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Startups And Initial Capital Outlays

Blog9 - Startups And Initial Capital Outlays

No two businesses are alike even if both belong to the same industry.  This is because each going concern has specific requirements and that includes the amount of capital it needs to operate.

So how do you go about determining the amount of capital your startup needs?  What should you do first and foremost?

The first step is to come up with a checklist of all items (big or small) required by your business.   Use info found on the web or from other reliable sources to have an idea on how much each item costs.  Do not skip this step because mere estimating without proper research could lead to disaster.  Prospective financiers might pass up on your funding application if they see that the numbers you are presenting are not close to what’s real.

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As a startup, you’re understandably cautious about your initial capital outlay.  You’ll want to get by with the least amount of capital without compromising your business.  Every item you buy must be carefully thought out.  Buy the “needs” and put off the “wants” for now.

IT Tricks of The Trade – Boost Your IT Team’s Skills With These Tricks

onsite computer repair services - IT Tricks of The Trade – Boost Your IT Team’s Skills With These Tricks

An IT team is the lifeblood of your business it’s essential to so many different areas of your business, that when they run into problems your whole business will be affected. That’s why companies like Mustard IT, an IT consultancy from London are so valuable to businesses today.

Companies like Mustard IT provide a valuable service to businesses when it comes to IT. By outsourcing your IT needs to Mustard IT you’ll have experienced, highly trained IT professionals for when you need them.

This means they can even work with your own in-house team or designated IT person, as well. This is great news for smaller businesses who don’t have the time or funds available to expand or even set-up their own IT team. Because it means you can still get the support and assistance of trained professionals when you need it.

Let’s say you suddenly have an influx of customers and it puts more pressure on your website that in turn causes some problems that you simply can’t fix. Then you can call in a group like Mustard IT to help you and once the jobs done that’s it.

There are many benefits to outsourcing your IT needs to a group like Mustard IT and all businesses regardless of the industry they work in can benefit from utilising their services. However, even if you do plan to outsource your IT needs to a professional group like Mustard IT you can still keep yourself up to date and develop your own digital skillset.

IT Tricks To Know

As a business owner or manager, you’ll have a lot of responsibilities which is another great reason to outsource your IT needs to a group like Mustard IT. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build and develop your own skillset at the same time.

Don’t worry you don’t need to know how to do everything but these little tricks can help you in a pinch or at the very least help you speed up some basic tasks.

Quick Edit Mode

Quick Edit Mode is a great tool to use and there is a lot you can do from it. To enable Quick Edit Mode simply right-click the title-bar and select properties. From the command prompt properties menu, you should see the Quick Edit Mode tab.

Once Quick Edit Mode is activated you can make things like copying and pasting much easier. But before you shut down the command prompt properties menu take a look through the other menus because there are some other handy hidden secrets that could be useful. You can change fonts, adjust the screen buffer size, modify colours and much more.

The Run Dialog Box

The run dialog box is another useful feature anyone can make use of, the run dialog box allows you to quickly open files, launch admin tools and much more. To access the run dialog box simply press the “windows key” and the “R” which will open the dialog box.

Once the dialog box is opened you can utilise a number of shortcuts to move around programs more quickly and launch admin tools. There are a wide variety of different shortcuts you can use but some of the most useful and “need to know” shortcuts are:

Services.msc – This shortcut launches the Services Applet

Compmgmt.msc – This shortcut launches the Computer Management portal

Secpol.msc – This shortcut launches the Security Policy editor

Dsa.msc – This launches the Active Directory

Taskmgr – This launches the Task Manager menu

Osk – This launches the onscreen keyboard

Appwiz.cpl – This allows you to quickly access the add/ remove programs function

Cleanmgr – This shortcut launches the disk clean-up utility

You can also create your own dialog box shortcuts/ run commands by simply right-clicking the file or program you want a shortcut for and then sending it to the desktop. The name the shortcut something short and easy to remember. From there open the run dialog box and select browse and click on the desktop shortcut you’ve created after this step you should be able to utilise the run dialog box to open any shortcuts you’ve created.

System Restore 

If you’ve ever had a laptop or desktop computer that as simply crashed out on you then there is a good chance you already know about the system restore. But in case you don’t let’s go through it, shall we? Because there are a few things you likely don’t know about system restore even if you have used it before.

System restore can be found on your control panel in the system and security menu, you should also see an option to set-up a back-up. This is something you’ll want to do regularly to ensure you always have a date to restore your computer to.

Once you do this you’ll be able to run a system restore to restore your computer to a previous state. This can be very useful if your computer ever runs into any problems or issues that you don’t know how to fix. Although be warned system restores won’t always work and you will need to ensure you actually have spots to restore back to.

Running Programs As Others

Another useful trick that will certainly come in handy and save time is knowing how to run programs as other users or an administrator. This one is really simple all you need to do is press the shift key along with a right click of the mouse to bring up the options menu when selecting a program. On the menu, you’ll see the option to run programs as an administrator or another user.

It’s simple but can be a big timesaver, so make sure you remember it. So, that’s a few tricks to remember and share with your IT lead or in-house team. For the more complex help and support calling in professionals like Mustard IT will always be your best option but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few tricks along the way does it?

7 Secrets You Did Not Know About Windows 10

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Shhhh, we are here to reveal a few secrets you probably were not aware off regarding Windows 10- and the good bit is that what we are about to tell you will drastically improve the performance of your personal computer or machine.

So, before we get started, one thing you must understand is that Microsoft Windows is not just a singular platform but is a complex interwoven web of sophisticated design and software. Each of its characteristics has been created by a dedicated group of engineers who laboured diligently to get it just right so we, as users, can have the best experience ever. Given its intricacy, it is no surprise that as end users, we do not know the little tips and tricks that can help optimise the performance of our devices that utilise Windows 10 as an operating system.

Here is a list of some techniques to help you get the ball rolling to improve your machine’s performance. Note that some have been embedded in the said operating system recently whilst others have been around for a while. Microsoft loves to update and does upgrade all its products constantly. Hence, it is vital that we keep up! Also for quick tech fixes visit this site Windows 10 100 disk usage fix by

  1. Hidden Start Menu

Miss the older display version of the Start menu? What if we told you that you can still access it and enjoy it? High five! Yes, you got it. All you have to do is right click on the Windows icon at the bottom left side of your screen. Once you do that, a text-based menu will come up and demonstrate a volume of your favourite applications and program. You can get to all these programs via the normal menu interface, but this text-based menu will help you get there a little faster.

  1. Let’s Shake it

Got too many windows open? Steer your cursor to the top of the window you want to keep open and “shake” it to minimise all the others. Now, did you know about this? No worries, now you do! If you miss your other windows, just shake again in the same area and the others will come back. By the way, this feature has existed since the launch of Windows 7. Surprising, isnt’ it?

  1. Move Your Screen

You can change the direction of your screen by pressing CTRL+ALT+D and any of the arrow keys. The down arrow button will change it to an upside-down direction whilst the left or right arrow keys will move it 90 degrees to the side. Want it back to its normal position? Whoops, we don’t know how to do that! Just kidding, press the upwards arrow key and voila, your screen will go back to a normal upright position!

Another thing you can do is to right click on your desktop background and launch Graphics Options. Then select the Rotation option to move your screen in all possible ways. And yes, this feature has been there too since Windows 7, just like the preceding characteristic discussed above.

  1. Drag to Pin Windows

Select the window of your choice and drag it to your preferred side of the screen where it will “fit” halfway. Under Windows 10, you can drag the window to the side and choose whether it will be cover half or quarter of your screen. Remember if you are using several different screens, take it to a border corner and be a little patient as you have to wait for a signal to appear that will indicate to you that the window is in the corner.

You can achieve the same or a similar result by utilising the Windows key plus in any of the directional arrow buttons.

  1. Rapid Movement between Virtual Desktops

A round of applause please! Microsoft Windows has finally released the feature where you can multitask on your variant work projects and skip from virtual desktop to virtual desktop. And this is something that is only available on Windows 10. So, if you wish to benefit from this feature, you may want to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10- in case you already haven’t!

How can you do this? Click on Task View             to isolate your open windows and application in to an iconic format. Then, choose which ones you wish to drag over to the area of your screen where it states, “new desktop”. This way, you can divide your work programs from personal ones. When you are out of Task View, you can access your different virtual desktops by holding down the Windows button with CTRL+right/left arrows simultaneously.

However, if you don’t like owning so many variant virtual desktops, you can remove it as well. Just return back to Task View and delete the singular virtual desktops. You’re good to go!

  1. Demonstrate Desktop Button

Okay, this special feature goes back to Windows 7. At the bottom right side of your screen, lies a little treasure. Cannot see it? Sure? Look again. There is a small sliver of a semi-invisible icon. Click it and all your open windows will be minimised.

  1. Taskbar Secrets

This is an extremely useful menu that will let you get to multiple apps at a quicker pace. It will let you access different presets for the tool bars, window schemes as well as Cortana. Just click away and explore to your heart’s content!

  1. Tiles Secrets

If you wish to swiftly personalise the tiles on your machine, all you have to do is right-click on them to get a pop up menu to rise up. This particular menu will give you several alternatives such as letting you unpin programs from the Start menu, change the sizes of your open windows or to turn that live tile off. So many options, where do you start from?

Now that you are armed with so many tips and tricks, we are sure that you cannot wait to go give them a whirl! Best of luck! We hope this article was useful to you 😊

If you “hover” over this button, it will do the same thing, i.e., minimise your windows.

10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Blog - 10 Ways To Improve Your Offices Work Environment

Your office is your home away from home or just your home if you have a big job on, so you’ll be spending a good portion of your day there and wouldn’t it be nice if your office actually helped promote a better working environment rather than hindered it? Sure, it would, you’re probably thinking but I don’t have thousands to spend on a luxury office, but you don’t need to.

Many big businesses have amazing offices that go far beyond what the average business today can offer. But you don’t need all those fancy extra-additions to create a great working environment, you just think you do.

Sure, having the budget of Google or Apple would help, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your office, in fact, you might not to spend any money at all. Because not every way you can improve your office can be done with material goods. So, let’s take a look at ten great ways you can create a better working environment in your office, shall we?

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Make Your Office Cosy

All to often is the plain minimalist office showcased and I always wonder why, an office should be comfortable of course that doesn’t mean it should be full of pictures of cushions but there’s got to be some leeway. Simply adding a few nice extra additions like fresh fruit at breaks or some artwork on the walls can make your office feel more comfortable and that will go a long way towards promoting a better working environment.

Get Your Hiring Right

This is important for all businesses but particularly smaller ones because you’ll be dealing with fewer people, so you need to make sure everyone is happy. This isn’t always easy in fact it rarely ever is but that’s why you should take your time, and this doesn’t end once you’ve made the hire either. You need to make sure they adjust to their working environment and feel comfortable.

Talk Regularly With Your Employees

Whether you run the whole business or just a small part of it it’s important that you aren’t disconnected from your team. Everyone as a different style of leadership and that’s fine but if you want a healthy work environment you should at least be recognisable to your employees, so get your face out there and talk to them every so often.

Natural Lighting Works Wonders

No one wants to work in a dank, dark office, do they? Natural light has been scientifically proven to help improve people’s mood, energy, and productivity so it will be beneficial to any office. Now, of course, this might not always be possible but if you have to use more artificial light then do it, it might not be as beneficial, but it will certainly help.

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Keep It Clean

A tidy office is a better office? OK, that might not be the best mantra but it’s true all the same if you want a productive and happy office then it needs to be kept clean and tidy. Sure, it may get messy on occasion, but you’ll need to do your best to manage the mess. So, make sure there are plenty of bins and air fresheners on hand as the last thing you want is having to call in a local pest control company such as Pest Control Company in Edinburgh

Plants Are Powerful 

Plants have a lot of beneficial properties and just like natural light they have been proven to work wonders in offices. They also help keep the air clean and can make people feel calmer and happier, they are certainly going to be beneficial in a busy office and can even help add a splash of colour to the place. The only thing you need to be mindful of is if any employees you have suffer from allergies.

Breaks Are Essential 

The working lunch as unfortunately become common for many people, some people even enjoy it but whether people have their lunch at their desk or not you should make sure your employees take regular breaks throughout the day.

Any office should have a break or staff room, so people can spend some time away from their computer screens. This will help them stretch their legs and reduce neck and back strain but will also help break up the day and give their eyes a rest as well.

So, make sure everyone is scheduled for breaks throughout the day you can either give everyone a fixed time or be a little more flexible about it, the important thing is people do have time to take their breaks.

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Praise Your Staff

If your team is doing really well or even if everything is just running smoothly make sure your team knows you’re happy with their performance. All too often office managers will fall into the trap of not bothering to praise their staff and just assuming they know they’re doing a good job.

But praise will certainly help promote a better office working environment so don’t be afraid to give some out. You could do this in person, send a quick email or make it a part of staff meetings there is no right or wrong way it really all depends on the situation.

Keep A Balanced Temperature

This could be really easy or really hard depending on your location, climate and the time of year! But keeping a balanced and cool temperature will really help promote a happier more productive office and make sure you have some heaters and fans ready for those really cold and really hot days.

Don’t Be Afraid To Remove Toxic Workers

This one is without a doubt the most difficult but it’s essential if you want a happy and productive office that you are confident enough to manage difficult situations and employees. I think every office manager will be faced with a difficult employee at some point in their career and it’s important that you act confidentially.

Toxic workers can come in all kinds, some people might not even realise they are upsetting other people, office gossip does have a nasty side to it after all. And dealing with a toxic worker or situation doesn’t always mean you need to fire somebody it’s often more complicated than that.

But you can’t let problems with employees carry on you need to know how to deal with them and act fast and while it’s a worst-case scenario you do need to be prepared to fire people. Ensuring a happy team is the best way to guarantee a happy office after all.

Common Productivity Problems and How To Fix Them

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Productivity problems can seem like a real challenge to overcome and they can strike at any time. Your best team can become unmotivated and unproductive with little warning, but you can solve productivity problems and get things back on track.

One of the best ways to deal with productivity problems is to try and prevent them in the first place by adopting a more innovative framework like the one on offer from By using a more innovative framework you’ll be able to improve communication, promote creative free thinking and ensure your employees are more motivated.

Productivity issues can happen across all businesses and at all levels, but you don’t have to put up with them because they can be fixed. Below I’ve outlined some of the most common productivity issues businesses can face and how you can fix them.

Distracted Employees

If you’re working in an office there are going to be a lot of distractions you could be busy writing a paper or answering emails only to take a break to check the news. You tell yourself you’ll only be a few minutes but then you end up spending hours just messing about online when you should be doing work.

Now that’s a more extreme example a more common distraction in the workplace is the risk of playing about on your smartphone when you should be doing work or getting caught up gossiping with co-workers. Every workplace regardless of the industry can suffer productivity issues because of distracted employees, so how do you fix this problem?

Thankfully preventing distracted employees is easier than you might think, the first step should be to limit distractions whenever possible. Smartphones and the internet are essential to most modern businesses so you can’t exactly stop people from using them, can you?

Instead, build a more trusting and open relationship with your employees let them know they have the freedom to take a break to unwind and relax. However, you should also make it clear that when they are in the office they are there to work. You can take more a lax easy-going approach but make sure you strike the right balance.

Stagnant Work

This is one of the most common reasons for unproductive employees and worst of all it can be very difficult to prevent. Every workplace will go through periods where they just have to carry on with the more mundane daily tasks. There might not be any exciting big projects on the horizon so your employees can easily get bored dealing with the usual day to day tasks.

So, how do you fix this problem? Well while you might not always have exciting work to do you should encourage your employees to be creative so they can make the more mundane tasks more interesting.

You might also want to impose a schedule with your employees so they can get the more boring tasks done first before moving onto the more exciting stuff. It might be difficult doing the more mundane tasks first thing in the morning but trust me your employees will feel much more motivated once they’ve got them out of the way.

No Creative Freedom

This problem is in many ways the neighbour of the productivity issue outlined above. If you’re to ridged in your management style then your employees can feel incredibly limited in how they can work. This can cause huge issues with productivity because your employees will only be able to work one way.

They will soon grow bored with this and not feel motivated to work hard. Thankfully combating this problem is easy all you need to do is encourage your employees to be creative. OK, that sounds simple enough but in practice, it can be much more difficult simply telling your employees to be creative won’t make them creative, will it?

So, as a leader and manager, you should foster a more open environment and encourage your employees to share their ideas with you. You’ll still need to monitor things of course because greater creative freedom does come with some risks.

One of the best ways to do this is to utilise a more innovative OKR framework. An OKR framework will help you track your objectives and results better while also enabling you to better monitor the work being done. OKRs are also great for defining what you want your employees to actually do, which is certainly going to be useful for the next issue as well.

No Clear Set Goals

If your employees don’t actually know what they are supposed to be doing then they will be sure to suffer serious productivity issues, won’t they? So, it’s essential that you clearly set out what your goals are for your employees. Remember goals aren’t just for big projects either your daily tasks will have end goals as well, won’t they?

And they are just as important to complete but if your employees aren’t sure what they need to do to get from point A to point B then they will feel unmotivated and unproductive. But thankfully this problem can be dealt with in a number of proven to be effective ways.

OKRs, as we’ve already looked at, are one of the best ways to do this because it allows you to outline and define your objectives, therefore your employees will know what they need to do in order for you to achieve your desired outcome. But OKRs aren’t the only way to ensure you always have clear goals.

Smart goals are another great framework to employ, a smart goal is a goal that is specifically designed to make every important aspect of your objective clear. With a smart goal, you’ll have the specifics, measurable outcomes and realistic agreed upon results all worked out. You’ll also have the timeframe/ deadline set out as well.

When combined with OKRs smart goals are a great way to ensure your employees will always know what they are doing. So, if you want to combat and take proper preventive measures against productivity problems in your business make sure you take these solutions into account and focus on utilising OKRs and smart goals.


Improve Your PPC Campaigns with these 5 Google Features

Rules You Mustn’t Break In Any PPC Advertising Campaign Bannersnack 1 - Improve Your PPC Campaigns with these 5 Google Features

You probably already know that Google Adwords is one of the most powerful digital marketing platforms that exist on the worldwide web today. It allows companies of all sizes to target and engage with its targeted customers directly.

Although it’s based on an auctioning pay per click model, its relative simplicity has transformed the world of advertising. However, do not be fooled by its user friendly interface that has been developed especially for you. There is a state of the art, advanced technology supporting it and running it.

We will share five of the most advanced characteristics from Google that will help you to obtain a serious competitive advantage over your other industrial counterparts.

Since the last few years, Google Adwords has undergone several operational and interface-related changes. As the main revenue generator, Google AdWords’ design has been revamped to be more user friendly for digital marketers who utilise it to evaluate campaign performance and appraise potential opportunities.

Now, when we say there is some serious technology behind Google Adwords: we weren’t kidding. Complex machine learning algorithms are incorporated to analyse every possible factor: from user behaviour to search intent and bid adjustments is examined and analysed in thorough detail. This changes yet improves how brand managers operate search campaigns.

A lot of trends related to search abilities are emerging and making headway in today’s digital realm. Visual search, voice-lead search, and the constant increase in online commerce is all based around Google’s search engine.

Amidst all this, paid search is also growing due to innovations. This is leading to fresh, inventive ways that will allow brand managers and companies to connect with their target customer groups. Whilst the future promises a thrilling ride, we must not forget that marketers have to keep their heads in the present game as well.

Google Adwords is home to a host of diverse features that allow this as it effects companies’ digital marketing performances. Regardless of automotive processes taking over the day to day operations of personal accounts, the need for paid search professionals has never been more urgent.

Here are 5 important Adword traits that will help increase your PPC performance according to our friends at Summon Digital who are a leading PPC agency on London

  1. Click to call

BIA/Kelsey has predicted that the number of calls made   in the year 2019 will rise to one hundred and sixty-two billion. This has led to an increment in the number of calls made due to paid research results. Click to call may not appear to be a vital feature to you and is often overlooked.

However, it requires no time to set up and minimal effort. If you, as an advertiser, want to insert call extensions, gain statistics on this particular call to action, and even decide when they will appear in search results, it is possible to do so all within Google Adwords through a manual feature.

It has become an automated procedure to quite an extent. Google now acknowledges which landing pages have phone numbers on them and can automatically create call extensions based on that knowledge. But of course, you have to do some manual inputs in order to enable this feature.

  1. Targeting via demographics

As a marketer, you can target your customer based on his parental status and income. Not only that, you can set parameters for age and gender as well. However, note that targeting income as a variable is only possible in a few countries, mainly the United States of America, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

Despite its geographical limitation, it is a critical update that will soon expand to other parts of the world. When put together with the new user interface, some incredible reporting will come to light and change the way marketers plan their campaigns.

  1. Optimised Ad Changes

Google made a lot of changes to its Adwords software in the second half of last year, i.e, 2017. Ultimately, ad rotation is meant to show its users different advertisements and see which one resonates the best with them. Of course, the machine learning technology employed by Google is ideal for such a task.

Google endorses having a minimum of 3 ads in each ad campaign group for effective testing results. If you have a large number of ads for Google to choose from, it promises better outcomes.

  1. Smart Bidding

Smart bidding deploys machine learning technology to evaluate the different relationships between diverse factors and see how it can improve performance via the Adwords function. It can optimise bids to generate the highest possible return on investment for the marketer’s KPIS.

How does this work? Smart bidding views the entire context of the given bids and checks different variables individually and holistically to comprehend what set of circumstances led to certain results. Armed with this information, it can place a direct, accurate bid to mark the marketer’s campaign targets.

These targets can be set based upon cost per acquisition, cost per click or return on ad spend. The most recent alternative accessible to brands is labelled “maximise conversions” and aims to generate the optimal quantity of conversions against an appointed budget.

You guessed it right, a lot of data is needed for such parameters. It will be better if you use this feature only if you have spent some time on Adwords and stacked up sufficient historical patterns of Adwords performance information.

Some digital and brand marketers still prefer the manual method to setting their parameters.

  1. Custom Intent Audience Groups

Google is gearing up to take on Facebook’s control variable techniques by giving custom intent audience controls to its users. When you review Google’s guidelines on how to apply this to your campaigns, you will see that it incorporates machine learning algorithms yet again.

It will study your customer group’s behaviour and interactions across all Google channels such as Youtube, the Google display network and more and generate an automated audience list. Facebook is still ahead in the game in this regard, but this particular field has drastically improved the overall product.

How to Stay on Top of Your Business Costs

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When starting a business, it’s not unusual for us to have some form of checklist to hand. However, we can often overlook the important on staying on top of business costs, which could mean that the cash flow of the business doesn’t quite go the way we’d like.

There are many types of businesses from small local businesses such as Willsha Pools who offer remodeling services to small local high street retailers, and there’s no cookie-cutter solution in place that will suit every set of circumstances, but there are some solutions available that could be worth investigating further.

Accountancy Software

When we think of accountancy software, it’s easy to conjure up images of a mathematical software that require some form of qualification to operate, but the truth is that there are thousands of everyday apps and programs available that can be easily used by business owners.

While some apps may be free to use, others could incur a charge. Rather than use a platform that is cheapest, we need to ensure that we’re using apps that are tailored to our requirements.

For example, those of us who have difficulty in retaining expenses will often opt for a program that can scan receipts on their behalf. Similarly, those who are confident in completing details in relation to their income and expenditure can use a program that links to a bank account and carried out all the hard work for you.

Not only does the use of accountancy software ensure that you’re able to get business accounts up-to-date, but also ensure that any further entries are submitted straight away, meaning there is less panic when a deadline starts to loom.

Develop an Effective Invoicing System 

Not every company will be using invoices in relation to their business. E-commerce stores will normally complete transactions straight away, as it’s a goods-for-cash operation. However, those who offer services will often issue an invoice that has to be paid within a set time.

Although we shouldn’t be chasing customers as soon as the invoice is issued, we do need to ensure that we’re chasing invoices as soon as they fall outside of the due date.

Of course, there will be times when there is a genuine reason for non-payment, but the sooner we’re able to touch base with a customer, the sooner we’re able to establish the reason and work with the customer.

More often than not, business owners find that the reason for non-payment is simply due to an oversight and is usually paid promptly following a subtle reminder.

However, if we just keep off chasing invoices, the collection of any monies due could be more complicated, especially if come customers can’t recall the initial invoice.

Open a Business Bank Account as Soon as Possible

There is so much to do when running a business, especially at the beginning. It’s understandable that many assume that the opening of a business bank account can wait, but it’s actually something that needs to be done as soon as possible.

If we don’t have a business bank account, then it often means we’re using a personal account, which could cause confusion when it comes to paying the company taxes.

A business bank account not only ensures that there is clarity when it comes to income and expenditure, it can help when it comes to getting your tax demands paid on time.

Traveling for Business Can Become Expensive

There will be times when business owners have to travel. This could be for a convention, or to meet a new client. While it’s important we have somewhere to lay our head, it’s important not to get caught up with the more luxurious elements during the beginning stage of the business.

Although it can be tempting to choose luxury, we essentially just need somewhere to sleep, and any extravagant spending could have a negative effect on our bottom line.

Of course, you will need to be comfortable when staying overnight, just be careful not be drawn into paying more than you need to.

The same can apply to traveling expenses. If you’re traveling by car, then it’s likely any tax relief will be connected to the price of fuel. However, airplanes and trains are methods of traveling that could mean business users will end up sending more than they need to.

Business owners who choose to stay with the basics when traveling for business will find that their profits are healthier when it comes to the end of the tax year.

Is Renting Cheaper Than Buying?

Depending on the niche of your business, there will be times when you need access to specialist equipment. Most would assume that ownership is preferable, but does it make more sense to rent during the early stages of the business?

Of course, you won’t be able to rent every single piece of equipment, but it is something worth investigating if you’re trying to cap outgoing expenses.

There may be times when buying outright is more cost-effective than renting but carrying out the research could mean that a business must spend less when acquiring new equipment or services.

Nowadays, it’s easy to lose track of what a business is spending, with the ramifications only being clear at the end of the tax year. Keeping tracks of expenses and carrying out some research could mean that you business can hold back capital for more important aspects of the business.



Making Sure You Operate a Business in the Right Way

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When running a business, the concept seems relatively straightforward, and in many instances, it can be. However, there are some factors that need to be checked before officially opening a business.

Also, according to The Callahan Law firm who are bad faith lawyers in Houston, depending on the type of business you run, and the service it offers, there can be many legal requirements that need to be considered, even when it comes to operating as a sole trader or company.

What Type of Structure Will Your Business Use?

To ensue that your business is legally-prepped, the business owners must determine what structure their business will operate on. The structure you choose will influence the type of taxes you have to pay, and what insurance must be in place.

Sole Trader: This can be the simplest form of business, but it does have its limitations. For example, any debts incurred are attributed to the person as opposed to a company. It is also means that the person has to self-finance operations for which they’re not able to obtain credit.

Those who are interested in operating as a sole trader will need to make use of the SBA Locater to find out the legal requirements within their state.

Partnership: As the name would suggest, a partnership consists of two people who will be responsible for the business. Although it may be assumed that no issues will arise with a partnership, this isn’t always the case, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the legal aspects.

Both parties should ensure that there is a partnership agreement drawn up that outlines the responsibilities and rights of each partner. It may seem like a lot of legwork initially, but it stops things getting messy further down the line.

Much like a sole trader, and debts are attributed to those running the business. The partnership will also be responsible for locating capital, be it via personal funds or via a business loan.

Company: Unlike a sole trader or partnership, a company is an entity that’s sit separately from its shareholders. In laymen’s terms, this means that the company is recognised as its own entity, as opposed to having a personal attachment as seen with sole traders and partnerships.

The running of a company will generally more income that needs to be dealt with and will often have many employees on board to ensure that the running of the business is a success. As well as contending with the financial demands of the business, business owners will also have to ensure that its payroll is also able to calculate personal taxes of its employees.

Payment of Goods or Services

Depending on whether your business will offer goods or services, you will need to ensure that you have the right legal framework in place to ensure that there is never any difficulty when it comes to payment of an invoice.

Business that offer projects will need to list what will be included for the price the customer is paying, and what should occur should the customer be disatisified. Even the most professional will come across some form of complaint when operating a business. While it can be disheartening, with the right legal safeguards in place, there’s very little reason as to why the situation can’t be resolved amicably, without having a detrimental effect on the business.

A Business Plan Can Aid the Final Decision

Regardless of how simple the concept is for a business, there are many considerations that can be missed if a viable business plan isn’t in place. Not only does a business plan allow you to make amendments for any potential cash shortfalls, it also act as reminder for the direction your business should be taking.

This isn’t to say that amendments can’t be made along the way, but if you have nothing to hand when taking your first steps as an entrepreneur, you could find yourself in some hot water.

Different business plans may need different approaches, but the following are some of the facets you need to look at when preparing yourself for the business world.

  • Executive Summary: Gives a snapshot of the business, including its goals.
  • Company Description: Explains the outlay of the company what makes it different to others,
  • Market Analysis: Will detail competition and recent trends within the industry.
  • Marketing and Sales: This section will detail your sales strategies as well as brand marketing should it be applicable.
  • Financial Projections: This section is very important, especially if business owners are looking for capital in the guise of a loan or investment.

Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Starting a Business?

The business world is one that consists of many brand and entities, and many have their own way of working. The simple fact is that some will fully-versed about what’s required when it comes to running a business from a legal point-of-view, while others may need a helping-hand.

If you fall in to the latter category, you may be concerned that you will need to invest a small fortune in relation to legal advice, but this really depends on what type of advice you need.

When running a business, it’s better to be prepared legally, then must face the ramifications later on. Regardless of whether it relates to intellectual property, or and accident that has occurred on the premises, your business needs to know where it stands, regardless of the structure being used.

There can be more legal aspects to consider than you think, and although there is a slew of information online, should you be struggling with any concept, it can be advisable to employ the services of a layer that specialises in business. It may seem like an unwarranted cost initially but can be cost-effective when compared to the financial ramifications that could arise.

Business Security Basics – Access Control

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There are a lot of things today’s business owners needs to take into consideration. With one of the most difficult areas being security, business security is a minefield which is rather ironic when you think about it. But one of the most problematic security concerns of any business is access control, which has led to access control security companies experiencing a sharp rise in popularity.

If you’re reading this thinking “what is access control” or you only have some idea of what it is, then don’t worry you are not alone. One of the biggest concerns about access control is that many businesses simply don’t focus on it as much as they should. So, let’s get right down to it and look at what access control actually is.

What Is Access Control?

While you might not know it by its official title what exactly access control is might become clearer when I explain it. So, access control at the most basic level is a system designed to prevent people from accessing internal systems.

Now internal systems can mean many things it could be your computer databases or restricted areas like staff or storage rooms you use. With access control systems you are essentially controlling who has access to what parts of your business, hence the name access control.

So, when you look at it like that access control seems relatively simple and straightforward doesn’t it? And it can be, in some businesses you might only need a very simple access control system in place but for others, you might need something a little more complex and it’s not unusual to see multiple access control systems in place.

Access Control Systems

Access control systems are the preventative measures you put in place to prevent people from accessing the areas/ systems they shouldn’t. As mentioned previously these can take many different forms let’s look at some examples below.

Locks and Keys

Probably the simplest access control system in operation, locks, and keys might seem simple and easy but they can take many forms. A key card or electronic locking mechanism is going to be more complex than a simple deadbolt isn’t it?

For many of today’s businesses a simple lock and regular key isn’t going to cut it anymore, that technology is old and as such, there is now a lot of ways it can be compromised. Which is why opting for a more complex electronic system is usually the ideal choice for businesses today.

Access Cards

I touched upon these briefly in the previous section, access cards are the most common name given to the more modern, advanced access system in use today. This system most commonly uses a server and database and will log everyone’s movement when they enter specific areas or use certain pieces of equipment.

There is a lot of scope to these access control systems and they can be set-up to work in a wide variety of ways. However, setting up your own and maintaining it can be difficult and expensive, so many businesses opt to use access control security companies instead.

Security Guards

Security guards aren’t an access control system in the traditional sense but in many ways, they work in tandem with them. Security guards can monitor access points to ensure no one either purposely or accidentally gains access to a place they shouldn’t.

Security guards will also be better able to spot anyone acting suspicious and stop any potential threats. So, while they might not be an access system in the traditional sense security guards do so support them and ensure they are kept secure.

Should You Set-Up Your Own Access Control System?

Having some sort of access control system in place is essential to ensure your business premise and employees are safe and secure. Even if it’s just ensuring the doors stay locked and having a CCTV system set-up to monitor the area.

However, for many businesses today a more advanced access control system will be needed and while it’s perfectly possible to set-up your own system it is challenging. One of the first issues many businesses will face is not knowing what exactly they will need to set-up.

With so much variety knowing what systems will actually benefit your business isn’t always easy. You could easily end up implementing an ill-fitting system that doesn’t offer the level of protection your business needs.

Setting up an access control system on your own can also be a very time-consuming process which is why many people opt to enlist the services of access control security companies. These companies offer many benefits and will work quickly to set-up the best access control security system for your business.

The Benefits of Using An Access Control Security Company

Enlisting the aid of an access control security company will get you expert help and assistance when it comes to setting up your business’s security system. They’ll be able to tell you what system is best for your business and then get to work setting everything up.

This will include installing new locking systems, setting up your server and configuring any software. Using an access control security company will allow you to get your business premise safe and secure quickly and they’ll be no risk of mistakes because you’ll be working with experienced professionals.

Best of all many access control security companies will also provide additional support after the system is set-up. And many can also provide security guards as well, so you can cover all risks and make sure your business premise is safe.

Proper access control is essential to the smooth running of any business, no matter the size or industry you’ll need an access control security system in place. And by going to a professional access control security company you can ensure any system you set-up fully covers everything it needs to.

There are so many security risks to businesses these days and a simple lock and key likely isn’t going to be enough to protect you. So, call in the professionals to get a high-quality access control security system set-up.



How Technology Has Changed the Way We Invest

tech 1 - How Technology Has Changed the Way We Invest

Making an investment is nothing new. Although the use of technology such as the Elliott Wave Theory has inspired others to make investments with a few thumb swipes, the potential to make gains on a investment has been around since the 1800s.

While the opportunities have been there for some time, not everyone knew they existed, and this is because like most things before the Internet, you had to have experience within a certain field to gain access to it.

The birth of the Internet has meant more doors have been opened in several sectors. For example, those in remote areas can now make a living online because of the connectivity available.

Making an investment used to mean trawling through the stock market and making an investment with the information available to you. While there are ways of getting to this information, you would often find that you were sharing a room with hundreds of others looking for the same information, so dreams of working on Wall Street soon faded.

The smartphone we use today can often be underestimated, especially when compared to the giant computers we would have used during yesteryear. Out smartphone is essentially a computer with the ability to make calls.

Many smartphones will come with a dedicated operating system, normally iOS or Android, depending on your preference. Once you have access to an app store, you should be able to find an app that allows you to make an investment quite easily, but not all apps operate in the same way, although they may offer a similar function.

Invest as You Spend

There are several ways to save money, and one of the most popular ways is to have a savings account that rounds off your latest spend. For example, if you were to spend £2.50 on a coffee, the £2.50 would go to the business, while the other 0.50p would be transferred to a dedicated savings account.

This is a great option for those who may have difficulties in saving huge amounts, or those who don’t have much disposable income to save. As the amounts are very small, the won’t amass a fortune in the short-term, but they can prove to be effective should you ever experience a rainy day.

Now what if you were able to make a return on these amounts rather than the measly interest offered by your bank? Well, a series of apps use this method of depositing funds but will look to invest them in stocks or shares as opposed to placing them in a savings account.

Even those who are new to the world of stocks and shares find that they can make investments with relative ease. While you would need to invest a large amount to see any large returns, these types of apps are ideal for those looking to learn more about the world of investing, without them having to worry about an impact on their finances.

Other Forms of Investing

Although apps are part of everyday life, this isn’t the only method of making an investment in the modern age. While there plenty of commodities to invest in, some will prefer to deal with certain stocks. For example, some may only be interested in currency, whereas others may want to invest in social networks or streaming services.

Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms available that make investments easier to understand, as well as the risks involved. Due to the many solutions available, it shouldn’t prove to find a solution that offers a user experience that suits you.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending is becoming a popular avenue for those looking for credit, but such avenues have to be funded in different ways, which is where the peer-to-peer element comes in.

Rather than investing in stocks and share, you will be supplying funds that contribute towards a loan. The return you make when making an investment can differ depending on how much risk you’re willing to take.

For example, you will make much more on riskier applications, but there is also a greater potential for default.

Like any other form of investment, it’s important that we don’t invest more than we can afford, especially in the learning stages. However, it does showcase how many avenues there are to explore when it comes to making an investment.

The Way We Consume Data

There will have been a time when we had to buy a newspaper or turn on the television to stay abreast of current developments, especially in the world of stocks and shares. While there were plenty of options available to investors, none of the solutions come close to what the Internet can offer, which is real-time updates.

Regardless of the sector we’re looking to invest in, there’s no real reason why we can’t look at some real-time numbers to make a more informed decision when investing.

We can also use software to mould old strategies to meet the requirements of today’s investor. An example of this can be platforms that make use of the Elliott Wave Principle, a theory that is based on the psychology of the market and the way investments are made.

While the initial process behind making an investment remains the same, the way in which we’re able to make an investment makes the concept available to those who may never have even considered making an investment before.

The Dangers of “Do It Yourself” Legal Documents for Tech Start-Ups

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Technology is complicated, I think it’s fair to say that is a statement the vast majority of people agree with. With that in mind can you imagine the complexity involved in setting up your tech business?

Setting up even a small and relatively simple business (if such a thing exists nowadays) is complicated enough. But when you move into an industry like technology it becomes even more complicated.

There’s a lot of important documentation involved with setting up a business and juggling everything isn’t easy. There’s employee contracts, non-disclosure agreements, privacy policies, terms of use, shareholders agreements and much more.

The list might seem endless and no one sets-up their own business to spend hours filling in forms, do they? Which is why shortcuts are so enticing for entrepreneurs, after all, they make a long job so much easier don’t they?

Rather than spending time setting out everything you need to cover, then getting it checked by a legal professional, making changes and then getting it finalised wouldn’t it be much easier to just use a template or an online service? Well yes, it would be easier and simpler but that isn’t always a good thing.

There’s a lot of dangers to be aware of when it comes to filling out your legal documents, even the smallest error could lead to a lot of potential legal problems. And when you take a shortcut to get your documentation finished the risk of making a mistake increases substantially, this is especially true in the tech industry.

But despite the danger, many entrepreneurs still take these shortcuts, and some don’t even realise they’re doing it till it’s too late. Which is why it’s essential you understand the dangers and know which shortcuts to avoid.

Below Jones Whyte who are solicitors based in Glasgow have outlined the three main shortcuts many entrepreneurs take when setting up their businesses.

While these shortcuts may seem great at first glance when you take a more in-depth look the legal dangers become clearer. So, wither further ado let’s take a look at the shortcuts all entrepreneurs need to avoid.

The Template User

Templates are a very tempting shortcut for any entrepreneur but especially those in the tech industry where additional forms like non-disclosure agreements are more commonplace and frequent. The other issue with templates is that sometimes they do actually work.

That might sound like a strange admission when I’ am talking about the dangers of using shortcuts but to be honest sometimes they do really work. However, the key word there is “sometimes” and an over-reliance on templates is where the problems start to develop, templates will only be a viable option on certain documents as well.

The memorandum of association, for example, is a relatively simple and straightforward document and templates are available for the Direct GOV website. For documents like this using a template is usually fine, however, it also outlines another important factor you need to consider namely the source of the template.

A quick Google search will bring up a wide range of templates for all kinds of legal documents if you do plan to use one or even view one to just get some insight make sure you pay close attention to the site that’s offering it. It’s easier than you think to download an outdated or foreign template for a document without you realising it.

The DIY Expert

Whether you use a template or not nothing is worse than trying to do it yourself! Setting up a business is a complex procedure as I previously mentioned, but that doesn’t stop many people from trying to do everything on their own.

This shortcut also ties into our first because many people will use a template and then edit it to fit their needs. In theory, this might not sound like a bad idea but editing legal documentation especially from a basic template is not easy and in many cases, it will result in a poor-quality document. 

To ensure your legal documents are up to standard you shouldn’t try to do everything yourself. You need to work with a legal professional to ensure your documentation covers everything it needs to. If you miss something out or get something wrong, then you could face serious legal consequences.

Doing it yourself might seem like a great way to save time and money, but when it comes to your legal documentation you need to be patient and work with a professional. That way you can ensure everything is right. 

Skipping The Final Step

You should get all your legal documentation checked by a professional before you submit it. This might seem obverse but it’s a step that many entrepreneurs either forget to do or choose not to. But it’s imperative that you remember to get your legal documents examined by a professional.

They’ll be able to check to make sure every document is correct and identify any possible mistakes you may have made. They’ll also be able to tell you if you have missed any important documentation, there is no one rule for businesses it can vary wildly from place to place to how much documentation you’ll need.

So, a legal professional will be able to assist you in a number of ways and every entrepreneur should be sure to arrange a meeting with one before submitting any documents. Yes, this will come at a cost, but it is worth it, you can also employ a lawyer or solicitor to assist you with filling out the documentation as well. So, they can help you throughout the process.

Shortcuts Don’t Always Lead To Success

You’ll see many websites and people claiming they have a working, 100% guaranteed shortcut to success but in my experience, these always turn out to be overblown statements at best and completely false at worst.

Which is why when you’re setting up your business you need to do things the right way. Yes, this will often end up costing you more time and in some cases money, but it will give you complete peace of mind.