Connect with us

Business

STARTING AND BUILDING AN ONLINE BUSINESS – THE ONLY WAY FORWARD

Published

on

Andrew Michael

Serial entrepreneur Andrew Michael, CEO and co-founder of Bark.com, takes a look at his latest venture and the lessons that he has learned along the way as to how to make an online business succeed.

Starting a business is never an easy process and one that inevitably leads people to question their own sanity at some point along the journey. For some, it can be the risk of packing in the safety of an office-based 9-5 job, not knowing when the next pay cheque is coming or for others, it’s the possibility that you might end up significantly out of pocket if you’ve invested your own money into the project. Whatever the case, the path of the entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart – however it can be hugely rewarding should things as you hope.

I started my first business at 17. Still in my teens, I didn’t have the advantage of years of business experience and had to learn on my feet, quickly. My business – called Fasthosts – started as I identified a gap in the market for web hosting services. I’d always been entrepreneurial and encouraged from a young age to take risks, and it paid off.  In 2006, I sold Fasthosts for £61.5 million.

What was the secret behind Fasthosts phenomenal growth? Firstly, I was stringent with my recruitment process, determined to hire only people who shared the same passion, drive and commitment to making the business work as I did – and generally, who had skills that I lacked. Hiring people from a variety of backgrounds who fill the gaps in your knowledge enables you to focus on strategy while they get on with what they do best.

Secondly, while heeding the advice of those around you is important – after all, they will all have their areas of expertise and insight they can share – ultimately, you have to trust your gut instinct. When it comes to the direction you want to take your company, you have to be confident that you’ve got to a certain position because of your decision-making skills. That said, make sure you listen to customers – their feedback is invaluable and, at the end of the day, they are the lifeblood of any business.

Andrew Michael

Andrew Michael

Thirdly, and something I wish I’d been taught sooner, an entrepreneur needs to be nimble and flexible. Strategies and plans are important and will need to be in place, but if Plan A doesn’t work out, explore alternative avenues. Failure only comes to be if you stop, if you get up and keep going then it becomes part of the process of being successful. The most successful and very best have suffered their fair share of rejection – just look at Steve Jobs or The Beatles. Its cliché, but rings true, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The important thing is to learn from any mistakes to ensure you do not keep repeating the same ones.

As I reflect on these lessons, I now look to my latest venture – Bark.com, an online platform that helps to connect consumers with tradespeople in their local area. Sticking true to my Fasthosts roots, Bark.com represents my fifth online only business.

The future lies in online businesses, especially in our sector. The days of people trawling through the yellow pages or popping in to local tradesman offices are becoming a thing of the past as in today’s fast-paced society; consumers simply don’t have the time.

The use of mobile is a constant consideration for us as well, we always have to be thinking ‘‘how will this convert to mobile’ as it is increasingly likely that both sellers and buyers will be looking for our services while on-the-go. Online businesses also lend themselves further to flexible working which is slowly becoming common place within UK businesses and actually improves productivity among staff. The technology is now in place and as online start-ups continue to appear, renting office space will become an expenditure burgeoning companies, whose finances are tight, could do without. Start-ups and small businesses will increasingly choose to spend their budget on training, sales & marketing and product development as that is where they will experience the biggest gains to the company. Progressively for online businesses, security will be of paramount importance. We’ve only recently seen the reputational and financial damage that can be caused by breaches of security.

As technology continues to fit around people’s busy lives, we are glad to be at the forefront of this. People want easy access, quality service and all of this done as quickly as possible; hence the huge rise in businesses and apps which are purely made for convenience. The current way of living is fast-paced and one where we most want almost instant gratification. Heeding customer feedback is one of the most crucial elements to building an online business as their feedback can help shape actions and make them feel valued which will exude a greater chance of loyalty. At Bark.com, we recognise this and these are the boxes that any emerging online businesses now should look to be ticking in order to be successful.

Business

Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next’s Wolfson to board

Published

on

Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next's Wolfson to board 1

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Deliveroo said on Tuesday it has beefed up its board ahead of an expected initial public offering this year with the appointment of Simon Wolfson, the veteran boss of clothing retailer Next, as a non-executive director.

The food delivery company said on Sunday it had raised a further $180 million from existing investors, including minority shareholder Amazon, in a move that values the business at more than $7 billion.

Deliveroo is set to hold an IPO in the coming months, in what would be the biggest new share issue in London for three years.

Wolfson’s appointment comes after Deliveroo named Claudia Arney as the company’s first chair in November.

Deliveroo founder and CEO Will Shu said Wolfson would bring “great knowledge and insight” to the board.

Wolfson has been Next’s CEO since 2001.

He is also a peer of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, sitting in the upper house of parliament.

(Reporting by James Davey and Paul Sandle; editing by Sarah Young and Pravin Char)

Continue Reading

Business

Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus

Published

on

Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus 2

By Tommy Wilkes

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar dropped on Tuesday as investors prepared for U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen to talk up the need for major fiscal stimulus and commit to a market-determined exchange rate when she testifies later in the day.

The dollar’s fall came after a 2% rise so far in 2021, a gain which caught off guard many investors who had bet on a further decline following its weakness in 2020.

The dollar has been helped in January by rising U.S. Treasury yields and some investor caution about the strength of the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. But most analysts are sticking with their calls for a weaker dollar from here.

“On fiscal policy, Yellen is to suggest that the US `act big’ and make use of the low borrowing costs. On the dollar, it should be reiterated that the new administration is committed to the market-determined exchange rate. Both are in line with our weak USD outlook,” ING analysts wrote.

President-elect Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported Yellen, who is appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, will affirm a more conventional commitment to market-set currency rates in her Senate testimony on Tuesday.

That contrasts with outgoing President Donald Trump, who often railed against dollar strength.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of other currencies, dropped 0.3% to 90.472, but it was still above the its more than two-and-a-half-year low of 89.206 touched at the start of this month.

With the dollar weakening, the euro gained, rising 0.5% to $1.2132.

The single currency was unaffected by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s facing a confidence vote to stay in office. The result vote is due after 1800 GMT.

More volatile and commodity-linked currencies, such as the Australian dollar, also benefited from the weaker U.S. currency, with the Aussie up 0.3% at $0.7707.

Rising commodity prices in recent months have boosted currencies of countries with large commodity exports, such as Australia and Canada.

“We continue to see scope for further gains in commodity-related currencies in the year ahead, which should benefit as well from the strengthening global recovery once vaccines are rolled out more widely,” said Lee Hardman, an analyst at MUFG.

Sterling rose 0.2% to $1.3620.

The dollar rose against the yen and was last up 0.3% to 104.02 yen, although still consolidating in a narrow range after reaching a one-month high of 104.40 last week.

Emerging-market currencies were mostly higher but were some way off recent highs.

(Editing by Gareth Jones, Larry King)

Continue Reading

Business

Creating a people-centric workplace centered on flexibility, experience and wellbeing

Published

on

Creating a people-centric workplace centered on flexibility, experience and wellbeing 3

By Anne Marie Ginn, Head of Video Collaboration, Logitech EMEA

The light is appearing at the end of the long, dark tunnel that has been 2020. With vaccination schemes now underway, we can (albeit cautiously) dare to dream of a general return to relative normality. Yet in the wake of the pandemic, neither our personal liaves nor our work lives will ever be quite the same.

A wholesale change to working practices, and the nature of how and where we work, is set to be one of the big lasting legacies of 2020. Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack, recently came forward to say he thinks that the age of the office is coming to an end. In a less extreme view, AWS’ CEO Andy Jassy predicts we’ll see the rise of ‘hot offices’, where employees will mostly work remotely, only coming into the office when they need to work on specific projects. And Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicts the age of business travel is over, with only 50% of business trips set to resume.

As the office evolves it’s clear employers will have to adapt their spaces in line with new, post-pandemic wellbeing and workplace trends, and create an office centred around “super experiences” that makes it a destination in itself.

So, in what ways will working practices change, and how do we see the physical workspace evolving?

Re-focussing on the employee

Ultimately, the pandemic has re-focussed the discussion on how employees can best work, and how teams are spending their time. It has also given employers the opportunity to ensure they’re in a better position to help people find a good work life balance.

Yet even after Coronavirus, it’s clear we won’t be working from home forever. The UK government says work from home orders may stay in place until April 2021 and with this in mind a flexible, and hybrid, way of working is set to stay. Employees feel that way too – a recent Simply Communicate survey found only 2% want to go back to the full week in the office.

With the digital tools available and the experience gained over the past 10 months, the idea of everyone being in the office everyday seems old fashioned and unnecessary. People don’t want to travel into an office to then just be sat at their desk for eight hours. What they want is to connect with colleagues, to learn, to be inspired and to share with others.

Anne Marie Ginn

Anne Marie Ginn

Whilst getting your head down to work is important, social time and collaboration is equally valued, and central to general wellbeing. For many employees, their work is central to their sense of self, their meaning and purpose, and after a long period of being at home alone, they’ll be yearning for those in-person, face-to-face experiences. This should be placed at the forefront of modern office culture and design.

An office designed for the people working in it

Offices will become destinations unto themselves – for collaboration, innovation and strengthening team relationships – and less about desk-based or task-based work. The space should also be vibrant and different.

These offices should offer a mixture of meeting rooms and open operational space, which will promote gathering for teamwork, collaboration and companywide networking events. At the same time, smaller collaborative working areas, enabled by video, will facilitate break away group work for those both physically present and working remotely. Banks of individual cubicles will disappear, and instead we’ll see occasional, dedicated concentration pods for when employees need to get their heads down between meetings. And how about relaxation pods should employees want a quick break and recharge?

Beyond work, offices also need to become social destinations in themselves. A recent JLL study found that nearly half of employees hope their office will prioritise social spaces, such as coffee areas, lounges or outdoor terraces and gardens. Common areas play a central role in nurturing informal work relationships, which improve development opportunities and help career outlook – especially crucial for people early in their work life. These spaces allow employees to maintain the inspiration, energy and social connection that comes with belonging to a physical team and environment – something which many found a real challenge to maintain virtually during the pandemic.

Flexible schedules and shared spaces will also lead to a “rightsizing” of office space, where organisations will rethink their real estate, in what will undoubtedly save costs. Some are even predicting that we’ll see the creation of an office ‘ecosystem’, which will comprise of employees working from offices, houses, and third places such as cafes, coworking spaces, and libraries.

Tech and video as the glue for hybrid working

While all of the above will support flexibility, functionality and employee wellbeing, for it to all work it needs high-end peripherals, such as Logitech’s MX Series of high-performance mice and keyboards, and collaboration software to pull it together. This tech needs to help us and not take us away from people, helping our collective mental health in environments that could be potentially isolating.

This human centred approach to work collaboration requires non-intrusive, seamless video conferencing and productivity tools. Through each space in the office, from large town hall style areas, through to smaller huddle rooms, personal workspaces and even satellite offices in the suburbs, these video solutions and smart productivity technologies can help to bring together a team as one.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of high-quality video tools available that can fit the needs of the modern worker within each individual environment. From large 4K cameras with the ability to pan, tilt and zoom to focus on an individual speaking within a large room, to wide angled huddle room cameras for smaller groups, and webcams with integrated high-quality microphones and optics to make sure remote workers are seen and heard just as clearly as if they were physically in the office.

The hybrid opportunity

The hybrid office presents itself with an opportunity to make work better for employees, while creating a more committed and motivated workforce. There’s also potential to save money through reduced office related overheads.

Tied together by smart technologies such as video, this hybrid office has the potential to make employees happier, more motivated and equipped to do their best work. Video will pivot from being the technology we used to survive during the pandemic to the one we use to thrive.

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

ComplyAdvantage Releases State Of Financial Crime Report For 2021 4 ComplyAdvantage Releases State Of Financial Crime Report For 2021 5
Top Stories11 hours ago

ComplyAdvantage Releases State Of Financial Crime Report For 2021

Designed as an must-have strategic roadmap for compliance teams, the comprehensive report covers financial crime insights related to fraud, cyber,...

Intermediaries will be key to Investment Houses navigating the Covid19 crisis Intermediaries will be key to Investment Houses navigating the Covid19 crisis
Investing12 hours ago

What is the procedure for proving a missing or lost Will?

By Alexa Payet, Partner at Bolt Burdon and listed specialist in the Certainty Contentious Probate Hub & Area Initial steps...

KBC Bank chooses Finastra for LIBOR transition 6 KBC Bank chooses Finastra for LIBOR transition 7
Finance12 hours ago

KBC Bank chooses Finastra for LIBOR transition

Fusion Loan IQ Alternative Reference Rate module and Fusion LIBOR Transition Calculator will help the bank move away from LIBOR...

How contactless payments helped a pizzeria survive  8 How contactless payments helped a pizzeria survive  9
Finance12 hours ago

How contactless payments helped a pizzeria survive 

By Kaushalya Somasundaram, Head of Payments Partnerships & Industry Relations at Square, UK The Covid-19 pandemic has caused continued uncertainty...

How will Revolut’s move into open banking affect us? How will Revolut’s move into open banking affect us?
Top Stories12 hours ago

Open Banking: a new mindset for future service delivery

By Christoph Berentzen, Head of API Banking, Commerzbank, addresses what Open Banking means to the Bank and how its proper...

Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half 10 Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half 11
Investing12 hours ago

Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half

By Shadia Nasralla LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices climbed on Tuesday as optimism that government stimulus will eventually lift global...

DIGITAL DISRUPTION IN GLOBAL BANKING SECTOR CONTINUES TO INCREASE, SURVEY BY ACI WORLDWIDE AND YOUGOV REVEALS DIGITAL DISRUPTION IN GLOBAL BANKING SECTOR CONTINUES TO INCREASE, SURVEY BY ACI WORLDWIDE AND YOUGOV REVEALS
Top Stories12 hours ago

Automating your way out of disruption

By David Brightman, Director of Product Marketing at BlackLine The coronavirus pandemic has underlined the vital role that automation plays...

Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next's Wolfson to board 12 Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next's Wolfson to board 13
Business12 hours ago

Ahead of expected IPO, Deliveroo recruits Next’s Wolfson to board

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Deliveroo said on Tuesday it has beefed up its board ahead of an expected initial public...

Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus 14 Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus 15
Business12 hours ago

Dollar drops as traders prepare for Yellen to talk up stimulus

By Tommy Wilkes LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar dropped on Tuesday as investors prepared for U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet...

Trial by fire: Why 2020 experience will help the FX industry in 2021 16 Trial by fire: Why 2020 experience will help the FX industry in 2021 17
Trading12 hours ago

Trial by fire: Why 2020 experience will help the FX industry in 2021

By Vikas Srivastava, Chief Revenue Officer at Integral I think I can say with confidence that 2020 has been the...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now