A Guide to Blockchain Technology for Business

When Bitcoin, a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash”, was released in 2008, blockchain (the technology that runs Bitcoin) made its public debut.1 The brainchild of a person or group known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, its expansive technological capabilities were then somewhat unknown. Fast forward 12 years to 2020, there’s now a growing recognition that blockchain can serve as a pragmatic solution to various business problems across industries.

Blockchain

Identified as a general-purpose technology (GPT), blockchain is similar in scope to the disruptive power of the internet, the steam engine, and electricity. Even business leaders wary of tech-based solutions and global ‘hype’ have come to realise the larger, transformational importance of this digital technology.

What is blockchain, and how can we apply it?

Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger capable of recording and verifying a high volume of digital transactions. New information can be added to the record, but previous information, stored in blocks, cannot be edited, adjusted, or changed.3 The ledger can be used to track not only financial transactions, but any digital asset transaction, making it possible to share contracts, information, cryptocurrencies, and more. Additionally, blockchain is a decentralised system, which means the information in the blockchain ledger isn’t maintained by a single controlling entity or intermediary, but hosted across a shared network of devices, making the system almost tamper-proof.

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The disruptive potential of blockchain

The last few decades brought us the internet of information. We’re now witnessing the rise of the internet of value. Where the first era was sparked by a convergence of computing and communications technologies, this second era is powered by a clever combination of cryptography, mathematics, software engineering, and behavioural economics. According to Don Tapscott, a leading analyst of innovation and the impact of technology, “Blockchain technology will have a dramatic impact on business and society by providing a secure, direct way of exchanging money, intellectual property and other rights and assets without the involvement of traditional intermediaries like banks, utility companies and governments.”

How to apply blockchain to a business

Blockchain technology can be applied to any sector or industry that needs an accurate record of information. As blockchain becomes more accessible and popular, it’s starting to revolutionise a vast number of industries and business models on a global scale.

The impact of blockchain on supply chain management

A century of change has shown us that supply chains – the links to creating and distributing goods – are regularly disrupted by innovation. In today’s world, companies need to be agile, flexible, and responsive, by driving continuous innovation throughout their business supply chain, in order to remain competitive and relevant.

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The potential of blockchain in a struggling economy

The records of contracts and transactions are among the defining structures in our economic, legal, and political systems. However, the critical tools formed to manage these notations haven’t kept up with the economy’s digital transformation. Blockchain has the potential to solve this problem.

As a foundational technology, blockchain has the potential to create a new platform for our economic and social systems. Before the technology was developed, there was no way to secure and validate ownership in a digital asset, or verify a transaction in a trustless, public way. With blockchain, contracts are now embedded in digital code and stored in transparent and protected databases. From finance to customs and certification processes, transportation and logistics, insurance, distribution, intellectual property, and government procurement, the applications of blockchain are immense.22 As a result, our traditional association and understanding of intermediaries in these sectors – like lawyers, brokers, and bankers – is at risk of disruption.

Time Tracking App For Small Business

Employee time tracking is becoming more essential for small to medium-sized business in USA. Business owners need a reliable time tracking software to accurately capture and record employees work hours and cut human error in employee electronic timesheets, which, at a minimum, points to profitability. Tracking time also helps to meet budget targets for projects. Although most know these things matter, some are challenged to find time tracking system for small business that works properly.

time tracking

Rather than invest time and dollars into finding a solution, many are accustomed to manual processes. These were wrought with issues when they were popular; with the advent of affordable Cloud-based and other tech savvy options, sticking with a system that can throw a project off course does not make sense.

Switching from a spreadsheet-based or paper time tracking system opens a new world of desktop and cloud-based solutions. Following are a few suggestions businesses should consider when reviewing different options.

Web-Based Software

Technology continues to advance with more offerings for web-based software that operates in a Cloud environment. Two primary reasons make these products the best time tracking software.

The first reason is it saves time when employees and management are not scrambling to keep up with the latest updates. Replacing applications is also unnecessary.

Utilizing software ran on multiple servers is the second reason web-based software works well for small businesses. No one is distracted by technical issues or a power outage that disrupts workflow.

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Implement Software throughout Company

Whenever there is a decision to use time and attendance tracking software, the decision must include the entire company. This simplifies processes across departments. Revisions to schedules are seen by all employees.

Implementing a company-wide software system prevents complications that are sure to surface when information is entered more than once. Each department involved with a project has greater ease with communicating, thus gaining more effective collaboration.

Select Features Tailored to Small Business

Even businesses within the same industry can have varied practices and needs. Therefore, it is important to evaluate time tracking software for small business based on specific goals and objectives. This is necessary to keep things running smoothly.

It also helps the transition run smoothly for employees who try to adapt to a new system while completing tasks.

In some small businesses, a tailored software system might include fields for:

• Paid time off
• Vacation days
• Sick leave
• Holiday pay
• Bonus pay
• Commissions

Monitoring employee activities might be necessary to help maximize output. Tracking time may expose areas where employees are not as productive.

Reviewing all options and finding the right system that has all the features to tailor to the business.

Convenient Documentation for Team Members

Solid communication between departments is essential to avoid problems. The chosen platform for tracking time should include documentation so team members can add changes for everyone to see.

For instance, an employee might need time off for a unique situation not specifically covered in the paid off policy. His manager can leave a notation on the time off request that explains the variance. Doing this prevents miscommunication and confusion by keeping everyone – from the employee to the payroll clerk – on the same page.

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Mobility Away from the Office

Very few workforces have employees that do not travel, whether across the city, country or world. Small businesses must smartly accommodate telecommuters and traveling employees. These employees still need to record their time, but in a different way than office workers.

Companies can select a time tracking mobile app that allows employees to manage their time and attendance from wherever their work takes them.

Choosing a time tracking app that employees can access from different locations and devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs makes it convenient. All employees need is a secure Internet access or wifi. Additionally, companies can keep track of what the mobile workforce does daily.

Sophisticated Reporting Techniques

One of the strongest allies to increasing the productivity and overall efficiency of a workforce is identifying trends from sufficient data. The best time tracking software should gather mass data and synthesize it to produce easy-to-read reports.

Ideally, the reporting feature should produce graphs and charts that makes data more digestible for different individuals. This data helps businesses identify where operations run smoothly and where there is room for improvement.

Is Time Tracking App for Small Business Affordable?

Research may show that some time tracking software is cost-prohibitive for small businesses. This should not, however, dissuade decision makers from switching. There are plenty of options that have the same level of benefits as the popular, more expensive tools, at an affordable price.

Many tools are on the market that offer simple systems that are specifically designed for small to medium-sized businesses. Basically, there is something to fit every budget.

Beyond the final price tag, businesses should consider the functionality of tracking software. Invoicing and project management rely on labor hours, so a streamlined tool can benefit systems that are already in place.

How Can a Business Survive a Recession?

There is a no magic wand to wave and for all this just to go away. The situation is clear, and the need for action is obvious.Recession

Recession

If a business is to survive a recession, there are crucial elements and factors they must consider. Ask yourself these questions and take a moment to reflect on your answers – believe me, they will open your eyes:

Where is the Cash?

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Money must continue inflowing and outflowing for optimum business health, with the apparent goal being that you bring in more income than you must spend on expenses.  But do you know where your primary income will come from?

Recession-proof your business by implementing strategies to keep the cash flow moving, from increasing sales or billable services to trimming unnecessary expenses.

What is an unnecessary spend?

From frequent business travel to marketing campaigns that do not give the ROI you need; you may find that cutting back on many areas can help your business save money. Consider more than just Furlough and Staff layoffs, outline your spend that will ever be affected by the current situation – do we need to travel? Do we need to book accommodation? Are we investing in uniforms when no one is meeting each other?

It’s imperative to check your outgoings and finally realise that something that costs a great deal but delivers truly little.

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What is your competition doing?

You must continue to expand your customer/client base if your small business is going to prosper in tough times. This means drawing customers from your competition. But what is your competition doing that you can do better?

If your business ever needed a SWOT analysis, it is right now. Your competition has already spoken to me so is 27 steps ahead of you. How are you going to react and fend off the threats? Even better, what are you going to do differently to win the customers of your rivals?

What do your customers say?

Before you go all out guns blazing to win new business, spare a thought for your current customers. You cannot afford to ignore the potential profits of shifting your sales focus to include established customers if you want to recession-proof your business.

The key here is excellent customer service. Ensure that your customers or clients love what you do or sell and keep them happy. Yes, that means the customer is always right. Identify their needs, then meet them. You want to retain their business all costs.

What is your Marketing Message?

Many businesses make the terrible mistake of cutting their marketing budget or downgrading their promotional message in lean times or even eliminating it, but this is precisely when your business needs marketing the most.

Consumers are restless. They are always looking to make changes in their buying decisions. Help them find your products and services and to choose them rather than others by getting your name out there. Do not quit marketing just yet, step up your marketing efforts but do it responsibly.

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How is your relationship with your bank?

If it is like 32% of the UK population, then it is horrendous. Owners of small and mid-size businesses understand that selecting the right banking institution is a crucial component to their business’s financial health, and these decisions made previously will truly be felt in the current climate.

Now is the time to talk. Communication with your executive board is crucial, but so is with your lender’s beneficiaries and of course, your bank. It’s good to talk.

Can you simply hold on and hope?

Many businesses believe in the old age method of merely ‘waiting it out’. In some small cases, this can be effective if your product or service is in demand and you are fully optimised for a remote working market with a full set of ready to go digital platforms and skills.

However, for many, this is not the case. Time will be a telling factor, but time will also be a slow death if your strategy is to head down to the pub, pour a cold pint, and wait for this to all blow over.

What is your disaster recovery strategy now?

For years businesses have invested in disaster recovery strategies that helped business continuity. But these were always seen as worst-case scenarios in terms of theft, security breaches, destruction, acts of God and war. No one had a solution to covering a worldwide pandemic.

But why can’t your disaster recovery strategy work now? Working from home is the new normal (all Twitter employees are full-time WFH), video conferencing is the new meeting set up (If only we bought shares in Zoom) and employees are happier if you are not breathing over their shoulder every 17 seconds.  Your business set up will survive.

10 of the Best Marketing Ideas to Growth Your Business

Best Without the right marketing strategies to promote your growth, it is almost impossible to make maximum profits.

Identifying the correct marketing approach for your business is quite difficult. You should reach out to the right audience. Nearly 46% of all searches in Google focus around local businesses. It is a tough task to increase visibility and sales while maintaining a profit.

growth

Today, with the advent of social media and focus on search engine optimisation, blogging, and pay-per-click advertising, it is easy to see neck to neck competition among businesses.

Several mobile app development companies are so busy working of their everyday tasks, and they often neglect to adopt the right marketing strategies that drive the growth of their business.

1. Know Your Potential Audience

Well, it’s not enough to sell some product and hope people will buy it. You need to know what these consumers are seeing and what they expect. By doing this, your brand and reputation will be quickly strengthened.

Who is the one you are trying to sell the products to? What kinds of products do they really like? You will have to answer these types of questions to find your target market. It is generally discovered by noticing trends, analyzing data, and directly communicating with the end-users.

2. Build Social Media Presence

You cannot overlook the power of social media. Some businesses are flourishing because of their social media presence. If we talk about Facebook, nearly 74% of users say they visit the site on a daily basis.

Just be yourself; be authentic and post your products. Publish something that is relevant and useful. It will help your visitors to know more about your business.

Use platforms such as Instagram or Twitter to reach other successful businesses and even interact with targeted customers that may be looking for your products and services.

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3. Start Blogging

You should immediately start blogging for your business. It’s not only about posting your content on your blog. You should rather start blogging on authoritative sites. Make use of platforms such as Medium to publish your content.

These are all authority domains with a broad audience, giving you instant and immediate reach out to the targeted audience.

When you start blogging, make sure you do it effectively. Do not post thin content. Think about adding value. So, use this strategy to market any business.

4. Optimise your Website

Make sure your website is properly optimized. A customized site is one that is quick to load, easy to navigate, and responsive with all devices such as mobile devices, tabs, etc. Add clear call-to-action such as “contact us”, and more.

Mobile optimisation is also required; Otherwise, Google will penalize your website. You can also take help from a mobile app development company for this.

5. Make Video Tutorials

Creating video tutorials is the most compelling way to grow your business. The better you are at it, and the more value you provide, the sooner you can enhance your visibility, your sales will boost up ultimately.

Nowadays, the popularity of YouTube is at its peak. Whenever someone wants to learn anything online, they make use of the help of YouTube videos.

So just ask yourself what you can teach in your business that will help consumers solve some problems? You can’t ignore YouTube’s visibility and reach, so get out there and start making authentic and useful videos today.

6. Focus on Content Quality

Creating content of higher quality than your visitors want to read will surely bring them to your business. It consists of developing content that is optimised for mobile devices and voice searches.

Some of the best types of content to make are:

  • How-tos and tutorials
  • List-oriented posts
  • Product reviews on items relevant to your business
  • Questions and answers

Excellent content will help in building your reputation, spread awareness about the brand, and further, attract potential customers.

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7. Perform Search Engine Optimisation

This is an area of marketing that can boost your business effectively. But there are many who are afraid of it. SEO can be powerful also when you learn to take advantage of it, and you learn it correctly, you can boost your online presence without any hassle.

Make sure you do not perform spamming of keywords. This is the most common mistake people usually commit. Create your content by paying tribute to search engines.

But most importantly, keep in mind that whatever you are telling is enjoyable, engaging, unique, and adds a tremendous amount of value.

8. Use Facebook ads

You can make use of Facebook ads for retargeting. This is one of the most significant ways to use these days to market about anything. With Facebook, you can reach a distinct audience, and you can do with great ease.

But the trick here is not just about click-traffic to get great results. You also need to keep an eye on conversion and retargeting through pixels.

You must launch Facebook Pixel on your website. If you are not running Facebook ads, you can still make your audience with the help of pixels.

Pixels track everyone who is visiting your website, and you can create custom audiences around them. And this way your conversions will increase a lot.

9. Use LinkedIn in a correct manner

LinkedIn is an excellent way to grow your business network. It improves your online visibility and raises brand awareness through a business page.

You can easily add a video to your LinkedIn profile. Introduce yourself and your business via LinkedIn profile. This is an easy way to market your business, and when it is done right, it can produce shocking results.

If you have a lot of connections on LinkedIn and you are not posting there, then start immediately. This way, you can reach a vast audience, especially when your posts are viral.

This is a great place to express an entrepreneurial journey. You can also contact other businesses and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs on LinkedIn.

10. Check Online Reputation

You have to keep supervising your online reputation, it is not just for the big brands but also for the small businesses. Customers talk about every brand they know, and their reviews can both make and break your business.

Simply set up Google Alerts to find out which articles refer to your business. Besides, use social media monitoring tools that will notify you when people post comments on your business.

Additionally, please respond to each review received, whether positive or negative. A simple thank you replies over the review mark a good impression and reflects the activism of your business.

After-Sales Strategy for Businesses: A Quick Guide

According to one report by BDC, it is 7 times more expensive to sell to a new customer compared to a returning customer. One of the best times to persuade your customers for a second purchase is right after a successful sale with them. Read this article to understand what is after sales and the best practices to make the best of your efforts!

Sales

What is after-sales service?

As the name suggests, after-sales support is a service provided after a customer has purchased a product. It is usually provided by the seller, retailer, manufacturer or in some cases, by a third party customer service provider. Some examples of after-sales service are extended warranty, upgrade in the product, training, discounts or a gift hamper.

After-sales service is a part of a company’s overall marketing and retention strategy.

Why does a business need an after-sales process in place?

After-sales service is an important part of modern-day businesses and it is important for both the buyer and the seller.

  • For a buyer, after-sales service plays an important role to ensure the maintenance of the product. It also strengthens the buyer’s trust in the business.
  • For a seller, after-sales service brings in a sense of satisfaction and helps them make sure that they stay at par or ahead of their competitors

Here are a few reasons to understand why should a business have a proper after-sales strategy in place:

Good start to customer retention

As soon as your customers make a purchase, they enter this loop of retention! Remember, a happy customer is the best marketing asset you can have. Be by your customer’s side at each step like installing a device, setting up the furniture, getting the car road-ready and so on.

Boosts customer’s trust and loyalty

Imagine you run a business that sells a device to measure your blood pressure and pulse rate. After a customer buys the device, how about calling them within a week and asking them if they have successfully set up the device or need some help. If not, helping them in-person or over a call for this. Usually, the older age group finds this difficult. Just a soft nudge can do a lot for your business here!

Increases chances of referral

If you let your customer leave with a wide smile from your store or your website and let that smile last long, that customer can at some point be labelled as an unofficial brand ambassador of your brand. Even after all the advancement and success in digital marketing, nothing beats the power of word-of-mouth. One satisfied customer can bring you 10 or more customers with zero money spent from your end.

Adds to the brand value

Humans are seen to get emotional with brands. An experience worth remembering can not only help you get a brand evangelist but also make them keep you on top of their mind. They will increase a connection with your brand and will keep them coming back to you!

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Examples of after-sales practices

Pre-installation services

Usually, a product comes in with a written manual for installation. The difficulty levels vary from product to product. Some products like ceiling fans, washing machines etc require technical expertise while a product like headphones and mobile phones do not. Providing free pre-installation is one of the best after-sales services.

User training

Training of the end-user is another part of the after-sales service. This is an important aspect with a business dealing with industrial machinery. It is essential for the seller to guide and walk with the customer until they have a 360-degree hold over the product.

Return & Replacement

Customers love it when they have a return and replacement liberty from the seller’s end. The entire experience that your business provides during such cases adds to another important after-sales service.

Upgrades 

Majorly common between software and electronics, ‘upgrading’ software for a device for a certain period is another type of after service usually adopted by companies. In a way this also makes your customer get used to the new version and hence, end up purchasing it!

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Best after-sales practices

Make your customer feel valued

Always, look for ways of providing additional value for your customer- they expect it! For example, when a customer brings in their bike for servicing, offer them a free inspection report.

Streamline your service process

Your customer ‘expects’! They expect you to be the master of all trade and make them a priority. Document all the procedures and train your staff to do things in a jiffy. This way, even your staff will be more efficient.

Build a positive atmosphere

If you operate out of a store, train your staff to be cheerful and helpful. If you are an online business, train them to make your customers feel good and satisfied every time they come in.

Listen to your customers

A business that listens to its customers is the one that understands them. Give your customers time to explain themselves. You can also get information from them by doing a real-time survey.

Monitor and refine your performance

Track your service performance from time to time and have a system in place that can track and monitor your activities. Keep updating your processes with the technology and lookout new and exciting ways to keep your customers engaged.

15 Stars Expecting a Child for 2020

Pink notebook Child . Many children of stars are expected for 2020, a year rich in baby bumps. Emma Roberts, Sophie Turner, Katy Perry, Gigi Hadid. .

Child

Focus on these celebrities who are expecting a baby soon.

Emma Roberts

In a relationship since March 2019 with Garrett Hedlund, Emma Roberts is expecting her first child. It was via Instagram that the 29-year-old actress’s mother answered “Yes” to the question about a possible pregnancy. Case to follow.

Lucky Blue Smith

Married since February to model Nara Aziza, Lucky Blue Smith is about to become a father for the second time. At 21, he already has a Gravity daughter born in 2017 from his relationship with the top Stormi Henley.

Romee Strijd

It is through her Instagram account that Romee Strijd announced the good news. At 24, the Angel Victoria’s Secret is expecting her first child with Laurens van Leeuwen , to whom she said “yes” in 2018.

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Laura Smet

Married since June 15, 2019 to Raphaël Lancrey-Javal, Laura Smet is expecting her first child for next September.

Jude Law and Phillipa Coan

Married since May 2019 , Jude Law , 47, and Phillipa Coan, 32, are preparing to welcome their first child together. The actor is already the father of 5 children.

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara

As a couple for 4 years and engaged since July 2019 , the duo of discreet actors is about to become parents for the first time.

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

Pink notebook for the Hadid clan. After days of rumors, Gigi Hadid has confirmed the news : she is expecting her first child with Zayn Malik . A little girl is expected for September 2020.

Lea Michele and Zandy Reich

After their marriage in March 2019 , the couple is expecting their first child for 2020, according to a source close to them. White notebook for the actress famous for her role in Glee .

Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt

Married in June 2019 , Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt are expecting their first child. A baby for 2020 that will make Jack the son the actor had with Anna Faris , a big brother.

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Leighton Meester and Adam Brody

Already the parents of a 4-year-old girl, the actress of Gossip Girl and the actor are expecting their second child. It is all 3 that the family was seen in the streets of Los Angeles, Leighton Meester dressed in overalls revealing an already imposing baby bump. A happy event for the married couple since 2014.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom

It was in her clip Never Worn White that Katy Perry revealed the surprise : she is pregnant with her first child with Orlando Bloom . Engaged since February 14, 2019, the couple is waiting for a happy event before their marriage.

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas

Married since June 2019, Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are expecting their first child according to several sources close to the couple. Discreet about their private lives, the singer and the actress have not yet spoken … but the fans are already more than impatient.

Penn badgley

Married since 2017, Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke are preparing to welcome their first child, after two miscarriages, as the musician revealed on her Instagram account during a moving post.

6 Tips to Rebuild Your Small Business after COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has crippled the world’s economy. No one ever thought that a tiny virus could shut operations all over the world. Each country has been tackling this situation since December 2019 in the best interest of its citizens and businesses. One of the common solutions has been country-wide lockdowns.

COVID-19

Though implementing country-wide lockdowns was effective in saving millions of lives, it also wreaked financial havoc around the globe. The lockdown has negatively impacted many small and medium businesses in India as well.

Assess your financial damage from COVID-19

The first and foremost step of the recovery plan is to assess the quantum of the effect caused to your small business by the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are different layers involved in such financial assessment, starting with the hard numbers. It will be helpful to update your financial statements such as profit and loss accounts or cash flow statements. You can then compare them to last year’s figures to know how much your business has been affected.

Your business plan might need a second look

Your existing business plan might have worked for you in the pre-COVID era, but it might need some fine-tuning to grow in this new normal.

You may need to analyse how your business plan can be tweaked to adapt to the new normal and flourish. For example, if you were dependent on foot traffic for your sales, you may need to expand your business digitally and attract new customers who are shopping from home now.

Many organisations are trying to guide and provide requisite resources to small business owners looking to rebuild their business. We, at Razorpay, can provide you with a full payment solution for your business too. This will help you collect your payments digitally and maintain social distancing at the same time.

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Your business might need funds to recover after COVID-19

Unless a small business owner has a hidden treasure at home, it is very likely that the business will need some funding to restart its operations.

There are several financing options that you can consider for your business. The government has also recently announced relief measures for small and medium businesses in India.

Revisit your budgeted amount for spends

The early stages of recovery may lead to more spending than revenue. You should prioritise expenses to make most of the revenue coming in. The focus should be to eliminate the waste of money and prepare a lean operational budget for the business.

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Set up a timeline for revival

There are several action items to be completed to fully recover from COVID-19 outbreak, but doing everything at once might spoil the plan.

For a small business that was closed due to the pandemic, your immediate goal should be to secure funds for your business. Once this is figured out, you can consider rehiring employees and follow it by stocking up your inventory. The step-by-step approach will help you plan accordingly.

Be prepared for any next big crisis

We shall promise to not take anything for granted in future. While the pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the reality is that any unpredicted situation can disrupt your small business.

The COVID-19 outbreak has taught us to always have a contingency fund that can help you and your business sustain and move further. You can create this fund by trimming down your unnecessary operating expenses.

How 5 businesses moved their services online

online COVID-19 has been an unwelcome surprise in 2020 for people across the world. And while it’s hard to stay positive in times like this, there’s a lot of positivity coming out of the pandemic. There’s a seeming resurgence of the support small biz movement. And entrepreneurs are getting more creative than they’ve ever had the chance to be before.

online

One of the ways businesses have adapted is by moving their services online. Video conferencing platforms have been downloaded globally at an increased rate due to stay-at-home orders.

Here are a few real-world examples of businesses that have started offering online classes for their formerly in-person services.

mind|body|fitness

The demand for online fitness classes has grown by 16%. Greensboro, NC’s mind|body|fitness yoga pivoted from having all of their classes in-studio to 100% online with a newly configured website and on-demand content in just five days. They didn’t lose a day of classes.

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Next Stage Drumming

Instead of fitness, Dori Staehle, MBA teaches music. The certified drum therapist/drum teacher/ADHD specialist owns Next Stage Drumming, where she typically hosts in-person drum classes, events, and private lessons. She also turned to online teaching, launching a sales page on her website.

“I started right away with my existing private clients and also offered the option to my mailing list,” she says. “I also did loads of posting on my Facebook page, both on my business page, personal page, and in many Facebook groups.” She got the word out so much that she was requested for interviews about her business.

Regis Regal German Shepherds

Humans aren’t the only ones benefiting from virtual classes. Cindy Kelly, owner of Regis Regal German Shepherds in Illinois, provides dog training and boarding to her clients. Unsurprisingly, that part of the business has been put to a halt.

By familiarizing herself with technology, Cindy has been able to engage with customers in new ways. “I’ve been able to host Zoom training calls, we had over five participants in the last one,” she says. “New dog owners are happy that they can continue training, and we can ensure we have some kind of revenue coming in the next few months.”

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The School of UX

London-based Chimmy Kalu is also used to running workshops and training in-person. Now, she’s taking her classes online—she offers monthly UX courses to digital professionals through her company, The School of UX.

Out school

Artist Heidi Jeub has taken to the virtual world to provide online art classes for artistic kids who need that outlet. Aimed at kids ages 8-18, her classes start at the introductory level and work their way up as her students improve on their artistic abilities. “I thought about what I had to do to change my business model enough to make things work for the next couple of months,” Jeub said, and these online classes present her with a great opportunity to continue to do something she loves

8 Business Ideas for Travel Lovers

Travel Do you want to explore the world and be your own boss? Starting your own business doesn’t mean you have to stay in one place. Many businesses in the digital age don’t require a brick-and-mortar shop, and some businesses will even take you to your dream destinations. Travel

Traveling and owning a business isn’t for the faint of heart, however. If you’re determined to see the world while owning a business, check out these 11 business ideas for people who love to travel.

Some people, such as politicians and celebrities, require a personal assistant. Personal assistants usually travel with their employer whether they are going on tour, have speaking events across the country or have business in other countries. Virtual assistants are in high demand due to their ability to work remotely and many businesses’ desire to cut unnecessary payroll costs.

If organization, time management, and problem-solving are your top skills, create your own agency. Personal assistants typically arrange travel and accommodations, manage schedules, run errands, and coordinate with other staff members.

If you love writing and photography, a travel blog could be your ticket to several dream destinations. Bloggers often create helpful guides, explore new cities, take interesting photos, and provide recommendations and tips on their websites. Before you take the plunge, understand that blogging can be tough and time-consuming. It often takes a couple of years before you make money blogging, but when you do, you’re essentially getting paid to travel the world and write about it.

If writing isn’t your expertise and you’re better with a camera, try being a travel vlogger. With YouTube, vlogging is a lucrative business. Take your business on the road and create videos about traveling the world and visiting the best tourist spots.

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The days of only posting cat videos and family updates on Facebook are long over. If you have a large following online, you can make a steady income through sponsored posts and pictures. Many brands use influencers to advertise their products and encourage followers to buy goods and services.

Some brands will even foot the bill and pay for social media influencers to attend their events or stay at their resort in exchange for documenting their experience on their social media accounts.

People want honest and helpful advice. Travel agents help people plan vacations and trips across the globe. They often have specialties for different countries or niches. If there is a country or city you love to visit, you can make recommendations to others wanting to see more of the world.

You can start your own home-based travel agency through either a franchise or nonfranchise agency depending on your budget and accreditation. You may need to look into obtaining certification, and you may need to pay monthly fees if you partner with a host agency.

Photography is a great skill to have if you want to travel. If you start a photography business, you could travel the world and capture its beauty with your camera. You can sell these photos to publications or as art. You could also become skilled at a specific type of photography, such as candid portraits, family photography or wedding photography. People need a skilled photographer at their destination wedding, and you could be just the person for the job.

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Do you have expertise in your field, solve problems or do people want to hear what you say? If so, you could become a public speaker. Speakers often travel across the country or even the world to spread their message and inspire millions. These individuals also have other streams of income, such as being a social media influencer, selling books or creating a blog about their expertise.

Event planners plan corporate and professional meetings and events. They typically arrange everything from catering to selecting the location to travel accommodations. If you have the networking, organizational and time-management skills, you could travel the world as an event planner. Event planning worldwide could open up even more travel opportunities and larger-scale events in the long term.

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, creating a translation business could be a great way to see the world. Translators are needed in almost every industry. They assist international businesses, globe-trotting executives and high-profile individuals by translating documents, books, emails, conversations and more. If you’re not sure where to start, offer to restaurants in your area to translate their menus or translate promotional materials for small businesses.

The Importance of Compliance in Business

Compliance As you use your smartphone and connected devices more and more, a vast digital data-based footprint is created based on your behaviour. From a regulatory perspective, an important consideration is who owns all this data – the user or the service provider who stores it? If it’s the service provider, then what obligation does it have to store and protect your data? And to what extent can data be shared with third parties? As a result, compliance legislation is evolving to keep up and to protect individuals, consumers, and organisations.Compliance It’s vital for professionals today to understand the importance of compliance in business, as failure to comply with these laws could result in significant business risk. More than that, businesses and individuals who not only comply, but embrace these regulations can use it to their advantage – optimising customer experiences and building consumer trust.

GDPR in Europe

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented on 25 May 2018 and is intended to harmonise the data protection rules throughout Europe. It grants greater rights to individuals but also imposes significant new burdens on organisations with increased fines and penalties for breach of the rules.

Requiring data protection ‘by design and by default’, in addition to the right to access and the right to erasure amongst others, companies will need to validate their ability to comply with data security, to uphold the extended rights of individuals, to produce documentation and security audits, as well as data breach notifications.

Non-compliance can result in imprisonment of up to 10 years, and up to 4% of global revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater (GDPR) – as well as the accompanying brand reputation damage to those found short.

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GDPR in Hong Kong and Singapore

The GDPR primarily affects organisations operating within the EU. However, any company outside of the EU that offers goods or services to data subjects in the EU, or monitors the behaviour of data subjects in the EU will need to have GDPR compliance in business. The location of the organisation that collects the personal data is irrelevant; the rules apply when personal data is collected from an individual who is located in an EU country when the data is collected and processed, whether they are an EU citizen or not. Similarly, he GDPR does not apply to EU citizens when they are outside of the EU.

According to consultancy EY, nine out of 10 companies in Singapore do not have a plan to cope with GDPR.

Hong Kong businesses may be subject to greater data protection obligations under the GDPR than they currently experience under the Hong Kong Personal Data Privacy Ordinance. The key provisions are:

  • Consent – The GDPR requires organisations to obtain freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous consent before collecting personal data from a data subject, unlike in Hong Kong where businesses generally do not need consent when collecting data, unless for marketing purposes.
  • Data Protection Officers – The GDPR requires data controllers, or Data Protection Officers (DPO), to implement technical measures to build privacy by design and to conduct compulsory data-protection impact assessments, amongst other measures. There are no equivalent mandatory provisions in Hong Kong.
  • Mandatory breach notification – Under the GDPR, should a DPO experience a breach of security, they will need to notify the Data Protection Authority in the relevant Member State within 72 hours of discovering the breach, unless the breach is “unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals”. In Hong Kong, there is no mandatory breach notification requirement.
  • New and enhanced rights for individuals – The GDPR gives data subjects certain enhanced rights that are lacking in Hong Kong’s policies:
    • The “right to be forgotten” – The right to request erasure of personal data that they have posted online.
    • The right to data portability – The right to switch personal data between service providers.
    • The right to object to processing (including profiling).
  • Data processors – The GDPR imposes statutory obligations directly on data processors – currently not the case in Hong Kong or Singapore _– including maintaining records of their processing activities. This means that data processors can face repercussions directly for data breaches.
  • Appointment of a designated representative – Non-EU business must appoint a representative to act as a point of contact for requests by the supervisory authorities or data subjects and represents the controller or processor.

How this has affected business

Email marketing

In section 66 of the POPI Bill, it states companies are not allowed to send any form of electronic marketing messages – such as emails and newsletters – without being granted permission by the recipients to do so.

POPI outlines the following about direct marketing and how companies should act in order to remain compliant in business:

  • Collect personal information directly from the data subject
  • Collect personal information for specific, explicit, and lawful purposes only
  • Only process personal information with the data subject’s consent
  • Don’t keep personal information for longer than necessary
  • Make it easy for personal information to stay accurate and updated
  • Notify the registrar and appoint an information officer
  • Protect the security and integrity of personal information
  • Any 3rd party/operator must contractually comply
  • You must be able to report on the data if asked to do so
  • You can only send direct marketing messages if you have the consent of the data subject to do so
  • You may request consent
  • The data subject must opt-in to every channel
  • Where the data subject has requested a change, or opts out of a particular channel, this request must be honoured immediately

Digital marketing

While marketing via email and text requires an opt-in consent, the digital marketing world falls somewhat in a grey area. To determine whether you need the consent of consumers to serve personalised advertising, or not will depend on what it is you want to do. When it comes to personalised advertising, consent is not the only way to justify it. In the EU, many digital marketers use the ‘legitimate interest’ argument where the impact on consumers’ privacy is measured by the interests of the business. However, efficient data management by recording when, why, and how the information was collected, and that it was only used for the original purpose, will ensure you can demonstrate that your use of data is, or was, compliant.

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Communicating with customers

In terms of section 11 of the POPI Act, a consumer may either refuse to accept, pre-emptively block, or require another person to discontinue any communication which may be seen as direct marketing. This includes telephone calls, e-mails, brochures or letters in the mail. Businesses will need infrastructure and systems in place to receive and record consumers’ specific preferences and abide by these expressed preferences.

The business risks

To ascertain your business’s compliance, in lieu of POPI or GDPR, an initial complete survey of the business’s current personal data processing activities should be carried out. This can include its data protection and privacy policies, notices, international data flows, agreements and templates, products and services using personal data, and advertising/marketing activities and operational protocols. Assess which of the existing procedures and policies are adequate, and which are lacking or absent.

Consider the following when reviewing these according to low, medium, and high-risk areas.

  • The risk of exposure – for example, is this a public-facing privacy notice?
  • What category of fines this non-compliance falls under
  • Whether there is a nonconformity that was already required under an earlier law
  • What reputational concerns are at risk
  • Whether something can be made compliant quickly
  • Whether agreements with third parties or business operations are at risk
  • Whether regulators have already signalled interest in particular areas or issues

The opportunities

When people think ‘big data’, they usually think of major online retailers or social media giants. However, organisations of all sizes and sectors are getting closer to their data to improve and personalise the customer experience. This often creates new opportunities, and can even transform entire industries. The UK’s NHS Business Services Authority utilised recent data that has helped improve patient care and save nearly £600 million.