How the stock markets can help a business grow

In the public mindset, investing in or making use of the stock market is something that only small-scale, individual investors do. However, it’s also possible for companies and organizations to make the most of it: whether it’s by offering your own firm to other investors through an IPO or using company cash to buy shares in other firms, there are a lot of options.

Initial public offerings

Perhaps the main way that the stock market can be used to a company’s benefit is through a market float, or an initial public offering (IPO). Most American companies are owned by private investors, which means that the general public or wider investor market can’t simply buy shares in the way that they usually can for one on the stock market. An IPO changes that: it means that a company offers some or all of its value for the public to buy, which in turn means a big cash injection.

The key to a successful IPO is research, as it’s only by doing this that a firm can find out the right time to strike. In almost every case, a company will choose to employ a specialist who can manage the IPO process for them – but company staff should still be as aware as possible of market movements. A stock events calendar should be used to locate occasions and dates to be avoided, while keeping a keen eye on news stories about previous IPOs in publications such as the Financial Times will help you build up some perspective on how it works.

Cash investment destination

For businesses that aren’t quite ready to float their value on the stock market just yet, one alternative is to invest any spare cash they have in the stock market. It’s not just retail or individual investors who invest in stocks and shares – companies can also do it. Beware of any tax implications of doing this, though: speak to your retained accountant first before making any moves.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways that a company can invest in the stock market is through its pension funds. When employees pay into a pension pot, it needs to be invested somewhere in order to grow – and the stock market is one option. Whatever your reason for investing company cash in the stock market, though, you should always seek professional advice to mitigate the risk of losses – and when it comes to using employee pension cash, you should only do it through a pensions professional who can manage it all for you.

While it may seem at first glance like investing in the stock market is simply something that only retail investors do, firms can also use this asset class to their advantage. Whether your firm puts its cash to work by buying shares in other companies for speculative purposes or it goes as far as adding its own value to the stock market for general sale, there are plenty of ways you can go.

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The Evolving Role of Human Resources Within the E-Commerce Industry

 

The human resource department has always been an essential component of any company, whether it runs online or from a brick-and-mortar location. Employee well-being is the responsibility of the HR department, which controls everything from hiring employees, setting pay rates and keeping track of payroll, deciding employee benefits, deciding how to fire employees, keeping up with tax laws and more. The HR department is basically the backbone of any successful business venture.

Basic human resource functions have been working behind the scenes for ages, but within the ever-expanding e-commerce industry, the role of HR has had to evolve and become more dynamic, and it’s still doing so today. Successful e-commerce fashion retailers, JJ’s House and VeryVoga, have shared some insight on the major points of HR evolution within their organizations. Read on to find out how e-commerce is modernizing its old conventions to sync up with a contemporary workforce.

Contemporary Hiring Trends

Today’s e-commerce businesses have to deal with a massive influx of advanced systems and technologies. It can get so complicated that many entrepreneurs who start online marketplaces actually consider them to be tech enterprises. HR managers have to employ some innovative hiring trends to fill in positions with worthy candidates.

HR managers in the e-commerce industry are expected to work around-the-clock. One of their most formidable tasks is to find the right candidates for open positions. In e-commerce, employees must not only possess a pleasant attitude and relevant work experience, they must also have the technical knowledge to perform their tasks properly.

Keeping Employees Happy

Since the need to retain top talent is arguably more significant in e-commerce than in any other industry, it’s imperative for HR to come up with ways to rethink employee retention. They must keep employees happy in order to avoid rapid reorganization, consolidation and a host of other hurdles that comes with losing an essential employee.

It’s the responsibility of the HR department to create a positive employee experience and provide an unparalleled, exclusive work-life experience by incorporating dynamics like an open work culture, relaxed hierarchy and other employee-friendly policies.

Introducing the SME

Where training and development are concerned, human resource departments use something called subject matter experts, or SMEs, to get the job done right in today’s e-commerce industry. SMEs are trained to help enable aptitude development and intensive skills within the workforce. These experts can also help improve communication between employees, initiate open thought channels, open new avenues of knowledge for employees and help them become seasoned professionals. Ultimately, they help employees feel nurtured and important within the organization so that they appreciate being part of the company and are naturally inclined to be more productive.

Successful e-commerce operations like JJ’s House and VeryVoga wouldn’t exist without a strong and modernized HR department to back them up. Anyone working in the e-commerce industry must employ a strong HR department by considering the points above. When a business has a solid HR department in place, all other aspects of the business should function well too.

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Why You Need to Know the Difference Between FEIN and Tax ID

Essentially, a FEIN and a tax ID number are the same. It is important to learn the small differences between the two so that you know what to do for your business or an entity such as a trust. When filing for a Trust tax ID Number or FEIN, knowing what each is for helps you to make the right decision when filing. The experienced associates at IRS-EIN-Tax-ID can help. 

A FEIN is a Federal Employee Identification Number and an EIN is an Employee Identification Number. Both numbers can be used to identify a business. The federal government does not recognize a FEIN and this number would not be used for federal tax filing. 

Small businesses will need to apply for a FEIN-EIN whether they have employees, or they do not. Having this number helps to avoid identify theft and protect the privacy of the business. 

To be able to report taxes to the IRS, a business must have a tax ID number. When you are the business owner, it is important to file for a tax ID or EIN to have this nine-digit identification number as it is required. A business also needs this number to be able to get a bank account or apply for credit for the business. 

The filing is easy when you take advantage of online service options. An application for an EIN can be completed online via IRS-EIN-Tax-ID.com. At the site, easily find the application for your business needs and fill out the appropriate paperwork. Once completed, you will need to hit the submit button. 

After your EIN has been assigned, the number will be emailed to you. Once you have the number, you will be ready for tax filing purposes as well as accessing lines of credit for your business, opening a checking account and more. 

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Building a successful marketing strategy for your ecommerce website

Starting your own ecommerce site used to be something you would do once you had already come up with the products that you are selling. However, nowadays, it is an essential early step to take if you want to maximize your sales and reach as many people as possible. Customers are used to services such as Amazon and they expect you to have your own site. However, once you have your ecommerce site up and running, how can you get people to come to it? What you need is a successful marketing strategy.

Have plentiful content

Your site needs content as well as products. Your homepage, your product category and product pages all need plentiful text content on them. This is because search engines consider sites with lots of useful, well-written and relevant content to be better than other sites – similar to how people view sites. Your homepage needs to tell people exactly what it is that you sell and why customers should buy from you instead of somewhere else. Your product pages need to explain the features of the product and how they will benefit the customer. You should aim for at least 300 words of content per page, where possible. If you sell hundreds of different products then this might be a tall order, so you should probably just concentrate on the main pages.

Produce interesting blog posts

As well as plentiful content for your pages, you also need to make sure that you have a regularly updated blog that is full of interesting posts. Search engines look favorably upon sites that add new pages relatively often. However, blog posts are also a great way to get people interested in your site and your company. Blog posts can be about anything you want. You could do a post about a new product that you have available on your site. You could write one about something industry related that you are an expert on. You could even interview an industry expert. Blog posts are also a chance for you to express yourself and get your company culture across.

Social media presence

Having a social media presence is an absolute must in 2018. When you start an ecommerce site from home, you are unlikely to have a particularly large following. This is where your existing social media profiles will come in. You will (hopefully) have some friends on Facebook, who might be interested in what you are selling. Set up a new profile for your brand and then share the page on your personal page to get interest started. After doing that, you can do posts on the brand profile about any new products or deals, or even link to your interesting blog posts.

The objective of your social media presence will be, ultimately, to get people to click onto your site and browse your products. However, you can also do other things to build your following on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are excellent for having conversations with your followers. Engage with your followers by replying to their questions, complaints and comments. You can ask their opinions about new products and deals and even run competitions for them.

Email marketing

Email may seem like ancient technology compared with social media but it is still an immensely important weapon in the digital marketing arsenal. It is hugely effective at reaching your audience in a more targeted way. Email marketing is not about spamming generic sales emails to anyone and everyone. Since spam is not the aim of the game, you need to be able to harvest people’s email addresses. Existing customers will have already given you their address when they signed up to buy from your site. You can get potential customers’ email addresses by encouraging them to subscribe to your blog.

Email marketing platforms will let you split your customer base into various demographics, based on stuff like whether they have signed up to your blog, what they have bought before and much more. This means that you can send them more personalized emails that will engage with them better. Valentino Vaschetto is an email marketing expert who works for advertising and marketing agency Iconic Industries. Valentino Vaschetto has a popular Vimeo that uses videos to explain all aspects of digital marketing to you.

Conclusion

Starting up a business from home has never been easier. Ecommerce and digital marketing allow you to direct customers to your shop where they can buy your products, all by using the internet.

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More than money: How to tempt the best employees on a shoestring budget

It would be fair to say that we are well and truly in the era of the start-up culture. Wherever you turn, start-ups are popping up everywhere, and there seems to be a story every day about the latest new business securing lucrative new funding.

However, not all of these start-ups can afford high salaries. At the same time, not all start-ups are going to receive lots of funding and as a result, can’t compete with salaries.

This is where creative minds need to enter the picture. Unfortunately for them, employees just aren’t going to choose them if they can’t offer them something else in return. It’s understood that a large proportion of start-ups fail in the first year, so jumping ship and joining one of these companies on a less-than attractive package just isn’t going to happen.

Following on from the above, let’s now take a look at some of the ways in which young businesses can reward employees, without paying huge salaries.

It’s the small things that matter

Let’s kick things off by highlighting that you don’t need to be giving twice the average annual leave, plus other ridiculous perks to join your company. Sometimes, it’s just the small things that count.

Building a good culture is something that can take time, but you can accelerate the process with small gestures. For example, employee holiday gifts might feel like a small token, but it’s something that still makes your employees head home for the festivities knowing that they are valued by their place of work. Small tricks like this can make the world of difference.

Gym memberships and wellness programs

This is something that has come into its own over the last few years and is regarded as very important by a lot of employees.

Companies have realized that the likes of gym memberships and wellness programs don’t just put a smile on their worker’s faces, but they can also make them healthier. Ultimately, the number of sick days should theoretically reduce.

As a company, you can tend to get discounted gym rates if you can promise that a set number of your workers will subscribe. For the employees themselves, they at least know that they are saving the best part of $50 a month – and this is something that they can link back to their salary.

Performance bonuses

This is largely going to depend on the type of industry you are involved in, but it goes without saying that lower salaries can be offset by performance bonuses. In the UK for example, Sports Direct is known for its low salaries, but at the same time it offers huge bonus pay-outs to all of its staff. Ultimately, this is something else that workers can factor into their decisions.

Flexible schedules

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of flexibility. Recent studies have shown that more and more companies are encouraging their staff to work from home, and the effect it can have on morale is incredible.

Sure, this isn’t something that is applicable across all industries, but if you can manage it in yours you will prove to be a much more attractive proposition to potential employees.

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4 Tasks Every Small Business Owner Should Outsource

As a small business owner, you are used to wearing many hats and acting as a Jack of all trades. You likely know a little about a lot, and it’s no wonder why. Running a business requires initiative, skill and savviness. You certainly benefit from the support of your staff, but at the end of the day, you are the one running the show. It can be difficult to delegate tasks to others when you trust yourself the most, and it might be even more difficult to outsource portions of your operation and let go of control completely.

Part of being an effective manager, though, is knowing when to do exactly this. There are several tasks that every small business owner should outsource. Outsourcing can help you free up resources, focus on the essential aspects of your business and avoid errors by getting help from experts trained in the task at hand. The following are some of the processes that might benefit from outsourcing.

Marketing

You might think that your marketing skills are sufficient for promoting your business and attracting customers, but sufficient is not good enough. You work hard to sustain your small business and provide customers with the best service possible. It would be a shame for these efforts to reach only a portion of the market containing potential customers. Rather than do your business a disservice by managing the task of marketing all on your own, consider the benefits of outsourcing it to a company that specializes in small business marketing. This can be a great way to reach new customers.

Bookkeeping

Too many businesses are crippled by the consequences of poor bookkeeping. It is absolutely imperative that you keep track of all revenue, outgoing funds, taxes and payroll. Outsourcing bookkeeping and/or payroll can help you avoid many of the problems that small businesses often encounter with money. Even if you use software and other resources, small mistakes can have major repercussions, and this is a task best left to professionals who are experts in managing small business finances. Outsourcing can also eliminate the stress of spending hours each week managing the minutia of your company’s money.

Web Design

Just as many small business owners are capable of basic bookkeeping, many small business owners are capable of basic web design. When you settle for basic, though, you are doing your company a major disservice. Utilizing a professional website builder is the better option, and it can boost your business’ revenue substantially. Many customers find businesses online, and when your website does not represent your company effectively, you are losing potential sales. A website builder can ensure that potential customers are motivated to follow through. Web design and marketing for small businesses is best left to dedicated professionals.

Conversion

At the end of the day, your ultimate objective is to convert potential customers into loyal clients. Maximizing your conversion statistics demands the use of proven strategies and an effective approach. This means you must utilize marketing, web presence and customer service effectively. Conversion experts who specialize in small businesses can help you use all of these tools to boost profits and reach your target market effectively. A good sales pitch alone won’t do the trick, so it is important to enlist help from specialists when you want to get conversion rates that are worthwhile.

Outsourcing is an important part of running a small business. No matter what industry you are in, you should consider outsourcing these aspects of your company to experts and focusing on what you do best—running the day-to-day operations of your business. This can alleviate stress and free up your time, so do not hesitate to outsource when it becomes necessary.

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Learning the Market

If you’re running a business, you have to be driven by success. So much is resting on your shoulders: the expectations of your customers, your ability to provide for yourself and your family, your employees who look to you for pay. Failure means letting down customers who rely on you, who may well see a business arrangement as a personal relationship, it means difficult times for you, your family and the employees who trusted you.

It’s more than clear that success is the most important thing you can shoot for, and every other aim is merely a step on the way. Innovation is a fine thing to value, but only in so far as it helps you succeed as a business, for example.

One thing that you need to succeed is to know your market. You need to know it in all its seasons, all its moods and all its behaviours. You need market intelligence delivered to your desk constantly so you can make the right decisions about what to do in the event of a new competitor emerging, a new product hitting the market, or any change that has the capacity to affect your business.

Without this kind of insight, you won’t even be able to recognise all of the things that could have an effect, let alone react to them effectively. The out of context problem, first defined by sci-fi author Iain M Banks describes a culture obliterated by a problem they don’t even have the understanding to frame effectively, let alone understand and respond to – picture the plight of the Aboriginals in Australia witnessing the sails of ships appear on the horizon, unable to see the relationship between those and their own canoes let alone predict the fatal impact the imperial settlers would have on their civilisation.

Businesses are just as vulnerable to an out of context problem, so it falls on you as the leader to expand your contextual understanding as much as possible to avoid unnecessary surprises. Engage in research that can help you predict long term trends as well as maximising your returns from changes in the short term.

As well as having a thorough research programme, you can also expand your understanding by making sure your hiring is diverse. People from different backgrounds bring new kinds of understanding, so make sure you’re putting them in senior roles. If your executive team all look and think like you, you’re limiting your ability to understand and predict your market and could be wiped out by the next unexpected sail on the horizon.

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Five Reasons Why Renting from a Plant Hire Company is a Wise Choice

Project-based constructions are often done by demand. This means that a contractor may have several projects lined up for a specific amount of time and have several months without any jobs at all. This is one of the reasons why investing in heavy equipment and machinery is not a priority. Instead, contractors look for plant hires to provide them with the needed equipment.

In comparison, buying equipment means you have to pay for the maintenance and storage. A piece of equipment, depending on the model, type, and size can cost a large amount of money. The money used for buying equipment would be better off used as part of the revolving capital of the company.

Furthermore, if the machinery is not being used, it can get rusty and become outdated. Aside from the savings of renting, there are other advantages to consider which makes renting a more sensible option.

Variety of options

Machinery devaluates over time. If you buy your own, you will have to worry about replacing parts and repairing damage just to keep it in good working condition. Renting from companies like Ruttle Plant Hire in Preston, you have a variety of equipment to choose from. Not only is the rental equipment in good condition. Some rental companies even invest in top of the line and the latest models of machinery to suit every type of construction job requirement. You can also choose from a bigger inventory, hence, you have the exact equipment needed to complete a job.

Quality and condition

Plant hire companies specialise in providing machinery for every imaginable construction job. It is also their commitment to make sure that each piece of equipment is maintained to the highest standards. Some companies even guarantee repair and maintenance on site in case you encounter any problems while operating the machine.

Flexible options available on demand

Contractors are unlikely to have the same kind of project all the time. This means that every job requires special kinds of machinery that you may not always have available in your own fleet. Renting gives you the flexibility to have the required equipment on demand. Of course, you also need to book your rentals in advance so that you can pick from the best available equipment in the company’s fleet.

Avoid deprecation

If you invest in your own equipment, it will eventually depreciate in value. This can be a liability to the company in the long run. The cost of maintaining and repairing equipment can rack up over time. Another advantage of renting is that the cost can be included in the company’s tax deductibles.

Convenient and worry-free operation

Renting equipment also means you don’t have to worry about storage and clean-up after the equipment is used. The rental company will take care of the delivery and removal of the machinery as soon as the project is completed. They will also handle the care, maintenance, and clean-up. As long as the machine has not been damaged while in use, no further liabilities are incurred.

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Why the Location of a Crane Hire Provider Matters

One of the most important factors you need to consider when hiring a crane is the location. Generally, the nearer the crane service provider is, the better option it would be. If your project is in Peterborough, it is more convenient choosing a company offering crane hire in Peterborough instead of choosing those in Fenland, Cambridge, Huntingdonshire, or other districts. There are clear advantages in hiring a crane that is in close proximity to your project site, as briefly discussed below.

Faster arrival of the equipment

Obviously, equipment from a nearer location will become available faster than equipment that has to be shipped from a farther away district or city. If you need equipment quickly, it only makes sense getting it from the nearest provider. Depending on the service contract, you may have to pay for the fuel used to bring the crane to your location. You will end up paying more if you have to haul the equipment from a distance.

On the other hand, it will be easier to return the equipment if there is no great distance involved. Bear in mind that some service contracts hold the customer responsible for the equipment before it has been officially returned. Imagine the possibilities of encountering accidents or other untoward incidents on the road. The longer the return transit takes, the more probable an accident. Paying for any damage to the equipment would definitely be an unwanted additional expense. Even if the damage is covered by insurance, it will also be inconvenient having to spend time dealing with the problem.

Faster replacement or troubleshooting

Not everything might go as expected. Even the equipment from the best crane service companies will have issues every once in a while. There will be instances when the crane has to be replaced entirely or will require troubleshooting or repairs. If the company providing the crane you are using is a couple or more cities away, it will take time to have your problem addressed. The worst case is the need to have your crane completely replaced. The crane sent to your site may not be suitable for the project or the terrain. It would be a major inconvenience and waste of time having it replaced.

Permits and licenses

Another very important detail to take into account is the permit as well as the licenses for the equipment you will be needing. There can be complications if you have to hire a crane from a different district. You need to ascertain that the equipment is licensed and you also have to deal with the permit for hauling the heavy equipment. You will also have to worry about getting clearance to pass by certain roads. Oversized trucks with heavy loads (carrying the crane) may not be allowed to pass along certain roads. You will have to find a new route to haul the crane, which can add to the time and cost it takes to get the equipment.

Except when you are assured of clear benefits in hiring a crane from a farther away company, it is recommended giving preference to local crane service providers. Nearer is generally cheaper; unless the cost difference is significant without a difference in reliability (as well as the competence of the operator).

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Why It’s Important For Small Business Owners To Outsource

As a small business owner you will know only too well about how overwhelming this position can be. There is a temptation in the early stages of your business to micro-manage every aspect of the company in order to save money and assert control. This however, is not a sustainable attitude and it is one which will leave you burned out, and the business in an unstable place. The key to surviving in business is learning how and when to outsource various aspects of the business, and here is why doing so is extremely important.

Focus

The biggest reason for a small business owner to outsource areas of their business is so that they can spend their time focussing on what they do best, which is running the business. For example let’s say that you are an excellent restauranteur who has just opened a French Bistro, how well do you think you are going to be able to focus on the restaurant itself, when you are getting bogged down in human resources stuff or the supply chain? The truth is that you cannot and the more time that you spend on areas of the business which don’t need you to be managing them, the less time you can spend on the areas which do require your attention.

Skill

Outsourcing is not just a time saver, it is also about letting experts take the reigns on certain parts of the business. For example let’s say that you start getting bogged down in bookkeeping and accounting for the business, in a effort to save some money. You may very well be able to work your way around the balance sheet, and use free budget templates to see the ins and outs of the business, but the time that it will take is likely to be double that of an expert in this field. The smart option is to outsource and area of the business such as accounting, in order to let the experts complete what for them, are very simple tasks, rather than you spending hours on such an activity.

Time

One thing which business owners want more than anything else is more time, something which is not easy to come by, especially in the early years. When you outsource an aspect fo the company however, one of the best returns on this investment is the gift of time which it will give you. Business owners need to be at their best at all times, so the additional hours in the day can help to keep you more focussed. As we have preciously mentioned, with this extra time you can focus on the right parts of the business where you can be effective, rather than the areas where you cannot.

The idea of outsourcing is to make the business more productive and more dynamic, to offer a higher standard in many aspect fo the company and ultimately to allow you to focus on the important stuff and not the minutiae.

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