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An Insight into the Different Types of Courier Services

An Insight into the Different Types of Courier Services (via Rabid Office Monkey)

An insight into the different types of courier services Whilst most of us are very much aware of the importance of selecting a good courier service for your shipping needs, most of us don’t really understand the differences between the types of couriers out there: Hauliers, freight forwarders, carriers…

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Insuring and protecting your business

6953770941_ea4f3c8b0dNo matter where you are in the world, the need to protect your business is always important. Your business is a direct reflection or connection to your personal financial success. When facing difficult costs and expenses, you are the one who often feels it the worst. More than just being the owner, you clearly have a strong need for the business to do well.

With this in mind, here is a quick look at the various forms of available insurance for business, and why you should be investing in such protection. Whilst the simple matter of insurance itself is easy to understand, the argument being that it costs a little to protect yourself against a greater potential, it helps to understand and appreciate what risks are involved and just why such financial protection is important.

In some cases, many of these may be compulsory, but even if they’re not, they aren’t a bad idea either. These all cost a little, but they save you lots of money when you look into the costs you could otherwise end up facing.

Liability

Virtually every business can, at some point, be at risk of liability. All it takes is one unhappy member of the public, in the case of public liability, or a dissatisfied employee, in the form of employer’s liability. In both cases, causing injury, damage or other circumstances can lead to liability; if found guilty, the compensation can be expensive.

Fortunately, there is specialised insurance for both public and employer’s liability. Both are recommended, unless you don’t employ someone, to cover yourself from all angles as far as liability claims are concerned.

Indemnity

Mistakes can happen and, when they do, some customers or clients can be very unforgiving. When dealing with indemnity cases, the costs can easily soar. As such, specialised personal indemnity insurance is perfect for both small and large businesses. It only takes a single mistake or error to cause indemnity, so it’s something you might want to be prepared for.

Assurance

Finally, don’t forget that many of these forms of insurance can be used as assurance. When dealing with customers and clients, the right insurance shows you are serious. It also offers a security blanket for both parties involved. Should the worse happen, the client knows you have the insurance to help you pay and you, on the other hand, aren’t faced with all the costs to bear by yourself.

So there it is, a comprehensive summary of the key forms of business insurance that as a business owner, must not be taken lightly. After all, your business is your baby and you cannot afford to let it be destroyed by misfortune or disorganisation. The perils of failing to insure your business is by no means a risk worth taking.

Affiliate Marketing – The Basics

Most people have heard of affiliate marketing and have a basic idea of what it is about. In simple terms affiliate marketing is a method of getting a product or service out and about and having others advertise it for you for a small commission. It is an entirely legal, ethical and well-recognised method and best of all it suits all parties involved.

Why Do Businesses Choose Affiliate

Imagine for a moment that you want to sell hundreds of your flagship product which in this case might be a celebrity endorsed super-wok. Having a website banner or widget on the sidebar of fifty food-genre bloggers with great readerships which fit the demographic for the product is likely to result in a boost in sales.

Getting Started

Many bloggers and websites deal with, or receive communications from PR companies. These contacts may be invaluable when it comes to getting started with affiliate marketing management as often affiliate representatives and other marketing agencies are either part of the same team or work alongside each other. A quick email to ask whether they know of any affiliate marketing schemes that are currently recruiting could prove fruitful.

Well-Known Affiliate Programmes

There are many affiliate programmes to explore if you are looking to earn extra and these are great places to start.

1)      Google Affiliate Network

Being a Google product this affiliate platform is one of the more popular ones. Publishers (those publishing widgets on their sites and blogs) have an easy to use interface through which they can track their campaigns and earnings with ease. Payments are thought to be quick and easy to arrange.

2)      Amazon Affiliates
There are few people who haven’t heard of and don’t buy on occasion from Amazon. Using a widget to advertise selected books, games or other products and encouraging visitors to click through and buy is a good way to start building your affiliate income stream.

Tools

There are many tools on the market which claim to help you increase your income when involved in PPC campaigns however these two are often considered the most useful.

1)      Wordtracker
This is a handy and easy to use tool which helps you to find appropriate and successful keywords that you can use in your campaigns. When looking to draw people in and convert clicks to sales this may be helpful.

2)      Google Analytics
What was once Google Website Optimizer is now Content Experiments which may be found within Google Analytics. GA will help you maximise the effectiveness of the content on your website in terms of attracting and keeping visitors engaged long enough for them to utilise your affiliate badge or link.

This is a basic introduction to what affiliate marketing is, does and why you should consider it. Have a look at the tools described and see how easily you could monetize your blog and enjoy a second income stream.

Guest Post by: Duncan Cumming
Having established his career in digital sales and marketing, Duncan formed his own SEO in Berkshire agency, Cayenne Red. Along with the running of his business, Duncan spends time writing informative and helpful articles about the different areas of online marketing.

Guest Post- Content creation: clarifying and dispelling the myths

Many executives have a thick skin and a well-rehearsed eye-roll ready for when new buzzwords emerge in their meetings. Some of those we know have hailed ‘content creation’ as today’s chief offender. Although it might sound straightforward – after all, there’s alliteration involved here – we’re always happy to explain exactly what this means.

Put simply, ‘content,’ in a general marketing context, could be anything. Words, pictures, videos, emoticons, mp3’s, haikus, shelf assembly instructions, anything. And it’s to that end that, as ‘content creation’ continues to rise to the fore in business, the phrase could use some tweaking.

It doesn’t really include – or even infer – what this ‘content’ should do. It’s objective is far more important than the process. It’s a means to an end.

‘Content’ in any guise has to have a purpose, whether it’s to prompt an emotional response, convey information, deliver a call to action etc. To that end, it might even be worth considering ‘marketing message adaptation’ or ‘message translation.’

Having said that though, anyone working at a creative agency has to think beyond simply what the client wants to achieve, when creating content.

I work across all aspects of marketing, but internal communications is especially close to my heart and I have two golden rules for content creation in this area:

  1. Keep your staff informed
  2. Keep your staff engaged

I’ve collaborated with so many HR divisions on revamping company intranets or internal newsletters and, before I start a project, I like to make a point of approaching the workforce for feedback on what they like or dislike about things as they stand; I regularly come across the same thing.

There’s a genuine appreciation of the information, but – as a busy team often have to skim through a company newsletter, for example, in their free time – there’s usually a request for more variety and a truly accessible style & format. Simple things like a less corporate tone and the introduction of complementary, general interest features greatly increases the likelihood that a newsletter will be read in full.

In short, the audience should always be the first consideration. Obviously, the subject matter has to be relevant to them, but it’s about being sensitive to the average concentration span or wise to their vernacular and the social media platforms they use. Savvy marketers, who work across a series of disciplines, base their proposals on a balance between the aims of the company and the preferences of their stakeholders, way before creating that all-important content and deciding which channels to use.

Guest Post from Sam Rainey, McGrath O’Toole: Internal comms specialist Sam Rainey was invited to join Leeds-based McGrath O’Toole as managing director last April, to develop the client services function that drew upon his 16 years’ experience in the creative and experiential event sectors.

Customer services: an extension of your brand and values

“As an internal communications specialist, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”

“As the managing director of an agency, with responsibility for all client relations, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”

“As a regular patron of the convenience store on my street, I cannot stress the value of good customer service enough.”

Seeing a pattern emerge?

It doesn’t require an industry expert to explain the importance of good customer service. In fact, as you might expect, that privilege usually belongs to your clients. I can put forward some pretty interest facts related to this area though; for example, 81% of customers would be willing to pay more in order to receive superior customer service. That’s a personal favourite.

‘Customer service’ usually makes people think of a retail scenario, but it applies to pretty much any sector you can think of. There are always customers as there’s always someone that benefits from the product or the services you provide. Otherwise you wouldn’t be paid to do it, would you?

Client service doesn’t only apply to making sure you always do a good job all of the time without issue. In fact, I’ve always said that an issue or problem dealt with effectively can actually be more beneficial than just doing a good job all of the time. Generally we expect good customer service and as a result we tend not to talk about it that much. We’re more inclined to moan about being poorly treated, or maybe wax lyrical about a speedy and sensitive resolution if a problem arises.

A customer-facing team are much the same. They’re expected to be empathic, efficient and good communicators by default. It isn’t until an employee goes truly beyond the call of duty, or possibly aggravates a client, that a particular transaction becomes noteworthy.

Because each customer should feel truly valued, and yet call centre operatives, retail assistants, front of house teams etc. can deal with hundreds of individuals on a daily basis, it’s essential that attributes of your corporate brand identity – put forward through your internal communications strategy – mirror those that will help a workforce achieve consistent excellence in their customer service.

Cynical decision makers might frown upon a brand built upon terms like ‘friendly’, ‘warm’ or ‘personable’ as part of a brand identity.  But, every conscientious employee endeavours to stay true to the identity of their company’s brand, using it as part of their role’s blueprint. Although an individual’s personality traits can never be underestimated, a brand identity that is easily implemented across a busy, customer-facing work environment is far more likely to be reach your client base.

Think of it this way: the easiest way for a member of your team to convey that your company is ‘friendly’ is to be friendly when dealing with clients. It’s the same for a company that wants to be seen as ‘understanding’ or ‘sympathetic.’

A brand identity that’s ‘optimised’ for those working in customer service – which draws upon personality traits that lend themselves to best client-facing protocol – is often the most successfully translated to stakeholders.

Guest Post from Sam Rainey, McGrath O’Toole: Internal comms specialist Sam Rainey was invited to join Leeds-based McGrath O’Toole as managing director last April, to develop the client services function that drew upon his 16 years’ experience in the creative and experiential event sectors.

What You Need to Know When Buying Land for Business

Planning to establish your own business and searching for an office space? There are lots of details that need to be taken into consideration when buying land especially for business. Thorough search is required to get a premium land at affordable prices. Here are some important tips for buying a plot for your business and cracking the best deal.

Things to Consider

1. Premium Location:

Depending on the type of business you want to start, location is the most important thing that may determine the success of the business. You may want to consider the top business locations but they usually cost too much and there is a lot of competition for the ideal location as well. So depending on your budget, business domain and size, you can also consider buying a plot in the residential areas as well. There are many most happening residential areas and you can definitely consider buying residential plots in Pune that are close to the IT areas and other major spots.

Here are examples of some types of business locations:

  • For an eatery, places near cinema halls, colleges, and railway stations are the best locations.
  • Software parks provide attractive deals for an IT company.
  • In case of manufacturing units, availability of raw material and utilities in the vicinity of the unit is essential.

2. Analysis of Real Estate Developers:

Once the location is decided, now it is time to look for real estate developers in that area. Every day hundreds of ads are published in newspapers and internet about the property sales. It’s not important to go out search yourself; you can always search for the ads like plot for sale in Pune, residential plots in Pune etc and contact the publishers, agents via phone or email. This will help you get in touch with more sellers in short period of time. Approach them or the real estate agents to find proposed property rates by different developers. Also, check for any special offers or discounts on the property.

3. Select the Seller:

After analyzing all the real estate developers, decide from whom to buy the property, try to negotiate with the seller. It may be possible that you are able to save some money which you can later invest in the business.

4. Legal Check of the Property:

Finding a plot for sale in Pune is not difficult but to get a genuine one with no legal issues or problems, it is important to take some time and do the research. To avoid legal hassles, it is mandatory to do a background check of the property. Check if the property is approved by any financial institution (public or private sector bank) and the title is cleared by the government development authorities. If possible hire a lawyer to check the authenticity of the property papers. Double-check all the terms and conditions associated with the property and ensure that there are no hidden charges in the land deal.

5. Utilities Availability:

Another factor that is also important to consider when buying land is the availability of the utilities like electrical supply, water, and telecommunication systems in the area. Non-availability may cause problem in future and affect the business.

6. Payment for the Property:

It is recommended that if possible try to make the payment in cash. Going for the loan option from financial institutions may be time consuming and expensive. For example, if the land cost is 15 lakhs and a loan of the same amount for 10 years is taken, then the buyer may end up paying somewhere around 20-25 lakhs at the end of the tenure. This may be a huge amount in the initial stages of business establishment. So try to save more and snap the best deal.

7. Registration of the Property:

Get the property registered to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction. This can be done at the state department office of the registrar. Procure all property papers from the seller.

All the above discussed points serve as a checklist to look for when buying a plot for business.

The Verdict:

Well, as you see, buying a property for business and buying it clean without any issue and just about on right price, is bit of a work. You need to consider a lot of things like explained above while going for one. If you are short on time and want to get settled and started quickly, do consider taking help of a professional agent or experienced legal person. There are hundreds of residential plots in Pune that get published for sale every single day.

Just do your homework well, study every legal procedure and documents requirements, take professional help and start your business with a boom! Enjoy.

Top 10 legal issues for start-ups

Launching your own business? According to Start-Up Britain, 125,517 businesses have been started this year (and counting), so you’re not alone. But make sure you protect yourself and stay on the right side of the law by swotting up on the top ten legal issues you need to be aware of.

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1. Business type

It’s one of the first questions an entrepreneur will ask themselves, and one of the most important: What type of business are you, and what are the implications? Your options are to be a:

  • Sole trader: this is easy to set up but a high-risk choice. If your business fails, you’ll be personally responsible for paying back any debtors using your personal assets.
  • Partnership: this means more than one person is liable for the business. You will both be registered as self-employed and will have to fill in individual tax returns. Be sure to have the terms of the partnership enshrined in a partnership agreement.
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP): there will be more paperwork involved in setting up a limited liability company and you will have to give HMRC your accounts records and tax return every year, but there is less financial risk involved. If the company folds, you will not be personally liable for any outstanding debts.

Private limited liability company (Ltd): Popular with professional services companies, each partner is classified as self-employed and enjoys the benefits of being a limited company (i.e they only stand to lose what they invest if the business fails).

2. Intellectual property and copyright

When you’re choosing your business name and branding, or even honing your product, you’ll need to make sure you’re not infringing any copyright laws, trademarks or patents to avoid getting fined before you even take your first order.

If you’re developing something new or want to safeguard your brand identity, protect your competitive advantage while you have it by patenting it or registering a trademark.

3. Health and safety

Before you start trading or hiring anyone, make sure you have a health and safety policy and you’ve carried out a risk assessment so you don’t fall foul of the Health and Safety Act.

You’ll have to consider providing clean toilets, enough space between desks, good lighting, a reasonable level of ventilation and set a comfortable temperature. If your business will use hazardous chemicals or machinery, your obligations will be even more stringent.

4. Franchises

Franchises are an attractive option if you’re looking to take on something with an established brand. But it’s important you read and understand all the small print so you know exactly what’s expected and what protection you’ll have.  Make sure that the terms are in line with the British Franchise Association’s Code of Ethical Conduct.

5.Tax issues

You have certain legal duties when it comes to your tax payments which will vary depending on your legal structure. Check if you should be VAT registered, what national insurance payments you will have to pay or if you’re obliged to fill in a tax return.

6. Employment law

You are legally bound to buy employers liability insurance if you plan to take on staff and you should make yourself aware of your main obligations.

For instance, you will have to pay staff the minimum wage or higher, give them a certain amount of time off between shifts and provide them with a secure and safe working environment. There are also a host of laws relating to parents’ rights when they get pregnant or after their child is born.

If this is too daunting for you, it might be best to seek the advice of an employment solicitor — this is an area you can’t afford to ignore.

7. Environmental concerns

There are certain things you’ll have to do to make sure you’re not breaking environmental laws, such as disposing of your waste appropriately. If your business will produce a large amount of air pollution or you’ll use hazardous chemicals, you may need a special permit. It’s best to check what your industry-specific requirements are with the Environmental Agency.

8. Do you need a licence?

Some business types will need to have a licence to operate, especially if there’s a potential risk to the public at stake. Some of the instances in which you’d need a licence include:

  • If you sell food or drink
  • If you use hazardous chemicals
  • If you will operate in a public space managed by your local council
  • If your business will operate and make noise late at night

9. Protect yourself

If your business sells advice rather than a tangible product and your client isn’t happy with your service (and suffers as a result of it), professional indemnity cover will buffer you from a costly lawsuit.

If your business is public-facing, you should consider public liability insurance in case a member of the public is injured while on your business premises.

10. Data laws

You’ll probably collect a huge about of data from both your customers and staff, and it’s vital that you have plans in place for protecting that data so you don’t breach the Data Protection Act and put people’s privacy (and your reputation) at risk.

You will have to consider how you collect and store data and be prepared to disclose what data, if any, you hold about somebody if a customer exerts their legal right to ask you.

Are you a recent start-up or are you thinking of setting up your own business? What are your biggest legal concerns?