It is crucial that businesses find the right storage service for them. This can have a significant impact on their efficiency and day-to-day operations. There are various factors you will need to consider before making this major decision. Today we will look at five of the most important aspects in choosing a storage service.
When you are looking to establish a partnership with a storage provider, it is vital to consider their location. Their base will determine the level of convenience you will have. Prior to selecting a storage service, make sure they are located at a reasonable distance from your customers. If you run an eCommerce business, finding a storage provider in the right location will make a huge difference to your deliveries. If you are just starting out, these best practices may offer some useful guidance. Take the time to research this key aspects as it can help you minimise costs and manage your time better.
Next, you will need to identify your company’s requirements. It is important to understand the features which are offered by your chosen service provider. Consider their size and layout. Whilst every business will have unique requirements, it is still worth conducting this analysis beforehand. It will help you determine whether or not the service is suitable for your business. Look at the pricing plans and ensure you choose a provider that is transparent about operational charges.
It may be beneficial to establish how long your chosen storage provider has been operating for. Their experience in the industry can provide you with an insight into their ability to adapt to technological advancements. Moreover, their level of expertise will be crucial to supporting you with your needs. For example, North West Storage Solutions has a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of storage and distribution. Operating for more than 20 years, they can provide you with reliable storage solutions.
A good storage provider should be able to manage the volatility of businesses. Flexibility is a key consideration you will need to focus on. Regardless of whether this involves an increase or a decrease in your goods, a storage service should be able to accommodate changes. In fact, a provider should have a full understanding of your business needs. This will enable them to offer you the right solutions at the right time. For instance, your business might expand or you may experience seasonal fluctuations. Either way, the right storage provider should be able to provide scalability at all times.
A dedicated support team is essential in any service. When it comes to storage solutions, you will want to have peace of mind that your goods are safe. The employees are the ones who will be handling all stock. This is why your chosen storage provider should have a reliable and knowledgeable workforce. Be sure to check the type of reviews which are being shared regarding the quality of their customer service. You will want to be able to build a strong working relationship with them.
Author: Isabella Goode
Top Learning Resources for Adults
Studying isn’t just for the university students. Maybe you’re looking for a chance in career paths, need to gain a qualification for a promotion, or simply want to be more knowledgeable or better at your job. Whatever the case, here are our picks for the top learning resources for adults.
Although Khan Academy is branded as a resource for kids, their registry asks for a date of birth as a learner and scrolls all the way back to 1902. So, anyone under 119 can learn. There are adult-friendly and university-level courses on a limited number of subjects to help you out.
With lessons on maths, English literature, languages, and humanities amongst the best, Khan Academy is a helpful resource for those looking to brush up on some forgotten skills or to study for that higher that has suddenly become vital to a qualification.
The Open University
Created to foster distance learning, The Open University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in almost anything you can think of. Gain a Masters degree from the comfort of your own home, or take a module in something you’re interested in. Everything from engineering to mental health is on offer, with nursing and criminology in between.
Go at your own pace with full time or part time options available in all courses and be taught by leading professionals and institutions.
What you earn is up to you, with courses and modules resulting in credits. Earn 120 credits and you’ll get a certificate, 240 and you’ll earn a diploma and 360 for a degree. Modules are worth 30 or 60 credits and are chosen by you.
More for those looking to educate an entire team, WahooLearning is an educational service for businesses, offering e-learning content catered to your business and staff and even the ability to create and sell your own training content.
Create customised e-learning content created for you or your whole team, then post it online for an ongoing profit. Learn subjects such as finance management and learner support from leading experts.
Skillshare is a subscription-based educational service with a range of courses for you to take. Learn online those niche and obscure classes too odd for university. Have a go at digital animation or web development. Build you leadership or marketing skills. Or see what the lifestyle category has to offer if you fancy just learning something new like macrame or self-care.
Enjoy tutors at the top of their game, who you might recognise. Queer Eye’s smiling Jonathan Van Ness gives a self-care class that covers “Releasing Limiting Beliefs” and “The Joy of Discovery”.
Access Skillshare ForTeams to allow your entire team to take on of 35,000 courses on the site, with support and a team plan to keep track of everyone’s progress.
There are also free online classes for you to browse on every category with a subscription of £13 a month, but watch any YouTuber and you’re sure to find a discount code.
YouTube is a free how-guide on everything. You can learn to knit or do yoga or fix a car with YouTube, so its educational resources are abundant. Be careful who you trust though, since anyone can upload whatever misinformation they fancy. Look out for college and university channels and educational channels representing learning businesses.
Some reputable sources of education are channels such as:
- Crash Course
- CGP Grey
- Big Think
If you really want to learn from the certified best of the best, take a look at MasterClass. Another subscription-based platform, MasterClass boasts such names as The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood teaching creative writing, The West Wing creator and Social Network director Aaron Sorkin teaching screenwriting, and Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication. MasterClass is the star-studded school of the future.
Design with Anna Wintour, play tennis with Serena Williams or learn to cook with Gordon Ramsey.
Even if you have no interest in say, singing, it’s hard to not want to hear what Christina Aguilera has to say about the craft then move onto deadmau5’s take for £14 a month.
Universities and colleges are offering open courses available to learn from online. Yale, MIT and Harvard are just some of the American colleges offering online courses, even if it’s not very common from British universities.
Registration is not required so Brits can access a wealth of video, audio and text transcript lessons on everything they have to offer.
Whether it’s how to unclog a sink, dealing with anxiety, or gaining a degree in rocket science, you can find it somewhere on this list. Learn online with the help of knowledgeable tutors and notice yourself turning into someone you can be proud of – with either the confidence, sink or certificate to prove it.
Author: Isabella Goode
Workplace stress is one of the most common forms of stress in employees. As an employer, it is your job to ensure that you help alleviate workplace stress and promote healthy working practices.
There are many ways to do this, and it can take some trial and error. It is also essential to keep your employees in the loop when making adjustments to the workplace, as this can help employees feel heard and valued.
Consider A Company Retreat
A break from work can be good for any employee. Combined with the opportunity to bond with your co-workers, it can be the perfect way to help reduce stress and leave employees feeling happy and relaxed.
Train Employees in Healthy Stress Management
There are many ways to cope with stress in a healthy way. Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness can be invaluable in helping employees reduce the stress in their daily lives. You could look for training and courses that show employees how to use these techniques and apply them in their work and personal lives. You could consider using an online-based training provider or send employees to an in-person training centre.
Keep Expectations Realistic
One of the most common causes of stress at work is having goals and deadlines that are unrealistic. It is important to frequently review your expectation of your team and ensure that you take into account changes in circumstances that may affect performance.
It is also important not to adopt a one size fits all approach to targets. Different employees will have different strengths and weaknesses, so it is crucial to tailor your expectations to each individual employee.
Empower Them to be Financially Healthy
Money worries can be a big contributing factor to workplace stress. It is vital to help your employees manage their finances where you can. An excellent way to do this is by using innovative payroll solutions such as PayCaptain. PayCaptain allows employees greater control over how and where they receive their salary and gives a clear overview of their funds and how best to manage them.
Promote A Healthy Work-Life Balance
It is crucial to ensure your employees maintain a good work-life balance. This means you should avoid situations that will cause employees to work excessive hours and consider how you could implement flexible working.
Flexible working allows employees to schedule their work life in a way that is the most beneficial to them. This could be flexitime, working from home or adjust start and finish times. It can help to give your employees a broad range of options.
Encourage Staff To Take Breaks
It is vital for productivity and wellbeing to ensure staff take regular breaks throughout the day. You should encourage employees to move around during their breaks and to step away from their computer screens.
Allow Employee Autonomy
No one enjoys the feeling of being micro-managed. Often employees work faster, better and experience less stress when they are allowed to organise their work to suit them. You could consider the ways to reduce micro-management and empower staff to have autonomy over their work.
Author: Isabella Goode
Running a business comes with many responsibilities, with one of the main ones is learning how to delegate tasks. Many tasks can be delegated to others within the business but certain tasks require additional, external support. For instance, storing, packing and sending products.
When a business first starts, it might have the time to pack and send items in-house. However, as they begin to grow and the quantities of orders expand, they need additional support – this is when an order fulfilment provider comes in.
The role of an order fulfilment provider is to store in their fulfilment centres the products of their clients. With every order, they will find, pack and send the products out for delivery. There are many benefits to investing in an order fulfilment provider, these are just a few of them.
Excel With Their Support
Finding the right order fulfilment provider can help to alter how your business is run, as well as the service it claims to offer consumers. Businesses such as Zendbox are helping their customers to fulfil their orders and retain the loyal clients they have made over the years.
Through powerful technology, companies that specialise in order fulfilment and eCommerce fulfilment can deliver orders effectively and efficiently, whilst keeping customers happy. When paired with the right provider, the options of what’s possible becomes somewhat limitless.
Lower Shipping Costs
Many order fulfilment providers have a vast number of facilities located across the country and in places overseas. Having this extensive range of facilities establishes a foundation that allows companies to offer lower shipping rates, leading to bulk delivery discounts to take advantage of. The potential savings will depend on the provider selected, so it is worth seeing which ones are available and compare the options.
Improve Customer Service
One of the key ways to run a successful business is having reliable and effective customer support. Using an order fulfilment provider means that your customers will have access to constant support, whether they are enquiring about an exchange, return or refund.
Ecommerce fulfilment also ensures that the risks of errors or wasted products are reduced. Not only does this save the business money, but it also ensures that the clients receive the right product the first time.
Focus On Other Areas
With the chosen fulfilment provider processing orders and ensuring that they go out to clients, business owners can rest assured that this area of the company is handled professionally and efficiently.
As any business owner will know, time is precious, so finding ways to free up time or not have to fix any issues is greatly appreciated. Knowing that the products are being packaged and shipped perfectly fine, they can focus their attention on other areas of the business, looking for ways to grow and expand, potentially gaining new customers for the company.
These are just some of the few benefits that come with outsourcing order fulfilment. If these benefits sound appealing and could be exactly what your business needs to advance to its next stage of growth, reach out to providers to understand what costs are involved. It might take time and it may even seem like an investment, however, the time it could provide to you and the money it could potentially save long term will be worth it.
Author: Isabella Goode
Starting a small business is a challenge in itself, but growth in a crowded market can often prove a daunting task for owners. Here are some tips to help your small company take off.
Create Consistent Branding
Branding is not just graphic design and marketing (although these are important parts of branding). A good brand will provide a framework for all of your businesses’ operations. Your brand should reflect the company’s ethos and should inspire loyalty and an emotive response among your customers.
The important thing about your brand is that it showcases the identity of your business, making it instantly recognisable. Consistently applying branding across your company, from your website to your customer service and product design, is essential for creating a coherent brand. For example, even small steps like custom packaging labels (like those offered by RGS Labels) can make a big difference when promoting your brand.
Offer Stellar Customer Service
Customer and client relations is one of the few areas in which a small company can truly excel compared to its bigger competitors. Suppose you have a smaller customer base than others operating in your niche. In that case, you can afford to dedicate more time to individual clients, ultimately improving their experience and increasing the likelihood they will continue using your business.
Customer service can be a make or break issue for businesses. Around 75% of customers say that they judge a company as a whole based on customer services. For a bigger company, it is easier to cut corners in this department as they will continue to do business regardless. However, every customer is vital for the success of most small businesses, so you should pay great attention to their experience to improve satisfaction.
Listen to Feedback
For many small businesses, growth is a process of trial and error. You will undoubtedly make mistakes while running your company. While this can be disappointing, it is generally an excellent opportunity to learn and improve.
An excellent way to figure out where your business is performing well and where it might be falling short is to encourage reviews and customer feedback. Whether it is positive or negative, responding to feedback is an essential part of improving and growing.
You could incentivise clients to leave reviews by offering discounts or other rewards. There is another upside to getting reviews. If your business is highly reviewed on platforms like Facebook or Google reviews, it will also inspire confidence among new customers, contributing to growth.
Build Slowly but Surely
Overall, growing a small business can be a long and arduous task. The key to standing out from the crowd is focusing on what your business can do well, which sets you apart from your competitors. Creating a consistent and personal experience for customers, from your branding to communications with clients, is essential for small businesses. This will ultimately contribute to organic growth from referrals by happy customers, which is ultimately one of the best forms of publicity.
Author: Isabella Goode
If you’re running a company, you’ll want to be able to focus on making money. The last thing you’ll want is to spend all your time performing admin tasks and rifling through endless paperwork. Invoices and accounting can be a large part of this. It’s essential that everything is recorded and collated correctly. Tax forms need to be submitted on time, and the data needs to be accurate. Should anything go wrong there could be financial penalties or issues during audits.
It may be that you are in need of some outside help for your business. Perhaps you are thinking of employing an accountant, but don’t know which way to turn. This article has been written to help you find the most suitable professional for your company’s needs.
Research The Accountant Online
Before choosing one, perform some background checks. Most financial professionals have an online presence, so this should be your first port of call. MCL accountants provide free quotes over the internet, and also display a selection of customer reviews. They are Chartered Certified accountants based in Southend-on-Sea, and have received favourable reviews and accreditation.
Decide On The Level Of Qualification
You could secure an unqualified bookkeeper to do your daily accounts for you. This could save you money, and they may also be able to help you with your tax return. Some people prefer to have everything done by a fully qualified accountant, so they have total peace of mind. To be Certified and Chartered the person will have had to undergo extensive training, and to have acquired practical experience too. Having said that, make sure the accountant is able to perform all the tasks required for your business. This could include advice on taxation, payroll and business support.
Choose Someone With Experience
Find out how long the accountant has been in business, and whether they work for similar companies to yours. You’ll be paying them by the hour, so you won’t want someone who has to look things up every time you ask a question. If you select the right person they will cope with your company if it grows, and be able to provide helpful tips and recommendations.
Consider How You Wish To Communicate
If you dislike computers, you may want a local accountant: then you can drop off piles of invoices or have a quick chat during your lunchbreak. Alternatively cloud accounting might be attractive to you. You can send and receive emails, and have videoconference calls when you need them.
Go For A Big Thinker
Don’t just choose someone who will sit down and do what they’re told. Find someone who can advise you on possible tax benefits or ways to streamline your finances. They might be able to assess the way you run your company and identify specific areas for improvement.
Choose Someone Personable
You’ll be communicating on finance, which can be a sensitive issue. Make sure they are approachable and a clear communicator, and be sure you can trust in them to do the job properly.
Author: Isabella Goode
Being a female business leader can be tough under normal circumstances, let alone when there’s a pandemic going on. Many have struggled over the last year because of the virus getting in the way of sales or potentially even forcing businesses to shut up shop temporarily.
The good news is that the light at the end of what seemed like an impossibly long tunnel is finally approaching. Restrictions are lifting, businesses are reopening, and the prospect of once again making a profit is becoming a reality.
To ensure you’re ready to reopen in a post-pandemic world, though, there are probably a few things you need to prepare for.
Find Ways To Reach People
If your business hasn’t been operational for months, there’s a good chance your finances might not be in the best position. That puts a lot of pressure on you for reopening because you need to start generating money immediately.
Improving your online presence through digital marketing techniques can help with this, as it’ll ensure your business reaches more people. Offering special offers upon reopening is also worthwhile because the possibilities of discounts and other good deals may tempt potential new customers.
Also, don’t forget that the government has a lot of support options available to businesses dealing with money troubles right now. You can find out more information about that here.
Ensure Your Premises Promote Good Hygiene
For the next few months, potentially even years, customer expectations are going to be a little all over the place. Some people will want things to be as they were before the pandemic, while others won’t be comfortable unless they see suitable hygiene measures in practice.
Pleasing everyone will be tough because you want all customers to feel safe without being too restricting. There are small things you can do to help achieve this, though.
For instance, you may need some countertop sneeze guards, which are available in bulk through Discount Displays. Having these around will demonstrate your interest in stopping germs from spreading, which ought to make some customers feel more comfortable. These countertop sneeze guards don’t interfere with the buying or selling experience, yet they still go a long way to showing that you’re passionate about maintaining good hygiene.
Put A Plan In Place
It’s always good to have a plan in place. Even if something unexpected happens that throws everything off the rails, plans usually account for such occurrences and find ways to work around them.
That’s why it’s so important to have one upon reopening your business. The future is still very uncertain, so it’s impossible to predict what will happen over the coming months. If you prepare for all eventualities beforehand, though, then you can feel more in control when things go wrong.
Not only is this good for you and your business, but it’s also ideal for your customers and employees too. They want and need you to stay open and profitable, and having a plan in place will give you an excellent chance of doing that.
Reopening a business after being closed for so long is incredibly exciting. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make up any losses from the last year and go on to great success, with these tips helping you to achieve that.
Author: Isabella Goode
People are the backbone of any organisation, so choosing the right people to work with you is vital to your business’s growth and future success.
Hiring new staff is always a challenge, and nationwide skills shortages, the Coronavirus pandemic, and other issues have meant that it’s even more difficult in 2021 than it has been in previous years.
Still, when you need new employees, you need to make sure that you hire the right ones. To help, here are some practical tips.
Create The Perfect Job Description
When you’re creating your job advert, it’s easy to think that the perks or the list of skills is the most important part, but you’d be wrong. It’s crucial that you craft the perfect job description so that you get the right applicants for your role. Take the time to write down everything that you require from your new employee and the qualifications or characteristics that are optional but preferred. With an accurate job description, you can reduce the chances of receiving unsuitable applications or hiring an unsuitable candidate.
Take Recommendations From Your Business Network
As well as using recruitment agencies and platforms such as Indeed, Monster, Reed or CV-Library, it would help if you also took recommendations from your business contacts and existing staff. Make it clear that you’re seeking new team members, and share your job specification and advertisement. Use professional social media sites such as LinkedIn to communicate with your network. If you know an individual who might be able to give you a personal recommendation, such as someone who operates in the same sector, then you could also consider reaching out to them personally and asking if they have anyone that they could put forward.
Use All The Resources At Your Disposal
While you might think that you know all there is to know about hiring new staff, there’s always plenty to be learned. Also, the recruitment market is continually evolving, so you should ensure that your knowledge is completely up to date. You must ensure that you understand important topics in recruitment, such as diversity, so that you can create the right workforce for your company. Use resources such as those provided by diversity and recruitment experts Embracing Future Potential to ensure that the process goes without a hitch and that you find the perfect employees to enhance your organisation’s culture. The platform offers a range of websites, so you can find all of the resources and online support you need to create an engaged and diverse team.
Trust Your Instincts
Fundamentally, as the business leader and the person who supports and hires your staff, you know best what individual will work well in your company. If you feel that a candidate will fit well into your business and enrich your company culture, then you should give that candidate a second look. Your instincts aren’t always right, but they are a great jumping-off point. Once you’ve identified a candidate who you feel will fit well into your organisation, you must explore further. Seeking a second opinion can help you to ensure that you make the right choice the first time.
Author: Isabella Goode
American society is adapting to a new concept of work: the gig economy. The term refers to a workforce where freelancers contract with businesses on a short-term or as-needed basis. Right now, about 11% of working adults in the U.S. are full-time independent contractors. And while “part-time gig” may sound like a euphemism for being broke, nearly 20% of independent contractors earn over $100,000. By other estimates, 53 million Americans are employed as freelancers.
Gig work injects $715 billion into the economy each year. Since 2000, traditional W-2s have stagnated, while the use of 1099s has shot up 22%. Here are some tips to get going in the gig economy and to kick-start your own successful gig business.
Some economic forecasts predict that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be full-time independent contractors. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. First, digitalization eliminated many traditional jobs, which made the workplace remote, shrinking it down to your laptop. Then, during the 2007 recession, people switched careers, contracting with businesses on a short-term basis. In turn, this was a boon to companies that could boost their bottom line without shelling out benefits to permanent staffers. Currently, common freelance occupations include writers, architects, engineers, web developers, analytics specialists, lawyers or paralegals, among others.
The freedoms that the gig economy offers are numerous. These include the independence to move from city to city, choose their schedules, set their rate and hours and pick your own clients and partners. The downside is that the gig economy is quite selective. Gig work is often great for people established in their careers who can cherry-pick high-paying jobs on the side. But it’s frustrating for people who have only found spotty or inconsistent work. And however exciting it can be to hustle between assignments, 91% of millennials say that they desire stable, long-term employment.
Starting Your Gig Business
Two types of businesses predominate in the gig economy: Companies employing independent contractors, or independent contractors themselves. Let’s say you’re a company. Your company should make it easy for freelancers to find and sign on with you, so that red tape and corporate rules don’t put them off. Also, it’s imperative that your business is mobile-friendly, because you might want to hire someone who’s in Spain while you’re based in San Francisco. Pay on time, and every time, so you don’t get a bad reputation. Finally, develop a collaborations page where freelancers can network and feel tight-knit in a digital workspace.
Employing Yourself in the Gig Economy
Another way to make ends meet in the gig economy is to run a business of one, employing only yourself. To make it as a problem-solving business owner, you need tenacity, adaptability and flexibility.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of freelancers out there. They offer services that range from designing a web page to preparing legal documents to driving Uber. But, there are ways to succeed:
- Put together a home office.
- Design business cards and an invoicing template.
- And never, ever work for free.
For many people, the disappearance of the 9-5 workplace, with its pay scale, corner office and promotion track is scary. However, the new work model empowers business-minded people to turn their passions into flourishing careers.
Image via Unsplash
Post from Lucy Reed of Gigmine