How Answering Services Work


Thousands of businesses of all sizes use a telephone answering service, but do you really know how these services work? Let’s take a look at why so many business owners choose to use them and how they work to not only save you time, but also a lot of money.

Many single sole traders, small businesses and partnerships make good use of telephone answering services because it saves them having to stop whatever they are doing to answer their incoming phone calls. This is especially frustrating for a single sole trader who has to handle everything in relation to their business. Whether they design and build products to sell, or need to focus their attention on important figures and calculations where they cannot afford to break their concentration or make a mistake, such as a freelance accountant or bookkeeper, an incoming phone call can be a big disruption for them. However, ignoring the phone to get your work done can be a big mistake because you will be losing a lot of potential new business by doing so.

While you are busy in a meeting with a client or trying to broker a deal, having a telephone answering service is a perfect solution for catching every incoming business call while you are unavailable.

But it’s not just sole traders or small businesses that can benefit from these services – a lot of larger businesses that would need a very large telephone support infrastructure can also benefit from using an outsourced service. Not only would they be saving money by not needing to hire a large number of staff to answer their calls, but they wouldn’t need to buy or rent the office space to house them – or pay out for the necessary telecommunications equipment and infrastructure needed to accommodate the volume of calls they receive. This is why many larger businesses use professional call centres to handle this side of things for them.

How can a telephone answering service help you?

Your call answering service will be able to take your incoming calls and handle them as you instruct us to. Your service can take callers wanting to make appointments with you, and also be able to handle calls coming in after your regular business hours or during lunch breaks where you will not be available. Should you be off sick for a day or even taking a well-earned break away on holiday, your calls will still be securely and professionally answered a dealt with in your absence, so you don’t need to worry while you are away.

Never miss a call again by hiring a professional telephone answering service.



4 Awesome Ways to Make Businesses Better for People With Disabilities


Do you think you, and all of your colleagues, are comfortable in your workplace? Everyone’s working environment should act as a space where they feel ready and willing to bring their best performance, whatever their job is. It is your and your place of work’s duty to make sure everyone is happy, wherever you work. Here are some tips to make your place of work better for people with disabilities.

1. Open Plan Layouts

According to a report published on Equal Human Rights the internal layout of a work space can have a huge impact for people with disabilities. This is due to a number of factors. From wheelchair users who struggle with moving heavy doors, to the visually impaired who rely on a regular, open layout. Even simple changes like clear pathways or lighter doors could potentially make your colleague’s working day so much easier.

2. Wheelchair Accessible Minibus

For people with physical impairments public transport is not an option to get themselves to work. Or another issue could be the number of disabled carpark spaces is limited. A solution for both of these problems is a wheelchair accessible minibus, such as those provided by Allied Fleet. This means people who need it have a simpler way of getting to and from work, not to mention the environmental benefits of such a programme. Have you considered looking into getting this for your place of work?

3. Get the Right Equipment

This one covers an array of needs, all of which depend on the physical impairments of the people in your workplace. This varies from ramps, permanent or ones that could be stored away and used when necessary. It could be you need to have more lifts installed, or those lifts need brail buttons. Or maybe there needs to be more easily accessible plug sockets. You need to address the needs of the people you work with and do your best to adapt the environment accordingly.

4. Build Awareness

It is not just the physical elements of a workplace which can make life easier for people with disabilities. The attitudes of you and your colleagues can have a lasting impact. Your place of work can offer training and classes to offer insight into what members of the workforce go through. You could also create a support group, so people with disabilities know there is a place they can go to talk through their issues.  This can create understanding and create a much better team morale.

5 Best Benefits of Adopting Flexible Packaging In Your Business


When you are in the business of selling a product, packaging plays a big role. This is why flexible packaging is a popular choice for packaging material among manufacturers and retailers for a wide variety of products.

In fact, digital flexible packaging printing has revolutionized the whole packaging industry. Here are 5 top benefits companies can have adopting flexible packaging:

  1. Provides Huge Cost Advantage

One major consideration for manufacturers is the cost of their product’s packaging. Companies would not want the packaging of their products to exceed 20 percent of the price of the actual item. It does not make sense financially and it may mean that the company has to increase the retail price.

This is why flexible packaging is the perfect material. They are a lot cheaper compared to other packaging options like plastic bottles and cartons. This can give you a distinct competitive advantage over other products and brands.

The use of flexible packaging also means that the products are lighter. This results in lesser storage space and expenses. Plus, there will be reduced transportation costs due to the fact that there will be more packages in a distribution batch.

Lastly, the fact that flexible packaging is made from light materials means that less power and resources are used in making them. it is definitely ideal for manufacturers that are cutting back on costs.

  1. Better Product Safety and Longevity

Flexible packaging has become the go-to packaging choice for food manufacturers and makers. This packaging material meets high standards in food packaging internationally so you better trust flexible packaging for your food product.

Not only does it alter the taste of the food product, it also extends the safety and freshness of it. It will be duly protected from substances and moisture that could spoil them.

  1. Wonderful Branding And Marketing Opportunity

Due to the customizable nature of digital printed stand up pouches, it offers a lot of space for innovative designing. With the design, you can truly put the branding of your products front and center. If branded correctly, you will not have any trouble selling the product as the consumers gravitate towards well-designed packaging. A good product with great packaging will stand out on the store shelves.

The company, however, should remember that amazing graphics alone will not do it. You must also include relevant information that will be helpful to buyers.

  1. Easy Customization

You want the product that your company is selling to have a distinct look on the shelves of groceries and supermarkets. Companies can practically do anything they want with how the packaging will look like. If you have a triangle product, you can get a customized triangle packaging without so much trouble!

  1. It Can Be Recycled And Reused

One of the best benefits of flexible packaging is the fact that it is recyclable and reusable. With more people becoming more conscious about how they are polluting the environment, having a recyclable and reusable packaging would definitely bring a major advantage to your brand.

In fact, this is one of the reasons why more companies are getting into the flexible packaging train. Flexible packaging is recyclable in the sense that the company can use the packaging again later on by putting instructions on the label on how to do the recycling. It may not seem likely but people will actually follow those instructions.

Flexible packaging’s reusability also helps in minimizing the waste produced by the company. Customers and clients will be willing to keep the packaging. They can use it for different purposes like utilizing them as containers for food leftovers.

Balancing Risk and Reward for Day Trading Success


There’s no guarantee when it comes to playing the stock market. If there weren’t rewards, however, no one would do it! Many people create lasting financial success from trading. The secret is to know how to manage the risks as you pursue the rewards.

This is especially true for day trading. This is because you’re dealing with a smaller window of time for transactions. You have to be able to identify the right stocks at the right times to pinpoint where gains can be made. A lot goes into managing a career as a day trader.

Learn Before You Leap

If you want to avoid costly errors, spend time learning before you begin trading. There are many courses available that will teach you how to identify stocks and navigate the market. The surest way to minimize risks is to go in with both eyes open. You cannot properly assess a stock or develop a strategy if you don’t understand the basics first.

A firm grasp on the basics of trading will help you know what strategies to apply in different situations. Understanding how different strategies work and when to use them will help you respond quickly when it matters most. You’ll be able to make those split-second decisions that mean the difference between a gain or a loss.

Day Trading Tips for Minimizing Risks

If you want to be successful at day trading, you’ll need more than a few tips on minimizing risks. The following information is really just to help you get started. There’s a lot more to learn before you’re ready to make day trading your new lifestyle. But it really doesn’t take that long to go from learning to earning!

Keep the following in mind while you’re doing your research into day trading:

Know When to Cap Your Losses

There’s an idea in economics known as the sunk-cost fallacy. The basic idea is that a company or person invests time and resources into an idea. The idea doesn’t pan out, but people continue to increase their investment. This is because cutting your losses is admitting a loss, but continuing to invest creates the illusion of potential gain. The mind would rather grasp the illusion than face the reality.

This happens to traders all the time, and it can become your downfall. That’s why you have to set a loss cap on your investments. Let’s say you’ve bought and sold a stock several times over, making gains each time. However, you come to a point where you suffer a small loss. At this point you’re still in the green.

Your brain will tell you to keep going. You’ve had a loss, but buying more stock at the now lower price could mitigate some of it and have a handsome payoff when it goes back up.

And that’s how you end up going into the red instead of simply suffering a small loss. Set a cap and stick to it!


Adapt Your Strategy but Stick to Your Parameters

The entire reason you should understand different strategies is so you can adapt. The marketplace is constantly fluctuating. Strategies are the tools that help you navigate the changes smoothly. There is a strategy for every situation, and sometimes you might want to push the boundaries of your plan a bit. Always follow your gut. Just don’t follow it too far.

Remember the warning about capping your losses. Where you set that cap largely depends on what strategies, and how quickly you are looking to create profits. Bigger risks often pay better, but they can cost you everything. So, push the boundaries was you instincts dictate, but not too far beyond the parameters you originally set.

You might lose, but if you control your impulses you will always recover. Steady gains come from proper risk management as you invest over time. You won’t become a millionaire overnight, but you will earn enough to enjoy total financial freedom.

How to Prepare Your Company for eDiscovery


Discovery is the process of each side in a case producing the information relative to a lawsuit. eDiscovery, on the other hand, is the finding, collecting and producing of digital records for discovery. This process includes word processor files, emails, databases, and video files. It can involve many different file types on devices from laptops to servers to cell phones. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your company for eDiscovery.

Prepare the People Before You Implement the Software

eDiscovery systems help digitize the auditing process, creating the right legal flow of documents and communication. However, significant work needs to be done before your company is able to implement these systems. For example, everyone involved needs to be properly trained in how to use the software and compliance standards they must meet.

That is aside from educating staff regarding rules to preserve any records relevant to pending litigation. Your company must have procedures in place to ensure the data retention policy is understood and implemented as well as training for everyone who is brought into the organization.

Coordinate IT with Legal Counsel

Many businesses utilize automated processes for both archiving and deleting of data. When a litigation hold is issued for relevant records, deletion processes need to be disabled. E-discovery thus requires coordination between IT and legal counsel.

Businesses need to have end-user notification to inform them immediately if they are subject to a litigation hold. The notice must describe their obligations and the types of records that must be preserved. An email to all affected users may be the first step to protecting the necessary records.

Have a Plan for Electronic Discovery

The screening and production of documents for eDiscovery could be done by your own staff or outside experts brought in for that purpose. For example, companies like Secure Data Recovery routinely perform eDiscovery for various organizations. Hiring outside experts is recommended if this is the first time you’ve done eDiscovery.

The companies are able to locate all sources of electronically stored information (ESI) and determine the best way to collect it whether you’re dealing with work stations, tablets, surveillance cameras, GPS systems, cloud services or industrial systems. They’ll also protect the data from being changed while litigation is going. IT experts with these firms may be needed to restore archive backups, convert legacy file formats and analyze text.

Create IT Policies to Comply with eDiscovery Requirements

Businesses need a record preservation system for the duration of the litigation hold. This may involve external hard drives, backups to the cloud of all files or an e-discovery system. HR and IT may fight over the clearing out of sensitive files, since IT may want to delete sensitive information to protect against identity theft, while HR wants to hold onto everything to avoid fruitless searching for documents that no longer exist.

You may not want to preserve all records forever. Record retention schedules tend to call for the automated deletion of files and destruction of records when they reach the end of their useful life. You can still use these processes as long as you can disable the automatic deletion process as soon as a litigation hold occurs. Not having a sufficient data retention policy can undermine your company’s position in litigation or result in stiff fines.

So, eDiscovery does not have to shut down the IT systems on which your business operations relies. A combination of the right IT policies, software tools to support this process and experts as required can make eDiscovery as straightforward as possible.

5 Things That Will Ruin Your Brand Before You Know It


One of the toughest things you will ever do as an entrepreneur is to build and maintain a recognizable brand. Factors such as your interaction with your employees, competitors and customers, as well as the quality of your products can build or destroy your brand.

You therefore need to be alert at all times to ensure that you are not only taking positive actions but also avoiding decisions that could be detrimental to your brand image.

Overdoing self-promotion

Yes, it is important to market your brand to the world. You can market it as the best thing in the industry but you need to know the limit. When you keep describing your brand as the most innovative, best employer etc., you start sounding like you are over hyping it. You risk having your confidence in your brand mistaken for arrogance.

Instead, use your customers to market your products or services. Ensure your customers are satisfied with your products then create a strategy that allows them to share their awesome experiences. Create an interactive blog or social media page that your customers can share through their social media accounts.

Attacking competitor brands

A large portion of advertisement is presence. The more people see a certain product, the more likely they are to purchase or consume it. Therefore, when you create content to malign your competitor brand, you are actually offering them free publicity.

There is very low likelihood that your target audience will even remember who created the content. In fact, if the audience knows the content was created by a competitor, they will most likely not believe the negative information you share about the product even if it is true.

The smart thing to do is therefore to avoid mentioning any other brand in your advertisements or other marketing content. Sell the positive aspects of your brand, let the customer discover your competitor’s negatives by themselves.

Lack of a consistent brand image

The point of branding is to fix a specific image of your brand in the minds of your target customers. You want to inform the customers about the core qualities of your brand and convince them to buy your products if those are the qualities they also value.

This, like a personal reputation, cannot be achieved if your brand’s image is constantly changing. Frequent changes make it hard for your customers to keep up with the qualities that your brand is anchored on.

Businesses often want to alter a brand image because they feel that the customers are not connecting with the current image. To avoid this, research properly before embarking on the branding journey to ensure that the image you create resonates with the customers and can remain as it is for a long time.

The need to maintain a consistent brand image is even more important today. The technology and social media have made it easier for customers to notice a change in your brand image and share their opinion instantly.

Poor quality and Under-delivering

Customers rarely forgive poor quality products and services. It is even worse if you had previously promised to deliver products of a certain quality but fail to live up to the hype. This can be a direct effect of over promoting your brand.

Always promise only what you can deliver. If you are a distributor, for instance, don’t promise a one year warranty on the products you sell before making the agreement with the manufacturer.

The other trick, and maybe even more impactful, is to under-promise. If your labs indicate that your electronic batteries can last up to 5 hours, when marketing tell the customers that the battery can last 3-4 hours. The customers will probably be impressed that the product is better than you had indicated.

Underestimating the power of social media

Most of the customers you are trying to sell your brand to spend a lot of their free time on social media. To successfully market your brand to them, you have to ensure that they are constantly seeing positive content about your brand on their feeds.

You also have to be interactive with the customers. Leaving their queries or comments without replies for a long time is not good for your brand.

Bankruptcy and brand image

Businesses often take nearest loans to facilitate their regular operations or maybe for expansion. However, things don’t always go according to plan. Unforeseen factors may cause financial turbulence and lead the company to bankruptcy.

As the leader of an organization, you would definitely be worried how the news of your bankruptcy could affect the brand. The attractiveness of the brand to investors and potential employees would most likely take the greatest heat.

Bankruptcy, however, doesn’t have to damage your brand’s image among your customers. Since this is a topic that most companies dread and try to hide, you can use the situation to demonstrate the openness of your business.

Communicate to the public the causes of the bankruptcy and the measures that have been taken to correct the situation. This will leave your brand unscathed or even improve its image.

Final thoughts

When creating your brand, you want to create an image that will be embraced widely by the customers. Of more importance, however, is that the image should last for a long time without losing value.

You must, therefore, create and maintain a good relationship with your competitors, employees and customers. For customers, the primary stakeholders, you should supply top quality products and live up to the promises that you make

How to Use a Hard Money Loan to Buy Real Estate


Finding a way to finance your real estate investments is the key to ensuring you can close on time to take advantage of great moments in the market.

One way to speed up your closing time while gaining a lot of flexibility is to investigate buying real estate with a hard money loan. Hard money lenders use the value of a parcel of real estate as a way of valuing the loan like traditional commercial real estate lenders, but the features of that loan and its timeline to maturity are quite a bit different.

Core Features of Hard Money Loans

  • Loan terms are six months to three years, with 12 months as a standard
  • Properties can be funded at their after-repair estimated value
  • As little as 10 percent down is needed to make a purchase with hard money loans
  • Borrowers typically pay interest-only payments until a lump sum payoff when the property sells
  • Loans close in as little as 7-10 days

These features make hard money loans for real estate very attractive, especially for those investors who are looking to rehabilitate promising properties before returning them to market. They can also be used to renovate properties and sell them after holding them as income properties, but funded properties cannot be owner-occupied.

Finding Private Money Lenders Los Angeles

If you are looking for hard money loans, you need to understand that most hard money lenders are private organizations that offer niche industry funding for exactly this kind of investment. Working with the best means checking out their offerings and their company history. For more information, contact North Coast Financial and start working with a local private money lender who understands your funding needs.

What Makes a Good Manager?  


Managers are in the business of cultivating people. Like gardeners to their plants, managers must ensure that their employees have everything they need to grow well. They provide employees with the ideal environment and the right fuel to flourish in their roles. Good managers are able to do this and more.

In contrast, bad managers wear out employees, exhaust their motivation and passion for their job, leave them to stagnate, and eventually, cause them to wither into disengaged and apathetic members.

Good managers are made, not born, though. They become what they are through experience, constant learning, and practice. So what makes a good manager?

An Eye for the Goal

Good managers set clear goals and know exactly how to achieve them. Most of all, they know to communicate these goals with their team.

Goal-oriented managers have the focus and the ambition to succeed. Their enthusiasm and energy can be tangible and overwhelming, which can give them tunnel vision.

The hallmark of a good manager is their ability to genuinely motivate and involve their employees in accomplishing their organization’s goals.

Expertise in The Field

Trust plays a vital part in manager-employee relationship, but trust cannot be built when managers do not have the competence or the discipline to do their job well and vice versa.

Managers take on many roles. Chief of which is a mentor role. As mentors, they are in charge of the growth of their employees and cultivate the potential of every team member by imparting their knowledge and expertise. But a person cannot give what they do not have.

Every manager must be experts in their fields. Aside from the qualities, they must have the knowledge and experience to accomplish the organization’s goals and command the trust of their employees.

Emotional Intelligence

Fortune 500 leader Robert Cooper, PhD, defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.”

Thus, for good managers, emotions are not something to leave outside the office. Instead, they are necessary in understanding and building trust with employees.

Emotional intelligence aids managers in comprehending and managing their emotions and other people’s. With this, they’re able to solve problems efficiently, diffuse tension, and handle conflicts effectively.

Emotional intelligence directs a good manager to make sound yet compassionate judgments, especially when dealing with people. It’s a quality that every human must have in abundance.

Leadership Skills

One can argue that managers only need leadership skills to be good, and it’s true. Leadership skills encompasses the qualities mentioned above.

Leadership skills include the ability to make good decisions, empathize with people, effectively handle disruptions, adapt to different situations, communicate openly, influence and motivate others, and efficiently accomplish goals.

Every good leader possesses all these qualities in varying degrees. But these qualities don’t always come naturally. Leaders acquire them through experience and hone them consciously, in everyday life.

Final Thoughts

Like how they take care of their employees, good managers must also take care of themselves. They must ensure that they are always in the condition to give their best at work. They look after their physical, mental, emotional, and social health. They should ensure they pass drug tests and other medical tests to maintain a clean bill of health.

Aside from the skills and qualities of an effective leader, managers must also be passionate about what their organization stands for. They must be a good influencing force and encourage employees to follow organizational standards and policies. Good managers are role models of engagement and commitment.

Sustained success — 5 of Britain’s oldest businesses


In a challenging business climate, few firms can afford to look much further than the next five years with reasonable confidence.

Yet in Britain, there are a select few businesses that have survived for hundreds of years — turning steady profits, providing employment and satisfying customers seemingly with ease.

So if you’re yearning for a model for sustained success, here are five of Britain’s oldest businesses.

  1. R J Balson & Son

Family butchers R J Balson & Son was founded way back in 1515.

So there’s an outside chance that Henry VIII tucked into some Balson’s bangers in between declaring himself the supreme monarch of the state church and working his way through six wives.

The shop is still based close to its original location in West Allington, Bridport — and the secret to success seems to be sticking to a recipe of high-quality meat, game and poultry combined with excellent service.

  1. The Shore Porters Society

The Shore Porters Society was established in 1498 — six years after Christopher Columbus discovered America and long before Henry VIII ever dreamed of a Balson’s black pudding.

It started when a group of porters at Aberdeen Harbour joined together for their mutual protection to form a cooperative — but now operates in the international removals sector, with depots in Aberdeen and Richmond Upon Thames.

A simple business proposition and solid core values seem to have helped the Shore Porters Society survive in the long-term.

  1. Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewery.

It has an official founding date of 1698 although its roots in Faversham, Kent reach back to the 14th Century.

Samuel Shepherd expanded the brewery in 1732 to include 21 pubs — but it wasn’t until hop farmer Percy Neame joined as a board member in 1832 that the famous partnership was born.

The company now produces more than 60 million pints a year and exports to 35 countries and still operates as an independent family business.

  1. Ormiston Wire

Ormiston Wire was established in London in 1793 by Scotsman James Ormiston and originally sold specialist spring wire for corsets and wigs.

It has remained in family hands and is now headed by Mark Ormiston, who has seen it successfully diversify into the design and manufacture of suspension wire and applications for the art and sculpture sectors.

This great British business proves that catering for a niche market has the potential for a lasting legacy.

  1. Sheffield FC.

Sheffield FC shouldn’t be confused with their more successful cousins Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.

But founded in 1857, they’re still officially recognised by FIFA and the FA as the oldest football club in the world.

In 1859 the club’s founders Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest wrote the ‘Sheffield Rules’ — the first formalised guidance for the game, which included innovations like crossbars and free kicks.

The club won the FA Amateur Cup in 1904 and have never surpassed that achievement, but they’ve battled on nevertheless.

These timeless tales of Britain’s oldest businesses should inspire you to create your own entrepreneurial empire for the ages.

What’s your favourite old business? Share your thoughts in the comments section