One of the perennial issues for fund raising managers of third sector charities is to find new and innovative ways of raising funds for the charities they work for.  Attracting funding from the general public and from corporate clients has proved challenging, but TV fundraising marathons like Children in Need and Comic Relief, have shown the public commitment to supporting worthy causes has not waned and there is still a willingness to dig deep into their pockets.

People are inspired and moved by seeing care parcels, food supplies and medical supplies arrive to those in need receiving much needed help and aid. Express parcel deliveries and International shipping forms a key part in this process of delivering aid to the corners of the globe that need it. In reality, courier services are involved right from inception of the aid program.

Charities are always looking for new and innovative ways of raising funds – some of the more common ones are listed below:

  • Charity dinner
  • Charity dance
  • Sponsored walks
  • Sponsored parachute jumps
  • Celebrity auctions

All of these ideas require the services of a good courier provider who can help the third sector  who can help the third sector partner achieve their goals. Couriers are used to ensure that sponsorship forms arrive from the printer; invites are sent out to keynote speakers for the Charity dinners and auction items from the celebrity auctions are moved both to and from the auction, sometimes using a parcel delivery service.

Several weeks in advance advertising brochures, flyers, and posters need to be shipped to various parts of the country often at the last minute, often when the post has been collected and that important document needs to be sent, leading to a last minute flurry of activity and the need for an express service is required.

Many corporations like to show their charitable side by sponsoring events organised by charities, it is a great way for the business world to sow a little something back into society. Some companies will willingly get involved in sponsoring a sporting event whether on a national scale or a local scale. Football matches are a firm favourite where either local or national celebrities are more than willing to give their time to help raise money for a good cause.

When people are involved in raising money for charities they want to either be challenged, hence the rise in the public taking part in sponsored parachute jumps or abseiling down the local cities tallest building. Overcoming their fears as they raise money for a worthy cause completes the ‘win win’ situation. People also want to have fun and whilst dancing the night away whilst raising money for their favourite charity. Evenings spent as part of a fundraising extravaganza for example whilst having a bit of a flutter at the local racing evening can add credence to the trip to the local race track.

The thing to note is that by the time the event is on and the fundraising is under way, the unsung heroes of the back office and the support team have done their work; courier services have delivered their parcels of flyers and invites, the banners and posters they have delivered have done their job of advertising the event, all that is left to do for the charity is to sit and salute their success.

For many professionals, relocating to another country can cause their initial productivity to suffer due to the mental, emotional and physical effects of culture shock. This can cause frustration, disorientation and overall unhappiness to the employee and cause the employer to lose time and money.

Let us answer two questions here:  What is culture shock and how do we overcome it?

What is Culture Shock

Culture shock is the effect of being cut off from familiar culture, environment and norms, and having to acclimatize to new and sometimes seemingly strange surroundings. The period of adjustment can cause stress, frustration, confusion and even depression.  Culture shock can have a yo-yo pattern where the feelings of anxiety may lessen in time, but later most unexpectedly resurface. Therefore you should expect phases of adjustment starting with the initial excitement of the honeymoon period, through the confusion and worry, the recovery, repeated culture shock followed by re-recovery until there is a breakthrough. In time, with proper support and using the right strategies, the negative feelings can be overcome until you adjust, adapt and accept. In some cases, be prepared for reverse shock when you relocate to your own country.

How to Overcome Culture Shock

First, understand and appreciate your own culture and business practices. This self-awareness and reflection helps in gaining a deeper perspective of what and why some things are different as well as knowing how we are viewed from the outside. Understanding differences and their reasons gives us more empathy and tolerance, imperative for building rapport, the keystone of maintaining relationships.

Next, learn about the other culture ideally both on your own and through intercultural training.  On our own, we can quite easily understand the obvious differences like appearance, accent, manners and habits. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real differences are often unseen and therefore quite often unappreciated. These are attitudes, beliefs, values and perceptions.

Finally, apart from the support of the management and the training, we also need to develop our own strategies to overcome culture shock. Here are some tips

  • Avoid constant comparisons with home
  • Make friends with positive-minded people
  • Start a new hobby or pastime which isn’t possible back home
  • Keep in regular contact with home, family and friends
  • Share your own culture with your new friends and neighbours
  • Communicate your feelings
  • Travel and see new places
  • Use things local – local medicines, newspapers and even toiletry. Cut off the apron strings of the mother country.


Much-travelled people often have one thing to say in common – with all the differences in cultures and norms, we are deep down all very similar. If we can learn to connect to people as individuals, we can start to look forward to and enjoy our cross-cultural experiences.


Alastair Kane is a writer and blogger on business related topics. He supplied this article on behalf of Communicaid a culture and business communication skills consultancy.

Employee motivation can often be a big contributing factor in determining the success of a project or business. Unmotivated employees are less likely to work to their full potential and this could ultimately affect your profit margin. It’s worth investing in a few creative incentives to keep your employees motivated and keep your business successful and profitable. Here are a few examples of how you can motivate your staff:

  • Corporate awards – Many businesses have an employee of the month scheme, but why not take it one step further and hold an annual corporate awards ceremony? Have some bespoke corporate awards made up then hold an awards ceremony, you could even incorporate it into the annual Christmas party. Rewards such as ‘Most Improved’, ‘Best Attendance’ and ‘Employee of the Year’ generally work well. Or you could get a bit more creative and add a touch of fun by handing out awards for the wackiest tie etc.
  • Corporate perks – Get in touch with other businesses in the area, ideally gyms and leisure activities, and see if they offer any corporate discounts. Some gyms offer reduced membership for employees of local businesses because they’re glad of the extra business it will generate for them in the long run. Do your research and find out what your employees would benefit most from, then find the best deal to suit your company’s needs.
  • Goal based incentives – It’s a good idea to offer individual, team based, or company-wide incentives for your employees. For example if they meet their targets for the week you could reward them with a dress-down day or by bringing treats such as sweets and cakes in for them. These types of incentives work well for projects with tight deadlines that require hard work and focus. Your employees will be more motivated to complete the task if they know there’s a reward at the end of its successful completion.
  • Seasonal gifts – In order to encourage your employees to work hard throughout the year you could offer seasonal gifts at various times throughout the year i.e. Christmas, Easter and other religious holidays depending on your employees. The lead up to Christmas is usually a busy period for most businesses and you’ll be asking a lot from your employees, so it’s only right that you should reward their hard work by way of a gift or a nice bonus in their pay cheque.
  • Wellness program – Start by surveying your employees to find out what their potential health and wellbeing needs are, i.e. weight loss, smoking cessation, team bonding etc. Once you’ve identified what would make your employees happier both in and out of the workplace then you can begin to launch a wellness program to suit their needs. For example if you have a large number of staff interested in weight loss you could offer flexi time which allows for longer lunch breaks in which they can visit the gym. Encourage various clubs within your workforce such as book club, after-work sports clubs, and a stop-smoking club. All of these things will help your staff to bond with one another and achieve goals that will aid their mental and physical wellbeing.

Most states have gotten rid of “blue laws,” or laws that forced businesses to close on Sundays for religious observances or “a day of rest.”  Blue laws pertain primarily to businesses that sell alcohol, as well as automobile sales and office supplies (really!).

For example, Arizona got rid of its liquor sales blue laws in 2010, which allows businesses to sell alcohol at 6 a.m. That’s important to a state that relies on travelers for a good portion of its revenue. Golfers who hit the links early in the morning and vacationers at the numerous resorts love to start the day with a cold bloody Mary or beer. Indiana, on the other hand, remains one of the only states that still prohibits liquor sales on Sundays (except in restaurants, wineries and breweries). Consumers still can’t buy cars on Sundays in Indiana, although in 2012, they gained the ability to buy motorcycles. Go figure. Most car dealerships in Ariz. stay open on Sundays, although a few will choose to close or offer shorter operating hours.

Large Retail Chains

Regardless of state laws that prohibit business on Sundays, some corporations choose to close on Sundays, even though they might lose revenue. Chick-Fil-A, Discount Tire, Bahama Buck’s and Hobby Lobby close on Sundays. If Sunday blue laws do not affect these businesses in certain states, they close by choice.


Many businesses cite religious reasons for closing on Sundays. Bahama Buck’s corporate office permits its stores to be open on Sundays, but a disclaimer on its Web site notes that many branches may be closed on Sunday. Chick-Fil-A says it has had a Sundays-closed policy since the first store opened in 1946, because the company wants its employees to have a day for rest and worship, if they choose. The privately owned Hobby Lobby has always closed on Sundays, and its site explains that it was built on biblical principles.

Sunday Losses

We’re wired for worship. Worship is expressed by what we do, said Ed Young JrHe believes one of the most important things parents can do for their kids is to involve them with Church. This means, of course, going to services and becoming actively engaged in prayer. Involvement, says Pastor Young, also means sending your children to Sunday school to learn about Christ, his teachings, and his moral lessons. Youth group trips and bake sales, while important, are not quite the same as attending Church services.

Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy told that the benefits of a Sunday-closed policy outweigh the financial losses the company takes by closing one day a week.

David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, states on the company Web site that the $2 billion company maintains a 66-hour work week. The evangelical philanthropist is outspoken about his beliefs and support of a movement to put a Bible in every pair of hands in the world. And some could argue that his outspokenness has paid off for the company: Forbes reports that Hobby Lobby’s same-store sales increased 8.1 percent from 2008 to 2012. This happened during a time of a national economic crisis and political polarization, when few companies from the conservative right emerged as winners.

State legislatures continue to debate Sunday blue laws as retailers complain about lost revenues. Maine is pushing legislation through that would allow businesses that occupy 10,000 or more square feet to open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, reports States with strict Sunday liquor laws, for example, lose revenue to bordering states with looser laws. To keep abreast of Sunday blue laws and the latest news, subscribe to’s newsletter and post your comments here.

When it comes to running a business, there is a lot to keep track of and keep under control. You need to be sure that you are hiring the right employees, that you are assigning the correct workloads, and that you are utilizing all of the resources available to you. You have to keep customers happy, employees happy, and vendors happy. You likely have to work late at night and then get up early in the morning just to keep your business running smoothly. If you are lucky, you like your work and enjoy each of these things. If you want to really bring your business forward, then it is important that you foster innovation among your employees. There are numerous benefits to creating this kind of atmosphere. Make sure your team knows that you want their ideas, that their ideas are valuable, and that you will try to implement the best ones. Below are some of the benefits of fostering innovation at your business, but remember – there are always more!

#1 – Keeping your employees happy. Happy employees do better work and so a lot of businesses are always looking for ways to keep their employees content. Some pay out big bonuses, others keep the kitchens well stocked with cookies. But one of the simplest ways to keep your employees happy is to value them and their ingenuity. Let them know that their ideas can have a direct impact on your business and they will feel valued and more likely to share them. Even if only a fraction of the employees’ ideas can be used, that is still more than if you hadn’t fostered the innovation at all.


#2 – Staying ahead of your competitors. Innovation is necessary to drive your business forward. You cannot compete if you are always staying the same. A business that doesn’t innovate will not survive in today’s hyper competitive business world. But you can’t expect to do all this innovation at the top. You need the help of your employees. After all, they know parts of your business better than you do in most cases. So ask them for ways to make systems operate more efficiently, or ideas for getting more customers, or solutions to any other problem your business faces.


#3 – Increasing your employees’ creativity. Creativity is the key to innovation and it is also the key to good work. If your employees are not encouraged to be creative, their work will suffer. Give them the freedom to do things differently – sometimes creativity leads to innovation, which can lead to big changes in your products and business.


#4 – Raising your employee retention rates. If you keep your business strong, your employees happy, and your atmosphere of innovation encouraging, then you will almost certainly lose fewer employees along the way. Higher employee retention means you have to spend less money on recruiting and training new hires. It means your company will feel more like a team, and that will also lead to more innovation. Teamwork and innovation go hand-in-hand, and fostering one often fosters both, leading to a better, stronger, more competitive business.


All of today’s best companies focus on innovation. Google, Facebook, Twitter – innovation is what drives them. Make it what drives your company, too.



About the author: Joe Uhll covers trends and news in the marketing and HR fields. He frequently writes for Cloverleaf covering innovation. When he isn’t writing, Joe enjoys watching soccer/football matches and spending time with his wife in Chicago.

In these tough economic times more and more business owners are looking to diversify their streams of income and make cut backs in certain areas of their business. In order to make a profit, you often have to put money in first, which can always be a risk, but there are ways of making money without having to do this. Over the last couple of years many business owners have managed to make money out of the resources that their workforce is not using. In this article we will explain how you can go about making money from your empty office space and the benefits it will have on your business.

Make money from renting out your spare desks

Many business owners with office premises have empty desks. These are usually located in the corners of rooms, as employees tend to like to group together in the centre. If you think about it these desks are wasting your money, especially if you are not in a position to be taking on new staff to fill them. Rather than leaving the space empty, why not considering renting desks out to other businesses?

Renting out office desks is a growing trend in the world of business. There are many different websites popping up online, offering to advertise desk space to individuals and businesses. Freelance workers are often very interested in hiring desk space, as it gives them a permanent place to work. Not all freelance workers like working from home, so this will greatly benefit them, as well as your business. Whilst boosting your income it can also be nice to have a new friendly face around the office.

Rent out your spare office space

If you own or lease a large building that you are not able to fill with your own staff, then you may want to consider renting out part of it to another business. It is a great way of making extra income and may prevent you from having to make cut backs in other areas of your business. It is worth bearing in mind that you will need to check with the owner (if you lease the property) before subletting office space out to another company.

Leasing a building often proves to be too expensive for small businesses and many company owners see it as an unnecessary cost. However hiring a single office room from another company is a fantastic alternative, especially for small business owners that are looking to expand from being a home-run company. As well as charging a monthly fee for the office space, you may even be able to come up with packages that provide you with extra income. For example if you have the resources, you could throw in add-ons like secretary services and computer hire. When it comes to renting office space to other companies, it is best to work on a flexible or short term contract agreement as small companies do not tend to like to tie themselves into lengthy contracts.

As well as renting out office space you could also throw in added value services to make even more of a profit.

Image source:

Benefits of renting out office space and desks

Renting office space and desks will obviously help to increase your income and prevent resources from being wasted, but it can benefit your business in a number of other ways too. By hiring out desks and office space to other companies, you can make your own business look more busy and successful. Clients visiting your workplace will see that every desk is filled and will think that you have had to hire extra staff and expand your business due to success. Creating a good first impression on clients will help you retain their business and build up a fantastic reputation for your company.

Having new people in the office can also help to boost staff morale and creativity. You never know, one of the freelancers you hire a desk out to, may have certain skills that your business is lacking. It is a great way of making contacts and finding new people that can add value to your business.

Image credit: Martin Cathrae

Author bio: The Work Station offers a registered office address in Hertfordshire for all business correspondence, this includes Companies House and HM Revenue Customs post.


For a small business, there is always a need to implement cost effective ways of operating, with special stress on financially rough times. To aid in this, the owners resort to using latest software and networking based technology. This is however a recent phenomenon with respect to this business type as earlier financial and manpower restrictions would disallow proper administration of these software applications. With the advent of cloud technology, less expensive and easy access to the implementation of innovative software applications in all the major workings has been brought to effect.

Imploring Cloud for Developing Business

The implications of the various cloud based applications ensure the effective growth of a small business, contradictory to the use of those software programs that are more conventional in nature. It can be established through various examples of applications that cloud technology is equally effective as the other software packages. Few of the advantages of this technology are listed below.

Cost Effectiveness:

Before the advent of cloud technology, the issue of financial restraints prevented small business from using effective software applications for their growth. This technology is more affordable and financially viable for most of the business owners. Provisions also include policies like “pay-as-you-go” which require nominal fees for monthly payment, not including contracts on long-term basis. The requisite for pricey IT based outsourced support is decreased with the inclusion of service provider for monitoring and maintaining the various applications.


The convenience in using this technology is that one requires a minimum amount of investment- only an internet connection- for getting started. This technology does not keep the user bound to any place like a network or terminal because of which it is highly preferred by business owners and employers. One can access this technology from home, on way to office and any other location. This technology also provides online scheduling, payment or appointment among other online based services.

Relaxation in Establishing the Application:

Adaptability counts in software applications for small business. Those software applications that demand proper installation consume a lot of time which cannot be invested by the owners of the organizations. Apart from this, the issue of learning these applications for effective utilization is also time-consuming. In case of cloud-based applications, one does not need to make any form of downloads or installations. Moreover, keeping in mind the drawbacks of owners of small business, the developers designed the software programs to make them more user-friendly and easily understandable.


It can thus be concluded that small business requirements ranging from accountancy to internet marketing strategies and campaigns or satisfying their customers through online appointments- all of these array of needs are fulfilled by the use of cloud technology. Software applications by cloud technology are designed to meet the specified requirements of the owners of small business. There are also free trial versions available which help the business owners to check out the applications before incorporating them. All this has greatly benefitted the small business all over the world.

Alex Mathew is a proficient author writing articles different types of business and other similar topics. He contributes regularly for G3 Remarketing.

Description: Newer technological advancements have helped in the growth of the small business. The cloud technology has improved networking and effective strategies for making profit.

Starting your own business is an adventure. It takes a product or service to sell, plenty of knowledge, starting capital and research in order to give your new business a fighting chance in a world of competition. However, there is one piece of equipment that will help you to run your business in a professional manner. Choosing the proper eCommerce software will save you time and energy by providing an intuitive interface for your needs. However, choosing the right software package may seem like a daunting task. This article will provide you with a starting guide of things you should look for when choosing eCommerce software for your business.

Where To Begin

When choosing the best eCommerce software for your company, you need to know what your business plans are starting with inventory. Will you stock inventory yourself, or will it ship from another place? Will you allow people to pick up their orders, or provide shipping terms to them only? Which delivery services will you use for packages?

You also need to know specifics such as which payment methods are you willing to accept. Will you accept return merchandise? Along with currency come security risks. So, consider which applications offer you the best protection against fraud issues as well as entire site security. Having the ability to advertise to potential customers that you have SSL encryption as well as other security sources may mean the difference between making a sell, or having your customer head to your competition.

You must take into consideration questions such as who will create your website. If you plan to do it yourself, does the software you are considering offer you the tools you need to create your site? If so, how simple are the tools to use? Time is money, so you do not want to spend an exorbitant amount of having to learn the software, in order to get your website running.

Will It Offer Marketing Tools Or Hosting Options?
Take the time to contemplate your marketing strategy once you have your website created. Many higher end eCommerce solutions provide marketing tools that will help you find and target customers that are looking for the goods or services you offer. If you plan to add incentives to your site such as daily deals, coupon codes and more, look for an application that will provide these services as well.

Also, think about and look into the hosting options that eCommerce software offers for your site. If it includes storage and bandwidth, decide how much you need and choose your eCommerce software package accordingly. Also, think about the amount of goods or products you plan to sell, and choose an application that will allow you to show all of your items to your customers, instead of limiting the amount of items you can show.

Taking the time to seriously consider your business plans, thoroughly will help you make a better decision when it comes time to choose an eCommerce software package for your company.


Chris is a blogger who likes to write about many things, including technology, software, computers and more. He loves to write about business and tips on how to improve and help business owners. You can find him on Google+.

There are a number of problems and challenges that small companies face when performing payroll in-house, and for each payroll solution – such as outsourcing or using UK payroll software – there are advantages and disadvantages. This guide explores the advantages and disadvantages of payroll solutions and the problems that each payroll solution can present, to help you make the right decision for your small business.

Payroll management software

For small companies with few employees, software is often a good choice.


Clarifies and streamlines the payroll process:

  • Handles deductions such as income tax and national insurance contributions automatically
  • Updates according to global tax code updates and P6 updates.
  • Provides BACS and payslip sending and printing
  • Provides an automated process for leavers and joiners.
  • Many solutions are free for companies with small numbers of employees.
  • RTI payroll software will make the upcoming RTI update easy to manage.
  • Customer support services can help you address problems and learn about payroll as you go.

Takes less time than the manual process, giving a potential saving on employment costs.



Automatic systems help you to reduce and correct mistakes, but there is no guarantee that your payroll will be perfectly accurate or on-time. Even with software you may require a payroll or HR expert, and for small companies with only one expert, there can be a lot of responsibility resting on only one set of shoulders.

Buy UK payroll software to manage all aspects of company payroll with an easy to use interface.

Outsourcing payroll

There are many payroll outsourcing options to suit different requirements. The two major options are the fully managed service or the part managed-service. The first option is best for small companies with little or no payroll management knowledge, as all aspects of the payroll are managed by the service provider, including reporting, pay frequencies, tax provisioning and payslips. If you have some knowledge of payroll you can reduce your service costs with a part-managed service.


Fully managed services have a duty to perform payroll accurately and according to HMRC standards, so you can be sure your payroll is managed properly with every aspect taken care of. You still have control over your payroll data, and nothing is finalised without your approval. You submit your data to the outsourcer, who will then make all the necessary payroll calculations and send them to you for your approval – you have the advantage of control without all the work.


While any good outsourcing service will operate on the highest standards of data safety, the fact is that the moment you let your data go outside of your business it is vulnerable to theft. Make sure you check with each service for the level of security they provide. It is always more expensive to outsource than to go with manual or software-assisted in-house management. It is always good practice as a business manager to learn payroll, but when you use an outsourced service there is less reason to learn.

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, you already know the importance of marketing your product or service. After all, if the customers don’t know you exist, you’ll have a hard time drumming up enough business to keep your doors open. These are three of the most common mistakes that business owners make when marketing their brand.

  • Poor Branding Choices 

Bad branding decisions can happen in the store or in outgoing marketing, they can happen online and off, and they can be absolutely devastating. I recently walked into a small retail store that was just trying to get off the ground. The owner was worrying about competing with larger, more established businesses in the context of outgoing advertising, but had failed to consider what his customers would see when they eventually did walk in the door: bare brick walls with uneven streaks of old paint on them, exposed plaster and dry wall, and rickety, beat up display shelves.

The most important thing any business owner needs to keep in mind is offering value and quality to their customers, but if presentation didn’t matter no company would be wasting their money on signage and commercial décor. Walking into that store did not make me feel inspired to spend, nor was my first reaction to assume that his product would be professional, since it wasn’t presented in a professional fashion. Had he simply invested a portion of his startup capital in touching those shelves up, maybe put up a couple of custom printed wallpapers with his brand name or logo, and it would have been an entirely different experience.

  • Poor Market Research

The market research stage is often the most overlooked in the process. After all you came up with a great idea, so you probably know who will want to pay for it, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. While you may have an idea of what your ideal customer looks like, or which market segments are most likely to be interested in the product or service that you’re offering, market research will tell you so much more.

Thorough market research should delve into the cost of operating your business, the pricing used by your competitors, and the attitudes, cultures, and purchasing behaviors of the market segment most likely to do business with you. If your business deals with an existing industry, you should also research the way that it has reacted to different economic and social circumstances over time through market trend analysis. It should also give you an idea of the effectiveness of different marketing strategies that others have used over time, which can provide your business with a genuine advantage over less informed competitors.

  • Poor Campaign Planning

Once you have armed yourself with as much information as possible, implementing it wisely can be difficult, but it will be impossible without careful planning. There is a reason that we use the term ‘marketing campaign:’ it should be as coordinated as a military assault, with all fronts covered and all possible outcomes considered.

If your market research suggests that your target demographic should be young shoppers, but you make newsprint the central focus of your advertising, you will have no one to blame but yourself when it fails to yield results. By the same token, allowing yourself to market only to your ideal customers limits your potential for growth. This means that even if your target is teenagers, you should probably expand your marketing efforts beyond Facebook and Twitter to include other channels. Coordinating an overall campaign based on the broadest possible appeal, without neglecting or overlooking your ideal customers requires planning and foresight, and businesses that fail to plan ahead very rarely prosper.

Author Info:

Chris Garrett is a freelance writer with many years of experience in marketing for small businesses. He is fascinated by the way technological advancements continue to change the way we do business and what customers expect from the companies they visit.