Practical Steps for Small Business Advancement

You own a small business. You want to help it grow and improve, but you also understand that all effort and positive results stem directly from you. And you’ve pretty much exhausted all your ideas. Hey, it

The good news is that there are many ways you can advance your business interests further. In this article, we look at accessible ways that small businesses can improve their operations and grow.


Upskilling is all about picking up new skills.

You don’t say.

Well,  as a matter of fact, we did say. It’s something that takes place routinely at big companies all over the world. There, management will pay for their employees to refresh and expand their skills in a way that will be advantageous for the business.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t have anyone footing the bill for you. However, you can still take advantage of some of the many affordable online education programs that can teach you about everything from marketing to data implementation.

Social Media

Most businesses understand that they should have a social media presence. However, to have an impact at all, you need to think strategically about how your followers prefer to interact with your page. What time are they online the most? What sort of messaging do they respond to?

What about branding? Are your social media posts telling a consistent story, or are you all over the place with your tone? You don’t need to be a marketing professional to use social media the right way. You can make a big splash simply by getting a little more strategic with your outreach efforts.

Learn About Data

Data implementation is an important factor for businesses of every size. Previously the exclusive tool of big business, it is now available to anyone willing to take the time necessary to learn how to use it.

Most social media platforms come with analytic tools that will help you learn how your messaging is being received. You can use this information to not only expand your reach but also receive keen insights into what your existing customers respond the best to.

And, of course, social media is far from the only place where data is being used. You can also look at sales figures, email engagement rates, and other relevant factors to optimize your business practices.

Hire Smart

It’s exciting getting the opportunity to make new hires. As we mentioned in our last section, you’ll find yourself with a lot of work in the first months of your role as a small business owner. Bringing someone else on means releasing some of that pressure.

Still, it’s important to hire smart. Network and look for people who have skills that you lack. The more diversity of experience you can get, the better your business will be. You will, of course, learn more about all aspects of the job as you go along. However, finding people with the right specialties will be a big leg up.

Once you get a proper staff, you’ll also want to think about team-building opportunities. Creating a strong company culture through employee-centric policies are important elements of retention. You don’t need to be able to afford lavish corporate retreats to keep your employees happy.


It’s hard to focus on your own needs when you are trying to get a small business off the ground. While you will need to work on building your skills and get used to logging long hours, you also need to know how to take care of yourself.

Self-care will not only help you stay happy, but it will also keep gas in the tank, allowing you to continue slugging it out for the long haul.

Know when (and how) to bring in the professionals

Even small businesses can and should take advantage of a wide range of professionals who can help advance their interests:

  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Cybersecurity specialists and
  • Analysts

All routinely consult with businesses of every size to help them navigate complicated situations and grow. Some of these professionals are more expensive than others but for the most part, there are affordable and accessible ways to take advantage of all these services.

Get Serious About Cyber Security

You don’t have to be Marriott to get targeted by cybercriminals. In fact, the majority of small business owners experience attempted breaches each year. Some of them are simple, such as phishing emails and dicey website links. Other attempts can be more complex.

The problem with breaches isn’t just that they complicate your life. Although they do. It can take most of a year to recover completely from a serious one.

The even bigger issue, however, is that customer information can get compromised in the process. For big businesses with lots of sensitive customer information on hand, this has led to class action lawsuits.
Even if that isn’t in your future, data compromises can lead to a loss in consumer confidence. And of course, it’s also just your ethical responsibility to handle the data with care.

Get serious about cyber security. Update your software, guard your passwords, and train your employees to do the same.

Believe in Yourself

Ok, we know. This is kind of corny advice, but it comes from a sincere place. Many small business owners struggle with a psychological concept known as “imposter syndrome.” Basically, it means that they tend to fear that they don’t belong where they are and everyone around them does.

Self-validation can be hard because when you own your own business, there is no one there to give you feedback. You are entirely in charge of securing your own fortunes.

Anxiety can have its benefits, encouraging you to continuously put your best foot forward. Still, too much of it, and you’re only holding yourself back.

The Vital Importance Of Healthy Cash Flow For Small Businesses

The most common reason for small businesses folding is down to cash flow problems. Failure to carry out proper market research, or overestimating demand for a particular product, also causes businesses to collapse. But, cash flow is usually the biggest reason.

Cash flow and profit – understanding the differences

Cash flow is all the money that moves through a company from sales and expenditures. While profits are the money that is left over once all financial obligations have been paid.

One very important metric for profitability and operating efficiency is the cash flow margin ratio. The cash flow margin shows how efficient a business is. If you take the business’s cash flow operating costs and divide them by net sales, you will get your cash flow margin.

The higher the cash flow margin, the more likely a company will remain profitable. For profitability and operating costs, the best percentage calculator will help with clear results. But, here is a simple explanation of how to calculate cash flow margins.

How does cash flow impact small businesses?

The cash flow margin ratio gives a good indication of how well a business is turning its sales into profits. However, cash flow affects many areas of a business and can impact operations heavily.

  • Late payments to suppliers
  • Unable to restock
  • Unable to pay employees
  • Credit rating damage
  • Additional loans
  • Unable to grow
  • Cutbacks and layoffs

Businesses that suffer from poor cash flow will find that they miss the opportunity for expansion, and may even have to downsize. Late payments to creditors and suppliers lead to poor relationships and possible damage to credit scores.

Being unable to restock products or raw materials will see production and sales grind to a halt. And there will be a negative effect on the workforce and productivity as a whole.

Poor cash flow often leads small business owners to seek further financing and credit. This option may prove worthwhile, but it has the potential to cause far more problems with profitability and cash flow down the line.

How to manage cash flow effectively

The current economic climate is one of high inflation and a possible recession. Businesses must find ways to offset inflation and survive the crisis.

Calculating revenue and going over all expenses is the best place to start improving cash flow. Creating a cash flow budget will give an estimated view of how the business will operate financially in the coming months. Although a cash flow budget only estimates future income and expenditure, it is a useful tool to utilise.

Dips in income due to seasonal changes can be included in a cash flow budget, as can expected rises in expenditure. Increasing stock of low-cost items can offset inflation. Purchasing materials that are expected to go up in price will reduce expenditure later on.

The importance of managing invoices and payments on time

All businesses will have accounts receivable. These are payments outstanding for services rendered, or goods supplied. Commonly, invoices are sent out after a customer receives their goods, and they will be given a set time frame to pay.

It is normal in business to allow a customer anywhere from 14 days to 90 days to settle an invoice. 30 days is a typical time frame for payments to be made. When payments are made on time, businesses will enjoy regular cash flow. In turn, the business can use the money flowing into it to fulfill its own financial obligations. And the cycle continues.

However, when accounts receivable are overdue, then it can hamper cash flow for small businesses. Global enterprises have far more resources at hand than small business owners, and when payments are delayed, it can be fatal.

Fortunately, there are several options for small businesses to improve cash flow.

Options for improving cash flow in small businesses

Cutting costs is certainly an option to reduce expenditure. But, how to save on costs without cutting quality?

A few options for small businesses are these:

  • Renegotiate with suppliers
  • Increase prices- Carry out a promotion
  • Incentivise early payments
  • Introduce extra payment options
  • Automated invoicing and reminders
  • Use factoring
  • Add call to action on digital invoices
  • Carry out credit checks
  • Ensure invoices and delivery notes are all accurate

Launching a promotion or increasing prices may result in a quick cash flow boost. But, promotions are short-lived, and price increases can alienate customers. It may be much better to look at how you are managing invoices and payments and make changes.

Automated invoices

Setting up an automated invoicing system will reduce the chances of manual error, and speed up payments. Automating this area means that invoices will be sent out on time and tracked. If payment isn’t received, then a reminder will be automatically sent out.

Digital invoices and call to action

Sending automated digital invoices to clients allows the option to include a call to action. A clear link on the invoice to ‘pay now’ for instance could result in quick payment. Adding in an incentive such as ‘pay now for a 5% discount’ will help speed up payments and improve cash flow.

Use factoring

If your business is struggling with cash flow problems, and has a number of accounts receivable, then invoice factoring might be an option. A factor is a type of lender who offers to loan money to a business against accounts receivable. In return, the borrower pays a commission and fees.

Because factoring is short-term and set against money owing, it is often seen as a better option than taking out extra loans.

In summary

Some studies indicate that many small businesses would last less than a month on their cash reserves. Cash flow is critical to the survival of small businesses, and their future development.

While many small businesses struggle with cash flow, there are options available to improve liquidity. Offering incentives for faster payment, and renegotiating contracts with suppliers, can help reduce expenses and bring in cash quickly.

patient and woman counselor talking in session

10 Mental Health Strategies for Employers

The days when mental health issues were seen as big ‘no entry’ sign are long gone and employers have got wise to the fact that mental health is just as important as physical health. 

On a practical level people who are suffering with stress, depression or other mental health problems are unlikely to be productive and more likely to make errors.  However, it’s much more than trying to get more from your staff.  An employer that actively addresses mental health issues and makes an effort to promote a positive environment will always get the pick of the best employees and people will actually enjoy coming to work.

We see people suffering from burnout simply because they feel that they have to burn the candle at both ends to keep their jobs.  Ambition can put the blinkers on – until it’s too late and the damage is done.

These are our top tips to help your employees to maintain a good state of mental health.


1: Create a positive and supportive work culture

While you can’t force people to behave in a particular way, you can create an environment that is supportive, inclusive, and ensure that the workplace is where employees feel respected, safe and valued.


2: Offer mental health resources 

These might include employee assistance programmes, mental health hotlines, online therapy services, or other mental health benefits.  Everyone suffers from stress sometimes – and it may not be that work is the cause.  Being able to access someone to talk to confidentially, whether that’s a counsellor or a therapist is invaluable.  Most people are reluctant to talk to their boss, in case that damages their work relationship, so a third party option makes a significant difference.


3: Encourage work-life balance

It’s not the 1980s where working late, coming in early and taking no holidays was a badge of honour.  Today employers know that this just means they get a burst of action before each person burns out, sometimes in a spectacular fashion.  Instead, a good employer will encourage employees to take breaks – because that refreshes them and produces better outcomes.  They expect their team to take time off and establish boundaries between work and personal life.


4: Foster open communication

Open and honest communication between employees and their managers is the key to a workplace where everyone feels they have a voice and are valued.  That means that managers need to understand how to create a safe space where employees can discuss their mental health concerns. 


5: Train managers to recognise and address mental health concerns

It’s not just about asking ‘How’s it going?’, but about being genuinely interested in the people they manage.  Part of management training should include knowing how to spot signs of mental distress and what they can do to support and empathise with the team member that is suffering.


6: Promote healthy habits

Encourage healthy habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness practices.  The Japanese have embraced this for decades with the whole company gathering for gentle exercise at the start of their working day.  You don’t have to do that, but there are plenty of things you can do from ensuring that the canteen, staff restaurant or even vending machines offer healthy options to starting a lunchbreak walking group.  Create a healthy company strategy.


7: Know what the triggers are

Take a good look at every part of your organisation.  What are the causes of stress?  What can be done to alleviate these?


8: Foster a sense of community

Being part of a team or a working group is a great way to help people deal with stress.  Encourage social interaction both at work and outside it to foster a sense of community.  The saying ‘The team that plays together, stays together’ is true – even Harvard Business School supports this!


9: Recognise and celebrate achievements

Celebrate employees’ achievements, don’t just assume that they know you’re pleased with their efforts, tell them.  If you recognise their hard work you’ll boost morale and create a positive work environment.


10: Get to know individuals

People are all different and what is stressful for one person may be an exciting challenge for another.  If your managers know the individual members of their team well, they’ll know what their goals and aspirations are and be able to provide the support and advice each person needs.

As an employer your employees’ mental health is critical to a sustainable, healthy organisation.  Applying these strategies will help you to create a positive work environment and grow a productive and engaged workforce.

Robin Damhar is CEO of Nest Healthcare, offering a range of therapies, treatments and professional development, both on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

Robin Damhar

How to Find Your Own Profitable Trading Style

When you enter the world of trading, it’s important to find a style that suits your personality. By doing this, you’ll improve your chances of long-term profitability. You’ll draw on your strengths and perform at your optimum. 

Before you get started investing in gold, stocks, crypto or any other asset, take some time to analyze who you are and how you prefer to operate in relation to the different styles of trading. 

Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer—but there’s one that’s the best fit for you.

The 4 Classic Styles And The Personality Traits That Complement Them

There are four main styles of trading and each one has its own pros and cons. 

The most important aspect to look at is if a style suits the way you like to do business and complements your overall personality. 

1. Scalping = Quick Decision Making

If you love making snap decisions and are good at confidently taking action fast, this is a great trading style for you. Scalping is when you hold your trades for short periods—sometimes a few minutes or only a few seconds. 

It’s a very active method of trading and requires you to be fairly ruthless in your decision making. Most swing traders will immediately leave a trade if it doesn’t show profitability in the first few moments. 

Scalping is all about instant gratification and instant switching.

Other personality traits required for this style include being able to focus on one thing at a time and not getting distracted easily. If you tend to daydream or know that your work time is often interrupted, scalping is not a viable option.

2. Day Trading = Completing The Task Today

This is a slightly slower style of trading compared to scalping, but it can require some snap, split-second decisions too. If you’re goal orientated and like to tick things off your to-do list, this is a great style of trading for you.

In day trading, you can hold your trade for as little as a few seconds or as long as the entire day. While you don’t have to make split-second decisions, you have to keep a close eye on trades to ensure you make your move at the most profitable point for that day.

With day trading, you start on a clean board at the beginning of the day and complete all of your trades before day end. 

The next morning, you start fresh again

You leave nothing open or active overnight. So, if you’re prone to monitoring movement and lose sleep worrying about what might happen, day trading is best.

3. Swing Trading = Holding Your Nerve

If you have a good level of patience and are happy to wait things out, then swing trading is tops.

There are very few snap decisions required, and you have time to breathe through your trades and watch the market change. However, you do have to be able to hold your nerve, be optimistic, and wait for the right moment to trade to come along.

In swing trading, traders usually wait at least one day before making a trade. And they can wait up to a week to find the sweet spot on a single trade. 

A swing trader will rarely make a move in less than 24 hours. 

This means you have to accept that downturns and upswings will occur that you cannot monitor. If this doesn’t bother you and you prefer a slower approach, this is the way to go. 

4. Position Trading = Foresight and Patience

If you like to think along the lines of the big picture and you have great patience, then position trading is the ideal fit. 

This really is the long game and you can hold trades for a few years before making a switch. The aim is to work in thousands of ticks and not tens or hundreds like you would in the faster styles of trading.

Position trading requires dedicated and extensive research so you can make solid bets on your stock purchases. The more research you do, the more confidence you can have that you’ll see a profit in the long run. 

To excel at this trading style, you need to have a personality that isn’t swayed by popular opinion and would rather research the facts and monitor changes yourself. This is a skill many entrepreneurs share, and it will stand you in good stead.

You will probably watch your trade rise and fall in value several times over the period you hold it. You need to set a mark for where you want it to end up and be prepared to wait for the stock to reach that price before you make any moves to sell. 

This approach takes patience and the ability to hold your nerve, no matter what other people say. It also requires good financial planning, sound knowledge of how to calculate profit margin, and excellent cash flow management skills, as you may wait a while before seeing a return. 

Testing Your Strategy

Once you’ve found a style that clicks with your personality, it’s time to build up a trading strategy. This will include:

  • The type of stock you want to work with
  • How much you want to spend on each session 
  • What your stop loss order should be

Keep in mind that your stop loss will need to be larger for the longer trade periods. You’ll be allowing room for more fluctuations in price before you make your trade.

The next step is to test your strategy against historical data on the stock markets. This is an ongoing process and you should never test your strategy just once and then jump into making trades. Look at strategizing as an integral part of trading and incorporate it into whatever style you prefer.

Keep An Open Mind

It’s important to remember that your style of trading shouldn’t change with the fluctuating markets. Your strategy, on the other hand, can move, adapt and even change entirely over the years. This will all depend on the economy—both locally and internationally. 

Remember to keep reading about the market and keep checking that your strategy is suitable for the times. The better informed you are, the more profitable your trades should be.

Employee Health

The Hidden Cost of Anxiety and What Businesses Can Do to Support Employees

Top tips from Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

New research from the Mental Health Foundation to tie in with Mental Health Awareness Week has revealed six out of ten UK adults have experienced anxiety that interfered with their daily lives in the past two weeks.  Other data from Mental Health UK suggests 1 in 8 people (over 8 million) are living with anxiety disorder at any one time.

To help employees suffering from anxiety, Emma Capper, UK Wellbeing Leader at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (HEBW), is urging businesses to normalise conversations about anxiety and to recognise that if someone is suffering from anxiety it can manifest itself in physical symptoms, as well as cognitive symptoms.

For example, The Health and Safety Executive highlights that stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for most days lost due to work-related ill health in 2021/22, 17.0 million and 7.3 million respectively. On average, each person suffering took around 16.5 days off work.

Emma Capper said: “Most people experience symptoms of stress or anxiety at some point in the lives; however, an anxiety disorder can affect people’s ability to work or live their life to the full. This can have a huge impact on business leading to periods of absence, a lack of productivity and effect the wider team. Understanding that symptoms can be both physical and mental is important as it may be that some of the physical conditions or reasons for workplace absence being reported in the business or being experienced by individuals are routed in anxiety.

“The symptoms can range from headaches, nausea and a racing heart rate to difficulty concentrating, uncontrollable overthinking and trouble sleeping. Left untreated people can be susceptible to a whole range of more serious conditions from chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders to cardio, respiratory and immune system problems. However, treating the physical symptoms will only help to a degree as unless employers treat the root cause of the issue, the anxiety, and what is causing this the individual will not be able to recover as they will experience repeated flare-ups when feeling anxious.

“In Mental Health Awareness week, we encourage employers to open the conversation around anxiety to encourage people to speak up if they are feeling stressed or experiencing anxiety symptoms. This can enable employers to step in and offer support if needed, before problems escalates into something more serious.”

Other top tips on how employers can help include:

Ease of use and clear communication is key – ensuring that all employees know where and how to access support, particularly line managers who will likely be the affected employees’ first port of call is essential. There is no point spending budget on support if no one knows about it. Keeping language simple, clear and jargon free is important too.

Create a warm and open culture – it is important employees feel comfortable talking about their anxiety. This starts from the top down and is very dependent on the culture of the business. A culture where trust, respect and psychological safety are at its core will more naturally mean that people feel empowered to speak out and share experiences. This creates a positive snowball effect with people hearing others speaking about their struggles and how they overcome them, inspiring them to do the same and to seek appropriate clinical support or coping mechanisms.

Offer benefits and services – there a wide range of benefits and services designed to support and potentially treat individuals suffering from anxiety and/or the physical symptoms of this. These could include access to Private Medical Insurance (PMI) or added value services through a Group Income Protection policy. It could also include counselling or short-term therapy through an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or access to a virtual GP (General Practitioner) for clinical advice.

The Importance of Diversification in Your Investment Strategy

Do you want to invest your hard-earned money successfully? Is maximizing your return on investment a top priority when it comes to making the most of your resources? If so, diversification is a strategy that needs to be part of your portfolio.

Today, we’ll discuss the importance of diversifying investments as part of a comprehensive financial plan, what types of investments are good candidates for diversification, and how best to go about implementing this technique into active portfolios.

What is Diversification and Why is it Important in Investing Strategies?

Diversification is a term commonly used in investing that refers to spreading out your investment portfolio across a variety of different assets, industries, and geographic regions in an effort to limit risk.

The idea behind diversification is simple: by investing in a diverse range of assets, you reduce your exposure to any single asset class or market, which can help minimize the impact of market volatility and fluctuations.

Diversification is important because it helps investors avoid over-concentration in any one area, which can prove disastrous in the event of a market downturn. By taking a diversified approach to investing, you can potentially enjoy greater stability and consistency in your investment returns over time.

Different Types of Assets and Their Role in Diversity

While many may think of assets as simply being physical possessions, there are actually several categories of assets, including financial, real estate, intellectual, and personal.

Each type of asset has varying levels of risk and reward, and diversifying your portfolio with a mix of assets can lead to greater stability and growth over time. By fully comprehending the nature of each asset category, investors are able to make informed decisions that align with their long-term financial goals.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, knowledge of the diverse range of assets available to you is key to building a successful financial future.

Benefits of Diversifying Your Investment Portfolio

Diversification is the key to building a healthy investment portfolio. Investing all your money in one stock may seem tempting, but it can be a risky move. By spreading your investments across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, you lower your exposure to any one particular asset class.

Diversification helps you avoid the risk of losing everything if one investment goes south. It also helps hedge against inflation, balances your returns, and increases your chances of profit. By diversifying your investment portfolio, you’re maximizing your chances of financial success and minimizing your risk.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating an Investment Portfolio

Investing can be a tricky business, and creating the perfect investment portfolio is no easy feat. It requires research, skill, and a bit of intuition. However, there are some common mistakes that investors make when putting together their portfolios.

One of these mistakes is failing to diversify. Another is getting caught up in the hype around certain investments, which can lead to poor decision making. Lastly, failing to rebalance a portfolio can lead to it becoming too heavily weighted in one area.

Tips for Developing a Successful and Balanced Investment Plan

Developing a successful and balanced investment plan requires careful planning and consideration of many factors. First, it’s important to set realistic goals and expectations. Determine your risk tolerance and investment objectives. Consider factors such as your financial situation, time horizon, and liquidity needs.

Next, research investment options and diversify your portfolio across different asset classes. This will help minimize risk and maximize returns over the long term. Remember to regularly monitor and adjust your investment plan as necessary based on changes in your financial situation or market conditions.


What is interest in investment?

Interest refers to the cost of borrowing money, typically represented as a percentage rate over a specific period – that’s a simple explanation of interest in investment.

What is an example of investment interest?

Investment interest expenses occur when you borrow money for the sole purpose of investing in property. For instance, if you borrowed $5,000 against your home equity to purchase stocks, the interest on that loan is considered an investment interest.

Which type of investment is most diversified?

Investors typically diversify their portfolios by allocating funds across an array of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, real estate, and digital currency.

Why CEOs Need to Embrace Digital Transformation

In today’s digital world, CEOs must embrace digital transformation to stay competitive and succeed in their business. With new technologies emerging, businesses must adapt quickly to meet evolving customer needs.

Digital transformation involves the integration of modern technology into all areas of a business. This includes using technology to create innovative business models, processes, and customer experiences. This article will detail why digital transformation is essential for CEOs to stay ahead of the curve.

Understanding Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is all about integrating digital technology into all parts of a business. This could be anything from IT infrastructure to giving customers the option to use their own mobile devices to access services. Ultimately, it’s all about adapting to the modern customer’s evolving desires and remaining one step ahead of the competition.

Digital transformation also involves a cultural shift within the organization. It requires a willingness to embrace change and continuously improve processes in response to customer feedback and market trends. Digital transformation involves a wide range of technologies such as:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Cloud computing
  • Data analytics
  • The Internet of things

Strategy and Planning

Navigating change can be difficult, and digital transformation requires a detailed plan and direction to succeed. To put your organization in a leading position, it is critical to identify which areas of your business would benefit most from digital transformation and make them a priority.

Upgrading to modern technologies, simplifying operations, and optimizing customer service through digital means can benefit your organization. A plan of action with clear objectives can help minimize potential risks and ensure your business’s success.

Customer Behaviour and Preferences

The world has seen the development of technologies and communication costs decrease. This has resulted in shorter product life cycles. It means that customers’ preferences and desires always shift. To meet customer needs, businesses must embrace digital strategies and analytics data.

Enhancing Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

Running operations efficiently is an integral part of any successful business. Cost savings can be achieved through effective management of daily activities. Innovation in operations also helps companies reach revenue goals. For example, Walmart has mastered its operational strategy.

Walmart decided to stop storing products in its warehouses and source directly from suppliers. This strategy enabled Walmart to save money. However, the success of this plan depends on technology. Digitalizing the process of ordering, delivery and other tasks involved in the supply chain streamlines operations, making them more effective and efficient.

Digital Transformation Provides a Competitive Advantage

As technology advances, industries such as healthcare, finance, and manufacturing face disruption due to artificial Intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things. In the near future, traditional methods of doing business will no longer be the best option to address technological disruption challenges. However, investing in a digital transformation strategy sets you apart from your competition.

Enhance Employee Productivity

Digitization can boost business and employee effectiveness. In organizations that still rely on traditional methods, employees often become overworked and output decreases. Digital transformation can improve productivity.

For instance, in a non-profit organization that relies on paper-based processes, employees can struggle to store, find, and retrieve information when needed. Digitization can solve many issues that arise when completing tasks. This allows employees to concentrate on the results of the processes instead of being confused.

How Can CEOs Embrace Digital Transformation?

To effectively lead an organization through digital transformation, CEOs must understand the technology behind it. They should keep up to date with technological advancements and trends. Once they have a solid understanding of technology, they should set a clear vision for digital transformation.

Digital transformation requires a culture of innovation and experimentation. CEOs should encourage their employees to try challenging tasks and embrace failure as a learning opportunity. CEOs should build a digital ecosystem that includes partnerships, collaborations, and technology platforms that drive innovation and growth.

Digital transformation requires skilled workers. CEOs should invest in talent development programs and provide employees with the necessary training to acquire the skills they need to thrive in the digital age. CEOs should foster a culture that values diversity, inclusion, and creativity. By embracing digital transformation, CEOs can drive growth, and increase productivity.

One important aspect of digital transformation is leveraging social media platforms like tiktok to reach a wider audience and build a strong online presence. With the explosive growth of TikTok followers, CEOs can use this platform to showcase their company’s brand, culture, and values to a younger demographic.


Digital transformation is necessary for CEOs who want their businesses to thrive in today’s digital age. By embracing digital transformation, CEOs can optimize their operations, gain valuable insights from data, and provide a better customer experience. Implementing digital transformation requires significant investments in time, money, and resources. Start today and make digital transformation a top priority and start planning for your business.

4 - Day working week on a city-center sign in front of a modern office building

How To Manage The Four-Day Workweek

Following the pandemic, the way we see work has changed. During the lockdowns and restrictions, we were forced to switch things up, with meetings taking place remotely and regular working hours being done from home. In the years that have followed, we have seen a shift to more flexible working with hybrid and remote jobs becoming the norm.

As we were forced to stay home and manage to work how we could throughout the pandemic, the workforce’s view of work also changed, with more people valuing a work-life balance over higher pay and other perks. Now we are seeing an influx of companies moving to the four-day workweek. With this new schedule and new ways of working, how can managers and senior-level members manage the four-day workweek?


The Move To The Four-Day Week

As more and more companies move to a shorter week, it is likely to become the norm, especially following the success of the recent UK four-day workweek trial. The trail, which saw 60 businesses from all over the UK trail the four-day week in the largest test of its kind, resulted in 90% of the participating companies continuing with this working schedule. The trial, which ran from June to December last year, found that staff were less stressed and their mental and physical health noticeably improved.

Employees were not the only ones to benefit from this change, in fact, companies that took part in the trial actually cited no loss in profits and better company culture. The benefits of good company culture cannot be understated. Businesses that prioritise making their employees happy and ensuring employee engagement outperform their competitors.


How To Ensure A Smooth Transition

For the many benefits of the four-day working week, it doesn’t mean that it is an easy transition. In today’s society, the two-day weekend has become highly normalised and it can be difficult for employees and employers to make the change. As I have made the switch for myself and my business, I can share some steps to ensure a smooth switch to a four-day week.


Lead By Example

For years, the business attitude has commonly been ‘work hard, play hard’ as managers and senior-level executives push themselves and employees to work long hours and outside of the required hours. If companies want to reap the rewards of the four-day week, they must lead by example and switch off outside of work.


Make Sure It Works For Everyone

When making a large change such as this in your workplace, you have to consider the individual. Some people may not suit working the four-day week and this could cause stress and worry among these employees. At Truly, we have allowed people to opt-in to work on a Friday to pick up anything they haven’t been able to finish in the week, or if they would like to earn some extra money in the current climate. 


Offer Up Flexibility

Although I truly believe the four-day workweek will become the norm everywhere, it simply won’t work in every industry. In sectors such as hospitality and retail, it simply may not be possible. However, there are other ways to offer your staff flexibility. Opening up communication with your staff and enabling shift swapping, hybrid work where possible and being adaptable to your employee’s needs is essential.


In Conclusion

The modern workforce now values work-life balance above all else. After staying in during lockdown and adapting to a more flexible working life, the next logical step is to have a more balanced workweek. Companies must change to future-proof their business, attract and retain staff and create a better company culture.


Ruth Zawoda-Clea, CEO of Truly Content Ltd.Ruth Zawoda Clea founded Truly Content Ltd. alongside her sister, Alice Zawoda in 2014, combining their expert knowledge of branding and SEO. The business now provides its clients with the best digital marketing strategy possible alongside many other services from content, design, compliance, and more.

Ruth Clea
Business Team Trust

Businesses Are Choosing Transparency Over Opacity in a Bid to Increase Trust

An amplified focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, the rise of social media and instant communication resulting in the rapid and easy spread of good or bad, accurate or inaccurate information, and the effect of the pandemic where leaders had to communicate effectively in rapidly changing and difficult to predict circumstances has led to an increase in businesses now opting to choose transparency over opacity.

According to  Edelman’s 2021 trust-barometer CEO’s credibility was at all-time lows in several countries, including Japan (18 per cent) and France (22 per cent), when leaders were, and are facing acute global business challenges, impacting engagement, loyalty and retention. Research by Sprout Social found that 86% of respondents believe transparency in business is “more important than ever before.”  One survey found that workplace transparency is the number-one factor in employee satisfaction. A 2020 study by The Conference Board revealed that companies with high levels of transparency and accountability were more likely to outperform competitors in terms of financial performance.

Thom Dennis, CEO of culture change and leadership specialists, Serenity in Leadership explains: “Whilst not all information in business can be readily available to anyone who may desire it, the most obvious example of which is as part of compliance during mergers and acquisitions, many business leaders are increasingly choosing to share more information to build or in some cases rebuild trust. The old-school mindset that information should be provided on a need-to-know basis is increasingly being replaced with a mantra of ‘let’s be transparent unless we really can’t”. This means the door is open unless there is a good reason for it to be closed, not vice versa.  

“Many businesses are opting for a new transparent business model. B-Corps are very likely to be more open as they prioritise their social and environmental performance and their guiding principles are of continued improvement and balancing the interests of shareholders with the interests of their workers, customers, community and the environment.”


The advantages of transparency

If we are fearful about what is going on behind closed doors then work efficiency will be impacted.  If we are worrying about job security and whether we are going to be able to pay our bills then productivity, creativity and retention are likely to unravel. Fear of the unknown often has a greater detrimental impact on employees than bad news.  Surveys have repeatedly shown that employees would prefer to work for a company that values open communication and transparency, even if it means sharing bad news.  86% of respondents in the Sprout Social survey said they would be more likely to give a business with a good history of transparency a second chance, and 89% said if a business was completely transparent about a mistake they could still regain their trust.

Dennis says: “Secretiveness fast-tracks workers to be more wary and suspicious, and encourages them to make assumptions, jump to conclusions, ruminate or hypothesise. Conversely, if leaders are clear on the company’s purpose, and employees are part of what is going on, morale and communication will likely be stronger. 

“Information is power so there is always the possibility of the abuse but there are countless benefits to better transparency including fairer pay and reduced miscommunication. When there is a withholding of information, assumptions will be made but with transparency comes fewer barriers, better inclusion, improved reputation, more accountability amongst leaders, and improved loyalty and credibility. Enhanced psychological safety is another benefit with employees feeling an increased sense of security whilst organisations that prefer opaqueness create silos which lead to poor communication.  

“Through being open and honest, and sharing information at all levels, transparency can help foster a culture of accountability and responsibility and trust.  It can then pay off at an organisational level by reducing interpersonal conflicts and is a critical factor in creating an inclusive work culture.”


Thom Dennis shares 10 ways to authentically build transparency and trust in the workplace:-


  1. Publish the figures and numbers. Share information openly to improve organisational alignment, communication, inclusion and problem-solving. Clarify company purpose, goals and strategies to share the big picture.


  1. Show vulnerability. Leaders in high-trust workplaces who ask for help from colleagues rather than telling them what to do will build credibility and encourage collaboration and cooperation.

  2. Challenge yourself. Ask yourself what do you know that other people don’t know and is there a good reason for that? Share your information and knowledge and keep your team and colleagues informed.


  1. Check power play. Don’t allow abuse of power to affect your businesses purpose and objectives through cover-ups or secrets.


  1. Create a safe space. Through deep listening and open communication a safe culture can be created, enabling people to feel free to express ideas and be innovative together rather than creating opportunities for misunderstandings or conflict.


  1. Provide channels for communication. Whenever possible, allow employees to guide or have a meaningful say in the direction of the company.


  1. Open your doors. Leaders need to walk about and be genuinely interested in all levels of the business and welcome ideas and respectful opinions. Developing healthy habits of regular feedback and an authentic and approachable leadership team encourages trust, reliability and transparency.


  1. Be accountable. Being more open encourages accountability and responsibility. Trust and integrity are built on honesty even if it means admitting mistakes and being accountable.


  1. Collaborate. Encourage colleagues to collaborate and communicate to develop and improve productivity and engagement in organisations. Trust allows for more effective collaboration and communication between teams, partners, and clients who can more freely exchange and develop ideas.


  1. Lead by example. If leaders model good behaviour and live by the purpose and aims of the organisation they will improve levels of trust.

Fintech Startups to Watch in the Open Banking Space

Open banking has emerged as one of the most significant developments in the financial services industry in recent years. With open banking, third-party providers can access financial data and services through APIs, allowing for greater innovation and competition in the market. This has led to the rise of many fintech startups that are leveraging open banking to create new products and services.

What is Open Banking?

Open banking is a system that allows third-party providers to access financial data and services through APIs. This means that customers can share their financial data with other organizations, such as fintech startups or other banks, which can then use that data to provide new financial products and services.

Open banking was introduced in response to the increasing digitization of the financial services industry, as well as the growing demand for more personalized and innovative financial products. By allowing third-party providers to access financial data, open banking creates a more competitive market, which can lead to better services and lower costs for consumers.

There are two main types of open banking: regulatory and voluntary. Regulatory open banking is mandated by government regulations, such as the EU’s PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2), which requires banks to provide third-party providers with access to customer data through APIs. Voluntary open banking, on the other hand, is when banks choose to offer API access to third-party providers on their own accord, without any regulatory mandate.

How Fintech Startups are Using Open Banking to Create Innovative Financial Products and Services

One such fintech startup is Exactly, which offers a range of open banking services to businesses. Their open banking platform enables businesses to connect to their customers’ bank accounts and access real-time data, enabling them to provide more personalized and relevant financial products and services. Additionally, Exactly’s payment gateway and payment processing services enable businesses to easily accept payments online, and allows to offer recurring payments and instant bank pay options.

GoCardless, on the other hand, focuses specifically on recurring payments and direct debits. Their instant bank pay product enables businesses to offer their customers a fast and seamless way to make payments directly from their bank accounts. Meanwhile, their recurring payments product allows businesses to set up and manage regular payments, making it ideal for subscription-based businesses.

Other fintech startups to watch in the open banking space include:

1. Tink: This Sweden-based fintech startup offers an open banking platform that allows businesses to access financial data from across Europe, making it easier to provide personalized financial products and services.

2. Railsbank: Railsbank is a UK-based fintech startup that offers a range of open banking services, including account management, card issuance, and payment processing.

3. TrueLayer: TrueLayer is a UK-based fintech startup that offers a range of open banking APIs, including payment initiation, account information, and authentication.

Overall, the open banking space is rapidly evolving, with new fintech startups emerging all the time. Exactly and GoCardless are just two examples of fintech startups that are leveraging open banking to create innovative new products and services. As the industry continues to grow, it will be interesting to see what other new startups emerge and how they will shape the future of financial services.

Positive happy female employee resting at workplace

Wellbeing Coaching in the Workplace

Coaching for performance is common in the workplace, but coaching to enhance wellbeing is less well-known.  However, it’s essential to address your team’s wellbeing to ensure they continue to perform well at work.  That means wellbeing coaching should be a key part of every employee’s development.

Let’s be honest – anyone who is over-stressed, depressed, feeling put-upon or simply stuck in a rut is not going to perform at their best.  It’s the part of the management team’s role to be aware of the mental health of their team members and to take positive action, sooner rather than later.  If you wait until things start to come apart at the seams it’s going to be an uphill struggle to get an individual back on track.

The effects of just one person having to deal with wellbeing issues can affect the whole team and the business too.  It may require time off work for that person to regroup and that means their work will need to be done by others, either by sharing it out among the current team or recruiting a temporary member of staff – with all the additional work it takes to get them up to speed.

The danger is that other team members then get over-stressed and burnout can race through the team like wildfire.


Look after your assets

Employees are assets.  They are the variable that can help the company to be an enormous success – or cause it to struggle.  Every member of the team needs to be fully engaged for the team to really perform at the top of its game – and that situation is rare.

If you have any other type of asset you’re likely to look after it, keeping it safe and in great condition to ensure it retains its value.  Why would you treat your staff any other way?

Before we explore coaching for wellbeing, let’s look at some strategies your company could put in place to create a healthy and productive work environment.

Encourage regular breaks: When people break throughout the day to stretch, move, and recharge it helps to reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Provide resources: Books, articles, and workshops that promote well-being are all ways people can learn new skills and techniques for managing stress and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Foster a supportive environment: If people support one another and create a culture of openness and acceptance it defuses potentially stressful situations.  If your team know you operate with an attitude of support, not censure, they’re more likely to come to you with problems in time to find a solution and before it becomes critical.

Encourage healthy habits: Regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep all promote overall well-being.  These can be part of the focus for wellbeing coaching.

Provide opportunities for growth: If you know what your team members’ aspirations are, you can offer opportunities for growth and development that will increase job satisfaction and generate dopamine, the ‘happy hormone’ or feel-good-factor.

Lead by example: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ isn’t a good formula to encourage people to practise healthy habits.  Promote a healthy work-life balance, by practising good habits yourself and you’ll develop a culture of wellbeing and inspire employees to prioritise their own wellbeing.


Coaching is not counselling

Coaching employees for well-being requires a holistic approach that takes into account the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of employees.  It’s not your role as a leader to become a counsellor for your team. 

As a good manager you can coach your team in a range of skills that will benefit their wellbeing.  That might be helping them to manage their time better, encouraging them to delegate appropriately rather than trying to do it all themselves and instilling healthy work practices such as taking regular breaks, going home on time, making sure they take their holiday allowance and discouraging working outside hours or on vacation.

If you practice ongoing assessment wellbeing coaching fits perfectly into this process.  It’s part of developing a culture within your team and your organisation that actively supports wellbeing rather than just talking about it.

Robin Damhar is CEO of Nest Healthcare, offering a range of therapies, treatments and professional development, both on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

Robin Damhar

5 Effective Ways to Simplify the Payment Process

If your business sells products, it’s important to not only make the products high quality, but the process of buying them too – especially online. The process should be effortless for your customers and employees – creating the most efficient business possible.

So, if you want to make your business run more smoothly, here are five ways to simplify the payment process with an advanced spend management software – such as that provided by Mesh Payments.

Accept different payment forms

One way to ensure a business is worth revisiting, is to make payments an easy process. Accepting a wide range of payment options will increase the number of sales your business has, as more customers are being catered for. Customers will become satisfied in knowing that they have freedom when it comes to choosing how to pay.

Not only is this great for customers, but for business payments. Ensuring that payment types are more flexible could result in stronger relationships between a business and its suppliers.

The first type of payment that your business should accept are credit or debit cards, as these are the most common choices.

With more people going contactless, mobile pay has grown significantly, so this is another vital option that your business should accept – a great example of this is Apple Pay.

Spend management includes additional options with Plug & Pay™ cards and virtual cards to give more flexibility. With more payment options potentially being a win for all, this is a great step to ensure relationships between everyone involved in a business are strong.

Determine what your business needs

Allowing for more payment options could become expensive, especially if your business is smaller, so it’s important to evaluate what your business needs. The type of payment processor will depend on what a business can afford, so this should be properly considered.

Some considerations are based on business size and a business’ average sales volume, but also the processing fees that are involved.

There’s an in-house processing fee where Point of Sale (POS) systems can charge a business a monthly usage, or a credit card processing fee, instead of a monthly fee.

Data organization

When you begin to think of adding a wider variety of payment options to your business, there will be a higher need to keep all of the data surrounding them organized. Without great levels of organization, this could cause system complications, resulting in a weak workflow.

Something to look into when processing data is analytics reporting, which assists a business in converting information into insights. This can be used to efficiently check sales reports and create schedules for business payments.

Without reporting the payments a business is making and receiving, a company could fail. By setting out your line of organization, it will become easier to implement this across all business areas to keep them in order. With spend management, a business can manage their whole spend from a centralized hub, with full control into every payment – in real time.

Ensure privacy and security

When customers are making payments to your business, or your business is making outgoing payments, it’s important that online payments are fast, smooth, but most importantly – personal data is safe.

Online payments are extremely open to scams, but there are safety measures that can prevent them from happening. By getting a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your business, it provides a sense of security to anyone using its services.

Automatic payments

A great way to become efficient within a business is to set up automatic payments. These could be used for payments to regular suppliers through automation software. The same goes for customers, as they can set up monthly subscription fees, making it easier for all to use.

Spend management helps with automation by seamlessly integrating with your businesses ERP (enterprise resource planning) to automate the whole payment process and streamlining workflows with any apps that are already in use.

With simplicity across all kinds of payments, this is a great way to boost sales and business transactions with suppliers.

With five steps to improve the payment process within a business, using just one will make a business more efficient.