Global Business Conference Attendee Brochure

Olympia Conference Centre, London

Promoting Entrepreneurs & Business Collaboration

21–22 September 2017

Hammersmith Road, London,

United Kingdom

 

 

International Business Federation (IBF) is a non-profit organisation that creates global platform for entrepreneurs. Its objectives are:

i) Promoting international business collaboration

ii) Promoting business growth through showcasing business at international level and networking

iii) Promoting innovation through cross fertilisation of ideas and business mentoring.

iv) Helping dynamic collaboration between the emerged and emerging markets

IBF helps building trusted relationships of businesses across the globe to enhance collaboration. It organise Global and International Business Conferences and Networking Events, Trade Exhibitions and Business Expo. The IBF consultants help cross -country bridging including legal formalities and deeper understanding.

Global Business Conference & Business Expo 2017 is opportunity for Entrepreneurship Promotion & Connecting Businesses Some of the top minds in international business will be at the event.

You can gain and share invaluable insights in a live and highly interactive environment. Put simply, Global business conference is unmissable for your brand and business to seize the global business presence and seeking future opportunities.

It is estimated that the venue will host 5,000 business visitors over two days, including entrepreneurs, CEOs, managing directors and other key business decision-makers. There will be multi Industry focus between UK and BRICS.

There will be key note speakers, presentations, workshops, seminars and B2B meetings across 2 days.

 

Global Business Conference and Expo 2017

ATTEND THE CONFERENCE WITH PRIDE at LONDON

OLYMPIA CONFERENCE CENTRE

Rt Hon, Nick Clegg,former UK Deputy PM led a major UK trade delegation to India during August 25-27, 2014.During his visit, the former UK Deputy PM met the Prime Minister of India during which he conveyed UK’s strong desire to further strengthen and deepen relations with India. The Prime Minister of India called for greater collaboration between India and UK in the areas of education, skills development, clean energy, infrastructure development and cleaning of rivers. Both sides also discussed international issues relating to WTO and climate change.

The former UK Deputy PM was accompanied by Rt Hon Edward Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord Dholakia in his capacity as former UK Deputy PM’s India Business Adviser and a 40 strong trade delegation from the UK that included major British businesses from the retail, aerospace and education sectors. The former UK Deputy PM visited New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to take advantage of the trade and investment opportunities presented by the Government of India’s focus on economic growth and to celebrate the strong cultural links between UK and India.

In Bangalore, the former UK Deputy PM opened a new Tech Hub aiming to grow 1,000 Bangalore start-ups in 3 years and link them with the UK and the second UK Indian Business Centre that will provide support to UK businesses who want to grow in India. During former UK Deputy PM’s visit to India, a number of India-UK trade deals materialized.

Three Tips for Better Budgets

You owe it to your business to make the process as straightforward, efficient and accurate as possible. Fortunately, with the right techniques and apps, budgeting can be reduced from a stressful, high-stakes endeavor to a logical, simple sequence of steps.

1. Overestimate your expenses and underestimate your revenues.

When it comes to maintaining and even growing revenue, you may want to err on the side of caution. If you overestimate how much money you make, your cash flow will be lower than expected, which means that you might have to cut potentially crucial areas of spending, like marketing, staffing or inventory.

Overestimating your profits (as opposed to overestimating expenses) means that you will have less money to work with, take home and rely on in lean times. Furthermore, if you underestimate your income, you likely won’t have to rely so much on fickle factors like seasonal bumps or consistent referrals. (Remember, hope is not a business strategy.)

2. Update your budget regularly, so you always know the numbers.

Another mistake business owners can make is to treat their budgets as static and unchanging. For instance, it’s easy to see an entrepreneur keeping the same balance sheet month-to-month (or even from one year to the next), rather than updating it as business conditions change.

For example, if you run a restaurant, your fixed costs (like equipment and rent) won’t change that much, but your variable costs (like produce and waitstaff) are constantly changing. For one, it’s possible that your supplier will suddenly go out of business or raise its prices. Or worse, your landlord might suddenly cancel your lease, forcing you to settle on a more distant (and more expensive) location.

Lastly, understand that while variable expenses will fluctuate (as their name implies), they often do so in very unpredictable ways and at unpredictable times. New legislation in areas like minimum wage, health care or tax regulations come and go more frequently than you’d expect, and each change can lead to new considerations, expenses and headaches.

3. Plan for your busy and slow seasons ahead of time.

Fashion houses have showings for their spring, summer, fall and winter clothing lines. So it’s easy for department stores and clothiers to plan out their inventory ahead of time. Alternately, an HVAC contractor may end up selling more inventory during the summer months only, and can also plan accordingly as far as a year in advance.

Businesses with clear busy and slow seasons can still face one major hazard—overextending the business, which usually takes the form of excessive spending or insufficient planning to get through the low months. After all, there are still year-round expenses, such as payroll, equipment maintenance and rent.

That’s why it can be important to balance the revenue from your peak season alongside the revenue you’ll have to survive on during your low season to maintain a functioning business (and income) year-round.

Two Budgeting Apps to Consider

Thanks to the digital startup boom, it can be easier than ever to find the right budgeting tool for your business. However, there are two apps that may be worth checking out: Level Money and Goodbudget.

1. Level Money

Level Money

One of Level Money’s features is its ability to analyze spending trends and predict future spending. For instance, if you live in a seasonal climate, Level Money can predict utility bills based on past spending and budget more money to set aside during the coldest (or hottest) months.

Still, Level Money does lack some more advanced functions, like payroll and taxes. Nonetheless, it can be a helpful program—especially for entrepreneurs on a shoestring budget.

2. Goodbudget

A popular idea for personal finance is the envelope system, where individuals (and sometimes, business owners) set aside money for various expenses into different envelopes. According to this neat, tidy system, when buying items like groceries, books or clothes, you would dig into the appropriate, labeled envelope and pay accordingly.

Obviously, the envelope system seems impractical for individual use, to say nothing of businesses. Luckily, Goodbudget

is the digital version: Instead of carrying out manila envelopes with cash (which can be both unwieldy and risky), Goodbudget allows entrepreneurs to set aside money in virtual spending categories, which are deducted or replenished as income flows in. This may help make it easier to visualize and track spending categories, cash flow and expenses all at once.

However, Goodbudget requires users to enter transactions manually rather than automating the process. Still, even this can be helpful, as it gives business owners a chance to reflect on their expenses and revenues.

We get it: Budgeting can be intimidating, especially because there are such high stakes involved. After all, anyone can dream up a business idea on the back of a paper napkin. But budgeting is what keeps the dream alive.

Growing-the-Business

1. Market segmentation

“Market segmentation” simply means picking a sub-set of the entire marketplace that you can organize your sales efforts around. Out of all the people in the world, who will you try to sell to?

Most big businesses are good at carving out their corner of the market. Then they do whatever they can to own that space.

Red Bull gets its energy drinks in front of a young, adventurous crowd: its segment of the market. Have you wondered why Red Bull owns a Formula One racing team? That’s why.

Pepsi was losing its battle with Coca-Cola to become the heavyweight cola company. Instead of trying to beat Coke at its own game, Pepsi focused on a young, fun-loving demographic. Many Pepsi commercials show younger music stars, celebrities or other young status symbols.

In other words, Pepsi stopped targeting the over-30 crowd and segmented its market. Coke is still the top dog, but thanks partially to market segmentation, Pepsi has built a very successful brand as well.

Most small business owners would be happy with building the next Pepsi, but many are afraid to eliminate part of a potential market. It can seem scary, but you need to focus on your core customer if you want a clear path to growth.

Segmenting your market comes down to making choices. Who will you serve? Who will you avoid? And which segment can you focus on to improve profitability?

2. Leveraging partnerships

Some small business owners love to complain about how they can’t compete with the vendor relationships that the big guys enjoy. It’s true you can’t “pay to play” like the Fortune 500s, but you can leverage partnerships in a savvy way.

For example, let’s say your small business makes tennis balls and you have a technology that makes the balls bounce better and last longer. You have a great product, but you don’t have a manufacturing facility, a distribution channel or any of the other parts of the tennis-ball supply chain. All you have are great tennis balls.

You may not be able to compete with the big industry players like Wilson, Penn or Prince for sponsorships or tournament partnerships, but you could partner with a tennis-ball factory and a distribution company. In fact, you could partner with them without having to pay a cent for your own factory or distribution. Just pay your partners a portion of the profit every time you sell a tennis ball.

The result? You negotiate for mainstream production and distribution without paying the huge upfront cost of building a plant or hiring a shipping company. Now you can focus on selling tennis balls instead of worrying about making them.

Big businesses can pay for partnerships up front. Small businesses have to negotiate for partnerships that pay per sale.

3. Use checklists

Big businesses have massive facilities, complex supply chains and large equipment. Managing the day-to-day operations in these environments is too complex for one person. There are too many variables to track.

Guess what? Small businesses are the same way. Small business owners have to wear many hats. If you don’t hold yourself accountable and remind yourself to do something that “brings home the bacon,” then it’s easy to get caught up doing things that aren’t essential. In the rush of a normal day, it’s also easy to forget to do a critical task.

Take a page from big business and develop process lists or checklists for specific tasks and jobs. Give yourself a guide to success and a reminder to do the essentials each day.

4. Acquisitions

Perhaps the primary way that most big businesses grow is through acquisitions. Before you think I’m off my rocker by suggesting this move for small businesses, let me explain.

First, acquisitions are tough. You can easily break the bank with one bad purchase. That said, acquisitions can be a massive source of profit and a means to growth if you make a few key moves.

You know what’s a good buy in your industry. Follow tip No. 3 and keep to a specific list of characteristics that you’re looking for. Don’t let emotion or ego play a role in a major purchase. Stick to the checklist.

Secondly, do you have the budget to buy up everyone in the industry? Probably not. I’m not suggesting that you buy something you can’t afford. But you can afford some businesses, especially those that you can improve. Don’t dismiss acquisitions just because you’re small.

5. Become a leader in the industry

Big businesses often make their name by leading an industry. They make moves when other businesses sit by the wayside.

I was recently talking with the employees of a large distribution company that wants to do business in China. There’s just one problem: The distribution company ships products for other companies and those businesses don’t trust the distribution channels in China yet. As a result, the distribution company isn’t selling in that region.

If there are no products to ship to an area, the company doesn’t set up distribution in that area. But if there’s no reliable distribution network, nobody ships products. It becomes a chicken or egg problem where neither side wants to move first.

So what does this company do? They say, “We know you don’t like the distribution there, so we’re going to fix it. Then, you can give us all of your business in China.”

Is it a bold move? Yes.

Is it an expensive move? Yes.

Is anyone else currently doing it? No.

Does that mean that there is a huge opportunity for growth? Yes.

What’s the lesson for small businesses? Don’t be afraid to solve the hard problems that everyone else avoids. There is a lot of money to be made when you’re the first person to fix something.

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The capacity to focus on what matters is fundamental to securing business growth. It is worth pointing out that understanding where not to focus your attention can be just as critical as recognizing the importance of concentrating your focus on areas with the highest return. The following article highlights five of the areas which are key drivers of business success.

1. The core value proposition (CVP)

All companies have their own USPs – or unique selling propositions. These are aspects of their offering which are truly valued by customers and which help to differentiate an organization from its competitors. It is all too easy for an ambitious company to become distracted from its core competences, the result being that it loses focus and dilutes its offer and/or position. It is recommended, therefore, that resources are channeled into a company’s existing, rather than its potential, strengths.

2. Customer centricity

Independent research has determined that the greater the importance placed on a company’s customers, the greater the growth potential of that company. In some instances, a mere rise of 5% in customer retention rates has resulted in an increase of profits of up to 80%. What’s more, it can be up to 20 times more expensive to win new customers than to retain existing accounts. It makes sense, therefore, to work on improving satisfaction and loyalty levels among existing customers as they can be considered lower hanging fruit with a higher return on investment (ROI).

3. Segmentation

The whole purpose of segmentation is to enable a company to focus on the groups of customers and/or prospects that deliver the highest return. It is commonly acknowledged that the top 20% of customers in any given business may generate as much as 80% of the company’s profits, half of which are lost serving the bottom 30% of unprofitable customers. Logic therefore dictates that companies should be prepared to let certain customers defect in order that they may concentrate on those which are more important to them.

Savvy marketers should closely target their offerings to the customer segments that most value them. These market segments are almost always the most profitable to a business, and are likely to be where a company enjoys the greatest competitive advantage.

4. People assets

One of the highest costs to any business is its labor. However, its employees are also one of its biggest assets. Research among Sears’ employees revealed that a 5-point improvement on its employee attitude scale led to a 1.3% improvement in customer satisfaction; this, in turn, boosted revenues by $250 million a year. It follows that more satisfied employees leads to more satisfied customers, who are then inclined to spend more.

Many companies are guilty of viewing staff as a means to an end, rather than recognizing them as the valuable asset that they are. Focusing attention on the likes of employee engagement and development of talent will help to maximize the ROI in labor.

5. Continual improvement

Complacency can be fatal. Businesses that believe they know everything about their customers and markets are setting themselves up for a fall. Every market evolves and every product has a life cycle. As demand increases, often so does choice, making it all the more vital to improve a product/service in order to increase its appeal, as well as continuously drive higher awareness through to loyalty levels.

Any improvements need not necessarily be confined to the product itself. A focus, for example, on improving the customer experience is likely to result in financial gain, with eight out of ten customers stating they would be willing to pay up to 25% more for a superior customer service.

Whatever the chosen point of focus, key to success is prioritizing resources for maximum return and never deviating from the ultimate goal.

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Family-owned businesses comprise 35% of the Fortune 500 and contribute 64% of GDP, 68% of employment and 78% of new jobs. Estimates are that 80-90% of businesses in the United States are family-owned, 90% of family-owned enterprises control more than one business and 54% plan to start a new entrepreneurial endeavor. All of these statistics are from the Family Business Institute’s research.

Family firms are female friendly as well: 24% are led by a female CEO and 60% have women in management positions. This compares to the Fortune 1000 companies of which only 2.5% were led by women in 2007.

The mean age of the family business controller is 60.2 years old. And while 40.3% of those entrepreneurs want to retire in 2017, less than half of them have chosen a successor. Only one-fifth have an estate plan despite the majority stating that they are aware of the estate tax impact on their business and family.

For the next generation, one-third say they have no knowledge of the senior generation’s transfer plans and get no updates on ownership. 

Plan for Family Business Success

The statistics on longevity are quite sobering. According to Family Firm Institute and PWC’s annual family business surveys, only 30% of businesses survive into the second generation, 12% make it to the third generation and just 3% make it to the fourth generation and beyond.

While 88% of family business owners surveyed expect their firm to be viable in the next five years, many are hesitant to take the steps to make sure that the business survives them. Ira Kalb, Professor of Marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of California says that too many founders micro-manage the business and fail to delegate or promote leaders so they can step away. 

There are numerous reasons for this failure to plan. All too often, the CEO loves running the business and is afraid if he or she steps away and retires, they are facing the end of their life. No one wishes to face mortality, yet two things in life are certain: death and taxes!

In attempting to create a succession plan, entrepreneurs often make technical mistakes as they fail to seek outside counsel and advice. All too often, they plan in a vacuum, not recognizing changing markets and tax impacts. Too many make the mistake of leaving the business to the surviving spouse who may have never actually worked in the business. The big elephant in the room is how to treat all the children and other heirs equitably. 

Create a Legacy

While each family has specific issues and challenges unique to their family and business, the process to create a legacy and increase the odds for success in transferring ownership to the next generation is similar. One must start with a vision of what both the current generation and upcoming generation have for the family business.

After vetting out the vision, governance is the next critical step. Creating a short and long-term strategy for ownership, roles of family members, any outside shareholders, and how to treat family members who choose not to work in the business are critical pieces to the governance criteria.

Bringing in outside advisors helps orchestrate the process. An outside advisor can help lead meetings, set agendas, open discussion points, inform the family of both income and estate tax consequences and help keep the plan in motion to completion. (For related reading, see: Do Small Business Owners Need Financial Advisors?)

So make it a goal to tackle this issue to help your family be in the minority of those businesses with a formal succession plan!

The work-from-home job force is rapidly expanding, with an increasing number of people kissing the dreaded commute to the workplace goodbye. Thanks to ever-evolving technologies like Skype, Facetime, shared computer drives and cloud computing – not to mention good ol’ texting and e-mail – it’s no longer necessary to be physically in an office to be a productive member of the team. In fact, many kinds of work can be done just as effectively – if not more so – from a home office. As the advocacy group the Telework Coalition puts it, “Work is something you do, not someplace you go.”

Appealing as telecommuting is to employees, it wouldn’t be such a strong trend if employers didn’t also recognize benefits from their side of the desk. Companies that have implemented virtual workplaces appreciate the cost savings on office facilities (estimated by the Telework Coalition to be as much as $10,000 a year per employee); greater employee productivity; fewer missed work days due to illness or commuting problems and a much bigger pool of potential workers. And, in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, a distributed workforce is in a better position to keep operations running even if some of the group goes offline. In fact, a survey by the London Business School and Deloitte showed that business experts expect that by 2020 half of the workforce will be working from home as virtual workers.

Where the Jobs Are

The good news is, work-at-home jobs are no longer limited to multi-level marketing (MLM) outfits, like Amway or Avon. Improved technology and the need to cut costs and/or keep overhead low have encouraged businesses of all sizes and a variety of fields to create more work-from-home opportunities.

FlexJobs, a job-hunting website that vets its telecommuting/part-time/freelance listings for legitimacy, conducts periodic surveys of where the growth in flexible work is. Here are some of the top fields it’s identified in the last two years.

Health and Medical Services

In the health sector, the leading companies with work-at-home employment include healthcare giants Aetna, Broadspire, Covance, Forest Laboratories, Humana, Parexel and UnitedHealth Group. The job titles they have sought to fill included computer- or phone-based jobs such as account manager, actuarial consultant, business-intelligence manager, case manager, medical writer, patient-education or case advocates, revenue-integrity director and sales representative.

Education

Some of the more surprising opportunities FlexJobs found are in fields you might typically think of as requiring face-to-face contact – like education, for instance. The growth of online learning companies like InstaEDU, K12, Connections Academy, Kaplan and Tutor.com has led to more listings for freelance and part-time positions like curriculum writer, parent mentor, SAT instructor, science teacher, student-services coordinator and tutor. Related to this are opportunities for those fluent in different languages. Companies like Appen, which evaluates and coordinates communications for international clients, or Asurion, which offers multilingual customer support for electronics companies’ product insurance plans, obviously have a need for people to serve as interpreters and translators.

Government

Government agencies are not institutions you immediately associate with innovative or unconventional personnel policies. But organizations at the local, state, and national level are increasingly adopting flexible work options – FlexJobs listings in these sectors grew by 50% between 2015 and 2016. The federal government, in particular, has been a champion of telecommuting in recent years, and actually leads the private sector in terms of adopting telecommuting policies and encouraging employees to work from home (in fact, almost one in three federal employees does so at some point during the year.) Particular agencies include the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior and the Department of Transportation. The job titles: foreign affairs officer, security specialist, economic assistant.

Tech & Engineering

Less surprising work-at-home–friendly categories are technology, which is known for its progressive approach to virtual offices, and engineering, which is often done on a project basis. Some employers, such as IBM (see below), First Data, Infor, Overland Solutions, Red Hat and SAP, offer job listings in high-tech sales (sales being one of the original flex-time professions). Other job titles tech companies seek to fill include positions such as project manager, retail-solution architect, software developer, power-systems engineer or technical writer.

Work-From-Home-Friendly Firms

Dozens of legit companies, even those listed on the Fortune 500, offer a wide array of telecommuting jobs, from positions requiring advanced degrees and experience all the way down to entry-level gigs. The following 10 corporations represent a great place to start when looking for a work-at-home job that actually pays the bills.

Amazon.com Inc.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN

 

) employs nearly 250,000 workers around the world, many of them reporting to work from their home offices. Only about 10% of Amazon.com employees work in the state of Washington, where the company is headquartered. With employees spread out everywhere, those not working at the home office need not feel left out. Work-at-home job openings at Amazon.com run the gamut from customer service positions paying $10 per hour to global account manager jobs that pay over $100,000 per year.

Dell Inc.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Dell offers work-at-home jobs as well as flexible jobs that include both office time and working remotely. The company is known for an assortment of other employee-friendly perks, such as compressed work weeks. Dell has work-at-home job openings in many fields that require various education and experience, from outside sales to tech support to marketing management. Salaries at Dell range from $20,000 to $40,000 for customer service, and $75,000 to $275,000 for marketing consultants.

Humana Inc.

Health insurance company Humana (NYSE: HUM

 

) employs 50,000 people both on-site and working from home. The latter are doing everything from sales management, which requires great people skills but has no hard-and-fast educational requirements, to physical therapy, which requires three years of post-college coursework. The company’s median salary is $67,000.

Aetna Inc.

Health care company Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET

 

) allows employees to work from home after they have been with the company for one year. Telecommuting positions include customer service representatives, supervisors and even frontline nurses. Employees who work from home enjoy extensive technology to keep them plugged into company happenings and maintain communication with teammates. The company’s median salary is $80,000.

American Express Co.

American Express (NYSE: AXP

 

) offers full-time, part-time, temporary and contract work-at-home jobs. The positions span a wide spectrum and include business development management, a job typically requiring an MBA and/or years of experience, to a part-time virtual customer care representative job that pays $15 per hour. American Express encourages a work-life balance and personal growth for its employees. The median salary at American Express is $90,522.

Kaplan

Kaplan is a tutoring company that helps students prepare for standardized tests required for admittance to college or graduate school. Its most popular telecommuting position is that of a tutor. The job requires little to no office time but may involve traveling to meet students. Tutors at Kaplan make $20 per hour or more, and can work from less than 10 hours per week to 40 hours per week, depending on time available and demand for services. To get hired as a Kaplan tutor, a candidate must demonstrate strong performance on one or more standardized tests, such as the SAT or GRE.

Salesforce.com Inc.

Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM

 

) has been named by Fortune magazine as a top 100 company to work for, and by Forbes as one of the world’s most innovative companies. Many of its over 20,000 team members work from home. The company’s telecommuting job openings usually require several years of prior experience. An entry-level candidate’s best bet to work from home for Salesforce is to pursue a sales job, such as a field sales account executive. The company’s median salary is $111,045.

Automatic Data Processing

Automatic Data Processing (NYSE: ADP

 

) provides outsourcing and payroll solutions to businesses around the world. The company employs over 60,000 people, many working from home at least some of the time. Most of its work-at-home job openings are in sales and customer service, which means entry-level candidates have a chance at being hired. Others are in software and application development, which pay more but require specialized skills. ADP’s median salary is $88,182.

IBM

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM

 

) offers telecommuting jobs both in the United States and internationally. In addition, the company hires freelancers, which range from chemists to software developers, who work on a contract basis and get paid by the job. Many of these workers also have the flexibility to work at home. A benefit of these freelance jobs is that many of them require only a unique skill, rather than a specific degree or work background. The median salary at IBM is $84,972.

Xerox Corp.

Xerox (NYSE: XRX

 

) has work-at-home job openings and offers flexible scheduling for many of its on-site employees. Available telecommuting jobs include executive recruiting, which requires a bachelor’s degree and sales experience; part-time call center positions, which have no educational or background requirements; and project management, which requires eight years of previous experience. The median salary at Xerox is $75,600.

 

The Top Types of Work-From-Home Jobs

Not all work-at-home jobs are for corporate employees. Many people work for firms as freelancers, choosing to form their own businesses – and, as noted in several instances above, companies are increasingly turning to these independent contractors to fill a variety of positions. Working from home also offers the opportunity for those who have the time and organizational skills to manage two or three jobs at once. It is not uncommon for enterprising types to eventually turn a freelance work-from-home job opportunity into a small business, even to the extent of employing others.

Here are some of the most common homework options. Some are more on the unskilled/entry-level side, while others require training and expertise.

Virtual Assistant
Think of a virtual assistant as an off-site secretary. A traditional secretary comes with many expenses to a company, and if the company is small, it may not need a full-timer anyway. Virtual assistants work from home, often communicating with the boss via chat, Skype or another real-time service. They can do most of what a traditional administrative assistant does (think: responding to emails, creating business documents, calling clients, scheduling appointments, handling social media, bookkeeping and data entry), but at a lower cost. Key talents for this sort of job include good communication skills, and some office and computer experience.

Translators
International companies need translators all the time. They may translate files and documents, or transcribe and translate conversations and conference calls. People who speak uncommon languages are even more in demand, and these home-based jobs are plentiful. The median salary is approximately $21 per hour, with much higher wages paid by large corporations.

Call Center/Customer Service Representatives

Many companies, large and small, outsource their customer service work to home-based agents – and, since customers may have trouble communicating with agents who speak English as a second language, or have heavy accents, a growing number of firms are trying to find more call-center workers situated on U.S. shores. Most jobs entail inbound calls, helping people with orders or account information, but some also require outbound calling. Most also come with a set work schedule – though the pay is often by the minute, while you’re on an actual call. The typical qualification needed for this type of job is good communication and people skills, and most employers require a background check. An outgrowth of the traditional customer service job is that of the chat agent, who answers customer questions live via the company’s website.

Data Entry and Transcription

Although they can be two different types of jobs, data entry and transcription jobs usually require the same skills and qualifications. Data entry involves entering facts and figures into a software program or spreadsheet. It could involve entering payroll data, catalog or inventory items, or managing a customer relationship management system. Transcription work involves creating documents from audio files. This is typically done for businesses that need documentation of meetings, workshops, conference calls or podcasts. In most cases, the employer provides the software and content management system needed for the work. For both jobs, employers generally look for detail-oriented people with good typing skills.

Teacher/Tutor

With the growth of online education, there is a growing demand for online instructors. Virtual schools are popping up everywhere, offering elementary-, high school- and college-level programs of study, and their faculty can typically work from anywhere. While many online teaching jobs require teaching credentials, jobs for online tutors do not (though an educational background is often desired). Tutors for advanced subjects, such as calculus and physics, can earn a higher hourly rate. There are also opportunities to simply do standardized test scoring at home. Scoring jobs may require a teaching background or a college degree, at a minimum.

Avoid the Scams

Obviously, work-at-home jobs have come a long way from those old “make money stuffing envelopes” ads. Still, for every legitimate gig, there are 57 scams, according to a study conducted by the job site Rat Race Rebellion. Anybody looking to earn a living without leaving home has to be very careful.

So, do your homework on a potential work-at-home employer. Make that the company is established. If you can’t find evidence that it has a physical address and sells a product or service, then it’s best to avoid it. Make sure you get contact info too, and test it out. Many con artists pretend to be working for household-name corporations, either directly or as sub-contractors.

As with any job, there should be an application and probably an interview: Anybody who is legitimately looking to hire someone wants to meet, or at least talk to, applicants. Lastly, you shouldn’t incur any out-of-pocket expenses to be hired. If a work-from-home opportunity requires you to pay a fee up-front or buy a “start-up kit” or make any other sort of sizeable cash outlay, then it’s probably a scam. You will, however, most likely need to invest in a fast, stable internet connection, if you don’t already have one, and a high-quality phone headset.

Work-At-Home Life Lessons and Tips

Though the glittery and vastly appealing idea of being your own boss, setting your own hours and operating within your own four walls has merit – and definite benefits – it comes with a few drawbacks as well, for both the self-employed and the telecommuting employee.

1.You Can’t Pass the Buck

When you work from home, the amount of work you do is entirely your responsibility. Your failure or success depends on you: your ability to focus, to hustle, to connect with clients and the bottom line on what you produce and what you get paid for. When it’s just you, at your desk, in your home office, you can’t blame a pesky boss or chatty coworkers for your lousy or unproductive workday.
 
And even if you work as part of a virtual team, you’re still the only team member around. Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring the same project in the face. It can get lonely. Be ready for that, and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time, like a lunch hour (even if you take it at 3 PM).

2. Take Yourself Seriously

Every person who has spent time working from a home base will have to deal with a lack of understanding from people who think working from home doesn’t really mean working. The burden lies upon you to set your working hours, stick to them, actually work during those hours, and refuse to let anyone else dissuade you from the idea that you’re truly employed.

Unfortunately, home life has its own distractions that can burn precious daylight and put well-meaning home workers behind on important projects. In addition to the typical interruptions in the nine-to-five (vendor calls, power outages, accidents, pet or child needs), there are personal boundaries that will continue to be pushed. Close family member have to understand that you can’t help them move during the workday, or even chat on the phone for an hour. Setting limits if you have children at home (“yes, Mommy is here but she can’t play with you now”), can be especially tough. On the positive side, letting kids see you work hard at something you love – even at the parts you don’t love – can greatly influence their future career choices and entire attitude toward work.

3. You Can’t Leave the Office

Efficiency and flexibility are two of the top 10 reasons that people want to work from home, along with shorter hours (it’s amazing what you could accomplish with eight straight hours of keyboard pounding, uninterrupted by emails or daily staff meetings). But sometimes flexibility is too much of a good thing. When your office is always there, waiting, with that deadline looming over your head, it’s pretty hard to just close the door and pretend you’ve left for the day. Many home-based workers find themselves working more hours, not fewer, logging in work time on nights and weekends, just because it’s there and they can’t ignore it.
 
It’s true that many work-at-home professionals keep a five-hour day, as opposed to an eight-hour day. This does not mean, however, that they work less. Hours are often calculated as “billable hours,” meaning that for every hour spent performing a task that they charge for, there are many minutes spent doing non-compensated administrative tasks.

4. You May Not Save Money

Without a daily commute, mandatory lunches and the cost of office-appropriate attire, it may seem that working from home will bring a budgetary boost. But there are additional costs that can crop up. The expense to set up an office may include computers, printers, internet service, cell phones or a second phone line, business cards, web hosting and software. Forget about using your existing equipment for your business if you plan on taking the full cost of each as a tax write-off. Personal and business purchases need to be kept separate in order to comply with tax law.

So hold on before you try to deduct half your mortgage for “office rent” or the entire cost of your internet. There are the strict limits to what can be claimed as deductions or credits on your return. You can deduct valid work-related expenses, but only the percentage that is actually used for your work. So if you pay for an internet service that is also used by your spouse and children, and even yourself for non-work-related matters, you can’t deduct the full cost – only the (estimated) portion that is exclusive to employment-related matters. Same goes for office supplies, telephone bills and utilities. (Learn more in How To Qualify For The Home-Office Tax Deduction.)

If you’re an independent contractor, you have to pay your own Social Security tax (the self-employment tax) and payroll taxes (an expense that most employers pay half of). So, generally, a sole proprietor won’t see drastic cuts to his or her tax bill.

The Bottom Line

Working from home can be exciting, empowering and even profitable, provided you are realistic about the pros and cons. Whether you are a freelancer, a company part-timer, or a full-time employee who just doesn’t hit the office on certain days, it’s a way to escape the daily grind. But there are added responsibilities that come with freedom, not to mention planning, foresight, self-discipline, and focus. Oh, yes, and hours of uninterrupted hard work. As many a home-based employee will tell you, it’s not easier to work from home – it’s just a different location.

Small and mid-size business are the core the of the U.S. economy. Entrepreneurship and creativity have been moving the American economy for centuries. In fact, the U.S. has one of the best grooming environments for startups and small businesses. 

Business owners spend several years building up their business. They invest a significant amount of personal time and capital to grow their companies. Many of these entrepreneurs will have their family fortune locked in their business. Focused on their business, often the founders of small firms ignore or delay their personal financial planning until they come close to retirement. So here are several practical steps that business owners can follow to establish a successful financial plan.

Balance Business Goals and Personal Goals

The first and most important step in the personal financial planning process is setting your short and long-term financial goals. In many cases, business goals can interfere and clash with personal financial goals. Business goals to expand into a new market or purchase a new factory can negatively interfere with your personal goals such as saving for retirement or college education for your children. Striking the right balance between your business and personal goals is a key to achieving them. Prioritizing one over the other may hurt your own long-term financial success. 

Explore Different Financing Alternatives

Every new business idea requires capital to start. The success of the venture depends on the owner’s ability to secure financing. Sometimes, the funding comes from personal savings or the sale of property. Other times, the owner needs to look for external funding within his or her social circle or even approach a financial institution. The external financing can be in the form of a loan or equity stake.

Another great way to finance your idea is your customers. In fact, your clients are one of the best and most inexpensive sources of financing. If your customers love your product, they will be willing to give you an advance payment, subscribe to your platform or consider a product/service exchange. 

Control Costs

Even the best idea can fail if it doesn’t generate a profit. In simple numerical terms, company revenue should be higher than expenses. Many ventures do not succeed because the company cannot generate enough revenue to cover all costs. Clearly, the first answer will be to generate more revenue. However, many successful companies are notorious with their focus on cost control. Business owners must stay on top of their expenses. They must track and analyze each cost. Owners should look for operational deficiencies and overlaps, result-based compensation, economies of scale and ways to increase productivity.

Manage Liquidity

Businesses need cash to maintain healthy growth. Not surprisingly, prominent investor Warren Buffet prefers to invest in companies generating significant cash flows. The capacity to produce cash from its operations will determine the company’s ability to pay its employees, creditors and vendors. Building a disciplined system of managing receivables and payables and maintaining a cash buffer for emergencies are key.

Manage Small Business Taxes

Filing and paying taxes is a long and painful process. The current U.S. tax law is very complex. Often, your tax bill depends on your company’s legal status. Sole proprietors have different taxation rules from C corporations, for example. Speak to an accountant or tax lawyer to find out what legal status works best for you. To avoid missed opportunities and last minute mistakes, you have to prepare for the filing process in advance. Start early. Keep a clear record of all your expenses. Track all tax filing dates. Remember to pay all federal and state taxes, Social Security, Medicare, local permits and fees. Consider using professional bookkeeping software and working with a CPA.

Establish a Retirement Plan

Having a company retirement plan is an excellent way to save money in the long run. Pension plan contributions could reduce current taxes and boost employees’ loyalty. There are few alternatives, such as a 401(k), SEP IRA and SIMPLE IRA. I am a big supporter of 401(k) plans. Although they are a little more expensive to establish and run, they provide the highest contribution allowance over all other options.

The maximum employee contribution to 401(k) plans for 2017 is $18,000. The employer can match up to $36,000 for a total of $54,000. Individuals over 50 can add a catch-up contribution of $6,000 for a total of $60,000 in annual contributions. 

Build a Safety Net

Creating a safety net is a critical step to protecting your wealth. Many business owners hold a substantial amount of their assets tied to their personal business. By doing so, they expose themselves to a concentrated risk in one company or industry. Any economic developments that can adversely impact that particular sector can also hurt their personal wealth. The best way to build a strong safety net is asset diversification.

Set Up An Estate Plan

Estate planning is the process of arranging the disposal of your assets after your passing. It can involve your family members, any business partners or other individuals and charitable organizations. Estate planning starts with setting up a family trust and personal will and can also affect financial, tax, medical and business planning. You can use estate planning to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of your assets in probate and to maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. The ultimate goal of estate planning can be determined by your specific goals and may be as simple or complex as your needs dictate.

Plan for Business Succession

A successful business will have an impact on various parties such as owners, employees, contractors, vendors, clients, landlords and suppliers. Creating a business succession plan will ensure that all parties’ interests are met in the event you decide to discontinue your business or pass it to another person. Moreover, a robust plan will address numerous tax and financial issues which will result from the succession. The complexity of the succession plan will depend on the size, industry and legal status of your business. 

Sales specialists in Leeds are single-minded in pursuit of their salary goals, according to research by specialist recruiter Randstad Sales, Marketing and Retail.

In a poll of 10,728 British workers – including 630 sales professionals – as part of the annual Randstad Award, almost seven in ten sales professionals (69%) put competitive salaries and employee benefits in their top five factors when deciding on jobs. This is more than the average across Leeds overall, with 62% considering salary to be a crucial factor. Sales professionals also overtake both financial workers (68%) and technology workers (57%).

In Leeds, the average sales specialist earns £28,583, almost 13% more than the typical wage in the region (£24, 951) across all professions. Interestingly, sales workers are more single-minded in their financial motivation than those who work in IT, who are actually the highest earners in the region (£37,863).

Across all UK workers as a whole, salaries and employee benefits are in the top five job considerations for 63% of employees.

Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Sales, Marketing and Retail, commented:
“Sales professionals in Leeds are led by their financial aspirations when it comes to careers – and they aren’t afraid to show it. The sales sector in Leeds may not be the most lucrative industry at face value, but is attracting the most determined individuals. “The sales sector within Leeds has been growing quickly, benefiting from its central position within the Northern Powerhouse and candidates are benefiting from increasing vacancies in the sector, numbering more than 5,000 in the current climate. More people than ever are looking to start off their careers in sales, and they can afford to demand their market value. The dogged financial ambition of the city’s sales specialists can’t even be rivalled by financial and technology workers and employers need to be ready to cough up to ensure company commitment, as non-financial perks just won’t cut it.”

INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
But sales specialists in Leeds are looking ahead to long-term career prospects, more so than the average worker in the city. Over two-fifths (42%) believe that the opportunity to progress in their job is a crucial factor in employment decisions. Amongst city workers this was not a widespread belief, with only 34% including this as one of their five influences.

Professionals’ promotions and progression don’t have to be limited to the Leeds region, 14% of sales people say global career opportunities are important to them in a job. In contrast, across the city only 10% of employees overall rate this factor.

Ruth Jacobs, commented: “Leeds’ sales employees are determined to advance their careers – and ultimately their pay packets – with progression and foreign opportunities rating highly. This reveals that although being single-minded in pursuing salaries, these professionals have one eye on long-term advancement and progression up the salary scale. Sales workers are keener to explore and venture further from home than most in the region, in order to improve their job prospects and are fortunate that the industry has universal global appeal, which other industries in Leeds may lack, providing exciting travel options for both starters in the sector and seasoned professionals.”

NOT TEMPTED BY TRAINING
Money-minded sales professionals are prepared to sacrifice “softer” features of a company in order to prioritise their pay including diversity and CSR. Furthermore, sales specialists are less concerned with training opportunities in the workplace, and only a quarter (26%) say it would recommend a company to them, compared to a third (34%) of respondents across the region’s workers as a whole. On average, only just over half of salespeople polled (55%) value long-term job security as a top five concern.

Factors which didn’t have any influence over financial benefits of pay also proved unappealing to these single-minded sales specialists. Of these factors seen as less important, the softer elements of a company were overlooked by the city’s salespeople. Regarding CSR, an average 7% of sales specialists surveyed ranked it as an important factor, in contrast to 10% of Leeds workers overall.

The promotion of diversity within the office environment also holds little sway among professionals – less than one in ten (8%) rate it as important – in contrast to 12% of workers in Leeds. This divergence was repeated concerning the traditional desirable job feature of convenient location which showed a 5% difference between sales workers and the average Leeds employee.

A company which embraces innovative technologies appealed to on average one tenth of the Leeds workforce, but just 8% of financially motivated sales people.

Ruth Jacobs concluded: “Sales workers are extremely focused on financial rewards and benefits when making job decisions. They are willing to look past a whole host of secondary factors such as training, CSR and diversity to reach the financial finish line. They certainly scoop first place as the most focused workforce in Leeds – but this may start to feel like a hollow victory if they continue to ignore other important features of a workplace. In today’s climate, finding the right work environment doesn’t have to veer you off course, It’s more than possible to clear the monetary jumps you want, while also being supported by training opportunities, CSR schemes and flexible working along the way.”

Tax is a really boring subject, yet it’s one of the most important factors that govern our financial lives, from workers, to managers to bosses and business owners; individuals, sole-traders, micro-companies, SME’s and Large Multinationals: Tax affects us all.

It’s All Very TaxingHead line rates of tax are just that, ‘headlines’ – attention grabbing and instantly opinion-forming. We all sort of know that, and try to convince ourselves that the devil is in the detail. And, yes, it is. The detail covers all the things you can (and should) be doing to minimize your tax, legally, and fairly. The detail also takes us into the world of tax loopholes, take avoidance and tax evasion. On-shore, off-shore, non-dom, etc. etc.

However, let’s just return to the ‘headline rates of tax’. There are two main taxes I want to cover. Income tax and Corporation tax.

Income tax – we have seen the basic rate of income tax fall over the years to it’s lowest level in generations.

Corporation tax – we have seen it cut for even the largest companies to the lowest rate ever – 20% – it used to be over 30% for these companies. We have also seen the scheme of ACT – Advanced corporation tax, which was levied whenever a company declared and paid a dividend – scrapped many years ago. (This has allowed organisations to sweep more profits away out of the reach of our beloved Inland Revenue).

The net result is a country that can ill-afford to pay for itself.

Add to the problem, recent changes in taxation rules and regulations and laws and we see the large multinationals avoiding UK tax by moving their UK generated profits overseas to countries that tax at a much lower rate (Read Holland (yes a fellow EU member!), Switzerland, British Overseas Territories (Caymans, etc) and The usual suspects of Jersey, IOM and Guernsey. Then of course our other EU mates – Ireland). The recent changes have made it now even easier for people and companies to repatriate these profits back to the UK. If you can achieve “non-Dom” status, then you are effectively your own walking tax-haven.

Anyhow, back to my point. We have all been blinkered into thinking that lower rates of tax is a good thing. It is usually, but in the case of the UK in 2016, it no longer is. We need tax raises. Tax the wealthiest companies more as they are the ones who can most afford it – but to do that effectively, we need to kill the ‘profit transfer’ scams these organisations are routinely carrying out.

On a personal and individual note, each of us owes it to ourselves and our families, to minimize the amount of tax we pay each year. What can one do?

If you have savings which are earning interest, then protect as much of that interest from the tax man by putting the money into an ISA – the interest is then tax free. Most people in the UK cannot afford to fund the £15,000 per year you can invest into an ISA, so this one step is good enough for the majority. My personal criticism of cash ISA’s has been the very poor rate of interest being paid (Currently less than 1%). So for me a stocks and shares ISA has been ideal. This stark choice has left most people stuck with the cash-ISA.

However, all that is about to change. the new IF-ISA’s – IF for Innovative Finance will open the doors for us all to be able to benefit from decent rates of return – e.g. 5%) – Many of these will be via Peer to Peer lending (P2P) which whilst relatively new, is maturing nicely as an industry and offers good solid returns with risk that, IMHO, is no greater that stock-picking.

I for one will be using the new IF-ISA from 6th April 2016!