales. Their research tapped into 3,500 decision-makers that all agreed they still want more omnichannel – they want more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience.

They also found that there were no exceptions – nearly every buyer across every industry wants the omnichannel experience and set the new bar as offering ten or more channels three engagement modes. McKinsey calls this the new omnichannel excellence.

That drive for omnichannel excellence has led to multiple omnichannel platforms facilitating the digital shift, with two-thirds of buyers now opting for remote interactions. The result is B2B brands reporting their growth as exponential by offering face-to-face, remote, and eCommerce interactions across the omnichannel experience. 31% of brands think their new go-to-market model is more effective at reaching and serving customers.


What to Incorporate Into That

It’s not enough to offer an omnichannel experience of ten or more channels across three engagement modes; brands need to understand what buyers want from within these channels. Note above that personalization, convenience, and real-time customer service were mentioned.

For personalization, brands can explore incentive programs that can work alongside the omnichannel experience.

B2B incentive programs are designed to offer buyers personalized rewards based on their purchases – and omnichannel is an excellent source of data that can help brands create personalized offers. Click here for a great example of a B2B loyalty plan. Artificial intelligence might also work for tracking activity across the omnichannel network and display personalized information that can guide buyers towards a sale. Focusing on rewarding loyal customers can increase business profits by up to 95%.

For real-time customer service – tons of SaaS solutions give B2B sales teams the chance to form an open-communication channel that anyone can access. Traditionally, buyers would only be contact sellers for 17% of the buying decision, with most of them 85% towards deciding on a sale by conducting online research.

Some of this research may happen on an eCommerce website, making it the perfect place for communication. Live chatbots or even human chat software can enhance the buyer’s journey by helping them before they’ve even made a decision.


Reaching Omnichannel Equilibrium

One point Mckinsey made was how B2B brands are at an omnichannel equilibrium. It’s worth noting that the B2B industry has harnessed the power of omnichannel for years – but there was no equilibrium between old-school face-to-face field sales and the new digital world. The pandemic disrupted the equilibrium, with some companies swinging back and forth between the traditional sales model and the new one that the pandemic forced them to make.

Now, however, the equilibrium is the reason why 37% of B2B brands are happy with their new go-to-market model. Only 14% of brands think the new sales model doesn’t work, and those companies are primarily based in France and Japan. But, that equilibrium is only achieved through offering the gold standard of ten channels or more. Interestingly, providing just seven or more omnichannel saw 72% of sellers report a growth in their market share.

The balance is achieved by respecting that numerous traditional B2B buyers still want face-to-face interactions, so the omnichannel experience can’t cancel that out. What brands do brands have to do? Support field sales by offering multiple contact points, a seamless transition from digital to field sales, and personalization throughout the buying cycle.


Omnichannel will continue to dominate the future of B2B sales. The digital drive combined with traditional buyers is the perfect storm for the B2B industry to progress inclusively. B2B brands have the opportunity to create a working go-to-market model that seamlessly facilitates sales in ways that have never been possible.