Seasoned Experts

Hurricane moving through countryside in USA

When a crisis arises, people don’t want to quibble over their insurance policy. They want to know what resources they have, in order to get back on track as soon as possible. Often, however, policyholders find themselves underpaid on the settlements they not only deserve but need to move on. Working hard to right these wrongs is Henry Rodriguez of Municipal Claims Management Services. Named as a Leader in Insurance Claims Management 2021 – Florida in Corporate Vision’s series on Corporate Excellence, we took a closer look to find out more.

When Hurricane Andrew slammed Florida in 1992, Henry Rodriguez found himself in a curious position. He was working on an apartment building renovation in Miami, a project that had an abundance of material and manpower, when he was contacted by family and friends. In the aftermath of this catastrophe, they had found their insurance lacking. Sitting in his uncle’s roofless house, Henry was stunned to hear that his uncle had received a check for $20,000, while the cost of repairs was in the region of $150,000. It was the first time Henry examined an insurance policy, and the start of a long and happy career.

Over the last thirty years, Henry had become one of the leading lights of the insurance industry, acting as a Certified Insurance Appraiser, Adjuster, and Umpire. As CEO of Municipal Claims Management Services, he has become a trusted partner with individuals and organizations across Florida and the surrounding states. Henry still lives in Florida, and his familiarity with the devastating social and financial impacts of hurricanes is what drives him to achieve success for his clients every day.

Henry’s work has seen his team working with all sorts of organizations, ranging including Policyholders, Insurance companies, Governments and Municipalities, Law Firms, and HOAs to settle disputed insurance claims efficiently and effectively through Appraisal. His word is based on years of experience in the field and is trusted throughout the industry. For this reason, he is often called upon and court appointed to serve as Umpire in a myriad of cases.

The challenges of negotiating fair claims with insurance companies after any loss are naturally numerous, and the field requires an expert to ensure that homeowners and commercial policyholders alike understand their options. This must be done before potentially costly and time-consuming litigation takes place. When someone is in trouble, help is needed quickly, and it must be effective enough to really make a difference. Because of his long and hard-won experience, Henry Rodriguez is the first port of call for many who need a helping hand to get back on their feet.

The role of an insurance company adjuster is to settle the claim as quickly as possible, for as little as possible. Often adjusters are under immense pressure to meet strict loss ratio guidelines that protect the profits of an insurance company. When a team takes on Municipal Claims Management Services, they take on a team that is committed to providing accurate estimates.

Historically, many firms have taken a confrontational approach to these cases, but at the heart of every decision made by Henry Rodriguez and his team is a commitment to fairness to all sides. The team look at the contract between the client and their insurance company to understand precisely what has been committed to by all sides. It is steadfastly transparent in its operation, with integrity and professionalism at its core. Some firms promise the stars, but the team at Municipal Claims Management Services utterly commits to what you can claim. It’s a defensive approach that anticipates what might be contested and allows the team to prepare a comprehensive answer backed by an overabundance of proof.

It’s not unfair for policyholders to want clarity in what their policy provides, especially when it comes to avoiding misunderstandings and receiving what they have spent years of their lives paying in for. Municipal Claims Management Services brings this strong sense of fairness to every case, making sure to act objectively when bringing their years of experience in the field to bear on insurers. Their knowledge means that loss can be quickly, properly resolved when all parties act in good faith. Vigorously defended and precisely presented when need be.

Over the years, Henry and his team has had an enormous impact on the industry. Their work has been instrumental with the development of stronger building codes brought about by the work done with experts in many disciplines. Much of this is based on his diverse experience working alongside insurance companies, contractors, engineers, architects, building officials, and other subject matter experts. They are just a small part of a comprehensive network of associates who share his passion for fairness when it comes to insurance.

As a result of this work, he has had great success with large-scale emergency claims management. These cases are notoriously complex, with many different factors at play. Ensuring a sense of balance throughout is not easy but certainly key to ensuring success.

Alongside his successful career advocating for fairness on behalf of clients, Henry has been instrumental in the authoring of jargon-free Standard Operating Procedures that are applicable to various industries. All of these have been approved by Federal and State Government Agencies. What are by design complex industry practices have been broken down into simpler steps, held to the standards of transparency that Henry uses in his all work as appraiser or umpire. For clients, the ability to empower themselves to take on large insurance companies is due in no small part to his impressive body of work and a crew second to none.

For his work appraising losses nationally and internationally and his ongoing commitment to his local community through disaster recovery and advocating for fairer insurance policies, Henry has been recognized and applauded across the state of Florida and beyond. He was awarded prestigious ACAC Certifications, as well as two Certificates of Recognition by Mayor Regalado of Miami and Vice Mayor Suarez and Mayor Muhina of the City of West Miami. These awards are a credit to his significant accomplishments and exemplary citizenry.

Since those humble beginnings in the wreck of his uncle’s house, Henry has committed himself to ensuring that people have access to the support they need and deserve. It’s not just a financial settlement, but a way of moving forward at a difficult time. As such, when faced with even the most disruptive circumstances to themselves, their loved ones, or their property, clients can confidently rely on their partners in insurance matters, Henry Rodriguez and the team at Municipal Claims Management Services.

For business enquiries contact Henry Rodriguez at Municipal Claims Management Services via  [email protected]

Hiring the Right Office Manager

Office Manager

Nowadays, it sometimes seems that the art of customer service is lost. You can feel it when you’re eating out at a restaurant, have a question in a store, or just need general help from an employee anywhere. The art of customer service is thus in high demand not only for external clients but also for internal ones. That makes it more critical than ever that when it’s time for your company to hire a new Office Manager, that they exhibit exemplary internal customer service. You want someone who can do more than make you the perfect iced coffee; they need to juggle all the tasks in the running of the office day today. 

 

High EQ

One often overlooked quality that a high functioning Office Manager must possess is a high EQ. A candidate with high emotional intelligence will be able to handle the sometimes high-stress levels that come with running an office. When you have someone that is able to roll with the punches and maintain their positive mindsight, this trickles down to the entire office staff keeping the mood optimistic for everyone. 

 

Communication is Key 

A robust communication skill set may seem like an obvious trait someone you’re looking to hire would have. Still, sometimes, interview settings for this type of role are so professional, it’s challenging to get a feel for how much of a fluid communicator the prospective hire actually is. Not only do they need to have strong non-verbal communication skills making them able to communicate with the staff via correspondence effectively; they also need equally strong verbal communication. Having this ensures they can understand the needs of both team members and management and relay them accordingly. 

 

Organized and Creative 

Finding the right candidate who is both parts organized as well as creative is a must. Creative Office Managers benefit the work environment by making them excellent problem solvers and setting a creative, positive workplace for team members. Organized Office Managers are able to oversee multiple projects and situations at one time effectively. Being organized allows them to effectively delegate tasks, manage progress on said tasks and ensure they’re entirely correct on time. 

 

Honesty 

Honesty is a trait that is important in all employees and that much more important in the person you’re hiring to run your office. Knowing that you have complete faith in the person you’ve hired to run things allows you to relinquish control to them. You know that they are responsible enough to make the right decisions for the day-to-day of business and accept responsibility when they may sometimes make the wrong decision. Typically office managers are in charge of banking, so naturally, they need to be trustworthy. They are also in charge of most hiring, so their honest opinion holds serious weight and potential consequences. 

 

Tech Savvy 

In today’s workplaces, it’s not a “plus” if someone is familiar with dealing with technical things; it’s a necessity. Most processes today are technical in nature, so you need someone knowledgeable and competent in this area. Technical knowledge includes phones, computers, and other systems as necessary. The Office Manager will be responsible for training new employees in these areas and troubleshooting the systems as problems arise. 

 

Natural Leader

Maybe they weren’t born a natural leader. Still, unless all your candidates have a profound amount of experience, you want to make sure that you’re hiring someone with strong leadership capabilities. The Office Manager will, in fact, be in charge of leading the office and the team members within it. Someone with strong leadership skills can motivate and encourage team members to get tasks done correctly and efficiently. When everyone is working at a substantial level, this keeps morale high as well as increasing employee retention. 

 

Flexibility 

An Office Manager needs to be pretty flexible. Change is a given and constant, and a strong Office Manager can switch gears seamlessly and keep things flowing evenly. They need to be able to make decisions at the moment and keep the entire team on track when directions change. 

 

By adding these to your list of things you’re looking for in your potential new hire for the role of Office Manager, you’re sure to find someone that you can trust to run things as you would in your absence. Good Luck!

How to Effectively Manage Profits and Losses

Profit & loss

There is more than one way you can measure the success of your business. It could be the fulfillment it gives you or the positive feedback you receive from customers. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the business’s profits and losses. You need profits to keep the company afloat and expand it. However, the profits won’t come without a fair share of losses. However, when you effectively manage profits and losses, you can figure out how to keep your business in operation. These few tips shed some light on how you can do it right.

Monitor the Profit and Loss Reports RegularlyAs an entrepreneur, you are most likely familiar with the profit and loss statement, commonly referred to as an income statement. The income statement is a critical document that breaks down the revenues and expenses of your business. However, it only makes a difference when you make good use of it.

You could decide to generate an income statement at intervals of your choice. It could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. You might consider generating the report frequently to stay in touch with the situation of your business. Each time you or your accountant generates the report, take some time to analyze the numbers. By studying various patterns, you can figure out how to increase the profit margin or cut down the expenses. For instance, the statement could tell that your business is spending way more than the revenue stream allows on the internet. By correcting such loopholes, you not only cut down expenses but save the business from long-term implications.

 

Hire a Financial Advisor

It’s almost second nature for an entrepreneur to avoid paying someone for something they can do themselves. However, sometimes it’s the only sensible option. For instance, hiring a financial advisor in San Diego or another major city to manage your wealth. The pros of getting professional help when it comes to finances outweigh the cons. A financial advisor has specific training you may lack on various money matters, and you could use the insight.

For instance, a financial advisor keeps you on your toes when investing the proceeds from your business. But, they also do more than advising you on your investment. It could be tax planning, investment rebalancing, spending strategies.

A financial advisor will save you time. As the business owner, you already have so much on your plate. When you have someone taking care of the finances, you get more time to focus on other business aspects. They are also less likely to miss mistakes in your books. To get the most out of your financial investment, be sure to ask all the right questions at the first meeting. What services should you expect from them? What’s their area of specialization? Do they have references?

 

Manage Cash Expenditure

Besides monitoring the profit and loss statement of your business, you need to do more. You need to ensure that you grow revenue and have savings to help your business through tough times. That way, you can invest in new business ideas, get the latest infrastructure, hire a skilled workforce, and much more without sending your business into a financial meltdown.

Unarguably, as your business grows, you might find it incredibly challenging to track down every dollar spent. However, a few significant decisions could help you manage cash flow and lower costs. For instance, you might consider consolidating your purchases. That gives you a bargaining chip when negotiating. Another tip that could save you a lot involves making it known to your vendors that you are getting outside bids. However, do it subtly, as opposed to rubbing it into each other’s faces. You stand a better chance at getting fair prices when vendors know there is competition. You might also consider making expenses variable where possible to align with the business’s revenue.

 

The Bottom Line

Profits and losses are just one aspect of measuring a business’s success, but a crucial one. If you don’t manage them effectively, you could be facing the risk of bankruptcy. However, when managed right, you could see your business thrive tremendously.

Global Greatness for Leading Coaches

Woman leading a business meeting with 5 employees at a conference table

Building a global coaching network is no easy thing, and yet it has born enormous fruit and success for the team at Global Coach Group since it was first founded. Today, the firm has two main business lines and has achieved the title of Best Global Leadership Coach Training Provider – 2021 in the latest issue of Corporate Vision Magazine. To find out more about the firm’s business and how it has become the best global leadership coach training provider this year, we profiled the company.

Serving multinational companies, organizations, and individuals alike, Global Coach Group offers leadership coaching services that bring the skills and techniques necessary to be the best leader you can possibly be. For individual leaders, the firm helps them with their personal growth into becoming a better leader and supporting them in improving their professional performance through making more of an impact as a leader within their organization.

The firm serves coaches with training and certification in International Coaching Federation (ICF) accredited leadership coaching certification programs. As a truly global leadership coaching organization, Global Coach Group integrates its coaching with innovative technology services for an increasingly digital and modern world. The changes in technology over the last few years have not only changed coaching, leadership development, and organizational learning but it has also changed how professionals lead and interact with their teams and co-workers. 

At Global Coach Group, the firm enables professionals to lead for good in the era of digitalization. The coaching provided gives companies and organizations clear visibility over what and how much their leaders are improving along with a clear coaching ROI, and the certifications provide coaches with all the training, coaching resources, tools, and technologies they need to support leaders in reaching their next level of professional performance.

With experience in a wide range of industries and organizational levels across the world, Global Coach Group’s global network of 3,500+ certified coaches skillfully apply the firm’s highly effective, yet bespoke coaching process, across many languages, geographies, and cultures. With a staggering 95% success rate, global CEOs down to high potential leaders have reached their next levels of their leadership in today’s volatile and uncertain world with the support of Global Coach Group coaches. In particular, the work of the leadership coaching certification business that the firm provides is the award-winning aspect that helps coaches to support individuals and organizations alike navigate the uncertainty of the world as it is today. Global Coach Group provides leadership coaching services to multinational companies, organizations, and individuals through its certified coaches. 

Once a coach is fully trained and certified with Global Coach Group, they are eligible to coach leaders on the firm’s digital coaching platform. This is a win-win scenario for all sides. For leaders and organizations, this guarantees consistent quality that comes with all coaches being trained and certified in-house in a coaching process that guarantees measurable results. And for coaches, they are given the opportunity to deliver life-changing coaching to transform good leaders into great leaders.

There are several unique value propositions for coaches that want to be a part of what Global Coach Group is building, and they are Best Coaches, Best Coaching, and Best Results. With Global Coach Group’s Coach Certifications, coaches are a part of an elite network of coaches that deliver guaranteed success with the proven coaching process, focus more of their time on coaching itself due to the firm’s own innovative platform, and coach more leaders by coaching the firm’s multinational clients along with their own personal clients. This is what separates the firm’s Coach Certification Programs from other coach training and certifications out there, and the idea of Best Coaches, Best Coaching, and Best Results is attractive for so many reasons to so many people. For instance, take the Best Results element of the certifications. 

Coaches implement a proven yet bespoke process that addresses the specific challenges & individual needs of leaders. Plus, with exclusive use of the firm’s digital coaching platform coaches are able to maximize their reach and coach leaders around the world. Wherever, whenever. In tandem, the coaching process delivered on the coaching platform gives leaders and organizations alike insights and measurable outcomes to celebrate their success. All certified Global Leadership Coaches get exclusive access to the firm’s innovative coaching platform. The platform streamlines the entire coaching process by removing nearly all time-consuming work before and after coaching sessions for both the coach and the leader. 

By removing this time-consuming work, more time can be spent with the coach focusing on doing what they do best: coaching leaders to maximise their potential. At the end of the day, coaching clients look for one thing, and that’s measurable results. Global Coach Group’s proven process has consistently delivered measurable results for leaders and organizations worldwide, with 95% of leaders who have been coached through the firm’s processes reporting measurable growth as perceived by those around them. More impact is felt by leaders, organizations, and companies around the world, and in collaboration with more time coaching and coaching more leaders, makes for a powerful combination.

Everything that Global Coach Group does is focused on people, whether they be the leaders and organizations that benefit from growth and improved performance or the coaches that the firm is training and certifying. The firm operates with an ethos of Lead for Good, a mission that is formed from a passion for changing the world of leadership. Global Coach Group practices what it preaches, offering a coaching culture within the organization that supports employees to learn new skills and become greater assets to the future of leadership. By building people up to reach their full potential, the Lead for Good mission that Global Coach Group is on certainly delivers success in big ways for its staff and its clients alike. All employees share this vision for themselves, being Good for People, Good for Progress, and Good for Permanence, which is a key part of Lead for Good.

However, for all the success that Global Coach Group has experienced over the last few years, there have also been challenges. In particular, the most recent and prevalent challenge has come in the form of COVID-19, and the worldwide pandemic status of the virus. When COVID-19 struck, the firm could immediately sense that the world had changed. It was certain that this change would sweep across its industry like a wildfire, and it certainly did, especially when the firm saw the way that coaching delivery had been changed forever. Global Coach Group realised that if it wanted to support leaders to thrive, not simply survive, then it would need to change the way coaching was delivered. In other words, embrace the fact that digital is the new normal, especially given that much of the world was working remotely due to COVID-19.

So, that is what Global Coach Group did; it changed the way it delivered coaching and made things better for a digital era. By combining its coaching methodology with innovative technology, coaches can now support leaders in times such as these, when they need to support the most. Instead of coaches being labelled non-essential visitors, the coaching technology assures coaches that they can continue to deliver value to leaders without being there in-person. This adaptation has positioned Global Coach Group perfectly to address the changing leadership development needs that Fortune500 clients and other multinationals have. These are changes that would have come eventually, and Global Coach Group can now look forward to an exciting future at the next level of coaching evolution.

Looking to the future, Global Coach Group has one, simple goal; to change the world of leadership, one leader at a time. This mission is supported by a network of certified coaches all over the world, who are committed to delivering life-changing coaching to leaders and organizations everywhere. With the potential for global scaling and further growth enabled by the firm’s innovative platform, there is plenty to admire here. Global Coach Group is an outstanding global leadership coaching organization, and one that has perfectly adapted to the needs of the modern world as it has been affected by COVID-19. It is fully deserving of this recognition, and there is sure to be more success on the way for the business.

For business enquiries contact Will Linssen, CEO of Global Coach Group via www.globalcoachgroup.com

The Value of Onboarding and Training for New Hires

Onboarding

Some don’t understand the value of a good onboarding and training program for new hires. Investing in this aspect of your business is more important than you might imagine, and you’re going to learn all about it. The following are some perks of optimizing training for new hires.

 

Attracting Talent

Attracting good talent is hard. Offering perks and good pay works, but that’s not enough sometimes. Top talent wants the chance to succeed in your company. They want to do well in your company, which opens doors for them. Your company needs to make it easy for top talent to succeed, and for that to happen, you need to have a good training program. If your onboarding program churns out great employees, then talented folks will want to stay because they know you’ve created an environment where employees succeed.

 

Outsourcing Perk

Onboarding and training programs are costly. There’s no doubt about that, and they take up a lot of your company’s time. Sometimes, this isn’t something you are willing to do, and that’s okay. You could look for companies that offer iOS bootcamp for entry-level developers or whatever type of employees you want to train. You won’t have to worry about optimizing your training program if you rely on a trustworthy company that’ll do that part for you. It’s a good investment because your team can concentrate on what matters to your company. You also get to choose a program with positive reviews, which should make new talent feel like you’re providing the tools they need to succeed.

 

Engaged Employees

An onboarding program helps employees to stay engaged. It would be nice to say that all employees are engaged with their jobs and are grateful to have one, but that’s not the case. If you don’t properly engage your employees, they won’t work as hard or effectively as possible. An unengaged employee looks at your company as a paycheck, nothing else. That makes it easy for them to leave you the moment someone else offers better pay. You know that employee retention is vital, and if you don’t have it, it costs you.

 

Business Growth

Engaged employees who care about your business and are proud to be with you help your company in another way: They help you grow. This is the case because they are working hard to see your business succeed. These types of employees will be actively looking for solutions, opportunities, and anything else that could help you because they believe it’ll help them. On top of that, engaged employees usually offer excellent customer service. Again, they believe in the company and want to represent it as best they can. You know how important good customer service is, especially if you want your business to continue growing. If you’ve been having trouble with this and your onboarding program isn’t great, making this change could make a difference.

 

Stronger Connections

Having a good onboarding program means you’ll be helping to create strong connections between your employees. Having a good connection is great because that encourages employee retention, but it also allows your company to run better. The more your employees can connect, the easier it’ll be for them to work together. As you know, a team that works well together is much more effective. Since your entire team went through the same training, new employees should have an easier time connecting to some of the employees in your company that has been there longer.

 

These are some reasons why having a good onboarding program is a good thing for your company now and later. It’s important to work on the program consistently to ensure it’s effective.

3 Tips to Grow Your Business Faster

Grow your business

As a small business owner, you probably have a desire to grow your business at a faster pace.

Although you have everything in place to more than satisfy the wants and needs of your target audience, your business may be growing at a slower rate than you had expected. 

If your business plan has failed to materialize into a thriving business, it may not be your fault. You are not doing anything wrong. You have not chosen the wrong market, nor are you running your business inefficiently.  

Your problem may be more elementary. There is nothing wrong with your business per se — you just don’t have enough customers.  

Rather than hoping more customers will eventually show up once you bump up your advertising budget, there are more cost-effective ways of acquiring new customers. 

Here are three tips to attract more customers so that you can build your business at a faster clip

 

1. Find Customers in Your Area

Work with a contractor locator service to get customers in your area. If you work as an affiliate for a contractor locator service like Networx, they will arrange and help you take advantage of Networx reviews for your services so that customers come directly to you based on positive things they have heard about your services.

 

2. Leverage the Power of Instagram

Many small businesses use Instagram with great success. 

You can benefit from the reach of Instagram to find your customers even if you run a brick-and-mortar company because you can use it to drive traffic to a website where customers can find out more about your offline business. 

Instagram is a social media platform that allows you to market your business by becoming an influencer in your niche.

By using strategies like optimizing your biography, hiring a professional writer to post unique content, and developing a posting schedule, you can quickly grow a following on this platform.

 

3. Master the Art of Networking

Despite its reputation as an excellent way to build a business faster, many business people are reluctant to network. 

Interestingly enough, the reason for this aversion has nothing to do with the efficacy of networking. Instead, it is due to a popular misconception about the nature of networking: a curious conviction that you need to be loud, boisterous, and pushy to succeed at networking.  

There is absolutely no truth to this idea. Introverts can do as well as extroverts at it. Networking is effective because people like to do business with people they get to know and whom they come to like and trust. Overbearing people are unlikely to earn referrals.  

It’s more realistic to think of networking as the art of getting along with people, cultivating skills like good listening and clear communication. It’s also the art of delivering your marketing message subtly, in a manner that doesn’t sound like you’re bragging or pitching a sale.

The easiest way to get started with networking is to attend networking events. Organizers encourage attendees to mingle, develop business relationships, share industry information, and establish professional credibility. 

 

Build Your Customer Base 

The secret to growing your business at a faster pace is to build your customer base. You can build this customer base in two ways. The first way is to look for effective ways to get new customers. The second way is to nurture existing customers so they become brand advocates.

While most businesses are fine with nurturing customers, they struggle with getting new customers. The good news is that you can grow your customer base rapidly by using just a few proven customer attraction strategies.

Wearer Well-being: How Much Could Work Uniforms Help Staff Save?

Restaurant employees including chefs and waiters in black and white uniforms

Matching together work-appropriate outfits to wear Monday to Friday tends to be a rather stressful and expensive process for the most of us- let alone the investments we make for our weekend clothing attire too.  Although having the freedom to choose what we want to wear at work every day is an exciting concept, those who do this will know that the novelty of such wears down eventually- and the financial burden soon takes its toll on our annual free spending. Even more so than what you might think too.

From a business owners’ perspective, you might not have even considered how much of your employees’ incomes are going towards buying office attire. As a business owner, you have the responsibility to ensure your staff are healthy and happy at work- and relieving the financial burden of buying office outfits can go a long way to help show your support.

With this said, here at Jermyn Street Design- suppliers of staff uniforms, we have compared the cost of four clothing stores on the market and calculated how much on average it costs to buy an entire work wardrobe per year in the UK- and just how much money business owners could be saving their staff by opting for a work uniform. 

 

Shirts, Tops, & Blouses

Depending on where you prefer to shop, the price range differs. For those that prefer to shop at the likes of M&S, men’s T-shirt’s are priced on average at £18 for three tees, this being the same price for three bought at Topman.

For women’s office attire, the average cost of three blouses from Boohoo stands at £36. As for clothing store rival Topshop, staff will find the average cost for three blouses’ is £89.97. For an alternative to blouses, the average price of three tops stands at £25.50 in M&S and £29.97 in H&M.

 

Jackets & Winter Wear

With the colder months approaching, your staff are likely to be investing additional sums of their income on warm wear for the office.

For those formal business meetings your staff have approaching, they could find the average cost of purchasing a men’s smart jacket/blazer to suit the occasion costs them an average of £69 in M&S. As for a more informal alternative for men, two casual jacket’s costs an average of £53.25 when comparing all four stores together.

When it comes to women’s workwear, employees can expect to pay £70 for two casual jacket’s from M&S and £50 at Boohoo. Our data also finds that smart women’s jackets don’t come cheap either, with Topshop charging on average £110 for two jackets and M&S charging £70.

 

Trousers & Skirts

Regardless of the season, trousers are the ultimate go-to work attire for many employees- and finding a pair that is both office appropriate and comfortable comes at a financial expense.

For men, three pairs of dark smart trousers are valued at £76.50 in M&S and £74.97 in Topman. For women’s trouser choices, the price of three pairs of smart trousers is £66 in Topshop and £43.20 in Boohoo.

Since many opt for a skirt to wear to work instead, these cost on average £105 for three in Topshop and £53.97 for three in H&M.  

 

Shoes

To add the final finishing touch to every work outfit, shoes are what is needed. Whether these be boots, heels, or smart shoes, all add an extra cost to the workwear shopping list.

For the likes of men’s smart shoes, these are valued at around £30 for a pair in Topman and £35 in M&S. As for a more casual choice of footwear, the price of three pairs of casual shoes stand at £90 in Topman and £75 in M&S.

Heels are a popular go-to for a sophisticated contribution to any office outfit. For two pairs of heels in Topshop, this will cost employees on average £52. As for a single pair of boots for a flatter alternative, these are valued at £65 in M&S and £35 in Boohoo.

 

The Receipt Summary

When broken down, the prices of different clothing garments don’t seem too much of a financial strain. However, this adds up to quite a hefty sum. To show the true extent of such, we have created the following tables.

For Men Quantity M&S Boohoo *Topman H&M
White T-Shirt
3
£18
£10.50
£18
£11.97
Dark T-Shirt
3
£18
£10.50
£18
£11.97
Sweatshirt / Hoodie
3
£58.50
£25.20
£44.97
£29.97
Slim Fit Jeans
3
£67.50
£42
£74.97
£53.97
Dress Shirt
3
£27
£37.80
£44.97
£53.97
Over Shirt
3
£58.50
£42
£36
£59.97
Dark Smart Trousers
3
£76.50
£42
£74.97
£44.97
Casual Jacket - Denim / Bomber
2
£79
£49
£35
£49.98
Smart Jacket / Blazer
1
£69
£55
£49
£49.99
Casual Shoes
3
£75
£53
£90
£59.97
Smart Shoes
1
£35
£14
£30
£24.99
Total
£582
£380.50
£516
£451.72
For Women Quantity M&S Boohoo *Topshop H&M
Blouse
3
£45
£36
£89.97
£38.97
Top
3
£25.50
£24
£30
£29.97
Cardigan
3
£58.50
£48
£89.97
£41.97
Sweater
3
£45
£36
£89.97
£38.97
Dress
3
£88.50
£43.20
£89.97
£59.97
Smart Trousers
3
£22.50
£43.20
£66
£38.97
Jeans
3
£58.50
£36
£89.97
£44.97
Skirt
3
£45
£30
£105
£53.97
Casual Jacket
2
£70
£50
£70
£39.98
Smart Jacket
2
£70
£48
£110
£49.98
Heels
2
£45
£32
£52
£33.98
Casual Shoes
2
£78
£80
£96
£33.98
Boots
1
£65
£35
£35.99
£24.99
Total
£717
£541
£1014.84
£530.67

As shown above, your employees could be spending over £1,000 of their wages on a work wardrobe alone- and that’s only based off an average too! For many staff, their workwear spending will greatly exceed this amount. Put into perspective, that unnecessary expenditure could be going towards the likes of a gym membership, or a weekend away with the family, or even a new car.

As we get halfway through 2021, saving money for a post-pandemic holiday would be a great boost to morale, so encourage employees to save their cash where possible and help with workwear costs.

*Topshop and Topman are no longer trading as individual brands and are now exclusive to ASOS. Prices mentioned are a guide and correct at the time of publishing.

Putting the DO in Your Business To-Do List: What Every Business Needs to go the Distance

Business Success

If you’re in business, you know every day presents a new pitfall or challenge that may potentially threaten the growth of your endeavors. Owning and managing your business isn’t for the faint of heart, but the rewards can be lucrative and satisfying.  That’s why you keep striving to fuel the ongoing momentum that leads to the fruition of all your hard work.  In the spirit of sustaining the livelihood of your business over the long haul, here are the top three “to-do’s” and basic practices that can help your business stay strong and stable now and long into the future.

 

Working the Long Game:  3 Basic Practices Your Business Needs for Longevity

The secret sauce to long-term business survival isn’t a secret recipe at all. It’s all about prevention, and protecting your business so your assets and efforts can weather any storm it may encounter. Here are some tips that will help maintain longevity for you and your business.

 

1) Stay Organized

It may seem like the most absurdly obvious practice, but you might be surprised at how many businesses crumple like a cheap suit when it comes to staying organized. Keeping your records, accounts, and client information organized is crucial to sustaining your business in the future.

Consider these gripping questions while you think about the organization of your business: What if I’m audited by the IRS? What if my business is slapped with a lawsuit? What if I’m held liable? What if my business partner bails? 

For every one of these “what ifs” (and a million others that crop up when conducting business), do you know exactly where to look for supporting documentation to cover your assets amid these threats? Having employee records, business contracts, warranties, and all the mountainous business documentation available for proof and evidence isn’t easy to handle. However, cataloging all these mounds of minutia is vital to keeping your business running efficiently.

If organizing isn’t your thing, then hire an employee in charge of maintaining and keeping fundamental paperwork (electronic PDFs, and/or hard copies) filed in supreme order.  Better yet, consider contracting a consultant who can assess your business’s organizational needs and centralize essential memorandums and pivotal documents so you never have to dive through another chaotic pile of papers to justify your business’s position again.

 

2) Install Backup Plans

Plan B is great if plan A doesn’t pan out, but in today’s business, you need plans C-Z to make sure your business survives long-term.  Backup plans are not supposed to be exclusively for cases of emergencies or failures. We’re talking contingency plans set in place to keep you, your employees, and your business stabilized in every scenario. 

Some backup plans include implementing structured procedures for your employees about proper business practices in any situation. Another example of backup plans deals with literally backing up your network, online information, and e-data on a cloud or external server so your information is safe and secured in the event of an outage. 

The ultimate safety net for your business lies in negotiating insurance contracts so your assets and employees are safeguarded. Insuring yourself and your business is a titanic and necessary practice when it comes to seeing your business thrive in the future. Don’t rely on good luck to protect your business. Plan for success by establishing reliable, preventative measures so your business is protected today and long into the next century.

 

3) Encourage Communication

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, your long-term success relies on staying connected with your clients, customers, employees, collaborators, service providers, etc.  Transparent, clear communication is epic when it comes to keeping your endeavors online and ongoing. 

Mistakes in communication can kill results in your business and shove a major roadblock onto your path towards upward mobility in sales and success. Too often, business owners get stuck in a rut, making them inert or inflexible to feedback. Don’t be a victim of this grave error in business practice. 

Listen to your customers. Take notes about what your employees are suggesting. Communicate effectively with your vendors, and establish clear understandings about the expectations of your business agreements.  This may seem incredibly oversimplified, but keeping your finger on the pulse of communications about your business is a top-ranking solution to maintaining success in the long run.

 

Going to Infinity and Beyond With Your Business

As a business owner, you’ve proven yourself as an individual with grit, stamina, and guts. No one is questioning that. However, the everyday details to keep a business running and growing long into the future requires attention to details.  

If the ancillary essentials and particulars about preparation and fall-back plans aren’t in your wheelhouse, then seek out third-party resources that can help you with these basic elements to help keep business flourishing. Whatever way you choose to tackle these 3 must-do’s on your to-do list, always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in terms of the longevity of your business.  

Is Salary Finance the Solution to High Cost Loans?

Salary Finance

The high cost loans industry including payday loans has always come under fire for charging exorbitant interest rates and creating further financial problems for those who struggle to repay.

Around 3 million Britons take out payday loans every year, with around a quarter of them unable to pay them back and often caught in an ongoing spiral of debt.

The FCA, the city regulator, has made significant ground to regulate the industry which has seen a strict authorisation process and daily price cap. In addition, with ongoing compensation claims and refunds, the payday loans industry has diminished from more than 200 lenders to around 30 in the last 5 years.

The demand for high-cost loans is still very consistent, especially since it is an anti-poverty measure and the ability to apply online and get funds into your account in 15 minutes remains a very appealing proposition.

However, the role of salary finance is starting to gain momentum and some argue that it could replace the need for payday and other high cost loans.

With salary finance, provided by the likes of Wagestream, Hastee and Salary Finance, people are able to draw down their wages in real-time from the employer. So if a person has worked 14 days, they can receive the amount they have earned upfront, rather than wait until payday. There are limits to how much you can take out and how often, to avoid people becoming overly dependent, but the service is interest-free to the employee and is considered an employee benefit.

With salary finance companies receiving millions in funding, they have the scalability to become household names and truly replace high cost lending. It requires employers to sign up and whilst there are more incentives for large firms with thousands of employees, it is now a matter of getting SMEs on board too which make up 61% of the country’s employment .

Beyond salary finance, there are other alternatives and well-funded startups that promote good replacements to high cost lending. This includes peer to peer platforms such as Fund Ourselves and The Money Platform which allows individuals to lend out to other borrowers, earning an interest depending on their credit risk appetite. This creates a diversified way for people to lend out money but also for people with bad credit scores to get access to the finance they need.

In 2012, the payday loans sector was at its peak and worth around £2.2 billion. Today it is worth less than £100 million. With strong regulation and compensation claims, the industry is slowly and slowly diminishing. There will need to be something to take its place and this is likely to come from innovative and well-funded startups. Whether this is salary finance, only time will tell.

5 Business Upgrades to Consider in 2021

Business upgrades

Businesses have to make upgrades every so often, ideally every few years, to keep up with the times. Some updates should benefit your business. Others should help your customers or employees. If you know it’s time for some changes but aren’t sure what those changes should be, consider the following five business upgrades for 2021.

 

1. Cybersecurity

One crucial update you should consider is cybersecurity. More businesses are doing things online nowadays. This is a trend that won’t stop anytime soon. The internet is here to stay, and while it does offer businesses a lot of perks, it also exposes them to dangers. Many small business owners think they’re too small for criminals to take notice of them, but that’s not true. Small businesses are targets. This could expose customers’ private data, and that’s not something any budding business wants to admit. It takes a long time for a business to recover after a breach and even longer to get customers to trust your brand again. Even if you didn’t do this on purpose, you’d be blamed for it.

 

2. Better Parking

Another exciting upgrade you can make to your business deals with parking. Every person who comes to your place of business should be able to find a good parking spot. This requires updated parking plans, but you shouldn’t stop there. 2021 is a new year, and you should embrace the world of tomorrow. You might want to install several electric car charging stations for customers and employees as a way to welcome the world of tomorrow. The number of electric cars on the road is growing quickly. Some customers and employees may have these cars. Having a charging station tells the world you’re ready for the future, making you seem more appealing.

 

3. Move Towards the Cloud

If you still haven’t made the move, you need to move your business to the cloud. This can be a pain in the neck because it means transferring a lot of data to the computer, but it will be worth it in the end. Searching for data should be much easier since you can do it all online. This also means you can share information with your employees online through a secured cloud. This makes it easier for your workforce to work remotely. It will also be easier to work with third parties since they won’t have to visit your place of business.

 

4. A Portable POS

The point of sale doesn’t have to be in one place. The point of sale or the POS could be portable. Typically, this is a tablet but could just be a phone. You want to update your payment system to something like this because more customers are expecting this kind of technology. Your employees can walk around the store and check out customers without them standing in line. The other reason you should invest in a new POS system is so that you can accommodate new payment options, like chip or mobile wallets.

 

5. The Greener Changes

It might be a good idea to update your business by investing in green or eco-conscious changes. They don’t have to be too elaborate. For example, you can install sun tunnel skylights throughout your place of business. These things give you the full power of the sun, making your business feel illuminated, and you didn’t have to turn on the lights. You may also want to consider upgrading all your windows to UV protective and energy-efficient windows. You’ll save money with windows that keep the interior feeling comfortable. Make the changes you can make; just make sure you highlight these changes because being eco-conscious is profitable.

 

You’ve got several great upgrade ideas here, so just choose the ones that fit your business best. 2021 is a new year, and it’s time that your company embraces tomorrow.

The Evolution of Frictionless Payments

Closeup of hands using contactless payment and credit card against a blue background

Frictionless payments are essential for e-commerce platforms to reduce the barriers between online shopping and completed checkouts. The buying process needs to be easier for both the customer and the seller, because an enjoyable user experience leads to higher conversion rates and fewer abandoned shopping carts.

Effective frictionless payments are essential for both large and growing businesses. When done right, frictionless payments improve the checkout process by eliminating waiting times, which creates a faster checkout experience. It’s all about reducing barriers and the steps towards a completed sale. Ultimately, frictionless payments should feel like a natural part of the customer experience.

Understanding how frictionless payments have developed and reviewing the history of buying processes will help us understand how businesses will be able to continue their growth in the digital age. So, let’s explore the evolution of frictionless payments and predict how businesses will drive higher conversion rates and create better customer experiences in the future.

 

1950: Debit and credit cards

The credit card was developed in the mid-twentieth century, but it wasn’t until 1973 that the card payments system was computerized. This frictionless payment reduced transaction times to just one minute and gave rise to the era of electronic consumer payments. Computerized payments would eventually allow for future online transactions, where e-commerce businesses could contact banks to finalize payments with ease. In 1994, Stanford Federal Credit Union in California was the first financial institution to offer online internet banking, leading the way for online transactions to begin in 1995.

 

1999: 1-Click

Bookseller turned global conglomerate Amazon patented an online transaction process called ‘1-Click’ in 1999. This allowed customers to buy products with just a click of a button. Items could be purchased at the product level, without adding to a shopping cart, meaning that customers could buy a product in a flash. Voila: no shopping cart abandonment. With 1-Click, personal details and your bank account details are stored online, safely assuming that users are content with the same delivery address and bank account being used for every transaction.

The patent has since expired, meaning a flurry of businesses can now utilize this frictionless checkout method. Given the global average rate for shopping cart abandonment is 69.8 per cent, skipping over the shopping cart means that e-commerce businesses can maximize their conversion rates and generate more sales through this simple process.

 

2003: Chip, pin, and tap

Going back to credit and debit cards, a more recent development contributed to the evolution of frictionless payments. In 2003, the introduction of Chip and PIN in the UK allowed cards to store data in a small chip on the face of a card. This data could then be accessed using a four-digit PIN, authorizing the payment. The American conversion to chip and PIN was announced in 2012 and completed in 2015.

Not only did this process increase efficiencies for both customers and businesses by automatically authorizing payments rather than signing a receipt, but it also curated a secure form of payment. Only those with access to the card and the secret PIN could access the account. The advance demonstrates how frictionless transactions can be made easier, but importantly, more secure at the checkout.

Contactless payments were introduced in 2007, making the checkout process even easier. Today, one in five card payments is contactless.

 

2011: The mobile revolution

As mobile phones became smaller, they became as much an essential accessory as a wallet or purse. They’re with us all the time. So it’s not surprising that these handheld devices have become ingrained in the checkout culture. Leading mobile manufacturers, Google, Apple, Android, and Samsung all launched digital wallets between 2011 and 2015, allowing users to complete transactions with them rather than their debit or credit cards.

These transactions had the added security benefit of authorizing payments through a fingerprint or facial scan. Furthermore, these digital wallets could be used in-store or online, storing personal data to automatically fill in those arduous forms with personal details, delivery addresses, and billing addresses. The innovation helps further speed up online sales and transactions.

 

Now and the future…

As online transactions become easier and quicker on the customer side, some obstacles for businesses to achieve a completely frictionless payment remain. Businesses must ensure that they balance the risks and rewards that come with streamlining checkout and ensuring protection from fraud and abuse.

As the popularity of omnichannel sales, digital wallets and one-click buying continues to develop, innovative ways to maximize sales without being affected by fraud and abuse have been developed. Commerce protection platforms, such as Signifyd, drive automated decisions on all transactions, approving more good orders and recovering lost revenue from chargebacks. This streamlines the customer experience, limiting the need for authentication forms and processes. Overall, commerce protection platforms feel like a natural part of the checkout process, going unnoticed by customers, and they can increase conversion rates by four to six per cent on average.

Frictionless payments will continue to improve, creating better customer experiences and improving business performance. As more sales move online, and transaction speeds and efficiencies increase, it’s important to tackle attempts of fraud and abuse. At every stage of the evolution of frictionless payment, new processes are helping to make every transaction safer and more worthwhile for customers and businesses.

The 10 Jobs Which Have Lost More Than Half Their Workforce In the Last 16 Years

A pair of gloves used for heavy lifting on top of a ladder

A number of highly skilled job roles are at risk of disappearing in the near future should new talent not be recruited, a new analysis of workforce data has revealed. 

The trade trends report 2021 released by Skills Training Group has found glass and ceramics process operatives, toolmakers and wood machine operatives are among several jobs where the total number of staff working in these roles has more than halved since 2004. 

Having analysed 16 years worth of data from the Office for National Statistics, the report has been able to identify the jobs most in need of reinvigorating. 

With the number of glass and ceramic process operatives declining by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2020, the analysis found this was the occupation most in need of new talent. In total, there are 9,200 fewer glass and ceramic operatives now than there were 16 years ago. 

While the decline amongst typists (65%), assemblers (65%) and printing machine assistants (63%) has been slightly more modest, these job roles are also facing the brunt of modernisation. 

The top ten declining jobs:

Profession All person in trade (Oct 2004 - Sept 2005) All person in trade (Oct 2019 - Sept 2020) Total decrease over 10 years
Glass and ceramics process operatives
12000
2800
77%
Typists and related keyboard occupations
113000
39600
65%
Assemblers (electrical and electronic products)
60400
21400
65%
Printing machine assistants
24000
8800
63%
Rubber process operatives
11900
4400
63%
Playworkers
58200
22100
62%
Street cleaners
9900
3800
62%
Tool makers, tool fitters and markers-out
24900
9800
61%
Paper and wood machine operatives
55700
22500
60%
Print finishing and building workers
27200
11000
60%

While it is evident that due to technological advancements the demand for many of these jobs is likely to be greatly reduced in the future, a number of these roles will still have an important role to play in society for many years to come. 

Commenting on the research and how businesses recruiting for these job roles can attract young people, Mark McShane, managing director at Skills Training Group said:

“In order to encourage young people to take up positions in these job roles it is important businesses across all industries engage with youngsters, sharing their success stories to encourage a new workforce. Communication and marketing needs to be a big part of the recruitment process – young people will better engage with clear and smart communication. Companies and industries that make noise, engage with social media and shout about what makes these job roles attractive will see the tide change in the amount of people wanting a job.”

To find out more about the report as done by Skills Training Group, visit their website to read the full study.