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Import/Export: Times Are Changing For Business

The world has been going through a lot of big change, recently. As new leaders are coming into power throughout the biggest countries in the world, priorities are shifting, and the mood has changed. With the UK leaving the EU, The White House being in the hands of Donald Trump, and China struggling to maintain growth, the world seems to be in disarray. Trade is one of the first areas which will be impacted by all of this chaos. Of course, there is still a bit of time. But, very soon, world trade could be looking incredibly different. A lot of small businesses rely on importation to be able to get the goods they sell, making this a challenge for a lot of people. To help you with this, this post will be going through a guide to help you.

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New Trade Routes And What They Mean

Currently, it looks like the UK will be excluded from the Single Market once they leave the European Union. There could be some other ways to strike an agreement which is fair to both groups. But, for now, at least, nothing solid exists. Along with this, US president Donald Trump has shown a willingness to create a new trade agreement between the UK and the US, sending goods from each country both ways. This is all while China is trying to create a modern day Silk Road, from the middle of Europe to the heart of China. A route like this could create loads of chances for people to trade. Though, it might be several years away.

The impact that these changes have will be felt most of all by the businesses in the various countries. For the UK, it could become much harder for businesses to get their hands on a wide variety of goods. Some companies, which trade throughout Europe and the UK, will have to restructure their companies to suit new laws. For the US, it could become a lot easier for businesses to move goods to the UK. And, of course, with China’s new trading routes, the world could feel a lot smaller very soon. It will be hard to say how much harder these changes could make world trade. In fact, they will probably make things easier for some people.

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How To Import Now

If you’re already running a business, you probably understand the importation process. Most of this work is handled online, where you will browse websites like AliExpress and other wholesale retailers. Sites like this offer their goods in huge bulk, directly from the factories they were made in. For some goods, you may have to go directly to the manufacturer. And, with very unique products, you may even be paying for them to be made. Regardless, once they make it to your home country, you pay special customers fees on them. This is where the biggest impact will be felt. Being out of the Single Market doesn’t mean that the UK wouldn’t be able to trade with Europe. Instead, they would simply be subject to much greater taxation on goods. Of course, deals with other countries may be able to change this, though.

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How It Could Change

In this big mix of trade, the UK stands to change the most. If deals fail and bad trade agreements are made, money may have to be found from elsewhere to make up for higher taxes and stricter exportation rules. One of the most likely scenarios that could play out is the UK becoming a tax haven. The country’s laws and rules would change to favour banking institutions over other types of business. People from around the world could store money in the UK, without having to lose it to taxes. This sort of route can be great for the government of a country, enabling them to make a lot of money from the financial sector. But, it could have a huge negative impact on the population. Jobs that don’t relate to finance would slowly disappear, leaving not much else for those who don’t want to work with money. The government would have to tighten up and become a lot stricter, to maintain control.

Of course, this sort of future is very unlikely, at the moment. Most countries still see the value in working together, at least with trade. This makes it hard for good deals to be swept under the rug, as they benefit everyone. It’s much more likely that the UK’s trade will be spread much more evenly between China, the EU, and the USA. There’s still a lot of time between now and the negotiations ending, though. So, a lot could change.

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Securing Your Future

As a small business, the best thing you can do during times like this is secure your own future. Whatever the change might be, it’s going to happen. A lot of people will be impacted, and your business is likely to be part of it. One of the best ways to secure your business during times like these is by making the right friends. There are loads of companies out there which specialise in moving goods around the world. An option like JS Forwarding can cover a lot of different countries, including China and the US, without leaving the work for you to do. Even when it comes to importing the goods, you can have all of the work handled for you. Using another company like this will make it much easier to ensure your goods make it to you.

Along with choosing the right help, you should also consider the products you sell. If it’s likely that trade could become much more expensive than it used to be, it’s worth making sure that your products can be sourced from elsewhere. It will be very hard to reinvent your company because you can’t sell your old products anymore. So, instead, you should prepare for the worst and either stock up or find a new supplier.

Hopefully, this post will help you to understand the big changes which could be hitting the business scene over the next few years. Trade is very important to the world’s economy. Countries need to be able to trade with each other if they’re going to make enough money. So, it’s very unlikely that all chances will disappear. It might just become a little bit harder.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Why You Should Consider Switching To a Direct Debit Service

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution ArticleDirect Debit is one of the safest and most cost-effective methods of conducting a financial transaction. It is an instruction from customers to bank or building society to collect specific amounts from their accounts after giving an advance notice of date and value of the transaction.

You give the authorisation by completing a Direct Debit Mandate form that can be either in paper or in the form of an online web page. Post-authorisation, the organisation can automatically take payments from you in accordance with their scheme rules.

Direct Debit makes sure all bills are paid automatically without delays or any hassle. It saves businesses plenty of time meaning they can focus on the importance of staying concentrated on their core competencies.

Use of Direct Debit

Direct Debit is mostly used for payments along with:

  • Paying regular bills of variable amounts. You will be assured with direct debit that all your bills are paid timely every month.
  • Safest and easiest way to make recurring payments like magazine subscriptions or membership offers.
  • Companies provide Direct Debit services as an option for spreading costs or paying on an account.
  • Other than regular and recurring payments, it is also used for one-off payments.

Direct Debit Payment

It’s hard to remember when bills have to be paid, but matters can be made easier using Direct Debit that allows hassle-free payments. It is the most preferred method of payment in the UK. It is not only used for paying household bills, but also by businesses to pay their day-to-day transactions and commitments. Payments are automatically taken from your account on a regular basis.

Direct Debit Collections

Direct Debit is the easiest way for an organisation to collect payments from customers and businesses. It reduces the cost of collecting funds directly from a bank account.

Here are some reasons why you should consider switching to a paperless direct debit service:

  1. Ease of use

It is very easy to set up. Once your business signs up with a direct debit provider, customers can get ready for payment collections through a one-off process. Customers receive a link where they enter bank details online giving customers the authority to make payments from their bank accounts. Direct Debit services are also optimised for mobile so customers can sign up on the move, making it very simple.

There is also an option of paying variable amounts at different intervals without having to do anything more. This feature makes it perfect for paying those bills where you are charged depending on monthly usage. The company AccessPay offer a Cloud-based Direct Debit solution (which you can view here) that adds an advantage and ease that I found few other competitors do. With their service, they make collecting funds faster, simpler and more efficient for you. With the cloud-based debit solution they allow you to set up a number of Bacs direct debits, which will help to manage the entire payment process with ease.

  1. Saves precious time

It is very challenging for some people who lead busy lives to find time to stay on top of their bills and other finances. Setting up Direct Debit can help you pay on time without having to remember the deadlines. Everything will be done efficiently and automatically. Once your payment mandate is set up, your job is done. Forget all about setting reminders for your payments because direct debit will do all that for you without you having to lift a finger.

  1. No more late payments

If you are running a business where customers are making credit payments and you are fed up of those people who never seem to pay on time, a direct debit service can make your life a little easier. With Direct Debit, your customers will pay on time every time. The entire payment process is taken care of automatically, so your customers will not miss a payment again. You can also give better customer service this way without any disruptions or awkward chase up emails. Save yourself from embarrassment and also from the cost and effort associated with tracking your debtors.

  1. Safe and Secure

Direct Debit Services are secure and protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. It has modern encryption and secured firewalls to protect all users personal and private information. When the information is transferred from the bank, it is encrypted at the source so customers can be assured the safe security of their data. The Direct Debit Guarantee gives customers complete coverage of payments in case of unforeseen circumstances like fraud or payment errors. From all the payment methods in the UK, this is by far the safest for users. It also guarantees to give you the rights to immediate refunds for any incorrect charges that have been added to your account.

  1. Cost effective

Direct Debit Services gives you ample time, admin and cost savings. This money can then be further invested in the business or passed on to customers in the form of incentives or discounts. This will make your services/products more attractive to existing and potential customers. At the same time, it will improve your business standards giving you an edge over your competitors.

  1. Attractive Packages

More attractive payment packages can be made for goods that are expensive so that customers can pay back easily through affordable instalments. This will also avoid late payments and the added bank charges for exceeding the overdraft limit in banks. You can make more flexible payment plans for a faster, more efficient payment method.

Switching to a Direct Debit Service reduces the complexity of payment handling, saving your time and giving you peace of mind. So, start improving your cash flow and handle your finances smoothly.

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StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Why Does Elon Musk Insist On Bamboo Flooring In His Car Plants?

Tesla hopes that by the end of next year, it’ll be churning out more than half a million cars a year, a significant uptick from the current rate of about 100,000. And where will all of those cars be inspected? On a bamboo floor right at the end of the factory’s production line.

Why you might ask, would Tesla CEO Elon Musk insist on a bamboo floor to inspect cars? What is so special about the flooring? As always, Musk has his reasons. He believes that if you’re going to inspect a product for quality, then whatever is framing that product must also be beautiful and flawless. Bamboo flooring is, by most accounts, stunning. And so by using this flooring, Musk hopes that it will emphasize any defects in cars coming off the production line. It’s almost like the cars themselves have to graduate from an art masterclass before they’re allowed out onto the streets.

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What can this level of attention to detail teach other businesses? Why does something as apparently insignificant as a bamboo inspection floor mean so much to people like Musk?

It all comes down to the environment. Musk doesn’t see the elements of his company in isolation. There’s not an executive, a board, a marketing team, a production team or any other arbitrary group. Instead, the whole business environment is a living, breathing entity – and like other entities, it’s affected by its environment. Can you emulate this approach to environment in your business?

Cleanliness

Factories are supposed to be dirty places full of oil, dirt, and dust. But to talk a walk in Musk’s Fremont plant in California is to enter what seems like a clean room that just so happens to be making cars. Musk says that working environments need to be perfectly clean to ensure that no compromises are made on the product. A clean environment is an environment which employees unconsciously respect, whereas, in a dirty environment, they are more likely to make careless errors and accept second best.

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This is why professional commercial floor cleaning is such big business in offices up and down the land. Bosses realize that in order to get the best out of their team, they need to work in a spotless environment.

Stunning Lighting

Musk’s car factory is one of the largest buildings in the world by footprint. But despite that, it’s also one of the brightest. When the factory was first bought, it was a dark and dingy place. But since moving in, it’s become light and airy, thanks to the installation of hundreds of skylights and LED ceiling lamps.

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Why is this important? Well, it turns out that employees who are exposed to natural light are more productive than those who aren’t. If natural light isn’t possible in your offices for any reason, try supplementing it with naturally-coloured artificial lighting instead.

Allow Desk Customisation

Finally, allow desk customization. Research shows that employees who are able to make their desks a little more homely work harder and longer than those that aren’t.

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Green Your Business: A Sustainable Vision or Money-Making Fad?

To be an environmentally-friendly business seems to be the way to go, lately. They say it’s good for both your company and the planet; by encouraging this kind of vision, you’ll show the market your most holistic and educated side, they say – and the market will thank you for it. It’s true that a lot of good will come from a business that’s going both green and paperless at once.

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It’s healthy for the community, the employees, and your company’s finances at the same time, and seems almost too good to be true.

Beware of coloring your company in this new shade, however, if your heart isn’t in the right place – at the end of the day, the market might end up punishing you for putting on a show. We found the steps to success for your business so that both you and the planet can benefit from it without any backlashes.

Saving money or the environment?

Although you probably nibbled at the thought of becoming more eco-friendly when you heard that it’s great for PR, you need to focus on the right aspects of it. This is particularly relevant when communicating the new green vision to your employees; is it a vision of saving money on energy or is it to create a healthier community for your consumers? Your employees needs something to work towards – a mission if you will, and you need to take the lead in creating the right kind of company culture.

Start by encouraging opinions and ideas on how you can go green together. You’re likely to receive various tips, and these should be taken into consideration so that everyone is included in the new vision. Otherwise, you risk looking like these eco-friendly measures are just for show.

Swap the food in the cafeteria for organic versions, make use of any meatless Monday suggestions and use natural cleaning detergents over potentially harmful types. There is a lot you can do to include the entire company and create a vision where everyone feels included.

Set an example

As the leader, you need to be the one to take the first step. Nobody will give you a smile of approval if you preach eco-friendliness but drive to work every day. The same goes for any other behavior in the office; encourage your team to always shut off their computers at the end of the day, make sure no taps are dripping, and welcome further suggestions on other changes you should make.

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It’s great to be able to make a profit out of being eco-friendly – for those willing to invest a bit in the beginning, it’s also a reality. It’s easy to recognize the once doing it for the PR and those who are in it for the right reasons; just keep an eye out for that sour expression when they need to spend money on something they wanted to profit on.

The truth is that we sometimes need to spend a bit to make a difference. Consider replacing your old electronic appliances for newer models that save energy, have a look at a commercial tint for your office windows, and transfer to a cloud-based system to reduce the number of hard copies you produce.

The great news in all of these changes is that it will save you a lot of money in the long-run. Many of our more harmful habits are tied to overconsumption and a general waste of resources; cut down on these, and the resources will stay put. Read more about ways to maximize your business’ profits at Michael Banks or have a look at this excellent article to cut down on the expenses.

Reach out

Your goal is to make a difference in the community, so reach out to other businesses with the same green mindset – you can do more together, you know. Plus, it sends a clear signal to your community that you’re going green for more reasons than financial ones. Sustainable visions that hope to benefit more than just the company’s wallet tends to encourage innovation; by teaming up with similar companies, you drive the innovation further.

Throw events together and find ways of making business more effective in order to save both time and money.

A robust and honest business vision is able to benefit your entire company for many years to come. It works by unifying your employees, investing in their health and happiness, and ensuring that they have a safe and healthy environment to work in. Jump on board the green wagon because everybody else is doing it, and you risk being punished by both your employees and the market you’re in.

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Outsourcing: The Hottest Thing In Business

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When you’re in business, it’s very hard to fall behind. So many new advances, trends, and ways of doing things pop up all of the time – meaning you hear about them pretty much as soon as they land. Some will benefit your business, others will be irrelevant, and then you’ll find the trends that stick. Because some of them will just work for your business. One of these is likely to be outsourcing. It’s nothing all that new, but as trends go, it’s certainly making waves out there in the business world right now. If you want to grow your business, improve your productivity, and generally operate well, here are some of the key areas you could consider outsourcing.

Sales

Not everyone is comfortable with the sales process, and that’s okay. When you own your own small business, or you’ve just started out, it’s highly likely that you’ll be tackling the majority of the sales process yourself. And if you’re not a natural, it can be something that you dread. So, instead of suffering, why not look at outsourcing it to an expert? With a sales consultant, their compensation is often results lead, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Production

Then there’s the actual administering of your business operations. If you manufacture a product, why not look into outsourcing it? Even if it means you have to send cutting services to one expert, R&D to another, and packing to a specialist, if it speeds up your productivity and is cost-effective, it makes sense. Even if you provide a service, you could outsource some areas of the work to free up your time for more important things.

Marketing

As a small business or startup, do you often find yourself saying that you’ll market more, and never find the time for it? If you’ve answered yes, don’t feel guilty, you’re not the only one. When you wear different hats, and you’re just trying to get your work done, marketing and promotions often get put to the bottom of the priority list. But that’s one of the benefits of outsourcing your marketing – it gets done for you. Plus, it will be experts handling your strategy, meaning they could probably do a better job that you anyway.

Finance

If you’re not a natural when it comes to numbers, you probably hate having to deal with them. Looking at budgets and forecasts and even filing your taxes can be a lot of work. So, outsource it. You can hire an accountant to take care of the regulatory stuff and even filing your taxes. And if you really don’t want to deal with anything yourself, get an assistant in to run the day to day stuff for you too.

Administration

When you’re really busy and are trying to put all of your efforts into growing your business, you’ll probably find that you just don’t have the time to take on all of the admin that needs to get done. Or, worse, you’re spending your time and efforts on the admin and not growing your business. Either way, you need a VA. A virtual assistant can take on all of the annoying admin that you hate doing, and probably get it done a lot quicker than you could too – because they’re a pro!