Archive for July, 2018

Centrica dividend worries not helped by cold snap — or hot heads

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Investors may have over-reacted to some less than hair-raising results

Saudi sovereign wealth fund in bank talks for debut loan

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Vehicle tasked with cutting country’s reliance on oil has interest from banks

Oil’s July tumble belies looming Iranian supply squeeze

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Prospect of US sanctions curbing Iranian supply may yet reverse July’s decline

Can Listables Help You Get More Done?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Can the Listables App Help You Get More Done?

If you want all the pieces of your business to work efficiently, you need processes. These processes don’t need to be complicated. In fact, a simple checklist can often work wonders to help you ensure that your whole team is following the specific steps you’ve laid out for a particular task or function.

That’s the very simple but essential problem that Listables aims to solve for small business. The company offers a collaborative checklist platform that you can use to create your own lists and even learn from those that others have created.

Introducing the Listables App

Founder and CEO Vivek Chugh said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “It lets small businesses or their team members create, share and track checklists. So it’s not just about making your own personal lists. But you can also use it to help with onboarding, as a way to show new employees how to handle a specific task. Or you can learn from what others on the platform have created.”

Chugh got the idea for the platform when he was working for a gaming company. And as the team would work on deploying new software, he saw the need for a specific set of best practices and a system for tracking and auditing which essential tasks had been completed.

He says, “Sometimes there would be a specific group who had great checklists, and I thought there should be a system where we all could share our best practices with one another. When I started looking at different options in the market, I realized that there was something to this idea and I decided to pursue it.”

The idea of using checklists to manage daily tasks or training activities isn’t a new one. But Chugh adds that Listables is meant to be easier to use than putting together a Google spreadsheet or creating a list manually, especially if it’s for something that requires collaboration between team members.

In addition, Listables doesn’t only give you the opportunity to share lists within your own company. You can also learn from others who have chosen to share their tips on a particular subject. So if you’re interested in learning how to start a PPC ad campaign, for instance, you can search the platform to see lists that have already been created on that subject.

You can also create your own lists and use it to train new employees or keep a particular project on track.

Chugh says, “This methodology allows you to reduce errors, fix issues and create standard processes. It can be especially helpful for any kind of repetitive daily task that a small business needs done, like opening stores or closing stores. Those things are pretty standard, but you still don’t want to see mistakes or seemingly small things overlooked.”

The app is available in the App Store and Google Play as a free download. And there’s also a web version available. To use it, you simply download one of the apps or sign up online and then you can start with a new checklist or browse topics to find best practices from other members. Chugh also says that the company is working on creating some new features and functionality for the platform going forward.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Can Listables Help You Get More Done?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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TripAdvisor Report Stresses Importance of Digital Marketing for Destination Businesses

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

TripAdvisor Hospitality Sector Report Stresses Importance of Digital Marketing for Hospitality Businesses

The results of TripAdvisor’s 2018 “Hospitality Sector Report” reveals digital and mobile engagement has become increasingly more important.

The Importance of Digital Marketing for Hospitality Businesses

Hotels, restaurants, experiences, tours, and attractions, as well as other destinations listed on TripAdvisor, are placing more attention on their digital presence. These businesses are focusing on mobile marketing, online reputation management, and deploying their marketing efforts on the right digital platform.

With small business owners making up most of these restaurants, hotels, and destinations, the report provides insights into the digital trends in the marketplace. For owners, it means looking at the data and determining what works and doesn’t work to make an informed decision.

Martin Verdon-Roe, vice president of business-to-business product of TripAdvisor, said in a press release, the result of the survey shows a “Rare look into today’s evolving digital travel marketplace.”

Verdon-Roe goes on to say, “What’s clear is that the overwhelming majority of owners and operators are concerned about their presence online and how they are using mobile and social platforms to attract the right consumers.”

The Growth of Digital Engagement

More than 4 in five or 87% of the respondents said having a mobile-enabled website is important, with another 71% adding having online booking is also important. This goes hand in hand with the increased number of consumers who use their mobile device to access the internet.

Once online, the 97% of respondents said online reputation management is important to their business with another 98 and 92 percent stating online reviews and social presence is also important.

In addition to monitoring and managing their online reputation, businesses have to choose the right marketing channel. Depending on the market, demographic and location, different platforms perform better.

Knowing which platform is better suited for your customer base is key to ensuring your marketing efforts and expenditure will not be wasted. The survey reveals the majority of the respondents are aware of the differences.

Eighty percent of the respondent said working with the right online marketing service is important and 89% echoed the sentiment regarding keeping up with online marketing.

The survey also highlighted other key travel industry trends in 2018.

As to where they should focus, 27% said customer service and retention, 25% staffing, and another 20% marketing efforts.

When it comes to forces which they expect will have a positive impact, 43% said hiring the best staff followed by 30% global economy, and 29% said the dealing with the challenges of over-tourism.

The survey points out digital engagement is key to acquiring and retaining customers.  And this applies to virtually all industries in today’s digital ecosystem, not just the hospitality segment.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “TripAdvisor Report Stresses Importance of Digital Marketing for Destination Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Shooting in Brussels Injures at Least One Person

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

A shooting has taken place in the area of the Brussels-South railway station this morning, the prosecutor’s office is investigating the incident, the supervisory agency reported.

The incident occurred on Argon Street, by the Brussels-South railway station and several hotels.

“One person, whose name has not yet been identified, received two gunshot wounds, there is no threat to his life,” the Brussels prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the attempted murder and begun “investigative actions, including examining the recording from CCTV cameras and ballistics,” the office said, adding that the suspect or suspects have not been identified yet.

According to media reports, citing witnesses, two men opened fire but managed to escape. The victim, 28, is in hospital, his life is out of danger.

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Georgia’s High Court Removes Marijuana Possession Penalties

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

People can’t be punished for possession of marijuana in Georgia, the small nation on the shores of the Black Sea in the Caucasus region, following a ruling by the country’s highest constitutional review court on Monday.

Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled that “consumption of marijuana is an action protected by the right to free personality” and that citizens can no longer be assessed administrative penalties—citations, like the penalties issued for traffic violations or parking tickets—for cannabis possession.

This makes Georgia “the first country in the post-Soviet space” to legalize cannabis consumption, boasted Zurab Japaridze, the leader of Girchi, an opposition political party and a plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to Monday’s ruling.

“This wasn’t a fight for cannabis, this was a fight for freedom,” Japaridze said, according to a report in OC Media, an English-language Georgian-news website.

For now, cultivation and sales remain illegal in Georgia. A bill that would decriminalize possession of all drugs is currently being debated in the country’s parliament.

But for now, with cannabis possession de-facto legalized, Georgia now has one of the most progressive national marijuana policies in the world.

Only nations like Canada and Uruguay, which have legalized recreational marijuana consumption outright, can boast of more tolerant official laws.

Even nations where medical cannabis is legal like Germany still have laws allowing for criminal or administrative penalties for marijuana possession.

Criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Georgia ended in November 2017, following a previous ruling from the same court in another case brought by Girchi.

Punishment for marijuana possession was reduced to no more than a fine of up to $200 or “corrective work of one to six months,” according to OC Media. Unsatisfied with that, Girchi filed another appeal challenging those penalties, on the basis that “the use of marijuana is not a public threat.”

“It can only harm the health of the consumer, who is responsible for the results of the action,” Girchi’s lawsuit read.

And the court’s four most senior judges agreed. The only exception is if a marijuana consumer’s actions “put a third person at risk,” according to a web translation of a court press release. These scenarios include consuming the drug in a school, in front of children or in “certain public spaces like public transport.”

Attorneys arguing for the now-abandoned status quo had argued that cannabis prohibition was necessary “for the protection of the population, especially… juveniles from the harmful effects of marijuana.”

Monday’s ruling led to jubilation among legalization supporters, some of whom marked the occasion with—of course—memes celebrating Japaridze.

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Man ‘Blows Himself up’ on Football Pitch

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

It is believed that this is an isolated act and authorities have been to the victim’s home to ensure there are no other explosives there.

The victim has not been formally identified but Le Soir newspaper is reporting it was a former soldier who lived close by.

Panorama Steet and adjacent streets have been evacuated and residents will be able to return home when the clearance work is complete.

The incident is not believed to be terror related.

A witness said: “When I closed the door of my vehicle, I heard a big explosion, I saw pieces going up in the air and I thought it was an abnormal blast. I found that there was a person who blew himself up on the spot and I phoned directly to the Verviers police station who came in fairly quickly and within ten minutes they were there.”

The authorities were quick to say this incident was not terror related, the Foreign Office has warned that terrorists are very likely to carry out attacks in Belgium.

There have been a number of high profile terrorist attacks across the country with the last one taking place in May when two police officers and a passer-by were killed in a shooting in the city of Liege.

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The Repairs on Sofia Boulevards are Delayed by the Rain

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

A delay of three days in the repairs on the boulevards in Sofia has established the check of the Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. She commented that the reason for this is the rainy summer, but the delay is not fatal, BNR reported.

At present, in Sofia, over 30 large sites and streets are being repaired, Fandakova said: “At the moment most of the sites are working on time, we have a two or three days delay that is not fatal, it’s more important for me not to compromise on quality due to the rainfall, so we can work on the bigger sites with intensive traffic before 15 September. “

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Rains Hit on Bulgaria’s 2018 Wheat Harvest

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

SOFIA, July 31 (Reuters) – Extensive rains in July have hit Bulgaria’s wheat sowings and are likely to cut its 2018 crop to about 5.5 million tonnes, with average yields down some 7 percent from a year ago, a senior official at the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

In June, the ministry hoped that the wheat crop would match last year’s bumper crop of 6.1 million tonnes.

Operational data from the agriculture ministry shows the Black Sea country had reaped 4.95 million tonnes of wheat from 90 percent of the sown area by July 27, Petar Kirovski, an expert at the ministry, told Reuters. Average yields stood at 4.9 tonnes per hectare, some 7 percent less than a year ago.

“The crop will be less than last year, at about 5.5 million tonnes, because of the rains that ruined some of the fields and have had a negative impact on the quality as well,” Kirovski said.

Farmers are less optimistic, seeing the 2018 wheat crop at about 5.2-5.3 million tonnes.

“The plantings were first hit by drought in April. That was followed by daily rain showers in July that lowered both the quantity and the quality of the wheat,” said Angel Vukadinov of the National Grain Producer Association.

Farmers have reaped some 497,300 tonnes of barley out of 97 percent of the sown area. The barley crop is expected to be around 500,000-510,000 tonnes this year, less than the 586,000 tonnes harvested last year, mainly due to less acreage, Kirovski said.

Bulgaria is a net grain exporter and has shipped more than 4.6 million tonnes of wheat abroad since last July, agriculture ministry data showed.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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