May 2018

Building Business Resilience

When you’re running a business, you’re building it every day. It’s not just in the early days that your decisions have important consequences: you keep building your company’s strength, aims and overall culture every day. One of the most important qualities you can build into any business is resilience: the capacity to survive and recover when things go wrong. All businesses will encounter challenging times: successful companies aren’t ones that ‘get lucky’ and don’t encounter problems, they’re the ones that can face them, endure, bounce back and learn from the experience!

Today, let’s take a look at how you can build some resilience into your business, and endure the bad times so you get to enjoy the good.


The first thing you can do is plan. You won’t be able to foresee every possible problem that could come up, but allowing that to stop you making plans for the ones you can foresee is a fallacy that could cost you dearly!

Having contingency plans is vital for any successful business. Whether you’re working with information you’ve garnered from many years of work in the industry or research you’ve commissioned by a market research agency, you can predict slow times of year when you can expect revenue to fall below your targets and plan how to get through it. Many seasonal businesses opt to split invoices form big clients across the slower months to assure a stream of income, and keep them in mind for the next time demand spikes.

Knowing Where to Go for Help

It’s also important to know where to go to get help if you get into difficulties. Doing some research into the options for Interim Management London offers means that if you’re faced with overrunning projects, exceeded budgets and aren’t sure how to turn things around to meet your costs, you can find the experts needed to bring the situation back under control.

It can be off putting to think about planning for failure, like expecting the worst will summon it. The prevailing orthodoxy is that you need confidence to survive, and a plan B is not a sign of confidence. This is classic magical thinking: an easy mental trap to fall into, but a trap nonetheless. Having contingency plans doesn’t make needing them any more likely, it just makes you better equipped to cope with the unexpected. Planning for failure won’t make it happen: it actually makes it less likely for tough times to fatally compromise your business, so start building in contingency plans!

How to Integrate Online Custom Business Forms into Your Workflow

As business managers, we regularly come across various barriers and difficulties. Making sense of the various processes and coming up with a way for workflow to be seamless is one of a manager’s most important and most difficult tasks. To be successful in this, they must have the right tools available to them, which includes online custom business forms. Unfortunately, many managers are tempted by sophistication and complexities, equating this with high quality. The reality is that the simplest solutions are usually the best way and that is precisely what online customer business forms offer.

How You Benefit from Online Custom Business Forms

Because these forms are available online, they are presented on an intuitive, easy to use platform. These web forms are designed to replace various complex work processes, thereby significantly reducing the amount of time that is spent completing other tasks. Effectively, these forms help to streamline your overall operations, thereby enabling everybody to focus on the actual job at hand.

There are forms, for instance, that help to streamline various organizational processes. Some organizations have utilized these to improve their external and internal communication. Clients can provide feedback through surveys, for instance, while at the same time creating an employee overview. Customer satisfaction surveys are incredibly important tools. Through custom online form providers, they can be submitted in a secure manner, with password protection, for instance, and even gather the data automatically.

Another example is the employee benefit survey. This is an internal business form that can help to increase overall employee engagement. It ensures that management is aware of how employees feel about their compensation package and whether or not improvements need to be made. It can even help to predict what the potential impact is of making changes to the employee benefit package.

Online shops can truly benefit from these types of forms. The standard contact form is a clear example of how there is never any need to reinvent the bread. Those forms are available online and can simply be added to a website, being fully functional instantly. Businesses can link an email notification feature to it, which means that any message a client sends is forwarded to the right department straight away. Because these forms can be customized, they do not offer a one size fits all solution.

Similarly, online stores can use these types of forms for return of merchandize authorization, complaints processes, and so on. Anything for which anyone in an office would normally take notes can be turned into a custom online form. By doing this, a process becomes more automated, which also reduces the chance of human error. It means everybody within the organization follows the same procedures and uses the same formats. This, in turn, presents a sense of unity to the customer, further increasing customer satisfaction.

Clearly, something as simple as an online custom business form is something that has a huge impact. The fact that it also doesn’t have to be complicated is just an added benefit.

5 Different Things to Understand About Student Loans

Student loans are used to pay for furthering education, but some people don’t understand exactly how they work. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you understand all aspects of student loans.

Payment Deferral

Image via Flickr by Got Credit

Student loans can be deferred for a few reasons. With subsidized loans, they are automatically deferred until after graduation and a grace period. That means you don’t have to start paying any money usually until six months past your graduation date. You can also request a payment deferral if you have a life event that prevents you from paying your loans. It’s in nobody’s interest for you to default on your loans, so most lenders will approve deferrals if you’re having financial difficulties. Just be aware that you will still accrue interest during those types of deferrals.

Student Loan Payments

Although many people wait to start making payments until after they’ve graduated and found a job, making payments before is beneficial. With most student loans, you don’t start paying interest until after you graduate. If you make payments when you’re in school, you bring down the amount you owe before you start getting charged interest. This technique can save you a lot of money over the life of your loan even if you only make small payments here and there on your loan before you graduate.

Income-Based Repayment Options

You can choose a repayment plan based on your income and your future income. If you aren’t making a lot of money now, but expect to in the future, you can do a graduated system in which your monthly payment increases over time to help keep your payments affordable for your current situation. It’s important to note that the longer it takes you to pay your loans, the more interest you will pay. If you can afford to pay more on your loans, you should pay as much as possible to limit interest from accruing.

Subsidized Versus Unsubsidized Loans

With government-subsidized loans, the interest is deferred until after the grace period. With unsubsidized loans, the interest starts accruing as soon as you take out the loan. While having only subsidized loans is ideal, some people need to take out a higher amount than is subsidized. While you shouldn’t ever take out more than you need, unsubsidized loans are a good option if you need more funding for college.

Student Loans and Bankruptcy

It’s important to know that you can’t discharge student loans if you declare bankruptcy. Although it’s possible in very specific situations, the likelihood is slim. If you’re having trouble financially, your student loan lender will almost always work with you, but you will need to eventually pay back those loans. Think carefully before considering bankruptcy, because it will stay on your credit report for at least seven years and you will still have to pay back your student loans.

Student loans have key differences from traditional loans, which is why it’s important for you to understand how repayment works and your options before applying for them.


Here are 7 signs that something is working out for a successful outcome

Venturing into the world of entrepreneurship is a risk. According to the research of Heath Demaree, a psychologist in a university in Ohio, people have the tendency to have a decrease in risk-taking acts when they have experienced a surprising consequence even the outcome has been positive. In the end, one can never know the outcome of their venture unless they travel to the future.


If you want to take the risk and start your own business, you should at least calculate the moves you take. There are indications that can predict the success of your business.


Here are 7 signs that something is working out for a successful outcome:


  1. Search results place you on the first page

Castle Ink’s Bill Elward knew that his business was a sure success when he found his site on the first page of Google. The Internet is the modern main street for entrepreneurs who want to make it big. Hence, company formation and registration online must be excellently done as what aims to do.


  1. Clients refer you

For new and small business, referrals are necessary to survive. But having unfamiliar clients purchase your products and avail your services is an evidence of your business’ growth. It will always be a compliment if customers refer you to their friends and other connections. So, make the chain longer!


You are definitely on the right track if people who you haven’t personally approached knock on your office door and invest.


  1. Ability to bounce back

It’s scary for a startup to undergo hard times. However, they are an opportunity to grow. If you are able to overcome the challenges you face, then you are going for gold. The Intern Queen’s Lauren Berger revealed that her business became healthier than before after hitting the bottom.  In the end, profits beat losses on an annual review.


  1. Regular and steady progress within your business’ market

New entrepreneurs sometimes fail to calculate their business’ potential for subsequent profitability. Having no profit at the moment is not an indication of failure. Evaluate your profit margin. If it shows a continual and stable growth, then you are good to go.


  1. Employees enjoy their work

The workplace serves as a second home. A pleasant office coupled with a harmonious relationship with co-workers creates a healthy work environment. Happy workers make quality products and provide satisfactory service. Positive outcomes are just around the corner.


  1. Money flows even during your vacation

Making gains even during your off-times denotes that you have established not just an occupation but a company. A business that thrives in your absence is absolutely a good sign.


  1. You change lives

Making a difference is one of the goals of entrepreneurship. Wonderful moments come when clients get back to you and express how your product or service changed their lives. It will be such a heartwarming experience!


When you have recognized these signs in your business, you can now declare yourself successful. Continue thriving in the competitive market and let your brand stand out!


How to Select a Medical Malpractice Lawyer: The Three Most Important Steps You Need to Take Before You Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Sadly, thousands of patients will be injured this year because of errors committed by medical providers. Institutions and licensed medical professionals have a legal and ethical duty to adhere to reasonable standards of care when treating patients. As a patient, you have the right to expect and receive competent treatment and care. When you suffer an injury because of negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and the responsibilities of a medical provider.

Patients Hurt by Medical Negligence, Errors and Mistakes Deserve to Be Compensated for Injuries

All medical providers and healthcare institutions owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical providers include, but are not limited to, family doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, specialists, surgeons, nurses, and technicians. If a medical provider fails to meet the healthcare industry’s acceptable standard of care because of negligence or a deliberate act, the result may constitute a breach of that duty.

Under the medical malpractice laws of Texas, the provider may be held liable for the pain, suffering, and injuries caused by the breach of the medical professional’s duty of care. When you trust a healthcare professional to provide the care you need when you are injured or sick, it can be difficult to know what to do when the person you trusted causes an injury.

Hiring a Texas Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Protect Your Legal Rights

Unfortunately, most people are unprepared for incidents of medical malpractice. Most individuals and families are overwhelmed when a medical provider’s negligence causes severe injury or death. The psychological, emotional, physical, and financial consequences and hardships can cause people to delay contacting an attorney.

However, the right to file a claim or take legal action is not an indefinite right. You must act before the deadline set by the Texas statute of limitations or lose your right to file a medical malpractice claim. Therefore, one of the first steps for a victim of medical malpractice is to consult with a lawyer to protect the victim’s right to seek compensation for losses, but how do you know which Houston medical malpractice attorney to hire.

Searching for a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Texas

Step One: Hire a Law Firm with a Full-Time Doctor on Staff

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a medical malpractice law firm is whether the law firm employs full-time medical professionals on staff. You have a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries when trained medical professionals and highly competent medical malpractice lawyers work together on a full-time basis to investigate your claim. In addition, when you hire a law firm that employs a full-time doctor and nurse on staff, you receive the expertise of trained medical professionals and seasoned medical malpractice lawyers for one fee.

In many cases, a critical piece of evidence could be missed because an attorney does not have medical training. Without medical training, it can sometimes be difficult to recognize preventable errors and discrepancies in care or treatment as medical malpractice. However, to recover compensation for a medical malpractice claim, you must have evidence that demonstrates the provider’s negligence or mistake was the cause of the patient’s death, injury, or illness.  Therefore, a doctor is needed to review each piece of evidence diligently and meticulously in a case to determine if the provider breached the standard of care. The doctor can then assist the attorney in gathering the evidence required to prove the provider committed medical malpractice.

Step Two: Understand the Qualities You Should Look for and What to Avoid When Searching for a Medical Malpractice Law Firm in Texas

When you search for a Houston medical malpractice lawyer, it is important to understand the qualities of a competent, skilled, and highly-trained attorney.

Qualities that you desire in an attorney include:

  • Uses Plain English — An ability to explain complex legal theories and processes in easy-to-understand terms.
  • Trustworthiness — You want an attorney who displays honesty when discussing your legal options. You need an attorney who provides realistic expectations instead of promises of high-dollar verdicts and settlements.
  • Access — Ability to contact the attorney directly with questions and concerns instead of being passed off to other staff members on a consistent basis.
  • Positive Communication Skills —You need to have a good rapport with your attorney because you will be working very closely with this person to hold a negligent doctor or other provider accountable for his or her actions.

It is also helpful to understand the traits and characteristics to avoid when hiring an attorney. Some of the warning signs that you should watch for that may indicate you may not receive personalized, dedicated representation include:

  • Offers unrealistic guarantees of the outcome in your case;
  • Requires an upfront retainer fee;
  • Fails to follow-up when you call or email with additional questions;
  • Ignores your questions or gives vague answers using legalese; and,
  • Does not remember the details of your case when you have a second meeting with the attorney to discuss retaining the law firm.

Step Three: Interview the Attorneys — You are Hiring a Law Firm to Work for You

The law firm that you retain works for you. Therefore, you should interview the law firm and the attorney just as you would any other person you wanted to hire to perform a job. Your interview should cover important factors, including:

  • Experience — Search for medical malpractice attorneys who have decades of experience handling these types of personal injury cases.
  • References — Do not be shy about asking for references.
  • Reasonable Fees — Compare the fees of several firms but remember that hiring an attorney based on the lowest fee may result in a less than acceptable outcome in your case.
  • Practice Area — Search for a law firm that focuses its practice on medical malpractice instead of all areas of personal injury law.
  • Reputation — Research the law firm and each of the attorneys online.
  • Resources — Ask about the law firm’s resources. Experienced medical malpractice firms have developed a network of experts and resources the attorneys can rely upon to assist with cases. Law firms with a full-time MD and nurse on staff are focused on proving medical negligence. They are extremely serious about pursuing medical malpractice claims because they have hired the full-time personnel necessary to investigate claims of medical malpractice fully and completely.
  • Success — Ask about past medical malpractice settlements and jury verdicts. While the results in other cases do not guarantee a positive result in your case, a proven successful track record is a must when hiring a Houston medical malpractice law firm.

Trust Your Instincts!

In the end, trust your feelings about an attorney. While you should be diligent in researching and interviewing a medical malpractice attorney, you must also feel comfortable and at ease with the person. It is okay to trust your feelings when searching for a medical malpractice law firm to represent you as you seek justice from the medical provider who caused your injury.

Social Media marketing Expert Advice on How to Manage your Business Social Media Accounts

The worldwide phenomenon that has spread like a virus throughout the world, social media.  Social media is the backbone of day to day interactions in today’s society.  We look at people’s meals, we witness first hand their holidays and hear a whole lot of opinions.  Whatever the social media of choice it is the easiest and most popular way of sharing information.  Every successful business in the world has adapted to this and run their own accounts with millions of posts every single minute.  it really is the easiest way to elevate your business and take it to the next level.  Below I have included some tips on how to manage your business social media account, use these tips and you will be a social media marketing expert in no time.


Improving Your Page

The best way to start managing your account efficiently is by improving and maintaining the high quality of your homepage.  No matter how your potential customers reach you it will be pointless if your page looks average.  You need to make it stand out and look professional.  Make sure you always use high quality images that adapt well to any device a customer may be using, this will give your account a professional image and draw attention.  Always try to be creative when it comes to videos you use for promotion, the better the video the more chance of it going viral.  Use links to your sites and create a great bio to impress.  It sounds simple but it really does make a difference.



Your account will be worthless if nobody sees it, shares are great between your friends and family but that is within closed circles.  A great way to expand is by seeking out potential customers, the best way to do this is by using hashtags and keywords to your advantage.  Search keywords or hashtags that relate to your business or product and promote yourself there.  This is a great way for potential customers to get easy access to your business.  This can work both ways too, so make sure when you are posting that you include keywords or hashtags that potential customers will be looking for.


Client Interaction

Interacting with your clients or potential clients is extremely important when it comes to managing your social media account.  Without responding or answering client queries you will start to lose custom quickly.  This may seem tedious or time consuming but there are ways of helping with that.  A great way of helping is by creating templates that can be used for a wide range of customer queries and it will save you a lot of time.  Make sure however you still have that day to day interaction and make the client feel like a person and not a number.


Maintain the Work

You can create an amazing account, have the greatest videos and promote to clients brilliantly but it means nothing if you don’t maintain it.  Social media moves and changes so quickly so you need to keep on your toes.  Set time in your schedule to do this every day so you don’ fall behind on the trend.  If you maintain the work through social media I guarantee you will reap the benefits and your business will reflect that.

Innovation Management Tools To Manage Employee Ideas

If your business isn’t investing in software which can help to improve and streamline your business then you are missing out on a great opportunity. We live in an age where software can be used to take over tasks previously completed by staff as well as being able to utilize new and exciting software to bring higher levels of productivity. Whatever business you happen to be in, there are software solutions which can easily enhance your business. Today we are going to take a look at innovation management tools to manage employee ideas, and how you can use this software to maximize the ideas coming from inside your business, and execute them at speed.


Benefits of the Software


When you employ this kind of software in your business, you will be instantly opening up the floor to anyone within your business who believes that they have a strong idea. The benefit of using the software goes far beyond this however and as a leader you can benefit greatly from being able to watch ideas come in, as well as monitoring and having some input into their development. The key benefits of using this kind of software are that you can harvest ideas from within the company, and easily manage it without the need for meetings and numerous phone calls.


Better Accuracy


In many cases in the world of business, an idea is generally conceived and then developed before it is taken to the leadership team. If the idea isn’t accepted then much time and resources will have been lost. When using this software however, the management team can watch the idea form and have an input into tweaks and changes, thus saving great amounts of time and money.


Breeding Confidence


With a portal like this that the whole workforce can use to bring forward ideas, you can in turn give your employees a great deal more confidence. Many employees, especially the lower paid, can become frustrated and feel undervalued in their job, should you invite them to use this kind of software then you can make the employees feel valued and rewarded, and you will see a higher output from them as a result.


Faster Execution


The absolute key to delivering a strong idea is to execute it with speed, and put it in place as quickly as possible. This is true whether you are taking a new product to market or whether you are implementing something new for the business itself. The reason for this is that all stakeholders can be utilizing the software each day, to contribute to the development of the idea. This negates the need for meetings, phone calls and video chats, and allows all those involved to easily provide comments, documents and media to support the development of the idea.


If you want to get the most out of the ideas within your company and execute at speed, this is the software which you should be implementing in your company.

The Difference between Horizontal and Vertical Supply Chain Integration

There are different methods of supply chain integration.The two most recognized methods are horizontal and vertical integration. It is important to understand the difference between the two so that you can determine which one is most appropriate for your organization.


Vertical Supply Chain Integration


With vertical integration, businesses are in control of most of their supply chain. They don’t break it down in forward and backward vertical integration. Backward integration is the merger or acquisition of, and relationship building with other suppliers. Forward integration, by contrast, deals with upstream distributors.


Vertical supply chain integration has its own pros and cons. The advantage of this type of supply chain management is that the company is in control of the different elements of their value chain, starting with the raw materials and ending with the consumer. What this means is that they have increased quality control and often lower costs, as more of the activities are overseen by the business itself, meaning that they can also set most of their own prices.


The downside is that this type of supply chain is not very flexible and often struggles with resilience. This is because if you deal with suppliers, you can just switch suppliers if something goes wrong. If you do not have any suppliers because everything is yours and something goes wrong, then there is very little that you can do.


Horizontal Supply Chain Integration


Horizontal integration is about the merger and acquisition of businesses that provide the same services or goods. The main reason why this is done is so that businesses can meet the competition and effectively taking their share of the market. It is a complex strategy and will not without risks.


Horizontal integration also has its pros and cons. The biggest advantage is that it is a cost-effective manner to expand the business because it is generally cheaper to purchase a business that already exists than what it is to start one from scratch. The more a company grows, the more lucrative horizontal supply chain integration becomes as acquisition costs start to represent a smaller total revenue percentage.


On the other side, when a new business is acquired, the acquiring company will have to take on that business’ losses, which means their profits will drop. This is why making any new acquisition must be done following very careful scrutiny.  It is not a simple as acquiring every single business in the same market.


By understanding the difference between horizontal and vertical supply chain integration, businesses are able to improve their overall processes. In most cases, businesses use both horizontal and vertical integration, choosing the one that is most appropriate for them at set times. It is vital to understand that whatever choice is made, there are significant financial consequences to that decision, which is why it should never be taken lightly and should only be done through strategic management and in partnership with a team of strong financial advisors.

Forklifts Leasing – There’s no Point in Buying!

Forklift trucks are incredibly important pieces of equipment in industrial facilities such as manufacturing or warehouse environments. Typically, this equipment is used to lift and carry materials, stacking heavy objects on pallets or storing and stocking products.  The forklift is a type of monolithic machine and it is incredibly expensive. In fact, few businesses are able to afford to buy one outright. Thankfully, forklifts leasing is available, meaning that there is no need to buy these machines at all.


Why You Should Consider Forklifts Leasing


If you decide that you need a forklift and you cannot or don’t want to buy it outright, leasing options are available and they are both practical and economical. You do have to do a little bit of research so that you find the leasing agreement that is most suitable to your needs. There are short-term and long-term options available, with short-term options being more like rental agreements. If you require a forklift for a year or more, than a lease option is usually the best solution.


What you will also find, is that not all forklifts are created equally. Hence, you need to consider exactly which one you need and how long for period while it may be tempting to opt for a long-term lease straightaway, you may end up finding that a rental agreement was actually better. Perhaps you require one type of forklift for one week, another  type of forklift for the next month comma then again a different one and so on. That being said, if you are quite sure of the type of forklift you need than a lease option is often the best.


Do be aware of the fact that not everybody is allowed to operate a forklift. Rather, operatives must be specially trained and licensed. This matters in terms of the lease, as some lease companies will only offer solutions that include a driver as well. This would mean you are effectively hiring an individual as well as the machine. Other leasing companies will be happy for you to simply lease the machine but they will want to see some sort of evidence that only trained operatives use them. Forklifts are large and heavy pieces of equipment and an accident is always only just around the corner. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone on your premises is safe at all times, which means you must ensure people are properly trained.


When you have a full understanding of what you need and whether or not you will require a trained operative, it will be time to start looking for the best lease agreement. Do not be tempted to look at price alone. Rather, what you need is a contract that best suits your individual needs, thereby increasing the efficiency and productivity of your organisation, leading to greater profits. Essentially, what you are looking for is the best value for money. Sometimes, that means spending a little bit more.

Using a people search service to make sure your SEO campaign gets in front of the right eyes

While there’s no doubt that there is still a place for black hat SEO in the eyes of some experts in the field, it would be fair to say that white hat seems to be taking a larger share of the market. The days of every marketing agency under the sun buying links seem to be long gone and instead, most are adopting shrewd outreach tactics.

However, finding relevant people to outreach to is easier said than done. This is why people search services have soared in popularity for this use; they provide a much easier way for people to find the content curator in question.

Bearing this in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the best ways to use these services and get more exposure for SEO campaigns.

Method #1 – Contacting journalists

Over the last couple of years journalists have certainly become one of the first ports of call for those conducting outreach. This shouldn’t come as a surprise either; after all, these are the people who have access to some of the largest websites in the world, and as we all know getting links from such websites is the holy grail of SEO.

While it might be easy to find contact details for some of these journalists, for others it’s anything but easy. This is mainly because a lot of the journalists now work on a freelance basis and as such, don’t have a permanent email address with the newspaper in which their work might have been published.

This is where a people search services enters the picture. You can quickly find the person who has written the article that sparked your interest and ultimately, make that elusive first contact.

Method #2 – Contacting bloggers

In truth, the same rules apply for this next type of contact. Most bloggers do have contact details readily available on their website, but some of the bigger ones make it quite difficult to contact individual writers.

Again, this is where a people search service steps in. Armed with the basic information of the blogger’s name, you can initiate a search and find out the relevant contact details that can be your first step in netting your coverage.

Method #3 – Contacting social media influencers

There are a lot of guides out there at the moment which tell you how to build relationships with big influencers in your niche. Unfortunately, these big influences have gotten wise to the processes and a lot of the direct messages that you ping over on Twitter and the like are simply ignored.

This is where you need a slightly different approach, and a people search service facilitates this again. Using the same methods that we have detailed previously, it’s all about finding their name, and probably their location, and sending either an email or making a phone call to try and get your content circulated accordingly.

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