Whether you're a seasoned investor or an individual just looking to put your money where it will see a return above the present pitiful saving account rates, small businesses can prove a rewarding prospect. Every world-beating business has to start small. Those with radical new ideas or unproven technologies struggle to win support from the banks can be the companies that change the way we live. However, for every start-up firm that goes on to be the next Facebook or Vodafone, hundreds will fail within their first couple of years. Investing in small companies is a high-risk activity, but it's also a gamble that can pay off spectacularly.

Spotting potential and taking advise

If you're new to the investment game, it's good to go for areas you already know something about. This way you have the ability to accurately assess a new company's potential. If you have an interest in the field, you have a better chance of buying shares at a bargain price before the city investors catch on. It's always a good idea to listen to the experts however, or at least to take advantage of whatever information is available, especially on the internet. The Fisher Investments excellent Flickr page has plenty of easy-to-digest information in graph and flowchart forms, giving you an insight into the way the market works and the risks involved. The golden rule is never to put all of your eggs in one basket, especially where small businesses are involved. Assume a certain amount will go bust, don't risk more than you can stand to lose and be prepared to wait a long time before you see a profit. Also, be on your guard against fraud, especially if investing online.

Tax breaks

In the UK, several government schemes offer tax relief to those investing in small, unlisted companies and start-ups. These can offer a buffer against losing money on your investments. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers 30% tax relief up to £1m per tax year on profits and loss, while the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, specifically relating to start-ups, offers a 50% break. Not all businesses qualify however, and not everyone can take advantage of these breaks, so make sure you have all the facts before going ahead.

The risks of investing in small businesses are high; you'll need good strategy and more than a little luck to come out ahead. But you'll have the buzz of championing the underdog, and hopefully the thrill of seeing it grow into a serious contender.  

A tough day at work? We know how you feel, we have all been there before. Perhaps taking a short break is just what you need to relax, unwind and get back into the right mood. But what to do? A short stroll around the office? Sure, why not. A call to your best friend? Not a bad idea. A fun online game? Now that's something that should make you feel better in no time! Why not take a couple of minutes for yourself and enjoy an amazing free slot game online!

Why games are a great choice when you want to take a break?

Online games are fun and entertaining, but they are so much more than just that. They will efficiently improve your brain functions and thus make you more effective at anything you do. For example, if you need to get started on an important presentation, online games will help you relax, which can improve your creativity and provide you with a number of great ideas for your presentation. If you are overworked and tired, online games will help you clear your brain and get back at the top of your game in no time.

What kinds of games are available?

Slot.com offers a wide variety of different slot games, but the most important fact is that they are all free and can be enjoyed online, so you can play them wherever you are. Most of the games are social slot games, which means that you can compete against your friends or co-workers, and see who's better when it comes to progressing along the ladder. If you get tired of online games easily, don't worry; there is an interesting selection of some of the most popular and extremely fun online games, so there is definitely plenty to choose from, and new games are becoming available every month, so the experience is always fresh. And if you need a little bit of extra motivation, we should also mention that if you play it right, you can win coins, which enable you to level up and unlock new games, features and even bonuses.

Solar Panels Take Off

By Pete | @kingpetey | 12 Mar 2015

Solar panels are beginning to make fuel-free traveling around the world possible. The first such flight is currently conducted on a new solar airplane, Solar Impulse 2.

This solar panel plane was created to challenge every conventional fuel-based means of transportation. It's not the very first project, however, but the stakes are rather high this time, and the plane is set to fly around the world both at night and day time. This event will completely revolutionize our technological progress, significantly reduce fuel dependency, and help to promote a greener environment. 

The plane consists of several solar panels that break down into more than 17,000 solar cells that gather sun energy, which then is stored in lithium polymer batteries. The plane is light and robust. There're, however, some minor drawbacks. First, it's width; it's wider than a Boeing. It was increased to make the aerodynamics more efficient.

Second, Solar Impulse 2 has a rather small motor that doesn't allow speeds higher than an average car (between 36-140 km/h). Lastly, its production involves pricey technology, such as tools for PV panel characterization that will most likely make its production limited. Despite these limitations, this aircraft is a sensational breakthrough in green technology.

There have been a great deal of changes in the business world, as the internet has become one of the most dominant ways of conducting business all over the world.

Constant commerce

Not very long ago, commerce was relegated to standard business hours. This made it hard for many smaller businesses to conduct business internationally. The internet allows business to continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all over the world. This opens up a lot of profit potential, even for small businesses. Now businesses don't just have to rely on local and regional sales to make a profit.

Quicker

Deals and transactions that once took days can now be completed in minutes, thanks to online banking and email. In the past, when a customer wanted to order a product, they had to order via phone if they had a credit card, or send in an order form. Now with a few simple clicks, orders can be placed and shipments prepared in hardly any time at all.

Better organization

Paper can be hard to keep organized. With internet-based business, documents, records and other data are easily organized and accessible. No more searching through a file cabinet only to realize that what you need has been put in the wrong place, yet again.

Better communication

Easier and better communication has allowed for better control over supply chains and faster shipping of products from one location to another. Businesses can have workers throughout the world and they can contact each other at any time to coordinate business. As the internet has become part of everyday life, the cost of communication has dropped considerably. This means businesses are not spending thousands of dollars per month on long-distance phone fees or communicating less just to save money.

More environmentally friendly

Since a lot of business is now done digitally, less and less paper is used. This saves an enormous amount of money and reduces carbon dioxide released from shipping and manufacturing. In addition, less land is needed for the production of paper.

Business news online

Financial papers and magazines all have digital editions now and many people get all their news online rather than in paper form. On the downside, the internet age has caused job losses in some fields such as paper production, printing and administration. Some argue that although it is true that job losses have occurred, the internet has created other jobs that make up for the loss in one industry, therefore there is actually a net increase in jobs.

Some individuals in particular have helped the internet grow into what it is today. According to the bio of Robert Bonnier, he founded Freepages in 1994 to address the need for a great internet directory. In 1999, the company changed its name to scoot.com and by 2005 so much business was being conducted online that the company was worth an astounding five billion dollars, proving the demand for internet listings.

The humble British pub has seen many changes over the past few years. What used to be a smoky environment that was highly traditional and male-orientated has been transformed into a variety of styles that cater towards a much broader audience.

And whereas pubs used to focus on socialising and drinking, they now are all facing the need to compete with a variety of methods including restaurant functions, DJs and even modern gaming.

Traditional pub games

In the past, British pub games focused on old-fashioned sports like billiards, dominos and darts. However, in recent years such games have become marginalised as pubs seek to increase their customer bases and attract younger audiences.

So whereas customers used to have to dodge out of the way of darts flying towards the dartboard, the closest that many now get to a game of darts is by looking at their smartphones to check out the latest dart results online.

The sports bar

But that doesn’t mean that sports have become absent from pubs. There are now many bars that are actively promote the sporting aspect of pub life.

Most pubs now feature an array of wide-screen televisions that feature 24 hour sporting reports courtesy of Sky Sports, and it’s a common occurrence on a Saturday afternoon to find a football match atmosphere inside many public houses.

Technological innovation

As it is thought that around 70% of adults in the UK now have a smartphone, there has also been a dramatic rise in the use of mobile technology in the modern pub.

Whereas we used to see the solitary male sat in a pub staring into the middle distance over his pint glass, now they are more likely to be checking their social media updates.

And pub gaming has been quick to adapt to this introduction of mobile technology. The pub quiz has had to develop ever more ingenious methods to stop people cheating by getting the answers via their smartphone.

In particular Speedquizzing has introduced innovations that feature software where players no longer have to mark each other’s question sheets so as to relegate cheating to being a thing of the past.

Other technological innovations include the infamous karaoke machine. This Japanese import has enjoyed a mixed reception in many pubs, but its popularity means that it looks to enjoy many more years of helping pub customers show off their sometimes questionable singing abilities!

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