3 Ways To Boost Your Business’s Cash Flow

3 Ways To Boost Your Business’s Cash Flow

Cash flow also acts as a safety net should something suddenly go wrong in the business and you need to act fast. This is why a profitable business with a negative cash flow isn’t always a great thing. To help you gain control over and boost your cash flow, here are four useful strategies that you can implement, whether you’re an upcoming small business in Liverpool or a major industry name in London.

Find ways to get clients to pay faster

One of the leading causes of cash flow problems is late payments. It’s not always possible to have your clients pay on time, but this can take its toll, especially on small businesses. Should delays extend further than 30 days, your business could be in danger since you’ll need to foot the bill somehow.

To prevent late payments, you should utilise cloud-based online invoicing software. This will automate invoicing processes and automatically send out communications, making sure customers are informed on time and reminded if the payment is late.

You may also choose to take out invoice insurance, which protects you against unpaid invoices. When you eventually receive the payment, it will be a reduced amount based on your policy. That way, you protect yourself in case the worst happens, ensuring your cash flow remains strong.

Hire experienced professionals to help you out

As a business owner, you’re likely already swamped with client calls and plans for growth, making it challenging to put time aside to manage your accounts. Consider bringing a fresh set of eyes to your business instead who is specifically trained to handle your accounts.

By conducting an in-depth examination of your finances, these accounting experts can identify where the cash flow problems lie and suggest ways where expenses can be saved. They’ll also manage your financial records and ensure compliance with tax regulations, potentially saving you from fines and finding ways to reduce your tax burden.

Reduce unnecessary expenses

You’d be surprised by the amount of money businesses waste on unnecessary expenses each year, from untargeted marketing efforts to unused office space and excessive employee numbers. Identifying where you’re overspending can be difficult, so it’s important to first conduct a business audit.

From the audit, you’ll identify areas where you can cut costs completely or find ways to reduce your expenses. For example, if your employees are working remotely more often, you could rent out your workspace or downsize.

Additionally, you may be paying for employee perks that aren’t being used or aren’t beneficial, such as financial wellbeing programmes and sleep apps. While they are great offerings, you could save money and increase your cash flow by getting rid of these.

Choosing the Right Managed IT Services Provider


In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses of all sizes increasingly rely on technology to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and gain a competitive edge. However, managing and maintaining an efficient and secure IT infrastructure can be a daunting task, especially for organisations without dedicated in-house IT resources.

This is where managed IT Services come into play, offering a comprehensive solution that takes the burden off your shoulders and allows you to focus on your core business objectives.

The decision to outsource your IT needs to a managed IT services provider is a significant one, and it’s crucial to choose the right partner who aligns with your business goals and requirements. This article explores the key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a managed IT services provider.

Understanding Your IT Needs

Before embarking on the search for a managed IT services provider, it’s essential to assess your organisation’s unique IT requirements. Conduct a thorough evaluation of your current IT infrastructure, identify areas that require improvement or maintenance, and define your short-term and long-term technology goals. This assessment will provide you with a clear understanding of the services you need from a managed IT services provider.

Evaluating the Provider’s Expertise and Experience

Not all managed IT services providers are created equal. Look for a provider with a proven track record of success and expertise in your industry or niche. Enquire about their certifications, qualifications, and experience in delivering the specific services you require. Additionally, ask for references and case studies from their existing clients to gauge their level of satisfaction and the provider’s ability to solve complex IT challenges.

Assessing the Service Offerings

Different IT support providers offer varying levels of service and support. Ensure that the provider you choose offers a comprehensive suite of services that aligns with your needs. This may include network management, cybersecurity solutions, cloud computing services, data backup and recovery, software updates and patches, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Response Times

When entrusting your IT infrastructure to a third-party provider, it’s crucial to have clear and well-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place. SLAs outline the provider’s commitment to delivering specific service levels, such as response times, uptime guarantees, and issue resolution timeframes. Review the SLAs carefully and ensure they meet your business’s operational requirements and expectations.

Scalability and Flexibility

As your business grows and evolves, your IT needs will likely change as well. Seek a managed IT services provider that offers scalable solutions and the flexibility to adapt to your changing requirements. This may include the ability to add or remove services, adjust resource allocation, or accommodate fluctuations in workloads or user demands.

Security and Compliance

Cybersecurity and data protection should be top priorities when selecting a managed IT services provider. Ensure that the provider adheres to industry-standard security protocols, implements robust cybersecurity measures, and maintains compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards, depending on your business’s specific requirements.

Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance

A proactive approach to IT management is essential to minimise downtime, prevent issues before they occur, and ensure the smooth operation of your IT systems. Look for a managed IT services provider that offers comprehensive monitoring and maintenance services, including regular updates, patch management, and proactive problem identification and resolution

Cost-Effectiveness and Budgeting

While outsourcing your IT needs can be a cost-effective solution in the long run, it’s crucial to evaluate the pricing structures and overall costs associated with different managed IT services providers. Consider not only the upfront costs but also any potential hidden fees or additional charges. Look for a provider that offers transparent pricing and can work within your budgetary constraints while delivering high-quality services.

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration between your organisation and the managed IT services provider are essential for a successful partnership. Evaluate the provider’s communication channels, responsiveness, and willingness to collaborate with your team. A provider that values open communication and maintains a close working relationship will better understand your business needs and provide tailored solutions.

Strategic Vision and VCIO Consulting

In addition to managing your day-to-day IT operations, consider a managed IT services provider that offers VCIO Consulting services. A Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) can provide strategic guidance, help align your IT initiatives with your overall business objectives, and ensure that your technology investments are maximised for long-term growth and success.

Choosing the right managed IT services provider is a critical decision that can significantly impact your business’s operational efficiency, security, and overall success. By evaluating your needs, conducting thorough research, and considering the factors outlined in this blog post, you can find a trusted partner that will help you leverage technology and gain a competitive edge in your industry.

Emotional Intelligence & The Human Side of AI Integration

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Emotional intelligence is being increasingly recognised as an important component in the modern workplace. In addition to being intelligent and knowledgeable, 90% of top performers also score highly for emotional intelligence. Even better, while your IQ may be stuck where it is, EQ can be improved through intentional practise and training. A study from Motorola found that its employees were 93% more productive after undergoing stress management and EQ training.

Emotional intelligence influences an employee’s relationship with their colleagues, the decisions they make that affect their team, and the constructive feedback that they provide for others. Emphasising the importance of emotional intelligence can help improve toxic work environments, encourage collaboration, reduce turnover, and increase output. When it comes to improving your work environment as a whole, there’s no question that emphasising emotional intelligence offers a variety of benefits. Luckily, there has been a recent movement to not only increase this factor for humans, but our artificial counterparts as well.

What could emotionally intelligent AI be used for?

Currently, many AI services, like ChatGPT, are being used to automate and speed up tedious tasks like drafting emails and summarising large quantities of information. When we think of AI in the workplace, we often imagine these services taking over the boring, monotonous tasks that fill up our time so that we can focus on the more creative or human-centred aspects of our jobs. Careers that involve working with people directly are often thought to be more or less “AI-proof,” given that it’s still difficult for robots to take over non-digital jobs like making coffee or cutting hair.

However, as the capabilities of artificial intelligence continue to advance and expand faster than ever, so too will its ability to take over the more human aspects of our jobs. Ironically, one of the most prominent examples of this is in the field of human resources and recruiting. A 2022 survey from the Society of Human Resources Management found that 79% of employers use A.I. and/or automation for recruitment and hiring, with the most frequent usage being to help review resumes.

Emotionally intelligent AI can also be used to review virtual interviews and help hiring managers make better judgements. As an added benefit, the more emotionally intelligent AI becomes, the less it will have to rely on biased hiring decisions from the past to inform its decisions, meaning AI could also be used to help remove negative human aspects, like sexism and racism, from the hiring process.

In the coming years, you may start to notice that your virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa, will begin sounding less robot-like and more like a real assistant as well. Instead of simply providing answers to questions and playing rap music when it hears the phrase “play rap music,” virtual assistants will soon be able to recognise different tones and adjust their responses accordingly.

Brands will also be able to take advantage of this technology by investing in emotionally intelligent chatbots. After using the company’s social posts and customer reviews to “train,” the AI can then help customers solve issues and adjust its responses if it senses a customer seems particularly confused or upset. Using emotionally intelligent AI will help brands streamline and automate a lot of their marketing efforts while also keeping the human aspect.

The potential drawbacks of using emotionally intelligent AI

As with every instance of incorporating AI into a field or sector where it was not previously utilised, strong precaution should always be taken. Creating an AI that is even more human-like will come with many foreseen and unforeseen challenges.

Just like human beings, even the most well-coded AI will still struggle to accurately identify the emotions of others. Additionally, emotional reactions can differ across continents and cultures, and while these contextual situations may be easier for humans to understand, a robot may find it virtually impossible. Human interactions are deeply nuanced and not always easily categorised, so naturally, AI will struggle with it.

To train an AI and increase its emotional intelligence, it needs to be exposed to as much information as possible. This raises another issue: privacy concerns. An AI that needs to essentially “sit in” on job interviews or counselling sessions to improve its abilities might not sit well with many people. It’s hard to blame anyone for wanting their personal information to be utilised by a tech company, and the issue of what exactly will be done with our private information raises a whole host of additional concerns.

On the other hand, there could be potential cause for concern for people who embrace emotionally intelligent AI too readily. A person who relies on an AI that knows exactly what to say and is essentially always there for them may find themselves becoming more and more distant with the real people in their lives. When technology already fulfils so many of our wants and needs, the idea of a robot replacing our real-life relationships is a little chilling.

At the end of the day, we are also human beings who sometimes just want to interact with other human beings. As advanced and helpful as AI becomes, there will always be people who simply want to speak with a real customer service representative instead of a recording.

Even if an AI is emotionally intelligent, should it really be the one to deliver bad news about a patient to their family? Do we want emotionally intelligent robots handling delicate, emotionally charged situations? While AI will assist and replace many parts of our jobs and daily routines, there are some things that will always need to be done by people.

Real Strategies for Mastering Cloud Spending

Cloud Spending

Building a Cloud Experience Without Bursting the Budget

As a forward-thinking CIO or technology leader, you understand the transformative potential of cloud adoption. But stakeholders scrutinise every line item, and you can’t afford any hefty cloud overspend penalties this fiscal year.

So how can you construct a future-proof cloud strategy while keeping a laser focus on total cost of ownership (also known as TCO)? We’re breaking down the steps you can take to build a clouse experience without bursting your budget.

Right-Size Your Resources

Say goodbye to the outdated practice of overspending on unnecessary resources. By switching to a more efficient approach to manage your infrastructure, you can tailor your resources to match what you actually need.

One of the best way to avoid expenses is by carefully analysing and adjusting your resources to align with cloud economics. Break down large applications into smaller, cloud-native components to enhance efficiency and reduce costs significantly.

Implement Effective Cloud Finance Management

Get a full grasp of how much you’re spending on cloud services across various platforms using advanced financial management tools. Set up budget alerts and automate workflows to help you catch and fix instances of wasteful spending.

To keep a close track of your costs, invest in robust solutions equipped with detailed analytics and allocation features. This will help you make smart adjustments to your cloud budget and spend wisely.

Get a full grasp of how much you’re spending on cloud services across various platforms using advanced financial management tools. Set up budget alerts and automate workflows to help you catch and fix instances of wasteful spending.

To keep a close track of your costs, invest in robust solutions equipped with detailed analytics and allocation features. This will help you make smart adjustments to your cloud budget and spend wisely.

Explore Flexible Cloud Economics Models

With options like volume discounts and custom pricing, cloud providers offer many possibilities to match your workload requirements. Opt for discounted pricing plans ideal for stable workloads, while also capitalising on flexible alternatives such as spot instances to accommodate fluctuating demands.

The transition toward cloud-native deployment models to unlock heightened efficiency and long-term cost savings ensures your cloud strategy evolves with your organisation’s needs.

Optimising your cloud spend requires a multifaceted approach tailored to the specific needs of your organisation. By embracing flexible consumption models and right-sizing your instances, you can align your resources with actual demand, minimising unnecessary expenses. Effective cloud finance management tools empower you to gain insights into your expenditures, enabling proactive cost optimisation measures.

By fine-tuning your data storage strategies and setting up a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), you’re not just cutting costs, you’re also building a community of cloud-savvy collaborators. Flexible cloud economics models allow you to tailor your resources exactly to your needs.

With this knowledge, you’re not just planning for today — you’re crafting a future-proof cloud strategy and keeping your TCO in good shape for the long haul.

Maximise Remote Team Productivity


Strategies for Small Businesses Navigating Remote Work

Remote work is increasingly common among small businesses worldwide, driven by financial benefits, health considerations, and performance advantages.

An Intermedia survey of 250 small and medium-sized businesses found that 57% of employers plan to continue remote work options. This leads to a 7% increase in employee life satisfaction and a 19% rise in availability while reducing overhead costs.

However, transitioning to remote work presents challenges like communication gaps and reduced collaboration, which hinder productivity. Small businesses need to use the right technology and strategies to improve remote team productivity.

Here’s a guide with essential tools and strategies for small remote teams:

Communication Platforms

Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom help remote teams collaborate in real time, overcoming distance challenges.

Implement Project Management Software

Platforms such as Trello, Asana, or Monday.com streamline workflow, track progress, and ensure accountability.

Utilise Cloud Storage Solutions

Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive enable secure file access from anywhere, enhancing collaboration across dispersed teams.

Ensure Data Security with a VPN

Protect sensitive business information and prevent cyber threats in remote work environments using a reliable virtual private network (VPN) service.

Use Cybersecurity Tools

Implement antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems to safeguard business assets and maintain data integrity.

Enable Remote Desktop Access

Platforms like TeamViewer or LogMeIn ensure continuity of operations and facilitate troubleshooting by allowing remote access to office computers and systems.

Track Productivity with Employee Monitoring Tools

Solutions like Toggl or Time Doctor optimise resource allocation and ensure accountability within remote teams.

Foster Collaboration with Virtual Collaboration Tools

Platforms like Miro or Lucidspark encourage creativity and collaboration in virtual environments, facilitating brainstorming and ideation.

Manage Customer Relationships Effectively

Enhance customer engagement and drive sales growth remotely using CRM platforms like HubSpot or Salesforce.

Invest in Employee Training and Development

Platforms like Udemy or Coursera empower employees to adapt to evolving business needs and industry trends by upskilling and reskilling.

How to Improve Productivity for Remote Teams

In addition to utilising technological resources, small businesses can deploy tactics to boost productivity among remote teams:

  • Foster team cohesion: Organise virtual team-building exercises to enhance unity and collaboration, uplifting team morale and job satisfaction.
  • Promote open communication: Cultivate a culture of transparent communication and teamwork by scheduling regular meetings and employing appropriate communication platforms to break down communication barriers.
  • Empower autonomy: Encourage self-management and trust within the team, empowering employees to organise their schedules and deliver outcomes independently.
  • Implement regular performance reviews: Maintain accountability and drive motivation through consistent performance evaluations, monitoring productivity levels, and identifying areas for enhancement.
  • Utilise effective project management tools: Simplify workflows and encourage collaboration by adopting project management software, ensuring precise monitoring of performance and project progression.
  • Focus on single projects: Prioritise singular projects to enhance efficiency and work quality, preventing overburdening and ensuring each team member’s effective contribution.
  • Recognise and reward contributions: Acknowledge accomplishments and incentivise dedication among remote workers, reinforcing positive actions and motivating continued commitment.

Navigating remote work demands a holistic approach, combining essential technological resources with innovative strategies to optimise team productivity. By leveraging suitable tools and implementing effective methods, small businesses can overcome remote work challenges and foster a productive and engaged workforce.


Protect Your Business With Next-Gen Endpoint Security


Next-Gen Endpoint Protection for SMBs

Cyber threats are evolving faster than ever before, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a tough challenge today. With fewer resources compared to big companies, they become prime targets for cyberattacks.

As threats get smarter, SMBs need top-notch endpoint protection more than ever. This article explores next-gen endpoint protection, highlighting how it’s a crucial defense for SMBs against advanced cyber threats.

Understanding Next-Gen Endpoint Protection

At its core, endpoint protection is a security solution designed to detect, prevent, and respond to threats at the device level — be it laptops, desktops, or mobile devices. While traditional antivirus programmes worked fine in the past, they can no longer handle the sophisticated approach of today’s cybercriminals.

That’s where next-gen endpoint protection comes in. Next-gen endpoint protection, however, introduces a suite of technologies including machine learning, behavioural analysis, and endpoint detection and response (EDR), offering a more dynamic and proactive defence system.

Proactive Defence Strategies

Next-gen endpoint protection redefines cyber defence strategies for SMBs through:

Closely monitoring behaviour

These tools watch how systems normally behave, spotting any abnormalities that might signal trouble. This allows them to catch threats early, often before they can do any damage

Staying up-to-date on threats

SMBs get access to the latest info on cyber threats from all over the world. This means they can defend themselves against the latest threats with security updates that happen in real time.

Endpoint Detection and Response

EDR features allow businesses to find and deal with threats that bypass their first line of defence. It’s like having a team of investigators and problem-solvers ready to spring into action.

Tailoring Solutions for SMBs

For small businesses, picking next-gen endpoint protection can create a balance between advanced security and cost-effectiveness. These solutions are designed to fit the needs of small businesses, meaning they’re easy to set up and can grow with your company.

They include user-friendly interfaces and don’t need a lot of upkeep, so SMBs can keep their focus on running their business while still staying safe from cyber threats.

Benefits of Next-Gen Endpoint Protection

Using state-of-the-art tech like AI and machine learning, next-gen endpoint protection offers several benefits for organisations serious about cybersecurity.

By tapping into these advanced tools, it can spot and stop emerging cyber threats before they wreak havoc, giving organisations a stronger shield against the ever-shifting threat landscape. Here’s a look at a few of the benefits:

Advanced threat prevention

Next-gen endpoint protection employs sophisticated threat prevention methods to proactively identify and stop evolving cyber threats.

Enhanced detection and response

Unlike traditional endpoint security solutions, next-gen endpoint protection platforms excel in both detecting and responding to threats promptly, improving overall cybersecurity posture.

Comprehensive endpoint security

These solutions provide holistic protection for endpoints, including desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and servers, ensuring all entry points are safeguarded.

Challenges and Considerations

Even though next-gen endpoint protection offers great perks, small businesses can still run into hurdles like tight budgets, tricky tech setups, and the need to train employees. SMBs need to find a solution that fits their needs and resources while making sure everyone on the team knows the basics of staying safe online.

Future Trends and Innovations

In the future, advanced endpoint protection will start using more and more predictive analytics, AI-driven threat prevention, and automation. The zero-trust security model — a cybersecurity approach based on the principle of “never trust, always verify” — is also gaining traction, offering a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

Using advanced endpoint protection is now a non-negotiable for SMBs looking to defend against an increasing risk of cyber threats. To strengthen your security and set yourself up for long-term success, you have to stay up-to-date with the latest tech and take proactive measures.

It’s critical to understand the importance of next-gen protection and take action as soon as possible. Safeguard your assets before you become another cyberattack statistic.

Making the Cloud Landscape Sustainable through Accountability and Transparency

Cloud Computing

Sustainability: More Than Just a Buzzword, a Long-Term Vision

Sustainable technologies are a vital component of business success. If effectively integrated into a company’s business model, sustainability can substantially increase a business’s overall efficiency. It should come as no surprise, then, that the move towards sustainable technologies is a top 10 initiative for CEOs, CIOs, and other business executives. More than merely a trend, sustainability is radically transforming tech within the business world. According to Gartner, “By 2025, 50% of CIOs will have performance metrics tied to the sustainability of the IT organisation.”

Investing in sustainable technology within the workplace can benefit companies in a big way. For example, two major players in the business world, Japanese transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, are seeing their investment in sustainable technology pay off in spades. The first uses AI-powered models to improve maritime shopping efficiencies and the latter uses tech advancements to create a virtual water supply in order to create smart building management solutions that use 50 percent less water in the water supply system. This is a win-win for these businesses and for the health of the environment.

Unfortunately, cloud storage centres and AI technology require tremendous amounts of energy to function. According to Greenpeace, “By 2025, the technology sector could consume 20 percent of the world’s total electricity.”

The Top Challenges Thwarting Complete Sustainable Adoption: Why the Cloud Isn’t a Sustainable End-All-Be-All

While many large cloud computing companies are making tremendous strides toward switching to renewable energy infrastructures such as wind and solar, smaller, independent data centres simply do not have the resources needed to embrace these sustainability initiatives. Limited by outmoded buildings and outdated computing equipment, many companies and organisations have opted to transfer their data to hyperscale or cloud colocation facilities in an effort to reduce their energy costs.

On the surface, transferring data to facilities equipped to handle it seems to be a sustainability solution, but it is not; rather, it is the equivalent of simply moving a problem from one place to another because the cloud presently has a greater carbon footprint than the airline industry. Shockingly, their energy usage and emissions are largely unregulated. Despite many governments instituting their own emission targets, specific and universal rules regarding the use of data centres are virtually non-existent. At some point, cloud sustainability most likely will have a mandatory compliance requirement, but this has not yet happened.

The Harmonious Blend: How Sustainability Amplifies the Cloud’s Potential

While much improvement is needed in terms of making cloud storage sustainable, all is not doom and gloom; some emerging solutions are nudging data storage centres towards sustainability largely through more efficient cloud technology and also through green cloud computing. What is green cloud computing? According to author Clàudio Rodrigues, “Green cloud computing is simply an approach where companies can use what they already have smartly to minimise energy consumption and overall carbon footprint.”

Though they do require an inordinate amount of energy to operate, cloud storage centres are necessary for many businesses. Safeguarding against data loss, especially in the event of a natural disaster, cloud computing centres can protect companies’ data. Cloud computing also enables workers to do remote work, reducing the need to commute, which decreases emissions. Cloud storage, then, is a viable option for many businesses for it can mean significant savings for them.

Key Insights for SMBs: Navigating the Sustainable Cloud Landscape

The key to making sure that cloud tech is moving towards sustainability is to hold the cloud storage facilities responsible. In other words, customers need to make sure that the cloud storage facility they use is transparent and meets high environmental standards. According to Earth.org, if customers “demand greater transparency and improved global standards, we can have it all.”

Leading cloud service providers are aggressively investing in a sustainable cloud with the goal of reaching zero emissions within a decade or sooner. This is a laudable goal, but it will take a concerted effort from cloud service providers and SMB leaders to achieve this goal. The effort is worth it, for taking these steps will likely result in an abundance of rewards such as improved brand image and reduced costs, both of which help businesses stay competitive.

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