Easy Ways to Boost Your Job Prospects in a Crowded Market

job candidates

Does it feel like you are constantly being overlooked for jobs? Are you having a hard time standing out, and really making your mark against the competition? This is a common complaint that job seekers have, especially in these times where the job market often seems crowded and incredibly competitive. So, what can you do to boost your job prospects? How can you turn things around so you are no longer overlooked?

The good news is that there are a lot of steps you can take that will not only increase your odds of getting noticed by a potential employer, but land and interview, and get that dream job. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making one or two small changes in your approach, whereas other times will call for more drastic steps to be taken. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can increase your job prospects even in a crowded market.

mock cv

Add a Little Creativity to Your CV

The first step is to look at your CV with a critical eye. Is it basic and bland, does it look and read like everyone else’s CV? Is there anything unique that stands out? Is it really the best representation of you, your skills, knowledge, and experience?

A CV is your first impression and you want to be sure you don’t waste it. Take the time to find ways to add a little creativity to the CV, make sure it is brief and concise, and ensure you’ve got all the most important details included without going overboard. You can even have a friend, family member, mentor, or CV service look over it for input. It could just be a few simple changes that it needs.

 

Further Your Education and Credentials

Another tip is to further your education and credentials. Any time you can beef up your CV with this kind of content and skills, it’s going to help to set you apart from others. Some employers will be looking for specific degrees, certificates, and credentials to even be considered at all.

A great example is a PgCert, which stands for post-graduate certificate. Just what exactly is a PGCert? Well, you can think of it as a “mini master’s” that you pursue after completing your undergraduate degree. It takes a shorter time to complete than a Master’s and therefore is worth 1/3 of that of a Master’s. This translates to 225 university contact hours.

What it does is elevate your level of knowledge and understanding, and prove to employers how much of an asset you’d be, and how serious you are about your field of study. It’s an excellent way to have your CV stand out.

You can read more about a PgCert here with Uni Compare’s blog that answers the question “what is a PGCert?” Here you will learn what the levels are, why you should get one, and all other important details. This website can act as a great resource for anyone looking to obtain career guides, and university rankings, with the ability to compare courses and schools, and more.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

It sounds like a cliché, but this saying is true when it comes to job hunting. Sure, you may have your hopes and dreams pinned on one job with a particular employer, but it’s not an approach that is advised. Applying to multiple jobs that interest you helps to increase your odds of getting hired. It’s simple maths – the more you’re out there, the higher the odds will be that you find something.

If you plan on applying to multiple jobs, it’s also a good idea to keep a list, or some sort of record of each job, the employer, the position, the date you applied, and so forth. You want to be sure you remember each posting should you be contacted and asked in for an interview.

 

Start Networking – Any Amount Can Help

Finally, you want to be sure you’re networking as much as possible. This can start off small with your circle of friends and family; put the word out that you’re looking for a job and see if anyone has any leads.

From there you can get onto LinkedIn, which is the perfect way to make connections within your chosen industry. Many people have found a lot of success on LinkedIn when it comes to job hunting – at the very least, it can help you to expand your network. Just be sure your profile is professional and speaks to the field you have your eye on.

It Is Possible to Stand Out in the Crowd

By using these tips, staying consistent with your efforts, and keeping a positive attitude, you will be able to stand out in the crowded market and finally land that job you had been dreaming about.

UK Jobs On The Up: Sales And Education Vacancies Rise 26%

Sales
  • Sales & trading and education & training both reported a 26% increase in hiring last week
  • The number of people applying for sales roles has doubled since the beginning of 2020
  • Overall, hiring across the UK is up 20% following the PM’s ‘build, build, build’ announcement

Demand for sales staff and education professionals spiked last week as hiring across the country saw the first positive increase in weeks, with the number of jobs posted across the UK up 20% last week. That’s according to the latest real-time statistics from the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology.

 

Sales staff and teachers in demand

The beginning of July saw the number of sales and trading roles advertised rise 26% week-on-week as more brands began to open their doors to customers and organisations continued to get back to work. However, Broadbean Technology’s data further revealed that the average number of people applying for sales roles has doubled so far this year, with around 65.5 candidates applying for each position. This is indicative of the number of people out of work in the sales arena since the pandemic forced many businesses to close.

The data also revealed that education and training saw a 26% increase in the number of vacancies added in the week ending 5th July as schools continue to struggle sourcing enough teachers ahead of the mandatory re-opening of all education institutions in September.

 

Permanent vacancies increasing

While all contract types saw an increase in hiring, permanent vacancies are up for the first time in three weeks following the Prime Minister’s ‘build, build, build’ speech. In light of Boris Johnson’s unveiling of plans to soften the economic impact of Covid-19, the number of new permanent jobs being advertised rose 19% week-on-week, indicating an uptick in positivity across many UK employers.


Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology commented:

“It’s incredibly encouraging to once again see vacancies growing across the board. The uptick in permanent jobs in particular indicates a level of positivity in the UK economy that is welcome news for businesses and individuals alike. With more companies able to once again reopen, and shops and schools welcoming customers and pupils back, we certainly expected to see some demand for new staff. However, while this is good news, employers in these specialisms face different challenges. For education institutes, the on-going shortage of teachers is still hampering hiring, with the number of jobs being advertised remaining relatively high throughout the crisis. Before lockdown began, headteachers were reporting that they were struggling to find enough staff to keep schools open, and this increase in vacancies suggests the problem is prevailing as they gear up to welcome all pupils back in September.

“Those employers seeking sales and trading staff might welcome the news that more people are applying for jobs, but this poses an additional problem of finding the right individual for the role. With an abundance of candidates putting themselves forward, the challenge for employers now lies in ensuring they find the person with not just the right skills, but also the right fit with the company so they don’t make the costly mistake of hiring the wrong person in the long run.”

Should I Invest in Peer-to-Peer Lending?

Daniel Tannenbaum, Tudor Lodge Consultants
Expert Opinion Piece by Daniel Tannenbaum, Tudor Lodge Consultants

Peer-to-peer lending is a form of borrowing and investing that has grown in immense popularity in recent years, with an estimated transactional value of £6 billion per year in the UK.

P2P companies or platforms act as middlemen between borrowers looking for loans and individual investors looking to earn a healthy return.

Whilst sticking with your ISA can be a safe option, the interest rates of 1% to 2% per annum are not overly attractive – and this has given way to a more technology driven peer-to-peer industry where annual returns range from 3% to 15% per annum.

Similar to ISAs, you will maximise your returns by keeping your money locked in for as long as possible and avoid making any instant or early withdrawals.

What are your investing in?

With peer-to-peer lending, you are investing in a pool of other anonymous people who are looking for loans and who are applying online using the P2P platform provided.

The majority of peer-to-peer lenders offer unsecured loans of just a few hundred or thousand pounds (Zopa, Ratesetter, Fund Ourselves). Some providers extend their proposition to lending through business loans, against property assets, corporate debentures and personal guarantees.

Your potential return is based on your level of risk that you accept, with good credit or safer customers offering a lower return on investment. If you wish to maximise your return, you can opt for riskier borrowers who may have bad credit. The typical option is to diversify your investments, using the tools provided by the lender.

What are the advantages?

The main advantage of investing in peer-to-peer is that the potential returns are some of the highest around when it comes to investment products.

Market-leader Zopa offers rates of up to 6% per annum, significantly higher than your average ISA or bond – and other new lenders such as Fund Ourselves offer as much as 15% per annum.

As a borrower you can choose your level of risk, by potentially investing in people with bad credit to yield the highest returns.

The peer-to-peer lending industry is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and this ensures measures are in place to protect both investors and borrowers – meanwhile investing in something like cryptocurrency comes with no centralised banking system, regulation or any form of protection.


What are the risks?

Your investments through peer-to-peer are not covered by the financial services compensation scheme, meaning that you cannot recover any losses up to £85,000 immediately. There may be some compensation in place if bad advice has been given, but this may not be applicable to each provider.

There are chances that some of your loans are not fully repaid and you could earn less than expected. Certainly if you wish to take out your money early or make a withdrawal, this will lower your expected return.

However, the lender will typically have procedures in place to recover any potential losses, with customer service teams to chase bad debt and provision funds in place.Even in the event of the company going under or into administration, by law, they will take measures to reimburse investors. In the case of Lendy who ceased trading last year, they continue to follow up on any bad or outstanding debts from customers so they can continue to pay back any investors.

 

The Rise in Robo Advisory Services During Covid-19

The coronavirus and its associated pandemic have sent the whole world into a frenzy. It is affecting global economies, stock markets, small and large businesses, and the entire human race negatively. However, it is essential to note that during the pandemic, the robo-advisory industry has experienced a massive surge. While the coronavirus pandemic has closed down many borders, slowed down economies, and beaten down the global markets, it has allowed the robo-advisory industry to prove its worth among the tumultuous times.

The signups for robo-advisory services have surged like never before. The account numbers soared to an all-time high in the first quarter of 2020, with an average rise of 3.1% across all providers and platforms. Individually, Vanguard reported a 14% growth in assets and 35% surge in customer numbers while PensionBee also saw an increase of 14%. AJ Bell Youinvest and Hargreaves Lansdown were not far behind with growth in assets of 13% and 7.4%, respectively.

The reasons for the surge can be many; however, analysts speculate that the sudden rise can be due to the large number of millennials taking advantage of the buying opportunity in the bear market. Such investors have a longer time horizon and have a higher tolerance for economic damage. Amidst the crashing equity markets, the do-it-yourself investors are relying more on the advice of the automated robots than their shaken knowledge and experience.

Benefits of Robo Advisors During the Pandemic

The digital advice or robo-advisory platforms collect financial information from their clients online, analyse the data, offer advice, and invest automatically. They offer several advantages over the traditional modes of investment and advisory.

  • Unaffected by emotions: The most significant benefit of robo advisors is that they are unfazed by emotions. The decisions made by robo-advisory platforms are based on real-time statistics and not short-term occurrences, black swan events, or any biases. Furthermore, the digital advice platforms put together the portfolio of investors based on their investment horizon, risk tolerance, financial goals, and balance sheet. Thus, the impact of illogical behaviour, poor decision making, and spontaneous buy or sell decisions is eliminated, which is critical during the current times of uncertainty.
  • Invest in variable risk profiles and stable companies: Another benefit is that most of the robo-advisory platforms offer products catering to varying risk levels. The investments created in high, medium or low-risk products all depend on the risk appetite of the investors. Also, most of the digital advice platforms invest in blue-chip companies like Apple, GlaxoSmithKline, and HSBC, that are not heavily impacted by the current pandemic.
  • Long-term investment horizon: A noteworthy benefit of robo-advisory during the pandemic is its long-term horizon. Most of the investments made through the digital advisory platforms are for a long duration. It is important to consider that the pandemic has caused temporary downturns in the economy; however, the long-term horizon remains secured. The long-term investments made through robo-advisory platforms will again gain momentum after the pandemic is over. The unnerving news is that the Dow Jones dropped 6.7% in ten days during the pandemic, the S&P 500 lost 8.1%, crude oil hit the negative numbers for the first time in history, and the Nasdaq fell by 12.3%. However, the long-term view offers a ray of hope wherein the Dow Jones remains at a gain of 181% over the last ten years.
  • Re-evaluations: It is necessary to know that the evaluations done by the robo-advisory platforms are not permanent. The portfolios are reevaluated and rebalanced with the changing economic and market conditions. The effect of volatility on the investments is mitigated through tactical interventions by the digital portfolio managers who add the human touch to robo-advisory. Thus, robo-advisory is not completely devoid of a holistic approach and does not entirely depend on numbers.
  • Low Fees: The robo-advisory platforms are also beneficial during the pandemic because of their low-cost fees, usually from 0.25% per year, compared to the conventional stockbrokers and other alternatives. During the times of financial instability and uncertainty, investors prefer to pay low fees and require low opening balances.

According to reports, the robo-advisors with unique strategies, holdings, and asset allocations performed well during the first quarter of 2020. The traditional portfolios suffered a setback and reported negative returns in the same period. For instance, for March 2020, robo Titan Invest generated a positive return of 8.02%, while the S&P 500 was at a negative 13.79% for the same duration.

Thus, the robo-advisory portfolios with more high-quality corporate bonds and Treasury bonds performed better than those holding high-yield and emerging market bonds, and so did the portfolios with a neutral growth/value spectrum. During the pandemic, the robo-advisory portfolios hedged with a short position in the overall equity market performed better, besides the portfolios holding all individual equities that benefitted from tactical trades into the ETFs, shorting the S&P 500.

The portfolios that performed better than others also included socially responsible investing portfolios and the ones with a higher allocation to domestic equities by using total stock market ETFs that favour large-cap technology stocks and other high-flying stocks.

Research and reports show that despite the crashing markets, investors’ appetite remains high. The trading activity remains vigorous across the DIY investment platforms and robo-advisory platforms, and the numbers are expected to grow further into the second quarter of 2020. The robo-advisory industry will hit $1.4 trillion in assets under management in 2020, reporting a 47% gain year-over-year. Financial analysts expect the number to jump to $2.5 trillion by 2023.

The industry has historically gained during any financial crisis and should do the same during the current pandemic and economic crisis. In terms of the number of users, the robo-advisory industry has 70.5 million users, equivalent to the 3.1% gain in the first quarter of 2020, majorly owing to the pandemic. Analysts expect the number of users to grow to 123.5 million by 2022 and 147 million by 2023.The current coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that the robo-advisory industry is also not immune to market volatility. However, the surge in signups, asset under management, and the number of customers indicate the industry will continue to evolve as the future belongs to digital. The market adversity has taught many robo-advisory platforms to learn from their mistakes and apply the lessons in their future. This will only lead to more balanced millennials and more mature and stable robo-advisory platforms in the future.

Making Your Workplace Hygienic for Covid-19

With restrictions on covid-19 easing, non-essential workers and stores are expected to re-open on 4th July 2020.

However, with the threat of coronavirus and a second wave very much in the background, every place of interest will require formal procedures to maintain cleanliness and prevent further spreading of the toxic virus.

We speak to hygiene specialists, Trovex to get an insight into how to make a workplace or commercial building more hygienic.

Keeping a cleaning schedule

Banks, supermarkets and other high traffic areas will always have cleaning schedules – but it may be more important than ever to monitor them.

In fact, it could be worth making extra cleaning schedules and bringing in cleaners more frequently to reduce the risk of any disease spreading.

If you do not have back-up cleaners, this might be an important time to have second choice or third choice cleaners available on standby, in case you existing cleaners are not available. If you have customers or pupils coming into your office, store or school every day, you need to make sure the environment is attended to more regularly or ideally, on a daily basis.

Put hygiene first

Hygiene needs to become part of the company’s everyday culture and something that every member of new and existing staff needs to be trained in and be monitored for.

This could involve putting someone in charge of hygiene or greeting customers at the front of the store and making the best practices clear such as wearing gloves, masks or sanitising hands before entry.

Any additional signs, protective screens and clothing for staff members would be welcomed to limit the spread.

Staff members that are facing the general public (stores, hairdressers) should be wearing gloves and masks as a standard.

You should also encourage social distancing in the workplace and also check the health of any staff members on a daily basis. Hay fever can often be misinterpreted as a cold or flu, but if symptoms seem more drastic, you should be checking the temperature of your staff and asking them to stay home until further notice.

Hand sanitiser should be available at every corner and making sure that this is stocked up and not empty. For hospitals and clinics, it is common to have hand wash stations and hand sanitiser at the entrance of every room – and putting up signs to encourage this.

If the culture of hygiene is instilled into staff members and daily procedures, you are on track to creating a clean environment.

Stay on top of your supplies

To keep your buildings and workplace clean will require having all the right amounts of cleaning products including sprays, hand gels and liquids – and these will quickly become scarce amongst the large purchases from panic buyers.

Make sure that you can stay on top of your supplies and you can do this by checking with your suppliers and always looking for alternatives. It may be worth being slightly overstocked, just in case these products become hard to get hold of.

Maximise ventilation

You can design the layout of your store or office to maximise air flow and ventilation. If you have windows or doors, keep them wide open, which shouldn’t be too hard in the British summer.

In crowded office spaces in London, you should try increase ventilation where possible since any small and claustrophobic rooms are going to be a hotbed for germs. If someone infected coughs or sneezes, it will have less of a chance to escape.
If you run a food business or offer services, try provide them outside if you can or at least avoid lots of people coming into your premises if they do not have to.

The Employee Benefits Schemes in 2020 that are Supporting Mental Health

Employee benefits have been a vital component for managers and HR practitioners to incentivise and retain staff. In 2020, employee benefits are standard with any employee contract, part-time or full-time.

Whilst accessing discounts and perks was something that was adopted early by companies, 2020 has seen real momentum gather for those employee benefits and companies that support mental health and wellbeing, as highlighted by some of these products, companies and start-ups below.

Equipsme

Insuretech start-up Equipsme offer an affordable health insurance policy for small and large businesses. Whatever the size of the business, companies can insure staff with plans from as little as £7 per month per person.

With a basic policy, customers can get 24/7 GP access, online health checks, nurse support and 3 physio sessions as standard with the option to upgrade to stress support for as little as £1.50 per person per month, optical and dental cover for £7.50 per person per month too.

Earlier this month, Equipsme announced a partnership with Starling Bank, becoming the preferred health insurance partner for their customers.

Sweaty Betty

The popular active-wear brand strongly promotes a healthy mind and body and promotes keeping stress in the workplace to a minimum.

Each week, Sweaty Betty employees have the chance to join lunchtime yoga classes to help them relax. There is also the chance to join running clubs and start later in the day if they so wish, all with the aim of helping with stress management.

YuLife

YuLife is an insuretech startup which offers life insurance for businesses and their employees, with a huge focus on wellbeing and mental health.

Companies who take up yulife insurance policies can reward their employees through earning YuCoin.

YuCoin is earned by engaging in a healthy lifestyle, tracked by staff in a daily app and rewards activities such as yoga, meditation and walking or running a mile.

By accumulating YuCoin online, staff can then redeem these for real life rewards at shops, restaurants, and much more, already partnered with brands such as ASOS, Amazon and Nike.

Yulife have also developed partners with the likes of Farewill to offer a free will writing service to customers and AIG to offer virtual GPs on demand.

Innocent Smoothies

Delicious Innocent Smoothies are known for providing a range of employee benefits that puts the needs of its staff first. This is particularly the case when it comes to mental health as the smoothie firm aims to reduce work stresses through the inclusion of a free gym and breakfast to all staff.

The brand also provides a yoga club to its employees and a 100% confidential 24-hour employee assistance programme – so they can talk to someone privately about any issues they have.

Ernst & Young (EY)Ernst & Young have placed a huge emphasis on mental health in its organisation, providing not only private healthcare, but also free online health assessments and counselling that can be used by staff members and their families. It is completely confidential and available for 24-hours.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation Announces Executive Leadership Succession

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation announced that its Board of Directors approved an executive leadership succession following a deliberate, multi-year succession planning process.

Jack A. Hockema, who has served as Kaiser Aluminum’s Chief Executive Officer since October 2001 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since July 2006, will transition from his position as Chief Executive Officer effective as of July 31, 2020. Keith A. Harvey, a 40-year Kaiser veteran who has served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer since December 2015, will succeed Mr. Hockema as President and Chief Executive Officer and will become a member of the Company’s Board of Directors at that time. Mr. Hockema will remain on the Company’s Board of Directors as Executive Chairman, providing the benefit of his experience and leadership to enable a smooth and successful transition.

“Keith has had an integral role in driving our strategy and growth over the years and, as President and Chief Operating Officer, he has played an important leadership role at Kaiser Aluminum, building a strong operational and commercial team and creating a multi-disciplined leadership development program to ensure consistency of our culture and strategic direction. Keith is well respected within the organization, and I am confident in his ability to lead the Company,” said Mr. Hockema.

Alfred E. Osborne, Jr., Kaiser Aluminum’s Lead Independent Director, added, “Kaiser Aluminum has become a highly differentiated, well-respected leader in our industry under Jack’s leadership during the past 20 years and we believe is well positioned for the future. The Board of Directors unanimously elected Keith to be the next Chief Executive Officer, and we look forward to continuing to deliver value to our customers, shareholders and communities under his leadership for years to come.” 

Mr. Harvey joined the Company in 1981 as an industrial engineer at the Company’s former rolling mill in West Virginia. He subsequently held positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and sales at several Kaiser Aluminum locations before being named Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Aerospace and General Engineering in 2012 and Executive Vice President – Fabricated Products in 2014. He assumed his current position as President and Chief Operating Officer in 2015. Mr. Harvey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Calif., is a leading producer of semi-fabricated specialty aluminum products, serving customers worldwide with highly engineered solutions for aerospace and high-strength, general engineering, and custom automotive and industrial applications. The Company’s North American facilities produce value-added sheet, plate, extrusions, rod, bar, tube and wire products, adhering to traditions of quality, innovation and service that have been key components of its culture since the Company was founded in 1946. The Company’s stock is included in the Russell 2000® index and the S&P Small Cap 600® index.

For more information, please visit the Company’s web site at www.kaiseraluminum.com

Managing a safe return to work – six measures every employer should be ready to adopt

With organisations preparing for more staff returning to their places of work over the coming weeks, many questions have been raised about how to make offices, shops, factories and construction sites safer from the threat of an invisible virus.

“Unsurprisingly, we have seen a surge of enquiries and demand from employers regarding what measures they need to take to both ensure their staff’s safety, and also to comply with government guidelines,” said David Wormald, a director of Europe’s leading security and safety specialist, VPS UK.

“Our Covid-19 response team has developed a system targeted at employers to help support them manage the return to work with a solution comprising six practical steps.”

1. Property Inspections – Know what the problem is before you prepare to tackle it. Use the expertise of inspectors to check and evaluate your sites; their eye for detail will identify requirements and make sure the workplaces are compliant and free from defects; request a full checklist report, with high-definition evidential imagery.

2. Deploy a specialist disinfection cleaning service – Help alleviate employees’ fear and anxiety of infection upon returning to work, with a disinfection misting service. This fills areas with fine mist of disinfecting particles, leaving an anti-viral residue for up to seven days. It is suitable for areas containing electronics found in offices, call centers, and vehicles, and typically takes about two hours per office with the room ready to use in 10 minutes.

3. Social distancing signage and screens – Install social distancing signage that shows required direction of travel, distancing and queue locations, especially around places where staff might gather, like coffee machines and kitchen areas. Perspex screens can also be fitted to create barriers between desks, at point of sale and reception sites.

4. Body temperature detectors – Installing a body temperature measurement system will not only help keep staff safe, but will provide a significant reassurance to them that the management of the return to work has been handled with their safety as a top priority. This uses the latest in thermal camera technology paired with AI-enabled monitoring, for fully contact-less, accurate and fast fever detection which can be integrated into a wide array of sites. Cameras can be mounted on walls, ceilings or tripods, to make them extremely easy to install and able to be deployed rapidly.

5. Safe and secure access for all staff – Revised business operations may mean you need to close sites, which could require additional security, lock changes or goods moved to another location. Use Bluetooth smart doors and other remote access solutions that allow entry for authorised personnel only, to support business continuity, and also lone worker monitoring to help support their safety as well as social distancing protocols.

6. Compliance Inspections – do not just rely on a one-off inspection and installation of products and services. Carry out weekly inspections, including photographic records, to help ensure social distancing measures are being adhered to on site. Using specialist software, trained inspectors can upload these reports in real time to be instantly accessible.

https://www.vpsgroup.com/

63% of UK SMEs concerned about workplace safety as teams return

A poll by Vistage, a world leading business performance and leadership advancement organisation for small and midsize businesses, has revealed that 63.2% of UK business leaders are most worried about the safety of their workforce as economic activities resume following weeks of lockdown. 

The latest Vistage poll came after the UK government last week issued new guidance for businesses about reopening as the COVID-19 lockdown begins to gradually ease. New directions include social distancing in workplaces and the wearing of face masks in enclosed places, such as offices and shops. However, in spite of these measures, the majority of UK SMBs still remain concerned.

In addition to this, the poll found: 

  • A fifth (20%) of business leaders are concerned by the prospect of a slow recovery
  • 7.3% of respondents fear the end of the government-backed furlough scheme and what that could mean for their ability to retain their workforce levels
  • Just one in ten (9.4%) have no concerns 

Geoff Lawrence, Managing Director at Vistage UK, said: “While many UK small- and medium-sized businesses welcome the new government guidelines, it is also clear that companies are at different stages of readiness to reopen. It is, therefore, no surprise that leaders and senior executives are concerned about bringing their staff back to work without adequate protection and procedures in place. 

“At Vistage, we are advising business members to carry out a risk assessment to address specific concerns relating to the transmission of the disease between staff and put in place processes to limit those risks. Additionally, leaders should familiarise themselves with the government’s guidelines on maintaining social distancing and instances where there may be exceptions.”

Vistage is an executive coaching and leadership development organisation where business leaders enhance their leadership skills and solve their most important business challenges. Members meet with their peers in group meetings, facilitated by accomplished, executive-level coaches, to help solve their most complex issues. They receive additional perspectives from expert speakers and a global membership community.

For more information, visit www.vistage.co.uk.

Intellectual Property in the Age of Industry 4.0

The growth of the digital era and industry 4.0 have fuelled the growth of intangible rather than physical assets, with intellectual property (IP) representing one of the largest asset classes that a company can hold and can include patents, trademarks, brands, databases, software and trade secrets.

James Turner, Director at Company Formation Specialists, Turner Little takes us through the details of why it is important to protect these assets, and how we can do so.

“IP is important, but rarely accounted for, because we most often equate value with money. It’s not always easy to evaluate its financial worth, but it’s important to create a plan to protect it. From a commercial standpoint, IP needs to be protected in order for companies to maintain their unique market position, but it can also have financial benefits – as it can be used as collateral for loans or company valuation in the event of a merger or acquisition.

“As industry 4.0 takes hold, we expect there to be a sharp increase in concerns surrounding the protection and ownership of IP rights. Designing the right business structure is an important consideration when protecting a company’s IP from theft, misappropriation, infringement or even potential creditors. For example, companies can limit liability through the use of holding and operating companies, which enables owners to centralise the company’s assets. Offshore companies can also be leveraged in the creation of these structures and can offer additional flexibility. 

“That’s where we come in. At Turner Little, we specialise in creating bespoke solutions and structures for individuals and businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small business owner or own a large plc, it’s important to ensure that your IP is secure, so you can focus on building a successful business.”

www.turnerlittle.com

UK Vape Industry Set To Change?

The vape industry has grown into a massive industry since its introduction and now the global vape market is worth an estimated £15.5bn. The biggest markets are the United Kingdom, United States, France and Germany. It may now be growing at a slightly slower rate than when it first started but the industry is still expected to grow, particularly as specialised vape products become more readily available and with the recent ban of menthol cigarettes. 

Are Vape Shops Becoming Saturated? 

In the UK, whichever high street you decide to visit, you are guaranteed to come across at least one vape shop. Most of the bigger shopping centre owners also now allow vape shops to operate within them. This is great for vapers because they can easily access their vape items and never have to worry about being without them. This has also made it cheaper to vape. As the competition has increased, prices have fallen and a lot of vape shops are now happy to operate with smaller margins. For example, you can now get 100ml e-liquid bottles for as cheap as £5.00 with brands such as Six Licks 50/50 being low price, high quality options. This is a natural process that always occurs when a market becomes saturated and its great for consumers but not necessarily for vape shops and businesses. 

When a market is saturated, business owners operating within it must decide whether to drop their prices or hold their margins. The same applies to vape shops. Although every vape shop will have its own unique expenses, the long term survival of these shops will be determined by if they can sustain high margins whilst maintaining competitive prices. Customers still need to see they are getting good value money. Individual vape shops will never be as busy as the likes of Tesco or Sainsburys. This is what makes margin even more important. They need to take all their costs and expenses into consideration and then apply a margin that covers all them on a quieter day with a bit left over. Vape shops that operate on smaller margins may survive in the shorter term but not in the longer term. 

What’s Next? 

The general high street downturn, the Brexit crisis and the government imposed COVID-19 lock down would have taken a toll on some vape shops, particularity those that solely rely on their B&M shops as a source of revenue. The likelihood now is that you will see some of them close down and cease operations. The shops that have an online presence and that have expanded their operations outside of their shops will more than likely continue to see growth. However, this growth will see bumps and downward pressure at times as the UK economy is about to enter one of the biggest recessions on record. Whilst users of e-cigarettes are addicted to the nicotine within e-liquids, some can and will economise when times get financially tough. 

The Online Retail Vape Market 

It is no secret that the high street in the UK is losing a battle against online retailers. Online retailers have lower fixed costs and people in the UK like the convenience of shopping online. For vape businesses, the online vape market is just as saturated as the shops on the high street. However, the number of people shopping online has increased and you can reach customers nationally and internationally. The same applies to most retail businesses. However, to be successful online, you need to spend thousands to increase your presence and to ensure your website is optimised. This can potentially take years and therefore it’s not as easy as it appears. There is far more to it than just simply packing parcels and dispatching them. 

Conclusion Just like every other industry, the vape market is following the natural trends and processes that most other retail industries follow. The likelihood going forward is that you’ll see the overall industry grow in the UK with fewer of the shops around as the market attempts to level itself out. However, fewer shops doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any less convenient for vapers. They may find one vape shop on a high street rather than two or three with another one within 2-3 miles.   

Business Planning Services at their Best

As businesses become more complex and interconnected, the need for more sophisticated systems has become increasingly obvious. The team at Exceedra understand exactly what a modern business requires, providing exceptional work in the field of integrated business planning and revenue management systems for CPG. As we continue to showcase example of Corporate Excellence, we turn our attention to Exceedra, named as Most Outstanding Business Planning Solution, 2020 – USA.

For the last two decades, Exceedra has grown from a small integrated business planning company, opera ting primarily in the UK into an award-winning, multi-national organization. It is hard work, business acumen and innovative thinking that has transformed this company into such an amazing success.

When it comes to integrated business planning and revenue management systems, the team at Exceedra have made the process as straightforward as possible. A modular approach gives clients the ability to make their system work for them, allowing businesses to draw on an impressive range of capacity and sophistication. The range includes Trade Promotion Management (TPM), Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO), Trade Promotion Management Foodservice, Customer Business Planning (CBP), Joint Business Planning (JBP), Demand Planning, Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) and Retail Execution. It allows companies to have support when they need it, in these key areas.

Often, the companies that turn to Exceedra for assistance need a little more help to find the best possible solution and the team have become adept at understanding the needs and demands of each customer, so that the right solution can be established. Not only do businesses find an impressive level of customer service with Exceedra, but they are given a roadmap that provides guidance on how best to allow the system to mature with the company. This highly capable and easy to use solution is the secret behind the team’s impressive success.

In order to achieve success, Exceedra’s software is designed specifically to provide immediate benefits to a business, not only in terms of capacity, but with regards to speed and efficiency in the planning and execution process. What clients receive is not just the software, but the knowledge of how to leverage that software to their advantage.

Although it boasts humble beginnings in the United Kingdom, offices in the US and Australia ensure that Exceedra has a truly international attitude. Not content with exploring the possibilities of Great Britain and Northern Island, the team have been planning the most effective way of disrupting the global market. The aim is ambitious, but straightforward, focusing on becoming the de facto solution for integrated business planning and revenue management for consumer goods companies worldwide.

E-commerce has made an incredible difference to the way in which this market runs, and Exceedra has had to adapt not only to the new big names in the industry, but the ease with which people are able to join it. Exceedra has made its business in adapting to new ways of working, and is already striving to make improvements to its products that will help clients to combat these challenges. The pressures that clients face are mirrored in the roadmap that Exceedra provides, and ensuring that their roadmap is always accurate keeps the company grounded.

Looking forward, the Exceedra team plans to focus on customer value generation, looking for ways in which it can maintain its position as the leading global provider of purpose-built software to the food distribution industry. This process has already begun, with the company well on the way to delivering real value in TPM and IBP, thanks to the introduction of machine learning.

Finding new ways to work has been key to the success of Exceedra, and it’s a way of operating that has opened new possibilities for this impressive company. It’s what has allowed them to achieve such incredible success.

Contact: Chris Rice

Website: http://www.exceedra.com

Email: [email protected]