Archive | December, 2015

Great Tips for Choosing the Right Office for Your Business

One of the most important things for any business is its office. This is where all the important work gets done, so it needs to be suitable. If you get it right, it could be part of what pushes your business towards success. Here’s how to choose the right office for your company.

Consider the Needs of Your Business

Every business is different, so every business also has different needs. You need to think about what your business needs from its office space. If the business has a large workforce, you will have to make sure that the office is big enough to fit everyone in comfortably. There are so many different considerations that you have to make. But start by listing what your key priorities are. This should be done before you even start exploring all the options out there.

Decide Whether to Rent or Buy

This is one of the very first questions you should answer when you start looking for an office. If you want to rent, you should have a look at the options at Level Office. The advantage of renting an office is that you don’t have to worry too much about the cost. As long as you have a steady flow of income, you should be able to keep up with the rent demands. On the other hand, owning your own office space does give you a level of permanence and security that you don’t get when renting.

Think About How Flexible the Space Is

Flexibility is a big deal in the modern working environment. You don’t want to be tied down to one specific way of working. You want to be given as much room for manoeuvre as possible. Businesses change over time. Sometimes they grow and expand, and sometimes they downsize. Think about how this will effect your needs, and whether the office space you choose will be able to cope with the change. This is why it’s important to choose an office that is as flexible as possible.

Make Sure the Light is Adequate

Lighting is a big thing to think about when you’re choosing an office space. A lack of natural light flooding into the room can make it feel small, cramped and dull. That’s not the kind of environment you want to create for your employees to work in, is it? Of course, you can add as many electric lights as you like when you actually move into the office, but that will cost you more money. The best idea is always to choose an office that has lots of light and brightness in it.

Think About the Impact of the Location You Choose

Last, but certainly not least, is the location. This might be the single most important thing to decide upon. If your business relies on passing trade and you need to be easy to find for customers and clients, it might make sense to locate it in the city centre. The problem with this is that it costs a lot of money. So, if getting passing trade is not so important, it might make more financial sense to situate the business out of town.

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Cut Business Costs Without Slowing Down The Company

As business owners, we all lie awake thinking about spreadsheets. Your bottom line, profit margin, and outgoings play over and over in your head. In most cases, it’s easy to see when things are moving in the wrong direction. If this is happening, there are two ways to fix it. First, you can sell more products, and increase your profits. Unfortunately, that means spending more money on marketing, and it takes time. The second option is the quicker and more efficient route: cutting costs.

That’s what we’re focusing on today. By slashing your business costs, you can free yourself of financial worry. At least for a little while. The trick is learning how to cut costs without negatively affecting the company itself. It’s a difficult balance to get right. Follow our advice, and we’ll guide you to better success in 2016. Let’s jump in, and take a look.


The first thing you need to do, is take a long, hard look at your financial situation. Sit down with your accountant, and figure out where all the unnecessary expenses are going. Which investments are working, which are losing money, and where are the leaky holes? By identifying the problems, you can start to find a better route forward. It all starts by facing up to those initial money troubles, and finding a better solution.

Reduce your overheads

One of your biggest expenses or outgoings will be your overheads. These are any essential payments that help keep the business running. We’re talking about office rent payments, energy bills, etc. See if you can negotiate a reduction in rent payments or switch to a cheaper energy supplier. These overheads are eating into your profit margin, so it’s crucial you work to keep them low.

Expenses and travel

There was a golden era for business, when enormous expense accounts were the norm. Nowadays, businesses should be a little more strict about those black cards! In particular, we suggest keeping your company travel costs low. There’s no need to rack up a fortune in flights and travel. In the modern era, you can conduct your meetings over Skype and conference calls. Keep travel expenses to an absolute minimum where possible.

Negotiate your supplies

When it comes to business, there is always a discount to be found! It might not seem like a big amount, but if you shave off a little from each of your supply contracts, it will all add up. The suppliers at CCTY Bearing, for example, are used to negotiating over prices and contracts. Think of other benefits you can offer your suppliers that will help you make that monetary discount.


Payroll cuts are a sensitive topic in business, and we’re not suggesting making cuts to salaries. Far from it. That will only make morale and productivity lower. But, there are some other payroll costs you can reduce. You can put a cap on overtime, reduce expense accounts, and reduce your end-of-year bonuses. Payroll usually makes up the lion’s share of outgoings, so approach it sensibly.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make cuts and savings, without harming your company. Each of these little cuts add up to a big change.

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Important Preparations if You Want to Invest in Penny Stocks

A lot of people like to prepare for the future financially. And, one of the best ways to do this is to invest money and build up profits over time. A lot of investment opportunities can prove highly lucrative, and this is what encourages people to seek them out. But, whether it’s gold vs silver, or stocks and shares, you need to understand that some investment opportunities come to nothing.

Regardless of what you spend and what you invest in, any kind of investment is a risk. There’s always a chance you will lose your money. And that’s why it’s so important that you do whatever you can to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. If you’re planning a foray into penny stock investing then here are a few things to consider.

What Are They?

Simply put, penny stocks are the name given to any stocks that cost less than one dollar. These days it can increase to anything below five dollars. They are small-cap stocks that, due to their price, are often very speculative. They provide a huge unknown quantity for many investors, and yet prove popular at the same time. But you also need to be careful that you’re investing in the right sort of penny stocks. So, it might be useful to do a bit more research before you start parting with any cash.

Where Can You find Them?

The most common place to find penny stocks is through a stockbroker. Go online and you will find dozens of resources that will allow you to do this. Because of the popularity of penny stocks, people should have no problems finding them. You just need to make sure you’re getting yours from a reliable source.


As with any investment opportunity you want to know the benefits before you start. And one of the big advantages of penny stocks is their prices. Because they are so cheap it’s possible to buy a lot and not spend too much money. Another big benefit is the return on investment you can make with penny stocks. They can fluctuate very quickly, and so it’s possible to make a lot of money from spending precious little. This is perhaps the main thing that makes penny stocks such an attractive choice for investors. If you’re new to the investment game these could well be just the thing to get you started.

How Much Should You Spend?

In order to fully prepare you need to figure out how much you’re going to spend. Because penny stocks are so cheap, you’ll probably want to buy quite a few to make it worth your while. But you also need to think about the budget you have, and how much money you’re prepared to spend. So, take a look at your financial situation and make a responsible and sensible choice.

When it comes to any sort of investment opportunities it’s crucial to make the right choices. So many people invest these days, but many of them don’t really understand what they’re doing. That’s why it’s important for people considering investments to really do their homework. If you are interested in investment in penny stocks you need to prepare before you spend.


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Which Mortgage Type is Best For You?

For most people, the only way to make buying a house feasible is through a mortgage. There aren’t many that can afford just to pay for a house up front. It’s far more likely that they will need to gather a deposit together and find a lender to provide them with a mortgage.

They’re not always the easiest thing to get your head around, though. There are many different variables that can leave your head spinning. We’re here to put you straight and make understanding mortgages a little bit easier. Many people make the mistakes of focusing on the interest rates offered, but as we’ll discuss later, that’s a mistake.

There are two main types of mortgages, and both of them have their own set of pros and cons. Let’s explore them both, so you can ultimately make a decision on which one suits you best.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

This is perhaps the most common mortgage option, and the reason is obvious. People fear uncertainty. A fixed rate, for the most part, eliminates the risk of your interest fluctuating. No matter what happens in the financial market, your interest rate will remain the same for the length of the deal. There are some exceptions, though, where the fixed rate will only apply for a specified period of time.

The clear benefit of this is that you won’t be stung by a sudden surge in interest rates. You’ll know how much you’re going to be paying in addition to your loan for the length of the deal. There are, however, a couple of disadvantages. Banks knows that people are seeking fixed rate mortgages as a means of reassurance, so they jack up the prices.  So, it’s worth shopping around. Take a look at the mortgage rates at You’ll also miss out should interest rates suddenly plummet. Such is the gamble of a fixed rate.

Variable Rate Mortgage

If you like to live life on the edge, a variable rate mortgage could be for you. The interest rate could fluctuate (or, likewise, rapidly decrease) at a moment’s notice. This can make things hard to plan for. You’ll never know when you might need to dip into your savings. There, is, however, a considerable chance that your interest rates will drop, and you’ll pay less. It’s down to you to work out if that’s a risk worth taking.

One particular benefit is that there is no penalty for overpaying. With fixed rate mortgages, your bank may charge you for paying above the minimum repayment threshold. Seems silly, doesn’t it? But there’s a method behind the madness. The bank wants to prolong the length of the mortgage so that you rack up more interest. That is no longer a problem with most variable rate mortgages.

Whichever you decide works best for you and your family, there will be other variables to consider. Some banks offer discounts, offset loans and capped rate mortgages. Most of them fall under the variable rate mortgage, but could provide you with additional bonuses. Take a look at what different banks can offer you before making a decision.

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A Guide To Greater Business Success In 2016

The current calendar year isn’t quite over yet, but most entrepreneurs will already be looking ahead to 2016. Quite frankly, improving the company should be the number one priority for all business owners next year. And those preparations have to start now.

It’s no good leaving those plans to January. Setting the wheels in motion now will ensure that you can start 2016 on the front foot and start tackling your way to the top. Follow these five top tips, and it should be your best year ever.

Invest In Staff

Whichever way you look at things, the team of employees is your most valuable asset. Therefore, in 2016, showing them the attention they need should be your number one goal.

This starts with better recruitment. However, hiring the best candidates will only provide a platform. You must also follow this up with better training to ensure that they are equipped to complete the job as intended. These people are the heartbeat of your business. Don’t let them go undervalued.

Reduce Expenses

Essentially, improving your business in 2016 means one thing. Make more profit. However, generating more sales isn’t the only way. Cutting expenses can make a huge difference to the overall financial state of your venture. Better still, it’s something that you can start improving right away.

Cutting your energy bills, delivery costs and insurances will all add up. You wouldn’t spend your personal finances in a wasteful manner. Be sure to sue your business capital in an equally effective way.

Improve Online Selling Platform

The methods of conducting business have changed greatly in recent year. The shift towards online selling is a phenomenon that no company can afford to overlook. Improving your web presence in 2016 has to be considered a key task for increasing revenue.

Using an ecommerce agency to perfect your selling platform will help build more confidence from the customer. In turn, this should result in better conversion rates and increased profits. What more incentive could you ever need?

Increase Customer Care

Whatever you do in business, putting the customer first should always be top of your agenda. After all, severing ties with those clients is going to cost you dearly. You should be taking every step possible to ensure that they keep coming back for more. Whether it’s improving your interactions or offering special promotions is irrelevant. Maintaining customer loyalty is a must.

Besides, treating the customer well will see them tell others about your ventures. You’ll be gaining new clients while promoting future sales to your existing ones too. In truth, this is one area of business where you can be even better than global giants. Take that opportunity with open arms, and you’ll be amazed at the results you see.

Branch Out

Becoming an international brand was once reserved for the big corporations. Nowadays, though, technology is so advanced that it is possible for small companies to target new territories too.

You’ve already got a winning business model. Setting up a secondary location should be far easier, and could be the key to doubling your success. Alternatively, you could outsource the business to suitable candidates. Essentially, you’ll be turning your brand into a franchise. If done properly, it will help you unlock levels of success that you never thought possible.

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UK Economy ‘Too Reliant’ On Consumer Debt

UK growth forecasts have taken a hit due to an over-reliance on consumers spending money on credit.

According to a report in This Is Money, other factors are also at play, including a poor outlook for manufacturing and exportation. British firms are struggling to sell goods abroad due to the continual rise in the value of the pound.

But, it is the debt issue that will raise further questions about the UK government’s conviction in their policies.  Are they a safe pair of hands when it comes to the economy?

The director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce expressed concerns in his statement to This Is Money. He said that “trade performance and current account balance are impacting our overall growth,”.  He went on to state that expectations have moved from “an earlier prediction of growth in 2015 to an expected contraction.”

But what does this mean for the average UK citizen? In general terms, of course, when debt levels rise, it tends to be a good sign for the economy - from whatever side of the political fence you sit on. It’s a sign of confidence from consumers that they can afford to repay the money, and it’s a signal from the banks that they are lending again.

The problem is, economics is never quite so simple. Credit card debt is growing at the fastest rate it has for over ten years, which means a significant chunk of that money may not be as secure as is wished. And, of course, there are signs in other areas of the economy that people are using credit sources to survive, rather than a tool.

This time of year is also relevant to those figures, of course. With the average UK household spending £800 over the Christmas period, there are concerns that a lot of it will be through a credit card.

Not all debt is bad, of course. Mortgages like these help people on the housing ladder and even safe spending on credit cards has its benefits. Plus, there are services out there that can help people keep on top of their finances. According to Evolution Money debt consolidation loans can help people struggling with multiple debts. And, they will allow them to keep a better track of who they owe money to - and when they need to pay. But, if consumers are only making minimum payments each month, it’s not going to turn out well for them. 

So, things may not be going as well in the UK as some might think. And, regarding wages, there are some alarming statistics, according to Resolution Foundation. They say the average salary will reach the same levels as it was before the global financial crisis. However, this is dependent on the interest rates staying at their long-term low, so it may be even longer. At the moment, there is still a £110 per week shortfall from what they would have been if the economy remained stable. And, of course, this may be one of the reasons people are using credit.

As ever with economics, it’s all guesswork, of course. But, it appears there are genuine fears that the current low wages and high debt levels are not a good mix.

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Irrefutable Reasons Companies Need To Invest More In Employee Training

In 2014, businesses in the United Kingdom spent more money on training than ever before – let’s hope it is a trend that continues.

In the not so recent past, there has been a lack of respect towards training from a lot of business owners. They saw it as an expenditure that they didn’t get back because the results were hard to quantify. As a result, they neglected it as much as possible. Or, they didn’t invest the time, money and energy they should have done to make it work. If you are a boss reading this post, this train of thought is something you need to avoid at all costs. What you need to do is to jump on the new trend that is taking over the business sector with regards to training.

Here’s why businesses are spending more money on training than ever before.

Improves Skill And Knowledge

There is only so much that you can teach your employees in-house. To broaden their horizons and widen their scope, they need to accumulate information from multiple sources. Regardless of your age, you never stop learning because the world is constantly evolving and changing. Your business may do things one way, but that may not be the way that everyone else completes their tasks. By attending training sessions, you and your team can learn something new. On most occasions, it is something that you would not learn otherwise.

They Become Better At Their Job As A Result

Education is essential as it improves you as a person. When you know more, and your skill is higher, you can complete tasks to a higher standard. It is that simple, and that is why training is important. Once your team begin to take in more information and process that information, they can apply it to the workplace. The next time they go into work, they will perform a task differently that makes them more efficient and effective at their job. Increased efficiency and effectiveness are two traits of a high qualified individual or group of people.

Perform Better Standard Of Work

The direct result of them being better at their job is that the quality rises. For any company, that is a target that you always want to hit. As every business sells trades and services of some kind, they work off their reputation, and you are no different. The reason that you succeed, or fail, is down to your brand in many respects. If your clients and potential clients know you are a firm that provides the best standard of work, they will be more inclined to invest. Because you employees are the fabric of the company, their work represents your brand.

Productivity Increases

What is very good about training is that it brings new ideas and new ways of working to the table. Instead of doing the same thing every day, an employee can go about their working day in a different manner thanks to an informative training session. The benefit of this is that they relieve their boredom and start challenging themselves again. Work can be monotonous and repetitive at times, so you need to keep everyone awake and fulfilled. When they are fulfilled and challenged, they will work harder and get through more tasks than normal.

Invest In The Company

All you need to know in many respects is that you are investing in the company when you invest in your employees. To improve your workforce is to improve your business as a whole. The bosses that don’t want to improve their employees are allowing them to stagnant, which in turn is allowing their company to stagnate too. Everything your team does is for the good of the firm, so it only makes sense that they are at their maximum.

Health And Safety

Not all training is to make your business sell more units. Of course, that is one of the main reasons you invest in training in the first place, but you should not limit it to this reason alone. Another reason to invest in training is to keep everyone in the workplace safe and secure. Health and safety regulations are varied and complex, so it is hard for everyone to know what they cannot and cannot do at work. To make sure everyone is on the same page, they need showing what is right and what is wrong. Not only does it provide them with a nice working environment for them to work, but it also lowers the chance of an accident and a potential lawsuit.

It’s The Law

Staying with that point, health and safety training is the law. If you don’t provide your employees with adequate training, you and the company are liable. If someone does get hurt in the office, it will be your fault and that leaves you could open to sanctions. Depending on the accident, you could face anything from a large fine to jail time. Plus, you would be the subject of another lawsuit for damages that could wipe out your bank balance.


Training is an opportunity for your team to work on new things, something that has already been established. But, in this case, it is not about topping up on a job role that they already know– it is about learning new skills altogether. Running a business is costly, and your employees are your biggest expense, so you want to lower that cost wherever possible. Obviously, you cannot hire a person that you cannot afford, which leaves you with two options. You can invest in technology to take over the role, or you can train an existing member of the company. Businesses tend to prefer training an existing member of the company as most programs need a person to man and keep it running. It is a fact that raising an employee’s wage by a couple of pounds is cheaper than paying another wage.

As a boss, it is your prerogative to make sure that your employees receive the training they deserve. It is not only in their best interests, but it is in yours, too.

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How Hotels Are Saving Money

Travelers are always looking for ways to save on their hotel room. You can tell by all the deal websites available. But hotels are also always trying to find ways they can reduce their costs. For them, it can make the difference between profiting and falling into the red. Their guests might be trying to scrimp and save. But they’re attempting to do the same while encouraging their guests to spend more. There are a number of different methods hoteliers use to cut their costs. They need to avoid adversely affecting the experience they offer their guests. Many of the solutions they use are green initiatives that also benefit the environment.

Water and Energy Efficiency

Green projects will help to save any business money. Hotels around the world have been trying to be greener. Cutting down costs for energy and water can help to save a hotel a lot of money. But it’s often an initiative they have to ask guests to get involved with too. The hotel and its staff can lead the way by reducing their usage of water, electricity and gas. One thing most hotels do is require a key card to turn on the electricity in a room. So nothing is left running when the guest leaves. Using alternative energy, such as solar panels, is also an excellent idea. However, it’s also important to ask guests to contribute. They can be asked to reuse their towels, for example.

Waste Reduction

Throwing out too much waste can be expensive for a hotel. They may have to pay more to dispose of their waste, and they lose money by not using things they have bought. One of the places a hotel should focus their efforts to reduce waste is in their restaurant. It’s essential that everything in the kitchen is used to its full potential. For example, trimmings and offcuts should be used to make stock, rather than immediately thrown away. Hoteliers can also encourage recycling among both staff and guests. As well as helping to save money, it makes the hotel look good too. Kitchen scraps can be composted instead of thrown away. They can be used for the hotel’s various landscaping needs or restaurant kitchen garden.

Finding the Right Suppliers

Choosing the best suppliers can make a big difference to how much a hotel spends in a year. By working with the best firms to suit them, they can ensure they get a great deal on anything they need to order in. For example, they often need to spend a lot of money on linen, such as sheets and tablecloths for hotels and spas. Hotels can save money by being able to buy what they need in bulk or smaller numbers whenever necessary. Having an account with their preferred suppliers makes it easier to secure better prices. Renting supplies can also be a good idea in some cases, helping to reduce costs in the short-term.

Going Digital

Choosing to use a range of digital services for guests and behind the scenes is another way hotels save. One significant change in many hotels is offering digital publications for their guests. This can be in addition to or instead of paper newspapers and magazines. Guests can download their favorite publications to their smartphone or tablet, which is much cheaper for the hotel. It also saves on recycling costs, as it means that old copies of publications aren’t left behind. Hoteliers can also save money behind the scenes by using digital technology in their office. They can avoid printing things unnecessarily and safeguard their business with cloud computing.


Hotels are always at risk of losing money through cancellations. That’s why they often overbook. This sometimes leads to having to find guests accommodation elsewhere, which can be inconvenient. One of the ways they save money is by locking in a booking straight away. This method is used especially for special offers, when the guest must pay on booking to secure a deal. Another option is to have the cancellation fee as the cost of the room, even if the guest doesn’t have to pay right away. It’s also a good idea for hotels to use booking sites to fill their empty rooms. Websites with last-minute deals help hotels to avoid empty rooms and losing out on money.

Hotels use a range of methods to try and save money on a daily basis. As well as reducing costs on their own, encouraging guests to be green also plays a significant role.

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Important Factors In The Rise Of Pawn Shops

Most people will have noticed the number of pawn shops is increasing across the nation. With that in mind, we wanted to find out why that’s happening. Are there certain factors that facilitate the rise of businesses of that nature? What are they? Hopefully, you will learn everything you need to know in the next couple of minutes. We can’t tell you why every pawn shop in the US has opened its doors, but we can highlight the landscape that’s allowed that to happen. At the end of the day, most people find value in the service offered, so it’s probably a good thing.

A poor global economy

The state of the global economy during the last few years has caused many businesses to close. That means there’s room one the high street for more stores and lots of people are out of work. It’s the perfect situation for pawn shops to flourish. Many residents have valuable possessions they know can raise some extra cash. People either sell their items to the pawn shop for good, or they buy them back when their finances are sorted. When you think about it, pawn shops help people to pay their bills and keep food on the table.

Increase in bargain hunters

The increase in people who are on the lookout for a bargain is a knock-on effect caused by the global economy. When there isn’t as much cash around, residents try to make their money stretch further. That means they’ll happily spend hours browsing in a pawn shop because the products are usually cheaper. The manager of a pawn shop near MGM National Harbor told us people come from all over the country to check his stock. While some sellers decide to buy their possessions back from the pawn store, many don’t. That’s why you’ll find artwork and items of historical interest in among the other products they sell.

Mounting debts

People who find themselves in debt only have a couple of options one the table. They can either downsize their home, use their savings, or sell their valuables. The latter solution is by far the best choice in most instances. So, many folks choose to get rid of their valuables first. It’s less drastic compared to remortgaging or selling their properties, and nobody wants to lose their savings. Of course, many families get themselves into more debt by taking out loans to cover debt repayments. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that pawn shops offer a better alternative.

Now you understand the situation that has lead to the rise of pawn shops, there should be no confusion. Many of those establishments are going from strength to strength at the current time. You’ve probably seen reality TV shows dedicated to their business. The next time you pass a pawn store in town make sure you drop in and take a look. There are always bargains to be had, and you might just save some money. Will this trend continue into 2016? That depends on the state of our economy.

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