International Payments For Small Businesses

Does your business need to make an overseas payment? Perhaps you need to pay a supplier that is based in another country? Maybe you have taken on a remote worker based overseas? Whatever your needs may be, you need to consider the payment process carefully. There are many different ways to make international payments, and you need to make sure you find a secure, convenient and cost-effective method for your business. With that being said, read on to discover some useful tips that could help you.

Set up notifications for exchange rates so you can make better decisions

One thing you should do is keep an eye on the exchange rate to make sure you get the most for your money. If you do not need to make a payment immediately, it is worth setting up an email or phone notification, so you receive a message whenever the exchange rate hits a level that has been predetermined by you. You can also take advantage of this feature in another manner, i.e. by purchasing currency whenever the rate is good. This is ideal if your business makes regular overseas payments.

Carefully consider your options for making the payment

Aside from this, you need to assess the method of sending the money. This is why it is so beneficial to use online money transfer services, as you can send the payment in a matter of minutes. If you were to go for a different approach, let’s say sending your money via the bank, then you would have to go into your branch, which would take time. You can make payments via online banking, but these usually take a while to process and you will be charged quite a high fee for doing so. If this is going to be a recurring payment, you should look into the different solutions available. For example, you can use Cloudpay if you are going to be paying employees based in different parts of the world.

Look at the different fees included

Not only do you need to consider the exchange rate when you are making an international payment, but you need to look at the transfer fees as well. If the exchange rate is surprisingly good, this could mean that the transfer fee is quite high. Consider everything carefully before you make a payment.

Don’t rush into your decision when choosing a provider

Last but not least, you also need to ensure you go for a trusted provider; someone that has an excellent reputation. You should also look for a company that offers a great support service, as you never know when you could find yourself requiring emergency assistance.

4 Jobs That Can Help You Gain Control Of Your Life

Do you sometimes that you wish you had more control over your life? Maybe you just want to be able to free up some extra free time for yourself so that you aren’t so bogged down with work all the time? Or perhaps you want to start a job that has plenty of training opportunities so that you gain knowledge and skills that you can put to good use in various aspects of your life?

Thankfully, there are a lot of great jobs that will provide you with invaluable skills that are transferable. Here are some of the best career paths that will give you the chance to gain more control over your life.


An Entrepreneur

Are you sick of your boss? If so, it could be time to start working for yourself. If you’ve had a business idea for quite a while already, it could be time to think about making use of it. Most people think that setting up their own business will be a huge challenge but, in actual fact, it can usually be quite easy as long as you have enough money and resources behind you. Once you do, though, you’ll benefit of being in charge of your own schedule and the kind of work and projects you take on.

Working in Finance

Some people want to gain more knowledge of money and finances so that they know exactly how to stay out of debt and how to make their savings bring higher returns. You should find that working in a financial career will help you learn everything you need to know. It doesn’t matter whether you want to become a tax preparer, an accountant, mortgage broker, or an investment manager, you’ll definitely gain all the knowledge you need to improve your own personal finances.


A Digital Nomad

If you want a job that gives you a bit more freedom and the ability to travel wherever you want, you might be interested in becoming a digital nomad. When it comes to the type of work you do as a digital nomad, it is completely up to you. This is more of a concept than a job, and it just applies to freelancers who take their work with them on their travels. Once you’ve got a job you can take with you on the road, all you will need is your laptop and an internet connection at your destination.

A Property Expert

Becoming a property expert will give you a great set of skills. Most work as property renovators and invest their cash into houses and apartments that need some maintenance and work carried out on them so that they can be improved. Through doing this, you’ll learn a lot of great hands-on skills that you can put to good use in your own home. Plus, you will learn a lot about the property investment market and how you could potentially make a lot of money by investing in the right kinds of homes.

These are just a few of the careers that can help you gain more control of your life!

When Should Business Owners Seek Out Professional Advice?

Every business owner can benefit from outsourcing expert advice. In fact, some of the most successful business owners in the world rely on advice from others. Nowadays, it’s possible to seek business advice from books, blogs and even YouTube videos, but there are still times when talking to a professional advisor can be useful in order to receive advice catered to your individual needs. Here are a few examples of those times.

Making important financial decisions

When making big financial decisions, it’s often worth hiring a financial advisor to weigh up the risks and to help secure the most affordable option. This could include finding initial funding for your business, recruiting your first employees, eliminating large business debt or selling your business. Your financial circumstances are likely to be unique, which is why personalised advice can be beneficial. You can find such advice at sites like www.lighthousegroup.plc.uk.

Getting legal support

Navigating the complex legal world of business can also require hiring professional advice. Legal advisors can help to prevent customers and employees filing lawsuits, whilst also helping you to file lawsuits against others if needs be. Specialist legal advisors can also help when writing contracts, changing business formation and registering for a trademark. You can visit www.zieglermetzger.com for more information on such legal services. With different laws applying to different business and different areas, you’re better of trusting a local adviser than the web.

Implementing health and safety measures

Health and safety is another area of business where it pays to seek professional advice. There are companies such as https://elliswhittam.com that can help you to implement health and safety measures catered to your business. It’s worth getting personalised advice because every business has its own individual risks. Such advisors may even be able to find risks you never even realise existed.

Improving your IT

Using the best digital technology can help to make your company more organised, more secure and more productive, however there’s so much software and conflicting digital advice out there that it’s worth hiring expert advisors to help find the IT solutions best catered to your business. You can visit www.ittotalcare.com to find more information on such services. Certain consultants can be on call whenever you need them, whilst others may charge for hourly sessions.

Improving your marketing effectiveness

A lot of companies waste money on unfocused marketing strategies. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, which is why it can be useful to hire a marketing consultancy firm such as www.purplexmarketing.com to help find a marketing strategy that is focused to your needs. There are specialist marketing consultants that deal with digital marketing, whilst others may focus on physical branding and events.  

The Project Planning Phase

One thing you will learn in any job is the importance of planning effectively. You know what they say: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Never has a phrase been more accurate. However, knowing how to prepare for a project can be somewhat of a challenge. The process needs to be adapted based on the type of project you are dealing with. With that in mind, read on to discover everything you need to know about planning effectively to ensure project success.

The type of project and the associated circumstances will determine the degree of project planning that is required. If you are managing a large project, a formalised structure in the planning phases can be of great assistance. However, if you are managing a project that is small and uncomplicated, you may not need such a formalised approach, nor may you require project management tools.

No matter what type of project you are involved with, it is important to follow a five-step process that was outlined by Larson and Gray. This is as follows:

1.    Define the scope of the project

2.    Establish the priorities of the project

3.    Create a work breakdown structure

4.    Integrate the work breakdown structure with the organisation

5.    Code the work breakdown structure for the information system

If you are to develop an accurate and clear foundation for your project, it is a good idea to follow the five steps that have been mentioned above. To start with, you should use a project scope checklist so that you can establish estimates with regards to resources, cost, and time, as well as putting together a list of clearly defined deliverables. Once the client has approved this, you have an agreement in place, which will guard against scope creep.

The next part of the process, which is establishing priorities, is also critical. This not only relates to the priorities relating to the outcome of your project, but also safeguarding the project through the likes of cybersecurity services. After all, the success of your project is very closely linked to scope, schedule, and budget. These components also impact one and other. This is why it is so important to have priorities in place.

You then need to subdivide project tasks into smaller work elements to create the work breakdown structure. This provides a clear visual of the project, enabling you to identify the performance expectations, as well as the time and cost, at different levels of the organisation.

You then need to link the tasks identified in the work breakdown structure with certain areas of the organisation. This is part four of the process. This ensures there is accountability for the various tasks.

Finally, coding the work breakdown structure is another critical part of project management planning. To identify work packages or levels of elements, numeric codes tend to be used. This is an effective way of classifying information for the project.

All in all, a thorough planning process is critical to the success of any project. You should follow the five-step process mentioned above, irrespective of what type of project you are in charge of, be it a straightforward or complex one.

Career Driven: The Best Jobs For People That Love Driving

If you enjoy driving, it’s possible that a career in driving could be what you need. There are lots of different jobs out there that are spent largely behind a wheel. Here are five of those jobs…

Taxi driver

Becoming a taxi driver could be a worthy career choice if you’re looking for something with a bit of variety. Taxi drivers are always travelling different routes and meeting new types of people. Being a people person can be a benefit – having conversations with your passengers can often lead to tips. You will need to have patience when dealing with drunken passengers late at night or customers that are running late during morning rush hour, however you can always choose to not work during these times if you choose to work for yourself (the other option is to work for a taxi firm – which may guarantee you more clients, but may require you to work set hours). A taxi test is often needed to become a taxi driver and this can vary by location.  

Bus driver

Bus drivers work in the public transport sector and tend to work for local councils driving set routes. If you like routine and comfort, but also enjoy the variety of working with people, you’re likely to enjoy this role. There are other niche roles such as school bus drivers as well as coach work which may require driving longer distances. You’ll similarly need to pass a specialist bus/coach driver test to work in this trade.

Lorry driver

A career as a lorry driver could be another option. Lorry drivers tend to deal with longer distance driving. Whilst you’ll still get to talk to people, much of the job is spent alone which can make it a more peaceful job for those that don’t want the stress of passengers. There are lots of different types of lorry driving roles – when looking for the right company for you, you should read employee reviews such as these CRST reviews. You’ll need to pass a lorry driving test to get into this career.

Chauffer

Work as a chauffeur can offer a little more glitz and glam – it involves driving for private customers who may employ you on a permanent contract or temporary hire basis, depending on which route you prefer. Permanent contract chauffeurs tend to drive for rich and famous clients. Temporary hire chauffeurs meanwhile may drive for events such as weddings or birthday parties (limousine chauffeurs tend to deal with the latter). You can find chauffeur work through companies like Chauffeur Solutions or you can go private and find your own clients. No extra qualifications beyond having a regular driving license are needed to become a chauffeur, although it helps to have a clean driving history.

Driving instructor

Arguably the most social and rewarding driving job is working as a driving instructor. This job involves teaching people to drive so that they can pass their test and gain their license. You’ll need to take a special instructor test to show that you are a good enough driver to teach, but beyond this no qualifications are needed. Becoming an instructor does require a lot of patience and good communication skills. Many instructors work for themselves although there are driving instructor companies that you can drive for.

Going The Extra Mile For Online Retailers

Online retailers offer a popular alternative to street shopping, with a national revenue of over 504 bn USD accumulated in e-Commerce sales in the US throughout 2018. It’s easy to understand why. Most people find it more convenient to click and buy, especially when they’re trying to manage a hectic lifestyle. However, while customers love to shop online, they are savvy about their choices. The e-Commerce sector is a crowded market where only the most successful businesses can survive. While you might not be able to compete against a market giant such as Amazon, it doesn’t mean that you can’t build an effective online retail presence with a small brand. On the contrary, the secret to staying relevant in this busy market is to give your customers a little more than they expect!

Keeping the delivery process at hand

For a lot of customers, delivery can be a serious issue. Indeed, courier reviews have highlighted common problems experienced by users. Even though e-Commerce companies ask their customers to be understanding and not blame them for the courier mistakes, it’s fair to say that buyers hold you responsible for all delivery problems. Consequently, it’s a good idea to switch from an outsourced process to an in-house delivery fleet – which you can build through truck driver staffing agencies. Managing the entire process from merchandising to shipping can reduce the risk of frustration on the customer side.  

Maintaining the brand experience throughout

Buyers don’t choose your e-Commerce site for its price only. People commit to a purchase with a brand they trust. Therefore, if you want to grow your market, you need to focus your attention on your brand first. Creating a relatable brand for your business, and more importantly a brand that remains consistent throughout the buying process, sets the backbone of your online community. Indeed, with the community comes the promise of meaningful interactions, trust, and loyalty. When you establish your brand, you create a storyline that appeals to your customers.


Building engagement for customers, not business

How do e-Commerce businesses reach out to their audience? While online advertising such as Google shopping can help users to find, the product they need, more and more purchases occur at the back of online engagement strategies. Indeed, multichannel engagement has been shown to increase the order value by over 35% using video chat, and text chat to address queries in real time and provide guidance. Social media real-time conversations – such as answering questions – can also boost your sales by helping customers when they need it.

Don’t do all the talking

When it comes to social media presence, it can be tempting to create a visual platform that showcases all your products in the most flattering light. However, you need to encourage a connection with your clients by promoting their posts about your brand-, such as H&M with the hashtag #hmxme. The hashtag, launched by the brand, promotes customers posts – and regularly displays photos on the website too. By leaving your customers in charge, you immediately make your brand more relevant to their lifestyles.

The challenge for online retailers is to survive in a busy market. In a customer-facing environment, you can’t be satisfied with minimal services. You need to give extra to stand out from the crowd.

Thinking Outside The Box

Customers know what they want. When they choose to order a product online, they have high expectations both for the product and for the delivery process. Unfortunately, while most companies put a great deal of effort in building high-quality products, they can fail to give the same attention to delivery operations. When too many customers complain about poor delivery standards, you can’t afford to ignore their voices any longer. You need to think outside the (delivery) box to meet their expectations!

Give people the choice

Online shoppers are used to the Amazon approach that can provide a variety of delivery options, from same-day to a more distant date depending on membership and location. While most customers don’t expect any other business to offer same-day delivery, they still want to have a choice when it comes to their delivery date. Indeed, more often than not, shoppers abandoned their baskets when they find out that the order can’t be delivered on time. To encourage conversions, e-Commerce marketers suggest clarifying delivery options before purchase and offering a range of advantages, from date to pick up points. Admittedly, the service needs to reflect the choices of the customers; in other words, there’s no point offering next-day delivery if you can’t stick to it!

Make sure you can meet their expectations

Another great way of ensuring that you can match expectations is to switch from your courier provider to a dedicated fleet management services company that lets you keep your delivery process at hand. With a team of drivers, you are more likely to control every aspect of the delivery, as well as keep customers in the loop. When you manage the entire process, you can ensure that delivery vans are adequately loaded, that driving routes are effectively designed, and finally that your fleet is reliable.

Maximize tracking solutions

Where is my parcel? This is a popular question, especially for customers who are stuck indoors, waiting for the delivery man. Some courier companies can provide a narrow time slot, from an AM-PM basis to an hourly breakdown. Others only track specific points of the delivery process, leaving customers in the dark. If you are offering a delivery service, you need to give customers a detailed insight into their parcel journey. A real-time map that updates with the parcel location can let people watch the dot on the screen and reduce frustration.


Who likes plastics?

The dangers of plastic for the environment have been exposed more than enough for your company to know that customers expect green solutions. Parcels can be packed in recyclable cardboard boxes, that not only keep the products safe but are also completely eco-friendly. Additionally, boxes that are custom-made can minimize waste, meaning you can deliver more with one truck!

Going the extra mile with returns

What happens to returns? When an item is returned, retailers can’t put it back on sale as new, even if it hasn’t been opened. With 30% of online purchases returned, it can be tricky to manage the losses. However, you can offer return pallets, just like Amazon. Indeed, Amazon makes a profit margin by selling pallets packed with returned merchandise. As a company, it’s a no-brainer!

Don’t give delivery moaners a chance to complain. By improving your delivery process, from choosing the best options to offering to sell returns, you can keep your customers satisfied all the way through!

Working In Sensitive Industries – A Primer

It’s essential to understand that while business is often business, and has its universal applications, there are many different avenues in which it can be led. For example, the medical industry has wildly different expectations, regulations and requirements than the hotel industry. This is obvious enough. There are similarities between businesses that operate in these disparate fields, and also disconnects. It can pay to know what the criteria of your industry is through and through, particularly if you’re transitioning from one kind of working experience to another, no less if you decide to helm a business in one.

But working in sensitive industries can be even more difficult for a new entrepreneur. Industries such as the already-mentioned medical field, agricultural, technology and real estate all have extremely real impacts on the lives of people around them, and mishandling or management can cause extreme trouble. This is much more than simply selling a product or service, as these industries hold with them the potential long-form room for impact and difficulty that might not be expected or initially worried about.

With the following primer, we hope to help you start with the right mindset:

Become Licensed

Before you start anywhere, it’s essential to know what you’re talking about, but more than that actually have the qualifications and accreditations to back up your claims or line of work. For example, you’ll hardly get far without a real estate license NSW, even if a business simply hoping to flip some of their asset investment properties. This kind of accreditation might need to be renewed now and again, but that’s fine, because it can help your firm continually remain updated with the flow of that sensitive industry, to understand the basic fundamentals of its progression, and to stand tall as a verified voice to be found here. In other words, this is a confident platform to find yourself on.

Understand Innovation

It’s best to keep on top of innovation in sensitive industries. This is because often, one innovation can change the shape of an industry. For example, let’s suggest that you work as a sports therapist. It might be that a new system of pulleys on a fixed station can help athletes begin to remove the knots in their shoulder cuff much more easily, effectively reducing their potential recovery time by half, and with much more reliable results. It’s not hard to see how this might help your business in more ways than one, but first you need to understand the innovations, the foundational logic behind it and how you might implement that into your firm. Keeping one eye on the present and another on the future like this is just great business sense.

Care For The Client

Of course, clients have the potential of being impeded harder than you might realize when working in a sensitive industry. Even something simple like the food a restaurant serves could potentially cause illness, and even more worrying lethality in the elderly population who are made ill through lack of care. Then you can understand just how important getting medical help correct, or selling safe homes to people can be. Care for the client, it is the basis of all good work.

With these tips, working well in sensitive industries iis sure to be followed astutely.

Giving Your Customers Options

Most businesses need customers to make money. Without customers, there is no business, just an idea and lots of stuff. Over time, they need to attract more customers to grow and develop, or just to stay afloat. This is why most new businesses put a lot of time and thought into who they want their customers to be. They consider what this target customer might want from them, and how they will find them. They think about the marketing tools that they will use to get this target customer on board, spending money and investing time in their business.

If you want to do well, if you’re going to keep these customers coming back, and you need them to bring others with them. Creating a loyal customer base is about more than offering excellent service and products. In fact, it’s often about providing as much as you can, in many different variations.

Product Options

Most of us have grown used to the idea of things being personalized. Big brands and stores offer so many different options. We don’t just get to choose between sizes. For a high-street price, we can select the size, shape, color, and style of a product, so much so that it feels custom made. As a smaller business you might not be able to offer as much choice, but give your customers as many product options as you can to satisfy their needs and expectations.

Payment Options

Payment options are a must. Gone are the days where most purchases were cash. Nowadays, even in smaller high-street shops, customers have choices. They can pay with money, on credit or debit card, with their iPhones or with via PayPal. If you run an online store, there are even more options. Look at an online payment gateway to simplify things, giving everyone an easy way to pay.

Delivery Choices

If you want to compete with bigger business, delivery options are a must. Global stores like Amazon no longer just offer next day delivery, they do it for free, with many now even offering same-day delivery, within a few hours of ordering.

You might not be able to offer same-day delivery services, but could you manage next day? Even named day has benefits to customers, especially if it’s cheap. Offering delivery to shops and pick up points is another great option, as it is often less expensive for both you and the customer, and it means that they never need to wait in at home.
Customers today want more. They don’t just want to walk into a shop and buy things. They want to have different ways to shop. They want to be able to browse in store and shop online at the same time. They want to choose delivery dates and be given different ways to pay. They want products in a range of colors and size. They don’t just want shopping to be easy. They want it to meet all of their needs, offering options that meet needs they didn’t know that they had. They want enough options that they feel as though they can create an entirely personal shopping experience.

Natural Born Leader? These Career Paths Will Suit Your Skills

Have you been told throughout your life that you’re a natural born leader? Do people tend to gravitate towards you for advice and guidance, and do you often find yourself stepping up to the plate to lead the way in whatever you’re doing- even if you didn’t set out to do so? Not everyone has leadership qualities, and so if you do then why not put them to their best use? Here are a few careers that will make great use of your skills.

Teacher

The best teachers will really captivate their students. Their passion for their subject will be so contageous that their pupils won’t be able to help but to get excited too. Teachers inspire new ideas and teach knowlegde to the next generation, an incredibly rewarding job to have. Teachers need to be able to keep their class under control, but that requires more than just shouting and inciting fear. They need to be able to connect with them, get on their level and generally be a strong leader that they will look up to and naturally respect their authority. You need to promote focus and ensure you’re keeping students attention, it’s not an easy job at all but would suit someone who has inbuilt leadership skills.

Life coach

There are lots of reasons why someone would hire a life coach, but most often it’s because they’re unsure of themselves. They’re lacking direction and need advice and guidance. If you’re a strong leader that people naturally gravitate too and feel comfortable trusting then this could well be your calling. Don’t expect that you’ll know all the answers and have all of the skills right away, as with any kind of career you’ll need training and experience. But leadership qualities make a really strong starting point, a foundation you can build upon. This is generally something that can’t be taught, so you’re already one step ahead of many others embarking on the same journey.

Manager

We’ve all had good and bad managers within our careers, and it’s easy to spot the difference between the two. Bad managers tend to lack in communication skills, they’re unapproachable and make us feel uncomfortable going to them with a problem. Perhaps they’re too dismissive, or are prone to getting angry. They use disciplinary measures inappropriately and in the worst cases can bully or intimidate employees. Good bosses are those that you connect with on a professional level. You feel comfortable highlighting any issues to, or going to them with problems that affect your work. They don’t micromanage, and have faith in the abilities of their team without feeling the need to control every little detail. One thing that most great bosses have in common is that they’re natural leaders, people are happy to take orders and directions because they go about things in the right way.

Police work

A career in the police of course involves climbing a ladder, a heirachy. In the beginning, you’ll be the one taking orders rather than giving them, and so you need to be just as good of a follower as you are a leader. You should respect the person that’s in charge without trying to take over. As you move through the ranks, you’ll earn more responsibility and this is when your leadership skills will come into their own. So while it’s not a career you’ll be able to put these qualities to use in right away, later down the line you’ll have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate them. Police work is incredibly rewarding, great for logical individuals that are a stickler for rules, and get satisfaction out of helping others.

Business owner

If you like the idea of being the boss, but want to work for yourself then why not start up your own company? While it’s a true test of your leadership skills (as you’ll be starting something up from scratch) it can actually be easier than a managers job in many ways. This is because you’ll be responsible for choosing your employees, you can pick people that you know you’ll mesh well with and will follow your instruction. You choosing means you can avoid personalities clashing, which can often happen in the workplace. Be sure to interview your candidates carefully, don’t be afraid to conduct second or even third interviews if needed. Hire people on a trial period so you can see what they’re like in a work environment and not just when they’re in an interview and presenting themselves in a certain way. While skills and experience are important, they’re not the only thing you need to look for; you need to know that the people you hire are going to work well with you. Setting up a business is a huge venture, but is something that could genuinely change your life for the better. Once you’ve come up with your idea and run your market research, have a WordPress web design company build your site and find an experienced app designer. Find suitable premises, purchase equipment and hire your staff. It’s not just managing people where your leadership qualities will come into their own. It’s having faith in your own abilities, the confidence to make the right decisions and negotiation skills to get you the best prices. All things which will come incredibly useful when you’re starting up your own company.

As with anything in life, if we work with our natural skillset and interests, things can come a lot easier to us. From our hobbies to our careers, even our friends and relationships. Knowing who you are as a person, and basing decisions in your life around what suits you personally is a fast track way to achieving happiness.

Are you a natural born leader? What kind of career are you in- or would you most like to get into?