Archive for December, 2016

How Does Sales Tax Affects Your Online Purchases?

In a recent infographic about global taxes, Villanova University covered a wide range of taxes we commonly come across. Sales tax is certainly among the most frequently paid taxes for consumers, affecting everything from groceries to online purchases we make from top stores. Sales tax is also added to a wide range of items, including the gadgets you pick up online.

There are basically two types of sales tax. The first one is inclusive sales tax. According to the university’s Online Master of Science in Analytics department, inclusive sales tax is added to the cost of goods sold directly, so customers don’t really see it added to their receipts. On the other hand, exclusive sales tax is the one you see at the bottom of the receipt, usually listed as Tax.

 

You can learn more about sales tax as well as various other types of tax by reviewing the complete Global Taxes infographic by Villanova University.

Work On The Road: 5 Features Every Travelling Businessman Should Look For In A Car

Every morning in every office, a flustered late-arriving employee makes a brisk entrance, mumbles an apology, complains about the traffic, and eventually comments on how relieved they are to be out of the car.

For many, the horrors of the early morning commute are over as soon as they step inside their place of work, but for the travelling businessperson, there is no such sweet relief. Their dashboard is their table, their hot drink flask is their desk mug, and their car seat is their desk chair. When you work on the road, your vehicle is your office.

Not every businessperson is fortunate enough to receive a company car as part of their package, whereas others find themselves commuting from point to point when they are self-employed. Here, we take a look at the five features that every travelling businessperson ought to look for when purchasing a vehicle that will ostensibly become their workspace for the foreseeable future.

Convenience

Typical office workers keep their important items close to hand in order to make things easier for themselves throughout the working day. Their mobile phone stays in their pocket, and all the tools they need to operate – from the mouse to the monitor – are right there in front of them. When you work on the road, creating a convenient working environment is not quite as easy. Pulling out your phone or popping your laptop on your knee isn’t just impractical – it can actually put you in danger.

As a travelling businessperson, you’ll need to look for a car that offers maximum convenience and offers features that help you to do some work but simultaneously ensure you’re safe. To eliminate the need to look up information/addresses, search for a vehicle that comes with a good built-in Sat Nav system (or alternatively a place to safely fit your own). There needs to be ample room to prop up your smartphone, and enough space in the glove box and doors to stow away important business documents safely. It’s also worth looking at the mechanical aspects of the car too, like the stiffness of the doors and weight of the boot. When you’re in and out of your car on a frequent basis, any heavy doors will quickly become a chore to use.

Competence 

No worker should ever have to use a defective desk, and similarly, no travelling businessperson should have to put up with an unreliable car. When you’re seeking the best vehicle for work on the road, always go for competence and ability over exterior style. Sure, appearances are important, but if you’re torn between a car you like the look of and a less attractive car with prospects for better performance, it’s always in your best interests to go for the latter option. Don’t let your heart rule your head. After all, you wouldn’t select a wonky workspace just because you liked the colour scheme, would you?

Remember, the longer the car has been on the road, the less reliable it is likely to be. Take the mileage clock into account before you declare your interest in a vehicle, and make sure you obtain copies of all the documents related to the car and its previous owners. Double check all the locks and dashboard lights to see if they’re functioning as they should be, and have peek under the hood to search for signs of rust or substantial wear and tear. Spotting issues right away can prevent costly fixes later down the line.

Seeking out a car with high fuel efficiency is also key – especially if you’re funding the vehicle yourself. Not only will you be doing your bit for Mother Earth by keeping emissions down, you’ll also save yourself a bundle on fuel costs, which is absolutely paramount given how filling up your car is likely to be one of your main expenses.

Connectivity

You don’t have to dive into the savings pot to get a vehicle with connectivity abilities these days. This is the modern world, and the addition of Wi-Fi and internet access in cars is not so much a luxury these days as it is a necessity. For the travelling businessman, a car that can generate its very own Wi-Fi hotspot is a wonderful little perk – helping to reduce crackling noises during phone calls and keeping a clear signal for healthy communication with clients and customers. Bluetooth technology is also worth looking for as this can allow you to link up your phone to the car itself.

Connectivity also involves the inclusion of added technological gadgets. As a travelling businessperson, you may benefit substantially from the likes of built-in road cameras, charging ports and advanced multimedia systems. Whilst these may appear as little more than stylish extras for the ordinary driver, they could actually prove integral to you when it comes to increasing your comfort levels and productivity whilst out on the road.

Comfort

If there was an opportunity to grab a comfy desk chair in an office, you wouldn’t stick with a rigid, back-straining piece of furniture that forces you to get up and perform some stretches just so you can regain your concentration. The same goes for cars when you’re a frequent commuter. Comfort is key when it comes to productivity and general well-being, and you should take all the time you need to find a vehicle with interior materials, headrests, and seat adjustment features that put you at completely at ease when you’re on the road.

Also give the air con a good blast when you’re checking out a vehicle for the first time – testing out the hot and cold modes in the process. This little mechanism will play a considerable role in your comfort levels whilst you’re out on the road, and a good air con system will ensure you sit in a nice temperature regardless of the erratic weather conditions that plague the United Kingdom.

Cup Holder

This sounds like a small thing, but as a travelling businessperson, your cup holder is actually a very important element to look for when you’re purchasing a car. You may have a beloved travelling flask you take with you everywhere, but if that doesn’t fit between you and the passenger seat, you’ll end up putting yourself in danger as hot coffee inevitably pours onto your legs and lap. Even if you aren’t particularly partial to a cup of Joe in the mornings, a reliable cup holder remains essential as it offers you way to remain hydrated whilst on the road. Frequent driving is actually thirsty work, and by having a spot where you can comfortably slot a big bottle of water, you’ll be able to remain fuelled up no matter where your journey takes you.

 

If you’re a travelling businessperson out on the road for long stretches of the day at multiple times during the week, always remember to look convenience, competence, connectivity, comfort and a darn good cup holder when you’re shopping for a car. Ensuring these five features are in place can help you to create a safe and stylish mobile office you’ll be proud to call your own.   If in doubt, don’t hesitate about visiting a reputable car dealer for further advice.

How to Keep More Money in Your Own Pocket While You Study

Are you unsure about whether you should continue your studies because of your current financial position? It’s a ‘catch 22’ situation for many people because they want to obtain a recognized qualification that will allow them to earn more money, but don’t have the money available at the moment to further their studies. However, there are ways you can get around this problem, including the tips below.

Study on the Internet

Studying and learning is no longer confined to the classroom. Almost every school, college and university now offer an online version of their most popular courses. Studying online eliminates many of the financial costs associated with learning such as travel costs, living expenses and the money students waste every day when they attend classes or lectures.

In many cases, you can take a popular, accredited course like an MSN in nursing administration and not have to leave your home at all. Once you complete a course like the MSN administration program, it’s possible that you will also have saved a substantial amount of money and will have gained a valuable qualification at the same time.

Start a Course That Includes Paid Work Experience

Spending a few years studying can eat into your savings and increase your student debt. To avoid this problem, some students opt for courses that include paid work experience, so you have some money coming in while you’re a student. The other major benefit of this type of course is the fact that you learn new skills and build up some important contacts before you graduate.

Work While You Study

Students who don’t have the option to make money from a paid work placement, may have to look elsewhere to make some additional cash. The internet, in particular provides a wide range of opportunities to work part-time while you study.

Companies and individuals are always looking for freelancers who can help them with a wide range of tasks including web design, writing and virtual assistant work. If you think you have a skill or a talent that other people need, it could lead to a lucrative side-earner while you are studying.

If you don’t want to work online, there are many companies and individuals that are always looking for part-time staff and relief workers, so this is another option when you want to keep money coming in.

Reduce Your Living Costs

A large number of students live beyond their means while they are at college or university and have to take out more student loans. However, if you’re willing to tighten your belt, you could make substantial savings. Living expenses like accommodation, travel costs, food, drink and your social life are all areas where you can reduce your financial outgoings by creating a realistic budget.

While you study, you don’t have a steady income and you may be spending money you don’t have. As a result, your student debt can spiral out of control really quickly. To avoid this problem, you need to take action and follow some of the suggestions above.

8 Common Video Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Video marketing is a good means of promoting your products to a wide audience. However, too many business owners don’t understand how to use video marketing properly and end up making crucial mistakes that might ruin their efforts. In this article, we’re going to explore eight common video marketing mistakes business owners make and how to avoid them.

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1) Making a Video without a Goal in Mind

If you are making a video without a clear goal, your money is better spent elsewhere. In all cases, it is important that the video builds your brand and fits into your business strategy.  In some cases, working with a third party is better if you’re unfamiliar with the whole process. Companies such as Spiel Animations will guide you through the video making process and can provide ideas on how to better structure your message.

2) Poor Branding

If a video is poorly branded, it essentially misses its actual purpose which is promoting your company. The intended audience must remember the name of your company at the end of a marketing video. To avoid this mistake, brand all videos with your company’s logo or web address and ensure it is placed right at the beginning or embedded into the video as a watermark.

3) Making Lengthy Videos

Consumers use the first 10 seconds of a video to determine if it is worth watching to the end. If they do not find it engaging enough, they just click away from it. And according to recent research, 1 in 5 people do just that. People will also click away if a video is too long. So, make your videos engaging and not more than 60-90 seconds long.

4) Not Having a Clear Message

A marketing video should give more than general information about a company or product. It must have a single and clear message that teaches the audience something new. If it does not, you will be lucky if they watch it to the end.

5) Not Having a Call to Action

Every video must leave the audience with an idea of what to do next. It could be to call the customer care team for further information or maybe follow the company on social media. Whatever you do, never leave them in the lurch and always have a clear call to action.

6) Not Using SEO

Posting a video online is no longer enough. You must also use SEO to ensure that the video reaches a wider audience. Applying SEO strategies drives up your search engine rankings and makes your video more visible. Only by doing so can you draw traffic to your website.

7) Expecting Immediate Results

Videos do not go viral overnight. And if they do, it is largely thanks to social media. So be patient and work on marketing the video. The results will come later.

8) Not Placing Your Selling Points Correctly

Do not wait to put your selling points at the end of your video. Your audience may have moved on to something else before they get to that point. Instead, have all the interesting bits placed at the beginning. The rest of the video should then play a supporting role.

Conclusion

To make the most out of video marketing, it’s capital to have a clear goal in mind that can be expressed in a clear singular message. Also, brand your videos well, optimise them for SEO, and keep them short. Ensure you place your selling points at the beginning and a call to action at the end. And finally, do not expect immediate results.

Do I Need a Company Secretary?

Q: I am starting my own company providing risk management solutions. I have been advised to hire a company secretary. I am aware of the role, but not sure that I need to hire one that right away?

A: Whether you need one at all will depend on the size of your company and the duties allocated to your staff members and the duties the directors assume. It is no longer a requirement to appoint a company secretary for a private company in England and Wales (CA 2006 s270).

However, although you do not need to employ a company secretary by law, the tasks usually allocated to a company secretary do need to be executed in an efficient manner whether you employ a company secretary or not.

Company secretary obligations include, but are not limited to:

  1. Filing annual returns

The company secretary usually takes on the responsibility of completing and filing the annual confirmation statement, along with various other returns such as the yearly accounts and director’s reports.

  1. Maintaining statutory books

The company secretary is often responsible for maintaining the company’s statutory books and records which is often a time-consuming task; because of this some companies tend to neglect to keep the registers up to date. This is not a good idea, as failure to do so can incur a fine of up to £5,000.

  1. Organising board meetings

An additional duty of a company secretary is to arrange board, shareholder and general meetings, including the AGM (Annual General Meeting). The company’s articles of association will determine the recognised prerequisites for organising meetings however it is the duty of the company secretary to make sure meetings comply with the notice requirements, as well as take minutes and file and update the records after the meeting if necessary.

The exact nature of a company secretary’s’ duties will depend on the company. For example working for a PLC (it is obligatory for Public Limited Companies to appoint a company secretary) the secretary will have a lot more responsibilities than if he were to work for a small private company.

Until your company gets off the ground, it is probably not in your best interests to have a company secretary on your payroll, because there is a way to take advantage of retaining the services of a company secretary without actually employing a person for the position within your company. The ideal solution in your position would be to contract a firm that offers company secretary services.

The contracted company will appoint a company secretary to your account, who will perform the same duties as an in-house company secretary. This is usually an excellent solution for start-up companies as the role of a company secretary needs to be undertaken by a skilled professional, and employing such a person requires a substantial financial outlay, which may not be economically ideal for you as a company owner during the first years of trading.

 

 

The Benefits of Using Payroll Services

If you are a business owner, you probably are happy that you don’t have a boss and that you only work for yourself. Of course, your responsibility is to run your business smoothly and efficiently, but you also need to ensure that your employees get paid on time.

When you are a business owner, you are fully responsible for your payroll. Nobody expects you to do everything on your own. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to do anything as there are some people out there who are more than willing to take care of your payroll needs for you so that you don’t have to think anymore about them. I am thinking here about various payroll services available to business owners all across the country who want to do things the easy way instead of the hard way and rightfully so. Here are some benefits of using such services.

1.When you outsource your payroll tasks, you finally get the chance to truly focus on the core operations of your business. You finally have the time to focus on what you are good at and what matters to you as a business owner.
2. You might not be always up to date with the latest programs that are using for automating the processes related to payroll services. By outsourcing your payroll needs, you can have the peace of mind that those who take care of them are the right specialists who know what they are doing.
3.By using professional companies to take care of your payroll you are a lot more likely to avoid various penalties that would be imposed on you if you did not fulfill some requirements posed by the HMRC. This is a very important thing to remember as the penalties can be a rather unpleasant thing to deal with.

Three Business-Building Strategies That Will Keep Your Organization Moving Forward

If you run a business and dream of making it increasingly successful with each passing day, it’s important to implement a game plan to ensure that your organization remains on the road to outstanding growth. You can use some or all of the business-building strategies outlined below to ensure that your organization continues moving forward:

1. Utilize Employee Optimization Services.

Employees are one of the most valuable assets that the business owner has. As such, it’s important that you regularly implement strategies that will empower your staff members to build their skill sets and interface with prospective customers in a manner that promotes conversion and brand loyalty. There are several techniques you can implement to attain these outcomes. One is hiring a business consulting firm. These firms employ professionals who have extensive experience in helping business owners work with staff members in a productive, positive way. Organizations like KEYGroup Consulting supply business owners with a disc employee assessment that can help them make more prudent decisions that empower staff members to operate optimally within the commercial setting.

2. Hire A Digital Marketing Company Immediately.

Another strategy you can implement to keep your business moving forward is hiring a digital marketing company. Digital experts are skilled in advertising your product or service line via Internet in a savvy way that optimizes brand recognition while also enabling you to build strong relationships with your target market. To ensure that you find the right online advertising team, make sure that you select a group of people with extensive industry experience.

3. Find A Public Relations Firm.

One final technique you can implement to move your organization forward is finding a public relations firm. These firms employ individuals who are passionate about optimizing the business owner’s relationship with both the general public and the key media officials who are responsible for publishing information about the brand. Some of the PR services that a team of professionals might employ on your behalf include:

• Media Outreach
• Press Collateral
• Content Creation
• Partnership Opportunities
• Speaking Engagements
• Editorial Placement
• Product Placement
• Media Training
• Desk Sides
• Grassroots Marketing
• Print Placements
• Media Round Tables
• Award List Monitoring
• Digital Placements
• Media Relations
• Press Kit Creation

Don’t Delay: Start Moving Your Organization Forward Today!

If you’re determined to take your business from average to awesome, know that you can realize your professional objective. Begin implementing some or all of the company optimization techniques listed above so that you can keep your organization on the road to growth and expansion!

What Should I Do To Make My Company More Profitable?

Individuals who want to make their companies more profitable should know that they can. One of the secrets to success in this area is implementing proven strategies consistently and in conjunction. Below you will find three strategies that are known to facilitate a substantive ROI:

1. Invest In Maintenance Services.

One great way to make your company more profitable is by investing in maintenance services. This strategy will ensure that all of your office equipment is functioning optimally, thereby accelerating the completion of daily tasks. Attaining regular maintenance services can also decrease the likelihood of costly work-related accidents. In the event that your company makes use of water equipment, you can obtain products like the belt filter press rental from organizations such as Sandling Industrial Services. When you start looking for the ideal company from which to attain maintenance services and replacement parts, make sure that the organization in question has extensive industry experience and a stellar reputation.

2. Develop A Strong Digital Presence.

In addition to investing in maintenance services, make sure that you develop a strong presence online. This strategy will empower you to connect with prospective clients all over the world. It will also enable you to provide the target market with constant updates. Some of the digital services that a marketing company might offer include:

• blog work
• social media optimization
• link building
• target market research
• keyword analysis
• web design and development
• online reputation management

Also keep in mind that many digital marketing companies now offer PR services in conjunction with their online advertising services. With this idea in mind, be sure to seek out a digital firm that provides these services. Doing so will help optimize your relationship with game-changing media representatives like reporters, journalists, and influential bloggers.

3. Focus On Diversity.

One final strategy that will help ensure that your organization becomes as profitable as possible is focusing on diversity. This strategy will help ensure that you can attract a broader pool of prospective customers than if you had a more monocultural staff and company culture. There are several ways that you can facilitate diversity in the workplace setting, such as by offering diversity workshops in which people learn to value individuals from disparate religious, political, and sociocultural backgrounds.

Don’t Delay: Start Optimizing Conversion Today!

If conversion optimization is your goal, know that you can realize the objective. Three techniques that can prove powerful in helping you attain a better bottom line include investing in maintenance services, developing a strong digital presence, and focusing on diversity.

I am discussing all kinds of business and finance topics on this blog and I hope that the information I provide will prove to be useful.