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Management

How Trade Wars Affect Small Business

trade success small business

Trade wars have been in the news a lot recently, mainly thanks to President Trump and his continued obsession with starting them.

The basic definition of a trade war is that it’s when a country decides to create tariffs or put restrictions on certain imports.

Using the Trump example, he imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% aluminum one. As a response to these tariffs, other countries start putting their own restrictions on imports to protect their economy.

Needless to say that trade wars aren’t a great thing for international trade. But, how do small businesses get affected by them?

If you own a small business, then you’ll definitely want to know the best course of action to take during trade war periods.

Questions

Should you just batten down the hatches, or do you even need to worry about anything?

Is it still possible to grow your small business during a trade war, and will you fare worse if your business is in the USA vs. the UK?

All of these questions, and more, will be answered in the following article. If we take a deep dive into the whole trade war situation, we’ll slowly be able to see how small businesses are affected, and whether or not you should be worried.

Trade Wars Raise The Cost Of Imported Products

One of the most visible consequences of a trade war is that it raises the cost of imported goods as soon as the tariffs are in place. What does this mean for a small business? Truthfully, it can be both a good and a bad thing.

Local vs Imported

If your business only uses locally-sourced materials to create products and you never use imports, then you’ve now got an advantage over companies that do the opposite. You have no additional costs to pay to obtain your resources, so you can sell products for a cheaper price and potentially grow your business.

On the other hand, if you’re heavily dependent on imported items, then you’re instantly going to suffer. The cost of procurement goes up, which means you have to do something to try and remain profitable. One option is to raise prices – which may result in losing customers as they don’t want to pay extra.

Cut Costs

Another option is to cut down on your staffing costs to try and compensate for the additional expenses – which could result in your business becoming less productive and efficient.

So, you can possibly benefit from trade wars if your small business either already uses domestic materials or actually manufactures things with tariffs on – like steel and aluminum. But, it will have a negative effect if you rely on any foreign imports that are tariffed.

Can Make Exporting Products More Expensive Too

As a reaction to the tariffs set on foreign imports, the countries that are being penalized will start to put their own tariffs on imports from the US. So, if your small business really depends on exporting goods, then you could be in trouble.

Raise Prices

Again, your only options are to try and raise prices or reduce costs to try and remain competitive. Ultimately, this is likely to end in your small business going under.

Trade Wars Will Threaten Innovation

You can clearly see that trade wars will have a direct impact on small businesses with regards to imports and exports. But, another consequence of these conflicts is that innovation is under threat.

Think about it like this; when there’s plenty of competition between domestic and foreign businesses, it tends to drive standards up.

A domestic manufacturer that’s trying to compete with a foreign one will have to innovate to try and gain customers and make sales.

The foreign offering is cheaper, so it immediately seems more attractive. This is how we see things like technological advancements to try and make domestic offerings better than the cheaper foreign ones.

Yes, putting a tariff on foreign imports means that domestic businesses can thrive without the competition. However, it also means that they have no need to innovate anymore.

Why Invest In Innovative Measures When You Now Offer The Cheapest Product?

On the contrary, the foreign countries may have higher-quality goods as they’re the ones that are trying to innovate and make their offerings more attractive and worth the extra price.

How Should Small Businesses React To Trade Wars?

The big question is; how should your small business react to everything that’s going on? For one, you need to evaluate if you will be negatively affected by things or not.

If you sell products, then there’s every chance that somewhere down the supply chain someone you work with will have to pay import tariffs and it may hit you. But, if there’s one sort of industry that your small business should focus on it’s probably the services industry.

Choose To Sell Services

Small businesses that offer services aren’t really going to be affected by a trade war. If you provide something like marketing consultancy, then your life isn’t going to change that much.

So, if you’re thinking about how to grow your business during a trade war – or just avoid being badly affected by it, then considered offering services either instead of or alongside the products you sell.

Move Your Headquarters

Another idea could be to think about moving your headquarters to a country that’s not affected by trade wars. I know it’s a long shot, but businesses in the UK will be better off than ones in the USA because the trade wars on things like steel and aluminum aren’t present. By operating in a different country, you can bypass specific tariffs that are present in this country.

The trading landscape is changing constantly…this news is just in:

US and EU have just announced they’ll work together on lowering tariffs with the aim of averting an all out trade war.

“We agree today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero, non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump told reporters.
Quote from The Guardian

Conclusion

To conclude; trade wars affect small businesses in many ways. They can raise the price of foreign imports as well as exports to foreign countries. This may have a temporary benefit for small companies that manufacture products that are being tariffed, or buy from domestic manufacturers. But, the long-term effects are somewhat detrimental in the sense that innovation will suffer substantially.

What’s more, service-based businesses have very little to worry about as they rely on knowledge and skills to make money. So, if you’re looking to grow a business during a trade war, the services industry is the place to be.

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Management

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace

food

foodA healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.

Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.

Use Snack Services

There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.

However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.

Incentivize your Employees

There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.

Do not Neglect Break Time

You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.

Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture

If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.

Conclusion

Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.

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Management

How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer

self publish a book

how to overcome writer's blockIf you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.

There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.

Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.

There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.

Job Boards

There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.

Start a Blog

Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.

Guest Post

As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.

Self-Publish your Own Books

Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.

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Management

4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings

stress ball

stress ball

Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.

Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.

Visuals

One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.

Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.

However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.

Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.

Recording Device

One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.

The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.

However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.

Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.

Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.

Stress Ball

This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.

Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.

People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.

A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.

Whiteboard

When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.

Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.

Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.

Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.

Conclusion

These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.

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