Can a Remote Work Set-up Really Cut Company Expenses?

Remote Work

By Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

One of the major shifts in the world of work right now is remote working.

Recent years have seen this work model explode in popularity, and whilst many employees do prefer working from home, the businesses that employ them are confronted with a pressing question:

Is it time to return to the office, or stay remote?

We’ll tackle that question by explaining the benefits of a remote work set-up, as well as considering potential drawbacks, and the solutions used today by leading businesses.

So, whether you’re new to remote working, or are an expert simply looking for a refresher on your knowledge, read on to learn more about whether remote working is right for your business…

 

What is remote working?

In simple terms, remote working is when an employee performs their work duties outside of a company’s premises.

It can be summarized by the mantra: “Work is what we do, not where we are.”

That means that employees can ditch their traditional office HQs to work wherever they wish. Quite often, they will choose to work in a home office, Internet café, or telecenter.

The concept of remote work goes back a long time. However, today the term is almost synonymous with “teleworking” – first coined back in 1973. This is essentially a subset of remote working that relies on an Internet connection and PC programs to keep employees connected.

Today, remote companies are building entire digital workspaces. You’d expect to see a communications app for voice calls, video meetings, and file sharing. Workflow apps, like an integration for Formstack, also allow executives to track their project’s progress.

With this has come a rise in flexible offices and coworking spaces around the world. Plus, with platforms like coworking software, it’s increasingly easier for employees to work from anywhere and still access the tools they need, when they need them. 

 

Cost-cutting aspects of the remote work model

So now we’re clear on what remote working is, what are the benefits?

 

Lower wage costs and a broader talent pool

A primary advantage of remote working is that you have access to a wider talent pool. Think about it: you may hire employees from all over the world, rather than just those who live near your offices. 

This may be particularly beneficial for highly qualified employees who have an employment gap through no fault of their own, yet are struggling to find work where they live.

The reason of course is that, on the Internet, we are all neighbors. Aside from tracking the latency rate, you would have no idea if you were connected with someone from your city, country, or continent.

So, how is this useful from a business perspective? Well, it means that you can hire overseas employees with ease. That’s especially true if you’re based in a Western country where wages are generally high. You may find that an international workforce is a completely different employment situation, with far lower wages for the same skills.

Of course, there are challenges to overcome when creating a dispersed, global team. Namely, the problems of time zones and communication. If portions of your team are offline during your active hours, you can see how this would require significant operational planning.

But if you’re a global business, having global employees is a great solution – especially if you need to take calls. Instead of having a bunch of queued calls waiting because no-one speaks the right language, you can simply ensure an employee who does is available.

 

Increased employee productivity

A widely-acknowledged benefit of remote working is that it boosts worker productivity.

In fact, a study from 2021 found that 90% of employees who worked remotely reported no detriment to their productivity, with them being 22% happier across the board. And how does that help you? Well, happy employees are:

  • Less likely to be absent from work.
  • More likely to stay with your company for longer (increased employee retention).
  • Happy to market your company by word-of-mouth to other potential candidates or customers.

However, these findings are of course qualified by other exceptional criteria, owing to the various differences in a company’s workforce or sector.

For instance, employees with less than 5 years of experience were more likely to see their productivity decline when working from home. The reason, of course, is that new employees need guidance. Without the support of an in-person work environment, their skills may lag behind their peers. As such, extra care may be needed to foster this development.

 

Cheaper overhead costs

Finally, adopting a work-from-home business model could remove huge costs from your company’s balance sheet.

A dispersed team does not need a big downtown office. They might not even need an office at all. You could run your business out of the study room in your house and save a small fortune on rent, utility bills, and cleaners. That’s not to mention the savings you could make on tax.

Of course, new costs will appear in place of these savings. Without physical infrastructure, you will need to build out a digital workplace for your employees. Instead of a PBX telephony system, you would opt for an Internet-hosted VOIP service, for example. 

There are some clear benefits to using SaaS providers. The most notable being their low upfront cost and maintenance. You simply sign up for a recurring payment plan and be ready to go almost immediately. If at any point you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel your subscription. Plus, you can scale as needed, instead of paying upfront for things you might not need.

Of course, you’ll still need to train your employees on the best ways to use these programs. The best programs will offer advanced features as part of a custom package. This allows you to tailor it to your exact needs, e.g. three-way calls, custom caller ID, or voicemail to text.

 

Conclusion: Should you make the switch to remote working?

Remote working is certainly a dynamic opportunity for the businesses of today.

It offers several key advantages over a traditional office set-up, and looks set be the work culture of tomorrow. Employees seem to prefer it, companies can cut down their costs, and it brings together dispersed global workforces.

On the flip side, it also introduces new challenges for business owners. If you’re new to the concept, you might find it very different from your previous ventures. The online economy can be a volatile place where you’ll face stiff competition from rival businesses.

However, even if you don’t choose to go fully remote, there are lessons to learn from those who too – for instance, digitalizing your workflows, looking further for talent, and getting rid of all those extra costs you don’t necessarily need.

What Happens When a Limited Company Becomes Insolvent?

Business owners often await budget announcements with bated breath, especially amidst the economic turbulence of the last few years. And after months of political chaos and U-turns, the chancellor’s autumn statement finally provided some clarity, allowing businesses to plan for 2023.

That’s not to say it didn’t present serious challenges, however. With extended freezes on thresholds for income tax and national insurance, analysis suggests many small businesses will need to tweak their finances – altering the way entrepreneurs pay themselves – to avoid unnecessary insolvencies.

In short, insolvency occurs when a company can no longer afford to pay its debts. With recession
widely forecast
, its likely that insolvencies will increase, be it due to cash flow struggles or increased expenses. Seeking expert advice can be crucial for survival in such situations – though there are ways to test solvency in the first instance.

Testing for insolvency

The first method is a balance sheet test. This means balancing a company’s assets against its liabilities (debts). If the latter is greater than the former, a company is classed as balance sheet insolvent.

The second test focuses on cash flow and looks at whether a company has the funds to meet its obligations in full and on time. If not, then it’s classed as cash flow insolvent.

Below, we’ve highlighted three potential avenues for limited companies who fail either test and enter insolvency.

Liquidation

Liquidation is a formal insolvency process in which a liquidator sells a company’s assets and delivers proceeds to its lenders. After completion, the company is removed from the Companies House register, and directors are investigated for wrongful or fraudulent trading activity.

The two main types are compulsory and voluntary liquidation. The first is enacted by creditors, while the second, and more desirable, is enacted by the insolvent company’s directors.

Administrative receivership

In administrative receivership, a designated receiver – such as a licensed insolvency practitioner – takes control of the insolvent business. This receiver is selected by a secured creditor such as a bank.

The receiver takes on various duties relating to recovering the debt owed by the company. This may involve selling said assets, selling the company itself, or continuing trading, depending on what will deliver the maximum return to the lender. Unlike administration – covered below – saving
the company is only an afterthought.

Only lenders with a floating charge before 15thSeptember 2003 can put a company into administrative receivership, however.

Administration

A third option for an insolvent business is administration. This option can be enacted by court, certain creditors or the business itself.

The primary goal of administration is usually to rescue the insolvent business, though it may alternatively focus on achieving an optimal result for its creditors. Whatever the case, an administrator will take control of said company and its assets to guide the process.

Ultimately, the right option for any insolvent business will be unique to its prospects and objectives.

Business Tips for Black Friday amd Cyber Monday

Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rapidly approaching. The two days are the biggest spending events of the year, and small businesses can expect to see a great deal of success if they participate effectively. 

In the past, the Boxing Day sales were the major shopping event that we all waited for, but those times are long since over and, these days, everything depends on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2021, the UK made up 10% of all Black Friday searches worldwide.

Most businesses will hope to see an increase in online traffic on Black Friday, regardless of whether they put a promotion in place or not, because many customers plan to do all of their shopping on those two days in hope of snagging some extra savings.

However, to really maximise the traffic and sales potential of the two days, promotional events should be put in place to draw more customers to your businesses’ website or physical store.

NerdWallet’s business finance expert, Connor Campbell, commented:

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest days of the year for retail – both online and offline. For big and small businesses alike, this is a great opportunity to attract new customers and retain existing ones by providing competitive prices and deals.

The two biggest spending days happening back-to-back can be intimidating for smaller businesses with physical stores that may be new to participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it is potentially too good an opportunity to miss out on, especially since we’re seeing a decline in footfall on the high street. 

With the right preparation, businesses can expect to see a great deal of success.”

To help small business owners make the most of the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday activities, Connor has shared the following tips:

 

1. Raise awareness early

It’s difficult to plan far in advance when you’re a small business owner, but getting ahead of the crowd can give you a real advantage when it comes to Black Friday deals. Each year, businesses begin planning their promotional offerings earlier and earlier, meaning small businesses need to be ahead of the game if they want to maximise their success. 

The most important factor is to start generating a buzz ahead of time, without being too far ahead of the trend. Email marketing is a great way to get the word out about the deals your business will be offering, but it’s crucial not to leave it until the day or even week before.

Take advantage of social media, start posting teasers of what you’ll be offering during the promotional period early to build anticipation. The ideal time to begin hinting at your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is around the start of November, if not a week or two earlier.

 

2. Keep tabs on your competition

One of the advantages of businesses announcing their deals earlier is that it gives you an opportunity to investigate what your competitors are offering and modify your own promotions to become more appealing to customers. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two days of the year when customers can expect to see extreme discounts on their favourite products. Because of this, they will naturally be drawn to businesses that offer the biggest savings, whether that’s on multibuy offers or individual discounts, so it’s crucial that you don’t fall behind your competitors. 

 

3. Create product bundles

Black Friday is all about saving money and getting the most out of what you spend. Bundling your products is a great way to boost your sales and use up excess stock. It’s a win-win, with customers feeling that they’ve got a great deal receiving, for example, five products for the price of three.

Alternatively, adding discounts on orders over a certain value can act in place of a bundle whilst allowing you to keep the original retail prices and still making your customers happy with the deal they’re getting.

 

4. Check your stock levels ahead of time

The key to a successful Black Friday is having enough stock to see your promotions through without everything selling out in the first couple of minutes. 

Check your stock levels on a normal week before putting in place any promotions, so you can track which products are more popular. You’ll need extras of these prepared for the big day. 

This will also prevent you ordering too much stock of products that are less likely to sell, allowing you to both meet customer demand and make a decent profit at the same time.

 

5. Do a walk-through before the big day

Whether your business is strictly online or you have a physical store, you’ll want to do a walk-through before Black Friday weekend to ensure that everything runs smoothly. 

If you’re operating out of a physical store, this includes deciding on window placements for promotion advertisements to draw people in from the street, and thinking about how you can create the best layout for your store to draw attention to the products you most want to sell. 

For online businesses, this means making sure your CRM is up to date and that your website will be able to handle the higher volumes of traffic. The biggest mistake small businesses can make is not checking this beforehand and having their website crash on the day from too many visitors. 

What Is a Good Marketing Budget for a Small Business

While there’s no solid rule, in general, your marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that small businesses with revenue of less than $5 million should spend 5-8% of their revenue on marketing. This means that a business with annual revenue of $1 million would have a marketing budget of $50,000 to $80,000.

If you don`t have enough income to support a marketing budget that`s a percentage of your overall revenue, another way to determine how much to spend on marketing is to use the SBA’s ”3% Rule.” This rule of thumb says that you should spend 3% of your gross monthly sales on marketing. So, if you have monthly sales of $30,000, your marketing budget would be $900 per month.

Of course, these are just general guidelines. Your specific marketing budget will depend on a number of factors, including your industry, your target market, and the size of your company.

How to Plan a Marketing Budget?

When you’re putting together your marketing budget, think about both long-term and short-term marketing goals. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product, you’ll need to budget for market research, product development, and advertising. If you`re focused on building brand awareness, you might need to create an SEO budget plan and spend more on advertising and public relations than if you were trying to increase sales of an existing product.

Create a Marketing Strategy

Before you start planning your marketing budget, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your marketing goals. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or increase sales of a particular product?

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start to put together a marketing plan that will help you reach your goals. Your marketing plan should include a mix of different marketing tactics, such as content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.

Choose the Right Marketing Tactics

Once you know what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, it’s time to start thinking about the marketing tactics you`ll use to reach your goals. There are a number of different marketing channels you can use, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, you might want to use advertising or public relations. If you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, you might want to use search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. And if you’re trying to increase sales of a particular product, you might want to use email marketing or direct mail.

Once you’ve selected the right marketing tactics for your goals, you can start to put together your budget. When you`re determining how much to spend on each tactic, think about both the cost and the effectiveness. For example, SEO can be very effective in driving traffic to your website, but it can also be quite expensive.

Evaluate Your Results

Once you’ve implemented your marketing plan, it’s essential to take a step back and evaluate the results. Use such tools as Google Analytics or even a simple Excel spreadsheet. What worked well? What didn’t work as well as you’d hoped? Based on your evaluation, you can adjust your budget and marketing tactics for the future.

What is the Importance of Marketing for Small Businesses?

Small businesses often have a limited marketing budget, which makes it important to use marketing strategies that are effective and efficient. Marketing can help small businesses attract new customers, build brand awareness, and increase sales.

When done correctly, marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses. However, remember that not all marketing activities are created equal. Some, such as creating a website or running a social media campaign, can be quite costly. Others, such as writing blog posts or sending email newsletters, are relatively inexpensive.

The crucial thing is to choose the right mix of marketing activities for your small business. By focusing on the most effective marketing strategies, you can get the most bang for your buck and achieve your marketing goals.

Common Mistakes in Setting a Marketing Budget

One common mistake businesses make when preparing a marketing budget is failing to allocate enough money for marketing. Marketing is a vital part of any business, but it’s often one of the first areas to be cut when budgets are tight.

Another common mistake is failing to track results. It’s important to track the results of your marketing efforts so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money at a problem without really knowing if it’s making a difference.

Finally, businesses sometimes make the mistake of thinking they need to spend a lot of money on marketing to be successful. While it’s true that you need to spend some money on marketing, it’s also important to remember that there are many free or low-cost marketing tactics you can use to reach your target market.

When you’re setting your marketing budget, keep these common mistakes in mind. By avoiding them, you can ensure that your budget is more effective and efficient.

Final Say

The most essential thing to remember when creating a marketing budget is that it’s not set in stone. As your business grows and changes, so too will your marketing needs. Be prepared to adjust your budget and marketing tactics as necessary to achieve your goals.

Best Independent Motor Vehicle & Parts Company – Istanbul

Car Company

Finding spare parts is no easy task, especially in the automotive industry. There’s an international audience for these products, particularly from Turkey. The team at TRPARTS is the gateway to these products. In Corporate Vision’s Small Business Awards 2022, the team’s incredible efforts were justly recognised. We dig a little deeper into this impressive organisation to uncover more.

The automotive industry has changed significantly over the years, with manufacturing techniques meaning that it is often difficult to find the spares that keep modern cars going, or the features that some drivers crave. It is the job of specialists in the field to not only source these parts, but to make them available to the market at large. In a field that covers numerous premium manufacturers, the team at TRPARTS stand apart as a premier provider of services to the industry at large.

TRPARTS has built its reputation around the import and export of Independent Aftermarket (IAM), Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Original Equipment Supplier (OES) spare parts. With a range that covers a host of different brands, and enormous variety in vehicles, it’s little wonder that so many people are turning to the team at TRPARTS. They have a proven track record of being able to deliver the after-market products that are in such high demand.

At the core of what the TRPARTS team offer is an eye for quality that quite simply is without parallel anywhere else in the world. Parts that are so consistently produced and of such high reliability give their customers an essential edge over the rest of the competition. It goes without saying that these products cover the whole suite of what car specialists might want, including electrical and body parts for various vehicles, both premium and of volume production.

The team’s extensive range is carefully matched to the complete range that manufacturers have produced over the years. The team has worked with many high-profile brands including Mini, 3M, Peugeot, Ford, Fiat, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volkswagon to name but a few. These partner organisations have been crucial to the continued success of TRPARTS, and their success has been key to many keeping their vehicles.

This means that when businesses turn to the team, they can quickly and easily see precisely what is available to them. Over the years, the TRPARTS team have made it their mission to supply precisely what their customers, and their customers’ customers, want to see in as straightforward a manner as possible.

Of course, with new technologies at play in every industry, this has not been achieved by relying on old-fashioned ways of working, however. Instead, the team have leveraged the many disruptive innovations that have hit industries around the world. TRPARTS has thrived thanks to using Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) information technology-based applications to make their company a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

The team have a host of tariffs that are constantly updated and improved, with ultra-wholesale prices integrated into the very system itself. Actively buying clients can easily find these through the teams’ proprietary solution, PARTS HUB B2B. Other enquires can be directly towards to the team for a quick quotation if needed, no matter how many references are required. It goes without saying that timing is everything in this industry, and the TRPARTS team are eager to advise their clients on when is best to make their decisions.

The team’s eye for technology has also guided the high standard of customer service which they are proud to champion. Finding new ways to constantly challenge the workforce means that the TRPARTS team are never satisfied settling for second best. As such, this is a team that is easily accessible, and happy to communicate with clients through English, German, French, Greek and Bulgarian. These European languages have given the team incredible range in their dealings which has brought them much success since opening their doors.

Turning to the TRPARTS team means that you not only have access to their stunning products and exceptional sales team, but a group of professionals who have experience exporting their products to customers all over the world. Their commitment to quality in every respect means they have built useful relationships with qualified Bulgarian agents. They can provide all of the necessary paperwork and documentation to guarantee smooth passage of your items with ease.

For those who require transport of items as opposed to collecting them from TRPARTS directly, a choice of forwarders is available. Each is chosen because they not only offer a range of different services, but also because they have a host of different packages to propose to customers. It’s not enough to provide the highest quality, because so many people have so many different needs from shipping agencies. Before any shipping decisions are made, however, clients are offered the chance to consolidate their orders once everything has been safely packed in order to improve their profit margins.

As an Incoterms 2010 complying company, the TRPARTS team provides EX-WORKS, CPT, CIP, FCA, CIF and container quotations for customers to compare. With a service that is dedicatedly end-to-end, they are not only experts when it comes to finding the right products, but pioneers when it comes to ensuring that they are delivered safely to their final destinations. Whether items are being transported, by land or sea or air, the team behind TRPARTS goes above and beyond each and every time to guarantee the best possible service for their clients.

Few can doubt the incredible quality of what the TRPARTS team have to offer the car industry at large, with their items being amongst some of the finest the world over. It goes without saying that their tremendous success is because they have set themselves apart from the competition, striving to push the boundaries of how effective spare parts really can be. We can’t wait to see where this forward-thinking innovator goes next!

For further information, please contact Furkan Atilgan via email at [email protected]

7 Principles of Business Localisation That Really Reaches Your Target Market

Business Target

By Emily Rollwitz – Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing

Whether you’re an established company or a new small business, eventually you’ll want to expand into global markets. Localisation can help you reach customers in their native language. Research indicates as many as 90% of customers prefer to shop in their native language. 

For new ecommerce businesses, you should consider it from the get-go. 50% of all Google queries are in a language other than English. Many users won’t engage with your site if it’s only optimised for English speakers.   

 

What is Localisation?

You might think just translating your English content to another language will be enough. You can certainly provide a bit more accessibility to your content that way. Yet, if you want to give the same quality experience to your global customers, localisation is the better option.    

That’s because localisation takes the context of local culture and preferences into account. Rather than just translating the words directly, localisation adapts content to be more relevant to local sensibilities and habits. 

It doesn’t just stop with the words, either. When localising content, everything from the images and colours used to the tone of voice needs to be considered. Local currency, political and legal policy are also essential factors. 

Take a look at this PandaDoc PPC proposal example. Translating the language would be relatively simple. To localise it, you might need to change the pricing and currencies, the third-party platforms mentioned, and even the colour scheme and date format. 

 

Why is Localisation More Effective Than Translation for Marketing?

There are two main pillars that drive most of today’s marketing; personalisation and engagement. Simply translating content doesn’t facilitate either of these goals. 

Effective localisation involves the analysis of the local market and market research. When you have this information, creating engaging content for a new audience is much easier. 

 

Seven Key Considerations for Quality Localisation Strategy

The best advice we could give for localising your content is to think of it as a business strategy. You won’t achieve much if you focus on localising individual pieces of marketing content or web pages. Truly localising your content needs a business-wide approach, whether through social media or digital signage.    

These seven key principles will help you approach localisation with a coherent strategy. 

 

1. Identify & Target Diverse Markets

Seeking out new markets internationally can lead to significant revenue growth. If you’re based in the UK, it can seem sensible to focus on domestic and local European markets for easy logistics. Yet, Asia contains over half of the world’s internet users

Your ideal market could be halfway around the world, depending on your industry. Once you’ve identified your new target market, you need to analyze it. Researching buying habits and preferred communication channels will help you position your localised content.  

 

2. Understand Local Culture to Create Deeper Connections

The key to successful localisation is understanding the local culture. We often take cultural norms for granted. In the U.K, for example, we all recognise red as the colour of warning signs, stop signs, and so on. But in East Asian markets, red has more positive symbolic meanings.  

This kind of cultural understanding trips businesses up more often than simple translation blunders. Working with a localisation partner can help you integrate local cultural ideas into your marketing. 

 

3. Personalise for a Better Customer Experience

It doesn’t matter what market you’re in, today’s customer expects a personalised experience. When you’re building a localisation strategy it helps to keep this in mind. Building geolocation features into your apps will help you personalise content based on a user’s locale. 

Personalising your user experience doesn’t stop there. To fully engage with your global customers, all your after-sales support, marketing, and customer care must also be localised.  

 

4. Internal & External Applications

Localisation isn’t just important when dealing with new customers. There are also business relationships to consider. You may need to deal with local suppliers, business partners, local contractors, and more. 

Your localisation strategy should consider your internal materials too. This can be especially useful if you’re looking to launch an ecommerce app in an international market. Effective localisation will help you work with local software engineers on continuous delivery testing

 

5. Localise in All Departments

All of your customer interaction points will need to be considered in your localisation plan. Ideally, you want to give your international customers the same experience as your domestic audience.  

To do that effectively means not only making your sales and marketing locally relevant, but also your customer service, help center, account management, and shipping. 

 

6. Research Local Currency & Payment Preferences

Apart from the obvious need to translate prices to account for local currency and taxes, there are also payment methods to consider. Different regions have different preferences, in many places, digital and mobile wallets have overtaken debit and credit cards as the go-to method. 

If you want to get the most out of a new market, you need to approach customers where they want to be. That means facilitating their preferred payment channels too.

 

7. Create a Well-Defined Strategy Document

Your localisation strategy won’t mean much if you can’t communicate it across your business. Creating a strategy document can help you visualise your localisation plan and balance it against your existing content strategy and schedule. 

 

Final Thoughts: Localisation for a Global Audience 

Modernising your business is essential to compete in today’s e-commerce world. Localisation should be as big a part of your digital transformation strategy as test automation or cloud applications. 

A modern audience is a global audience. If you’re looking to continue growing your business, then international markets will play a part sooner or later. Consider localisation from the start to avoid costly reworks later down the line. 

5 Signs Your Business Is Ready to Franchise

With no shortage of customers in the United States and a reasonably healthy profit margin, you might be exploring the possibility of franchising your successful business model to share your success with others. One of the industries projected to grow significantly is CBD, which experts believe will reach growth rates of over 27% by 2029.

However, it’s not always easy to know whether you’re ready for such a significant move. Some of the signs below might indicate that you are.

You Have Reliable Vendors

It can be frustrating for customers to visit a physical store or website only to discover their favourite goods are sold out or in short supply. Aligning yourself with a reliable and reputable vendor or supplier, such as Joy Organics, might be one of the first signs that your business has potential for franchising. When you can ensure that new franchise owners can access the same high-quality products as you, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that supply chain issues might not be a problem you encounter.

Your Business Has Firm Processes

If your business runs like a well-oiled machine with processes for everything from cleaning to banking and ordering, it might have franchise potential. When companies function with operations manuals, there are set methods to manage all daily tasks with no room for confusion or mismanagement. As a result, replicating your business model in another location can often become easier.

You Have a Loyal Customer Following

Franchising a business that few people have heard of might not always be a recipe for success. However, if you’ve built up a loyal following as a CBD business, or a business in any other industry, and people travel far and wide to try your products, you might be ready to take that next step. Take note of where your in-store customer comes from and where your online visitors live, and you might gain a sense of where additional stores might be successful.

Other Businesses Are Copying Your Concept

It can sometimes be frustrating to learn that competing businesses are stealing your ideas for their own benefit. You’ve found something that works, and now everyone is trying to claim it for themselves. While you can’t stop other businesses from copying your business format, you can ensure you’re replicating it in as many locations as possible to achieve the profits you worked so hard to gain.

You Have a Team You Can Trust

Many businesses only become the successes they are today with supportive, experienced, and hard-working employees. You need them in your own store, but you might also need them to help franchise owners during the settling-in period of new stores.

Before exploring franchise opportunities, make sure you have a strong team behind you that you can rely on. Rather than stretching yourself too thin by visiting multiple stores to ensure all operations are running smoothly with the new business owners, you can send your valued employees on your behalf. If you already feel like your store is staffed with such workers, you might be on the right path for franchise opportunities in the near future.

When your business is a complete success, it’s only natural to wonder if you could duplicate that success elsewhere. If you can relate to any of these signs above, there’s every reason to believe multiple stores and new income potential might be possible.

Has Shop Local Sentiment Rolled Over into Business Procurement

Sales Assistant Serving Female Customer At Checkout Of Organic Farm Shop

The past few years have changed the way the public looks at shopping. The Local Data Company conducted a survey that showed that between March 2020 and May 2021, there was an increase in openings of local food shops and delicatessens by 11.6%.

This trend comes as a result of the general public wanting to save high streets and local shops, rather than going to a chain or larger corporations. The question we ask is whether this sentiment is reflected in how businesses approach procurement?

In this article, we’ll examine how the trends of procurement for B2B manufacturers have changed in the past two years.

 

COVID-19’s effect on manufacturing

Before looking at how the industry adjusted to the pandemic, we should examine the damage it caused when it first reached our shores.

The Q1 report conducted by GDP in 2020 showed a 2% decline in national earnings compared to the previous quarter. This comes from a drop in services, construction, and sections of the manufacturing industry, while other parts of manufacturing witnessed a demand boom within cleaning products and pharmaceuticals.

Although 90% of manufacturers kept trading during the height of the pandemic, throughout 2020 saw a steady decline in sales and orders, with many businesses seeing a drastic decrease in revenue.

 

Local business spending

With the world changing so rapidly, the general public has tried to retain its local businesses amid the closing of many high street staples.

Large retailers have felt the effects of the pandemic. Shopping icons such as Debenhams, Topman, John Lewis, and Marks & Spencer, have all seen stores around the country close their doors. This all comes alongside the announcement of staggering historic revenue losses of £517 million.

Meanwhile, a study by Deloitte found that 59% of consumers in the UK have made purchases from local shops and services throughout 2020 and 2021. This determination to support local consumer businesses reflects the public’s desire for the personality and community spirit that comes with staying local.

 

Is that reflected in B2B manufacturers?

Manufacturing has been experiencing issues that predate the start of 2020, and moving into January 2021 the Office of National Statistics found that 16% of active trading businesses were experiencing global supply chain disruptions. This statistic rises to 26% when excluding smaller firms of 0-9 employees.

As a result of this, the ONS saw a trend of businesses across all sectors using suppliers within the UK more often. Using a Business Insights and Conditions Survey, Wave 48 saw 58% of businesses using more UK suppliers for things like steel beams or piston rings.

When asked about their decisions to move to more domestic and local B2B suppliers, several businesses stated that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was one of the key factors. With the disruptions to supply chains, we can gather that a move to local and domestic suppliers will create a more resilient supply chain within the UK after years of difficulty caused by Brexit and the pandemic.

 

Will this trend continue?

This is a question that we might find ourselves asking as life begins to return to normal. This could come down to how B2B sales change alongside how businesses are adapting to evolving industry trends.

Trends within B2B spaces are not exempt from changing and evolving, with spending being the prime example. In April 2020, when spending was expected to be lower, McKinsey found that B2B sales were going up and down. This survey showed that spending over a two-week period would both reduce and increase for different businesses, with no discernible reason as to why.

With everyone being forced to work from home and adapt to digital collaborative technology, the B2B manufacturing industry followed suit. This resulted in sales taking place digitally, and McKinsey’s survey found that in the UK, B2B decision-makers were among the 66% who deemed digital to be critically important for their business.

The change in spending for domestic B2B manufacturers and suppliers has been significant. With the shifts we’ve seen in the shopping habits of consumers after world events of the past few years, we can see that similar reflections have occurred within B2B sales.

Whether we see this trend continue or not may rest on UK businesses’ ability to endure and adapt. Bringing in digital technology to assist with streamlining business practices such as sales, as well as maintaining a resilient supply chain, will ensure this trend of domestic B2B sales continues.

First-time Guide to Hiring Employees in the UK

Hiring employee

By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero 

Thinking about a job interview may make you nervous and flustered at the thought. Sharing your skills, answering obscure questions and selling yourself can be nerve-wracking. As your career progresses and you begin to make the transition to a management position, you’re likely to find yourself on the other side of the interview. Here are the most important tips for first-time hiring managers from beginning to end.

 

1. Be prepared

If it’s your first time interviewing a candidate, ask your own manager to join in the process. It can be a great mentoring opportunity to have another senior leader join you for the first few interviews. With this method, it’s important you both talk about the interview process before and after, as well as discuss areas for improvement, ensuring that you use the feedback constructively for your next job interview.

 

2.  Clearly define the role you’re hiring for

Before you get started, you need to understand the role you’re recruiting for and what you expect of the successful candidate. You need to clearly define the requirements, as well as how you’d like to see the role progress over time (from six months to twelve and twenty-four months). It’s important to be transparent with the organisation and the candidate that the role might evolve and change over time depending on what’s required.

 

3. Craft a job description that will make you stand out from the crowd

Use a relevant job title – to nail your job title, you should state what the job is and mention the level and the type of role. 

Story time – You need to share your company’s story to encourage potential candidates to learn more. Highlight your achievements, your mission and core values. You could also include your culture and share some insights about your team.

Be specific with your job description – You need to communicate the role and job responsibilities of the successful applicant so the expectations are set. 

Champion your company’s benefits – Including your benefits and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in your job ads can provide more insight into what it would be like working at your company. It should include what you’re doing as a business to attract and retain employees, and we all know how hugely beneficial for the success of a business.

 

4. Know what you’re looking for in a candidate

When it comes time to hire, you want to have a clearly defined list of skills and attributes you’re looking for. You want to hire people who are humble, hungry and smart – and have the skills and experience to back it up. Ask questions that relate to their past experience, as well as understand where their strengths and areas of improvement lie.

 

5. Determine the interview process

When designing a standout recruitment process, remember that it takes time, consideration and flexibility. You should also be aware that the interview process for a junior role is going to look very different to someone who’s interviewing for a senior leadership position:

  • Determine the number of interviews rounds (junior roles typically require less than more senior roles)
  • Clearly define who the candidates will be meeting within your business
  • Determine whether a task will be required to be completed by candidates and what the task will be

 

6. Block out time for interviews 

By setting aside 1 or 2 hours in your calendar for potential interviews, your HR team can give the candidates time slots when you’re available. This will ensure no meetings are double booked and you’re prepared if an interview were to pop up on the same day.

 

7. Use an applicant tracking system to streamline your recruitment process

An applicant tracking system is one of the most effective ways you can hire and manage candidates through the recruitment process. Information is coming from every direction, and this could feed back into the candidate’s experience. The last thing you want is to give off the impression that you’re a highly disorganised business, especially when the hunt to secure great talent is so hard right now.

 

8. Ask relevant questions when interviewing for the position

When it comes to hiring, it’s essential that you know what skills you’re looking for. Have an interview checklist prepared and tick off the must-have skills and qualifications, as well as the nice-to-haves. As a first-time hiring manager, being prepared with questions that can assess an applicant’s skills, personality and working style is an absolute must. 

 

9. Partner with your HR team or an external recruiter

Sometimes, it might not be viable to do the hiring yourself. In this case, you’ll want to lean on your HR team or an external recruiter to help you find the right fit for your open role. You’ll want to brief the team you’ve engaged with to help and set the tone so you can all be as transparent as possible.

 

10. Follow up promptly with the outcome

When applying for jobs, hearing of the outcome can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if the candidate is really keen on securing the role. The best thing you can do as a first-time hiring manager is to get back to candidates promptly and let them know of the outcome – whether this is the next step or a final decision.

Challenges Newbie Amazon Sellers Face When Selling on Amazon

Online sellers constantly search for new opportunities to break into a larger market. Amazon is among the numerous eCommerce sites attracting millions of online sellers worldwide.

The Amazon marketplace is one of the most active eCommerce marketplaces, with around 1.9 million active sellers. Its established online presence and vast reach make Amazon highly attractive to online sellers. Furthermore, Amazon as a brand has a large and loyal following online.

Amazon in Numbers – What Makes Amazon Marketplace Attractive for Sellers

Amazon is a top destination for retail eCommerce because of its consistent growth and attractive sales performance. The following performance data persuades online sellers to become Amazon third-party merchants.

Third-party Amazon sellers now account for almost 60% of Amazon sales since they were allowed to join the marketplace back in 1999. Amazon is an ideal starting point for those building their brands, for around 52% of online shoppers are willing to purchase items from unfamiliar brands. Online sellers flock to Amazon because 75% of online shoppers use the website to discover new brands and products. Independent third-party merchants all over the globe have experienced increased sales by more than 55% from April 15, 2020, to January 15, 2021.Amazon offers a brand analytics tool to help third-party sellers accelerate their brands. Over 500,000 sellers are using this tool for brand and product discovery. Online sellers turn to Amazon to take advantage of the company’s far-reaching influence. Currently, Amazon operates 16 stores worldwide, which allows more avenues for business growth.

Amazon Marketplace Challenges A Newbie Seller May Encounter

The information mentioned in the preceding discussion encourages many online sellers worldwide to venture into Amazon. However, beyond sales and numbers, newbie Amazon sellers should consider the challenges they could face when selling on Amazon.

To help you prepare your Amazon campaign, here are some critical insights concerning the potential challenges you may face when selling on Amazon.

Cash Flow

Cash flow refers to the amount of cash going in and out of your Amazon business. It is crucial for your business to maintain a positive cash flow to keep it running. A study revealed that 29% of eCommerce businesses fail due to insufficient cash flow.

One of the common challenges Amazon sellers face during their business’s early stage is the negative cash flow. A negative cash flow means more cash is going out of your business operation than coming in.

Every online seller knows that negative cash flow can stifle your business operation. Cash flow is crucial for scaling your Amazon business; without it, you are at risk of discontinuing your business operation.

To help you avoid negative cash flow and to keep your business afloat, you should create a monthly budget for your expenses and operations. Learn to negotiate with suppliers for potential discounts or improved payment terms. Furthermore, you may also consider external financing.

Excessive Competition

The influx of sellers has made the Amazon marketplace highly competitive, which is why newbie Amazon sellers face the challenge of outselling their competitors.

Selling on Amazon means facing aggressive competitors, so newbie Amazon sellers should utilize Amazon seller tools to maximize their earning potential. Amazon Seller tools such as repricers and keyword research tools can provide a competitive advantage over other third-party sellers.

Amazon Price Wars

If you are new to Amazon, you should familiarize yourself with the Amazon Buy Box. Third-party merchants compete for the Amazon Buy Box, which often leads to price wars.

Amazon price wars refer to the repeated price slashing of competitors to reduce their listing prices. This action stems from the belief that the lower the price, the greater the chances of winning the Amazon Buy Box. However, such a belief is invalid and detrimental to your profit margin.

In order to increase your chances of winning the Amazon Buy Box without sacrificing your profit margin, you can use Amazon AI repricing software to automate the repricing process.

Amazon Returns

Another challenge newbie sellers will encounter when selling on Amazon is product returns. Like any other retail industry, product returns are inevitable when selling on Amazon.

To resolve product concerns, Amazon introduced Amazon Returns to shoppers. It is a solution that allows Amazon customers to return or exchange products having legitimate problems, either in quality or quantity. Sometimes, an Amazon refund is the likely solution when product exchange is impossible.

Amazon returns or refunds will definitely require time and effort, not to mention restocking fees for returned items outside of Amazon’s return policy.

To lessen the resources spent on product returns, newbie sellers should have proper record keeping and familiarize the Amazon returns process. Moreover, knowing the reasons for returns can also help decrease the likelihood of product returns in the future.

Amazon Restrictions

Amazon has been quite strict regarding specific products, listings, or categories. Category, product, and listings restrictions are among the challenges newbie sellers might encounter when selling on Amazon.

Amazon implemented these restrictions to safeguard its customers from purchasing counterfeit or illegal items. The very essence of category restriction is for Amazon to provide a safe and pleasant shopping experience for online shoppers.

To avoid dealing with restrictions and penalties from Amazon, it is best first to check the restricted category, product, or listings. It is highly suggested that newbie sellers avoid products that Amazon subjects to further scrutiny and additional requirements due to legal and regulatory restrictions.

Maximizing Your Business Potential

It is inevitable for newbie sellers to encounter challenges when selling on Amazon. Like any other form of business, a challenge means an opportunity for growth.

One of the reasons why Amazon is an ideal place for sellers looking to grow their eCommerce retail business is the availability of seller tools that help you efficiently overcome business challenges.

From product research, repricing, advertising, and data analytics, Amazon seller tools can streamline and optimize your Amazon business practices. These seller tools are designed to provide you with the help you need to maximize your business potential.


How Can You be Successful in Franchising?

If you’re looking for a new project but you’re not interested in starting from scratch, buying a franchise could be a highly effective way to start running your own business.

Even major international companies run franchises, including the Starbucks chain, which oversees approximately 700 franchises out of its 1000 UK stores.

By joining a franchise brand, you’ll become part of a much wider network of franchisees – and benefit from the support of a larger team. In the following guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make sure franchising works for you.

1.      Choose the right franchise

Seeking out the most suitable franchise for you depends on much more than just your finances and the current market. It’s crucial to pick one that aligns closely with your values and your approach to work.

For instance, overseeing a fast food chain would be entirely different to running an educational company. Choosing a badly matched franchise could be an expensive mistake, so it’s imperative to take your time in the process. You should consider:

What you want from a franchise

What exactly are you looking to get out of this investment? Do you need something you can dip in and out of, or are you willing to commit full-time? Do you need it to replace your current salary?

How much money you have to start one

When it comes down to your budget, you need to be realistic. A franchise takes time to be profitable, so you might need savings as a safety net.

Your future team

It’s important to hire the right people, but you’ll also need to provide quality training for your staff, too. Don’t forget to factor this into your plan.

2.      Budget for the initial investment

You need to have enough money to get your franchise off the ground.

Determine just how much you have available to invest, how much you can risk, and how much money you need to live on for at least the first twelve months. Understand your commitments and make sure any financial decisions have been carefully thought out.

3.       Focus on customer satisfaction

Focus on customer satisfaction and aim to provide five-star customer service – in turn, you could see positive reviews on TripAdvisor and other websites start flooding
n, boosting the credibility of your business.

If you’re running a franchise business in the food and drink industry, hygiene should never be overlooked. It’s your responsibility to ensure that employees are always wearing gloves and hand protection if they’re required to touch food, kitchen equipment, or to clean toilet areas.

4.      Network

If you’ve just launched a franchise, you’ll be able to make the most of some fantastic networking opportunities in the early days. Get involved with your local community to raise awareness of your
brand, and network with other local businesses and competitors.

Franchising offers scope to connect with other networks, motivating other key industry figures, but it’s crucial to stay aware of the risks, too.

Most Trusted Mortgage Brokerage – GTA

Mortgage Specialist

As Ontario’s foremost mortgage specialists, Your Mortgage Your Way – a company under the umbrella of The Mortgage Centre – has won the above award and the award for ‘Customer Service Excellence’ in 2022 due to the diligence and tenacity it displays at every turn. Nominally, its efforts have propelled it to the forefront of its industry, allowing it to become a totally successful and comprehensively trusted team that builds long-term and reliable relationships with its clients across its time in their service.

YourMortgageYourWay.ca has developed significant renown in its industry by making itself a partner to its clients. Working hard to be trusted, reliable, and well-developed, its mortgage services represent the wider umbrella company of The Mortgage Centre well, allowing both companies to grow their reputations as companies that always put the client first without fail in the service of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada in the macro scale. It achieves this kind of service by maintaining its incredible values across each one of its services. Your Mortgage Your Way boasts a huge range of solutions that can make all the difference for a client looking for the right kind of mortgage product for them.

Critically, it knows that such a process can be time consuming and stressful, and it wishes to take both factors out of the process, instead giving clients the ability to trust in the professionals to be looking out for their best interests. As Toronto’s front-running mortgage brokers and mortgage consultants, it offers the chance to benefit from unbiased mortgage strategies rivals any number of its competitors, as well as an interest only service, adjustable rate, short and long term fixed rate mortgages, and more, putting the power back into the customer’s hands regarding what they want their mortgage to look like.

Moreover, the client is also invited to choose a mortgage that is assumable, transferrable, or portable, with a prepayment privilege that ensures a client has access to a prepayment privilege. This is a critical element of its business model – and something clients all across the spectrum have lauded as exemplary – as it allows them to bring down their mortgage balance sooner rather than later, granting them control over when and how much they pay into their account far more than the offers made by its peers.

The Lenders and Associations that work in conjunction with it are a variety of different professionals, as well. Nominally, its staff shop around to find different banks, credit unions, and trust companies each of which are screened closely to see how they might help its clients to meet their financial needs and serve their financial goals, tailoring each of its services to fit a wide range of demands. In addition, Your Mortgage Your Way works with Mono Line Leaders such as First National Financial LP, MCAP, Centric Mortgage, CMLS Financial, Home Trust, Optimum Mortgage, Canadiana Financial Corp, Merix, and more, with insurers like Sagen, CMHC and Canada Guaranty also proud to partner with it.

This shows that not only has it been able to endear itself to its customers, but to its wider peer group. Its industry is one in which the development of a good, stable, and reliable network is pivotal, and the trust that such companies put in YourMortgageYourWay.ca by allying with it are an excellent ‘show don’t tell’ method by which customers can see how it might benefit them. Encouraging clients to get in touch post-haste – with email and phone numbers available through which a client can speak to one of the incredible, diligent, and customer-first staff members that make up its ranks – it welcomes engagement with its agent tools and pre-approval process both.

Involved in its agenting tools, it offers a full welcome wagon package that ensures no one will be left in the dark regarding its agent aimed tools and resources, giving them access to a huge range of brand logos for websites and prints as well as the ability to access a CMS system called Salesforce. Such elements are making mortgage agent services that much easier to organise and get into, with training videos included that would walk a newcomer through the entire process. Thoroughly, every element of Your Mortgage Your Way as a business has been developed to put people first.

It also includes a wide range of calculators through its online platform that allow a client or visitor to consider a wide range of options from the comfort of their own home, in their own time, and without any additional pressures. These, each of which have proved incredibly well designed and are widely used, include a refinance interest savings calculator, a mortgage qualifier calculator, a rent versus buy calculator, and even a mortgage payoff calculator, all of which give a client the information they might need in seconds and with the highest levels of accuracy.

The incredible level of web development and thought that has been put into its website is clear from the very first visit, and is just the beginning snapshot of how much of a delight this company is to engage with on a professional and client based level. Indeed, the testimonials and glowing reviews that it receives from customers past and present reflect this. Again visible through its website, as well as through third party platforms, such reviews unfailingly mention the timely, respectful, and knowledgeable aspects of the work its staff perform. Their staff make a busy, stressful, and crowded market that much easier to navigate, taking away the mysticism from the process and replacing it with solid, dependable, and facts-based research delivered without unnecessary jargon and with personable, friendly customer service.

For further information, please visit yourmortgageyourway.ca