How Your Business Can Become Christmas-Proof

As we draw closer to the festive season, business owners need to be wary of the holiday rush. Just because the world has been in lockdown for so long, doesn’t mean that you can take your foot off the gas. All market indicators are showing that we will, in fact, see the same old surge around the festive season, despite most customers not shopping in-person. Online shopping dictates everything, and for the most part, has done so for the better part of a decade. But, with this comes new and old challenges, as every business needs to be sharp and ready in inventory management, sales, marketing, customer service, and invoices. This is how you can keep your business up and running, without backlogs and hiccups during the holiday rush.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | How Your Business Can Become Christmas-Proof

Conduct a health risk assessment

In a risk assessment, you’re not just calculating the health and safety risks, but also the threats to your business. Customers and staff are equally as important, don’t forget this! As the number of cases rises in the Coronavirus, the threat of spreading occurring in your business rises too. This is why whether you’re still working in the office or working from home, you should take the same precautions or have precautions in place. Here’s what you need to do safety-wise.

  • Determine whether any activities you have to do, could promote transmission? Do you work in the office alongside employees? How can everyone avoid getting the virus? Wear masks, have hand sanitizer bottles on the desks, and keep airflow strong in the office.
  • Your workers in warehouses and or production plants need to take similar precautions. They should also be wearing protective gloves if they can, and making sure that they are aware of tight spaces, gathering and a lack of airflow.
  • Determine how likely you can control a spread if it occurs. Do you have a track and trace system you can use? Can you give employees sick pay, to keep them at home? Can you ask them to work from home if they do strike positive for the virus?

Analyze the competition

Alongside your own desires as a business, you need to study and know your competition. For example, you should be keeping tabs on your rivals, seeing what kind of marketing ploys they have, what kind of sales, discounts and deals they are offering, as well as what kind of products they are going to be selling alongside yours. In the latter, you need to know the pricing, quality and branding efficacy, etc.

Some rivals will be pitching to your consumer base, comparing your prices and your products to their own, openly in ads. You must be wary of this. Many retail companies will literally show a product you sell and compare the price of the same or similar product they sell, in an ad. How do you fight back against this? You must be ready for your rivals to do this beforehand!

Increase your storage capacity

The only thing worse than being caught out by a rival, is catching yourself out. This occurs during the festive season more than any other time of year. Small businesses don’t plan ahead concerning their capacity for inventory management. What if you need to have a large storage capacity because sales are much higher than anticipated? You can carry on the Christmas rush over to New Year’s and beyond if you are wise.

That’s why you should consider building one of these custom industrial sheds. These metal structures can withstand any weather, they provide ample room for lots of stock storage, as well as being very easy and quick to erect. Such an industrial shed can be the perfect way to expand your business and reach. If you have export needs as well as domestic sales, but you need more storage space, this is the kind of affordable option entrepreneurs and small business owners should try.

Segment your base

Every single company in the world has a consumer base. These are people that love your brand, they keep coming back, they buy products you make and they will hold your brand in very high regard among your competitors. But you must know who they are, what kinds of individual groups there are and how to market to them.

Your base will have the following types of groups.

  • Veterans. These are consumers who have been with you for years and always check to see if you sell something they want, every other week or month.
  • Loyal consumers. These are people who will put you in their top 5 companies to buy from when they are looking for products in the categories you sell.
  • The new and enthused. The types of customers that have just found out about and are wondering what on earth took them so long. They will be excited to see what you have to offer as opposed to the companies they have always bought from.

Get ready for rules changes

We live in a Covid-19 world now, and the government can change the rules at any moment. Rather than wait for this to happen, you should have plans in place that give you leeway no matter what kind of changes occur.

This again, requires a risk assessment, because you need to know what your options are. Evaluate the following.

  • Tunnel sales. If your country goes into lockdown, can you still make export sales? Can you still make sales to other business clients?
  • Plan your most drastic sales and discount offers. If worst comes to worst and the market begins to freeze up again, consider what kind of sales you can offer to break even at the least and make a little profit at the most.
  • Work with governments. Engage with the representatives and respond to calls and emails. Accept invitations for consultancies and express your concerns to the elected officials.

The festive season is always a rush and hectic time for consumers as well as businesses. While you still have time, make as many positive changes as you can. With these measures, you should be able to proudly call your business Christmas-proof.

How To Choose The Perfect Outsourced Media Service Provider For Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | How To Choose The Perfect Outsourced Media Service Provider For Your BusinessRunning a business comes with many pressing responsibilities, and if firms are not careful, they can get buried under them all before long.

It’s also a difficult economic landscape out there, as businesses find themselves short on time and options both. That’s why it’s important to work the right way, with strong B2B relationships and effective outsourcing strategies. That way, your company can devote its attention elsewhere, focusing on the core processes that jettison you forward into a prosperous future.

For example, a media service provider can have an enormous positive influence over your operations. But how do you choose the right one? You can find out for yourself below.

Outline Your Needs

In the interests of both time and efficiency, start by acutely defining exactly what you want, because only then can you choose the right media service provider to outsource to.

Avoid vague terms and generalisations, and where possible leave no room for interpretation. Do you want access to intricate user analytics? Maybe you want somebody to focus on the laborious tech and logistics side of things, while you focus on getting creative with your content? B2B relationships can’t thrive on guessing games and constant back and forth questioning to get from point A to point B, so it’s important to define the level of collaboration you expect.

Remember, the primary purpose of outsourcing in any area is to reduce costs and boost efficiency, and only with clear and concise communication is that possible. The media service provider must actually provide, and if multiple parties are having difficulty understanding one another, then multiple roadblocks will start getting in the way. Know where you stand, and then you’ll know who you need.

Expert Service

If you know exactly what you want, then it becomes much easier to identify who can give you the service you crave.

Employing the services of the best in the business is a sure-fire way to make some quick progress. For example, it’s well worth considering the OTT services of Red Bee Media. On their secure white label OTT platform, they enable you to monetize your content to the fullest, all while providing you access to in-depth customer data so that you can more sensitively tailor your service. It’s an intricate outsourcing service that explores every avenue possible, omitting no details. The more thorough the service, the better.

Running a business can be incredibly stressful, but with expert help comes peace of mind. Recognising your limitations is not admitting defeat, but instead a critical management strategy that will impact everything else positively. It’s best that everything runs at maximum efficiency with specialist help than at half capacity without, so seize the opportunity!

Recommendations, Awards, Reviews

Researching the reputation of an outsourced business isn’t a genius idea, but you need to know what to look for to do it properly.

For media service providers, look to see if they’re accredited with awards from prestigious tech bodies, or if they have a prolific portfolio of other clients. If in doubt, check their social media pages, and see what waves they’re making there. A positive work history is required for those you’re outsourcing to, so make sure you authenticate their services any way you can.

Referrals and recommendations will undoubtedly help you choose the perfect outsourced media service provider for your business. Confide in your network of contacts, and ask for a referral or opinion on the provider you’re considering. In the end, those who amass negative reputations don’t stick around for long in any industry, so you should devote a considerable amount to ensure you’re working with those of repute. That way, there’s no nasty surprises, and a trusting working relationship can be created straight away.

How to Make Your Small Business More Secure

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | How to Make Your Small Business More SecureIf you own or run a small business, one of the most dangerous mistakes that you can make is assuming that your business will not become a security target because of its size. But the truth is that size doesn’t matter when it comes to criminal attacks, particularly online. In fact, small businesses are often easier targets for cybercriminals and hackers since they often underestimate the importance of cybersecurity or do not have the same resources as the larger corporations. It’s important to understand the threats that your business is vulnerable to, particularly online, and to have a strong strategy to reduce them.

Outsource to a Professional IT Company

Your small business might not have the budget to hire a team of in-house IT employees, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting the support that you need. Outsourcing to a professional IT support company is the best option to ensure that your small business has the security resources and IT professionals necessary to ensure that threats are kept to a minimum and that your data is kept secure. If you are looking for London IT support, Totality Services is an IT support company in London offering professional services to small businesses looking to streamline IT processes and improve security. One of the best IT companies in London, Totality Services are a Microsoft Partner offering round-the-clock IT support for your business. Learn more at

Have a Strong Password Policy

More often than not it is very simple mistakes and human error that can lead to some of the worst data breaches. And one of the easiest ways for hackers and cybercriminals to get into your systems is by guessing passwords. It’s important to ensure that all employees are fully trained and educated on the importance of having a strong password policy and why practices such as sharing passwords, using easily guessable passwords, using the same passwords for different login credentials and writing passwords down are not acceptable. A good password manager tool for all employees to use is a great investment in the security of your business.

Look Out for Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks, in which a cybercriminal or hacker attempts to deceive somebody into giving away personal or sensitive information, are on the rise. And they are often used to try and get access to company data or employee login credentials. A phishing attack could come in the form of an email that appears to be from the business bank, for example, or from a senior member of staff. They are often seemingly innocent and can easily be fallen for. Be sure that all employees are trained on how to spot potential phishing attacks and have strong policies in place when it comes to the steps that need to be taken after an employee receives an email or another form of communication that is requesting sensitive information. All communications should be verified before any information is shared with the sender.

Shred Documents Before Disposing of Them

Many companies focus heavily on cybersecurity but fail to realise the other security risks that they might face. Documents, for example, can often contain sensitive information about your company, employees, or customers and every step should be taken to ensure that they do not end up in the wrong hands. Any invoices, printed communications, and quotes should be completely shredded before they are disposed of. You may even want to take disposing of shredded sensitive documents even further in terms of security by disposing of them in parts so that they cannot be put back together.

Deter Physical Break-Ins

Physical break-ins can be just as devastating to your company as cyberattacks, particularly if you have any securely stored physical data on-site. Make sure that your business is GDPR compliant by ensuring that no customer or employee information is left out where it could be accessed easily should anybody break into the business premises. Deter thieves and would-be burglars by installing video surveillance equipment and having a strong security alarm system at your business property.

Secure Data in the Cloud

Storing data in the cloud rather than in physical storage or on physical devices is not only more modem and easier for most small businesses, but it also makes it much harder for this data to be stolen. Data that is stored on a hard drive, for example, can be compromised if the hard drive itself is stolen or damaged. However, cloud-based storage that is fully encrypted and protected with strong login credentials is far more difficult to access. Tighten security even further by only allowing a select few, trusted people access to any data stored in the cloud.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your business is too small to be the victim of a cyber-attack. With attacks on small businesses on the rise, there’s never been a more crucial time to step up your security measures.

What is an Apostille and when do I need one?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | What is an Apostille and when do I need one?Apostille is what confirms the validity of a document in another country. But apostillization is allowed only for countries that did not participate in the Hague Convention in 1961. This method is considered simple and does not require much time. The participating countries must complete the legalization with the help of the consulate.

An Apostille is an international standardized form filling data on laws issued by an official document for presentation on the territory of countries that recognize this form of legalization. Today more than 80 countries are parties to this agreement. The purpose of affixing an apostille stamp (apostille) is to confirm that such a body exists in a given state, and it has all the necessary powers to draw up and (or) certify a document. The apostille confirms that the person acting on behalf of the state body and issuing the official document was authorized to issue it.

The “Apostille” stamp is placed only on the original documents of the state standard. Apostille is placed on official documents and (less often) on their certified translations only if they are intended for use abroad, i.e. in a country other than the one in which they were issued. The apostille contains the details prescribed in the Convention, does not require any other certification or legalization of the document, and is recognized by the official bodies of all states parties to the Convention. Apostille is issued by a state body, which is a higher authority of the body that issued the official document.

According to Article 1 of the Convention, the following documents are considered official:

  1. Documents emanating from a body or official subject to the jurisdiction of the state, including documents emanating from the prosecutor’s office, a court clerk, or a bailiff’;
  2. Administrative documents (documents on education, civil status, certificates, powers of attorney, etc.) ;
  3. Official marks such as registration marks; visas confirming a specific date; certification of a signature on a document not certified by a notary.

The apostille itself is a square stamp that includes information about the paper or document on which it is located. It should say about the name of the country in which the legalization took place, when and where the certification took place. You also need information about the person who performed this procedure, the name of the document itself and the date of its issue, and the name of the organization that carried out the apostille.

You can put such a stamp on papers from the registry office. These include a document confirming marriage, birth, or death, as well as a change in passport data such as first and last name. Also, it can be affixed on educational documents such as a diploma and certificate. This can also be done on decisions with sentences and other documents issued by the prosecutor’s office. Papers issued by a notary are no exception. This can be done on charters and contracts, visas and certificates of experience.

Sometimes the papers mustn’t be subject to apostille, because they are the property of the country where they were issued. These are passports, workbooks. To prove their experience, they use certificates that will be accepted abroad. However, it is allowed to put this stamp on their copies.

You can affix an apostille at the Ministry of Justice, Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs together with the Prosecutor General’s Office. It is also possible to do this at the Ministry of Finance and Defense. However, you should first check for corrections and inscriptions, because they should not be. It is also important to look at the correctness of the information on the document.

The apostille procedure is needed when a person applies for a well-paid and good job, leaves for another country for a while or forever. It is also needed when treatment abroad is required or when the preparatory stage of obtaining citizenship is underway. The procedure is required when a person participates in a lawsuit with a foreign citizen or adopts a child abroad. It is also necessary when obtaining a license to carry weapons.

So, apostillization is an important process that takes place in several stages. First, a copy or original of the document is certified by a notary, then apostille in the relevant authorities follows, then the text is translated, if necessary, and the signature of a specialist.


Strategies to Transform Your Small Business into A Large One

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Strategies to Transform Your Small Business into A Large One

Small businesses play a large role in the world’s vibrant economies, as they employ many people and drive innovation and competitiveness. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses constitute 44% of the country’s economic activity. However, every small business owner’s primary goal is to have a company that expands and eventually becomes large and profitable. So which smart strategies can help turn your small business into a large one? Here are four points to consider:

1. Extend your market reach

Making your products or services available to new customers is a great way to expand your small business into a large one. New markets represent new customers, who also represent fresh opportunities for increased earnings. You should open stores in new areas to introduce your business to new customers. Experts also recommend targeting new groups in your locality who could use your products and services, aside from your regular customers. Finding and promoting new uses for your product also encourages existing customers to purchase more from you. Therefore, it would be advantageous if you extended your market reach to increase sales and transform your business into a more stable model. Over time, this stability will only lead to increased earnings that will transform your business into a large one.

2. Introduce new products and services

Many business experts agree that the business world is in constant flux, and as such new products and services are crucial to the survival of companies. Consider introducing new products and services that attract new customers and encourage your existing ones to buy more. Accomplishing this can be quite tricky, but with research and flawless execution, you could be on your way to bigger things. First of all, you must identify a pressing need through customer interaction, employee brainstorming, and personal research. Then, you must develop and test a product concept that meets this urgent need. Developing a good prototype is essential here, so reach out to experts to find out how it works and how best you can bring your ideas to life to permeate new markets.

3. Consider franchising

Research reveals that 80% of McDonald’s locations are franchises. Franchising is a useful tool that you can also leverage to transform your small business into a big company. As your small business begins to experience success, consider licensing your branding, business model, and processes to others who will market your products under your brand name. Franchising has many benefits that should make it a vital consideration in your business expansion plans. Firstly, it can substitute capital acquisition as a less risky and more cost-effective way of business expansion. Franchising also gives you more motivated unit managers because your franchisees are business owners themselves with a vested interest in your business’ success. It facilitates faster growth because you team up with already successful companies, which catapults you to a market leadership position within your industry ahead of your competitors. You should see franchising as a way to increase your business’ profitability, penetrate new markets, and transform your small business into a large company.