These days, it’s all about convenience. From online shopping to driving anywhere we need to go; if there’s a way to reduce effort and activity, most people will take full advantage.

Convenience is a wonderful thing, but if you’re looking to get out of your lazy routine, especially when it comes to travelling, below you’ll discover some of the best ways to do it.

Walking – A simple yet very effective way to travel

By far one of the best ways to travel is as nature intended – using your own two feet! Walking is not only a great way to keep fit, but it’s also absolutely free. You don’t need any equipment to get started and it’s something you can do absolutely anywhere.

Making just a few simple changes, such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the elevator, or walking to a local shop rather than driving, can make a massive difference. Instead of driving the kids to school, you could also choose to walk if the school isn’t too far away.

Of course, walking isn’t always the ideal way to travel; especially if you’re heading off on a long journey. However, for shorter commutes, it is highly recommended.

Skating – The fun way to travel

If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to travel, skating could be exactly what you need. Think skating is just for kids? Think again! There’s really no age limit on who can and should take up skating.

You will need equipment to get started with skating, but after the initial investment, it’s absolutely free. You can also save money on the equipment you need by making sure you invest in high-quality gear from a competitive company such as Proline Skates.

Now, like walking, skating probably isn’t the best choice if you’re heading off on a long trip. However, if you’re looking to get to your local park, popping to a friend’s house or you’re simply looking for a way to keep active as a family, skating is an excellent choice.

Cycling – The eco-friendly way to travel

Walking and skating are great for short commutes, but what about longer journeys? Cycling is becoming more popular due to its cost-saving as well as excellent health benefits.

According to a report published by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, approximately 50% of trips people take are less than 10km. This means, it would take less than 30 minutes on a bicycle.

These days, it’s easy to just jump in the car rather than get on a bike. However, riding a bicycle for journeys up to 10km will not only help you to stay extremely active, but it will also help you to save the environment. Global warming is a very real problem and a large part of it is down to the additional emissions pumped out into the air by the millions of cars on the road.

Overall, the above are just some of the best ways to actively travel. If you’re looking to lead a healthier, more active life, taking up walking, skating or cycling is an excellent start.

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Business Building, Business Ideas, Entrepreneurship, SME

While the concerns surrounding Brexit have been well-documented since the UK first voted to leave the EU in June last year, experts have argued that exiting the union may actually create more competitive exports for British firms.

Logically, this stands to reason. After all, the depreciation of the pound, which continued recently as the Bank of England held the base interest rate and lowered the UK's growth forecast for 2017, will incrementally reduce the cost of British exports to overseas buyers and theoretically increase demand and trading volumes.

Despite this, nearly half of UK SMEs expect to see their export volumes stall or decline after Brexit, according to a new report released this week.

The Numbers and What They Say About the Outlook of British SMEs

The study, which appeared in the latest addition of WordFirst's Global Trade Barometer, revealed that 46% of small and medium-sized ventures fully expected Brexit to have a negative impact on their export volumes.

Of the respondents surveyed, 30% said that they were currently exporting, compared to the 52% who were active during the same period in 2016.

Clearly SMEs have a negative perception of Brexit, while some have made the strategic decision to stop exporting (presumably because the potential increase in volume is offset by the reduced value of the products being shipped abroad). This offers an interesting insight into the nuances of the practice, while entrepreneurs clearly understand that more competitively priced exports do not necessarily lend themselves to increased turnover and profitability.

Much will also depend on the impact of shipment costs and other associated expenses, as when combined with a weaker currency can actually make it costlier to export overseas.

Why Are SMEs Fearful About Export Volumes?

These concerns aside, it is still worth asking why SMEs are fearful that their export volumes will fall in a post-Brexit climate? After all, Brexit would theoretically make UK exports more appealing to international markets, so demand should rise as a result of this.

The main issues revolve around which countries and economic regions we will actually export to once we have left the EU? After all, there is no guarantee that the two sides will come to an amicable trade agreement, while even if they do there is no way of establishing the precise terms and conditions. Given that the EU currently accounts for 44% of the UK's export market, the notion of having restricted or minimal access to this region will have a dramatic impact on volumes.

Meanwhile, 24 per cent are worried about rises in inflation and 25 per cent expressed concerns over a potential fall in consumer spending. The volatility caused by Brexit and other recent political events has led SMEs to adopt short-term hedge strategies, with contracts with terms of one month or less rising by 23 per cent and contracts with longer terms like a year or more falling by 33 per cent.

“More than 12 months on from the EU referendum, it’s clear that SMEs across the UK are still wary of volatility in currency markets and the disruption they can bring,” said Edward Hardy, economist at WorldFirst, commenting on the findings.

A third of SMEs expect to see no growth at all during 2017, while 23 per cent expect to see less than five per cent growth – a figure up three per cent since the first quarter.



Business Building, Business Ideas, Entrepreneurship

With around £133 billion being spent with online retailers in the UK alone last year, there are very few companies who still don’t have an e-commerce operation. But it’s a competitive marketplace and so businesses need to get their approach right if they are to maximise sales and boost online business growth.

Boosting growth invariably starts with investment, even if it’s only on a small scale and while business loans and the like are commonplace, many companies are restricted by cash flow and not a lack of capital.

In this instance, companies like Market Invoice may be able to help by advancing outstanding capital that will allow you the freedom to develop your company online.

Here are three things to consider for boosting business online.

1. Website Improvements

There is little more frustrating than a website that is slow, difficult to navigate or is not responsive.

Having a website that is easy to use, whether it be on a desktop, a tablet or on a mobile phone, enhances the user experience, promotes lower bounce rates and ultimately more sales.

And it isn’t just the way the site is designed that matters, the content is also extremely important. Think of the homepage as a shop window, if it isn’t clean and set out nicely, no one will want to enter.

Category pages need to contain concise information that tell visitors precisely what they need to know and product descriptions should be written in a way that is both informative and persuasive.

2. A New Customer Service Strategy

To support the website and the customers, first class customer service needs to be put into place and this can be broken down into two main factors.

First, customers need to be able to communicate with you and so having a chat function on the website and a phone line that is easy to access is paramount.

Second, when customers are dissatisfied with a purchase or service, they need to be treated with the upmost of respect.

3. Digital Marketing Overhaul

Digital marketing is a wide ranging and complex area, but getting it right can prove to be very lucrative indeed.

Many agree that the most effective form of digital marketing is email and so cultivating a differentiated database should be high on the list of priorities. This will enable you to send out information and marketing messages to targeted groups of customers as opposed to a blanketed approach.

Other forms of digital marketing should be orchestrated in line with the type of company and so, for example, lifestyle products may be better marketed on Facebook, whilst Twitter may be more appropriate for B2B sales.

Boosting business online encompasses many processes and variables, but gaining the confidence and respect of potential customers, while offering them a fantastic user experience act as a foundation for everything else.



Business Building, Business Ideas, Entrepreneurship

Start-ups are booming in the UK. Despite the political upheaval following the snap election and concerns over Brexit negotiations, the UK is a welcoming place to start a new business. Research carried out by StartUp Britain found that in 2016, 80 new businesses an hour were registered at Companies House by budding entrepreneurs.

Central London was the most popular place to start a business, but Lichfield in Staffordshire, Warrington, and East Hertfordshire were not far behind. What this tells us is that now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. What the figures don’t reveal, however, is how many of these businesses failed in the first 12 months.

The Dangers of Excessive Spending

Sadly, the statistics are not great. On average, 9 out of 10 new startups fail in the first year. There are many reasons why this is the case, but the overriding one is poor cash flow. There are no guarantees when starting a business and a great idea is not always enough. Unless you rein in your costs in the first year, your chances of making that elusive first anniversary intact, are slim.

Excessive spending can derail even the most promising new business. The more money you waste, the more likely it is that your cash flow will dry up. It’s important that you spend money on the right things. Product development is good; booking First Class flights to meet a client is bad.

Mission Critical Expenses

To save money, stick to mission critical expenditure and pay attention to the following areas:

  • Be aware of the difference between profit and revenue. It doesn’t matter how high your turnover is -if the business is not making a profit because operating costs are out of control, you are in trouble. Aim to win a few smaller clients rather than one large client. This should keep your supplier and client servicing costs down.
  • Keep a close eye on your supply chain costs. Work closely with suppliers and make sure supplier terms are competitive.
  • In the early days, renting a luxury office suite in Knightsbridge is a bad idea. You can keep your costs down by starting the business from your living room or hot desk in a co-working space for startups. If you feel a prime office location is important to attract more lucrative clients, sign up for a virtual office from BeOffices. A virtual office gives you the benefits of an exclusive address in a prime location, at a fraction of the cost. You can hold client meetings in luxurious meeting rooms and a receptionist will take calls on your behalf. It’s a win-win for startups who need to impress important clients.
  • Don’t hire more staff than you need. Run a skeleton crew and outsource tasks where possible. It is often cheaper to hire a virtual team rather than pay in-house employees.
  • Take advantage of SaaS tools to manage your startup and do more for less. Slack, MailChimp, Trello, GoToMeeting, and Salesforce are all must-have tools for tech-savvy startups.

Watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. Work hard to keep your operating expenses to the bone, but make sure you have access to working capital if cash flow falters. With the right approach, your startup will reach its first birthday intact.



Business Ideas, Business Building, Entrepreneurship

How to open a tattoo and piercing business

Opening a study of tattoos and piercings is the dream of many professionals in the sector but, are they aware of how to open a business of these characteristics and of what are the legal and financial aspects that must be fulfilled? We will tell you below.

Requirements to open a tattoo business

Legal requirements

Each country and each community has a number of health related standards that any tattoo and piercing business must meet. As a general rule, it is necessary to acquire a license to be able to exercise the activity. In addition, it is important to consult local ordinances because there may also be local regulation to comply.

Keep in mind that you will need to keep accounting to meet your tax obligations. For this, you can hire an administrative accountant or directly have an external manager to perform this task.

In the event that the premises where the activity is to be rented shall comply with the rules established by the owner of the premises in the lease.

Business Tattoos and Piercings: How the Business Works

  • 1. First, first of all, is to find a place to establish your business . Depending on the number of tattoo artists you hire, you will need more or less space. Keep in mind that choosing an area with a large influx of people for your local is essential to make yourself known at first. Then the testimonies of our first clients will do the rest.
  • 2. Organize a file system with the data and information of your customers . In addition, you will need a physical agenda or online tool to manage customer appointments and keep track of the activity.
  • 3. Develop an advertising plan to make you known in the beginning. You can do this by sharing flyers, organizing an event in which you perform a tattoo or piercing live, etc. Starting with discounted prices is often a great help, but be careful not to lose money.
  • 4. Purchase quality tools and machinery. Tattoo guns, power supplies, needles, drawing tables, and other supplies are essential.
  • 5. Include a space at the entrance of the store where you can display the work done. Photographs of other works are always a claim from the most suspicious people. You can even place them in a separate area or room.
  • 6. Decorate your place creatively. We recommend using vinyl on the walls with original and creative drawings that draw attention from the outside.
  • 7. Tattoos and piercings are a great claim but more and more are those who wish to perform piercings. You can include this service in your store if you have experience or hire a professional who can perform them, always according to the sanitary conditions of your locality.

Before doing any work, two things must be ensured: that the client is of legal age or has the consent of the parents, and that he signs a consent form with an exemption document to avoid further distress.