Thousands of Buy to Let Landlords May be Fined for Illegal Renting

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landlords
Photo by CC user Jthornett on Flickr.

An ever-growing threat looms in Wales. Thousands of buy-to-let landlords may be facing fines and prosecution due to failing to complete the registration for a new licensing system. Over 13,000 private Welsh landlords may be prosecuted, all have failed to register since the Welsh government instated the Rent Smart Wales scheme. Despite licensing being legally mandatory for a year, the private rental sector has still not met full compliance.

13,208 Applications Left in Limbo

Rent Smart Wales requires all landlords and letting agents to register their properties before they can self-manage their rental. The deadline for compliance was initially set at 23rd November 2016. Ever since then, it has been a legal offence to either let or manage a property without being issued the appropriate license. Only 64,248 registrations were submitted, with 13,208 applications started but not finished. Despite the mass infringement, those delayed need not worry yet. Carl Sergeant, minister and overseer of the scheme, stated that those who started the process will not face persecution. He also insisted that this “must not be seen as an excuse to ignore the law”.

Rent Smart Wales – Promoting Quality Rentals

Rent Smart Wales aims to bolster the quality of service and accommodation of rental properties throughout Wales. They offer extensive training courses, allowing landlords to better understand the situational benefits of rental properties. 96% of all landlords who receive training from Rent Smart leave feeling that the education has made them a better rental agent. Both in-person training and seminars are offered, as well as numerous online training solutions. If you are not registered, you are incapable of serving a valid section 21 notice for possession of your property. Non-compliance may result in the following action being taken:

  • Fixed Penalty Notices (either £150/£250)
  • Rent Repayment Orders
  • Rent Stopping Orders
  • Criminal Prosecutions and Fines

Act Now to Prevent Prosecution

Time is running thin for those who are not yet compliant. Sargeantstated “My message to private landlords is clear. You must take action to comply with the requirements of the law”.Registration costs £33.50 online and £80.50 completed on paper. The amount of properties which you own is irrelevant to the cost. The Property Rental Factory from AXA can help you through the process, while offering useful advice on how to improve both the quality and income of your rental.

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How Businesses Can Save Money by Shopping Online for Toner Cartridges

toner-cartridges

The paperless office isn’t quite here yet, and many people think it shouldn’t ever happen, because print on paper is a primal thing – we just need a bit less of it! Not everything can be done digitally just yet, which is why you’re probably still looking around for the best deals on toner cartridges for your business.

By using a laser printer you’re already spending less anyway, as toner is typically cheaper than inkjet ink, but if you can find a way to make it cheaper still, you’ll be in the pink (or the magenta).

Going online is your best bet

By shopping online, you’re taking the easiest path to brilliant savings on your toner cartridges. Online retailers like Cartridge People are always offering good discounts and incentives. They also usually have a huge range of brands and products on offer so even if you have one of the lesser-known printers, these retailers will most likely be able to help you.

Why is buying online so cheap?

Quite simply, because online retailers don’t have the same overheads as physical stores – shopfronts, retail rents, shopfront staff as well as backroom and warehouse staff, fancy advertising hoardings and so on. It all costs money and it’s something that online retailers don’t need – they just need a cool, safe warehouse, dedicated staff and a good-looking, easy-to-navigate website!

Buying online also means better bulk deals

Because online cartridge retailers are able to store large amounts of stock cheaply (no shopfront, remember), they are usually more than happy to supply bulk orders, which will save you lots of money per unit. In addition to this, toner stores for much longer than ink, which means you can order enough to last for an entire year! Ordering large quantities of inkjet ink can be a bit risky, because it degrades over time and sometimes you’ll have dried out or useless cartridges, wasting your savings.

Other ways to save money by buying online

Order refilling kits

A lot of online sellers stock refilling kits for the better-known brands of toner cartridges. This solution isn’t for everyone, but if you’re quite handy you could make it work for you. You should read all the instructions properly before you start to make sure you do it properly and don’t end up with a huge mess.

Try recycled cartridges

If the idea of refilling your toner cartridges fills you with horror, then try some recycled ones. Recycled means that they’ve been collected as empties and sent to a company that can check, test, refurbish them and then refill them. This solution isn’t as cheap as doing it yourself, but it’s much cheaper than buying new ones and the print quality is indistinguishable.

Buy compatibles

Buying compatible cartridges is also a great solution, especially if you get them from an established, well-respected retailer as they’ll only stock tested and trusted cartridges. A decent online retailer will also give you a warranty and a guarantee just in case something goes wrong or the cartridges don’t work.

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GBP And USD Exchange

GBP and USD  exchange are one of the oldest currency pairings in the world. This pair is commonly known as ‘The Cable.’  This pairing remains a darling to many traders even today, thus, accumulating large interests considering the size of UK’s  economy. Below are some of the factors that have been affecting the pair in recent weeks;

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  • British pound drops lower as the Prime Minister moves to outwit critics. The British pound edged lower on the night of December 6th as the UK PM; Theresa May asked the House of Commons to support her in a plan to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In addition, support her to begin the departure negotiations officially before the end of March 2017.
  • December will be a neutral month for GBP/USD due to its poor performance metrics in recent times. This is taken from a seasonality point of view. The GBP/USD has rallied up to 55% of the time in the month of December over the past 20 years. However, the pair’s average performance during this time frame was only +23-pips every month. The currency pair has also lost ground in each of the previous two years. It has also experienced gains in only three Decembers since the year 2005.
  • GBP/USD also dropped on the production data’s release. It edged below 1.2600, as the ongoing concerns about Brexit as well as weaker data continue to derail sterling’s  latest rally. UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently accepted a labor plan that needs the government to lay down its Brexit plans, as the supreme court hearing on whether the parliament needs to approve Brexit continues.
  • The exchange rate of GBP/USD is pushing to fresh monthly highs throughout the first full week of December.  The latest development in the Relative Strength Index supports a bullish outlook for the pair as the oscillator comes out of the bearish formation that was carried over since May.

The pound Sterling has been rising against the US dollar since the month of October and has on the way built a pretty modest momentum over the near-term duration. Phil Seaton, who is an analyst believes that based on this momentum alone, traders could expect the Pound to advance even further in the coming days and weeks. The success in forecasting a currency’s move, and thus benefiting from such a move, is best determined by studying its current trend.

In the case of Pound-Dollar, the trend is higher according to the daily charts

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How to Determine Your Home Business’ Value

Do you know How to Determine Your Home Business’ Value?
Photo by CC user nikcname on Flickr

Determining the value of your business is called valuation. It is an essential number to know if you want to try to expand your business, sell it or get financing. This number can change often, so you will need to do the valuation annually just to keep it up to date. Getting started with your first valuation can seem like a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to stress you out. By following some simple steps, you should be able to gather what you need to complete the process.

Gathering Information

You will need a bunch of financial information to get the big picture. This starts with listing each asset of your business and providing a value for each of them. You may need to get some assistance with this or even hire professionals, depending on what your assets are.

Next, you’ll want to list your expenses. Make sure to note the frequency of these expenses. You might have weekly, monthly, and annual, for example. It’s important to note variable and fixed expenses, too. Variable expenses are those that change, while fixed expenses are always the same. For variable expenses, you can come up with an average to list for the amount.

You will also need your income statement. From this, you’ll want to take the profit or loss amount.

You’ll want to subtract the expenses from the assets and then subtract or add the profit or loss from your total. This will give you the approximate monetary value of your business.

Other Factors

However, there are other ways a business can be valued and the monetary method doesn’t take into consideration some other important factors that can add value to a business. Take a look at this infographic to get a better idea about valuation.

When you are coming up with your business value to sell it, using the monetary method may not be the best choice. This method doesn’t take into account assets that aren’t valued using a dollar amount. These are things like loyal customers, brand recognition, and unique aspects of the business, such as a one-of-a-kind product. In addition, your contributions aren’t really considered, like your skills and any business knowledge you have, such as what you gained through a degree at MVU Online. These things can’t really be valued in money, but they are still adding value to the business. For example, a well-known brand could possibly double the monetary value of a business because it helps reduce the need for excessive marketing and customer acquisition.

Another factor to consider is the up and down nature of valuation. Perhaps you have just had a bad year due to economic issues or something else out of your control. If this happens, your valuation that year could be really low and not a real indication of the value of your business, especially if there are indicators that things will bounce back in the future.

When doing a valuation for your business, you have a lot to consider. If you are seeking financial investors, then a strictly monetary valuation can work. However, if you are selling the business or deciding if you want to expand, you may want to consider other factors when making calculations to help you get a better picture of the true value of your business.

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Tips for Planning the Perfect Business Trip in Perth

Heed our Tips for Planning the Perfect Business Trip in Perth
Photo by CC user OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay

If you’re planning a business trip to Perth, arguably the finest city on any Australian coastline, you’re sure to have a fantastic time and, of course, get lots of work done! There are numerous things that you need to arrange for a business trip, including the following things that you don’t want to overlook when travelling to Perth for an important business meeting or conference.

Pack Properly

A mistake that many business people make is packing far too many things for their trip. While you don’t want to run out of clean underwear and socks, you don’t need to go overboard by packing a massive suitcase that you’re only going to have to lug around the airport. What’s more, minimise your on-board luggage so you don’t need to carry much after you’ve checked in your main luggage.

Legroom on the Flight

Whether you’re flying from overseas or from somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, Perth is a long way from anywhere. That means you’re in for a long flight, so make sure you’re comfortable and have plenty of room to stretch out. As many frequent flyers have come to realise, the best seats in economy are those near the exit, so try to reserve seats here so that you can stretch out and enjoy the flight. You may even get some work done along the way!

Airport Transportation

There are numerous transportation options available to you when flying into Perth International Airport, including Uber, traditional taxis and public transportation. Another option, one that many people overlook, is limousine hire in Perth, which is easily the best way to get into town from the airport.

There are some great limousine hire companies operating in the city these days, many of which can take you on a tour of the Swan Valley and the fantastic wineries that call this beautiful part of Western Australia home.

Book a Nice Hotel

Just as there are many great limousine hire companies operating in the city, so too are there many great places to stay around the CBD and farther afield. Perth is an easy city to get about, especially when you’ve hired a limousine on http://www.wickedlimos.net.au to take you around, so don’t restrict yourself to the hotels in Perth’s pretty CBD if you don’t need to as you can stay at a gorgeous beach, like City Beach or Cottesloe Beach, two of the many fine beaches in Perth. And there are many!

See Something

There’s so much to see and do around Perth and the Swan Valley, so make sure you leave yourself a bit of time to see the sights, and take some great photos – it’s worth it! If you have a day to spare, hiring a limousine to take you around the beaches and wine growing regions makes for a wonderful day out, a day out that you couldn’t enjoy anywhere else in Australia.

Planning a business trip to Perth is easy when you know what you’re doing, so take note of these handy tips to plan your next business trip to the Western Australian capital to perfection.

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Things to Consider When Choosing A Vehicle for Your Business

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A vehicle is a significant investment, and if you are considering your options for the right vehicle for your business, you might even be planning to buy more than one.  For that reason, you want to be very that you have carefully thought about your options, and considered your needs and preferences. Here are a few things to ask yourself that may help to narrow down the choices.

What is the primary purpose of the vehicle?

If you will be using the vehicle to get yourself or your team from point A to point B, then affordability and serviceability should be your primary considerations – in this case, a basic compact car will do nicely.  If you anticipate that you may be driving clients to meetings or to job sites, you may want to consider a more upscale or comfortable car – remember, your vehicle will reflect your company and while it doesn’t need to be fancy, a late-model, comfortable vehicle will make a better impression than some other options. If you will be transporting larger groups of people, or people and equipment, a van like the Ford Transit might be a great option – you can visit your local Ford van dealership to find out more. Remember, you will have this vehicle for a number of years, so try to think down the line to anticipate how your business and your vehicle needs might change.

How long will you hold onto it?

If you are planning to keep the vehicle for a number years and have financed it, then you will want to choose a vehicle that can be counted on to be relatively reliable beyond the warranty period, easy to repair, and relatively inexpensive.  Certain makes will have more expensive parts than others, and this should be factored in.  You will also want to consider the rate of depreciation – many cars lose about half of their value in the first 3 years, and this will be taken into account by the financing agent and could be reflected in higher costs.  It may also have tax implications for your business.  Moreover, if you plan to trade in the vehicle at some point, you will want to be sure that there is value left when you are ready to upgrade.

How much and how will the vehicle be driven?

Will the vehicle be used every day?  And what kind of driving will be most common?  Stops and starts in city driving will be less efficient than longer highway drives, and if you think that you will be driving most often for short trips then fuel efficiency is something to consider.

Do you need more than one?

If you have need for both a delivery vehicle and a vehicle for meeting clients, then it might be an easy decision to purchase two different vehicles.  It is less clear if you will primarily need one kind of vehicle with only occasional need for something different.  In this case, you might decide to purchase the vehicle that can be the most useful the most often, or to consider a multipurpose vehicle.

These are just some of the things that you may want to consider as you think about purchasing a vehicle for your business.  Above all, be sure to do your research and think carefully about your needs now and in the future.

 

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How to stay productive when working from home

Wondering How to stay productive when working from home?
Photo by CC user moleshko on Pixabay

The grass is always greener. Those who work in an office for someone else view working from home as a dream come true. You can sleep in, wear your pajamas, work when you want, and make your own schedule. If you want to take your kids to the park, you can. If you want to take a break to catch up on a few hours of your favorite Netflix addiction, you can. If you’re sick, you don’t have to call in. You get to stay in bed, rest, and get back to work the following day.

The reality isn’t exactly like the dream. Working from usually means making your own schedule. Working from home does mean spending more time with your kids, and you certainly don’t have to wear pants if you prefer not to. However, working from home presents its own set of challenges. You might not have coworkers gossiping in your ear or taking credit for your work at home, but you probably have diapers to change and grapes to cut into small pieces at every meal. It’s not always easy to remain productive working from home, but you can do it if you put forth a little effort and use a little creative thinking.

Designate a Workspace

One of the most important things to consider when working from home is your location. It’s far less productive to work at the kitchen table. You can see the dishes piling up throughout the day. You can see the television the kids are watching. You can see the mess they’re making. While no one is suggesting you leave them unattended throughout the day, it’s a good idea to work somewhere else. Turn a spare room into an office so you can shut the door and limit distractions. Keep this space clean and orderly, make it smell good, and make it comfortable. These all promote productivity.

Set Specific Hours

Now that you’re working from home, you get to choose your own hours. A good starting point is your own personality. Are you someone who doesn’t mind rising early because you’re more productive in the morning? Are you someone who can’t sleep at night because you prefer to stay up late being productive? What works for you is what works for your job. Set specific hours, and stick to those hours. Make them a habit, and work during that time frame.

Make Rules

One of the biggest obstacles between you and productivity working from home is everyone in your life. There are always going to be those people who think you spend all day sitting in front of the television watching Netflix or lying by the pool with a mimosa and your girlfriends because you work from home. These people don’t understand you working from home means actually working, so they’ve no problem calling, texting, and stopping by when the mood strikes. Make rules. You work these hours, and they aren’t to interrupt you during those hours. Your home is your office, and your friends and family should respect your office hours at home just as they would in someone else’s office building.

Utilize Lists

To-do lists are a work-from-home person’s best friend. These lists are helpful, because they minimize distractions. If you find it difficult to work from home because you have distractions everywhere, put them on paper. Cross them off as you accomplish them. When you’re not feeling productive, tackle a few of the smallest and most insignificant tasks on your list, and see how much more productive you feel when you’re done with those. This allows you to make money online without feeling overwhelmed.

Prep the Night Before

Working from home is distracting in that you have a house filled with things to do all around you all day. The night before is perfect for you to prep for a successful, productive workday. When you don’t have dirty dishes, laundry, and cleaning to tackle during the day, you’re more likely to work productively. When everything is cleaned, prepped, and ready for you in the morning, it makes your day that much more productive.

If you find yourself distracted by something at home during the day, handle it. Sometimes you’re unable to work productively from home if you’re house isn’t in order. If the kids left a mess before they left for school, take 15 minutes to clean it up and get things in order. It seems like a waste of time you should be working, but getting this out of the way in 15 minutes and working without the distraction the rest of the day is more productive than thinking about it all day. Eliminating distractions works.

Change Your Settings

One of the most productive things you’ll learn working from home is to change your settings. Unless you use your cell phone for business purposes, turn the ringer off or turn the “Do Not Disturb” setting on. It won’t notify you of new messages, emails, or calls until you check for yourself. Change your email settings to notify you of new messages only once per hour or once every other hour.

When your phone is constantly alerting you of new messages, new calls, and new emails, you want to look at them and respond. When you don’t know they’re coming in, you’re not distracted. Do yourself a favor and remove all your social media icons of your work computer, too.

Eliminating distractions, setting specific hours, and taking control of all you should do is what makes for a successful day in the lives of work-from-home business owners and/or employees. If these don’t work, it might be that you need a few minutes to get up and get moving. Go outside for a cup of coffee or a short walk. Stay healthy, don’t forget to move, and minimize distractions. This is what leads to a more productive workday at home.

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The importance of digital backups in modern business

The importance of digital backups is demonstrated by sudden disasters such as fire
Photo by CC user 60026579@N00 on Flickr

Big data is the new competitive advantage so it is crucial that you manage your critical assets effectively by archiving and backing up data to the cloud. Data and technology are now woven into every aspect of modern business and the global economy. It enables enterprises to drive value and revenue via analytics and business intelligence and informs key decisions across every industry, day in, day out.

However, as the importance of data to business grows, so does the impact of errors, fires, floods, failures and other disasters that result in data loss. As a result, the importance of digital backups cannot be overstated.

Digital backups

Digital backups are an essential component of any effective IT strategy, especially in today’s data-driven business world. It is vital for business continuity as you will be able to access important files and sensitive information if the original copy is lost. Digital backups are hugely popular with small and medium enterprises and large organisations as they enable CIOs to transfer data in an encrypted format to a data centre.

Simple and intuitive

Digital backups are always fully automated, which means there won’t be any user intervention and you can decide whether to make a full backup or restore single files via a few simple clicks on a connected device such as a desktop computer or mobile. Recent research by McGladrey & Pullen shows that more than half of the enterprises that suffer a major data loss do not recover and have to shut down within two years so it makes sense to prioritise a digital backup plan.

Class-leading tech

Building an onsite data centre and server room will give you full control over your data and provide the best possible security for it. It will also enable the enterprise to leverage data more effectively and support your critical daily IT activities. Other benefits include additional data visibility and accessibility plus reduced latency and failures. A server room fit out could transform your data analytics and digital backup capabilities.

Digital backups benefits

Cost: Digital backups eliminate the need for time-consuming methods such as tape, which are not feasible for the fast-paced digital age.

Compliance: Digital backups can help you to meet increasingly stringent regulatory and compliance regulations related to data.

Mobile: Digital backups can be completed anywhere, at any time at work or on the move.

Protection: Fully encrypted backup, storage and recovery provide the highest levels of protection for data for enterprises.

Recovery: Data can be recovered via any device with an internet connection and you will get access to it immediately, which reduces the impact of downtime.

Scalable: Digital enables you to scale your backup requirements depending on your particular needs and requirements.

Support: Management and monitoring of digital backups can be completed via an intuitive interface in a quick and simple manner.

Data governance

Data governance and digital backups are intertwined as the latter enable enterprises to ensure that their data assets are managed effectively throughout the enterprise. Data governance is essentially a quality control discipline for all the data you have access to and how you manage, monitor, maintain and protect it. Establishing a digital backup strategy is a critical means of supporting these endeavours and ensuring data won’t be lost or stolen.

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How to choose the right exhibition for your business

Do you know How to choose the right exhibition for your business?
Photo by CC user BrockF5 on Wikimedia Commons

Exhibiting is a great way to grow your business. It gets you in front of your customers and allows you to show off your products or services to a captive audience of potential purchasers.

But how do you know which exhibition is the right one for your business? With a fair upfront investment, you need to be able to justify that you’re giving exhibiting the best chance of success to drive more sales.

Here are three things to consider when figuring out how to choose the right exhibition for your business:

Local vs national shows

Thinking about your target audience, are they likely to live nearby, or could they be anywhere? If you’re a local producer of cheese, you’re more likely to have success at a local show – having the novelty of being a local producer, than at a national show. Especially if you’re starting out.

However, if you’re an online supplier for example where the novelty of being local may not be as strong then your audience could be potentially larger.

There’s also logistics to consider. Getting to a show that’s further away will cost more and may mean an overnight stay. Will your budget stretch that far? How is parking? Although most exhibition display stands are portable, you may live to regret pulling a pop up around in the London Underground on your own.

Target audience

Who is your target audience? What sort of shows would they be interested in? If there’s a high chance that they wouldn’t go to the show you’re looking at, then it may not be the best idea to exhibit there.

What you’ll be looking for is a show where you have a high footfall of people who could be interested in your business. Not everybody in your target audience will be potential purchasers so you want to maximise the chance that they’ll stop!

Most shows that have been running for a few years will have a rundown of audience demographics from previous shows to help you decide whether it’s the right show for you.

Cost

Each exhibition will have a different cost for exhibiting. From a small stall at a craft fair to a large space-only stand in an exhibition hall as you can imagine the costs can start from pounds to a few hundred (if not more for the very large spaces!).

If the show looks like the right sort of environment for you, consider how much you’d have to make to break even from the event in terms of cost. Make sure you add in the hidden costs such as displays and transport in with your total costs. By working backwards, you can work out how much you’d be willing to spend on the stand space. If it seems achievable given the expected number of visitors, then go for it. If it seems completely unrealistic to make that volume of sales, then maybe the show isn’t the right one.

You may however consider having a smaller presence at a more expensive show in order to increase your brand awareness and start to be seen in the right circles with your competitors.

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Does a Small Business Really Need IT Support?

Does a small business really need IT support? They might.
Photo by CC user Marko Puusaar on Wikimedia Commons

If you are running a small home business, the chances are you still have an accountant. Most new entrepreneurs realise quite quickly that keeping their accounts and filling out there tax return accurately is not as easy as it seems on paper. Many try to manage in the first year, by which point they see the wisdom of hiring a professional to take care of this aspect of their business. Does a small business really need IT support? In many instances, they could badly use the assistance of third-party tech specialists.

IT support firms do offer packages that are suitable for SMEs

Yet when it comes to IT support, most small business owners never give it a second thought. Unfortunately, it takes a disaster to make most of them see things in a different light. Many entrepreneurs struggle on looking after all of their technology themselves.

This is partly because they do not realise that they can actually get help, for a low cost. Many business owners wrongly assume that because they only have a small network that IT support firms will not be interested in supporting them.

In the past, this would have been true. However, these days it is easy for a small business owner to find IT support in Leeds, and other large cities.

The IT support industry woke up many years ago to the fact that by focusing only on big companies they were ignoring a huge potential market. In the UK, a phenomenal 99.3% of private companies are classified as small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs), employing between 1 and 49 people. As a result, a lot of IT support firms now target small businesses, and tailor their service and prices to meet their needs.

Why you need IT support

Letting someone else look after your IT needs brings many benefits to a business. Top of the list is improved security.

By keeping your hardware and software up to date, and following proper protocols you can keep your data and that of your customers safer. A good IT support package will include regular updates, and help with setting up robust and safe protocols for your network and equipment.

There is a tendency for small business owners to believe that a cyber attack could never happen to them. Sadly, these attacks are becoming more common, and shockingly some firms never recover after an attack. There are profitable businesses out there that are folding following data attacks. You can read more about the level of the problem, and the terrible affect being hacked has on a small company on this page.

More time for you to invest in your business

Letting someone else take care of your IT needs can really free up time. There is no longer a need to take the morning out, to set up your new laptop, or update your kit. Someone else can take care of all of that for you, leaving you free to focus on growing your business, and serving your customers.

Help when things go wrong

The other great thing is that you can get expert help when things go wrong. There is no longer any need to spend hours digging around the internet trying to work out what is wrong with your system.

You just have to pick up the phone and talk to an expert who will know immediately what the issue is, and how to fix it first time. This allows you to get back to doing what you need to serve your customers, as soon as possible.

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