You need to work on your personal brand – here’s how to do it

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What does your personal brand say about you?

Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have one, everyone does – and even an absence of any information that would build into being a personal brand can speak volumes.

Your personal brand is more than just a custom logo design! and If you’re launching a startup there’s every possibility that customers, influencers, and investors are going to be looking a little deeper into who you are, so if you want them to see the right kind of information, you should consider how your current online persona lines up next to these questions:

Who are you trying to appeal to?

We might be talking about your ‘personal brand’ here but don’t be confused, what we’re really looking at is a nuanced piece of the process in which you sell your product or service to people.

Your personal brand is the context that you put around that sales process – essentially pre-empting an important customer question:

“Can I trust this person?”

Now, talk to any old-school sales person and they’ll tell you that a person makes a judgement about whether or not they’re going to do business with you in the first 10 seconds of meeting you – but times are changing – now, a potential customer is likely to know whether or not they’d do business with you 2 weeks before they meet you.

And the answer to that question will be significantly different depending on the person who’s looking – so it’s important to understand that you can’t appeal to everyone.

Hence, you’re going to want to think about who you’re trying to appeal to. Define your audience and understand what makes them tick. You’re not fundamentally changing yourself by adapting to what they want to see, you’re just putting an appropriate context around your sales message.

What do you stand for?

Now you’ve identified the audience you’re looking to appeal to and understand what they’re looking for you need to work on the underlying principles that are going to give you reference points to work from.

A good way to get some understanding of what these should be is to look at other people who are successful in your field. What are they doing? Does it sit well with what you think you should be doing? How do they communicate their values?

Is this person hardworking? Are they successful? Do they support their customers? Whatever it is that gives you the indication that they’re ticking mental boxes for the potential customers that are looking at them note it down – and be very aware that you don’t know anything solidly about them, what you’re noting is just the front line image that they’re portraying.

When you see how easily an image is created, think about what activity you can do to establish yourself in the same light. Start with the principles you want to communicate then consider how a customer will come to the conclusion that you embody those traits.

Are you an authority in your area?

It’s unlikely that anybody expects you to have conducted PhD level research into your chosen business area – but they will expect you to have your finger on the pulse of your industry and what’s happening – and the very best way you can do this is to share knowledge.

There are a variety of ways you can this, so consider the following:

  • How are you going to transmit knowledge? Which platforms do the people you want to engage with use. Think about email marketing, social media sharing and personal blogging.
  • Where is your knowledge going to come from? Do you have enough information stored in your brain to keep audiences happy – or do you need to be sharing information that’s up to moment and from external sources?
  • Do you have any inroads into knowledge that’s otherwise inaccessible for the masses?
  • Is looking for and sharing knowledge a part of your day?

You may or may not have a way with words – and it’s fine either way, if you struggle getting your thoughts down into clear and concise manner you might want to talk to someone about managing your output on your behalf.

Does your social media reflect appropriately?

All this talk of values, principles can leave you social media looking a little contrived if you’re not careful.

If you’re only sharing information that signals you’re the most virtuous person on the planet then people might question whether or not you’re a real person behind the image. With this in mind you should endeavour to make your social media your own.

Got friends and family you care about – associate with them. Been on a great holiday? Share the pictures – no one’s even going to mind pictures of your food or your cat.

The most important thing to remember when you’re using your social media personally is whether or not what you’re doing collides with the principles that you want to underpin your personal brand. Ask yourself the question each time you post and you won’t go far wrong.

Are you a person as well as a brand?

Be wary of using your online presence as just nothing more than an advertisement for who you want to be. If it’s going to stand up to scrutiny then you’ll need to communicate like a real human-being!

What that means to you will depend on how you’re transmitting value. Are people liking, sharing or commenting on what you’re posting? If so you might want to take some time to thank them, reply to their comments or follow what they’re doing in return.

The influencers that are out there making the biggest impact are the ones who occupy a position of authority in their chosen subject but remain accessible. You won’t go far wrong to consider social media a traditional ‘social gathering’ – mingle, chat, show interest, make connections, listen to people’s opinions. It’s this kind of engagement that has people coming back for more and valuing what you have to say.

No one wants to engage with the person who’s standing there doing nothing but talking about themselves.

7 essential tech tools to support your small business

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If you’re a small business and offer services such as commercial cleaning in Glasgow then  you’re likely to be quickly realising that you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your business a success, espcially online.

That might mean taking on staff members, contractors or even unpaid help – but then again, sometimes just a few extra hours in the day would be the most desirable options.

There are no time machines on this list – but if you want to maximise the time you do have, we can recommend some great time and sanity saving tools!

  1. A website designer

Mention web design and you could be forgiven for thinking of complex lines of code and years of training.

In actual fact, there are quicker ways to get an online presence.

Take a look at a tool like Wix or Squarespace. They’re both ‘drag and drop’ style site designers and can see you with anything from a holding page to an online store in literally a matter of hours.

You don’t need to have the eye of a designer either, with a series of great looking templates you’ll find that dropping in your own logos and products makes a site uniquely yours with a fraction of the project management effort needed to get a traditionally coded site in place.

In the long term you might decide to look at something more flexible – but to get you out of the gates, especially when money is tight, these tools can be invaluable.

  1. A project management tool

If you’re putting a team together, whether that’s with permanent or freelance staff, having a central place to coordinate your efforts is worth its weight in gold.

Rather than hoping that everyone’s going to take great notes or read and reply to emails as diligently as you do, you might want to think about a tool like Basecamp, Trello or a similar alternative.

With tools like these you have a central ‘board’ or virtual office space to work from. You can do virtually anything you would in a real office, from having discussion areas, post to-do lists, allocate tasks, share files, invite guests to collaborate and much more.

If keeping everything in one place is becoming difficult, opt for a free trial and see what a project management tool does to your productivity.

  1. Book keeping software

It’s easy to let money management matters go to the back of your head when there are more pressing jobs at hand – but when there are some exceptionally quick and easy tools to use, you really don’t have to – especially when putting that stuff off causes headaches at tax return time (or a telling off from your accountant…)

Take a look at tools like Xero and Quickbooks, they’re modern book keeping tools that, dare I say it, actually make keeping tabs on your finances quite good fun. Both have nice looking and very usable apps with quick functions that allow you to categorise your transactions with a sweep of your finger.

You can link them with your bank accounts and online payment gateways – as well as being able to quickly scan and categorise expense receipts. You can even generate or pay invoices on the fly. It’s incredible how one app can revolutionise your business financial dealings.

  1. Collaboration tools

Although tools like Basecamp and Trello have some collaboration tools built in, you’ll find that true collaboration comes with a tool like Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365.

With these options you can almost entirely abandon your office space and set up online!

Setting up folders that you can share with your team means there’s no doubt where that proposal, brief or invoice is to be found – and when it comes to collaboration there’s no longer a need for emailing versions of files to one another. Instead, you can access a document, spreadsheet, presentation or much more and work on it virtually at the same time.

Then, no need for emailing attachments – just share the file and it’s with someone else in the blink of an eye. What’s more, you can message, call or video call from within the service too, meaning you don’t even have to move your chair to work next to someone else.

  1. Email marketing tools

Despite social media’s rise to the top of most people’s marketing hitlist there’s still an enormous amount that can be done with a good mailing list.

Equally, with the right tools in place you’re going to struggle with the sheer magnitude of putting a mailer out – especially with new data protection laws looming.

This is where tools like MailChimp and Get Response come in. Starting with a list of emails and a drag and drop mail composer you’ll quickly find yourself putting together something beautiful that ticks all the necessary compliance boxes. You’ll find dozens of great templates to work with if you don’t have an eye for design and a few clicks later you’ll have your mailer either sent – or scheduled to go at a time that suits you and your customers.

  1. A central social media desk

If conquering social media is on your list of things to do you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot of logistics involved – not least remembering a massive number of passwords so you can cut, paste and post across them all.

Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer takes a LOT of the effort out of your social media activity. Connect your accounts, then send your communication from the one central desk – choosing which of your feeds it’s posted to. You can even handle replies to direct customer interaction too, making it a great way to keep all your social communication in one quick and easy to use place.

  1. An online calendar

Our final suggestion is one that’s easy to use – but also easily overlooked!

Having an online calendar is essential if running a tight schedule is important to your business. Microsoft’s Outlook or Google’s Calendar provide simple interfaces and sync with your mailbox and other apps, meaning missed appointments, double booking and needing to get back to people when you’ve checked your diary is going to be a thing of the past.

How to drive productivity with the Eisenhower matrix

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What can the 34th President of the United States tell you that will help you get on top of that never ending to-do list?

You’d be forgiven for thinking the best plan is just to switch your phone to silent and roll your sleeves up – but in actual fact, Dwight Eisenhower had another plan, one that involved a simple but extremely effective prioritisation system.

The ‘Eisenhower Matrix’ (or ‘Urgent-Important’ matrix as it’s sometimes known) is exactly that.

Oh, and if you think you’re busy, don’t worry – aside from being a 5-star WWII general and Supreme Commander of NATO Allied Forces in Europe, Eisenhower was also a 2 term US President and President of a prestigious US university; although none of this stopped him enjoying daily golf sessions and producing over 200 oil paintings. It’s safe to say your time is in good hands.

What is the Eisenhower matrix?

In essence, the Eisenhower Matrix is one large square divided equally into 4 more squares, or quadrants. These quadrants are then labelled, left to right, top to bottom as follows:

  1. Do
  2. Plan
  3. Delegate
  4. Eliminate

Eisenhower matrix

As you can see, the upper quadrants are labelled ‘important’ and the lower ones ‘not important’ – with the left hand quadrants labelled ‘urgent’ and the right most labelled ‘not urgent’.

Now, the next step in turbo-charging your productivity in a presidential manner comes with quickly categorising the tasks on your to-do list…

Categorising your tasks using the Eisenhower matrix

There’s no prescriptive way of categorising tasks on your to-do list, the same task that’s important for you might be irrelevant to someone else, so you have to come at the matrix from your point of view.

You can start by approaching your list with one question:

Is this task urgent?

Your answer decides whether the task goes into the ‘urgent’ or ‘not urgent’ column. Next question:

Is this task important?

This next answer decides whether the task goes into the ‘important’ or ‘not important’ row. When you’ve decided, your tasks has now landed in one of the quadrants, and can be treated as follows…

The different quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix

  1. Do

This is the most pressing of the quadrants – as both ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ combine to advise that you ‘do it first’!

Don’t forget, these are subjective – so doing the ironing might not usually appear in this quadrant – but if you don’t have any ironed shirts before a big interview, then ironing suddenly becomes an urgent-important task.

A good way to consider if your tasks belongs in this quadrant is to ask yourself what the impact or knock-on impact would be if it’s not done. If it’s immediately critical to life, family, career or health then its place in the ‘do’ quadrant is probably well justified.

Oh – and if you hadn’t already assumed, these tasks need to be done as soon as is physically possible, prioritised over everything else on the list.

  1. Plan

If your task is important but not immediately urgent, the this second quadrant – ‘plan’ – is the perfect home for it.

A lot of life’s tasks are important but don’t need to be done immediately as a priority. Eating, exercising, spending time with loved ones – and a lot of professional tasks fall into this area too – the marketing plan for next financial year, putting together a brief for a client you’ll meet next month, and so forth.

Hence, planning when to do them should be your next step. Look at the diary, work out when they can be done around other commitments and fit them in. Depending on how your manage your diary, these will either be done when the time comes around – or they’ll end up being pushed back until they are bumped forward into the ‘urgent-important’ box.

  1. Delegate

Tasks that are ‘urgent’ but ‘not important’ can be a real drain on your time – and, if we can assume that virtually everyone owns a mobile phone now, your pocket sized companion is the perfect example of this:

You’re working on an important task and the phone rings – something that’s very difficult to ignore.

On the other end of the phone, a colleague, a friend, a telemarketing company… all of which are going to take you further away from completing that ‘urgent-important’ task.

So what do you do? The answer, as far as is possible, is to delegate the task.

Now, President Eisenhower probably wasn’t short of people who would answer the White House phone for him, but you don’t have to have staff to take advantage of delegation. Could you set your voicemail? Could you have your mobile calls rooted to a colleagues phone while you’re hard at work? Could you set up a rule for incoming emails?

Delegating to systems is sometimes just as useful as having someone who’ll pick up the work on your behalf.

  1. Eliminate

If a task is ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ then it probably doesn’t have a place in your day.

Be careful though, because there are some leisure activities that might not seem important, but are actually a vital part of a work-life balance.

So, reading the news might give you needed 5 minute break away from your job – but if you find yourself mindlessly sucked into reading every news story you can find out of nothing more than habit then this is very much ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ – and needs eliminating, as it does nothing more than eat up your precious time.

How do your days and weeks play out?

You’ve probably got a rough idea of how a day looks at the moment in terms of what can wait, what can’t, what’s ultra-pressing, what isn’t… etc.

However, our brains aren’t really great at being objective, which is why, to get a really good understanding of how the Eisenhower matrix can help you, you need to start recording everything you do.

Grab some post-its. Now, every time you change task, note down what you’re doing. At the end of the day, look back at these things with less ‘in the moment’ eyes – and ask yourself:

Was this important?

Was this urgent?

Then stick it on a printed out or drawn version of the matrix accordingly.

When you’ve got an idea of what your day entails, you can start adjusting accordingly. Finding a lot of ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’ tasks? Great, your new found awareness means you’ve just freed up a bundle of time. Putting ‘important’ but ‘not urgent’ tasks before things that should be getting done immediately? Well now you can adjust.

Awareness is absolutely everything when it comes to productivity. When you understand what your behaviour looks like in a day, you can adjust it so that to-do list is worked through in the most effective way possible.

A Guide To Ranking Locally in 2018

We all know that paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO) is extremely important in today’s business world. Unless you take it seriously, potential clients might never even find your site – in this guide to ranking locally in 2018; we’ll go through how to boost your SEO locally.

After all, if you run some kind of brick and mortar store or are offering a service, you want to attract locals. While it might be nice that someone halfway around the world is able to visit your site, it’s not going to be much good if they aren’t nearby and able to buy from you.

With this in mind, we sought an industry expert Tobias Gilbert who offers an SEO service in Miami. To share a few tips that will help local business owners reach new customers through organic search in Google in 2018!

Know Your Target Market

This is where a lot of businesses fall short. They want to appeal to the broadest range of people. They hope that by getting their message across to the maximum number of people, they have a better chance of getting more clients.

The only thing that this does is to dilute your marketing efforts. It is far better to identify your ideal target market and start delivering targeted campaigns to them. You won’t reach as many people, but the people that you do reach are more likely to buy.

You need to identify what it is that your target market needs, how what you offer can help them, what kind of approach is best suited to them and where they hang out.

The more you know about your target market, the more focused your marketing efforts can be, and the more effective they can be as well.

Use Schema Markup

Make your site easy for search engines to understand by including coding in it that describes what your business actually does. This is known as schema markup.

Create a Great Site

This does not mean having a website with all the bells and whistles but rather a website that is easy to navigate, that loads fast and that makes the buying decision easier for your client. Have a contact form put up where it is easy to see.

Also make sure that there are no typos, that the text on the site is easy to read and that everything looks uncluttered.

The faster the site loads, the higher it is likely to rank in search engine results. The more uncluttered it is and the easier it is to use, the more time people are bound to spend on it. These are all factors that have a significant impact on how Google and other search engines rank your site.

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Having an Up to Date Blog

Your website is your business’s formal ambassador. Content will be updated once in a while but, for the most part, it’s not going to change on a regular basis.

Your business blog is a more informal setting. You can upload relevant content and can update it a lot more easily. It is the perfect way to start interacting with your potential clients because it helps give a face to the people working at the company.

This is where you share content that is useful to your target market, like “How To …” articles. It also performs a more social function – you can share pictures of your new baby or share other kinds of community news as well.

Your website sells your product. Your blog is not quite as focused on sales but rather on opening a dialogue and building a relationship with your clients.

Citations

Are there any online business directories you can link up to? Citations online help to improve your SEO ranking and can count as much as a link from an authority site for local SEO.

List your business with every of these. It might be a bit tedious, but it is important. Local directories are usually free to list with and offer a pain-free way to get your details out there.

citations

Get Customer Service Right

This is not directly linked to your SEO but is equally important – the better the service you offer, the higher the chances that clients will want to leave positive reviews. Make it easy for clients to reach out to you if they are experiencing a problem and get it sorted out as soon as possible.

Get Involved Online

This means posting regularly to social media and in relevant forums. Find ways to engage with clients on Facebook without actively trying to sell to them. The more useful the content you post is, the more likely it is that they will share it with their friends and family.

What is key here is to ensure that messages are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Ask for Reviews

Actively asking clients to leave a review for you online is another excellent way to boost your local SEO. The more good reviews you more credible your site appears to the search engines. Also, people are more willing to trust you if they can find reviews from other customers.

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Local Outreach

You want people in the community to talk about your business and want to get them to help you get more clients. Getting other businesses to promote your services is a great way of doing this, but you might need to lead the way first.

Be sure to post information about other businesses or local community events that others will be interested in. The community will start looking at your blog as a useful resource, and the other businesses are bound to reciprocate the favor.

Building a great relationship with other businesses is an excellent way to boost your SEO. They might agree to guest post for you or vice versa. That means that you get access to their pool of subscribers as well.

Using Keywords Properly

Work out what keywords people will use when searching for your site and include them on your page judiciously. We are not talking about keyword stuffing here, that will just get your site marked down by search engines.

What we are talking about is to use keywords naturally and carefully within your pages. No keyword should have a concentration of over 1.5%. You can keep these figures down by using similes instead of repeating the same phrase over and over again.

It is also a good idea to choose your most important keyword phrase and use that in the first 150 words of your content. Adding a location here is also a good idea.

So, you could use something like “SEO consultant in Miami” to get more targeted local traffic.

Overall, these tips will help you to rank more highly in local searches. Once you have implemented them, the next step is to monitor the results that you are getting to see how effective the changes have been.

SEO is something of an art. The search engines are consistently updating their algorithms to ensure that they get the best search results. If you keep an eye on your website traffic, you are more easily able to track changes that have worked and those that have not.

It may require some trial and error initially, but it won’t be too long before you start getting better results.

The 10 best apps for small business owners in the UK

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If your smartphone barely breaks out of the cycle of checking social media, the news and your email – then you’re not alone, usage statistics show that this is more common than you might expect.

However, if you’re a small business owner, manager or decision maker, you could be missing out.

We’ll run you through 10 of the best smartphone apps for small business available in the UK right now – and tell you a bit about how they might change your smartphone world…

  • Evernote

Although well established, Evernote has never lost it’s place as an absolute must for anyone who’s taking it more than their brain can reasonably remember!

The app allows you to make notes, photos, to-dos and much more – then save it quickly to your phone or device – with it instantly available across all your other synced devices – as well as anywhere you can access a connected web browser.

Evernote also has some really smart tools that make going back to your info simple too – with a great categorisation system that means you’ll never be left wondering where a note is again. The clipping tool that saves websites as images is a huge time saver too – snipping notes down to just the essentials – cutting out any adverts or other distractions.

  • Paypal

The PayPal system is really popular with small businesses and freelancer contractors – especially given how quickly and easily funds can be requested and sent.

When combined with your small business website, the app gives you a chance to glance real time information about how your e-commerce site is performing – and lets you quickly juggle money between accounts.

  • QuickBooks

If you want a full view of your finances, QuickBooks is the answer.

The app allows you to do a huge number of financial tasks for your small business – and depending on your level of requirement – you can go from self-employed tasks, all the way through to small business level, allowing you to manage payroll and much more.

Quickbooks is also great at logging expenses – with a camera function that allows you to snap your receipts and add them to your calculations quickly. You’re also able to connect your bank and online payment accounts too, meaning every penny that goes through your business is quickly and easily allocated and catagorised – with reports that your accountant will love.

  • Pages Manager

Lets say you have a business page on Facebook where you promote the latest range of Atlas Ceramics range of grouts then Pages Manager will take away a lot of the frustration that business users often attribute to the standard Facebook app.

Pages Manager allows you to access numerous business pages if you have them, switching quickly between them. When you’re in, you can look at all the activity taking place on the page, from advertisement management – to the responses you send to messages and comments made on your page.

Facebook is quickly developing toward being a CRM style piece of software that sits behind your page and lets you manage your business with the maximum effect. Pages managers let you – and others, take full advantage of this functionality – meaning your social followers are never left wanting.

  • Basecamp

If you’ve ever had a headache that relates to how your team communicates then Basecamp could be the painkiller you’re looking for!

The latest incarnation of the tool, Basecamp 3, is a dream to use – and allows an online space where you can create project, allocate roles within those projects, share ideas, have discussions, set tasks, collaborate selectively with guests – and much more.

A paid subscription runs a little more expensive than most of the other apps on this list – but the time, effort and frustrated communication that it saves would probably leave you happy to pay double!

  • Dropbox

Dropbox is a superb and extremely simple to use application that lets you share files quickly and easily wherever you are.

While file sharing might not be anything new, Dropbox does it so seamlessly you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not just a native part of your device or operating system’s function. Access your files anywhere you have an internet connection – and quickly share files and folders with anyone in just a couple of clicks. An amazing time saver.

  • Headspace

Although Headspace isn’t about business directly, it’s a sure-fire way to improve your personal business performance.

Some of the most successful managers, CEOs and business owners say that their habit of reflective thinking, mindfulness or meditation is one of the most key parts of their on-going ability to perform – and Headspace is at the top of the game.

With guided breathing exercises that take just 10 minutes a day to do, you’ll be amazed at how your motivation, mood, productivity and general business performance improves if you’re willing to give your busy brain a few minutes too cool off each day.

  • Trello

Although similar to Basecamp, Trello is arguably a more simple concept – working as a note-board of sorts, with digital sticky notes divided up in a sections or projects. Click on each and it opens up, allowing you to keep tasks, to-dos, notes, files and much more on each one.

Trello’s most basic functions are excellent – and free to use. Ideal for collaborating with your team or others!

  • Skype for Business

When asked, most business executives say they’re just as happy (if not happier – based on some city’s traffic levels!) to meet via video call – rather than in person.

Skype is the original video messaging service – with stable connections and almost unlimited call participants – no matter where you are in the world. If you’d prefer to have your meeting from the comfort of your own desk (or home!) – then Skype is well worth giving a go.

  • Hootsuite

Whether you’re managing your company or personal brand, it’s really useful to have a tool that posts information across all your social media pages from one control panel.

Hootsuite does exactly this – and more.

Whether you’re using it from your app or on a desktop – you can integrate all your social media accounts and post to them all at the same time. What’s more, you can go well ahead into the future and schedule huge chunks of social media activity. Your business partners might think you’re sitting at your desk doing nothing but social media work – but the truth is, Hootsuite takes all the effort out of the job!

Studying the Antarctic Climate Changes to better understand Climate Change

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UK average annual temperature rise is at a record high

The ESRC, the Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy have issued reports that suggest the UK’s annual temperature has risen to record highs outpacing the global rate.  With the many other factors like the rise in sea temperatures and the change in various migration patterns for various creatures, it is only natural that big corporations are starting to fund and oversee various climate change projects.  Such Antarctic expeditions to help scientists and various other interested parties better understand the extreme climate events that have been occurring worldwide!

Big Data Companies such ECM supplying various Antarctic expeditions with technology designed to create “data visualizations”

The Willis Resilience project also served to test a new type of weather station which is lightweight and simple to operate.  It is dropped in place into the snow.  Once settled into position the weather station sends meteorological data every thirty minutes.  This enables scientist access to various data they have never had access to before.  By collecting these samples and some physical samples of the snow in Antarctica at various depth science can analyze the climate change throughout the ages.

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Early this year scientist drew alarm bells as large sheets of ice in Antarctica collapsed into the sea.  This brought concerns that Antarctica’s ice sheet could be in the early stages of an irreversible meltdown.

Any fast disintegration of Antarctica, could, at worst, have a serious effect on sea levels which would push coastal dwellers in land effectively causing even greater overpopulation in these areas.

Should the greenhouse gas emissions not start going down it is going to seriously affect Antarctica causing it to breakup at a rate that would rapidly cause oceans to rise above six feet.

The effects of both the climate change causing devastating disasters and potentially cutting down habitable land mass along the coastal areas will not only put a social strain on society but an economic one as well.

As business analysts team up with scientists in a race against time as signs how that the West Antarctic ice sheets are becoming unstable, scientific research agencies are joining forces to supply much-needed answers and more accurate data to better understand and start to develop various contingency plans.

Conclusion

As scientists join forces and trek across the ice lands of Antarctica to get answers each and everyone of us should be playing our part to help in the fight against global warming by trying to be a bit greener.

How to Get That Dream Promotion at Work

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It is a classic problem that most people experience at some point in their lives. You need, or want, a promotion. Maybe you need the money for debt help? Maybe you want the recognition? Maybe you’re bored in your current position and want more responsibility? No matter what the reason, we’re here to give you advice that might just make the different and get your that well-earned jump in your career!

  1. Work Hard

This might go without saying, but it will definitely help you if you are good at your job. But, this isn’t enough. You also have to be seen to be being very good at your job. This means you need to make sure you:

  • get credit for your ideas, initiative and quality work
  • arrive on time every day
  • don’t take excessive amounts of time off
  • show an interest in your work
  • work well with your colleagues

It is a good idea to have these attributes and attitudes from day one, but it is never too late to go for it. Don’t just ‘suck up’ to your boss either. Show yourself to be reliable and hard working with your colleagues as well, you never know when one of them may be in the position to promote you one day, or influence your bosses’ decision. Remember: it can be difficult to promote someone, no matter how talented they are, if they already aren’t respected by their future employees.

  1. Play Hard

Don’t go all-out crazy, but socialising is a very important aspect of a work-place environment. Go to office parties, and try to have lunch with your colleagues, or maybe an occasional pint or two. The better they know you as a person, the more supportive they will be to your advancement. Your boss is also much more likely to promote someone they know well, than someone they don’t.

You need to be careful, however, because you don’t want to become seen as simply a social-centre, rather than a respected member of a team. Too many office party hijinks, and your working reputation may be damaged.

  1. Educate Yourself

Some work places offer opportunities for professional development. Take these up as enthusiastically as you can! Even if your company doesn’t offer such opportunities, find some for yourself. Anything you can add to your CV or Cover Letter will help you chances.

Maybe learning a language, or becoming more financially savvy, is the key to your promotion? Evening, weekend, and online courses exist on all sorts of topics, from Russian, to Arabic, to Financial Know-How. Showing some initiative to improve yourself always looks great to employers.

  1. Be Confident

This can be easier said than done, but acting with confidence can make all the difference in the world. This will help you claim the credit you deserve when you do well, stand your ground if you find yourself needing ask for a promotion, and help you connect with your colleagues.

A great trick to being confident is to realise that no one is really all that confident. Everyone has their insecurities. Some great tips for improving your self-esteem include: avoiding negative self-talk, connecting with people who love you, focusing on the positives, and seeking support when you need it.

In terms of acting confident for a promotion, you may even want to think about enrolling in acting classes. If you can’t be confident, you can at least learn to act confident. Maybe you can think of someone confident who you respect and try to emulate them?

  1. Look elsewhere

If you really feel underappreciated, or underpaid, then don’t be afraid to look for work elsewhere. There is no point being loyal to a company who is not being loyal to you. Don’t act spiteful to your boss and colleagues, though; even if you do manage to get a job elsewhere. You never know when the networks you built during your years with them could be useful later down the line.

You never know, your boss might value you more than you think and offer to match, or raise, the salary being offered to you. So, it could be worth looking around, even if you would rather stay where you are.

  1. Ask for it

Sometimes a promotion opportunity might not be on the horizon, no matter how much your boss and colleagues like and respect you. But, if you have put in years of good service with a company, there is nothing to stop you asking your boss for a meeting to discuss your pay.

It might sound terrifying, but, often, the very act of taking the initiative, and knowing your worth can demonstrate your value to a company and convince your boss you are worth a pay-rise or promotion.

  1. Make it About the Company

This bring us to our second point: make that conversation all about what you bring to a company, rather than your needs. Your boss doesn’t need to know the details of your debt management plan, how expensive raising your child is, your DAS, or any other real reason you need the promotion. If anything, sharing your financial problems could lead your boss to question how responsible you are, or see you as a risk.

Tell your boss about all the great things you have done since you have joined the company. Talk about what you hope to do for the company should you be promoted: your plans and aims, and how you might achieve them. Most companies prefer hiring from within the company, so remember: you have an advantage, use it!

  1. Apply Formally

Whether you are applying internally, or externally; you’ve been told it’s just a formality; or even if your boss is your best mate. Always apply just as you would if you were an external candidate who really wanted the job. Put your best foot forward and sell yourself with an updated cover letter and CV.

You never know what is going on behind the scenes, and your boss might have to justify your promotion to their boss, or you might come up against an unexpectedly perfect external candidate. A lacklustre application will not appear very convincing, and you don’t want to risk putting anything to chance.

Five Legal Mistakes Tech Start-Ups Need To Know About!

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Start-up businesses are a risky venture, but even the biggest, worldwide business we know today once started out as a small start-up. That means you can do it! But the early life and development of your business is going to be difficult in most cases, but you can make it easier.

While making mistakes is always going to be a risk and you shouldn’t be afraid of making some small-scale ones, there are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs. These are more serious legal mistakes and the frightening thing about them is that they are easier to make than you probably think.

Below I’ve outlined four easy mistakes start-ups can make without even realising it, and according to one of he leading lawyers in Glasgow, some of these mistakes carry important legal ramifications, while others will simply help you protect your business and products. Let’s take a look at five easy to make mistakes that any entrepreneur needs to know how to avoid.

Omitting Your Legal Requirements

Let’s start with one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make, it might sound a little odd but one of the easiest mistakes to make when you’re developing your start-up business is to not pay any attention to any legal considerations or to not give them the focus you should.

This doesn’t mean you’re breaking the law or doing anything illegal, but it does mean you’re cutting corners. For example, you could rush contracts or put off important legal jobs that you should really be focusing on.

Many entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of doing things like this to save time and money but while it might do that in the short-term in the long-term it’s just going to lead to more problems. So, make sure you give the legal matters of your business the time they deserve. 

Not Protecting Intellectual Property

Many start-ups, especially those working in technology, have valuable intellectual property and it can take many different forms. Despite the importance of their work, many start-ups won’t properly invest in getting their intellectual property protected.

You can protect your intellectual property in a wide variety of ways with some of the most common being things like patents, trademarks and of course copyright. There’s some leeway but these IP rights effectively give you the right to stop other people from copying your designs/ products.

Your start-up could come with an amazing piece of technology or design but if you don’t ensure it’s protected then legally someone else could come along and make it their own. Of course, you can’t trademark or patent everything these sorts of IP protections won’t cover everything so make sure you actually have a solid product, design or service of some kind in place before applying for protection.

Not Getting Non-Disclosure Agreements

Keeping your intellectual property safe requires more than just things like copyrights and trademarks. Those are perfect for when your product/ service is ready but in the early days, while you’re still in the development stages you’re going to need something else.

When you’re still juggling ideas, and coming with plans you are going to need a non-disclosure agreement. Commonly referred to as NDA’s these legal agreements will help you prevent other people from sharing any information about what you’re developing.

An entrepreneur can come with some amazing ideas and plans, that could literally change the world in extreme cases. But if you don’t ensure the people you work with sign a non-disclosure agreement they could easily share that information with others.

Not Setting Up Contracts

This one might seem unthinkable to the experienced entrepreneur but in your early days it’s easier than you think to forget about how important setting up contracts are. This is especially true for very small start-ups, and let’s be honest most start-ups are going to be small at first.

But no matter what size your business is you should get contracts set-up quickly, whether you have one employee or one hundred. Your contracts will protect you and your employees and help ensure they are all covered legally.

Contracts are also very important when it comes to setting up other agreements like for shareholders, to give just one example. No matter how excited you are to get your business off the ground never forget about the importance of a legally binding contract, a handshake is no substitute.

Not Ensuring Your Website Is Protected

Unless your new start-up business is in a very niche market you’re going to need a website, any serious business today will have one. But while you might be have the brains for business and have an amazing product on your hands you might not know how to keep your website safe and secure.

Your website will need a lot of things to make sure it’s of high-quality but we’re just focusing on the legal requirements for now. And for your website to be legally protected you will need an in-depth, high-quality terms of use agreement and a privacy policy.

The terms of use agreement is pretty self-explanatory, the privacy policy, on the other hand, is a professional legal statement that outlines what your business will do with any personal data it collects. Your privacy policy should cover both users and customers and will need to outline if any data is going to be sold to third parties as well.

It will also need to cover the use of cookies and outline how you protect any data. While it might seem like a good idea to just download a template for your privacy policy and terms of use agreement it’s important that you create your own from scratch, because they’ll need to be personalised for your site/ business.

So, that’s a look at five easy to make mistakes all entrepreneurs will want to avoid to ensure they don’t face any legal consequences. Remember many of these mistakes can be avoided by getting professional assistance and advice, one all too common mistake entrepreneurs can make is they try to do everything on their own.

Entrepreneurs Who Overcame Dyslexia

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There have been more entrepreneurs overcome the problems of dyslexia to make not only a very healthy and wealthy lifestyle for themselves but also to have added attributes throughout the world which we would all like to have achieved and stand proud of.

It may come as a surprise to hear some of the names on the list; big players in all industries achieving way above what was ever expected of them personally or of anyone else in their own individual fields.

Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Henry Ford of Ford Motors, Tommy Hilfiger, Peter Stringfellow, Ted Turner the founder of CNN, Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard, John Reed chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef… the list goes on and on and on, and these are just some of those that you will have heard of that have succeeded in overcoming barriers to learning with great success. 

The CEO list of the less well-known business giants is just as impressive and ever growing too. A recent survey has suggested up to 35% of the worlds most prominent and successful entrepreneurs are affected by this reading disorder.

Here are the success stories of five of the more famous names, how they arrived at their achievements and an insight to some of the challenges they faced.

Sir Richard Branson

Branson has done as much as anyone to highlight that dyslexia doesn’t have to hold you back. Now the 212th richest person in the world his Virgin Group is running three hundred companies under its umbrella brand.

He struggled through school and left early at fifteen-years-old. He cited his reason as being a hopeless case, that nobody had heard of the condition in those days and that he was always bottom of the class. What he soon learned was that business was soon to become his calling; it just made sense to him from the different way he would look at things. He has spoken of his dyslexia being a big part of what helped him achieve so much, the ability to see things clearer because of the way he needed to simplify things to see them properly.

He has talked about it on his own website; “I see my condition as a gift, not a disability. It has helped me learn the art of delegation, focus my skills and work with incredible people.”

One of the more famous lines from his past was when his old headmaster told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. It’s nice to see he ended up on the better side of those options!

Dame Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop in 1976. She had seven hundred stores by 1991.

When she founded the Body Shop she had no business experience but a drive simply to make an income. She described her livelihood as her goal stating that we shouldn’t obsess about making everything we do into a means to make money but to create an honourable livelihood from taking our own skills and using them to earn a living from them, that it would then provide you a sense of freedom and balance to live your life the way you want.

With this in mind and the ethics of running a business being about responsibility, the public good and not some private greed, about training, education and support, what followed was the growth of her brand from strength to strength, helping her collect countless awards along the way for being one of the most renowned businesswomen of her time as well as a philanthropist.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito,” she said.

Lord Alan Sugar

The British entrepreneur is now worth £1.15bn and hailed as the ninety-fifth richest man in the UK.

His business empire started in 1968 founding the company Amstrad, based on his initials and the word trading, with his first ventures being in import/export and wholesale. The real growth began when he started to specialise in consumer electronics – starting with audio equipment and soon moving into personal computing.

In 1980 Amstrad was introduced on the stock market. Each year it doubled in value until it peaked at £1.2bn in the late 1980s.

Since then he has become a media personality with his own television show ‘The Apprentice’, he is a politician, a political advisor, a previous part owner and chairman of Tottenham Hotspur football club, he owns his own private charter airline and countless other business ventures.

In 2016 he was hammered by the masses of Twitter and the press for his misspelling of the word Halloween as ‘Holowein’ in one of his tweets; an obvious kickback from his disorder where letters and words often appear in the wrong order. In the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t bother him too much. It certainly hasn’t affected his earning capacity…

Ingvar Kamprad

Kamprad founded the Swedish furniture chain Ikea. According to Forbes he is currently worth $46.8bn.

He began by selling matches as a child, then selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, ballpoint pens and eventually after selling replicas of his uncle’s kitchen table he grew that idea into selling other types of furniture.

One point of interest was that Kamprad didn’t just succeed despite suffering from dyslexia but he used it to help him understand and overcome a part of the business he struggled with. Initially as a mail order business each piece was identified with a number that Kamprad had problems remembering. Instead of delegating that part of the process to another member of staff he decided to organise his product list with a unique naming system that he could remember. The larger items were titled with Swedish place names, chairs and desks were given men’s names, and garden furniture was named after various Swedish islands. These were all familiar things to him and the associations he could make made remembering the stock a much more simple process. Certainly that was one solution that came from understanding the disorder and working with it instead of against it.

Theo Paphitis

Dragon’s Den regular and former Millwall Football Club Chairman Paphitis made his fortune of £286 million by starting as a filing clerk with a London insurance broker.

He saw his strength in retail and selling while working in finance, mortgages and property through the 1980s. However, it was when he bought out the bankrupt Ryman stationery chain and went to work rebuilding it into the highly successful outlet it is today that he made not only his mark, but also his millions.

Talking about dyslexia Paphitis has spoken out about his challenges saying he was labelled lazy at school and separated from his ‘intelligent’ friends by his teachers. Just like Branson he spoke about how it wasn’t understood as well as it is today when he was a child, that the support sufferers can now receive wasn’t so easily available back then.

He is now a regular supporter of the group Dyslexia Action where advanced research into the disorder is being carried out. His donations are partly responsible for the continuing work they achieve through their exploration.

He has three sons, who also suffer from the condition, as it is widely accepted that dyslexia is a hereditary condition.

The Coolest Offices From Around the World

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Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.

Here are some of the best offices around the world:

Autodesk

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Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.

Airbnb

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Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment.  In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.

Pixar

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For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?

WeWork

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WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.

Urban Outfitters

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The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to

Selgas Cano

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As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.

Cisco-Meraki

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Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.