Businesses rely on technology more than they ever have before, and software is right at the heart of it. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that most companies nowadays could not function without the apps and platforms they use to run and manage day-to-day tasks.
Given this importance, businesses naturally want to get the right software to do each job required. Here they have a choice – buy an off-the-shelf product, which comes prefabricated and ready to run but which may have features and functions which are either unsuited to or irrelevant to how they operate. Or alternatively, they can develop their own software solutions tailored to meet their precise needs.
Custom software development is a technically advanced process. It means hiring in a development partner and can involve considerable investment. But the rewards are bespoke software suites which work exactly the way you want them to, boosting efficiency and output by reducing waste and duplication in your IT processes.
Taking the leap into custom software development is a big decision for any business. Here are some important tips for getting it right and hiring the right partner.
Focus on business objectives
Custom software development is not something you take on for the sake of it. To reap the rewards, you have to have a clear sense of what you want to achieve and hire a development partner that is prepared to get under the skin of what you want and how your business works. Development should be guided by wider strategic goals with measurable objectives.
Be clear about what you want to achieve
Establishing a good, open working relationship with your development partner is crucial. It is essential that you establish strong lines of communication as the process relies on you explaining what you want, and then them applying their technical skills to put it into action. If you miss anything out or you are uncertain about your objectives, things will quickly become lost in translation.
Expect and listen to advice
The programming specialists you hire are the experts in their field. As part of the deal, you can expect them to be proactive in giving you advice and feedback on your ideas, to take the time to explain different options available, to be transparent about what they’re working on and overall help you to better understand how the solution they are building will actually help your business. Alarm bells should ring if a developer is always waiting for you to make suggestions, agrees with everything you say and does little by way of explaining the technical side of their work.
Take a long term view
It is very unlikely that a single customised piece of software will make a radically noticeable difference to your business. The effects of custom software development are cumulative, the more you shape your software assets to fit the strategic and operational needs of your business, the more of an impact it will have. Don’t expect miracles right away, and choose a partner with a long-term relationship in mind.
The fancy name for Policeman’s Heel is plantar fasciitis, which gets its name from the ligament that runs along the arch of your feet, from your heels to your toes. When the plantar fascia is subjected to a lot of wear and tear over time, it can begin to thicken, and it’s this process that leads to the pain in the bottom of the heel of the foot that’s all-too-familiar to those who suffer from Policeman’s Heel.
People who have flat feet or very high arches are more susceptible to developing Policeman’s Heel, and it’s more common amongst the older generation. That said, anyone who has an active job or takes a lot of exercise is at risk of succumbing to the condition. Wearing flimsy or unsupportive shoes can exacerbate symptoms, too.
It’s not a life-threatening problem, but Policeman’s Heel can have a profound impact on your mobility and your quality of life. It can also lead to more painful conditions, such as heel spurs, if it’s left untreated. So, if you’ve noticed recurring pain in your feet – particularly first thing in the morning, or after sitting down for a long period of time – it’s important to act now if you want to stop your symptoms from worsening.
What can be done to combat Policeman’s Heel?
If the excessive pain and stiffness caused by Policeman’s Heel is beginning to impact your daily life, you’ll be glad to know there are lots of things you can try to reduce any discomfort.
The first thing you can do is apply ice to the area. Cover an ice pack in a clean cloth, then hold it to the bottom of the affected area for around 15-20 minutes, three or four times a day. This will slow down the thickening of the ligament itself.
Certain exercises can be used to stretch out and loosen up the plantar fascia. Toe curls and calf stretches are quick, straightforward incredibly effective; however, if you find they have little to no impact on your symptoms after you’ve tried a few reps a day for a couple of weeks, we’d recommend visiting a trained physiotherapist, who will be able to show you some more advanced movements. Many Policeman’s Heel sufferers also report improvements to their symptoms after wearing night splints, which are designed to stretch out the calves and the arches of your feet overnight.
In more extreme cases, doctors might recommend injecting steroids into the plantar fascia to soothe the pain. This is normally a last resort for patients who have been suffering with the symptoms of Policeman’s Heel for over six months, and who have seen little to no improvement after exploring less invasive treatment methods.
If this sounds like a lot to take in, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an easier way to prevent and treat Policeman’s Heel. Many patients have seen incredible results from wearing orthotic insoles.
How can orthotic insoles help to alleviate your symptoms?
Orthotic insoles work to lessen the amount of pressure being placed on your plantar fascia during everyday activities.
These lightweight, comfortable and highly supportive products can be slotted into the lining of each shoe to cushion the foot arch and encourage even weight distribution.
Orthotic insoles can be worn in all kinds of footwear, from sandals and ballet pumps to heavy-duty work boots. You can use the same pair of insoles if you like, as they are easy to remove and reapply. Some products are even customisable, which means you can experiment with different supporting pads before settling on a combination that works for you (and can trim them down to perfectly fit the shape and size of your shoes).
Best of all, there’s no ‘settling in’ period for Policeman’s Heel insoles. They should feel comfortable as soon as you slot them into your favourite pair of shoes, and you should start to feel the benefits straightaway.
When all is said and done, if you’re looking for a quick, simple and relatively cheap way of nipping the symptoms of Policeman’s Heel in the bud, nothing beats a great quality pair of orthotic insoles!
Devising a Plan That’s Right for You
Another new year, another failed diet attempt? Try taking a more holistic approach to weight loss in 2019.
January is here, and certain routines are as regular as the seasons. The Christmas tree and decorations are back in the loft, the supermarket aisles have returned to some semblance of normality and many of us are looking at the bathroom scales in horror. If the next step in your personal January routine is to try yet another weight loss technique that works for a few weeks then falls by the wayside, maybe it is time to take a new approach.
There are several different factors that affect our weight. Some relate to diet, some to exercise and some to our mindset. By focusing on all three of these, we can make subtle changes to our lifestyle that will result in losing those excess pounds almost effortlessly.
Get in the right frame of mind
If losing weight is seen as a challenge or a battle, you are almost doomed from the outset. Before you do anything else, consider some basic psychological tools that will help you along the way. There has been plenty of talk about gastric band hypnotherapy over recent months, and it is a process that has delivered significant results to thousands.
It uses established and medically proven cognitive behavioural therapy to influence your overall approach and attitude to food, exercise and weight loss. Don’t mistake it for a silver bullet, it will not single-handedly get you into perfect shape, but it will equip you to do what you need to do to attain your goals.
The diet question
With every new year comes a new fad diet. Some of them deliver results for some people, but more often than not they lead to misery, disappointment and failure. The key to successful dieting is to ensure you are still eating the foods you enjoy. If you love steak and chips and force yourself to east salad every evening, there is no way the diet will be sustainable in the long term.
Instead, look for small substitutions, such as fruit instead of chocolate for a mid-morning snack or using an air fryer instead of deep fat when you fancy your favourite comfort food. These are steps that you can gradually introduce into your routine that will not make you feel you are following a strict diet or missing out on what you enjoy.
The exercise question
Exactly the same approach applies to exercise. Sure, there are some people who enjoy working out at the gym five evenings a week. Are you one of them? If not, five will become four will become two, as you find excuses not to bother, and soon that gym membership will be nothing more than a drain on your finances and a source of guilt.
Instead, do something you enjoy. Cycling is a great way of exercising a range of muscles and improving cardiovascular health, as well as being an effective means of transport that will save you money. Alternatively, if you enjoy walking, perhaps now is the perfect time to head to the local rescue centre and introduce a dog into the family. One thing is for sure, there will be no excuses, and those walks will become a part of everyday life.
Make Some Extra Cash This Summer
Before you throw your old camera in the bin, see if you’ll be able to earn some money from it.
Are you having a clear out this summer? If so, then you’ve probably found an old camera or two at the back of a cupboard. Most people would just throw them in the bin, but stop and reconsider before you do that. Sites like World Wide Camera Exchange pay for used cameras – so there could be a bit of cash to be made. Now, with the summer holidays coming up, a little extra in your wallet would go down a treat. Here’s how to sell your old camera with World Wide Camera Exchange– and all the benefits that it brings.
Selling is quick and simple
It couldn’t be easier to sell your old cameras. If you head to World Wide Camera Exchange, you’ll be able to get a quote for your cameras immediately. You then send, bring or have the cameras collected from your home. After that, the team at World Wide Camera Exchange will check to see if everything is in order, and then pay you immediately if your cameras are in great condition. All in all the process doesn’t take any longer than a few days, making it super convenient.
Make some easy money
Trading your camera in means that you’ll end up with a bit of spare cash. With summer and all the expenses that that brings just around the corner, that extra money will certainly come in handy. World Wide Camera Exchange treat every single transaction with attention to detail, and will offer the most competitive rates for your used cameras. You won’t be losing out if you sell your cameras to them!
Someone else will be able to enjoy your old camera
The great thing about selling your camera to a site like World Wide Camera Exchange means that someone else will be able to enjoy it. All too often we throw away cameras that still work perfectly, just because we’ve upgraded to a newer model. Well, if you sell yours on you’ll have more cash to splash on your new camera and someone will be able to snap up your perfectly functional one at a great price.
Better for the planet
Selling your camera is a much better option than it ending up in landfill. We all want to do more to help the environment, and making sure your photographic equipment is going to be re-used is a small, easy way for your to do your bit. You might not think that you alone will make a difference, but imagine if everyone did it!
Let someone else take care of the tricky stuff
Selling your camera to a trusted site like World Wide Camera exchange is much easier than doing it all yourself. While sites like eBay and Gumtree make it really easy to sell goods, you’ve also got to think about postage, setting the right price and dealing with enquires. With a camera exchange, all you have to do is hand your camera over and the cash is all yours. There’s no stress or hard work on your part.
It’s time to start selling!
Now that you know where to trade in your old cameras, why not see what you’ve got hidden away at home? Not only will you be able to earn a little bit of money, but you’ll also be ensuring that your camera enjoys a new lease of life and stays out of landfill. So why delay?
How To Move Your Beloved Pet Overseas
Take the stress out of pet travel by following these steps to relocate them with you in your overseas move.
Around 300,000 UK residents emigrate each year to countries all over the globe. Whether you’re looking to retire to Spain, enjoy a new life in Australia or have secured a job offer in Paris, don’t let your pet be the reason to prevent you from making the move. With a bit of planning and preparation, it’s perfectly possible to take your pets with you, and it’s usually a lot more straightforward than you might realise.
The first step in transporting your pet overseas is to get them microchipped. The chip is normally located around the shoulder region of your pet, and the number is also recorded in the accompanying pet passport.
Many countries require your pet to be vaccinated before travel, but the requirements for this vary widely depending on the country that you’re travelling to. If you have a definite departure date in mind, then make sure that you research the vaccination requirements well in advance, as many will need to be carried out several weeks beforehand, and some may need a follow-up appointment. Make sure that you carry all vet papers as proof.
Method Of Transportation
If you’re moving to Europe, then it is often possible to take your pet with you by road. This is preferable if you do not wish to be separated from your pet, although it is important to use protection such as a crate or seatbelt harness.
For many others though, pet travel will likely involve a flight, but it’s important to check with individual airlines as to their specific requirements. It won’t be possible for your pet to travel with you in the cabin, and there are strict regulations in place as to the type and size of container that your pet can be placed in.
Although it is possible to organise your pet’s travel by yourself, it is much easier to use a professional pet travel company, although you should always ensure that they are IPATA-approved.
How To Get To The Top
Becoming a model takes lots of hard work and dedication, but it really is worth the effort.
So, you want to become a model. It’s a really popular career choice for lots of gorgeous young women. After all, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! If you’re wondering what it takes to become an image model and what to expect from your future career, then look no further. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about how to get the best possible jobs, what to anticipate on each assignment and most importantly, how you can help yourself to get ahead of the competition. Believe us when we say that there’s plenty of that out there in this industry!
When it comes to making it as a successful image model, you need to be confident in both speaking to others and flaunting your figure. The simplest way of putting this is that when you’re working, you need to be beautiful both inside and out! Before you arrive at an assignment, make sure that you’ve been putting in the hours at the gym and the salon. Once you’ve arrived, it’s time to let your personality do the talking too. This isn’t a job for the shy and retiring, that’s for sure.
Embrace the unpredictability
No job is the same – and that’s what makes modelling great! One day you could be helping to open a new nightclub by partying the night away with guests, the next lounging on a yacht to launch a luxury product. It’s important to be as open-minded as possible, and just enjoying the unpredictability that modelling brings. It’s no 9-5 career, but chances are you didn’t want that anyway!
Sign with a great agency
Make sure that you sign with an agency to secure the best possible VIP image model jobs. Many clients will only book models through an agency, as they’ll be guaranteed the best looking girls that meet the highest possible standards. In turn, working with a trusted agency will protect you, as clients will always be thoroughly vetted before a job is agreed. So it works out well for everyone.
Try a little bit of everything
It’s important to take on as many different jobs as possible to build up your experience. Don’t let preconceptions cloud your opinion of a modelling job before you’ve even tried it. As time goes on, you’ll find out where your strengths lie. Likewise, be sure to have a good variety of shots in your portfolio to attract as many clients as possible. A good image model is as adventurous as she is professional, and won’t ever limit herself to one particular kind of work, especially in the crucial early stages of her career.
So there you have it – your guide to getting your modelling career off of the ground. The most important thing you can do is have fun. If you’re happy and confident in yourself, you’ll interact better with the people you need to impress, and success will surely follow. If you’re thinking about going for It and giving modelling a go in 2018, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t! If you take the right steps, it’s a really great way to make a living.
Unions call for Nestlé to ‘export chocolate not jobs’
Nestlé announces plans to move production of its famous Blue Riband bar from the UK to Poland, resulting in almost 300 job losses.
Chocolate giant, Nestlé, has been criticised by unions after announcing plans to move the production of its iconic Blue Riband bar from the UK to Poland. Following more than 80 years of British production, the popular wafer-chocolate bar will now be manufactured in Kargowa, Poland at a factory that Nestlé cites as a “centre of excellence for this type of wafer-based product”.
Nestlé has cited greater efficiency and the ability to “remain competitive in a rapidly changing external environment” as the main driving factors behind its decision, and it forms part of a larger drive by the company to reduce costs in Europe, the Middle East and Mediterranean markets by 2019.
Nestlé’s decision to move production to Poland is expected to lead to the loss of almost 300 UK jobs, primarily across the company’s current production sites in York, Halifax, Fawden in North East England, and Girvan in Scotland.
The Brexit Effect
It is feared by some experts that this decision by Nestlé is an early effect of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Back in August, the Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, warned that Brexit could lead to the loss of more than 250,000 jobs over the next few years as companies contend with the devaluation of the pound and the prospect of weaker output and higher import costs. Indeed, there have already been warning signs that firms could move production elsewhere, with Ford announcing plans to cut jobs at its plant in Bridgend in South Wales.
As road freight to Poland and other eastern European countries becomes ever more efficient, it’s quite possible that we will see other companies follow the example of Nestlé and Ford as the impacts of Brexit begin to take effect.
Nestlé urged to ‘think again’
Unsurprisingly, trade unions GMB and Unite are critical of Nestlé’s proposals to switch production to Poland and have urged the company to reconsider the move.
Announcing the union’s intention to fight the plans, Unite’s national officer, Julia Long said,
“We will be campaigning to save as many jobs as possible and pressing Nestlé to think again about these plans which will see the loss of hundreds of jobs and the production of an iconic biscuit shipped to Poland. Rather than turning its back on its UK workforce, Nestlé should be investing in its UK operations and keeping production here at plants in the UK. We will be scrutinising the company’s business rationale for these job losses, and explore alternatives to its cut-and-run approach.”
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary added,
“Nestlé are throwing people’s lives, and those of their families, into turmoil for the sake of increasing profit margins. These factories should be exporting chocolate – not people’s jobs. The government needs to step in before it’s too late and reassure millions of workers across the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”
Nestlé expects that the majority of job losses resulting from the move will be achieved through voluntary redundancies, and the company is currently in the middle of a 45 day consultation with trade unions and employee representatives.
Improve Office Morale By Getting Your Team Out In Nature This Season
Does your workplace need a boost in terms of mood, morale and productivity? Outdoor team building sessions in London are just what you need this summer.
Summer is here – and what better season is there to take your corporate team outdoors and get stuck into some fun and motivational team building activities? Although workplace events of any kind are known to encourage bonding and enhance productivity, there’s an extra buzz that is created when your employees get the chance to head outside to the great outdoors and interact with nature. Perhaps it’s the fresh air and ample vitamin D that puts your workers in a good mood, or the fact that spending time outside can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of fantastic activities to choose from that would be perfect for an away day in one of London’s parks. Here is a selection of ideas to choose from.
Not just an entertainment option for weddings and garden parties, these giant lawn games are the perfect opportunity to involve all members of your organisation in some competitive fun. There are a huge number of games to choose from including boules, croquet, giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, quoits, dominoes and skittles. If space isn’t an issue, you could even draw up a good old-fashioned rounders pitch and enjoy a friendly game. Your employees will be split into small groups of 6 to 8 participants which encourages excellent bonding as they cheer on their team-mates, while being pitched head-to-head against a rivalling team will bring out their competitive spirit.
GPS Treasure Hunt
Why not bring a bit of modern technology into your outdoor activity? Treasure hunts have been enjoyed for centuries, but the latest twist is to use a GPS system to help your teams navigate towards finding the prize. Using tablets with a pre-loaded GPS app installed, your teams will be able to hit the streets of London answering a variety of trivia along the way. Interactive maps will allow you to see your position as well as that of your opponents. You’ll answer timed questions to assess how well you perform under pressure, as well as developing collaboration amongst your group.
It’s A Knockout
One of the most popular London team building events is an ‘It’s A Knockout’ tournament. For those that are not familiar with the TV show that ran from 1966 to 1982 in the UK, the tournament was essentially a comedy game show that featured lots of silly sporting challenges usually enjoyed by participants dressed in enormous foam suits. It’s easy to see why this has translated so well into a corporate team event. Get out of the office into one of London’s royal parks and enjoy some nostalgia and spontaneous laughter while clocking up points to help your team become the ultimate Knockout Champions. You might take part in costume relays, have fun with giant inflatables, or throw water-filled sponges in a castle competition. A comical compere will keep everyone thoroughly entertained throughout the day.
Make the most of the sun while it lasts and get your employees out and about to enhance their mood and morale in the workplace.
Digital Tax Plan Dropped from Government Finance Bill
HMRC’s much-heralded digital tax plan has been pushed back by at least a year, and might be scrapped entirely following a backlash from taxpayers and politicians.
When the government announced plans to make tax digital in 2015, it was generally met with a note of cautious optimism. Many saw it as a long-overdue sign that HMRC was joining the rest of us in the 21st century, by creating a user-friendly online system that would make the annual tax return a simple, intuitive process.
However, as more details of the plans were unveiled, one company of Peterborough accountants has encountered an increasing number of taxpayers and small businesses expressing concern that the new system could create more of an administrative burden rather than less. They predict that the self employed could end up facing a different tax deadline practically every month of the year, instead of the single annual tax return they have to file under the current system.
Gone for good?
Some commentators are greeting the news as confirmation that this was an ill-conceived, unpopular plan that has received the treatment it deserves, particularly in view of the uncompromising comments from Chas Roy-Chowdhury, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ Head of Tax.
When members of the Treasury Select Committee asked him about the plans, he replied that the Association had raised “serious concerns” in relation to the implementation and had recommended that it be delayed till after the General Election, to allow time for detailed and comprehensive debate. He further agreed with the decision to delay other controversial measures pending further debate.
A representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales also welcomed the fact that the plans will receive further scrutiny and debate, saying the government had made a sensible decision.
When the policy was first announced by George Osborne in the 2015 budget, it was predicted that an extra £2 billion would be generated in tax revenue every year. However, the scheme has always had influential and vocal critics, most notably the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which warned that the roll out was placing unnecessary burdens on small businesses and was being rushed into place.
Or just a delay?
However, it might be an over reaction to suggest that we will all adopt an “as we were” posture and forget about making tax digital.
From the moment Theresa May announced that she would be calling a general election, it was a foregone conclusion that many forthcoming bills would be shelved or at least pushed down the priority list, so it should come as no surprise that this particularly controversial one was among them.
In fact, around 80 percent of the proposed Finance Bill was reduced, so in that context it would, perhaps, have been a bigger surprise if it had remained in.
In the event that May’s Conservative Government is returned with a good majority, it is reasonable to expect that all those clauses will be reinstated into the new Finance Bill, MTD included.
Even if it is not, it is hard to believe that digital tax will not become a reality in the near future. At the very least, politicians and software developers will now have some additional time to come up with a system that makes it a change for the better for all concerned.
For an entrepreneur, it is necessary to learn the ins and outs of selling. It can be a major challenge but it is manageable if you follow some strategies. Here are some tips to help you boost your sales skills:
Find your comfort level.
You need to get comfortable with selling to gain the confidence and the inside knowledge necessary. You can seek the aid of a mentor or even enroll in a sales class to improve your sales skills.
Define your target audience.
In order to refine your selling strategy you will need to identify a specific customer target. Is it small retailers? Schools? Identifying your target will save you time and effort.
Study customer buying habits.
After you identify your audience, it is important to study customer behavior. When selling a high-priced item you may notice that the customers spend more time to make the decision. In that case, you’ll need to spend more time to close the deal. If you charge a lot less, customers may question the quality of the product.
Please the first customers.
You need to make an effort to please your first customers. They will help create reputation for your company. To grow your business, It helps to have testimonials and references early on.
The first thing you are selling is yourself. You need to build a relationship with your customers. It is an ongoing process but it’s worth the time and effort. If they don’t like you, it’s very unlikely that the sale will happen. It’s a good idea to send personalized messages to your customers, instead of generic ones. This shows that you took the time and effort to address the customer individually.
Find ways to stay connected with your customers, through regular newsletters for example. You can also use social media to stay up to date with your audience. If possible, give your customers some face time. This will also help build your relationship while keeping the contact lively and fresh.
It is a mistake to assume you know what customers need and what they are willing to pay. Try to ask customers questions about what criteria they use to make their purchase decisions. If you never ask you’ll never know!
Establish a daily ritual.
Don’t leave things to chance. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work, especially if you wear different hats in your company. Instead, try to allocate some time each day to create your sales routine. This might mean reserving an hour or two each day to set your sales goals and make some calls to meet these goals.
Display your success.
Your website is usually the first contact that a potential customer has with your business or company. It should be professional and helps build your credibility. If possible, include testimonials and case studies of customers that you worked with in the past.
Turn into an industry expert.
Create blogs and seek media exposure to build your credibility and trust. It is important for people to see you as someone who understands the industry. Becoming an expert will attract new customers and strengthen your sales pitch.