5 key tasks you won’t need to take care of in a serviced office

When the time comes for you to shift your business under its own roof, there will be many different office options ready and waiting for you to choose between them. The more avant-garde of those include shared, co-working and “virtual” spaces – but you ought to weigh up two particular choices

The more conventional is a “leased” office, but a more flexible arrangement for newer businesses would be the “serviced” office, which would spare you needing to carry out the following tasks…

Setting up tech

A “serviced” office is so-called as many of the services your business relies on will already be set up in that office as you move into it. Those staples of corporate communication – phone lines, internet connectivity and electrical power, among other utilities – will already be open and running.

As a result, you wouldn’t need to spend time of your own approaching different providers of these utilities and arranging contractors, as bytestart.co.uk points out. You can hit the ground running.

Taking calls

Naturally, many people will be eager to phone your company. These can include potential customers and clients wanting to learn more about what you offer, as well as jobseekers interested in applying for that vacancy you have recently started advertising. Your business never wants to miss a call.

Fortunately, even during hectic periods, it doesn’t have to – as, in a serviced office, you can enjoy the peace of mind of having a ready-made reception team capable of taking calls on your firm’s behalf.

Directing visitors

Startups.co.uk points out something else that this reception team can do for you: direct visitors to where in your office they need to be. This is no small boon, whether the visitor is a client set to attend a meeting or a job applicant scheduled to be interviewed for a particular post at your company.

Sometimes, an office can feel labyrinthine to a stranger, but the reception team will know the office inside-out – and why wouldn’t they? They are permanently employed there!

Daily and nightly cleaning

Cleaning: no-one likes doing it, but it has to be done, at least for hygiene reasons. It’s especially important in an office space which employees and clients alike will often be using. After all, dirt can cause a stink in more ways than one – and, in this way, damage your company’s reputation.

Reassuringly, serviced offices often come with in-house cleaning staff. Renting a serviced office from BE Offices, for example, will allow you to benefit from such staff every day and night.

Decorating

Admittedly, as your business becomes better-established, you could baulk at the prospect of being unable to, say, put up your own signage above the entrance door or paint the walls in your branding colours, as an Entrepreneur article implies is not permitted with serviced offices.

However, until you switch to the conventional, 3-to-5-year lease of a traditional office, you could easily appreciate not having to set aside time and money just for tinkering with your office’s look.

Image: Rebrand Cities

Why an Integrated HR System is Beneficial for Managers

The days of manually entering information for payroll or documents should be over – today, there are many modern technological solutions that your organisation could be benefitting from. If you’re unsure how an cloud HR system could assist the managers in your business, we’ve collected a few significant benefits of an integrated system.

Time Saving

Managers are always busy, regardless of the industry they work in, so having multiple systems in place for different services only makes completing tasks more confusing and time-consuming. It can also lead to HR having to field more questions from staff regarding these systems, which slows down productivity across the business. With an integrated system, everything is in one place, so employees only need to log in to one system to view information or carry out tasks such as approving annual leave. There’s a much wider scope for automation with integrated systems too, which minimises the need for manual intervention and also reduces the risk of human error.

Easy Access to data

When there are numerous systems in place, finding a single source of data is incredibly difficult. It can lead to unnecessary duplication and makes the process of gathering information more longwinded. But an integrated system provides up to date data that allows information to flow through the system more easily. Any changes that need to be made are made just once and updated across all areas of the business, so there are no discrepancies. For example, if an employee leaves the business and their contract is terminated, the details will only need to be entered once and the changes to payroll and other areas will be updated immediately.

Greater Accuracy

There are further benefits to only inputting information or amending data once, beyond saving time. The fact that the data only has to be entered once minimises the chance of error and leads to an improved rate of accuracy. The issue with multiple systems is that more people are involved with the input process, which can not only cause duplication but it multiples the risk of error. An integrated system doesn’t eradicate the risk of error, but it does reduce it considerably, so managers, and the business as a whole, can have greater confidence in the data they’re using.

Better Reporting and Analytics

A challenge faced by many businesses is being able to create reports easily. The main cause of this problem is the quality of the data, which makes it difficult for managers to analyse the analytics with conviction. Cleansing and aggregating the data is a manual process when there are multiple systems in place, which means creating reports can be a process that takes days. But, with an integrated system, the reporting and analytical tools are built-in, so you can

generate multiple reports with just a few clicks of the mouse. Managers no longer need to spend hours messing around with spreadsheets and can utilise their time more effectively on more pressing tasks. This gives them more time to focus on analysing the trends and issues raised by the reports, rather than creating the reports.

Adhering to Compliance

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR, is just one of the regulatory demands placed on HR professionals. There are countless boxes to be checked in businesses now to ensure that they remain compliant when it comes to data and confidential information. But integrated HR systems help to fulfil this compliance by minimising the risk of error and reducing the amount of time and effort required to keep the business compliant. What’s more, integrated systems provide an audit trail of these compliance activities, so you can see exactly what has been done and manage consent issues easily.

There are many benefits to integrated HR systems for businesses, but managers in particular can streamline and automate a lot of their weekly tasks by making the switch to integrated software. From removing the need to duplicate tasks to managing GDPR and compliance issues and reducing the risk of error, integrated HR systems take away a lot of the stress of business so staff can spend more time on the more important aspects of their roles.

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The Taxman Cometh!

How many seasons are there in a year in the UK? Four, right? Wrong! There are five for people who consider themselves self-employed.

There is one season that lurks around in the background and comes to scare those of us who work freelance: TAX SEASON.

Two scary words that can see you start to stress out over the tiniest of details. That window between January and April to get all your things in order doesn’t need to be (pardon the pun) taxing. There are ways and means to get all your records in order, so your tax submission is absolutely perfect. In this short post, we’re going to look at some ways you can get everything sorted without having to spend nights huddled over the kitchen table with a box of receipts and a calculator.

Look To The App Store

Shoeboxes full of receipts and invoices stuffed in the back of drawers are so 20th century. You can make the painful journey to completing tax forms all that much easier by finding an app which works best for you.

Some of the best rated you should take a look at include:

  • The official HMRC app
  • Sage

  • TaxCalc
  • Anna

Some are free, while others have a membership charge. It’s best to download a few to see which interface you prefer and work from there.

Let Someone Else Do The Heavy Lifting

Avoid ever getting into a fight with the taxman by having someone in your corner. Hiring a digital tax advisor means all the bookkeeping and pernickety accounting problems are handled by someone who knows what they’re doing.

It’s a small fee to pay to give yourself back all the time you’d otherwise be wasting trying to figure out your deductions.

Know Your Terminology

“I consider myself a freelancer, so I’m not self-employed, right?” Wrong!

The government groups several terms under the self-employed banner, which includes the following:

  • Freelancer

  • Contractor

  • Subcontractor

  • Anyone in the “Gig Economy”

Zero hours contract, when you’re not on PAYE with the employer

Confusing, isn’t it? You’ll need to know what vague areas you fall under so your tax codes are valid.

Know Your Allowances

Always remember that any self-employed person is guaranteed the same allowances as someone under full time employment. In the 2019/20 tax year, the standard personal allowance is £12,500. That’s the golden number before anything after can count towards tax.

If you do work freelance, it’s best to read up and get in touch with HMRC. You’ll be surprised to learn that they genuinely want to help you with saving on your taxes rather than taking all they can get. It can get you out of a pickle when you’re trying to figure out things like what your personal allowance is when your freelance career is a part-time job and you have another job with a company, or when you don’t need to declare anything to the taxman (this usually happens when you earn less than £1000).

Know your rates too

0, 20, 40, 45.

There are the magic numbers when it comes to knowing the rate of tax that comes as standard when you’re self-employed. I’ve just mentioned that £12,500 is the flat allowance (the 0), and the other rates fall as follows:

  • 20% if you earn between £12,501-£50,000
  • 40% if you earn between £50,001-£150,000
  • 45% if you earn over £150,000

Bear in mind, these are the minimum percentages in each threshold and may go up a bit the more you make in each bracket.

Get Ready to Pay

Finally, it’s important to remember that when your forms are all done and sent off to HMRC, you will have to pay. January 31st and July 31st are the dates to pay, so always keep those in mind. And if you’re just after your first year working self-employed, your tax bill will be 150% as you’ll have to pay for that year plus the first half of your second year in advance.

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How These Brands Use Blog Content to Attract Customers & Clients

Running a business has its own rewards and challenges. As the owner of a company, you’re able to reap the benefits of total creative freedom and scheduling your own hours. This is great for business owners who are tasked with juggling family and business responsibilities at once. However, growing a business is easier said than done. The inability to properly manage marketing can quickly derail the company. 

And one way to grow the brand is with content writing. Maintaining a blog is a very effective way to do this. Blogging boosts your SEO, expands your reach, and makes your business appear more credible. Yet many businesses struggle to maintain a blog. But it doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as you might think. 

After you create a mission statement and goals for your blog, you might want to work with a marketing agency that specializes in your field. The more niche your content, the better. For example, as a legal company, you might want to work with a team like Sutton Digital (https://suttondigitalmarketing.com/), which offers dedicated legal writers with tailored experiences. On the other hand, you might hire a freelancer on a site like UpWork. Either way, always work with your writer(s) to ensure they understand your style, tone, and voice. 

Sometimes, seeing how other brands have made money with their blogs can help you better understand how it works, and inspire you to rethink your content efforts. With that in mind, here are a few brands that continue to generate income with their blogs: 

Slack 

Slack is a business-focused messaging platforms that makes collaboration and communication easier than ever. The Slack blog not only features extensive details on how to make the most of your Slack experience (you’d be surprised at how many users don’t leverage the full tech power of a product they use on a daily basis), but also how to build teams internally. Slack also strives to be transparent in their messaging, which is extremely important in business today. 

For example, in one blog post, they detailed the entire design and thought process behind their logo rebranding. This is something many companies don’t do—they simply rebrand and push their new look to consumers. But Slack wanted readers and users to have a deeper understanding of how their company makes decisions. Not only is this level of transparency useful to readers and users, but it also helps current business owners rethink how they approach their own branding efforts. 

River Pools 

No matter what size your business is or what industry you’re in, you can push your way towards extra dollars with content. Marc Sheridan, who ran a pool company called Sheridan Pools, was able to generate $2 million from a single blog post. The blog post addressed the most frequently asked question he received: how much will my pool installation cost? 

Up until that point, many companies weren’t detailing the answer with a face-to-face consultation or phone call. Breaking down the real price was difficult, and potential customers didn’t fully understand the process or how different features and setups affected their price. With  this blog post, the company was able to boost their credibility significantly, and it results in many new pool sales. 

Shopify 

As previously mentioned, one of the best (and organic) ways to connect with potential clients and customers is to infuse value. Shopify is a great example of this. The platforms offers Ecommerce websites to business owners looking to grow their brand. 

Rather than push their own product to its users, they took a step back to analyze the needs of their target market: business owners. Of course, they are multiple segments that fall under that umbrella, and Shopify does a great job of honing in on their ideal customer persona, which tends to lean in the independent entrepreneur side. With a thorough understanding of who they’re trying to attract, they were able to craft highly tailored content around that. 

What makes Shopify especially unique is that they don’t publish cookie-cutter content. What you’ll notice in much of their blog posts is that careful attention to detail, photos, and examples to back up what they’re saying. Rather than simply list web design trends, they point you towards beautiful websites created by successful Shopify users, thereby both illustrating their point and selling the product at once. As a result, Shopify has become not just an ecommerce platform, but a fully-fledged business resource. 

Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer is a marketing consultant who uses his marketing blog to help attract potential clients. Consulting and speaking engagement remain Schaefer’s top earning methods, but through the power of content marketing, he’s able to attract the clients that eventually hire him. Think about it: if you’re seeking marketing services, one of the first things you’ll do is head over to Google and conduct a standard search. You might click a few links and start reading blogs on the topic to learn more. If you stumbled upon a particularly useful blog post, you might continue to explore their website. Because they were able to provide you with value, as a consumer, you naturally moved further down the sales pipeline. Now that they’ve already helped you, you’re more inclined to reach out to them for their consulting services. 

Image: Pexels

Building Your First Team: An Entrepreneur’s Guide

The majority of start-ups begin with a single entrepreneur working alone. While in the early days a business can be run by one or two people, as the enterprise expands it will need a bigger team with a wider pool of expertise. Recruiting your first employees is exciting, but it also presents a challenge. The business has been your project for some time and the thought of inviting other personalities on board can feel uncomfortable. However, as long as you recruit your team carefully and strategically, your team will enable you to take your business to new heights of success.

Decide on Your Business Culture

Your team should be comprised of people who are aligned with your values and work ethic. Of course, they should have the relevant experience and skills, but the world’s greatest expert in your industry may not be much use to you if they are not able to work within your team. Will your workplace be casual and friendly or more formal and professional?

Find Team Members Who Fit that Culture

When you have your company culture in mind, you can start to meet with candidates and assess whether or not they are a good fit. You should look for people who are willing to go the extra mile and are not afraid of a challenge, as growing any business is bound to come with ups and downs. Many teams are put together with no thought as to how they will work alongside one another, but this can lead to a very dysfunctional team with no shared values.

Set Out Clear Expectations for Every Team Member

Every member of your team should have a high level of self-motivation and a desire to bring their best to the table. They will all have their own areas of expertise, but they should be comfortable with collaborating and supporting others when the business requires it. From the outset you need to be clear about how you will measure and track their performance and should make any limited resources or potential obstacles clear to them.

Encourage Clear and Honest Communication

There are bound to be personality clashes between team members from time to time, especially during times of pressure. This is why it’s important to encourage open communication to prevent underlying issues or frictions from festering and becoming more toxic than necessary. Regular team meetings and an honest leadership style which welcomes everyone’s opinion, whether negative or positive, will show your team their voices will be heard. Inpulse Employee Engagement provides tools to help you understand the feelings and insights of your employees so you can build a more productive team.

Inspire the Team to Share Your Vision

You started your business because you had a vision. If you can build a team who share in that same vision and are as committed as you are to its success, you have the makings of an incredible team. The next step is to break that vision down into objectives and goals with a clear plan of how each team member will contribute at each step of the journey.