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As an employer, managing maternity leave is an inevitable part of doing business. You will be understandably thrilled for your employee, whilst also wondering whether your team will be overstretched, or how this change might hurt productivity. On top of that, you have the financial commitments surrounding UK statutory maternity pay (SMP) to navigate.  It can all end up feeling rather admin heavy.

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These days, when we think about improving productivity there’s probably a good chance that we think about automation and process improvement.

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You have worked so hard to come up with a good business idea and implement it. You have licensed it and got all the necessary documentation. You went ahead to hire and train staff to help you. You are offering the best products and services in your region, but if you don’t market your brand, making sales might be complicated for you.

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Your clients or customers are, in many ways, the lifeblood of your business. After all, without your paying customers, your business simply wouldn’t survive in the long run, no matter how amazing the products or services you offer are.

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Long hours, tight deadlines and increasing demands, among many other workplace stressors, can turn work into an emotional roller coaster that will inevitably affect performance and job satisfaction. Running the hamster wheel is a short-term gain.

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In the business world today, the competition is becoming more serious. This is why it is crucial for business owners to pay attention to the latest trends to get ahead, especially for small businesses. Getting ahead means accessing new knowledge, skills, resources, and tools. And you can only learn these things when you break away from your comfort zone.

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Noel McDermott, a psychotherapist states that: “If you want to be a progressive business leader, now is the time to invest in the emotional and mental health of your team, they are after all your most valuable resource. Most organisations now understand fundamentally the link between a healthy workforce and increased productivity and most of us understand that health and wellness includes mental wellness.”

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Cybersecurity should be a top concern for small companies whether you do business primarily in the UK or in other countries as well. Even though news headlines usually focus on data breaches that happen to large companies and government organisations, it’s the small business that’s even more at risk. Why? Hackers are counting on small businesses to spend less on their cybersecurity budget and have weaker security than larger companies.

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Most people think that the whole point of SEO is that it makes your business more visible to customers. However, SEO can also help your visibility to other businesses. It can help you increase your customer base, yes, but it can also help you to improve your business relationships.

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The success of any business establishment is dependent on the mental and physical health of its employees. If they are demotivated or their morale damaged, chances are that they will not be efficient in their day-to-day duties. Being physically unhealthy also means employee absenteeism and an acute dip in productivity.

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Yes, you own a small-sized business. That doesn’t mean you want to hire people with small-sized talent. How do you draw the right candidates into your small business? How do you compete with Fortune 100 or even Fortune 500 companies that have staff entirely devoted to recruiting and hiring?

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There is a range of expenses you can claim for whilst running your business. You will incur a wide number of limited company expenses during the course of your work, ranging from printing and postage costs to purchasing computer equipment.
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SMEs generally need the capability to juggle many different tasks at any given moment. If you’re a new SME business your focus might be on finding suitable premises, financing your operation, strengthening your team or simply staying afloat. With a plethora of moving parts to consider, digital risk management can get left by the wayside. The risks, however, can be severe and are more prevalent in smaller businesses than they are in larger ones.

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It’s very easy for businesses to fall into the “just-in-case” trap. They keep paperwork (or its digital counterpart) to the extent that they are legally permitted “just in case” and as a result, bit by bit, they become overwhelmed by (digital) “stuff”, which is not really needed and certainly not wanted.

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 Reader’s question: As the sole director of my own company, if I pay myself £200 per week does this mean my corporation tax will be less? And what amount of dividends can I take?

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Social media can play a huge role in increasing the reach of your brand and business. Businesses of all sizes have taken advantage of what social media can offer, which is the direct connection with consumers worldwide. Social media is a prominent part of today’s society, it is widely used and most people use social media platforms on a daily basis, from tweeting about the latest political turmoil to posting a picture of an aesthetically pleasing hot chocolate on Instagram.
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Readers question: I own a limited company that is solvent and, due to medical issues, I wish to close it.  My question is, as the MD of the company, can I close it and receive a tax-free redundancy payment of £30,000?

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We look at the tax treatment of entertaining clients and employees – including the rules governing staff parties and taking potential clients out for lunch.
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Going to court is not something any business owner savours. It can also be a costly exercise, which can hit a small business hard.

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The idea of collecting loyalty points and getting rewards continues to be popular with customers. This is demonstrated by the fact that in the UK 77% of the population are members of a loyalty programme of some kind. Nearly half believe that loyalty programmes encourage their brand loyalty.

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