Archive for February, 2017

UPS Upgrades Flex Global View Tool to Help You Better Track Shipments

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

UPS Flex Global View Upgrade Will Help You Better Track Shipments

UPS (NYSE: UPS) recently announced improvements to Flex Global View, its event management and visibility tool for air, ocean and surface freight shipments, to help you better track shipments.

UPS Flex Global View Upgrade

Now UPS supply chain customers who log into Flex Global View will find upgrades including:

  • New ocean container dashboard — a visibility dashboard specifically for ocean containers. Information about containers can be sorted by carrier, port of loading and unloading, shipper, receiver, etc.
  • UPS transportation invoice — customers billed in the U.S. and Canada can now view an image of the UPS invoice associated with their air and ocean freight shipments.
  • Better dashboards and reports — enhanced and better organized for easier search and reporting requirements.

If you are a small business operator or eCommerce business looking to maintain a smooth running supply chain, you probably crave the ability to view and respond to shipment information and critical package milestones as they occur. The newly improved Flex Global View promises to help you do just that, and enhance visibility throughout your supply chain. Enhanced visibility and access to shipment information can help you make critical business decisions, stay nimble and improve your overall results.

More Flex Global View Enhancements Expected

Flex Global View is updated continuously by carriers and the UPS global operating systems. In keeping with this tradition, UPS said it will continue deploying new enhancement throughout 2017.

“UPS is committed to continuous improvement to this important customer technology tool,” said Cindy Miller, president of UPS Freight Forwarding in a press release announcing these latest updates. “No one likes supply chain surprises, which is why Flex Global View offers a level of visibility, reporting and alerts that keep customers informed and in better control of their supply chain.”

Image: UPS

This article, “UPS Upgrades Flex Global View Tool to Help You Better Track Shipments” was first published on Small Business Trends

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20 Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing from Your Small Business

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

20 Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing from Your Small Business

Over the course of the past couple of decades, outsourcing has become one of the most hotly debated topics in American politics. Nobody likes to see jobs go overseas, and lawmakers love to use a firm stance against the threat of outsourcing as a rallying point for their wider business agendas.

But in the realm of small business, outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean taking work overseas. When small business owners talk about outsourcing, they’re usually thinking of farming out content work to freelance writers, hiring an accountancy firm to take on the book keeping or relying on an employment agency to track down and deploy hired help.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing

In the right context and deployed shrewdly, outsourcing can be a fantastic way for small business owners to improve efficiencies and bolster their company’s bottom line. But that doesn’t mean the practice isn’t without its own disadvantages, too. Outsourcing isn’t right for every situation, and so you’ve got to think long and hard before investing time and energy in farming out work.

To help you get started, here are 20 advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing from your small business.

Advantages of Outsourcing

1. You Get More Experts

Your core team might be fantastic at a few things, but nobody is perfect at everything. By outsourcing particular tasks, companies are often able to substantially improve performance by drawing on the niche skills of experts in certain fields.

2. Things Get Done Fast

One of the top reasons small businesses tend to outsource work is because it will get done quicker. If you’re working with a limited number of staff members, you can get things done a whole lot quicker by passing time-consuming tasks on to freelancers or external agencies.

3. You’re Able to Focus on What Matters

Another benefit of outsourcing tasks is enhanced freedom. By passing on supporting processes, you’ll be able to concentrate your skills on strengthening and improving the core processes that help make your business tick.

4. You Can Share Some Risk

One of the most important factors in any project is risk assessment and analysis. By outsourcing certain campaigns or processes on to experts in their respective fields, you will benefit from their enhanced ability to plan and mitigate potential risks.

5. You Can Reduce Costs

As one might imagine, outsourcing piecemeal work is almost always going to be cheaper than hiring permanent full time staff. Not only will you save time and money on recruitment, but your profit will also be extended than s to shorter overheads.

6. You Can Work Around the Clock

One major benefit of outsourcing digital work overseas is the substantial differences you might encounter in terms of time zones and holidays. Although this can pose an initial hurdle logistically, once overcome it can effectively mean your business is running even while you’re fast asleep.

7. You Can Simplify Project Management

If you choose to outsource work via a wide range of specialist freelance websites and online services, you’re often provided dynamic and intuitive platforms that will help you to effectively manage what’s being done, when it’s due for submission and how it will be paid. Most of this can be automated, freeing up your time for more important work.

8. You Simplify Work Relationships

Quite a few small business teams are tight-knit groups of friends and family — which is fantastic. But when you’re incredibly close to your staff members, it can also lead to issues when work isn’t being done up to par. By outsourcing work, you’ll typically be able to minimize work relationships to simple, contractual arrangements.

9. Efforts Are More Targeted

Another overlooked advantage of outsourcing is that it enables you to plan and execute more effective, targeted campaigns and projects that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to take on. This gives your business the chance to take new risks and experiment with different methods of exposure.

10. You Get Peace of Mind

At the end of the day, choosing to outsource with a reliable individual or agency should give you peace of mind that tasks are being handled expertly and efficiently without you having to worry or lift a finger. What could be better?

Disadvantages of Outsourcing

1. You Lose Some Control

As you might expect, when you farm work out to external agencies or freelancers, you’re losing control of how those tasks are being monitored and performed. So long as you know and trust who you’ve hired, that shouldn’t be a huge issue – but you’ve got to tread carefully.

2. There are Hidden Costs

Although outsourcing work is generally considered cheaper, yo must also beware of getting ripped off. Outsourcing companies or big agencies will typically ask small business owners to sign lengthy contractual agreements, and they’ll include plenty of fine print. If you don’t read the terms carefully, you could get hit with unexpected costs.

3. There are Security Risks

In this age of data protection, it’s essential that you exercise caution whenever using customer data. If you plan to outsource processes that require personal data, you could be placing the privacy of others or security of your business at risk by passing that data on to other people.

4. You Reduce Quality Control

Outsourcing companies and some freelancers may often be motivated by profit rather than a job well done. That means the work you send out may come back quickly, but will lack the standard and quality that customers have come to expect from your products or services.

5. You Share Financial Burdens

Although it can be nice to bring in expert agencies to share in risks, it can be pretty dangerous to tie your business to the financial well-being of another company. Again, you’ve got to spell out any and all terms and conditions in contractual arrangements plainly – because you don’t want to take a financial hit if they fail to deliver.

6. You Risk Public Backlash

If you’re taking work overseas (even just to write a blog or two), your business very well may run into ill will from consumers that have taken a moral stance against outsourcing. Right or wrong, for better or for worse, some form of criticism is often inevitable.

7. You Shift Time Frames

One major disadvantage of outsourcing particular tasks is the risk that your freelancers or partner agency may be marching to the beat of a different drum. As a result, it might be difficult to synchronize schedules in order to ensure your customers receive what’s promised to them on a reliable timeline.

8. You Can Lose Your Focus

Because many outsourcing agencies or freelancers tend to service multiple clients at any given time, the work you’re sending out may not be receiving the focus it deserves. Depending on the processes you’re outsourcing, that lack of focus could be detrimental to your small business.

9. Things Get Lost in Translation

It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with overseas freelancers or some talented expert just up the street – but if you’re handing out remote work via email or telephone, important instructions are often lost in translation. That could cause you serious time, money and hassle.

10. You May Face Moral Dilemmas

While it may not be an issue for everyone, a major disadvantage of outsourcing is that you may be denying your team or a talented local agency crucial work or development opportunities. Growth begets growth, and by outsourcing work, you may not be contributing to the growth of your community.

Outsource Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “20 Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing from Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Give Your Business a Boost with the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Sponsored Post

Give Your Business a Boost with the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Inspiring small businesses are being recognized and rewarded every year. Share what inspired you and your core mission and you could be the next winner.

Entering its fifth year, the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest awards tens of thousands of dollars to passionate small business owners across the country.

Nicole Snow is the founder and CEO of Darn Good Yarn and the first grand prize winner of the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. Her company sources and upcycles materials to create unique yarns and goods from all over the world, providing sustainable employment year round to hundreds of families in India and Nepal.

For her, winning was as simple as telling her unique story.

“At the time I was living in Maine and I had a really complex international supply chain,” she said. “When I entered the contest, I really just tried to tell my story. Many small businesses are created out of a significant life experience or something you want to change in the world — those are the kinds of stories people want to hear.”

Nicole received a $25,000 grant to invest and further grow her business. The quick infusion of cash helped grow her inventory and bring on additional staff, but she is quick to say there was value in the contest far beyond the grant money.

“Winning the grant was real validation that I was onto something,” Nicole said. “As a small business owner, you often have to be your own cheerleader, so when a company like FedEx gets behind you, it helps give you the confidence to go forward in full force with your business.”

Nicole recommends all small business owners enter the Grant Contest because there are benefits beyond winning a grant. The submission process can be invaluable.

“When you own a business, you’re in charge of everything.  When you have to sit down and fill out an application and talk about what your mission is, it’s a great opportunity to rethink and realign what you’re really doing. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with your core and your ethos and get it on paper.”

Ready to tell your story? The entry period for the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest runs from February 21 to March 29. Learn more and submit your story at fedex.com/grantcontest and you could win a $25,000 grant and $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services for your small business.

Image: FedEx

This article, “Give Your Business a Boost with the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest” was first published on Small Business Trends

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EU To Put End To Tax Avoidance by MNCs

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The Finance Ministers of EU member-states have agreed to close loopholes in tax legislation allowing multinational companies to avoid paying taxes on dividends, reported Reuters.

The agreement is a step in the direction of terminating the practice of companies declaring their taxes where they find it most expedient to pay taxes.

The rules agreed on Tuesday are expected to enter into force in 2020. It is expected that these will help EU countries compensate for losses from the current practice of multinational companies reducing the amount of taxes owed by declaring their profits in countries with lower taxes.

Such schemes are used by giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Starbucks etc. and, at present, these are completely legal.

The agreement reached on Tuesday postponed by a year the implementation of the new rules to January 2020 because some countries pointed out that it might have certain negative consequences for competitiveness should the amendments to tax laws be adopted too quickly. In some cases, the rules will be valid as of 2022.

With the new agreement, the ministers managed to reach a compromise definition of a tax haven. So far, there was no agreement in the EU on a common list of countries used as tax havens. Some countries insisted on having their own list which normally remained blank, added Reuters.

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Yelp Q-and-A Solicits More Community Feedback for Your Brand

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Yelp Questions and Answers Feature Solicits More Community Feedback for Your Brand

Whether you have a restaurant or pottery shop, customers will have questions regarding your business. And those answers are not going to be available on your site no matter how thorough you are. That is just a fact. The new Questions & Answers feature from Yelp (NYSE:YELP) gives your customers the answers they need about your business from actual customers or yourself.

New Yelp Questions and Answers Feature

This Q&A thread of a restaurant called Le Pigeon is a common example of the kind of unexpected questions customers may ask. But the answer provides details from a personal experience that may not be captured in an FAQ section of the site, if it has one.

Questions & Answers started as part of Yelp’s  hackathon project , a two-day event where the company’s engineers can go wild creating innovative and out of the box whimsical and useful projects. The Q&A brings the platform’s 115 million engaged reviewers and business owners so customers can get their questions answered with real world experiences.

The best aspect of this Q&A is you will get multiple answers, even to questions you might’ve not thought of asking. A simple “How long do people stay?” question for the  Kennedy Space Center resulted in seven answers, including one for VIP tours people may not be aware of.

 

Just like other social media platforms, on Yelp a question can be up-voted or down-voted depending on how helpful it was, and it can have multiple answers. And users can get notified when their questions or those of other members of the community get answered.

Yelp is adding more features to its platform, including analytics to give small businesses more tools to engage with their customers. These types of engagements provide invaluable data that will help you answer customer demand and be more proactive in introducing new products and services based on the conversations they are having about your company.

Questions & Answers is available in the U.S. on Android, iOS and desktop platforms.

Yelp Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Yelp Q-and-A Solicits More Community Feedback for Your Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Juncker: Great Britain Will Pay Stiff Price for Brexit

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Great Britain will pay a stiff price for leaving the European Union, warned in a speech to the Belgian Federal Parliament the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
These will be difficult negotiations which will continue for two years in order to agree on the terms of Brexit. Years will be needed, however, in order to agree on our future relations. The British know already that there will neither be a discount in the price, nor should they expect zero expenses. The British will have to honour their commitments, so this will be a stiff price to pay.
It is expected that the British government will launch the Brexit procedure by the end of March.

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Facebook Now Allows You to Post Job Openings

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Post Employment Opportunities on Your Business Page With the New Facebook Job Postings Feature

Social networking site Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has a history of challenging, if not buying out, its competitors, and now it looks like it’s going after LinkedIn.

Starting yesterday, businesses in both the U.S. and Canada could post job listings natively to their Facebook pages or in the new jobs bookmark.

Facebook Job Postings Feature Already Successful

Facebook started testing out the feature last November with a couple of small businesses already reporting success with the platform.

“It was great because it was easy,” said Wendy Grahn, co-owner of the Chicago-based Lakeview Kitchen and Market in an official statement on Facebook. “It took three minutes to fill out the information and put it out there. Then someone saw the post, we talked, and it was done.”

With the new feature, jobs will now show up in potential applicants’ newsfeeds, allowing businesses to reach people that might have not otherwise been aware of the open position. When an applicant clicks the “Apply Now” button, a form with some of the pre-populated info will appear, making the application process as simple as posting the job itself.

Finding the right talent for your business can be daunting with Facebook saying that nearly 40 percent of small businesses in the U.S. report that filling jobs is more difficult than they expected. However, the new feature solves this by making it absolutely easy for businesses to create job posts, track applications and communicate with applicants all from the social media platform.

And while LinkedIn is the leading professional network for recruiting, Facebook’s career tool might catch on quickly as businesses can now post jobs in a place where a highly engaged audience already exists.

Image: Facebook

This article, “Facebook Now Allows You to Post Job Openings” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Wood Group hit by lower oil exploration spending

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

UK oilfield services company warns profit margins would continue to decline this year

First Express Train from Istanbul Arrives in Sofia

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The first express train from the Turkish city of Istanbul arrived in Sofia on Tuesday after a nine-and-a-half-hour trip, reported Anadolu Agency.
The head of passenger service in Istanbul with Turkish State Railways commented that the state-of-the-art express train with four cars will run every day.
“There will be a lot of tourists travelling from Bulgaria to Istanbul and Edirne. Of course, this is not limited to Bulgaria alone. The train has connections with Belgrade, Bucharest and Budapest. This is why it will contribute to tourism,” explained the director.

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3 EU Countries Demand That Lower-Quality Foods Not Be Sold in Eastern Europe

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The Czech Republic has joined the initiative supported by Hungary and Slovakia calling on the European Commission to adopt a law banning food and beverages companies from selling products of different content and quality under the same label and brand.
According to the official representatives of the three countries, multinational companies sell lower-quality goods in Eastern Europe than they do in Western Europe.
“Where some products are concerned, we have literally turned into Europe’s garbage can,” stated to Reuters Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jure?ka.
Organisations for the protection of the rights of consumers complain that large companies sell in Czech shops products of much lower quality than they do in Germany. The law, however, protects the producer because such sales are allowed if the packaging clearly describes the ingredients of the product. But buyers have no way of comparing the ingredients described on the packaging with the label of the same product in a Western country and few buyers can actually make the distinction.
Jure?ka added that he has ordered an inspection of the quality of foods which must be completed by June.
The data, together with data from Slovakia and other countries, will be used in lobbying for amendments to EU laws.
The list will include not merely foods and beverages but household goods as well, for example, washing powder.

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