Shipping Options: Which One Should Your Business Use?

If your business deals with the manufacturing or sale of goods and products, you’ll need a good shipping system. There are many options for transportation and delivery, and sometimes it’s worth using more than one. You should consider what best suits your needs to pick the most suitable option.

Offering the best delivery options will attract more customers. Companies who need to transport large amounts of goods will need a service which can handle heavy loads. Here are some of the options to look into and what situations they’re most apt for.

Postal Services

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Postal services offer basic delivery functions, usually operated by the government. Examples of these include Royal Mail and USPS. These are best for delivering small packages, but can sometimes take parcels of around 20-30kg, depending on the service.

These kinds of services usually offer options for regular, expedited and international delivery. You’ll have to pay more to send items overseas or by one-day delivery, and cost can also depend on weight.

Although options are somewhat limited, using a government postal service is good for small businesses. If you sell small items through an online shop, such as on eBay or Etsy, this might be your best choice. You can take deliveries down to a local post office and get them sent out quickly. They are usually reliable and being official services makes them more accountable.

Independent Couriers

As an alternative to using government postal services, there are privately-run courier companies who can deliver items for you. The best independent courier services offer a range of delivery options, so you can make customers happy.

Courier services can pick items up from you and take them to where they need to be. They can also manage heavier loads than postal services, and offer a range of delivery times. Many offer business services for you to get discounted prices on bulk deliveries.

These can be especially useful for delivering products to customers. If you need to transport small volumes of goods you can also make use of a courier service.

Freight Transport Companies

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If your business is a manufacturer or wholesaler, then postal services and couriers won’t fulfill your needs. If you’re transporting heavy loads of cargo, you’ll need to make use of a freight transportation service.

These services can deliver a much higher volume of goods for long hauls. Freight services use large trucks to transport goods by road, but can also transport loads by air. You could even use a service like EON Logistics sea freight forwarder to send cargo overseas. This gives you options both for domestic and international shipping.

If you transport large amounts of cargo to other companies and organizations, freight services are the ideal choice.

In-House Shipping Options

You don’t necessarily have to use external services. You could hire employees to handle transportation and delivery for you.

This will require more investment. You may have to buy a lorry or van, as well as paying for any servicing and repairs they may need down the line. You’d also have to find a qualified and reliable driver.

Weight up the costs before making any rash decisions. If you’re a small business only serving a few clients, a company courier might be cost efficient. If you send out a lot of cargo, buying the trucks and drivers to handle your transportation may be too expensive.

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Workplace Fun: A Short Guide to Office Productivity

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There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a room filled with a dreary atmosphere. The mind finds it harder to concentrate and more effort has to be made to make the creative juices flow.

According to research, employees find that being surrounded by dullness decreases their productivity. It’s a common problem that often gets overlooked. After all, most business are more concerned about making money rather than making their workers happy.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a professional office. Injecting a little excitement into a space however, will not affect that in any way.

One of the most common mistakes that employers make, is not giving the layout of their office enough thought.

Sometimes all it takes is a little rearranging to create a space your employees will be happy to inhabit.

Creating a productive space

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When thinking of productive spaces, we often think of things that are rather dull and boring. This is due to the fact that we are used to seeing those things constantly.

Just because something’s popular, doesn’t make it the right option. Sure, a clean and tidy space is always good, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and exciting.

Playing around with colours can be a fantastic way of transforming a space. White walls can get a little boring to look at. Bold colours, such as orange or blue, can stimulate the brain a little more.

Productivity can be improved by creating an office that makes your employees excited. After all, it’s much better to be happy rather than dread every minute of your day.

Fun with Furniture

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Furniture doesn’t have to be uniform. Not every office on the planet needs to feature the same old chairs.

Due to the fact that we have been exposed to that image for years, it’s harder for us to envision a space that is different.

When designing your office, try to think outside the box. Does the chair really need to be black? Are you really that impressed with a white desk? Sometimes adding a little splash of colour can make all the difference in the world.
When it comes to decorating the space – be creative. Hanging an old painting that has nothing to do with the business, is a common mistake. Just because it’s “art” doesn’t mean it has a place in your office.

Again, try thinking outside the box and make it fun and imaginative. Why not get you logo made in the form of a neon sign. Companies like A1 Designs specialise in that. If you’d rather be less flashy, get some stickers with your logo printed off and put them on your walls. There many companies, like Discount Sticker Printing, that specialise in such items. It’s all about being creative and finding the right resources.

Don’t let your office drag you down. There’s no reason why a space can’t be professional yet fun at the same time. All it takes is a little imagination, some effort and a solid plan. Help your employees get better results by ensuring they are happy.

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Reaching Out: Attracting More Customers To Your Business In 4 Easy Steps

Every business experiences a unique journey, and some aspect will be specific to the individual venture. But there are a number of elements that link all companies, and the need for customers sits at the very top of the pile.

If you let it, this can become a very complex subject. However, the truth is that most companies can achieve fantastic success with some very simple methods. Follow the four tips outlined below, and yours can be one of them.

What are you waiting for,? Let’s get to work.

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Let Them Interact

First and foremost, there’s no point in people finding your company if their visit doesn’t lead to the desired outcome. For most companies, that means acquiring a sale. Do not forget it.

Potential clients won’t be willing to complete a transaction if they cannot trust the business. Therefore, you need to make it easier for them to contact you. This guide will help you make the most of those opportunities both internally and externally. In turn, this can only boost your chances of gaining the trust required for sales.

Furthermore, it should allow you to provide a far better service to the customers too.

Utilise Google

While sales are the statistic that you need to monitor most, there are various steps needed to achieve it. Getting people to actively visit your site is one of the most important. Unfortunately, you cannot just leave this to chance.

Understanding the habits of the online audience is crucial. For the vast majority of them, search engines are the key to finding whatever product or service they’re after. Given that over 90% of users will click a link on the first page of results, boosting your visibility here is vital.

There are various methods to help you achieve this. Quite frankly, it could be the most important step you take.

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Create Engaging Content

Online marketing does carry a unique set of parameters. However, the basic principles are the same. Most importantly, you need to capture the attention of your key demographic.

To do this online, you need to build engaging campaigns that encourage user interaction. Meanwhile, those adverts need to appear in the right places. A pay per click agency can help you master this challenge with minimal fuss, and it will lead to more interest from the most likely customers.

Of course, you can aid your cause further by using video marketing and other cool features. Essentially, the more effort you put in, the greater interest you should receive.

Use The Customers

It’s safe to assume that the customer is already fond of your business. So why not let them attract their friends and family too? Sharing is caring, and it could be great news for everyone.

By rewarding the existing client’s loyalty, you’re outsourcing part of your marketing plan with no risk. If they bring in new clients, then you’re only paying them a percentage of the additional profit. If they fail to recruit new ones, you haven’t paid for their efforts.

Potential customers will be far more likely to complete their transactions once they’ve had a nudge from someone they trust. It could be your secret weapon for increased success. Ignore it at your peril.

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The Top Methods for Improving Business Continuity

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Business continuity is vital to the survival of your company. You don’t want your business to be at a stand still whenever something goes wrong. The longer your business is unable to carry on with normal operations, the longer you will lose money. Sometimes when something happens, it could only mean an hour or two of downtime. However, even this can have an effect, especially when it happens frequently. And if your business is unable to operate normally for days or longer, it could be devastating. Make sure you stay up and running with these tips.

Move Data and Software to the Cloud

One of the biggest culprits for business interruptions is IT system downtime. Many businesses rely on their technology functioning constantly so they work can continue. If the necessary tools aren’t available, the business may be out of operation. For example, a call center might need access to databases and phone software. One of the ways that many businesses are choosing to get around this problem is by using the cloud. Having data and software stored remotely can help to minimise the amount of system downtime experienced. The issue will be taken care of by the cloud service company to ensure your business can keep going.

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Plan for Breakdowns and Repairs

Other equipment failing to function can put a dent in daily operations too. For example, if a machine is out of commission in a factory, things will slow down. It’s important to have plans in place so that you can take care of these issues as soon as possible. You need to make sure you can get someone to repair a problem right away. That might mean having a maintenance person on site who can come and take a look at it. It could also involve calling an outside service that offers commercial fridge repair or car breakdown services. The sooner you can have someone come and fix the problem, the faster your business can run smoothly again.

Put Backups in Place

As well as having someone to do repairs, you also need a plan while you’re waiting for repairs. You don’t want your business to be at a complete standstill while you wait. For example, a hotel might need to wash sheets so that rooms can be made up. If their laundry room isn’t functioning, they need somewhere else they can send their linens. Your backup plan might involve using an external service. It could be having extra equipment, such as a backup generator.

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Keep Your Business Continuity Plan Updated

Making a business continuity plan is an essential task. However, once you have a plan, don’t just leave it as it is. You should keep it updated to ensure that it’s always relevant. You don’t want someone to refer to the plan only to discover they can’t follow the instructions. Make sure the plan is always up to date, or it will cause further delays.

Being prepared is the best way to protect your business from disaster. If everyone knows what to do, you can get back up and running sooner.

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Simple Hacks To Evolve Your Trade Skills Into A Successful Business

Many of us have dreamed of being our own boss. We look forward to days when we can choose our own hours and not have someone breathing down our neck. Of course, the reality of running your own business is longer hours and difficult clients! But the freedom and satisfaction of building something up to a successful business make it all worthwhile. How can you evolve what you do for your employer into that dream, successful business?

The first thing to do is check for demand. Unless there is a need for what you can do, you’re not likely to find any clients. Doing what you do for an employer is always going to be the safer option. But if you can find your potential clients and reach them effectively, your skills could soon be in demand. Marketing skills and knowledge are very handy here.

You’ll also need to be sure you own all the equipment you need. Employees are usually provided with the equipment they need to do the job. Self-employed or freelance workers must provide their own. If you work in construction, you may need to invest in things like industrial bonding adhesives from Kenyon Adhesives and industry standard tools to ensure you can fulfill the jobs you’ll be doing. If you are an IT specialist, chances are you’ll need some high-end computer equipment and software before you can start. Whatever trade you’re in, you’ll need to invest to get the high standard of equipment necessary to do your job.

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Before you rush into your boss’s office to quit, consider your financial security. You have a regular income and a pension that is boosted by your employer’s contributions. Giving that up could harm your future income and disrupt your cash flow immediately. Hold onto the job as long as you can. Build up a steady stream of new clients and a number of regular customers before you cut the cord.

Make sure you have a website detailing what you do. It should also include all your contact details. An enquiry form can be useful too. Use images relevant to your line of work. You may even consider making a YouTube video or writing some blog style articles about what you do. Use social media to increase your reach and attract more visitors to your website. Make sure you are registered with any relevant trade bodies too.

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As the enquiries start to stream in, you’ll need to put more thought to customer service. Are you always able to take the call? Are you promptly responding to enquiries? Could you upsell or cross-sell your services to increase the value of each customer? And are you making sure they will return to you again and again? If you find you’re running out of time to do these things, it could be worth investing in some assistance. This may be outsourced help or a member of staff.

If there is demand for your skillset, there is every chance you could make a business out of it. With the right approach, your entrepreneur skills could find you developing a company that grows. Will you set your sights high?

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The Secrets To A Better Office For Your Business

If your business has an office, then you need to take great care of it. Here are three things that will make your office a better place:

Fibre Optic Broadband

Internet access is a must for every business nowadays. And, you should try your best to get the best broadband connection possible. You need a connection that’s fast and reliable. The best way to achieve this is to install fiber optic cables in your office. They offer a much better broadband performance compared to a traditional connection.

The benefit of this is that it keeps your office connected at all times. There’s a very low chance your broadband will drop, and the speeds are high too. So, you can get your work done a lot quicker, and it increases productivity. Plus, it helps bring your business into the modern age and take advantage of great technologies. I must note that fiber optic installation isn’t available everywhere. In most city centers and urban areas, you’ll get it without a problem. But, if your office is in the middle of nowhere then you might have a problem. I’d strongly advise you to check if an office can have fiber optic installation before you move into it.

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Office Partitions

Office partitions are a fantastic way to improve your office. Why? Because they deal with two important things; visual appearance and productivity. Having partitions in your office can make life better for your employees. They’re less distracted if they have partitions blocking off the section they work in. It keeps people confined into little groups, and they get more work done.

As for the visual appearance of your office, partitions can make it look more classy. An open office looks a bit hectic and crazy. But office partitions gives it a more professional look. Plus, companies like Custom Wytelyne Powder Coating can add some color to your partitions too. So, you can make your office look more colorful and vibrant.

Fingerprint Security

The technology industry has given us some amazing things to use in the business realm. I’m a big fan of trying to bring technology into the office. And, I think fingerprint security is a brilliant way to do this. It can help make your office a lot more safe and secure. When your office is safe, it’s a positive on many levels. For one, your employees will work better if they feel safe. Secondly, you reduce the risks of things getting stolen or unwanted people getting in.

So, how will this work? Well, we’ve all seen fingerprint security on mobile phones, right? You register your fingerprint and use it to unlock the phone. Anyone with an unregistered print won’t be able to gain access. It’s the same concept; only the scanner is connected to your office door instead of a phone. When employees enter the building, they need to scan their fingerprint. It’s a cool and modern alternative to a regular security system. Plus it enhances your image as people will be amazed when they stop by and see this technology on your front door.

Improve your office by using the advice in this article. Trust me; you’ll see a big change in how your office feels and functions.

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Don’t Buy A Business Address Before You’ve Read This!

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When you think about setting up a business, you might want a home base for your company. An office or an establishment where your employees can work as a team every day. Or, you might set up your office in the comfort of your home. A home company certainly has it’s advantages with significantly lower costs and less responsibility. That said having an office automatically makes your business look more professional and well established. It’s your choice which route you take here. If you do want a business address though, I suggest you heed my advice.

Beware Of Old Properties

An old business property may look like a complete steal. Particularly, if you can grab a comfortably sized office for just under a hundred thousand. You might think that new office is a dream come true but do be careful. Especially if that office was built before 1981. 1981 was the last registered use of asbestos in a building. Buildings before this used asbestos for insulation purposes in roofs and walls. If you’ve ever bought a home, you’re probably aware of the issue with asbestos. It’s a potential health hazard and if disturbed, it can be quite dangerous. You might think, well I’ll just leave it alone then. Ah, but then it could seep out slowly and cause a health issue without you even realizing. It’s a risky game. Your best option is to get an asbestos survey after you buy the property. For more info, check out some surveyors online. If there is an issue you can get it removed before you start hiring.

Don’t Cheapen The Deal With A Lack Of Security

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You might go a different route and buy a new and expensive property. You can do this by saving cash in other areas but be careful which areas of your company you cut the costs in. Cutting costs of security could lead to new problems. If your business property isn’t properly guarded it may be targeted by criminals. They could steal expensive equipment and swipe customer data. It’s best to invest a little more into security and ensure your business acts as a deterrent. The best form of security is doing everything you can to guarantee thieves don’t even consider breaking in.

Careful Of Those Energy Prices

Energy prices aren’t a big deal as long as you have the freedom to change the company and get better rates. Unfortunately, some rented properties do not allow you to change your energy provider. Be careful renting a property like this because you could be stuck paying rates high above the market average. You always want freedom when choosing an energy provider. Particularly, now that so many are offering renewable energy to businesses across the globe.

A Prime Location Is Your Ticket To The Big Leagues

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Finally, make sure you buy a business property in a prime location. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get a property in the middle of the city. You could buy one in an up and coming business park. If you do this, you’re sure to attract the attention of big clients that could bring your profits skywards.

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The Best Way To Buy B2B Equipment

When you want to run a successful B2B business, then investing in good equipment is an essential early step. However, if you’ve never been in this position before, identifying the best investment for your company can be extremely difficult. Getting your business fully equipped is going to take a lot of capital, which I’m sure you don’t want to waste. To make the whole task easier, here are some important tips for buying B2B equipment.

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Before you start reaching out to suppliers, you need to take the time to assess all your needs. If you make single, isolated purchases as and when you need them, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure. Take a good look at your whole production process, and decide on some specific standards of quality and efficiency which you want to meet. While you’re doing this, don’t make the mistake of keeping your vision too limited. You’re probably going to need some very expensive machinery to get your business started, and if you need to buy replacements straight away it’s going to be a massive blow to your cash flow. You need to consider any future production targets and growth, and how the equipment you’re buying will accommodate for that.

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Once you have these fundamental criteria, my next tip is to spend a lot of time shopping around. To ensure you get the best return on these sizable investments, you need to carry out a lot of research into the quality of the equipment which you plan on acquiring. Simply reading online reviews will give you some information, but you certainly shouldn’t stop there. Start visiting trade fairs where you can talk to company reps in person, and see their machinery in action. There are probably countless trade shows linked to your industry, where high-end equipment suppliers such as Newnham Engineering set up exhibits and liaise with business owners like you. Whatever equipment you’re looking to buy, be sure to consider all of your options before settling.

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Finally, do a little more shopping around, this time for financing options. I’ve heard of a lot of established B2B business owners who are afraid to upgrade their current equipment due to concerns they have over financing. The first option you found may not be ideal for your needs, but there’s sure to be some kind of financing plan which is near enough perfect. When you have the right financing in place, you’ll have more time to look around at different suppliers, and be a much stronger negotiator when you’re liaising with these companies. When you’re looking over all the financing options you can get from different banks and institutions, don’t just stop at the interest rates. It’s also important to consider the percentage of your purchase the different creditors will finance. This goes for the equipment itself, and all the extras such as shipping, installation and further training for your employees.

Take this advice, and buying the best equipment for your B2B operation will become so much easier.

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The Biggest Problems Facing The Technology Sector Today

The technology sector is vast and growing rapidly. From the outside, it may seem like everything is fine and dandy in this business sector. However, there are many lingering problems facing the technology sector today. And, here are the three biggest:

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Hackers

Hackers are a huge issue in the technology industry today. The more tech we have, the more hackers we have. People are finding ways to hack into computer networks and steal important information. A few of the biggest companies in the world have been abused by software hackers in the last few years. Not too long ago, Sony’s PlayStation Network was down for ages because of a hack. It’s a problem that’s hard to clamp down on as hackers are good at covering their tracks. They often take credit for their work, but it’s hard to trace them. All tech businesses have to ensure that their devices and software are protected from hackers. Often, they get friendly hackers to try and break into their software before they release it. This helps them test if their defenses are good enough. Regardless, there will always be a way for someone to hack into something tech related. It’s an issue that won’t go away.

Source Code Problems

In the technology sector, there are loads of legal issues that pose problems. When dealing with software, there are loads of things that need to be taken into account. One of these things is the source code of a piece of software. There are source code agreements in place between many software licensors and licensees. The problem is, when software licensors go out of business, the licensee can be left without access to the source code. It’s a serious problem, as it can be bad for their business. Many companies choose source code escrow services to prevent this from happening. The escrow agent can hold the source code and give it to the licensee if the licensor goes out of business. This is a huge problem as many licensors have gone out of business and left the poor licensees without access to the source code. As such, they can’t continue to use or work on certain software.

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Copyright Problems

Copyright is without a doubt the biggest legal issue in the technology industry. So many developers try and copy/steal ideas from other people. There are loads of cases where technology companies are suing their rivals for copyright. I believe two of the biggest tech companies in the world, Apple and Samsung, were involved in copyright disputes. The problem is, it’s so easy for someone to steal an idea in the technology sector. Many people will trial things and not but a patent on them. Then, someone picks up the idea, steals it, and makes it their own. It’s an issue that’s even worse for smaller businesses within this industry.

The biggest issue with all these problems is that they’ll never be solved. We’ll always have legal disputes, and hackers aren’t going away anytime soon. Tech companies have to brace themselves for the worst and do their best to prevent these problems.

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Don’t Skimp on These Essential Business Spends

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Allocating a business budget can be tough. You can’t afford to pay for everything you want. But spending money on the wrong things could spell disaster. You need to avoid investing your money in something that won’t benefit your business. However, the things you think might be beneficial could be different to what could actually contribute to your success. There are some areas you shouldn’t neglect, even when your budget is low and times are hard. Before you waste your money or dismiss something important, make sure that you’re putting some big bucks into these areas.

Marketing

When the economy is struggling, many business owners cut their marketing budget. In fact, experts often warn against doing this, and some even suggest you should put more money into it. If you stop investing in marketing when times are tough, how are you going to keep bringing in the sales you need? Spending money on marketing and branding is an essential part of your budget. For smaller businesses, it’s often more sensible to outsource the task or at least some of it. For example, you might choose to outsource PPC advertising campaigns or content marketing.

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Your Staff

The old saying that if “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” is most often true. If you want the very best in the business, you’re not going to get it by offering a meager salary. Of course, many newer businesses can’t afford to pay big bucks. But you should still be offering competitive salaries when compared to companies like yours. When it’s time to hire for new positions, investing in executive search firms and other talent agencies is worth it. The hiring process will never be cheap but putting some money into it can help you find the best staff.

Financial Services

You can’t overstate how important it is to have someone watching your numbers. A small mistake in your accounts could lead to disastrous consequences. It’s worth investing in financial services to save your business money and help you make more. A good accountant is the least that any business should have. Ensuring that the books are accurate, and that tax is paid on time is essential. Other financial services can be useful too. Companies can find ways to reduce spend and maximize profits.

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Legal Advice

Many small businesses don’t consider whether they need legal advice when they launch. However, businesses of all sizes should ensure that they have access to legal resources. It can be helpful to check that the business is following any regulations. Consulting with a lawyer helps to avoid infringing on trademarks too. As well as helping companies to avoid breaking the law, a lawyer can also help in the event of anything happening. If a person sues the company, access to legal counsel is vital. The company can have the representation they need to protect themselves or an employee.

Make sure your business budget is being spent on the right things. Don’t fall for unnecessary luxuries when you’re trying to be sensible.

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